?Good Evening Starlights! Grab a dark chocolate treat, a warm mocha latte, and transition your mindset to one of optimism. Pour into you thoughts of blissful magic, road trips, adventures, and music jams as the weekend unfolds endless opportunities for us to discover. The crisp air is closing in on our steaming hot weather and couldn’t come fast enough. The summer has been a mass of floods, fires, humidity, and droughts. Global warming is ever so present and on our minds as we look forward to holiday gatherings, future travel, and hopefully a decrease in pandemic hot spots.
?September 11th is a reminder of the many innocent lives that were lost, the first responders who braved rescues in the buildings and never returned, and those on the ground who never made it home due to foreign objects falling from the sky. It was hell on earth that day. Their heroic acts of bravery cannot be overstated. There were selfless innocents in the towers that morning. Courageous first responders who were met with horror. And those individuals in flight had super powers on angel wings to attack the faces of evil. We lost so many beautiful and courageous souls. We owe them everything because we LIVE! We honor you today and want you to know our live are more meaningful, abundant, blessed, and grateful because of you. We will never forget you.
✝️I lift each and every one up of those who families, responders, lost and brave souls up to God the Almighty as He graces us with His glory, abundance, comfort, and love. He has a majestic plan for all of us, although we do not understand His ways of knowing. His timing is perfect. In time we will see how the woven pieces of threads, barren as they may be, create a masterpiece of brilliance that will cast a shine so glorious our faces can only imagine His magnificence….? We can only bow and tremble at His feet. He calls on us to do His will with selfless fervor. We must be patient with gratitude and an open heart so when he speaks we are ready and willing to soar.
I am also reminded of the years my family served in the military. It is many times a thankless job. Families all over America serve in the military for our country. I think about those military men and women returning from Afghanistan and how so many Americans don’t welcome them home after all of the sacrifices they have given for us after what is demanded of them 24 hours a day. I am so proud to be an American and I am honored to live in this country. Being from a military family, I know the price for Freedom. Military men and women receive little pay for their duty to sacrifice their lives for our country’s freedom. The entire family serves in one way or another.
As an Air Force family we were stationed at military bases every two years overseas or in the United States. I never had roots to go back to and always lived with aircraft flying over my head. Those were the sugar plums that danced in my head until I fell into deep slumber. My father was barely at home, serving our country in soils of foreign lands. It changed him, his mindset, and his behaviors. He became callous, angry, and volatile. Sometimes I didn’t recognize him when he returned.
The children in military families are transient. We are pulled out of schools every two years. We don’t make friends long enough to keep them. We only have one parent or none during the year if both parents serve. And by the time we finally get acclimated to our surroundings, we are uprooted again. It is unprecedented the number of families that lose one or both parents to war, suicide, or divorce. The numbers for suicide are staggering! They are 1.5 times that of the regular population or 27.5 times per 100,000 people, which is 1.5 times worse since 2005. And the Air Force has the highest rates of divorce out of all the military. [WASHINGTON (PRWEB)August 05, 2021]
In the The Pentagon Needs More Data on Domestic Abuse in the Military by Patricia Kime, she quotes, “The Pentagon defines domestic abuse as “a pattern of behavior resulting in emotional or psychological abuse, economic control, or interference with personal liberty that is directed toward a current or former spouse, a person with whom the abuser shares a child in common, or a current or former intimate partner with whom the abuser shares or has shared a common domicile.”
- During the five-year study period, the Army had 17,289 recorded incidents of domestic abuse; the Air Force, 10,871; the Navy, 8,614; and the Marine Corps, 5,381.
- The Army and Marine Corps saw decreased incidents reported from 2015 to 2019, while reports stayed steady in the Navy during the same time frame. The Air Force increased in 2019, with reports that year exceeding any of the preceding four.
- The largest barrier cited by victims to reporting abuse was concern over their financial situations, since many military families have a single source of income — the service member.
- They also reported feeling their allegations wouldn’t be taken seriously, that filing a report would provoke their abuser and that leaders are often reluctant to pursue an investigation since it could hurt a service member’s career.
Increased Rates of Child Maltreatment (Improving the Odds for Young Children Project)
Research from the National Center for Children in Poverty (NCCP) indicates that phases of deployment (pre-deployment, deployment and re-integration) are important and effect children’s well-being. Both departures to, and returns from, combat deployment cause stress in families that can lead to increased rates of child maltreatment.
