I BELIEVE in YOU and ME!

BE Happy!
BE You!
Don’t BE ME, I’m Already Taken!
Find Your Inner Glow and let it Flow…

Make Choices!
Follow the fork in the Road and Challenge Yourself
Learn from Mistakes
Turn Mistakes into opportunities…

Forgive yourself and accept others for their uniqueness
Remember being the SAME can BE Boring but BEING SIMILAR – well that is another story…

Find purpose!
Do not let others diminish your dreams!
Your success belongs only to you and you are the one that identifies it…

Who said you CAN’T?
STOP listening to that inner voice that pushes you off the ledge,
You can make decisions… (don’t be told differently.)

Be kind to others even when they are not kind to you,
Meanness is ugly and you are not,
You are the sunshine, and your rays are warm embraces…

Life is not predictable!

We do not enter this life with any guarantees, we must create the footsteps that will take us from birth to death,

Do not waste your time, live it!

When obstacles show up on your path, approach them, and turn them into positive energy.
No one is obstacle-free – when necessary ask for help,
Asking for help will make you STRONGER, HEALTHIER, and EMOTIONALLY HAPPY!

Take that first step, age is not a barrier, you can change your thoughts from sad to pleasing to JOYFUL! 

We all have an expiration date, so find yourself before…

 

transforming darkness into light Kristi Horner 12_23_20

With this being the week of the winter solstice, it’s fitting that our topic is transforming darkness into light. The solstice means there’s nothing but longer days ahead, and the darkest days are behind us. We’re seeing the light at the end of the tunnel, but I think we may be getting that metaphor wrong. I think WE are the light.

We’ve all survived a lot this year. We’ve faced fears and found courage. We’ve experienced pain and found ways to cope. We’ve fallen down and gotten right back up, perhaps many times. In other words, we’ve faced the darkest times, and we’ve been able to turn them into light. This is also called resilience, and it’s something to CELEBRATE.

So, congratulations! Not only have you survived the winter solstice and 2020, but you’ve also done many hard things throughout the year to make your own light. Many of those things were probably unexpected, and you may not have even known you were capable of doing them. Perhaps you found your “why” this year – your motivation for your healing journey and personal growth.

Yet, I know that during difficult times, it can be hard to keep the darkness from overwhelming our thoughts. For me, it literally feels like I’m drowning and can’t get enough air sometimes. I know it’s OK to not be OK, but still, it’s not a place where I want to set up camp, so I try to recognize when I need help. I don’t want to spend days, weeks, or months without seeing a way out of the darkness.

If you feel overwhelmed by the darkness, don’t try to “get over it” alone. Reach out to friends, family, or anyone in your support group. Is there someone in your life who truly inspires you, who brings light to you, who always seems to know just what you need? Or, there are many 24/7 crisis hotlines that are always available – such as, in Cleveland, the frontlineservice.org Crisis Hotline at 216-623-6888 or United Way Cleveland’s 211 Help Center – or the National Suicide Prevention Lifeline at 800-273-8255.

Remember, you’re NEVER alone. The holiday season is time to celebrate, and at Courage to Caregivers, we’re celebrating YOUR resilience … your ability to turn darkness into light and to do hard things every day. And we know we can do the next hard thing, too. We’ve got this!

Kristi Horner
Founder and Executive Director
Courage to Caregivers

This Holiday Season Kristi Horner

This holiday season certainly is different in many ways. Due to the pandemic, many of us are doing things differently by minimalizing our activities, staying home, and celebrating with smaller groups of people.

But as families and caregivers supporting those we love living with mental illness, we’re no strangers to “different.” And we know that “different” doesn’t mean “bad.” It can also mean opportunities and possibilities.

Much of my inspiration for this week’s commentary came from this article on planning for success in the pandemic version of the holidays. I think it hits the mark on how many of us are feeling about this holiday season:

“The social isolation, uncertainty about employment, income, health and the health of Covid vulnerable people you love has posed a unique challenge for us all. It is completely understandable for you to have some apprehension about the upcoming holidays.”

“So, instead of talking about the typical mental health messages to use self-care and recalibrate expectations, I recommend that you take a different approach. You need to assume that things will be difficult and that there will be some casualties, kind of like a battle between the Holidays as we used to know them and the Pandemic version of the holidays. You need to learn from the approach the Navy Seals and successful survivors of difficult, painful and dangerous events employ. In short, you need to be prepared to deal with difficult things, knowing that it will be difficult, and make the measure of success your ability to get through with your mental health and physical health intact.”

