Thursday, December 9, 2010

Getting through the holidays with balance.

Author Julie Fast shares a little bit of how she navigates the holiday season while managing her bipolar at the same time. Thanks Julie!

Why are the holidays so hard for people with bipolar disorder? I know they are for me! I write books on bipolar disorder and you would think that after 15 years of work on managing this illness that the holidays would be a bit easier! But they are not. I may change and become more successful in how I live with this illness, but the holidays stay the same! Every year at this time I send out newsletters and write many blogs on how to prepare for the end of the year. I stress that you have to watch your relationships carefully and make sure they are stress free. (Many people laugh at this one!) I teach readers that travel time changes can really affect bipolar disorder symptoms and just the stress of an airport can create anxiety.
But there is one real reason I have such a hard time with the holidays. I get lonely. Really lonely. I’m surrounded by people and yet I’m lonely. Being single doesn’t help, but it’s a choice. I don’t like to shop and yet the television tells me I should receive really cool presents from everyone. I have a beautiful eight year old nephew whom I love, but the family dynamics with my brother and his partner are just too much for me. My mom is not really into celebrating and my friends often leave town. What a little whiny baby I am! But that is how it is for many of us with bipolar. No matter what we have and who loves us, the holidays make us expect so much more!
This year I made sure it was different. I’m getting on a plane to go visit my dad for two weeks. It’s cheery. He’s a happy person and I know this will be my best holiday in a long time! Loneliness can happen no matter how many people are in your life. My goal is to do everything possible to make sure I’m with people I love and who help me stay stable.

Julie A. Fast is the author of Loving Someone with Bipolar Disorder, Take Charge of Bipolar Disorder and Get it Done When You’re Depressed. She was diagnosed with ultra rapid cycling bipolar II in 1995 and struggles daily with the illness, but has taught herself to keep going! You can read more about her work at -Julie A. Fast

Monday, December 6, 2010

CWG San Antonio

CWG San Antonio

Wednesday, September 1, 2010

Interview with Author Allison Pittman: For Time and Eternity

With permission from my friend Roxanne Sherwood of the Ponderers Blog, I'm posting her interview with Author Allison Pittman. Allison's next book releases tomorrow. It's called For Time and Eternity and is in a word, Superb! I could not put it down. Check out what Allison has to say about this thought provoking book.

And don't let the chance to win an autographed copy pass you by, once you've read the interview, scroll down to the bottom and follow my directions to get your name in the hat. The drawing will be this Friday.

Monday, August 16, 2010
Welcome Multi-published Author Allison Pittman

Hi, I'm Roxanne Sherwood and I've invited Allison Pittman to visit today. Allison has published six novels and one nonfiction book, Saturdays with Stella: How My Dog Taught Me to Sit, Stay, and Come When God Calls. Her first novel, Ten Thousand Charms, was nominated for two RITAs, and another, Stealing Home, is a finalist in ACFW's Carol Award. A former English teacher, Pittman lives in Texas with her husband and three sons.

Your latest book, For Time and Eternity, will be released September 1st. What inspired the story?

~~I actually had no intentions of pursuing this topic in fiction, but then one day I got an email from the lovely people at Tyndale. They were interested in finding a writer to venture into the Mormon’s story, and I immediately just got chills. You see, I was raised in Utah, and my husband is an ex-communicated Mormon, so I was instantly intrigued. Within minutes, the character of Nathan Fox was fully formed in my head, and I couldn’t reply fast enough. My first instinct was to portray the early Latter-Day Saints as a people desperately seeking God. It’s never been my intention to “take on” the Mormon church, or even to vilify the practice of polygamy. As with all my books, I want to tell a good story. I simply wanted to portray a loving couple torn apart by the church and its early doctrine of plural marriage.

I loved For Time and Eternity and I'm excited that Camilla and Nathan's story continues in Forsaking All Others.

~~Me, too! The story arc for Camilla—to restore her faith and her family—was simply too immense to tell in one book.

What do you have planned for the Sister Wife Series?

~~The second book will, of course, continue Camilla’s story. Beyond that, I know I want to tell Rachel’s story. She is Nathan Fox’s twin sister, and I’ll probably bring the reader back to their childhood, living as orphans in St. Louis, Missouri. I’d also like to explore the experiences of the European immigrants who came to this country specifically as members of the church.

