Never Give Up Hope

Last night Tim and I had the honor/privilege/opportunity/blessing to attend a weekly family support group affiliate of the National Alliance on Mental Illness. The funny thing is: I'd NEVER heard of NAMI before this week, even though we've dealt with mental illness for a very long time.

From one of their brochures:

"NAMI is the nation's largest grassroots mental health organization dedicated to improving the lives of individuals and families affected by mental illness. NAMI has over 1,100 affiliates in communities across the country who engage in advocacy, research, support, and education. Members of NAMI are families, friends, and people living with mental illnesses such as major depression, schizophrenia, bipolar disorder, obsessive-compulsive disorder (OCD), panic disorder, posttraumatic stress disorder (PTSD), and borderline personality disorder."

Tweet: Did you know 1 in 5 adults in the U.S. has a mental health condition? Find support at #mentalh…

A Pixel Perfect Christmas - Re-Released

One of my favorite compilations has been re-released.

A Pixel-Perfect Christmas is now available in print and on Kindle.

Stories of fun, faith, fact, and fiction ...

Put another log on the fire, grab a cup of cocoa, and snuggle in to read the eclectic collection of Christmas stories included in A Pixel-Perfect Christmas.

The stories were originally written by the readers and team of the Pix-N-Pens blog, as the result of a contest held during November 2009. Finalists for the contests were chosen and placed in this book.

The stories within are a mixture of fiction and nonfiction, serious and silly—and we’re sure you’ll love them all. Some may even become favorites to read again year after year.

Recent posts:

Love Letters from the Heart Re-Released
Hope and Tough Love

From TMP Books:

Crush the Rush: Black Friday/Cyber Monday Sale Going on NOW!
Call for Submissions: Love Letters from the Heart 2

Love Letters from the Heart - Re-Released!

I'm excited to announce the re-release of this special little book, Love Letters from the Heart.

Have you ever felt unloved?

Friends, family, perhaps even strangers, have messages within their hearts they want to share with you, but never found the right time or the right place to speak them. Here, within these pages, you'll find messages of hope, forgiveness, direction, and even prayers – written from caring, loving hearts directly to you and for you.

Know this – you are not forgotten or abandoned. You are not alone. You are loved – more than you can possibly imagine.

Who could love any of us that much? Turn the pages – we hope you'll soon discover the answer.

Available on Amazon in paperback and on Kindle.

Reviewers say:

I'd never read a book like this before and had to ponder the letters and think about their writers for a while. Then I realized the letters speak to everyone. You will find yourself somewhere in at least one of the letters. But, perhaps more important…

Hope and Tough Love

Scrolling through Facebook this morning, I realized that other people may be in the same
kind of boat I’m currently in, so I decided to write this blog post in hopes of offering a word of encouragement and to let you know you’re not alone. I also wanted to write this blog post to just be real. To let everyone know that although life may be hard at times, the Lord is still on the throne, and our Hope is in HIM, not our present circumstances.

I love the holiday season. Love the Reason for the season, love the time of Thanksgiving for all we’re so richly blessed with, love the sparkly lights and the jingly bells. Love the sights, the sounds, the smells (oh, my, the delightful smells of cloves, sage, evergreens, gingerbread, wood-burning fires, fresh snow).

But for many years, I’ve let my holiday season be controlled by a dear, precious loved one who suffers from mental illness, but was only recently diagnosed.

We hear mental illness tossed around all the time, and we recognize the sympto…

Change Brings Results

After seven years of battling anemia, I am finally in recovery mode and beginning to feel alive again. But other health issues were making me sluggish and sleepy, so Tim and I decided to make some permanent lifestyle changes.

Last Monday, we joined our local aquatic center and began going daily to the pool. I researched how to get the most benefit out of pool exercise, so we do calisthenics, walk and swim laps, use pool noodles and water weights, and basically never stop moving the moment our feet touches water. We spend a full hour in the water four days a week.

We also joined Emeals and Instacart (if you use the Instacart link, we'll both get a $10 discount coupon).

We've used Emeals in the past, and really liked the way it works. We didn't like their Low Carb plan, so this time, I checked other options to see if they had something that would work better for us. I know that the way Tim and I eat, shop, and cook, that a low-carb plan works best for us overall, and I disco…

When Anniversaries Roll Around

Anniversary dates of events in our lives - good or bad - always trigger memories and emotions, and today is one of those dates.

Twenty-five years ago, my now-ex-husband and I launched a small weekly newspaper in a dying town.

The residents rallied around us, supported us, and cheered us on until we became the town’s cheerleader. We worked around the clock to provide the town with the latest news, all the events and happenings, and recording the day to day history of the town.

Being owners, publishers, editors, advertising salesmen, writers, graphic designers (before there was much in the way of graphic design), and janitors was hard work. It was proud work. The people were so beautiful. So kind. So loving and accepting. But it was also sacrificial work.

We sacrificed our time, our marriage, our finances to grow the business.

Regrettably, I also stupidly sacrificed my children.

I allowed someone else to help raise my children, and three years into this dream of building our future, I l…

Plans, Agendas, Schedules

We've all been there. Life coasting along, going about our business, keeping up with all our plans, creating our agendas, checking off our schedules.

Then suddenly ...

Life happens.

One twist and turn after another, right in the middle of all our plans.

This week, one life happening event was named Hurricane Harvey. Houston and surrounding areas along the Gulf Coast are still dealing with its aftermath. Reading news reports and my Facebook feed of dear friends who are living right in the midst of all the devastation - it just makes my heart hurt.

This week, a cherished family member received a diagnosis none of us were expecting.

This week, a loved one's relationship ended.

This week, a friend died.

We want to take time to just absorb all that's happening - we need just a moment or two so we can process the emotions that flood our souls.

Sometimes, the images from these disasters are too much. Sometimes, the pain our loved ones are suffering is too much. Sometimes, the los…