Moving Forward After Tragedy

mass-shooting-vegas-music-festival-2017-9e0c489f-a651-4496-918a-34f76ff81b18
David Becker/Getty

The horrific mass shooting in Las Vegas on Sunday night killed 59 people and injured more than 500 others. After events like this senseless attack, many Americans feel sad, helpless and fearful. We are only human, it affects us emotionally, physically, mentally, and spiritually.

The Las Vegas tragedy comes after weeks of devastating stories from storm-ravaged areas across our nation, which can be a lot of tragedy to process all at once. The shock and devastation of any tragedy leaves us feeling stunned and vulnerable. We know that life is fragile, but it is not supposed to be this way.

1506991109747.pngTragedy and grief are devastating.  But it doesn’t have to get the best of you. The news overwhelms us with stories, pictures, videos and interviews around the clock showing every intimate detail of these tragedies. It is like reliving it over and over. Shut it off and regroup. Never underestimate the importance of your mindset. Get yourself refocused in a positive direction.

Don’t forget your children’s feelings and emotions during this time too. When it comes to any tragedy, most adults either feel the need to talk a lot to their kids or think they shouldn’t talk at all. The best place is somewhere in between. First, ask what they think happened. Kids get information from many different sources, not all are reliable. Let your child’s questions to you be your guide. Reassure them of their safety, spare them the scary details and be sure not to lie to them. Don’t allow young children to watch the news. Empower your kids to take positive action in the wake of a tragic event by doing something positive for the victims and survivors. This will help you both heal.

today-las-vegas-140709-vid.jpgLife is unpredictable and uncertain. What we have today can be taken away in a moment. Let’s just accept the fact that life is unfair sometimes.  This, however, doesn’t mean that we give up. When the world is falling apart around us, it’s tough to see the ray of hope at the end of the tunnel. But, that is exactly what we must do. Take this time to reflect on the life you have and make any necessary positive changes to your life starting today.

1507054518676Life is for living, not worrying about dying, so don’t be fearful to live it to your fullest potential. None of us know how long our life will be, but we all get to choose what we make of each day. See the beauty, not the darkness. Focus on the good, not the bad. Many things are out of our control but you can control how you will react to situations, how you will treat others and how you will live your day. Make it a great one.

MB

 

The Aftermath of Harvey

 

grumpy-harvey-cat

You may get a chuckle out of this picture of a cat swimming because we all know how much cats hate water, but once you realize that this cat had no choice and is a survivor of Hurricane Harvey it isn’t quite funny. Photographer Scott Olson captured this deeply pissed off pussycat paddling through the water, and it didn’t take long for it to go viral. This feline has now become an online poster child for resilience, adapting to adversity with strength, resolve and sass.

lead_960On Friday, August 25, 2017 Hurricane Harvey made landfall as a Category 4 hurricane, with wind gusts observed up to 132 mph along the Gulf Coast, causing mass devastation and catastrophic flooding to communities in Texas and Louisiana. The local National Weather Service office in Houston observed an all-time record daily rainfall accumulation on both August 26 and 27, measured at 14.4 inches and 16.08 inches respectively. Harvey made landfall 3 times– twice as a hurricane in Texas and once more as a tropical storm in southwestern Louisiana.

Harvey has caused at least 66 confirmed deaths; including a Houston police officer, a family trapped in a van beneath surging floodwater, and a mother whose shivering 3-year-old was found clinging to her unresponsive body. One million people were forced to evacuate their homes as water inundated hundreds of thousands of homes, displaced more than 30,000 people, and prompted more than 17,000 rescues including pets. According to the American Red Cross, approximately 32,000 people were displaced in shelters across the state of Texas by August 31 with no idea when they can return home.

170903152456-path-of-harvey-van-vleck-super-169.jpgWith its torrential rain, devastating winds and widespread flooding, Hurricane Harvey could potentially be the costliest natural disaster in U.S. history. FEMA director Brock Long called Harvey the worst disaster in the state of Texas history, and expected the recovery to take many years. Economic losses are preliminarily estimated at between $70 to $190 billion, with a large portion of the losses sustained by uninsured homeowners-80 percent of Texans don’t have flood insurance. The Texas Department of Public Safety stated more than 185,000 homes were damaged, 9,000 destroyed and nearly 700 businesses were damaged as well.

