Thursday Throwback

The Chocolate Diaries by Karen Scalf Linamen

The Chocolate Diaries by Karen Scalf Linamen is a book for all women who have been on this journey called life.

Karen does an excellent job in The Chocolate Diaries of injecting her own life’s battles; such as bouts of depression along with life’s joys.

She believes in using lists to guide her and keep her on track. After one disheartening experience with her lists, she decided to always start her list with: Eat chocolate, thereby ensuring at least one thing on her list would be done every day.

At times lighthearted and at other times reflective, the book features real women with real stories and ways each coped with their situations.

Karen draws her analogies from extensive interviews with friends and family and peppers the stories throughout the book.

Each chapter has, in addition to the story, Sweet Secrets which poses the question to different women “What’s your secret to a sweeter journey on the rocky road of life?” and gives their answer, Food for Thought which asks the reader questions based on the chapter and finally at the end of the chapter is Because Real Women Don’t Need a Cookbook which highlights reader-submitted recipes.

I think this book would be great for a study group ending each session with the Food for Thought questions and then making the recipes.

Real people with real stories GENEROUSLY sprinkled with chocolate. Nothing is much better than that! I received this book from Blogging for Books. However, I was under no obligation to post a review.
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Friday Flashback

This is a repeat (of a repeat). However, after Kate Spade died, plus a few other deaths this year from suicide, or possible suicide, I feel prompted to post it again.

This post was a very difficult and painful one to write. I wrote it three days after Robin Williams died.

It is one of the most open, honest posts I’ve ever written. If by sharing my experience, I help someone else, it will have been worth it.

Thursday’s Thoughts

I haven’t had access to the internet for several days now, and though I had heard about Robin Williams’ death, I had not read or seen any reports. I know there have been countless stories, blogs and remembrances almost everywhere, and I know too, that this is late, but I feel led to share my story.

This won’t be easy for me because the memories are painful, but they are invading virtually every thought.

Quite a few years ago, my husband and I were going through some growing pains in our marriage. He was a career soldier, and I worked and cared for our three young children. I was managing a large apartment community at the time that had some pretty significant perks. Things were becoming tenuous at best and indescribable at worst. Due to my very dysfunctional childhood, fear, imprudence and immaturity, I decided I could care for our three children and myself and asked him to leave. He decided to request and received, an overseas tour.

I continued to work for the property management company until several months later when I was offered a job with a great deal more pay in another city. So, I packed up myself and three little ones, and we took off on a grand adventure. Little did I know.

Fortunately, I was able to enroll my little ones in a before and after school care that included evening hours. I began working 10-14 hours a day 6 days a week with little to no time to rest, much less make friends and become part of the community. Initially, I loved my new job, but things started slowly unraveling.

Work became a haven as I could handle what was going on there easier than I could handle home and all its demands, not to mention the loneliness and isolation I felt.

The company I worked for started laying people off and in true last hired fashion, I was laid off. I received a decent severance package, to include continuation of insurance for a short period of time.

Without realizing what was happening, I spiraled into SEVERE depression. As time went on, I was less and less able to handle even the smallest of day-to-day tasks. The kids were still going to before and after school care, and I was just trying to make it through the next 10 seconds without feeling like I was drowning a very slow and excruciating death.

And then one day, I seemed to have clarity of thought and action. I decided life wasn’t worth living and in a bizarre (though typical ideation) I began to systematically prepare everything for my death. Insurance was checked to see if it covered suicide (it did), I found a sweet, older Christian couple to care for the kids long-term, contacted Red Cross to find out what they would need to notify my husband and went to see a friend I made where I had worked.

My friend and I talked for a little while and then, for reasons unknown to me at the time, they asked me to go home and stay there until they came by later that day. I agreed and went home.

I know now that my friend, although not a Christian, was being led by God. This friend had a sister who had committed suicide and was able to recognize in me, through their heartbreaking experience, what I was doing, even though I didn’t. I was saying, “Good-bye.”

Later in the day, my friend came by to see me and was able to talk me into getting help.

I wish I could say this experience worked a miracle. I wish I could say I had not tried to commit suicide before (first time I was 13). I wish I could say I am free of depression. Unfortunately, I can’t. I continued and still continue with debilitating depression. I did learn one thing though-how to recognize when the depression is getting out of hand and to seek help right away.

