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Rising Above It All

Can you imagine being asked to help someone who has fallen on hard times?  Yes, of course.

But what if you helped that person and they betrayed you?  It uncomfortable, but life happens.

Bear with me – this gets a bit more intense and strange.

What if the person you helped actually staged photos of your home, without your permission, and posted them online to use in promoting their cleaning services?

Doesn’t feel good, does it?

Now – imagine this person saw an opportunity to better their position in life and in business by using photos of your home to help someone else.  Think betrayal – as in the photos are given to your opponent in a court case while you are kept in the dark, unaware that this relationship has formed and that this person who made you believe she is here to help you is actually acting to cause you harm.

Where would you start?  How do you address such unscrupulous behavior?

Of course you turn first to how you can keep things peaceful for your children; the less drama the better, right?

But what if the person you trusted to help you at home decides to become involved in taking your children from you?  What do you do then?

Do you expose the situation publicly, or do you let karma take care of it?

#BuyerBeware

 

Early Intervention and Better Judgment

That’s what we all want as parents, grandparents, teachers and coaches for our kids.

To ask for help early on to troubleshoot  any challenges, including emotional burdens.

To use better judgment when choosing which company you keep, where you spend free time and how you treat your family, as a few examples. Each act of wisdom and each show of empathy and kindness may help prevent breakdowns and crimes as revealed in the news story below about a man who could not cope with the consequences of his addiction — set in East Cobb County, Marietta, Georgia.

After studying parent/child relationships for decades, analyzing hundreds of cases involving family conflict, I can say for certain that a parent’s judgment in how he or she guides children to treat other family members has a lot to do with preventing ongoing dysfunction, including addiction, family violence, abuse in relationships, etc.

Several cases in Georgia involve someone taking a life, their own or a family member’s life, committing arson and other crimes, because that person doesn’t have the coping mechanisms needed in relationships and in deciding how to handle uncertainty and disappointment.

A Marietta, Georgia, man turned suicidal, burned down his family home, ran from police and put many other lives at risk.

This story could have turned into a much greater tragedy, but fortunately no lives were lost and the perpetrator of arson and drug use is behind bars.

 

Below: traumatized father and neighbor talks about the scene. Other neighbors led from smoke-filled, burning homes adjacent to Matt Olson’s unit. We do not yet know the total damages caused by his addiction, suicidal behavior, arson and the police chase.

 

Photography and video credit: Fox 5 News, Atlanta, Georgia

Is Duty Calling?

Be original and unique, the little voice said.

A bigger voice said, “I wrote this here for you to follow.”

“Will you answer My call?”

There is no greater calling for me than advocating for others and for my children. Sometimes it comes with an uncomfortable price tag and maybe at the expense of some relationships, but it’s a duty that can’t be denied. Not everyone wants this kind of challenge, and that’s ok; God calls us all to serve in different ways.

When I’m asked, which is at least once per week, why I work as much as I do and why I won’t stand down in reporting on critical issues like I did on case involving a hedge fund  using kids from Newnan, and on cases in Fulton County involving exploitation and child trafficking, I often reply with one of two answers.

Someone has to. And, I don’t see why I should not…or why I shouldn’t ask you to engage as well. We’re in excellent company on this issue of protecting others, especially our youth and anyone who is vulnerable to exploitation.

Last year we passed the Safe Harbor Bill in Georgia – and this is just the beginning  – not a final achievement.

And God did more than just hint at what we’re supposed to do with our time and gifts.

Psalm 82:3-4  “Give justice to the weak and the fatherless; maintain the right of the afflicted and the destitute. Rescue the weak and the needy; deliver them from the hand of the wicked.”

Romans 13:4 “For he is God’s servant for your good. But if you do wrong, be afraid, for he does not bear the sword in vain. For he is the servant of God, an avenger who carries out God’s wrath on the wrongdoer.”

Do you know this one?

“Open your mouth for the mute, for the rights of all who are destitute. Open your mouth, judge righteously, defend the rights of the poor and needy.”

Yes, this was the founding principle for investing everything to broadcast Pro Advocate Radio beginning in January of 2015, the hashtag we launched #UseYourVoice, and why we are gearing up for another important series after the election!  This is when our hardest work begins…after the sensational, divisive news reports and debates die down, when the majority want to detox from discussing “issues” and move on…

When you’re ready, please help me keep the conversation going?

“Learn to do good; seek justice, correct oppression; bring justice to the fatherless, plead the widow’s cause.” Bring it…we have the data and the tools needed to make this possible.

Where in Ephesians is this verse found? “For if they fall, one will lift up his fellow. But woe to him who is alone when he falls and has not another to lift him up!”

I haven’t quite figured this one out: “Like a muddied spring or a polluted fountain is a righteous man who gives way before the wicked.” Proverbs 25:26 …I’d appreciate hearing your interpretation or what this means to you.

Deb Beacham Driving Change

Do you have a favorite?  Send it to me by private message or email, please!

We have a lot more work to do, and I promise you it will be rewarding if you decide to lend a hand or devote some time.

 

Thank you!

Deb

 

Please watch and share to keep the conversation going about exploitation:

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.

Our Most Important Role

I first wrote this post in response to seeing how children are reacting to their parents going at each other, choosing to fight and litigate in courtrooms rather than putting their time, energy and financial resources into being available and providing more of what children need.

Children need our attention, and they need to see in our faces that all is ok. That we are ok in spite of what is going on around us.

Can you tune everything out and focus on giving a child, your own or someone else’s, what they need in this moment?

If you can, that makes you a special someone to this child looking to you for understanding, for the right words or just for your shoulder, your ear or a hand to hold.

Deb Beacham_My Advocate Center

In almost every case or situation brought to my attention, there is a child at risk – at risk of not getting these basic needs filled. In some of those cases, the risk involves emotional abuse, neglect, physical abuse and even sexual abuse.

Often I see that basic needs are not being met, or there is emotional abandonment along with increased stress, and this is happening because parents are persuaded to focus their time and attention elsewhere, when the most important thing in their world…this child…is going without.

Stay present in the moment.

No matter how frustrating, difficult or lonely your situation may be, make a point to look regularly into the eyes of the child who needs you to be all in, connected to what it on his or her mind.

Listen and look into his or her eyes for your clue as to what it is you are supposed to provide to make things better. Sometimes it is just your ability to be patient and available that brings peace.

If someone or something pulls at you or tempts you to ignore, to be too busy, to be missing from this child, trust your love and your gut to instead provide what is needed now for this child, as this is what will last a lifetime.

Now, months after writing this post, I am updating it to add that when I began studying the impact on children of family conflict and what is worsening and prolonging conflict, it became apparent that more and more children are being destabilized, even being set up to fail in how their parents are treated in court cases. We can see how mental health is being eroded as parents become LESS available while uncertainty increases.

These are the children who are becoming vulnerable to exploitation and trafficking, and this path to devastation is one we can turn around. But we need your help!

Get involved with Safe Harbor and the organizations such as Youth Spark and others in your community working to stop exploitation of our children and to help victims of trafficking recover.

Thank you!

Deb Beacham

Places to Heal

Something you have to experience to appreciate. My place of refuge.

Deb Beacham_Mom and daughter time

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

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