Seahawks Running Back Christine Michael Takes Girl With Autism To Her Prom

A couple months after being part of a Seahawks team that won a Super Bowl, Christine Michael couldn’t have looked any happier dancing at a high school prom.

His date, Taylor Kirkwood, looked even happier.

Kirkwood, from Houston, is autistic and suffered from scoliosis until surgery a couple years ago. Michael, a former running back at Texas A&M, was a friend of the family and gladly accepted an invitation to be Kirkwood’s prom date, according to a story on Click2Houston.com.

That’s how the running back, a second-round pick of the Seahawks last year, ended up at Anahuac High School getting down in a pink shirt that matched Kirkwood’s dress.

“I’m just here for Taylor,” Michael told Click2Houston.com. “It’s a blessing. Like I said, she’s a beautiful kid. I’m very proud of her.”

It isn’t too unusual for a high school senior to go to prom with a football player, it’s just rare that the player is already in the NFL. Good for Michael. It definitely gives Kirkwood a pretty cool story about her high school prom to tell for years to come.

Why Anxiety Is Not A Sin

Anne Marie Miller

The Texas Rangers just walked the bases. It wasn’t that exciting of a baseball game. I was doing my Algebra II homework with the TV playing in the background. I’ve never been good at math, but this particular assignment was tough. While trying to assign some numerical value to letters (a concept as a writer I will never understand: letters are for words. Numbers are for nerds. Just kidding. If it weren’t for the numbers people in my life, I’d be in jail.), my heart started palpitating. I placed my hand on my chest and could feel each beat through the muscles under my collarbone. What was happening? Was I going to have a heart attack? I was only 14. This can’t be happening. I didn’t realize it, but my breathing became fast and shallow. I got lightheaded. My muscles tensed. Not wanting to alarm my parents, I quickly went out the front door unnoticed. I climbed on the top of my mother’s car where there was nothing to trap me; I could simply look out into a big, west Texas sky full of stars.

But my heart kept pounding and my head kept spinning and I wondered what they’d say the next day at school about the freshman who died on top of her mom’s car last night. My dad came out a few minutes later and asked what was wrong. I sat up on the car’s top and gave him my symptoms, interrupted by punctuation marks of tears and sobs. He put his hand on my dangling knee and told me he felt this “irrational fear” before and it would soon go away. It did. For a little while, anyway.

But for the last twenty years, it’s stayed. It hasn’t been just a season, though sometimes I find relief in weeks or months. Anxiety is the weakness that can either boast Christ’s strength or it can break relationships. It’s either managed or I let it run wild. I’m almost certain it’s here to stay, and with spiritual help, counseling, support from friends and Tim, and even medication, I’m usually okay. I’m functional and happy and it lays dormant in the chemicals and synapses in my mind, hushed by medication that knows when it starts getting too loud.

I went to speak about sex one time at a college. I’m fairly certain my parents are uncomfortable every time I say that, but hey, it’s one of the things I get to do with my time. Normally after that talk, I get a few girls and maybe a guy or two say how they now feel like they can talk about something they’ve wrestled with sexually. At this one school, I learned from the Dean that most trips to the counseling center have to do with anxiety. Interesting. In my talk, I mentioned anxiety in a sentence or two, not really going off track. Afterward in the chapel lobby, multiple students came up to me – not because of their questions about sex or pornography – but because they felt so free when I talked about my anxiety. Really? I thought. I didn’t think there was such a stigma about it anymore. I guess I’m wrong. Noted. Two weeks later, I logged into my blog and there were two comments from someone I’ve never met, or even heard of online. A google search revealed little. I’ll save you the lengthy comment, but one thing stood out:

You are a false teacher. Your anxiety is a sin.

Wow. My anxiety is a sin? I get it. I’ve heard the lectures on worry as a sin, and trust me, it’s something I lean into my God for every day. And I believe that not trusting God consistently or even rejecting the desire to trust Him, yes, is sin. But, Mr. Commenter…and those who think like him, let me clearly say to you my anxiety is not a sin.

And here’s the thing. If I speak to 800 college students and ten of them tell me they’re wrestling with true, clinical anxiety, I’m sure there are a hundred that didn’t say a word who are also living in that shaky, unescapable landscape. Statistics tell me that there are a lot of you who struggle, too.