It is one week after the storm and the danger isn’t over. Survivors face hurdles and consequences left by Harvey. There are debris everywhere-junked cars, houses full of mold, furniture and items destroyed. I worry about their state of mind during this time, things can be replaced-sure, but it is your great grandmothers ring you will never get to pass on to your daughter or your fathers WWII memorabilia that your grandkids will never see. Those heirlooms, precious memories, etc. that are now lost forever.

harvey-flooded-home-return-rt-ps-170901_mn_4x3_992.jpg

 

The floodwaters that people are walking thru contain many hazards to the environment and human health. The Houston Health Department stated that “millions of contaminants” were present in floodwaters, not to mention the snakes and alligators- YIKES!

There were many positive stories that also came out of this disaster. Many unsung heroes emerged during the storm and volunteer efforts continue to grow throughout the United States. Organizations are helping victims every way they can. On Friday, FEMA distributed over 1,900,000 meals and 1,960,000 liters of water. The American Red Cross, Salvation Army, United States Equestrian Federation, Humane Society of the United States, Catholic Charities USA, AmeriCares, Operation BBQ relief, many celebrities, and many other charitable organizations have provided and continue to help to the victims of the storm. The need is great, and our desire to help is strong in times of disaster, but be sure to donate responsibly. Donate money and time to trusted, reputable, voluntary or charitable organizations only.

170901-george-brown-convention-center-ac-831p_83a5acdeb063d9251c6d9a32582add63.nbcnews-ux-600-480.jpgThe survivors will struggle for a long time with the aftermath of Harvey, keep them in your thoughts and prayers.

To do our part, Girl Talk Marlton in conjunction with The Unforgotten Haven, will be collecting feminine products. If you would like to donate, please email girltalkmarlton@gmail.com or visit our site www.girltalkmarlton.org Thank you!

Mary Beth of Girl Talk Marlton

You Are Unique – Just Like Everyone Else

We are all alike…we all have hearts and brains. We are all different…we do not think or feel the same way.

51PYQ4J95WL._SX258_BO1,204,203,200_An important lesson in a book I came across titled We Are All Alike, We Are All Different – written for children, by children. With its original drawings and words by The Cheltenham Elementary School Kindergartners, it shows the perspectives of these 5-year old’s as it celebrates the multitude of differences in our society. The book reinforces multicultural and anti-bias learning and appreciation. Now more than ever, understanding tolerance for others and diversity in our world has never been more important. Everyone can benefit from this beautiful quick read.

There are many factors used throughout your life to forge your uniqueness: your life experiences, individual design and genetic makeup, physical characteristics like height, hair or eye color, or cultural differences, different backgrounds, environmental factors and personal vision. Everyone has a distinct personality, language, lifestyle, and culture. Because of these differences, sometimes we may not always get along with others, and personalities will collide. Even within a family, there are differences in age, gender, opinions and views. But try your best to treat everyone equal, practice patience and have compassion for others. Remember, we are all different, but the same.

IMG_3851-11bydaz.jpgIt is impossible for us to expect that everyone will react and behave just like you would if in that same situation. Some people are optimistic, while others are pessimistic. Some are active and progressive, whereas others are passive and lazy. Some are hot-tempered, while others are gentle and easygoing. Some are stingy and greedy, yet others are generous and charitable. How do we get along with all these different people?

To be happy in life, you must learn to get along with all types of people. We must learn to go with the flow. If we are constantly argumentative, act annoyed, and become resentful, others will reject us. Compassion will help us accept and be accepted by others.

images.pngThe best way to think of people is to view them as being made up of mixtures of ingredients, with different people being made up of different combinations of ingredients. Some are sweet and some are salty. Some are spicy while some are bland. The personality mixture is a set of individual differences that are affected by the development of an individual: values, attitudes, personal memories and social relationships. This recipe is what makes you, YOU.

We waste too much time comparing ourselves to others, wishing to be something we are not. Blue eyes, straighter hair, taller, thinner is just a few of the ingredients I wish I had, but even if I had those, would they make me a better person? We all have different thoughts, skills and opinions to offer that are positive and should be shared with the world. Why not focus on what we DO have. I am unique, but the same.

51wRWG8UscL.jpgOpen your mind and allow yourself to learn more about the people around you. This will help with avoiding personalities to clash. Find out the similarities in others, you may be pleasantly surprised. Encourage and appreciate differing opinions and views from others. Keep the lines of communication open to avoid any miscommunication.  Learn to be a good listener and don’t try to change people. Keep your sense of humor and learn to also laugh at yourself. Be open and honest with others. And remember to radiate positivity and smile often.

The levels of intelligence and morality among people in the world is varied. If we do not treat everyone equally, our words and actions will be misinterpreted by those around us. As the last sentence in the above titled book says, “We are all alike. We are all different. We are a family.” Let’s try our best to coexist.

