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Sunday, October 31, 2010

Do you remember the last time you had a close call? Something that could have changed your life for the worse in a moment? I went for a walk last Sunday to clear my head and enjoy the beautiful autumn day. My foot hit a patch of leaves and underneath were acorns and those walnuts wrapped in a green ball of danger. I went down so fast that I had little time to think about. Maybe 3 seconds.

The first thing that crossed my mind after I hit the ground was broken bones. I prayed that I hadn't done any major harm. I just lay there for a minute assessing the damage. The palms of my hands were bleeding, I was face down to the street and my right ankle hurt a little. I sat up and tested my hands, wrists, and then my ankles and legs. No major damage. Yeah! The next thing I thought: What if I'd broken my wrist or hand or fingers in the midst of revisions? Isn't that just like a writer?

A nice gentleman who worked for the city had seen me hit the sidewalk and helped me up. He was going to give me a ride home, but I was fine. I walked home and had a nice cup of tea thankful that I had no serious injuries. We all need help at sometime or other with something. When's the last time someone helped you up or you went to someone else's rescue? Just for today take time to remember the Good Samaritan.

 Luke 10:30-37 And Jesus answering said, A certain man went down from Jerusalem to Jericho, and fell among thieves, which stripped him of his raiment, and wounded him, and departed, leaving him half dead. And by chance there came down a certain priest that way: and when he saw him, he passed by on the other side. And likewise a Levite, when he was at the place, came and looked on him, and passed by on the other side. But a certain Samaritan, as he journeyed, came where he was: and when he saw him, he had compassion on him, And went to him, and bound up his wounds, pouring in oil and wine, and set him on his own beast, and brought him to an inn, and took care of him. And on the morrow when he departed, he took out two pence, and gave them to the host, and said unto him, Take care of him; and whatsoever thou spendest more, when I come again, I will repay thee. Which now of these three, thinkest thou, was neighbor unto him that fell among the thieves? And he said, He that shewed mercy on him. Then said Jesus unto him, Go, and do thou likewise.


Friday, October 29, 2010

Jordyn Redwood is a fellow member of American Christian Fiction Writers. She's a nurse with a heart to help not only her patients but those of us interested in medical facts for our fiction. I encourage you to check out her site if you are considering including anything related to nursing/medical information that you may need to know for your works in progress. I'm sure she would welcome your questions.


When Research Surpises/Royal Military Asylum

Tuesday, October 26, 2010

While researching for one of my books recently I came upon the Duke of York's Royal Military Asylum. Hmm. Wonder what that could be? Since I use this post on Tuesdays to explore historical lunatic asylums I figured this must have been like a Veteran's Hospital in the 1800's. But it wasn't. It was a school that opened in 1803 to educate orphans of British military servicemen who were killed during the Napoleonic Wars. I was also surprised to learn that it admitted both boys and girls.

The School is no longer located in this building, which is now called the Duke of York's Barracks. In 1909 the school moved to Dover.

When's the last time you found something that you weren't looking for while researching either for a book you are writing or something else?

Make Yourself Come True/ Motivation

Sunday, October 24, 2010

Steve Chandler wrote this little book with big ideas. Actually, there are 100 great ideas in his book titled, 100 Ways to Motivate Yourself. Change Your Life Forever.

If you've ever had difficulty getting motivated to do anything I suggest you go out to your local library or favorite bookstore and pick up a copy of this little gem that packs big ideas.

Motivation. The definiton I like best from
is: desire to do; interest or drive.

#18 in Chandler's book is: Just Don't Do Something . . . Sit There.

I wish I were sitting here on the beach. Alas, it's not to be for me at this time.

What does this mean to you? Chandler reminds us that Plato said: "Thinking is the soul talking to itself." Does this remind you of something? How about, "Be still and know that I am God." Psalm 46:10.

I'm finishing up my macro edits this week. It can be a tad overwhelming. So today, I'm just going to allow myself the time to "Be still." I'll do this for an hour. That's hard for me because I've got a lot on my plate this week. I'm sure you can relate. But it's important for us to find a quiet place and just sit and think and pray. Then go and do.

For instance, from pages 60-61 Steve recommends you Find Your Inner Einstein. I've never even imagined that I could have an inner Einstein. E=MC2. Do I have an inner Einstein? I don't think so.

