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Wow.

We’ve been on the road lately.

And folks (thankfully) have been on the road to see us.

It’s been a busy month. Let’s see if I can recount it.

Father’s Day weekend we traveled to Savannah for Barry’s grandparents anniversary

ImageWe visited the brand new Children’s Museum of Savannah which is all outdoors. It was so cool!

I left for a short trip to TX for the CBF General Assembly. I had a great time catching up with friends but I missed my guys!

Image

The Mackey family made a quick trip from Atlanta on what I think was the hottest day of the year. How do you survive 106 degrees with three toddlers and a newborn?

WATER DAY!

We headed to Florida on the 4th of July where Parker saw fireworks from the beach. He did such a great job keeping his eyes open but just didn’t make it for the finale. He was hard and fast asleep in my arms. It was a busy week but we enjoyed good food, beach time, and lots of playing with family. Barry and I slipped over to Seagrove Beach for the afternoon/evening one day to hang out with his boss and his wife. It was a fun night.

We arrived back home and headed straight into a week of Vacation Bible School. Whew! It was fun but busy. I taught the 5th and 6th grade class and brought home two girls from our church each day afterwards. I was worn out when the week ended.

Last week, we got a call that Kalli wanted to come stay with us for several days. We said, “of course!” and I headed out the next day to get her. We are always happy to have Kalli stay with us! She was a great help to me because Parker has been teething. She helped distract him when he was really fussy. She always helped without complaining. She’s a trooper!

The afternoon that Kalli left, Mrs. Pam came for a visit. We always love visits from Mrs. Pam. She eats popsicles, reads books, and plays baseball while wearing a dress!

 

Where will our adventures take us next?

 

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Shred…

Today on NPR I heard this story about Good Riddance Day 2011 happening in 2011. Folks were lining up for a chance to shred something from 2011 in a symbolic attempt to say goodbye to bad things in 2011 and allow space for good things in 2012. There were humorous things like a wrist brace a woman had to wear after spraining her wrist or the woman who brought things from 6 boyfriends she had this year. There were certainly more serious ones like the woman whose husband and multiple family members spent most of 2011 deployed in Iraq. She was throwing things that represented their deployment into the industrial sized shredder in hopes to have everyone home in 2012.

I got to thinking, “What would I shred of 2011?” I don’t know but perhaps as I work towards my goals for 2012, I should consider the things I need to get rid of to allow room for new improvements.

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This morning in the darkness, I lit a candle for several friends this morning. They all have something in common: going through major life transitions. In my heart and in my prayers, I will carry them through this day.

A few moments later I picked up my book, Sacred Journeys by Jan Richardson and read these words:

For the Seed Is the Light of the Earth

In the absence of light
we maintain our eyes cannot see.
We believe our pupils dilate
to a maximum degree and no more.
We are certain our bodies do not glow
with the cold phosphorescence of the bog,
of water, unfathomed, under pressure,
our own, or beyond our making. We assure
ourselves we are exonerated because
we cannot float through the night
graceful with inherent sonar. We think
anatomy keeps us from the dark forest.

I tell you here, in this dark, this
indistinct country, comes our shaped
and fleshed evolution. That step
on the unlit path stretches us,
and those who may come after.
With each hesitant journey
we open, blazing beacon fires,
flashing lanterns from high, distant
hills Dark surrounds us. We are
paradox. We carry our own light
and move in love through the dark,
as the seed loves the earth enclosing it.
– Christina Pacosz (Looking for Home: Women Writing About Exile)

Jennifer, Todd, Emily…. may your steps on the unlit path bring you hope, joy, and peace this day and always.

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Due to a change in my normal Wednesday schedule, I invited some friends to join us this afternoon at our city’s new farmer’s market. Some of you might remember my complaints on Facebook a few months ago when I ventured out on a Saturday morning to try to find one of our advertised markets only to return disappointed. Today was no disappointment. It’s not like the CA farmer’s markets that I love but it’s a work in progress. I can’t wait to visit and support our local farmers again.

Here’s a picture of the goodies I bought today:

Oops, I forgot to put our Vidalia onions in the picture. Yummy!

Dickey Farms were there with yummy peaches. Peaches are one of the things I love about living in Georgia in the summer. The ability to buy right from the farmer means so much to me too. Not only are they fresh but they have been grown right here in middle Georgia. The banner on my home page came from a photo I took while visiting the “farm” where they sell their peaches and peach products. And, if you have a chance to visit, there’s always yummy peach ice cream!

Thanks to MyTown Monthly magazine I recently discovered a local farm about 20 minutes from my house. We went and picked strawberries and blackberries at Deer Creek Farm in Forsyth, GA. It was great seeing them at the market yesterday but we’ll have to go back and pick right from the bush. It’s too much fun!

