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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

Money Can’t Buy Me Love

A relationship strengthening guide for intimate connections
By Dwight Bain

Can a stuffed animal with a romantic message solve a relationship problem? Nope. Neither can a trip to the jewelry store, boxes of chocolate, sappy cards, balloons or vases of expensive flowers… none of these can fix a distant, damaged or dying relationship. But the VASE can.  Let me explain why.

Relationships take work. There is no easy way to achieve closeness and connection on an intimate level without time, talking and gentle touch. It can’t be done. We’ve all seen the commercials about a couple having a romantic exchange in a restaurant as the waiter brings them a special dessert with a diamond ring attached to a note that says, “Marry me”.  But as a counselor of more than 30 years I can tell you if that couple were distant or detached from each other before they got to the restaurant the jewelry would only be a shiny trinket that didn’t repair hurt, selfishness or neglect. 

Expensive gift cannot fix relationship problems. They can cause debt, which complicates problems, (84% of couples report they fight over spending according to Money Magazine), or cause a momentary escape from what isn’t working in their relationship… but the old saying is true. “Money can’t buy me love.”

So what can you do to really connect to the one you care about? Get a VASE. Here’s why.

Stuffed teddy bears and expensive perfumes affect the senses- the VASE approach affects the soul. Tina Turner got it right when she sang, “What’s love got to do with it?” because the feeling of romantic love is a fickle and temporary emotion. Having a fun dinner date on your anniversary is special – but not as powerful as really connecting over a bowl of Cheerios every day. Lasting love is about going deeper and that’s what this process creates… lasting committed relationship instead of a temporary feeling of chemistry. Real relationship connection on the heart level will grow a relationship closer than anything offered for sale at Macys.

V.A.S.E. stands for VALUES, ACCOUNTABILITY, SILENCE, EXPECTATIONS and here’s how it works.

Values-  Most couples have never sat down and actually talked about their core values. They might be able to guess what their partner believes, but haven’t communicated these issues to one another.

When you find a safe place to discuss your belief system with the person you care about the most it creates a powerful connection on a deep emotional level. One that is stronger than anything you could ever buy at a store. When I know what my wife believes about life, kids, family, money, love, politics, fun, God and everything else important to her I know her on a heart level. And when I know her heart, I can actively work to meet her there. Knowing and respecting your partner’s values removes silly arguments and power struggles from the conversation because you are working together out of shared beliefs instead of working against each other.

A-Accountability This isn’t a word most people like and it definitely isn’t a word people seek out. It’s tough to have someone in your life who asks you the hard questions like. “Haven’t you had enough to drink?” or “How is eating that going to affect your diabetes?” or “Why did you close the computer when I came in here?” or “Can we afford to do this?” When someone asks you a tough question you either have to face the issue and answer it, or you have to get really, really mad at them for having the courage to speak up. You know what path most people choose. They would rather fight than be held to a standard of behavior… one that matches what they say they believe, (see core values section above for more on this).

S-Silence isn’t golden in relationships, it’s deadly. If you go silent on expressing your feelings, fears or future with the one you say you love there is nothing a cute card with a talking dog that makes it better. I know card shops exist for the purpose of saying what you don’t know how to say… but can I be your friend for a moment and say “get a life?” There is more information available today on how to communicate in a loving way with your partner than there ever has been in the history of the world. Books, webinars, seminars, podcasts, workshops, retreats, teleseminars, counseling, classes, YouTube clips, even old episodes of Dr. Phil have tips on how to connect verbally. Too many people spend $5 on a piece of recycled card stock that says what a copywriter in Kansas thinks about love instead of sitting down to express what they believe about the one they care about. Want a more powerful relationship connection? Learn to express love. It’s worth every penny you spend to the people who won’t have to guess how you feel about them because you took the step, (and the risk) to verbalize your heart.

 

E-Expectations lead to great joy or great pain, which is usually heartbreaking and it goes back to silence. Here’s why. Picture a woman who thinks this is the year her guy will remember their special day and take her to their special place. She tells her friends, her mother and her therapist that they are going to the bed and breakfast for a romantic getaway because she has been dropping hints for months that were so easy a caveman could figure it out. Problem is her guy isn’t a caveman – he’s a guy and men often aren’t listening carefully to what their lady may be saying. In fact if the relationship is distant he may not be listening at all. Expecting your intended to read your mind isn’t going to get you what you want, but it can cause some huge explosions of rage over misunderstanding. If you expect a physically exciting weekend and you get ESPN instead your feelings are going to be hurt – and you may have caused it. I know some people like the feeling of being surprised that their hints led to a temporary feeling of being special, but most of the time their hints set them up for hurt. Better is to learn to speak up about what you want in the relationship. If you want more romance – say so. If going to a particular movie is what you want to do– bring it up. If something is important to you learn to express it directly. This may take away the pleasant feeling of surprise, but will guarantee you won’t experience the painful feeling of shock that silent expectations always bring.

