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Gratitude

Starting with an abundance of leftovers of turkey, amazing mac ‘n cheese, sweet potato pie, cake, and punch capped off with the following day filled with Black Friday offers I felt a need to reconnect with a giving of thanks within. It can seem so easy to lose focus on the day. While there are many debates on the validity and foundation of the origin of Thanksgiving, I choose to focus on the best part of Thanksgiving, which is being grateful. Inherent in gratitude can soothe what ails you. The practice of gratitude reminds us of what is right in life. It fosters a healthy mental attitude. Years ago, while attending a conference the speaker did a deep dive into the benefits of gratitude. With what we’ve weathered over the last couple of years, we do, indeed have a lot to be grateful for. Admittedly, sometimes it can be a challenge to isolate and identify it. Especially considering the amount of loss and continual stream of bad news we’ve endured.

The speaker began by suggesting making a list of what you are grateful for. He went “old school” with it. He provided beautiful leather-bound journals which he distributed to everyone in attendance (there were about 500 of us in total). In preparation for our being in attendance, he personally wrote a note of thanks to each one. It was a next-level touch that caused a collective feeling of connectedness in the room. All of a sudden, the room felt more intimate. Smaller. I remember writing down how I was grateful that my mom, Mumay made it successfully through her heart surgery. That was my number one. My eyes welled up as I fought back tears of gratitude. I remembered the mental tug-of-war between what the doctor said with all of the medical facts and stats versus what I believed about her being able to rise from the bed of affliction. In my hieroglyphic style of writing, I experienced a stream of writing 32 things that filled me with gratitude.

I have referred back to that list countless times when facing seemingly insurmountable obstacles. In those moments of reflection, my strength was renewed. I remembered how bleak things looked then and how we got through it. This caused me to become hopeful that this current challenge would be overcome as well. It’s similar to the passage in the Bible with David as he was mentally and spiritually preparing to defeat his giant (obstacle), Goliath. In I Samuel 17: 37, David shares this: David added, “The LORD, who delivered me from the claws of the lion and the bear, will deliver me from the hand of this Philistine.” This passage illustrates the power of recounting victories. Journaling your gratitude can strengthen your resolve in recounting victories.

I’m not suggesting that this is a cure-all for all obstacles and challenges. I’m suggesting it is a good starting place. May I also suggest that if you need assistance in overcoming challenges and obstacles, or even cultivating an attitude of gratitude, The Fruit Of Our Hands Ministries has coaching and counseling programs that can help you with that?

Feel comfortable reaching out for an Initial Exploratory Consultation by calling us today at 951-289-9808 or emailing: admin@fruitnhands.org

Hurt People, Hurt People

Years ago I stopped watching the news because it was filled with hurt people. However, now there is no escaping the news updates. It’s on our Facebook, Twitter, Insta, and every other shiny distracting app feed. There is literally no escaping it. Why should someone consider registering for mental and behavioral counseling? Because hurt people, hurt people. Recently I saw a mug shot of a young man bullied by his teammates. His solution was to hurt them. Some fatally. Couple this with a group of “friends” that went on a trip together. On their return trip home, they were minus one “friend” due to suspicious circumstances. In this instance, there is actually a video of the alleged abuse taking place. How is it that no one thought to put the phone down and intervene on behalf of their “friend”? I’ll tell you why. Because hurt people, hurt people. There is a ripple effect when it comes to ignoring the signs that help is needed. Innocent bystanders are at risk of peril and they don’t even know it.

We all are susceptible to pain, frustration, disappointment, and the like. The key is to surround yourself with people that want what is best for you. At The Fruit Of Our Hands Ministries, you’ll be enveloped with practical tactics and strategies that will get you on your way back to wholeness.

If you or someone you know is struggling to maintain a sense of calm or balance, or perhaps there is a continual feeling of being stuck follow the link below and fill out the online form to get on the road to feeling better. All information is held in the strictest of confidence. Once you’ve completed the form email it to: admin@fruitnhands.org.

https://pdf.ac/kv0KR

We Must Do Better, But How?

