Subscribe

* = required field

powered by MailChimp!

Categories

My Favorite Magazines

RubyMARCH2017


The Bipolar Experience (Book Review)

 
Hi, friends!
 
Have you read The Bipolar Experience: Your Dreams Are Bigger than Bipolar Disorder by LeeAnn Jefferies and Eva Marie Everson?
 

 
As a person who struggles with bipolar disorder, I was naturally drawn to LeeAnn Jefferies’ story. The fact that she was a top model for more than 16 years added to my intrigue.
 
I felt like I was sitting on a wicker chair on a wrap-around porch listening to LeeAnn tell her story, her Southern accent and flare on display between our sips of sweet tea. I appreciated her authenticity.
 

 
I know what it’s like to be afraid of my own mind.
 
 
Oh, I hated it, I hated it! But I learned to live within the hell of it. Because that’s what it was. Hell. With all the good going on in my life–with all the God at work–I had come to a sure truth: I knew exactly where the devil’s playground resided. And it was with me all the time. Right there, in my mind.
 
 
Most of us can only live each day as it comes. But those with bipolar disorder will either live those days bouncing off the clouds or clawing our way through the mud.
 

 
I’m thankful I’m neither in the clouds or the mud these days.
 
The Bipolar Experience is a good resource for family and friends of those with bipolar disorder. Eva and LeeAnn sprinkle facts about the illness throughout the book, but they approach it in the context of her story, not as a medical encyclopedia.
 
I could relate to LeeAnn’s goal-oriented side of bipolar disorder. It’s a little known fact that a bipolar person tends to fixate on a goal–however big or small–until they achieve it. Many times, a person with bipolar disorder is viewed as extremely productive. I could see that in LeeAnn’s story–and in mine.
 
As much as I wanted to read The Bipolar Experience in one sitting, I struggled to read non-stop because I swing more to the depressive side of bipolar. I needed to take some breaks from reading it when I found myself swinging low. I would caution those who struggle with mental illness to be aware of that possibility prior to reading it. Awareness is key. 🙂
 
The story hops back and forth through key events in LeeAnn’s life, which as, LeeAnn herself admits, is a glimpse into the life and mind of a person with bipolar.
 

 
There are times in the telling of this story when I worry that I cannot keep the reader on track. Then again, this is a book about the bipolar experience, so why should I be able to do that? After all, my life has been up and down, down and up. Around a left-turn corner. Around a right-turn corner.
 

 
I can understand the rationale for that approach. However, as a person with bipolar disorder, I found it difficult to follow her journey. People who struggle with the illness are often obsessed with things being in a specific order–to the point of OCD. (LeeAnn mentioned her struggles with OCD too.) In order to create a linear progression of her life, I had to, as a classic sign of a bipolar person, go back and highlight the year in each chapter to understand what happened first, next, and so on. Nonetheless, the non-linear approach is a good representation of a bipolar mind for those who don’t face it firsthand.
 
I know family and friends of bipolars will appreciate the chapters by her husband and daughter. They were honest, heartfelt, and demonstrated the power of a strong support system. The importance of a good doctor is a continuous thread in the book.
 
Overall, I recommend The Bipolar Experience by LeeAnn Jefferies and Eva Marie Everson to family and friends of those struggling with the nauseating see-saw of this illness. For those who face this struggle, The Bipolar Experience is a reminder that God can use our circumstances (including illnesses) for good, but only if we let Him. LeeAnn is a great example of that. I am. You can be too.
 
 
***
 
 
Come alongside… Do you know someone with bipolar disorder or another mental illness? How can you support them? Do you see signs of mental illness in yourself? What can you do to get help? If you have been diagnosed with a mental illness, how are you managing your life? Comment in the box below where it says, “Leave a Reply.” Remember, you can comment anonymously.
 
 

Lessons Learned in the Strawberry Field

 
Hi, friends!
 
Recently, my family and I went strawberry picking for my 42nd birthday. That’s right. 42. 😮
 
I wasn’t feeling well that day. Chronic illness has a way of surprising you, regardless of special occasions. Nonetheless, off we went.
 

