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Showing posts from 2014

A Savannah Christmas!

This is what inspires me...great vignettes of things I love; like mercury glass, wood crates or trays, evergreen and candles.   

Painted white pine cones are scattered on my tree and used throughout my decor.  I used an old metal can, sprayed it with hammered metal paint and filled it with sprigs of blue spruce clippings.  

And since I don't have a fireplace in my apartment, (those who do are lucky), I decked my old door with the tockings. Love that!

I created the table vignette using a galvanized metal tray, fresh greens, two mercury glass candles and my lovely sparkling silver bird cage.  

I found this old coffee sack at a local thrift shop.  I adorned my buffet with this and sat my sweet white sled on top.  I added fake greens (shh) they look real, feathers, bells and pine cones.  

Pine cones...I can't get enough of them!  

The patio is decked...LOL!  I mean, decked for the holidays.  More pine cones, of course, and fresh greens mixed with some fake.  I love my old grate with the…


September means fall is just around the corner. For the first time today, I stepped outside and the southern coastal air of Savannah was bright, crisp and cool.  It was so refreshing.  

I love fall!  It's always an invigorating change the makes me want to roast vegetables, bake bread and eat all those great comfort foods we love.  

I've been decorating only just a little, and I wanted to share this little vignette that I created.  The topiary got a fresh start this year.  Last year he was traditional orange colors, but I am going for more muted neutral tones now and so, I grabbed a paint brush.  I painted the top pumpkin off white colors, and the bottom mocha. When he was completely dry, I sprayed him with a clear matte spray to protect the finish.  I added burlap leaves and a new vine with neutral berries.  Oh and I painted the clay pot he sits on, too.  I'm super happy with this project.  Now you know you can paint those plastic pumpkins in case you can't find one in t…

The Occasional Act of Kindness

Mental illness (brain chemistry illness) has continuous cycles of ups and downs.  That is the essential nature of bipolar.  Therefore, the families of our loved ones will also experience ups and downs.  It's inevitable, inconvenient but a fact that most onlookers do not care to understand. 
Adequate management of MI takes mental and emotional energy.  For those who have experienced this, you will soon realize those two management tools often give way to physical weariness, as well. 
When normal daily duties cannot be attended to because of the side effects and symptoms of MI, the responsibilities of life fall to their loved ones and family members.  There were times in our earlier years of marriage, especially when our daughters were younger, that I operated much like a single parent.  The effects of MI disrupt daily life and often my husband needed rest, naps and time away to defrag his mind.  I always made room for this because I knew his needs must be attended to in order for u…

The Journey: Stones, Rivers and their Etchings

The journey, much like the river's current that polishes and etches grooves in a stone, carves into our souls deep hurts and wounds.  However, over time, the polishing can transform a simple stone into a jewel.  But that's the catch, with time......seconds added to minutes turn into hours, stretched into days; become years.   This expanse of time, like bookends, collects its trials and troubles in the middle; which are carried along like a train on a track, no, maybe more like dragging them as a beast of burden on our after day, trudging through the desert of life, tattered garments, cracked feet, parched and sun scorched lips.  Not just tired, rather exhausted, exhaling and inhaling as if it was the last function of our lungs or diaphragm. 
Brain Chemistry Diseases (mental illness) never let you up off the mat of life.  Persons with these diagnoses, can and do experience good days, quite often in a different way than those who have never been diagnosed.  However…

What Christians need to know about Mental Illness

Dear Friends,
I ask you one poignant question: "what is the value of one life?" Any life?  And not the just lives of those who look powerful or who make you feel better but the lives of those we don't understand; a life of a mental health consumer. As Christians, why do pass by on the other side of the road?
Mental illness is a wide encompassing set of diseases in the chemistry of the brain.  Period!  It's not anything more or less than that.  I will no longer argue this point with another soul.  If you want to live your life with your head in the sand, that's your choice.  But know this, you will soon be unable to breathe.
It's dark and hideous.  It's no respecter of persons.  It comes to many.  Thank God it hasn't been you.  Be grateful your life is spared this agony.   But never underestimate the reality of brain illnesses.  As surely as people get cancer and as certainly as you would never think to blame them, then stop the insidious judgment of the …

Our Thoughts after Robin Williams Suicide

I was wondering if I could possibly put all my scrambling thoughts into sequence enough to make sense for any reader.  How does one put tragedy into context?  Every day people commit suicide and we don't mourn.  A celebrity dies and the world watches and weeps.  In context, this is our opportunity to weep and mourn and then to learn and grow as a society. 
Of course, you might have figured out I am referring to the suicide of comedian/actor Robin Williams.  The sad reality is that Mr. Williams suffered from deep depression and from the facts I have gathered, his struggle lasted for many years.  I am not a fan of suicide, but I must stress that I have deep compassion for those who take their life in this manner.  How great the darkness can be.  I think it might be easy for some looking on, to misunderstand how anyone could end their own life.  I confess I have struggled with this thought.  But I have faced depression of my own in recent years, and I now understand how darkness feel…

Grief - It's What's For Dinner

Some years back, Winn Dixie grocery stores uses the following ad:  "Beef, it's what's for dinner."

As I have spent the past year and a half grieving the vast number of losses, I recalled that grief has become my dinner.  In fact, it has sometimes been my daily food.  Grief forces you to do that.  It sidles up next to us and we carry her like a cloak everywhere we go.  Every event of our day is experienced through the lens of grief.  And it's uncomfortable, boring, tasteless and unappetizing.

But the truth about grief is you can't always shove it away.  Denial prolongs the pain.  She'll come back with a vengeance.  Entertain grief as long as necessary.  Think of her as an unwanted house keeper.  She is present to help you dust the cobwebs from your soul.  Her mission is cleaning out the clutter that has long weighed you down.  She is ruthless at times, forcing you to release memorabilia that has held you captive to deep soul pain.  But she must do her work.…

Mental Health and the Church - Part One

Joyce's Response:
The Mental Health and the Church Conference hosted by Pastor Rick Warren sounded like a great idea.  In fact, I know it's a great idea because for 20 years, Glen and I have had a deep passion to teach evangelicals how to respond to persons living with mental illness.  Our words have fell on deaf ears.  Twenty years ago people could barely get the words "mental illness" out of their mouths without gasping and choking.  I am pleased to say people are getting more comfortable every day with those words. 
But this conference was supposed to lead to the culmination of standing together in suffering. As I finished listening to Rick Warren's closing comments, I was both stunned and angered at the neglect to convey true sympathy.  Very little of this message was communicated.  This was Rick's opportunity to draw the net and gather the people of God together who are suffering.  It was his chance to convey the deepest care, compassion and comfort.  Ins…

Bipolar Marriage - Making it for the long haul

BP magazine online article states that 90% of all marriages, where one person has mental illness, results in divorce.  I wasn't actually surprised by this, but I was somewhat stunned in a new way.  I know personally how hard it has been to stay together.  The challenges are staggering and no one can know this who has not walked this road. 
That statistic doesn't really give me much hope.  For me, hope comes from a much higher power.  It has to be God and God alone who can carry us and help us survive or thrive in spite of the odds stacked against us.  Who else can help us like he can?
Almost everyone I know has failed me at one time or another.  I've lost family and friends because of the terrible disease known as mental illness.  The losses have been staggering.  I've had to find a way to survive that didn't involve people...and I found that God would carry me.  When all else failed; when people hit the road and left us abandoned, I found God never left me alone.