Mental Illness in the News

Image“Your illness is not your identity, your chemistry is not your character” Pastor Rick Warren stated during his first public sermon since his son took his own life after a long battle with depression. The newscaster stated that Pastor Warren is now working to remove the negative stigma of mental illness and instructed his parish not to be ashamed of that over which they have no control. 

Unfortunately mental illness is sometimes seen as a weakness and a character flaw or a figment of the imagination. Some who suffer are ashamed to seek counseling, or medical attention and have little to no support. In other situations help is sought; treatment prescribed, prayers are lifted, support is given and the battle is still lost.

Mental Illness is no different than cancer, drug addiction, heart disease, diabetes or any debilitating disease. Some cases are more serious than others, some are realized too late, some go untreated and some sufferers will succumb.  Hopefully the loss of Matthew Warren’s precious life will be a catalyst for change. 

In the meantime, continue to lift up the Warren family in prayer as they grieve and heal. 

The Idea Man

ImageDo you remember the movie “Night Shift” with Michael Keaton and Henry Winkler? It was about two “average joe’s” who work in a morgue. One of the character’s, played by Michael Keaton, called himself an “idea man”. He walked around the morgue speaking into a personal recorder with every money making invention he could think of. 

One that I recall involved tuna fish. His idea was to mix mayo directly into the can for convenience, he immediately “one-bettered” himself by suggesting you feed the mayo to the fish prior to slaughter and canning (are fish slaughtered?). Anyway, I received a phone call moments ago from my oldest son, now serving in the United States Air Force. 

He called to share an idea. An idea he is very excited about, one that if seen to full fruition, could be life changing. He is a visionary to say the least, a true “idea man”. I can’t share the details, lest you heist his gold nugget of inspiration, but I can tell you this…if ever you see a tuna fish being force fed mayo prior to slaughter, remember that the greatest inventions were first thought ridiculous or unachievable. 

If Steve Jobs, Thomas Edison, Mark Zuckerberg or Henry Ford didn’t have the courage to work their dreams how would things be different in our world today? Here’s to the “Dreamers of the Dreams”! We will forever benefit from the brilliance and fortitude of those willing to take a chance on an “idea”. 

 

Don’t Tell Me it’s “Water” Weight

ImageIt’s day three of my whole foods lifestyle dietary change and I’m down 6 pounds. If anyone tells me it’s “water weight” I’ll poke ’em in the eye with a hot stick!! I know it’s water weight! You don’t have to remind me, I’ve been at this long enough to understand the properties of weight loss. Furthermore, I don’t care if it’s water weight, fire weight, gas weight or whatever weight what matters is that is gone and I’ll never see that number again!!

Lovin’ the positive self-talk, can you tell? Besides the weight loss there are other “non-scale” related successes. I’m not hungry, my cravings are gone, I’m sleeping better and I feel more alert than I usually do. My intake is not perfect, I had some sub-standard peanut butter and farmer’s market jam on a rice cake, but if that is the worst thing I put in my mouth I’m in good shape! 

80% of my daily intake for the last 3 days have consisted of fresh vegetable/fruit juices. I’m sold, however my family is not. They are trying I’ll give them that, after all this is my epiphany, not theirs. I will keep offering it up and refrain from buying the junk and pray that health by osmosis occurs. I’m not above “hiding” super foods either. This recipe my step-mom sent me is a perfect example:

Follow · 24 June 

 
 

ALL NATURAL PANCAKE RECIPE… NO PROCESSED ANYTHING!!

Ingredients
– 1 ripe banana
– 2 whole eggs

That’s it. Just mix together in a bowl and make sure the banana is all mashed. Then spray your pan with some cooking spray or coconut oil. On a low to medium heat, scoop some of the batter into the pan & give it about 20-30 sec, flip, and done! Serve and eat!

*Some advice would be to make them small so they are easier to flip

Under 250 calories, nearly 14g of protein! No processed anything! These pancakes are gluten free, low calorie. Can be garnished anyway you prefer.

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68 lbs to Go!

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After one day, I’ve lost 2 of the SEVENTY POUNDS I need to lose. Forgive the caps, I’m not yelling at you, I’m yelling at me :D. I feel really good, I juiced all day and enjoyed eggplant for dinner. It’s a good thing I love fruits and vegetables, or this would be a very difficult lifestyle change. 

