Saturday, July 30, 2005

Put On the Garment of Praise

Today I exhort you to put on the garment of praise so that you can enjoy God in the spirit of happiness, victory, peace, and prosperity.

What does it mean to put on the garment of praise?" So glad you asked!

Praise is defined as: a) the radiation or aura that surrounds the body; b) the quality of mind that eulogizes (which is to say it extols or raves about) the good; one of the avenues through which spirituality expresses itself; c) an expression of admiration or appreciation.

The purpose of praise is to clue us in to the awesomeness that is God. We, not God, are changed by prayer and praise. The mental attitude that praise sets up quickens our ideals, whirls them into action, and finally establishes them in our character.

We increase whatever we praise. One can praise a weak body into strength, a fearful heart into peace and trust, shattered nerves into poise and power, a failing business into prosperity and success, want and insufficiency into supply and support. All of creation responds to praise, and is glad.

The law of praise is put into action when we give thanks always for all things, recognizing that “to them that love God all things work together for good” (Rom. 8:28).

Praise is essentially a response to God, who meets us through revelation. Revelation makes us aware of who God is and of His qualities. The natural response to God’s self-revelation is not only faith but also praise. In praise, we reflect back to God those facets of Himself which He has revealed to us by expressions of our admiration and appreciation.

Praise may be expressed in private or public worship, in words or in song. Some models for praise are found in the psalms, hymns (see Rev. 4:11; 5:9-10, 19:1-8), and prayers recorded in Scripture.

Psalm 145 shows us many of the characteristics of praise:

• It is addressed to God
• It contemplates His works and His character, and
• It blesses God and His name--that is, it expresses appreciation to God for who He is by nature.

In the process, the psalm not only ascribes worth to God but deepens our innermost sense of what He means to us.

Praise springs from our fellowship with God and the joy His goodness toward us brings (Ps. 107:8,9). Praise is a characteristic of those who follow God, even as the absence of praise marks the lost (1 Pet. 2:9, compare Rom. 1:21) or those out of fellowship with the Lord.
Friday, July 29, 2005

Overcoming Our Past

by Christopher Donaldson, Sr.

Then the Spirit of the Lord came upon Jephthah. ~ Judges 11:29a
We've all heard stories of individuals who have overcome extreme hardship during their childhood years. Children of alcoholics, orphans who never have parents, loss of parents to a fatal crash, childhood disease – these are all difficult circumstances to overcome.

Jephthah was a man who overcame his obstacles and refused to allow his circumstances to prevent him from becoming great in God's sight. He was born to Gilead, a result of his father's adulterous encounter with a prostitute. Gilead's wife, who had bore more sons, decided to reject Jephthah, and drove him away from their home saying, "You are not going to get any inheritance in our family because you are the son of another woman." Imagine the rejection this young man felt as he was cast away from his own family.

This experience taught Jephthah to become a hardened warrior. Today he probably would have been part of a street gang. As he got older, his reputation as a warrior became known to those in his country, so much so that when the Ammonites made war on Israel, the elders of Gilead went to Jephthah and asked him to be their commander. Jephthah had to fight off those feelings of rejection from previous years.

"Didn't you hate me and drive me from my father's house?" he responded. He overcame his hurt and pain, and responded to the call God had on his life.

It is said that if we were to help the butterfly remove itself from the cocoon, the butterfly would not be strong enough to survive. It is the struggle that prepares the butterfly to become strong enough to fly. Without the struggle in the cocoon, it could not survive as a butterfly.

The Lord prepares each of us in similar ways. Some of our childhoods seem to have been harsh and born from a seemingly unloving God. However, the Lord knows our struggle and will make our life an instrument in His hand if we will follow Him with an upright heart. He does make all things beautiful in His time if we are willing to be patient.

Copyright (c) 2005, by Christopher Donaldson, Sr.
Thursday, July 28, 2005

Issues: Life's Equalizer

"Manageable unresolved teenage issues become potentially explosive adult issues."

