Thursday, December 27, 2012

Love Heals

The late Dr. David McClelland of Harvard University was an expert on inner motivation and healing, researched the impact of Mother Teresa on a group of students who watched a film about her.  Some of the students appreciated and affirmed her ministry while others were "turned off by her religiosity."  The way Dr. McClelland judged the healing impact of Mother Teresa was to do a pre- and post-test analysis of the immunoglobin A secreted in each student's saliva.  “We decided to work with movies of healers, to see if a film could transmit the feeling of caring and loving and then see if that had positive effects on the immune system and it did."  Listen to the dialogue between the interviewer and Dr. McClelland.
Dr. McClelland:  If you watch this documentary on Mother Teresa you see that in addition to performing an incredible service, she is also a wonderful person.
Interviewer:  It really comes through, this love and caring that she has.  I'm tempted to call it divine love and caring.

Dr McClelland:  Exactly.  Not everyone reacts to it consciously as you and I do, but the interesting thing is that their bodies react anyway.  The curious thing is that their opinions of the movie in no way related to whether their immune functions improved.  Immunoglobulin A (IgA) is the body's first defense against cold viruses.  We found that salivary IgA increased even in people who disliked Mother Teresa...[S]he was contacting these consciously disapproving people in a part of their brains that they were unaware of and that was still responding to the strength of her tender loving care...[B]elief in the healer is [not] necessary to get healed.  At the conscious level a person may not believe at all, but at the unconscious level, something in the person may still respond to the healer.
Interviewer:  What was it that correlates to the release of IgA?
Dr. McClelland:  The students who responded to Mother Teresa by releasing IgA in their saliva have motives of "doing something positive to help someone, or to establish a love relationship. But the curious part of it is that the  person is not invested in the outcome of the thing.  There are no statements about anxiety of tension if it fails."
Interviewer:  The unconditional love.
Dr. McClelland:  That's right, unconditional is exactly the same sense as Mother Teresa's activity is unconditional.  She's asked in the film "How can you expend all this energy on these dying babies when you know that they are going to die anyway?"  And she says that it is irrelevant, that whether they live or die isn't important to the act of love.  It's a variation on the old instrumental argument if you are in love with somebody because of what it gets you somehow it isn't love."
Traditional healing and religion [always] stress non-involved striving.  I mean, striving without being concerned about the outcome.  We have a computer label.  We call it "div luv" for divine love, but obviously we can't use that terminology for science.  I wish that somebody would give me a nice name for it.
This report gives us a real insight into the power of love to heal.  Mother Teresa was able to touch people deeply via a film.  Second, her love and grace caused a positive physiological response even in people who consciously disliked her.  This is a stunningly profound way to show that God's love in us can impact non-believers.  This must be at least part of what the Scripture means when it says "Jesus went about doing good."

Dr. McClelland found that love in both the seeker and the caregiver was important.  This is not to say that God cannot use His supernatural power to heal someone's broken body or emotion despite their lack of love. This research may help us better understand those who relapse.
Could it be that they could not appropriate God’s healing because of a lack of love? Jesus says that to be forgiven we must forgive. Is this research pointing to the reasons why? Does this have an implication for a new definition of faith? How do we help people develop more love? If we begin to love and serve others unselfishly will our health improve? 

Learn to love and you learn to heal. 

Love comes from the Holy Spirit

See my books on healing and growth at the web bookstore. 


Wednesday, December 26, 2012

Why Do Doctors Ignore and Violate their Oldest Oath

 Hippocrates, the Father of Medicine

The Oath of Hippocrates has guided physicians for over 2000 years and it says things about privacy, concern for the patient and morality we who presently care for the sick could consider.It is the oldest oath of ethics for Doctors that I know yet is is regularly violated today in Medicine with strong political and legal support.


What changed?

OATH AND LAW OF HIPPOCRATES,  "Harvard Classics Volume 38" ©1910 by P.F. Collier and Son.  Placed in the Public Domain, June 1993.

He was born in the island of Cos between 470 and 460 BC and enlarged his education by extensive travel. This interesting document shows that in his time physicians were already organized into a corporation or guild, with regulations for the training of disciples, and with an esprit de corps and a professional ideal that can hardly yet be regarded as out of date.

Preamble: Life is short, and the Art long; the occasion fleeting; experience fallacious, and judgment difficult. The physician must not only be prepared to do what is right himself, but also to make the patient, the attendants, and externals cooperate.