 
Maybe it was the realization I was a year older. Or the fact that my back and knees aren’t what they used to be. But strawberry picking got me thinking about life. Here are some of my observations.
 
Sometimes, we don’t get what we want when we want it.
 

Sometimes, we try to rush things and see who “arrives” first.
 
“Okay, I’m done.” (They were back within five minutes!)
 

 
But picking strawberries, like life, isn’t about rushing. It’s about enjoying the experience, taking our time, and admiring the beauty around us.
 

 
We might not be as far “ahead” in life as we’d like.
 

 
But life is sweeter when we treasure how far we’ve come.
 

 
We might have to look hard to find the good.
 

 
And what we think looks good to us, upon further inspection, isn’t good after all.
 

 
But life is good when we can delight in the little things.
 

 
And what’s meant for us will be ready just when we need it.
 

 

 

 
In the end, life is about enjoying the time we have with our loved ones.
 

 
And sharing our blessings with others.
 

 
 
 

“Teach us to realize the brevity of life, so that we may grow in wisdom.” (Psalm 90:12, NLT)
 
“Oh! Teach us to live well! Teach us to live wisely and well!” (Psalm 90:12, MSG)
 

***
 
Come alongside… Do you like fruit-picking season? What’s your favorite fruit to pick? What do you enjoy about picking fruit? Gardening? Harvesting? What has it taught you about life? Comment in the box below where it says, “Leave a Reply.” Remember, you can comment anonymously.
 
 

***Affiliate Link***

 

Sing out! It’s good for your health.

 
Hi, friends!
 
A while ago, I wrote about being in a funk. I took my own advice, picked up singing again, and joined the Lakeland Choral Society. Rehearsal night is one of the highlights of my week.
 
I love everything that comes with singing in a group.

  • Interacting with people of all ages and lifestyles.
  • Feeling accomplished when I hit the notes in a difficult section of music.
  • Watching others enjoy singing.
  • Absorbing our director’s passion.
  • Following his precise cues.
  • Practicing different styles of music.
  • Doing the warm-up exercises–deep breathing, stretching, massaging.
  • Singing scales with different vowel sounds.
  • Feeling refreshed at the end of it all.

 
All of these reasons–and plenty more–have scooped me out of my funk. I love to sing out!
 

 
As if singing in the choral group weren’t enough, shortly after joining LCS, our director informed us of an opportunity to sing in an opera with the Imperial Symphony Orchestra. Who would’ve guessed that singing in an opera–one of my bucket list items–could become a reality! Without a second thought, I–along with several other choral members–volunteered to be in the cast of the ISO’s presentation of Ruggero Leoncavallo’s Pagliacci.
 

Sometimes, I felt way out of my league, and I wanted to quit, but I remembered why I volunteered–not just to sing, but to sing deeply, to feel the intensity of emotions in an operatic presentation. This was way more than singing opera in my living room, which I do regularly. This was singing opera with professionals and other people who love opera. This was experiencing the highs and lows of every aria. Many times while we were on stage, we forgot we were acting. Emotion overwhelmed us as we sang out.
 
It was a once-in-a-lifetime experience–one I’ll never forget. I treasure the intensity of it all.
 
It might seem an exaggeration, but to someone who struggles with depression, singing in general–and opera, specifically–has helped me release a host of pent-up emotions–sadness, anger, jealousy, internal strife, joy, mania. Whether it’s our weekly rehearsal or an opera performance, within two hours, I’ve exhausted my entire being in the most refreshing way. I sleep soundly.
 
Hard to believe?
 
Research shows music and singing have many benefits. Singing improves physical, mental, emotional, social, and spiritual health. Singing in a group amplifies those benefits.
 
Even the Bible is filled with references to singing, commands to sing, and the power of singing.
 

Sing praises to God, sing praises; sing praises to our King, sing praises. (Psalm 47:6)
 
Come, let us sing for joy to the LORD; let us shout aloud to the Rock of our salvation. (Psalm 95:1)
 
When they began to sing, the Lord threw the invading armies into a panic. (2 Chronicles 20:22)
 
I will sing to the LORD all my life; I will sing praise to my God as long as I live. (Psalm 104:33)
 

 
All of God’s creation sings out.
 

