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Tag Archives: Inspiration

Want to Read a Great Book?

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I’ve got a great book recommendation for you – it’s full of drama, inspiring characters who triumph over difficult odds, and it’s funny, too! I really think you’ll like it.

Only one problem……we haven’t written it quite yet!

(I’m not one to excel at getting to the point (cue husband laughing hysterically), but I’m making an exception. Here it is: Please support our Kickstarter project to write an awesome book, and then SHARE the project with your friends, contacts, Facebook lists, Twitter followers, and that weird guy who stares at you at the grocery store. Give him something else to think about. Ok, back to the long-form version of the post….)

That’s right, I’m writing a book! My co-author, Dave Mowry, and I are writing “No, Really, We Want You to Laugh”, a book about stand-up comedy and mental health.  Who woulda thought, right? I certainly never thought I would be either a) a stand-up comic; b) a passionate advocate for changing how we talk about and perceive mental illness; or c) running a Kickstarter campaign to fund a book about it!

But I’ve spent the last five years walking alongside my amazing young nieces as they have worked to rebuild their mental health after a rough childhood (GIANT UNDERSTATEMENT), and about 18 months ago I got recruited into an amazing program called Stand Up for Mental Health. Since then I’ve been performing stand-up comedy as a family member of people living with mental illness. I’ve also helped to facilitate more classes, and helped some AMAZING people take their tough experiences with mental illness and turn it into powerful, funny comedy. We’ve seen real transformation in people’s lives as a consequence, including our own lives.

One of those comics, Dave Mowry, thought what we were experiencing was important enough to share in a book, and I’m honored he ask me to co-author with him. We want the book to professionally edited, designed and prepared for publication, because we want our message of hope to reach a LOT of people.

See, here’s my co-author Dave and I:

Click now to check it out!

Click now to check out the book project!

The Kickstarter campaign will help us make that happen, and we need YOUR support to do it! We’re about a third of the way there already!

Who ought to jump on board this project?

– anyone who is living with mental illness or knows someone who is

– anyone who wants to combat the stigma and discrimination of mental illness

– anyone who enjoys comedy and wants to see it from a different angle

– anyone. Just anyone. OK, that might be a bit broad, but I REALLY believe that this book is going to be a great read, and will be very encouraging to a lot of people.

If the highlighted links weren’t enough, here’s another version. Click HERE:

You can help us out for as little as $10, which gets you a copy of the ebook! We made up all kinds of free perks, including hard copies of the book, front-row seats at our Launch Party (whoEVER thought I’d have a launch party????), or even a private comedy show for your business, your friends, or total strangers you want to treat.

So, whattya say? Come on, jump on board, it’s going to be FUN!!!!!

(And to those who have already supported us, THANK YOU! Wow, really thank you. Now go share it with your friends and family! 🙂 )

Existential Ennui, Eeyore, and Ecclesiastes

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Was searching something random online the other day and was shocked – shocked I tell you –  to find my exact question had already been asked and answered. Has that happened to you yet? You turn to the Internet for answers to some question you believe to be unique and interesting, and your exact question pops up in the search box.

My ego struggled with the knowledge that the wonder I’d been wondering, the ponder I’d been pondering, had already been both wondered and pondered.

That’s when it hit me.

What if it’s already all out there? All the information, the questions, the answers, all out there on the Internet. Are we just recycling information and ideas? How long will it be before we all have access to all information? What’s the point? Why am I even writing?

Pretty existential stuff.

Made me think of that verse from the Old Testament.

“What has been will be again,
    what has been done will be done again;
    there is nothing new under the sun.
10 Is there anything of which one can say,
    “Look! This is something new”?Ecclesiastes 1:9-10

My Bible cheater notes claim that King Solomon, the author of Ecclesiastes, was merely describing the futility of seeking meaning in our own accomplishments.

He must have been a real bummer. (I can’t help but picture Solomon saying those words in Eeyore’s voice. Go ahead, imagine it…….I know, I’m sorry, now I’ve ruined Ecclesiastes for all of us.)

Was Solomon right? Is it all pointless? My arrogant 2013 self says “yeah, but what about Pinterest? That’s new. What about the glorious TV fluff and suspense that is “Scandal”? What about Foldify*? What about my dead frog post?”

I began to test my “It’s already all out there” hypothesis, asking the Internet the most random questions I could dream up.

Question: Do chickens get hiccups?

     Out there.

Question: How do they get the membranes off mandarin oranges before they put them in cans?

     Already answered.

Question:What is the smelliest flower you can send someone?

     Answered. And you’ll need a BIG vase.

Question:How many people in the U.S. are named …oh, I don’t know, how about Martin Pickle?

     Thank you, magical Interwebs (and this cool site). Apparently, there are four Martin Pickles in the U.S.  I wonder what they’re like?

Ah ha!