How did you conduct your research for For Time and Eternity?

~~I actually did quite a bit of reading of The Book of Mormon and The Doctrine and the Covenants—the LDS sacred texts. I also indulged myself in a 4-day solo trip to Salt Lake City’s Temple Square, where I strolled through museum after museum, taking in all the tid-bits of the pioneers’ every-day lives. That was such an indulgence, really. I left with my notebook full of scribbles, and my heart heavy for the globalization of their false doctrine. It makes me sad that, by and large, Christians don’t seem to be able to be motivated to the level of dedication that the Mormons have achieved.

Your rich, well-developed characters compel your readers to keep turning pages to find out what happens next. Do you develop characters or plot first?

~~Characters first. Always. In For Time and Eternity, I knew my “husband” would be a good, sincere, loving man who desperately wants to please God. As an orphan, he grew up feeling like he had no value, and the teaching of Joseph Smith would give him that validation. That foundation fuels the plot; truthfully, “Nathans” exist today. But, I think it’s a million times more interesting to have a character who could live in any time period than a story that could be lived by any character.

How long did you write before you sold your first book, Ten Thousand Charms, which was published in 2006 and nominated for two RITA's?

~~Well, that totally depends on your definition of “write.” Charms was my first attempt at writing a novel (no drawer full of unfinished manuscripts for me!). I worked on it on and off for about three years—sadly, much of it was written after I had an editor interested in buying it. I’m not a very driven person, so God really had to pave an easy road for me. One or two rejections, and I would have been done!

You've got a husband, three sons at home, a part-time teaching job at a university, a critique service, and various ministries within your church. How do you do it all?

~~I always have one element dormant at all times. And, yes, sometimes the element that gets shoved to the side is the family. Some would say that’s terrible, but it’s necessary. My boys have learned that any request made during deadline time will be immediately deferred to Dad. Hubby just knows not to make requests! I only teach during the fall, I’ve learned to be strong and smart about my church work, and I give myself a good (one or two week) break after each deadline.

What advice do you have for aspiring novelists? Or what do you wish you'd known before you sold?

~~Be ready to be both overwhelmed and underwhelmed. The work to promote this book will probably be just as consuming as effort it took to write it. You’re going to invest a fortune in postage and slather your blog and facebook and website with your up-coming book signing, and the same eleven people who would have bought copies from the box in your van in the church parking lot are going to show up. If you put your heart in the hands of the publishing world and the readers, it’s going to get broken. You’ll have a fantastic idea rejected, you’ll get a lousy review, your royalty statement might just as well be a series of frowny-faced emoticons. But, trust your heart to the Lord who has called you to this work, thank Him for the gift that allows you to pursue it, and pour your love into the characters on your page and, to paraphrase: “Oh, bad review, where is thy victory? Oh sales, where is thy sting?”

I'm going to paste those last words above my computer. Thanks for your wisdom, Allison. It was great to have you visit.

If you want to enter the giveaway here's what you do...

You have the chance to get your name in the hat 2 times! You may do this on Facebook or on Blog.

1-comment on this blog post.
2-post a link from your blog or Facebook page back here (comment a 2nd time to let me know this is done).

Don't let this giveaway pass you by!

A winner will be drawn on FRIDAY & receive a PERSONALLY AUTOGRAPHED copy of For Time & Eternity, by Allison Pittman.

Tuesday, August 10, 2010

An 8 year old Author

Hi Friends,

I'm traveling and yes I know it's been far too long since I've posted regularly. I promise that will change once we get home from our travels and my kids are back in school. This week I'm in Yakima, WA visiting with my family, it's been great!

I wanted to let you know that I had the opportunity to meet with an 8 year old aspiring author named Anna Komstadius. She is one of the smartest, cutest most determined little girls I've ever met. She asked me some amazing questions and has decided that by the age of 10 she wants to have published her first book. I'd love to see that happen and am hoping that God will open the doors that need to be opened for her to realize her dream. She's well on her way.

We decided yesterday after our meeting that while she is finishing her manuscript that one of the best ways to get a reading audience would be for her to create her own blog. Would you believe that she went home and with her Mom's help, she has already set it up? It's hard to imagine someone with such drive and spunk...but here she is. If you would just take a minute and post a comment or two on her blog I know she would be so excited and feel like her hard work is beginning to pay off. Here's the link for her blog:

Way to go Anna, I'm proud of you!

