Managing Depression During the Holidays

With the holiday season upon us, many of us push harder than ever by keeping ourselves busy and believing we are really just fine. That is until we stop for long enough to realize how exhausted we really are. Many feel they can’t afford to slow down, but at times like this, it is more important that we take time to replenish our inner resources. According to experts, more people become depressed or anxious during the holidays than any other time of year, due to an increase in demands, family issues, being unable to manage expectations and also increasing financial worries and wanting to fulfill your Christmas list for family and friends. This can lead to feeling overwhelmed by multiple responsibilities, not to mention your monthly bills.
FAMILY ISSUES:
The holidays are synonymous with family, so any and / all family related issues may come to the forefront during this time such as loss, dysfunction, addiction, disconnection, abuse, separation, estrangement, divorce, and financial issues. If you are someone who is already working on managing your depression, this will be an additional emotional roller-coaster and burden. This is something that won’t go away on its own without effective communication, love, and support.
Unfortunately, when we get wound up too tight, it can be hard to figure out how to unwind, but I’d like to share some simple ways to relax that can be beneficial for your mental and emotional well-being and make your days a lot more enjoyable and comfortable. My suggestions include rest, laughter exercise, plenty of water and healthy eating.
Sometimes it is hard to admit that we need to rest, but it’s a simple truth. When you sleep, not only are you physically recharging your system, you are also giving your mind and eyes time to rest as well. For those very reasons, it is extremely helpful to establish a regular sleep routine. By sticking to it as much as you can, you should be rested and ready to face those busy days ahead. Even when you aren’t actually sleeping, you can still rest your mind by finding some pleasant activity to do for short periods, like reading a book, playing a puzzle game, working on a favorite hobby, or just relaxing, listening to some soft music. Music is a powerful way of loosening up and releasing built up stress.
As for my next suggestion, many have probably heard it before. If you want to relax, find reasons to laugh. Laughter oxygenates your blood and relieves stress, which in turn boosts your immune response. It naturally improves your mood and even burns off a few calories as well! In order to get your daily dose of laughter, enjoy a pleasant visit with friends, read a funny book, or watch shows on the television that make you laugh. I guarantee that a good 15 minutes of laughing will leave you feeling relaxed and refreshed.
And let us not forget about exercise. Exercise helps boost your endorphin levels and is good for your heart and blood vessels. Even if your schedule is busy, try to set aside time for daily exercise, even if it’s just 15 minutes. Walking around the block several times during lunch, making a short dash to the local park, or even putting music on at home and dancing through a few songs will do wonders for your body and mind!

The 1927 Christmas Day Shootout

side_2It was a night the town wanted to forget.

The end to a year of tension in the small city — a place that dreamed of growing into an industrial magnet — that boiled over into violence.

In less than 10 minutes, five men lay dead in the street; another would die later from his wounds. Twenty-six children became fatherless. In a parked car 150 feet away, a little boy cowered in the cold as an exchange of shotgun blasts at close quarters shattered a window and blew away the car’s radiator cap.

It was Christmas night 1927 in South Pittsburg, Tenn., and the violence was all but inevitable.
This deadly clash, fueled by politics and a fight over attempts to unionize the town’s largest employer, will be commemorated today on the site of the shootout with a historic marker memorializing those killed and recognizing an event that for decades was spoken of in hushed tones or, most of the time, not at all.

In the mid-1920s, company owner Henry Wetter wanted to operate his stove factory on Cedar Avenue as a nonunion shop, but many of the company’s employees and four local unions wanted it to remain unionized, according to a 2004 Tennessee Historical Quarterly article written by Dr. Barbara S. Haskew and Dr. Robert B. Jones III., both formerly of Middle Tennessee State University.

Rather than give in, Wetter closed the factory’s doors to union workers at the end of 1926 and surrounded the plant with barbed wire.

Inside, a skeleton crew of nonunion workers labored under the angry eyes of strikers outside on Cedar Avenue.

In the year that followed, Wetter’s decision caused the local economy to suffer. Residents faced increasing fear, anger and picket lines. Many chose sides. Republican Marion County Sheriff Washington Coppinger led one group of union sympathizers. Ben Parker, the town’s night marshal, led the other faction.

In the fall of 1927, the Wetter company posted a man with field glasses on the roof to identify union workers who passed by the shop in violation of an injunction issued that summer prohibiting union supporters from “picketing and patrolling” near the plant.

