Peer Institute classes cut short. My 21 year old son Tyler is very sick.

This morning bright and early I got a call from my son Tyler that he was still feeling very sick. I had tried my best before I left for my trip for him to let me take him to the doctor, but no. So early today I get a call that he was hurting badly and had been coughing up blood last night and had not slept at all and was very achy. I got his text implying Mom I really need to see the doctor. So I left and picked him up from his girlfriends place of business and we headed off to Gwinnett Medical Emergency Room. It was the closest Emergency Room to the Lodge where I was staying. They checked him in fairly quickly thank goodness and he lay down. He had a chest X ray and they administered steroids and pain medication along with a breathing treatment and want him to follow up with a pulmonologist in 3 to 5 days. The ER gave him a prescription for prednisone and an inhaler. I got him a warm blanket and he did rest a little. We were finally discharged around noon time. I missed my morning classes today. I did return to take the afternoon classes and then we waited for the traffic to die down after dinner and we left to come home. I get home and I had asked his father earlier if he could come and pick him up from Norcross and he told me No that he could not. So we get home and his father is playing basketball at the YMCA with a bunch of his friends. What the hell? Okay, I thought. I was very upset that his father had not taken this more seriously and had not helped me in a time of need. I am finally home and hope that the Georgia Mental Health Consumer Network will still allow me to present my project to my Peers. I spoke with Mr. Brent Hoskinson, Certified Peer Specialist and he told me that I could still present my project and that we would speak by phone in depth about this. So I missed out on the morning classes today and tomorrow morning’s classes. But I would not allow my son to hurt and be sick without tending to him as best as I could. I explained to everyone that my son was really sick. For Tyler to ask to see a doctor or go to an emergency room he had to be truthfully really hurting terribly and needing his mom. Please keep Tyler in your thoughts and prayers as just like me we share the genetic illness Alpha One Antitrypsin Deficiency and his phenotype is SZ which is a lot worse on the totem pole than me being an MZ. He is now only at 21 being sent to a specialist. So please keep us in your prayers and I will be blogging more on the training classes that I was able to attend and the notebook full of materials that I received. Simpsonwood is a beautiful place and I am very happy that Tyler got to spend a little time with me at the conference and see what it was all about. We talked about the fact of me trying to obtain my certification to become a Certified Peer Specialist and he seemed really proud of me. I honestly hope that he is very proud. Good to be home finally after this long and difficult day today.



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GA Peer Support Institute GA Mental Health Consumer Network Day 1 Spring 2014

1:00 Check in and Training Registration

2:00 Welcome, Comfort Contract, and Introduction to Project Planning / Brent Hoskinson, CPS

2:45 Walking Miracle Ike Powell

3:45 Break

4:00 5 Stages of Recovery Ike Powell

5:30 Dinner

The Comfort Agreement is a guideline that the entire group selects, to create a respectful, safe and comfortable environment during this training. This list can be added to and changed at any time the group decides.

Project Planning

The major impact of a diagnosis of mental illness is a sense of loss and disconnection. The loss often involves the loss of friends, family, job, housing, money, children, meaning and purpose, but the major loss seems to be the loss in one’s belief that he or she can do anything that can have a positive effect on one’s life.

When I see how much you have overcome to get to where you are today, I know you are a ….. Walking Miracle

Telling Your Recovery Story

And I too often tell the “Illness Story” and not so much the “Recovery Story.” I plan to begin to share more and more of my achievements, sacrifices and goals met.

What were some of the early indications that you were beginning to have difficulties?

Briefly describe yourself and your situation when you were at your worst.

What helped you move from where you were to where you are now? What did you do? What did others do?

What have you had to overcome to get to where you are today?

What have you learned about yourself and what we call recovery? What are some of the strengths you have developed?

What are some of the things that you do to keep you on the right path?

Five Stages of Recovery

Impact of Illness  - Shattering of one’s world, hopes and dreams. Overwhelmed by.

Life is Limited  - To give up.

Change is Possible – The fragile flame of hope and courage

Actions for Change  - Rebuilding your Life. Moving Beyond.

Commitment to Change  - Simple Acts of Courage. Challenging.

The Disabling Power of a Mental Illness – Symptoms, Stigma, Self – Image.