All the earth bows down to you; they sing praise to you, they sing the praises of your name. (Psalm 66:4)
 
You will go out in joy and be led forth in peace; the mountains and hills will burst into song before you, and all the trees of the field will clap their hands. (Isaiah 55:12)
 
Let the fields be jubilant, and everything in them; let all the trees of the forest sing for joy. (Psalm 96:12)
 

 
God sings!
 

The LORD your God is with you, the Mighty Warrior who saves. He will take great delight in you; in his love he will no longer rebuke you, but will rejoice over you with singing. (Zephaniah 3:17)
 

 
Even Jesus sang.

So the disciples did as Jesus had directed them and prepared the Passover. When evening came, Jesus was reclining at the table with the Twelve…. When they had sung a hymn, they went out to the Mount of Olives. (Matthew 26:17-30)
 

 
You might not be interested in joining a choral group, much less singing in an opera. You might think you’re not even a good singer. Whatever your reservation, sing! Sing out! Incorporate singing into your life.

  • Crank up the car stereo and sing along.
  • Try karaoke.
  • Sing in the shower.
  • Practice singing the musical scales.
  • Play singing games with your family. Instead of speaking to each other, sing!
  • Sing the Psalms in the Bible.
  • Sit in on a choral rehearsal.
  • Take voice lessons.
  • Sing along to operas like Pagliacci. Here’s a list of the top 50 operas.
  • Join a choral group. (Have I convinced you yet?) 😉

 
Whatever you do, whatever you feel, sing out! Sing for your health. Sing out for God. You were made to sing out!
 

 
 
Come alongside… Do you like to sing? Why or why not? What would it take for you to sing out? How can you incorporate singing into your life? What health benefits have you experienced as a result of your singing out? Comment in the box below where it says, “Leave a Reply.” Remember, you can comment anonymously.
 
 

Enfolded in God’s Arms (Book Review)

 
Hi, friends!
 
One of the things I try to do on this site is to let you know of resources that have helped me and could help you in your walk with God–and with others.
 
Enfolded in God’s Arms by Lisa Aré Wulf is one of the books I think you should look into, especially if you feel stuck in life.
 
lisawulfbookcover
 
Enfolded in God’s Arms is a 40-day devotional for people who need healing in their lives. Isn’t that all of us? 🙂
 
Each of Lisa’s reflections include:

  • Scripture verse
  • Devotional entry
  • Questions to ponder
  • Prayer
  • Journal space

 
The delicate flowers on the cover set the tone for the book. The fragile vase is a hint at the approach Lisa uses throughout the book. From the beginning, Lisa calms the reader’s fear of digging deeper into their hurts. In the middle of each entry, she includes a section titled “Be Still for a Silent Moment with God.” I appreciated this section because it reminded me not to keep reading without listening to what God was speaking to my heart. Instead, I stopped and reflected on what I was reading and how it applied to me.
lisaarewulfheadshot
Enfolded in God’s Arms helps readers start the process of introspection, which leads to healing. It’s a great book for those who “are experts at putting on a good face.” Lisa uses a tender approach. I’ve never heard her voice, but I felt like I could hear her encouraging me.
 
Although Lisa sprinkles personal examples throughout the book, I wanted more of them! I wanted to know how she handled her struggles specifically. In my opinion, sharing more of her experiences would have helped the reader to dig even deeper. It’s a personal preference that does not detract from the book in any way.
 
I recommend Enfolded in God’s Arms by Lisa Aré Wulf for anyone who experiences struggles they “can’t seem to shake.” Anyone who is starting in recovery circles, including 12-step programs, would benefit from Lisa’s book. It is non-threatening, yet challenging and transforming. It would be ideal for a small accountability group. It also makes a sweet gift to those who need a long embrace.
 
 
To learn more about Lisa, visit her Web site.
 