But then I read Steve's pages. He says that Einstein said, "Imagination is more important than knowledge." Wait a minute! Wait just a minute. Maybe I do have an inner Einstien. I have imagination!

Steve goes on to tell us about a song for teenagers that Fred Knipe wrote so that teens could visualize themselves succeeding at what they wanted to do:

"That's you/in your wildest dreams/doing the wildest things/no one else can do. If you/just love and keep those dreams/the wildest dreams/you'll make yourself come true."

I LOVE THIS! It's motivating to me. Steve goes on to say,"But the greatest thing about active dreaming is not in the eventual reaching of the goal-- the greatest thing is what it does to the dreamer."

Are you making yourself come true? How? What are you doing? How do you stay motivated?


I've done a post like this previously but deleted it by
mistake. So I've reinvented and revised it.

Blog Pick Friday/Rachelle Gardner's Blog

Friday, October 22, 2010

October 19, 2010

I couldn't pick just one blog post this week. I had to pick two because I thought they were excellent. Both are from my agent, Rachelle Gardner's Blog Site, Rants and Ramblings.


October 20, 2010

If you haven't read these VERY INTERESTING BLOGS this week. Please do so NOW! You'll love it!

Bedlam Tuesday/Hanwell Insane Asylum

Tuesday, October 19, 2010

The (1st Middlesex) County Asylum at Hanwell, also known as Hanwell Insane Asylum, was built for the pauper insane and has evolved to become the West London Mental Health (NHS) Trust (WLMHT). The 2nd Middlesex was Colney Hatch Asylum, opened in 1851, and the 3rd was Banstead Asylum in Surrey, opened in 1877.     

While researching for my upcoming series I've uncovered a lot of information on line about  Lunatic Asylums all over the world.

In the late 18th century and early 19th century some of the best therapies were already in place. Unlike some of the horror stories we hear today about the history of psychiatry, William Ellis incorporated theraputic employment and the English Quaker, William Tuke, of the York Retreat, band chains or manacles.

In 1817 a William Ellis was appointed as superintendent to the newly built West Riding Pauper Asylum at Wakefield. 

He was born in Alford, Lincolnshire on 10 March 1780. His early career was as an apothecary but he soon took an interest in the treatment of mental disorders. This he learnt at the Sculcoates Refuge in Hull; which was run on a similar model as the York Retreat.

A Methodist, he too had strong religious convictions and so with his wife as matron he employed the same principles of humane treatment and moral therapy as practised at Sculcoates Refuge. After 13 years their reputation had become such, that they were then invited to run the newly built first pauper asylum in Middlesex called the Hanwell Asylum.

Francine River's, Her Mother's Hope

Sunday, October 17, 2010

We all have unique families. Francine Rivers encourages us to examine healthy and unhealthy family patterns. I think we're all in for another wonderful read from this awesome writer.

Blog Pick Friday/Karen Witemeyer at Rachelle Gardner's Blog

Friday, October 15, 2010

Branding Leads to Landing...
the All-Important Second Contract
In case you missed it. My agent, Rachelle Gardner invited Guest Blogger, Karen Witemeyer to Rants and Ramblings on October 14, 2010. She offers some very interesting information that's valuable to all of us who are looking for the next contract. Karen attended this years American Christian Fiction Writers Conference and the place was so packed with so many of us that I didn't get a chance to meet her. Maybe next time. I hope you'll take the time to read her blog post.
Visit Karen's website at

Bedlam Tuesday/Bethlem Royal Hospital

Tuesday, October 12, 2010

I have always been drawn to the way our minds work. I'm fascinated with movies and/or books like A Beautiful Mind, One Flew Over the Cuckoo's Nest, Inception, Shutter Island, Ordinary People and even the humorous side of mental illness in What About Bob? rings true to life for patients when their therapists or psychiatrists leave for vacation. If you've never seen the movie K-PAX it's very interesting, and Jack Nicholson in, As Good As It Gets, can teach us all a little bit about the difficulties of mental illness for the person with the illness and for those around them.

My first historical romance, Secrets of the Heart, Book One in the Ravensmoore Chronicles, that releases in May 2011 will take you on a journey where some of the aspects of mental health and mental illness are explored in England during 1817. The more I researched for this book and my next, with the current working title of Chameleon, the more fascinated I became. Of course the treatment of mental illness was in its infancy in those days and the days prior to that. Many thought mental illness was due to demon possession. The archaic methods of treatment were barbaric for centuries.