Commitment: I SWEAR by Apollo the physician and AEsculapius, and Health, and All-heal, and all the gods and goddesses, that, according to my ability and judgment, I will keep this Oath and this stipulation -- to reckon him who taught me this Art equally dear to me as my parents, to share my substance with him, and relieve his necessities if required; to look upon his offspring in the same footing as my own brothers, and to teach them this art, if they shall wish to learn it, without fee or stipulation; and that by precept, lecture, and every other mode of instruction, I will impart a knowledge of the Art to my own sons, and those of my teachers, and to disciples bound by a stipulation and oath according to the law of medicine, but to none others.

Patient centered: I will follow that system of regimen which, according to my ability and judgment, I consider for the benefit of my patients, and abstain from whatever is deleterious and mischievous.

Health : I will give no deadly medicine to any one if asked, nor suggest any such counsel;

Babies: In like manner I will not give to a woman a pessary to produce abortion.

Character: With purity and with holiness I will pass my life and practice my Art.

Know my limits: I will not cut persons laboring under the stone, but will leave this to be done by men who are practitioners of this work.

Unselfish devotion to patients: Into whatever houses I enter, I will go into them for the benefit of the sick, and will abstain from every voluntary act of mischief and corruption; and, further, from the seduction of females or males, of freemen and slaves.
Privacy and confidentiality: Whatever, in connection with my professional service, or not in connection with it, I see or hear, in the life of men, which ought not to be spoken of abroad, I will not divulge, as reckoning that all such should be kept secret.
Consequences: While I continue to keep this Oath unviolated, may it be granted to me to enjoy life and the practice of the art, respected by all men, in all times. But should I trespass and violate this Oath, may the reverse be my lot.

Tuesday, December 25, 2012

From The Wall Street Journal

When Saul of Tarsus set out on his journey to Damascus, the whole of the known world lay in bondage. There was one state, and it was Rome. There was one master for it all, and he was Tiberius Caesar.

Everywhere there was civil order, for the arm of the Roman law was long. Everywhere there was stability, in government and in society, for the centurions saw that it was so.

But everywhere there was something else, too. There was oppression—for those who were not the friends of Tiberius Caesar. There was the tax gatherer to take the grain from the fields and the flax from the spindle to feed the legions or to fill the hungry treasury from which divine Caesar gave largess to the people. There was the impressor to find recruits for the circuses. There were executioners to quiet those whom the Emperor proscribed. What was a man for but to serve Caesar?
There was the persecution of men who dared think differently, who heard strange voices or read strange manuscripts. There was enslavement of men whose tribes came not from Rome, disdain for those who did not have the familiar visage. And most of all, there was everywhere a contempt for human life. What, to the strong, was one man more or less in a crowded world?

Then, of a sudden, there was a light in the world, and a man from Galilee saying, Render unto Caesar the things which are Caesar's and unto God the things that are God's.

And the voice from Galilee, which would defy Caesar, offered a new Kingdom in which each man could walk upright and bow to none but his God. Inasmuch as ye have done it unto one of the least of these my brethren, ye have done it unto me. And he sent this gospel of the Kingdom of Man into the uttermost ends of the earth.

So the light came into the world and the men who lived in darkness were afraid, and they tried to lower a curtain so that man would still believe salvation lay with the leaders.
But it came to pass for a while in diverse places that the truth did set man free, although the men of darkness were offended and they tried to put out the light. The voice said, Haste ye. Walk while you have the light, lest darkness come upon you, for he that walketh in darkness knoweth not whither he goeth.

Along the road to Damascus the light shone brightly. But afterward Paul of Tarsus, too, was sore afraid. He feared that other Caesars, other prophets, might one day persuade men that man was nothing save a servant unto them, that men might yield up their birthright from God for pottage and walk no more in freedom.

Then might it come to pass that darkness would settle again over the lands and there would be a burning of books and men would think only of what they should eat and what they should wear, and would give heed only to new Caesars and to false prophets. Then might it come to pass that men would not look upward to see even a winter's star in the East, and once more, there would be no light at all in the darkness.
And so Paul, the apostle of the Son of Man, spoke to his brethren, the Galatians, the words he would have us remember afterward in each of the years of his Lord:

Stand fast therefore in the liberty wherewith Christ has made us free and be not entangled again with the yoke of bondage.

