There is a common phrase that says,’ the more things change, the more they remain the same’. Frankly, it is not always true.
Growing up I would see a full flag holder attached to each parking meter in the downtown area for Veterans Day, Memorial Day, Flag Day, and July 4th. We had a parade on Memorial Day and July 3rd that ended up at the park where the Fireworks display usually ended too soon in a big flourish. People from all over the town came together over these very patriotic events. No matter their backgrounds or political beliefs, we were all Americans first.
This patriotic environment instilled a pride in being American. Something inside is stirred me upon seeing rows of American Flags line the streets.
At that time people who served in elective or appointed offices generally had the idea that it was a duty and honor to serve in a position for a period of time then return to private life, following the example of George Washington in declining to seek a third term as President.
In his Farwell address Washington sought to convince the American people that his service was no longer necessary by, once again, as he had in his first inaugural address, telling them that he truly believed he was never qualified to be president and, if he accomplished anything during his presidency, it was as a result of their support and efforts to help the country survive and prosper. Despite his confidence that the country would survive without his leadership, Washington used the majority of the letter to offer advice as a “parting friend” on what he believed were the greatest threats to the destruction of the nation.
While I served in different positions the patriotic lessons and the examples of many who served before me who never thought holding a political office was a career path.
Republicans and Democrats had differences of course however we did not have emails, faxes, text messages, and few had caller ID on their phones. We actually talked, either in person or on the phone, and found a path to resolve issues.
If there was a message that needed to be disturbed around town it went by way of telephone or printed flyer that was delivered to every home in town. We had a typewriter and a print shop on standby. Phones were dumb, you either dialed on a Rotary Dial or had a Touch Tone Phone, no apps. George Washington had much less than that during his twenty years of service.
Those years saw many improvements especially in the areas of helping those less fortunate and those suffering from a mental illness. As with any request or requests for improvements we asked the questions: ’What if it were me or a family member of mine?’ and is this something that a church or private business should be handling? In a way, we were libertarian in not wanting government involved in every aspect of life.
We had a limited amount of revenue and the budget had to be balanced with respect to Police, Fire, Schools, various other services budgets while maintaining roads and town property.
You can liken the attitude of a public servant leader to that of a member of the military, he or she serves for a set numbers of years then goes back into private life. The difference between the two is; members of the military are well aware that they may be coming home in a casket. Either way the servant leader or a member of the military zeal to serve was no less diminished.
One area of improvement recognizing and treating what at one time was known as shell shock. Today PTSD is recognized as one the treatable issues first responders, victims or witnesses of abuse or tragedy can suffer in the same manner as a combat veteran can experience. Today self education and education of loved ones can greatly enhance the PTSD suffers recovery.
Yes, I miss having servant leaders in office who offer a portion of their lives to help make this a better place to live, instead of career politicians. Yes, hope springs eternal that we have not seen the last of the two thousand year old concept of servant leaders. May we look closely and choose wisely as the sanity we may save may be our own.
The hidden scars from the trauma suffered at the hands a spouse, an acquaintance, a terrible accident or witnessing a trauma. PTSD has been more associated to soldiers coming back from war, however first responders and victims of domestic violence in significant numbers are also sufferers.
Something terrifying happens to you. Your heart races. Your palms sweat. You can’t sleep. You don’t want to eat. You can’t get the events of that day out of your mind. Any and all of these are completely normal responses to trauma and would be expected of any one of us. We all experience traumatic life events at some point – so we are all familiar with these physical responses. However, for many of us, particularly our service men and women, the physical responses don’t go away with time. In many cases, they become worse.
For those of us living with PTSD – Post Traumatic Stress Disorder – the world is an unsafe and scary place. Danger lurks in every corner and we are often unable to trust and unwilling to explore. Many of us find ourselves giving up activities that we once enjoyed because the anxiety and fear keep us trapped in a dark and scary place.
PTSD is a reaction that stems from a trauma. The most common image that many of us call to mind is that of a combat soldier. Our soldier has been overseas, faced combat and is now facing a series of adjustment issues as he or she acclimates to life at home. One of the more common stereotypes that come to mind is a combat veteran having a reaction to fireworks. While yes, the noise of the seasonal display can absolutely trigger memories of traumatic events faced overseas, many veterans face far more commonplace challenges. (1)
Fifteen months of carnage in Iraq had left the 29-year-old debilitated by post-traumatic stress disorder. But despite his doctor’s urgent recommendation, the Army failed to send him to a Warrior Transition Unit for help. The best the Department of Veterans Affairs could offer was 10-minute therapy sessions — via videoconference. (2). The results of the failure to provide treatment led to a time in jail for this veteran.