So how does this VASE formula help?

It takes the cultural feeling of romance being something that money can buy down to a practical level of relationship that is priceless. The Beatles were wrong on this one. Money can’t buy love, but VASE’s can.

 

About the Author – Dwight Bain is a Nationally Certified Counselor and Certified Life Coach who has been making a difference in people’s lives since 1984. Follow him online atwww.Facebook.com/DwightBain or @DwightBain

Big Dog Chili

Big Dog Chili

  • 3 dried red chili peppers
  • 1 pound ground breakfast sausage
  • 2 tablespoons vegetable oil
  • 1 pound 80-20 ground beef, coarse or chili grind
  • 4 cups Vidalia onion, chopped
  • 1 cup fresh Anaheim pepper, diced and seeds removed
  • 2 tablespoons fresh garlic, minced
  • 7½ tablespoons chili powder (Gebhardt preferred)
  • 1 tablespoon hot chili powder (Gebhardt preferred)
  • 3½ pounds chopped smoked beef brisket, lean cut
  • 2 cups beef broth
  • ½ tablespoon dried oregano
  • ¼ cup cumin
  • 1½ cups tomato sauce
  • 2 cups Rotel Original chopped tomatoes
  • 2 cups chicken stock
  • 1 cup corn tortilla chips, crushed
  • ½ tablespoon cayenne
  • 1½ tablespoons brown sugar

Accompaniments

  • Fritos corn chips
  • Cheddar cheese, shredded
  • Corn bread
  • Sour cream
  • Pickled jalapeños
  • Hot sauce

METHOD

Add dried peppers to 1 cup water in a small saucepan.

Bring to a boil, then reduce heat to simmer for about 30 minutes, or until peppers are soft.

Remove stems and puree in a blender with 2 tablespoons of liquid from pan.  Set aside.

Brown sausage in vegetable oil in a large stockpot over medium heat.  Remove meat with slotted spoon and set aside.  Add ground beef and brown; remove with slotted spoon and set aside.  In same pan, sauté peppers for 3 minutes  Add garlic and continue to sauté until onion is translucent, taking care not to brown the garlic.

Combine chili powders in small bowl.

Add brisket to stockpile with half of chili powder mix; cook for 15 minutes.  Stir in tomato sauce, Rotel tomatoes,  and dried-chili puree and continue to simmer for 15 minutes.

Stir in cooked ground beef, sausage, remaining chili powder, chicken stock, and crushed tortilla chips.  Cook over medium heat for 15 to 20 minutes.  Stir in cayenne, brown sugar, and a pinch of cumin just before serving.

To serve, spoon chili over a handful of Fritos in a bowl, then top with cheddar cheese, crumbled corn bread, and a dollop of sour cream, pickled jalapeños, and a dash of hot sauce.

New Year, New You Worksheets

 

If you heard us talking about resolutions yesterday with our friend, Linda Werner, these worksheets might help you work through some of what she was talking about.  Take a look and then join us next Monday at 8:10 for more.

Goal Worksheet

Four Ps Worksheet

Follow Up to The New Year, New YOU Conversations

January 2014

The new-year brings many new desires, goals and resolutions.  We all have desires to be better, stronger, healthier, wiser, and more spiritual. But these desires will never be accomplished if we don’t take time to put a realistic, sustainable plan in place.

Every person’s desire must have picture of who they want to be. Based on that picture or desired end, goals can then be set and worked on.  That plan can be best accomplished when an individual aligns their plan to God’s heart.

What do you believe that GOD wants done in and through your life?

What are your passions and dreams?

What breaks your heart?

What do you feel compelled to give your life to that is bigger than yourself?

Based on your answers, what has GOD uniquely gifted you to do to meet the needs that burden you?

The answers to these questions could be the beginning of living life with a more intentional focus.  God has given us each the incredible opportunity to plan.  In the planning process there must always be recognition that it is the LORD who then will direct our steps.

Often times we can feel like we are not hearing the Lord.  I would ask this question, Could it be that your heart has not taken the time to plan?

Proverbs 16:9 says, A man’s heart plans his way, But the Lord directs his steps.

Attached is a simple worksheet that I use to work through my thoughts, desires and plans.  My GOALS have become my God Ordained Activities for my Life.  When I see my goals in light of what I believe God wants done for His glory, I am motivated.

If you would like to know more about taking your desires and turning them into realistic plans, consider joining the Legacy Principles Five Month, Coffee Conversations as we take a look at living in 2014 FULLY ALIVE!

