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    The DF is solely dedicated to eliminating the stigma that surrounds depression and mood disorders through information, education and advocacy.
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    Joined DF 2001 We are PG rated and comply with Health on the Net's HONcode

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  1. My name is Jackie and I was part of the forum years ago. I recently had a relapse of GAD after having a panic attack due to med doc taking me off a beta-blocker I was on for years, after the drug store was unable to get this particular medication. I have been off work and am getting all kinds of pressure to return, which is tomorrow. I was started on Zoloft and am back on the beta-blocker which also controls blood pressure. it's not an easy road, believe me!

  2. Halloween

  3.  

    Quote

    “Death is so terribly final, while life is full of possibilities.” ― George R.R. Martin

     

  4. Hi I am 64 I have been sad my entire life. My parents were alcholics, my dad sexually and physically abusive. My Mother was too afraid of him to help my brother and me. My grandfather sexually abused all of his grandchildren and his children as well so out of 13 grandchildren only 2 of us sorta made it, myself and my youngest cousin. All of my cousins and my brother failed, they were in and out of trouble jail and prison. My brother and male relatives all became sexual abusers. As far as I can tell my children and my one youngest cousins children were not abused because we kept them away from the family. My husband and I divorced when my children were very young, and never helped support them. My children grew up to be awesome kids both with college degrees and they were never abused 😀  I have struggled my entire life, I cry daily. If all that was not enough  16 years ago a co worker gave me a goodbye hug as she was leaving the company and as she left the hug gave me mites 😔😢. I have been fighting these mites at home, work my car they won't stop multiplying they are every  where and make me itch, I feel them crawling on me I am embarrassed and I gave up trying to have a happy life. I don't date I have no friends to speak of because I am afraid I will pass them on. I am so tired of this horrible lifeI cannot catch a break and I just want to die. People say I look mad all the time, yet I am a nice person just tired of hiding and lonely   I am just tired and am trying to figure out the best way to commit suucide. I wish I could say more but I cannot stop crying enough to keep typing. I'm so lonely sad and I hate myself. 

    1. tlsteel

      tlsteel

      Hello. I and my 84 year old mother who is going blind and was constantly raped by her father can relate. I am a 65 year old bedridden man who cannot stand, walk, sit and do just about nothing. Pain flows through me just about all day long! I have become a shell of what I was.

      But I will be damn if it will get the best of me! It will not win. I won't let it! I have found an inner soul within me that has been just incredible! I can't explain it, it keeps my attitude in check! Maybe it's related to self hypnosis, I don't know. I do know that I feel an "inner glow" that I believe comes from God. I used to be and still am an alcoholic, though I haven't touched a drp in over two decades. 
       

      I used to smoke 2 packs a day. I was lonely and had a lot of love I needed to share. Now I don't know if you believe in God or not and I am not here to convert you. What I will tell you is that I prayed ... sincerely prayed that he would take away these cravings and find someone who would love me.

       

      I was a heavy drinker! I don't know of any institution that they can instantly stop you from drinking right on the spot. It took a few deparate prayers, but he lifted the craving and replaced it with an incredible sick feeling of just the thought of alchol. 

      The same with smoking, and not long he found me my wonderful wife. He hasn't totally taken the pain away yet. But maybe he wants me to keep it for a punishment of something I did that he didn't like. I don't know. But believe he also has given me an inner peace and an attitude adjustment. I too have had a terrible life. Many shocking things were revealed to me. 

      I don't know if this will help you. You might even think I'm a nut case. But it is and has been true for me. I do not belong to any church or religion. I believe religion will be man's downfall. But I believe in the love God has filled my heart with. God bless you my friend! I will pray for you ....

       

       

