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Ellis and Tyler

Mornings with Ellis, Tyler and Tracy…A positive way to start your day!

Today’s Positive Thoughts

Give thanks to the LORD for his unfailing love and his wonderful deeds for men.
Psalm 107:31 NIV

The LORD is close to the brokenhearted and saves those who are crushed in spirit.
Psalm 34:18 NIV

Let us consider how we may spur one another on toward love and good deeds.
Hebrews10:24 NIV

See You At the Pole: 7 Day Challenge

Day 1 (Thursday): “429” Your Principal Day

“4:29” is a code word taken from Ephesians 4:29 for building the school principal up with your words and/or actions. Write an administrator a note of appreciation. Thank your principal for “See You At The Pole.” The administrators have a tough
job and rarely do they get any notes of “Thanks.” Hand deliver the note, drop the note off at the school office, or mail it.
If you know one of the administrators, you might feel comfortable asking them if you could pray for them and any needs at the school.
Think about how the school is a better place because of the leadership of the administrator you’ve chosen to write to.

Day 2 (Friday): “429” Your Teacher Day – Anyone who receives instruction in the word must share all good things with his instructor. Galatians 6:6

Write a note to let a teacher know he/she is special and that you prayed for him/her today. Teachers help people, so pray a prayer of thanksgiving for them.
Teachers have a hard job, so pray a prayer for them to have strength and wisdom. Teachers work long hours, so pray that God would strengthen and bless them ‘4:29’ one of your teachers. Hand the note to the teacher and job ‘teaching’ something that could cause such dispute say, “This is for you…Thanks.”

Day 3 (Saturday): “429” Your Parents Day – Honor your father and mother… that you may enjoy long life on the earth. Ephesians 6:2-3

Do something nice and caring for, and with, your parent(s). For ideas see the illustration below. From an Advice Columnist: “I’m a 16 year old teenager who is a nervous wreck from getting yelled at. All I hear from morning to night is; stop being mean to your brother, get off the phone, hang up your clothes, do your homework, and clean your room!” The Advice Columnist’s answer: Stop being mean, get off the phone, hang up your clothes, do your homework, and clean your room.
Do something for someone today that will demonstrate the love of God to them. Remember that unconditional love is the best way to witness for Christ.
Well, you get the idea… spend time with Mom, she’ll love it! Do some chores your parent needs done without her having to ask.
• How about giving a “I Love You Mom” or “I Love You Dad” Card.
• “Thank you Mom for loving me, for all your sacrifice, for listening, and giving those special hugs.”

Day 4 (Sunday): “429” Your Pastor Day – The elders who direct the affairs of the church well—are worthy of double honor, especially those whose work is preaching and teaching. 1 Timothy 5:17

Write your Pastor a note of appreciation and encourage him/her. Thank him/her for being a leader you can follow. Thank him/her for preparing a special message the Sunday your friends came to church. Offer to help anyone who could use assistance. Write a note thanking him/her for being God’s Shepherd for your church. Let the Pastor know you’re praying for him/her, his/her family, and the church. Write him/her a note so they have it in writing. Thank that individual for all that he/she does. Let your Pastor know that you’re praying for him/her.

Day 5 (Monday): “429” An Outsider Day- …the kindness of God leads you to repentance… Romans 2:4b

A secular society leads to generational confusion. The bible says that the kindness of God can lead these people to repentance. They may think that they could never be a Christian, or that Christians don’t like them. Many of these students believe that Christians hate them and that God may hate them too. But God offers love and forgiveness to everyone who repents and puts their trust in him. And He gives freedom from the things that keep us in bondage to sin.
Think of someone at school who might feel out of place at a church.
Make time today to talk to them and show them through acts of kindness that God loves them. Be kind, without compromising your biblical moral beliefs. Ask them what they think about God. Explain how God loves them and wants them to know and follow Him.

Day 6 (Tuesday): “429” Your Mentor Day – Remember your leaders, who spoke the word of God to you. Consider the outcome of their way of life and imitate their faith.

Hebrews 13:7
Write a note or call the person who influenced you to follow Christ, and thank them. If you’re unable to get in touch with him/her, then write or call the person who has most recently impacted your life for Christ. Write down your story of how you became a Christian. Write a note or call the person that most influenced you to follow Christ. If you can’t contact him/her, then write a note to the person that most recently has impacted your life for Christ.

Day 7 (Wednesday-one week after SYATP): “429” Your School Day – Serve whole-heartedly, as if you were serving the Lord and not men. Ephesians 6:7

Did you realize could help you fulfill your community service hours for school? Service projects are fun and meaningful for all involved. You need to get this day organized with your youth leader in advance. Clean up a local street or vacant lot around the school. Start a canned food drive at your school to fill your school’s food pantry. Almost every school in Seminole and Orange county has a food pantry for hungry students. Plant flowers or trees at your school.


Praying for Payton

Our friend, Payton, is now a Marine! Straight out of high school to boot camp. We had a chance to talk with his momma. Here’s the audio.  Would you please join us in praying for him, his family, and the rest of his group? Also, please let us know who else is serving that we can be praying for.

Listen Here.

Update on Ellis

Your prayers for Ellis right now would mean so much. He’s in the hospital. If you haven’t heard what’s going on, feel free to take a listen to this update from Ellis and Tyler.

Finding the Path Out of Bad Days and Angry Moods

Ever have a terrible day where NOTHING was going right? You know, the kind of day where the clock doesn’t go off, you miss breakfast, then get stuck in traffic, show up late to work and get yelled at by your boss. Sometimes life is hard and absolutely nothing is working out; still it seems everyone knows a friend who never has a bad day, then others who live in chaos. Why do some people handle unexpected problems and stress better than others?