Originally the priory of St. Mary Bethlehem, Bethlem Royal Hospital, also known as Bedlam began admitting patients who were considered unbalanced or mentally ill in 1357.  Unlike the United States Bethlem was admitting patients when we were keeping patients in jails and alms houses.This hospital originally stood at Bishopsgate and then moved to Moorfields and eventually to St George’s Fields, Southwark.

If you would like to explore more about the fascinating facts of this institution please follow this link.

What book or movie influenced the way you think about mental illness?

Daniel: Lives of Integrity, Words of Prophecy

Sunday, October 10, 2010

Happy Sunday everyone! I'm doing my first, yes my first, Beth Moore study ever. I've read some of Beth's books and I'd hoped to do the study of Esther last year but I ended up with pneumonia and couldn't do it. So now I'm learning about living like Daniel did along with many other women that have come together for this Bible study. You remember  Daniel don't you? Daniel and his buddies, Hanniah, Mishael, and Azariah? Or maybe you remember them better as Belteshazzar, Shadrach, Meshach, and Abednego. The guys who walked around in Neb's fiery furnace. Do you remember who the fourth person was in the furnace with them?
When you look around at all the wealth we have compared to other countries it's no surprise we have such a hard time focusing on God and what he wants of us. Self-absorption (thinking that you're all that or what I call big head syndrome) and stepping on others while you are trying to get to where you want to be is like Nebuchadnezzar's Babylon. It's a me, me, me mentality. Beth says, "Pride is not a circumstance. It's a state of mind. It's an equal opportunity agent of Satan his absolute specialty."

Synonyms from Bible Dictionary  Easton's 1897 Bible Dictionary as cited on

1. Pride, conceit, self-esteem, egotism, vanity, vainglory imply an unduly favorable idea of one's own appearance, advantages, achievements, etc., and often apply to offensive characteristics.
The antonym for pride is humility.


Humility definition
a prominent Christian grace (Rom. 12:3; 15:17, 18; 1 Cor. 3:5-7; 2 Cor. 3:5; Phil. 4:11-13). It is a state of mind well pleasing to God (1 Pet. 3:4); it preserves the soul in tranquillity (Ps. 69:32, 33), and makes us patient under trials (Job 1:22). Christ has set us an example of humility (Phil. 2:6-8). . . .

Daniel 4:27 NIV Therefore, O king, be pleased to accept my advice: Renounce your sins by doing what is right, and your wickedness by being kind to the oppressed. It may be that then your prosperity will continue."
This is a 12 week study so I have a lot to learn and miles to go yet. The study is driven by videos we watch each week. I love it. You might want to try it sometime. Let's all watch out for the Nebuchadnezzar that may be at work in us this week and instead focus on humility.
What's your take on pride? Can we be proud of our work and our families and not be the big-headed prideful Nebuchadnezzar of  Babylon?

Friday's Blog Pick/Stigma of Mental Illness by: Gunnar Christiansen, M.D.

Friday, October 8, 2010

This has been an important week for those who suffer from mental illness and for those of us who love them.

Stigma of Mental Illness
The Role of the Faith Community
by: Gunnar Christiansen, M.D.

Stigma produces silence. Silence allows stigma to go on unabated. We do need more than talk to stop stigma, but it would be a huge step toward its elimination if the voices of those affected by mental illness could be heard.

Unfortunately silence does have consequences. When we do not go to our clergy person, we allow stigma to be the winner. Our clergy person is not educated by us and we miss an opportunity for spiritual support.

I am thankful for the advocacy of those that do feel comfortable in disclosing such personal information to the general public. Nevertheless, I do not wish to contribute guilt to someone that desires to remain silent and already has a heavy burden.

It seems that avoidance by individuals and families to reveal the existence of mental illness in their lives is often justified, but we as a nation should feel awful about this apparent necessity.

It is amazing how many people who have a mental illness or have it in their family sit in lonely silence until they hear someone like us tell our story. It may only be privately to us that they reveal the existence of mental illness in their life, but it is a start in their releasing this burden and a significant step in their healing process. It is in our own congregations that we have the best opportunity to have such a personal touch with those that have been silenced by stigma.

