Posted in Community

My Conversation with David Lawrence Center CEO Scott Burgess

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Scott Burgess, CEO of the David Lawrence Center, Naples, Florida was very kind to answer few questions for us via email.

Question:  Scott, you are a hardworking and talented man, what made you take that job with the David Lawrence Center in Naples?

I had been at my previous organization for almost 22 years and had, quite literally, just been talking with my wife about her thoughts associated with considering new doors opening, if they presented themselves, when I was outreached by a recruiter associated with DLC’s search.  Neither she nor I had felt a ‘stirring’ related to a potential change before this and I had not interviewed in decades.  We prayed about the potential and believed, if it was meant to be, all things would fall perfectly into place and they did.  In the interviewing process, I met with the incredible DLC Board of Directors and staff and I could easily see DLC is a very special place!  Then, I came to realize the great and growing needs in the Collier community and Florida at large and felt, this is a place I can try to make a significant impact.

Question: How many “hospital beds” does David Lawrence Center have? 

We have 3 emergency assessment center beds, 30 inpatient treatment beds for mental health (separate units for children and adults), 15 beds on our detoxification unit and 18 beds in our substance use disorder residential rehabilitation unit.  So that totals 66 on campus.  We also sponsor some long-term, affordable, supported housing for those in need, that is another 24 beds.

Question: In which cases simply seeing a doctor at the David Lawrence Center doesn’t help and the patient has to be hospitalized?

Inpatient care is always the last option and is only used when an individual is considered an imminent danger to self or others.  In rare cases inpatient care is required when an individual’s symptoms are so severe they can’t take care of themselves well enough to guard from serious harm.  Other than these situations, which is the vast majority of the time, we care for individuals in an outpatient and/or community-based setting.

Question: What can we do to increase the number of hospital beds at the David Lawrence Center?

Given Florida ranks 49th in funding for state spending on mental health issues, second worst in the Country, it is clear we will need to address this as a local need with a local response.  For almost 50 years DLC has partnered with amazing donors, local government and community leaders to continue building to meet the needs of the Collier community.  We are most hopeful we can work with incredible members of our community to continue to do so as we move forward as well.  It truly does ‘take a village!’

Question: What are the challenges the David Lawrence Center faces today?

With growing awareness of the seriousness of both mental illness and addictions challenges and the growing Collier populations, we are seeing a significant growth in need for care.  In fact, just 5 years ago we provided 147,000 services across our three sites and programs, fast forward to the fiscal year that just ended June 30, 2017, we provided 228,000 services.  Our biggest challenges are associated with having enough financial resources to grow to keep up with demand and ensure access to care for all in need.

Question: How do you think our community, Collier county, will change say in 5 years, 10 years?

From everything that I have seen in forecasting materials, all concur that Collier will continue to grow in population, maybe another 100,000 residents in the next 10-15 years.  That is a continuation of significant growth already seen across the last 10-15 years!  As a County we need to ensure we are attending to both the physical infrastructure growth needs (roads, water, sewer, etc.) and we need to ensure we are attending to the human infrastructure needs (schools and essential services-such as healthcare, including mental healthcare).  I believe Collier County is up to the task!  There are many highly dedicated, extremely bright and passionate members in our community already working on planning for this coming growth.

I really believe another area also needing focused attention, concrete planning and active mobilization is affordable housing in Collier.  This is a major challenge for many and our community needs to tackle this matter to assure all who work in Collier have an opportunity to live in Collier.

Questions: What should we do to better prepare for the changes ahead?

Continue with the various planning groups and develop associated strategies.  I am excited to see many such active planning groups and I’m humbled to be participating in several of them working in partnership with incredibly talented individuals truly committed to ensuring Collier is the best place, to live, work and play.  Examples include: Sheriff Rambosk and Superintendent Patton’s active leadership in many leading-edge initiatives, the Board of County Commissioners just having the first ever public workshop on mental health and addictions challenges in our community, the Chamber of Commerce having many initiatives they are active in advancing, the Blue Zones Project, etc.  Preparation takes planning, prioritization, diligence and commitment; I see this all being fostered in Collier.

Posted in things to do

Why We Are Bored, How We Can Fix It, And Addiction

According to the researchers at the York University in Ontario, Canada, boredom is an aversive state of wanting, but being unable to engage in satisfying activity.