  • Are they stronger?
  • Is it because they look better, or have more money or live in a bigger house?
  • Do they have an easier time because they are just lucky?
  • Is their marriage partner or mother working overtime to solve problems for them?
  • Does God like them more than you so He protects them from experiencing pain?
  • What is it that makes some people less moody, temperamental and upset than others?

Listen – it’s not strength, intelligence, beauty or wealth – Simply put your mood is triggered by a mindset. No matter what is happening in your life you can control your thoughts and when you do it totally changes your mood. You may not think you have the power to control your thoughts and impulses after a tough day, but you do. Listen to the wisdom of King Solomon, “A Man without Self-Control is like a city broken into and left without Walls.” (Proverbs 25:28)

If you are above the age of five you have the mental capacity to think before you react in anger or frustration. If you want to determine the psychological age of the people around you – watch how they manage irritation when things don’t work out. Blowing up over your name being misspelled by the barista at Starbucks indicates a very low threshold of self-control; yet sometimes the person with no tolerance for problems in their own life expect everyone else to cut them some slack and show compassion. Your moods are an indicator of EVERYTHING going on inside you- your character, your maturity, your personality and even your faith in God. The way character and maturity is expressed through difficult circumstances was described by John Burroughs as, “Temperament lies behind mood; behind will, lies the fate of character. Then behind both, the influence of family the tyranny of culture; and finally the power of climate and environment; and we are free, only to the extent we rise above these.”  

Want a better day? Learn to manage your moods. Here’s a quick formula I’ve found that helps everyone to live out the teaching of Jesus, who said, “I am come that they may have life and have it to the full” (John 10:10) Jesus didn’t promise a life without problems, rather, the promise was for a meaningful life. The more you learn to manage your moods, the better your life will be- here’s how.

  • Start with your Belief system, because
  • Your Beliefs shape your Thinking, and
  • Your Thinking triggers your Feelings, then
  • Your Feelings determine your Mood

The more you can challenge, and change your belief system, the more you can manage your moods. In fact, if you want to look into a “time machine” to see what your future is going to look like, just look at how you are managing your moods now. This is because mood management is one of the key indicators of your success in relationships, family, work and personal success.

If you are stuck in an angry mood – don’t fire your family or quit your job. Work on you. Change you. Find strength in the teaching of your faith and the wisdom of your mentors. You can change and you can rise above being moody and upset and you can teach your kids and spouse to do the same.

You have a choice on the worst days to remember how good God has been to you and those you care about. It’s been my experience as I meditate on the blessings and then focus on answered prayers that my moods soften, my expectations change and instead of making life miserable for the people around me, I can become a source of strength to help them through tough times. It’s a powerful source of healing to everyone you are in relationship with when you can move from being temperamental to modeling self-control. I promise you there will be an opportunity today to choose joy over sadness, peace over panic and acceptance of others over judging them. When you can manage your moods your whole world will be better and the world of everyone around you will be better and that’s a good trade– try it!


About the Author  Dwight Bain helps people rewrite their story to move from stress to satisfaction as a Nationally Certified Counselor and Certified Life Coach in practice since 1984. He partners with media, major corporations and non-profit organizations to make a positive difference in our culture. Access more counseling and coaching resources designed to save you time by solving stressful situations by visiting his counseling blog with over 850 complimentary articles and special reports atwww.LifeWorksGroup.org.

Importance of Prayer

Everyone faces hardship and difficulty, but the person who has faith doesn’t have to face it alone.

Here are a series of observations by great thinkers about the effectiveness and power of prayer when you feel discouraged. Select one or two that match your situation as you turn from focusing on your problems, to focusing your thoughts on God’s provision. This is much like King David in the Bible, who wrote, “This poor man cried out, and the Lord heard him and delivered him from all his fears.” (Psalm 34). 

“God grant me the serenity to accept things I cannot change, courage to change things I can, and wisdom to know the difference.” – Reinhold Niebuhr (American Theologian)

PRAYER is the difference between the best YOU CAN DO and the best GOD CAN DO.

God only gives three answers to prayer:1. Yes!  2. Not yet 3. I have something better in mind.

God doesn’t move in your life when you struggle; He moves when you pray.

When life knocks you on your knees, you’re in a perfect position to pray

“I firmly believe a great many prayers are not answered because we are not willing to forgive someone” – D.L. Moody

Has someone wronged you recently? Resist the urge to judge that person. Instead, pray that God might use you to reach the offender. – Warren Wiersbe

“To be a Christian without prayer is no more possible than to be alive without breathing.” – Martin Luther

“I have been driven many times to my knees by the overwhelming conviction that I had nowhere else to go. My own wisdom, and that of all about me, seemed insufficient for the day.”- Abraham Lincoln

If you cannot trust God for the temporal, how dare you trust him for the eternal? – Charles Spurgeon

“Prayer is the rope that pulls God and man together. But, it doesn’t pull God down to us: It pulls us up to Him.” – Billy Graham

“Every Christian needs a half-hour of prayer each day, except when he is busy, then he needs an hour.” – Francis de Sales

“Don’t pray when you feel like it. Have an appointment with the Lord and keep it.” – Corrie Ten Boom

“Our prayers are heard by God not according to what we try to be when we pray, but who we are when we are not praying” – Joyce Meyer

“We should spend as much time in thanking God for his benefits as we do in asking him for them.” –Vencent de Paul, Roman Catholic priest

“Never make the blunder of trying to forecast the way God is going to answer your prayer.” –Oswald Chambers, English devotional writer.

“God will either give you what you ask, or something far better.” (Robert Murray McCheyne – Scottish Evangelical Pastor)

“Whether we like it or not, asking is the rule of the kingdom” – Charles Spurgeon, Baptist revivalist preacher.

“In prayer we shift the center of living from self-consciousness to self-surrender” – Abraham Joshua Heschel, American Jewish Theologian.

