My First Valentine, Forever: Patsy Lou (McPeak) Kurtz

Hey Mom, it's one snowy Valentine's Day around here. Crisp, clear, and sunny. It's a good day to lay around like an old yard dog and do a whole lot of nothing. That's what Briley is doing right now, perched like a princess beside me. I really miss you, Mom. I've lost count of the number of times I started to pick up the phone only to realize Verizon doesn't go to Heaven. It's been a terribly difficult year. A pandemic. Racial unrest. Political insurrection. You died two days after your birthday. I'm glad you were able to enjoy that vanilla milkshake that day and that you didn't suffer undue hardship. Your passing was much harder for us than for you, I suspect. Suddenly. Complications for COVID. I'm grateful I got to pray with you before you breathed your last. I thank God that both you and dad held onto [...]

My First Valentine, Forever: Patsy Lou (McPeak) Kurtz2021-02-14T12:38:06-05:00

From One Generation to the Next by Lindsay & Landon McIntosh

I was raised in a loving Christian home. We went to church every Wednesday, and twice on Sunday. Youth group, choir, and bell choir were part of my life and I loved it…. socially that is…I never really dived into the Bible, I did not know all the books of the Bible, and I could not have quoted a verse if my life depended on it. Church was a safe place to go and have fun with friends. However, the older I got the more things began to change. I noticed that while my friends were still wanting to have fun and socialize, I wanted to listen to the sermon, and I wanted to learn about the Bible. So, I began to sit with some of the older kids, and my parents and really listened to the sermons.  Throughout the next several years I worked on building my faith and [...]

From One Generation to the Next by Lindsay & Landon McIntosh2021-01-16T17:38:56-05:00

Second Chances by Cindy Higgins

Cindy Higgins was born in the seventies as the middle child in the small city of Erie, PA. Grew up Catholic but in a family that encouraged bible reading and asking questions. I don't remember when I gave my soul to Jesus. I just feel like he always had it. I honestly debated on becoming a nun but felt pulled to be a mom instead. Had a few health problems over the years but am now able to work and have fun. Currently attend a non-denominational church with my husband and two daughters. Discovered I was bipolar in high-school after my sister was diagnosed. It's been a bumpy road with anger management issues and projects that are only half finished in my house. Luckily I have a supportive and understanding husband. I am currently blessed with the perfect life: Loving husband, two healthy daughters, a dog, cat and enough income [...]

Second Chances by Cindy Higgins2021-01-19T22:17:13-05:00

Family Support of the Seriously Mentally Ill by CJ Hanson

Beginning with this post and continuing through 2021, I will be featuring guest posts from persons who have been impacted by mental health challenges, from such things as bouts of anxiety and depression to serious brain disorders (SBD) such as schizophrenia and bipolar disorder. My first featured author is CJ Hanson. Catherine J (CJ) Rippee-Hanson is 63 years old and a lifelong, social activist, writer, and singer - maneuvering through tragedies that have led down many different paths.  One of a set of identical twins who now work together to advocate and personally challenge our broken mental healthcare system.  Also known as the 'Twin Tag Team,' after 33 years of tending to the needs of our brother. He had a horrific accident in 1987, resulting in a TBI and loss of his eyes.  Three years later he began showing symptoms of Schizophrenia w/Psychosis with chronic and severe Anosognosia.  He has [...]

Family Support of the Seriously Mentally Ill by CJ Hanson2020-12-23T17:58:22-05:00

Prayers Answered and Unanswered: Yes? No? Wait?

At age 55, my father-in-law was diagnosed with an advanced stage of colon cancer. He received an aggressive round of chemotherapy. Inexplicably, he went into a coma. We recruited prayer warriors throughout the country. In just a few weeks, one of his medical interns happened to read a case study that perfectly fit my father-in-laws profile. They adapted his treatment. He returned to full function. He is now 85 and enjoying life to its fullest. Prayers answered, "Yes." Some time ago, my (then) wife and I separated after 20 years of marriage. I desperately wanted to reconcile. I sought intensive counseling for over a year.  I met with church elders and deacons. I prayed. My family prayed. My friends prayed. My church prayed. After 5 years, it became clear marriage reconciliation would not happen and we got a divorce. Prayers answered, "No." I served in pastoral ministry for twenty years [...]

