Sunday, April 29, 2018

Free Spark Plugs

Hope spark plug works
PTSD Patrol
Kathie Costos
April 29, 2018

If all you hear is negative, how can you find anything positive to fire your imagination? If your car battery only had negative terminals, it would not work, no matter how many times you tried to charge it.

You need something to put energy into your life again. You need some spark plugs to get you going.

This is from Firestone Complete Auto Care but think of it as complete YOU care.

What do spark plugs do?

Spark plugs are vital to your car’s efficiency!
"Think of spark plugs as the tiniest bolt of lighting. Small but mighty, the spark of electricity that the plug emits across a small gap creates the ignition for the combustion needed to start your car. By putting the engine’s pistons in motion, your car can power up, stay powered up and produce a smooth burn of the compressed air-fuel mixture. Mind you, spark plugs like it hot: they withstand extreme heat and pressure within your cylinders and are built to burn off deposits from fuel additives or other contaminants."
What does it mean for you?
"Well, without a spark, your car won’t start – or go anywhere. And because spark plug health is directly linked to engine performance, it stands to reason weak or bad spark plugs lead to problems, be it issues with cold-starting or misfires during acceleration. Besides – without healthy ones – your ride can’t sustain maximum power, and your vehicle can see a drop in fuel economy. Now, nobody wants that."
Yes, you are very smart! You know exactly where I am going on this one. The spark is about getting your healthy spirit back so it can sustain the maximum power. We all misfire from time to time. Some of us burnout. I suffer from that so much so, that God must have switched from matches to a bic lighter. He sparks my drive all the time.

A long time ago, I worked for a church as Administrator of Christian Education. Most of the kids are all grown up now. All of them were blessed to have had a youth pastor named Karen Estes. She became a close friend and had me looking at a lot I thought I knew, differently.

One of the things I could never seem to come to terms with, was how the 10 Commandments meshed with what Jesus said. Karen set me straight on that one. She told me that I was looking at it the wrong way. It was not about sin but was more of a love letter from God.

The first part is about our relationship with God and the second part is about our relationship with other people. It is about how to not hurt them. That was exactly what Jesus taught. That was a new spark plug for me. It was a lot more powerful knowing that God loved that much and wanted us to love each other. 

We are not to judge the sins of others, but to judge our own. We are not supposed to turn some away because we do not like how they live their lives, but we are supposed to be as Jesus was with everyone.

When I think about the Roman Centurion asking Jesus to heal His servant, it is very hard to think that Jesus would have turned anyone away.

Karen wrote something that sums all this up better than I ever could do it. Gee, she is still teaching me!
"Jesus accepted people as they were. He accepted the smelly fishermen, the hated tax collector, the women that society thought were worth nothing, and even Zachaeus the wee little man who climbed a tree to see Jesus. Jesus accepts as we are; scars, warts, and all. The guest speaker at Oviedo Pres. last Sunday was brought up in a family that was Hindu, Muslim, and Ba' hai. He decided that Jesus was the way for him because of the unconditional grace, love, and acceptance that Jesus had for everyone. God so loved the world, including Geeks, nerds, and shy little girls." Rev. Karen Estes
You may judge how people are treating you and it can make you bitter. You are being judged by people who do not know why you act the way you do, why you changed or why you seem so sad. How can they know what is going on inside of you if you do not tell them? 

How can you expect them to remember what "you" were like, if you don't even remember what you were like? Do you even remember what you did like? Stop thinking so much about what you do not like. That takes up too much time that you could be thinking of what you can still enjoy.

There is one of my favorite lines from Criminal Minds when "David Rossi" says “Scars remind us where we've been. They don't have to dictate where we're going.” 

You decide where you are going and how you are going to get there. If you have no hope, then how can you think of anything better than where you are right now? How can you dream of any life that is happier? How can you think of feeling love or laughter instead of wanting get numb, if no one shows you there is still hope of all that, and so much more? 

Change your spark plug! Stop being powered by anger. It is robbing your engine from the power it is capable of receiving!

Did that fire up your hope spark plug? Hope that helps is right inside of you. Open your eyes and look around at where you are right now that hood is up and you can see what drives you. It is time to enjoy the ride.

Did you know a spark plug is not just for your vehicle, but for your life too? The spark plugs you run on is hope and inspiration. It does not just start your the engine of your imagination. It drives you to achieve more, be more, do more and look forward to the next challenge. It is time to find that spark that the rest of your life will drive on!

Sunday, April 22, 2018

Objects in mirror, closer than they appear

Then They Appear
PTSD Patrol
Kathie Costos
April 22, 2018

Yesterday we went out to the Veterans Reunion at Wickham Park in Melbourne Florida. It is the 31st time veterans gathered together for several reasons.

For some, it was to spend time with other veterans but for most, it was a journey to remember those they still spend time with, but only in their memories and dreams.

