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Archive for January, 2007

Proud Little Brother

January 25, 2007 1 comment

Below is a copy of a newspaper article about my older brother Robert. He is an Army recruiter in Tampa, FL. I am very proud of his accomplishments and want to share them with you.
Recruiters Keep Army Strong
Posted Jan 24, 2007 by The Tampa
By JULIE PACE The Tampa Tribune
TAMPA – Twenty-one photos line the wall of the Army recruiting office on Fowler Avenue. Each represents a future soldier. “This one is mine,” says Staff Sgt. Robert Jones, pointing to one of a young man who will enlist after graduation in May. Jones’ Tampa North recruiting office signed up 157 people for the Army last year, helping make the Central and West Florida recruiting battalion the most successful in the country.
The pressure remains on Florida recruiters after two high-profile decisions to increase troop levels. In Tuesday’s State of the Union address, President Bush touted his new Iraq plan, calling for 21,500 more troops to be deployed to Iraq. In addition, Defense Secretary Robert Gates wants to increase the active-duty Army by 65,000.
Exactly where some of those troops will come from hasn’t been determined, but local recruiters say they’re not worried about fulfilling their responsibilities. “We’ve got more than enough people who want to join,” says Sgt. 1st Class Stephenie Wilson, Jones’ recruiting partner.
From October 2004 to October 2005, 378 active-duty and 79 reserve recruits came out of Hillsborough County. Those numbers increased during the same period from 2005 to 2006, with 538 active-duty and 122 reserves.
Based on the number of recruits since October, local recruiters appear on track to at least meet the previous years’ figures, says Ron Horvath, spokesman for local Army recruiters.
The conflict in Iraq hasn’t hurt local recruiting efforts, recruiters say, but the ongoing violence raises inevitable questions.
Jones says he is honest and straightforward when potential recruits ask whether they will be sent to Iraq. He tells them he doesn’t have an answer. “Anyone who tells you you’re not going to Iraq is lying,” he says. “Anyone who tells you you’re definitely going is also lying.”
Jones, a 14-year Army veteran, spent a year in Iraq driving Bradley Fighting Vehicles before becoming a recruiter about a year ago. Recruiting is a coveted post, but Jones would give it up for a chance to be back in combat.
“When I hear my buddies say they’re going to Iraq, I want to be there, too,” he says.
Jones, 32, spends 80 percent of his day out of the office. The office, he says, is not the place to find good recruits.
“You can get 45 people walking in, and maybe one is qualified,” he says.
Much of Jones’ time is spent at Wharton High, the school he was assigned to when he started recruiting.
Most recruiters spend one day a week at their assigned school, talking to students during lunch periods. Jones shows up at Wharton far more often. He drops by to meet with guidance counselors, attends Wharton sporting events and is invited to speak during classes.
The number of graduating seniors joining the Army has more than doubled from two students to five since Jones started.
Jones made students more aware of the options the military offers, Wharton guidance counselor Cindy Rogers says. When it comes to selling the Army, there’s no script or standard recruiting pitch, Jones says. He doesn’t shy away from talking about the realities of joining during a war but doesn’t want Iraq to be the only thing recruits hear about.
During a visit to a criminal justice class at Wharton on Tuesday, Jones starts his presentation with a patriotic video showing soldiers receiving awards in their dress blues. Combat footage is benign, just tanks crossing the desert and soldiers running in formation.
Jones tells the students stories about the exotic places he has been with the Army. He talks about how the Army will help them pay for college.
Then Jones brings up the Sept. 11 attacks. That’s the reason we had to go to Iraq, he says, and that’s the reason the Army needs more good recruits.
“We’re going to try to the best of our ability to make sure that doesn’t happen again,” he says.
At the end of class, Jones plays a second video. It opens with a plane flying into the second World Trade Center tower. Soldiers pull suspects out of their homes, and bombs explode in the centers of cities. Both videos show real sides of the Army, Jones says.
“Iraq is a small piece,” he says.
When Jones isn’t at Wharton, he makes connections at community events and drops cards at local businesses. After spending the morning at Wharton, Jones heads to a job fair in Tampa. He quickly zeros in on Kyrie Neverson, a 23-year-old college graduate with a degree in engineering and no job.
What starts with a handshake becomes a 30-minute meeting. Jones talks about the Army’s officer training and the job opportunities that could open up for Neverson after his service.
Neverson listens patiently, nodding, sometimes smiling, but says little. As he walks away with Jones’ business card and a stack of brochures, he says he is overwhelmed. “I don’t really know what I’m going to do,” he says. Jones doesn’t hear that comment. He’s confident he has lined up a potential recruit. “He’ll call,” Jones says. “He’ll definitely call.”
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Categories: Family

How to Recognize Addiction and What to Do about It

January 23, 2007 1 comment

Addiction to alcohol and other drugs is a chronic disease. It is progressive, continuous, and long-term. Alcohol or drug abuse means that a person has control over whether he or she drinks or uses. Alcohol or drug dependence means that a person has lost all control over his or her drinking or using behavior.