The week before the 4th of July and the week after is a tense time for military veterans with post-traumatic stress disorder, some of whom might be startled by the celebratory fireworks.
“Some of the veterans I treat say it’s ironic that we have a holiday celebrating the freedoms they helped fight for, but parts of it can be terrifying for them,” Catherine Coppolillo said. (3)
Despite efforts to reduce the stigma and other barriers faced by veterans seeking psychological counseling, encouraging new work is being done to change this. Since 2011, some of that work was conducted in classrooms at William James College, a small school located west of Boston. William James College claims it is the only U.S. psychology graduate school focused on training veterans as counselors.
“If you talk to most vets, they want to talk to people who have had the same sets of experiences,” Robert Dingman, the director of military and veterans psychology at the school, recently explained to Reuters. “We don’t believe by any means that only vets can help vets, but we think it’s a good career pathway.” (4)
People often find help by helping others with their issues.
Everyone is dealing with something. Some scars are visible some are not. There are many who have found a way to overcome what many would call a disability. Just know you are not alone, there is a way back. Look for that outstretched helping hand waiting for you.
New PTSD Treatment for Soldiers and Families download
You can have all three. Crowded places, large gatherings and movie theaters have a growing commonality for many.
The shooting tragedy in Aurora, Colorado brought the worst and best of us, once again. We as exceptional Americans have unique qualities that help us in many ways. When confronted with an obstacle someone usually finds away to go overcome it or go over, around, or through it without waiting for a government solution.
There were several named heroes in the Aurora shootings who gave their lives protecting loved ones or friends, just as their were in the field outside of Shanksville, Pennsylvania on 9/11 who brought down plane so it would not hit the Capitol building.
Courage is not the absence of fear. Courage is acting in spite of fear.
There are many named and unnamed heroes who serve and have served in the US Military; they gave the government a blank check to include their lives.
There is a commonality with survivors, victims, heroes, first responders, and witnesses of tragic events or crimes. They all experience emotion. It is possible that each could be diagnosed and treated for the medical condition of a mental illness called PTSD.
PTSD can cause many symptoms. These symptoms can be grouped into three categories:
1. Re-experiencing symptoms:
Flashbacks—reliving the trauma over and over, including physical symptoms like a racing heart or sweating
Re-experiencing symptoms may cause problems in a person’s everyday routine. They can start from the person’s own thoughts and feelings. Words, objects, or situations that are reminders of the event can also trigger re-experiencing.
2. Avoidance symptoms:
Staying away from places, events, or objects that are reminders of the experience
Feeling emotionally numb
Feeling strong guilt, depression, or worry
Losing interest in activities that were enjoyable in the past
Having trouble remembering the dangerous event.
Things that remind a person of the traumatic event can trigger avoidance symptoms. These symptoms may cause a person to change his or her personal routine. For example, after a bad car accident, a person who usually drives may avoid driving or riding in a car.
3. Hyperarousal symptoms:
Being easily startled
Feeling tense or “on edge”
Having difficulty sleeping, and/or having angry outbursts.
Hyperarousal symptoms are usually constant, instead of being triggered by things that remind one of the traumatic events. They can make the person feel stressed and angry. These symptoms may make it hard to do daily tasks, such as sleeping, eating, or concentrating.
It’s natural to have some of these symptoms after a dangerous event. Sometimes people have very serious symptoms that go away after a few weeks. This is called acute stress disorder, or ASD. When the symptoms last more than a few weeks and become an ongoing problem, they might be PTSD. Some people with PTSD don’t show any symptoms for weeks or months.
It is true most people would not want to think of PTSD as medical condition called a mental illness because of the Stigma attached the words mental illness.
PTSD and other the medical conditions of a mental illness are common and treatable. If you or someone you know experience any of the symptoms please call your Doctor.
When you are confronted with an obstacle you can or someone can help you find away to go overcome it or go over, around, or through it.
Fear is okay and often healthy. Having some anxiety can be okay. Fear and anxiety can be debilitating if left unchecked. Have the courage to overcome.
