Six Simple Ways to Count Joy When Life Is Difficult

Article Source – Bible Study Tools

Joy. We all want it, but it sure does seem like some people get extra doses and others are left on the grouchy list just waiting for their big breakthrough. When life is filled with discouragement and tough times, it makes it even more difficult. When we look at the Bible and find joy, it’s often seated with suffering, sorrow, or trials of some kind. We see Paul in prison singing his way through. We see Daniel in the heat of the moment praying his way through morning, noon, and night. 

“Count it all joy, my brothers, when you meet trials of various kinds…” James 1:2 ESV

How can we count joy like James speaks of even in trials and temptation? Is it really even possible? The Bible gives us a good idea of the answer, and I want to share some of the verses that give us a reason and way to count joy no matter what we are going through. 

1. Count Joy When You Breathe

“Thus says God, the Lord, who created the heavens and stretched them out, who spread out the earth and what comes from it, who gives breath to the people on it and spirit to those who walk in it” (Isaiah 42:5).

Remember where your breath comes from. There is no life without God first giving it. When we take a step back even in the face of difficult circumstances, we still have the gift of breath. It’s a gift to inhale and exhale.

Counting joy may seem difficult when you are facing struggles that literally take your breath away. But after the tears are dried up for the day and you rest your head on your pillow, your body does the work for you of breathing in and out. God designed us to continue breathing even when we aren’t aware of it. And for that, I can claim joy for the breath God gives day by day.

2. Count Joy When You Speak

“Now therefore go, and I will be with your mouth and teach you what you shall speak” (Exodus 4:12).

Moses struggled just like we do with not knowing what to say. This was true before he even had to go and do as God commanded. But God promised to give Him words and He did. We have the same opportunity today to receive the blessing of the words God wants us to speak. 

Our words are so powerful. Our voices matter. The words we say leave marks and last in hearts longer than the moment they are spoken. Joy and words can walk together when we are in tune with the Lord. When we aren’t, there’s harshness, pain, and strife. Your voice is a gift. Praise God for the voice you have even when you don’t know what to say. Let God give you words. Those words will bring joy to both yourself and the listener. 

3. Count Joy When You See

“I will lift up mine eyes unto the hills, from whence cometh my help” (Psalm 121:1).

Just as we can count joy by our breath and words, we can count joy by sight. The things we see each day and the people we pass can impact us greatly when we are aware of them. It’s choosing to see the sunrise and set. It’s noticing the little ways God shows up for you. It’s being aware when God sends someone your way.

When we open our eyes to see all God has for us, joy is always a result. 

4. Count Joy When You Hear

“I sought the LORD, and he answered me and delivered me from all my fears” (Psalm 34:4).

Listen. Do you hear that? There are so many noises all around us each day, it is easy to drown out the still small voice of God. But if you’ve heard from God, you know very well the joy it brings your heart.

The best way I love to hear from God is through the Bible. I simply open it and ask Him to speak to my heart. I read until He speaks. Then I stop and listen. This practice of communing with God brings me joy. And it can bring you joy too. It’s a daily joy I get to count to open God’s Word.

5. Count Joy When You Walk

“Enoch walked with God, and he was not, for God took him” (Genesis 5:24).

Every day we have the opportunity to rise up and walk. I love this verse because we don’t know too much about Enoch except that he did walk with God. Whether you are simply walking to the mailbox to see what came in the mail today, or taking a long power walk to get your blood pumping, this is a great time to count joy and walk with God.

I actually take a short daily walk around lunch time just to remind myself I can get my heart to beat a little faster and breathe a little harder. It’s a great reminder to find joy in the mundane moments of the day. To notice the fresh air, the sky, the trees. Whatever it takes for you to remember God and that there is always a reason to be joyful. 

6. Count Joy When You Face a Trial

“Count it all joy, my brothers, when you meet trials of various kinds” (James 1:2).

I saved this one to repeat because it seems the most difficult. Can we really count joy when we are facing trials? I believe we absolutely can. But only if we are willing to count joy in the ways and for the reasons mentioned above. Without being thankful for the life and breath God has given us, we will surely live discouraged without true joy.

Without recognizing God’s creation and the way it looks, and sounds, we won’t truly be able to grasp the goodness of God. In His grace He makes the sun shine every day. He makes the moon come out and brighten the night sky. He gives power to wind and waves, but also holds the power to calm them.

