Crisis is a common occurrence.
Crisis can happen to all, to some or to you.
Crisis for me happened when my son-in-law, died by suicide. This is an area we had never been in. We had not had a loss like this or as devastating to our family before. I mean, I had grandparents who both died of old age, my father died from a heart attack but after being in an assisted living facility for several years. All expected things. My son-in-law was married to my daughter since they were teens, they had 5 children, he was a leader of the company and a mentor to many. He left a ripple effect that impacted family and friends.This was a huge family and work crisis. We are still trying to navigate that loss and everyone has to find their own turning point.
The best definition of crisis is an intense time of difficulty requiring a decision that will create a turning point. A crisis is several consecutive bad days that you can’t walk away from.
So, this COVID crisis is not the worst experience I have had. I have known other crises as well. Did you know that in 1918-1920 the Flu of that time was killing one million people a week! In 2000 there was the big Y2K crisis. Everyone thought the world would stop. Time couldn’t go on, as a matter of fact on the island of St. Croix is a 20’ tall sundial at the tip of the island. If time stopped they wanted a way to still be able to tell time. 2001 was the Anthrax crisis. You feared opening mail. If there wasn’t a return address of a person you knew on the letter you didn’t dare open it! I think this was a ploy to actually push email instead of what they call nowadays as snail mail. 2008 a financial crisis. We lost thousands of dollars in the stock market crash and the housing market crashed. We didn’t think there would ever be a way to regain the money we had invested into our retirement. Some sadly did not overcome it. 2015 ISIS, we are still dealing with this crisis. It continues to evolve and evade us; while continuing to keep us hostage to the situation. There are minor to major everyday crises that we have to endure or work through. Running out of gas on the freeway, a flat tire, no toilet paper, not enough protective gear, not enough food, a loved one in the hospital that you cannot visit or stay with, the death of a loved one that you cannot share in the mourning with others. Isolation
Everyone is a leader. You may be a leader of a company, leader of your friends or family, leader of your neighbors, or a church leader, a parent leading your children. Leaders are people who influence others, nothing more, nothing less. Who do you influence?
Good leadership is intentional. A bad leader precipitates a faster fall, while good leadership offers steadiness and perseverance. This crisis as in other crises will pass. You will start to see a time that is more favorable down the road. The impact of the duration is dependent on what you place your values in. You have to be able to work toward staying strong and steady through the duration. When you enter a dark tunnel, at the beginning you have to move slowly because you can’t see what’s ahead of you. Once you get to the middle and can see the light up ahead you can move forward a little easier, you can still stumble but keeping your eyes on the light at the end of the tunnel is easier than when you started or entered the tunnel. Once you get to the end of the tunnel you know that the light was your guide. Your job then as a leader is to shine your light out to others behind you who are following you. Lift them up, illuminate their path, serve them and help them move forward to reach the end of the crisis or the tunnel. Once they reach the end of the tunnel, encourage them to shine their light back to help someone else.
Alone we can not. Together we CAN.
How we view things is how we do things. A leader is someone who knows the way, goes the way and shows the way. The secret to your success is determined by your daily agenda.
Stop right now. Write down those you influence, those you lead. Then determine how to lift them up, serve them well and to lead them out with your light shining. I love the Toby Mac song, Lights Shine Bright.
How can you let your lights shine bright? Don’t exaggerate the crisis, be someone's turning point in the crisis.
Under Pressure Episode 5
Family Ties life Coaching Brenda Saxe and Monica Sigmund
Psalm 73:1 MSG “No doubt about it! God is Good-good to good people, good to the good-hearted. But I nearly missed it, missed seeing His goodness. I was looking the other way, looking up to the people at the top, envying the wicked who have made it, who have nothing to worry about, not a care in the whole wide world.”
Up until very recently this was me, and sometimes, honestly, it still is. Being jealous of those who appear to have it all together. Those who are “successful”, or are “rich”, have the perfect family and home life. I grew up believing in God but unless I was doing my obligatory hour in church on Sunday He wasn’t much of a thought for me. About 6 months ago, though, I started to learn that the way I was raised and the beliefs I’ve held about God aren’t necessarily true. I’ve learned that God loves me for who I am not because of what “right” things I do. I’ve learned that His love is perfect, unconditional, inspiring, strong, forgiving, enduring, faithful!