I also learned, even when fleeing from myself and the Lord, the Lord is still there just waiting for me to return.

I cling to certain verses now.

John 16:33b King James Version (KJV) 33b In the world ye shall have tribulation: but be of good cheer; I have overcome the world.

Philippians 4:19 King James Version (KJV) 19 But my God shall supply all your need according to his riches in glory by Christ Jesus.

Jeremiah 29:11 New International Version (NIV) 11 For I know the plans I have for you,” declares the Lord, “plans to prosper you and not to harm you, plans to give you hope and a future.

Romans 15:13 King James Version (KJV) 13 Now the God of hope fill you with all joy and peace in believing, that ye may abound in hope, through the power of the Holy Ghost.

Psalm 31:24 King James Version (KJV) 24 Be of good courage, and he shall strengthen your heart, all ye that hope in the Lord.

Psalm 30:5b King James Version (KJV) 5b  weeping may endure for a night, but joy cometh in the morning.

And so many more, I can’t even begin to list them all.

There’s a lot more to my story, but I leave you with this: If you are hurting, lost in sadness, overwhelmed by life, feel like you can’t go on or a million other things that leave you feeling hopeless or helpless-get help. Don’t let anything or anyone stop you-GET HELPI cannot stress this enoughPlease, oh, please GET HELP!

http://www.nimh.nih.gov/index.shtml

http://www.nimh.nih.gov/health/topics/depression/index.shtml

http://www.healthcentral.com/depression/c/84292/70431/money-insurance?ic=506011

http://www.healthcentral.com/depression/cf/slideshows/what-to-do-when-you-are-depressed?ic=obnetwork

http://www.healthyplace.com/other-info/resources/mental-health-hotline-numbers-and-referral-resources/#Hotline

National Suicide Hopeline
Phone: 800.784.2433

National Suicide Prevention Lifeline
Phone: 800.273.8255

Monday Memories

A Profound, Uplifting Book!

Our Southern Breeze by Daphene Jones
with Andrea Taylor, Ph.D.

My Review

This book made a profound impact on me because my childhood and a small portion of my adult life were so similar to the story.

I urge anyone battling, or who has battled, with childhood abuse and deep depression while wondering where God is through it all to read this book!

I decided to reprint this review when I saw Same Kind of Different As Me had been made into a movie. I haven’t read Same Kind of Different As Me. However, if the book and/or film is even half of what Our Southern Breeze is, it will be great.

Our Southern Breeze is an amazing story of heartaches, failures, sickness, deaths and triumphs.

The first quarter (approximately) of the book deals with the early childhood of Daphene and her twin, Deborah, along with their older sister, Gretchen. The last three-quarters of the book chronicle her life and how she came to feel “her” southern breeze. Deborah’s story of hope will resonate with everyone.

Daphene and her twin, Deborah, experienced heartbreaking abuse at the hands of their father while growing up. Even though Daphene treads delicately and lightly through the abuse she and her twin suffered throughout their childhood, she still paints a harrowingly chilling and horrendous picture. Their older sister, Gretchen, was the “princess,” while the twins suffered from their father’s demons. Because of this, and secrets they couldn’t even admit to themselves, they were all three estranged as adults.

Deborah invited Daphene to a Christian conference held in 1990 that became a life changer for both sisters. While there they were approached by a person who told them they would soon encounter their summer breeze from God. The story then unfolds with God’s goodness and kindness over each twin’s life.

As you follow their inspirational journey, you sometimes forget it is a real story, as you are so drawn into Daphene and Deborah’s lives. Albeit the paths for each sister were very dissimilar, you can see God’s hand over their entire journey.

You will be uplifted, brought to tears, to your knees and left in awe of God’s mighty power.  Any reader can be stirred and moved by Daphene’s account of her and her twin’s lives. However, some images, in the beginning, may be distressful for abuse victims.

Same Kind of Different As Me is a book which chronicles parts of Deborah’s life. Because I was deeply touched on many, many levels by Our Southern Breeze, I’m looking forward to reading it, too.  Our Southern Breeze is a story that won’t soon leave your heart. Give yourself plenty of time to read and digest this book. (You’ll need a box of tissues, too!)

This book was provided for me Free by BookCrash in exchange for an unbiased opinion.