 

For More Information:
http://legacyprinciples.com/environments/coffee-conversations-2014/

 

Linda Werner
linda@legacyprinciples.com

Night of Joy 2014

Disney just announced the artist line up for Night of Joy 2014!  We’re so excited to share it with you!

Friday, September 5, 2014:

  • Hillsong United
  • Chris Tomlin
  • Matthew West
  • for KING & COUNTRY
  • Mandisa
  • Building 429
  • Matt Mahr
  • The Neverclaim

Saturday, September 6, 2014:

  • Skillet
  • Casting Crowns
  • MercyMe
  • Israel Houghton & New Breed
  • Colton Dixon
  • Rhett Walker
  • We As Human
  • One Girl Nation

Hurt for the Holidays

Hurt for the Holidays – Managing the major grief of those who have major loss

Holidays are not always happy days, especially if you have experienced major loss. Think about it – if you lost a job or a house through foreclosure can you still have a Merry Christmas this year? Some people can manage the loss of material things because they rely on their savings, or extended family for support. But what about those who don’t have access to those resources – what do they do?

What about the wife of a man who cheats and leaves the marriage with another woman before the holiday. What do you say to someone who won’t have a happy family memory on December 25th, because she will be sharing her children with a new woman and her relatives while she sits in the marital home (which is missing half the furniture) alone.

Or think about the family who have to say goodbye to a beloved family pet because of age or illness. How can they celebrate a happy holiday without a trusted animal companion?

Think about the mom and dad who lost a child this year to death. Is there any comfort for those who have lost a son or daughter?

And those who experienced these type of major losses a year ago are coming up on the one year anniversary of feeling these devastating losses all over again. The anniversary of a traumatic time is almost as intense as when it first happened.

Is there any hope to manage all of this loss? I believe there is.

Loss is a part of life, but that doesn’t make the hurt any better. We all know that nothing is forever, but want to slip away from the pain of reality for a few weeks every year over a cultural tradition, which isn’t necessarily harmful because not everyone is going to a funeral before Christmas, or waiting to be evicted from the home they have lived in for decades.

Many people don’t realize how hard it is on others because they are too busy celebrating having all their family together, eating great food and sharing wonderful gifts and experiences.

Maybe that’s what makes it harder on others – that their neighbors are so happy, because when your life is crushed it is hard to celebrate with others who weren’t flattened by the tidal wave of grief that comes after a major loss.

Should some people stop celebrating because others are having a terrible time? Should you tone down your family having a good time so it doesn’t hurt others?

No, but everyone should remember the spiritual principle to “weep with those who weep and rejoice with those who rejoice”.

If you have friends or family who are struggling, be there for them. Encourage them, help them financially if you can – and the best way to do that is to invite them over to share the holiday experience together. Take action to push them past their false pride by challenging them to be part of your community. Giving another family joy at Christmas will bring you more value than anything you could buy at the mall.

The spiritual value of kindness is a powerful way to help others manage their painful losses and it comes right out of the teaching of the Bible. Listen to these comforting words from Psalm 34.
4) I sought the Lord, and He heard me, And delivered me from all my fears.

 

6 ) This poor man cried out, and the Lord heard him, And saved him out of all his troubles.

 

7) The angel of the Lord encamps all around those who fear Him, And delivers them.

 

15) The eyes of the Lord are on the righteous, And His ears are open to their cry.

 

17 ) The righteous cry out, and the Lord hears, And delivers them out of all their troubles.

 

18) The Lord is near to those who have a broken heart, And saves such as have a contrite spirit.

 

19) Many are the afflictions of the righteous, But the Lord delivers him out of them all.

 

 

Do you see the pattern?

 

In desperation call out to God, trust that God will never abandon you and wait on God. This process won’t get your job or house back, but it will give you peace inside. A deep spiritual peace that will give you the strength to press on through the toughest of times. And isn’t that what the angels sang about that first Christmas…. “Peace on Earth, Good will toward mankind.”

 

God promises peace, so if you or someone you love is shattered by grief this holiday season start with God and stay with God. I believe He will see you through the tough times so you can experience joy again.

 

About the author- Dwight Bain is dedicated to helping people achieve greater results. He is a Nationally Certified Counselor and Certified Life Coach in practice since 1984 with a primary focus on solving crisis events and managing 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, 2004-2013), To subscribe to this valuable counseling and coaching resource visitwww.LifeworksGroup.org.

John Rivers’ Thanksgiving Recipes

Baked Gruyère Mashed Potatoes

Serves 10

5 pounds russet or Yukon gold potatoes

2 sticks plus 1⁄4 stick unsalted butter

1 cup warm half-and-half

1⁄2 cup shredded Gruyère cheese

4 ounces cream cheese, softened

2 teaspoons kosher salt

1 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper

 

Preheat oven to 350°F.