This editorial was written in 1949 by the late Vermont Royster and has been published annually since.

Saturday, December 22, 2012

Great Book of Research on Faith and Wellness

 Happy, healthy, and wise hour!

I have been reading God, Faith and Health by Jeff Levin, a book that correlates health, wellness and faith. It is very encouraging to a person like myself that has spent most of my life integrating health and faith. This blog is called Spiritual Healing and Growth but if you put that into a search engine most of the hits will be for Eastern Spirituality not Christianity. That is sad for those of us who follow The Great Physician.

In 1989 I was asked by Dr. Emmett Cooper to open an in-patient psychiatric hospital unit in Emerson A. North Hospital. We did and it was called Life Way, We integrated Christian faith, medicine and counseling. I was strongly attacked by some Christians and may Counselors. It was very difficult to find Pastors or Psychologists and especially Psychiatrists who supported us. In fact, we were viciously attacked by both the left and right. One Pastor friend confronted me at a prayer fellowship by asking, "Do you still believe in Jesus?" I was stunned because he and I had prayed and worshiped together many times.

Some of the Psychiatrists at our facility accused me and other Christians of causing most mental health crises not solving them. A couple of them were absolutely hysterical. However, after some months of showing better outcomes than their treatment several changed their minds. The newly convinced included several Jews and two Muslims!

Anyone that believes in science and looks at outcomes for distressed people will see that faith and its practices are very health and wellness friendly.It is anti-scientific to attack religion, faith, prayer, worship and fundamental teachings of scripture on the basis of health and wellness.  Dr. Levin quotes on study that reported following 7,000 people in California. Not being a church member increased their risk of death 1.4 times for both males and females!

This increase is similar for the risk people have who do not exercise, drink to excess and are obese! In other words, an obese man who drinks to much and is a couch potato can go to church and reduce his risk of early death!! Or, he can exercise, drink little and lose weight and actually live a lot longer. 

You do not need to worry about the data unless you work for a health care company or insurance agency. If you work these, tell everyone to get religious! Otherwise, just join a church, get involved in the church, worship and pray regularly and live long and prosper!

We cannot protect ourselves or our kids against every danger but in America we can all increase the wellness and joy of self and our kids by joining and attending a church. (By the way church goers also have better sex.) 

Get my books on healing, prayer, wellness and growth at our bookstore.

Gary Sweeten

Thursday, December 20, 2012

Family Gatherings

It is Christmas and that means getting together with family members. It means reliving old patterns of dysfunctional behavior and remembering why you were in such a hurry to go to college or get a place of your own. Nobody, but nobody can push our buttons like a parent or sibling.

I have another e-book on our web bookstore. It is called How to be me in my Family Tree. In it I try to help readers identify the places we are still stuck in the past and need to "Leave mother and father..."  Leaving is emotional and spiritual not geographical. I know people who live ten thousand miles away from their family of origin but who have a panic attack every time they get a card or letter from home.

The issue of leaving home is peace versus anxiety. People who are stuck emotionally with their family of origin and who get REACTIVE when a family member criticizes them or pushes another button has not left home. I am offering a FREE taste of the book so you can see if it is something worth $10.00. The book has the possibility of bringing health and freedom to you and we ought to charge ten times that much but as one friend said, "It is impossible to give gold away if you are not famous.

If you like these two free chapters on Triangles in Family Life and want to learn and implement more healing in your family tree but the book.  We also have books on Inner Healing and Renewing the Mind but that is too much healing for Christians!

Gary Sweeten

Tuesday, December 18, 2012

Prayer Can Be Powerful

Christian parents and grandparents have a lot to worry about. It seems that darkness is covering the world in even increasing foggy spiritual forces. Karen and I bought a "Family Movie" for our grand kids but decided to watch it first to make sure it was OK. It was not. The movie, We Bought a Zoo was not very good and it was filled with cursing, sex and bad behavior. It might have gotten better but we stopped watching after an hour.

Our little girl gifts, TV shows and video games are filled with bad ideas. Philip Zimbardo, the famous Psychologist, has written about his research on boys and is almost hysterical about what is happening to them. In The Demise of Guys he points out how our culture with its hyper emphasis on females has left guys with no place to find positive, healthy boy-girl relationships.