South Pittsburg Mayor Alan Kelly, representing Wetter, prosecuted some 70 union men for defying provisions of the injunction, convicting 11 of them.

The injunction was dissolved at the end of November, but workers still were locked out when Christmas came, with only strike benefits to provide for their families.

The split was visible in the two community Christmas trees — one erected by the city and the other raised by union supporters. Union and nonunion men armed themselves and nonunion workers were escorted to Wetter by armed company guards.

On Christmas morning, a group of more than a dozen angry men accosted Kelly on the street, demanding that the guards and strikebreakers be disarmed and threatening to do it themselves.
Emotions ran high through the day, and a deputy saw city Marshal Ewing Smith push a union member and draw a gun on him. When the deputy tried to intervene, Smith and other city officers, including Ben Parker, aimed their weapons at him.

The deputy notified Coppinger of the incident.

Around 9 p.m., Coppinger and three other deputies arrived and encountered the “city gang” at the intersection of Cedar Avenue and Third Street. A group of men with shotguns jumped out of a car and joined the city officers, among them some Wetter guards.

Coppinger told the group he wanted no trouble but said he would have to arrest the officers who had drawn their guns on his deputy.

In moments, shotguns fired and history was made.

Onlookers reported that there was an initial hail of gunfire, a lull, then an endless exchange of fire as the city and county forces blasted away at each other, separated by a bare 30 feet. More than 100 shells were found at the scene, and gunshots pocked the brick of nearby buildings and shattered store windows.

The governor called the National Guard to restore order.

And the city buried its dead. The shootout claimed the lives of Coppinger, his deputy Lorenza A. Hennessey, Parker, Smith, Wetter guard Oran H. LaRowe, and South Pittsburg Police Chief and county deputy James Connor.

Twenty or more men were believed to be involved in the shootout and at least four were injured but survived. Those receiving slight wounds were, John Holden, Lafayette Nelson, and Charles Tidman. As a guard against other trouble that might arise between citizens as a result of Sunday night’s street battle, the city authorities were soon in touch with Governor Horton who rushed to the scene troops of the Tennessee National Guard, under Lieut. Col. Bushhotlz who at once took up their work of patrolling the streets of the city.

   

A Father Chooses Compassion When Confronting His Son’s Bully!

 

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A father in Houston, Texas, is being applauded for choosing kindness instead of anger when confronting the boy who’d been bullying his son at school. Their heartening story has been shared thousands of times, and now the father says the two boys are closer than ever.

Last week, Aubrey Fontenot uploaded a Twitter video of himself taking the former bully, whose name is Tamarion for a ride in an effort to get to the bottom of what was going on between he and Fontenot’s son, Jordon. Fontenot, a local tattoo artist, said he simply wanted to know why his son was being picked on. That’s when he got the answer he was not expecting.

It turns out Tamarion was himself being teased by other kids for wearing dirty clothes.

“I asked ‘Who? You’re big, who is picking on you?’ He [Tamarion] said ‘All the other kids, they make fun of me,’” Fontenot told KHOU, recalling their conversation.

A phone call to the boy’s mother revealed the family had fallen on hard times and was experiencing homelessness. Fontenot said he knew he had to do something and later treated Tamarion to a shopping trip, buying him new clothes and shoes.

‘We have no clue what these children are going thru these days because a lot of us just don’t care,” Fontenot wrote in an Oct. 17 Facebook post. “And this isn’t a uncommon story for a lot of people .. so I spent a lot of my day yesterday by shopping and teaching this young man about self respect. Integrity. Morals. Confidence. And other things that consist of going from a troubled youth to a great man

“We all come from different backgrounds but we all share the same goal of success,” he added.

A once timid Tamarion walked out of the store with confidence, and the two shared plenty of laughs, even singing a song on the way home, as seen in Fontenot’s heartwarming video.

The life lesson didn’t end there. The doting father posted a video the following day of Tamarion and Jordan sitting face to face, albeit awkwardly, to hash out their issues. The boys didn’t say much to one another at first.

“Speak your mind, son,” the tattoo artist says in the video. “This is a meeting. We’re having a meeting.”

Once the camera was off, Fontenot said the kids talked things over and were fast friends in no time, even playing video games together. The father said even he learned something from watching the two.

“It taught me something. I was angry at first, then I said let me try something different,” Fontenot told KHOU.

