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Posts Tagged ‘military family’

 

world-trade-center-9-11-crossHeavenly Father and Precious Lord, we seek you and your healing mercy.

As fifteen years pass, we remember the pain and suffering of a horrible day. We remember the loss of life, the destruction, and the chaos of that fateful morning. Sorrow remains. Grief returns. Heartache and despair weigh us down.

Almighty God comfort and calm our souls. Turn our hearts into an altar where healing can take place. Transform our spirits into a place of peace. Allow restoration and redemption in our lives. We are a people who need you and your presence.

Give us strength to perform your will. Allow us to move forward as a renewed people. Keep us bold, strong, and true. Just like clay on the potter’s wheel, shape us and mold us into a new creation, one that continues to show your glory.

As conflicts remain and others begin, protect our warriors in harm’s way. Guide their way and direct their steps. Comfort the families who are divided by war and give them the strength necessary for every day apart. Minister to their needs and surround them with your love.

Lord, hear our prayer. We are a nation and a people who need you. Allow us to feel your healing mercy through our Savior Jesus Christ. Amen.

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Gambling is a problem in America.  But gambling addiction issues with veterans are twice as high.

The Veterans Administration funded a study to determine the prevalence of problems and pathological gambling addictions within the U.S. military.  The findings deserve our attention:

  • One in 10 veterans have a problem or pathological gambling addiction (2 percent pathological addictions and 8 percent problem addictions to gambling)
  • Unemployment plays a major role in whether the veteran had gambling addictions, and married veterans were more likely to have gambling addictions (not what psychologists and researchers expected to see)
  • Veterans have about twice the rate of problems/pathological gambling addictions compared to the general, non-military population
  • Both male and female veterans have almost identical problem and pathological gambling addiction rates (again, this is unusual – not what psychologists and researchers expected to see)
  • Veterans with post-traumatic stress disorder, depression and anxiety tend to have more gambling addiction problems
  • Younger veterans (20s) were more likely to be diagnosed as pathological gamblers (from previous data, most veterans with pathological gambling addictions are 35 and older, so this change in age for addiction was unexpected)

Veterans are immediately submitted to unhealthy methods of emotional escape when they return from combat.  There is a strong temptation to find unhealthy coping mechanisms because you are trying to develop a new normal at home or deal with combat stress reactions.  Many WWII veterans turned to alcohol, isolated themselves from family, and became workaholics when they returned from combat.  While this was a way to cope with problems, it was not the best way.

Gambling easily lends itself to a destructive path.  In short order, people quickly become compulsive gamblers, grow financially unstable, throw away friends and family, end marriages, abandon children, risk loosing a security clearance, jeopardize his/her military career, and even contemplate suicide.

Know the signs that point to a gambling addiction.  If you have a battle buddy or know a veteran who needs help, don’t wait.  Tell him/her what you see.  Encourage that person to get help.  State agencies and military posts offer free gambling addiction resources.  It is important that we act quickly when someone is at risk.  The loss of family and financial security may be enough for someone to consider suicide.  Your actions can help to save a life.

The National Council on Problem Gambling has a 24/7 confidential hotline:  1-800-522-4700.

Gamblers Anonymous offers a link with state hotlines at http://www.gamblersanonymous.org/ga/hotlines

Military One Source offers free and confidential counseling for service members and military family members:  1-800-342-9647.

Focus on the Family offers faith-based counseling:  1-855-771-HELP (4357).

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hero

Where are the heroes?

The sports community took some big hits this week and last.  It has disappointed many in America and across the world.

Last week the Baseball Hall of Fame announced that no candidates received enough votes for entry into Cooperstown.  This year’s ballot included 37 candidates, 24 in the lineup were first time nominees.  Several of these athletes were tied to performance-enhancing drugs, greatly diminishing their chances of ever entering the Hall of Fame.  This class includes Barry Bonds, Roger Clemens and Sammy Sosa, all of whom posted Hall of Fame-worthy numbers during their careers but were clouded by PED suspicion. Clemens earned 37.6 percent of the vote, Bonds got 36.2 percent and Sosa got 12.5 percent.

Recently, Tour de France winner, Lance Armstrong admitted to using PEDs.  Last year, he lost all seven of his Tour titles due to a 1,000 page report from the US Anti-Doping Agency.  The massive report exposed his extensive drug use and multiple methods of trying to circumvent sports cycling rules.  The agency deposed 11 former teammates and accused Armstrong of masterminding a complex and brazen drug program that included steroids, blood boosters, and a range of other performance-enhancers.