Around age 14, I remember battling with thoughts of suicide. As a recent transplant from the Island of Trinidad & Tobago in the West Indies; I combated homesickness, family dysfunction, social dysfunction and the onset of bi-polar disorder (a/k/a manic depression).

Being a product of the West Indies, hard work was expected, dysfunctional family situations accepted, superstition prevalent and mental illness overlooked or attributed to witchcraft.

Add to that the strong-black-woman mentality, habitual silence, the Christianity quandary and the result was a conflicted, suicidal teenager.

In retrospect I realize that everyone has issues...some folk take them in stride, others allow their issues to become a crippling force in their lives and others deny their existence.

I have tried all of the above at some point in my life. And come to the realization that they won't go away unless I face them, learn about them and seek help and/or assistance for what is above my capability to assist or handle by myself.

If you feel as though you're going down for the third time without a lifeboat in sight, I've provided a short list of hotlines and websites so that you may either find the support you need or the information you need. No need to go it alone, reach out, click and latch onto what's yours for the taking.

Peace,
Dee
Wednesday, July 27, 2005

When God Seems Far Away

by Christopher Donaldson, Sr.

Why, O Lord, do You stand far off? Why do You hide Yourself in times of trouble? ~ Psalm 10:1
One of the great mysteries of God is His ways. Some of His ways almost appear to bring us into the most difficult places, as if He were indifferent to our circumstances. It would appear that He is turning His head from our sorrows. These events in our lives have a particular objective to perform for us. That objective is to bring us to the end of ourselves that we might discover the treasure of darkness. "Yet when I hoped for good, evil came; when I looked for light, then came darkness" (Job 30:26).

When we are taken into these dark periods, we begin to see light that we never knew existed. Our sensitivities become heightened and our ability to see through spiritual eyes is illuminated. Unless we are taken into these times, our souls never develop any depth of character. We do not gain wisdom, only knowledge. Knowledge is gained through understanding; wisdom is gained through the experience of darkness.

After we go through these periods, we discover that God was, in fact, with us throughout the entire time. It does not feel or appear that He is there when we are in the midst of the dark periods. However, He is there walking with us. He has told us countless times that He will never leave us. However, when we are in those dark periods, it does not feel like He is there because He does not rescue us from the circumstances. He does this for our benefit in order that we might become more like Jesus. Jesus learned obedience from the things He suffered (see Heb. 5:8). What does that say about how you and I will learn obedience? Embrace the dark times and gain the wisdom that God intends for you from these times.

Copyright (c) 2005 by Christopher Donaldson, Sr.
Monday, July 18, 2005

10 Things You Never Hear in Church

Taken from Beliefnet.com

10. Nothing inspires me and strengthens my commitment like our annual stewardship campaign!

9. Pastor, we'd like to send you to this Bible seminar in the Bahamas.

8. Since we're all here, let's start the service early.

7. I love it when we sing hymns I've never heard before!

6. Forget the denominational minimum salary. Let's pay our pastor so he can live like we do.

5. I volunteer to be the permanent teacher for the Junior High Sunday School class.

4. I've decided to give our church the $500 a month I used to send to TV evangelists.

3. Personally I find witnessing much more enjoyable than golf.

2. I was so enthralled; I never noticed your sermon went 25 minutes over time.

1. Hey! It's my turn to sit in the front pew!

Christian One-Liners

Taken from Beliefnet.com

  • Some people are kind, polite, and sweet-spirited - until you try to sit in their pews.
  • Many folks want to serve God, but only as advisers.
  • It is easier to preach ten sermons than it is to live one.
  • The good Lord didn't create anything without a purpose, but mosquitoes come close.
  • When you get to your wit's end, you'll find God lives there.