Fontenot has since launched a GoFundMe campaign to benefit Tamarion and his family, who’ve been staying at a hotel. So far, the page has raised over $24,000 in donations, more than exceeding its original goal of $7,000.

Love and compassion is always so much better.  We never know what other people are going through.

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The Painting

It was a beautiful fall morning. The brightly colored leaves were falling as the wind gently blew through the trees with a whistling sound. Sindy awakened from a deep sleep, panting and perspiring holding her head in her hands. As she sat up in bed, immediately her eyes widened as they searched around the room as if to make sure an intruder hadn’t entered. Her husband Alexander, whom she called Alex for short rolled over in bed asking, “Another bad dream?” She started holding her chest, yes, but this time, he is getting closer and closer to me. Honey, you’re not going to believe this, but it’s almost as if he is someone I should know. It’s just too weird! Grabbing her robe off the back of the chair by the bed, she begins putting it on, while saying, I don’t understand these dreams, but I do remember as a teenager having some over the top ones and talking to my mother about them. Mother would always tell me I had a very vivid imagination and would just leave it at that. Never once did she question me about the details of my dreams or ask how they made me feel. I wish she would have, that way I could have opened up and told her how frightened they made me feel and how the man in my dreams looked so familiar as if I should know him. Before walking out of the bedroom, she mumbles under her breath, no child should feel like they’re being stalked by a grown man.
Alexander and Sindy Langston had been together since college. They married right after graduating from University and had been married four years when their lives would suddenly take a turn for the Supernatural. Their love for one another was something out of a storybook, but one year ago Sindy was involved in a horrible vehicle accident where a drunk driver ran into her lane and struck the left side of the car as she tried swerving to keep from being hit head-on. She was taken to the hospital with a head injury and in serious condition, while the drunk driver was treated at the scene with minor bruises and abrasions. After arriving at the hospital, Sindy suffered cardiac arrest and was clinically dead for 5 minutes. The doctors worked on her and were able to shock her heart back to a normal rhythm. All medical staff said it was a miracle she survived the accident. Alex sat by her side day and night, talking to her, holding her hand, praying over her and making sure when his breakdown moments came, he left the room to cry and did not cry in the room with her. Sindy and Alex’s parents flew in to be of support, and both families were amazing and what this young couple needed to assure Sindy’s recovery.

Miraculously, Sindy made a full recovery and was released after spending six months in the hospital and undergoing therapy. Alex took his beautiful bride home accompanied by all four parents, but they would not expect nor have any idea of what they were about to endure or come face to face with. With Sindy’s head injury and the fact that she actually died and was clinically dead for 5 minutes, she had actually traveled to the other side. She came in contact with friends, family members and also people whom she never met who had passed away long ago and also recently. She would soon come to remember these things as time went on.
That first night went off without a hitch as Alex, his parents Rob and June, and also Sindy’s parents Terrence and Willa were there helping out since Alex had to return to work the next day where he was the CEO of a major Telecommunications company in the city. The second day would be a little trying as when morning breaks, Sindy awakens to find herself face to face with her grandmother Lannie, her mother’s mother who passed away 10 years prior. Her grandmother was standing at the foot of the bed; she was alone in the room because Alex had already left for work. Her grandmother was only there for a few seconds, but during those brief seconds, she telepathically told Sindy that she would always watch over her, not to be afraid of her new gift, embrace it, help others and that she loves her very much, then was gone. Sindy couldn’t understand what her grandmother meant and thought it was associated with her head injury. She didn’t say anything about it but it stayed on her mind and she was truly confused. As days, months and a year went by, Sindy recovered and the couple went on with their lives.

Sindy, a licensed Real Estate Broker, ran and operated her own real estate company in which she was very passionate about knowing she was helping people realize their dreams of becoming homeowners. The couple had drifted back into the lives they lived before the accident and were spending time with friends, enjoying going to the Symphony, Theater, out to restaurants and their true love, the Art Galleries. There was a particular gallery named “The Valiant Art Gallery” they frequented quite a bit and had a great rapport with the owner. The couple enjoyed standing to look at the paintings and showing one another their favorite and saying one day they would own one. Sindy fell in love with a particular painting of a handsome young man with dark raven colored hair and hazel eyes standing in a field of flowers with trees behind him, wearing a black trench coat. This was the painting she wanted badly and told her husband how much it would mean to her to buy the painting one day. They talked about it and he told her that maybe one day they could afford it, and left it at that.