God isn’t waiting to steal your joy by letting you walk through trials. He’s still there with you in them. His sun is still in the sky. His light is still shining brightly. His hope is still alive. And His help is absolutely available to you. There is always a reason and a way to count joy. Take a deep breath. Look around. Listen. And maybe even take a walk.

Article AuthorMicah Maddox is a women’s event speaker, Bible teacher, and author of Anchored In: Experience a Power-Full Life in a Problem-Filled World. She is passionate about helping women find purpose, peace, and calm in our chaotic world. Micah is on the Proverbs31 Ministries First5 Writing Team. As a pastor’s wife and mother of four, she contributes her time to her family and local church serving as a women’s ministry leader. Micah loves to give a voice to hurting hearts and writes and speaks to the one who needs encouragement. You can connect with her at micahmaddox.com or on YouTube. You can find her book here.

How to Remove Negative Items From Your Credit Report

Source: bankrate.com

If your credit score is not where you want it to be, you probably already know that it is the negative items on your credit report that bring your score down the most.

These items will fall off eventually, but what is the best way to do this, and is there a way to speed up the process? Let’s dive in and see.

How long do negative items stay on your credit report?

It depends on what the item is, but most will fall off after seven years. Yes, I said seven years. I know that’s a long time. It’s even longer for a chapter 7 bankruptcy, which takes 10 years to fall off.

But before you hang your head in despair, you should know that the impact of negative items to your score will lessen before those seven (or even 10) years are up as long as you don’t mess up again. This lessening can start in a matter of months for a minor mishap like a 30-day late notation to more than a year for a really serious issue like a charge-off or a bankruptcy.

Is it possible to remove them before they fall off?

No matter what you may have heard or been told to the contrary, it is generally not possible to remove accurate and timely data from your credit report. If you really did default on a loan or a credit card and it hasn’t been seven years, that item is going to stay put.

This includes items that may be beyond your state’s statute of limitations (SOL). Items that are too old to be collected in court under the SOL that are less than seven years old are still going to show up on your credit report. It is also important to understand that until any legitimate debt is paid, you still owe it even if you can’t be sued or if it has fallen off of your credit report.

However, inaccuracies and out of date items on your credit report can be removed. We’ll discuss that further in just a bit.

How much will your score improve if you remove negative items?

It depends on two major factors: the length of your experience using credit and how serious the negative item was.

A long credit history will have less of an impact from a single negative item being reported. But a serious negative event like a charge-off will indicate that you are now a high-risk borrower and cause you to lose more points despite a long credit history. For those with a short credit history, also called a “thin file,” almost any negative item will cause a sizable drop in score. The higher the “thin” score to begin with, the bigger the drop.

But in credit scoring, sometimes just a few points are all you need to move into a higher tier. Those points could make a huge difference in real dollars on your next loan or whether or not you are approved for your next credit card. So, how can you remove items that shouldn’t be there?

How to remove credit report errors

Your first step will be to get copies of your credit reports from all three bureaus—Equifax, Experian and TransUnion—and go over them carefully.

You can get your reports for free at AnnualCreditReport.com. Look for accounts you don’t recognize. As you check your credit reports, you may be surprised by how many accounts there are. Because your report lists negative information for seven years and positive information for much longer, you will probably see accounts, referred to as trade lines, that you’ve forgotten about, and perhaps even some that you didn’t realize you still had.

Verify account numbers, balances and dates opened and closed. If you find errors, you will need to document them carefully and communicate—in writing—those errors to the bureaus. Since the credit bureaus don’t always have exactly the same information about you in their credit reports, if you see an inaccuracy on one credit report, follow the dispute process and have it corrected.

But you may not be out of the woods. The other bureaus may have different inaccurate information. That is why you need to get all three reports to make sure all your information is accurate.

If the same error appears on two or all three reports, you need to dispute it only once. If the source of the information makes a change as a result of your dispute, that source has to tell the other bureaus about the change, too. But I recommend double-checking anyway.

