Honor loved ones while they’re alive

As people grapple with issues related to health, emotional health, employment and survival, it's important to keep the bonds of love, family and friendship strong.

As people grapple with issues related to health, emotions, employment and survival, it’s important to keep the bonds of love, family and friendship strong.

By Carmen Glover

Prince, Maurice White, David Bowie, Denise ‘Vanity’ Matthews and Glenn Frey are among notables that have passed on from the world of entertainment in 2016 and we are only in the month of April. One striking feature of this year so far is the many deaths that have occurred both in the lives of ordinary citizens and among the ranks of entertainers.

Maintaining bonds of friendship and family helps to keep us connected with loved ones.

Maintaining bonds of friendship and family helps to keep us connected with loved ones.

There have been numerous incidents of mass killings, gang warfare in the inner cities, natural disasters, road rage and disagreements between friends, families and co-workers that have resulted in deaths. Also, data released last week indicated that the suicide rates have increased by 24 percent over the past two decades, which is another area of societal concern. With each death comes an awareness of our own mortality. With each death comes the realization that it is important for us to honor our loved ones while they are alive.

The bonds of friendship are integral to a fulfilled life.

The bonds of friendship are integral to a fulfilled life.

If there is a family member, friend, or member of your close circle that you have neglected, reach out and reconnect. Your action might be as simple as a telephone call, but make the effort to engage that person in conversation just to gauge how they are doing. Express interest in their well-being, and if your schedules allow for you to meet and catch up, do so. Let the trend that has developed so far in 2016 be a guide illustrating  the importance of honoring your loved ones while they are alive.

Friends and family add texture and balance to our lives and should be consciously nurtured.

Friends and family add texture and balance to our lives and should be consciously nurtured.

Sometimes, closure is difficult when things are left unsaid or potential moments to connect with loved ones are routinely ignored due to the hustle and bustle associated with working, raising families, maintaining our health and enjoying our lifestyles. Yet, with hindsight often comes the realization that we had the power to engage more with our loved ones but we chose not to do so.

Taking time to nurture friendships enhance our lives by providing us with a circle of support and love.

Taking time to nurture friendships enhance our lives by providing us with a circle of support and love.

Is there someone who you have been meaning to call but you haven’t followed up with that small act so far this year? Has your mind been flooded with thoughts of a loved one but you pushed the thoughts away? Has someone been reaching out to you repeatedly to meet but you offer a myriad of excuses instead? Life is fleeting. Death is final. Take the time today to prioritize family and friendship. Make an effort to keep the bonds of connection strong, durable and lasting.–OnPointPress.net-

 

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

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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.

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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.

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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.

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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.

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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.

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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.

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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.

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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.

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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.