I have the gift of today.

I feel like I have a day that is a pure gift. Let me explain. My hubby had an appointment yesterday and today for a medical check-up with possible surgery for today. At our second-to-the-last appointment in a day filled with procedures and tests, he received his walking papers. The doctor went through all the test results and pronounced, “You don’t need surgery. I canceled your consultation with the surgeon that was scheduled for later today.”

Music to our ears. We high-tailed it out of the clinic, jumped in our car, checked out of the motel that we’d booked for the night, and drove the two hours to home. I could have had a meal out, but I just wanted to get home. I like my home and I enjoy my time there.

Which brings me to today – I had a different plan for today and now I have a gift – a day to do something else.

To some, my new plan might seem boring, but to me, it’s a blessing. I will go help my mom for a few hours, attend a funeral that I thought I would miss, go get some groceries that our household needs, and relish the day.

As I thought about today, I couldn’t help but wonder, “Why don’t I look at every day as a gift?”

In reality, it is. I woke up. Some don’t. I can walk to my kitchen and make coffee. Some can’t. I can drive to visit my mom or to church or to the grocery store without giving it much thought. I have a dependable car, money for fuel, and the ability to operate it.

Here’s to each day that awaits me to open, to enjoy, and to be grateful.

Happy days are here, again.

Virginia

 

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Podcast on the Curiosity Hour

A huge thank you to Dan Sterenchuk and Tommy Estlund for the invitation to join them for a podcast on the Curiosity Hour.

Unless you come to hear me speak, you only know me through the words I type on Facebook, on this blog, on Pinterest, Goodreads, and comments on Amazon. Here’s a chance to hear my voice.

 

I love to talk about our story, mental illness, and my faith. I speak with libraries, organizations, churches, and book clubs.

Contact me to schedule an event.

virginiapillars@gmail.com

Why? I don’t know, but, woot! woot!

Wow, what a surprise I had today!

Every once in a while, I check different sites for my book. Since many readers go to Amazon to post reviews, I frequent it. (Thank you to all who have posted reviews!)

I just checked and Amazon put my book on sale for the lowest price I’ve seen. Today Amazon offered it for $8.90! That’s less than half-price! Broken Brain, Fortified Faith.

I’m not sure why, but I love it! I know that readers can benefit from this. So, feel free to share the link or buy the book and give it to anyone who you think may want to learn how one family coped with mental illness. Recovery can happen. It was hard, but oh, so worth it!

Thank you, Amazon!

 

Gifts …

In the past twelve hours, I’ve received gifts that didn’t wait for later in the month.  These gifts lifted my spirit.

There were so welcome after the past of days of my melancholy attitude. It started with a a phone call that left me disappointed in someone, and then morphed into a giant of oppressing sadness. I couldn’t shake the “poor me” thoughts that pounded at me.

Until the gifts from yesterday…

First, I spent some of the afternoon with people, which always lifts my mood. Yes, I’m an EXTRAVERT. I get my energy from people. The past twelve hours recharged me and changed my attitude. I needed a major gratitude adjustment.

First I sat next to a friend as I watched a Jr. High Basketball game. I hadn’t expected to see her there, so we chatted and caught up with each other’s lives. Pure gift.

From there I went to a holiday party with my local NAMI (National Alliance on Mental Illness) chapter. I spent the evening with friends I’ve known for years, and the new ones I met as I taught a twelve week class, Family to Family, this fall. The best part of the evening came as I heard about the successes of their loved ones. I rejoice as I hear the words, “doing well,” “has a job,” “great relationship between us.” So many times I’ve heard, “The class changed my life. It was the best thing I’ve ever done for my loved one and me.” What a gift!

This morning when I checked social media, I approved the tag for this Facebook post, Free the Strange by Andrea Berns. This courageous woman shared her journey to wellness. Her talents shined through her words, as well as her determination to work towards recovery. She asked me to write the forward for her chapbook. What an honor! Congratulations to Andrea, and to all the success stories that we need to tell and celebrate with them.

Gifts come in all shapes, sizes, and look different to everyone. I received good news all around me yesterday, and I am grateful for them.

 

Gratitude – November 30

My month of gratitude adjustment draws to an end. I hope to remain

At the beginning of this month, I gave myself two goals:

  1. To write a daily reflection on gratitude. I think it’s an important method to happiness . To look around and feel grateful. It’s too easy to fall into a negative thought process because things don’t always go in the direction that I’d like. I came up a few days shy of making my goal. But, I accomplished what I wanted – to look around for reasons to feel thankful.
  2. To take the NaNoWriMo challenge. I wanted write a novel during the month of November. I needed to write a minimum of 50,000 words. I hit my goal on Monday,  the 27, but I guess I’m too wordy. I need more than 50,000 words to finish the story. I plan to continue until I finish my rough draft. This puts my New Year’s resolution in place – to edit it and get it ready for another set of eyes to read.