  5. Flag Day

    The History Of Flag Day The Fourth of July was traditionally celebrated as America's birthday, but the idea of an annual day specifically celebrating the Flag is believed to have first originated in 1885. BJ Cigrand, a schoolteacher, arranged for the pupils in the Fredonia, Wisconsin Public School, District 6, to observe June 14 (the 108th anniversary of the official adoption of The Stars and Stripes) as 'Flag Birthday'. In numerous magazines and newspaper articles and public addresses over the following years, Cigrand continued to enthusiastically advocate the observance of June 14 as 'Flag Birthday', or 'Flag Day'. On June 14, 1889, George Balch, a kindergarten teacher in New York City, planned appropriate ceremonies for the children of his school, and his idea of observing Flag Day was later adopted by the State Board of Education of New York. On June 14, 1891, the Betsy Ross House in Philadelphia held a Flag Day celebration, and on June 14 of the following year, the New York Society of the Sons of the Revolution, celebrated Flag Day. Following the suggestion of Colonel J Granville Leach (at the time historian of the Pennsylvania Society of the Sons of the Revolution), the Pennsylvania Society of Colonial Dames of America on April 25, 1893 adopted a resolution requesting the mayor of Philadelphia and all others in authority and all private citizens to display the Flag on June 14th. Leach went on to recommend that thereafter the day be known as 'Flag Day', and on that day, school children be assembled for appropriate exercises, with each child being given a small Flag. Two weeks later on May 8th, the Board of Managers of the Pennsylvania Society of Sons of the Revolution unanimously endorsed the action of the Pennsylvania Society of Colonial Dames. As a result of the resolution, Dr. Edward Brooks, then Superintendent of Public Schools of Philadelphia, directed that Flag Day exercises be held on June 14, 1893 in Independence Square. School children were assembled, each carrying a small Flag, and patriotic songs were sung and addresses delivered. In 1894, the governor of New York directed that on June 14 the Flag be displayed on all public buildings. With BJ Cigrand and Leroy Van Horn as the moving spirits, the Illinois organization, known as the American Flag Day Association, was organized for the purpose of promoting the holding of Flag Day exercises. On June 14th, 1894, under the auspices of this association, the first general public school children's celebration of Flag Day in Chicago was held in Douglas, Garfield, Humboldt, Lincoln, and Washington Parks, with more than 300,000 children participating. Adults, too, participated in patriotic programs. Franklin K. Lane, Secretary of the Interior, delivered a 1914 Flag Day address in which he repeated words he said the flag had spoken to him that morning: "I am what you make me; nothing more. I swing before your eyes as a bright gleam of color, a symbol of yourself." Inspired by these three decades of state and local celebrations, Flag Day - the anniversary of the Flag Resolution of 1777 - was officially established by the Proclamation of President Woodrow Wilson on May 30th, 1916. While Flag Day was celebrated in various communities for years after Wilson's proclamation, it was not until August 3rd, 1949, that President Truman signed an Act of Congress designating June 14th of each year as National Flag Day.
  6. World Bipolar Day

