Tin Cup Chalice

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The Struggle

Today is World Mental Health Day.

Observed on the 10th of October each year, World Mental Health Day was established to raise awareness of mental health issues around the world with the goal of mobilizing efforts in support of mental health.

The struggle is real. For me, this struggle exists each and every day. Most of the time I’m pretty “normal” in fact, most people have no idea that I’ve suffered from crippling depression in the past or that I deal with anxiety daily. Unfortunately as good as I am at “managing” my thoughts and behavior there are times that I lose control. I break down. I lose the ability to think rationally. Most often I cry. Sometimes I get angry and mean and say things that are hurtful to others. The hardest part about dealing with my “faulty” brain is that other people do not understand, cannot empathize, and have unrealistic expectations.

I do the best that I can. For me, this is drug-free. I have found that the episodes I have are few and far between and thus I have chosen to deal with them individually instead of maintaining a medicine regimen. For others, this means they are taking mind-altering medication on a daily basis. A well known blogger, Heather Armstrong, has written about her struggles (and depression in general) quite often.

What I want you to know is that my struggles with mental health are not uncommon and they are not something for me or anyone else to be ashamed of… we, as a nation, as a global force, need to do more to raise awareness of mental health issues and must do more to get the help out there where it’s needed.

The issues that seem to be most relevant lately deal with mass shootings and the growing homeless population. Both of these issues are rooted in the lack of readily available mental health services and support. I know that many people claim that gun violence can be curbed by outlawing guns but that simply is not the case. Look at the drug culture here in America. The “war on drugs” has done nothing to stop people from choosing to partake in hard substances. Approximately 20-25% of our homeless suffer from mental illness and although there is no direct correlation between those who commit mass shootings and mental health issues we know that the majority have been labeled as “loners” and had some kind of “psychosocial problem”.

The bottom line is that mental health is a real issue with real consequences and we do little in this country to help. Most insurance will only cover 60% of the expenses related to mental health care and it is not treated the same as other medical issues such as a broken bone or even migraines. The out of pocket expense for true expansive coverage of mental health is too much for the average person and far too much for those who need it most.

Today, TED has collected a playlist of 7 talks dealing with the struggle of mental health. Please take some time to educate yourself on the issue and to take action. The struggle is real. The struggle is relevant to us all.

Thank you for your time.



People are selfish and flawed individuals.

We have lived in a sinful world since the fall of Adam and Eve and yet our life here on Earth can be so amazingly wonderful at times that we forget just how fallen we are until its ugliness is revealed once again.

I haven’t written in quite some time and frankly I feel like I’m sure I don’t have many people who would care one way or the other. I feel like I’ve lost my voice… and not because I don’t have things to say… but because I’m afraid to say anything anymore.

I’ve watched people turn a wonderful charity (WANA) into a scam machine (so much so that she almost discontinued it). I’ve watched people say horribly mean things to someone (Katie) who didn’t deserve the backlash. I’ve watched others have to structure their posts to very carefully with much too much over-thinking so as not to offend anyone (YHL) that sometimes it lacks the character it once had (sad face). I’ve seen sites post about controversial topics just to get blog “hits” and increase their ability to recruit advertisers (I refuse to drive traffic to their site but it’s linked to on my friend Roo’s page). UGH.

So, here I am. As my husband would say: Paralysis by analysis.

We have had a hell of a time over this past year. 2013 was probably one of the most difficult and yet blessed years of my life. Here we are in 2014 and I find myself reflecting on the past year’s events.

Craig was injured at his crossfit gym in June and we purchased a home together in August and decided to jump right in on a major kitchen renovation (on our own) and these events definitely shaped who I am as both an individual and especially as a wife.

We have grown so much as a couple. We have argued (for a while it was almost every day) and we have learned how to be better to and for each other. We have discovered just how committed we are and our marriage is strong. I cannot even begin to explain just how blessed I am to have Craig as my husband and know that he feels the same about me.

I want to share with you the details of our home renovation. I want to share with you the struggles I’ve felt as a wife experiencing the turmoil that is construction as well as the challenges faced when dealing with such a major injury.

Yet, I’m afraid of sharing anything lest I receive a whole lot of unwelcome “advice” or criticism. This is a terrible place to be and a terrible way to feel. So, where do I go from here? I guess I will start by praying. As it is said in the Bible:

Matthew 5:43-48 (MSG) 43-47 “You’re familiar with the old written law, ‘Love your friend,’ and its unwritten companion, ‘Hate your enemy.’ I’m challenging that. I’m telling you to love your enemies. Let them bring out the best in you, not the worst. When someone gives you a hard time, respond with the energies of prayer, for then you are working out of your true selves, your God-created selves. This is what God does. He gives his best—the sun to warm and the rain to nourish—to everyone, regardless: the good and bad, the nice and nasty. If all you do is love the lovable, do you expect a bonus? Anybody can do that. If you simply say hello to those who greet you, do you expect a medal? Any run-of-the-mill sinner does that. 48 “In a word, what I’m saying is, Grow up. You’re kingdom subjects. Now live like it. Live out your God-created identity. Live generously and graciously toward others, the way God lives toward you.”