To purchase a copy of Enfolded in God’s Arms, click on the Amazon logo below.
 
amazon
 
 
Come alongside…. How can you benefit from Lisa’s book? In which areas of your life do you need to get unstuck? Which parts of yourself have masks? Post your comment in the box below that says, “Leave a Reply.” Remember, you can comment anonymously.
 
 

Who’s Having The Last Laugh Now?

 
Do you like watching America’s Funniest Home Videos? I do. It never gets old watching people’s antics, especially when they go wrong.
 
Most of the situations are harmless, although I’m sure some have led to an ambulance ride or two.
 
wp-1475972643063.jpg
It’s one thing to laugh at someone else’s expense for giving their six year old a bat for a piñata and then standing too close when the boy starts swinging.
 
It’s another thing to laugh at someone’s misfortune or pain.
 
Think about the recent divorce of Hollywood couple Brad Pitt and Angelina Jolie. The media have made a joke of their family’s crisis because, as some have claimed, Brad and Angelina started seeing each other while Brad was still with Jennifer Aniston, costar of the mega hit 90s TV sitcom Friends. Suddenly,  we hear…
 

  • He had it coming to him.
  • What goes around comes around.
  • Serves him right.
  • Karma is a (blank).
  • Jennifer’s having the last laugh.

 
I don’t know whether Jennifer is having the last laugh. But when I feel wronged, my initial response is to lash out, to get the final word, to see the person get what’s coming to them.
 

I want to have the last laugh.

 
Normal? Yes. Healthy? No.
 
When we rejoice in the misfortune of others–however small or great, we hurt still. We have not recovered. Our wounds are infected and need healing.
 
We know we’ve recovered when seeing the misfortune of those who’ve hurt us saddens us too.
 
Compassion, not criticism, reveals healing.
 
Compassion doesn’t come quickly. It delays. It meanders its way to us. Compassion remembers what pain feels like.
 
What to do? Ignore the hurt? Pretend it didn’t happen? Shrug it off? No. Feel the pain. Voice it out to God. Expose your feelings of betrayal before Him. Trust Him with your raw hurt.
 
Then…and you’ll know when, pray for them, that God will draw them closer to Him, that He would meet their needs, that He would heal their wounds. That He would bless them.
 
Yes–bless them.
 
For example, Job prayed for “friends” who criticized, insulted, and blamed him for all the tragedy in his life. The Bible says “the Lord released Job from captivity when he prayed for his friends” (Job 42:10a).
 
Our hurts hold us captive when we want to have the last laugh on those who’ve hurt us or our loved ones. God can release us from that captivity just like He did for Job.
 

 
The Lord blessed the latter part of Job’s life more than the former part…. Job lived a hundred and forty years; he saw his children and their children to the fourth generation. And so Job died, an old man and full of years. (Job 42:12, 17)
 

 
Job lived peacefully. He enjoyed life. He laughed–a lot.
 
Can you hear his laughter? It isn’t a “you’ll get yours” type of laugh. It’s a laughter of healing, freedom, and compassion.
 
Job chose his last laugh. You can too.
 
 
Come alongside… Has someone hurt you or a loved one? Are you waiting to have the last laugh? How can you start healing from this hurt? How can you pray for the person who hurt you or those you love? Do you have a story of a time you prayed for someone who hurt you? Comment below in the box that says, “Leave a reply.” Remember you can comment anonymously.
 
 

Affiliate Disclosure

Daphne Tarango is a participant in affiliate programs with Amazon Services LLC Associates Program, DaySpring, Church Source, Hazelden, Life is Good, Positive Promotions, BloomThat, CesarsWay, Christian Strong (via Conversant and ShareASale). These advertising services are designed to provide a means for sites like DaphneWrites.com to earn advertising fees by advertising and linking to said merchants. Some images and articles may contain links to products on merchant sites. Should you choose to make purchases through those links, please understand that I will receive a small commission. Please do not feel like you need to use these links to make any purchases. The links are only for your convenience. Thank you.

Follow Daphne

Friend me on FacebookMy profile on GoodreadsJoin my network on LinkedInFollow me on PinterestFollow me on Twitter