“Prayer is naught but a rising desire of the heart into God by withdrawing of the heart from all earthly thoughts.” – Walter Hilton

“He who has learned to pray has learned to pray has learned the greatest secret of a holy and happy life.” – William Law, Anglican author.

“There is not in the world a kind of life more sweet and delightful than that of a continual conversation with God.” – Brother Lawrence

Oswald Chambers said, “Ask God for what you want, but you cannot ask if you are not asking for a right thing. When you draw near to God, you cease from asking for things.“Your Father knows what things you have need of, before you ask him.” Then, why ask? That you may get to know Him.”

Martin Luther said,“What are the things we should pray for? First, our personal troubles…The greatest trouble we can ever know is thinking that we have no trouble for we can become hard-hearted and insensible to what is inside of us.”

Elton Trueblood (Quaker Philosopher) said, “At the profoundest depths in life, men talk not about God but with Him.”

D. L. Moody (19th Century Evangelist) said, “Sometimes when your child talks, your friends cannot understand what he says; but the mother understands very well. So if our prayer comes from the heart, God understands our language.”

D. L. Moody (19th Century Evangelist) said, “After we have made our requests known to Him, our language should be, “Thy will be done.” I would a thousand times rather that Gods’ will should be done than my own.”

John Wesley said,“God does nothing except in answer to Prayer.”

John Maxwell said,“Every time I have had a breakthrough in my life, it has been because of Prayer”

C.S. Lewis said,“Lay before Him what is in us, not what ought to be in us.”

Walter Wink said,“History belongs to the intercessors”

Henry Ward Beecher said, “Whoever can take a church and develop in it a good prayer meeting, carry it on through years and still have it fruitful, various, spiritual — he is a General.”

The men who have guided the destiny of the United States have found the strength for their tasks by going to their knees. This private unity of public men and their God is an enduring source of reassurance for the people of America. – Lyndon B. Johnson 1908-1973, Thirty-sixth President of the USA

All that I am or hope to be I owe to my angel mother. I remember my mother’s prayers and they have always followed me. They have clung to me all my life. – Abraham Lincoln 1809-1865, Sixteenth President of the USA

All who call on God in true faith, earnestly from the heart, will certainly be heard, and will receive what they have asked and desired. – Martin Luther 1483-1546, German Leader of the Protestant Reformation

More tears are shed over answered prayers than unanswered ones. – Mother Teresa 1910-1997, Albanian-born Roman Catholic Missionary

Dale Carnegie was asked, “what is the secret of your life?” Dale Carnegie replied, “Every day I pray. I yield myself to God, the tensions and anxieties go out of me and peace and power come in.

Woodrow Wilson said,”I pray God I may be given the wisdom and the prudence to do my duty in the true spirit of this great people. I am their servant and can succeed only as they sustain and guide me by their confidence and their counsel. The thing I shall count upon, the thing without which neither counsel nor action will avail, is the unity of America—an America united in feeling, in purpose and in its vision of duty, of opportunity and of service.” – We thank “Paul Flatt” for submitting

Dr. Norman Vincent Peale “When you are in an upsetting situation, pray for everyone involved. Pray hard and be open to the power of God.” Prayer is a gift that blesses you and those for whom you pray and it is something that can be done at any time, in any place, whenever you have a moment to give.

“God shapes the world by prayer. The more prayer there is in the world the better the world will be, the mightier the forces of against evil” – E.M. Bounds

“No learning can make up for the failure to pray. No earnestness, no diligence, no study, no gifts will supply its lack.” E.M. Bounds

“We have to pray with our eyes on God, not on the difficulties.” Oswald Chambers

“Prayer breaks all bars, dissolves all chains, opens all prisons, and widens all straits by which God’s saints have been held.” E. M. Bounds

C. H. Spurgeon “If you want that splendid power in prayer, you must remain in loving, living, lasting, conscious, practical, abiding union with the Lord Jesus Christ.”

“Prayer does not fit us for the greater work; prayer is the greater work” – Oswald Chambers

“Those persons who know the deep peace of God, the unfathomable peace that passeth all understanding, are always men and women of much prayer.” R. A. Torrey

“Beware in your prayers, above everything else, of limiting God, not only by unbelief, but by fancying that you know what He can do. Expect unexpected things ‘above all that we ask or think.'” Andrew Murray

“There has never been a spiritual awakening in any country or locality that did not begin in united prayer.” A.T. Pierson

“Heaven is full of answers to prayer for which no one bothered to ask” – Billy Graham

Want to Feel Better? Try the Happiness Formula!

USA Today Newspaper asked readers “What do you want the most?” and the most common answer was to be happy.

While this sounds reasonable, it’s actually quite a puzzle because happiness is very individualized and hard to broadly define. What makes one person happy may not have much effect on another, or might even annoy them.

While the formula of what creates happiness is elusive, (think of Thomas Jefferson’s writing about the “Pursuit of Happiness”), the physical and psychological benefits of happiness are easy to track. Here’s a short list of the benefits of being happier.

  • Happy people are better liked
  • Happy people have more satisfying relationships with others
  • Happy people have 13% fewer fights and arguments
  • Happy students are 20% more likely to get “A” grades
  • Happy teens are 10 times less likely to start smoking
  • Happy people have an income that is roughly 7% higher
  • Happy people have 10% fewer stress related illnesses
  • Happiness reduces blood pressure by 12%
  • Overall, positive emotions can add up to 7 years to your life

Lack of happiness leads to a feeling of discontentment, discouragement and sometimes even despair over how they perceive their lives are not working out. It seems tied to a perception of what creates the feeling of having“Enough” to be happy. Enough money, enough food, enough entertainment, enough friends, enough shoes… and that list could go on and on.  Since there is no end to trying to achieve, accomplish or accumulate more, for some people there is no end to how moody and grumpy they feel, not even realizing their expectation of wanting more was creating their own feelings of unhappiness.