Addictive Behavior

People who suffer from addictive diseases engage in compulsive behavior and gradually lose control of their lives. They continue to drink or use drugs, even when they know it will lead to negative consequences. They tend to have low self-esteem and almost inevitably suffer from anxiety and depression.

If someone in your life suffers from addictive disease, you have experienced his or her extreme behavior, ranging from depression to exhilaration. You probably have also experienced the person’s state of denial (“I can quit anytime” or “I don’t have a problem”), dishonesty, frequent disappointments, and the series of ruined relationships. These are the hallmark behaviors when a person suffers from addiction to alcohol or drugs.

Who Is Affected by Addictive Disease

Alcoholism and drug addiction affect people from all parts of society. Addictive disease affects rock stars, writers, artists, and homeless people. Victims also include stay-at-home moms, teenagers, and corporate executives. There are addicts who are students at top universities and physicians in your local hospital. They may be teachers at your neighborhood school or salespeople at the local hardware store.

Studies have shown that there is a genetic predisposition to alcoholism. About half of all alcoholics had an alcoholic parent. Men seem to be more vulnerable than women to the alcoholic traits of their parents. Women may be more affected by factors in the environment (such as financial and life circumstances) than by inherited factors.

The Physical Side of Addiction

Chronic alcohol abuse produces long-lasting damage in many areas of brain function. It damages the capacity for abstract thinking, problem solving, memory, and physical dexterity. It also impairs verbal, visual, and spatial ability. The extent of damage to brain tissue depends on the extent of heavy alcohol abuse. When the drinking stops, a certain amount of healing is possible.

Prescription Drugs

Prescription and illegal drugs with psychoactive side effects target the brain and can change a person’s mood. This causes these drugs to be potentially addicting. Some people think that if a doctor has prescribed a drug, it is not addictive. This is not true.
It is important to tell your doctor if you:

• Are an alcoholic (using or in recovery)
• Have ever been addicted to any drug
• Have taken more than the prescribed dose of a prescribed drug
• Have taken a prescribed drug for a long time
• Take a prescribed drug with alcohol

Addictive disease is often progressive and can be fatal. Thankfully, with proper treatment, recovery is possible.

Treatment

The first phase of treatment of addictive disease focuses on the physical effects of alcohol or drug use. This phase can include detoxification or treating life-threatening disorders such as liver failure.

Since addictive disease is primarily a brain disease that results in behavioral symptoms, the main treatment is psychosocial therapy. Treatment usually focuses on the irrational feelings and distorted thinking that accompany chronic alcohol or drug abuse.
Alcoholism and drug addiction are chronic diseases that require a lifetime recovery plan. Most successful treatment plans include a focus on the 12 steps of Alcoholics Anonymous and involve ongoing, long-term participation in self-help groups. Patients who have been hospitalized for treatment may continue group and individual psychotherapy after they leave the hospital, in addition to attending 12-Step meetings.

Treatment of the Family

Addiction affects every member of the patient’s family. As the disease progresses and the patient continues to drink or use, it causes a range of emotional, spiritual, and financial problems for almost everyone involved, including family, friends and coworkers. When the family is ready to begin the recovery process, Al-Anon and Alateen are excellent resources. A qualified family therapist who understands the process of addiction and recovery may also be consulted to work with the family.

What to Do When an Alcoholic or Addict Won’t Stop

Sometimes the alcoholic or addict is in such a strong state of denial that the best alternative is to arrange an intervention. This process involves arranging for a professional interventionist to organize a meeting of the family, friends, and employer of the patient. The interventionist helps the group prepare a confrontation that will be followed by the patient entering a treatment center. The patient’s family and friends usually write a brief statement describing how the drinking or drug use has affected them. The interventionist and the group then meet with the patient and read their statements to the patient with the guidance of the interventionist. These interventions, when managed by professionals from respected treatment organizations, often result in successful treatment of the addiction.

Are you a hip male?

January 21, 2007 2 comments

I just read an article on Yahoo that says the new look for guys this season are leggings. This picture shows you how hot you can look with leggings on. Now I must admit that I do try to keep up with current trends especially when it comes to electronics. I am pretty confident in saying that I will stick with my khakis and leave the leggings to the cool people.
What fashion trends have you given into in the past and now regret?
Share your fashion mistakes in the comment section below.
Categories: satire

Laboring For Him

January 21, 2007 Leave a comment

For the past 6 years I have been using the tagline ‘Laboring for Him’ in my email and other communications. Well I finally decided to commit to this name by purchasing that domain name. My blog can now be reached at http://www.laboringforhim.com. Please update your links to this new address.