I’ve adjusted my goals just a bit. If you recall, I stated that I would add daily exercise. Exercise in and of itself is obviously a great thing, but watching a film led me to understand why my body was hanging on to all this fat. It also explained why “forcing the weight off” through exercise before detox was not a good idea, in fact it is quite counter productive. I’m pretty active anyway, so I’ll forgo the additional exercise until my detox is complete, about a week. 

I’m not the only one on this journey, I’ve included my entire family. Not everyone is happy about it as I’ve done a complete house clean out. No more Capri Sun, no more soda, no more store bought apple juice. With a meat and potatoes Dr. Pepper lovin’ husband, a teenager, two 9 year olds and a 7 year old diva in the house I’m not the most popular person around right now, but hey, they don’t gotta like me, I’ve got a job to do!

In the off chance I’ve inspired you to get healthy and have decided to dabble in the whole foods life yourself, you should take a gander at the film I watched yesterday: “Hungry For Change” it explains thoroughly the science behind food addiction, the part the food industry is playing in the obesity epidemic and how to work with your body instead of against it in the healing process. 

http://www.hungryforchange.tv

Here’s to Your Health

ImageI’ve been battling a weight problem for six years now, ever since my fifth and last child was born. Since then I’ve watched my weight grow steadily up hill until I reached a number of astronomical proportions. I’m not as brave as some, so I won’t give you the number lest you faint dead away from distress. Suffice it to say, I have to lose 70, SEVENTY, SEVEN-TEE, 70 pounds to reach my goal. Wow, that felt good.

Now, how I am I planning to do this you ask? It’s not like I hadn’t dabbled a bit here and there in  the past to shed this fat. I know I have not succeeded until this point because my state of mind. I read voraciously and I came upon the perfect gem in a comment thread in some forum focused on the juicing vs. blending debate and it was a zinger! It was exactly what I needed to reset the self-talk button in my head. I wish I could quote the writer verbatim and give credit, but I can’t find the thread. Here is what I took from it:

“It really doesn’t matter if you juice or if you blend, the reason we are all here is because humans have learned that they can put anything in their mouth that tastes good, now we are realizing that just because we can, doesn’t mean we should.” 

Amen AMEN I say! 

So back to business, how am *I* going to do this? I’m going whole foods baby. If it has an ingredient list I’m not putting it in my body. I once read somewhere that every journey begins with one step and that a long journey shouldn’t commence without a map. My cyberspace will serve as both. 

I plan on exercising everyday, even if its a quick 20 minutes on the elliptical. My food intake will consist only of whole foods and I will write everyday to clear my mind. 

Anyone interested in taking the journey with me? Here’s to our health!

Thankful Thursday?

ImageI’ve never done a “Thankful Thursday” post. I’ve noticed them floating around the Cyber sphere for a few years, but never felt so inclined. I could also opt for “Throwback Thursday” I’ve seen them too, never done it. You’d think as a writer I’d take advantage of these weekly prompts to stir the Muse, as she’s so good at alluding me, but I haven’t taken advantage as of yet. 

Do you feel me little Muse? Poking at you? Thankful Thursday…….Thankful Thursday….come on you playful little imp, surely we must be Thankful for something. Oh sure, I am sincerely thankful  for all of the wonderful blessings God has given me; my wonderful husband, my darling children, an awesome job, a lovely home. 

I want to be thankful for something different than everyone else. I want to be unique and interesting. I want to leave an impression that will engage my readers and haunt them for days. How ironic that doesn’t make me different from other writers, other artists. There are no guarantees in this business, but I am thankful that it exists. I’m thankful that I have an outlet for my creativity. I’m thankful that writing doesn’t have to be for everyone, it can be solely for my pleasure. 

Living MY Life

ImageThere are some days when your blessings are more blatantly apparent than others. Like a flower garden you pass everyday but suddenly take notice of, the blooms seem a little brighter, a little bigger and smell a little sweeter. Today my heart is full and my blessings abundantly present. I am thankful for this respite as I gaze upon my darling children, listen to their stories and songs. 