~Mary Beth

maxresdefault

The Greatest Love of All

44fad4f6843f1b92f5d97ab041a3709aI believe the children are our future, teach them well and let them lead the way, Show them all the beauty they possess inside, give them a sense of pride to make it easier, Let the children’s laughter remind us how we used to be.

Everybody searching for a hero, People need someone to look up to,
I never found anyone who fulfill my needs, A lonely place to be,
So I learned to depend on me.

I decided long ago, never to walk in anyone’s shadows, If I fail, if I succeed,
At least I’ll live as I believe, no matter what they take from me, they can’t take away my dignity.

Because the greatest love of all Is happening to me.
I found the greatest love of all, inside of me. The greatest love of all, is easy to achieve.
Learning to love yourself, it is the greatest love of all.

I decided long ago, never to walk in anyone’s shadows, If I fail, if I succeed, At least I’ll live as I believe. No matter what they take from me, they can’t take away my dignity.
Because the greatest love of all, is happening to me. I found the greatest love of all,
Inside of me. The greatest love of all, is easy to achieve.

Learning to love yourself, it is the greatest love of all.

And if by chance, that special place, that you’ve been dreaming of,
Leads you to a lonely place, Find your strength in love.

This song by Whitney Houston came on the radio as I was stuck in traffic last week. For the very first time I listened to every single word. She sings of self-love and standing up for your beliefs. But we all know the decision to love one’s self is not quite as easy as the lyrics suggest. There are many struggles faced in learning to love yourself and being happy with who you are, even the parts of yourself you aren’t too fond of.

Given all that has been happening in our country with youth on youth violence and youth suicide, I was struck by the timeliness of the message of this song. However, it was the chorus, which resonated with my spirit. I believe we need to teach our youth how to connect with themselves so they can create a better future for themselves and the next generation. We must teach our youth, and ourselves, the true meaning of self-love, The Greatest Love of All.

Mary Beth Iannarella

Girl Talk Marlton

 

 

Some Female Problems Most Males Will Never Understand

Source: Some Female Problems Most Males Will Never Understand

THE IMPORTANCE OF KINDNESS By Kailey Gaffney -Senior Leader of Girl Talk Marlton NJ Chapter

http://thewishwall.org/desideri/the-importance-of-kindness/

I have loved helping people and see kindness, in big ways and small, for as long as I can remember. My non-profit organization, Girl Talk in Marlton, NJ, helps me to do that for younger girls who need a helping hand through life.

My youth group has also helped me to do that for my community and people who I don’t even know. In the last 4 years of my life, I have traveled to places like Indianapolis, Atlanta, Pennsylvania, and more with these groups to meet new people and help others, whether it was physically, mentally, or emotionally.

I have made and served lunches for the homeless in Philadelphia, made breakfast for the Ronald McDonald house in Camden, I have volunteered my time to complete strangers, and now am a part of the best thing I could’ve asked to be a part of… the Wishwall. I love helping people, it is something I consider a hobby and I was given this love of helping others at such a young age. I started volunteering locally when I was 12, but now do it all over! It’s something I consider a huge part of me. Volunteering and helping people has made me who I am today.

random-acts-of-kindnessI’ve been told that my gift of helping others expands much farther than physically helping people, but emotionally as well. I am the oldest female teen in my youth group currently, and my youth group is something that I hold a place for in my heart. A lot of my friends in this youth group will always tell me that I’m an older sister figure to them. I love just sitting in the car for hours with my friends just talking, giving them advice and having them tell me how they feel. The look in their eyes when I tell them I’m there for them is a look like no other.

Being someone who didn’t get much help when going through a really rough period of life as a younger girl, I don’t know where or how I exactly got this gift to help people. One thing I know, for sure, is that I am so thankful for it. Making other people happy is what makes me the happiest. Knowing that I am the person people like to go to when they’re feeling down, whether it’s about a breakup with their boyfriend or girlfriend, a family issue, or stress from school and work, it makes me feel good. For some reason I just find so much interest in people confiding in me for help.

However, sometimes, being this way and doing what I do makes me sad.

As much as it makes me feel happy, I know that the people I love the most, are going through struggles I can’t fix for them. Yes, sometimes, just simply being there is enough. But, most of the time, I wish I can do more. I wish that the homeless families in Philadelphia didn’t lose their homes. I wish that my friends, who are such good people, didn’t have to go through the daily struggles they have to go through. I wish cancer didn’t exist and everyone was healthy. I know these things aren’t something I can control, however, it makes me think about it more.

