You Gotta Have Heart!

Compiled & Live by Anne Clark, Revision 2014

If you think about it, the heart is the only organ that has a symbol so
recognizable even a two year old can identify it. It’s also the only organ that
carries strong emotional associations such as love, passion, admiration and
affection. The heart even has its own holiday, which we celebrate in February.

But the heart is much more – it is a symbol of life and good health. In 2003
I found I was a victim of women’s No. 1 killer, heart disease. From being a fairly
healthy woman I was diagnosed with coronary artery disease, congestive heart
Failure and chronic obstructive pulmonary disease – the outcome was bleak –
Inoperable!! (I swear this happened within 2 weeks and came to a head on family
vacation in San Diego) (only 10% of my heart was working and 15% of the lungs
were working.) After going through cardiac rehab the improvement was such
that a year later high risk surgery was performed. In between, my husband had a
double bypass 3 months before my quadruple one. After surgery I was evidently
critical about a week in a coma, more time in intensive care, into a room, and
finally home after 21 days in the hospital. Now both of us going through rehab.

I’m not sure if I truly believed God was enough but I know I said, “if I have
Jesus and Morphine, I will be OK.”Plus no worry, but the family was doing enough
of that). Because of God’s grace and mercy I have a new lease on life and pray I
can use this extended time FOR HIS GLORY.

A mere three weeks after conception cells organize themselves into an
immature heart and begins beating. At fourteen weeks this heart is already
pumping seven gallons per day compared to two thousand gallons a day for an adult. Each blood cell goes around every minute, the red cell goes 200,000
times around only to be squished by the spleen. It doesn’t worry about it at all
because it has been discovered that worry is bad for the heart. It turns out when
God said, “ Do not fret,” “do not worry about tomorrow, and “ do not be
anxious,” He was acting as the world’s premier cardio-psychiatrist.

The medical literature is full of material that indicates the importance of
spiritual care for the heart. Psychiatrist Karl Menninger wrote in “The Human
Mind,” Love is the basic need of human nature, for without it, life is disrupted
emotionally, mentally, spiritually and physically.” He once gave a lecture on
mental health and was answering questions from the audience. One of the
audience asked “What would you advise a person to do if that person felt a
nervous breakdown coming on? Consult a psychiatrist?” He replied, “Lock up
your house, go across the railroad tracks, find someone in need, and do
something to help that person.”

The word ‘Heart’ is used more than 1000 times in the Old and New
Testaments. In Proverbs 23:7 “ As a man thinks in his heart, so is he.” Proverb
4:23 “Keep and guard your heart with vigilance for all you do comes from it.”
Whatever is in your heart flows into our lives. If we are full of anger, bitterness,
and resentment, that’s what will flow into our lives. If we are full of love, peace
and joy, that will flow out of our lives. It goes without saying that what flows out
of our hearts, will naturally effect us and those around us. When we use our
talents and gifts that God has given us to serve others our health will be affected
in a positive way. So, if you want to be healthy, SERVE. Our salvation is
dependent on the right understanding of the heart. “If you confess with your
mouth the Lord Jesus and believe in your heart that God has raised Him from the
dead, you will be saved.” The mind and the heart are inseparable in this verse.
We have to make that trip of 18 inches from the head to the heart for your
salvation. God provides a lot of guidance on the various spiritual exercises that
affect the heart. Here’s one, “Spend your time and energy in training yourself for
spiritual fitness. Physical exercise has some value, but spiritual exercise is much
more important for it promises a reward in both this life and the next. 1Timothy 4:7-8

More women die of heart disease than all forms of cancer. Did you know
420,000 women will die of heart disease this year? This disease is largely
preventable through healthy habits. 90% of women have at least one risk factor
for heart disease. So from this day forward, let every heart you see, on a card, to
that heart-shaped candy box – be a reminder to protect your heart.

Here’s the Heart Associations ‘Life’s Simple 7”: get active; eat better; lose weight; stop smoking; control cholesterol; manage blood pressure; and reduce blood sugar.

Consider making these four spiritual practices a regular part of your “exercise” routine: 1)Receive God’s love; 2)Love God; 3)Love and serve others; and 4)Forgive.

I can’t think of a better Valentine to give your love ones.
Jeremiah 17:9-10 from The Message (MSG)
9-10 “The heart is hopelessly dark and deceitful,
a puzzle that no one can figure out.
But I, GOD, search the heart
and examine the mind.
I get to the heart of the human.
I get to the root of things.
I treat them as they really are,
not as they pretend to be.”