Being in this pandemic I’ve found myself scrolling on FaceBook-more than usual- and seeing all the perfect homeschool posts. Mom or dad is doing the activity with the kids and everyone is laughing and the paint is on the paper where it's supposed to be. But then I look at our homeschooling experience and we have screaming and fits and paint is all over the floor and it's a hot mess! It starts to really put me in a funk. I start to question my parenting styles and skills. I start to put myself down because our science projects don’t look like their projects.
Then I have to use my conscious awareness to stop, take a deep breath, and relax. Deep breathing is one of the best ways to lower stress in the body. When you breathe deeply, it sends a message to your brain to calm down and relax. The brain then sends this message to your body. When you take a deep breath your heart rate decreases, your breathing slows, and your blood pressure decreases. Once I have taken a few deep breaths I can bring myself back to reality and think clearly again. Knowing that I do the very best that I can and I’m here to glorify God and not those around me.
Luke 16:15 NIV He said to them “You are the ones who justify yourselves in the eyes of others, but God knows your hearts. What people value highly is detestable in God’s sight.
I don’t know about you but I don’t like to put puzzles together, especially the 1000 piece puzzles. My aunt loves them. Maybe I just don’t really have the patience or the time to put them together, or I don’t know how to. So I asked her. Do you sort all your colors first, find all the edge pieces, “Yes of course,” What do you do next? You still have 800 pieces to figure out where they all go. She said, “Well...you have to look at the big picture. The box top. It's your guide, it shows you where the details are. Once you know what the big picture is, the rest will start falling into place. If you don’t look at the big picture, you’re lost or it will take you longer to finish it.”
That made me stop and think. The problem with the current crisis is, we can’t see the big picture. We are only starting to see the edge pieces, we may have all the colors put together but we don’t have all the edges and certainly not the big picture. So, we’re lost. Out of control of the situation. We are taking longer than we wanted to or anticipated it to take.
We have to become more aware of our situation. We listen, we learn. We don’t just take the advice of one person, we make it a collective decision and listen to other points of views then we collaborate those views into one. We have to be aware and be able to integrate it into what’s happening right now to start to make a good decision.
You have to have a good inner voice. Your inner voice will help you anticipate the right answer. However, you also have to have agility to change with the times. What we knew two weeks ago, is not what we know today. What we know today will be different tomorrow. So we have to be agile or flexible to move with the changes. Hey, our plan A didn’t work, and Plan B just got tossed so what do we have for a plan c, d or e?
The best way I can help you in all these decisions is to ask you what do you value? If you embrace good values you will not have as much fear under pressure. Why does fear become so dominant? It’s because fear makes the crisis more dominant, it makes it more dramatic.
If these are your values: ACCEPTANCE, COMFORT, CONTROL, ENTERTAINMENT, ENTITLEMENT, EXPERIENCES, HAPPINESS, EXPRESSION OR FREEDOM you will be struggling right now through this crisis or pandemic. If you value acceptance you are reeling without outside connections. If you value comfort, well this crisis does not let you feel any comfort, especially if you are worried about the toilet paper shortage or the food shortage. If you value control you realize everything is out of your control right now. If you value entertainment then you know that you can’t go to the movies, shopping or anywhere else. If you value entitlement you know that work, food, toilet paper are not always available and even if you think you have a need you won’t get it. If you value your experiences you will realize that the experiences you are having to endure now are not ones that you wanted. If your value is happiness you may be seeing the difference in this crisis from happiness to being overwhelmed with grief, to be fearful and full of worry. If your value is expression and you don’t have your audience you will be seeing this value is diminished as well. If your value is in freedom, then you know with all the rules and regulations in place there is no freedom to roam, freedom to decide for yourself, your freedoms are taken from you. Maybe you didn’t even realize they were freedoms. Many of these things we take for granted.