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    World Bipolar Day: Why I will never hide my bipolar diagnosis from anyone Hattie Gladwell for Metro.co.uk Thursday 30 Mar 2017 7:00 am (Picture: Metro.co.uk/LibertyAntoniaSadler) I was diagnosed with bipolar disorder type 1 just under two years ago. Bipolar disorder is a mood disorder, that was formally known as ‘manic depression’. It can often mean that your moods swing from one extreme to the other – though each mood will last a significant amount of time, ranging from weeks to months on end. With bipolar type 1, I generally experience more extreme manic moods than I do lows, though when I do feel low, I feel on the verge of suicidal. There are many forms of mania, however. I will be very, very irritable and quick to anger. I become very paranoid and over-think everything. Despite taking sleeping tablets, I will sleep as little as two hours, often waking around 4am to do something out of my usual character. I will feel invincible and I will act irrationally and compulsively, loving every second of that surge of adrenaline that comes with it. And I’ll soon regret it when the mania wears off. For example, I’m a natural blonde but 5 years ago I dyed my hair brown, and have kept it that way (bar the occasional other dark colours such as black or deep red) ever since. (Picture: Liberty Antonia Sadler) But a year-and-a-half ago, I decided when I woke up that I was going to go back to blonde. I didn’t ‘have time’ (meaning I didn’t want to wait) for an appointment, and so I ran to the shop, grabbed two packets of bleach powders, and re-bleached my hair over and over in one day to go from a dark brown to a white blonde (with some yellow patches, of course). I then spent the next few days dying it from silver to lilac, before getting bored and dying another dark colour over it. I spent the following year and a half treating it with coconut oil, getting several hair cuts before ultimately cutting it very short and having to grow it out all over again because it was so ruined. Oh, how I kicked myself for ever touching it in the first place. Another time, during a bout of mania which lasted for several months, I got 19 tattoos. I started with just a couple on my arms and my hip, and ended with tattoos covering my legs, my stomach, my back and the back of my neck. Luckily, I still love them – but would I have waited a little longer to get them had I not been manic? Certainly. There’s always one other indicator that I’m going into a manic episode – I’ll write a book. During one episode, I woke at 4am to write a book, wrote three chapters and sent it off to several publishers thinking I was going to be the next J.K. Rowling. As you can tell, I’m not. But the depressive times are just as bad as the manic times, and sometimes worse. I often end up feeling so low that I have repeated suicidal thoughts day in, day out. I sleep too much as opposed to too little. I become very anxious, I have a constant feeling of guilt in my stomach and I am so very angry. (Picture: Ella Byworth for Metro.co.uk) I feel vacant and numb and I struggle to concentrate on anything. The worst part is that I never know when it’s going to end. But bipolar is something I’ve got used to over time. It’s not something I would wish away because for me, these feelings are ‘normal’. Alongside this, despite how crazy some of my emotions and outbursts may seem, I would never hide it from anyone – because while my illness does not define me, it helps shape who I am. I will never, ever be ashamed of my bipolar diagnosis. Because, quite frankly, it’s out of my hands. I didn’t ask for it, so why should I struggle with it in silence? When meeting a new person it’s not my first topic of conversation – but when the conversation gets deeper I have never, and will never shy away from it. It’s up to the other person how they want to deal with the information, and that’s totally out of my control. I also feel it’s incredibly important to talk about it. So, so many people avoid opening up about their mental health out of fear of judgement or disbelief. They’re scared that they’re going to be told ‘it’s all in your head’ and that it ‘isn’t really there’, followed by suggestions such as ‘you need to take a long walk’ and ‘if you drink more water your head will be clearer’. But just because you can’t see it, doesn’t mean it’s not there. It doesn’t mean it’s any less important than a physical illness and it most certainly