I will be working more on The Five Stages of Recovery throughout the week. But plan to include my goals met and accomplishments and not so much my failures and the victimization story any longer. I want to begin to tell my “Recovery Story.” Going from good to bad to worse to a full turn around in 10 years. This being my 10 year Anniversary of Mental Illness and marital abuse diagnosis I am wanting to begin after today’s class which I have already been taught at The Respect Institute training but to begin to tell more of the good side of my illness, my achieved goals, my aspired goals and what really drives me to be an advocate. Dating all the way back to the induction of Deputy District Attorney Mr. Richard R. Read that I was a strong advocate and support system of I have been taught by the system and still to this day that advocacy is the only route to take and the best thing that one can do for one’s self. I will have to choose a project to present to the community once training classes are over and I my goal is to receive scholarship once again to St. Simons Island to present my project. I have already been like a sponge today and soaked up so much valuable information and toured the grounds here at Simpsonwood visiting the Prayer Labyrinth and wanting to somehow incorporate my project to include the Prayer Labyrinth. Being a native of Newton County and a Pillar Of my community since the very young age of 20 and mother to 5 I feel that I have contributed my part. The State has given back and has rectified old wounds. Wounds that are still not healed though and I need healing. I need these scars to heal over and that is my next goal. To work so hard and so diligently to become a Certified Peer Specialist that these old wounds will finally be able to heal over. The scar will forever remain but my heart does not have to settle for less than what I deserve out of life and I have been a fine upstanding mother, wife and community leader who plans to continue to attend community events and blog at The Covington News. My 3 year Anniversary with The Covington News as a full time blogger is fast approaching and I will be sharing my project with the community. Tomorrow I face another day of Peer Support training and cannot wait. I will tour The Methodist Center tomorrow and hopefully be given a tour of the Chapel on the grounds. I will be blogging more this week on the 5 Stages of Recovery and our lesson from today. Love from Peachtree Corners and the GA Peer Institute.

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The Prayer Labyrinth at Simpsonwood Lodge

I walked the Prayer Labyrinth this evening and even had an opportunity to stop and meditate. It was so quite, calming and a sense of urgency about me to share this information. It is nestled deep in seclusion in the heart of Atlanta and will be a dear friend to me ’til the end of time.

The Prayer Labyrinth

The Prayer Path at Simpsonwood is located in a beautiful wooded setting between the Brooks Complex and the Gibson Lodge. This path leads the way to a Prayer Labyrinth built to enhance the spiritual life of our guests and friends. The labyrinth is available for use by guests and friends of Simpsonwood. You are welcome to enjoy the labyrinth and visit it often as you walk life’s journey.

What is a Labyrinth?

A labyrinth is different from a maze, though the two are often confused. The labyrinth is one of the oldest contemplative and transformational tools known to mankind, used for centuries of prayer, ritual, initiation, and personal and spiritual growth. This ancient and powerful tool is unicursal, offering only one route to the center and back out again; no blind alleys, dead ends or tricks, as in a maze. No matter where you are in the labyrinth’s coherent circuits, you can always see the center. Once you set your foot upon its path, the labyrinth gently and faultlessly leads you to the center of both the labyrinth and yourself, no matter how many twists and turns you negotiate in the process.

Where do Labyrinths come from?

The labyrinth is a symbolic pilgrimage or journey to the divine. It is an archetypal image found throughout history from Ancient Egypt to Crete to Celtic, Scandinavian, and Native American cultures. Based on the circle, the universal symbol for unity and wholeness, the labyrinth is considered to be among other things : a sacred space, a symbol for unconscious, a place of pilgrimage, and a mystical tool for transformation and healing. By walking the labyrinth, you rediscover a long – forgotten tradition that is being reborn in our day.

A different space.

The place you are entering is not ordinary space : it is sacred space. It is sacred space. Leave your watches behind. Time here is not clock time, chronos; it is kairos, the fullness of time beyond time, the eternal NOW. Release your daily life and self when you enter the labyrinth. You are entering sacred ground.

Why do we have them?

The labyrinth is a powerful spiritual symbol that speaks to our souls in a way that transcends all creeds and beliefs. All spiritual traditions speak of life as a path,a spiritual journey, with its own twists and unexpected turns, to the heart of Spirit. Walking the labyrinth can help people step foot once again on their own paths, helping them to remember their own lives as spiritual journeys.

What do you do?

There is no right way to walk the labyrinth : In walking, we are thrown back on ourselves and our own experiences, instead of having to measure our walk against some set of external rules or standards. In this simplicity, everything that takes place while walking becomes a mirror that allows us to look into our individual fears and anxieties. We all come to the labyrinth as ourselves that the great gift of that simplicity. Don’t let anyone else influence you about how walking the labyrinth is “supposed” to be. You have follow your own path. The labyrinth shows you that path.