Pop sensation and former child star, Aaron Carter passed away as reported by TMZ (https://www.tmz.com/2022/11/05/aaron-carter-dead-dies/). So far, there is no foul play reported. Carter had a storied past involving drug abuse, mental health issues, and a violent temper to name a few. This comes right on the heels of the senseless death of 1/3 of the multi-award-winning group, Migos, named Takeoff (https://www.tmz.com/2022/11/01/migos-takeoff-dead-dies-shot-houston-quavo-migos/). Reports, including TMZ, shared that this was a dice game gone horribly and deadly wrong. 

People. Humans. We must do better. Many begin to pontificate and morph into armchair psychologists on the solutions. Well, at 7000 Indiana Avenue, The Fruit Of Our Hands Ministries is providing services, coaching, and counseling that will assist you or someone you care about in managing their mental and emotional well-being. 

It is very uncomfortable witnessing both a public downward spiral and a public display of a senseless violent act. The fact that we all carry a portable video camera in our pockets and are comfortable recording these acts instead of coming to the aid of another human being is jarring. It’s as though there is a disconnect. There is a saying, “Hurt people, hurt people”.

The first step to healing hurts is acknowledging the pain. The second step is to talk to someone. The Fruit Of Our Hands Ministries offers the opportunity for you to take the second step to your healing. To get started call 951-289-9808. The Fruit Of Our Hands is located at 7000 Indiana Avenue, Suite 114, Riverside, CA 92506.

DISCIPLESHIP

As the common area began filling up there was a frenetic rush of energy. Not knowing what was about to happen, I knew something was about to happen. Being a graduate People Watcher boy I was in for a treat. The first thing I noticed was the happy, smiling faces. Watching the attendees greet their friends made me feel welcome! Funny how that works. Next, I smelled an enticing mélange of herbs, meats, and sugary treats. All this took place before the “program” began. I’m very comfortable in my own skin and among unmet friends as a rule. Yet, I was not prepared for the Discipleship level of friendliness and acceptance. This is a very special group of people. Very special. The ambiance of peaceful and soothing music wafted throughout the room. It toggled between being background to coming into the foreground.

DISCIPLESHIP GROUP PICTURE

Once Dr. Monica Hunter, co-founder of the Discipleship with her husband, Brian Hunter welcomed and addressed the group it was officially go-time. She began by sharing that there will be a celebration of birthdays, anniversaries, or any other thing noteworthy occasion. As we began singing happy birthday there was an extra dose of closeness in the air.

As I shared earlier, I didn’t know what to expect. I wondered if this is church lite. Is it a time of fellowship? Is it a time to drop the facade and connect with my God and fellow believers? Or, is it a time to be still? It was actually all of the above.

It was awesome. I sat next to a lovely couple celebrating over 40 years of marriage. A young man in high school with his mom who is from Romania. She shared with me how personal faith is not encouraged in her original home country. When she shared that with me I felt very close to her. It made an imprint on my heart. It reminded me of the good that can be had when you have good in common. Unfortunately, we don’t hear about that too much these days. The news highlight reels loop what divides us instead of what knits us together.

A brave young man stood up and shared about his transformation from a mere year ago. It was powerful. What made it so was not what he shared. It was that he shared. You see, culturally speaking, a man and in this case, a black man was sharing candidly about where he was heading. The light in his eyes. I wish we could bottle that and sell it on Amazon. What’s great is that the source of the light in his eyes is free to all of us.

LORIA WILLOUGHBY

Up next was an encouraging word from Loria Willoughby. She is both powerful and practical. What an incredible combination. She challenged us. Made us laugh. Made us think. She reminded us to not sell ourselves or our God short. The bookend that sandwiched our time with Loria was the praise and worship leader, Leonard. He is a Special Education Teacher. He has a strong, silent confidence that can only be found by spending time with the Lord. He ushered us into the presence of God.

I observed roars of laughter, wiping of tears, several exhales, and hugs. If I had to sum it up in two words I’d choose Love and Acceptance. I thought about how many of us are craving what flowed freely in this room. The hub that holds this all together is The Fruit Of Our Hands Ministries. The Fruit Of Our Hands Ministries meets the physical, spiritual, and soul (mind, will, and emotions) needs of the community. It’s expressed through mental health counseling, life, health, and educational coaching (to name a few), food and lifestyle items distribution, a clothing store that donates to men and women that are in need of clothing for job interviews, and much more. The people who speed past this complex have no idea of the gem that is shining right up under their noses. Not to sound like a broken record, but, it’s almost easier to share with you what it isn’t versus what it is. It’s not cliquey. Is that even a word? You know what I mean if you’ve ever dawned on the doorsteps of a church for the first time. It’s not a church. It’s not only for lost or broken souls. It’s actually for people that want more. More purpose realized. More self-mastery under the hands of The Master. More fellowship. A safe place to belong. A haven. A lighthouse. More of God’s presence in your life. More peace. More love and more joy. Hey! I did actually share with you what it is.