I strongly urge you to pray often for your children and grand children. Your own fervent spiritual involvement as well as your intercession has been shown by consistent research to be effective in the lives of future generations. Jim Donovan, Head of Research for Sweeten Life, gave me a terrific book that is very encouraging about spiritual practices. It is written by a pious Jew, Jeff Levin, Ph. D. The name is God, Faith and Health. If you want to be encouraged this Christmas season, get it.

One of Dr. Levin's research studies reports on page 51 that: A Scottish study reported that active church goers, regardless of denomination, had fewer physical and mental symptoms than people affiliated with a religion but who did not participate.  

One of my books that will strongly encourage you to pray and attend church is How to be Me in My Family Tree. It is an E Book available on our web book store for $10.00 to be downloaded and printed out at home or read on your computer. In this book you will learn how to discover the strengths and weaknesses and strengths in your family tree and how to pray God's blessings to overcome the weak traits.

I have included several stories about healing past trauma and receiving the blessings of God for future generations. We also have some free videos on You Tube and Vimeo that you will enjoy. You can heal your family tree for $10.00! 

Gary Sweeten

Monday, December 17, 2012

Raising a Violent Child

 I Am Adam Lanza's Mother

 Several of the Sweeten Life board, staff and friends have been involved with children and adults with special needs. I grew up with an Uncle that had a high fever as a baby and we lived with an explosive temper and severe intellectually issues for his entire life. My Grandmother died in her fifties as a result of stress. Another uncle committed suicide and a Grandfather was clinically depressed. Any one of these is enough to cause mental, emotional and physical damage to other family members.

For over seven years I oversaw a faith based in-patient hospital unit for adults and one for children. I saw how the illness and destructive behavior of one member impacted everyone. Every illness is a family illness. We have chosen to focus on ways to support the parents and family members that do not get a diagnosis. The following article will illustrate how stressful it is to parent a child like the one who killed his mother and many children in Newtown.

Friday’s horrific national tragedy—the murder of 20 children and six adults at Sandy Hook Elementary School in New Town, Connecticut—has ignited a new discussion on violence in America. In kitchens and coffee shops across the country, we tearfully debate the many faces of violence in America: gun culture, media violence, lack of mental health services, overt and covert wars abroad, religion, politics and the way we raise our children. Liza Long, a writer based in Boise, says it’s easy to talk about guns. But it’s time to talk about mental illness.