A few months later, Alex came home with something huge, wrapped in beautiful paper. He gave it to her and told her to open it. To her surprise, it was the painting she admired of the man standing in the field! He told her he bought the artwork just to cheer her and she deserved it.

Shocked and happy, as she had admired this painting for months and expressed her love for it. She raved over what she called the chiseled features of the gorgeous dark raven haired man in the black trench coat. There was just something about a masculine man standing in a field of flowers with a backdrop of trees. She couldn’t take her eyes off of the painting each time she visited the gallery. It seemed like the painting drew her in and she could feel some sort of energy coming from it. As she stared at the painting she began to remember as a teen dreaming of a man that seemed to be in love with her and possibly even stalking her. This beautiful man looked just like that man from her dreams, but was it actually him? She was finding herself excited and it gave her a sudden rush, and her woman parts began to pulsate.

This was the surprise of a lifetime and she was so excited at the fact that number one, Alex remembered she loved this painting. Number two, he was willing to shell out $20 thousand dollars just to cheer her up and number three, it showed just how much he does listen to her, loves her and would do anything to make her happy. Sindy walked over to her husband, eyes still transfixed on the man, suddenly heard a voice say, “I have searched the world over for you and have finally found you, my love.” It took her back and for a second she thought Alex had said this but couldn’t make sense of why he would say something like that; furthermore, the accent was British. Still staring and gazing at the painting, she said, “Alex what are you talking about?” He said, I didn’t say anything sweetheart, I am just taking at the moment and relishing in your beauty, happiness and my love for you.

Finally able to break away from the painting, she smiled, wrapped her arms around her husband’s neck, thanking him for everything as she gently kissed his lips. She pulled back saying, this has to be one of the happiest moments of my life, and how you managed to keep it a secret from me, I will never know. Their parents had left a week earlier and this was something Sindy wished her mother could experience with her since she had expressed her love for the painting many times during their lengthy conversations.
Alex went to work hanging the painting for Sindy as she stared at it in deep thought, playing decorator as she told her husband where to hang it and after what seemed like 20 minutes or so, they both agreed to hang it in their living room over the fireplace, with Sindy assuring it was centered properly. Once hung, her eyes lit up as she smiled and took a seat on the sofa so she could continue gazing at it. For a brief second, it seemed to come to life, and she actually thought she saw the flowers, trees and man’s trench coat blowing in the wind! The artist had done an incredible job and she often wondered was this painted from an actual model, or could this man have been a figment of the artist’s imagination? Nevertheless, he still was familiar and she wanted to put her finger on why.
The couple ate dinner, showered and dressed for bed. As they were headed upstairs to bed, Sindy turned and gave the painting one last look and let out a loud gasp. It looked as though the man was no longer in the painting but standing in front of the fireplace. Alex, asking her what was wrong and holding on to her waist, she tells him, oh it was nothing sweetheart, I just had a sudden pain while climbing the stairs. He smiled at her and helped her to bed. Snuggling, the couple made love that night and Alex fell asleep, leaving Sindy in bed trying to find a comfortable spot to sink into, but unable to find one, she soon climbed out of bed and made her way downstairs to the kitchen for a cup of tea.