My December plans include sewing a few gifts, plus Santa gave me a list to complete for him as one of his elves. In other words, back to my day job.

I thought it appropriate on my last day in November when I concentrated on gratitude to find a note in my messenger inbox. A new review for my book posted yesterday on Amazon. My heart overflowed as I read her thoughts about my book. Each time someone takes the time to read, write, and post a review for my book, Broken Brain, Fortified Faith, I am filled with gratitude. Thank you, Colleen, and everyone who posted a reaction to our story. Here’s few of her thoughts:

     This is a powerful and compelling autobiographical account of one mother’s journey through the nightmare of mental illness. Virginia Pillars’ daughter, Amber, developed schizophrenia in her early twenties. As Virginia, her husband, Roy, and their sons became aware of the alternate world Amber was living in, they reached out to her. But where to begin to help her out?
…Virginia’s account is honest, compelling and revealing. It is painful as you journey with Virginia and her husband as they look for the treatment Amber needed. The disturbance that severe mental illness causes in the home life of family members is very challenging. The Pillars’ journey, like so many families, is not one of instant success…
. ..The story is very well-written. Once you start reading, it is hard to put down. There is a natural curiosity and hope that the Pillars can find the mental health professional with the right treatment for Amber.                                                                                                                        …There are many out there with family members who suffer from mild to severe mental illnesses. Virginia’s honest account opens the door to what one family experienced. It is not unique. Many families are suffering in this way. Her book does a great service in sharing the challenges and pain and the hopes and victories in navigating the road to recovery. I encourage everyone to read it and share it with others.

For the complete review and others, you’ll find them at Amazon, and Goodreads.

Thank you to all of you who followed along for my month of gratitude. May your December be a season of preparation and joy.

 

Gratitude – November 28

Laughter. Today, I’m grateful for laughter.

Last night, a member of our household returned from a trip. He’d gotten sick just before his flight home, which made for miserable plane ride. Now, the circumstance didn’t have a shred of humor in it. Not until my hubby got involved in the conversation.

He proceeded to tell of a time that he had similar symptoms when on a trip across the ocean. He described his reaction, complete with sound effects. The three of us laughed so hard we couldn’t sit up straight.

For a few minutes, we forgot his misery as we shared Roy’s hilarious memories.

Now, don’t get me wrong. We don’t think illness is funny. Nor do we dismiss another’s problems. Instead, we look at ourselves, our own reactions, and look for the humor.

It helps us cope to laugh at our mistakes, and the silly things we do. Laughter can diffuse a tense situation. It helps us look past the walls that we sometimes build around us.

Laughter releases endorphins (a feel-good hormone) which can ease stress, boost our immune system, improve our mood, increase our pain tolerance, and improve our cardiovascular health. Wow, all that from a good joke. It also releases the neurotransmitter dopamine.  Think of this as a reward for our brain, which may motivate us to continue with our laughter. Maybe that’s why when I start to laugh, I can’t stop and everything sounds funny.

Maybe we should change the saying from “An apple a day keeps the doctor away” to “A laugh a day keeps the doctor away.”

Think of the last time you shared a belly laugh with someone. It felt pretty wonderful, didn’t it?

I love to laugh. I’m grateful for laughter, and the forty-two years with a husband who can make me to laugh so hard that I can’t breathe.

Gratitude – November 27

I think I can, I think I can. NaNoWriMo Challenge.

It’s been a challenge this month to post each day one gratitude adjustment. In addition, I  took the plunge to write 50,000 words this month in an attempt to write my first novel.

I have Monday, Tuesday, Wednesday, and Thursday to make my goal. At 44,850 I have some serious time in front of my computer before I can say, “I did it!” I think the stubborn side of me will kick in and I will push myself to finish. I can’t tied up all the loose ends with 6000 words, so I will continue into December with the conclusion. Next up, edit my work. It’s called a rough draft for a reason.

I’m grateful to have the ability and the time to pursue the goal. I know not everyone can spend the amount of time it takes to write every day for several hours. I’m grateful for the authors who wrote the “How-To” books for people like me who want to learn the process.

I’m grateful for the computer. I can’t imagine using a typewriter like I did years ago in high school with white out fluid by my side.

I’ve enjoyed the process. If I’m not at my computer, my mind runs through different scenarios for my characters. It’s fun to use my imagination to create drama in the life of someone with no repurcussions.

Happy Cyber-Monday.

P.S. My non-fiction book, Broken Brain, Fortified Faith, is still available for half-price through Familius.