As the daughter of a Veteran, a military spouse, and a VA nurse, Debbie knows the toll that deployments can take on a loved one. Growing up, her father deployed multiple times. She noticed that whenever he came back home, he always seemed a little different.
“He got gradually more and more angry, and we didn’t really understand what was going on,” Debbie says. She and her sister felt disconnected from their father, and his change in personality started to affect their upbringing. “He wasn’t any fun anymore, and he didn’t like to go to crowded places,” Debbie recalls. “He would startle really easily.”
More recently, when Debbie’s husband Jim –– a member of the U.S. Air Force — went on numerous deployments throughout his career, she noticed a familiar pattern each time he returned. “[Jim] started getting more and more upset. He abused drugs and alcohol for a little while,” Debbie says. “It was really scary, because we had at that point three little kids that were under 6 years old in the house. I knew what it was like to be a kid going through that.”
Recovery for the whole family
As Debbie was dealing with her husband’s change in behavior, her father began talking to fellow Veterans about their experiences. Hearing similar stories from others helped him realize that he wasn’t alone. It also allowed him to help Debbie and Jim.
“When [my father] saw Jim start having trouble, he was very supportive,” Debbie says. Her father encouraged Jim to make a change for the sake of his wife and their kids — as Debbie explains, to “take the steps that I wasn’t strong enough to take.”
“When [Jim] realized that his whole family was carrying the burden, that really made a big difference,” Debbie says. “Once he started getting help, I think it surprised him how quickly he turned things around. He’s doing much better now.”
Working with VA counselors has helped improve their marriage and strengthen Jim’s relationship with their children. “That has been really helpful for my children to understand what PTSD is — how it affects you,” he says.
This month, we celebrate Father’s Day and the impact that fathers can have in our lives. For Debbie, her father’s decision to seek help for his mental health challenges became instrumental in helping her husband get treatment. It’s allowed Jim to resolve the tensions in his marriage and become a better parent for their children.
“It’s not about courage,” Debbie says. “It’s about being smart [and] doing the smart thing — not just the brave thing.”
Relating to civilians was a challenge for Schuyler after he got out of the Army. He felt on edge, and sometimes he had trouble managing his frustration. He didn’t believe he had PTSD, but he knew something wasn’t right. Learning he had a traumatic brain injury led him to VA and Vet Center resources that helped him turn his life around.
Army Veteran Ricardo Martinez meets with Whole Health Coach, Rossyvette Harrington.
April 7, 2021
Combat Veterans are known for their ability to respond quickly and decisively, but Army Veteran, Ricardo Martinez found himself facing an internal threat that required a Whole Health approach to attack the enemy of Post-Traumatic Stress Disorder (PTSD).
For more than a year, the Iraqi War Veteran isolated himself; and during that time he lost six people he cared about to COVID-19. “Everything got pushed down,” said Martinez, who served in the Army for six years, including time serving in the 82nd Airborne Division. Even trips to the park with his young daughter were off the table, as Martinez struggled to manage his condition on his own. Depression was ruining Martinez’s life, and he knew it.
Studies have shown that male Veterans with PTSD are more likely to report marital or relationship problems, higher levels of parenting problems, and generally poorer family adjustment than Veterans without PTSD. VA offers the kind of treatment and support that can bridge the gap between isolation and living a full life.
Finally, his fears of losing his wife and daughter prompted him to seek help at the Lovell Federal Health Care Center (FHCC) in North Chicago, Illinois for treatment of his PTSD.
For Martinez, this was the fourth time he entered the PTSD program, but this time he knew he would do whatever it took to heal. This time around, he was supported by Whole Health Coach, Rossyvette Harrington, and he quickly recognized it could make the difference. “Whole Health is lifting me up,” Martinez said. “Before, I just kept quitting. Whole Health gives me more resources. All you have to do is ask. You think there’s no one there to listen, but there is.”
“I’m open-minded,” Martinez said several weeks after he started his treatment and embraced the Whole Health approach. “Let’s try this. It’s up to me to see what I want to work on first, and I like that you go at your own pace.”
Lovell FHCC is the first and only fully integrated Department of Veterans Affairs and Department of Defense (Navy) health care facility, serving military patients and their families, and Veterans in Southeast Wisconsin and Northeast Illinois. It has implemented the Whole Health system across the hospital.