The article lists five ways to be resilient and thrive during difficult times:

  • View the current pandemic (and any difficult situation) as a challenge to be mastered and an opportunity for something to be gained.
  • Reframe stress as something that is inevitable, that occurs every day, and is desirable.
  • Set your goal on living your life with moral integrity, and assume that it will take effort.
  • Analyze what went well and why, instead of focusing on what was disappointing or upsetting.
  • Focus on service to others.

The article also says, “Start telling yourself that the 2020 Holidays are a time to clarify what really matters about the holidays and to figure out how to honor those important values of family, worship, community or charity. These do not require holiday parties, lots of gifts or large gatherings to fulfill. You will need to get creative to express the holiday spirit pandemic-style.”

In other words, this “different” holiday season is no different from other challenges we face during our lives. It’s also an opportunity, full of possibility and HOPE, to be creative, to honor our values, and to celebrate those we love.

Kristi Horner
Founder and Executive Director
Courage to Caregivers

Memories fill my mind and inspire me…

It’s the first Day of Chanukah- although last evening was the first Night

It’s hard to explain but it’s how we celebrate as Jews

TRADITION is the word of the Day to make this weird system, OK!

So on the first NIGHT we lit candle #1 but we actually lit two

Confusing at it may all seems there is a rhythm to this scene!

As my mother would sing, “Oh Chanukah, Oh Chanukah, come light the Menorah…”

We three kids, Gary, Joel, and I, gathered around for the potato latkes and gifts!

A latke is a potato pancake fried until it’s golden crisp and yet mine never gets that crispy like my momma’s or Baube’s.

Latkes with applesauce or sour cream were such a delight (still is) and waiting with bated breath for a wrapped gift was supreme.

I don’t remember what my brothers used to get but I knew if I got a new coloring book on Night #1 – crayons or colored pencils would be on Night #2.

The gifts we received were modest at best, do you remember getting a magic slate?

We played dreidel for fun spinning it to see who would win, and often getting a history lesson on Nes, Gadol, Hayah, Sham – “a great miracle happened there,” referring to the miracle of the holiday.

It was a time for family, and each night another miracle would occur as my parent’s always found a way to get us gifts that would make us smile and enjoy.

Even when we unwrapped a package with underwear, we would smile and say thank you, it’s just what I wanted!

The simplicity of this holiday in our home are memories I will hold on to forever.  And the reason we had two lit candles last night, and tonight we will have three is because one is called the Shamash, you light this candle, and this candle lights the others each night for 8 nights.

Oh Hanukkah, Oh Hanukkah
Come light the menorah
Let’s have a party
We’ll all dance the hora
Gather ’round the table
We’ll give you a treat
Sivivon to play with and latkes to eat

And while we are playing
The candles are burning low
One for each night, they shed a sweet light
to remind us of days long ago
One for each night, they shed a sweet light
to remind us of days long ago.

https://youtu.be/QsP397R9OtI

Also published on Medium

Check out My Blogs on Medium – We ARE NOT JUST CLEVELAND

https://newclevelandradio.medium.com/how-do-you-spell-chanukah-f4ccc41592df

 

**Check out other blogs at https://newclevelandradio.medium.com/

 

 

 

Memories 

Courage to Caregivers_Kristi Horner

As we begin a new month, our new theme is spirituality, and this week, our focus is on a Higher Power.

I consider myself a woman of strong faith, and I use my faith and spirituality in my caregiving journey every day. I rely on my Higher Power to love and support me through anything … whether it’s a traumatic accident, a disaster, the challenges of being a good caregiver, or just life. And when I “let go” of all the things that I think I am supposed to be – the outside expectations of perfection, other people’s definitions of success, and the notion that I’m not good enough – I am able to recognize that I DO MATTER, and my God loves me just as I am.

Yet, at Courage to Caregivers, we realize that everyone’s journey to find and connect with their Higher Power is an intensely personal one. That’s why we don’t focus on one definition of a Higher Power in our work. We invite our participants, who come from ALL faith experiences, to find, rely on, and connect with THEIR Higher Power. We understand that a Higher Power can be different things to different people. It can be a religious deity, a spiritual power that guides your choices and decisions, the power of nature and the cycle of life and survival, or the power of a like-minded group that supplies support and guidance.