Tuesday, July 13, 2010

It's finally Here!

Hi Everyone,

Just wanted to let you know that my book is officially out! It's on Amazon and will also be available through other bookstores very soon. In case you want to find it just type in: Waking Up in the Middle of Nowhere into the search bar on Amazon and it will come right up.

If you order it, please tell me as I'm going to be dying to hear your thoughts, comments and maybe ask you to post a review on the Amazon page.

Thanks for your prayers and support, it's going to be an exciting time!
Blessings to you all!

Thursday, April 15, 2010

Opening up Space

I read something this morning that pretty much sums up the way I've been feeling. There is no accident in the timing of this little message. Here's what it said,

"The world is utterly draining, and when we are drained, we are vulnerable. When we are drained, we are also vulnerable to spiritual attack, and that is why I need to remind myself to do whatever it is that makes me strong in Christ."

Thank you John Eldredge for these pearls of wisdom that today remind me that being drained is not how I want to be, and not where I want to linger. As a om, wife, friend, sister, coach...I want to be strong in Christ, able to share the gospel and to acknowledge the beauty of the Kingdom of God who calls me to honor and serve Him.

I love being a part of something larger than myself, love being a contributor to the world around me but when I feel like the world is sucking me dry it inhibits me from being me...and that makes me tired. Can you relate?

Right now I'm preparing for my book to release, writing a new book, coaching a new client, and navigating all my motherly, wifely, friendly, sisterly duties. All of these things are tremendous blessings and gifts that I treasure and would never trade or compromise. But I have to admit that sometimes my head is full, Really Full, and if I'm not careful I can easily tip into feeling overwhelmed. What I'm realizing is that in order to be with all of these things effectively, it's imperative for me to make space for those things that fill me up so that I can turn and pour them out to my writing, my clients, my get the idea.

So, I'm asking you today. What is it that's sucking you dry, draining you, making you feel vulnerable and frantic? What is it you feel like you want to let go of? Is it a relationship, a job change, perhaps a habit that is eating you up?
What would be a first step towards opening up some space for yourself? What is one small thing you can do today that will make you feel a little lighter, and a little freer?

Do you have an idea? Tell me what you do to give yourself what I call "Mental Space" and how
God meets you there...

Wednesday, February 24, 2010

Taking a big step of faith

It's been awhile, hasn't it. The last time I posted I was just coming off of a trip to WA for the holidays and tonight I realized that it's been almost exactly one month since my last post.
A lot has been going on but tonight I'm going to focus on one thing in particular...tomorrow.

You know that I've written a book about our journey with Grant's bi-polar and how it has impacted our marriage and our daily lives. Tomorrow I get to be the guest on and will be talking at length about our book and how God intervened during this season of our lives. It's tough stuff to be sure, but at the same time I'm just amazed at how we have gotten to this place. Surely it would never have happened if God had not carried us.

I'm humbled to have been brought to a place of renewed balance and happiness in my daily life and in my relationship with Grant. There was indeed a time that I never could have imagined that we would ever get here again, and to be honest, we are happier than we've ever been. Because of our journey...we are stronger, more honest and more balanced than ever. It's not been easy but we've managed somehow to stay committed, to stay open and to trust that God's got a plan and a purpose for our struggles.

Tomorrow I'm going to take the first step in promoting our book and hope that God will touch the hearts of those who hear, and protect us from those who would decide it's better to judge in their misunderstanding and confusion. I'm certain that there will be many who think it would be better for us to just keep quiet, to remain an enigma in the midst of many who are suffering, but that is not our heart, and certainly not our motive.

I'm also certain that God will prevail and that the truth of this statement whispered to me by a very dear friend will come to fruition not just for me but for many who are walking a similar path, "It is for this specific challenge that you have been equipped." Do you hear that? That's the truth shattering the voice of doubt, the voice of uncertainty and the voice that tells each and every one of us to keep quiet believing that our story isn't important and has no value or purpose. There is nothing that is impossible with God on our side. My marriage and my husbands renewed life is a perfect example of this very truth.