Compiled & Live by Anne Clark, Revision 2014

Bullying 2.0 – No More Getting Pushed Around

Written by Karen Clark, MAMFT
New Day Women’s Center

Sad childBullying is a form of aggression unfortunately practiced in many schools today.  One-third of public schools report a daily occurrence of students being bullied according to the National Center for Education Statistics–2002 (Hall, 2006).  The broad definition is “the actual or attempted infliction of injury or discomfort by one student on another student that is intentional, abusive, and based on an imbalance of power between bully and victim” (Olweus, 1994; Sullivan, Cleary, & Sullivan, 2004).  Bullying can range from aggressive behaviors that involve unwanted negative actions and usually involve a pattern of behavior over time.

There are three forms of bullying: physical, verbal, and psychological:

  1. Verbal Including derogatory comments and calling bad names; isolation from others
  2. Physical Hitting, kicking, shoving, spitting, etc.; damaging personal things; any kind of threatening or intimidating behaviors;
  3. Psychological Spreading lies and false rumors; taking money or personal belongings; making fun of someones race, gender, religion, or sexual orientation. Includes:
    • Cyber bullying Via phone or internet via social media such as Facebook, Snapchat, Instagram, etc.
    • Sexting Sending any type of sexual content or inappropriate pictures

The National Institute of Child Health and Human Development reported that “1.7 million children (one in five) in grades 6 through 10 admitted bullying their classmates” (Cole, Cornell, & Sheras, 2006).  Nearly 50% of students report some form of bullying during their educational years.

Girls and boys experience bullying differently: 

  • Girls use emotional violence, make others feel alienated and alone, do prank phone calls that are mean, as well as jokes or tricks designed to embarrass and humiliate, name calling, spreading rumors, being malicious, making others feel left out through exclusion, as well as inciting others to act out violently or aggressively.  About 72% of girls have reported being bullied and 81% of boys.
  • Boys tend to be more physically aggressive and may punch, kick, push, or even tickle excessively.  They also tend to use verbal methods like name-calling, insults, teasing to target their victims.

The affects students experience by being bullied are academically, socially and  psychologically.  Victims have a very difficult time learning effectively in an ongoing climate of fear and anxiety with the threat of any possibility of physical injury, loneliness, and decreased self-esteem.

 The 4-1-1 steps for parents and teachers starts by raising awareness about bullying:

  • Improving the student-to-student relationships
  • Developing clear rules and boundaries against bullying
  • Putting a stop to intimidating behaviors,
  • Giving support and protection to victims of bullying.

Six steps for parents and teachers:

  • Symptoms to look for start with some sort of unexplained reluctance to go to school; fearful or unusual anxiety; disturbances in sleepers well as possible nightmares; vague physical complaints (headaches, stomachaches), often on school days; and belongings that are missing altogether or come home ripped.
  • The right questions to ask are how are  they spending lunch hour, what it’s like going to school either walking to and from school (walking or bus).  Ask if there are any children at school who are bullies, without asking whether your child is being bullied.
  • Teach your child how to avoid the situations that expose them any type of bullying by giving them a support system if necessary through older companions escorting them safely to or from school.
  • Encourage children to speak out to a parent, teacher or another trusted adult who they trust.  Kids need to know the difference between tattling and telling on someone.
  • Advocate for students by working with the authorities at school and parents.  Be aware of the problem and keep a written record of any and all incidents and listing those involved.
  • Safety at school by having supervision in hallways, lunchrooms, bathrooms, in the milieu, and on the playground. Children have the right to feel safe at school.

If you suspect your child is being bullied or is bullying others, please contact us at 619.713-1544 to schedule a time to meet with Karen to see how she can help your child. 

 

karenKaren Clark is a Marriage and Family Therapist intern at New Day Women’s Center.

Karen enjoys working with teens and teen issues and is also available to speak at your school or event on the topic of bullying.

 

 

Resources:

*A great reading resource for kids of all ages is Think Twice Play Nice found at http://www.teachervision.fen.com/tv/printables/penguin/anti-bullying-literature.pdf

The Secret to CALM on Mother’s Day and Every Day

Pam Farrel's Image for CALM articleArticle by Author, Pam Farrel

What Mom might need this Mother’s Day is a little bit of CALM. In my book, 10 Secrets to Living Smart, Savvy and Strong, I give a few clues to bring some CALM to Mom’s world. To make it easy to remember, let’s link these skills to the word, C.A.L.M.