Yet having material possessions can’t explain how a general feeling of happiness floods some countries, while being absent in others. In 2013 the most grateful countries were India, South Africa, the Philippines and Nigeria with the United States coming in eleventh but not as far behind as the least happy countries of Denmark, Hungary, the Czech Republic and the United Kingdom.

Here is the key to finding and experiencing greater happiness, no matter if you are six, thirty-six or sixty-six. You have to think differently. Feeling happy is not based on externals, like having a good hair day or finding a parking spot near the front of the store rather it’s based on a mindset because happiness is an inside job. It’s based on attitude, not circumstances.

“Most people are about as happy as they make up their mind to be.” – Abraham Lincoln

Here is a rapid formula to find more happiness, and it’s easy to remember because it spells out the popular phrase from a Bobby McFerrin song, who challenged listeners to “Don’t worry – Be Happy.”

B – Belief. Your belief about your circumstances greatly affects your feelings of happiness. If you are unhappy with not having a new pair of shoes, spend some time with a person who doesn’t have any feet. When you change your belief system, you change everything.

E – Expectations. What you expect about your life will set you up for feelings of blessings or problems. If you are looking for the best, you will find it. If you are looking for something that isn’t working the way you want you will find that too. Consider the old phrase – “Two men looked through prison bars- one saw the mud, the other saw the stars.”


H – Help others. People who helped others were 20% happier than people who didn’t get involved in trying to make a positive difference. This can be done through your family, school, church or community and is the foundation of what happier people do. They add value to other people.

A – Accept circumstances. No amount of worry can pay your rent. Being mad and moody will not make your marriage better. Facing your life directly, and taking action to work on it is the key to finding greater happiness. Stuffing your feelings inside and being mad at the world only hurts you.

P – Prayer. Being a person of faith who believes that God has a greater plan for life is one of the keys to experiencing greater happiness, meaning and joy. Prayer is the process of giving up control of the things you can’t control to God, and then trusting in a power greater than yourself to manage the events and circumstances of life. The single greatest element to experience a life filled with happiness is to have a little faith.

P – Perspective. How you perceive a situation really does create your reality. If you believe people like you more when you smile and act friendly you will see that they do. When you have a positive mindset and outlook on life you will usually find more blessings than problems and that will create greater happiness.

Y – Yell “Yes” to celebrate the blessings and good things in your life, every single day.

Happiness may be hard to define for some people but when you practice this simple formula you will be living out the wisdom of cartoonist Bill Keane who said, “God is Good and Life is a Gift. That’s why they call it the Present.”



About the Author – Dwight Bain is a counselor and life coach focused on creating positive change based in Orlando. 

7 Strategies to Protect Your Kids from Anxiety

Identifying and disarming childhood fears

Children can be psychologically affected from anxiety and fears just like adults. The biggest problem is that they don’t know how to tell their parents about how they are feeling especially when traumatized or terrified. A small child who believes there are monsters under her bed is every bit as scared as an adult walking to their car in a dark parking garage and knowing there is someone following them. Anxiety is real and will only get worse without taking action to create peace and safety. Here are some helpful steps to make sure that your son or daughter is protected from experiencing the chronic worry or panic from anxiety.

Watch for the warning signs of anxiety
Here are some of the symptoms and behaviors that may indicate your child has elevated anxiety or fears.  Remember your main goal is to protect your child and not minimize or deny their emotional symptoms.  The more symptoms present, the greater the need for the child to receive additional support and care from family, clergy, teachers or a counseling or medical professional.

– Major changes in energy level, especially lethargy or helplessness
– Heightened fear and worry about violence or being hurt by bullies
– Changes in sleep patterns, especially nightmares or night terrors
– Regressive behavior, (e.g. “baby talk”, clingy to parents or bedwetting)
– Preoccupation with loss of parents or being stranded without parents
– Major swings in school performance, from aggression, withdrawal or apathy
– Angry explosions or depressive moodiness stuffed inside in silence
– Withdrawal from normal activities at home, church or school
– Avoidance of friends, family or pets by going into an emotional “cocoon”

Any of the above symptoms can be normal reactions to a stressful daily life events and may not indicate a need for professional intervention; however it is important to watch for major changes in your child’s attitude, personality or behavior to know how to help them cope.  Small children can’t tell you what they are feeling with words, but they can tell you through their actions or non-verbal expressions. The chart below covers the progression of emotions, from peace to panic. Knowing which level your child is on gives you a place to start in creating security for them again. Anxiety is real, and so are proven ways to cope.

Below the chart are some action steps you can begin to use to reduce pressure on your children and keep them emotionally safe during the scary times of childhood.

Faint, Unconscious

Loss of Control of Body Functions


-Racing Heartbeat

-Sweating/Chills/Hot Flashes









-Catastrophe Thinking





-Fearful Thinking







What can parents do to lessen the harmful impact of anxiety?
Here are some positive action steps that you can take to help your child avoid the negative impacts of being overloaded from harmful anxiety.

1) Take care of yourself
Since children draw much of their security from their parents, it is important to keep yourself well grounded and supported.  Spend more time with healthy family, friends or church members to make sure that you aren’t overly anxious and subtly passing that anxiety along to your children.  Just like the instructions that flight attendants give if oxygen masks drop from the ceiling of the plane, that parents are to put their masks on first, you have to stay as balanced as possible to effectively care for your child during stressful times of change.