I wish I could hold on to this feeling forever, unfortunately living gets in the way of life. Time to prioritize and live like the only things that matter are those I hold closest to my heart. Being content is often overlooked in the name of ambition. Not that there is anything wrong with ambition, but if it gets in the way of enjoying what you already have, let it go. Today I choose to let it go………

Fiction Friday: “Fair’s Fair”

ImageJenny watched as the sun’s blazing rays skimmed the horizon and gently closed the heavy draperies of the picture window facing the Pismo Beach coastline. For a moment she stood, eyes closed and took a deep cleansing breath before she turned to the dirty dishes waiting in the kitchen. She new that any moment one of the children would call to her; requesting homework help, to referee a fight, iron a shirt or find a lost toy. 

She winced as she lowered her hands into the hot, soapy suds and felt around for the elusive sponge. Glancing at the clock she wondered if Larry was on his way home. He usually made it home in time for dinner, as she had been pushing the evening meal back later and later to accommodate his commute time. Jenny thought eating dinner together, next to prayer and devotions, was the most important thing a family could do on a daily basis.

A loud resounding thump, followed by the angry howl from Hannah, one of the 14 year old twin girls broke her reverie. She waited a moment before intervening, hoping that just this once the children would settle the disagreement without her input. 

“MOM!” shouted Stella, Hannah’s identical twin and elder sister by 7 minutes. 
“Tell Micah to get out of our room, Hannah is trying to study!”

Jenny sighed and wiped her hands on a the damp dish towel before turning to find out what the fuss was about. She a caught her reflection in the hall mirror when she stopped to pick up a stray shoe. The image caught her by surprise. Once an athlete with flawless skin and rich auburn hair, the person gazing back at her from the mirror was much different than she remembered herself to be. 

Instead of the athletic, toned, runners body she expected; she saw a frumpy, overweight housewife with graying hair and tired eyes. “7 children and 20 years certainly takes a toll on a body” she murmured as she headed up the stairs. With every step Jenny took she said a short prayer to calm her heart and restore her patience. “Father God direct my words and give me wisdom”. 

Jenny reached the landing just as Micah, her 17 year old first born rushed out of the twins’ room ducking his head as a hairbrush flew past his left ear and hit 8 year old Ruthie sitting in her room across the hall. 

Mother Love

ImageSomeone once said: “to be a mother, is to have your heart reside outside of your body”. Never has that felt so true than the day Casey left for boot camp. The pain I felt was so heavy, so real, as if someone had physically punched me in the chest. 

I knew the separation, the restricted communication, would be temporary but that offered  no relief. The fact that he would be far away in an isolating, foreign environment among strangers without the physical or verbal support of his family and friends caused me great distress. 

I remember that day vividly, almost 2 1/2 years ago. I was heading north, alone in my car sobbing uncontrollably like a lost child. With the sadness came anger. Why did MY son feel  he had to serve? Couldn’t someone else’s child take that burden? It didn’t matter that I had three more boys at home, no one could replace Casey’s presence in my heart and home. 

Before my angel left I reminded him that no matter where he was, or how long he had been away, if he looked at the moon he could find comfort that I was gazing at the same heavenly entity, thinking of him, praying for his strength and safety. Indeed every evening I would go outside and look at the moon.

Prayers and tears would find their way to the surface as the familiar pain would return afresh, like a wound reopened. Eight weeks is a long time when it separates a mother from her child, but the end did come, as ends do. I miss my handsome Airman as much as I did at the beginning of this journey, but the pain has dulled now, and I know longer feel angry. 

I feel pride. Pride that my son chose to serve. Pride in myself for my sacrifice. Pride in my son for his sacrifice. I feel love. Love for my son, love for my God. I feel thankful. Thankful to God for protecting my baby, thankful to every military family who has endured separation and loss. 

Another person once said: “Home of the free, because of the brave”.

Brave service men and women. Brave mothers. 

Wednesday Wishes

ImageToday I wish for everlasting epidermal elasticity. I turned 45 about a month ago.  Age doesn’t bother me, after all its just a number. I still feel like the same person I was 30 years ago, a goofy teenager with two left feet and an even goofier sense of humor. A little more wisdom for sure, more experience but my “essence” is the same and hopefully I’ll carry it to my grave (I happen to love the am that I am). But my SKIN is getting all…..weird, wiggly. Enough that cosmetic surgery seems much more attractive than I ever thought possible. Then I remembered Kenny Rogers. Is it possible to have just one surgery? A little eye area lift and neck tightening? Or does one surgery lead to a slippery slope in the never ending battle with time and gravity? How do you feel about cosmetic surgery and what would you have done if money, pain and vanity weren’t standing in your way?