Publisher’s Review

In Our Southern Breeze, Daphene Jones tells the story about her life as the twin sister of Deborah Hall of “Same Kind of Different as Me”. She knew Deborah like no one else could. And the story she tells is like no other story. At the Anaheim Vineyard conference in 1990, God promised to send a southern breeze over Deborah and Daphene. Neither of them could have imagined what that would look like or how many other people would eventually be touched by the promised breeze. This is their story of overcoming even the darkest times of life through redemption, forgiveness, and second chances.

As she shares her heart through this story, her prayer is that God will heal the deep hurts that many are carrying. What she kept hearing as she worked on this book is that God is a God of Second Chances.

Revised post from 

Monday’s Mention

Bow borderToday, I have 2 different books about Christmas, one non-fiction and one fiction. Each book was written by a lady with the first name Kathi, too!

Return to Christmas: A Novel by Kathi Macias

About Book

Return to Christmas beautifully blends the two struggling worlds of a former marine and a little boy with attachment disorder. Former Marine Chet is having a hard time adjusting to civilian life. He doesn’t need help. He needs employment. He doesn’t have issues. The little boy his friends adopted has issues. But there is something about that little boy that draws him. Will the events leading up to this Christmas be able to melt his soldier heart or will he spiral into a dark depression?

My Thoughts

Kathi Macias has tackled an all too common problem for returning veterans, in her newest book, Return to Christmas.

Chet Mason, a former Marine, has just returned home from Afghanistan. His wife, Janeen, is convinced he has PTSD. As Chet tries to adjust to being back home, the nightmares and inability to find a job, Janeen is trying to make adjustments, too. Chet doesn’t seem to have patience for anyone but their little boy, Kevin, a precocious 3-year-old.

Kevin is an adorable 3-year-old with lots of spunk and personality. He fairly jumps from the pages of the book.

Janeen has become friends with Kevin’s day care provider, Breanna Pritchard, a fellow Christian. Breanna and her husband adopted a little boy, Ryan. Ryan has Attachment Disorder, a condition with many characteristics similar to PTSD.

I enjoyed the story, but I felt it was incomplete and tied everything up in a tidy little bow at the end, in order to complete the story.

Having suffered from (and still having issues with) PTSD and a having raised a child with several disorders, I didn’t feel the story did justice to Chet or Ryan.
However, putting that aside, the book was good.

I received this book from NetGalley in exchange for an honest review.

Monday’s Mention

Sand in My Sandwich: And Other Motherhood Messes I’m Learning to Love by Sarah Parshall Perry is the true raw, unadulterated view of the life of a mother of three children, two with special needs.

Sarah Perry is a previous neat freak, attorney and now mother of three. She chronicles her “escapades” and those of her children, in a very real and laugh out loud way. Even if you don’t have special needs children, all mothers can relate to Sarah’s life.

Sarah’s reality, even without her children, is a challenge. She struggles with depression and was diagnosed with an autoimmune disorder, but her sense of humor helps to see her through. In addition, her abiding faith shores her up in her darkest days. She says, “The hardest stuff is the quickest way to God.”

As you read Sand in My Sandwich, you are given glimpses into Sarah’s life, from her days a single woman to her current days as a wife and mother.

Sand in My Sandwich isn’t a how-to manual but a how-I-did-it chronicle. Sarah is an encouragement to every mom, helping us realize that some things we may have thought were unique to us, in our worst moments, are actually experienced by all moms.

Once you start reading, you are not going to want to put Sand in My Sandwich: And Other Motherhood Messes I’m Learning to Love down.

I received this book from NetGalley in exchange for an honest review.

Sand in my sandwich

Monday’s Mention

Bridge of Faith by Catherine West deals with very real and difficult problems, problems like spousal abuse, divorce, alcoholism and PTSD.

Julia Hansen had endured years of physical and verbal abuse from her husband, until one day after another brutal beating, her husband dies and she is hospitalized. Her parents come to Atlanta to take her and her two children, Mark and Emily, back home to Vermont.

Reid Wallace, a nationally acclaimed and recognized news reporter, has returned to Vermont, also. He is suffering from PTSD brought on by the bombing and subsequent deaths of his camera crew while reporting on the war in the Middle East. Unable to deal with the emotional fall-out, he has left his news-reporting job.