Peel potatoes, leaving about 50 percent of skin on. Cut into 2- to 3-inch chunks. Cook in
boiling, lightly salted water until fork tender, 20 to 25 minutes. Drain and let air dry for 3
to 5 minutes.

While potatoes are warm, hand mash to desired consistency and transfer to a mixing bowl. Using a mixer or a handheld beater, mix at medium speed for about 2 minutes to fluff potatoes. Add 2 sticks butter, warm half-and-half, cream cheese, salt, and pepper and continue to mix for another minute to combine.

Fold in Gruyère cheese and add additional salt and pepper to taste.

Spread the potatoes into a generously buttered 4-quart baking dish. Top with remaining
butter cut into pats and bake for 25 minutes, until butter is melted and potatoes are warmed through.

 

 

John’s Turkey Gravy

1 Cup salted butter

1 ¾ Cup all purpose flour

1 ½ gallons turkey stock

1 T black pepper

1 ½ Tbsp chopped fresh rosemary

1 ½ tsp salt

 

Melt butter in a skillet over medium high heat.

Make a roux by whisking in flour and continue to cook until an almond color, about 5-7 minutes whisking frequently.  Remove from heat.

In a large saucepot bring turkey stock to a boil.

In ¼ cup increments begin to whisk in roux, allowing the stock to come back to a complete boil before each addition.

When sauce has thickened whisk in pepper, rosemary, and salt.

 

 

John’s Sausage Dressing

Serves 10-12

16-ounce package Jimmy Dean Sage Sausage

8 tablespoons butter

1 cup chopped white onion

1 cup chopped celery

2 tablespoons chopped garlic

1 tablespoon dried sage

1/2 teaspoon celery salt

2 (14-ounce) cans chicken broth

14-ounce bag cornbread stuffing mix

Coarsely ground black pepper, to taste

 

Preheat oven to 350°F.

Thoroughly cook sausage in a large saucepan. Discard grease and wipe pan clean.

Melt butter in same saucepan and add onion, celery, garlic, sage, and celery salt. Sauté until vegetables are translucent, about 6 to 8 minutes.

Add chicken broth, cooked sausage, and stuffing mix. Blend all ingredients until stuffing is thoroughly moistened. Taste and season with pepper if needed.

Lightly grease 9 X 13 baking pan. Place stuffing in pan and bake in oven for 50-60 minutes. Cover with foil and keep warm until ready to serve.

 

 

Sweet Potato Casserole

Serves 8

6 cups mashed sweet potatoes, about 2 pounds fresh

1 cup brown sugar

1/4 cup melted butter

14-ounce can sweetened condensed milk

2 eggs, beaten

1/2 teaspoon salt

1/2 teaspoon vanilla

1/4 teaspoon cinnamon

1/4 teaspoon ginger

1/4 teaspoon nutmeg

1 cup coarsely chopped pecans

 

Preheat oven to 350˚F.

Combine all ingredients except pecans in a 13 X 9-inch casserole.  Sprinkle with pecans.

Bake 35 minutes or until it slightly puffs.

 

Stress Solutions for Busy Families

by Dwight Bain

Feeling Stressed Out? You are not alone. In fact, families are more stressed, more pressured and more exhausted than ever before. The problem is that stress usually brings out the worst in our lives, making already complex situations overwhelming or worse, shouting matches to prove who is ‘right.’

Is there a better way? I believe there is and it involves moving from focusing on the stress, (or source of the stress), to focus on managing it successfully. Here are some rapid strategies to use to make your home a place of happy memories and peace, instead of a panic filled environment where everyone is ducking for cover.

1.     Speak up instead of Stuff it.

Often we follow the simplistic advice of Thumper’s father in the Disney film, “Bambi” who has the classic line, “If you can’t say something nice, don’t say nothing at all.” However, remember this was a young rabbit quoting his cartoon rabbit father. Not the best source of advice. Better is to Speak up when you are stressed, talk to your family, talk to your friends, neighbors or pastor.

2.     Support instead of Solo

Frank Minirth is a Dallas based psychiatrist who often says, “If you have one good friend you can talk to about anything, you will never need a psychiatrist.” I believe he is correct, since the more support you feel during stressful times, the better you will be able to manage the pressure. A burden shared is half a burden as the old saying goes, and it’s true. The more you can find like-minded people to walk through life with you, especially during the tough times, the better you will get through it.

3.     Skills to cope instead of same old way

Rest, relaxation, recreation and releasing pressure through journaling, counseling or exercising is a rapid way to manage the stress and pressure, because you are letting the pressure out faster than it’s coming in. You may be surprised to learn that the most successful people in our country keep a gratitude journal of blessings and add to it every day. Psychologically to focus on your blessings, instead of on your problems will change your mindset and will make you stronger, even during the toughest of times.