2) Be aware and be available
It is wise to be safe and take precautions for safety at home, but not to create extra fear.  It’s always wise to teach our kids to be aware of their surroundings, and if the child is old enough, you can talk about the importance of keeping their environment safe by locking doors, or paying more attention to daily safety issues, like looking up to notice if any cars in parking lots may be backing out, (as opposed to running through parking lots like children have a tendency to do).If you sense anxiety symptoms pay more attention to being available for your child, to talk, pray or play.  As you heighten your level of involvement and support, your child will be less likely to feel afraid because they will draw strength from the stability you provide in the home.

3) Watch your talk
It is recommended that you never discuss your greatest fears with your children, but rather use discernment in discussing your opinions about dangerous world events.  Wisdom requires you to guard your tongue around children during difficult times to protect them from being overly worried or afraid.  It is okay to discuss the facts of stressful events facing the family, (like having to move houses after a foreclosure), in age-appropriate ways with older children, but then move into a discussion of how we should pray about the change and the new life in the new house. This will keep the focus on moving forward through stressful times, instead of focusing only on the sadness of the past. Talk is one of the best ways to help a child feel secure, so ask questions and then just listen to allow your child a chance to release their fears in a safe way.

4) Monitor media usage and guard Internet images
Television and Internet images are extremely powerful and vivid in a child’s mind. That’s why you should take great care to avoid having the television on 24/7, but rather limit your exposure to media images, and the amount of time that children might be directly or indirectly exposed to hours of harmful media.  If you feel like you must have the television set on for long periods of time, (which is not recommended), then turn the sound off.  Talk about the positives of your family being together, or answered prayers, instead of focusing on the negative elements of terrible tragedies or trauma in other part of the country.  Guide your children into stabilizing and feeling safe through the daily routines of what is happening in their world, as opposed to events happening in another, more dangerous part of the world.  Protecting your child from harsh media images now will protect them from having to struggle to get those harmful images out of their head in the future.

5) Routine, schedule and rules

Children draw tremendous security from having a predictable schedule.  Build a regular set of morning and evening rituals, like getting ready for school or bedtime stories or prayer time; also pay attention to include meal time and personal hygiene rituals that are age appropriate for your child.  Even little guys and gals can help to take their plate from the table to the kitchen counter, or take more ownership of their daily rituals.  This actually takes stress off of Mom and Dad as the child grows in independence through the years, but it is even more helpful for the child to feel the sense of empowerment from knowing what do to as they begin and end their day.  House rules are always the same rules, which creates stability from predictability. No matter what is happening when there is a crisis of some kind in another part of the country, be consistent with your family boundaries to help everyone feel more secure by not allowing chaos to erupt from neglecting the regular established rules for household behavior.

6) Reconnect to family, friends and faith
Anxious times can be an excellent time to reach out to spend more time with friends or family members.  If you don’t have family nearby, reach out to connect with a local church that has activities designed for you and your child.  The additional socialization will help to build a sense of security from having other healthy people to draw support from, as well as allow every member of your family to be more aware of God’s love and protection.  As a suggestion, read Bible verses on finding comfort during stressful times, like this one in Psalm 91: 9-10: “If you make the most High your dwelling-even the Lord, who is my refuge-then no harm will befall you, no disaster will come near your tent.  For he will command his angels concerning you to guard you in all your ways.”  The Bible has hundreds of reassuring promises of peace and comfort during fearful times.  Now is a perfect time to search out those verses and discuss the importance of a personal faith with your children so that they come to understand how the power of personal belief can give us all of us the courage to face the challenges of life.  (see the additional verses at the end of this article for more insight)

7) Focus on hope, instead of helplessness
Remember that you and your child can make it through fearful and difficult times. Keep focused on practical ways to keep your child tuned into their world and the things that are normal to their daily life, instead of worrying about things they have no control over to change, (especially overexposure to media images from other war torn parts of the world). As you build these coping skills and life management principles into your home, your children will actually be stronger and less afraid of circumstances because they will be more aware of how to face their anxiety with the assurance of God’s protection and peace.  Know that you are not alone through this time so reach out to other healthy people and keep reading and developing practical insights to help you and your children cope during the healing days ahead.

from: “Worry Free Living” by: Dr. Frank Minirth & Dr. Paul Meier

  1. If you are a Christian, realize that God is with you.
  2. Determine that you will obey God.
  3. Pray about your situation.
  4. Realize that God will keep your mind safe.
  5. Stop, relax and meditate on Scripture.
  6. Listen to Christian music.
  7. Exercise at least three times a week.
  8. Get eight hours of sleep a night.
  9. Be sure you get recreation. Relax and have fun a few times per week.
  10. Do what you can to realistically deal with your problem.
  11. Live one day at a time.
  12. Don’t put things off until tomorrow.
  13. Talk through your problems.
  14. Take a vacation from your usual routine.
  15. Have a regular medical check-up.
  16. Place a time limit on your worry.
  17. Let the Word of God make you strong.


Luke 12:22, 26    “Then Jesus said to his disciples: “Therefore I tell you, do not worry about your life,     what you will eat; or about your body, what you will wear.  Since you cannot do this very little thing,  why do you worry about the rest?”

The irony is that the person not taking risks feels the same amount of fear as the person who regularly takes risks.  The non-risk-taker simply feels the same amount of fear over trivial things.      – John Maxwell

Deut 20:3  He shall say… “Do not be fainthearted or afraid; do not be terrified or give way to panic.”

Ps 19:9  The fear of the LORD is pure, enduring forever. The ordinances of the LORD are sure and altogether righteous.

Ps 23:4    Even though I walk through the valley of the shadow of death, I will fear no evil, for you are with me; your rod and your staff, they comfort me.

Ps 34:9   Fear the LORD, you his saints, for those who fear him lack nothing.

Ps 37:8   Refrain from anger and turn from wrath; do not worry– it leads only to evil.

Ps 94:19    When anxiety was great within me, your consolation brought joy to my soul.