So, it’s time to grow up. It’s time to be brave and step out into the world. As the Chinese celebrate their New Year today so will I celebrate a new beginning and a new outlook. I will do my best to share and to take whatever comes my way with gratitude. I invite you to share this journey with me. I invite you to take a closer look at your life and experiences and join with me as we take a new approach. This is a new year and a new opportunity for growth. Onward, my friends!

新年快乐 Happy New Year Y’all!

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10 Awesome Christmas Albums

Hey y’all… just thought I’d take a quick minute to stop in and say hello. The choice to take on major home renovations immediately upon moving in is not such a wise decision and I’m in a bit over my head. I truly hope things start to settle down after the holidays and I can get back to regular programming.

In the meantime I wanted to share with you some of the albums I’m currently jamming to in preparation of the Christmas holiday. I will link to the album on Amazon when you click the title. Feel free to comment with some of your own favorites.

First, as always, my favorite of all time…

John Denver And The Muppets: A Christmas Together

This album always gets top billing because it brings with it such fond childhood memories. Highlights include: Miss Piggy singing “Five GOLD Rings, ba dum bump”, The Muppets singing “We Wish You A Merry Christmas” and Miss Piggy hearing “piggy pudding” and then being corrected with “figgy pudding, it’s made with figs” only to have someone in the background whisper “and bacon” (I always laugh out loud), and the late great John Denver singing so melodically. God bless him. May he rest in peace.

Next up…

Dean Martin: Christmas With Dino

Highlights include rare Christmas gems such as “I’ve Got My Love To Keep Me Warm” (his version is my favorite), “A Winter Romance” (also my favorite version), and “The Christmas Blues”. Excellent.

Also a classic…

Merry Christmas: Johnny Mathis

It’s gotta be the album with Johnny skiing or nothing else. This album is a must have for Christmas as I believe everyone’s parents played this non-stop as they were growing up. My mom always busted out this album to kick off the Christmas season and to this day it remains a favorite. Highlights include: “What Child Is This” as Johnny loves to add extra letters to his words, “The babe, the so-un, of Me-hery”.

One that’s not hear often but is quite enjoyable…

Christmas With The Beach Boys

This album is perfect when you’re wishing you were someplace warm without getting too Jimmy Buffetty on ya. Highlights include: “Little Saint Nick” and “The Man With All The Toys”.

Another goodie from way back when…

Stevie Wonder: Someday At Christmas

This Motown classic is something I can listen to non-stop. Highlights include: “What Christmas Means To Me”, “Twinkle Twinkle Little Me”, and “One Little Christmas Tree”. Hands-down this album should be ranked in the top 10 Christmas albums of all-time. Seriously. Love it.

To bring this a little more current…

James Taylor: At Christmas

I know a lot of people dislike James Taylor but I’m telling you folks this album is where it’s at (except for “Baby It’s Cold Outside” because I just do not care for that version). Highlights include: “Some Children See Him” (which is just no where else to be found and is one of my favorites ever) and “River” (which he does best of all).

Next, another rather current one…

Josh Groban: Noel

I’m sorry y’all but this album brings tears to my eyes. Very good tears. Some folks don’t dig his style but I love me some Josh Groban. The man can sing. Highlights include: “Little Drummer Boy” (which features all the soldiers sending holiday wishes back home), “Thankful” (which gives me goose bumps), “Oh Come All Ye Faithful” (with the Mormon Tabernacle Choir), and his version of “Ave Maria” which is superb.

Here we have a compilation but all the CD’s are worth it…

Pottery Barn: Classic Christmas Volume I *Volume II* and Volume III

I’ve linked to the other two compilations as well as the one disc I truly find myself listening to over and over, Volume II. In fact, Volume II is in the car right now. I re-play Kay Starr’s version of “Man With The Bag” and sing along at the top of my lungs (only when no one is in the vehicle with me, of course). This trilogy is actually the second Pottery Barn Christmas set I own. They are both fantastic.

