Hope for Troubled Minds: A Mother’s Search for Sanity

Michelle B is a loving mother, daughter, and child of God. She is working hard at surviving, maintaining sanity and positive thoughts, staying in the word of God and following his commands to live a good clean life.  Dear mom, I’m writing you this letter to tell you how much you mean to me. You have been there for me and for that I am grateful. As you know I have 7 months clean. I want to express how deeply sorry I am for disappointing you with my drug use. You always tried to help me with my mental health even when I was young. I never listened and would suffer. You saw the outbursts, the psych wards, and the melt downs. I felt them. I self medicated through meth use. It was like magic. Now I know this not to be true. After going to a psych doctor and [...]

Hope for Troubled Minds: A Mother’s Search for Sanity2022-01-23T21:57:14-05:00

A Father’s Literary Blessing: a review of Ben Palpant’s Letters from the Mountain

Dear One, a father desires to share some of his hard-earned convictions and half-formed ideas with his daughter, whom he hopes will come to terms with her gifting and calling. He longs for her faith journey to culminate at the peak where the 360-degree view will undo her, where she will weep for sheer joy, where she will laugh with exhilaration. These letters are my attempt to reach out over the miles and clasp your hand as you climb. To whisper encouragement in your ear as I did when you were young. To spur you on toward love and good works. To remember our story. To lean my forehead against yours and give you my blessing: from the humble to the humble, to the glory of God. Amen. If there is one thing I did right as a father it was to pass on to my children a love of [...]

A Father’s Literary Blessing: a review of Ben Palpant’s Letters from the Mountain2021-12-02T10:37:24-05:00

Between Thanksgiving and Christmas: Advent Hope in a Season of Grief

Yesterday was Thanksgiving. There were 11 of us gathered for fellowship and feasting. My 21-month old great niece dubbed Princess Nora provided the entertainment. We listened to a Spotify music playlist of holiday music. We told family stories and gave thanks for making it through another year. It was a bittersweet celebration, for as much as we enjoyed those who could make it we were mindful of those who could not. 2020 took a great toll on our family. We lost my father in July of cancer and my mother in December of COVID. Grief has since been a ever present companion in our lives and sometimes it can be disruptive to our family relationships. Fortunately, yesterday, it was was present as a gracious friend reminded us of good memories and things that live on. The first Thanksgiving was celebrated in a time of grief as well. According to History.com [...]

Between Thanksgiving and Christmas: Advent Hope in a Season of Grief2021-11-27T05:18:42-05:00

My Life Partnership: In Sickness and in Health

I'm writing this intro section shortly after midnight on Susan's birthday. She is reclining with her granddaughter Rose who is congested and unable to stay asleep in her crib. I'm praying we all get the rest we need to enjoy the day that lies ahead. The genesis of what follows was first published in February of 2019. I'll tack on an addendum to bring it up to date. Over Labor Day weekend in 2018, I met the woman who would soon become my wife. Susan is all I could ever ask for in a life partner. She is intelligent. She has a beautiful smile. She has a great sense of humor. And, most importantly, she loves me and shares my faith. She accepts my identity as one who has bipolar disorder and affirms my mental health ministry. She is a definitive example of “ezer,” a help-meet who enhances my life, [...]

My Life Partnership: In Sickness and in Health2021-11-20T06:26:35-05:00

So you want to marry someone who has bipolar?

I've been putting myself under a lot of stress lately. I say putting myself because really I have many, many good things going on. I am happily married, live in a comfortable home in a nice neighborhood, have plenty of friends and family who care about me, and spend my time pursuing a meaningful vocation with my loyal lab Briley by my side. So why am I stressed? Do I need a reason? It occurred to me some time ago 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 brain illness, what do you think? If you have a brain illness, do you accept this? For today's post, I thought I'd share a humorous piece I wrote [...]