I believe that’s where we find the reassuring answer to my existential concerns. Because who they are, those 4 Martin Pickles? No Internet can tell me that. Can’t tell me what their stories are, how their lives have been shaped. Can’t tell me what makes them laugh hard enough milk comes out their nose. Can’t explain why their families love them, or how they’ve been wounded, or what I could learn from any one of those Martin Pickles by knowing them.

Our stories, our triumphs and our wounds, are what make us more than a Wikipedia entry. It’s our unique creativity, like this guy:

A whole special bundle of unique, right here: Ya can't go wrong with a Mardi Gras mask, a sword, and pj's on your head!

A whole special bundle of unique: Ya can’t go wrong with a Mardi Gras mask, a sword, and pj pants on your head!

After all, we were formed by a Creator Who crafted us each one a unique facet of Himself, then lovingly placed us in a world so amazing that we’ll never be done learning all of the cool things He has in store for us.

So…..enough existential ennui, we need to keep connecting and writing and creating. Because it’s in making the connections and revealing our facets to each other, that’s where the glory is!

* Foldify didn’t get a link up there because they are only available for the iPad right now, and aren’t available on Android. Get on Android, Foldify, then you’ll get a more prominent link! (I didn’t link to Pinterest because it’s Pinterest. If you don’t know Pinterest, you are probably reading this on the paper copy your secretary printed out for you in 1962, but thanks.)

Not a Christmas Letter Kind of Season

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Good thing I rarely write a Christmas letter. Don’t get me wrong, I love getting them, opening that envelope and reading them, so I know that makes me a bit of a hypocrite. When I do write one, it’s a surprise to everyone (especially since it may arrive at any random time of year that ISN’T Christmas). This year, though, I’m grateful for the low expectations I’ve nurtured amongst friends and family.

‘Cause this year, the Christmas letter wouldn’t be very fun. Or it would be VERY fake.

Not that I couldn’t talk about my kids, how they are growing, how they are doing in school, what extracurricular activities they enjoy. I could wax eloquently about summer family camping adventures, or my husband’s job, or my new-found conviction that I am exactly where I am supposed to be right now, even though I am about the least-qualified stay-at-home-mom EVER. IN. HISTORY.

But that letter would be bunk. Hooey. Bull-hockey, as a friend’s grandpa used to say.

The truth this year, as I stumble my way through Advent towards Christmas, is that I’m weighted down with sadness. An inescapable sadness from different tough things going on in our just-outside-nuclear family, a sadness that pours down over me like sticky, heavy syrup.

And sadness ain’t Christmas-y, people.

Truthfully, sometimes life just sucks.

Sometimes, the very best available option of a whole pile of bad options is still pretty awful.

I hadn’t put a name to what was up until I took a few minutes recently to just sit quietly and “feel my feelings”. As the sadness made itself known, and I realized how deeply the sticky heavy had sunk into me, I felt myself getting panicky.

It’s Christmas! Season of joy, happiness, and celebration! I have gifts to buy! Cookies to bake! Teacher gifts to wrap! Decorations to decorate! A tree! Carols!

Much of the fun hullabaloo of Christmas is up to me to create for my family, and we have three boys who need fun! And Christmas! and more hullabaloo! (Tiny tangent – in case you were concerned, that is the correct spelling. Hullabaloo is in my spell check. Really? Hullabaloo? OK.)

So I began to forbid the sadness, and to feel guilty for feeling it. Panic rose up in me, telling me loud lies about how the sad and I would ruin Christmas.

And then I felt a Whisper*. A Whisper that said it was OK. It was ok to be sad. I am sad for good reason. If I faked my way through Advent, convincing myself and everyone else that I had it All Together All By Myself Thank You, then why would I need Christmas?

If I can’t be honest that I’m grieving real things that are really happening, that we live in a broken world of broken people who are hurting and who hurt us, then I don’t need a Christmas from a God who would reach down to us through time and space and history to give us Hope.

And I DO need that. I do need hope.

And I need to be honest. Honest with you, Blog Readers, with my friends, with people I see. Because if I say all is well and I fake it till I can make it, there is no authenticity or vulnerability that leaves room for healing or for hope. There is only room for the lies to get louder.

So….yeah. I’m sad, and it’s Christmas. But that’s ok. ‘Cause if I am real about the hurts in my life and the empty places, I make room for Him to reach down, and room for us to reach out. Then we get to help be Emanuel, God Among Us. We get to be His strength and peace and hope for each other.

And that is Merry for sure.

In case you were wondering, BTW, I don’t think I’m depressed, not clinically. (Honest, Mom.) Been there, done that. (And I’ve already given the hubby permission to be on the lookout anyway, just in case.)

*(I’m from way too moderate a tradition to probably ever feel comfortable saying “I heard God say….” However, I do feel Whispers. And Nudges. And occasionally Kicks in the Pants.)

Have you ever had a Christmas that included some sad? How did you honor that?

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