Ps 111:10  The fear of the LORD is the beginning of wisdom; all who follow his precepts have good understanding. To him belongs eternal praise.


Ps 112:7   He will have no fear of bad news; his heart is steadfast, trusting in the LORD.


Prov 1:7, 33     The fear of the LORD is the beginning of knowledge, but fools despise wisdom and discipline…… but whoever listens to me will live in safety and be at ease, without fear of harm.”


Prov 3:23-26      when you lie down, you will not be afraid; when you lie down, your sleep will be sweet.   Have no fear of sudden disaster or of the ruin that overtakes the wicked,  for the LORD will be your confidence and will keep your foot from being snared.


Prov 29:25  Fear of man will prove to be a snare, but whoever trusts in the LORD is kept safe.


Eccl. 11:10   So then, banish anxiety from your heart and cast off the troubles of your body,


Matt 6:25,28,31,34   “Therefore I tell you, do not worry about your life, what you will eat or drink; or about your body, what you will wear. Is not life more important than food, and the body more important than clothes?   “And why do you worry about clothes? See how the lilies of the field grow. They do not labor or spin.   Sodo not worry, saying, `What shall we eat?’ or `What shall we drink?’ or `What shall we wear?’  Therefore do not worry about tomorrow, for tomorrow will worry about itself. Each day has enough trouble of its own.


Matt 10:19, 28-31    But when they arrest you, do not worry about what to say or how to say it. At that time you will be given what to say,     Do not be afraid of those who kill the body but cannot kill the soul. Rather, be afraid of the One who can destroy both soul and body in hell.   Are not two sparrows sold for a penny? Yet not one of them will fall to the ground apart from the will of your Father.  And even the very hairs of your head are all numbered.  So don’t be afraid; you are worth more than many sparrows.


Matt 28:4-10     The guards were so afraid of him that they shook and became like dead men. The angel said to the women, “Do not be afraid, for I know that you are looking for Jesus, who was crucified.   He is not here; he has risen, just as he said. Come and see the place where he lay.   Then go quickly and tell his disciples: `He has risen from the dead and is going ahead of you into Galilee. There you will see him.’ Now I have told you.”   So the women hurried away from the tomb, afraid, yet filled with joy, and ran to tell his disciples.   Suddenly Jesus met them. “Greetings,” he said. They came to him, clasped his feet and worshipped him.   Then Jesus said to them, “Do not be afraid. Go and tell my brothers to go to Galilee; there they will see me.”


Luke 12:22, 26    Then Jesus said to his disciples: “Therefore I tell you, do not worry about your life,     what you will eat; or about your body, what you will wear.  Since you cannot do this very little thing,  why do you worry about the rest?


2 Tim 1:7   For God did not give us a spirit of fear, but a spirit of power, of love and of self-discipline.


1 Pet 5:7   Cast all your anxiety on him because he cares for you.


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About the Author:

Dwight Bain is a Nationally Certified Counselor & Certified Family Law Mediator in practice since 1984 with a primary focus on solving crisis events and managing major change. Critical Incident Stress Management expert with the Orange County Sheriffs Office, founder of StormStress.com and trainer for over 3,000 groups on the topic of making strategic change to overcome major stress- both personally & professionally. He is a professional member of the National Speakers Association who partners with major corporations and national organizations to make a positive difference in our culture for Jesus Christ.

Access more complimentary counseling and coaching resources from The LifeWorks Group (407.647.7005) by visiting their extensive posting of blogs and special reports designed to save you time by strategically solving problems atwww.LifeWorksGroup.org


A Blue-Print to Break The Holiday Blues

A recent USA Today poll asked this question,

“Which best fits your holiday emotional state?”  

Relaxed – 18%
Joyful – 31%
Stressed – 27%
Depressed – 24%

Why do people feel so overloaded with additional problems during the holidays? I believe the majority of the pressure they feel is from trying to live up to unrealistic expectations of a ‘perfect’ Christmas.

Remember Clark W. Griswald from the movie ‘Christmas Vacation?’ He is the laughable, but best illustration of a guy who tries to do everything right, only to have literally everything go wrong. (Plot Spoiler Alert) Dysfunctional relatives, one blown bulb derailing all of the decorations, the Christmas tree goes up in flames, the turkey is dry, the check for the swimming pool is set to bounce, add in a crazy cousin kidnapping the hateful boss, while the dog destroys the house chasing a rabid squirrel and a senile senior citizen sings the national anthem; basically the whole 9 yards of Christmas chaos.

The movie makes us laugh because there are elements that hold true in many holiday customs that everyone follows. Traditions that may not have much to do with faith, or even common sense, but that still become a passionate pursuit for millions of people desperately seeking the perfect holiday. Holiday stress doesn’t create perfection or peace, but it does take the focus off the simple message of the Christ child to put it onto a thousand other things that don’t have much to do with the peace of the Christmas season at all.   The time between Thanksgiving and New Years Day will cause people to feel really good or really bad without much room in the middle. The focus of this special report is for those in-between to not slide into the holiday blues and lose the true joy Christmas was meant to bring.

Making the Holiday’s more Miserable  

The holidays can make depressed people feel sadder, people with addictions to have more cravings, worried people turn into a bundle of nerves and sadly it’s the time of year that many give up on their mental and physical health because they are just too “busy” to take care of themselves. The solution is not to ignore Thanksgiving or Christmas but rather to realize it is imperative to set holiday boundaries.   People may not understand the words “holiday boundary” but Psychologist Henry Cloud calls it “a line during the holiday’s that marks a limit for everyone”. He believes that depression, cravings for substances and anxiety symptoms all worsen between Thanksgiving and New Years Day because people are unable to say “no” to all of the extra demands on their time, money, and energy.

