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2

Linda Cobourn: Dancing in the Hall

Posted by Julie on October 13, 2016 in encouragement, God's Word, Guest blogger, Julie Arduini, Life Lessons |

Dancing in the Hall

by Linda Cobourn

It was one of those rare moments, a spontaneous celebration erupting out of nowhere. The adult students in my Communications II class were learning the rhetorical strategies of pathos, ethos, and logos by presenting short skits. The last skit provoked a lot of noise, with one student bursting into the classroom waving a loaded eraser while the student portraying Pathos cowered under a desk crying. So loud had been her screams that several male students and the dean showed up at our doorway.

To “get back at me” for the disruption my class had caused, the professor of Music Empowerment chose to bring her students out to the hallway to sing “I’m Every Woman.” I led my class out to join in. There we were, forty students and two professors, dancing and singing during class hours.

I watched the faces of my students: they were joyous, elated to be engaging in a few moments of revelry, casting off their cares of being adult students with jobs, families, and financial woes.

Adults need the opportunity to play. In 2016, studies report that 30% of adults are working at multiple jobs. With the responsibility of children still living at home and elder parents needing care, the adult of 21st century America is stressed, tired, and on the verge of emotional collapse. Some adults have also returned to school for greater employment opportunities following job loss.

College programs designed for adult students are different than traditional programs.  Most adults who return to school are only on campus for class and library use. It is no wonder that adult students feel isolated. This sense of isolation is a reason only one out of four adult college students finish a degree. Reasons students drop out range from financial to family concerns, but high on the list is emotional overload.

Continuing education should bring with it joy in acquiring new knowledge and self-satisfaction in reaching a goal, but the opposite is often true. The overwhelming work required of higher education squeezes out the little leisure time left over from other responsibilities. Adults who do manage to finish their degrees report that they feel elated when the process is over.

But there’s nothing wrong with a little elation along the way. We should all occasionally dance in the hallway.

~+~

Dr. Linda Cobourn is a literacy specialist who works with at-risk learners and non-traditional college students. Her research interests include building college-ready skills in middle school students and providing academic support to adult learners. Dr. Cobourn also cares for her disabled husband and autistic son and writes about the experiences at http://writingonthebrokenroad.blogspot.com/

 

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Kathleen Brown: 3 Everyday Lessons for an Alzheimer’s Caregiver

Posted by Julie on October 11, 2016 in Julie Arduini |

3 Everyday Lessons for an Alzheimer’s Caregiver

by Kathleen Brown

I discovered Mom had Alzheimer’s during a September trip. September. Its flower is the forget-me-not; its gemstone, the sapphire. Sapphires were once associated with clear thinking. As I began caring for Mom, in the house where I grew up, I hoped the clear thinking part was for me.

If you’re an at-home caregiver, you know it presents unique challenges. My first weeks with Mom felt like one emergency after another; I was on adrenaline overload. Then I began noticing the miracles: tiny ones (finding one of Mom’s shoes in the trash can), and huge ones (Mom suddenly agreeing to a long-needed bath). Feeling the Lord’s presence and help, I calmed down and began to learn. Fear not—you’ll see miracles, too.

Three of the Biggest Everyday Lessons

 #1-You always have options.

In the beginning I thought there was only one right way to accomplish any care task. Wrong. There will always be more than one way to do what you need to do. Finding the best way, however, means we must look at all the options.

Example: Doctor to Mom: “Exercise.”

Mom to doc: “No.”

Solution: Two carts at the mega-store. While Dad shopped with one, Mom used the other like a walker, happy to stroll with me all around the store.

#2-Be ready to laugh.

Laughing in the face of Alzheimer’s is absolutely necessary for survival. The day Mom opened her mouth and I saw her dentures were in upside down, I smiled when I wanted to cry. After I fixed them, I laughed. Her poor gums were no longer being bitten by false teeth! Humor is an invaluable companion in caregiving.

#3-You will make it, even through the most difficult times.

When you need strength, you’ll have it. When you need words, they’ll come to you. When there’s nothing you can do to help your loved one, she will, against all odds, help herself. I can’t tell you how it happens—who can explain a miracle?—but I can tell you that resolution always comes. Expect it.

Expecting solutions widens your field of vision. You’ll find resources and strategies you won’t see if your eyes are closed in despair.

We hope effective treatments for Alzheimer’s will come—someday. Ways to cure and even prevent it. Until then, our peace will be in knowing we can help our loved ones through it. We can.

 ~+~

alzheimersKathleen Brown is a writer, speaker, and firm believer in everyday miracles. The author of A Time for Miracles: Finding Your Way through the Wilderness of Alzheimer’s, she focuses her work on needs of at-home Alzheimer’s caregivers. You can reach Kathleen through her blog, www.hopeandhelpforalzheimers.wordpress.com, or by email to kbrown.writer@gmail.com.

