Tag Archive: United States


Maya Angelou at the Discovery 2000 conference.

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Originally, I was going to write that I wanted to lose 30 pounds and the reason was that since I promote diet and wellness, I should practice what I preach.  However, today, I went to see my tax accountant.  It was a depressing reminder of how little money I made this year.  Further, I have been actively pursing employment.  If you have followed my posts, you know that I suffer from PTSD.  I am sick and tired of being the victim.  Therefore, I hope to change  the way I feel about myself and work harder to improve my emotional  health.  Prior to my injury, I was a confident professional social worker.  I had been recently promoted to supervisor and I was making good money.  I had a great retirement plan, insurance benefits and finally seeing some light at the end of the tunnel.  I  purchased my first house,  a long-awaited dream and was  feeling great to finally be a homeowner!    However, in 2006, the pressure of working in a hostile work place finally took its toil on my physical and emotional health.   I applied for worker’s compensation  and was to be reassigned to a less stressful  job.   Of course, this did not occur and I took an early retirement, with the  plan of  seeking employment elsewhere.  For a short time, I worked for my church and believe it or not, due to the stress of that place, I found myself back medical leave.     Consequently, I suffered an emotional set back and found myself back on my therapist’s couch.  I quickly regrouped, at my therapist’s suggestion, applied to the California State  Department of Rehabilitation for retraining.   I qualified for state help due to my job related injury.  My rehabilitation plan  was approved for me to return to  college to get a Master’s Degree in Family Therapy.  In spite of my best efforts, I continue to suffer periods of self-pity and shame for suffering an emotional breakdown.  I truly thought, I was going to quickly recover and get back to my old confident self.   Consequently, this year’s goal is to work harder on putting the past behind me.  I continue to send  applications, go on job interviews,  attend college and self-improvement workshops,  and hope for the best.   Overall, I think I am making good progress, however I am my worst critic.  For example, yesterday, I was on an emotional high, I  interviewed for my dream position  and  it appeared that I was making  a good impression on my interviewers.  However, today, I received a follow-up email indicating that they would keep me in the loop however they were continuing their search.  It was an encouraging email, however I feel they were letting me down gently.   So, I feel emotionally drained and somewhat defeated.  I love Maya Angelou‘s Poem, Still I Rise , especially the verse, “and still I rise”.   Therefore, I must work harder to embrace the future, and to let go of past disappointments.   I downloaded the Bible app on my Blackberry and have started a daily Bible study.   Today’s lesson was so timely  and so encouraging that I have posted it here for all to read.  Whenever you feel that the world has treated you unfairly, remember, they too will have a judgment day!

The “”Knower

God is many different things. He’s a Father, a Creator, a Shepherd, a Husband, a Healer, and a Provider. And each of these names highlights a certain aspect of His nature and character. As a Father, His compassion is expressed. As a Creator, His creativity is expressed. And it goes on and on.

There’s another way in which He is known, and that’s as the Just Judge who presides over earth. As such, another angle of His character is seen. Although the injustices and wrongs of this world may seem to go unpunished, God is the keeper of justice, and He will be faithful to execute it and uphold His righteousness.

It doesn’t always seem like that, especially when we’re personally affected by someone else’s sin. Sometimes it appears that injustice will prevail. But in His own perfect timing, and according to His own perfect way, injustice will be brought into the light, tried, and judged. Nobody truly gets away with anything. One way or another, justice will be served. And this is one of the many ways God’s incomparable character is expressed.

How? We all have a “knower” inside us that responds and resonates when we see the right thing happen. It’s been placed there by God so we would have an internal witness that gives an “amen” to His standards for right and wrong (Romans 2:14-15). And when we see justice served, when God executes judgment, there’s a connection that happens inside us. It puts us on God’s wavelength and can even serve as a catalyst for a deep and intimate relationship with Him.

Lord, continue to reveal Yourself as a righteous and perfect Judge over all things, and deepen our understanding of your heart as you continue to do so.

What does this passage reveal to me about God? He is the judge over my life and is in control of my destiny.

What does this passage reveal to me about myself? I need to develop a stronger faith walk and realize God is in control.