Bottom line- the holidays don’t bring gifts to some people, this season just brings more problems.   Why? many times it’s because  they don’t want to offend or hurt the feelings of their family and friends, so they keep silent and tolerate situations or endure guilt-ridden obligations that only occur during the holidays. Sometimes that silent tolerance makes a complex situation much worse, while all of this dysfunction steals the real joy the holidays were meant to bring.

It is essential to take care of yourself by having the courage to set boundaries   You can set limits on spending because it’s not necessary to try to stimulate the entire economy by buying gifts for every relative, neighbor and postman in your neighborhood. It is okay to say “No” and remember that giving your “presence” is often a much more thoughtful gift than just sending “presents.”   Did you know the average American will gain 6 pounds between Thanksgiving and New Years? That’s a pound per week! You are allowed to say “No” to overeating or over drinking at holiday parties and you are allowed to keep a healthy lifestyle pattern with exercise and especially sleep. Many people starve themselves of sleep by trying to decorate, wrap or travel 20 hours per day. It is dangerous to be sleep deprived and can be life threatening when drinking and driving. Holiday boundaries can keep you and your family safe when you enforce them.

How to break the pattern of Holiday Blues   Have you ever watched someone have a “melt down” during the holidays?  If you aren’t familiar with this phrase, it means to be so totally stressed you can’t think or function normally. So, back to understanding why people ‘melt down during the holidays’ since this self-destructive process steals motivation and makes life miserable. It makes no sense. Why would people make impulsive choices during the Christmas season that only makes their life worse? Even more important is to stop the cycle before it steals energy and creativity to move into the New Year with strength. Here is a blueprint to show how ignoring basic boundaries can lead to a bad case of the holiday blues. Good news, once you figure out the formula you can learn to do the opposite, which will allow you to enjoy every day of the holiday season, instead of feeling miserable while enduring it.

The Blueprint for ‘Holiday blues’  

First understand there really is a process to create a “Holiday Meltdown” experience where life goes from bad to worse. It follows a series of predictable steps. People suffering from the Holiday blues have conditioned themselves to follow a pattern of behavior that makes every day of the Christmas season chaotic and potentially every holiday tradition a catastrophe.  They never allow themselves to relax and count blessings during the holidays because their total focus is on pleasing others. They don’t actually have good days, just less miserable ones where nothing goes right because they usually are looking for the worst possible scenario. It’s like the old saying, “Cheer up- things could get worse. So I cheered up and sure enough, things got worse.”

If the only things you are searching for are more problems this time of year then you can be sure that you will find more than enough to stay stressed out and afraid. Here are the basics of the ‘holiday blues’ which I have mapped out in a reverse blueprint process and remember the more elements of this blueprint you have in place between Thanksgiving and New Years Day, the worse you will feel and the worse your decisions will be- guaranteed.

Spiritual Strategies to create Significant Emptiness and build the Blues-  

1)    Ignore God and anything that would inspire you to see beyond yourself. No Bible reading, no prayer, no journaling or meditation about the blessings of your life, which would stimulate gratitude. Avoid any type of function that takes you out of your own world or that might make you aware of the greater needs in the rest of the world. Even though you are doing many religious things, mostly focus on yourself while ignoring everyone else, especially the poor.

2)    Skip going to any peaceful church or concert where you might find quiet inspiration to focus on hectic shopping malls. Make sure to skip any activity that places you around positive or prayerful people. This includes helping the homeless or reaching out to other families who may be facing tough times this Christmas. As long as you stay focused on yourself and your problems you can feel empty, afraid and alone which will worsen the Holiday Blues.

Media Noise to block the real Message of the Season  

1)    Focus on the evening news and current events, especially big tragedies or world events you can’t do anything about. This approach is guaranteed to discourage you with negative media messages which often are full of depressing images that discourage from exposure to a continual flood of bad news. This focus on bad news can speed feeling a big case of Holiday Blues by making you afraid to even be alive.

2)    Make Hollywood celebrities your main focus, especially if they have multi-million dollar lifestyles that you could never hope to obtain. Keep up with the drama of every tiny detail of their lives; in fact spend more time studying what is happening in the lives of famous strangers this Christmas than you do in understanding what is happening in your own family life.

Physical Steps to Fuel the Holiday Blues  

1)    Ignore your own health. You can do this faster by neglecting to get enough sleep. Push your body to the limits and never sit still to take quiet times to just sit and rest. Follow the rule that ‘burning out is better than rusting out.’ (Forgetting that either way- you are out)

2)    Stay idle. Sit still and watch TV or the Internet; but never exercise or move around. In fact, stay inside most of the time and never allow yourself to see sunshine or feel the wind on your face over the holiday break. Nature is to be considered evil because being outside often reminds people of the beauty of creation. Use amusing entertainment to replace all forms of physical fitness.

3)    Eat anything you want, especially large portions of comfort food like cakes, pies, candy and cookies followed by soda with lots of sugar and caffeine. Remember the rule – the worse the food is for you, the worse you will feel.  Avoid anything healthy or nutritious if you want to suffer for months with the Holiday Blues.

Emotional and Financial Methods to make it worse  

1)    Keep all your fears inside and never take time to release pressure in healthy ways. No journaling, no mapping out insecurities on paper to prevent feeling panic. And make sure to never set goals that would give you a positive point of view in facing the future. Stuff your stress to ruin your day and make you a mess by trying to use money to manage mood in you and your family.

2)    Don’t ever set a holiday budget or create a realistic financial spending plan for gifts– in fact, just let your financial obligations pile up until you feel like you are drowning in debt and financial fears come January. Not having any idea where you stand financially is sure to make you feel worse and prolong the Holiday Blues well into the springtime.