Correcting all three reports is important because some lenders and businesses purchase a “three-in-one” report that includes a credit score and credit history information from each of the three bureaus. Each bureau has slightly different procedures for filing disputes, but all three allow you to dispute inaccurate or out-of-date information by phone, by mail, or online:

  • Equifax: Call the phone number provided for disputes on your credit report, and be sure to have the 10-digit credit report confirmation number (on your report) available. You can also dispute by mail at Equifax Information Services LLC, P.O. Box 740256, Atlanta, GA 30374 (no confirmation number is required on written correspondence); or online.
  • Experian: You can dispute by phone using the toll-free number on your credit report; by mail at Experian, P.O. Box 9701, Allen, TX 75013; or online.
  • TransUnion: You can dispute information by phone at (800) 916-8800; by mail at TransUnion Consumer Solutions, P.O. Box 2000, Chester, PA 19022-2000 (be sure to include the completed request for investigation form found on the website); or online.

Filing a dispute online

I used to recommend that you write (on paper) to initiate a dispute so that you could maintain a paper trail. Today, when you dispute online, the bureaus provide confirmation throughout the process. Just save or print the documents along the way to establish a paper trail for future reference. Either way, be sure to document your interactions.

Disputing online is faster, easier and more secure than doing it via the mail, but you may need to be able to upload documents to support your dispute. Think about sending a letter with all your identification, credit information and other documents. How many people handle that letter and may be tempted to open it?

When you dispute online at Experian, for example, you choose the items you want to dispute with a click. You’re walked through the process one step at a time. When you’ve finished, you submit the disputes and any documents you upload to support them. You can create a paper trail by printing the report, the dispute “shopping cart,” your documents and confirmation for free.

Filing a dispute via mail

If you choose to dispute items on your credit report via mail, write a letter stating which item(s) you’re disputing. Include any facts that explain your case and include copies (not originals) of documents. Enclose a copy of your credit report with the items in question circled or highlighted.

Be sure to provide your complete name and address and tell the company what your desired action is (correction or deletion). Send your dispute letter by certified mail, return-receipt requested, so you can document the fact that the letter was mailed and received. Keep copies of your dispute letter and enclosures.

If there are changes as a result of your dispute, you can request that the bureau send notices of corrections to anyone who received your report in the past six months. If you’ve applied for a job, you can have a corrected copy of your report sent to anyone who received a copy during the past two years for employment purposes.

Bottom line

While working on the negative things that may be on your credit report, don’t forget about the positive things that you can do right now that will pay off in a higher score in time. If you pay your bills on time, keep your credit utilization low and apply for new credit only when you need it, you will see your score rise over time.

Remember that the negatives fall off after seven years, but positive information will remain much longer. The more positive action you can take, the better for your score. Good luck!

Seven steps to take to finish 2020 financially strong

Source: bankrate.com

It’s safe to say that 2020 has been a wild ride for nearly every American. Not only have we been dealing with a global pandemic, but also unprecedented job losses and wild price swings in financial markets. The economic chaos caused by COVID-19 has upended the financial plans of millions of people throughout the year.

Now’s the time to chart a plan to get back on track. As we barrel toward a fresh start in 2021, there are a few things you can do to help set your finances up for success in the New Year. It can be tempting to put some of these personal finance fixes off until next year. But getting a head start will help you make your financial goals happen next year.

Here are a few personal finance must-dos before year-end to help you finish 2020 financially strong and set yourself up for success in 2021:

1. Budget for holiday spending

The holidays can be a major spending trap, says Connor Brown, founder of After School Finance. “One surefire way to derail yourself in the last few months of the year is overspending on the holidays,” Brown says.

But you don’t need to bust your budget with out-of-control spending to enjoy the holiday season. “The best thing you can do to avoid overspending during the holiday season is to make a list of who you need to buy gifts for and what your spending limit is per person,” Brown says. “If you go into the holidays with a game plan, you are much less likely to overspend — a mistake that could lead to a difficult start to the New Year.”

Your wallet and sanity will thank you if you set up a money plan for the extra expenses that are coming. And don’t forget to factor in travel costs to visit family members and food and drink expenses for holiday get-togethers.

2. Review your money goals

As the cooler weather sets in, set aside an afternoon to review your money goals. No matter where you stand in your personal finance journey, moving your finances in the right direction requires setting thoughtful money goals.

Your money goals should help you make financial decisions. As you consider your saving, spending and investing plans, set goals that are specific, measurable, attainable, realistic and timely.

“By setting financial goals that are specific, they will motivate you to balance your spending and savings,” says Katie Ross, education and development manager for American Consumer Credit Counseling.