As she entered the kitchen, she pulled back the kitchen curtain and stood to look out the window at her beautiful backyard and the brightly lit swimming pool. She exhales taking in the beauty as she thinks to herself how blessed she is and grateful for her health, strength, and husband. She then turned and walked over to the cabinet and took a box of tea out and put on a kettle of water. As the kettle began to warm on the stove, she started gazing into the living room at the painting of her gentleman stranger. She must have been standing there a good 5 – 10 minutes when the tea kettle began to whistle, which startled her. After pouring herself a cup of hot water and dropping a tea bag into the cup, she walked into the living room to stare at the painting again. Before long, she starts feeling strange, as if she’s being watched. Brushing it off, she sipped a teaspoon of her tea and sat on the sofa to gather her strength as the feeling grew stronger and there was no doubt she was not alone in the room. Trying to brush the feeling off, she continued drinking her tea, saying to herself, Sindy, you’ve got to pull it together, before everyone around you starts to think you’re cracking up. As she was talking to herself, she heard a voice saying, “Yes knock off the nonsense, you’re not going crazy, you are mine and I’ve traveled through time to reunite with you, my love.” Terrified, she began to look around the room to see if her husband had awakened and was pulling a trick on her, although she knew that wasn’t in his nature to do that sort of a thing, she still gazed around the room.
After not seeing anyone, she took another drink of her hot tea and stared at the painting again, this time, the man was gone from the field of flowers and the wind was blowing through the flowers and trees. She couldn’t move she was stuck on the sofa, paralyzed with fear and she noticed right in front of her a dark mass growing on the hardwood floor, the room grew cold as a portal opened in the floor and a figure manifested itself right in front of her. It was the man from the painting and he was more handsome than in the portrait. His hazel eyes were hypnotizing, his raven curly hair was blowing and the air-conditioning wasn’t on, it was fall and the weather was nice and cool. He was tall, she imagined him to be at least 6 foot 2 and about 185 pounds. His trench coat was fluttering like it was being gently blown in the wind; his face was absolutely flawless with a small thin mustache, as though someone took a chisel and delicately chiseled his beautiful features. Unable to scream or take her eyes off of him, her body became weak and she felt as though she would faint and he glided, not walked over to her and carefully placed his arms around her as to secure her as he stood her up, embracing her with his body. Looking deeply into her eyes as if looking into her soul and she felt every ounce of his energy as he brought his lips to meet hers, kissing her deeply. She could actually feel the warmth of his breath and taste his lips, which were unlike anything she ever tasted before, but she loved it. Memories started flooding back to her that he was the man she dreamt of as a teenager, and he made certain she knew that. It was another place in time when life was simple, but yet beautiful, she and her dark-haired stranger were magically out of their minds in love. She immediately knew there wasn’t a damn thing she could do about her feelings, the flood of emotions were too strong. She was getting ready to give herself to someone she knew in another lifetime and this was almost too much to comprehend. She was paralyzed and taken by his eyes as she was transfixed on his and couldn’t do anything as he guided her hand inside his shirt to touch and feel his chest. He began to stroke her face. She then realized she wanted him in the worst way and wanted him in her world, or she is his? The answer would come much too soon!
The moment was so intense that she was trembling as she suddenly remembered the stranger wasn’t a stranger at all, but her husband in another lifetime. The two were married in the late 1700’s. Their love was not meant to last a lifetime due to Sindy being struck and killed by a horse-driven carriage driven by a drunken stagecoach driver. Her husband at that time was Alexander Crumwald, a wealthy banker. She remembered everything and as he laid her down on the sofa to love her; at that moment her husband of this time, Alex came down the stairs to see where she was, but it was too late! The atmosphere grew even colder; the lights began to flicker as a fog developed in the room. Alexander Crumwald entered her as her present-day husband Alex stared in disbelief and anger but was frozen in his steps, trying to move to save his wife, but he would not be able to save her. His heart was pounding in fear; he could feel the adrenaline rushing through his body. The lights began flickering faster as her mind was still flooded with memories of their past. She and Alexander kissed madly caressing one another, their bodies moving in perfect rhythm, as he smelled her scent, she held onto him as if she were afraid he would leave her again as they reached their peak; and slowly began to fade from the sofa, entering the painting above the fireplace. The couple now embraced in one another’s arms, she wears a long white dress with a sun hat, and he still dressed in the same garments. It was only when Alex was able to move and could not believe what he just witnessed. He screamed out Sindy’s name as he searched the room for her. She would not be found anywhere in the room or house for that matter. He sat on the living room sofa and began to cry and scream, but suddenly heard her soft voice say, “Alex, I have gone home with my true husband, look at the painting and you will see me. I loved our time together, but my true home is with Alexander. Farewell, my love, you will find someone and love again.”

The painting would remain hung in the living room, as Alex filed a missing report on his wife. After remaining in the house another four years. The police never found his wife, it was as if she just disappeared without a trace.

Alex eventually sold the house, destroyed the painting and moved out of state.

WRITTEN BY: JASMINE D. PARKER
10/27/18

They Refused to Leave!

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Heavy rain and flooding are expected to continue throughout the weekend, and local officials said hundreds in areas hit by Florence still need rescue.
Mandatory evacuations were ordered ahead of the storms landfall in parts of North and South Carolina, though many people chose to remain in their homes for reasons ranging from financial concerns and the need to care for pets that they may not have been able to take to some evacuation shelters, some who stayed in their residences told ABC News ahead of the storm.