Calm means

Care enough to confront
Accept people grow and change
Learn to forgive, reconcile and release
Move yourself forward

If your life is feeling stressful, don’t start blaming your mate or your kids; look in the mirror. Perhaps the reason you have some negative feelings toward some of those you love is that you have allowed them to look at you as some sort of “Wonder Woman.” The first step in gaining CALM is to “Confront the issues,” beginning with yourself and your contribution to the situation. Next, “accept people grow and change” and that change might first be in you. Third, “Learn to forgive.” Before you talk to anyone, forgive them first. Conversations go better when you are not carrying extra emotional baggage. Finally, “Move yourself forward, Mom.” Make the decision to do things differently the next time.

Let’s take a simple example from a woman featured in 10 Secrets to Living Smart, Savvy and Strong. Think of a game of tennis as you read Candy’s story. Candy squeezed in her weekly tennis game forcing herself to slip away from her home based business office and enroute she prayed, Father, I just feel so “heavy.” 

An inaudible voice seemed to say, “Then roll the ball back.”

Roll the ball back? 

After tennis, Candy dashed from the club to the junior high to pick up Terri, her daughter. She wasn’t greeted with a “Hi ya mom!” but Terri barking commands of needed poster board, and other items for a project due the next morning. By the time they got home from errands, Cliff, her high school son drove up in the driveway. “Hey Mom, did you get my uniform washed?”

When she walked in, her arms laden with groceries, she noticed her college daughter Kelly was watching TV and the kitchen sink was full of dishes and there was no sign of any dinner being prepared.  Candy’s husband came home and kissed her a quick peck and asked, “Did you pick up my dry cleaning today?” Then Cliff carrying an armload of dirty sports gear came in and tossed the clothes right on to the kitchen counter and said with an attitude, “Mom—they aren’t washed! I need them in the morning.” Then Kelly walked in and said, “I’m hungry, what’s for dinner?”

Roll the ball back! the voice screamed inside her. Then she pictured herself out on the tennis court, and with a powerful forearm she whacked the ball back into her partner’s side of the court making her chase the ball. She got the picture. She realized she had been taking on everyone else’s responsibility, owning everyone else’s issues, covering for everyone’s mistakes. So in her mind she lobbed those responsibility balls right back over the net.

“Cliff, you know how to use the washer, I suggest you start the load. Kelly, you can finish dinner since you are so hungry. Terri, Dad would love to drive you to get the poster board; it’s right next to the cleaners. I’m going to take a long hot bubble bath. We can all meet up over dinner in an hour. I’ll make dessert.”

She gave her husband a kiss as she bounced up the stairs. It felt good to roll the ball back into the court it belonged in.

Mom, if you are looking for CALM, backhand those responsibility balls back over the net to the court they belong in and enjoy your day off.

Article written by Pam Farrel, author of over 35 books including 10 Best Decisions a Woman Can Make ( http://www.Love-Wise.com )

 

Caution! Holiday Madness Ahead!

CAUTION! Holiday Madness Ahead!
Take Back the Holidays with Intentional Planning
Written by Phyllis Vokey Long, MFT

We’ve barely carved our Jack-O-Lanterns and the stores are filled with evidence that the “Holidays” are ahead. I don’t know about you, but panic sets in as soon as I see the first display of fake Christmas trees on Aisle 28 (and 29 and 30 and…). There they are, in all their glory, covered with the latest and greatest ornaments, all carefully arranged with matching colors and themes. The traditional red and green of Christmas seems passé and a hodge-podge of traditional ornaments collected over the years definitely does not fit in with these displays. The tree lights are brightly twinkling and seem to be flashing “Caution! Holiday madness ahead!”  My heart beats faster, I break into a sweat and I flee to any other aisle to practice my deep breathing techniques while envisioning my “happy place” until I can get back to my shopping agenda of buying toilet paper. I stock up for 3 months to make sure that I don’t set foot in this store again until the January clearance sales!

Each year the “holiday season” seems to begin earlier. As early as October, magazines and the internet feature articles on what to make, bake or buy to make the season wonderful. I love to read these articles and often have great intentions of making those money-saving gifts, shopping that one-hour sale, or baking and decorating cookies for all of my friends and neighbors. The reality is that life gets busy, the budget gets tight, the bar gets set higher and I get overwhelmed!  I want to go back to bed and wake up when it’s over!