doesn’t mean it’s any less real, either. (Picture: Ella Byworth for Metro.co.uk) I will continue to talk and write about my experience with bipolar because I want to help those who don’t have the courage to. I want people to find real experiences when searching for advice in Google as opposed to forums disregarding it. I want people to see how open I am about it and realise that they can be too. But most importantly, I want people to realise they are not alone – no matter lonely they may feel in their own minds. And hopefully, alongside people who have already received diagnosis, my experiences will somehow find their way to a person who is currently questioning symptoms, but too scared to go to a doctor for help. I hope someone struggling mentally but too afraid to seek help will realize that there’s nothing shameful in doing so, and that seeking help is the first thing they can do to finding the strength to both understand and accept that they are struggling – before they receive the help and education that they need to start to cope with it. I will never, ever be ashamed of my mental illness, no matter how much I struggle, no matter what people think of it – because it is a part of me, and it always will be. I just pray that others going through a similar thing will some day realize the same thing.
  7. Presidents' Day

    Presidents' Day in the United States Washington's Birthday, also known as Presidents' Day, is a federal holiday held on the third Monday of February. The day honors presidents of the United States, including George Washington, the USA's first president. George Washington was the first president of the United States of America. iStockphoto.com/Jason DiLorenzo What Do People Do? Washington's Birthday officially honors the life and work of George Washington, the first president of the United States. The day commemorates past presidents of the USA. Washington's Birthday is sometimes known as Presidents' Day. This is because while most states have adopted Washington's Birthday, some states officially celebrate Presidents' Day. Some states pay particular attention to Abraham Lincoln, as his birthday was also in mid-February. In the weeks or days leading up to the holiday, schools often organize events and lessons for students about the presidents of the United States and George Washington in particular. It is a popular day for stores to start their sales. The US federal holiday is on the third Monday of February each year, but records show that George Washington's birthday is on February 22. Public Life Many businesses are open as usual and many stores hold sales on Washington's Birthday. Many delivery services, except for the Post Office, have a regular service and many, but not all, public transit systems operate on regular schedules. Some schools close for the whole week for a mid-winter recess. According to some government sources, Indiana observes the Washington's birthday holiday in December. Background George Washington was the first president of the United States of America. His first term as president was from 1789 to 1793 and his second term from 1793 to 1797. Before he became president, he played important roles in the military, leading the American Continental Army to victory over the British in 1783. Washington is often seen as the father of the United States and is probably the best known American politician ever. The likeness and name of George Washington can still be seen in many places in the United States. There is the portrait of him and three other American presidents carved into Mount Rushmore National Memorial in South Dakota. His image is also used on the one-dollar bill and the quarter-dollar coin. The capital of the United States, Washington D.C., Washington State and at least three universities are named after him. Washington's Birthday was first celebrated as a holiday in the District of Columbia in 1880. It was made a federal holiday in 1885. The holiday was originally held on the anniversary of George Washington's birth, on February 22. In 1971, this holiday was moved to the third Monday in February. This holiday is legally designated as "Washington’s Birthday". Though other institutions such as state and local governments and private businesses may use other names, it is the federal government’s policy to always refer to holidays by the names designated in the law. Below are all the 45 Presidents of the United Stated of America.
  8. National Mental Health Month 2017