For far too many, when veterans reach retirement age, it all comes back. Things they thought the had gotten over, let them know loud and clear that the sound of the helicopters have not faded. The smell of diesel fuel has not faded. The feel of their weapons has not been removed from their hands.  

They carried PTSD inside of them all along but because they got too busy, too tired at the end of the day, they just didn't notice that the objects in their rear view mirror were a lot closer than they seemed to be.

It is time for your generation to make a U Turn from the left lane and start taking the right road.
The left lane is the lane for those who are heading into those who have left us! Why leave us now after all these years? Why surrender to the thing you have kept one step ahead of all this time?

Now that you have time, why not spend it on taking back your life from PTSD instead of trying to figure out how you want to leave now?

Your generation are the ones who taught the rest of the country what PTSD was and because you pushed for all the research, you basically taught all others how to heal. So how is it that too many in your generation did not get the radio call?

Your generation taught the rest of us how to honor those who risked their lives for everyone else. How about you teach the younger generation that having PTSD makes you a survivor and there is no shame in beating combat the first time. You gave it all you had to live during combat. How about you do all you can to survive old age?

Come on! For the generation who mapped the road, how is you guys keep taking the long way home to healing PTSD?

Ok, anyway, I filmed this weeks Empowerment Zone at the Memorial. I spent most of the morning trying to get rid of the noise from the wind. Then it dawned on my that you may have a lot of noise you can't get rid of too.

The noise you hear is the annoying chatter of how many veterans someone thinks should be reduced to. Not even close, but here, we're more about how many veterans pull each other up instead of trying to figure out how many will never get up again.

So, are you ready to take back your life? Then let the smoke rise up to let others know you need help.

They can rescue you if they don't know where you are!!!!!

Monday, April 16, 2018

Past in Rear View Mirror

Nothing behind you can stop you
PTSD Patrol
Kathie Costos
April 16, 2018

Yesterday we were driving to Melbourne so that I could film the motorcycle escort for the Vietnam Memorial Wall. My husband was driving, and as I looked into the rear view mirror, it seemed really odd that no one was behind us. There really wasn't many people ahead of us either, which is really strange. Anyway, I had the camera in my lap, so, naturally, I snapped away.

I thought about how there is nothing stopping us from where we want to go other than what we limits we make. Sure, we may not have enough money to do what we want now, but there was a time when we thought we couldn't even buy a house, and now, we're in our second one. 

There were a lot of times when stuff seemed hopeless, but we were not willing to settle where we were. Hope is what keeps us moving and improving.

Getting where you want to be, may take a little longer than you want it to, but if you don't give up, then you'll get there.

I wanted to be a writer. Actually growing up, I wanted to write horror books. I never thought I'd be writing about real horrors veterans live with for the last 3 plus decades, but it is the way it turned out to be.

I'm doing what I always wanted to do. The past got me to where I am but I decide where I go from here.

So do you! Everything in our lives gets us to where we are at this very moment. The bad stuff, as well as the good, were on the road we drove on.

The road ahead is filled with the same too but the journey is full of possibilities for better than now. You already know what is behind you. If you keep looking back, you may miss what is coming. 

Stop looking back because you are not there anymore. You survived whatever smacked PTSD into you. Like a car accident, you probably didn't see it coming at you. No one stays where it happened. They get help, move on and take care of whatever they need to do. You can do the same! That thing is over, but the leftover is only in control if you let it be.

Maybe you always wanted to be in the military and now you are not. What else can you do with your life to help other people? Think about it. I may not be making a living doing it, but you can do it in your spare time. I do this after work and weekends. It makes me happier during the week when I have to do something else.

Maybe you had other dreams. Things that were important to you? Then do them! Do what you enjoy and stop spending so much time feeling miserable. I don't know who told you that this is the best you get, but that is not the truth. 

This is what you accept it to be instead of what you expected it to become.

How about taking that tiny step of doing something looking forward and see where it takes you. All you have to lose is what has been keeping you trapped.

Saturday, April 14, 2018

American Combat Club ready to kick the crap out of you.

Fight to take your life back
PTSD Patrol
Kathie Costos
April 14, 2018

(editors note: filming escort of the Vietnam Memorial Wall tomorrow, so putting these up today instead of tomorrow. It is still the Sunday Morning Empowerment Zone, but just a day early. If that bothers you, watch these tomorrow.)

The road sign is "Hope Road" and nearby they are working on the roads around it, clearly marked by "Construction Entrance." Would be nice if all of us saw the signs like that.

Finding a way to hope is always a process of constructing the way to get there. Feed positive thoughts into it and you'll get there a lot faster. You need help to kick the crap out of you so there is room for good stuff to get in.
My buddy Jonnie has been going to the American Combat Club in Downtown Orlando. His VA therapist recommended them because they are giving three months of free classes to veterans battling to heal. Besides, he enjoys the fact he can punch stuff without getting into trouble.