Three days before 20 year-old Adam Lanza killed his mother, then opened fire on a classroom full of Connecticut kindergartners, my 13-year old son Michael (name changed) missed his bus because he was wearing the wrong color pants.
“I can wear these pants,” he said, his tone increasingly belligerent, the black-hole pupils of his eyes swallowing the blue irises.
“They are navy blue,” I told him. “Your school’s dress code says black or khaki pants only.”
“They told me I could wear these,” he insisted. “You’re a stupid bitch. I can wear whatever pants I want to. This is America. I have rights!”
“You can’t wear whatever pants you want to,” I said, my tone affable, reasonable. “And you definitely cannot call me a stupid bitch. You’re grounded from electronics for the rest of the day. Now get in the car, and I will take you to school.”
I live with a son who is mentally ill. I love my son. But he terrifies me.
A few weeks ago, Michael pulled a knife and threatened to kill me and then himself after I asked him to return his overdue library books. His 7 and 9 year old siblings knew the safety plan—they ran to the car and locked the doors before I even asked them to. I managed to get the knife from Michael, then methodically collected all the sharp objects in the house into a single Tupperware container that now travels with me. Through it all, he continued to scream insults at me and threaten to kill or hurt me.
That conflict ended with three burly police officers and a paramedic wrestling my son onto a gurney for an expensive ambulance ride to the local emergency room. The mental hospital didn’t have any beds that day, and Michael calmed down nicely in the ER, so they sent us home with a prescription for Zyprexa and a follow-up visit with a local pediatric psychiatrist.
We still don’t know what’s wrong with Michael. Autism spectrum, ADHD, Oppositional Defiant or Intermittent Explosive Disorder have all been tossed around at various meetings with probation officers and social workers and counselors and teachers and school administrators. He’s been on a slew of antipsychotic and mood altering pharmaceuticals, a Russian novel of behavioral plans. Nothing seems to work.
At the start of seventh grade, Michael was accepted to an accelerated program for highly gifted math and science students. His IQ is off the charts. When he’s in a good mood, he will gladly bend your ear on subjects ranging from Greek mythology to the differences between Einsteinian and Newtonian physics to Doctor Who. He’s in a good mood most of the time. But when he’s not, watch out. And it’s impossible to predict what will set him off.
Several weeks into his new junior high school, Michael began exhibiting increasingly odd and threatening behaviors at school. We decided to transfer him to the district’s most restrictive behavioral program, a contained school environment where children who can’t function in normal classrooms can access their right to free public babysitting from 7:30-1:50 Monday through Friday until they turn 18.
The morning of the pants incident, Michael continued to argue with me on the drive. He would occasionally apologize and seem remorseful. Right before we turned into his school parking lot, he said, “Look, Mom, I’m really sorry. Can I have video games back today?”
“No way,” I told him. “You cannot act the way you acted this morning and think you can get your electronic privileges back that quickly.”
His face turned cold, and his eyes were full of calculated rage. “Then I’m going to kill myself,” he said. “I’m going to jump out of this car right now and kill myself.”
That was it. After the knife incident, I told him that if he ever said those words again, I would take him straight to the mental hospital, no ifs, ands, or buts. I did not respond, except to pull the car into the opposite lane, turning left instead of right.
“Where are you taking me?” he said, suddenly worried. “Where are we going?”
“You know where we are going,” I replied.
“No! You can’t do that to me! You’re sending me to hell! You’re sending me straight to hell!”
I pulled up in front of the hospital, frantically waiving for one of the clinicians who happened to be standing outside. “Call the police,” I said. “Hurry.”
Michael was in a full-blown fit by then, screaming and hitting. I hugged him close so he couldn’t escape from the car. He bit me several times and repeatedly jabbed his elbows into my rib cage. I’m still stronger than he is, but I won’t be for much longer.
The police came quickly and carried my son screaming and kicking into the bowels of the hospital. I started to shake, and tears filled my eyes as I filled out the paperwork—“Were there any difficulties with… at what age did your child… were there any problems with.. has your child ever experienced.. does your child have…”
At least we have health insurance now. I recently accepted a position with a local college, giving up my freelance career because when you have a kid like this, you need benefits. You’ll do anything for benefits. No individual insurance plan will cover this kind of thing.
For days, my son insisted that I was lying—that I made the whole thing up so that I could get rid of him. The first day, when I called to check up on him, he said, “I hate you. And I’m going to get my revenge as soon as I get out of here.”
By day three, he was my calm, sweet boy again, all apologies and promises to get better. I’ve heard those promises for years. I don’t believe them anymore.
On the intake form, under the question, “What are your expectations for treatment?” I wrote, “I need help.”
And I do. This problem is too big for me to handle on my own. Sometimes there are no good options. So you just pray for grace and trust that in hindsight, it will all make sense.
I am sharing this story because I am Adam Lanza’s mother. I am Dylan Klebold’s and Eric Harris’s mother. I am James Holmes’s mother. I am Jared Loughner’s mother. I am Seung-Hui Cho’s mother. And these boys—and their mothers—need help. In the wake of another horrific national tragedy, it’s easy to talk about guns. But it’s time to talk about mental illness.
According to Mother Jones, since 1982, 61 mass murders involving firearms have occurred throughout the country. Of these, 43 of the killers were white males, and only one was a woman. Mother Jones focused on whether the killers obtained their guns legally (most did). But this highly visible sign of mental illness should lead us to consider how many people in the U.S. live in fear, like I do.
When I asked my son’s social worker about my options, he said that the only thing I could do was to get Michael charged with a crime. “If he’s back in the system, they’ll create a paper trail,” he said. “That’s the only way you’re ever going to get anything done. No one will pay attention to you unless you’ve got charges.”
I don’t believe my son belongs in jail. The chaotic environment exacerbates Michael’s sensitivity to sensory stimuli and doesn’t deal with the underlying pathology. But it seems like the United States is using prison as the solution of choice for mentally ill people. According to Human Rights Watch, the number of mentally ill inmates in U.S. prisons quadrupled from 2000 to 2006, and it continues to rise—in fact, the rate of inmate mental illness is five times greater (56 percent) than in the non-incarcerated population.
With state-run treatment centers and hospitals shuttered, prison is now the last resort for the mentally ill—Rikers Island, the LA County Jail and Cook County Jail in Illinois housed the nation’s largest treatment centers in 2011.
No one wants to send a 13-year old genius who loves Harry Potter and his snuggle animal collection to jail. But our society, with its stigma on mental illness and its broken healthcare system, does not provide us with other options. Then another tortured soul shoots up a fast food restaurant. A mall. A kindergarten classroom. And we wring our hands and say, “Something must be done.”
I agree that something must be done. It’s time for a meaningful, nation-wide conversation about mental health. That’s the only way our nation can ever truly heal.
God help me. God help Michael. God help us all.
(Originally published at The Anarchist Soccer Mom.)
Liza Long is an author, musician, and erstwhile classicist. She is also a single mother of four bright, loved children, one of whom has special needs. 
See the ways we at Sweeten Life are supporting these parents. 