If these are your values: ATTITUDE, COURAGE, RESPONSIBILITY, COMMITMENT, INTEGRITY, HUMILITY, HOPE, GRATITUDE, KINDNESS, PERSEVERANCE, TEAM WORK, AND SELF-REGULATION you have a stronger foundation. You can still work to have these values. In this time you do have the luxury to develop these values to see their worth. Fear will be stronger if we don’t have a strong value foundation. You have to have the value of a good attitude. Being positive in your attitude and thoughts are not easy, they are a choice. If you value courage you will see it in every first responder that has put their life above those who are sick and struggling, above the fact that their families want them with them. If you value responsibility you will step up to the challenges that we face now, knowing that it will take all of us working together to collaborate in making a change. If you value commitment you will make the commitment to do what’s best for your family, your friends, your co-workers and yourself. If you value integrity you will want to be intentional in your connections and be honest with yourself and those you love. If your value is humility you will know that putting others' needs above your own. If you value hope, you will see the end of the tunnel, you will know where you should place your hope. Not in things or people but in God who is there to see you through. If your value is in gratitude, you will be grateful where you are. You will see the good things or the Holy Moments of the beauty of spring and all the moments you have been given instead of the things. If your value is kindness, you will prosper today by making those connections to those who are also struggling. By helping your neighbor or the shut in, the lonely, the one that can’t get to the store, the one that can’t mow their grass. If you value perseverance you will be persistent even though times may be difficult. You will be willing to see the light at the end of the tunnel and encourage others along your way. If you value teamwork, you will see the team you have right now through different eyes. You will appreciate each gift they bring to the table, you will value their input and you will lift them up. Your team may not be the team you had in your head, your team may be your new team that you have always had. Your family, your friends, your church. Your team may look different, but they still are part of you. If you value self-regulation, you will know how to help yourself by being willing to self-care. You will know even though someone isn’t there to keep your hand out of the cookie jar, to stop and grab an apple instead.
Work on building a stronger foundation for yourself and those around you. Learn how to be a great YOU.
Elenor Roosevelt said this~ “Good leaders inspire confidence in leaders, Great leaders inspire confidence in the people themselves”
Good fear causes you to prepare, bad fear causes you to avoid. Face your fears, name them and then look at them through a different lens. I know that we will come through this. My friend Carol who is 63, (sorry Carol) suffered with COVID-19. She is an overcomer, she is a recovery number that we don’t hear about. Let’s spread some positive outcomes.
If you can picture your mind as a garden, where the positive thoughts are the flowers, fruits and vegetables; the negative thoughts are weeds. That’s how I want to set up this last story.
A gardner went out to his garden area that was full of weeds and started to put fertilizer on it. His neighbor runs out frantically waving his arms and shouting stop! Stop! What are you doing? The gardener says, “I’m fertilizing my garden.” The neighbor says, “You have to pull the weeds, plant the seeds and then fertilize!” What the gardener was fertilizing were weeds of negative thoughts that can grow and choke out the positive thoughts. The neighbor was right, you have to pull the weeds of negativity, plant seeds of positivity, then fertilize the seeds.
Everyone has a story to tell. We will each have a different story, yet we will have similarities. What you will discover is that you are not alone. Someone else may suffer with the same problem you have. When you tell your story you have to tell your entire story. If you only tell a partial story, you will only receive partial healing.
Think about this scenario.
My father-in-law was diagnosed with stage 4 lung and thyroid cancer. They told him that he could be given Chemo that would lengthen his life expectancy however, it would not be a cure. After researching countless articles on cancer treatments we found a drug that is used by veterinarians. In the case study the scientists stated that the drug may be repurposed for human cancers. “Fenbendazole”, a broad-spectrum antiparasitic drug used in the veterinary sector, could be useful against cancers as well. Researchers first treated human ‘non-small cell lung cancer cells. They found that the drug causes partial alteration of microtubule networks around the cell nucleus. Tumor cells showed enhanced cell death-inducing activity in the presence of wild type p53 tumour suppressor genes. Researchers found a reduction in tumour size and weight. It was also found that the drug was advantageous in evading drug resistance commonly encountered in cancer therapy.
Now, if I leave you with the story where it is, there is no impact to it. It’s just a story that doesn’t tell what happened next.
The rest of the story. The drug was Panacur C Canine Dewormer purchased at the local Walmart. For $21.95. The dosage is: take one gram a day for three days then four days off. August 2019 was the diagnosis and at his January 2020 Pet Scan he was cancer free!
Telling this whole story has impacted several people I know. If I hadn’t concluded with a testimonial no one, or at least not as many would have been interested or even shared the story. This is just one example of having to tell your entire story.
His story of recovery is not even the end of his story. Yet it takes you to where his story is currently.
What about Jesus’ story. If you only told parts of the story; Jesus’s virgin birth, how he taught the leaders in the synagogue at the age of twelve, how he gathered 12 disciples and began preaching the new gospel, how he was crucified and died on the cross. If we end the story there there’s no hope for any of us. The hope is in the rest of the story. Jesus rose from the grave conquered death and ascended into heaven to prepare for us a place to join him. The end of the story is eternal life promises. Way more impactful than just part of the story.
Project semicolon ; Project Semicolon is an organization dedicated to the prevention of suicide. Our work is based on the foundation and belief that suicide is preventable and everyone has a role to play in preventing suicide. Through raising public awareness, educating communities, and equipping every person with the right tools, we know we can save lives.