Bulletin Bloopers

Taken from Beliefnet.com

  1. The Scouts are saving aluminum cans, bottles and other items to be recycled. Proceeds will be used to cripple children.
  2. Ladies Bible Study will be held Thursday morning at 10. All ladies are invited to lunch in the Fellowship Hall after the B.S. is done.
  3. The pastor would appreciate it if the ladies of the congregation would lend him their electric girdles for the pancake breakfast next Sunday morning.
  4. Low Self Esteem Support Group will meet Thursday at 7 PM. Please use the back door.
  5. The pastor will preach his farewell message, after which the choir will sing, "Break Forth Into Joy."
  6. A songfest was hell at the Methodist church Wednesday.
  7. Remember in prayer the many who are sick of our church and community.
  8. The eighth-graders will be presenting Shakespeare's Hamlet in the Church basement Friday at 7 PM. The Congregation is invited to attend this tragedy.
  9. Thursday night Potluck Supper. Prayer and medication to follow.
  10. The rosebud on the alter this morning is to announce the birth of David, the sin of Rev. and Mrs. Adams.
  11. Tuesday at 4 PM there will be an ice cream social. All ladies giving milk will please come early.
  12. A bean supper will be held on Tuesday evening in the church hall. Music will follow.
  13. At the evening service tonight, the sermon topic will be "What Is Hell?" Come early and listen to our choir practice.
  14. Weight Watchers will meet at 7 PM at the First Presbyterian Church. Please use the large double door at the side entrance.
  15. Mrs. Johnson will be entering the hospital this week for testes.
  16. Please join us as we show our support for Amy and Alan who are preparing for the girth of their first child.
  17. The Lutheran Men's group will meet at 6 PM. Steak, mashed potatoes, green beans, bread and dessert will be served for a nominal feel.
  18. The Associate Minister unveiled the church's new tithing campaign slogan last Sunday: "I Upped My Pledge - Up Yours."
  19. Our next song is "Angles We Have Heard Get High."
  20. Don't let worry kill you, let the church help.
  21. For those of you who have children and don't know it, we have a nursery downstairs.
  22. This being Easter Sunday, we will ask Mrs. Lewis to come forward and lay an egg on the altar.
  23. The service will close with Little Drops of Water. One of the ladies will start quietly and the rest of the congregation will join in.
  24. Eight new choir robes are currently needed, due to the addition of several new members and to the deterioration of some older ones.
  25. The senior choir invites any member of the congregation who enjoys sinning to join the choir.

All in All

From Modern Worship Soundtracks

You are my strength when I am weak
You are the treasure that I seek
You are my all in all

Seeking you as a precious jewel
Were I to give up I’d be a fool
You are my all in all

Chorus:
Jesus, Lamb of God
Worthy is Your name
Jesus, Lamb of God
Worthy is Your name

Taking my sin, my cross, my shame
Rising again I bless Your name
You are my all in all

When I fall down You pick me up
When I am dry You fill my cup
You are my all in all

Chorus:

If you’d like to hear it, click this link and choose a version.
Sunday, July 17, 2005

His Eye is on the Sparrow

Why should I feel discouraged?
And why should the shadows come
Why must my heart feel lonely?
And still long for heaven and home
Since Jesus is my portion
A constant friend is He
His eye is on the sparrow
And I know He’s watching
He’s watching me

Chorus:
I sing because I’m happy
And I sing because I’m free
God’s eye is on the sparrow
And I know He’s watching
He’s watching me
(2x)

To listen, click here
Saturday, July 16, 2005

Healing

Originally recorded by Richard Smallwood

Don’t be discouraged
Joy comes in the morning
Know that God is nigh
Stand still and look up
God is going to show up
He is standing by
(repeat)

There’s healing for your sorrow
Healing for your pain
Healing for your spirit
There’s shelter from the rain
Lord send a healing
For this we know

There is a balm in Gilead
O there’s a balm in Gilead
There is a balm in Gilead
To heal the soul

There’s healing for your sorrow
Healing for your pain
Healing for your spirit
There’s shelter from the rain
Lord send a healing
For this we know

There is a balm in Gilead
O there’s a balm in Gilead
There is a balm in Gilead
There is a balm in Gilead
O there’s a balm in Gilead
There is a balm in Gilead
O there’s a balm in Gilead
There is a balm in Gilead
O there’s a balm in Gilead
There is a balm in Gilead
O there’s a balm in Gilead
There is a balm in Gilead
To heal the soul