Discipleship is held every other Sunday from 10 until around 12. For more information feel comfortable calling The Fruit Of Our Hands Ministries at 951-289-9808. The Fruit Of Our Hands is located at 7000 Indiana Ave, Suite 114 Riverside, CA 92506

If you’d like to help expand our vision feel comfortable using the donate button on our home page. Or, you can email me, Jacqui Dobens and I’ll get you in touch with our admin in charge of donation and sponsorship onboarding. You can reach me at: Media@FruitnHands.org. If you are interested in giving back to the community or have a child in need of volunteer hours, feel comfortable reaching out to me and I’ll get you in touch with our team member in charge of volunteer scheduling.

Lastly, if you’re interested in attending Discipleship you must RSVP as is the case with all the programs at The Fruit Of Our Hands Ministries.

The Fruit Of Our Hands Ministries co-founders Lisa DeGennaro and Dr. Monica Hunter invite you to register for any of the services, coaching, or counseling that will positively impact your life. If you are in need of any new and gently loved trendy outfits, come visit us at Treasure Shop.

Treasure Shop proceeds fund the services, coaching, and counseling provided by The Fruit Of Our Hands Ministries. The Treasure Shop is located at 7000 Indiana Ave Suite 110, Riverside, CA 92506. Its hours of operation are 10 am – 5 pm Saturday, Tuesday, Wednesday, Thursday, and Friday. The store is closed on Sunday and Monday.

The pandemic revealed an epidemic

Warning: This post will be discussing mental health items, terms, and situations. If you believe this content will trigger unwanted feelings and emotions please refrain from reading any further. Also, if you have an immediate emergency need for help with mental or emotional concerns feel comfortable calling 911. Lastly, if you or someone you know is battling recurring suicidal thoughts feel comfortable reaching out to the Suicide Prevention Center Hotline: 988 24/7.

Audio: The Pandemic Revealed An Epidemic

In a matter of two or three short days, there were reports of two noteworthy individuals that felt helpless, hopeless, or in a state of overwhelm that they exercised a permanent and irreversible means to end their turmoil in the form of suicide. No judgment here. The focus will not be on a salacious tone. Instead, the preference is to go back to the glaringly obvious solutions and how The Fruit Of Our Hands Ministries is the salve towards providing healing in our local community. 

There is an old African proverb that states it takes a village to fill in the blank. The most popular iteration of this quote is child-rearing. However, it can be applied to virtually anything where there is a recognition of the need for community.

Let’s dive right into both incidents, what we know, and most importantly how we can apply the solutions to our own lives (or the lives of those we care about).

Bed Bath & Beyond CFO, Gustavo Arnal jumped to his death from a high-rise apartment in Manhattan. At the age of 52, he enjoyed a storied and enviable professional career that included traveling worldwide in various aspects and industries in financial capacities. So, what’s the backstory? What happened that led to this? Per the CNN article referenced below, Arnal was named as a defendant in a class action lawsuit accusing him, Ryan Cohen, and other large shareholders of engaging in a “pump and dump” scheme to artificially inflate the price of the company’s stock. 

https://www.nbcnews.com/news/us-news/bed-bath-cfo-falls-death-days-company-announces-massive-closures-layof-rcna46241

While Arnal may be deemed to be on an island both literally and figuratively one thing is relatable and shared by all of us: The Human Experience. The Amplified Bible states in 1 Corinthians 10:13 that, “ No temptation [regardless of its source] has overtaken or enticed you that is not common to human experience [nor is any temptation unusual or beyond human resistance]: but God is faithful [to His word — He is compassionate and trustworthy] and He will not let you be tempted beyond your ability [to resist], but along with the temptation He [has in the past and is now and] will [always] provide the way out as well, so that you will be able to endure it [without yielding and will overcome temptation with joy].

This particular passage of Scripture along with the recurring apparent need of addressing mental and emotional health challenges in our local community compelled The Fruit Of Our Hands Ministries to implement a few programs. 

