Did your New Year start with bad news? Resilience is key to survive

Carmen Glover, Founder/Editorial Director of OnPointPress.net

Carmen Glover, Founder/Editorial Director of OnPointPress.net

By Carmen Glover

I received devastating, heart-breaking, personal news a few days after the New Year started and I’m still in shock as I grapple with how this new development will change the trajectory of my life.

But having experienced many difficult periods in my life, I am sure of one thing: Resilience is key to my survival as I cope with these new circumstances and regain full control of my life.

Carmen Glover, Founder/Editorial Director, OnPointPress.net

Carmen Glover, Founder/Editorial Director, OnPointPress.net

At the same time, I realize that I’m not alone. Many people across the globe are doing their best to cope with unexpected, painful news that will take a long time to absorb. My way of coping is to pray and ask for God’s guidance and strength in learning the lesson that is inherent in this new circumstance.

Blue Lagoon, Port Antonio, Jamaica. Conjuring up positive imagery helps to ease the pain of bad news.

Blue Lagoon, Port Antonio, Jamaica. Conjuring up positive imagery helps to ease the pain of bad news.

If you are grappling with a new reality that comes in the form of unfortunate news I suggest that you examine your emotions honestly and seek guidance from your source of comfort. Don’t lie to yourself, don’t lie to others. Instead, examine your raw emotions and take whatever time you need to heal while being aware that eventually, you will see the lesson and come through the experience with a new appreciation for the ability to be resilient.–OnPointPress.net–

Christmas in Jamaica equals heaven on earth

Blue Lagoon, Port Antonio, Jamaica.

Blue Lagoon, Port Antonio, Jamaica is a breathtaking oasis of sapphire water, nestled between lush, verdant plants. Actress Brooke Shields starred in a movie of the same name, which was filmed in this exotic locale.

By Carmen Glover

You can call be biased, but in my view, experiencing Christmas on the idyllic island of Jamaica is nothing short of tasting a slice of heaven on earth.

The rich Christmas tradition starts with extensive cleaning of the home, wiping the walls or painting them if it is deemed necessary, applying whitewash to the stones and trees in the yard, hanging new curtains and adorning the beds with new linen. The cleaning is done over a period of days so that no stone is left unturned and every crevice and cranny is spotless.

In the weeks leading up to Christmas, singers from the Salvation Army visit homes and sing various carols, while eager residents listen intently, enjoying the performance. Once that special treat is finished, a modest donation is given to the carolers. Most homes have Christmas decorations of some kind, with Christmas lights twinkling in trees or in the beautifully trimmed hedges, especially the hibiscus tinged borders often called ‘shoe-block.’

L-R: Dunn's River Falls, Christmas morning breakfast consists of Jamaica's national dish: ackee and salfish, roast breadfruit, fried plantains; Jamaican fruit 'rum' cake and the refreshing sorrel drink.

L-R: Dunn’s River Falls, Christmas morning breakfast consists of Jamaica’s national dish: ackee and salt-fish, roast breadfruit, Johnny cakes (fried dumplings), fried plantains, served with tea, coffee, cocoa or chocolate; Jamaican fruit ‘rum’ cake and the refreshing sorrel drink.

The next phase involves the food preparation, which includes some steps that begin long before Christmas, such as soaking dried fruits in wine to make the fruit/rum cake, boiling the sorrel and setting it aside so that the flavor can deepen, preparing fish, jerk and curry chicken, oxtail, roast beef and an assortment of fruit and vegetable salads. The food supply is purchased at ‘Christmas Market,’ a special marketplace where farmers show off their most impressive harvest, just in time for the holidays.

On Christmas Eve, most children and young adults flock to the malls to shop and spend time with friends, squeezing out the last minutes of social time before the big day. Early Christmas morning, some folks go to a brief Christmas service at church before returning home as the day of feasting begins with what is termed a ‘big or heavy’ breakfast, consisting of the national dish: Ackee and salt-fish, served with roast bread fruit and/or fried dumplings, which we call Johnny cakes. After break-fast the presents are opened with large measures of excitement and squeals. Throughout the day, as the strains of Christmas carols fill Jamaican homes, cake, fruits, sorrel and rum punch are consumed until it’s time for the tasty Christmas dinner.

A trip to Jamaica is incomplete without a visit to the famous Dunn's River Falls, a national treasure.

A trip to Jamaica is incomplete without a visit to the famous Dunn’s River Falls, a national treasure.

If a relative or friend is visiting from overseas, which we call ‘foreign,’ those from the USA typically come bearing red apples, in addition to an item of clothing. The apples were always viewed with a great deal of interest and to ensure that no one is left out, the apples, usually no more than two per household because of strict customs agents, is carefully sliced and each person gets to savor one slice at a minimum. The Jamaican apple is red, juicy and totally different in taste and texture from the American apple.