Healing for your soul
(8x)

To listen, click here, and then click on demonstration.
Friday, July 15, 2005

The Battle is the Lord's

Originally recorded by Yolanda Adams

There is no pain Jesus can’t fix
No hurt He cannot heal
All things work according to His perfect will
No matter what you’re going through
Remember God is only using you
For the battle is not yours it’s the Lord’s

There’s no sadness Jesus can’t feel
And There is no sorrow that He cannot heal
For all things work according to the Master’s Holy Will
So No matter what you’re going through
Remember that God is only using you
For this battle is not yours it’s the Lord’s

Lead: It’s the Lord’s
Choir: It’s the Lord’s
Lead: yes, it’s the Lord’
Choir: it’s the lord’s
Unison: Hold your head up high, It’s the Lord’s
Lead:
It’s the Lord’s
Choir: It’s the Lord’s
Lead:
No matter what
You’re going through
Remember that God’s only using you

No matter what
You’re going through
Remember that God’s only using you

No matter what
You’re going through
Remember that God’s only using you

For this battle is not yours
You cannot handle it all by yourself
This battle is not yours
The Lord is only one who can fight
He wants to use you
So be open to Him
The battle is not yours…It’s the Lord’s!

To listen, click here, and then click on demonstration.
Thursday, July 07, 2005

London: 9/11 Revisited?

Self-employed at the time, I was in my little home office in Queens, NY, happily uploading books to my website, while just 25 minutes away, people were losing their lives.

My daughter, away at boarding school in MA, was frantically trying to call to make sure I was all right and of course, the lines were tied up.

My response, upon hearing her question my safety, was “Why wouldn't I be fine?”

"Mom, turn on the TV, a plane just crashed into the World Trade Center!"

Jarred from my little happy cocoon, I did so to see uncut footage of people jumping from windows 50 stories high. A sensitive soul, this was not one of my better moments.
My sister also worked in Manhattan, so the frantic phone calls to her job began. She turned out to be fine, had walked to her boss' Manhattan apartment.

To get home, she had to walk over the Williamsburgh Bridge from Manhattan to Queens. Not a walker by any means, she later testified of an angel walking and talking her through the long haul, then disappearing from sight.

A bright moment during a horrific happening. I pray that those in London encounter their guardian angels as well.

Peace,
Dee

Been There, Done That

I've been having a funky week since Tuesday, vacillating between up, down, and around. Feeling the kind of desolation some say a child of God shouldn't feel.

To them I say...Bah humbug! It's that train of thought that traps us into walking around pretending we've got our act together, while slowly splintering inside. Been there, done that...writing the memoir.

I'm here to tell you today that there's nothing wrong with your spiritual walk if you feel lost, alone, afraid, abandoned or whatever your feeling of the moment may be. As long as you're on this earth, you and I are privy to all the emotional fallouts that assail the good, the bad, the ugly and yes--the Godly.

But, unlike the ungodly, we have promises just for these moments in life:

Sad?
Weeping may endure for the night, but joy comes in the morning.

Stuck?
There's a time and purpose for everything under heaven.

Abandoned?
When your mother and father forsake you, the Lord will take you up.

Scared?
Lo, I am with you...always.

Threatened?
No weapon formed against you shall prosper.

Inadequate?
I can do all things through Christ who strengthens me.

Questioning?
All things work together for good for those who love the Lord and are called according to His purpose!

I don’t know about you, but I'm starting to feel better already.

Have a blessed day folks!

Peace,
Dee
Monday, July 04, 2005

My Prayer Today

by D.S. White

If I gave everything I have to the poor and even sacrificed my body, I could boast about it; but if I didn't love others, I would be of no value whatsoever.

Love is patient and kind.

Love is not jealous

or boastful

or proud

or rude.

Love does not demand its own way.