Regardless of whether you have a spouse with bi-polar, a drug addiction or perhaps have discoverd my friend have a purpose, a plan and a specific destiny that is unique to you. In spite of the fact that you might feel ill equipped to embrace it today, don't make the mistake of ignoring the prompting in your heart. Life is too short to over look the meaning and the idea that you could indeed, leave a legacy that is valuable and insightful for the generations that follow.
Our hope as we share our story is that hearts would be stirred, hopes would be rediscovered, and lives and marriages would be saved. We know it's challenging and that sometimes it feels like it would be so much easier to have given up...but I can tell you without a shadow of a doubt, where we are today is far worth the battle scars that we carry with us into our present.

If you want to listen in log in tomorrow at 12pm Central time to I look forward to it.
Blessings to you all!

Friday, January 22, 2010

Be Who You Already Are

On a really good day it’s easy to focus on the things I like about myself, it’s easy to feel like God really knew what he was doing when he created me. Especially when it’s a good hair day, no one has thrown up on me and my outfit is cute. Those are the kinds of days that I want to say to the world, “Somebody take my picture cuz I’m looking good.”

But we all know those days can be few and far between, especially given the season of life that motherhood brings. Most of the time it’s much easier to focus on the dislikes and the things we are ashamed of, in fact I’ve been known to have my own private pity party and I’m not embarrassed to admit that since I’m pretty sure the rest of you can relate.

We spend our days telling ourselves that we aren’t good enough, worthy enough, valuable enough, pretty enough, smart enough…need I go on? We wonder secretly to ourselves, “Is this all there is? Isn’t there supposed to be something more to my life?” So I titled my post today “Be who You Already Are” because deep inside of each one of us, we are all wondering the same thing…and are hoping to discover some magical answer to our questions. But the truth is, you are already equipped with your own set of values, central beliefs and life purpose. It’s just a matter of letting God reveal the truth and trusting in Him.
I want to talk about how important it is to be who you are, not who you think you should be, or who your husband or friends want you to be…but who you know God is calling you to be.

A few years ago I made this note to myself, it’s a good reminder for me when I feel like the world is closing in…

Be who you already are. Stop striving, perfecting, adjusting, adapting, collapsing, hiding, fearing, worrying, wondering, compromising and just be who you already are. I know that you’re already thinking, “But who am I, I have no idea.” And, “How in the world am I supposed to be who I already am when the whole world tells me I’m not good enough?” Start with remembering who God is to you, how he has worked in your life and then hold on tight to that little glimmer of light that represents the “you” you were before society, before your family and yes, before you told yourself to be someone different.

Early in my marriage I used to wonder how long it would take Grant to change his mind and leave me for someone else. I pretended to be more than I was, trying to fill the shoes that everyone else set before me. I performed and perfected my act…and became someone I didn’t recognize. I lost myself not unlike so many other women who have struggled with their own identity and the shame they carry with them from past abuse or some other sort of trauma. I lived like that for twelve years, wondering what my purpose was and questioned my reason for existing.

But all that time of questioning and wondering I felt a deep prodding in my heart. I knew the bible and I believed that God loved me and had a plan and purpose for my life. But I didn’t understand how I could get past my shame and really be who it seemed like he wanted me to be. I did bible studies and led small groups and knew in my heart over the course of time that the more I sought God the more I understood who he meant for me to be. He was calling me out of the shadows, whispering to me almost every day how much he loved me and how he could use my sadness for his good, to encourage and support others. He helped me see the truth through all the study and counseling that I did. I was significant to Him, and He had bestowed upon me my own set of unique talents and strengths, my own set of values that no one could ever take away from me no matter how hard they tried.

Each one of us regardless of our situation has a unique design that God has given to us. You know there is no one else like you on the face of the earth, you are unique in God’s eyes. No matter what anyone else has ever said or done to you, nothing can change the core of who you were created to be. Circumstance can try and traumatic events may seem to prevail but beneath all of that outside stuff, you are still you; the girl that God created in her mother’s womb, who He still loves and cherishes and gave His life for.

By virtue of your very existence you are significant.

Now, think about your daily lives. All the different hats you wear the people you come in contact with. Your families, your friends, your co-workers, your facebook friends…this is your sphere of influence and somehow every time you interact with them, you are influencing them. Therefore you are a woman of influence.

