Mental Health  Monday – Resources

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In the last of my mental health series (for now), I am sharing with you resources that have been recommended to me. If you have others to share, please do so in the comments and I can add them to my crisis intervention page as well as including them in furture resource posts.

Suicide Prevention HelpLine: 1-800-273-8255

The Trevor Project: 1-866-488-7386

IMAlive (an online crisis network)
The Trans Lifeline: 1-877-565-8860

TWLOHA: To Write Love on Her Arms

NAMI: National Alliance on Mental Illness

Veteran’s Crisis Line: 1-800-273-8255, press 1. Text to 838255. There is also a confidential chat line on the website.

March for Our Lives


Carrie Fisher was a champion for ending mental health stigma, and did so by talking about it. This article is a good reminder of that part of her legacy.

Wil Wheaton is also a strong advocate of getting help and talking about it. His openness helped me in mine.

Books Recs for Rosh Hashanah

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I’ve mentioned before that I always read on the Rosh Hashanah holiday. I am currently either in the middle of or just about to begin three books. I’ll also include ones that I’ve finished recently.

1776 – by David McCullough

1984 – by George Orwell

The Autobiography of Malcolm X – by Malcolm X with Alex Haley

Born a Crime: Stories from a South African Childhood – by Trevor Noah

The Children – by David Halberstam

Cronkite – by Douglas Brinkley

Malcolm X: A Life of Reinvention – by Manning Marable

Martin Luther: Renegade and Prophet – by Lyndal Roper

Read my Pins – by Madeline Albright

The Handmaid’s Tale – by Margaret Atwood

The Princess Diarist – by Carrie Fisher

The Zookeeper’s Wife – by Diane Ackerman

27/52 – August

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August is a many headed beast.

It is still summer, so we’re trying to fit in everything we can possibly fit into a month when we should have really started in June. The  month’s only begun, and I feel as though I’ve lost the fight.

On Monday, my daughter had a doctor’s appointment, and while we were “in the neighborhood” we decided to go to the orchard to find some local jams and such for the hostess gift for my mother in law’s cousins who we’ll be staying with in a couple of weeks. Our summer holiday is coming soon!

Wednesday was a spur of the moment visit to the capital to see the painted dogs. (I’ll share more details next week in a travel post.) We spent the whole day driving around the capital, looking at a map of dogs, and taking pictures and selfies of and with the dogs, replicas of the famous RCA Nipper. This is a good addition to our photo collection of cats, horses, and ballet slippers.

Thursday is therapy and getting my hair taken care of.

Friday, we’ll be driving two hours one way for visiting hours for my cousin’s father who just died.

And then the real busy begins: VBS for the little ones, work for the older one, mass, reconciliation, gishwhes, ministry meeting, interfaith meeting, vacation, geocache meet up, my 23rd anniversary, Marian retreat day, school supply shopping, and a quick family visit.

It’s also hot.

Very hot.

But right now, at the very beginning, it feels endless, and so, so busy, but I know that it will fly by much too fast, especially the vacation and the family visits. We will take a ridiculous amount of pictures, and it will be too many, and still not enough.

I think August is the tangible of time is fleeting.

It’s slow and daunting and never ending until it’s over, and then there’s so many things that didn’t happen or get done, and we wonder where all the time went, but it’s right there on the calendar. I don’t think any other month moves in the waves of heat and smog and thunderstorms that August does, ever cloudy and hard to see through, but then the other side is just there.

August.

It ends before it begins.

I’m thinking of a quote from Carrie Fisher‘s most recent book, The Princess Diarist; the one she published close to when she died. Actually, I’m thinking of two of her quotes among a million equally meaningful and  memorable, insightful. There was so much in that book. The voice of forty years in between was full of humor and sadness, and understanding while that forty years passed by like all the Augusts do. The quotes were about looking ahead, being yourself, and letting others judge you, or rather not letting others judge you. Why do we let others judge us? Why do we care what the world thinks? 

She was Carrie Fisher, and she did. What chance do I have?

“I was always looking ahead to who I wanted to be versus who I didn’t realize I already was…”

“Do not let what you think they think of you make you stop and question everything you are.”

16 Books Every Woman Needs to Read plus a few extra

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16 Books Every Woman Needs to Read from Bustle.

Plus, the books that I’ve read this year that I would recommend, either about women or by women or both:

Yes, Please by Amy Poehler

My Own Words by Ruth Bader Ginsburg with Mary Harnett and Wendy W. Williams

The Jet Sex: Airline Stewardesses and the Making of an American Icon by Victoria Vantoch

My Beloved World by Sonia Sotomayor

Redefining Realness: My Path to Womanhood, Identity, Love, and So Much More by Janet Mock

Hidden Figures: The Story of the African-American Women Who Helped Win the Space Race by Margot Lee Shetterly

The Handmaid’s Tale by Margaret Atwood (fictional)

The Zookeeper’s Wife: A War Story by Diane Ackerman

Game of Queens: The Women Who Made Sixteenth Century Europe by Sarah Gristwood

The Princess Diarist by Carrie Fisher

Confidence will Follow

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Graphic – unknown creator. Quote by Carrie Fisher.

Stay afraid, but, do it anyway. What’s important is the action. You don’t have to wait to be confident. Just do it and eventually the confidence will follow. – Carrie Fisher

This is something I’ve only learned in the past few months, maybe a year. I continue to carry this sentiment and Carrie in my heart. I can do it. I can.

4-52 – Carrie Fisher

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Protest poster from the Women’s March on Washington. 1/21/17. Unknown to credit at this time.

