Erika Freaked me out

The original post right here –

http://Erikabh.com – Erika is an amazing writer – check her stuff out there.

My wife called me and this is what she said was happening.

There are a few reasons why I want to share an experience I had yesterday, so bear with me.

Around noon I arrived home with my youngest. As I was getting her out of the car, I noticed an older gentlemen standing in the middle of my street looking at me. Unfortunately, I’m very skeptical and leery of most people. I wish it didn’t have to be that way, but that’s just the world we live in today. So with my eyes peeled I watched as I continued to unload the car. A few minutes passed and he was still standing in the same place. He appeared to be very cold, and his demeanor was very none threatening. Honestly, he looked like a little boy who was lost. I began to pray, “Lord, I’m about to make a decision here, help me to be wise and careful.” I never want to do anything that puts myself in danger, but more importantly, I now have a one year old in my house sleeping that I would do anything to protect. At this point I’m on very high alert. I approached him and asked him if there was anything I could help him with. Immediately, I had peace. The man was clearly ill, and couldn’t give me any information about himself. No id, he couldn’t give me any phone numbers, nothing. He said, “I’m so sorry, I’m lost and I can’t remember how I got here. Where am I?” I told him, “You’re in Katy Texas, where do you live?” “McClellan. They just dropped me off. I don’t know why I’m here.” Oh heavens, I thought! What am I supposed to do with this man? So, I loaded him up and drove him to the local police department. The entire time praying “Lord, I have absolutely no clue how to help this person, please help.” We arrived at the police station and I gave them all the information I had. His name was Armondo, and he was seventy-four years old, and he lived in McClellan Texas. That was it. We sat with the deputy for quite some time trying to pull all the information out of him that we could together. As this was happening his son called the police department looking for him! What a relief. We learned that Armondo has Dementia and is, in fact, from McClellan. He is here visiting his son only two doors down from me. I also learned that he doesn’t sleep at night. He paces and talks. His sweet wife stays up with him most nights, and when she went in to take a short nap yesterday, he got out of the house. I don’t know a lot about Dementia, but for a small part of my day yesterday, I got a front row seat. I waited with Armondo for his son and wife to come pick him up. When I got in my car to head home, I lost it. It absolutely broke my heart. Here is the reason I’m even sharing this. Not to say look how nice I am because any of you would’ve done the exact same thing, so don’t let me fool you, I’m not that nice of a person. My point is, this happened two doors from my house. A mere fifty yards from my front door. We can’t fathom the things that people are going through all around us, right in our back yards! People’s realities even just a house over could potentially be very grim day in and day out. There is potential EVERYWHERE to reach out and love on someone. This was an eye opener for me. Armando needed my help yesterday, but he helped me in a way I didn’t even realize I needed. I want to be more aware of those around me, especially in my neighborhood. Same could go for you. Be aware and intentional about getting to know those around you, and allow the Lord to use you to really bless some people by just being a smiling face or a listening ear!

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7 Amazing Years!!!!

7 Amazing Years!!!!

I love my sweet wife so much!! She is an amazing wife, incredible mom and super hard worker. We have had an outstanding 7 Years together and I thank God for all of it.

We have had some fun times the last 7 years. So for the next few days I will share some of those fun memories right here.

Here is one of our favorites from a vacation we took 2 years ago.

Friends – 

Friends – 

This is a repost from my wife’s Blog. She’s an amazing writer, very proud of her.  
Friendship 

“It’s impossible to live the right life when you have the wrong friends.” Craig Groeschel
Friendships are always evolving, wouldn’t you agree? And not only are the relationships themselves evolving, our definition of what we would consider to be a friend evolves as well.
I can recall the types of “friends” I had during my teens and into my early twenties. Good heavens, can somebody feel me? Makes me grateful for that evolution I mentioned. Isn’t that season necessary though? It’s impossible to really appreciate a good friendship if you haven’t had a few shallow, one sided, selfish friendships to grow from. I feel like the Lord has taught me a lot in this area over the last six or seven years. Here’s where I’ve landed and the guidelines I try to stick to when it comes to my friendships.
It starts with you. The day I began looking inward, I was on my way to better friendships. Instead of approaching a friendship wondering what I could get out of it, I began looking for ways that I could contribute to the relationship. I began working toward being the type of friend I wanted in another person.
There is a necessary season of cutting ties to experience growth. This was painful for me. This was also the same time that the Lord was really working in my life in lots of areas. Pruning, if you will. It hurt. It was lonely. But oh, sister. How beautiful the growth it brought into my life. Growth and relationships I still benefit from today. There hasn’t been one thing that the Lord has asked me to lay down that I have looked back on and wished I hadn’t. NOT ONE.
Not everyone gets the free pass to be your friend. This is what you didn’t hear me say. I didn’t say not everyone deserves your respect or your kindness. And I didn’t say don’t be friendly. What I’m getting at here is filtering those that have access to your most precious, private spaces. Guarding your heart and using great wisdom and discernment when it comes to the people you allow in. I wholeheartedly believe that those we surround ourselves with are essential to the story we want to tell with our lives. Friendships are such a sweet, sweet, wonderful blessing. They possess the power to make or break us. Know your worth. For this reason I say, not everyone gets a free pass.

