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Our September 11, 2001

We were on our last piece of furniture, just me and my twins. One newborn in each arm, and not expecting a war – acts of terror – on our home front.

I was already in survival mode, sleep-deprived and scared. And I was alone except for my babies, born almost two months early, Jack in my right arm and his twin sister, Chloe, in my left. Other than what I saw in front of me on the television, that is my most clear memory. They were all I could really focus on and that was because it was still life and death for my daughter.

There were movers coming and going from our house in Colorado, outside of Boulder where we had incredible, peaceful views and where I had amazing friends and support as a new mother. It was so hard to leave the best friends I’d ever had, three pregnant at the same time and going through the same emotions…saying goodbye in a hospital room because I was admitted early with toxemia.

September 11_2001_Deb Beacham_Boulder Colorado

This was not my exact view that morning, but pretty close. If I could paint, this is how I would express my memories of this view. These were the kind of vivid sunrises we had, with other amazing views out of the back of our house showing wild animals and horses roaming open fields, and hot air balloons drifting by.  A stark contrast to what followed.

On that morning I was debating whether or not to make another emergency room visit to our our hospital because of my daughter’s health issues and we were keeping a close eye on my son because we were weaning him off of the oxygen tank and tubes in preparation for flying on the GPC corporate jet to Atlanta, where daddy was already working. I don’t even remember where he was that morning, on September 11, 2001, but he was not home with us. I felt so alone except for the movers.

The next vivid memory I have is of the guys who were finishing up our packing (I couldn’t do much because of the constant needs of preemie twins who had not been home long from a month-long stay in the NICU). They had come into the room and seen the billowing smoke from the Towers after hearing the outcries coming from the television. They all stood in shock around me, unable to speak. I’m not sure if the sounds were coming from me or from our television.

I felt like screaming because this could just not be true, what I was seeing before me. Tears were pouring down my face and I was muffling my sounds into a baby blanket because I could not traumatize my frail infants who were already so hyper-sensitive, and with Chloe in and out of the hospital multiple times per week. I did not yet know the term Failure to Thrive, just that it was touch and go with her.  We were preparing to move to Georgia, and I was silently grieving the move on top of what we had just been through with our dramatic labor and delivery in Denver. I also wasn’t aware that I was suffering from severe postpartum depression. The fear, sleep-deprivation and grief over leaving my best friends were not things I had the luxury of thinking about at that point.

As I watched the second Tower get hit on live television, noting that the ever-calm and decisive Katie Couric sounded like she was trying herself not to falter while taking in the choking sobs of callers, I found another gear. I decided to let go of that gear today and give in to my tears that I’ve held back all of this time, for the last 15 years.

When you have no choice but to hold it together to protect your children, your own emotions and grief take a back seat. Until now I could not let myself watch any of the footage, read most posts or reports about the attack or feel what I felt that day. That is what happens when things just do not let it up. Not that it’s letting up now…I’m just stronger.

This post is updated – today is not September 11th as when I created the post in 2016. It is June 25th, my twins’ birthday. They are 16 today!

The only person I remember speaking to that day, and barely, is my neighbor Janette, who came over to drive us to a friend’s house where we were to stay overnight until the plane sent by Genuine Parts Company was to carry us, our nurse for the twins, our nanny and our dog Copper to Atlanta. Janette was amazing. She knew I just could not speak and we were both trying not to give in to the emotions caused by what we had seen and were beginning to learn of the terrorist attacks. I don’t know how I would have managed that day without her. It was hard enough that I was having to leave her and other wonderful friends from our neighborhood and Colorado. The support I felt from her, the strength I drew, the calm response to trauma…it was something I could only get from another mother who knew without being told that I was hanging on by a thread and for the sake of keeping these infants peaceful. Reaching for healthy.

At this point I was unsure about flying with preemies but had no choice as the Company would not wait any longer. Every little disturbance, internally or externally, experienced by my daughter would make her very ill and send me racing with her to the emergency room. I didn’t know what each day would hold for us. But I coordinated with packers and movers, following instructions because that was all I could manage.

It was only when my babies were sleeping that I could attempt to get through to their father to make sure he was ok. He was safe, thank God, but was busy as every other executive/manager was while they were doing damage control over the impact on their employees and businesses.  Some of his office products / office furniture employees had been inside the Pentagon and only stepped outside for a break from meetings when it was hit by one of the planes under terrorist control. It was a miracle that they had gone outside when they did. News kept coming in like this about who was where, what they were experiencing, and about the mounting losses. It was almost impossible to look away from the images, the shocking live videos and reports streaming in. As you recall, there was virtually no good news to be found on any channel. Lots of heroism but way too much grief.

