Gifts with Strings

Moonlit shadows cross my view

As I dream in a pleasant place

Glistening bright with curiosity’s embrace

All thoughts of reality, I must erase

And fill my mind with pleasant times

I sleep with help from the doctor’s gift

A tiny pearl that soothes my soul

And leads me closer to an uncertain goal

Within a room with a tapestry of memory

As it fades within the pearl’s center

For a night of peace and comfort

Though I also know beyond my serenity

That one day upon the streets I’ll stroll

And the devil’s hand will take its toll

As the gift I thought pleased my mind

Turns into the monster I will find

As I look into the mirror and state,

Some gifts have strings attached

Some gifts are not free

Why me?


Break free from the strings that bind you

And never look back so they won’t find you

Live in a world with warming waves

That splash gently upon the human race

Refreshing your mind from the pearl’s grasp

And always emit a smile from your caring face

Domestic Violence Awareness Day – Bloggers Unite

Domestic Violence Awareness Day

Domestic Violence Awareness Day

Domestic Violence Awareness Day – Bloggers Unite

Domestic Violence is a growing problem around the world; do your part to help save people from abuse.

If you feel you are in physical danger immediately call 911 or the National Domestic Violence Hotline at 1-800-787-3224.

Cycle of violence

Domestic abuse falls into a common pattern, or cycle of violence: Cycle of violence

  • Abuse — The abuser lashes out with aggressive or violent behavior. The abuse is a power play designed to show the victim “who is boss.”
  • Guilt — After the abusive episode, the abuser feels guilt, but not over what he’s done to the victim. The guilt is over the possibility of being caught and facing consequences.
  • Rationalization or excuses — The abuser rationalizes what he’s done. He may come up with a string of excuses or blame the victim for his own abusive behavior—anything to shift responsibility from himself.
  • “Normal” behavior — The abuser does everything he can to regain control and keep the victim in the relationship. He may act as if nothing has happened, or he may turn on the charm. This peaceful honeymoon phase may give the victim hope that the abuser has really changed this time.
  • Fantasy and planning — The abuser begins to fantasize about abusing his victim again, spending a lot of time thinking about what she’s done wrong and how he’ll make her pay. Then he makes a plan for turning the fantasy of abuse into reality.
  • Set-up — The abuser sets up the victim and puts his plan in motion, creating a situation where he can justify abusing her.

The Full Cycle of Domestic Violence

A man abuses his partner. After he hits her, he experiences self-directed guilt. He says, “I’m sorry for hurting you.” What he does not say is, “Because I might get caught.” He then rationalizes his behavior by saying that his partner is having an affair with someone. He tells her “If you weren’t such a worthless whore I wouldn’t have to hit you.” He then acts contrite, reassuring her that he will not hurt her again. He then fantasizes and reflects on past abuse and how he will hurt her again. He plans on telling her to go to the store to get some groceries. What he withholds from her is that she has a certain amount of time to do the shopping. When she is held up in traffic and is a few minutes late, he feels completely justified in assaulting her because “you’re having an affair with the store clerk.” He has just set her up.

Source: Mid-Valley Women’s Crisis Service

Your abuser’s apologies and loving gestures in between the episodes of abuse can make it difficult to leave. He may make you believe that you are the only person who can help him, that things will be different this time, and that he truly loves you. However, the dangers of staying are real.

Domestic abuse often escalates from threats and verbal abuse to physical violence and even murder. And while physical injury may be the most obvious danger, the emotional and psychological consequences of domestic abuse are also severe. No one deserves this kind of pain—and your first step to breaking free is recognizing that your situation is abusive. Once you acknowledge the reality of the abusive situation, then you can get the help you need.

Signs of an abusive relationship

There are many signs of an abusive relationship. The most significant sign is fear of your partner. Other signs include a partner who belittles you or tries to control you, and feelings of self-loathing, helplessness, and desperation.

To determine whether your relationship is abusive, answer the questions in the table below. The more “yes” answers, the more likely it is that you’re in an abusive relationship.

SIGNS OF AN ABUSIVE RELATIONSHIP
Your Inner Thoughts and Feeling Your Partner’s Belittling Behavior
Do you:

  • feel afraid of your partner much of the time?
  • avoid certain topics out of fear of angering your partner?
  • feel that you can’t do anything right for your partner?
  • believe that you deserve to be hurt or mistreated?
  • wonder if you’re the one who is crazy?
  • feel emotionally numb or helpless?
Does your partner:

  • humiliate, criticize, or yell at you?
  • treat you so badly that you’re embarrassed for your friends or family to see?
  • ignore or put down your opinions or accomplishments?
  • blame you for his own abusive behavior?
  • see you as property or a sex object, rather than as a person?
Your Partner’s Violent Behavior or Threats Your Partner’s Controlling Behavior
Does your partner:

  • have a bad and unpredictable temper?
  • hurt you, or threaten to hurt or kill you?
  • threaten to take your children away or harm them?
  • threaten to commit suicide if you leave?
  • force you to have sex?
  • destroy your belongings?
Does your partner:

  • act excessively jealous and possessive?
  • control where you go or what you do?
  • keep you from seeing your friends or family?
  • limit your access to money, the phone, or the car?
  • constantly check up on you?