Not all friendships are created equal. What do I mean? There are different, but necessary, levels of friendships. Be ok with that. From your acquaintances, to your play-date park moms, women at the gym, women in your church, people you see daily, to narrowing the funnel down to the closest relationships you have. Your bestie for the restie! Yeah I said it. Different levels of friendships are ok, and in my opinion, very natural and healthy. You don’t have to divulge all to everyone. This is also a great place to practice wisdom when sharing your life.
Are you the problem? Is your life a revolving door of friends? Are you constantly “on the outs” with someone? Are you always, or frequently the victim? Does drama seem to follow you wherever you go? Do you always talk about yourself, rarely pausing to consider others? If you answered yes to any of these questions, I’m gonna break it to you gently. There’s about a 100% chance that you’re the problem. Begin to ask yourself what you can do to contribute to others lives instead of taking from it. A life lived all about ourselves isn’t much of a life at all. It takes some effort to learn how to give instead of always take. Be intentional.
Here’s what this all boils down to. You can have a lifetime of shallow friendships that come and go with the wind, or you can get vulnerable, do some self reflection and soul searching and gain real, deep, true friendships that will alter your definition of what a friend truly is. What story are you telling from the friends you choose? Might be time to make some hard decisions. Do it. You won’t be sorry.

Physical / Mental response to Harvey 

Physical / Mental response to Harvey 

These last few weeks have been some of the most amazing yet hardest weeks of my life. It’s been incredible to be a part of water rescues, shelter stocking, and the hardest to see was when we were evacuating families from their homes onto a boat. Grabbing all they can bring with them onto a boat or truck. Their kids grabbing their one toy or stuffed animal and walking off the boats and onto bus and into a shelter, truly heartbreaking.  Then when the hurricane passed, working along side so many in helping & organizing the clean up process for those who affected by the flood. 
With all this going on it’s been somewhat tough and this article has been a huge resource. 

The only part missing is Jesus in the whole article. He is the first step, and I’ve been cleaning to Him this whole time. I’ve loved this so much, helping our city brings me so much excitement! 
“While this was posted for first responders, a lot of others may suffer the same effects, especially those who volunteered, please pay attention:
What To Expect As First Responders Return Home

Want to help http://www.Second.org 

#HoustonStrong

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Article: 

As first responders begin to return from Hurricane Harvey, it is vital that we pay attention to their wellbeing. Large scale disasters demand significant physical and mental amounts of energy that public servants readily give of themselves. However, the recovery process for these amazing first responders is frequently overlooked. If you are a public safety professional who has deployed to the hurricane, a family member, friend or colleague, here are some things to consider:

First responders take about half a second to ramp up mentally and physically. The fight or flight response is immediate and vital to the roles that first responders take on during dangerous and even life-threatening situations. Coming off the response however, is very different. Think of this analogy: launching into response mode is fast like a microwave, with immediate heat and energy. Coming off response mode is like an oven that has been cooking at 500 degrees cooling down, slowly and gradually.

During Harvey, all first responders utilize the fight or flight response, which involves the sympathetic nervous system and copious amounts of adrenaline, glucose and cortisol. In the aftermath of the activation, rescuers will experience the counter effect of the fight or flight response, which is a parasympathetic nervous system backlash. This means rescuers hit the wall. They get very tired and irritable. They sometimes catch colds or simply don’t feel well. At the same time, they also begin to deal with reality as the sights, smells and sounds begin to replay in their minds.

Please understand that human beings are not light switches. We don’t simply “turn off” an experience and “turn on” normal life. I ask that every first responder give himself of herself time to recover. Specifically, please consider this:

For First Responders:

• Get rest. Take plenty of naps if you are not sleeping well through the night

• Stay hydrated

• Take Vitamin C and zinc to help prevent or shorten the nasty cold you might have

• Talk to your family, your peers, peer support or a clinician

• Resist the urge to skip the gym. Yes, you are tired, but moving your body is the best way to get the fight or flight chemicals out of your system

• Resist the urge to drink too much. Heavy intoxication will only make matters worse

• If after two weeks you feel like you are not beginning to return to normal, get help immediately from a clinician who understands public safety

For Family Members:

• It is important to give first responders the time and space to return to “normal life.” Try not to overwhelm them with requests in the first few days. They will need time to restore their resilience.

• If there were issues at home while you loved one was away and you are notifying him/her, be sure to include the solutions that are being implemented. For example, if your 10th grader is already struggling in biology, let you loved one know what steps are being taken for tutoring, etc.

• Understand that your first responder has seen significant human struggling. They will come home with a perspective that the little things in life that don’t matter REALLY don’t matter. It is likely that they will have little tolerance when the kids are arguing over what video game to play. They are dealing with a sharp contrast of reality coming from where they have been.

• Don’t be surprised if your first responder has no desire to go out in public for a few days. They have been over-stimulated by noise, people and chaos for several days.

• Understand that your loved one might not want to talk about it. It’s ok for little snippets to come out here and there, and also for them to be more inclined to share with their fellow first responders versus family members.

• Don’t take it personally if your loved one tells you that he or she wants to go back. This is normal. The work is very meaningful, much needed and ongoing in disasters. It is normal to want to return to continue to help.

For Coworkers and Supervisors:

• Be there for your colleagues as they return and allow them the opportunity to discuss what they have been through without judgment.

• Understand that they will view the normal workday as mundane for a while. Considering what they have been through, it is normal for returning first responders to be frustrated with the tempo, the paperwork and the protocol. They will feel restricted compared to where they have been.

• Encourage them to get help if things are not returning to normal.

The main things to remember is that it takes time and effort to restore your resilience after a disaster deployment. Also please understand that it is normal for all of the issues to crop up a bit later down the line. The delayed response is due to the fact that many first responders employ a healthy amount of internal numbing, and when the numbing wears off, the reactions occur. Please take good care of yourselves and reach out if things are not improving.”

“Checking Your Phone” – Hurting family relationships

“Checking Your Phone” – Hurting family relationships

Over half of children think that their parents check their phone too often, with a quarter of parents agreeing they want to look at their devices less. Yet it’s difficult to pry ourselves away from technology, so social media is in large part making us less social.  Andy Crouch reflects on these issues and will help us think through utilizing tech in a way that contributes to relationships.