When I was finally able to get through to friends I had worked with in the financial district in NYC, the grief started to set in. The people I knew from Dean Witter (Morgan Stanley) had made it out, except for the guard who never left his post at the elevators at the top of that Tower to make sure that everyone got out, including people coming up the stairs and onto the floor where he held his post. He turned everyone around to get them out, while not thinking of himself. This man’s service and sacrifice is written about and posted at the memorial to 9/11 in the City of Atlanta. Yes, I fell apart when I came upon his story in Atlanta, not expecting to read what is posted there. For the month or so I spent working on those top floors there, he was always the first face I saw when heading for the trading desk of my department. And the last at the end of the day.

There is a documentary that depicts what it was like inside the buildings, using transcribed calls with the emergency service centers. From all I remember of my time in those buildings, it is accurate, and also chilling.

When someone you care about experiences something worse than your own grief, it gives you the chance to detach from your own thoughts and sadness. That is what happened when talking with my dear friend who worked in another building there, with another investment banking firm. I watched the same footage that she did, as one of her friends jumped from the smoldering building. We held our hands over our mouths, experiencing horror none of us could have ever fathomed before. There is still so much grief in our world, but none worse than for those families and children who witnessed that and lost their loved ones that way. On this day, this morning, 15+ years ago.

Time to allow this emotion to surface, and to move forward.

By God’s grace we are doing well, and we are together, my twins and our family. We get to join in with others spending time today to honor and support veterans, especially those wounded in service to our country and to the values we stand for.

Our Freedom and our ability to be together, to work and play together, are still at risk and being threatened in different ways each day. But we have each other and we have something in us that those terrorists and others who want to tear us down do not have.

Respect. Honor. Integrity. Courage. And Love.

Note: as I update and share this post, I am no longer allowed to be with my children due to the same terroristic acts which I study and report on. It is my turn to feel this pain, to bear down…and stand up. We are not done here.

Brad, if you make it this far please know there is a war at home which is not being fought as it needs to be, with the same resources and willpower with which we take on ISIS.  This is where I’m supposed to be. When I rejected the CIA, almost out of college, I couldn’t fathom what the future would bring, but now I understand.

Know Your Own Mind

A reminder to self…to keep it simple.

When you know your own mind, no one else can make it up for you or force you off course for lack of resolve or clarity.

Know Your Own Mind_Deb Beacham_My Advocate Center

Build a Bridge of Support

Asking for what you need is one of the hardest things to do, but it’s worth the effort.

Start now!

Bridge of Support_Deb Beacham_My Advocate Center

Where Do You Find Hope? Part One

What I’m supposed to say is that I find my hope in God’s word and while that is true, I’m also like many of my peers (and I don’t fake it well!). We relate in wanting something or someone we can see with our own eyes, and we want clear plans and promises we can wrap our minds around. We want to see and know that someone we trust will follow through and deliver on what we need and expect.

No, that isn’t faith but it is a part of being human, of being real and normal.

As long as we can keep the perspective that politicians are just as human as we are, and as long as we don’t displace our hope and faith by leaving it in their hands instead of in God’s hands, then we can find peace. Then we can more effectively use our voices – and our votes – in the political process.

During this intense and uncertain time of a hotly contested presidential election we monitor, judge, compare notes and spar with each other because we want to be heard, and heard over others. We probably even want to be validated by others in our choices. But most of all we want to know that our hope in someone or in certain ideals will manifest into reality, meaning a better life and more certainty and stability. Of course it’s a slippery slope if we are betting on / believing in someone who just talks a good game…as opposed to having game.

IMG_0129Rather than share more of my own thoughts I wanted to give others a chance to think out loud and to express their hopes, dreams, feelings, questions and to even show enthusiasm if they felt inspired to do so.

When the opportunity came to join the press ranks at the campaign event for Senator Marco Rubio this final weekend of February, I realized as I stepped into the crowd what I was supposed to do. We’re in the final days leading up to the Georgia Republican Primary on Tuesday, March 1st, I’m just happy to be here, but also grateful we live where we don’t have to fear retaliation for speaking our minds. So I decided to make the most of it for the people who came out to learn more and to support someone who gives them hope. They were pleased – enthusiastic is a better word – to share their opinions and to use their voices this way.

I’m also grateful for the Georgia college student who joined me in giving others a voice on this day, so if you meet Christina, please congratulate her on a job well done! I could not have covered the turf (or the stands holding thousands) like we did today without her help.

Christina Wants To Know Why Rubio for

Just watch…and listen.

Christina’s First Interview

The Search for Great Leaders

I can’t think of a better way to prepare for a new radio show segment on faith and politics than to read God and Churchill by Jonathan Sandys and Wallace Henley. We kicked off 2016 with a compelling conversation with these authors and their timing couldn’t be any better, especially as we are being challenged fiercely around our freedoms, including our freedom to speak our truth and to show our faith publicly.

God and Churchill on Pro Advocate Radio

This is a great read so I urge you to start now and to send your comments and questions to us for this show by using this form on ProAdvocateRadio.com.