- Prior to October 2002, maltreatment rates were slightly higher among non-military families than among military families. Rates of maltreatment in military families far outpaced the rates among non-military families after the U.S. started sending larger numbers of troops to Afghanistan and Iraq in 2003.
- Among families of enlisted U.S. Army personnel with substantiated reports of child maltreatment (physical, emotional or sexual abuse), rates of maltreatment are greater when the soldiers are on combat-related deployments. In fact, the rate of child maltreatment in families of enlisted Army soldiers was 42 percent higher during combat deployment than during non-deployment.
- For military personnel with at least one dependent, the rate of child maltreatment increases by approximately 30 percent for every one percent increase in the number of active duty soldiers who depart or return from combat deployment.
I share these insights because most people today do not realize the chaos, conflict, and abuse that military families experience in their home life. Statistics for domestic abuse for the military has not been given priority over the past years. There are gaps, which is a disservice to military families who have lived with domestic abuse prior to 2002. Men and women coming back from war must deal with PTSD, traumatic brain injuries, loss of limbs, depression, mental illness, and then take on the stressors of reconnecting with a partner or even the loss of a partner. The depletion of mental health of military men and women is off the charts as are the dysfunctional dynamics and poor mental health of the entire family who must transition with the parents who come home or may never come home from war.
As a director of federally funded grant programs who worked with low-income, underrepresented, and first-generation students in high school and college, I realized how broken and forgotten many of the military students and families were. Since I had been a low-income, first-generation college student from a military family, I could identify with my students’ struggles, roadblocks, mental anxiety, isolation, fears, and feelings of not belonging. It would seem that our courageous men and women in America who sacrifice their lives for our freedom would be paid an exceptionally well income. You would think they’d have enough money and resources to send their children to college, be able to put food in their bellies, and offer them quality medical care. This is NOT reality for our military folks. It is disparaging to know my life as a military child and those of the military families today haven’t changed much at all.
?It is shocking to realize our government does NOT provide a financially lucrative paycheck for our military and their children. Even during the pandemic, military families are seen IN CAR LINES for food handouts, Veterans are sleeping in the streets and waiting weeks to be seen by health care workers. These are the people who FIGHT and have FOUGHT for our FREEDOM to keep us SAFE. They are SACRIFICING AND SACRIFICED their LIVES for our FREEDOM. No words can describe how disgraceful it is for me to see how badly we treat our own.
We even require non-profits for Veterans to bring in money so those from the Military who suffered loss of limbs can afford to get electric wheelchairs and fitted for cutting edge limbs. And to have their homes be renovated for wheelchairs and their physical disabilities, the cost to do this is astronomical! Military folks cannot afford this luxury and must rely on handouts from non-profits to support these needs, which is far and few between.
?The Good News is we have choices in overcoming these massive obstacles that blind us from doing what is right, good, honorable, and true. I believe at the very heart of individuals is goodness and grace. Light conquers darkness and elevates us to an enormous height of greatness. Our spirits rise and soar like the Northern Stars when we are anchored in Him. The God spark is our light force and is more powerful than a lightening bolt, because He created energy, the stars, the sun, the cosmos, and the galaxies. Who are we to question His authority? It takes only one person to make a difference. That difference is ME AND YOU!
?Romans 8:31 “What, then, shall we say in response to these things? If God is for us, who can be against us?”
?There’s beauty in the breaking of one’s soul by allowing our glow to shine through the tiny cracks created by our pain. It’s shimmer shines brilliant stardust onto those who need to rekindle their flames. By doing so, it gives them permission to do the same. When we love ourselves first we overflow like a fountain of shimmering shine. Self-love acknowledges our dark past, forgives and releases our persecutors and pain, and discovers our hidden kryptonite. We love ourselves completely, genuinely, and transparently regardless of flaws and perfect imperfections.
✨The God spark is our spiritual divinity. When we rise we radiate our glow and attract like minded souls to create an abundance of synergy. We glean new knowledge through civic engagement, education, cutting edge research, and support each other aspire to our full potential. We can be knee deep in garbage, but we are not defined by it. No matter how isolated, sick, or chaotic our lives seem, we still wear feathers in our hair, stardust on our faces, and the cosmos as our cape. We hold super powers, make no mistake! How we respond to our circumstances carries our light. What we believe becomes our reality, our truth, and our fight. I believe we are the solution!