I also found out about a local CSA in our area. I can’t wait to find out more about them. We bought from Farm Fresh to You while we lived in CA and loved it. There was often something in our box that I had never tried and wouldn’t have bought at the grocery store or market on my own. It was a creative cooking adventure if nothing else.

It’s exciting to learn about the folks who are putting the market together. Macon Roots sounds like a great organization and I can’t wait to know more about their work.

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The last few years of ministry, I have found myself working with people living with a mental illness. The first time I was assigned to the mental health unit of Atlanta’s women’s prison, I was surprised. Perhaps, the greatest surprise for me was the sense of peace I had when working alongside these women struggling to make sense of God, their illness, their world, and incarceration. Then there was Gloria Jean, the homeless woman who wandered the halls of our church & made her presence known in worship. She challenged my own faith and belief systems while sharing her revelations. During my CPE residency, I was invited as the chaplain to lead a spirituality group with our veterans struggling with severe mental illness. I developed a study guide (which I hear is somewhat still used today) for our veteran population in incorporating spirituality into their recovery process.

Why? Why have I been so drawn to this work?

Is it because of my own personal history of the struggle to find balance in health & wellness? For me, at various points in my life, it involved seeing a therapist regularly, exercise, and meditation. When I finally realized I needed to find someone (therapist) to talk to about life, I had to overcome a lot of personal stigma about folks who sought out therapy. Is my attraction connected to helping break down the walls of stigma? maybe.

Does it have to do with the connection between spirituality and a mental health diagnosis? There seems to be a fine line. In the religious community, we freely talk about “hearing God’s voice” yet when we talk about people hearing voices they need help. Do you see the difficulty in this?

I have often wondered if there was more to this story in my past history that I had yet to discover. In a recent conversation with my grandmother, I realized that my great grandmother lived with some significant mental illness throughout her life. The therapy for her was treatment centers where “shock” therapy was often used. It’s painful for me to even think about this but it’s true. The other family truth is that most of us considered her a really mean woman. I wonder today how much her the personality we knew of her was related to her illness or more importantly, how she had been treated for the illness.

I know that the month of May is almost over. But, will you take the time to look through some of these websites to find information, resources that might be helpful to you or your family members? The statistics show that 1 in 4 people struggle with mental illness & 1 in 17 struggle with severe mental illness.

What are ways you can help:

– Read about information & resources available

– Don’t be afraid to ask for help & don’t judge others who ask for help

– Watch your language. We throw around the word “crazy” and “schizophrenic” in every language. Be mindful of the words you use.

– A person may live with a disease or an illness but they are NOT the disease and illness. There is a difference.

Websites to check out:

http://www.mentalhealthamerica.net/go/may

www.nami.org

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Hooked Up

Tonight is the last night I will spend hooked up to IV medication at home for what I hope is the rest of my life. I received word today from my doctor that everything is looking great. Tomorrow I will take my last dose of medicine and have this line taken out of my arm. I cannot express the pure excitement I feel in preparing for tomorrow.

It feels like a new beginning for me.

Yes, it has been two months since the events of my last post. My son was born two months ago today. One of the most joyous moments of my life.

About a month ago, one of the most difficult moments of my life began. Tomorrow, I’m unhooking the medicine and continuing the process of healing. I’m going to try to write about it here. Why? Because in addition to the physical toll this illness took on me, it took an emotional and spiritual toll on me too.

I need to write about it. And, here’s the warning: you may not like what you read. But, please know it’s me, trying to be honest and on my way to healing.

It’s my story… of being unhooked and wanting to be healed.

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Double Trouble…

Yesterday, Brittany and her girls came for a visit! It was so great to see them, show them our house, and hang out for a while. The twins are growing fast and wanting to see lots of things these days. They immediately wanted to know what the “coolest” thing to do in our new town. Well, I had to admit to these cute girls– there’s not much.
We did decide to take them to the Peach farm I’ve discovered. This is probably the last week they are open which makes me so sad! I love my fresh peaches. The girls wanted to try out the peach ice cream so naturally, Brittany and I agreed to eat the majority of it.

The girls wanted to try out the white rockers, get their pictures taken as official “Georgia peaches”, and flirt with the boys who worked at the farm. Yes, at such a young age they are already catching the attention of boys. Watch out mom and dad!!

We brought them back to the house and they enjoyed playing with Jovi. Kitt decided it was time for her beauty sleep and although Garet needed some too, she refused. Here’s a video of her trying to convince Jovi to play instead of napping!

We had a great time! I miss them already… but I must admit, I was exhausted and ready to go to bed at 8 pm last night! I think I even heard Jovi snoring 🙂

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