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    National Mental Health Month raises awareness about mental illness and related issues in the United States. In recent times, attitudes towards mental health issues appear to be changing. Negative attitudes and stigma associated with mental health have reduced and there has been growing acceptance towards mental health issues and support for people with them. Despite this shift in attitude, the idea of a mental health awareness campaign is not a recent one. In the late 1940's, the first National Mental Health Awareness Week was launched in the United States. During the 1960's, this annual, weekly campaign was upgraded to a monthly one with May the designated month. During this month, National Health America, the main organization which sponsors this event, run a number of activities which are often based on a theme. In 2010, the theme was 'Live Your Life Well'. 'Live Your Life Well' encouraged people to take responsibility for the prevention of mental health issues during times of personal challenge and stress. Many mental health problems can be avoided by taking positive lifestyle choices in how we act and think before they can manifest. To coincide with Mental Health Awareness month, Other mental health campaigns & activities also run during this month. National Children's Mental Health Awareness Day is one such campaign. This event is sponsored by the American Psychological Association (APA). Other activities have included 'Blogging for Mental Health' and 'Help For People Seeking Psychological Services'.
  9. Autism Awareness Month

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    What is Autism? Home / What is Autism? Autism spectrum disorder (ASD) is a complex developmental disability; signs typically appear during early childhood and affect a person’s ability to communicate, and interact with others. ASD is defined by a certain set of behaviors and is a “spectrum condition” that affects individuals differently and to varying degrees. There is no known single cause of autism, but increased awareness and early diagnosis/intervention and access to appropriate services/supports lead to significantly improved outcomes. Some of the behaviors associated with autism include delayed learning of language; difficulty making eye contact or holding a conversation; difficulty with executive functioning, which relates to reasoning and planning; narrow, intense interests; poor motor skills’ and sensory sensitivities. Again, a person on the spectrum might follow many of these behaviors or just a few, or many others besides. The diagnosis of autism spectrum disorder is applied based on analysis of all behaviors and their severity. In March 2014, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention issued their ADDM autism prevalence report. The report concluded that the prevalence of autism had risen to 1 in every 68 births in the United States – nearly twice as great as the 2004 rate of 1 in 125 – and almost 1 in 54 boys. The spotlight shining on autism as a result has opened opportunities for the nation to consider how to serve families facing a lifetime of supports for their children. In June 2014, researchers estimated the lifetime cost of caring for a child with autism is as great as $2.4 million. The Autism Society estimates that the United States is facing almost $90 billion annually in costs for autism. (This figure includes research, insurance costs and non-covered expenses, Medicaid waivers for autism, educational spending, housing, transportation, employment, related therapeutic services and caregiver costs.) Know the signs: Early identification can change lives Autism is treatable. Children do not “outgrow” autism, but studies show that early diagnosis and intervention lead to significantly improved outcomes. For more information on developmental milestones, visit the CDC’s “Know the Signs. Act Early” site. Here are some signs to look for in the children in your life: Lack of or delay in spoken language Repetitive use of language and/or motor mannerisms (e.g., hand-flapping, twirling objects) Little or no eye contact Lack of interest in peer relationships Lack of spontaneous or make-believe play Persistent fixation on parts of objects Symptoms/Behaviors MACMH Minnesota Association for Children’s Mental Health 165 Western Avenue North, Suite 2 Saint Paul, MN 55102-4613 Autism Spectrum Disorder Fact Sheet © 2014 Minnesota Association for Children’s Mental Health • macmh.org • 800-528-4511 • 651-644-7333 Autism spectrum disorder (ASD) is a neurodevelopmental disorder that can cause significant communication, social, and behavioral impairment. The Diagnostic and Statistical Manual of Mental Disorders (DSM-5) defines ASD as a single disorder that includes disorders that were once diagnosed separately, including Asperger’s syndrome and pervasive developmental disorder not otherwise specified (PDD). The cause of autism is not known. However it is generally believed that both genetics and environment play a role. The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) estimates that about 1 in 68 children has been identified with ASD. ASD occurs in all ethnic, racial, social, and economic groups and is almost 5 times more common among boys than among girls. Symptoms begin in early childhood, however, they are often not identified until later in a child’s life. The symptoms of ASD are unique for each child or adolescent. ASD symptoms may vary greatly from mild to very severe. A student’s ability to learn and think may range from gifted to extremely challenged. The symptoms fall into two main areas: impairment in social communication and interactions, and repetitive and restrictive behaviors. Communication and social interactions present significant challenges for students with ASD. Students with ASD frequently avoid eye contact, interpret communication literally, and