For me, connecting to my Higher Power has been part of my quest for greater meaning, understanding, and clarity of purpose. I’m continually reframing my relationship with my Higher Power, and it starts with the belief that there is something at work in my life that is far greater than just me. I believe that sometimes you have to allow yourself to be guided by something bigger than you. I also believe that we meet every person for a reason. I do not believe in coincidence.

And when I think of connecting with a Higher Power, I know it can happen in all kinds of ways, including prayer, mindfulness, connecting with nature, journaling, exercising, meditating, helping others, or therapy. If you’re still searching, just be open-minded, listen to your own internal voice, and keep searching.

The concept of a Higher Power really starts with YOU.

Kristi Horner
Founder and Executive Director
Courage to Caregivers

PS: Interested in pre-ordering our NEW custom 2021 journal? Email Kristi to get on the list – so we don’t run out!

Courage to Caregivers_Kristi Horner 11/23/20

The second year of Courage to Caregivers’ programming has been one of the most challenging and most fulfilling I can remember.

The impact of the COVID-19 crisis can’t be understated, not only for our caregivers but for our staff as well. Without hesitation, I can say that the uncertainty and fear amidst COVID-19 have increased the request for services to support mental illness caregivers exponentially. 

Now, more than ever, it is essential to connect and support caregivers. Before the pandemic, one in five Americans were living with mental illness. Now, the cases have increased by anywhere from two to four times. More than 34% of Americans say they now live with anxiety or depression. How does that impact caregivers? The stress of caregiving is literally taking an average of a decade off life expectancy.

Courage to Caregivers is here to help. 

Our goal is always to be in the caregiver burnout prevention business. How have we responded to COVID?

  • In March 2020, we moved all of our programs to a virtual platform. We are now serving more caregivers than ever!
  • We’ve added a third day to our service offerings, supporting caregivers no matter where they live, including Pennsylvania, New York, South Carolina, New Jersey, Utah, Colorado, Texas, California and Delaware.
  • We saw a decrease in the stress of caregiving in our one-year pilot of our Breathing Meditation program by 48% on average, and a 36% reduction of stress in our Support Groups.

As we push toward the end of the year, we have a few organizational milestones we are excited to report. Earlier this month, we had a Summit for professional and family caregivers, called “Caring for the Caregiver: Illuminating HOPE in Uncertain Times with a Focus on Connectedness, Self-Care and Empowerment.” Also this month, we kicked off our first fundraiser, called “Illumination! 2020,” encouraging everyone who is involved with Courage to Caregivers — volunteers, staff, and donors — to be Illuminators in their communities. If you’re interested in joining us, please contact us via our website.

Why have we gone to such lengths to continue our programs? Because we KNOW they work:

Stephanie, who lives in South Carolina and is launching her own business, talks to her peer support volunteer on Mondays, attends breathing meditation and a support group on Wednesdays, and then looks forward to receiving her weekly email on Thursdays. “I have more than one avenue for support. While these programs are all new, it’s nice to know others have similar struggles.”

Our programs also help people like Sally every single day:

“COVID has been a challenge — there’s more to fuel my loved one’s anxiety that was already there… My direct caregiving has increased. It’s been hard to find any programs for my loved ones or at-home caregivers during this time. The burden falls on me. I work full-time and am a full-time caregiver, therapist, cook and maid.

I look forward to the Courage to Caregivers programs every week. Getting together with others with similar stories to mine helps with my ability to cope. We’re all in this together! We share ideas. There’s not a single time I don’t take away something that I use later.”

Our goal is to empower caregivers with the tools they need so they can provide support without burnout. Our solutions include One-to-One Caregiver Peer Support, Breathing Meditation classes and Support Groups.

But we can’t continue to do this critical work without you. 

Help me celebrate the important role that caregivers play, during National Caregivers Month in November, by committing to support Courage to Caregivers now!

Supporting our programs is easy. All you need to do is visit our website and donate there (no fees).

And, if you have more questions about Courage to Caregivers, I’d be more than happy to discuss our programs, program sponsorships or the services that we offer at your convenience. You can email me. I will respond to you personally.

Thanks again for the way YOU illuminate HOPE for caregivers everywhere!

Caring TOGETHER,

Kristi Horner
Founder and Executive Director
Courage to Caregivers

Courage to Caregivers _ Kristi Horner

The best way to find yourself is to lose yourself in the service of others.” —Mahatma Gandhi

We really have three topics this week – volunteering, mentorship, and saying no – but they’re all wrapped up in the overall idea of giving you.