4.     Spiritual Strength

Remember you will get through this and you’re not alone. There really is a God who is quite fond of you and desires your best. In fact, the Bible is full of encouraging words to build our strength in tough times. Listen to these words from the Apostle Peter, “Cast your cares on God, because God cares for you.” Do you hear the comfort? Spiritual peace is the beginning of real rest and stress relief. Why not find a quiet place to meditate and reflect on blessings today? As you move from counting problems, to counting blessings you may be surprised at how much better you feel… and how much easier it is to manage the day to day stress because you gained an eternal perspective.

 

Dwight Bain is a trusted professional with over 30 years of experience in solving complex problems. His purpose is to help you achieve maximum results in your personal and professional life. He is a Nationally Certified Counselor, Certified Life Coach and Professional Communicator specializing in managing major change to move from stress to success. He is a life-long resident of Orlando, Florida where he lives with his wife Sheila and their two children. His goal is to make a positive difference in our culture for Christ every day by focusing on strategic change to achieve rapid results. Follow him on Twitter @DwightBain or like his page to find new inspiration at www.Facebook.com/DwightBain

Talking with Your Kids…

Talking with Your Kids about a Community Shooting

By Dwight Bain
Nationally Certified Counselor

Strategies to rebuild you and your kids after a tragedy

A sudden crisis, (like a mass shooting), can terrorize an entire community in just a few minutes, while the recovery process to rebuild from a major critical incident may take weeks or months to sort through. The more you know about how to survive and rebuild after the crisis, the faster you can take positive action to get your personal and professional life back on track. Since community crisis events like extreme acts of violence, school shootings or terrorism are unpredictable it requires a different course of action from natural disasters like hurricanes, tornadoes, earthquakes, fires and floods. What can you do right now to cope with the psychological impact of a major community crisis?

Dealing directly with your emotions will reduce the tension and stress on you, which allows you to have more energy to deal with a difficult situation. However, if you stuff your fears and frustrations in a major community crisis, your emotions can quickly blow up without warning. Exploding in rage on your children, your coworkers or your marriage partner will only make a difficult situation worse. Community crisis events are a terrible situation full of loss and difficulty for everyone. By taking action now you can move beyond feeling overwhelmed by intense stress, anger or confusion. As you follow the insight from this recovery guide, you will be taking positive steps to rebuild with the focused energy of an even stronger life for you and your family after the emergency service workers pack up and go home because your community has recovered.

To best survive a major community crisis, you need a strong combination of three key elements:
- healthy coping skills
- healthy supports and a
- healthy perspective

While things will never be the same as they were before the community crisis, (like a mass shooting); the following guidelines will give you the key elements needed to get past the overwhelming stress and to find even greater strength on the other side.

What are the dangerous warning signs of critical stress overload?

A major community crisis affects everyone however; it becomes dangerous to our health when the stress goes on for an extended period of time. Major stress can affect adults, children, the elderly and even pets, so it is important to be alert to watch for the danger signs of the psychological condition called, ‘Post-Traumatic-Stress-Disorder’, (commonly referred to as PTSD), in yourself, your family members and coworkers. These symptoms include any dramatic change in emotions, behavior, thought patterns or physical symptoms over the next few days, weeks or even months. Since community crisis events are a terribly stressful time for everyone and often remain stressful for days or weeks to come, there are a number of factors to be aware of to keep yourself and those who you care about safe.

Dangerous Stress Warning Signs

These signs are indicators that the intense stress from the critical incident is beginning to overwhelm the individual. The longer the stress symptoms occur-the greater the severity of the traumatic event on the individual. This does not imply craziness or personal weakness; rather, it simply indicates that the stress levels from the storm were too powerful for the person to manage and their body is reacting to the abnormal situation of having survived a major trauma. It’s normal to feel completely overwhelmed by a community crisis like a mass shooting or natural disaster; however there are danger signs to watch for in yourself or others that may indicate psychological trauma. Adults or children who display any of the following stress symptoms may need additional help dealing with the events of this crisis. It is strongly recommended that you seek the appropriate medical or psychological assistance if you see a lot of the physical, emotional, cognitive or behavioral symptoms listed below in you, your coworkers, or someone in your family or home, especially if these symptoms weren’t present before the crisis.

Physical Symptoms:
Chills, thirst, fatigue, nausea, fainting, vomiting, dizziness, weakness, chest pain, headaches, elevated blood pressure, rapid heart rate, muscle tremors, difficulty breathing, shock symptoms, and so on.

Emotional Symptoms:

Fear, guilt, grief, panic, denial, anxiety, irritability, depression, apprehension, emotional shock, and feeling overwhelmed, loss of emotional control, and so on.