On Boxing Day, the day after Christmas, people visit each other and spend the rest of the weekend going to the beach, traipsing from Dunn’s River Falls in Ocho Rios to public beaches in Negril and Montego Bay or basking in the healing waters of Milk River Bath in St. Thomas. Ah!! Christmas in Jamaica, lovingly called ‘Jamdown,’ heaven on earth! There is nothing like it!–OnPointPress.net–

 

BREAKING: NYC mayor launches major mental health initiative

New York City mayor Bill de Blasio launched a comprehensive mental health initiative today.

New York City mayor Bill de Blasio launched a comprehensive mental health initiative today.

By Carmen Glover

On Monday, November 22, 2015, New York City Mayor Bill de Blasio, flanked by his wife, two children and staff, announced a major mental health initiative that is right on time since studies show that people who have mental illness often feel more lonely and hopeless during the holiday season.

“Maybe there’s a little hope that we can stare down these challenges and not be afraid to talk about them and seek the help that people deserve,” Mayor de Blasio said, in announcing that he will allocate $800 million over four years to fund his bold and much needed initiative named “Thrive NYC: A Road Map for Mental Health.”

Among the highlights of the initiative is the plan to train 2,250 mental health first aide workers, hire 100 school mental health consultants and hire 400 doctors for the NYC Mental Health Corps.

For a video of the Mental Health Road Map in action click here:

The mayor is no stranger to mental illness and substance abuse because he grew up in a household with a father who struggled with both. His father was an alcoholic who committed suicide when the mayor was 18. Also, de Blasio’s daughter, Chiara, 20, has battled substance abuse, anxiety and depression. Asked how she was coping during the press conference convened to talk about the initiative, Chiara smiled and said: “I’m doing better. I would say there’s always challenges.”

New York City’s First Lady Chirlane McCray, who has spearheaded her husband’s mental health agenda, was pleased with the massive financial commitment to the issue.

“The good news is that mental illness is treatable. We know what works. We have the tools.”

As the homeless population has exploded in New York City, data has shown a correlation between mental illness and homelessness. The new mental health initiative will go a long way towards curbing homelessness by reaching affected individuals before they descend into despair and provide vital services to those who already suffer in silence–OnPointPress.net–

 

 

 

Having health insurance before emergency strikes is crucial

People rarely plan for hospital stays. Unfortunate incidents and illnesses force hundreds into the hospital on a daily basis. Are you prepared?

People rarely plan for hospital stays. Unfortunate incidents and illnesses force hundreds into the hospital on a daily basis. Are you prepared?

By Charles Glover, Jr.

If there is one lesson to take away from the month of October, which emphasized  Breast Cancer, Domestic Violence and Mental Health Awareness, it is that being proactive and prepared can save your life. Yet, how do you prepare for an accident, illness, violence, or natural disasters? While we pray for those harshly affected by Hurricane Patricia, it serves as a reminder that there is only so much we can plan for.

 

The job of a qualified insurance agent is to educate families and individuals about the potential pitfalls that exist in most insurance plans and help fill those gaps. Hospital indemnity plans and accident plans are the most common forms of protection that provide benefits directly to the insured in case of accident or illness, in many cases.

When you meet with your insurance agent, make sure you read the fine print in your insurance plan and ask many questions.

When you meet with your insurance agent, make sure you read the fine print in your insurance plan and ask many questions.

When a person is hurt or critically ill, the only thing they should have to worry about is healing. Unfortunately, healthcare costs can become an albatross resulting in substantial financial loss and, in many cases, bankruptcy.

As open enrollment continues, be sure to read the fine print on your health insurance plans and ask your insurance advisor as many questions as possible. There are plans to help those who have to go the hospital for a wide range of reasons including cancer, domestic violence, heart attack, stroke, slip and fall and mental health issues. Make sure you plan ahead so that when disaster strikes, the only concern is healing as soon as possible.–OnPointPress.net–

Charles Glover, Jr., your Insurance Advisor, is a senior writer at OnPointPress.net and a Licensed Insurance Professional working with HealthMarkets. 

Contact me directly at (470)755-9940 for your health insurance questions and concerns

 

3 Tips to regain focus and achieve unmet 2015 goals

The difference between success and failure is often the impetus to take the first step.

The difference between success and failure is often the impetus to take the first step.

By Carmen Glover

For many individuals, life involves trying to balance a myriad of responsibilities–at work, at home and in the community. Too often, this forces us to put goals that are important to us on the back burner, as we try to navigate coping with more pressing matters.