MENTAL HEALTH TIPS FOR 2021
As part of the solution, lets get the facts straight about where the people in America stand. The 12 Solutions to Cut Poverty in America shares the latest statistics as of May 2021…
“As of May 2021, more than 9 million Americans were unemployed, 19 million adults and up to 8 million children had experienced food insecurity, and more than 10 million renters were behind on rental payments. Communities of color and other underserved families have been hit particularly hard by the pandemic and subsequent economic downturn: Black, Indigenous, and Latinx communities have seen higher rates of infection, hospitalization, and death as well as unemployment. Likewise, the disability community has been disproportionately affected by high rates of mortality at congregate facilities, inequitable vaccine rollouts, and delayed stimulus payouts to individuals on Social Security and Supplemental Security Income.”
This is overall depressing, not to mention how many people have died from the pandemic and now the Delta Virus. It is our reality to deal with such catastrophic numbers and even be one of the statistics. We must choose what we want for our lives. Choosing joy in our soul is not an option. It is a way of life.
?Since my life turned upside down by trauma, abuse, and illnesses, I choose to rise and live a life of glow. Changing our mindsets is a choice that comes from self-love. When we honor who we are through self-care, worthiness, nutrition, sleep, meditation, fitness, healthy boundaries, and forgiveness, we tell others through our behaviors, attitude, and shine how we want to be treated. People will gravitate toward us who are like minded, who want to become a better version of themselves because they want what we have…Do not fear the darkness. And do not look behind. You are not going in that direction. Choose the light. Release the pain. Forgive yourself and others so you can live joyously in the present. Be the Light!? SHINE ON!
Four Tips to a Positively Optimum Mental Health…
- Start a Gratitude Journal– Writing what you are grateful for are warm fuzzies. There’s something gratifying in listing your blessings. Your focus changes to positive thinking, your blood pressure decreases, your mind becomes centered on memories that lifted your spirits and who you shared them with. Pausing to give gratitude is a simple way to change the course of our thoughts during the day. What we focus on is our power. Whether negative or positive the energy is the same.
- Discover Something New– Stop doing the same old habits. Moving out of our comfort zones teaches us to grow, learn, and transition into a better version of who we want to become. Changing our mindsets to optimism means finding quality time to engage in activities, events, and hobbies that bring joy to our soul and make us feel good about ourselves. Fitness is a powerful catalyst for glow. Anything that is creative is using part of your right brain where you are intuitive, emotional, and can allow your imagination to run wild. What is your passion when you’re not working? Whatever you love to do that makes you smile, do that!
- Take a Mini Vacation– Our travel to foreign lands may stay quite foreign for awhile longer. So think closer to home when you plan a mini vacation for yourself. Maybe a retreat is in order that offers meditation, harmony, and finding your center. There are writing retreats, photography retreats, business retreats, culinary retreats, and wine retreats. Pick one that you will have fun, meet new friends, or take a special friend with you and relax! These retreats have yoga, exercise, healthy habits, snacks, and lodging sometimes built into the total fee. Find the one that best fits your budget and GO!!
- Decrease Sugar Intake, Alcohol, and Processed Foods- Our mental health cannot function at its highest acuity if its bogged down with too much alcohol, sugar, or processed foods with high fat content. Sugar is highly addictive to the brain, even more so than heroine. That is why the United State has the highest rate of diabetes globally. When grabbing a snack look closer at the where sugar falls in the ingredient list. If it’s near the top, it’s the main ingredient. Finding snacks and foods with less sugar without chemical sugars can be challenging, but our bodies can’t process chemicals and will store it as fat. Choose organic snacks, fresh fruits and vegetables or make your own with nuts, cranraisins, pumpkin and sunflower seeds, and dark chocolate M&Ms. Moderation is key.
Diabetes in America Stats
- Total: 34.2 million people have diabetes (10.5% of the US population)
- Diagnosed: 26.9 million people, including 26.8 million adults
- Undiagnosed: 7.3 million people (21.4% are undiagnosed)
?My beautiful souls, we are what we think, believe, and eat. Our minds control the outcome of our reality. The messages we focus on become our truths whether lies or not. We choose what we want to believe. If we don’t bother to do the research to learn what the truth is, than we end up following the Pied Piper over the edge of a cliff. You have control over your shine. Don’t let others control you or take your power away. The God spark within is your light force. It will carry you farther and higher with self-love than anyone could possible offer you. Stand tall, straighten your crown, and strut on…You are bigger, brighter, and bolder than anything thrown at you. Be the heroine or hero of your life. Everything you need is inside of you. Use it to smash glass ceilings!
??May your evening be filled with the Northern Stars to help you find your way home…? I am here if you need me to talk or listen.
Sending Love and Light on this very special night,?
Dr. Kimberly Lees