Let’s begin with:

Mental and Behavioral Health Counseling

(Non-Faith Based and Faith-Based)

Partnered with Heart and Soul Collaboratives Inc.

Group Counseling, Family Counseling, 1-to-1 Counseling

https://fruitnhands.org/counseling

There are also several coaching programs with focuses designed to meet particular and specific needs:

https://fruitnhands.org/life-coaching

There was another incident that occurred with a girlfriend of a rapper. Full disclosure, I have no idea who either of these individuals is. However, I include them in this post for obvious and less obvious reasons. You see, our youth is enamored by the lifestyle of the celebrated. Also referred to as celebrities and the rich and famous. It is not uncommon for a goal of a young lady to hitch her wagon to the rising star of an athlete, or in this case, a rapper. 

In researching this heartbreaking story I was struck by the length of time that this young lady had been struggling with mental health issues. It’s stories like these that are a cautionary tale for all of us when we hear seemingly off-handed comments of struggle. In addition, we should be on the lookout for a lack of individual self-identity. There are catchphrases, moods, behaviors, and much more that need attention. Referring back to the power of a community or a village is paramount in seeing lasting change. The Fruit Of Our Hands Ministries is doing just that with the above-referenced counseling and coaching programs.

Below is the link to the above-referenced story:

https://www.tmz.com/2022/09/06/600breezy-girlfriend-dead-died-suicide/

Feel comfortable going to these pages and filling out the form(s) or calling to schedule an initial exploratory consultation.

951-289-9808

https://fruitnhands.org/counseling

https://fruitnhands.org/life-coaching

If you have a mental health emergency contact feel comfortable calling 911. Lastly, if you or someone you know is battling recurring suicidal thoughts feel comfortable reaching out to the Suicide Prevention Center Hotline: 988 24/7.

Mourning + Grief


Word count: 436
Read time 1:35

Let’s talk about what we should talk about: Mourning + Grief. Although this is a natural occurrence, it’s still a touchy subject. Having now experienced both mourning and grief, I get it!
dictionary.com describes mourning as:
verb (used without object)
to feel or express sorrow or grief.
to grieve or lament for the dead.
to show the conventional or usual signs of sorrow over a person’s death.
verb (used with object)
to feel or express sorrow or grief over (misfortune, loss, or anything regretted); deplore.
to grieve or lament over (the dead).
to utter in a sorrowful manner.

Ironically, they use the terms interchangeably. Suffice it to say, when you’re going through it, in the midst of it it can be tough. The length of time and experience is compounded when you do not have an adequate support system. In reflecting upon this I expanded my thought and realized that The Fruit Of Our Hands Ministries is a support system for you to get through, around, over, endure and become victorious in spite of bouts and stages of mourning and grief! In the most challenging times is when we lean toward isolation. Isolation feeds upon more isolation which can make the individual feel alone and helpless. Having someone to speak to and get things off of your chest and mind frees up space for victories. It also is not lost on me that dictionary.com displays these states both attached to objects and not.


One day recently it felt like death announcements were coming through traditional news portals, social media and news feeds in rapid succession. Although the individuals mentioned are celebrated, it was a reminder of how the notification of death, loss, or misfortune can spark negative and melancholy emotions. Watching those close to these individuals emotionally express their grief can be uncomfortable. Watching someone else cry is similar to when someone yawns and you find yourself yawning. Vicariously experiencing their expression of loss can oftentimes cause your mind to drift back to your experiences of loss. Let’s face it sometimes it is difficult to go through things with your own grit. In those times when you need support, The Fruit Of Our Hands Ministries is a resource to get you through to the other side of pain and discomfort. They will remind you that you are not alone. If you are in the middle of tackling an uncomfortable level of grief make a phone call today to get things in motion to change your state of mind. Call 951-289-9808 to begin your journey of feeling and being better!

Restoring Hope: The Power Of One Conversation

The Fruit Of Our Hands Ministries understands the power of one meaningful conversation. Too often we look at the BIG picture. While this is both necessary and important, there is also a long-term benefit in breaking things down into bite-size pieces. A popular quote/question attributed to self-improvement guru, Brian Tracy is: How do you eat an elephant? One bite at a time. Let’s expand that thought in the light of receiving the desired outcome by one interaction. Imagine. One right word at the right time can change your life. There was a compilation storybook titled, The Right Word At The Right Time spearheaded by Marlo Thomas. In one conversation, one book, one encounter your entire perspective can shift. 