Remember how we talked about how your life is built on values, the building blocks of your life…and that by virtue of your own existence you are significant. Apply all those ideas to your circle of influence and realize that God has placed you right where you are for his specific purpose. The people that are in your life have been put there for a reason, how do you want to influence them… ?

As God’s creation you are pleasing to Him, and he takes great delight in you. Like any father He desires to prosper you, to see you grow and hopes that you will trust Him to light the way. He made you because He wanted a relationship with you, giving you your own characteristics and personality; there is no one else like you. According to Psalm 45:10 “The king is enthralled by your beauty.” What better way to honor Him than to cast aside the voices of our society that say we have to strive to be someone we are not. Instead answer the call that has been placed on your heart and dive into this realm of exploration and discovery. Stretch yourself as new truths are revealed and get excited about the amazing transformation that comes as you shed false living and move into a brand new authentic way of life, being who you already are.

Wednesday, January 20, 2010

Some new things...

Yesterday you saw that I was messing around with trying something new. That little post I made was a test to see if what I was working on was actually going to work. And I'm so happy to tell you that, "YES" it worked. I'll explain...

A few months ago I was asked to be a part of one of my favorite coaching magazines, The Christian Coaching Magazine. I am officially their public relations person which includes lots of different things but primarily right now I'm handling all the social media for the magazine. I get to be on facebook a lot and Twitter too. There has certainly been a learning curve but it's fun and I'm always up for learning something new. Yesterdays little experiment had to do with this very cool web instrument that will allow you to post your status updates on Facebook and it will automatically post it on Twitter or whatever other social media tool you choose. It will even pull automatically from a blog post. Maybe this isn't something very new but it was to me and I was thrilled to have figured it out all by myself. YAY ME!

My next challenge is to try and link to the magazine page so that whenever a new edition is coming out or something newsworthy is worth sharing, it will post across the internet telling everyone what we're up to. If you're interested in learning more about this instrument you can find it at a website called hootsuite. Here's the link:

That's all for now...find me on Twitter: resurrectedgirl or on Facebook: Allison Rouse Johnson

See you soon!

Tuesday, January 19, 2010

Trying something new

This is me trying something new...just a little test to hopefully move towards something cool!

Thursday, January 7, 2010

Remember Mulan??

Throughout the history of Disney films a consistent theme has appeared in direct relationship to the values lived out by women today. The first Disney heroine, Snow White, may not conjure up images of a strong value foundation but she does firmly grasp her role in caring for the Seven Dwarfs. More recently characters like Mulan and Belle epitomize the unwavering commitment in discovering their core values and then they stand firmly upon them.

In the beginning Mulan, like many people in the world, is afraid to be herself and disappoint her family. She knows the path that has been laid out before her and strives to be the girl that everyone wants her to be. The problem is, she has an inner drive that does not fit the everyday Chinese girl and this becomes especially obvious as her mother takes her to the matchmaker to receive an extreme makeover. Mulan tries her best to become what she believes her family desires of her but she cannot please the matchmaker and is thrown out. Mulan believes she has failed miserably. Facing disappointment from her family Mulan turns away, disgusted with herself, wondering who she is and how she will ever gain their approval.

She ends up disguising herself as a man to protect her father and joins the Chinese army. Her adventures allow her to mature and gain emotional strength but it’s only when her fellow soldiers discover she is a woman that she is forced to take a hard look at herself. She suffers extreme humiliation, faces abandonment and more disappointment from the peers who knew her as Ping. For a moment she sinks into self pity but when she realizes the Huns are still alive she springs back into action. Only this time there is no disguise. To be effective in achieving her goal of protecting her country she must not pretend to be something she is not.

Like Mulan, many of us take on the roles that society or our families lay out. We adapt and adjust to fit their mold, never really considering that perhaps our own unique design was not meant to be adapted or adjusted in accordance with someone else’s. In the end Mulan discovers that while she was pretending to be someone else, her own unique self was deep inside her all along. Like many of us, she has to decide if being herself is enough. What she decides changes the course of her life and the course of history. She makes her decision to stand up; throwing off her disguise, believing the foundation of who she is will be her strongest asset. She has discovered she is significant, she is a woman of influence and she embraces the truth of her strengths even with her imperfections. The message is clear, no matter what anyone else says or does, she is enough.