3. Craft a savings plan for 2021

Once you’ve taken some time to set your money goals it’s time to craft a savings plan for 2021. The savings goals that you set should reflect your values and where you are at in life.

For example, you might be saving for your next vacation, building an emergency fund, or maxing out your retirement savings plan. Each is a worthwhile goal that you can factor into your savings plan.

If you struggled to meet your savings goals for 2020, then consider setting up an automatic saving plan. Ethan Bloch, CEO of Digit, is a big advocate for automated savings strategies.

“There are great financial tech tools out there to help you make smart financial decisions automatically,” Bloch says.

If you’ve decided that you want to save more money, then an automated deposit into a separate savings account can be the perfect solution. “Without even noticing it, you can build toward financial health while your tools go to work on their own,” Bloch says.

Boosting the amount you save in your 401(k) each paycheck is another automatic-savings strategy that will pay off.

You can put the right systems in place now to start 2021 out on the right foot.

4. Use up your flexible savings plan

If you have contributed to a flexible savings plan — otherwise known as a FSA, then now is the time to spend it. The funds in your FSA can be used to cover certain medical and dental expenses for you and your dependents.

Although there are some exceptions, you typically need to use your FSA funds within the year. However, your employer may allow you to use the funds in a grace period of 2.5 months after the end of the plan year. Additionally, your employer may allow you to carry over $500 to use in the next plan year.

If you aren’t sure what rules your employer has in place for your FSA, then take a minute to call your human resources department. They should be able to tell you exactly how much you need to spend by a given date. Don’t let these funds go to waste.

5. Consider your healthcare options

With our health at the focus of this year’s coronavirus chaos, it’s important to review your healthcare insurance options. “If this year has taught us anything, it is that our health is our wealth,” says Noa Hoffman, CFP with Singleton Foundation. “Open enrollment is the time—Sunday, November 1 to Tuesday, December 15, 2020—to review your current health insurance plan and make changes if necessary.”

But cheaper plans aren’t always better, Hoffman warns.

“While it may be tempting to switch to a cheaper plan to cut costs, consider the benefits that add value to your plan such as cost-sharing, preventative care, telemedicine, nurse helplines and care management,” Hoffman says.

Make sure that you’re comfortable with your healthcare coverage in terms of your budget and your coverage as the year comes to a close.

6. Bolster your emergency fund

With a year full of heart-stopping emergencies, such as furloughs and job losses, 2020 has been a reminder of just how critical having an emergency fund is. Most experts recommend keeping at least three to six months of expenses on hand in an accessible account.

If you have an emergency fund, then check to make sure it hasn’t been depleted in the chaos of this year. If you don’t have an emergency fund in place, it’s time to take action.

Wade Schlosser, CEO and founder of Solvable, recommends that you “begin automatically depositing whatever you can afford into that account each month. This might mean taking a look at your income and your expenses and finding ways to cut expenses or increase your income to free up a little bit of cash each month. It will be worth it as you watch your savings add up.”

Once you have a solid emergency fund on hand, you will be able to handle whatever surprises life throws your way without taking on debt.

7. Take a closer look at your debt

If you have high interest loans on the books, such as credit cards with 17 percent APRs or mortgages with high interest rates, then it might be time to reconsider your repayment strategy.

According to Jim Pendergast, senior vice president of altLINE, “now’s the right time to refinance” your home loan since mortgage rates are near record lows. He also recommends taking advantage of temporary debt relief programs if you’re eligible. Additionally, “consider a balance transfer if the numbers work in your favor.” Some credit card companies offer 0 percent for 12 months, which will enable you to pay down your debt and pay less in interest.

No doubt, refinancing your debt could be a good idea if you are able to find better loan terms. Take a few minutes to shop around for better terms, such as a much lower interest rate, before you rule out this idea. A careful refinance could potentially save you a large chunk of change. Imagine heading into 2020 with lower monthly debt payments.

Bottom line

The past year has likely been a big challenge. But you can take action in the next few months to finish out 2020 on a strong financial note. Allow the momentum you build in the next few months to propel you toward greater success in the New Year.

Proverbs Consulting Seeking to Build an African-American Professional Business Service Consortium

Recently I wanted to bid on a large-scale diversity Marketing project for a major medical university that was targeting to increase and expand its consumer reach to Black and Latino communities.