Anxiety presents in a lot of ways: panic, physical symptoms like a rapid heart rate and shallow breathing or lightheadedness, upset stomachs, tense muscles, and insomnia. It can also have emotional and relational symptoms too: anger, isolation, and irritability. Wondering why you get headaches all the time? It may be anxiety. Notice you’re lashing out with some built up anger at someone you love? It may be anxiety. You may have heard the reason you have anxiety is because you’re living in some secret sin, or maybe you’ve even been told the anxiousness in and of itself is sin. The first may be true, and if it is, you know it. But if you’re certain you’re right with God and others, your anxiety is not sin. I’m not a doctor or a counselor, in any official sense anyway. However, I’d like to share six things that have helped me manage my anxiety.

  • Routines: Morning and evening routines help start my day off right and help put me in the right place to sleep soundly.
  • Bible study and prayer: A constant one-sentence prayer I pray in moments of panic is “He keeps in perfect peace whose mind stays on Him.”
  • Talking about it: I have my husband and a group of friends I know I can reach out to in my “craziness” and I know they don’t see me as crazy. They pray for me and offer truth and help me refocus my thoughts.
  • Counseling: It’s expensive, but I’d rather have it than cable, a smart phone, or food at times.
  • Healthy Stuff: Eating right and exercising work wonders for anxiety. They really do.
  • Medication: Yes, I believe we are over-medicated but I also believe if you need it, you need it. It took me probably six or seven tries to get the right medication and even now, I have to adjust the dose depending on the season of life and stress I’m in. Some people need SSRIs or SNRIs and some need benzodiazepines (which is what works best for me). There are always risks, but work with a doctor and find the best balance for you.

Anxiety sucks. There’s really no other way to say it. In the church world, let’s speak freely about it and help others in their journeys by owning up to our own. And if someone says your anxiety is sin, shake your head and walk away confidently, knowing God made you in His image and that you can let your greatest weaknesses show His strength.

For Some ICU Patients, Depression Could Manifest With Physical Symptoms

 

Taken from the  Huff Post  which can be found   HERE.

Intensive care unit (ICU) patients — those in the hospital with the most severe or life-threatening injuries/illnesses — have a higher risk of depression, according to a new study.

And among ICU patients who do develop depression, one-third of them experience physical symptoms of depression, such as fatigue, weakness and change in appetite, researchers found.

“We need to pay more attention to preventing and treating the physical rather than psychological symptoms of depression in ICU survivors,” study researcher Dr. James Jackson, a psychologist and assistant professor of medicine at Vanderbilt University Medical Center, said in a statement. “The physical symptoms of depression are often resistant to standard treatment with antidepressant drugs and we need to determine how best to enhance recovery with a new focus on physical and occupational rehabilitation.”

The findings of the study, published in the journal The Lancet Respiratory Medicine, included 821 patients who were admitted to a surgical ICU in Nashville with either respiratory failure or severe sepsis. Researchers tested depression, PTSD, functional disability and quality of life after three months for 448 of the patients, and after 12 months for 382 of the patients.

Researchers found that about one-third of the patients evaluated three months later, as well as one-third of the patients evaluated 12 months later, reported having symptoms of at least mild depression; “depression was mainly due to somatic rather than cognitive—affective symptoms,” they wrote in the study.

Depressive symptoms were seen in both people with a history of the condition, and without a history of the condition. Among those without a history, the symptoms were observed in 30 percent of the patients evaluated after three months, and in 29 percent of patients evaluated after 12 months.

Symptoms of post-traumatic stress disorder were low, compared with depression — just 7 percent of patients said they had PTSD symptoms, researchers found.

“Substantial time and energy has been invested in addressing PTSD in survivors of critical illness, but our findings suggest that it is less pervasive than depression,” Jackson said in the statement. “Patients of all ages are at risk of developing post-ICU mental health and functional disabilities and more needs to be done to ensure that these impairments don’t become permanent.”

Special-Ed Student Recorded Bullies Initially Charged With Felony Wire Tapping

 

Taken from v[]cativ which can be found   HERE.

After being regularly shoved and tripped, and nearly burned with a cigarette lighter, a tormented special-needs student in Pennsylvania decided to take matters into his own hands. He secretly recorded the abuse on his school-issued iPad, and his mother eventually submitted the evidence to the school’s principal. But instead of punishing the teenage tyrants caught on tape, administrators decided to call the police, who threatened the 15-year-old boy with felony wiretapping, but later reduced the charge to disorderly conduct. He was found guilty on March 19.

This isn’t the first time that developmentally disabled kids have covertly recorded bullying on school grounds, but it’s the first case where the victim has been criminally convicted for doing so. At least nine such incidents occurred across the country between 2003 and 2013, often resulting in the firing of school employees, the expulsion of students and legal settlements worth hundreds of thousands of dollars. And while it shouldn’t make much of a difference, previous incidents have mostly involved parents slipping discreet spyware into their children’s pockets, rather than the child taking action.

