Doing Life Together

ID-10021766I have to admit, I’m not a fan of No Shave November. I look forward to the month ending in order to see the faces of the men I care about again. But one of my producers had a different take on the No Shave idea and wrote a thoughtful spot for me to record for radio. Thanks Katey Roshetko. You are my guest blogger today!

It’s that time of year again. Where the weather gets colder and the beards get longer. It’s No Shave November! But not all of us have a beard to grow, so here’s something everyone can do. It’s called: No Shame November. Whether we want to admit it or not, we all fall prey to shame in our lives.

Some of you might be ashamed of your body and hate thinking about all that holiday food. Or maybe you’re ashamed of your income and worry that you won’t be able to provide a fun Christmas for your kids. Any of you ashamed of your family? Maybe you’re dreading that awkward family reunion.

Whatever shame you’re carrying in your life, give it to God. Psalm 34:4-5 says, “I sought the Lord, and he answered me and delivered me from all my fears. Those who look to him are radiant, and their faces shall never be ashamed.”

Every day, think of one thing in your life you’re ashamed of and actively give that to God. If we practice “No Shame November” now, it won’t be long before we’re experiencing no shame for life.

Are you ready for the challenge? What is one thing each day you can take to Jesus and realize, He took your shame on the cross and you no longer have to carry it around. Leave it there, at the foot of the cross, and walk with your head held high. When you are one of His, there is no shame, only forgiveness and grace! And No Shame November continues into all the months of the year! Now that’s a movement I can get behind!

ID-10040105We all want to remain on top of our game as along as possible as we age. We’ve heard a lot about doing puzzles and mental activities that require cognitive engagement. But how about some fun ways to keep your mind sharp? A few may even surprise you!

It is Friday night. You are with your spouse and thinking about what to do tonight. What if you put together an evening that was not only fun, but kept your brain active and fighting the aging process.

1) Make a date at the IMAX and see a movie in 3D. I know, sometimes those give me a headache, but here is what a study at the University of London found about 3D movies. They boost cognitive performance. When that monster comes flying into your face, your heart rate increases as does blood flow to the brain. So go for the more stimulating experience.

2) Next, while you are enjoying the terror or beauty of 3D (depends on what you see), order a cup or two of hot cocoa. Researchers at Harvard Medical School found that cocoa’s flavanols assist increased blood flow to the brain as well. Those flavanols are the same found in red wine and tea. This compound helps you do better on cognitive tests.

3) Now head home and enjoy an intimate time with your spouse post movie and cocoa. Researchers at the University of Maryland discovered that sex helps lower stress hormones, and even increased the production of new brain cells and helped memory—at least in rats! Time to verify that study in humans!!

4) Then if you are feeling really great about the evening, plug in the IPOD, go to the Broadway tunes channel and belt out a few show tunes — yes, belting out music lowers stress and actives neurons in the brain.

OK, I’ve planned your evening. Now get out there and be sharp!!!

Screen Shot 2014-11-10 at 10.23.43 AMIMG_3142 (1)This is  my dad when he fought in WWII! And on the right is my dad at age 94. He is one of the many veterans who needs to be honored today.

Such sacrifices our veterans made and continue to make to provide us our freedom. Thank you from the bottom of my heart!

What can you do to let a veteran know they are appreciated today?  First, remember, this doesn’t have to be a one-time appreciation. Let veterans know throughout the year that their service means so much to our country.

1) Hug a veteran. We just celebrated hug a lawyer day! How about a veteran?  If a hug feels like too much, shake a hand and thank the veteran for their service.

2) Donate to charities that help veterans. Contact the USOBlue Star Families or Operation Gratitude to find ways to help.

3) Volunteer your time in a VA hospital. Click here to see what you can do and where. You can bring smiles and cheer to many lonely veterans by simply visiting and spending time.

4) Support Fisher House, a non-profit “home” that helps military families with lodging during hospitalization at military medical facilities. You can bring toys, homemade goodies and get your children involved in bringing kindness to military families who are receiving medical care.

5) Ask a veteran to share their story. Learn about their lives and sacrifices. Listen to their stories of war and bravery. Most want to talk about some experience they found rewarding or in line with the mission to keep our country free. When we visit my dad at his apartment, he is surrounded by many men and women who served in a number of wars. Their stories are fascinating and they love to share them.

ID-100159204Recently, we have heard stories about addiction and how it has impacted families of those on the presidential campaign trail. Jeb Bush talked to CNN about his daughter’s run in with the law while fighting a prescription drug addiction. Others like Chris Christie and Carly Fiorina have also been open and transparent regarding the destructive effects of addiction on people.

While we know addiction may be predisposed by factors of heredity, environmental factors help explain the lure. Peer pressure, family problems, mental health problems, family history of addiction and use of prescription drugs are often underlying factors in someone’s decision to use. The addict often struggles with feelings of personal inadequacy, an inability to regulate emotions and cope with conflict. Consequently substance use offers temporary solutions — immediate gratification, anesthesia to life’s problems, removal of inhibitions, and yes, power.

The desire for power led to Satan’s ousting from Heaven. He saw God’s glory, desired to be like Him, becoming His enemy. Power was one of the temptations Satan brought before a fasting Jesus in the wilderness. Satan offered Jesus the world if He would fall down and worship him. Satan tried to coerce Jesus into accepting immediate gratification and fame. He tried to thwart the plan of redemption. He tried to deceive and then destroy.

This strategy is the same today. The enemy uses this formula with substance abuse. The power he offers is for temporal things of the world. He offers importance, fame, control, money, sex, escape and avoidance of pain, and more. But his power comes with a price — ultimate destruction of the soul. Substance abuse destroys. It is not a long-term solution to anything-only a temporary feel good! And that feel good changes the brain creating compulsion and the need for more.

The need to escape and avoid negative feelings is another root cause of addiction that is helped by faith. If one truly believes that God is weak when we are strong, is with us through any difficulty, and can walk us through any problematic situation to the other side, He becomes our dependence. Without God, we are left to our own helplessness.

In order to overcome any addiction, you must begin with the belief that only God can fix your feelings of inadequacy, calm your anxieties, walk you through difficulty and be a constant help in times of trouble. Refuse to be tempted by anything the world offers as a solution to your emptiness. Don’t allow yourself to be deceived. The only real power is that of the Cross. Because of His great love for you, Jesus triumphed over deception, destruction, and death. In your weakness, He is made strong and that is why surrender is the first step in healing.