A 41-year-old mother and her 7-month-old son were killed in Wilmington, North Carolina when a tree fell on their home, officials said. The woman’s husband was injured in the incident and taken to a nearby hospital, according to police.
There have been reported deaths in Wayne, Lenoir & Cumberland Counties.
Those of us on the outside looking in might question, why these people didn’t heed the warning and leave when they were they were advised to.
So many answers; but the most are that they have been through that before and already know the ins and outs and what they should do to remain safe.
Sad as it sounds, but people grow increasingly attached to their belongings and no matter what, don’t want to part with them nor leave them behind, not even in cases of emergencies.

Florence isn’t the first hurricane and certainly won’t be the last. In the event there is another one, hopefully, residents will take measures to evacuate in a timely manner as to not only put their lives in jeopardy but the lives of their pets and first responders rescuing them.

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Depression is a Beast!

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DEPRESSION IS A BEAST!

Depression is a mood disorder that causes a persistent feeling of sadness and loss of interest. Also called “Major Depressive Disorder,” or “Clinical Depression,” it affects how you feel, think and behave and can lead to a variety of emotional and physical problems. You may have trouble doing normal day-to-day activities, and sometimes you may feel as if life isn’t worth living. Feeling as though you’re trapped on the ocean in a dark storm screaming for someone to rescue you before the boat you’re in collapses and sinks to the bottom of the ocean.

More than just about of the blues, depression isn’t a weakness and you can’t simply “snap out” of it. Depression may require long-term treatment. But don’t get discouraged. Most people with depression feel better with medication, psychotherapy or both.

For many people with depression, symptoms usually are severe enough to cause noticeable problems in day-to-day activities, such as work, school, social activities or relationships with others. Some people may feel generally miserable or unhappy without really knowing why.

Symptoms

Although depression may occur only once in your life, people typically have multiple episodes. During these episodes, symptoms occur most of the day, nearly every day and may include:

Feelings of sadness, tearfulness, emptiness or hopelessness
Angry outbursts, irritability or frustration, even over small matters
Loss of interest or pleasure in most or all normal activities, such as sex, hobbies or sports
Sleep disturbances, including insomnia or sleeping too much
Tiredness and lack of energy, so even small tasks take extra effort
Reduced appetite and weight loss or increased cravings for food and weight gain
Anxiety, agitation or restlessness
Slowed thinking, speaking or body movements
Feelings of worthlessness or guilt, fixating on past failures or self-blame
Trouble thinking, concentrating, making decisions and remembering things
Frequent or recurrent thoughts of death, suicidal thoughts, suicide attempts or suicide
Unexplained physical problems, such as back pain or headaches.

Symptoms of depression in older adults

Depression is not a normal part of growing older, and it should never be taken lightly. Unfortunately, depression often goes undiagnosed and untreated in older adults, and they may feel reluctant to seek help. Symptoms of depression may be different or less obvious in older adults, such as:

Memory difficulties or personality changes
Physical aches or pain
Fatigue, loss of appetite, sleep problems or loss of interest in sex — not caused by a medical condition or medication
Often wanting to stay at home, rather than going out to socialize or doing new things
Suicidal thinking or feelings, especially in older men.

Signs that it’s time to seek help from a doctor:

If you feel depressed, make an appointment to see your doctor or mental health professional as soon as you can. If you’re reluctant to seek treatment, talk to a friend or loved one, any health care professional, a faith leader, or someone else you trust.

Call for emergency help:

If you think you may hurt yourself or attempt suicide, call 911 or your local emergency number immediately.

Also, consider these options if you’re having suicidal thoughts:

Call your doctor or mental health professional.
Call a suicide hotline number — in the U.S., call the National Suicide Prevention Lifeline at 1-800-273-TALK (1-800-273-8255). Use that same number and press “1” to reach the Veterans Crisis Line.
Reach out to a close friend or loved one.
Contact a minister, spiritual leader or someone else in your faith community.
If you have a loved one who is in danger of suicide or has made a suicide attempt, make sure someone stays with that person. Call 911 or your local emergency number immediately. Or, if you think you can do so safely, take the person to the nearest hospital emergency room.

For those of us who suffer from depression, it’s nothing to be embarrassed about and we should understand that there are professionals out there who are trained and can assist with this common disorder that has been around from the beginning of time. Depression is nothing new, it’s just something that many have tried sweeping under the rug and not talking about. It’s out in the open now and people are discussing it more and more, because it’s affecting more and more people in this world.