Types of domestic violence and abuse

There are different types of domestic abuse, including emotional, physical, sexual, and economic abuse. Many abusers behave in ways that include more than one type of domestic abuse, and the boundaries between some of these behaviors may overlap.

Emotional or psychological abuse

Emotional or psychological abuse can be verbal or nonverbal. Its aim is to chip away at your feelings of self-worth and independence. If you’re the victim of emotional abuse, you may feel that there is no way out of the relationship, or that without your abusive partner you have nothing. Emotional abuse includes verbal abuse such as yelling, name-calling, blaming, and shaming. Isolation, intimidation, and controlling behavior also fall under emotional abuse. Additionally, abusers who use emotional or psychological abuse often throw in threats of physical violence.

You may think that physical abuse is far worse than emotional abuse, since physical violence can send you to the hospital and leave you with scars. But, the scars of emotional abuse are very real, and they run deep. In fact, emotional abuse can be just as damaging as physical abuse—sometimes even more so. Furthermore, emotional abuse usually worsens over time, often escalating to physical battery.

Physical abuse

When people talk about domestic violence, they are often referring to the physical abuse of a spouse or intimate partner. Physical abuse is the use of physical force against someone in a way that injures or endangers that person. There’s a broad range of behaviors that come under the heading of physical abuse, including hitting, grabbing, choking, throwing things, and assault with a weapon.

Physical assault or battering is a crime, whether it occurs inside or outside of the family. The police have the power and authority to protect you from physical attack.

Sexual abuse

Sexual abuse is common in abusive relationships. According to the National Coalition Against Domestic Violence, between one-third and one-half of all battered women are raped by their partners at least once during their relationship. Any situation in which you are forced to participate in unwanted, unsafe, or degrading sexual activity is sexual abuse. Forced sex, even by a spouse or intimate partner with whom you also have consensual sex, is an act of aggression and violence. Furthermore, women whose partners abuse them physically and sexually are at a higher risk of being seriously injured or killed.

Economic or financial abuse

Remember, an abuser’s goal is to control you, and he will frequently hurt you to do that. In addition to hurting you emotionally and physically, an abusive partner may also hurt you in the pocketbook. Economic of financial abuse includes:

  • Controlling the finances.
  • Withholding money or credit cards.
  • Giving you an allowance.
  • Making you account for every penny you spend.
  • Stealing from you or taking your money.
  • Exploiting your assets for personal gain.
  • Withholding basic necessities (food, clothes, medications, shelter).
  • Preventing you from working or choosing your own career.
  • Sabotaging your job (making you miss work, calling constantly)

Domestic violence warning signs

Take Precautions

Call 911 or the police in your community if you suspect a case of domestic violence.

It’s impossible to know with certainty what goes on behind closed doors, but there are some telltale signs and symptoms of domestic violence and abuse. If you witness a number of warning signs in a friend, family member, or co-worker, you can reasonably suspect domestic abuse.

  • Frequent injuries, with the excuse of “accidents”
  • Frequent and sudden absences from work or school
  • Frequent, harassing phone calls from the partner
  • Fear of the partner, references to the partner’s anger
  • Personality changes (e.g. an outgoing woman becomes withdrawn)
  • Excessive fear of conflict
  • Submissive behavior, lack of assertiveness
  • Isolation from friends and family
  • Insufficient resources to live (money, credit cards, car) Domestic Violence and Abuse: Help, Treatment, Intervention, and Prevention
  • Depression, crying, low self-esteem

Reporting suspected domestic abuse is important. If you’re afraid of getting involved, remember that the report is confidential and everything possible will be done to protect your privacy. You don’t have to give your name, and your suspicions will be investigated before anyone is taken into custody. Most important, you can protect the victim from further harm by calling for help.

January is National Blood Donor Month

blood1_0inline

January is National Blood Donor Month

Start off the new year right, by donating blood to the Red Cross or your local blood bank in honor of National Blood Donor Month. The process only takes an hour of your time, and results in lifesaving platelets or pints of blood for those in need.