Whoever you are, walking the labyrinth has something to offer you. If a creative or work project is challenging to you, walking can get your creative juices flowing. When you are struggling with grief or anger or a physical challenge or illness, walking the labyrinth can point the way to healing and wholeness. If you want  a way to meditate or pray that engages your body as well as your soul, the labyrinth can be such a way. When you just want to have reflective time away from a busy life, a labyrinth can offer you time out. The labyrinth holds up a mirror, reflecting back to us not only the light of our finest selves, but also whatever restrains us from shining forth.

Maintain silence throughout your walk, for you own reflection and that of others.

Move at your own pace. Feel free to pause anyplace where a delay feels right. You may pass others who are moving slower. The path is a two way going in will meet though coming out do what feels natural. Be away everything teaches. When you reach the center, you may want to sit, kneel, stand, meditate, face several directions, or read something you have brought along with you. Stay as long as you like.

Walking out of the labyrinth is a time for integration and gratitude for the gifts received.

Source : The Lodge at Simpsonwood A Conference and Retreat Center

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Easter can be The Ultimate Second Chance

Studying from The People of a Second Chance on how Easter is “The Ultimate Second Chance.” I feel as though a huge weight has been lifted off of me this Easter season. I have finally been accepted for training classes for The Georgia Peer Institute through the Georgia Mental Health Consumer Network. Ten years after initial diagnosis of severe depression and marital abuse. A diagnosis that would keep me apart from my children for many years even though there have been 930 Certified Peer Specialist since October 2001 for the State of Georgia. A diagnosis that I would have an uphill battle in fighting with in and outside the courtroom. But a diagnosis that I have not let stop me. A strong stigma that has been attached to my diagnosis by many including my very own family. This year once again I prove them all wrong. Proving many wrong by being accepted to The Georgia Peer Institute and continuing to be a strong advocate in my community. I pray that with this conference at hand that I can continue to be an upstanding citizen for my community and shining prime example for the Newton County Mental Health Courts. I plan to enlighten them of my progress and of my recent scholarship from the State. There has been so much progress made in and outside the courtroom from ten years ago at my initial diagnosis. A battle I never gave up on and won the good fight for many victims of marital abuse, parental alienation and parental reunification along with the mentally challenged. No parent should ever be separated from their children due to mental diagnosis and marital abuse. Which I was. And am still alienated by my ex husband to this day. 20 years he has had if there were to ever be any wrongdoing on my part even mentioned. 20 years he has had and none exist. Yet, he still has a quest to alienate me from my daughter’s and fill their hearts with hate for me. I have tried and tried backing off from advocacy but it does me no good. There is no use in it as that is not me living authentically. Living authentically is continuing to be a strong advocate for those of this state and in my community for marital abuse victims among others that are stricken with the stigma of mental diagnosis. A stigma that is often full of judgmental criticism and hatred. A stigma that no one should have to live with or learn to cope with. A stigma that needs be stricken down in the land abroad. I am strong enough to cope with and handle self-directed recovery, you can too. I never imagined that severe depression and marital abuse would leave me with such an agonizing and aching past. I plan on using this scholarship to become a stronger advocate and share mine and my daughter’s story with everyone I meet and at Creative Expression night during the conference. I cannot wait to tour the grounds at the Lodge. There is  a Prayer Labyrinth and a Chapel on the grounds that I plan to visit and leave all this with the Lord in his hands praying for a stronger conviction of his Will. A Will that I hope he continues to shine light on following these last ten years of pain. A new Chapter begins with my training and I fully intend on soaking it all in and sharing of my experience with my readers. I often times just bury my face in my hands, shake my head and sigh. So with this Easter I take the opportunity to really shake myself up and know that Easter can be The Ultimate Second Chance. God has granted so very many of my prayers thus far and I hope he continues to hold me close. See you this upcoming week from the Lodge at Simpsonwood and Peer Support training!