misread nonverbal cues. They often have difficulty participating in reciprocal communication or back-and-forth conversation patterns and misunderstand sarcasm, jokes and metaphors. Students with these symptoms also struggle to use language “in context,” such as using tone of voice to match the setting. They may not tolerate social interactions that don’t go “their way” or as they expected. Their social skills may not be age appropriate and they are generally socially awkward. Students with ASD have difficulty developing friendships with students their own age. Their interests can be overly focused or fixated and consequently they may resist trying new games or activities. Students with ASD may also have repetitive behaviors such as flapping their arms, lining up toys or repeating the words said by another person. They depend on rigid routines and schedules and are intolerant to any changes. Disruptions may result in strong verbal complaints or physical outbursts that appear out of context to the situation. Share Facebook Twitter Email Asperger’s Syndrome Home / What is Autism? / Asperger’s Syndrome Asperger’s Resources History Asperger’s syndrome (also known as Asperger’s Disorder) was first described in the 1940s by Viennese pediatrician Hans Asperger, who observed autism-like behaviors and difficulties with social and communication skills in boys who had normal intelligence and language development. Many professionals felt Asperger’s syndrome was simply a milder form of autism and used the term “high-functioning autism” to describe these individuals. Uta Frith, a professor at the Institute of Cognitive Neuroscience of University College London and editor of Autism and Asperger Syndrome, describes individuals with Asperger’s as “having a dash of autism.” Asperger’s Disorder was added to the American Psychiatric Association’s Diagnostic and Statistical Manual of Mental Disorders (DSM-IV) in 1994 as a separate disorder from autism. However, there are still many professionals who consider Asperger’s Disorder a less severe form of autism. In 2013, the DSM-5 replaced Autistic Disorder, Asperger’s Disorder and other pervasive developmental disorders with the umbrella diagnosis of autism spectrum disorder. Characteristics What distinguishes Asperger’s Disorder from classic autism are its less severe symptoms and the absence of language delays. Children with Asperger’s Disorder may be only mildly affected, and they frequently have good language and cognitive skills. To the untrained observer, a child with Asperger’s Disorder may just seem like a neurotypical child behaving differently. Children with autism are frequently viewed as aloof and uninterested in others. This is not the case with Asperger’s Disorder. Individuals with Asperger’s Disorder usually want to fit in and have interaction with others, but often they don’t know how to do it. They may be socially awkward, not understand conventional social rules or show a lack of empathy. They may have limited eye contact, seem unengaged in a conversation and not understand the use of gestures or sarcasm. Their interests in a particular subject may border on the obsessive. Children with Asperger’s Disorder often like to collect categories of things, such as rocks or bottle caps. They may be proficient in knowledge categories of information, such as baseball statistics or Latin names of flowers. They may have good rote memory skills but struggle with abstract concepts. One of the major differences between Asperger’s Disorder and autism is that, by definition, there is no speech delay in Asperger’s. In fact, children with Asperger’s Disorder frequently have good language skills; they simply use language in different ways. Speech patterns may be unusual, lack inflection or have a rhythmic nature, or may be formal, but too loud or high-pitched. Children with Asperger’s Disorder may not understand the subtleties of language, such as irony and humor, or they may not understand the give-and-take nature of a conversation. Another distinction between Asperger’s Disorder and autism concerns cognitive ability. While some individuals with autism have intellectual disabilities, by definition, a person with Asperger’s Disorder cannot have a “clinically significant” cognitive delay, and most possess average to above-average intelligence. While motor difficulties are not a specific criterion for Asperger’s, children with Asperger’s Disorder frequently have motor skill delays and may appear clumsy or awkward. Diagnosis Diagnosis of Asperger’s Disorder has increased in recent years, although it is unclear whether it is more prevalent or more professionals are detecting it. When Asperger’s and autism were considered separate disorders under the DSM-IV, the symptoms for Asperger’s Disorder were the same as those listed for autism; however, children with Asperger’s do not have delays in the area of communication and language. In fact, to be diagnosed with Asperger’s, a child must have normal language development as well as normal intelligence. The DSM-IV criteria for Asperger’s specified that the individual must have “severe and sustained impairment in social interaction, and the development of restricted, repetitive patterns of behavior, interests and activities that must cause clinically significant impairment in social, occupational or other important areas of functioning.” The first step to diagnosis is an assessment, including a developmental history and observation. This should be done by medical professionals experienced with autism and other PDDs. Early diagnosis is also important as children with Asperger’s Disorder who are diagnosed and treated early in life have an increased chance of being successful in school and eventually living independently. Contact us for information on Asperger’s resources, including support groups and websites. Share Facebook Twitter Email
  10. Groundhog Day