Prayers Answered and Unanswered: Yes? No? Wait?2020-10-25T06:42:56-04:00

To Veston E. Roberts, the Best Dad Ever

My dad died this week. A decade ago he was given a few months to live and he thumbed his nose at the medical establishment and lived life to its fullest, until he was ready to die on his own terms. He died with confident faith that this life is not all there is. He found strength for each day because of his hope that tomorrow would be better.  Dad didn't get to see my latest book in print, but I did read it to him. He knew I had acknowledged the huge part he and his wife Connie played in making it possible. The look of pride and gratification in his eyes is one I'll carry with me to my dying day.  My book went through  many transformations, the latest of which came after Dad's diagnosis in March. This excerpt comes from that...   From When Despair Meets Delight, [...]

To Veston E. Roberts, the Best Dad Ever2020-08-02T20:16:25-04:00

Mental Illness: Explanation or Excuse

This is not something I want to write. It's something I feel compelled to write. First, an explanation. Mental illness is a serious problem, both for those of us who have it and for our loved ones impacted by it. It is a also a major societal issue. How we care for those who are most vulnerable is a reflection of who we are and what we believe. If we let "the least of these" fall through the cracks, we will be judged by our consciences and by our faith convictions. God does not look lightly at those abusing His children. Mental illness is a medical condition stemming from faulty brain chemistry which current medical science can treat, but not cure. My own bipolar disorder is considered a serious mental illness (SMI). SMIs are disabling conditions that are chronic. You can't just take a pill and make them go [...]

Mental Illness: Explanation or Excuse2020-07-12T21:52:35-04:00

So you want to marry someone who has bipolar?

I'm pleased to report I have survived another round of mixed states. It occurred to me today that as one with bipolar disorder, not only am a more vulnerable to stress, but because others are more stressed relating to me. Not because of who I am, but because of what my illness does. If you love someone with a mental illness, what do you think? If you have a mental illness, do you accept this? For today's post, I thought I'd share a humorous piece I wrote sometime ago about being in a relationship with someone who is bipolar. It is purely fictional, of course. Resemblance to any actual figure is not intended, but can easily be figured out. So you want to marry someone who has bipolar? You may want to reconsider if he... ... follows you around the mall telling you how ridiculous you are for wanting to [...]

So you want to marry someone who has bipolar?2020-06-28T21:59:04-04:00

Bipolar Relationships: Hope for Wounded Healing

I had coffee last week with a friend who is also a Christian living with a mental illness. She was sharing with me her struggle to break free of unhealthy relationships that were leading her to unholy living. She was not caring for herself by receiving God's care or the care of others. We discussed how what has come to be called co-dependent relationships are really another form of idolatry. When we believe another person needs us (and only us) to save them from ruin. I said it is like when a person we care about is in quicksand. The last thing they need is for us to jump into the quicksand and sink with them. They need us to stay on solid ground and get something they can hold onto to get out. A Savior who is not us. Those of us with a mental illness, as well as [...]

Bipolar Relationships: Hope for Wounded Healing2020-03-01T22:06:36-05:00

A Child Will Be Born: Pregnancy & Parenting Thoughts by Katie Dale

by Katie Dale (bio below) Among the busy-ness of life, I’m burned out. Not to mention…pregnant! For someone diagnosed with bipolar disorder, you may be wondering how safe it would be to get pregnant with a Severe Mental Illness. I consulted with my last psychiatrist and current psychiatrist and maternal prenatal doctor, and based on their direction and guidance regarding the medications I’m taking, supported me in remaining on my meds while trying to get pregnant. Both psychotropics I’m prescribed (Abilify and Wellbutrin XL) are relatively normal risk (3-5% typical risk of defects as normal) to the baby while pregnant and breastfeeding. I discussed the risk/benefit with all three docs and my husband and it makes more sense to stay on the medications. I know what it’s like to go off…and that would be more risk to me and baby than if I stayed on. In late August last year, [...]

A Child Will Be Born: Pregnancy & Parenting Thoughts by Katie Dale2019-12-24T15:35:51-05:00
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