You can also connect with me on Twitter: @DebBeachamATL and @Pro_A_Radio.

Thank you for your support and for tuning in to Pro Advocate Radio!

State and local leaders, please email me here for upcoming event information.

Oh Holy Night

When you want to listen to the most beautiful rendition of this very spiritual Christmas song, please take your time and listen all the way through. Maybe listen to it twice, once with your eyes closed and again with them open to watch the faces of those in the audience.

What does this mean to you?

BIRIT CHRISTMAS – THE HIGHEST NOTE EVERBIRIT CHRISTMAS – THE HIGHEST NOTE EVER A KOREAN CHRISTMAS SPECIAL

Posted by Bisaya Pa More on Friday, December 25, 2015

Our Message to Mary

There is no way to fathom the intensity of emotion for a woman (or for her man) who heard God’s voice telling her she was to bear a child and that He would be the Son of God.  So I won’t go there…but if I could speak to Mary I would want her to know how I feel about her as a mother.

If you will listen to these words and allow yourself for even a moment to try to comprehend the meaning of this, it may change your perspective on faith, on God as the giver of life because He loves us and wants a relationship with us, on why Christmas is exciting and special, and help you see that Easter is the ultimate follow up to the celebration of Christ’s birth.

Babies make me smile_Deb Beacham_My Advocate CenterWhatever your background or beliefs I hope you will read this and LISTEN with an open mind and share it in the spirit intended. You may not want to trust in or to receive something so simple and meaningful from God, but at least let your questions surface and seek out answers from someone you feel safe talking with.

In my role as advocate and catalyst for change expands I’m getting to know more about why people believe what they believe, how they show it or do not; and I also respect your freedom to choose your beliefs and to express them (or not). So I’m open to discussion and welcome you to join in as we engage our community in talks about faith, religious freedom, spirituality and managing life’s challenges, about where God is in all this mess…where He is in our successes and accomplishments, and how we reconcile our work, choices and political stances with our beliefs.

For now, please listen, share and make the most of this Christmas and holiday season!

Living by Faith

It isn’t easy being a type A and trying to walk in faith. I want to take control and choose my own path. I’m sure you can guess where that leads?

I’m grateful for the foundation I had in Miami at Florida Christian School and for the relationships that remain over the years. I reflect often on what I learned from my teachers, coaches, principal and other leaders in our school (every staff member there was a leader!), and am so grateful our children can attend that kind of school. I hope the teachers where we are now get through to my children the way mine did…and I believe they are. You can see the signs, the positive influence and that’s just cool.

One verse that has never left me, learned in 5th grade, is Galations 2:20.

Please look it up?

For someone who thrives on challenges and puts herself out there, daring people in various ways, stopping to think about why and how I live is not easy. I stay on the go…so I get why my teachers were so determined for key messages to sink in.  No, my “not-religious” friends, it was not brain-washing but the furthest thing from it.

What my teachers shared was grace, the way they learned it, and they let us see what faith looked like when it was being counted on. It was something that was just present, being experienced and shared, and not forced upon you. It was tough love and a steady hand. Real examples of how to live, to learn to accept and to LOVE unconditionally.

They helped us learn to set aside ego and self-centered wants, and to learn what grace and forgiveness are…and we all need reminders. Because of the repetition (boring at the time) with these teachers, the important messages, the empowering and forgiving ones, come to me quickly when I need them. Sometimes they come in the form of a needed ego-check.

The greater good that I understood is that Christ died so that we could live, experience life more fully, and more freely. That is humbling, but the exciting part for me is that we don’t have to live in fear. Without being encumbered by fear, we can take on more and lift others up. That was my dare and it’s what makes me comfortable daring others to get out of their own comfort zone. Every so often I run into someone who pushes me out of my own comfort zone, and that happened tonight. Thank you…

My dare is changing, and right now it is to let go of control, to have faith, and to remember that I live in Christ and that I will live eternally because God came to earth and lived in the form of His Son, who made the ultimate sacrifice. That’s where Galations 2:20 comes in and why it remains an important Bible verse for me. It is not on my own that I achieve, and neither am I alone when I get drop-kicked. For some, this might explain why I can remain calm under fire and patient, and confident, through a storm. I do not have to rely on my own strength and resolve. Someone else showed me the way so all I have to do is follow. Because of the examples I had around me, it was easier for me to accept that for what it is…a gift. There is more to this conversation, but for now, please let it soak in that you do not have to earn something that is a gift. You just have to receive.

So, yes, I believe.  Yes, I have faith. If it doesn’t show at times, don’t hesitate to give me a nudge. And please forgive me if I’m not the best example of what this verse stands for; it just felt like the right time to share it with someone else who may need the reminder, or who may not know what it feels like to have the freedom that faith brings.

#IDareYou

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