 

 

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Dr. Michelle Bengston: What to Say When To a Depressed Loved One

Posted by Julie on October 6, 2016 in Julie Arduini |

What to Say When To a Depressed Loved One

by Dr. Michelle Bengtson

“Death and life are in the power of the tongue…” Proverbs 18:21

What we say to others can either build them up or tear them down. We must take care not to further injure someone in their suffering from something we say.

As a neuropsychologist, I’m witness to the well-intentioned but misdirected words of friends and family to depressed loved ones that only serve to pull them down further.

When people suffer from depression, they often also harbor low self-esteem, guilt, and shame. What they crave is to know they are loved, accepted, and not alone.

Let Scripture help you determine what to say to a depressed loved one: “Therefore encourage one another and build each other up” (1 Thessalonians 5:11).

Here are a few things to say to someone struggling with depression:

-I love you. There is no better time to hear this than when they are struggling to love themselves and wonder if others truly love them too.

-I’m here for you. This is one of the most comforting things you can say to someone feeling alone.

-You are important to me. It’s vital to know they are still acceptable, accepted, and important.

-I’m sorry that you are going through such a painful time. Expressing your sorrow for their pain communicates that you care, even if you don’t fully understand.

-Is there something I can do for you? This communicates your willingness to help and just your offer will lend comfort and encouragement.

-You may not believe this now, but you won’t always feel this way. The depressed individual often needs reminding that there is hope.

-We will get through this together. This communicates your acceptance, and your love.

-Nothing. Actions often do speaker louder than words. I remember when Job encountered great hardship. Job 2:13 says his friends came and sat with him for seven days and nights. During that time, they didn’t speak a word because they saw how great his pain was. Words could do nothing to help his misery, but their company spoke volumes.

Remember, when you are speaking to a depressed loved one, your goal is to encourage and uplift them. “But if it were me, I would encourage you. I would try to take away your grief” (Job 16:5 NLT).

How will you encourage a loved one today?

~+~

DrMichelleAuthor, speaker and neuropsychologist, Dr. Michelle Bengtson combines her professional expertise and personal experience with her faith to address issues surrounding medical and mental disorders, both for those who suffer and their family. She offers practical tools, affirms worth, and encourages faith. She blogs regularly on her own site: http://www.DrMichelleBengtson.com

 

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4

Kathy Willis: Prosper Where You’re Planted

Posted by Julie on September 3, 2016 in encouragement, God's Word, Guest blogger, Julie Arduini, Life Lessons, surrender |

Prosper Where You’re Planted

by Kathy Carlton Willis

We were excited about our brand new home, but not so much with our new sod and landscaping. It struggled to survive the move. Of course, the 100-degree heatwave didn’t help matters. The crux of the problem was transplant shock. Those green leafies were traumatized by being uprooted from their comfortable setting and placed into strange new surroundings.

We did all we could to “love on” our greenies. We refreshed them frequently with nourishing drinks of water. But even with the proper care, the bright green leaves of grass, trees and plants dimmed to a straw-like gold. Transplant Trauma.

It takes time and the proper care for transplants to adjust to new surroundings, and then they snap out of the shock and turn green again.

I know what it’s like to be a transplant, and perhaps you do too. You wonder how it’s possible to prosper where you’re planted when you’re dealing with your own version of transplant trauma. We didn’t get to stay in the hometown of our childhood. No, God uprooted us. Took us from the comfort of what we knew and loved, and moved us to a new area that needed us. God often sends us to parched places—to rejuvenate others with refreshing green ministry.

Sometimes it takes a while to get acclimated. We go through a period of transplant trauma. Shock. The refreshingness of the lush green we offer others temporarily turns to dry hay. With the right amount of time to adjust, and with the loving care of our new surroundings, we green up again. It’s good to know it’s just a temporary condition.

Sometimes we come to a new place still grieving the loss of what we left behind. We bring that trauma with us until we come to accept it. Other times, we are eager to get started in the new ministry, but are confronted by the culture shock of the new area. We adapt. We add the water of the Word, confirming our calling to our new spot. We soak in the SONlight. We allow our Heavenly Master Gardener to tend to our needs while we tend to the needs of others.

Are you yearning to prosper where you’re planted? Repeat this phrase with me: “Transplant trauma is temporary. God’s tender loving care is permanent.”

~+~

kathywillisKathy Carlton Willis writes and speaks with a balance of funny and faith—whimsy and wisdom. She shines the light on issues that hold readers back and inspires lightbulb moments. Almost a thousand of Kathy’s articles have been published and she’s written several books, including Grin with Grace and Speaker to Speaker: The Essential Speaker’s Companion. She and husband Russ live in Texas with Jazzy, their hilarious Boston terrier. Learn more at: www.kathycarltonwillis.com

 

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8

Gail Goolsby: Will You Accept September’s One-on-One Challenge?

Posted by Julie on August 25, 2016 in encouragement, Guest blogger, Julie Arduini, Life Lessons, surrender |

Will You Accept September’s One-on-One Challenge?

by Gail Goolsby

 

Everyone wants to know and be known intimately by someone. We want to have relationships where connections can be quick and meaningful. September is One-on-One Month. Consider what you can do to ramp up your relationship investment.