In 2011, an Ohio couple received $300,000 after they secretly taped teachers verbally abusing their 14-year-old disabled daughter with remarks like “It’s no wonder you don’t have friends,” and in 2012, a New Jersey father posted an audio clip on YouTube of his 10-year-old autistic son getting called “a bastard” by a classroom aide.

The Pennsylvania student, a sophomore who remained unnamed in a report on BenSwann.com, was previously diagnosed with comprehension-delay disorder, anxiety disorder and ADHD. In his testimony, he claimed that he decided to record the incident in order to show his mother that he “wasn’t lying” about the ongoing abuse. “I was really having things like books slammed upside my head,” he said. “I wanted it to stop. I just felt like nothing was being done.”

The original recording was suspiciously deleted by school authorities, though as described on BenSwann.com, the boy’s mother, Shea Love, recounted it during the hearing.

According to Love, as the teacher is heard attempting to help her son with a math problem, a student says, “You should pull his pants down!” Another student replies, “No, man. Imagine how bad that (c**t) smells! No one wants to smell that (t**t).” As the recording continues, the teacher instructs the classroom that they may only talk if it pertains to math. Shortly thereafter, a loud noise is heard on the recording, which her son explained was a book being slammed down next to him after a student pretended to hit him in the head with it. When the teacher yells, the student exclaims, “What? I was just trying to scare him!” A group of boys are heard laughing.


After listening to her son’s evidence, Love eventually reported it to the South Fayette High School principal who, instead of disciplining the bullies involved, called the police to interrogate her “visibly distraught” son. When Love arrived, the principal said the student was facing felony wiretapping charges because he had made a recording in a place where there is an expectation of privacy. The officer agreed but eventually reduced the charge to disorderly conduct on the basis that the student engaged in offensive actions “which served no legitimate purpose.”

Recording laws vary from state to state, but Pennsylvania is one of just 12 states that require the consent of all parties involved. In the remaining states, consent is not mandatory as long as the person recording is present during the conversation.

Despite his emotional testimony and his mother’s pleas, the Pennsylvania student was eventually found guilty, though he plans to appeal the ruling during his next court appearance on April 29. The bullies were never punished.

Temptation: Streams In The Desert, April 12th, 2014

And Jesus being full of the Holy Ghost returned From Jordan, and was led by the Spirit into the wilderness, being forty days tempted of the devil   Luke 4:1-2

Jesus was full of the Holy Ghost, and yet He was tempted. Temptation often comes upon a man with its strongest power when he is nearest to God. As someone has said, “The devil aims high.” He got one apostle to say he did not even know Christ.
Very few men have such conflicts with the devil as Martin Luther had. Why? Because Martin Luther was going to shake the very kingdom of hell. Oh, what conflicts John Bunyan had!
If a man has much of the Spirit of God, he will have great conflicts with the tempter. God permits temptation because it does for us what the storms do for the oaks–it roots us; and what the fire does for the paintings on the porcelain–it makes them permanent.
You never know that you have a grip on Christ, or that He has a grip on you, as well as when the devil is using all his force to attract you from Him; then you feel the pull of Christ’s right hand.
–Selected
Extraordinary afflictions are not always the punishment of extraordinary sins, but sometimes the trial of extraordinary graces. God hath many sharp-cutting instruments, and rough files for the polishing of His jewels; and those He especially loves, and means to make the most resplendent, He hath oftenest His tools upon.
–Archbishop Leighton
I bear my willing witness that I owe more to the fire, and the hammer, and the file, than to anything else in my Lord’s workshop. I sometimes question whether I have ever learned anything except through the rod. When my schoolroom is darkened, I see most.
–C. H. Spurgeon

Praise & Worship: April 11th, 2014

Song List

1.  Lawdy-  The Vespers

2.  Glory Bound-  The Wailin’ Jennys

3.  The Anthem-  Planetshakers

4.  He Lives-  Erick Nelson/ Maranatha 2

5.  Clean Before My Lord-  Honeytree

6.  Lord Reign In Me-  Brenton Brown

7.  Rest-  Downhere

8.  Kyrie Christe Eleison-  Gregorian Chant

9.  All The People Said Amen-  Matt Maher

10.  Dear Lord-  Terry Clark

11.  I Will Carry You-  Selah

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Morocco’s Mentall Ill Await Delieverance From Their ‘Demons’

Jesus healed a wild man, possessed by demons; forcing the demons to go into a herd of pigs — Mark 5: 1-20.