Whole Health is a proactive approach to health care which equips, empowers and treats Veterans; allowing them to discover what matters most in their lives. “What I find most fulfilling about the Whole Health approach to care and Whole Health Coaching is offering patients the opportunity to tell their story,” Harrington said. “When our patients feel heard, they are empowered to take charge of their health and begin working towards wellness.”
Martinez used the Live Whole Health App to complete a Personal Health Inventory (PHI), a primary tool in Whole Health which offers the Veteran guidance to determine what’s important to you and what you want your health for. To fully understand what he wanted his health for, he worked on formulating his Mission, Aspiration and Purpose (MAP) and keeps that in the forefront of his mind. Martinez’s goal, the reason he wants his health, is to be a “better person, father, son, brother and husband.”
Of eight components of health and well-being, Martinez decided to first focus on the “power of the mind.” He practices exercises to help him relax, let go of his anxiety and pay attention to his heart rate and breathing. This, in turn, has helped him control his blood pressure. He started practicing meditation and mindful thinking several times a day using tools he can access through the Live Whole Health app on his phone.
Martinez has also been dealing with chronic pain from an accident that occurred while he was on active duty; and he plans to use Whole Health resources to learn about pain management and “ease off” some of his pain medications.
Martinez is reminded of his MAP every time his lock screen pops up on his phone and he sees the picture of his daughter hugging him and smiling at her first Chicago Cubs baseball game. The photo was taken the summer before he left home to get treatment and “it was one of my best days,” he said. “You always see the picture. It’s always a motivation.”
He says his ideal future is simple. “It’s being alive,” he said. “I want to see my daughter walk down the aisle.”
For a combat Veteran who served in the 82nd Airborne Division, seeking help was “a feat in itself,” Martinez said. Attacking the enemy of PTSD and isolation has been one of the most successful battles of Martinez’s life, and he is grateful to have found this path for himself and his family.
“I want other Veterans to benefit,” he said. He can see himself in the future as a Whole Health peer facilitator, a role in the Whole Health system that allows Veterans to work with Veterans to create their own pathway to health and well-being.
Many of us who are caring for others, some by design, some by default forget to add ourselves. If our batteries are low we have little power to help others. If our health fails we then could become unable to help ourselves never mind help the people would depend on us.
Care giving creates stress which if not addressed can be debilitating. People who have severe medical, emotional or mental health conditions are pouring out their lives to people they trust and often place their recovery in the hands of the very same people. On one hand it is an awesome responsibility while at the same time being very fulfilling. Success or failures are powerful emotions that affect each care giver.
My grandmother had an awesome gift of a green thumb. She would take plants that appeared to be a lost cause, dead and would patiently nurture and personally care for each plant back to blossoming health. She never accepted anything from anyone other than a thank you for reviving their plants. To me she was a good example of how to help the hurting to heal.
An all too often scenario is an adult who was involved in or witnessed traumatic relationship experiences while they were young the most destructive of which is known as attachment trauma. Attachment trauma occurs when the person to whom a child looks for comfort and safety becomes the direct source of his or her fear and distress. The reasons why the person who created the fear and distress are long and include learned behavior and medical issues such as a mental illness which were not properly addressed creating a cycle.
If the care giver is not careful the very actions that they are helping others address become part of their own actions. The care giver can become desensitized. The care giver who fails to practice self care can become an unwitting victim and can actually do more damage than they purport to help.
Some questions asked by people I help are: “Am I worthy of love?”
“Am I capable of getting my needs met?” “Who can I trust or rely upon during times of my distress? “What does real love look like?” Makes one stop and think. How would you answer these questions? The answers depend upon your experiences and how healthy you are.
It makes no difference how long one has been hurting, if one is willing to do the work healing is available. Anytime is a good time to start…the sooner the better.
Depression and Post-Traumatic Stress are real and treatable consequences of witnessing trauma first or second hand.
Some signs to look for are: household bills piling up, reluctance to leave the house, losing interest in normal daily activities such as preparing meals or personal hygiene, marked changes in behavior, increased listlessness, not wanting to get dressed, long sleep hours or no sleep, problems with focusing or making decisions, restlessness, easily annoyed, quick anger, unexplained physical problems, even thoughts of suicide.
I urge every care giver to evaluate their own health and use the support services of other care givers keeping their own batteries freshly charged
Finding healthy outside activities unrelated to care giving or work are very effective ways to healthy minds, bodies and spirit. A healthy mind, body, and spirit foster the same in others, producing hope. Hope and faith go together to promote healing. A healthy person is a blessing to others.