Cognitive Symptoms:
Confusion, nightmares, uncertainty, hyper-vigilance, suspiciousness, intrusive images, poor problem solving, poor abstract thinking, poor attention/memory and concentration, disorientation of time, places or people, difficulty identifying objects or people, heightened or lowered alertness, and so on.

Behavioral Symptoms:
Withdrawal, antisocial acts, inability to rest, intensified pacing, erratic movements, changes in social activity, changes in speech patterns, loss of or increase of appetite, increased alcohol consumption, and so on.

If you are in doubt about these symptoms in your life, or someone you care about, it is wise to seek the care of a physician or certified mental health professional. Better to actively deal with the stressful emotions directly to help yourself and your loved ones to immediately cope with this crisis because these emotions tend to worsen and get more intense if left untreated. Remember that there are many experienced professionals who can help you and your children recover during a time of crisis. You do not have to go through this alone.

Take action now to prevent stress from continuing to overwhelm you or the people you care about. Call a trusted friend to talk through it, reach out to clergy, or call your family doctor or counselor. If you don’t know someone to call about these emotional issues, you can reach out for assistance by calling telephone hotlines which are offered at no cost to you. These numbers are often posted by local media, hospitals, the American Red Cross, the Salvation Army or FEMA. If you, or someone you care about are feeling overwhelmed by stress, anxiety, guilt or grief it’s important to make the call for assistance now to learn how to get past the pressure to begin to feel ‘okay’ again.

How does a community crisis event affect kids?

It depends on the age of the child. The younger the child, the more they look to their parents for emotional security and strength. If a Mom or Dad are “shell-shocked” or “numb” and not able to manage their own emotions or responsibilities; the child will feel that pressure and become very confused and further stressed. Remember, it’s normal to be overwhelmed by a community crisis like a mass shooting. This is why it’s so important to take care of yourself in order to take care of your children and those your care about through the long period of recovery and rebuilding after the crisis.

Think about the advice given on commercial airliners to parents traveling with small children. “Should there be an unexpected cabin de-pressurization; oxygen masks will drop from the ceiling. Place the mask over your nose and mouth like this and then place the mask over the mouth and nose of those around you needing assistance.” Take care of your own emotional needs first, and then you will be in a stronger position to help those around you. If you feel overwhelmed in giving your children or others who may depend on you for support, please ask for help. It’s okay to be tired, worn out and overly stressed. That’s normal after a community crisis.

However, it’s not okay to ignore caring for the needs of those counting on you like children, the elderly or pets. Sometimes a parent may need to make adjustments at work or change their own schedules for a while by delegating some tasks in order to have time and energy to help their children avoid feeling more pressure from the difficult experience that surviving a major disaster brings. If you feel that your caregiver ‘tank’ is empty, let someone else help you for a while until you get your strength back. That’s best for you and for those that you care about.

When you can focus and dedicate attention to understanding the needs of young children, notice what they are saying, drawing or doing to determine if they are still feeling overly stressed from the traumatic event.

School age kids
need to talk, draw pictures or take positive action, (like having a lemonade stand to raise money for kids just like them who may have lost loved ones or family members because of the traumatic event), so if you give them something to do to help, they can take positive action and sort through their emotions immediately.

High school age kids
may try to act “cool” about everything, but often are more scared about the changes, losses and confusion than any other group. They are older and may need to experience a bit more “reality” at times to loosen up their ability to talk about what is happening around them. If they are willing to talk to their siblings, other family members, clergy or counselors it often doesn’t take very long before they can grow strong enough to deal with their emotions and get back to feeling like themselves again.

The greatest danger sign to be alert and aware of is by noticing any dramatic changes in behavior. If a child was always happy go lucky before the crisis event and now sits all day to watch video footage of the shooting, or other world disasters on the news channels- then you may want to figure out why they made such a dramatic shift in personality. Watch for other major changes in sleep patterns, school patterns, school performance, peer relations and so on. If you see major changes that concern you, it’s time to seek professional attention for the child with their pediatrician or with a child behavioral specialist

What are some ways to help our kids talk about the crisis?

You can reach out to children in many ways to help them deal with this stressful time. Talking, writing, drawing, or writing poetry about the experience with the disaster will make the time pass more quickly, and may even lighten someone else’s load of emotional pain and difficulty while helping you back through the process. Talking about any crisis event in life can help kids learn the basics of moving from the panic of basic survival to building strengths through problem solving.

Are there any “hidden dangers” in media that parents should be concerned about that might make the crisis worse?

