Archives for November 2013

The Transformational Power of Gratitude

Gratitude unlocks the fullness of life.  It turns what we have into enough, and more.  It turns denial into acceptance, chaos to order, confusion to clarity.  It can turn a meal into a feast, a house into a home, a stranger into a friend.  Gratitude makes sense of our past, brings peace for today and creates a vision for tomorrow.  -Melody Beattie

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16 Days of Activism Against Gender Violence 2013

Say NO – UNiTE to End Violence against Women is a social mobilization platform on ending violence against women and girls. Launched in November 2009 by UN Women, Say NO – UNiTE showcases advocacy efforts and engages people from all walks of life, online and on the ground.(1)

Connect with Say No To Violence for news updates, stories, and ideas on how to get involved in your area. During the 16 Days of Activism Against Gender Violence campaign (November 25-December 10), people around the globe will be wearing orange to raise awareness and act in solidarity against the violence and oppression of women. How will you be involved?

INSPIRATION TO GET YOUR ORANGE ON:

  • Share your stories and messages on Twitter on how you “Orange Your World” during the 16 Days of Activism. (Use #orangeurworld on Twitter)
  • Wear orange, take a picture of yourself and share with the world why you are taking a stand by tweeting #Iwearorange because…
  • Join UN Women’s #AskPhumzile Twitter chat with Executive Director @phumzileunwomen (Date TBD)
  • Tweetup with @SayNO_UNiTE and worldwide friends at the end of the 16 Days of Activism on 10 December. (Check UNiTE website for further information as available)
  • Read International Day for the Elimination of Violence against Women
  • Visit “Orange Your World in 16 Days” on Facebook
  • Check out more social media sites: Google+,Pinterest, Instagram
  • Visit UN Women In Focus web page
  • Watch the UNiTE Campaign and Permanent Mission of Italy’s hosting of a Theatrical Performance called “Wounded to Death”.

Powerless and silence go together. -Margaret Atwood

Keep the flame of hope burning… Speak out against all forms of violence and oppression of women and girls, (and while you’re at it, wear orange!)

(1) Say NO-UniTE to End Violence Against Women website

Join me on Twitter @DestinysWomen

(c) By April McCallum, Destiny’s Women™–”Championing the Life, Freedom & Destiny of Women”

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Celebrating the Spirit of Thanksgiving

We can only be said to be alive in those moments when our hearts are conscious of our treasures. -Thornton Wilder

Pause to Reflect

It’s easy to become so consumed with the swirl of life around us that we rarely pause to reflect on the good things in our lives. I think that’s why so many people appreciate Thanksgiving—a day dedicated to remember, appreciate and to give
thanks. We set aside just one day out of the entire year to allow our minds to stop
and consider our many blessings and to allow our hearts to swell with gratitude;(and of course, the plethora of tantalizing tastes and smells doesn’t hurt!) As we adjust our routine, slow our pace and begin thinking about all of the unexpected joys, triumphs, lessons, opportunities—blessings—of the year now past, the list goes on and on.

Connecting the Dots

As we begin to think about one thing we’re grateful for, a natural snowball effect begins to take place.  And that’s good. It’s good because we do more than just check an item off our mental list. We take time to look at the details of a thing and realize it’s not just about a solitary experience, incident, possession, or relationship, but the reality that our lives are full of connections. If we let our minds relax and expand on a single grateful thought, other thoughts begin to flood in.

Time Doesn’t Stand Still

We’re grateful for time off from our normally busy schedule and routine. It’s time to recharge our batteries, let down our guard, and maybe relax in a way we haven’t all year. Time is a commodity we don’t necessarily stop to be thankful for on a regular basis. Why? Because we think it’ll just “always be there”. But, it won’t. We all live on borrowed time. We spend it, use it, and invest it in whatever way we choose, but when it’s gone, it’s gone. So, we are grateful for time. Time to be with, or catch up with, those we care about. In the process, we are also making new memories, and that brings up something else to be thankful for–the people in our lives. It’s an opportunity to reflect on each person who has brought something into our lives that has made our personal tapestry even richer.