In light of the incident with George Floyd many companies have become laser focused on strategies of cultural awareness and sensitivity to black and brown communities in particular. What a great opportunity I thought for my own business to at least bid on this work that would impact my community as well as the Latina community, however, due to other professional commitments I was not able to work on the bid, but also my business alone did not not have the internal or external resources either as my own business partners or project associates needed to successful develop a strong bid/proposal for the project. Thus, I decided going forward in this global economy that has become more culturally sensitive in resent months, it would become essential and important to develop a consortium specially of African-American business services providers (marketing, finance, IT, developers, diversity & inclusion, corporate responsibility, management, training, cloud, software, research, communications, graphic design, media, production, public relations) for Proverbs Consulting to meet the needs of these increasing opportunities from businesses who now have more awareness of being purposeful in their engagement with minority communities.

If you a business or company that offers the services mentioned above or other related professional services not listed that target minority communities please put your business name and contact information in the Comments below and I will contact you directly.

Show Me The Money: Eight Low-Risk Ways to Earn Higher Interest Rates

Source: bankrate.com

When you have money tucked away in a savings account, you usually earn some interest on the account balance. Unfortunately, the interest you earn might not generate much income. That’s especially true during a recession, like now, when the U.S. central bank lowers rates to encourage more spending and reduce the cost of borrowing money.

In some cases, you’ll wind up earning less than the rate of inflation, which means the money you’ve saved is actually losing spending power over time.

But there are ways to earn more on your money. So, if you have some money set aside and want to earn a higher rate of interest without taking too much risk, consider these strategies.

1. Take advance of bank bonuses

Many banks offer introductory bonuses for new customers that sign up for an account and meet a few requirements. Usually, checking account bonuses require that you set up regular direct deposits and make a minimum number of transactions each statement period.

For people with some savings already set aside, savings account bonuses can be an easy way to increase your earnings. These bonuses typically ask new customers to transfer a minimum amount to the account and keep it there for a period of time. In short, you could boost your savings balance by opening a new account and funding it with savings held at another bank.

For example, you might see a bonus offering $400 if you transfer $10,000 and maintain that balance in the account for at least three months. You can calculate what the effective interest rate for the offer is pretty quickly.

If you earn $400 on a balance of $10,000 in three months, you would earn the equivalent of a 16 percent annual return in that initial three-month bonus period.

As a bonus, you’ll also get the account’s typical annual interest payments while you have your savings in the account, boosting your earnings further.

If you go this route, be careful to read all the fine print. Some banks will charge a fee if you don’t meet certain requirements or try to close the account too quickly after opening it. Some banks might even make you forfeit the reward if you close the account soon after getting the bonus.

2. Consider certificates of deposits

Certificates of deposit (CDs) offer higher interest rates than traditional savings accounts in exchange for reduced withdrawal flexibility.

When you put money in a CD, you have to agree to leave the money in the account for a set period of time, called the term. For example, if you open a one-year CD, you have to leave the money in the account for a full year. If you withdraw your deposit before the term expires, you’ll have to pay an early withdrawal penalty.

One benefit of CDs is that you lock in the interest rate when you open the CD. Even if market rates drop, you’ll keep earning the same rate. On the other hand, if rates rise, you’ll be stuck earning the lower rate until the CD matures.

Once the CD term ends, you can withdraw your money or roll it into a new CD. If you roll the balance into a new CD, you have to wait for that CD to mature before having another chance to make a penalty-free withdrawal.

3. Build a CD ladder

CD ladders combine the higher rates of CDs with some of the flexibility of savings accounts.

To build a CD ladder, you need to open multiple CDs, with each maturing on a fixed schedule. For example, you could spend a year opening twelve, equally sized, one-year CDs. If you open a one-year CD each month for a year, one will mature each month the following year.

That means you can access a portion of your savings each time one of your CDs matures. In this example, instead of locking up all of your money in a single one-year CD, you can get access to portions of it at regular monthly intervals to avoid having to pay a penalty for early withdrawals in the event you need your money.

How you structure your CD ladder depends on how much flexibility you’re willing to sacrifice for higher interest rates and how frequently you want to have access to your funds. For example, a five-year CD ladder would include the purchase of five different CDs with different terms: a one-year CD, a two-year CD, a three-year CD, a four-year CD and a five-year CD. When each CD matures, you’d reinvest into another higher-yielding five-year CD, but you’d still have one of your five CDs maturing every year.