Love is not irritable,

and it keeps no record of when it has been wronged.
~1 Corinthians 13:3-5 (NLT)

Gracious and Almighty Father
I just want to thank you for life, health and strength
You've been Provider, Comforter, Visionary, Friend
Your tender mercies just never end

When I act up
Your love is constant
When I give up
Your strength sustains me
When I’m afraid
Your love protects me
When I’m confused
Your mind instructs me
In all my phases
You’re there to bless me

As I go about my daily tasks
Help me to look beyond the masks
Of the hurting, afflicted, oft worn down husks
Lord help me not to betray your trust

Let my steps be in order
My tongue be for praise
My hands be for good works
And my thoughts aligned with yours
When pricked by impatience
Let kindness reign,
Overshadow envy, pride, rudeness, and anger
With your abiding love
This is the prayer I pray today
Through Jesus Christ our Lord, Amen

Copyright (c) 2005, D.S. White

Music Ministry

Articles:
Put On the Garment of Praise
Song A Day

A Prayer Guide

1. Our Father (Who is GOD to you? Relationship)
2. Which art in heaven (Where is HEAVEN?)
3. Hallowed be THY NAME. (HOLY is YOUR NAME)
4. Thy Kingdom come. (SOVEREIGN DOMINION)
5. Thy Will be done in earth, as it is in heaven. (EVERY THING)
6. Give us this day our daily bread. (YOU LORD ARE OUR SOURCE - PRAY HERE FOR YOUR NEEDS)
7. Forgive us our debts, as we forgive our debtors. (Pardon us as we pardon others)
8. Lead us not into temptation. (Build a fence around us)
9. Deliver us from evil. (Transform/Change us from wrong thought and action)
10. Thine is the Kingdom, and the Power, and the Glory, forever. Amen. (DOMINION POWER, AND GLORY, EVERTHING IS FOR YOU LORD)

PRAYERS GOD LOVES TO ANSWER:

Praying for the Kingdom of God
Praying for the Will of God
Praying for the lost (that they might be saved)

Singles Ministry

The Gift of Aloneness

The Gift of Aloneness

In Rev. Hale's essay below, she gives us her take on this worrying topic. (At least for us singles). I'm working on my take/response to her point-of-view and my opening begins:

Aloneness: A Gift?

Does it come with a gift tag?

Okay people talk to me...my take will be posted in a week.

Peace,
Dee

The Gift of Aloneness

"You are single, but you aren't sure you want to be. You have read or heard the Word as recorded in Genesis 2:18, where God said, "It is not good that the man [or woman] should be alone." But the reality is, you are alone.

As singles, we struggle with being alone. Some of us hate being alone, going out, coming home, and eating alone. We can't stand being alone. But while we may be alone, we don't have to be lonely. Loneliness is an attitude; it is a state of mind. We can be lonely even in a crowd. Loneliness is decision; we can choose to be lonely or not.

When we are lonely, it may mean that we have not yet learned to enjoy our own company. We have not yet realized the gift of aloneness.

Everyone needs time to be alone. Aloneness is an investment. It is time to recharge one's emotional and spiritual batteries; a time to think and pray; a time to gain insight or find a solution to a pressing problem; rest after a battle or a long day; time to find grace to deal with life and all of its challenges; and time to hear from God.

Jesus took full advantage of His singleness and moments of aloneness or solitude.

Mark 1:35 says, "In the morning, rising up a great while before day, He went out, and departed into a solitary place, and there prayed."

It is when we are alone and still that God can speak to us most profoundly. Did He not tell the psalmist as recorded in psalm 46.10. "Be still, and know that I am God"? We all need moments of aloneness to hear from God, reflect, meditate, and recreate."
Read Genesis 2:18, see also Mark 1:35; Psalm 46:10

-C. Hale
Women of Color Study Bible

Single Parent of 2...Ages 19 and 74

I may sound a bit facetious, but bear with me, it's my way of coping. I mean, how do you handle the responsibility of being parent/guardian/caregiver to your own parent? I could mention the gutwrenching fear I experienced, when I first noticed the first signs of forgetfulness, or the increasing reliance on my opinion or decision making/problem solving abilities. I could also mention the fact that between work, Bible School, and elder sitting, I feel I no longer have a life. Or I could take it one day at a time, knowing that all things work together for good for they who love the Lord and are called according to His purpose...