Perspective Matters

Maybe we’re thankful for the chance to travel this holiday and to appreciate new scenery; or, we’re glad we don’t have to cook because we’re visiting family or friends away from home, and we appreciate the change. Or, maybe on the flipside, we are the ones that are doing the hosting and “work”, but we’re grateful that we can serve others this holiday season. And, we consider it a blessing to be able to share in the warmth, laughter and joy in our own home. Then course, there’s the food. And even with that, it’s more than just the initial “food” thought. Yes, it tastes wonderful and we are more satisfied in the end than when we first gathered around our tables. But more than that, to be grateful for the plenty—for the abundance of provision, when so many don’t have the ability to enjoy even the simplest of meals. We are thankful to live in a place where we are free to farm, to buy and sell our goods, and to make a living so we can enjoy days like these, celebrating with the ones we love.

Linger, Reflect, Celebrate

If we linger on that thought, it goes even deeper. Our hearts surge with gratitude for our freedoms and liberties. We’re grateful for those who have gone before us to
make a way. We’re grateful to live in a land where freedom is celebrated and not cursed–a land where every man and woman has the ability to pursue their passions and live out their dreams. We have great cause to celebrate our freedom of speech, religion, and basic human rights that so many around the world cannot take for granted. We’re thankful for the opportunity for prosperity, peace, and a hope that still burns brightly for those who believe.

The Simple Things

And, it is the simple things. A glance at the fireplace and we’re thankful for its warmth. A glance out the window and we appreciate the leaves that are changing hues and the crispness in the air. In nature, we witness that there is order in the
universe, the changing of seasons like clockwork, and the beauty of each new transformation. We take pleasure in the smiles, laughter, and camaraderie of our family and friends that have gathered. Maybe we stop to ponder the newness of life, gratefulness for the accomplishments and blessings of the past year, or the opportunity for fresh beginnings ahead. And on and on it goes, if we take the time to pause and reflect.

Count Your Blessings

So, as you gather to celebrate Thanksgiving this year, what are you thankful for?Who are you grateful for? What do you want to be more appreciative for in the year
ahead?

Thanksgiving should be more than a holiday we set aside each year. We can choose to live with the spirit of Thanksgiving in our hearts and minds—as a part of who we are–with an attitude and posture of gratitude every day.

There’s an old expression, “Count your blessings count them one by one,” and that’s the idea. When we start to break it down, we begin to realize that each thing we have to be thankful for is connected to something else. Every blessing is filled with its own blessings, like gifts within gifts. And behind every gift, no matter how great or how small, there’s a gift-giver that is worthy of our expressions of gratitude.

May your heart and home be filled with gratitude this Thanksgiving season, and throughout the year!

Join me on Twitter @DestinysWomen

(c) By April McCallum, Destiny’s Women™–”Championing the Life, Freedom & Destiny of Women”

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Wherever Human Beings Endure Suffering

“I swore never to be silent whenever and wherever human beings endure suffering and humiliation. We must take sides. Neutrality helps the oppressor, never the victim. Silence encourages the tormentor, never the tormented.” –Elie Wiesel

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International Day for the Elimination of Violence against Women


“I welcome the chorus of voices calling for an end to the violence that affects an estimated one in three women in her lifetime. I applaud leaders who are helping to enact and enforce laws and change mindsets. And I pay tribute to all those heroes around the world who help victims to heal and to become agents of change.” –Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon

This year, the UNITE Campaign is extending Orange Day to 16 Days of Activism Against Gender-Based Violence, starting November 25, (International Day to End Violence Against Women), through December 10, (Human Rights Day).

The Secretary General’s Campaign UNITE to End Violence Against Women
has proclaimed the 25th of each month, “Orange Day”, stating: Among other actions, the Orange Day invites us to wear something orange to highlight its calls for the eradication of violence against women without reservation, equivocation or delay.

QUICK FACTS:

1 in 3 women & girls experience violence in their lifetime. Violence against women is never acceptable, and not inevitable.

Over 64 million girls worldwide are child brides. 1 in 3 girls will be married before they turn 18.

140 million girls & women have suffered Female Genital Mutilation (FGM). It’s a form of violence against women and girls.

40-50% of women in EU countries face unwanted sexual advances or other forms of sexual harassment at work.

Ending violence against women is smart for economies. Intimate partner violence cost USD 5.8 billion in the US, GBP 22.9 billion in England and Wales, and AUD 13.6 billion in Australia.

Violence against women happens everywhere, every day. In cities, women are twice as likely as men to experience violence.

Every minute 1 young woman is infected with #HIV. Violence against women increases the risk of new infections.

Women are 2-4 times more likely than men to get HIV.

For 30% of women worldwide, their first sexual experience was forced.

Over half of all victims of sexual assault are girls under the age of 16.