Too much media exposure is dangerous for kids. It is better to get a media “news update” once or perhaps at the most, twice a day to avoid the danger of media over-exposure. Leaving the news on all the time will depress the mood of the person who hears it; since deep down inside we learn to go “numb” to the normal emotions of the stressful event, to press on and burn reserve energy in the process. If your child didn’t watch the morning news programs before the community crisis, be cautious about allowing them to watch TV news alone or having long blocks of unaccounted time with too much isolation. Best is to sort through media outlets-like television, Internet, radio or newspapers, which may contain content that is overly stressful or just too depressing for a child. Then set boundaries to protect them from additional stress in media stories, since it is important to protect their home and minds by managing the media around them.

It’s wise to move from negatives to positives in highly charged and difficult situations like a mass shooting or wide spread community disaster. We have all seen enough negative images to last a lifetime and yet the media will often play scenes from a disaster over again and again.

Also, parents and kids can sit down and discuss why they really need to have so many media and entertainment services available in their homes. Many families found that not having the Internet, cable television and loud music playing in their homes while staying in a shelter allowed them to reconnect as a family with much greater communication. By sitting down and discussing these issues your home can be a more positive place, by creating more positive energy to mange the stress of recovering from this crisis situation.

Since watching other people’s problems in other parts of the country will cause more stress in an already stressful situation it’s better to focus on your responsibilities today, right here in your own community. When things in your life are strong again, you and your family won’t be as affected by the images of crisis from other places. But that’s another day, so for now as you recover, it’s better to focus on getting you and your kids though the day that you have been handed without making it harder because of the hidden stress of media overexposure.

Also, the same principles apply for the aged as for anyone else. Seniors often can spend a tremendous amount of time in front of negative media images which can be harmful to their well being. Better to get involved in helping others, praying for those affected or donating to help as you can than to become overwhelmed with the stressors of others by becoming desensitized from media over-exposure.

How can I help my family get back to “normal” after a community disaster?

It may take weeks or months for people to feel that things are back to “normal.” The actual psychological impact of the storm will vary widely between people based on factors like- age, their previous experiences with crisis events and most significantly how much stress they already had in their life before the disaster. The more stress someone had in their life prior to the traumatic event, the longer it takes to recover.

Here are some immediate ways to bring order and calmness back into your life after the chaos and confusion that follows a natural disaster or community crisis like a mass shooting.

1) Reconnect in relationships
You can’t get through a crisis alone. Since we all were impacted differently, it is vitally important to talk about the stress and pressures you have experienced with the people closest to you. Reach out to friends and family as soon as possible, and call people you haven’t heard from in a while. Just checking in to see if they are okay will only take a few minutes, but it will empower and help both of you. Simply talk about what each of you experienced through the crisis and how you got through it. Tremendous connection can occur through crisis, so this is an especially good time to reach out to friends or family who may have drifted away from your closest circle of relationships. Take action now to reach out to people with words of encouragement and support, but don’t wait for someone else to call you- since their phone may not work! Go find them and then reconnect the relationship while helping each other rebuild.

2) Rebuild your routines
This is one of the most important factors to quickly get life back on track because we all draw strength and security from a structured daily routine. Bed time, dinner time, getting up to go to school, or work, or church or the gym to work out. To regain strength quickly identify what your normal routines were before the crisis-and then get back to them as soon as possible. Even if you are staying in a hotel, shelter or with family members for a while, stick with the rituals that you have typically followed that make up your daily lifestyle. This way you will feel the comfort of your stable and predictable routines, regardless of the stress of the many changes happening around you.

3) Reach out for faith
In times of crisis everyone believes in the power of prayer and the importance of their faith. There is tremendous strength in knowing what you believe and living in harmony with those beliefs and values. Plugging back into your faith after a community crisis will allow you to release anxiety over the things that you know are too big for you, because you can trust God to handle them. Dedicate a few minutes or perhaps even an hour per day to quiet mediation and reflection on what matters most if you want to continue to grow strong in spite of the crisis.
This is especially important when you or your children may feel lost, alone or afraid. God cares and taking time to pray and release those burdens will help you make it through the rest of your day. Many churches and houses of faith have chaplains, recovery teams, support services and even financial assistance available to help their members cope with the crisis. Helping others in need is one of the greatest ways people of faith model what they believe, so avoid the tendency of being “too nice” to ask for help if you need it. Having a committed personal faith combined with the connection of a local house of worship will give you a tremendous sense of community to get through this crisis as well as the ones to come.

4) Retell your story
Young and old alike will benefit from hearing about how other people survived the trauma they experienced. There is tremendous power in telling your story; healing power for you and helpful power for others who will gain insight and strength by hearing how creative people can become through the crisis. As you speak up about what happened, it will make it easier for other family members or coworkers to talk about their feelings of loss as well. Things will never be the same as before, but life will go on and we can rebuild and get through it better together. Telling your story now will give you additional strength as well as connect you to the neighbors and friends as they share their story with you.