Many blessings to all and I hope this helps at least one person who reads it!

When did Working an Honest Job Become a Shameful Thing?

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It seems that every time you watch the news, log into social media or turn on the radio, you are hearing more stories of individuals who feel it’s their job and duty to either body shame another, call others names based on their skin color, religion, financial status and now we have people shaming an actor for taking a job to supplement his income while he’s acting. An honest living to pay the bills and keep food on the table for his family, but he has a photo taken of him working and plastered on social media and people start shaming and attacking him for working an honest job.

I don’t understand what this world is coming to, there’s way too much name-calling, disrespecting and humiliating one another and it seems to be getting worse than better. You don’t see people shaming the burglars, drug dealers, shoplifters and gangsters out on the streets about the lives they live and what they consider their jobs.  This is not a representation of what and who we are as people and sure isn’t making a positive impact on our young children who are already faced with the inevitable day to day.  It doesn’t matter if one washes dishes, sweeps floors or feeds cattle to supplement their income,  as long as they are working an honest job and taking care of their families.

One of the many stories that have been circulating social media has been the one of former Cosby Show actor Geoffrey Owens working at a New Jersey Trader Joe’s supermarket. The story along with photos has garnered a strong reaction from fans and celebrities alike.

Owens is best known for playing the Huxtables’ son-in-law, Elvin Tibideaux, in the popular sitcom from 1985 to 1992. In August 2018, a customer shopping at a Trader Joe’s in New Jersey recognized him working there and took pictures of him weighing potatoes and bagging groceries.

Owens had been working at the grocery store for more than a year but had apparently kept that fact from his son. He has since quit due to the overwhelming attention that made it impossible to do his job.

“Even before the wave of support rolled in within an hour or two, he sent me a beautiful text back about how proud he was of me. I cried, I just broke down,” the actor admitted. “He felt the opposite of embarrassment. He was so proud that I had taken the job. It was beautiful.”

Naturally, after the photos went viral, they sparked outrage from many who believed Owens was being job-shamed. After the outrage, there were questions raised about just how much TV actors really make. Of course, there are some TV stars who are paid very well, many making hundreds of thousands of dollars per episode but that’s not the case with everyone, especially those who have smaller roles on the shows in which Owens did in the tv shows he appeared in.

On September, 4th, Owens appeared on Good Morning America to explain just how he felt about his picture being taken and the response he has gotten.

“I was really devastated, but the period of devastation was so short,” Owens said on the morning show as he proudly sported his Trader Joe’s name tag. “My wife and I started to read these responses from literally all over the world. Fortunately, the shame part didn’t last very long.”

He went on to say that he took the job at the grocery store because it allowed him the “flexibility” he needed to stay in the entertainment business.

Owens still acts and has been teaching acting classes for several years. He has a net worth of $300,000. In addition to his work on The Cosby Show over the years, Owens has appeared on episodes of Law & Order, Law & Order: Special Victims Unit, That’s So Raven, Boston Legal, Las Vegas, Medium, Without a Trace, Flashforward, The Secret Life of the American Teenager, It’s Always Sunny in Philadelphia, and The Affair.

Owens worked at Trader Joe’s for 15 months but had to quit because of the unwanted attention, however, the company said that he is welcome to come back anytime.

Tyler Perry seems to have offered him a job. “#Geoffrey Owns I’m about to start shootings OWN’s number one drama next week! Come join us!!!” Perry tweeted on Tuesday.
I have so much respect for people who hustle between gigs. The measure of a true artist.

Teens & Suicide

“There is no greater tragedy than the death of a young person!”  With that being said, it leaves us to wonder why so many young people are taking their own lives? This same question has come up before in conversation between myself and other adults and some of the answers were quite shocking.  I have been told that these teenagers today have nothing to worry about, they have the internet, laptops, their own vehicles, cell phones, bank accounts, credit cards, access to shopping, traveling, video games and more selections of television shows and movies that those of our generation or before, so what do they have to worry about?