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Easter memories kept alive

easter20years eastercharlisavannah

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“a lot can happen in three days.” Easter 2014

From his crucifixion at Calvary to three days later becoming our Lord and King “a lot can happen in three days.”  In just three short days Jesus went from being crucified to becoming ruler of all Nations and King of all Kings. From his crown of thorns to a crown of jewels he quickly and lovingly became our Lord. Today with our families and loved ones we celebrate a risen Savior. By witnessing to others and with a show of public acceptance through baptism we show the world the sweetest story that ever did exist and share in his almighty powerful love for us all and for mankind. He is a risen Lord and tells us to preach his gospel among men. As we share in his gospel today may we love one another just as Jesus loved us enough to die on the cross for our sins. Today he is risen and is no longer a slave to the thorns. We must worship him wholeheartedly and love our neighbor as we love our self for unconditional love is the nature and calling from our Lord. Give your heart and soul over to the Messiah and you can begin to have a renewed life through salvation. A salvation that shines through with the Lords divine purpose for your life. A story that only you can tell. A story where you are expected to “live authentically”, Parker J. Palmer,  with each passing moment of life. By living authentically you tell a story that inspires others and even has the opportunity of reaching many lands while witnessing. I am a living testament to the loving faith of the Lord our God and share in his riches and glory today. Easter day. I pray that whomever I reach that the Lord is touching you to become all that he has predestined you to become and that his Will shines through in your life. May we come together as a community sharing in the old, rich story of the rugged cross that Jesus bore for our sins. To now having a crown of jewels. A crown of jewels that he invites you to share with him if only you give your life over and begin to walk blameless among men. Jesus risen death declares him son of God. God has prepared a place for us and I hope to be delivered with him to spend eternity with all of my family and loved ones someday in this hold ground that has been prepared for us to walk among. Praying that today you find peace among men. A peace that knows no bounds that is headed up by our righteous King of Kings. Spread the love of Jesus today and that God will judge the world in righteousness in due time.


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Living Authentically this Good Friday

