The Top Ten Virtues that Heal our Hearts and Homes

In his book,”Standing for Something,” Gordon B. Hinkley wrote, “We need a new emphsis on honesty,charachter,and integrity. The question that confronts us is, Where shall we begin?” He proposed a return to ten neglected and forgotten virtues today, that will heal our hearts and homes.

I am learning as I write my book “Stand by Me”, the ones who did stand by me, had the courage to Stand for Something in their own lives….first.

1. Love

Love is the only force that can erase the differences between people.

2. Honesty

Men and women of integrity stand unashamed before anyone.

3. Morality

This virtue leads to peace of mind, strength of charachter and happiness.

4. Civility

Courtesy, politeness, respect and consideration for others.

5. Learning

Keep acquiring knowledge….and Use it.

6. Forgiveness and Mercy

The sign of emotional maturity is to aplogize and offer forgiveness to others.

7. Thrift and Industry

Labor and thrift make a family, a community, a nation strong.

8. Gratitude

Walk knowing you will need help every step of the way.

9. Optimism

Stop seeking out the storms and enjoy more fully the sunlight.

10. Faith

Faith has always been and will always be at the root of anything meaningful in life.

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Filed under Healing, Honesty, Survivors

The Top 10 Needs of Survivors of Trauma

The people in your life who have survived a major life trauma, such as childhood abuse, war, rape, domestic violence, or work place and school violence are all around us. They are called survivors because of their courage and strength. They have come through hell to be here, give them respect, love, and be a part of their support system.
Some of their basic needs that need to be in place for them to fully heal are:

1. To feel safe.
A safe place is the most important issue for all survivors. Find out from them what that looks like and feels like and provide it.

2. To have you listen with your heart
.
Every survivor has a story to tell. Let them speak about it. Listen gently.

3. Creative Expression Encourage their creative expression in any art form that speaks to their spirit.

4. To breathe, and to learn to relax.

Adrenaline and stress reaction and panic attacks may be deeply embedded in their psyches. Direct them to stay present, slowly breathe, and use self talk to comfort themselves.

5. Time.
They are learning new ways of coping with the life they now face. Be patient.

6. Boundaries.
They need to set clear firm boundaries around everything that is important to them.

7. To be open to build a new life with them, and help them try new experiences.
Activities with loved ones in nature or museums, or restaurants …..New environments will open a space to replace sad memories.

8. Professional Support.
Get them all the support they need. There are many support groups, and specialized counselors for trauma survivors. Do not hesitate to contact Medical or Mental Health specialists if you suspect feelings of hopelessness or suicidal tendencies.

9. Believe in them.
Respect the struggle and the effort as they find meaning and hope in their life, and you will see them transform their lives into something worthwhile and meaningful.

10. To make the world a better place.
Healing can come from helping others less fortunate. When we are reminded of our blessings as we reach to lift another person up…it eases our burdens. Speaking about our lives and our joy and our traumas can help others heal…. It can make the world a better place.

Julie Towers
Stand by Me…..

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I Believe

This selection of my Top Ten List goes along with my interview of Tomeika Herbert. At the age of thirteen, Tomeika’s mom was killed by her step father. She and her little brother were asleep in the home. She has over come many obstacles and obtained a college education on her own. She is now in her thirties and is planning her wedding. In the interview, she shares how she has honored her mother, Melanie Herbert. Tomeika has inspired healing in many broken lives.

My Top Ten points on what……..I Believe

I Believe- that heroes are the people who do what has to be done when it needs to be done, regardless of the consequences.

I Believe- that just because someone does not love you the way you want them to, doesn’t mean that they don’t love you with all they have.

I Believe- that you can keep going long after you think you can’t.

I Believe- that no matter how bad your heart is broken, the world doesn’t stop for your grief.

I Believe- that you shouldn’t be so eager to find out a secret, it could change your life forever.

I Believe- that our background and circumstances may have influenced who we are…. but we are responsible for whom we become.

I Believe- that credentials on the wall do not make you a decent human being.

I Believe- that your life can be changed in a matter of hours…. by people who don’t even know you.

I Believe- that you should always leave loved ones with loving words. It may be the last time you see them.

I Believe – that the people you care most about in life are taken from you way too soon.

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The Top Ten Secrets to a Stress-Free Life

Sometimes we all need a little reminder….to stop and smell the roses, breathe in life, and play for a moment.

#1. Create and set Boundaries.

Boundaries reflect what others can or cannot do or say to you. You will feel protected from hurtful situations.

#2. Ask people to Help you.

Choose three things today to ask for help with….you will feel relief as you have less to cope with and get done.

#3. Quiet your Mind at least once a day.

Concentrate on your breathing and let your thoughts go. You will act more on your intuition this way.

#4. Explore and Experience your feelings fully.

Accepting your feelings rather than fighting them, lets you know where in your life you can make some changes.

#5. Plan for some Fun everyday.

Even if it is just for 5 minutes, you will have something to look forward to…and discover balance in your life.

#6. Communicate your Feelings with the statement, ” I feel ……..when…….happens. ”

This formula lets you talk about your feelings and the other person’s behavior, not them personally.

#7. Write in your journal Everyday.

This will help you to clarify your life and your priorities as to where to take action and perhaps make some new choices.

#8. Take Time for yourself regularly.

It may be a walk….a warm bath….a massage….take good care of you.

#9. Use the words ” Would you…?” When asking for things.

The other person feels capable and having a choice rather than being told what to do.

#10. Show your Appreciation !!!

Others love to be noticed and you will live in a loving way towards others….and be appreciated too !!

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Remembering my friend, Marilee

Today is the Birthday of a dear friend of mine, Marilee. Today she would have been fifty six years old. To those of us who loved her she will eternally be, fifteen. Forever Young.