Taken from  Yahoo  which can be found   HERE.

A thin mist hangs in the air as a handful of troubled souls wander aimlessly around the Bouya Omar mausoleum in central Morocco, the occasional chilling cry rising from behind its walls.

 These are Morocco’s “possessed” — from violent schizophrenics to hard drug users — who are believed to be tormented by evil spirits and whose relatives bring them here to await deliverance.

But many are left wondering exactly what goes on inside the sanctuary of the 16th-century Moroccan saint, situated in a small town named after him on the plains east of Marrakesh.

Bouya Omar’s followers claim the mentally ill are healed by the saint’s supernatural powers, but rights groups allege gross mistreatment of those taken there, with one former inmate describing months of “hell”.

Activists say hundreds of people have been kept in chains here, sometimes starved and beaten, making the place a byword for cruelty and highlighting the stigma attached to mental illness in Morocco.

Their numbers cannot be verified and officials are reluctant to speak about what they say is a “sensitive subject”.

Mohammed, a former drug addict from Tangiers, is adamant that he was subjected to brutal treatment seven years ago.

Taken to Bouya Omar by his brother in 2006 to be cured of his “demon”, he says he was shackled and beaten repeatedly, given barely enough food to survive and robbed of the little money he had.

“I lived in hell for a year,” Mohammed told AFP, adding that the experience had left him partially blind in one eye.

He says his brother eventually returned and “saved” him.

Damning reports about mistreatment, including one presented by a human rights organisation to the UN group on arbitrary detention visiting Morocco in December, prompted the health minister to announce that he would close Bouya Omar immediately — if only he could.

“I’m going to do everything I can to get this centre closed. Unfortunately the decision is not for the ministry of health,” Hossein El Ouardi said in January.

- Popular beliefs -

The issue touches a sensitive nerve running through Moroccan society.

Popular beliefs abound in the Muslim country, about good and bad genies (“jnun”) capable of affecting one’s daily life, and the power over them of marabouts, holy men like Bouya Omar, whose ubiquitous white tombs are credited with the same supernatural forces.

Over the past decade, sociologists say, King Mohammed VI has encouraged such popular Islamic beliefs, commonly linked in Morocco to the world of healing, partly as a way of countering extremist ideology.

Despite the human rights violations now associated with it, the cult of Bouya Omar falls squarely within this tradition.

The saint’s modern-day followers, who embody his authority and profit handsomely from the money paid for healing, mediate between the “patients” and the jnun believed to have possessed them, in rituals focused around the tomb and aimed at casting out the evil spirits.

“The health minister cannot close Bouya Omar because it serves a political purpose and exists for other social and cultural reasons that are deeply rooted in Moroccan society,” says author and academic Zakaria Rhani.

Promoting the culture of sainthood also strengthens the king’s legitimacy, which is itself based on the mythology of sainthood and inherited religious authority, Rhani says, referring to the monarch’s claim to be descended from the Muslim Prophet Mohammed.

A source at the ministry of religious affairs admitted Bouya Omar is a “very complex and sensitive subject.”

“The patient is imprisoned in a way to protect him, and to restrain this force, which is a kind of blind force, to exorcise the spirit,” he said, speaking on condition of anonymity.

“We leave people there because we can’t look after them. But it’s a traditional system and it has to change.”

- ‘Crime against humanity’ -

The difficulty of properly looking after the patients, by getting them treatment at psychiatric facilities run by qualified personnel, stems from the backward state of Morocco’s mental health sector after decades of neglect, medical experts say.

Jallal Toufiq, head doctor at the Arrazi mental hospital in Rabat’s twin city Sale, says there are only 400 psychiatrists in a country of 33 million people, while some of the psychiatric institutions are in a “very advanced state of disrepair”.

The US-trained doctor describes the practises at Bouya Omar as a “crime against humanity,” lamenting the “extremely negative attitude towards mental illness” in Morocco, which he mainly attributes to poor eduction.

“The level of awareness in the general population is so low that a lot of people tend to interpret their syndromes, their delusions and anxieties, as a curse, as something that has nothing to do with medicine.

“So they seek healings in marabouts, and the problem is that they come to see us long after, when they’re in bad shape.”

Mohammed Oubouli, an activists with the Moroccan Association of Human Rights in Attaouia, a town near Bouya Omar, has campaigned for years to get what he calls “Morocco’s Guantanamo” closed.

“We’re not against what the people believe; they can believe what they like. What bothers us is the suffering of those brought here.”

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