Hundreds of thousands of healthy people with good, visible veins  donate blood every year. I have seen the Red Cross donation truck parked at shopping malls, grocery store parking lots, and schools and there are donation centers located nationwide. All blood types are needed and with more traffic accidents happening during the winter season, clean backup blood is sparse this time of year.

The first month of the year has been recognized as National Blood Donor Month since 1970. According to the American Association of Blood Banks, now known as AABB, in the United States every day, “approximately 39,000 units of blood are required in hospitals and emergency treatment facilities for patients with cancer and other diseases, for organ transplant recipients, and to help save the lives of accident victims.” The AABB works in conjunction with the American Red Cross and America’s Blood Centers and their main goal is to help those in need of blood, especially in harsh winter environments due to illness, accidents, and unforeseen weather conditions.

In order to donate blood, you have to meet certain donor requirements. The most important is that you must be at least 17 years old in order to give blood voluntarily, although some states do consent at 16 with written parental consent. You must be at least 110 pounds, you should be healthy meaning without infection, not on antibiotics, without a fever, and generally feeling well on day of donation. You may only donate if you have not given blood within 8 weeks.  The rest of the guidelines are available here from the American Red Cross.

CEO of America’s Blood Centers, Jim MacPherson says that a major shortage during the cold season could risk lives if people don’t try to donate on a regular basis. “To avert critical blood shortages this winter, we need citizens across the country to schedule an appointment to donate blood…. Blood has a shelf life of only 42 days, which means it constantly needs to be replenished. Donors can give blood every 56 days, or six times a year.”

Teachers and students around the country can also benefit from blood donor month without even having to donate blood. Because elementary age students are unable to donate, donation centers offer classes and demonstrations on how a blood bank works including the different types of blood, the blood donation process, all while providing a community service and an informative lesson plan for schools and home school families.

By inviting a spokesperson to talk to your class or organizing a field trip to your local blood bank, teachers can inspire their students to do more in the future and donate themselves. If you are too young to donate or have non-viable veins like me, you can still help by offering a monetary donation or simply by volunteering your help during this important donation window. Once the New Year is over, the champagne is gone, and the parties are cleaned up, think about donating blood this January, you might even get a slice of pizza or a free t-shirt.

New Year’s Resolutions

happy_new_year_fireworksNew Year’s Resolutions

I hope you all are enjoying the holidays and no matter where you live, I hope you have a happy and festive new year.  New Year’s Eve has always been a time for looking back to the past, and more importantly, forward to the coming year. It’s a time to reflect on the changes we want (or need) to make and resolve to follow through on those changes. Did your New Year resolutions make this top-ten list?

1. Spend More Time with Family & Friends

Recent polls conducted by General Nutrition Centers, Quicken, and others shows that more than 50% of Americans vow to appreciate loved ones and spend more time with family and friends this year.  Work shouldn’t always come first!

2. Fit in Fitness

The evidence is in for fitness. Regular exercise has been associated with more health benefits than anything else known to man. Studies show that it reduces the risk of some cancers, increases longevity, helps achieve and maintain weight loss, enhances mood, lowers blood pressure, and even improves arthritis. In short, exercise keeps you healthy and makes you look and feel better.

3. Tame the Bulge

Over 66 percent of adult Americans are considered overweight or obese by recent studies, so it is not surprising to find that weight loss is one of the most popular New Year’s resolutions. Setting reasonable goals and staying focused are the two most important factors in sticking with a weight loss program, and the key to success for those millions of Americans who made a New Year’s commitment to shed extra pounds.

4. Quit Smoking

If you have resolved to make this the year that you stamp out your smoking habit, over-the-counter availability of nicotine replacement therapy now provides easier access to proven quit-smoking aids. Even if you’ve tried to quit before and failed, don’t let it get you down. On average, smokers try about four times before they quit for good. Start enjoying the rest of your smoke-free life!

5. Enjoy Life More

Given the hectic, stressful lifestyles of millions of Americans, it is no wonder that “enjoying life more” has become a popular resolution in recent years. It’s an important step to a happier and healthier you! Just get out and try something new! Take up a new hobby or try your hand at skiing. Go to a theater performance, or head to the local spa.

6. Quit Drinking

While many people use the New Year as an incentive to finally stop drinking, most are not equipped to make such a drastic lifestyle change all at once. Many heavy drinkers fail to quit cold turkey but do much better when they taper gradually, or even learn to moderate their drinking. If you have decided that you want to stop drinking, there is a world of help and support available. E-mail me if you want more details.

7. Get Out of Debt

Was money a big source of stress in your life last year? Join the millions of Americans who have resolved to spend this year getting a handle on their finances. It’s a promise that will repay itself many times over in the year ahead.