But as we enter into the month of November, this is an opportune time to reflect on what we have achieved so far this year, and make plans to achieve the unmet goals we set for 2015. Have you found yourself in a rut, unable to move forward? Here are three quick tips to reclaim your balance, recapture your focus and tackle unmet goals:

It is easy to list goals but much harder to stay focused enough, all year long, and achieve them.

It is easy to list goals but much harder to stay focused enough, all year-long, and achieve them.

Celebrate your Achievements: We are usually our own worst critics. Sometimes we beat ourselves down mercilessly, making it difficult for us to feel inspired. Instead of focusing on the list of things that you failed to achieve so far this year, write down all the goals you have achieved. Reflect on your journey towards achieving those goals. Celebrate those achievements. Savor the sense of pride that you feel for accomplishing those goals despite the obstacles that your faced along the way.

Revisit your Action Plan: Now that you are able to accept the reality that you achieved some of your goals, ask yourself what other goals you would like to achieve before the end of the year and why that is important to your psyche. Explore strategies that you will use to get to the finish line. Write down different paths you can take, various supportive networks you will tap and the first step you are prepared to take, today, to move the plan forward.

The key to achieving goals consistently is being focused, so that if you take detours or long breaks in between, you can find follow the signs towards the finish line.

The key to achieving goals consistently is being focused, so that if you take detours or long breaks in between, you can find follow the signs towards the finish line.

Break the Goals into Smaller Steps: Do not become consumed with the range of tasks you need to complete in order to fully achieve the goal. It is more practical to break the goals into a series of small steps, and celebrate each achievement as it is made. For instance, if the goal is to improve your credit score by 50 points but you refuse to look at your account statements or speak to your creditors, a great first step would be to gather all your statements into one pile.

A second step could entail calling all of the creditors to get an accurate sum of what is owed. A third step would be to write down the balance owed to each creditor. A final step could be making a decision to speak with a financial advisor to get some valuable guidance, speaking directly to the creditors to explain your situation and develop a payment plan, or hiring a credit repair company to consolidate your debts and establish a reasonable repayment schedule. None of these methods will improve your credit score immediately, but they will provide the foundation that will change your financial picture incrementally, which in turn will improve your credit profile, over time.

So stop procrastinating. Take the first step today towards achieving your goals. Stay focused. You can do it!–OnPointPress.net–

 

October is Domestic Violence Awareness Month, take a stand for safety

dv2

Domestic violence, which is highlighted during the month of October, comes in many forms, some immediately recognizable, others very subtle. But regardless of the form that the abuse takes, it is important that victims take a stand for safety, during Domestic Violence Awareness Month in October and throughout their lives.

dv1

Domestic Violence includes emotional, physical, verbal, financial and sexual abuse. Many people mistakenly believe that unless their loved ones hit them in a way that causes visible injury then the abuse is minor and not worthy of attention. That is a mistake. Small acts of domestic violence often mushroom into significant forms of abuse that typically results in severe injury and often death.

domestic violence month

Still, many domestic violence sufferers do not regard themselves as victims and ever so often they staunchly defend the source of their hurt, pain, abuse and fear. Studies have shown that people are sometimes so attached to the idea of being in a relationship that they ignore all evidence that show that their lives, safety, well-being and that of their children, are in danger as long as they remain in an abusive relationship. But the strength that it takes to leave an abusive relationship is often absent from the psyches of the abused.

dv3

Moreover, when a person tries to leave an abusive relationship that is the time when they are at the greatest risk of harm, studies show. The dance of the abuser and abused is so common that it has its own name: the honeymoon phase–which is the period when the abusive partner apologizes for the violence, shows some form of remorse and showers the victim with presents and a brief change in behavior to put the victim at ease. Once the victim’s guard is down, the abuse returns fiercer than before.

financial-abuse-2

As October comes to a close, look to the future by taking a powerful stand against domestic violence. Vow to yourself that you will not tolerate abusive conduct that a partner tries to disguise as love. Put your safety and that of your children first, recognize when a partner is trying to isolate you from your friends and loved ones, be fearful if that person keeps tabs on your every activity and excessively monitors all of your interactions that do not include him or her.

11996659-domestic-violence-awareness-month

Remember, when a partner demonstrates consistent over the top acts of paranoia, possessiveness, control, monitoring and interference in outside friendships that partner is not displaying love, rather, that person is gradually setting the stage for an explosion of abusive conduct, which is a textbook pattern of domestic violence. If you are in an abusive relationship and need help to leave while preserving your safety and the safety of your children, call the Domestic Violence Hotline at 800-799-SAFE–OnPointPress.net–.

 

Baltimore wedding inspires hope that others will find love too

The happy couple, after exchanging vows, walk down the aisle, basking in the glow of love.

The radiant couple, Mr. and Mrs. Antonio Johnson, walk down the aisle basking in the glow of love, after exchanging wedding vows in a lovely gazebo, a fitting setting for the memorable event.