    Groundhog Day Every February 2, thousands gather at Gobbler’s Knob in Punxsutawney, Pennsylvania, to await the spring forecast from a special groundhog. Known as Punxsutawney Phil (link is external), this groundhog will emerge from his simulated tree trunk home and look for his shadow, which will help him make his much-anticipated forecast. According to legend, if Phil sees his shadow the United States is in store for six more weeks of winter weather. But, if Phil doesn’t see his shadow, the country should expect warmer temperatures and the arrival of an early spring. History of Groundhog Day Groundhog Day originates from an ancient celebration of the midway point between the winter solstice and the spring equinox—the day right in the middle of astronomical winter. According to superstition, sunny skies that day signify a stormy and cold second half of winter while cloudy skies indicate the arrival of warm weather. The trail of Phil’s history leads back to Clymer H. Freas, city editor of the Punxsutawney Spirit newspaper. Inspired by a group of local groundhog hunters—whom he would dub the Punxsutawney Groundhog Club—Freas declared Phil as America’s official forecasting groundhog in 1887. As he continued to embellish the groundhog's story year after year, other newspapers picked it up, and soon everyone looked to Punxsutawney Phil for the prediction of when spring would return to the country.
  11. Valentine's Day

    Valentine's Day in the United States Valentine's Day is celebrated on February 14. It is a festival of romantic love and many people give cards, letters, flowers or presents to their spouse or partner. They may also arrange a romantic meal in a restaurant or night in a hotel. Common symbols of Valentine's Day are hearts, red roses and Cupid. What Do People Do? Many people celebrate their love for their partner by sending cards or letters, giving gifts or flowers and arranging meals in restaurants or romantic nights in hotels. People who would like to have a romantic relationship with somebody may use the occasion to make this known, often anonymously. Valentine's cards are often decorated with images of hearts, red roses or Cupid. Common Valentine's Day gifts are flowers chocolates, candy, lingerie and Alcohol or sparkling alcohol. However, some people use the occasion to present lavish gifts, such as jewelry. Many restaurants and hotels have special offers at this time. These can include romantic meals or weekend breaks. Public Life Valentine's Day is not a public holiday. Government offices, stores, schools and other organizations are open as usual. Public transit systems run on their regular schedule. Restaurants may be busier than usual as many people go out for an evening with their spouse or partner. Valentine's Day is also a very popular date for weddings. Background There are a number of Saints called Valentine who are honored on February 14. The day became associated with romantic love in the Middle Ages in England. This may have followed on from the Pagan fertility festivals that were held all over Europe as the winter came to an end. Traditionally, lovers exchanged hand written notes. Commercial cards became available in the mid nineteenth century. Symbols The most common Valentine's Day symbols are the heart, particularly in reds and pinks, and pictures or models of Cupid. Cupid is usually portrayed as a small winged figure with a bow and arrow. In mythology, he uses his arrow to strike the hearts of people. People who have fallen in love are sometimes said to be 'struck by Cupid's arrow. Other symbols of Valentine's Day are couples in loving embraces and the gifts of flowers, chocolate, red roses and lingerie that couples often give each other. About Valentine's Day in other countries Read more about Valentine's Day. Valentine's Day History Pagan festivals, Christian saints, Chaucer's love birds, and the Greeting Card Association of America by Borgna Brunner Roman Roots The history of Valentine's Day is obscure, and further clouded by various fanciful legends. The holiday's roots are in the ancient Roman festival of Lupercalia, a fertility celebration commemorated annually on February 15. Pope Gelasius I recast this pagan festival as a Christian feast day circa 496, declaring February 14 to be St. Valentine's Day. Valentines Galore Which St. Valentine this early pope intended to honor remains a mystery: according to the Catholic Encyclopedia, there were at least three early Christian saints by that name. One was a priest in Rome, another a bishop in Terni, and of a third St. Valentine almost nothing is known except that he met his end in Africa. Rather astonishingly, all three Valentines were said to have been martyred on Feb. 14. Most scholars believe that the St. Valentine of the holiday was a priest who attracted the disfavor of Roman emperor Claudius II around 270. At this stage, the factual ends and the mythic begins. According to one legend, Claudius II had prohibited marriage for young men, claiming that bachelors made better soldiers. Valentine continued to secretly perform marriage ceremonies but was eventually apprehended by the Romans and put to death. Another legend has it that Valentine, imprisoned by Claudius, fell in love with the daughter of his jailer. Before he was executed, he allegedly sent her a letter signed "from your Valentine." Probably the most plausible story surrounding St. Valentine is one not focused on Eros (passionate love) but on agape (Christian love): he was martyred for refusing to renounce his religion. In 1969, the Catholic Church revised its liturgical calendar, removing the feast days of saints whose historical origins were questionable. St. Valentine was one of the casualties. Chaucer's Love Birds It was not until the 14th century that this Christian feast day became definitively associated with love. According to UCLA medieval scholar Henry Ansgar Kelly, author of Chaucer and the Cult of Saint Valentine, it was Chaucer who first linked St. Valentine's Day with romance. In 1381, Chaucer composed a poem in honor of the engagement between England's Richard II and Anne of Bohemia. As was the poetic tradition, Chaucer associated the occasion with a feast day. In "The Parliament of Fowls," the royal engagement, the mating season of birds, and St. Valentine's Day are linked: For this was on St. Valentine's Day, When every fowl cometh there to choose his mate. Tradition of Valentine's Cards Over the centuries, the holiday evolved, and by the 18th century, gift-giving and exchanging handmade cards on Valentine's Day had become common in England. Hand-made valentine cards made of lace, ribbons, and featuring cupids and hearts eventually spread to the American colonies. The tradition of Valentine's cards did not become widespread in the United States, however, until the 1850s, when Esther A. Howland, a Mount Holyoke graduate and native of Worcester, Mass., began mass-producing them. Today, of course, the holiday has become a booming commercial success. According to the Greeting Card Association, 25% of all cards sent each year are valentines.
  12. Martin Luther King Day