Screeech...this is keeping-it-real-for God blogspot...so that's what I'm going to do.

I was bogged down in guilt, thoughts flashing through my mind at my inability to cope and the all time favorite, "There are six of us alive, why me? I'm the baby!" The one time when I figure being the baby should work for me...and it doesn't.

Like a lifeline to a drowning man, going down for the third time, I was hipped by a co-worker, during one of my rants, to an agency that exists just to assist people like us. (Don't act like I'm the only one). The agency is called Area Agency for the Aging. They provide assistance, (monetary), guidance (one-on-one in-home consultations) and referrals (to nearby senior homes for activities and Agencies that supply home attendants).

For those who thrive on it...a support group or two might be found posted at your local library or on the web. In addition, I found this nifty little article from AARP. Although geared to Maine residents, it addresses the situation nicely...

As for me, I prefer to sing, write or rant about it. I'll eventually get around to praying about it. We always (and I say we, because it helps to have an inclusive feeling when I know I'm dead wrong...lol) leave the best for last...don't we? When in essence "we" know we should fret about nothing and pray about everything.

Peace,
Dee

Women's Ministry

Curious Dee

Being the youngest of eight, I have always been considered precocious and inquisitive, a curious Dee, if you will.

The information found on this Women's Ministry page is the result of research on some of the burning questions I have had. The information has been floating around in my head doing nothing of importance...until...lightbulb...why not share?

I know as a child of God I'm unique, but there exist some commonalities in all of us and curiosity is one of them.

Becoming a child of God didn't stem my curiosity, in fact, my questions then became more focused on what I considered inconsistencies and inadequacies in being a part of the Kingdom of God.

Thank God for grace, mercy and divine perspective. For thirty-two years later, what appeared at seven to be abandonment by God, I now see as molding exercises for the woman I am today.

So please browse, read, share and feel free to comment.

Sincerely,
Dee

Issues: Life's Equalizer
Stop the Pain!- Part 1
Stop the Pain!- Part 2
Sunday, July 03, 2005

Alphabetized

I've provided a short list of hotlines and websites below so that you may either find the support you need or the information you need. No need to go it alone, reach out, click and latch onto what's yours for the taking. Whether you're victim or perpetrator isn't it time to stop the pain?

American Art Therapy Association
888-290-0878
www.arttherapy.org
info@arttherapy.org
Refers you to the association's chapter in your state, which will provide the names of local therapists.

American Association of Pastoral Counselors
703-385-6967
www.aapc.org
info@aapc.org
Provides online listing of pastoral counseling centers accredited by the association that offer counseling and psychotherapy services. Also gives phone referrals to pastoral counselors in private practice and other settings.

American Dance Therapy Association
410-997-4040
www.adta.org
info@adta.org
Provides information on dance therapists.

American Music Therapy Association
301-589-3300
www.musictherapy.org
info@musictherapy.org
Provides referrals to music therapists.

American Red Cross
877-272-7337
www.redcross.org
Primarily a disaster relief organization. Provides various types of assistance to people in response to emergencies.

Breaking the Cycle
http://www.breakingthecycleinc.com/
Offers domestic violence and sexual assault seminars and workshops for social service agencies, health care professionals, mental health professionals and community organizations.

Child Abuse Hotline
800-4-A-CHILD (800-422-4453)
www.childhelpusa.org

Child Advocacy Center
334-432-11-1
A multi-agency facility in Mobile, Alabama, that provides comprehensive services for children and teens who have been sexually or physically abused.

Child and Adolescent Protection Center
202-884-4950
Provides physical and mental health services for children. Located at children's National Medical Center in Washington, D.C.

Child and Adolescent Sexual Abuse Resource Center
415-206-8386
Provides ripe cr4isis services, including SANE exams, for children and youth up to 17 years old. Located at San Francisco General Hospital.

Children's Hospital Boston-Division of Emergency Medicine
617-355-6637
One of the largest emergency/trauma centers in New England

Emergency Contraception Hotline
888-NOT-2-LATE (800-668-2528)
www.not-2-late.com
Provides information on emergency contraception and a national list of doctors and health care organizations that prescribe emergency contraception.