(Was in this video but YouTube pulled it.)

They put it back up.
“MERCILESS” MITCH MCELROY, one of the trainers is in this video.
Mitch is a second degree black belt in Brazilian Jiu-jitsu under BJJ World Champion Helio “Soneca” Moreira. Mitch has also trained extensively in Western Boxing, Muay Thai Kickboxing, and Wrestling. He holds various BJJ and Submission Grappling titles and has been a professional MMA fighter since 2005.

This is veteran Brian Watts and one of my favorite parts of this video is when he says "stop being your own worst enemy." 

You have to be participating in your own life instead of just settling for the way it is now. If you keep telling yourself this is as good as you'll get out of it, then you proved yourself right. Not very smart, but hey, if you think suffering and feeling sorry for yourself is all you're worth, than whatever you did was just slapped in the face. 

You are worth so much more than just sitting back, suffering instead of fighting to take your life back from PTSD. It didn't win the first time. Why let it win now instead of kicking the crap out of it?

Stop clogging your engine!

Your brain is your engine
PTSD Patrol
Kathie Costos
April 14, 2018

The Carpenters "Song Rainy Days And Mondays" talks about feeling down. I don't know about you, but at work I changed Monday to "Moanday" since that is what most of us do.  Usually we turn it around, make a joke, and then get over the fact we have a long week ahead until another short time off.

Another part of the song is "talking to myself" which is something most of us do a lot more often than we want to admit. There are things we tell ourselves all the time, yet sometimes it is good thought, other times, terrible ones. It is really great that as long as you hold you thoughts, no one will ever judge what you think. The problem is, they also do not know how you feel.

What are you saying to yourself? Do you tell yourself you are a survivor or do you wonder why you lived? Do you tell yourself that what you tried to do was something wonderful, or do you tell yourself you do not deserve to be alive?

The expression "you are your own worst enemy" is because all too often we tell ourselves that we're terrible and then we manage to prove it. When you have PTSD, it is worse because at the same time you need the people closest to you, you push them away.

Don't you think it may be time to stop putting negative thoughts into your brain and clear out all the crap you've been putting into it?

Think of your brain like the engine of  your car.

Your Mechanic explains how your engine can get clogged.
"Fuel injectors deliver fuel into the cylinder for combustion. Clogged fuel injectors can be caused by debris or impurities in the fuel. Fuel injectors are responsible for getting fuel into the engine. ... The fuel is then ignited and the engine keeps on moving."

All the negative thoughts you put into the thing that drives you stops it from moving in the right direction. It doesn't matter how strong your body is if you don't have fuel to power it. It doesn't matter how smart you are if you're stupid enough to let the impurities invade your brain.

Doubt, fear, anger, paranoia, hatred of others and hating what you believe you turned into, leave little room for all the good stuff to get in.

You stay stuck. If it goes on too long, then you end up with a broken engine that could have been powering healing.

When social media decided that talking about veterans committing suicide was a hot topic, they managed to add all the bad outcomes and none of the good. It is like using the wrong grade of gas to power your ride.

If your car requires premium gas, using premium will allow you to optimize your car’s power. You will not achieve the advertised horsepower on a vehicle that requires premium unless you use premium, although most consumers will not even notice the change in power when switching from premium to regular. True Car
You are not "most consumers" when it comes to dealing with trauma. You not only faced what most of us do, you decided to risk your life when others were in danger. You need premium fuel to help you get from where you are to where you need to be.

Thinking about how having PTSD means you were too weak to take it, feeds the stigma idiots put there. Shut out that thought because it is nothing more than a speed bump to your healing.

It took a lot of strength to enter into the service you chose to do. You had to be mentally and physically tough to make it through training. You had to be even tougher to be ready to do your job and even stronger to do it day after day.

Today is the day for you to lift your hood and take a look inside. Check your engine to see what your owners manual calls for. If you are not taking care of your mind (engine) your body and your spirit, then you are turning in your ride into something worth scrapping. Time to restore the damage done so you can go down every road until you get the antique plate you'll be proud of!

Sunday, April 8, 2018

Battle won by more than my love could give

More than my love could give
PTSD Patrol
Kathie Costos
April 8, 2018

"Combat should never be easier than coming home to you!" Kathie Costos

For The Love of Jack, His War My Battle originally published in 2003 because I tried to warn people about what was coming into their lives. PTSD! It was republished in 2013 because too many thought their love alone would be able to heal them. 

Love has to be strong enough to do whatever it takes to help them heal! Stop making excuses for what you fail to do. We lose more after combat than we do during it. Wars end and they come home but that battle lasts a lifetime! We have to be trained to win it for them!

