Tag: anxiety

Banding together to make a difference

Alan Lane is the father of a young entrepreneur who wanted to share his idea for coping with anxiety disorders in the hopes of helping others. Joshua enlisted his family to take his idea from concept to online business. And he’s just 7 years old! Alan shares more about the genesis of Joshua’s Rubber Band Balls.

Joshua has Obsessive-Compulsive Disorder—or OCD—and anxiety. A friend from church suggested that he try putting rubber bands together and taking them apart to help control fidgeting. That helped—and so he took the rubber band ball everywhere.

One day earlier this year, Josh and I were waiting for his mom at a medical appointment. He had the ball with him and I said, “I bet you could sell those.” He responded right away.

“Sissy can take pictures and Bubba can make a website. You can mail them and Mommy can help, too.”

Sissy is Joshua’s 14-year-old sister, Rachel, and Bubba is his 19-year-old brother, Tyler.

When his mom came out after her appointment, Joshua said to me, “Are you going to tell her about my business plan?”

And that’s how it started. We’ve been selling them since February of this year, online and through Facebook.

It’s great to hear from the people who buy them. A grandmother in Georgia got one for her granddaughter, who has anxiety. A teacher in California purchased one to use in her classroom. We recently established a partnership with the Ronald McDonald House in Hershey for children with cancer to use the balls.

Joshua also has had seizures since he was very young; they are controlled with medicine. He has a service dog, Spot, who sleeps with him and is a source of comfort. So he wanted some of the money from the sale of Joshua’s Rubber Band Balls to help train service dogs for other kids.

Now, we donate 10 percent of proceeds to Merlin’s KIDS, which provides trained service dogs for children. Through a friend, we just had the chance to meet the New Jersey woman who founded Merlin’s KIDS.

We helped Joshua start this business because we want to give back and help people. And one of the most rewarding parts has been the way our whole family became involved. But we never forget who’s the boss. When it’s time to discuss business, Joshua calls the meeting to order and it’s not over until he says so!

—Alan Lane

You can meet Alan and Joshua and purchase Joshua’s Rubber Band Balls at the Diakon Outdoor Adventure Challenge at the Diakon Wilderness Center Sept. 14. Also visit https://joshuasrubberbandballs.com/

Don’t get ahead of God’s graces

Are you borrowing worries and anxieties from tomorrow and bringing them into today?

I often do that. You, too?

It must be a common practice for it’s mentioned in the Bible (Matthew 6). Will my health be compromised? Will the money last? Will health care or immigration policies affect me or those I love?

One of my pet peeves is how the television weather is often forecast. It seems like every weather event is the worst it’s ever been or going to be! If it’s sunny, we need more sunblock. If it’s raining, we should be on guard for hydroplaning. If it’s cold precipitation, we need to watch for black ice. I am convinced that the true purpose of weather forecasting is to scare us to death so we’ll never go out! We couldn’t possibly!  It’s far too dangerous!

The same type of news comes about the stock market or taxes or interest rates or how we’re raising our children. If we don’t have enough to worry or be anxious about just watch a little TV. Sometimes, the projections are true; sometimes they are not. In either case, is there very much we can do in advance? Not often. The best we can do is let events unfold and respond as best we can. And here I purposely used the word respondrather than react…but that could be a topic for an additional blog post on another day.

I was recently blessed in the hearing of a quote attributed to St. Ignatius: “Don’t get ahead of God’s graces.”  God’s grace existed in the past. It is present now. Is there any reason to believe it won’t be in the future? The anxieties of tomorrow will be met by God’s graces—of tomorrow.

“Don’t get ahead of God’s graces.”

The Rev. Mark Wimmer, MBA
Vice President for Church Relations
Diakon Lutheran Social Ministries

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When is counseling a good idea?

Counseling can be of assistance in a wide variety of situations. Several families, for example, mention the impact it’s had on their lives in edited excerpts below. To learn if it might benefit you, see advice below from Laurel Spencer of Diakon Family Life Services …

•    “I’m a single mom and messed up royally when I was younger. My youngest child, for example, has struggled with feeling abandoned. And who could blame him? His father told him that I should have had an abortion because having him ruined his life! My son wouldn’t sleep alone for years; it was hard for me to leave him. I sought out counseling for him but then realized I also needed an outlet. I’m still struggling but my son and I went to counseling together and I learned what he needed to have from me. I also learned how to better handle the stress of raising my children alone. Counseling definitely helped us.”

•    “My husband and I sought marriage counseling after becoming involved in foster care while also caring for our other children and grandchildren. There was never time for just the two of us. My husband thought counseling was a waste of time but went because he knew it was important to me. Communication was our key issue. Now, thanks to counseling, we are open to communication and pay more attention to each other. Counseling has allowed us see there needs to be “us time” and even parent/child time with each of our children. In fact, we hire a sitter once a month so that we can do something with our older kids. Before going to counseling, we had simply spread ourselves too thin.”

There’s no question about it: We live in a complex world that sometimes presents us with difficulties we’re not sure how to address.