This week, in the midst of the coronavirus panic, I would love to share with you a triumphant story; a story of hope lost but found again, a story of sorrow turned to joyful purpose, a story of deep desperation ultimately redeemed with steadfast love.
It seems that throughout history, and especially after September 11th, we, as a people have been overcome with concern and grief over devastating wartime injuries and loss of beloved life. In the last 10 years, the silent injuries of the Afghan and Iraq wars have come to light, particularly PTSD (post traumatic stress disorder) and TBI (traumatic brain injury). These emotionally and physically crushing injuries hit close to home for many of us today, as they do my family.
My story today is about my brave Wounded Warrior son-in-law, Chris. On July 4, 2007, Chris was a sergeant in the US Army doing his third tour of duty in Iraq when he suffered a deep head injury. He was subsequently diagnosed with PTSD and TBI, and in February 2013, after years of insufficient and unsuccessful medical treatment, he was medically retired from the Army. Chris loved being a soldier, it was his identity, and he intended the Army to be his life career. But because of his injury, after 13 years of devoted service, he found himself starting over; a civilian for the first time as an adult and with debilitating symptoms of a war injury most knew little about.
As a mom, I will always remember that first terrified phone call from my daughter, Tiffany, the day Chris was injured. And the subsequent calls, updates, prayer requests, tearfully needing advice and a shoulder to cry on in the hard, painful, frustrating days, months, and years following.
After initial treatment, Chris’s injuries were not considered life threatening. And because the lingering effects of a traumatic brain injury were not yet understood, he and Tiffany found it difficult to obtain treatment that relieved his symptoms. There were frustrating days, months, even years of body-dropping headaches, severe pain and depression, vision and comprehension issues, disillusionment, fear and super charged anger. Tiffany spent months researching and writing letters to government officials advocating approval for leading-edge civilian treatments and medical trials in the absence of suitable military care.
During this time, my husband and I lived on Kwajalein, an island in the Marshall Islands, where my husband worked. As the strain on Chris’s emotional health and on their marriage became unbearable, we pulled together as a family the best we could. I journeyed the 14,000-mile round trip home as often as possible. Tiffany dug in and committed to seeing this through, not realizing how many more painful years they would need to endure.
In 2013, after Chris was medically retired, they moved from Ft Bragg, North Carolina to Oxford, Ohio to attend Miami University. Tiffany was accepted into their Farmer School of Business with a minor in social work. It was during this time, advocating for Chris’s care at the Cincinnati VA that she realized the VA’s critical shortage and need for properly trained social workers to coordinate care for these wounded veterans. Through this experience, she also realized that had her wounded Vietnam veteran father, suffering from severe PTSD, been able to get the aftercare he needed, he might still be alive today.
This beautiful-souled girl then changed her major to social work and began studying to become an advocate for our country’s veterans and wounded warriors! Story here.
Years down the road, besides being her husband’s greatest support and advocate, Tiffany has her master’s in social work, is a Licensed Clinical Social Worker (LCSW), and dedicates her hours and skills to the Dallas VA Hospital facility. She has spent much time working with homeless veterans as well as those in their hospital in-patient substance abuse and outpatient mental health programs. Her goal is to actually write the programs designed to help our country’s veterans live a better quality of life.
As for Chris, the last 7 years have held wild ups and downs, periods of hopeless, deep depression and times that I feared for his and Tiffany’s lives. As a mother, there were a few years I stayed right at Jesus’ feet in desperate prayer for their safety. But, because of Tiffany’s continued strength of character, hope for her husband and their future, a good prayer support team, and the blessing of a few, caring individuals, they persevered and experienced periodic small steps forward that kept them going.
Their 18 months in Oxford, Ohio were some of their darkest days with Chris struggling greatly, emotionally and physically. However, in 2014, they moved to Texas where Tiffany began her Master’s program and internship at the Dallas VA Hospital. Thanks to a caring, creative counselor, Chris was able to enroll and finally complete classes for his bachelor’s degree and begin a new career. This was short lived, however, as he was unable to sustain the stiff office atmosphere of the job.
You see, Chris was a military police, used to having authority and being out and about – not trapped for hours behind a desk doing paperwork, staring at a computer, or having a boss micro managing him. Coupled with the lasting affects of a deep brain injury, for Chris, extended administrative work was simply not possible. And the struggle began again.