On my walks in my subdivision I have seen and had the glory of Daffodils, Azalea, Wisteria and Roses among the many blooming trees and flowers. It is Good Friday and it has rained all day today. I have sat inside and walked out intermittently to enjoy the breeze and light sprinkle of rain we have had. I cleaned the apartment all day today and am getting ready to pack for my training classes next week for The Georgia Peer Institute through the Georgia Mental Health Consumer Network. I am so proud of my receiving this scholarship. I cannot wait as my Certified Peer Specialist, Ms. Brenda would say “be a sponge!” And soak up all this grand information and training I will be receiving. I never would have imagined my ten year anniversary of diagnosis of severe depression and marital abuse would be spent in training classes for the State but I have once again traveled a lonely highway and have came out on top. I hope to make Ms. Brenda my CPS very proud of me as she has often told me that she did not succeed at first and to not give up on my hopes of becoming a CPS for the State of GA one day. This is just another milestone achieved and step in the right direction to becoming a CPS for the State of which there have been 930 since October 2001. My life never should have been turned upside down the way it was by not getting to see my children due to mental diagnosis and marital abuse. It caused my downfall. It caused the death of my soul and my spirit. Still to this day I suffer even though me and my daughters have won many hearings on our behalf since 2004 I still suffer the consequences of this state’s mistake. This Good Friday I am once again praying for the Lords Will to be done in my life. I pray to know what his strong Will is. I have found out we can set out with our Will in mind but in the long run of the aftermath of turmoil it is the Lord’s Will that prevails. On my walks I often pray and as I see nature in bloom I pray over it and ask the Lord to make me and my life just as beautiful as his glorious nature that he has cast on this earth for us to behold. I shake my head in so much disbelief sometimes that I make myself sick. The fact remains that in 20 plus years there is no hint, suggestion, implication or accusation as to wrongdoing on my behalf as a mother nor as a wife. No wrongdoing whatsoever in 20 plus years, yet I go to bed one night in August of 2004 and the next day comes to pass that I never see my daughter’s again. It has been nearly 10 years since my diagnosis and I am still praying with the faith of a mustard seed and love of a giant for the Lord’s Will to be shown in my life. Easter was a very big holiday in my home as we always celebrated Good Friday and Easter with the children. We did not go out every Easter to buy a new Easter basket. The children had the very same Easter basket each year for many years. Somewhat like a Christmas stocking that was sat out each year with loving care. They were all wicker and painted in pastel colors for Spring. Thinking long and hard on those special Easter baskets today, this Good Friday and wondering whatever became of those precious Easter baskets and Easter memories that were made. Wondering if over ten years worth of photos were destroyed or if my children have them? In my ex husband’s quest despite the fact of no wrongdoing ever as a mother nor as a wife, his quest to turn my children against me and to hate me he has seemed to have met and reached his goal. All I can do is pray and hope for better days ahead where my children one day know the entire truth of the record of the matter and that there has been no hint, suggestion, implication or accusation on my part ever as to any wrongdoing as mother nor as wife. Mr. Sasser had ten years of a marriage and ten years of a divorce and visitation hearings if there were to ever be any mention of wrongdoing and there never has been, not in 20 plus years during my state of advocacy for four beautiful daughters. Surely being Good Friday the Lord hears my prayers for his Will in my life to be shown. All too often we get carried away with our Will be done instead of handing it all over to the Lord in prayer. As I am in constant conversation with the Lord our God I ask him to let that Will take a stronghold in my life and to prepare for me and my children a place together again someday and that someday will be just as beautiful, caring and loving as was August of 2004. I always gave my children new Bibles at Easter and tried my best instilling the love, peace and faith of the Master in their lives. Being the only parent that ever took them to church it was a hard task at times but always kept the spirit, faith and love of the Lord in our home. I pray that my parents see me now. With their passing came great distress in my life. Oh how I wish  they could see me now. In training to become a Certified Peer Specialist and with full scholarship for the Georgia Peer Institute. My oh my I wish my parents were with me now to see this glorious year that I have been blessed with. I would give anything to be able to call them and tell them of my grand news. Upon completion of the GA Peer Support Institute I plan to have correspondence with the mental health courts updating them as to my scholarship and training and to include this in my project that I will be working on for completion of the program. What can Good Friday mean to me? That the Lord is hard at work in my life and that he has honored many of my prayers even though I have suffered through the hell and anguish of parental alienation I have still had many of my prayers honored and it has been a great blessing to walk with the Lord over the last ten years of being alone. I have accomplished much and still travel a road alone but with the Lord by my side as my guide and friend. Having had such great mentors in my life time has been a wonderful fulfilling experience and I have no idea what I would do without these excellent mentors and friends that I have been fortunate enough to have been blessed with and their amazing company. So many mentors have crossed my life’s path and have left an amazing impression on my life and have also left me with big shoes to fill. I feel that in 20 plus years I have met this goal. Met, yet still striving to be more, to do more, to accomplish more, praying to become more. Always  clinging to education. My college degree at Dekalb Technical College and now graduating New Rock, The Respect Institute and now upcoming classes for the GA Peer Support Institute. If I can accomplish this much anyone with a mental diagnosis can as well. Being a firm believer in self  - directed recovery and that keeping the Lord first in your life will help you succeed and will bring with it many blessings and answered prayer. We must not always be in strong, long, drawn out eloquent prayer with the Lord. It can be all day every day in small conversational prayers that our sins are forgiven, washed clean and blessings placed in our laps. The Lord loves it none the less no matter how you come to him just so that you hand your life over to his mercies. I had a neighbor to witness to me this Easter season and it was very touching to have her reach out to me with her love of the Lord. The Lord reminds us in simple and intimate ways of his love for us. Being baptized in our holy Father’s name is the first step to repentance and being a believer. I have been baptized twice as a young adult but have been feeling the need to walk the aisle and have a re dedication of my life. Being a faithful believer is what we must all attain to achieve. I speak to my son often of the Lord and his peace for my sons life. We have been in conversation several times over the Lord as I try to instill in my young son that the Lord loves him and wants him to have peace if he would just reach out and grab ahold of the peace that comes with knowing the Lord and having a close walk with him. One of my dear facebook Friends Deanna Dennis sent me a gift of the book, “Let Your Life Speak” and it seems to me that trying to make progress in forgetting about and leaving behind the blogging of my daughter’s is a great distress and very upsetting to me. Reading Let Your Life Speak only makes me feel that the Lord has designed me to be a witness to others and to this State about parental alienation and just how terribly it effects everyone involved, especially the children. Reading this book from Deanna has me feeling as though the Lord does not want me to leave behind my story yet to reach out to others by witnessing to them and being a strong advocate for this State in and outside the courtoom. Trying to leave my story behind is too distressing and causes me great anxiety. I have prayed and prayed over this. According to Parker J. Palmer ” Live Authentically” and in order for me to do so, I must tell my story. I have kept so much inside and to myself and have let the court’s handle all of the matters and decisions. Living Authentically is the goal of the book written by Parker J. Palmer. Living Authentically means living your true life and being an advocate for oneself and for others not strong enough to carry the weight of the world. Carrying the weight of the world has been on my shoulders for the last ten years but I have matched it line for line heartbeat to heartbeat. I begin living more authentically this Easter season as I advocate at Peer Institute training and tell my story to the GA Mental Health Consumer Network. Join me next week as I come to you live from Peer Institute training. 2014-04-17 19.44.34

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