Join advocates from around the world for 16 Days of Activism Against Gender Violence. Share how you plan to “Orange Your World” (#orangeurworld) from November 25-December 10, with actions to end violence against women and girls. Together, we can raise our voices and make a difference!

Get Involved & Learn More.

Join me on Twitter @DestinysWomen

(c) By April McCallum, Destiny’s Women™–”Championing the Life, Freedom & Destiny of Women”

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Hold On, Pain Does Not Last Forever

We can endure much more than we think we can; all human experience testifies to that. All we need to do is learn not to be afraid of pain. Grit your teeth and let it hurt. Don’t deny it, don’t be overwhelmed by it. It will not last forever. One day, the pain will be gone and you will still be there. -Harold Kushner

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Depression: Walking From Darkness Into the Dawn

Women experience twice the rate of depression as men. -The National Alliance on Mental Health

Depression is crippling. It has the power to change the course of people’s lives, their relationships, opportunities, and futures. According to the National Institute of Mental Health, when people suffer with depression it interferes with daily life and causes pain not only to the sufferer, but those who care about them. Though depression is common, it is a serious illness. From the outside looking in, it’s hard to imagine that nearly 1 million people “end their journey of isolation and hope by taking their own life” every year.

Depression is Debilitating

I saw a brilliant man who was tormented with his own demons. Tormented with self doubt, self-hate. I did not fully understand what was happening to him, and that is when I realized he had been hiding his darkness. –Katrina

Depression: Walking From Darkness Into the Dawn is part of the Hope for the Heart series authored by June Hunt. Hunt is a popular speaker, radio host, and counselor known for offering biblical hope and practical help at pivotal times in people’s lives. She writes, “Those who struggle in the darkness of depression have difficulty seeing the good in their circumstances and especially in themselves.” Hunt helps people understand where depression originates, why it keeps them stuck, and how to walk out of the darkness and into the light.

“In wearing masks, we try to protect our hearts and hide who we really are and what we don’t want to face.”

Understanding the Basics

Readers will learn:

Definitions of Depression: Including psychological depression, classic types of depression and specific definitions of mood disorders.

Characteristics of Depression: Including normal depression, masked depression, neurotic depression, and psychotic depression.

Causes of Depression: Including physical, emotional and spiritual-related depression.

Steps to Solution: Including “taking off masks”; creating a personal timeline of meaningful events to help in assessing roots and causes; Do’s and Don’ts for Family and Friends; and, How You Can Help sections.

Connecting the Dots

“Depressed people see life through a black filter, feeling hatred toward themselves, hopeless about their situations and hopeless over their future.”

Depression affects the whole person. In her book, Hunt speaks to the emotional connection with depression including repressed anger and bitterness; a physical connection including hormonal imbalances, genetic vulnerabilities and healthy lifestyle choices; and a spiritual connection including suppressed fears (abandonment, rejection, failure) and internalized stress (relationships, finances, responsibilities).

Getting Help

Readers will learn what it means for their heart to be in a “state of depression”; how life events (rejection, abuse, divorce, death); medications; and negative or destructive thought patterns can contribute to depression.

After establishing the “what” and “whys” of depression, the author offers positive and empowering counsel on how to begin walking out of the darkness of depression. A common and critical theme throughout the booklet is the importance of replacing dark thoughts with truth (reality). She suggests writing a Thanksgiving List, getting outside of yourself by helping others, allowing for healthy grieving and healing when appropriate, and more. She also lists related scripture verses and a Q&A section; and encourages readers to seek professional medical help as needed.

If you or someone you know is struggling with depression, help is available and relief is possible. This biblical-based booklet will provide a quick overview with both practical and spiritual help for individuals or counselors.

Author June Hunt

About the Author

June Hunt is a biblical counselor whose award-winning radio program “Hope for the Heart” is heard on nearly 900 radio outlets around the world. She is a sought-after public speaker on topics such as crisis counseling, child abuse, forgiveness and self-worth. Her “Hope for the Heart” booklets have been translated into 27 languages.

Additional Resources:

National Alliance on Mental Health: Women and Depression

Mayo Clinic: Depression in Women: Understanding the Gender Gap

National Suicide Prevention Hotline

Join me on Twitter @DestinysWomen

Note: Rose Publishing provided me with an advanced reader copy of this booklet.

(c) By April McCallum, Destiny’s Women™–”Championing the Life, Freedom & Destiny of Women”

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