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

The Pursuit of Happiness — Monica’s Call, chapter two

Suddenly, the phone rang. Had he been sleeping? “Hello?” “Dad, this is Monica. Are you okay?” “Yes. I’m fine. Why do you ask?” “Dad! Of course you’re not fine. Mom has just left you! But it’s going to be okay. You’re going to make it through this. Just have faith. One step at a time.” He tried to think of a response. His mind was blank. “Can I help you with something?” “Dad! I’m the one who should be helping you. Listen, I’m picking Philip up from soccer at noon. We’ll come right over and I’ll bring you back to our place. You’ll stay with us for a while, at least until we get this sorted out.” “Thank you, Monica. But, I really don’t think that’s necessary.” “Dad! You’ve been together for over 40 years. Do you even know where the can opener is?” He thought about it for a [...]

The Pursuit of Happiness — Monica’s Call, chapter two2021-04-14T16:22:06-04:00

The Pursuit of Happiness — Leaving for Good, chapter one

My mind has been stagnant lately. My muse has been silent. Depressive episodes do this to me sometimes. I lack the energy and motivation to cultivate a concept and bring it to life in the world. The more time that passes without creating a new piece of work, the more anxious I become that I will ever write something worthwhile again. When I fall into this quagmire, I sometimes look back and rework things of the past. I began the following over seven years ago now. I conceived it as the opening chapter of a short story, "The Pursuit of Happiness," that would be the closing of a trilogy that would also include "Life," and "Liberty." I'm not sure what will develop, but I really like spending time with the members of the Jacobson family and hope to go with them where they take me.   Stephen Jacobson’s day was [...]

The Pursuit of Happiness — Leaving for Good, chapter one2021-04-14T16:29:10-04:00

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
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