The most important people in our lives should not have to wonder if we care about current challenges they are facing or achievements they have completed. They should be able to answer affirmatively that when they talk—we truly listen.

How can we experience the most from our meetings and conversations?

How can we communicate our presence, our full attention to the other person?

In Your Face and Off Your Phone

In today’s culture, being physically present and not looking at a phone are keys to quality conversations.

In a 2014 study conducted by Shalini Misra from Virginia Tech in Blacksburg, people were observed from a distance conversing in a coffee shop. More than factors of age, gender, ethnicity, mood, topic, or relationship closeness, the presence of mobile devices impacted the overall satisfaction of interaction between participants. The absence of mobile devices resulted in higher level reports of empathy and superior communication.

With the present technology overload, device-free gatherings are unusual, whether in a restaurant, home, or conference room. The challenge is daunting but vital. Put aside beeping, blinking, tweeting equipment when engaging a person or a group.

Presence is Proximity and Purpose

When we do have the opportunity to connect one-on-one with a friend, family member, co-worker, or employee, we show our desire to be present with:

  • Curiosity (find out something new)
  • Good questions (go for deeper than surface reports on work and activities)
  • Engagement (make eye contact, maintain positive body language)
  • Appreciation (share something valuable about person)
  • Active, responsive listening (don’t interrupt, occasionally check for understanding)
  • Focus (avoid looking around, letting thoughts wander)
  • Humor (tell a funny anecdote to release endorphins for everyone)

Satisfaction for All

Maybe the exchange happens while walking through the neighborhood or during a car ride. Perhaps in a kitchen, park, coffee shop, break room, or child’s room before bedtime.

Wherever, whenever the chat takes place, plan to be present and phone-free and make it a quality time that both of you will enjoy.

Accept the September One-On-One challenge and purpose to have satisfying conversations with the important people in your life. Who will be first on your list?

~+~

GailGoolsbyGail Goolsby, MA, MEd is a lifelong educator, including past leadership at an international school in Afghanistan. Gail and her pastor husband of 38 years live where the wind blows over the prairie in south Kansas. She counsels and coaches using God’s Word to help others learn to live well. www.gailgoolsby.com

 

 

 

 

 

 

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5

Susan K. Stewart: Writer, Do You Want to Break into the Homeschool Market?

Posted by Julie on August 23, 2016 in encouragement, God's Word, Guest blogger, Julie Arduini, Life Lessons |

 

At a Christian trade show recently I asked representatives of several publishers about tween novels to review for my homeschool audience. Generally the reaction was “We have this curriculum or this journal.” I was looking for novels, not curriculum.

This reinforced that many in the publishing world think homeschoolers only want “teaching” material. They have trouble breaking into the market because they don’t know it.

My sons loved Lee Roddy’s books. Hank the Cowdog by John R. Erickson is another favorite of homeschoolers. Neither series is written specifically for homeschoolers, but are enjoyed because the stories are fun and well written.

Like Roddy and Erickson, you can break into the homeschool market. Here’s how:

Step 1 – Know the market.

You can read all the statistics about an average homeschooler. It’s far better, though, if you get to them yourself. Read the homeschool websites, attend homeschool events open to the public, and, with permission, follow homeschool social media groups.

Step 2 – Write well.

Just like anyone else, homeschoolers want well-written books. The story is the key.

Step 3 – Don’t make assumptions.

Don’t assume only homeschoolers can write for homeschoolers. Lee Roddy and John R. Erickson aren’t homeschool dads.

Don’t assume that homeschooling is school at home. Often it is vastly different from traditional schools.

Don’t assume you need to have a specific type of character or specific message. Just write a good story.

Three questions are commonly asked when I teach at conferences.

  • Do you market to parents or kids?

 

Max Elliot Anderson markets his books to parents for boys who are reluctant readers. Lee Roddy talks with boys at conferences to share his stories. Use the same marketing techniques you use for the general market.

  • Is there more of a need for non-fiction or fiction?

 

In an informal survey, I found homeschool parents are looking for everything from fantasy to finances. It doesn’t matter whether it’s fiction or nonfiction.

  • Should I include a study guide?

 

If you want to. Some authors offer a study guide, lesson plans, or coloring pages as a free bonus for purchase.

You too can break into the homeschool market with standard marketing techniques: Know the market, write well, and don’t make assumptions. The next time I ask publishers for Christian tween novels to share with my homeschool readers, maybe it will be yours.

~+~

SusanKStewartSusan K. Stewart – When she’s not tending chickens and peacocks, Susan K. Stewart teaches, writes, and edits non-fiction. Susan’s passion is to inspire readers with practical, real-world solutions. Her books include Science in the Kitchen and Preschool: At What Cost? and the award-winning Formatting e-Books for Writers. You can learn more at her website www.practicalinspirations.com.

 

 



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