Marilee and I danced together three times a week. She was amazing and took to ballet (pointe) with grace and ease and beauty. Every year I have taken my daughter to the Nutcracker Ballet and (now my granddaughers) to celebrate Marilee. She and I were both cheerleaders and we spent many hours practicing. We had planned on her being a sophomore cheerleader when I was a senior cheerleader. I had taught her every cheer we knew so for sure she would make the team.

One day I heard her singing to the song “People”, by Barbra Streisand. She was singing to the top of her voice, she did not know I was there. She loved that song. I still have the album. It still reminds me of her.

Oh my how she loved to laugh. She just radiated joy.

We all grew up fast that cold February day when Marilee was taken from us. It has given me compassion for the broken hearted. The experience has taught me a lot about grieving, coping with loss, and that you will never forget a most wonderful friend.
I am writing my book to share many of the lessons I have learned about life from Marilee’s untimely death.

Who could have known 30 years after her unsolved homicide, that my mom’s unsolved homicide would involve the same possible suspect? How could I have ever been prepared for that to happen? There was a time I was not sure I could survive the pain of it. I did survive and I am stronger for it. Now, I have a story to tell about surviving, loving, forgiving, understanding and saying goodbye.

The strength I have garnered to survive cancer and a near fatal car accident comes from knowing that I still do not have all the answers to the questions my heart still has……

People, People who need people are the luckiest people….in the world. If you see a beautiful angel in heaven who is always dancing….It is Marilee.

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The Top Ten Things to Never Say……

When someone we love has had a death of someone close to them, we often do not know what to say to them. We want to offer comfort, and love. Our culture does not prepare us for the part of life….that is death. Here is a list of what NOT to say to someone who is healing from the loss of a loved one.

1. I know how you feel.

No, you don’t. No one knows the depth of my grief, but me. What I need from you is the truth. Say, ” I don’t how you are feeling, and I want to support you. Tell me about it.”

2. It will get better. Time heals all wounds.

Right now, in this present moment, I am hurting. Time stopped when he died. Just ask me ” How is it going today?”

3. Call if there is anything I can do.

I do not know what needs to be done. My life is a blur. You need to call me and say ” I want to bring dinner for you on Friday night.” ” We want to mow your grass on Saturday.”

4. It is God’s will.

How can this painful loss be God’s will? Where is He now? Please just remind me that you care, that God cares.” He is here for you and so am I.”

5. I will never forget the day my husband died….

Please…it is not that I do not care, I just can’t handle your grief and mine at this time. In time, I can hear your story. But, now I just need to tell mine. I may need to tell it over and over, that is how I will face the reality of his death.

6. You must get out and do things. Keep Busy.

Grief is hard work. You can not run from grief. You can grieve now, or you can grieve later, but, you are going to grieve. Take the time for it. Offer instead, ” When you want to, I would love to look at your picture albums so we can remember your life together. We can both cry if we need to. ”

7. You’ve got to go through his things…the sooner the better.

A close friend of mine offered this advice to me she said, ” Take your time. Make a list of some of the items that you want others to have, you will know when the time is right…and I will be there to help you.” And, she was right there every step of the way.

8. Oh now, don’t cry.

I am so sad, I do not want to make you uncomfortable, my heart is breaking. Everything makes me cry, a song, a memory, a smell, his favorite food. Just say ” Go ahead and cry. Cry and sob, and beat a pillow, we can go out in a field and you can scream if you need to….I brought a box of kleenex…so we can cry together.”

9. You are attractive, You will find someone else.

WHAT? I don’t want anyone else. I want him. All you need to say is, “It must be so difficult without him.”

10. He is not suffering anymore. He could have lingered longer.

He is gone. Understand that I did not want him to die. This is worse than him lingering. He was still here then.

Just hold my hand, just hold me. Let me tell you how I feel…. Don’t say anything. Just listen, Really listen.

That is what I need to heal my broken heart and soul. Someone to listen ….until I can find the strength to go on…

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Filed under End of life care, Healing, Honesty, Love

Thicker than Water….

February 24, 2011 my half-sister Christie will be sixty years old. I have searched for Christie for thirty five years. I had done years of genealogy searches with my Grandma Opal Towers. I have traced my family all the way back to Ireland and England. But, I could not find Christie.
I always felt like I was missing something in my life. I had watched others with a sister, with envy. I did not know the details about Christie until I was 21 years old.
My dad and his high school girlfriend had a baby girl. February 24, 1951.
The day I found out about her….I promised myself I would find her someday. I have searched birth, marriage, death, adoption records. I have contacted complete strangers with her birth mom’s last name.

My grandmother had given me a picture of her mom….with the last names on the back. My grandmother had a stroke and with a whisper she gave me Christie’s adopted last name. I always worried that perhaps I had heard an incorrect name. These were the only items that I had to find her. Maybe I would never find her. Maybe she would never know that my family never forgot about her.

In January 2011, as I was working at my desk, I put in the names for a search on Google. I have done this hundreds of times over the years. However, this time….up popped a sweet article on her uncle who had passed away at the age of 86. There it was…. For the first time, I had all the names I had searched for…..for thirty five years.
I wrote a letter and shared my story with an address that I had googled as well. I was not sure if I would ever hear back from her. Christie wrote back to me and we are beginning to share our lives with each other. We have so much in common.

With technology and when the time was right, a miracle happened. I have felt some sadness and I was sorry for the time that we lost in each other’s lives. Christie, reminded me that we have NOW…..we have today and the rest of our lives.

Happy Birthday Christie. You are my gift. And I am so thankful that I have found you.

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