Full disclosure, I’ve had the pleasure of watching dancing eyes filled with hope exiting a confidential consultation. It’s a consistent look of relief, expectancy, empowerment, and resoluteness. You know the look. It’s the look of a mom who rediscovers her lost self. Or, perhaps, it’s the look of a retired wife and mother that excelled in her vocation and is struggling to feel viable. Then as she is debriefing her experience in the communal area you can see the sparks of light permeate her face. Or the gentleman that envisioned his life going in one direction only to be blindsided by his employer. Feeling helpless and hopeless he reaches out to The Fruit Of Our Hands Ministries and is now empowered to bet on himself. Then there is the woman who believed and internalized virtually all the negative words spoken over her and to her about why she couldn’t make a positive outlook. Well, thanks to both Mental and Behavioral Counseling and Quality of Life Improvement Coaching, she is well on her way to victory. The best part is that the victory she is experiencing has inspired her to impart victory and hope to others. 

The Bible says Hope deferred makes the heart sick. However, the second part of that passage says that when the desire comes it’s like a life-giving tree. Many become weak and weary while on the journey to accomplishment. These are the times when you need someone to bounce ideas off of, seek wisdom and learn your next best steps. Through the portals of counseling and coaching, you’re investing in yourself to walk out of hopelessness to hopefulness. The first step you’ll need to take to hopefulness is to fill out this form and submit it: 

https://fruitnhands.org/assets/forms/Client_Contact_Information.pdf

Or, you can feel comfortable calling us to schedule your confidential initial consultation here: 951-289-8908.

A Safe Space to Share

Word Count:637 Read Time: 2:19

The Fruit Of Our Hands Ministries has deliberately and intentionally created a safe space to share! This is extremely important because the community issues are real. They are challenging. They can also be very private. It is paramount to know that as you share that confidentiality is at the forefront. There is a saying, “You’re only as sick as your secrets”. Well, that may be true. However, in order to confidently share those secrets, you must know that the vessel with which you are sharing recognizes and respects your vulnerability. While this is not widely discussed publicly, it can be the difference between seeking out help or continuing to suffer in silence. 

The Fruit Of Our Hands Ministries is addressing this subject matter head-on to share with you how important this is to everything that they do. I’ve personally witnessed an example of this. While distributing food through the Food Pantry program the client recipients were treated with both dignity and love. There was a level of respect that is often overlooked when serving those in need in various capacities. There is a saying, “How you do one thing is how you do everything”. This is true. How you treat someone obtaining food to feed their family is how you treat a couple seeking marital help, a young woman that is prepping for a critical test and needs coaching, or perhaps an empty-nester seeking career opportunities with bouts of self-doubt. Again, the way you do one thing is how you do everything. Full disclosure: When I first toured The Fruit Of Our Hands Ministries I was impressed by the feeling of acceptance and warmth. Once I had an opportunity to speak to both of its founders individually I knew this is something special! I’m naturally a talker. However, being a perfect blend of my parents I’m also equally as observant. I get the outgoing, gregarious part of myself from my dad. I get the watch you like a hawk from my mom, Mumay. So, although I was open to the experience, I drank up every drop during my initial visit. I missed nothing. As in no thing. I noticed the interaction between the truck driver dropping off food and the person in charge of intake. The excitement over the bounty was incredible. He enthusiastically shared the fresh veggies they received I believe from a local farmer. The twinkle in his eyes let me know that he was not dialing it in. This is his passion. He is a server. Now, what does this have to do with having a safe space to share? Simple. If this is what is going on behind the scenes when they don’t know anyone is looking, you can feel comfortable that they will treat you, your challenges, and your struggles with the same level of care. While physical food is important, it’s just as important to be satiated mentally, emotionally, socially, etc.. 

Remember, how you do anything is how you do everything. You can feel comfortable checking out the list of programs and services offered, reaching out, and registering to know that The Fruit Of Our Hands Ministries is indeed a safe space to share.

Take a look here:

https://fruitnhands.org/counseling

https://fruitnhands.org/life-coaching

951-289-9808

P.S. All services and programs are by appointment only. Feel comfortable reaching out for our earliest availability.