3)    Never tell anyone what keeps you up at night, in fact, avoid any coach, counselor, pastor, menror, family member, co-worker or friend who might be a safe person who could help you process your fears to find greater strength. Go it alone to improve your chances of feeling miserable as a martyr.

How do successful people find new energy for the New Year? 

Can you relate to feeling overwhelmed, undervalued, empty, lonely, unloved, stressed, depressed or afraid during the holidays? Then you have likely followed the ‘Blueprint Holiday Blues; (BHB), but don’t feel bad because most people have some degree of trying to please others which drives them toward tolerating irresponsible behavior instead of confronting it and holding the other people accountable. This is why so many people can relate to the Blueprint for Holiday Blues.   Some of my worst holidays were spent with a dark cloud of moodiness overhead that I made worse by following the blueprint for holiday blues. I was too focused on me, myself and I instead of honestly looking at the challenges directly and seeking outside help to cope.

Successful people have learned to identify the ‘blueprint for holiday blues’ so they can make rapid adjustments to feel better fast. The real problem is when you feel so exhausted and beat up by unrealistic schedules that tomorrow look’s worse than yesterday and forget about New Year Resolutions!

So what about you -do you wake up refreshed this time of year with positive energy to face a new day or do you live exhausted and ‘stressed out’ day after day?    Moving from being ‘Freaked Out’ to Feeling Good Again   Successful people take positive action to break the pattern that creates ‘holiday blues’. Everyone faces challenges and tough days but some face them with strength by doing the opposite of the formula listed above. I’ve seen people try it both ways, and ruin some day of their life because of being so moody. Thankfully if you have healthy people around you they can confront you with verbal boundaries so you can change. People who say, ‘snap out of it’, ‘get on track’, ‘you were meant for more than this and Christmas is bigger than your pity-party right now.’

Do you have someone who comes alongside to challenge you with positive steps to break the ‘holiday blues’ process? On your worst days do you go it alone, or allow safe people to come close and help? If you don’t have those people know that my purpose in life is to add value to others, so until you believe in you, I’ll believe in you. God placed you on this planet for greater things than you could ever imagine!   Please let today be the day you break the ‘holiday blues’ process to really embrace feeling good.

No matter what you are facing today, you will face it better by doing the opposite of the blueprint listed above so you can develop spiritual, emotional, financial and physical strength. You really do have the power to change and make today better. Choose to set some boundaries and break the cycle and when you do, tell others what you learned so they can break out of the ‘holiday blues’ too.

About the author- Dwight Bain helps people re-write their story through the power of positive change. He is a respected author, Nationally Certified Counselor, Certified Life Coach and Certified Family Law Mediator in practice since 1984 who leads others to solve crisis events and manage major change.

Reprint Permission If this article helped you, you are invited to share it with your own list at work or church, forward it to friends and family or post it on your own site or blog. Just leave it intact and do not alter it in any way. Any links must remain in the article. Please include the following paragraph in your reprint. “Reprinted with permission from the LifeWorks Group weekly eNews, (Copyright, 2004-2014), To subscribe to this valuable counseling and coaching resource visit www.LifeWorksGroup.org or call407-647-7005

Thanksgiving Cupcake

from John Rivers


4 cups     Your favorite cornbread batter
2 cups     Your favorite stuffing/dressing
1 cup       Turkey, sliced thin and cut into bite sized pieces
2 T           Juice from the turkey or chicken stock
Mashed Potatoes
Cranberry Chutney



Measure your cornbread batter into a mixing bowl.

Using your fingers, break apart the stuffing and add it to the cornbread.

Use a rubber spatula to ensure that the stuffing and cornbread batter are well combined.

Add the turkey and juice/stock to the cornbread mixture and stir with spatula until completely combined.

Coat a muffin pan in bacon grease or pan spray.

Scoop batter into pan.

Bake at 350 for 15 minutes or until top is firm to the touch and edges are golden brown.

While muffins are baking, heat mashed potatoes and gravy.

Use a skewer to poke holes into the top of the cupcake.

Fill holes with warm gravy and lightly smear gravy on the top surface.

Using an ice cream scoop, spoon mashed potatoes on top to look like frosting.

Use your fingers to make indentations in center of potatoes.

Spoon a small amount of cranberry chutney into cavity.

Enjoy the goodness!

Green Bean Casserole

from John Rivers


For the Sauce

1 C       ground, canned fried onions, French’s
2 lbs    French beans, ends trimmed
½         Sweet Vidalia onion, diced
8 oz     White mushrooms, sliced
3 T      butter
1 t        kosher salt
1 t        black pepper
½ T     garlic, minced
½ T     fresh thyme
¼ C     AP Flour
1 ¼ C Chicken broth
1 ¼ C Heavy cream
½ C     Parmesan cheese, graded

Preheat oven to 375

Blanch beans, transfer to ice water bath to hold.

Pulse canned fried onions in a food processor until finely ground. Combine with flour and set aside

Melt butter in a large skillet and sauté mushrooms and onions with S&P until onions are cooked thru. Add garlic & thyme and cook until fragrant, about 30 seconds

Add flour & onion mixture and cook until golden, about 1 minute. Stir in chicken broth and cream. Bring to a boil then reduce to a simmer, stirring occasionally until sauce is very thick, about 10 minutes.

Add green beans and Parmesan cheese, mix well to coat completely. Transfer to a casserole dish, cover and bake at 375 for 30 minutes. Remove lid, cover casserole with onion topping and bake for an additional 10-15 minutes until top is brown and casserole is bubbling. Allow to rest for 15 minutes before serving.


For Topping

2          slices of hearty white bread (grilled cheese bread)
2 T      unsalted butter, melted
2 C       canned fried onions


Lightly toast bread, pulse in food processor until coarsely ground. Toss with melted butter to coat. Mix in fried onions.