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Apr
26
2021
Tailored marriage programs are strengthening first responder and military couples
As the coronavirus began its transmission blitz last spring, the Taya and Chris Kyle Foundation (TACK-F) was forced to scale back its marriage-based programming. Even with a smattering of retreats and virtual group counseling sessions, the waitlist for in-person programs ballooned. Couples whose significant other is a first responder or serves in the military, or is a veteran were clamoring for help.


“The need has not gone down, I cannot stress that enough,” said Corie Weathers, national clinical director of programming at TACK-F and a licensed professional counselor. “Their world did not halt — it got more complicated.”


Problems in a marriage that once simmered before COVID-19 were brought to a boil in the last year. “Resentment is going up. Anxiety is up. Exhaustion is way off the radar,” she said. Combined with a “service lifestyle,” relationships already teetering on the edge of failing face slim odds of surviving.


“Your marriage is constantly under assault by the career,” said Brad Sims, an investigator and bomb technician with the Fort Worth Fire Department. A career first responder and Army veteran, he and his wife, Kelli, a pre-school educator, nearly filed for divorce six years ago.

Apr
1
2021
Falling Seed: How to provide pastoral care for complicated grief
Grief is a part of life for every person and, therefore, is a natural part of life for every church community.

Two of the most foundational duties of those in ministry are to walk alongside those who are grieving and to conduct funerals for the deceased and their loved ones. While the church is no stranger to grief, the COVID-19 pandemic has presented new challenges in how the church approaches and supports those grieving the loss of loved ones.
Apr
1
2021
Literacy Council of Tyler continues mission to improve adult literacy amid COVID-19 pandemic
The COVID-19 pandemic has affected almost every aspect of life, including education and literacy.

Literacy Texas and Baylor University Diana R. Garland School of Social Work released survey results last week that identified barriers — lack of technology and education — created by COVID-19 impacting Texas nonprofit adult literacy providers and students.

Leaders of the Literacy Council of Tyler participated in the survey. Though researchers determined that lack of access to technology is a major hurdle in literacy training, they identified a passionate and resilient community of professionals and volunteers committed to Texas’ adult literacy achievement.
Apr
1
2021
Why You Should View Your Words as Expressions of Love
Words have power; they can carry freedom or they can carry weight.

We often forget that power also resides in names.

Our names are what we closely identify with in places of comfort and places of estrangement. Knowing someone’s name can allow them to feel safe and cared for, just like forgetting someone’s name can make someone feel shame and embarrassment.

The adjectives or labels that we ascribe to someone also carry weight. When talking to or about someone who is in a vulnerable state, the words used are particularly important.

For example, there is a common tendency to call individuals who are on the journey out of addiction and in recovery as “addicts” or “alcoholics.” The intentions might be pure, but the verbiage is haunting.

“Hi, my name is Lacey, and I am a new creation in Christ Jesus.” This statement was a hopeful reminder of a new identity I received when accepting the gift of salvation.
Mar
24
2021
COVID Slide magnifies literacy challenges across Texas
DALLAS, TEXAS ( March 24, 2021) Literacy Texas and the Baylor University Diana R. Garland School of Social Work released survey results today, identifying barriers created by COVID-19 impacting Texas nonprofit adult literacy providers and students. As with education, mental health, and other key human learning services, the so-called “Covid Slide” has significantly impacted literacy training. Though researchers determined that lack of access to technology is a major hurdle in literacy training, they identified a passionate and resilient community of professionals and volunteers committed to Texas’ adult literacy achievement.
Mar
19
2021
After spiritual trauma, finding welcome in church once more
Growing up, the church always was a safe place for me. I grew up in the same small-town church my entire life, and a lot of our life revolved around the church.


Sundays were filled with Sunday school and the beloved evening prayer meeting, while Wednesdays were for mission group and choir. Our church felt like a village, a family that was raising me alongside my family of origin.


As a teenager, this could feel smothering at times. The beloved elderly church ladies had a running commentary on my life; out of a place of love, they would frequently express their opinions on my life choices — both positive and negative. Overall, my church was a safe, loving, nurturing place to be.

Mar
19
2021
Falling Seed: Compound collective trauma: Four ways ministry leaders can help
Lately, it seems I never can get enough sleep. I find myself with less patience. A task that used to take me an hour now takes me three hours. Any of this sound familiar? I guess it probably does.


We are in the midst of “compound collective trauma.” Collective trauma is described as a traumatic experience that affects and involves entire groups of people, communities or societies, such as a hurricane or war.


In a previous article, I discussed the positive and negative effects of the collective trauma of Hurricane Harvey. That is just one example of a collective trauma that effects a specific community or geographical area.


The whole world is a geographical area, right now, experiencing the collective trauma of the COVID-19 pandemic. While various countries are experiencing it differently, everyone is simultaneously in the midst of some aspect of the pandemic, and we all are experiencing the trauma throughout our specific communities.

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