I am 31 and I struggle with Suicide
Life is full of trials that may bring a person to experience great pain or, if we're lucky, bring us great joy. Those experiences, the good and the bad, are carried through life with us. To not only shape and change who we are, but to also leave us with the lessons we have learned.
Growing up, for me, was one trial after another. I spent years wondering what I would eventually learn from my experiences and why I had to endure these things. At some points, I even wondered if there could be a way out.
From even a young age, I learned how to endure and to fight. At the age of 6, 2 years after my parents divorced, I chose to go live with my father and his new wife. Living with my father was great until my stepmother began abusing me physically, mentally and even emotionally. I endured her abuse until I was taken from my father and put into state custody. I remained there while I waited for my mother to come for me. This happened at the age of 8, marking the start of my journey into "the system".
As a young child, I'd already experienced more pain than I even imagined possible. Going forward with my life was difficult because of the years I'd been abused. I'd been left with a tendency towards seeking unhealthy kinds of attention and a habit for choosing paths that weren’t beneficial for my life.
When I was 13, I was raped for the first time. Rather than being reassured and comforted after the assault, I was held responsible for a crime I did not commit and put back into the system. The next five years of my life were spent in darkness and total solitude. I was even heavily medicated with drugs used to treat mental illnesses despite never being diagnosed with one at the time. I fell victim to self-injuring behavior more than once and, on a number of occasions, even attempted to take my life.
I had little to no respect for myself and I felt that I was worthless. The people around me, especially those who were supposed to love me, never showed me that I was worth the very air I breathed. Their attitude towards me became my attitude about me and the mentality through which I viewed myself.
At the age of 18, I lost my father to suicide. I had been at a low point for quite some time, but this brought more pain to my life than anything I had ever experienced. With that pain lingering in the shadows, I was sent off to begin my life as an adult. I was fresh out of the system and completely unaware of where or how to begin my life as an adult, so at that point, after 5 years of not being in school, I obtained my HSED and went off to college.
Beginning college brought an entirely new set of trials to my life. I started experimenting with drugs, which led me to abuse prescription painkillers. I also struggled greatly with depression during that period, which reflected very poorly on my performance in school. It was during my first couple of years in college that I was raped two more times and, at the hands of an ex-boyfriend, I experienced the loss of my unborn child.
Throughout my life, through the good times and the bad, I held closely to my faith in God. There were times that I wavered in my Faith and wondered why I had to experience such pain and times when I wondered how could a God of love allow me to go through this?
Meeting my husband was the turning point in my life. For the first time, I experienced true love and I was finally able to start healing. It was through this journey that I embraced my calling and set out to help others who felt they were less than their true worth. I knew I wanted to impact the world and to make a difference, which is how Project Semicolon began.
It is the love of my Savior that empowered me to make a difference and to love the world with a Christ-like love even when the world hadn't loved me. It is only through God that I am here to tell you my story and empower you all to continue yours. Without His love and grace, I know that my story would never have been told. I hope that you all know that you are loved and that you are worth saving. My story isn’t over yet, neither is yours.
Stay Strong; Love Endlessly; Change Lives
If you have a story to share or to overcome contact us firstname.lastname@example.org. We're her to help you move forward in your story.
Under Pressure Episode 4
Family TIes Life Coaching Brenda Saxe and Monica Sigmund
Insights from Monica
At the risk of jinxing myself, I feel like we are falling into a decent groove. We follow a fairly strict schedule but at the end of the day we talk about what we would like to do differently the next day. For example, outside time, we can do bike rides or trampoline jumping things like that. Talking about the schedule and allowing the girls to have input gives them purpose and lets them know they have a voice.
The topic I want to touch on this week, though, is grief. Even though we are falling into a routine and things have been pretty smooth I have this overwhelming sense of grief about me. And not necessarily grief over a person, although sometimes that sneaks in there. My grief is over not being able to go to the Reba McEntire concert, grief about not being able to run the 5K in May with my oldest daughter, of her not being able to play her first season of softball, not being able to practice and maybe not even be able to have our pre k graduation, having to cancel our trip to Austin. Maybe grief isn’t the right word, I think it's more sorrow. Sorrow is defined as a feeling of deep distress caused by loss, disappointment, or other misfortune suffered by oneself or others.