There is so much more wrapped up within this story, the deep desperation, the engulfing soul-grieving anniversary days of lost battle buddies and brothers, the nightmares of reliving unimaginable experiences, the hopelessness of trying to fit back into peaceful society after the war torn world he knew, the hopeless advice from well-meaning but uninformed individuals, the one-after-another medical and professional setbacks. The alcohol abuse trying to stop the pain. And more. Indeed, so much more, in the lives of wounded veterans everywhere.
There are so many sorrow-laced stories of wounded veterans these days. Sorrow-laced because of their painful journeys and inadequate medical care, yes, but also because so little people find the time to truly care and step up to help.
But you can also find many uplifting stories of those who found hope and healing because when they lost all hope, they had someone get in the trenches with them. And stay in the trenches with them as long as need be. No matter how hard it got. No matter how hopeless it seemed. They had a tribe of caring, committed people to pull them through.
And thank you, Jesus, my amazing son-in-law is one of those!
On March 13, 2020, after 7 long years, my daughter describes as, “more pain than I knew we could endure, and moments where I wondered if we/he would survive. But we somehow did. And along the way, he found purpose again; serving a mission we are both so proud to be a part of. Today, Chris officially became a VA Police Officer. It’s been a hell of a ride the past 7 years, but man this moment makes it so worth it.”
Yes, today I witnessed my son-in-law, Chris, after 7 long, pain-filled years, finally step triumphantly up and out of his injury battle and into his new purpose and calling as a VA Police Officer, a job and a mission he is so proud to be a part of!
Chris will join Tiffany at our local VA, ministering to and serving our veterans and heroes who just need someone to care for them. As a wounded Warrior himself, Chris will serve with compassion and honor, as does Tiffany, whose veteran father died in 2001, still running from the emotional effects of his wartime injuries.
And one other bright spot here, after many tough years of trying unsuccessfully to have a baby, Tiffany and Chris became foster parents and 3 years ago adopted their sweet, beautiful daughter, and the joy of our lives, Maddux-Grace, who had the distinct honor of pinning the new police badge on her Daddy.
What a beautiful story of hurting and healing, trying and failing, and ultimately steadfast love leading to triumph!
Today, thankfully, the medical experts know much more about PTSD and TBI than in years past and can quickly begin an effective treatment program in a wounded veteran. There is still a long way to go, especially when treating the emotional side of these injuries, but with more, experienced, caring individuals like Tiffany and Chris serving our veterans, we will have more stories of hope and healing.
Yes, there is hope. And there is beautiful life amid the sorrow and panic. Let’s all take time to find it and renew our souls to keep going, one positive step, and one positive story after another.
And who knows, maybe you’ll find a new purpose and ministry to step into too!
Since as far back as I can remember, I’ve always wanted a dog. But growing up on the streets has a way of depriving you of a lot of things that other people take for granted, so a dog was never on my list of necessities. It was just something I dreamt of.
Bouncing between broken homes and shelters before entering foster care, I never had the opportunity to have a dog. And as an adult, it wasn’t high on my priority list either. I became too wrapped up in trying to survive. No, scratch that, STRUGGLING to survive that I didn’t have time to even think about a furbaby.
Most foster youth and former foster youth lack resources and the parental guidance that it takes to become a successful and productive member of society in today’s world. It’s sad, but it’s true. We need more mentors, foster parents, friends and family to make it through this journey we call life. It’s one of the main reasons why you see so many youth branded as a “statistic” or labeled as “troubled” because there are not enough resources and support. Period. Had there been more people to reach out and offer me guidance, protect me when I needed it, support my transition into adulthood or been someone that I could talk to and ask advice from, I would have avoided so much pain, drama and a hundred different and treacherous paths. Paths that most foster youth succumb too. Why? Because pain, neglect, confusion, PTSD, Depression, lack of family members and years of boiling trauma can break anyone.
It takes a special kind of person to be there for you when no one else has, take your hand (or paw) and lift you up when everyone else let you down. It takes time, patience and unconditional love to heal anyone or in this case, any creature. Which brings me to my point, I spent the majority of my life wishing for a family that never came. It wasn’t until I was able to grow up and create a family of my own, through friends, co-workers my husband and my daughter, did I realize that no matter where you come from, You are capable of being loved. EVERYONE deserves a second chance. So can I have a drum roll please…Everyone MEET DOTTIE!