The Sermon of Barack Obama

Thank you, Governor. To all the families, first responders, to the community of Newtown, clergy, guests, scripture tells us,

“Do not lose heart. Though outwardly we are wasting away, inwardly, we are being renewed day by day. For light and momentary troubles are achieving for us an eternal glory that far outweighs them all, so we fix our eyes not on what is seen, but on what is unseen, since what is seen is temporary, but what is unseen is eternal. For we know that if the earthly tent we live in is destroyed, we have a building from God, an eternal house in heaven not built by human hands.” II CO 4:16-18
We gather here in memory of 20 beautiful children and six remarkable adults. They lost their lives in a school that could have been any school in a quiet town full of good and decent people that could be any town in America.

Here in Newtown, I come to offer the love and prayers of a nation. I am very mindful that mere words cannot match the depths of your sorrow, nor can they heal your wounded hearts.
I can only hope it helps for you to know that you’re not alone in your grief, that our world, too, has been torn apart, that all across this land of ours, we have wept with you. We’ve pulled our children tight.
And you must know that whatever measure of comfort we can provide, we will provide. Whatever portion of sadness that we can share with you to ease this heavy load, we will gladly bear it. Newtown, you are not alone.
As these difficult days have unfolded, you’ve also inspired us with stories of strength and resolve and sacrifice. We know that when danger arrived in the halls of Sandy Hook Elementary, the school’s staff did not flinch. They did not hesitate.
Dawn Hocksprung and Mary Sherlach, Vicki Soto, Lauren Russeau, Rachel Davino and Anne Marie Murphy, they responded as we all hope we might respond in such terrifying circumstances, with courage and with love, giving their lives to protect the children in their care.
We know that there were other teachers who barricaded themselves inside classrooms and kept steady through it all and reassured their students by saying, “Wait for the good guys, they are coming. Show me your smile.”
And we know that good guys came, the first responders who raced to the scene helping to guide those in harm’s way to safety and comfort those in need, holding at bay their own shock and their own trauma, because they had a job to do and others needed them more.
And then there were the scenes of the schoolchildren helping one another, holding each other, dutifully following instructions in the way that young children sometimes do, one child even trying to encourage a grownup by saying, “I know karate, so it’s OK; I’ll lead the way out.”
As a community, you’ve inspired us, Newtown. In the face of indescribable violence, in the face of unconscionable evil, you’ve looked out for each other. You’ve cared for one another. And you’ve loved one another. This is how Newtown will be remembered, and with time and God’s grace, that love will see you through.
But we as a nation, we are left with some hard questions. You know, someone once described the joy and anxiety of parenthood as the equivalent of having your heart outside of your body all the time, walking around.
With their very first cry, this most precious, vital part of ourselves, our child, is suddenly exposed to the world, to possible mishap or malice, and every parent knows there’s nothing we will not do to shield our children from harm. And yet we also know that with that child’s very first step and each step after that, they are separating from us, that we won’t -- that we can’t always be there for them.
They will suffer sickness and setbacks and broken hearts and disappointments, and we learn that our most important job is to give them what they need to become self-reliant and capable and resilient, ready to face the world without fear. And we know we can’t do this by ourselves.
It comes as a shock at a certain point where you realize no matter how much you love these kids, you can’t do it by yourself, that this job of keeping our children safe and teaching them well is something we can only do together, with the help of friends and neighbors, the help of a community and the help of a nation.
And in that way we come to realize that we bear responsibility for every child, because we’re counting on everybody else to help look after ours, that we’re all parents, that they are all our children.
This is our first task, caring for our children. It’s our first job. If we don’t get that right, we don’t get anything right. That’s how, as a society, we will be judged.
And by that measure, can we truly say, as a nation, that we’re meeting our obligations?
Can we honestly say that we’re doing enough to keep our children, all of them, safe from harm?
Can we claim, as a nation, that we’re all together there, letting them know they are loved and teaching them to love in return?
Can we say that we’re truly doing enough to give all the children of this country the chance they deserve to live out their lives in happiness and with purpose?
I’ve been reflecting on this the last few days, and if we’re honest with ourselves, the answer’s no. We’re not doing enough. And we will have to change. Since I’ve been president, this is the fourth time we have come together to comfort a grieving community torn apart by mass shootings, fourth time we’ve hugged survivors, the fourth time we’ve consoled the families of victims.
And in between, there have been an endless series of deadly shootings across the country, almost daily reports of victims, many of them children, in small towns and in big cities all across America, victims whose -- much of the time their only fault was being at the wrong place at the wrong time.
We can’t tolerate this anymore. These tragedies must end. And to end them, we must change.
We will be told that the causes of such violence are complex, and that is true. No single law, no set of laws can eliminate evil from the world or prevent every senseless act of violence in our society, but that can’t be an excuse for inaction. Surely we can do better than this.
If there’s even one step we can take to save another child or another parent or another town from the grief that’s visited Tucson and Aurora and Oak Creek and Newtown and communities from Columbine to Blacksburg before that, then surely we have an obligation to try.
In the coming weeks, I’ll use whatever power this office holds to engage my fellow citizens, from law enforcement, to mental health professionals, to parents and educators, in an effort aimed at preventing more tragedies like this, because what choice do we have? We can’t accept events like this as routine.
Are we really prepared to say that we’re powerless in the face of such carnage, that the politics are too hard?
Are we prepared to say that such violence visited on our children year after year after year is somehow the price of our freedom?
You know, all the world’s religions, so many of them represented here today, start with a simple question.
Why are we here? What gives our life meaning? What gives our acts purpose?