Grady Rape Crisis Center
404-616-4861
Provides rape crisis services, including forensic exams, for adults. Located at Grady memorial Hospital in Atlanta.

Help for Offenders
http://www.atsa.com/
Association for the Treatment of Sexual Abusers--An organization founded to foster research, information, and further professional education and standards for those who treat offenders.

Justice for Children
800-733-0059
www.jfcadvocacy.org
info@jfcadvocacy.org
Provides legal advocacy for abused children, court watching, and community resource referrals. Intervenes on behalf of abused children when child protection agencies and courts fail to protect them. The book Long and Mature Considerations: A Legal Guide for Adult Survivors of child Sexual Abuse is available for purchase by calling the Washington, D.C., chapter at 202-462-4688.

National Center for Victims of Crime
http://www.ncvc.org/ncvc/Main.aspx
Provides sustained victim advocacy support, referrals, information for emotional, physical and financial concerns, legal assistance, safety planning and shelter.

National Crime Victim Bar Association
202-467-8753
www.victimbar.org
victimbar@ncvc.org
A network of attorneys and allied professionals dedicated to facilitating civil actions brought by crime victims. Refers crime victims to civil atttorneys in their local area.

National Domestic Violence Hotline
800-799-SAFE (800-799-7233)
www.ndvh.org, ndvh@ndvh.org
TTY: 800-787-3224, DEAFHELP@NDVH.ORG

National Hopeline Network
800-SUICIDE (800-784-2433)
www.hopeline.com

National Mental Health Association:
http://www.nmha.org/
Resource Center - More than 340 affiliates nationwide. NMHA works to improve the mental health of all Americans, especially the 54 million people with mental disorders, through advocacy, education, research and service. Referrals to community mental health services and information on medications, treatments. Website features an online help desk for specific questions.

National Organization for Victim Assistance
202-232-6682
800-TRY-NOVA (800-879-6682)
www.try-nova.org
Provides referrals to state compensation boards, state bar associations, crisis intervention, and sexual assault programs.

National Organization for Women (NOW) Legal Defense and Education Fund
212-925-6635
http://www.nowldef.org, info@rainn.org

National STD/HIV HOTLINE
800-227-8922

Office for Victims of Crime Resource Center
800-627-6872
TTY: 877-712-9279
WWW.OJP.USDOJ.GOV/OVC/OVCRES/WELCOME.HTML
askovc@ojp.usdoj.gov
An information clearinghouse for victimization issues that provides referrrals to victim assistance and compensation programs by state.

Planned Parenthood Federation of America
800-230-PLAN (800-230-7526)
www.plannedparenthood.org
Through its more than 850 health centers in 49 states and Washington, D.C., offers low-cost women's health care, including emergency contraception and treatment of sexually transmitted diseases.

Rape Crisis Advocacy Project
434-244-2630
A student organization at the University of Virginia School of Law in Charlottesville, Virginia, that provides legal advice for survivors.

Rosa Parks Sexual Assault Crisis Center
323-751-9383
Provides counseling, advocacy, and other services for children and adults. Located in Inglewood, California

Self-Defense
http://www.awsda.org/
American Women's Self-Defense Assoc.--Rape prevention/Rape awareness courses for groups, high schools and colleges in the New York metro area. Nationwide referrals.

My Appreciation For You

by Cassaundra Ricketts

As a token of my gratitude to you,
Here is a poem for you.
Hey family I have something to say:
All f ou I love,
You all know me better than anyone else I know
whether I am up or down,
You help me with my problems,
You give me advice on what to do with my different issues.
We have a bond that can never be broken,
Our love is worth more than anything in this world,
I would give my life for you knowing you would do the same for me.
I want to say thank you for being there through the good times and the bad.
I also want to thank you for just being there to listen and calling me "stupid"
When I get beside myself.
Thank you again and I love you.

Copyright (c) 2005 by Cassaundra J. Ricketts
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