    Martin Luther King Day: A Day On, Not Off 01/12/2017 10:52 am ET | Updated 2 hours ago Sharon Schweitzer International Protocol Expert, Best Selling Author, Cross-Cultural Consultant CONTRIBUTOR On January 16th, our nation unites in honor of the leadership and compassion of Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. He tirelessly lead the United States in her struggle for civil rights and community values. His vision of a United States free of discrimination and oppression inspired numerous nonviolent movements across the country. Dr. King’s courageous stance against systemic racism helped him become one of the most well known leaders during the Civil Rights Movement. Many pay tribute to his legacy of peace and commitment to the community each year through acts of service. Signed into law in 1983 by President Ronald Reagan, Martin Luther King Day was first recognized as a federal holiday in 1986. In 1994, Congress designated Martin Luther King Day as a national day of service, noting it was a “day on, not a day off.” In 2009, President Barack Obama and First Lady Michelle Obama launched United We Serve. This initiative reaffirms the call to service to “create a sustained, collaborative, and focused effort to meet community needs.” Reminding citizens that “injustice remains in many corners of our country” and that “it is our mission to fulfill King’s vision of a Nation devoted to rejecting bigotry in all its forms,” the holiday inspired numerous projects nationwide. This National Day of Service has inspired numerous projects, as citizens volunteer at soup kitchens, Veterans Affairs offices, and local schools. This year, find a creative way to serve, maybe with one of these ideas and organizations to further Dr. King’s legacy of civic engagement. 1. Support a Local Food Bank: Feeding America has numerous initiatives devoted to ensuring that no one goes to bed hungry. Find a volunteer opportunity near you, and spend the day preparing meals, organizing supplies, or collecting goods. 2. Plant Trees in Your Neighborhood: With tree cover declining in urban areas and air pollution on the rise, planting trees is a simple act that promotes environmental wellness and community health. Gather some friends and find a site to plant your tree. Be sure to follow these Utah State University guidelines. 3. Become a STEM mentor: President Obama has prioritized math and science education for our nation’s students. Mentorship provides future scientists, mathematicians, and engineers with guidance and inspiration, which is especially crucial for low-income students. If you are called to be a STEM mentor, learn more here. 4. Teach Financial Literacy: Most of us don’t learn the ins and outs of budgeting, credit, and savings in high school; many never learn effective tools for financial literacy. Teaching money management helps community members avoid pitfalls and possibly poverty. For more information, read these guidelines from the Corporation for National and Community Service. 5. Help Families Access Health Care: For low-income families, receiving proper medical care may be a struggle, and parents may be unaware of resources. CHIP (Children’s Health Insurance Program) provides free or reduced cost care to families and children. Help families receive the care they need by organizing outreach events to educate families. Citizens can also find local volunteer opportunities or register their own event with the All For Good website. However you decide to honor this holiday and spread Dr. King’s message of compassion, my team and I wish you a happy Martin Luther King Day, and hope that everyone finds a meaningful way to celebrate. Did you know that one of Martin Luther King Jr.'s advisers had recommended that he leave out the "I have a dream" phrase for his speech on the steps of the Lincoln Memorial in 1963? Luckily, King ignored that recommendation. That speech and quotes from many others have inspired us and given us the courage to act upon our own dreams. In honor of a great man, let us all hold our dreams up for the world to see and our hearts to embrace. Here are a few of King's pearls of wisdom to help remind you of the power of a vision. "Faith is taking the first step even when you can't see the whole staircase." "There comes a time when silence is betrayal." "Our lives begin to end the day we become silent about things that matter." "In the end, we will remember not the words of our enemies, but the silence of our friends." "Only in the darkness can you see the stars." "If you can't fly then run, if you can't run then walk, if you can't walk then crawl, but whatever you do you have to keep moving forward." "Darkness cannot drive out darkness: Only light can do that. Hate cannot drive out hate: Only love can do that." "Let no man pull you so low as to hate him." "That old law about 'an eye for an eye' leaves everybody blind. The time is always right to do the right thing." "There comes a time when one must take a position that is neither safe nor politic nor popular, but he must take it because his conscience tells him it is right." "Nothing in the world is more dangerous than sincere ignorance and conscientious stupidity." "Our scientific power has outrun our spiritual power. We have guided missiles and misguided men." "Intelligence plus character--that is the goal of true education." "We must come to see that the end we seek is a society at peace with itself, a society that can live with its conscience." "A genuine leader is not a searcher for consensus but a molder of consensus." "I have decided to stick to love ... Hate is too great a burden to bear." "Everybody can be great ... because anybody can serve. You don't have to have a college degree to serve. You don't have to make your subject and verb agree to serve. You only need a heart full of grace. A soul generated by love." "A man who won't die for something is not fit to live." "No one really knows why they are alive until they know what they'd die for." "Forgiveness is not an occasional act; it is a constant attitude." "Those who are not looking for happiness are the most likely to find it, because those who are searching forget that the surest way to be happy is to seek happiness for others." "Injustice anywhere is a threat to justice everywhere." We must build dikes of courage to hold back the flood of fear. "The ultimate measure of a man is not where he stands in moments of comfort and convenience, but where he stands at times of challenge and controversy." "We must accept finite disappointment but never lose infinite hope." "I have a dream that one day little black boys and girls will be holding hands with little white boys and girls." "We must live together as brothers or perish together as fools." "Science investigates; religion interprets. Science gives man knowledge, which is power; religion gives man wisdom, which is control. Science deals mainly with facts; religion deals mainly with values. The two are not rivals." "People fail to get along because they fear each other; they fear each other because they don't know each other; they don't know each other because they have not communicated with each other." "We must develop and maintain the capacity to forgive. He who is devoid of the power to forgive is devoid of the power to love. There is some good in the worst of us and some evil in the best of us. When we discover this, we are less prone to hate our enemies." "No person has the right to rain on your dreams." Sharon Schweitzer, J.D., is a cross-cultural consultant, an international protocol expert and the founder of Protocol & Etiquette Worldwide. She is accredited in intercultural management, is the resident etiquette expert for CBS Austin’s We Are Austin, regularly quoted by BBC Capital, Investor’s Business Daily, Fortune, The New York Times, and numerous other media. She is the best-selling, international award-winning author of Access to Asia: Your Multicultural Business Guide, named to Kirkus Review’s Best Books of 2015 and recipient of the British Airways International Trade, Investment & Expansion Award at the 2016 Greater Austin Business Awards. Learn More: Martin Luther King Jr.
  13. The "How Do You Feel Right Now?" (4)

    I see no one noticed the announcement above about images? NO images in posts please unless it is Emoticons. You may use a URL to point to the direction your pic is in your gallery. Happy Holidays! Merry Christmas Happy Channukah Happy Kwanza ~Lindsay P.S. That includes NO outside links or a huge block of signatures! I have to be the 'bad' guy, as we are short on Moderators <sweetsmile>
  14. Happy New Year!! 2017!