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!