So, what’s my wish? My wish is for healing. Emotional and physical healing. My wish is for people who are feeling down, to get the emotional help they need to get better. My wish is for people who are ill to be able to get the medicine and help from doctors they need to be cured. My wish is for people to heal others, in any way they can, like I have done for so many people over the years, and will continue to do with the rest of my life.

Stop hate, spread love, and do something good for someone today. A simple random act of kindness like holding the door for someone can make someone’s day.

Help others. It’s the best gift you could ever give, and the feeling you get from doing it is the best gift you could ever receive.

Kailey Gaffney of Girl Talk Marlton for the Womens Wishwall

www.girltalkmarlton.org

www.thewishwall.org

MY WISH FOR HOPE

http://thewishwall.org/desideri/my-wish-for-hope/

keep-living

Hopelessness: A dangerous suicide warning sign.

Hopelessness is a feeling that conditions will never improve, that there is no solution to a problem, and, for many, a feeling that dying by suicide would be better than living.

Most people who feel hopeless have depression, and untreated depression is the number one cause for suicide. September being known as National Suicide Prevention Awareness Month, I thought maybe I should speak on this touchy but very important topic. Speaking about it helps promote resources and awareness around the issues of suicide prevention, how you can help others and how to talk about suicide without increasing the risk of harm.

According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), suicide is the third-leading cause of death for 15- to 24-year-olds. Approximately 25 attempts are made for every completed teen suicide. Risk dramatically increases when teens have access to firearms at home, and nearly 60% of all suicides in the United States are committed with a gun. Note: Guns in your home should be unloaded, locked, and kept out of the reach of children and teens.

Unfortunately, many of us either know someone personally or have heard of someone that has committed suicide. No matter how they choose to go about ending their life, it is a very tragic event and those effected by the situation are left to wonder if they could have prevented it.

So let’s do our best to educate ourselves to know the warning signs when there is a problem. Last week I spoke of anxiety and how that can lead to depression, and while some levels of anxiety and depression are normal in teenage years there is a point where there are red flags that should not be ignored.

Depression and hopelessness in teens is sometimes difficult to spot because (let’s be honest) by nature teens are irritable, want to sleep a lot, and seem to be on an emotional roller coaster most of the time. Teen girls, especially, are great at hiding their struggles from their parents as not to alert them to what is really going on. With hormones surging and self-confidence so low, parents often misinterpret their behavior as typical emotional outburst and teenage drama. And yes, for the majority of teens it is just growing pains and normal behavior. But for those few who are struggling, there are the warning signs to be aware of and when to seek professional help.

Note major changes in behavior and attitude, changes in friend groups, drop in grades, not wanting to go to school, significant mood swings, increased hostility, appetite or sleep changes, increased negativity about self and others, life and the future; drug and alcohol use, reckless behavior, loss of interest in things, activities or people she used to enjoy, tearfulness, lethargy, difficulty concentrating, general withdrawal, decreased attention to appearance and hygiene. It is hard to really understand what is going on in the mind of someone who is in such a dark place but they say that people usually kill themselves to escape what they see to be an inescapable situation, not necessarily because they want to die.

If your teen is asking about suicide, talk to them. Let her know she can tell you anything and you won’t freak out (just breathe), and listen!  If you have reason to expect she may be suicidal, ask her directly and with compassion.  Even if she seems dramatic, take it seriously! Tell her you love her, you hear her, and you are committed to helping her through these feelings. Let her know that you believe she can get through this and that you are there for her- always. Consult your teens doctor to set up the best plan of treatment for her immediately. And if your teen won’t open up and speak to you, reach out to someone your child does trust and your child’s doctor to try to get her to open up.

There are also many teens who are self-cutting. While teens that self-cut may become suicidal at some point in their development, cutting does not indicate suicidality. Most teens who cut say that they do it to feel better and not to kill themselves. Through therapy, teens can learn to cope without harming themselves. If you become aware that your teen is self-cutting, get help immediately for your child. Let her know you love her and want to help her stay safe and she can work through this hard time and get through this.

Effective treatment can eliminate or substantially reduce feelings of hopelessness. Indeed, depression is highly treatable and the vast majority of people who receive treatment get better. If you feel hopeless and think that you may be suffering from depression or a similar disorder, you need to reach out for help – and you need to do so now.

And remember this: There is always hope. But you may not feel that hope until you receive effective treatment for any disorder that you might have.

Hope a feeling of expectation and desire for a certain thing to happen.

See more at: http://nami.org/suicideawarenessmonth#sthash.Oy1ABAnR.dpuf

 

Mary Beth

Girl Talk Marlton

Women’s Wishwall Member