Based on this, what changes do I need to make?  Seek a spirtual mentor,  continue to seek balance in my life, be still and wait patiently on the Lord!!!!

What is my prayer for today? 
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  I wish that I had married a rich man and lived on a hill high in the sky.  Okay, enough of my “jokes”.  This is 30 days of truth.  I wish that I had went to college and experienced living in a dorm.    I truly wish that I had went to college right after high school.  I did not return to school until after my kids were born.  I went to graduate school in my 40s.  Sadly  I felt  getting married was the only option for me.   For this reason, I am committed to encouraging youth to pursue their dreams. If I had someone encouraging me, I would have a PhD by now.  O well better late than never.

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I grew up among  alcoholics.  They were so disruptive on one hand, on another they were always the life of the party! I did not enjoy the pain and suffering that one had to endure as it always seem that they were so out of control.   My two younger brothers were substance abusers.   My favorite aunt, was a hopeless alcoholic.  My baby brother abused both drugs and alcohol. The other one suffered from a life of drinking.  It led to a premature death.  The cheap alcohol literally ate a hole in his stomach.  He and I were very close and it was hard to see the toil of alcoholism on his body,mind, and soul.   My poor mother, suffered as well.  Watching all those around her addicted to drugs and alcohol.  Her aunt, cousins, friends, and finally her sons.  Therefore, I did not want to succumb to the effects of being addicted to drugs and alcohol.   I consider myself a social drinker.  I did not enjoy the feeling of being “drunk” and hung over.  Being the youngest and the only girl, probably also had an affect on my ability to refrain as well.  My mother suffered so much pain and I did not wish to add to her suffering. Therefore, I strived to be the perfect daughter. 

If I had to choose a drug to abuse,  my drug of choice would be pills.  Pills allow you to float away into another dimension.   On occasion, I have taken a pill or two to relax and unwind.   For this reason, I am careful not to abuse them. I take prescribed medication as directed.  I have on occasion, taken one or two more than prescribed.  I am thankful that I have people in my life that are aware of my propensity to abuse pills and call me out when they notice personality changes.  I also have a therapist and psychotherapists who watch my emotional well-being.  Both are well aware of this weakness of mine.  Moreover, I am aware of the dangers associated with drug addiction.   For this reason, I am careful to steer away from pill popping when I feel the slightest pain .  To complicate matters, I have a high pain threshold and it takes a lot to put me under.  I am honest with myself.  I am honest with my doctors and family members when it comes to drug abuse.  Those that are near and dear to me, know that they are to never give me a pain pill.  If I am in pain, I must get my medicine from my physician.   My views on drug and alcohol has more to do with the pain of addiction.  We all addicted in one way or another. The important factor, is self awareness and to seek help when one feels overwhelmed or stressed out.   My view is that since most of us suffer from addictive behavior disorder, it is important to carefully watch both drug and alcohol intake.  There are many people addicted to prescription drugs.  I will always feel an incredible sadness when I think of Michael Jackson.   His family and friends, knew of his addiction. It was no secret.     Michael was crying out for help.  His death came at no surprise.  His life was tortured  and the drugs gave him a respite, a sweet peace, yes, a deceptive rest.   Moreover, I feel that we should legalize drugs.   Drugs are magnets for crime and death.  If we legalize drugs, that would end the crime.   Consequently, when it comes to both drugs and alcohol, to quote Shakespeare “To thine own self be true.”

Savage Inequalities

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SAVAGE INEQUALITIES JONATHAN  KOZOLhttp://books.google.com/books?id=UEJ3QAukj9oC&lpg=PP1&ots=ExGmJXNhP7&dq=jonathan%20kozol&pg=PA17#v=onepage&q&f=false