Categories: Uncategorized

Where have you been?

January 19, 2007 2 comments

It is a goal of mine to visit all 50 states before I die. I have been to 22 so far. I love to travel and see new places. If you have not noticed by the map above I have not quite made it out west yet. I must say that East Tennessee is the most beautiful place in the states I have been to thus far. The mountains are gorgeous and I feel an overwhelming sense of peace each time I am there. Virginia Beach is a close runner up with its scenic views of the ocean. Where all have you been? What is your favorite spot in the U.S.? Let me know in the comment section.

Categories: Uncategorized

20 Tips for Assertive Communication

January 17, 2007 1 comment

Most of us know that assertiveness will get you further in life than being passive or aggressive. But few of us were actually taught how to be assertive. Here are some helpful tips.

1. Choose the right time. Imagine you’re dashing down the hall on your way to a meeting. Lisa passes by. You call out, “Can you have the Microsoft project out by Tuesday?” Because you haven’t scheduled a special time to bring up the issue, Lisa has no reason to think your request deserves high priority.

2. Choose the right place. Discuss important issues in a private, neutral location.

3. Be direct. For example, “Lisa, I would like you to work overtime on the Microsoft project.” Whether or not Lisa likes your request, she respects you for your directness.

4. Say “I,” not “we.” Instead of saying, “We need the project by Tuesday,” say, “I would like you to finish the project by Tuesday.” This gives you ownership of your request.

5. Be specific. Instead of, “Put a rush on the Microsoft project,” say, “I would like the Microsoft project finished and on Joe’s desk by 9:00 Tuesday morning.” We cannot expect others to follow instructions if we are not specific in what we ask for.

6. Use body language to emphasize your words. “Lisa, I need that report Tuesday morning,” is an assertive statement. But if you mumble this statement while staring at the floor, you undermine your message.

7. Confirm your request. Ask your staff to take notes at meetings. At the end of each meeting, ask your group to repeat back the specifics that were agreed upon. This minimizes miscommunication.

8. Stand up for yourself. Don’t allow others to take advantage of you; insist on being treated fairly. Here are a few examples: “I was here first,” “I’d like more coffee, please,” “Excuse me, but I have another appointment,” “Please turn down the radio,” or “This steak is well done, but I asked for medium rare.”

9. Learn to be friendly with people you would like to know better. Do not avoid people because you don’t know what to say. Smile at people. Convey that you are happy to see them.

10. Express your opinions honestly. When you disagree with someone, do not pretend to agree. When you are asked to do something unreasonable, ask for an explanation.

11. Share your experiences and opinions. When you have done something worthwhile, let others know about it.

12. Learn to accept kind words. When someone compliments you, say, “Thank you.”

13. Maintain eye contact when you are in a conversation.

14. Don’t get personal. When expressing annoyance or criticism, comment on the person’s behavior rather than attacking the person. For example: “Please don’t talk to me that way,” rather than, “What kind of jerk are you?”

15. Use “I” statements when commenting on another’s behavior. For example: “When you cancel social arrangements at the last minute, it’s extremely inconvenient and I feel really annoyed.”

16. State what you want. If appropriate, ask for another behavior. (“I think we’d better sit down and try to figure out how we can make plans together and cut down on this kind of problem.”)

17. Look for good examples. Pay attention to assertive people and model your behavior after theirs.

18. Start slowly. Express your assertiveness in low-anxiety situations at first; don’t leap into a highly emotional situation until you have more confidence. Most people don’t learn new skills overnight.

19. Reward yourself each time you push yourself to formulate an assertive response. Do this regardless of the response from the other person.

20. Don’t put yourself down when you behave passively or aggressively. Instead, identify where you went off course and learn how to improve.

Quick Update

January 16, 2007 1 comment

Sorry that I have not posted lately. Life has begun to catch up with me. Dana is now 6 months pregnant and graciously bearing all of the kicking that Emily is doing. She continues to stay at home with Mikayla and is enjoying all of her time with her.
Mikayla has recently starting going to a gymnastics class at the YMCA. She has been learning to tumble and all kinds of dangerous things. She appears to be excited about being a big sister, but I am afraid that she will be in for a shocker once Emily is here. She has not had to share our attention before and I think that it will take some time for all of us to adjust to.
I am back in school again. I am working on a Master of Divinity from Liberty Theological Seminary in Virginia. It will take me about 5 years to complete going part time, but I am already excited about the classes I am taking. I am currently enrolled in a class on spiritual formation. This has challenged me to look at some areas of my life that usually go unchecked. I am praying that I will gain much insight and change because of it.
I will return to my previous line of blogging about my spiritual influences this weekend. I am learning that blogging does actually take some thought so bear with me as I work on being more consistent. God bless.

Categories: Family