Find the Good News with Oran Parker
Ep. 50 - The Stigmata Ft. Kevin Yaudes & Ramie Thibodeaux - Find the Good News with Oran Parker

Ep. 50 - The Stigmata Ft. Kevin Yaudes & Ramie Thibodeaux - Find the Good News with Oran Parker

July 31, 2019

If you are having suicidal thoughts, please call the National Suicide Prevention Lifeline at 1-800-273-8255.

I’ve often wished that I could see the private sufferings of the people around me, to behold their secret worries, fears, and pains on a scale of colors. That may sound dismal to some, but it doesn’t to me. I feel that if I could clearly see their pains, then I’d know exactly what ingredients to include in their particular medicinal balm. A caution light—flashing bright red—I’ve imagined what it would be like if people came equipped with such a signal. It would let others know they had reached the edge of what they believe can be tolerated, and that they are considering taking their own life. In reality, seeing the burdens people carry inside takes a more delicate awareness than my color warning fantasy could muster. Knowing what to do when the red light is flashing takes a set of skills that are sorely needed in Calcasieu Parish. In an attempt to understand these skills, I asked the Assistant Professor of Psychology at McNeese State University, Dr. Kevin Yaudes and Director of Student Health & Development at McNeese State University, Ramie Thibodeaux, to share their experiences and knowledge on suicide prevention with me on Find the Good News. Kevin began our talk with a sobering fact—the suicide rate in Calcasieu Parish is 42% higher than the national average, making death by suicide more common in our region compared to other areas of Louisiana. While Kevin and Ramie could not definitively say why there is such a disproportionate amount of suicides in our area, they did share ways that each of us can help. Kevin believes we need to have more open and healthy conversations about suicide, not just among mental health professionals, but in the actual tribes that make up our communities. Suicide is dyed in manifold pain and grief, a subject with deep stains compared to other mental health-related topics. Kevin and Ramie both working passionately to remove the stigmata from the issue of suicide, bringing it out of the shadows and into the light where it can be discussed in healthy and healing ways. The upcoming Out of Darkness walk on September 21, 2019, in Lake Charles, Louisiana is just one of many national events taking place in September that have been created to bring suicide into the public dialogue. The Out of Darkness Walk is designed to bring families, friends, and survivors together in solidarity, understanding, and love while raising funds for the American Foundation for Suicide Prevention. As a family member of a suicide survivor, I understand all too well how deep the stigma of suicide stains the fibers of your life. I have experienced the verbal dancing that takes place to avoid talking about suicide openly. As a man that was lead to suicidal thoughts through mind-altering medications, I have seen just how seductive depression can be, and how dark and lonely the hole is. I have been one of the lucky ones twice in my life, and I know that silence is not a solution. I’ve received second and third chances. These have tilled my heart, allowing compassion to bloom for those contemplating suicide. Unlike my colorful imaginings, we can’t see the various tints of pain and despair that lead to suicidal thoughts. As Kevin proposes, we can change the way we talk about suicide, and who we talk about it with. More than that, we can each take steps to cultivate awareness, greater listening skills, loving-kindness, and—most important of all—conscious presence for those exhibiting suicidal signs.

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FOR MORE INFO ABOUT DR. KEVIN YAUDES >> wwww.facebook.com/kevin.yaudes

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FOR MORE INFO ABOUT THE OUT OF DARKNESS WALK >> https://www.facebook.com/events/376325236256582/

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Ep. 49 - The Starfish Ft. Kayla Rigney - Find the Good News with Oran Parker

Ep. 49 - The Starfish Ft. Kayla Rigney - Find the Good News with Oran Parker

July 24, 2019

When I sit and reflect on all the people I've encountered in my life, I feel grateful. It's not because every person I've met has been pleasant—I'm just thankful to have encountered the variety. On one end of the spectrum, I've met many people filled with pride and hubris, touching others with the subtleness of a shotgun blast. Sometimes I've even been that person. Other times I've met extremely grounded people that choose to affect the world kindly, one day at a time, person-to-person. It was my good fortune to have that friendly and gentle type come and visit me on Find the Good News in the person of Kayla Rigney. Kayla Rigney is the executive director of the Calcasieu Community Clinic, a non-profit free health care clinic located on the McNeese State University campus in Lake Charles, Louisiana. Kayla and the staff at the Calcasieu Community Clinic provide medical care to low-income and working uninsured people in the Imperial Calcasieu region. As it turns out, this is the perfect home for a good-natured person like Kayla, and the more I spoke with her, the more I could see the fit. Kayla has a knack for being realistic yet optimistic, grounded and hopeful. She seems to understand whether life brings you troubles or rewards, it is your attitude that makes all the difference in your quality of life. While the clinic she works for affects the many, Kayla tries to keep her focus on the individuals, the particulars of the people she encounters. She knows their stories, she knows where they come from, and because her heart is open to them, she can genuinely care about them in a personal way. I'd like to adopt more of Kayla's direction in my life, touching people in simple ways, one-by-one, face-to-face, not from a distance. I think we could all benefit from that. The world could benefit from that. The world is full of problems—It's easy to get gridlocked. If we take a page from Kayla Rigney, if we do one good thing for one person, just a little, when and where we can, then we won't have to find the good news. Like Kayla, we'll be making good news every day.