Jonathan Kozol’s Savage Inequalities, changed my viewpoint on education, class, race, and equality. Prior to reading this book, I honestly believed that if we all worked hard it was possible to achieve the “American Dream”.  Whatever that has become, only God knows.  Education in America, is based on a political formula, I am going to call it taxation without any type of representation.  I have been forever changed as a result of Mr. Kozol’s in-depth look at the inequalities associated with being poor.  Growing up, I was told that education was free.  Go to school, my  parents’ refrain.  They said, “We could not go to school, you can go and it is free.”   Attending a public school is free!  However, I did not realize that the quality of the education received is` based on how much property tax is paid.  A poor child residing in a inner city community attends a public school and based on this legal formula receives a poor education.  Their parent’s live in housing projects home ownership is limited in such communties.  Mr. Kozols’ books changed my viewpoint on life in general.  I realized that Race in America is a sad state of affairs. I am one of the fortunate ones.  Due to God’s grace, only his grace, I am a inner city girl who beat the odds.  I grew up attending public schools.  In the 60’s my parents bought a house in a middle class neighborhood. I received a good education.   Education has always been important to me.  I  eventually earned a Master’s Degree from the University of Southern California.  Reading this book, generated a social consciousness  within me, about the importance of giving back.  It also generated a profound feeling of  sadness for the countless American children that will not receive an adequate education, due to their race and socioeconomic status.   This book also changed my views on American racism.  The reality that no matter how many African-Americans excel, there will always be savage inequalities.  It made me sad that so many low-income  Black and Brown  American, children will never have access to a quality education.  I do not believe that we will ever be equal in this color based society. Education is a basic right, however, the government supports this tax  system that punishes the poor and rewards the rich.  Public schools that are free but not equal. 

photo of Leimert Park Theater in 1972 when it ...

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http://myemail.constantcontact.com/Special-Books-Signings.html?soid=1102686598618&aid=D97IrooA0GI.

I am so excited two of my favorites authors will be signing books at the ESOWon Book Store in historic Leimert Park!!!!! I urge  you if you are anywhere in the Los Angeles Area to see these two outstanding and inspirational African American Icons!!!! If you saw the movie “For Colored Girls”, you need to meet and greet the inspiration behind that movie, Ms. Nikki Giovanni.  She will be signing her most recent books on Friday Night January 7 and Mr. Spike Lee, Friday Night January 8.  Do the right thing! Come out and support this brother, the owner of ESO Won Bookstore.  We need to learn the importance of recycling our dollars.  I am all for Tyler Perry!   I understand that the movie was good.  Personally, I am not into movies and have been on a personal boycott. It started when the movie Sankofa was released.  A positive movie with a spiritual message of healing message of slavery.  It changed my life.  The Sankofa bird is the Logo for our Agency New Impression.  I am not going to get on my soapbox! I safe it for a later post!!!! I just put it this way, the movie to not stay in the theaters very long. Why? Too positive a message! African American were coming to see the movie mainly through word of mouth.  At any rate, the political bullcrap behind movie making and distributions of the movies.  I call it Hollywood bs.  Well anyway, the point, please support the arts. 

Cover of "Full Moon & Shrine"

Cover of Full Moon & Shrine

My girl, Keiko Matsui, her Album Full Moon and the Shrine.   My first trip to Maui was to escape from the heartbreaking job of being an adoptions social worker.  I just announced at the end of a crappy day that I was taking a vacation.   I decided to go to the Island of Maui! I was having relationship problems.(The story of my old life)  I am an incurable romantic and at the last-minute invited my male friend to join me on the Island of Maui!!!!!  I cajoled and begged him, even tried to encourage him by telling him he only needed a plane ticket since I had already paid for the hotel and rental car.   I realized his mother was ill and he wanted to go visit her in Louisiana. I was just hoping that he would be daring enough to spend a couple of days with me and then go see his Mom or vice versa.  Well anyway, Keiko Matsui and her beautiful music got me through so many tough ass days.   The following is my letter thanking Keiko!!!!!