I understand that some of the things I am grieving or sorrowing (it’s a real word, I looked it up!) seem minuscule compared to things other people are going through and sometimes I scold myself for feeling that way. I’m upset over not being able to go to a concert when other people are losing loved ones and can’t even have a “proper” funeral. But this is how I feel and that is totally ok. The Reba tickets were my Christmas gift from my husband and I was going to get to spend the weekend with one of my favorite people who I don’t get to see often enough. The trip to Austin was going to be our first couples trip-in-I couldn’t tell you how long and it was the light at the end of a very long tunnel.
Matthew 5:4 MSG “You're blessed when you feel you’ve lost what is most dear to you. Only then can you be embraced by the One most dear to you.”
However or whatever you are feeling it is ok to feel that way, and you are not alone in feeling it. Turn to God, He is always there. There is a bible app called YouVersion. I strongly suggest downloading it.
Insights from Brenda
I understand how you feel about the loss of things. I have certain expectations that concern family time around Easter. We knew it would be different and prepared for it. We watched a service on the computer. We watched the Passion of Christ. We made dinner with all the trimmings. We had a relaxed day, then came Monday. I couldn’t help feeling the pang of loss. Not getting to see my children and grandchildren, not being in service and experiencing the full “worship” experience. I felt kind of empty. Thank you for sharing that you also are experiencing some grief or loss.
Grief is an appropriate and healthy response to any significant change or loss in life:relationship breakup, divorce, broken friendships, unemployment, disasters, misfortune and yes it includes loss of expected quality of life.
Grief is more than just a feeling. It is actually a complex set of emotions, which can show up differently depending on personality, coping mechanisms, and past experiences.
Often well meaning friends at a loss of how to help may think they need to just cheer you up, or help you move on, but this can actually add to the stress. It can cause you to either avoid your friends or to fake feeling okay rather than express your true feelings.
Everyone is different, there is no right way to work through the emotions of loss. Attempting to hold oneself together or be strong will only slow down the journey of healing and may lead to further pain in the future.
Sometimes loss is increased and a new experience of loss awakens memories of an earlier loss that were never fully grieved.
Grief can be like a rollercoaster. You have to give yourself the freedom to grieve.
Psalm 30:5 “weeping may endure for a night, but joy comes in the morning”
Psalm 55:22 “Cast your cares on the Lord and He will sustain you; he will never let the righteous fall.”
God is faithful, even when it seems our world is falling apart, He promises to never leave us. You only need to look to the cross to know that Jesus was no stranger to pain and suffering.
Dear Lord, our hurts and losses make our hearts heavy and the pain goes deep. There are a lot of questions, God and we seem to get very few answers. We choose to trust You, because we know that you are good. Give us comfort and peace. Make Your presence real to us in this time of unknown. God, I thank You that not only do You cry with us, but You also promise to heal our broken hearts, to bring us comfort and peace.
Dear Lord, give us a heart full of courage and steadfast faith. Make us Your soldiers in Your army of compassion and a warrior of caring and concern. Let us be that light in the darkness of our times. Let us be a beaconof hope to inspire others. Make us an instument of Your peace and a channel for Your infinite love. God of hope, help us to be a hopeful people. When things don't fo as we expect, give us optimism for the future. We we feel discouraged, give us encouragment. When all we can see is the darkness and gloom around us, show us the light. As we live in these tough times, give us courage. In our sorrow of our losses, let us also know joy. Through all of this and in all times, let us know Your Spirit and feel Your love. We thank You Lord for all you have given us and continue to provide for us. In Jesus' Name, AMEN
Dear Heavenly Father,
I pray today for comfort. I pray for knowledge to help make informed decisions. I pray for guidance to lead us to be a better community, country. I pray today for love to make the world a better place. I pray that as we find out our new norm, that we continue to seek you. Lord, it doesn't take much to close our eyes and imagine how our country must look from your point of view. Help us to see what you would have us see: the beauty of the earth you made for us, the beauty of each child, teen and adult. Help us to inspire others based on what you have shown us to be your inspiration Lord. Remind us to find beauty wherever we look. Father God, I also pray for our leaders. I pray that you allow us to disagree in peace and to move together toward choices that honor you. I ask that you help our leaders to know when to compromise and when to refuse to budge. Please bring our nation together. In Jesus' Name, AMEN
Though research isn't definative about the relationship between nutrition and depression, but a difference does exist. Some researchers say you can eat better to promote your mood and depression. Most experts agree that an overall healthful diet, getting plenty of sleep, and exercising regulary may help prevent some depression and manage symptoms. It is important to maintain the structure and function of the brain. I've listed a few facts I received from the Crawford Memorial Hospital that can help you understand the relationship between depression and diet.