What teenagers have to worry about:  Many teenagers are not growing up in households where they have access to the luxuries listed above.  There are so many teenagers growing up in households where there’s substance abuse, physical abuse, as well as verbal abuse.  Hidden in the shadows are children who don’t have clean clothes to wear, enough food to eat, who are being cyber bullied or bullied at school, their neighborhood or even in their own household.  Being a teenager is not easy, their hormones are all over the place, they are trying to find themselves and their place in this world and with the gang activity in schools and / or neighborhoods, it places an extra burden on a teen, besides, peer pressure can be something many teens just cannot handle and are afraid of talking to their parents or school counselors about any of it.  Sadly it has gotten to the point that when this sort of thing happens, people read it in the news and it’s just like another random story. Even reading an article about the suicides in California, one mother ask her son what happened at school and he said suicide just like it was nothing.  It has happened so much and teens have had to see so much in their reality as well as the video games, movies and violent music videos they listen to.  They are young and impressionable.  “Sadly, many have grown Numb & Disconnected!”

The California students had attended Rancho Cucamonga High, Etiwanda High, and Alta Loma High which are in the Chaffey Joint Union High School district.  The fourth student attended Victoria Groves Elementary School.  He was only 10 years old. “None of these students attended the same schools,” said San Bernardino Sheriff Department Public Information Officer Cindy Bachman. “And there’s no indication that these students even knew each other.”

There have been past incidents of students making a suicide pact with one another.

March 12, 1987By New York Times:

BERGENFIELD, N.J. —

Four teenagers — two sisters and two young men — killed
themselves together Wednesday in a suicide pact, authorities said. The victims were found at about 6:30 a.m., seated in a car with its engine running in a garage at an apartment complex where teenagers often gather at night to socialize and drink. {Excerpt taken from the Orlando Sentinel}

 

This is something that has been going on for a long time and is only getting worse. There has to be more done to try to prevent these types of tragedies, but what can be done if there are no signs?

“The district has rallied around the families, students and staff to provide support and resources during this difficult time. We will continue to provide multi-tiered systems of support for all of our students throughout the year.” 
If you or someone you know is in emotional distress or considering suicide, call the National Suicide Prevention Lifeline at 1-800-273-TALK (8255).

 

 

Aretha Franklin – The Death of the Queen of Soul

ARETHA FRANKLIN

After hearing the news of Aretha Franklin’s passing, I was among the many thousands of  people truly saddened. I like many who loved her music, spirit, strength & soulful voice find comfort in knowing she is now at peace and in a much better place filled with beauty, love and no longer in pain.
Aretha is one of the talented singers that I grew up listening to and was inspired by. She with her strong, harmonious voice knew how to reach deep inside the depths of her soul and pull out the many feelings each of us may have been feeling at the time we sat and listened to her songs.
Franklin was born in Memphis on March 25, 1942. Her family moved to Detroit when she was 5 years old, and her mother, Barbara, died shortly before Franklin’s 10th birthday
She was strong and managed to triumph and carry on after the death of her father; Clarence LaVaughn “C. L.” Franklin. Mr. Franklin was a preacher at Detroit’s New Bethel Baptist Church where Aretha sang in the choir in her younger years.

CHILDREN: Edward FranklinClarence FranklinKecalf Cunningham & Ted White Jr.

SPOUSES: Glynn Turman (m. 1978-1984)Ted White (m. 1961-1969)

Glynn Turman, who was married to Franklin from 1978 to 1984, was joined by Stevie Wonder for a visit Tuesday. The actor said his former wife was ‘strong until the very end’ before her death that left millions of fans devastated all over the world.

Women fell in love with the songs RESPECT and the song became an anthem for women everywhere.  Natural Woman made women feel as though their natural beauty could shine through and they didn’t have to be afraid to show it. You could always leave it to Aretha to challenge what one may have thought of as the Norm and give us much style,  grace, beauty, strength & courage. Although her life was not always easy, she still gave us the chills with her dynamite voice and her way of bringing a song, making it her own and leaving the audience captivated.  Her special gift  was more about wringing profound emotion from a song lyric than about vocal gymnastics!

Aretha Franklin’s family has publicly  emphasized that the singer’s funeral is a private event. While some public seating may ultimately become available for the Aug. 31 service at Greater Grace Temple, the family’s guest list is still coming together. For now, the plan remains limited to “family, friends and invited guests,” said family spokeswoman Gwendolyn Quinn.

The funeral is expected to draw many big-name entertainers and dignitaries, as Franklin is laid to rest following her death last Thursday.

A public viewing will be held Aug. 28-29 at the Charles H. Wright Museum of African American History, 9 a.m. to 9 p.m. each day.

We will all surely miss this great woman and are so thankful and grateful to her for sharing her beautiful voice & spirit with each of us!