So you want to marry someone who has bipolar?2021-09-29T16:36:53-04:00

One Angel Who Did Not Fear to Tread

I want to tell a story I've told many times before. But I can't tell it enough. It's the story of what happens when someone with a mental illness falls into the pit of despair is lifted up by the loving faithfulness of one who cares. December 1, 2016. I am in the Goodman exit lane off I-490 in Rochester, New York. An unusual light shines in my rearview. In seconds, I hear a loud crack and feel a tremendous lurch. Someone traveling too close, going too fast, hit me. Hard. I called 911 and a policeman showed up, followed by an ambulance. I was taken to Strong Memorial hospital where they ran tests and found nothing conclusive. But I became increasingly agitated. I became convinced that I was paralyzed. Three doctors ran tests on me at separate times and concluded that nothing was wrong. Physically. That's when I called [...]

One Angel Who Did Not Fear to Tread2021-09-21T21:58:37-04:00

Elegy for a Damn Good Mother: an Explanation by DeMaris Gaunt

So many of my friends and family are facing death these days. Our reactions vary widely based on what we experience in life, what beliefs we hold, and how willing we are to walk through the valley. This is a poem a friend of mine wrote as her mother was dying. It is one of the best expressions of going through stages of grief that I have ever read. Elegy for a Damn Good Mother: an Explanation by DeMaris Gaunt We all hated it that mom had a closet full of clothes with the tags still on shoes never worn a set of wedding China unused in the cupboards a diamond tennis bracelet worn approximately once a home built for entertaining never filled with guests drawers of blank stationery that never got the chance to deliver her hopes or wishes into the lives of those she called friends— and I [...]

Elegy for a Damn Good Mother: an Explanation by DeMaris Gaunt2021-06-30T18:19:59-04:00

“Joyful in hope, patient in affliction, faithful in prayer.” by Abigail C.

A baby born after a loss is referred to as a "rainbow baby," so we included this nod to our losses in my maternity photos.  Photo credits: A.McGrath Photography     “Be joyful in hope, patient in affliction, faithful in prayer.” I have conflicting feelings about this verse (Romans 12:12), although it  has been my favorite for as long as I can remember. For one thing, I fail at every part of it. On the other hand, it contains everything I need to survive even the depths of despair.   I’m Abigail, and I am many things—a friend of Tony’s, a lifelong Christian, an occupational therapist, a mother of three, a wife, and hopefully a future entrepreneur (you know, in my free time). I have also struggled with an anxiety disorder since high school and more recently added PTSD to the mix.   Quick background: I started having panic attacks [...]

“Joyful in hope, patient in affliction, faithful in prayer.” by Abigail C.2021-07-08T06:27:04-04:00

A Woman Among Lions, Fighting for Faith and Family by Kirsten Panachyda

My guest blogger today is Kirsten Panachyda. Kirsten writes and speaks to infuse courage into the soul-weary. Her book Among Lions: Fighting for Faith and Finding Your Rest while Parenting a Child with Mental Illness is available now. Kirsten blogs at kirstenp.com. She and her husband Dan have two sons, and they are a roller-coaster-riding, travel-loving, blue-hair-dying family.   Once again my night devolved into nightmares, restless dozing, and eventually, sleeplessness. I stayed in bed until I felt like I would explode if I didn't cry and then I crept downstairs. I shuffled into the kitchen, thinking maybe I could make a cup of herbal tea to soothe my tight throat and aching chest. I got as far as the stove, picked up the battered red kettle, and slid down to the floor.  My kitchen floor was not something nice to sit on. When we bought the house in 1997, [...]

A Woman Among Lions, Fighting for Faith and Family by Kirsten Panachyda2021-05-23T04:03:14-04:00

Faith Grows in Community by Lisa Jamieson

My growing up could read like a mashup novel from National Geographic, Little House on the Prairie and Epicurious magazine. Before kindergarten, I was riding my bike to a Minneapolis candy store several blocks from home. Later, I ice skated to elementary school on the James River in North Dakota. By the time I was 9 years old, we had moved to Canada where I was collecting sap from maple trees every spring, catching smelt in Thirty Mile Creek, building blanket forts surrounded by peach and cherry orchards in the summer, swimming to a rocky pier off the southern shore of Lake Ontario and stomping Niagara grapes with the neighbors every fall.   Woven between the lines of that idyllic childhood were some dark days too. I carried the grief of good-byes and struggled to make friends.    Attending weekly church developed my sense of God’s presence but I perceived him to be [...]

Faith Grows in Community by Lisa Jamieson2021-05-21T05:37:00-04:00
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