Dottie needs a second chance. She is a pit bull mix and desperately in need of a loving home. I had the opportunity to spend time with Dottie today through the Front Street Animal Shelter – City of Sacramento“Doggie Day Out” program. If you haven’t heard of it yet, it’s basically the coolest thing since sliced bread and helps so many animals find loving homes. You basically “borrow” a shelter dog and go on an outing. You can take the shelter pups hiking, jogging or even have them spend the night at your house. The idea behind the project is that these dogs have more exposure to loving individuals, burn off energy and spend some time away from the shelter. You can take pictures, leaves notes, advice or tips and hopefully all of this helps get the doggie get adopted.
When I first heard about this program I instantly thought that it was an amazing idea but never acted upon those “wanting to help instincts” Today, I said no more and decided to give it a try and honestly it was the best thing I could have done for myself and for Dottie. I’ll tell you why.
1. Animals are therapeutic, they have a way of making you feel better.
2. It motivated me to get out of the house, lately I’ve been a lazy slob.
3. I felt so much better after doing it (and so did she) Physically, mentally, emotionally. It was great!
For the past while now, I have been struggling with depression and have been trying to figure out a way to stay motivated and positive while impacting others and making a difference. I usually find that volunteering helps keep me distracted because let’s be real, when I have too much time to myself I overthink EVERYTHING and can’t escape my past. I need to stay busy. Which is why I’ve been excited about that writing workshop for foster youth I’ll be hosting! And now, more recently “Doggie Day Out” I’ve decided that at least once a week I will be at the Front Street Shelter “borrowing” dogs until I can have one of my own. Until then, check out my latest adventure with Dottie.
Let thy tender mercies come unto me, that I may live: for thy law is my delight. Psalms 119:77
We need GOD’S TENDER MERCIES TO LIVE CONTINUALLY.
He did not call us to death. Rather, God called us forth from death and brought us into Life so that we may live eternally. We need to always keep “sin” in a dead state, and to do this we need God’s mercy. What does keeping sin in a dead state mean? It means to forsake the works of death immediately in our lives.
For the wages of sin is death; but the gift of God is eternal life through Jesus Christ our Lord. Romans 6:23
Now the works of the flesh are manifest, which are these; Adultery, fornication, uncleanness, lasciviousness,
Envyings, murders, drunkenness, revellings, and such like: of the which I tell you before, as I have also told you in time past, that they which do such things shall not inherit the kingdom of God. Galatians 5:19-21
To be carnally/fleshly minded is death, therefore this also needs to be kept in a dead state. For to be carnally minded is death; but to be spiritually minded is life and peace. Romans 8:6
If we hate our brethren, he is a murderer. The Scriptures says there is no eternal life for such a person. Where there is no Life, there deathis present. Whosoever hateth his brother is a murderer: and ye know that no murderer hath eternal life abiding in him. 1 John 3:15.
For mercy to remain upon us, we must perfect our works before God. If not, we are good as dead to Him. And unto the angel of the church in Sardis write; These things saith he that hath the seven Spirits of God, and the seven stars; I know thy works, that thou hast a name that thou livest, and art dead. Be watchful, and strengthen the things which remain, that are ready to die: for I have not found thy works perfect before God. Revelation 3:1-2
If we aren’t found in the first love, we are in a dead state. Falling away from First Loveis referred to beingasleep. Hence St.Paul writes, Wherefore he saith, Awake thou that sleepest, and arise from the dead, and Christ shall give thee light. Ephesians 5:14.
If we are not in the Spirit, we are in God’s sight dead. This was why God asked prophet Ezekiel to prophesy to the wind looking at the Valley of Bones. When the prophet did so, breath came into them and in no time the Valley of Dead Bones revived into an exceeding great army.
So I prophesied as I was commanded: and as I prophesied, there was a noise, and behold a shaking, and the bones came together, bone to his bone.
And when I beheld, lo, the sinews and the flesh came up upon them, and the skin covered them above: but there was no breath in them.
Then said he unto me, Prophesy unto the wind, prophesy, son of man, and say to the wind, Thus saith the Lord God; Come from the four winds, O breath, and breathe upon these slain, that they may live.
So I prophesied as he commanded me, and the breath came into them, and they lived, and stood up upon their feet, an exceeding great army. Ezekiel 37:7-10. May God help us to preserve His mercies in our lives!