Dearest Keiko,

I am so glad that I packed your CD for my trip to Maui!!! My first trip to what I thought was one of the most romantic places in the World.  I was traveling solo as usual.   I played your CD during my trip over to Maui from LA.  I listened to  your CD as I walked along the beach.  I also listened to your  CD when I drove to Lahaina to hang out for the day!!!!! Your music helped to heal my broken heart.  I felt a new awakening in my body and soul and I felt one with the music.  I walked the beach daily listening to my CD player and gazing out at the Pacific!!!!! I felt so beautiful, so sensual, and so at peace.    I have had many opportunities to see you in concert.   However, I am still waiting to attend with that special someone.   Your music inspired me to dream of being in love again.  It made me think of being remarried. I declared that during the reception we would play your music.  Our first dance shall be to the beat of the Full Moon and the Shrine!!!! So, Keiko, I just can’t attend your concert until I find the right date!!!! Correction, dammit, that next time you are in the Los Angeles Area, I will come to see you with my new BFF(me)!  I will be sure to introduce myself, ask for your autograph, and invite you to play at my wedding.    I do thank your for making my trip to Maui a magical one.  Your music saved me from feeling sorry for myself because Maui is a place for honeymooners. Your music allowed me to create a fantasy island, complete with my knight in shining armor, with love on his mind!!!! 

In closing, I wish to thank you for creating music for the soul.  Furthermore, I thank you for creating music that helped to heal my broken heart and broken spirit.   I always think of Maui, when I hear this album.

One of your ardent fans,

Jurline

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News Release

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
Thursday, December 30, 2010
Contact: HHS Press Office
(202) 690-6343

Secretary Sebelius highlights 2010 accomplishments of the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services

New video covers implementation of the Affordable Care Act; efforts to reduce fraud and waste; public health initiatives to address obesity, tobacco use and food safety.

In a new video released by the Department of Health and Human Services (HHS) today, HHS Secretary Kathleen Sebelius highlighted the work of HHS over the course of 2010.  Sebelius outlined some of the important programs and services that the department provides and discussed some of the new laws that went into effect this year and what they mean for consumers. Sebelius also praised the work of the employees of the department. 

“This year, thanks to new laws passed by Congress and signed by the President, HHS was able to take a number of steps that have directly improved the lives, health and security of Americans,” said Sebelius.  “Through the implementation of the Affordable Care Act, more Americans have access to health coverage as well as new rights and benefits in their health insurance.  Efforts to improve public health and reverse the twin epidemics of obesity and tobacco use in the U.S. made significant progress.  HHS emergency response teams and public servants at almost every HHS operating division helped to ease the impact of the earthquake in Haiti and the oil spill off the Gulf Coast.  And we end the year with newly enacted legislation that will allow us to improve food safety with important new authorities and changes that are decades overdue.  I’m proud of these accomplishments and the men and women in our department who made them possible and remain firmly committed to our mission to provide critical health and human services to the people of this nation.”

Watch the Secretary’s video message at http://www.hhs.gov/secretary/.

Some of HHS’ 2010 accomplishments include:

  • Implementation of the Affordable Care Act: The Patient’s Bill of Rights and other new tools and resources are helping hold health insurers accountable and giving consumers more value for their health care dollars.  A new website, www.HealthCare.gov, helps consumers take control of their health care and make the choices that are right for them by putting the power of information at their fingertips.
  • Supporting  Let’s Move: With the leadership of First Lady Michelle Obama, new prevention activities are helping address the rising problems of obesity and chronic diseases in America, including Communities Putting Prevention to Work, which is funding some of the most promising local strategies for promoting wellness.  Read more about the initiative at www.LetsMove.gov.
  • Reducing Fraud and Waste in our Health Care System and Strengthening the Medicare Trust Funds: Anti-fraud efforts are continuing to protect Medicare beneficiaries and the program’s trust fund.  HHS and the Justice Department held four fraud summits around the U.S. and our joint efforts have resulted in over 500 defendants being charged with defrauding Medicare out of more than $1 billion. Billions have been returned to the Medicare Trust Funds thanks to stepped up efforts by HHS and DOJ.  Efforts are continuing to meet the President’s challenge to reduce Medicare fee-for-service improper payments by 50 percent by 2012.  And the Senior Medicare Patrol is helping form seniors about what they can do to help protect themselves and Medicare from fraud. Read more about the efforts to stop fraud at www.StopMedicareFraud.gov.
  • Responding to H1N1 and Seasonal Flu: Working together with the public and private sector on a targeted and fast response helped us avoid the worst predictions for last flu season and the H1N1 epidemic.  Also, unprecedented efforts were made to modernize the medical countermeasures pipeline so we can respond faster to flu and other health emergencies in the future.  Read more about steps everyone can take to reduce the spread and impact of flu at www.Flu.gov.
  • Lowering Tobacco Use: Thanks to legislation signed by President Obama in 2009, we’re cracking down on marketing flavored cigarettes to kids and have restricted terms like “light” or “mild.”  Also, the FDA proposed new graphic warning labels for cigarettes – the most significant update to cigarette warning labels in 25 years. Read more about what the FDA is doing at http://www.fda.gov/TobaccoProducts/default.htm.
  • Making Care Safer: HHS is working with hospitals across the nation (all 50 states and the District of Columbia) to eliminate serious infections in intensive care unit patients, and is also supporting a grant to Washington State to promote safe surgical care.  In addition, we provided consumer friendly safety information to help patients taking blood thinners, including a new video for patients and their families, which is available at http://www.ahrq.gov/consumer/btpills.htm.
  • Assisting Children and Families During the Recession: Employees at HHS worked with states to fund subsidized employment programs for more than 200,000 jobless parents and disadvantaged youth.  These jobs helped families afford the basics while providing the dignity that comes with a job. 
  • Raising the Bar in Early Childhood Education:  We expanded support for early education through increased support for child care and Head Start programs – programs that saw increased demands during the recession. HHS also introduced new regulations that will hold Head Start programs accountable for classroom quality and high standards of program integrity, helping the programs fulfill their mission to help vulnerable children achieve their full potential. 
  • Addressing Mental and Behavioral Health Needs: In partnership with the Department of Defense, HHS created the National Action Alliance for Suicide Prevention to accelerate our efforts to prevent suicide.  Bringing together public and private partners, the Alliance has established programs to improve detection of suicide risk and access to care, a national Suicide Prevention Resource Center, the Suicide Prevention Lifeline (1-800-273-TALK); and systems to track and understand suicides.  We have also made strides to support and promote better primary care and behavioral health services for individuals with mental illnesses or substance use disorders.
  • Food Safety: We are continuing to monitor the safety of America’s food supply, and are working to protect the public health through clear communications about recalls and providing consumers with detailed, up-to-date information on www.FoodSafety.gov.
  • Expanding Use of Health Information Technology (HIT): We’re eliminating barriers to the meaningful use of HIT with Regional Extension Centers, training for Health IT workforce, Beacon Communities they can use as models, and Health Information Exchanges that allow information sharing with full protections for privacy.And most importantly, the new incentives for doctors and hospitals to use HIT to improve care are beginning to pay off as the number of providers using HIT is on the rise.
  • Investing in Research: The first step for many medicines on their way to our pharmacy shelves is a discovery in an NIH-funded laboratory.  The last step for all of them is a careful analysis at the FDA.  A new partnership between the FDA and NIH will help researchers navigate the regulatory process and give regulators the scientific tools they need to quickly assess a treatment’s risks and benefits.  For Americans, this is going to mean that new treatments are available, safer and sooner.
  • Indian Health Service: The Indian Health Care Improvement Act was permanently authorized as a part of the Affordable Care Act, and updates and modernizes the Indian Health Service (IHS) to address the health needs of eligible American Indians and Alaska Natives.  IHS is also working with the Veteran’s Administration to better coordinate and collaborate on services to veterans.  The IHS Special Diabetes Program for Indians was reauthorized and will continue supporting programs proven to help reduce diabetes and cardiovascular disease risk factors. 
  • Gulf Oil Spill Clean-up: After this year’s oil spill on the Gulf Coast, HHS deployed senior health officials to ensure health issues were addressed at all levels of the response, including monitoring the health and safety of clean-up workers, providing mental health support to the region, and ensuring the safety of seafood prior to the reopening of the waters for fishing.  Read more about the response and recovery efforts at http://www.hhs.gov/gulfoilspill/index.html.
  • Assisting Haiti: Following last year’s devastating earthquake, HHS helped send hundreds of medical personnel to Haiti and helped assess the country’s long-term health needs.  Since the recent outbreak of cholera, HHS has helped improve access to treatments and clean drinking water, as well as helping Haiti track and understand the epidemic.  HHS also played a critical role in the U.S. government’s mission to bring some 1,150 children from Haiti who were previously matched with adoptive families in the United States prior to the earthquake so they could join their new families.  Read more about the HHS relief and support activities in Haiti at http://www.hhs.gov/haiti.

