Tears to Joy

Tears to Joy: August 2016

Monday, August 15, 2016

The Semicolon " ; "

Perhaps you have noticed the increase of tattoos, jewelry and clothing bearing the semicolon ( ; ). When writing, the semicolon is a symbol to pause. The author could have chosen to use a period, denoting a stopping point, but instead chooses to take a brief pause. Project semicolon started to raise awareness and support for suicide prevention. Those who have attempted suicide and have survivved are not defined by the attempt; their future remains unwritten.

While the past cannot be changed, we can pause and reflect, but then consciously choose to move forward. The semicolon has become a symbol of this resolve to move beyond the pain of the past and cling to hope for the future.

Yesterday I was meeting with a group of ladies in jail, and one of them said, "I just wish I had taken time to stop and think, before opening my mouth. I'm in here because I couldn't control my tongue." Can anyone relate? Maybe your words didn't lead to incarceration, but how many of us wish we had taken time to pause and think before speaking or doing something that led to more pain.

All of us have pains from the past that threaten to consume our present. We can choose to be the victim or to wallow in guilt OR we can choose to walk in freedom. May we take the message of the semicolon to heart. May we pause and reflect today on how we want our present and our future to look. We cannot control our circumstances, but we can control our response, and history has taught us that we control it much better when we take time to stop and think before we act.

So will you take 5 minutes to be still? Right now. Take 5 minutes and be quiet in the Lord's presence (Psalm 46:10), saying nothing -- just pausing for 5 minutes to listen. It will be awkward at first, because we live in a culture of noise and busyness. Stick with it, and you may be surprised by the result.

I leave you as I take time to personally pause, and be still before the Lord.


Tuesday, August 2, 2016

Reducing Back to School Anxiety

The first day of school can be stressful for everyone -- students, parents, teachers, and administrators. However, the anxiety students experience is unique. In an attempt to "fit in" they worry about who will and won't be in their classes, who they will sit with at lunch, and what to wear (after all they want to look good without drawing too much attention to themselves). How can parents help reduce this anxiety?

For starters, it is important to tell your child repeatedly how much you love her, and affirm her in the days leading up to the big day. Pick out clothes and shoes the night before and have the backpack packed and sitting by the door so you aren't rushing the first morning. Try to remain calm and supportive on the way to school the first day. Use humor to minimize anxiety. Consider letting your child choose what to eat for breakfast that morning or what songs to listen to on the way to school. Make the day special by showing your child how special he is to you!

Don't forget to talk with your child. Ask them what they are feeling? Normalize their nervousness. Give them tools to deal with their anxiety -- deep breathing, prayer, art, and music can all help regulate anxious feelings.

Lastly -- relax and enjoy the process. Before you know it, your child will graduate and you will miss these special days.

What do you do to help with the first day of school anxiety? Feel free to comment below and share with others...

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