We know our time on this Earth is fleeting. We know that we will each have our share of pleasure and pain, that even after we chase after some earthly goal, whether it’s wealth or power or fame or just simple comfort, we will, in some fashion, fall short of what we had hoped. We know that, no matter how good our intentions, we’ll all stumble sometimes in some way.
We’ll make mistakes, we’ll experience hardships and even when we’re trying to do the right thing, we know that much of our time will be spent groping through the darkness, so often unable to discern God’s heavenly plans.
There’s only one thing we can be sure of, and that is the love that we have for our children, for our families, for each other. The warmth of a small child’s embrace, that is true.
The memories we have of them, the joy that they bring, the wonder we see through their eyes, that fierce and boundless love we feel for them, a love that takes us out of ourselves and binds us to something larger, we know that’s what matters.
We know we’re always doing right when we’re taking care of them, when we’re teaching them well, when we’re showing acts of kindness. We don’t go wrong when we do that.
That’s what we can be sure of, and that’s what you, the people of Newtown, have reminded us. That’s how you’ve inspired us. You remind us what matters. And that’s what should drive us forward in everything we do for as long as God sees fit to keep us on this Earth.

Let the little children come to me,” Jesus said, “and do not hinder them, for to such belongs the kingdom of heaven.” MT 19:14

Charlotte, Daniel, Olivia, Josephine, Ana, Dylan, Madeline, Catherine, Chase, Jesse, James, Grace, Emilie, Jack, Noah, Caroline, Jessica, Benjamin, Avielle, Allison, God has called them all home.

 For those of us who remain, let us find the strength to carry on and make our country worthy of their memory. May God bless and keep those we’ve lost in His heavenly place. May He grace those we still have with His holy comfort, and may He bless and watch over this community and the United States of America. 

President Barack Obama at Newtown, CT

Friday, December 14, 2012

Thanks Be to God for My Health

A few months ago I started feeling badly and took my Blood Pressure. It was 194/80. That is way too high. I made and appointment to see my Cardiologist and they sent me to the Christ Hospital Blood Pressure Clinic. On my first visit I was getting a sonogram to see if my heart was functioning well when my cell phone rang. I called the person back and it was an old friend who had lived with Karen and me in college. She asked, "What is wrong? Are you sick? I had a vision of you on a hospital bed getting some kind of treatment."