Neither Julia nor Reid knew the other was in town. Neither is ready to see the other. They had married nearly thirteen years before, but Reid walked out two weeks after the wedding. When Reid sees Julia’s son, Mark, he knows there’s something she needs to tell him, but can he win her trust back?

As the two battle through frustration, anger and depression, they argue and distrust each other. Reid wants to reconcile, but Julia wants no part of his reconciliation.

Bridge of Faith captures the anguish and turmoil of both Reid and Julia’s lives in vivid and understandable detail. Catherine West does a great job of detailing the complexities of life without the story being mired in despondency and pessimism. She aptly describes emotions, repercussions to actions and reconciliation to events without getting bogged down.

The novel is a gripping story of imperfect people trying to overcome huge obstacles on their road to forgiveness.

***Disclaimer: There are references to cursing. However, there is only one curse word.***

I received this book from the author in exchange for an honest review. Thank you, Catherine West!

Bridge of Faith

 

 

Monday’s Macarism

Macarism: noun, an ascription of blessedness; a blessing

I had the most unbelievable experience Sunday.

Due to a lot of reasons, we decided to visit a different church for Easter this year. Normally, I tend to prefer smaller churches that are either independent or Baptist or Independent Baptist. The church we visited was charismatic. (I have nothing against charismatic churches; I’m just not real familiar with them.)

As most everyone that knows me knows, I suffer from horrible bouts of depression. Sunday, for whatever reason, things seemed to have just worn me down. I was tired, tired of hurting all the time, tired of trying to fight my way through the daily grind, just tired, plain and simple. Of course, on the heels of that was depression.

I can always tell when I’m in the early stages of depression because everything, and I do mean E.V.E.R.Y.T.H.N.G, aggravates me to distraction and I start nit-picking at everything and everybody.

So, as we’re driving to church, I mention that I am feeling depressed, but I’m not sure why or what is going on, I just know the symptoms I was experiencing. I didn’t really feel like going and had to fight with myself just to get up, get ready and go. Plus, the pain was really wearing me down.

We get to the church and there are at least 500 people there. Mercy! In addition, today is communion Sunday. As I’m sitting in my chair contemplating my mood, confessing my sins and thinking, I am also telling God I just want to give up. I am tired and tired of being tired. I don’t want to be depressed. I don’t want to be driving myself and my family crazy.  Isn’t there any relief, anywhere?

This Sunday was also First Fruits Sunday. As everyone on our row of chairs gets up to give their offering, a gentleman sits down next to me. “Ma’am, do you need some money for your offering?” he asked. I explained that I hadn’t brought any cash but that was ok. He reaches in his wallet and pulls out some money and as he gives it to me he says, “This is for you a blessing today.” Well, I started bawling and handed it to my husband. The man then reaches into his wallet, hands me some more money, and says, “Ma’am, this is for YOUR offering, for YOUR blessing.”  Well, I started blubbering like a baby. I couldn’t even say thank you or fill out the envelope.

I walk up to place my envelope in the offering basket, and another gentleman gently touches my arm and asks if he can pray for me. When I nod yes, he wraps his arms around me and starts praying. FOR ME. He prays for my health, my life and my blessing. I totally lose it again!

I go back to my chair and sit down and the service continues to the end. I stand to shake hands with the kind man that gave me the money and to tell him thank you. He reaches over to shake my hand and as our hands touch, I feel more money. “I. . .I. ..Oh, sir, you don’t have to do this,” I stammer. “Ma’am,” he said, “this one is for you, YOUR BLESSING.” Then, before I could say or do anything, he left. I couldn’t quit crying.

As I write this tears are rolling down my cheeks. He didn’t know or hear my heart’s cry this morning, but GOD DID! God did, and He met me there, in the middle of an auditorium so full of people I felt like panicking. In an auditorium so full of people, you felt lost. In an auditorium so full of people, God showed Himself to one hungry, hurting soul, ME.

I can’t even begin to describe the feeling. It was one of quiet, slow, oozing peace and warmth, and love, and gratitude.

I’m going to start a Blessings Box, this is the first thing to go in it, too.

I think I have found a new church!

Oh, it was also Selfie Sunday. I decided no one needed to see my Rudolph red nose, thankfully, for everyone’s sake, I had left my phone at home!