According to HelpGuidevolunteering can “reduce stress, combat depression, keep you mentally stimulated, and provide a sense of purpose. While it’s true that the more you volunteer, the more benefits you’ll experience, volunteering doesn’t have to involve a long-term commitment or take a huge amount of time out of your busy day. Giving in even simple ways can help those in need and improve your health and happiness.”

One specific way we can give of ourselves is through mentorship. This is especially true for caregivers. While others in our lives may express compassion and sympathy, only someone who has walked in a caregiver’s shoes can truly understand the feelings, frustrations, worries, and logistical concerns of caregiving. At Courage to Caregivers, our Support Groups and One-to-One Caregiver Peer Support programs serve as connections between caregivers – those who want to be mentors, and those who need mentors.

As we make choices about volunteering and mentorship, however, it’s important to remember that we all need to say “no” sometimes. By saying “no,” we are able to place boundaries on our time, energy, and space. Failure to do so can leave us feeling overburdened and overcommitted … and I’m speaking from experience here. If you need help with this, and most of us do, here are 14 ways that you can say “no.”

Another way to look at it is that knowing when to say “no” also helps you know when to say “yes.” To get to your best “yes” … to give the best of YOU to others and to yourself … start by deciding what you want to learn and what you want to share.

Giving of ourselves benefits others, and it can be a powerful form of self-care, too. When you give, you also gain. When you focus on the needs of others and support your community, you can find a new sense of purpose. When you serve others and recognize their worth as human beings, you can improve your own life experience and outlook. When you give in ways that aren’t related to your role as caregiver, you can discover more about your own interests and what makes YOU unique.

Kristi Horner
Founder and Executive Director
Courage to Caregivers

A Message From Courage to Caregivers

Design Your Downtime
10/30/20

As life continues, celebrations happen, curveballs are thrown, and general life develops, it can be hard to remember you have interests outside of work and family. Your outside interests often have a positive effect on your work and family life. This is all the more reason to work on designing your downtime. Designing your downtime means not only doing what you love purely because you love it but also carving out the time to do it. This is not always easy. Maybe the best way to think about this is something our summer intern Maximilian Lauster said. He explained that when he gets stressed or overwhelmed, the best thing for him to do is completely forget about it, drown out the world for a little while, and then come back. Max does this by playing chess or listening to music, but you can do it however you want to. No matter what form it takes, designing your downtime is essential to life and essential to your happiness. It’s a work in progress – yet, my guess is that YOU are, too! AND you deserve it.

A Message from Kristi Horner Courage to Caregivers

We have several topics to discuss this week – all wrapped up in creative expression. There are so many methods of creative expression: art, music, writing, dance, visual arts, drama, crafts, etc. What’s common about all of these is that they let you translate your feelings and emotions into a medium that you can share with others or keep private if you wish.

Doing something creative can change our perspective, point us down new paths, influence our problem-solving, inspire us to take risks, and much more. When we’re being creative, we might find that we feel less depressed, less stressed, more engaged, and more able to control our emotions. Feelings can be messy and sometimes irrational, but it’s healthy to express your feelings in a creative way that leaves you balanced and in control.

Many people find that creating, viewing, or discussing art can help them release or express their feelings. Art can be a healthy outlet to highlight awareness of hidden feelings and a way to communicate something that may be difficult to put into words. Reflecting on art can provide greater insight and understanding, and by sharing art, the viewer validates the feelings of the artist.

Music is also a powerful form of creative expression. Whether you’re listening or playing, music can transport you back in time, influence your emotions, set a scene, or inspire you to take action. It can console you in times of grief or loneliness, allow you to release anger in a healthy way, bring peace and calmness to your life, or encourage you to move your body. When words aren’t enough to encompass the intensity of your feelings, music can help.

The choice of creative expression is highly personal, and it includes self-reflection and self-discovery. Journaling is a creative and safe way to gain greater insight about your deepest thoughts and feelings, your most difficult challenges, what brings you joy, and what makes you uncomfortable. By writing about these things, you have the opportunity to dissect, analyze, and reframe them into something that makes better sense or presents new solutions. You gain greater perspective, insight, and understanding of yourself and others.

Whatever way you decide to create, remember the words of Henri Matisse: “Creativity takes courage.” Creativity is not about drawing inside the lines, hitting the perfect note, or finding the right words. It’s about having the courage to take chances and make mistakes. And COURAGE is important to us. It’s part of our name.

So, get out there today and try something new. Take a RISK. Be brave, bold, courageous, and CREATIVE with your day.


Kristi Horner
Founder and Executive Director
Courage to Caregivers