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Note: All HHS press releases, fact sheets and other press materials are available at http://www.hhs.gov/news.

Last revised: December 30, 2010

 

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I dedicate this blog to my Mother Ola Mae Johnson(pictured in her younger days) she made scripture reading a daily part of her life.  In 1994, she died from complications associated with Diabetes!!!!!

Yesterday, I read this article which correlates with my research on the importance of spirituality as an intervention to promote healthy living among African-American parishioners.  African Americans like many ethnic groups  are religious people,  however as stated in

Hosea 4:6,  My people are destroyed  from  lack of knowledge.   In many instances,

 

  

 

 

 

Blessed are the Peacemakers! The compassionate one.

we are often less focused on gaining knowledge when it comes to health and fitness.  For this reason,

I am an Ambassador with the American Diabetes Association , Live Empowered Program (Learning to Thrive with and Prevent Diabetes).  This program targets

Los Angeles Area Churches,  in an effort to promote diabetes awareness.  Why the church? AMA strongly feels that church members will participate in educational programs if promoted from the Pulpit.    We still are having a challenging time engaging churches to promote this message.   Our agency New Impression, is a grass-roots non-profit, our goal is to partner with other agencies such as American Diabetes Association, King Drew,  and other non-profits that are promoting wellness and spirituality.  Our numbers(in the African-American Community) are growing and this disease is now affecting our youth. Therefore, it is encouraging  that the US DEPARTMENT OF HEALTH AND HUMAN SERVICES IS PROMOTING THIS AREA OF RESEARCH.   MY QUESTION IS SIMPLY, WHAT OTHER STEPS SHOULD WE TAKE TO INVOLVE OUR CHURCHES IN PROMOTING FAITH ALONG WITH FITNESS?  THERE ARE MANY THAT HAVE EXERCISE PROGRAMS, HOWEVER WHAT IS MISSING IS THE EDUCATIONAL COMPONENT.  THE AMA’S LIVE EMPOWERED TEACHES A SERIES OF FREE WORKSHOPS ON LEARNING TO THRIVE WITH AND PREVENT DIABETES.  The following article postulates that adding scripture reading was a benefit to the participants of this study.

Tying activity to spirituality may help some people be more active. Researchers checked how that works by enrolling about 60 African-American women over 60 years old in physical activity programs through their churches.

For half of the women, the programs included Scripture readings that focused on making their lives better; the others got non-religious health material.

The researchers say the group that got Scripture did more walking at six months. O. Kenrik Duru at UCLA led the research, and says:

“I’d really advise people to ask around. If it’s not in your church, then maybe a church in your community is offering physical activity with a faith-based component.’’ (7 seconds)

The study in the Journal of the American Geriatrics Society was supported by the National Institutes of Health.

Learn more at hhs.gov.

HHS HealthBeat is a production of the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services. I’m Ira Dreyfuss.

Last revised: December, 27 2010

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I hope to become a licensed Martial and Family Therapist. My goal is to develop a culturally competent practice to engage people of color to seek therapy. In many communities the thought of seeing a therapist or a shrink for help with personal problems is taboo. I am currently executive director of New Impression, Inc, a non profit developed to provide transitional housing for the homeless. We are now focused on Diabetes Awareness Programs. I am the catalyst behind this issue and I seek funding to help make my dream a reality. I hope that I will have the opportunity to develop this agency to a point that we will be able to provide social services to the underserved and underrepresented. I have accomplished a great deal with my life. However to grow New Impression,Inc to a recognizable entity that provides services to the community would be a blessing for sure. Its takes a great deal of fortitude to hang in here when we have no funding, however i realize that every agency started off with a dream. The good news in the short two years of our existence we have made a difference. This is my goal!

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