4. Switch to high-interest savings account

Some banks offer special, high-interest savings accounts that can offer much higher rates than traditional accounts.

One of the best places to look for high-interest savings accounts is online banks. Online banks, which benefit from lower costs due to not having to operate brick-and-mortar branches, rarely charge monthly fees—and offer rates that are often ten times higher or more compared to traditional banks.

Another benefit of working with online banks is that it keeps your savings out of sight and out of mind, which can make it easier to resist the temptation to spend your savings.

5. Consider a rewards checking account

Some banks have started offering rewards checking accounts, which can offer higher interest rates, with a catch. Usually, the balance that earns the elevated rate is limited, and you have to jump through some hoops to earn the bonus rate.

For example, Consumers Credit Union offers interest rates as high as 4.09 percent on balances up to $10,000. However, to earn that rate you need to meet all the following requirements:

  •       Sign up for electronic statements
  •       Make at least 12 debit card purchases per month
  •       Receive direct deposits, mobile check deposits, or ACH credits of at least $500 each month
  •       Spend at least $1,000 per month on the CCU credit card

If you choose to use a rewards checking account, make sure that the requirements to earn the elevated interest rate are easy for you to meet. Otherwise, you’ll earn less interest than a standard savings account.

6.  Check with your local credit union

Credit unions, unlike banks, are owned by the people, or members, who hold accounts at the credit union. This means that they work for the benefit of accountholders instead of shareholders.

In some cases, that can translate into lower fees, better account perks and higher interest rates. If you have a credit union near you, check the rates it offers, as you might be able to get a good deal.

7. Consider buying bonds

If you don’t mind a little risk or restriction on your withdrawals, you can put your money into bonds instead of a traditional savings account.

Buying a bond is like making a loan to the company or government that issues it. When the bond matures, you get your principal back plus any interest you earn. You can buy U.S. Savings or Treasury bonds, or bonds issued by major companies. Each has different interest rates and repayment terms, with riskier bonds tending to offer higher rates. Typically, yields are higher on bonds with longer terms and corporate bonds that have higher default risk.

One thing to keep in mind with bonds is that they can drop in value if market rates increase. (The price of a bond moves inverse to its interest rate.) As a result, if you wind up selling your bond to someone else before it matures, you might have to sell it for less than you paid. Still, bonds are far less risky than stocks, making them a good way to increase the yield your savings earns while taking a little more risk.

8. Try a money market account

Money market accounts offer a mixture of the features found in savings and checking accounts. They pay interest, sometimes at higher rates than savings accounts, while offering check-writing privileges and debit cards that you can use to make withdrawals, with some restrictions.

The drawback of money market accounts is that they often have higher fees and minimum balance requirements than savings accounts. There’s also no guarantee that your bank’s money market account pays a better rate than its savings account.

How to decide which options are best

Each of these options has the potential to increase the interest your savings earns. But which interest-bearing option is right will depend on your needs, risk tolerance and the effort you’re willing to put in.

Bank bonuses, for example, can be very lucrative but require a lot of effort and attention to detail. CDs may pay higher rates, but force you to lock up your money and charge early-withdrawal fees. And higher-yielding bonds put you at risk of losing money if you sell them before they mature and they are worth less than you bought them for due to market volatility.

Take some time to think about which of these strategies is right for you.

Bottom Line

Earning interest is one of the many benefits of having a savings account and earning more can only help you preserve or increase the spending power of your nest egg. These strategies are low-risk, but can help you boost your interest earnings.

Good Mental Health Check-In

As we continue to grappling with the effects on COVID-19 in our communities, we must make sure we are maintaining good mental health.

Your mental health is just as important as your physical health. Good mental health can improve your overall well being — and it’s covered with your plan. BlueCross BlueShield of Texas offers some great mental health resource information for its members and I’ve included some additional resource links that are also accessible to everyone.