Church blog

Thursday’s Thoughts

Raw, tender and agonizing are just a few words to describe how I feel right now. For many years, I have suffered from depression and recent news has stirred up innumerable feelings.

I haven’t had access to the internet for several days now, and though I had heard about Robin Williams’ death, I had not read or seen any reports. I know there have been countless stories, blogs and remembrances almost everywhere, and I know too, that this is late, but I feel led to share my story.

This won’t be easy for me because the memories are painful, but they are invading virtually every thought.

Quite a few years ago, my husband and I were going through some growing pains in our marriage. He was a career soldier, and I worked and cared for our three young children. I was managing a large apartment community at the time that had some pretty significant perks. Things were becoming tenuous at best and indescribable at worst. Due to my very dysfunctional childhood, fear, imprudence and immaturity, I decided I could care for our three children and myself and asked him to leave. He decided to request and received, an overseas tour.

I continued to work for the property management company until several months later when I was offered a job with a great deal more pay in another city. So, I packed up myself and three little ones, and we took off on a grand adventure. Little did I know.

Fortunately, I was able to enroll my little ones in a before and after school care that included evening hours. I began working 10-14 hours a day 6 days a week with little to no time to rest, much less make friends and become part of the community. Initially loved my new job, but things started slowly unraveling.

Work became a haven as I could handle what was going on there easier than I could handle home and all its demands, not to mention the loneliness and isolation I felt.

The company I worked for started laying people off and in true last hired fashion, I was laid off. I received a decent severance package, to include continuation of insurance for a short period of time.

Without realizing what was happening, I spiraled into SEVERE depression. As time went on, I was less and less able to handle even the smallest of day-to-day tasks. The kids were still going to before and after school care, and I was just trying to make it through the next 10 seconds without feeling like I was drowning a very slow and very painful death.

And then one day, I seemed to have clarity of thought and action. I decided life wasn’t worth living and in a bizarre (though typical ideation) I began to systematically prepare everything for my death. Insurance was checked to see if it covered suicide (it did), I found a sweet, older Christian couple to care for the kids long-term, contacted Red Cross to find out what they would need to notify my husband and went to see a friend I made where I had worked.

My friend and I talked for a little while and then, for reasons unknown to me at the time, they asked me to go home and stay there until they came by later that day. I agreed and went home.

I know now that my friend, although not a Christian, was being led by God. This friend had a sister who had committed suicide and was able to recognize in me, through their heartbreaking experience, what I was doing, even though I didn’t. I was saying, “Good-bye.”

Later in the day, my friend came by to see me and was able to talk me into getting help.

I wish I could say this experience worked a miracle. I wish I could say I had not tried to commit suicide before (first time I was 13). I wish I could say I am free of depression. Unfortunately, I can’t. I continued and still continue with debilitating depression. I did learn one thing though-how to recognize when the depression is getting out of hand and to seek help right away.

I also learned, even when fleeing from myself and the Lord, the Lord is still there just waiting for me to return.

I cling to certain verses now.

John 16:33b King James Version (KJV) 33b In the world ye shall have tribulation: but be of good cheer; I have overcome the world.

Philippians 4:19 King James Version (KJV) 19 But my God shall supply all your need according to his riches in glory by Christ Jesus.

Jeremiah 29:11 New International Version (NIV) 11 For I know the plans I have for you,” declares the Lord, “plans to prosper you and not to harm you, plans to give you hope and a future.

Romans 15:13 King James Version (KJV) 13 Now the God of hope fill you with all joy and peace in believing, that ye may abound in hope, through the power of the Holy Ghost.

Psalm 31:24 King James Version (KJV) 24 Be of good courage, and he shall strengthen your heart, all ye that hope in the Lord.

Psalm 30:5b King James Version (KJV) 5b  weeping may endure for a night, but joy cometh in the morning.

And so many more, I can’t even begin to list them all.