A Christmas album with a solidly Christian theme…

City On A Hill: It’s Christmas Time

This is probably my favorite “Christian” Christmas album. However, skip over “Away In A Manger”. That version makes me want to rip my ears off my head. UGH. The rest of the album is awesome. Highlights include: “Holy Emmanuel” which makes me bop my head and I love it, “Babe In The Straw”, and “Manger Throne”. Really though, all the songs are great.

Finally, a wonderfully classic album that transitions as one long piece…

Carpenters: Christmas Portrait

Rest in peace, Karen Carpenter. This album is one of my favorites because I love how the songs transition into one another and you don’t know where one stops and the other starts. The medleys are fantastic and I love that there are instrumental pieces thrown in for good measure. Highlights include: The ever famous “Merry Christmas Darling”, “It’s Christmas Time”, “Christmas Waltz”, and “Little Altar Boy”. Of course, we can’t forget Karen singing “Christ Is Born” (which is much better than her “Ave Maria”).

Okay, thoughts? Is there an album I didn’t mention that you can’t live without? I always get excited when Mariah Carey sings “All I Want For Christmas Is You” and I really love “Wonderful Christmastime” by Wings and “Step Into Christmas” by Elton John. Hope everyone has a wonderful holiday with family and friends.

God bless y’all!

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Despair, Inc.

I don’t know if y’all have heard of Despair. They are the opposite of the motivators you see out there and they’re freakin hilarious. If your office is anything like mine there’s at least one motivation poster hanging up (usually in the breakroom) (probably purchased from Successories). Usually something like this:

These motivational posters are designed to build a sense of camaraderie. However, usually they’re just a reminder of how dysfunctional you all are. Much preferred among the staff are the demotivational posters. These posters poke fun at ourselves and unite us in a way the motivational posters just can’t do, such as:

Yay for after work happy hours!

None of us is as dumb as all of us. So true.

And my favorite:

Isn’t that the truth!

I know I’ve mentioned these before but someone reminded me of them recently and I had to share. I hope you got a laugh. Be sure to share with your staff and/or friends as these far surpass the ones from Successories!

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This Life


This life is crazy. It’s difficult and rewarding and frustrating and awesome all at the same time. We’re officially in the process of purchasing our first home together. In fact, the home belongs to our landlord and therefore she’s allowing us to move in as “renters” as we work out the financing. This is such a blessing as we are beyond ready to move on from the 747 square feet we’re currently inhabiting.

We took measurements of the rooms (the two additional bedrooms are 10×10 and 9×9 which is super tiny but still doable) and we discussed the arrangement of furniture. Ultimately we’d like to knock out a wall, and re-do the kitchen, and add on a screened in porch, but right now we’re just focusing on getting in and settled and adjusted to our new space. First on the list is a new washer/dryer otherwise we’re hitting up the laundromat.

Last night, Craig and I discussed paint colors. We definitely need to give the whole house interior an overhaul but first we’re just focusing on a few rooms. The master bedroom has an accent wall in blood red that has got to go so we looked at several options and settled on Carolina Inn Club Aqua. This color choice is actually a funny coincidence because when searching for the color in examples through Google the first result is that of John and Sherry’s house over at Young House Love. I can’t believe I forgot that they originally painted their master bedroom in their second home that very color. I swear that didn’t influence my pick but it sure solidifies it.

The other color choice of Homestead Resort Parlor Taupe is for the additional bedrooms and the living spaces. It’s a good neutral that will help the home to feel lighter and brighter and more spacious. Some of the rooms have this awful sponge paint job and ALL of the rooms have that awful knock-down texture so although we can paint right now we can’t tackle the wall texture until later.

This weekend will be spent packing and possibly painting and then next weekend will be spend moving. OhMyGoodness how quickly this is all progressing! It feels like just yesterday we were all bummed out about the lack of quality homes to choose from (in our price range) in the neighborhoods in which we were interested. This property literally materialized within the past few weeks and we jumped at the chance. Craig and I couldn’t be more excited.

Speaking of Craig, he’s doing much better getting around and his knee is healing wonderfully. We had another follow up appointment recently and he’s allowed to slowly wean himself off the crutches. In addition, he can start driving again… this is, of course, the best news. He is beyond thrilled to have a bit of his independence back. He’s starting to get back into the kitchen (which is one of his favorite things to do) and he can start gardening again soon. To celebrate, he created his own blog: Account For Growth (no posts yet). This blog will be where he will share all his adventures in gardening and our healthy lifestyle. He has been growing wheat-grass and making smoothies so we will be capturing that on video for y’all soon. Very exciting!

Okay, those are the updates for now. I can’t wait to share more details as we embark on this new adventure! I know that when life gets busy this poor blog gets neglected but having Craig blogging as well should help serve as motivation to share. Hope you’re having a wonderful weekend!


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