Let’s Stop the Madness!
Can you relate to my experience? Of course I am over-emphasizing to make a point (or am I?). I want to see the “Thanks” back in Thanksgiving and the “Christ” back in Christmas and the “New” back in New Year. So, how do we get that? I don’t have the power of the media, but I do have power. 1 Peter 3:11 tells us to “seek peace and pursue it.” With intentional planning you can pursue peace in any situation. Let’s look at some ideas to consider for intentionally pursuing a peaceful and joyful holiday season:

Take Back the Holidays with Intentional Planning:

1) Prioritize expectations. Write a purpose for your holidays. In one sentence, what is the most important thing that you want to get from the holidays? Is it fellowship with others? Is it giving? Is it reflecting more deeply on the meaning of the birth of Christ? Is it worshipping and thanking God? Is it hospitality or service? Is it connecting with your children? Really look at what you want the central theme of your holidays to be. In the busyness of the holiday season, this will help you to determine your priorities in choosing which activities and events to participate in and which to pass up.

2) Create new traditions. Holiday traditions often materialize out of the media or have been repeated throughout our family history without a thought as to how they began or whether we really desire to continue them. Figure out which traditions hold personal value to you and your family and decide how to maintain those. Then, brainstorm new traditions that will support your purpose for the holidays and will be most meaningful.

3) Prepare for challenges. Loneliness and or isolation are pitfalls during holidays. If you are away from family, being around families who are all together may even heighten pain and grief. The temptation is to avoid socialization but this is the time when we really need each other. Plan ahead to spend time with other adults doing something positive and fun. Be proactive in this. You can initiate a group to go to candlelight service together or to have a Christmas dinner at your house. You can volunteer to help serve meals at a shelter or wrap gifts for someone. Serving others is a great way to take your mind off of your own neediness. Bake cookies and take them as a thank you to those who have ministered to you. Rent silly Christmas movies and have a movie night/pajama party with friends.

4) Exchange ideas. Ask others for ideas on how they survive the holidays and share your ideas with them. Avoid getting into a negative cycle of complaining. Instead, stay on track by talking about what works.

5) Plan your schedule. This is key! You may have great priorities, traditions and ideas, but you must now protect them by putting them into your schedule to see the reality of what you’ve planned. When will you bake? When will you shop? In your schedule be sure to include “time out” to just rest and relax. Leave some open spaces for spontaneous activities. If the calendar appears overly busy, go back to your priority list and begin to eliminate activities that least fit your criteria. Remember, you have the power to do this!

6) Enjoy the benefits and remember gratitude! Read Psalm 100. Be sure to take time to reflect on the good times and successes. When we begin to acknowledge what we have and what we have enjoyed, our focus shifts and our mood improves. The holidays won’t be perfect, but, with prioritizing and planning you can find great moments of peace and joy!

Phyllis Vokey Long, MA ,is a Marriage and Family Therapist as well as Co-Founder and Co-Director of the New Day Women’s Center.

52 Ways to Show People You Care

  1. Notice them
  2. Smile at them
  3. Encourage them to think BIG
  4. Look them in the eye when you talk to them
  5. Ask them about themselves
  6. Let them tell you how they feel
  7. Listen to their stories
  8. Call them on the phone just to say hi
  9. Answer their questions
  10. Ask them their opinions
  11. Give them your undivided attention
  12. Believe what they say
  13. Tell them what you like about them
  14. Delight in their discoveries
  15. Listen to their favorite music with them
  16. Tolerate their interruptions
  17. Suggest better behaviors when they act up or act out
  18. Show up at their games, concerts and special events
  19. Tell them how much you like being with them
  20. Tell them about yourself
  21. Help them take a stand, then stand with them
  22. Ask them to help you with something
  23. Keep the promises you make to them
  24. Tell them how proud you are of them
  25. Send them a letter, postcard or an email
  26. Introduce them to your friends and family
  27. Make time to be with them
  28. Be excited when you see them
  29. Notice when they grow
  30. Remember their birthdays
  31. Believe in them
  32. Meet their friends and family
  33. Include them in conversations
  34. Laugh at their jokes
  35. Do things together
  36. Respect them
  37. Find a common interest
  38. Do what they like to do
  39. Applaud their success
  40. Contribute to their collections
  41. Read aloud together
  42. Accept them as they are
  43. Share a meal together
  44. Go places together
  45. Build something together
  46. Make decisions together
  47. Help them learn something new
  48. Be honest with them
  49. Encourage them to hlep others
  50. Let them make mistakes
  51. Admit when you make a mistake
  52. Be nice to them

Used with permission  © 2000 – 2011 John Mark Ministries. ABN: 89 767 009 464

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