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FOR MORE INFO ABOUT KAYLA RIGNEY >> www.facebook.com/Kayla.Mallett.Rigney or www.calcasieucommunityclinic.com 

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Ep. 48 - The Turn of the Wheel Ft. Mike Brignac - Find the Good News with Oran Parker

Ep. 48 - The Turn of the Wheel Ft. Mike Brignac - Find the Good News with Oran Parker

July 17, 2019

I have always been attracted to stories of transformation and enlightenment. A man is one way today, then something critical shifts in his life, and he wakes up as a new man.  It had been years since I had seen Mike Brignac, but when he came to visit me on Find the Good News it was clear that I was talking with a man that had come out of a chrysalis. Mike spoke to me with an honesty that I’ve come to appreciate from my guests. He was fearless and truthful in the way he recounted his days as a local media personality. He relentlessly dissected and described the man he was, someone that he painted as filled with ego and self-centered ways. In one of the most humble and graceful testimonies I’ve ever heard, Mike described his shift away from media, local fame, and his decent. After an unfortunate accident, Mike entered a seven-year sentence of declining health which left him debilitated and dependent on others for his care. It was in this state—bed-ridden and imprisoned within his own body—that Mike Brignac changed his mind. He discovered that the healing of his body, mind, and spirit lay within the power of his imagination. Only one word could describe what came next—a miracle. Mike’s story will challenge the logical thinker, the supernatural denier, a hardened unbelieving heart, or a mind that disregards anything fantastic as fiction. Maybe it will challenge you. Regardless, I would encourage you to listen to Mike’s story with an open mind and heart. Listen to every word. Perhaps he has been where you have been, or to places you have yet to go. Maybe you have your cocoon yet to weave, or perhaps you are just emerging from your chrysalis. My conversation with Mike Brignac reminded me—yet again—that we all have the potential to change. Sometimes life is like a wheel spinning around us, out of control, but the good news is that sometimes— through our imaginative thinking—we can turn the wheel ourselves to a better way.

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FOR MORE INFO ABOUT MIKE BRIGNAC >> www.facebook.com/mike.wbrignac  or https://feelingtwisty.podbean.com/

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Ep. 47 - The Skyscraper  Ft. Braylin Jenkins - Find the Good News with Oran Parker

Ep. 47 - The Skyscraper Ft. Braylin Jenkins - Find the Good News with Oran Parker

July 10, 2019

I’ve always tried to be honest in these introductions, hopefully giving you the best short reflection on my conversation with the guest of the week, and a brief sketch of the dialogue I’m presenting. I think it’s vital that I be clear that this episode of Find the Good News with Braylin Jenkins—the creator and host of the show Wide Awake With Bray J—takes a long way around to the find the good. As we drew near to the end of our conversation, Braylin and I lovingly addressed that very point. As creators of digital content, Braylin and I happened to contact each other to do separate interviews on each other’s shows, trading stories, perspectives, and motivations. In following Braylin online, and in visiting with him before our Wide Awake interview, I could tell that he had been through something with stout gravity, maybe several heavy somethings, and that whatever he had been through drafted a new purpose and vector to his work in media. In visiting with Braylin, I was reminded that sometimes the sky is just out of reach, no matter how passionate we are when we first stretch to touch it. We extend our arms, our palms wide, ready to grip, but for all of our efforts, we barely scrape the clouds before falling to the ground. Often, our true resilience doesn’t come from climbing our way to the top. Our real strengths are formed in the times after our wax wings have melted, when we’ve fallen to the ground amidst our scattered pinions, and found the will to get back up—hopefully, wiser and better equipped—to make another solid try for the clear blue sky. Braylin Jenkins took the time to share his story with me, and I listened to his testimony. This is a sketch of a young man finding his way in Southwest Louisiana media, and hoping do a little good.

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FOR MORE INFO ABOUT BRAYLIN JENKINS >> www.facebook.com/braylinjenkins1  or  hhttps://soundcloud.com/braylin-jenkins-773954728

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Ep. 46 - The Temple of the Giant - Road Trip Ft. Clair Hebert Marceaux - Find the Good News with Oran Parker

Ep. 46 - The Temple of the Giant - Road Trip Ft. Clair Hebert Marceaux - Find the Good News with Oran Parker

July 3, 2019

We walk around people everyday, pass by strangers, carried by the momentum of our own agendas, desires, worries, and goals. What happens when we slow things down, get out of the pulling and hauling, drive away from the path we're familiar with, and point our compass toward someone else's world? What happens when we listen to their story, and they graciously offer us port and harbor inside their heart? That's the type of journey I experienced when I drove south toward the gulf coast and visited with Cameron Parish Port Director, Clair Hebert Marceaux, for this Road Trip episode of Find the Good News. There is no fabricated care, forced love, or feigned concern with Clair. When I sat with her at Rutherford Beach in Cameron, it was immediately apparent that I was visiting with a living spiritual heart that is connected to the life-blood and history of the land. Gulf waves gently crested on the beach and washed away as I talked with Clair. Coastal birds offered their audience and songs to our conversation. While there were a plethora of things to stimulate my eyes, ears, and mind, it was Clair's passion for Cameron that consumed my full attention. Her heart is so expansive, so open, and so complete—not unlike the slumbering giant that is the Gulf of Mexico—and it contains a history that runs the full spectrum of Cameron's sorrows and joys. As the Cameron Parish Port Director, Clair is intimately connected to the upper echelon of global affairs that affect the economics and lives of everyone in Southwest Louisiana. This space in which she operates is far beyond the scope of the average citizen. While this work is impressive, it is this shared space where she takes off her shoes and puts her feet in the sand with everyone else that moved my spirit the most. Clair Hebert Marceaux feels the pain and loss that the people of Cameron suffered from the berserker winds and surge of Hurricane Rita, and she still weeps at the ghosts that haunt a coastline forever changed by Rita's wraith. Clair's heart is wide enough to contain the happiness and the sorrows of what has come before, and it is getting bigger still to make room for the good news that comes with the life-giving work she is doing for this gulf coast region she calls home.

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FOR MORE INFO ABOUT CLAIR HEBERT MARCEAUX or CAMERON PARISH PORT >> www.facebook.com/clair.marceaux or http://www.cameronparishport.com/ 

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