We have access to so much entertainment: news, books, blogs, television, movies, internet, social media, game consoles, friends… how can we possibly be bored? Chronic boredom is responsible for myriad of negative behaviors and outcomes such as binge eating, drug and alcohol abuse, gambling, sex addiction, truancy, excessive risk taking and much more.

We are surrounded by friends, we are watching TV, browsing internet, texting on the phone and while doing all that we are still bored! The problem is we are overstimulated. The more entertainment we have, the more entertainment we need in order to feel satisfied the next day. We need less stimulation. Feeling a little bored today will help us feel less bored tomorrow. Get in the habit engaging in slower- paced activities such as reading a book/blog, attending a lecture, going for a walk.

Routine can be boring, on the upside it reduces anxiety about the unpredictability of life. Get into the routine, but have sufficient time to explore, pursue hobbies and passions.

We are addicted to opiates. The human body naturally produces its own opiates called endorphins (endogenous morphine) that give us pleasure, influence mood and perception of pain. Opiate drugs, such as morphine, heroin, codeine and opium structurally resemble our body’s endorphins. Those who suffer from drug addiction or chronic boredom have been found to have fewer dopamine receptors in the brain, meaning they require more dopamine in order to experience the same level of stimulation.

Boredom is a tool that, if used properly, could propel us to achieve wonderful things. Remember to balance your life, have time for relaxation, routine. Have time for stimulation.

Posted in things to do

20 Ways to Meet People

According to the recent research in the British Journal of Psychology, the more social interactions with close friends a regular person has, the greater their self-reported happiness. The higher the population density of the immediate environment, the less happy the survey respondents said they were, thus people in big cities are less happy than people in small towns. Every rule has an exception, people with big goals and passion in life seem to be happy even without much interaction with friends, and they were equally happy in big cities as well as in small towns.

Humans are social creatures. Let’s not neglect our social skills. Social interaction offers a good workout for the brain.

Here are few ways to meet quality people:

  1. Go to a friend’s party/event even if you think it might be boring
  2. Go to the gym, join group work out
  3. Go to the church
  4. Volunteer with the community
  5. Check out local events on and Naples Florida Weekly
  6. Go to charity events
  7. Take a class you always wanted to take and never had time
  8. Join foodies, have a bite to eat or a drink at the whole foods
  9. Go to community or political events. Be engaged with the community
  10. Go to the park for a walk and exercise
  11. Visit your local bookstore/library
  12. Go to art exhibits and museums, culture yourself
  13. Eat dinner at the bar of your favorite restaurant
  14. Attend sports events/festivals/concerts
  15. Go for coffee to the coffee shop
  16. If someone helped you on the street, or in a difficult situation- they are automatically your friend. Get to know them
  17. Get out there, go to the beach
  18. Go to networking events
  19. Go on a trip/ group retreats
  20. Go with your co-workers to happy hour events/job events/conferences
Posted in humor

When in Doubt… Do the Right Thing

Should I move to a different city? Should I find a new job? Should I end the relationship? Should I pursue a new relationship? We all faced difficult situations, we all made tough decisions. It is easy to make a decision when you have all the information, for example, the decision to exercise regularly.

But what if you had to decide whether or not to continue friendship, what if the other person in this situation did not give you their side of the story? Think judge Judy; we need facts from both sides, we need to see the bigger picture to make the educated decision. If we can’t see the bigger picture, the rule of thumb – do the right thing and you will never regret your decision. The asshole always loses at the end, don’t be an asshole in any situation.

Imagine you are a famous and wealthy athlete. Everybody knows you, tons of people vie for your friendship. It is hard to tell who is your friend for the right reasons until hard times come rolling in, and bunch of close friends disappear with your expensive sports memorabilia. Your friends betrayed you -that is a fact. Perhaps you should have chosen better friends. Was it a right thing to do to go with thugs and guns to get your stuff back?

Posted in Community

My Conversation with Fr. Christian Maxfield, Associate Rector of St John’s Episcopal Church

Fr. Christian Maxfield, Associate Rector of St John_s Episcopal Church, Naples, FL
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Question:  Father Christian, you are the Associate Rector at St. John’s Episcopal Church in Naples, Fl. How did your spiritual journey begin?