While athletes and sports stars are frequently viewed as heroes, these events should remind us what heroism truly looks like.  A hero is a person of distinguished courage, bravery, ability, and noble qualities.  The heroes have not left our nation, we just forget what they look like and how they behave.

Courage is shown through the service of Soldiers, Sailors, Airmen, and Marines everyday.  They demonstrate the meaning of sacrifice through their actions and dedicated service.  Bravery is shown through the actions of police officers in every community.  They run into buildings that crowds exit when trouble rears its ugly head.  Ability is shown by countless firemen.  They react to emergencies and execute teamwork in order to save lives and property.  Honesty, integrity, generosity, and kindness can be seen through the daily actions of mothers and fathers across our nation.

Our country is full of heroes, we just fail to recognize who they truly are.

As this week will focus on stars from Hollywood and the sports page.  Teach your children to recognize a hero.  Let them know what qualities are important in life.  Show them that common folks in your community can be some of the greatest examples of doing the right thing.

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Everyone loves the Christmas season.  While reasons may vary from hearing a performance of the Hallelujah Chorus to snow sledding, people love the Christmas season.  It is the arrival of our promised Emmanuel, “God with us.”  This season also has a funny way of changing people.

Yes, Christmas is the best time of year, but we often forget to mention what it does to us.  Christmas brings out the best in us.  No matter where you live, there is an increased effort for people to be kind, caring, and generous.  Drivers are more courteous on the roadways.  You open the door for someone when their arms are full with shopping bags.  Neighbors help each other by raking leaves or shoveling snow off sidewalks.  We even tell total strangers, “Merry Christmas!”

This spirit of gratitude and grace comes from our Creator.  God has demonstrated His love in sending Jesus Christ to earth.  We celebrate this perfect gift in many ways, but the power of God’s love changes us.

We reciprocate the love that God has shared with us, His children.  The gift of Jesus is so tremendous that we live in a different way.  We choose to be transformed and in turn show greater compassion.  This beautiful event happens more now than at any other time of the year.  Christmas and the celebration of our Savior yield a new and different world.  One where people give gifts, adopt orphans, feed the homeless, care for widows, support unemployed veterans, and show compassion to the resident stranger.  In short, we decide to live out our faith.  We put God’s plan of grace into action.

As the Christmas holiday approaches you and your family, make the decision to be transformed.  Reflect the love that God has poured out from heaven, through Jesus the promised Messiah.  Demonstrate your faith and share the love that you have received from our Heavenly Father.

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President Obama signed an executive order directing federal agencies to expand suicide prevention strategies and improve access to mental health and substance abuse treatment for veterans, service members, and their families.

Citing an obligation to “build an integrated network of support capable of providing effective mental health services,” the order includes an array of directions for the Department  of Veterans Affairs, the Department of Health and Human Services, and other federal agencies.  Collaboration with community-based providers, including community mental health clinics and substance abuse treatment facilities, was specifically required, particularly for areas where the Department of Veterans Affairs has had challenges in providing timely access to services for veterans.  In addition, the Department of Veterans Affairs and the Department of Health and Human Services must expand the capacity of the Veterans Crisis Line by 50% and “ensure that any veteran identifying him or herself as being in crisis connects with a mental health professional or trained mental health worker within 24 hours.”

The Department of Veterans Affairs will also work with the Department of Defense to establish a national, 12-month suicide prevention campaign focused on connecting veterans to mental health services, officials reported.

To ensure veterans have access to these services, the executive order also calls on the VA and HHS to establish at least 15 pilot sites where VA can partner with local mental health providers. This initiative, officials said, will help ensure services are available in regions where VA has had trouble hiring or placing providers.

The order also directs VA and HHS to develop a plan to increase access to mental health care in rural communities.

The Veterans Crisis Line is a confidential hotline where veterans and family members can immediately connect with trained professionals during a time of crisis.  The toll-free hotline is 1-800-273-8255.

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There is no doubt who has the most difficult job when a service member is deployed.  Military spouses win that one hands down!  They do the job of two people, wrangle kids, make sure that the household stays afloat, and everything else while their warrior is downrange.

Military spouses have a new way to find resources online.  Spouselink is made for the needs and interests of the military spouse.  It covers a wide variety of topics and has a splash of pop culture included.  So take it for a test drive, watch a video, read an article, or share information with another family member with the click of a button.

http://www.spouselink.org

 

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Scripture reminds us to “pray without ceasing.”  Be mindful of these service members and their families during the Olympic Games in London.  Many of these service members are veterans who have protected our liberty.  Pray for their safety and protection as they continue to represent our Nation.

Warrior Olympians: 16 military athletes vie for glory in London – Off Duty, Sports, Hunting, Fishing – Army Times.

 

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