I was stunned because that was her calling when I was indeed on the hospital bed getting a heart check up. God had showed her my predicament. She went on to say she believed I would be OK and that God would bring me through the illness.

I had more tests and medicine changes than you can imagine. One was an overnight to see if I had sleep apnea. I did and I do. Not sleeping well can result in higher BP.

Today I returned to the BP Clinic and found my BP to be 122/60! Perfect. Interestingly, my friend called today to see how I was doing. I replied, "They discharged me from the BP Clinic. I am back to normal!"

Do you believe that God hears and answers our prayers? Do you ever see a vision or have a dream? Did you know that God usually spoke to His followers in the Bible through dreams and visions?

I have read several books recently about the power of prayer. Some are written by agnostics. They seem to have more faith in the Bible stories than conservative Christians.

Read about the healing power of God in my book, The Healing Release of the Holy Spirit.

Saturday, December 8, 2012

Is Coaching Important?

Some people go to school to learn business because they think it is the road to riches. After seeing people like Butch Jones earn 15 million dollars a year to coach football I guess coaching is the best way to earn big bucks. People who coach sports are heroes.

The best coach who ever lived died poor and disgraced. Jesus modeled coaching, taught coaching, commanded that His followers follow up and do coaching and those few who did changed the world. In less than 300 years after Jesus died and most of His closest friends called Disciples were martyred, the Emperor Constantine saw that Christians were the most powerful group in his kingdom and He invited them in to run the government.

How did they grow so fast in a hostile environment to be so influential? Was it through TV, Radio, Magazines, Multiple Site Campuses with whiz bang Twitter Feeds and Facebook presentations? Nope! They met in small house churches and coached their way to influence. They led person to person, house to house, agape meal to agape meal. Each house church leader/pastor/elder/deacon/bishop was worth at least the 15 Million that Butch Jones gets for getting young men to hit each other as hard as they can.

It is too bad that Christians lost their way and traded deep, life changing coaching methods taught by the Grand Master Jesus for a mess of pottage that we call preaching. Any well trained communication expert knows that Jesus and the Early Church had it right and we have arrogantly thrown it away by aping young talkers who have never deeply coached their own kids let alone the adults next door.

All our training and materials are focused on training coaches not talkers. I realize that most of you want to learn how to talk better and how to have fame but I do not do that. I teach people how to care and cure the souls of men and women. (See a great coaching video at Vimeo)

Gary Sweeten

Tuesday, December 4, 2012

Depression in Mothers of Hyperactive Kids

From The Lindner Center of Hope Newsletter
The Source - Psychiatry and Psychology News for Mental Health Professionals 11/20/12

In the October 26, 2012 edition of the Gloucester Times, an article by Susan Britt stated that mothers of children with attention deficit hyperactivity disorder (ADHD) may be at increased risk for depression, according to a study conducted by a family physician based in Louisiana.

Dr. Louis McCormick conducted a year-long study of mothers of children with ADHD who were patients in his medical practice. Of the 39 mothers who took the study's Self-Test for Depression, 21 had scores that suggested depression. Eleven women scored in the "minimal to mild" range; five in the moderate to marked" range; and five in the "severe to extreme" range.

From this study, McCormick concluded that the stress of parenting an ADHD child can create situational depression, depression caused by a specific stressful life event, in this case, a child with an extremely demanding and frustrating condition, one that can also create financial distress.
ADHD children are often loud, physically overactive, impulsive, and seemingly unwilling to follow directions. These children can also be reckless and even accident-prone. They may alienate, be frustrating and annoy, thereby causing their mothers great distress. Although treatable, ADHD requires patience and persistence from their parents. This can take a psychological toll on mothers who are most often the primary caretakers.

In some cases, mothers may have a biological predisposition to depression. Sometimes the stress of parenting an ADHD child can act as a trigger for underlying depression or a layer of situational depression.

Awareness to these circumstances is key to identifying depression.

We at Sweeten Life Systems have developed a tool to help parents of kids with Special Needs. Contact us if you know of a family that can benefit from that simple tool. We also have materials that can greatly assist Ministers, Parents and Counselors deal with the Depression in a way that reduces the pain. Download my book Power Christian Thinking to see the simple process of developing peace instead of worry.