My spiritual journey began very early in life. Raised in a Christian family for whom being part of a church community was a priority, I was involved in the life of the church my whole life.  This close relationship with the Church- and more specifically with God- led me to take leadership roles in the church, starting within my own high school youth group.  This then led me to attend a Christian college where I earned an undergraduate degree majoring in Youth Ministry and Adolescent Studies, which led me on to study for and receive a Masters of Divinity degree at Nashotah House Theological Seminary.  Now ten years out of seminary, my wife and I have continued to follow the Lord where He has led as we have served the church in three different states and four parishes. I have been an Assistant Priest, a Rector, a Priest-in-charge, and I currently serve as an Associate Rector.

Question: I noticed you have tattoos on your arms, what is the story behind them?

I have always been an admirer of art, once again stemming from my childhood and going to the art museum on a regular basis. I consider my tattoos an artistic way that I remind myself, as well as others, who I am as a person and specifically that I am not my own, but rather that I was bought at a price and I am the Lord God’s possession by virtue of my belief and baptism in Him in whom I life, move and have my being.  The tattoos I have on my body each share a little about who I am in Christ and who I know God to be.  Just as any good art creates conversation, so do my tattoos; and when people ask me about them I have the opportunity to talk about my faith in God who is Father, Son, and Holy Spirit, and my Redeemer, who endured great suffering on my behalf and in whom I have been crucified that He may live in me (Galatians 2:20).

Question: Did you vote in the last elections? Do you follow politics at all?

I did vote and no, I really do not follow politics. Yet I continue to pray for our president, our governor, our mayor and all who are in leadership in our nation and in all nations – that they would know Christ in their own lives, that they would chose to lead as Christ did with a humble servant’s heart, walking in the light of the Lord.

Question: During our conversation you said something that impressed me very much – our relationship with God is like any other relationship. The more we work on it, the better it gets. Could you expand on that a little more?

Scripture says, “For in him all things were created: things in heaven and on earth, visible and invisible, whether thrones or powers of rulers or authorities; all things have been created through him and for him” (Colossians 1:16). We were created to be in relationship with God – think back to the Garden of Eden where Adam and Eve walked with God. Just as we humans were built to be in relationship with one another, so we were also built to be in relationship with our God. Just like a relationship with another person grows and thrives with loving effort and sacrifice, our relationship with God is able to grow and thrive when we make the effort and when we center our lives around Him. Likewise, the opposite happens if we neglect our relationships.

Question: Finding true love and dating is hard these days. What is your position on dating and marriage?

To be blunt, I believe our culture has tricked us into believing that it is fine to put the cart before the horse in many ways of living, including dating. We live in a world obsessed with instant gratification, which pressures us to think that we need to find love and companionship, or even just mere satisfaction, RIGHT NOW. Unfortunately this means that many people are living in such a way that they rush into relationships which they might not otherwise choose if they took the time to stop and pray and ask the Lord to reveal to them if this is truly the right path for them, taking the take the time to seek the wisdom and leading of the One who alone truly brings wholeness to our lives and who hears our heart’s desires.  When we take matters into our own hands- aside from God and His perfect way- pain, suffering and heartbreak often ensues. Therefore, I would be a proponent of the ‘old way’ of dating, taking time to actually date someone, getting to know someone through a number of social activities without opening up oneself to marital behaviors and characteristics until one is actually married and fully committed to spending ones life with the other person until, as our marriage vows say, we are “parted by death”.

Question: Would you end this article with an inspirational teaching and a challenge to our brains :), so what lesson will we learn with you today?

What is reality???? I have always loved movies, and going to see my favorite stories and actors on the big screen has always been a thrill. Yet this last time I went, something occurred within me of which I was not aware until some time later.

A month ago my wife and I went to see a movie in the theater. It was a good movie and we were looking forward to seeing it as it fits into a genre that we both enjoy. After leaving the movie I found myself feeling a bit uneasy, but simply believed it to be what I call the ‘movie magic brain meld’ which overcomes movie-goers after spending 2+ hours being mesmerized by an action-packed, fast-moving, emotionally-charged storyline.