No matter what the size of crisis event, you can find strength on the other side. Following the action steps in this resource guide will allow you to begin building strength back into your personal and professional life no matter how big the crisis event was. As you grow stronger you can tell others, which will encourage them to press on as they rebuild their lives, right next to yours. Stronger people create stronger communities and that is the journey you have already begun. I encourage you to stay with it as you build an even stronger life after the crisis, and then reach out to others in rebuilding your community.

Reprinted with permission from the LifeWorks Group, www.LifeWorksGroup.org eNews. You have permission to share or edit this important counseling tool to stabilize others providing you leave the authors name and website as a reference point at the end of the article. Thank you and may God bless your efforts to bring calm after crisis.


Dwight BainDwight Bain is dedicated to helping people achieve greater results. He is a Nationally Certified Counselor and Certified Life Coach in practice since 1984 with a primary focus on solving crisis events and managing major change. Read more Crisis Recovery resources at his website www.LifeworksGroup.org

Hurting the people you say you Love? How To Put Out the Fire of Conflict Before You Blow Up What’s Left of Your Relationships

By Dwight  Bain

You make me  so mad!  You are just  wrong!  You will never get  it!   You bring out the  worst in me!

Heard these comments before? I hope not, because these are the comments  that blow up relationships. Not in an instant way, rather little by little until  the relationship erosion collapses the entire marriage or family relationship.  You see, it’s not usually big fights that end relationships; rather, it’s small  ones. Little conflicts, little disagreements, little resentments and little  criticisms can build up into tsunami sized rage filled episodes. The sad irony  is that people who say they love each other the most, and that they would even  die for the people they say they love, are the very same people who use hostile  words to crush the spirits of those same people.

These type of conflicts aren’t limited to husbands and wife’s either. No,  Parents can have major conflicts with teens, siblings can go after one another  in a rage, neighbors can go to battle over barking dogs, coworkers can go off on  customers and even churchgoing people can start quarrels of epic proportions.

Conflict is as old as time, but the consequences seem to be growing  more intense. Lawsuits, jail time, divorce, domestic violence, assault, battery,  broken families and shattered trust are just the beginning of pain when two  normally rational people set upon a course of action to go to war with one  another. Remember in a war there are no winners, just survivors. Would it  surprise you to know the Bible teaches against irresponsible conflict?  Listen… It only takes a spark, remember, to set  off a forest fire. A careless or wrongly placed word out of your mouth can do  that.

By our speech we can ruin the world,  turn harmony to chaos, throw mud on a reputation, send the whole world up in  smoke and go up in smoke with it, smoke right from the pit of hell. (St.

James  2:5-6)

Viewing needless conflict as a fire can be helpful since there are four  main ways to respond to a forest fire that are similar to the four main  approaches people use to manage conflict in the relationships.

Several of my friends lived in Colorado where they had  to flee for their lives from the devastating fires that destroyed hundreds of  homes last summer. As dangerous as those fires were, the reality is that  dangerous words full of rage and resentment destroy more relationships than  wildfires during a drought. You can rebuild a house that has been destroyed, but  it may take decades to try and rebuild broken trust from hostile words used  against family members. The four main types of fire response  are:

GASOLINE – yep, I said  it. Gas, which when poured on a fire causes a massive explosion. When parties go  from name calling to full scale attack they are pouring gasoline onto the flames  of conflict. Acting with Aggression will not solve your angry conflict, but it  will make matters worse, sometimes even dangerously so.

FIRE – You’ve likely  heard the saying, to “Fight fire with fire” meaning to stand up Assertively to  protect your rights while fighting back. While it is true some firefighters use  the fire break strategy, if conditions change things can go bad quickly. This is  another dangerous approach.

SILENCE – To let a  fire burn out from an apathetic approach of doing nothing is often the  passive-aggressive way to respond. Remember, relationships are not usually  destroyed by problems, but rather by silence about those problems. Finally,

WATER – This is the safest way to end a raging fire. To Accept what is going  on and take bold action to do something about it, all while protecting against  being drawn into more conflict by others.

If you desire a deeper level of relationship, instead of being destroyed  by it, make sure you are living out the words of scripture, again from St.  James, who said, “My beloved brethren, let every man be  swift to hear, slow to speak, slow to wrath; for the wrath of man  does not produce the righteousness of God.” (James 1:19-20)

Learning  how to put out the flames of conflict will make you feel stronger, more  confident and protect the place and people you love the most. Making Home a safe  zone from the ‘fires’ of relationship will protect your future legacy and lead  to a world of joy, instead of continual pain and problems.

 

About the author- Dwight Bain is dedicated to helping people achieve greater  results. He is a Nationally Certified Counselor and Certified Life Coach in  practice since 1984 with a primary focus on solving crisis events and managing  major change.
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