Sunday, July 24, 2016

Share the Hope of Christ with the Mentally Ill

by Sally Matheny

Share Hope with the Mentally Ill

Years ago, one of my kindergarten students, “Cody,” exhibited bizarre and sometimes violent behavior. He wasn’t malicious. Yet, he consistently wrecked havoc among the five-year-olds, causing everyone around him great stress and concern. 

No matter what methods we tried to encourage success for him, they only helped for a short time—a very short time.

My assistant and I felt all our efforts were hopeless. And school wasn't the only place of Cody’s erratic and raucous behavior.

One morning he came in with singed hair and no eyebrows. His crystal blue eyes remained as expressionless as his face as he told me what he did in the middle of the night.

The kindergartener snuck out of his home with an armful of toys. He dumped them in a pile in the front yard. Then, while everyone was asleep, he set them on fire.

I asked his grandmother, whom he lived with, about it later. She seemed a bit frazzled, but laughed it off and said the boy was constantly into things. 

It took me almost an entire year to convince Cody’s grandmother and family doctor that something wasn’t right. He needed more help than his prescribed Ritalin could provide.

Around May that year, Cody finally received the requested testing and counseling. The results revealed Cody suffered from severe mental illness due to physical and sexual abuse. He was taken where he could receive extensive care.

Prior to Cody receiving help for his mind and body, I had the opportunity to offer him hope for his troubled soul.

It was on one of those many days when the P.E. teacher sent him back into the classroom because he was causing mayhem and harm on the playground. Cody flitted from one end of the room to the other. I was used to talking to him while he was on the move. Rarely did he stand still or even make eye contact.

However, that day, something unusual happened.

Monday, July 18, 2016

Review of Fragile World: A Film by Sandy Boikian

by Sally Matheny

An intriguing movie released in 2015. While fictional in story, Fragile World may shatter a few misconceptions about those who suffer with the realities of mental illness. It certainly refreshed my perspective.

The award winning, inspirational film has earned the highest rating of five Doves. This nonrated family feature is free of foul language, sexual content, and violence but the storyline is best suited for ages twelve and up. 

The main character, Rosalie, an interior designer, suffered a mental breakdown after the death of her father and occasionally suffers from delusions.

One day, she meets the man of her dreams,,,but does he really exist?

That question, as well as the excellent cinematography and outstanding acting, held my attention the entire movie. I constantly guessed at what was real, and what was not.

Those uncertainties opened a gate to better understanding those who suffer with mental illness. Writer/director, Sandy Boikian deserves kudos for that.

Bruised Reed Productions describes the film as one that “ponders the depths of human loss, the fragile framework of the human mind, and the road to emotional and spiritual healing.”

Tuesday, July 12, 2016

Three Things Parents Should Avoid on Sundays

by Sally Matheny

Do your Sunday mornings roll in with waves of whines
and crashes of grumbles?
If you’re one of those parents who has it altogether on Sunday mornings, whose kids eagerly jump out of bed, and sing, “Holy, Holy, Holy” all the way to church—this post is not for you.

However, if your Sunday mornings are like some of mine, rolling in with waves of whines and crashing with grumbles—read on, dear friend.    

Like grains of sand swirling about in the ocean, parents long for peace. But are we encouraging our families to settle for less than they should?

Here are three things parents should avoid, followed by some tips to help you get more out of your Sundays. 

Monday, July 4, 2016

Honoring True Freedom

by Sally Matheny

Honoring True Freedom
In my youth, I did not realize the full value of my freedom. My understanding only went as far as my own limitations.

“Why can’t I watch that T.V. show?”

“When will I get to drive a car?"

“Where can I go with my friends?”

As I grew, so did my perception of freedom.

I learned people sacrificed their own freedom for mine.

I may never fully comprehend the price some have paid, or adequately appreciate those who are still hammering out ways to preserve my freedom.

One reason for my ignorance is because someone, for some reason, cared enough to protect me from that knowledge. I once heard a special agent say if an evil event didn’t make the news, because his team prevented it from happening, then their mission was accomplished.

Friday, June 24, 2016

A Giveaway and A Review of Sarah Young’s Book: Jesus Calling-My First Bible Storybook

by Sally Matheny

Jesus Calling My First Bible Storybook
by Sarah Young
Today, I’m reviewing a captivating, little book for young children, Jesus Calling- My First Bible Storybook. I’m also giving away a copy! Be sure to read for the details below.

First, I want to mention the beautiful illustrations in this book. Antonia Woodward's use of color and soft lines are friendly and captivating! This forty-page, board book is full-color, cover to cover.

Best-selling author, Sarah Young, presents twenty Bible truths in this book using scriptures taken from The International Children’s Bible. 

The twenty stories are representative of most toddler storybooks. They include:

God Made Everything, Noah’s Big Boat, Baby Moses, the Ten Commandments, David and Goliath, Jonah and the Big Fish, Daniel and the Lions, Queen Esther is Brave, Jesus is Born, Jesus is Baptized, A Little Boy’s Lunch, Jesus Calms the Sea, The Prodigal Son, Jesus Loves Children, Zacchaeus, The Cross, Jesus is Alive, Jesus is Coming Again, and God’s Family.   

After the title, is the chapter(s) in the Bible where the story originates. The stories are written in a simple text so young children can easily understand them. 

Saturday, June 18, 2016

Do You Want to Know How to be a Great Dad? Pull Up a Chair.

by Sally Matheny

Want to Know How to Be a Great Dad?
Pull Up a Chair.
You wouldn’t think something as simple as a chair would have a profound effect on parenting. But it does. 

A well-placed and well-used chair can make all the difference. At least, it did for us. In our home, there was a special chair where my husband hung out and learned to be a great dad.

After our second daughter came along, he earned the title, “Bedtime Miester.”  Each night, the girls shouted over the hair dryer, “Daddy, pretend we…” and the evening’s adventure plan unfolded.

They giggled at their Daddy’s funny antics and became mesmerized by his bedtime stories. Until finally he said, “enough is enough. Time to go to sleep.” 

But it wasn’t enough.

They had to be rocked. Yes. Yes, they did.

Sunday, June 5, 2016

Review of Angus Buchan's devotion book LIVING A MIGHTY FAITH

by Sally Matheny

Review of Angus Buchan's book
Living a Mighty Faith
The bestselling author of Faith Like Potatoes. Angus Buchan has penned a book of 365 devotions. He offers “practical encouragement and amazing stories of how God used a simple potato farmer to help change a nation.”

This book did not have a foreword or an introduction of any kind. I like reading forewords in books—as long as they’re brief. They give me a feel for who the author is and why he wrote the book. So, I was a bit disappointed there wasn’t one here.

However, I was not disappointed in the content of the book. In fact, once I began reading, I did learn more about Buchan. He ties many of the devotions to his own life experiences as a farmer, an evangelist, a husband and a dad.

Monday, May 23, 2016

Should We Allow Strangers into Our Homes?

     by Sally Matheny

Strangers in Our Homes
 If a stranger shows up at my front door, nine times out of ten, I’m not letting him in. I may not even go to the door. I suppose I’ve listened to too many horror stories. Some were fictional. Some were real.

     Maybe you’re brave and open your door every time. The Bible does say,
Keep on loving one another as brothers and sisters. Do not forget to show hospitality to strangers, for by so doing some people have shown hospitality to angels without knowing it.” Hebrews 13:1-2(NIV)

     However, you could be like me. You listened to the school presentations on stranger danger. Crime stories in the news made an impression. Let’s not forget there are also numerous scriptures mentioning the necessity of posting guards.

     So, should we allow strangers into their homes?