By Kimberly Brown

I recently attended a wedding in Baltimore, Maryland, and I was overjoyed to witness the union of two beautiful spirits: Ms. Brittany Scott and Mr. Antonio Johnson.The event filled my heart with a range of emotions, inspiring me to share my thoughts about love, not only the type of love that is shared between a husband and wife, but also self-love, and love for mankind.

It truly saddens my heart that we are living in a world where society is increasingly losing souls and lives due to a lack of love. It’s extremely difficult to turn on the television without being overwhelmed with headlines that represent volatile acts, stemming from emotions of hurt, anger and hate. The acts come from negative energy instead of love, an emotion that is not acknowledged as much as it should be.

Groomsmen

Groom Mr. Antonio Johnson, center, poses with his groomsmen (L-R): Mr. Kristina Adams, Mr. Richard Holmes, Mr. Diamond Chism, Mr.Tristan Johnson, Mr. Best Man Mr. Shannon Butler, Mr. Antoine Diggs and Mr. Shawn Johnson.

What if those destructive emotions were outweighed by love? I believe that love can change people’s hearts, minds and behavior. Love is a feeling, not just a thought, and it flows from the heart and shows itself in actions.

Social media plays a huge role in creating a false sense of love and acceptance through “Likes” and the number of followers people have on sites such as Facebook and Instagram. I’ve overheard discussions where individuals have expressed how unimportant they feel, simply because they lack a strong social media following. Prior to the advent of social media, what was the foundation of our self-confidence and self- love?

Grammy-award winning singers including icons Dionne Warwick and Diana Ross is a favorite among confirmed romantics. The lyrics were written by Hal David and the music was composed by Burt Bacharach. It was first recorded by Jackie DeShannon, and released on April 15, 1965, climbing to No.7 on the US Hot 100 charts in July 1965.

Grammy Award-winning singers including icons Dionne Warwick and Diana Ross have sung versions of the ballad “What The World Needs Now, Is Love,” a favorite among confirmed romantics. The lyrics were written by Hal David and the music was composed by Burt Bacharach. It was first recorded by Jackie DeShannon and released on April 15, 1965, climbing to No.7 on the US Hot 100 charts in July 1965.

I was brought up in a household where I was told daily how much I was loved. I was blessed. I was valued. I was cherished. That cocoon of love and validation caused me to blossom into a confident adult, oozing with self-confidence and self-love.

Unfortunately, not everyone had that same experience growing up so as adults some of us tend to seek love and acceptance in the world, which causes us to become susceptible to people who have ulterior motives. Yet, the reality is that the most essential form of love comes from the home. Self-love comes from within and should be encouraged by loved ones. However, we should all take time to love ourselves and not always seek it from others. True love can best be described as a vibrant ripple effect: first loving oneself, then allowing the love we have in our hearts to pour out to others in the world. Here is the video of the wedding.

bridesmaids

Breathtaking bride Brittany Scott (center), poses with her bridesmaids (L-R): Ms. Angela Oauli, Ms. Jade Thomas, Matron of Honor Mrs. Lakeisha Scott-Skrine, sister of the bride; Maid of Honor Ms. Eboni Ross, Ms. Shantear Meredith, and Ms. Monique Madison.

There are millions of youth who flood social media every single day confusing love with followers who are trolling their profiles. But that is not love. Feeling sad because of the perception that you have an inadequate number of social media followers or a low re-post count is alarming. The damage that is caused to the self-esteem of the young, and adults alike, because they value social media numbers instead of quality relationships, is a shocking and potentially harmful trend.

the-world-needs

The world most definitely needs more love, however, self-love is essential for a healthy life. Self-love provides growth in areas of our lives that we rarely think it could affect. We should all give self-love a try in its more authentic form. Love has no color, boundaries or preferences. Love needs to be boldly expressed, carefully nurtured and forever cherished.

The happy couple, Mr. and Mrs. Antonio Johnson, tie the knot in the presence of loved ones.

The happy couple, Mr. and Mrs. Antonio Johnson, tie the knot in the presence of loved ones.

Based on all that I thought that I knew about love, attending the nuptials of Mr. and Mrs. Antonio Johnson allowed me to see that love, when displayed in its purest form as theirs was, is an expression of self-acceptance and appreciation for another person.

Congratulations Mr. and Mrs. Antonio Johnson on your union. The wedding was a testament to a love that warms the heart, soothes the soul and inspires hope that more people will dedicate their lives to valuing and honoring love–OnPointPress.net–

Kimberly Brown is a journalist, producer, public speaker and media relations executive whose work has appeared in XXL magazine, BET, NBC and National Geographic Channel. Follow her on twitter@kbbrown80.