The battle to save the lives of combat veterans is not lost and it is not new. 18 veterans and more than one active duty service member take their own lives each day. More attempt it. Kathie Costos is not just a Chaplain helping veterans and their families, not just a researcher, she lives with it everyday. Combat came home with her Vietnam veteran husband and they have been married for 28 years.She remembers what it was like to feel lost and alone.Everything you read in the news today about PTSD is in this book originally published in 2002 to serve as a guide to healing as well as a warning of what was coming for Iraq and Afghanistan veterans.
 I did not set out to do this work for all these years. All I wanted to do was help my husband see himself through my eyes. To see all the qualities I saw so strongly in him, that I decided I wanted to spend the rest of my life with him.

Once I knew what PTSD was, I knew my love alone was not enough to help him. It never is, but if you love them enough, then you have to do whatever it takes to fight this battle when they come home to you.

You have the tools but you need to learn how they work or you'll stay stuck in the ditch of despair.

When you want to go someplace you have never been before, you get directions on how to get there. Think of this that way. This is a road map of getting around road hazards so you can find short cuts to get there.

It took a lot of years for me to be able to do this, but just as cell phones replaced road maps, getting where you want to go doesn't have to be done the old way. It just started by older people who cleared the road!
Kathie Costos DiCesare
Published on Apr 8, 2018
Why is combat less dangerous than coming home to us? That is the question I have been asking for over 3 decades. How is it they train to do their jobs, but we do not train to fight for them when they come home to us? They do their jobs. Why aren't we doing our jobs for members of our own family? If you ran out of excuses but did not run out of love, listen to someone who have been in this fight and won!

Sunday, April 1, 2018

The detail of redemption

Getting the demon out
PTSD Patrol
Kathie Costos
April 1, 2018
You have this great vehicle and take pride in it. You make sure it is clean. You even go to have the body detailed, so it sparkles in the sunlight. If you do not take care of the parts that power it, then it will sit there and rust. The tires will go flat and you'll cover it, ashamed of what you let happen to it.

What about the vehicle the carries everything that powers you?

That wonderful spirit inside of you needs detail work too. After all, that spirit is what caused you to want to be of service to others. It is what enabled you to train to do it. Endure all the hardships that came with that job. It gave you the courage to rush toward what you knew could end your life. It is also what can help you heal your life.

How is it that you can find it so easy to believe that you were meant to do your job saving lives, yet do not believe you are worthy of saving your own? PTSD is fueled by the acid of doubt. It eats away at everything that is good within you.

The devil is in that detail. The demons are in control of every negative thought you have and they enjoy causing you pain.

You went to bed one night filled with hope long ago. So long ago, you cannot remember what it felt like. The sense of being wrong believing in the power within you became stronger. Now, you are not sure of who you are anymore.

It is time to see the miracle of redemption and the see that everything you need to heal is within your body. Time to work on that.

Today is Easter for Christians around the world. Well, most Christians. I am Greek Orthodox and our Easter is next week. Long story but go here for why that is. It is the day that the promise of redemption was fulfilled and doubt died. All those who believed Jesus was the Son of God knew all He came to teach and do, were achieved. 

Those people included a Roman Centurion who did not need to see Jesus walking around after He was taken down from the Cross. He already knew what He heard was true.

Jesus Heals a Centurion’s Servant
5 Now when Jesus had entered Capernaum, a centurion came to Him, pleading with Him, 
6 saying, “Lord, my servant is lying at home paralyzed, dreadfully tormented.”

7 And Jesus said to him, “I will come and heal him.”

8 The centurion answered and said, “Lord, I am not worthy that You should come under my roof. But only speak a word, and my servant will be healed.

9 For I also am a man under authority, having soldiers under me. And I say to this one, ‘Go,’ and he goes; and to another, ‘Come,’ and he comes; and to my servant, ‘Do this,’ and he does it.”

10 When Jesus heard it, He marveled, and said to those who followed, “Assuredly, I say to you, I have not found such great faith, not even in Israel!

11 And I say to you that many will come from east and west, and sit down with Abraham, Isaac, and Jacob in the kingdom of heaven.

12 But the sons of the kingdom will be cast out into outer darkness. There will be weeping and gnashing of teeth.” 
13 Then Jesus said to the centurion, “Go your way; and as you have believed, so let it be done for you.” And his servant was healed that same hour.
Matthew 8:5-13 New King James Version (NKJV)
Now, imagine what it was like during the time when people thought Jesus had lied to them. That He was not who He said he was. Think of how they misjudged Him. Then think about how happy they were to have been proven wrong about Him!

There is only one thing to stop you from being forgiven and that is you!

"Can you imagine how I feel today?"

PTSD Patrol Kathie Costos June 15, 2021 "Can you imagine how I feel today?" is a question no one would have to ask if they talk...

PTSD Patrol

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It is your life, get in and drive it