It has been said that the eyes are a window into the soul, and I now believe likewise that when I watched this fictional film, it opened a door within me which allowed the evil one to plant seeds of false reality within my heart and soul, which only made it easier to listen to his lies in my life. Because of this, I was walking around dazed and confused, still getting on with the things I had to do: work, family, life, etc., yet doing so with an anxiety-ridden and depressing false reality tapping on my shoulder.

Upon watching another movie recently, which I would characterize as being in the genre of Christian faith, my heart and soul were overwhelmed by what is real and true: God’s Love for us and the blessings that come upon us every day from our choice to follow Him by letting Him into our lives to transform, heal and lead us in every way possible. This is what is real. In some sense, after the first movie I watched, I lost my sense of reality; and the second movie brought me back to reality. This to me is a reminder of what I already know but tend to forget, that we must be careful in what we watch, hear and do because the evil one will look for any way to lead us astray and thus gain some measure of control within our lives no matter how trivial or innocent it seems. Let us all be as innocent as doves and as wise as serpents as we make choices about what we- and those in our care- see and participate in day to day, that we would live with an upright and accurate sense of reality- that there is a God who loves us unconditionally and who made the ultimate sacrifice for us. If only we would actively choose to walk with Him, living in the reality of HIS Kingdom!

Posted in Health

Why Health Problems Get Worse at Night

Any doctor will tell you most health emergencies happen at night. Most heart attacks occur in the early hours of the morning. They are linked to the platelets in the blood becoming stickier and more prone to clotting at night.

Patients with acute heart failure start coming to the hospitals around 3 am. When the heart can no longer pump out enough of the blood it receives from the lungs, fluid builds up in the chest, known as acute heart failure.

Chronic obstructive pulmonary disease describes a collection of conditions causing lung damage, including chronic bronchitis and emphysema, causing inflammation in the lungs, often along with permanent damage to the airways. Studies have found less air passes through lungs during sleep. The body also responds less efficiently to increasing carbon dioxide levels in the blood during sleep, so breathing rates do not rise in the same way as during the day to expel it from the body. Excess carbon dioxide eventually causes someone to wake up, often gasping for breath.

Colds get worst at night. The lining of the airways constantly carries debris and fluid out of the lungs into the throat. This process becomes less effective at night because we are horizontal, causing congestion and coughing.

Arthritis, sciatica, chronic back pain cause painful inflammation in cartilage and bone in the joints. Being inactive for a long period of time while asleep will make pain worst. The probable cause – joint linings become congested with excess fluid used to bathe cells, and protein waste products when joints are immobile for a length of time.

Research shows that our bodies are on a 24-hour clock called a circadian rhythm. Hormone levels fluctuate within this daily cycle. Cortisol, a hormone made by the adrenal glands, helps regulate blood sugar levels, metabolism, and blood pressure. It helps the body manage stress.

There is less cortisol in our blood at night. The white blood cells readily detect and fight infections, provoking the symptoms of the infection to surface, such as fever, congestion, chills, or sweating. Thus, we feel sicker at night.

Posted in Politics

Bash Donald Trump and He Will Win Again in 2020

Who could have predicted Barack Obama and Donald Trump will win the presidential elections? This fact alone proves that elections in U.S. are fair and not rigged like in many other countries.

Media bashes Donald Trump mercilessly. President Trump has a job to do and he wants to do it well. Let’s give him a chance. He deserves our respect just like a parent, albeit not perfect, must be respected by his children. If you are not happy with the job the president is doing you can show it by voting in 2020 for a different candidate.

Our critics, our enemies are our most valuable teachers. We rely on family and friends to tell us the truth, but often people close to us don’t provide useful feedback for the fear of hurting us. We can fine-tune our performance if we pay attention to the criticism of our enemies. Keep in mind, the criticism of our enemies is always exaggerated.

Love your enemies; use your enemies. It is not right to take advantage of people, unless they are your enemy. Let your enemy lash out, turn the other cheek and you will have multitude of people coming to your defense. We sense the injustice, we always root for the underdog.

Do not become emotional with your enemies it will drive them crazy and they will make many mistakes. Our enemies are emotional in our regard. It is their greatest weakness. If we control our emotions, if we show our enemies only our disinterest we will control our enemies for our benefit.