I received a phone call from my wife the other day; she was upset. She told me that she had been involved in a traffic accident. My first question was: "Are you hurt?" Fortunately the answer was no. My second question was: "Was anyone in the other car injured?" Fortunately, again the answer was no. Beyond that the only thing to say is, "Thank you Lord!"...
A terrible wind storm came through the Tulsa area several weeks ago. The result was over 100,000 homes with out electricity, some for over a week. Other homes sustained more permanent damage.
This picture is an actual home of a family in our church. The winds not only blew off branches, it blew a tree down onto their house! Now our church has a "chain saw" gang that can work on downed branches and assist families who have yard debris. But this job was way beyond their capabilities. The weight of the tree (and the precarious nature of it's landing on the roof) made any attempt to try to work on it a dangerous situation. There are simply times when experts are needed....
May is National Mental Health Awareness Month. It is no secret that there has been a sharp increase in the number of cases of depression, anxiety, stress, family conflict, domestic violence (and the list goes on and on). The fact is that we are living in stressful times and many are having difficulty coping. While there are numerous strategies for dealing with mental/relational distress (and different approaches are meaningful to different people) one thing I would recommend is the simple act of: "Hanging Out With Friends." For me, an evening with a good friend can significantly help to reduce my anxiety and lift my spirits. I actually have several thoughts regarding this...
Five years ago, for Christmas, my wife bought me a Fitbit watch and have worn it every day since. I love this exercise watch, it is one of the best Christmas gifts I've ever received. I love the way it: counts my steps, let's me know when I need to "get up and get moving," tracks my exercise, and helps me set fitness goals. In addition to telling me the time, it is a very practical fitness tool. Another thing I like about this watch is that it gives me positive feedback when I reach my daily step goal. When I reach my daily goal a type of "colorful fireworks" display begins to flash along with a vibration for my wrist. It's my Fitbits way of saying, "Great job! You reached one of your fitness goals today." I'm not 100% sure why, but I find this positive feedback to be very encouraging. In fact, if I haven't experienced my Fitbit Fireworks for the day I will often say to myself, "I need to get up and start walking." Through the feedback of this small fitness tracker my behavior is actually being shaped in a positive way. So the question I've been asking myself is: "Why don't I put more effort into giving positive feedback to others when I see good things happening in their life?" Is it possible that others could be influenced by my personal "Relational Fireworks?"
Dr. Allen Schneider is a United Methodist pastor and a Licensed Marriage and Family Therapist presently serving the Sapulpa and greater Tulsa communities.