I have long admired Carrie Fisher from the moment she appeared as a repeated hologram with Luke’s connection to her becoming mine. The long white robe, the cinnamon bun hair, the lower register of her voice and the slight rasp. She was a Princess but she wasn’t like any of the princesses we’d encountered before. She was the daughter of a Senator; her identity seemingly connected and overshadowed by her father and the other men in her life until we really met her.

She was the leader of the Resistance. She didn’t let her hair get in her way, and she wore it how she liked it. Her clothes and style never defined her. And neither could we.

That was true for her real life counterpart.

For me, Carrie Fisher, like Jamie Lee Curtis, Melanie Griffith, and later on Rashida Jones, was a bridge from oldtime Hollywood to a new generation of strong women from strong women. My mother watched Debbie Reynolds and Vivian Leigh; We both watched Tippi Hedron, and I watched Peggy Lipton and then their daughters.

Just when you thought Carrie was a one hit wonder, diving head first into drugs and promiscuity, she would come out with something else; something funny, something remarkable, something for all of us.

When I discovered that she was a writer, I jumped for joy inside my head. As a wannabe writer, I loved finding other writers, especially those that had done something else before. It can be done at any age, and Carrie was the epitome of doing it at any age. It also showed  me that it was attainable. Yes, she had some connections and people wanted to hear her stories that were somewhat autobiographical, watching her do it made it attainable for me too.

That is so important to a budding anything; to have that one person who you can look to and say, hey, that’s kind of me, I can do this. I got this.

I looked forward to the new Star Wars so I could see what Leia was up to more than thirty years later, but I also looked forward to how Carrie was doing. She was unstereotypical, unabashed, and unfazed. One of the more recent things I read from her on Twitter was a response to a comment from some troll who thought she hadn’t aged well. She said:

“Please stop debating about whetherOR not I aged well.unfortunately it hurts all3 of my feelings.My BODY hasnt aged as well as I have.”

and

“Youth and beauty are not accomplishments, they’re the temporary happy biproducts of time and/or DNA. Don’t hold your breath for either.(sic)”

I needed those statements in a point in my life that they came and I was reminded of how much I loved and admired Carrie.

A few more of her gems:

Instant gratification takes too long.

Resentment is like drinking poison and waiting for the other person to die.

I was street smart, but unfortunately the street was Rodeo Drive.

There is no point at which you can say, “Well, I’m successful now. I might as well take a nap.”

I really love the Internet. They say chat-rooms are the trailer park of the internet. but I find it amazing.

I don’t think Christmas is necessarily about things. It’s about being good to one another, it’s about the Christian ethic, it’s about kindness.

I don’t want my life to imitate art, I want my life to be art.

I am a spy in the house of me. I report back from the front lines of the battle that is me. I am somewhat nonplused by the event that is my life.

I did the traditional thing with falling in love with words, reading books and underlining lines I liked and words I didn’t know. It was something I always did.

I don’t want to be thought of as a survivor because you have to continue getting involved in difficult situations to show off that particular gift, and I’m not interested in doing that anymore.

I’m fine, but I’m bipolar. I’m on seven medications, and I take medication three times a day. This constantly puts me in touch with the illness I have. I’m never quite allowed to be free of that for a day. It’s like being a diabetic.

Writing is a very calming thing for me.

Me, too, Carrie.

Thank you, and rest in peace. ❤

Tao of Carrie Fisher

On the 3rd Day of Christmas, My True Love gave to Me:

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…hope.

In reading today’s reflection from the Morneau book, I read this statement: Pessimism can sweep through the human heart.

I have not felt that as much as I have in this past year. One thing after another, beginning with David Bowie and Alan Rickman and most recently with George Michael and Carrie Fisher. I can’t list all of the names that have affected me this year, so, so many, none more important and felt than my mother-in-law who passed away suddenly in June. And then there’s the election. This year has been a lot; too much in fact.

In our home, everything is clouded with the loss of my children’s last grandparent, the only one my youngest two knew.

It’s been a hard balance to maintain, keeping things hopeful for my kids while continuing to honor the memory of their grandmother. I could talk for hours about her, and in the next few months I will talk some more.

This is our first Christmas.

One of the things that was difficult for me was Christmas shopping. I’d see something and think that it was perfect for her, and then I’d remember and walk on by. It was too much.

Then I embraced it.

She loved cardinals. We always gave her a cardinal ornament for Christmas and often also for her birthday in January, so instead of walking past the cardinals, I bought two for our tree. I thought it would upset my husband, but he said we should hang them near the top.

I also went to our local Irish import shop for a Celtic necklace for my close friend, and while I was there, I noticed the candy set out for Christmas. I decided to buy a selection to give to the kids in honor of their grandmother and her homeland, and the accent they knew so well and loved.

It is only recently that I understand that word, bittersweet – the simultaneous joy and sad; the pessimism with the path to hope that we only need to find, to shine a light on the dark.

Meditation: Does too much reading of history or current events threaten your hope? What are some ways of sustaining hope in a world wrestling with so much darkness?

From Daily Reflections for Advent & Christmas: Waiting in Joyful Hope 2016-17 by Bishop Robert F. Morneau

The current events of these last few months have been straining. Is there too much reading of history or current events? I don’t know. History lets us see how far we’ve come, and gives us the knowledge that we will overcome all of this, including our new president, which is the most worrisome thing I’ve had to face in these last couple of months, but I’ve seen the hope in the pages of my friends, in Robert Reich and Ezra Klein, in Connie Schultz, and in the recent remembrances and quotations of Carrie Fisher, a strong woman who took her faults and failings and showed us how to live with them and become better despite or even because of them.
We are wrestling with darkness, but whether we light a candle as we curse the darkness, we are still assured that the sun will rise in the morning, and that is our cue to rise as well; to rise up. Hope springs eternal because hope is eternal.