The most powerful antidote for the internal effects of stigma and discrimination is spiritual strength. Reinforcement of the conviction that God loves us and is with us even in our most difficult times is of utmost importance.

Spiritual strength will diminish, however, unless it is constantly nurtured through giving and receiving loving care in our relationships with others. Thus it is of major importance that each of us attempt to develop a welcome and spiritually nourishing environment for those affected by mental illness in our own place of worship.

Unless we accept this challenge, unless we accept this opportunity, unless we accept this responsibility, I believe the vast majority of our congregations will go on sleeping and stigma will continue to flourish. Without the active involvement of the Faith Community, NAMI may be able to trim the branches of stigma, but it is extremely unlikely that we will be able to destroy its roots.

View the entire text of this plenary speech entitled "Stigma of Mental Illness - The Role of the Faith Community." Follow the link:

Bedlam Tuesday/Mental Illness Awareness Week/History of The Peoria State Hospital

Tuesday, October 5, 2010

October 3 through the 9th is Mental Illness Awareness Week

The history and treatment of mental illness is heartbreaking. How anyone could think that these "treatments" could help someone is tragic. The complications of the mind are mysterious. Ever think of how you might join God in helping those who suffer from depression, anxiety, obsessive-compulsive disorder, and other complicatons of the mind today? You can make a difference.

October 5th: National Day of Prayer for Mental Illness Recovery and Understanding

Sunday, October 3, 2010

Prepare your hearts and minds this day for The National Day of Prayer for Mental Illness Recovery and Understanding. Please visit

Celebration of The Day of Prayer

There is not just one way that this day should be celebrated You are encouraged to do so in a manner in which you and your fellow parishioners are comfortable.

It would be wonderful if you are able to arrange to have a prayer service on the Tuesday of Mental Illness Awareness Week. Equally wonderful would be for your congregation to have a special prayer for Mental Illness Recovery and Wellness in a regular worship service during the first week of October each year.

Having those with a mental illness and their families lifted up in prayer is important. Prayer does work.

Service Ideas

Hopefully the interfaith bulletin insert and responsive reading copied below will give you ideas for your congregation. Also, please click the link under "Related Resources" to download a document assembled by Mental Health Ministries containing a responsive Prayer of Confession, a Pastoral Prayer, and a litany for a candlelight service.

For additional examples of services please explore NAMI FaithNet's website (, particularly the Worship Services and the Faith & Mental Illness pages. Also please explore the all the excellent national networks listed on NAMI Faithnet's Related Links page and particularly the websites of Pathways to Promise (www.pathways2promise), and Mental Health Ministries (,

Bulletin Insert Suggestions

Prayer: Margaret Ann Holt, UMC

O, God, we gather here together today, as people from many different faith communities. We come before You, remembering all those persons whose lives have been touched by mental illnesses. We give thanks for those persons here who have given of their time and talents to do what they are able to help persons who are dealing with mental illnesses in their lives and in the lives of their families and friends. We give thanks for the improvement in medication and treatment programs that have enabled persons with mental illnesses to live productive lives. We pray that our society would do everything possible to make early diagnosis and treatment a standard operating procedure. We pray and ask that stigma be removed, so that persons and their families would get the appropriate help as soon as symptoms appear. Guide each one of us, and help us, as we endeavor to bring help and hope to those families and individuals. Amen

Read in unison:

The faith community says to those people who suffer from the symptoms of mental illness, and to their family members:

We will walk with you. And God walks with you. You will not go through this alone.

Pray in unison:

O Lord, you have searched us and known us
You know when we sit down and when we rise up,
and know our innermost thoughts.

You search out our paths and know all our ways.
Before we speak, you know our words.

When we were knit together in our mother's womb
You knew us as woman, as child, as man.
Wherever we go, Your hand will lead us.

So guide us along the pathways to hope,
that night becomes bright as day.

So lead us on our walk together,
that darkness is lifted from our hearts.

So encourage us that our sisters and brothers
Who have mental illness shall know that
they never walk alone.


Fridays Blog Pick/Mike Dellosso's, "The Slump."

Friday, October 1, 2010

Happy Friday everyone. Mike Dellosso is a fellow author at Strang/Realms. He's way ahead of me on the 5k by several books. I think all of us who write will relate to this post. But we all get in different types of slumps as Mike mentions. What's yours? Mine is edits at the moment.