There’s a lot more to my story, but I leave you with this: If you are hurting, lost in sadness, overwhelmed by life, feel like you can’t go on or a million other things that leave you feeling hopeless or helpless-get help. Don’t let anything or anyone stop you-GET HELP. I cannot stress this enoughPlease, oh, please GET HELP!

http://www.nimh.nih.gov/index.shtml

http://www.nimh.nih.gov/health/topics/depression/index.shtml

http://www.healthcentral.com/depression/c/84292/70431/money-insurance?ic=506011

http://www.healthcentral.com/depression/cf/slideshows/what-to-do-when-you-are-depressed?ic=obnetwork

http://www.healthyplace.com/other-info/resources/mental-health-hotline-numbers-and-referral-resources/#Hotline

National Suicide Hopeline
Phone: 800.784.2433

National Suicide Prevention Lifeline
Phone: 800.273.8255

Morose Monition

I have felt it coming for a long time some of it because of external situations and some from internal.

My life has been a constant struggle with a very heavy, deeply rooted depression.  I know why for most of it, but not for all.  I struggle and struggle, but nothing helps except medication.  And, therein, lies the problem-I had to recently come off a med that was causing a myriad of horrendous side effects. https://captivedreamswindow.wordpress.com/2014/04/21/monday-musing/

The medication had served me well for ten years but no more.  As the symptoms kept piling up every day, and the wait to see the Dr kept floating further away, I have had a few tremendous number of morose monitions.

Severe depression has been an area of my life that I have regularly beat myself up over, as it is one I can NOT overcome-even with God’s mighty help.

Burying myself in the Bible, I have come to understand something.  There are great and mighty people of the Bible that suffered from depression, too, and through it all, God shows His kindness and love for each one.

As long as I have no surprises, I can function fairly well, but surprises (not the good kind-I love, love those) throw me into a tailspin, and I lose all sense of reality, gentleness and kindness.  Such was the case this week, when one of my dear ones said something very judgmental and unfair, and I retaliated with information that had been a long held (and should have remained) secret.  This led to a very acrimonious shout down, from which none have recovered and some may never.

Plus, and believe me I am not trying to say “poor me,” but we are almost finished with cleaning and emptying Dad’s house (Mom’s too, though she passed away 4 years ago).  So, the closer we get to it being empty, the more we throw away, give away and/or save, the more I grieve, because this is the last tangible tie I have to him and her.  To say I have been HIGHLY emotional lately is the grossest of understatements.

Profound, Uplifting Book!

This book made a profound impact on me because our childhood and a small portion of our adult lives were so similar.

 I urge anyone battling, or has battled, with childhood abuse, deep depression and with wondering where God is through it all to read this book!

Our Southern Breeze
by Daphene Jones with Andrea Taylor
ISBN 978-0-9830129-6-2

Our Southern Breeze is an amazing story of heartaches, failures, sickness, deaths and triumphs.

The first quarter (approximately) of the book deals with the early childhood of Daphene and her twin, Deborah, along with their older sister, Gretchen. The last three quarters of the book chronicle her life and how she came to feel “her” southern breeze. Deborah’s story of hope will resonate with everyone.

Daphene and her twin, Deborah, experienced heartbreaking abuse at the hands of their  father while growing up. Even though Daphene treads delicately and lightly through the abuse she and her twin suffered throughout their childhood, she still paints a harrowingly chilling and horrendous picture. Their older sister, Gretchen, was the “princess,” while the twins suffered from their father’s demons. Because of this, and secrets they couldn’t even admit to themselves, they were all three estranged as adults.

Deborah invited Daphene to a Christian conference held in 1990 that became a life changer for both sisters. While there they were approached by a person who told them they would soon encounter their summer breeze from God. The story then unfolds with God’s goodness and kindness over each twin’s life.

As you follow their inspirational journey, you sometimes forget it is a true story, as you are so drawn into Daphene and Deborah’s lives. Albeit the paths for each sister were very dissimilar, you can see God’s hand over their entire journey.

You will be uplifted, brought to tears, to your knees and left in awe of God’s mighty power.  Any reader can be stirred and moved by Daphene’s account of her and her twin’s lives.  However, some images in the beginning may be distressful for abuse victims.

I hadn’t read Same Kind of Different As Me, a book which chronicles parts of Deborah’s life. Because I was deeply touched on many, many levels by Our Southern Breeze, I’m looking forward to reading it, too.  Our Southern Breeze is a story that won’t soon leave your heart. Give yourself plenty of time to read and digest this book.

This book was provided for me Free by BookCrash in exchange for an unbiased opinion.

revision from 6/18/12