8. Learn Something New

Have you vowed to make this year the year to learn something new? Perhaps you are considering a career change, want to learn a new language, or just how to fix your computer? Whether you take a course or read a book, you’ll find education to be one of the easiest, most motivating New Year’s resolutions to keep.  Most local colleges and universities offer distance and adult education programs.

9. Help Others

A popular, non-selfish New Year’s resolution, volunteerism can take many forms. Whether you choose to spend time helping out at your local library, mentoring a child, or building a house, there are many nonprofit volunteer organizations that could really use your help. If your time is really in short supply, maybe you can at least find it in you to donate the furniture, clothing and other household items that you no longer need, rather than leaving them out by the curb to fill up our landfills.

10. Get Organized

On just about every New Year resolution top ten list, organization can be a very reasonable goal. Whether you want your home organized enough that you can invite someone over on a whim, or your office organized enough that you can find the stapler when you need it, these tips and resources should get you started on the way to a more organized life.

If this isn’t one of your New Year’s Resolutions, please leave a comment to let others know what you’re doing to improve your life throughout 2009.

My Memorable Blog Posts from 2008:

The Last Autumn Leaf

Beyond the Storm

The Calling

Harmony of the Worlds

Staying Positive in Tough Times

Turn Around the Negative Self-Talk

Anima Mundi

The Optimism Test

Flow

The Key

The Breakthrough


What Happened to Morality?

Morality?

Morality


What has happened to morality? I got an e-mail from a girl that claimed that her father was a high ranking official, who was assassinated in Africa, and he had a large sum of money and she, the daughter, was the next of kin to receive the money. She said that since she was sixteen, the bank wouldn’t let her claim the money, so she said she needed a reliable foreign source to send the money to.

I replied to her first e-mail, because I wanted to believe her. I thought surely no one would go through this much just to try to pull off a scam. She even sent me her father’s death certificate

This was her reply:


“Dear sir,
I just saw your mail now,
thank you so much for your reply may GOD bless you,
please I am giving you this bank information with trust so please keep your promise of being honest with me ,please don’t betrayed me,
so write to the bank now to confirm and to let them know that you are my trustee which they requested from me because of my under age,
dear I promise you, that you will not have any problem in claiming this fund for me because i have all the document of this money here with me I will give it to you when you write to the bank and when the bank approved you of claiming the fund for me, when you write to them , they will now tell us the possibility of transferring the money in your account on my behalf, and you know that I am in the refugee camp and access to Internet is through our church cyber which I can use when we come for morning or evening service, so please I don’t have phone or even money to call you but I will give you now our reverend father’s phone number (Rev name Dickson David) tell (###-###-#####) so please call me any time even if I am not in the church the Rev will send for me and the camp manager will allow me because of the Rev.


My problem now is please keep your promise ,
and let me know when they replied you.

I will be waiting for your reply and call concerning how you went with the bank.

Thanks,

Mariama Jones”


She gave me a fraudulent e-mail of the bank, because I contacted the bank and verified that none of the information that she gave me was true. The phone number, death certificate, and e-mail addresses were all fabricated. This shows that evil exists in many platforms in this world, and some people just don’t care about morality. Death is no joke, and definitely not how you try to scam someone. She said she was an orphan in a refugee camp, just to try to scam me out of money. Where is morality? Who raised these people?

Please teach others to have a pure morality, because the world is corrupting more and more every day. It cannot be stopped completely, but we can’t let ourselves degrade into a cruel and unjust society. We as a society must stay pure and see beyond this haze of evil. Just stay pure, please- for the sake of humanity.

A Message to the Lost

To the lost: do not worry.

The silence will soon be repressed by something truly amazing.

You will hear a voice.

A sound will echo through your mind and alter what you think is reality. Panicked souls will be crammed in a crowded, unknown and dark place. The foolish will scream and bicker of how they should be treated differently than everyone else, as the wise stand in a placid gaze towards the sky- or what was the sky.

Observance is key. See how your world is changing around you, and change among and amidst- Like a chameleon changing to mock its background. After all, that’s all we instinctively do: Avoid danger.

Play the songs that compel you to run.

Remember the thoughts that drive you beyond the natural.

Look at the photos of loved ones and hope to see them again.

Keep your gaze short, however, as time is not on your side.

…And remember: be rational. Running is good as long as it’s in the right direction. When the time is right, listen to your heart.

That essential moment where everything clicks like a firing gun- It ultimately decides your fate. You only have one chance to dodge the bullet. The time has come to make things right. You hold the key to escape from torment. You can find what you are looking for.

Do not fear, for fear is your greatest enemy. Open your hand and look at your palm. There, envision everything you’ve ever wanted; now close your hand into a fist- gripping your dreams close to your heart; and with that hand, you can make dreams your reality.