Where to begin:
In today’s reality, it’s natural to feel worried, afraid or lonely but it’s important to take care of your mental health to cope with so many changes happening. In your plan, you’re covered for anxiety disorders, depression, alcohol abuse and more.
icon 1. Find a Mental Health Provider to Fit Your Needs
Whether you need a counselor, psychiatrist or treatment facility, if you have insurance coverage through Blue Cross Blue BlueShield you can utilize the Access for MembersSM (BAMSM) can help you find one. Log in to BAM, then click Doctors & Hospitals to start your search.

icon 2. Try Online Talk Therapy
Try an online visit with a licensed mental health professional. Visit MDLIVE®, download the MDLIVE mobile app or call MDLIVE at 888-680-8646 for details.

icon 3. Call BlueCross BlueShield of Texas with Questions
If you live in Texas BlueCross BlueShield of Texas can help you understand how your mental health benefits work or find a provider. Just call the customer service number on the back of your member ID card if you need help or contact 972-766-6900 for general information.

Resources:
https://connect.bcbstx.com/health-and-wellness/b/weblog/posts/behavioral-health-peeling-the-onion

https://www.nimh.nih.gov/health/topics/index.shtml

https://connect.bcbstx.com/health-and-wellness/b/weblog/posts/learn-about-different-levels-of-care

https://www.bcbstx.com/covid-19.html

Proverbs Consulting… Providing The Wisdom For Your Visions

Dr. Tamara Johnson, PhD is the Founder and Senior Managing Consultant of Proverbs Consulting a professional business and management consulting firm that targets professional consulting and business service offerings to non-profits, faith-based organizations, the government/public sector, entrepreneurs and small-businesses.

In its twenty-sixth year, Proverbs Consulting is a minority-women owned business offers a diversity of consulting services that include, strategic planning, business operations optimization, human resources, social media strategies, technical writing and project management.

Additionally, Dr. Johnson has 35-years diverse corporate work experience with several major Fortune 1000 companies within various industries such as banking, retail, telecommunications, healthcare, IT and the government sector that includes and is not limited to – Verizon, MCI, JPMorgan Chase, Bank of America, Greystar, AIG, Macy’s, the State of Texas, the City of Wichita, KS and Amazon.

Dr. Johnson has the following academic credentials and certifications-
Bachelor of Science – Health Care Administration
MPA – Master of Public Administration
PhD – Doctor of Philosophy – Business Administration
Lean Six Sigma – Greenbelt
Microsoft Office Professional – MS Excel


Dr. Johnson has a passion for business, community service, health and wellness, ministry, and politics and utilizes her various social media platforms and networking connections to educate, empower and mobilize those within her sphere of influence and the community at large.

Contact:
Dr. Tamara Johnson, PhD
Proverbs Consulting
c: 469.530.7503 e: info@tamarajohnsonphd.com

Cowboys Go To Heaven…

Recently a co-worker who has become a good friend brother had died after a long battle with bone cancer. Daily if not weekly I would send her a prayer of encouragement that she would share with her brother. Upon his death she asked me to submit a prayer for the funeral obituary which was my honor to complete. Below is that prayer. Also take your own encouragement from the prayer as we daily battle the social ills of our society, COVID-19, unemployment, mental fatigue and a host of other day to day living life encounters.

Heavenly Father and all-seeing and all-knowing God. You have called one of your cowboy’s home from labor to reward. That cowboy was A.D., a real cowboy—a man of size who rode horses and bulls, not one of those fake cowboys who dressed in a hat, boots and spurs for fashion but a real cowboy who tackled and appreciated God’s land and nature, who respected its bounty. A cowboy that wasn’t afraid of a fight.

As you are a wise and strategic God, who only gives the biggest and hardest tests to those who can handle them, you allowed cancer to enter A.D. body, but cancer didn’t know who it took on.. it was A.D. the cowboy who valiantly with vigor and persistence took on cancer head on. He may have had days and times of heavy burden of despair but like any strong cowboy he would rest up and fight again day after day. His cancer testimony journey is a reflection of God’s grace and mercy.

Yes, God we thank you for his life, a life well-lived and even in sickness showing us all how to live and endure and fight and fight and fight until you can’t fight anymore.

Now it’s time for the cowboy to ride into the sunset and leave us in body but his spirit remains… and leaves for family and friends a lifetime of love, laughs and great memories. This is what we can hold onto as we look out across pastures of lands or see horses running in a field, we can look up to the heavens as say, hey A.D. we see you cowboy—we see you.

In the bible in, 2 Corinthians 5, God’s word offers us, when we are absent from the body, we are present with the Lord, and as A.D. has transitioned to the Lord, we thank God for his 61 years and how his long-life legacy will now live within all that knew him. Rest well cowboy until we meet again… Amen and amen…