An Open Book – April 2017 #openbook
By Virginia Pillars
The terms mental illness and mental health are often used casually, but many don’t believe mental illness is relevant to their lives. However, studies show that more people live with mental illness than heart disease, lung disease, and cancer combined.
Broken Brain, Fortified Faith is the story of one family’s journey through schizophrenia, navigating the uncharted waters of mental illness to find help for their daughter, Amber, and support for their family. This memoir is an honest look at the stress, anger, education, and finally, hope experienced through eyes of a mother. Along the way, she questions her trust in God as their family encounters setbacks, inadequate treatments, and additional family health crises. But with the help of trusted family, friends, education, and support groups, author Virginia Pillars learns to rely on her faith as she faces the challenges that often accompany mental illness.
Broken Brain, Fortified Faith is the true story of how one woman deals with her adult daughter’s diagnosis of schizophrenia, several hospitalizations, legal issues, and other family crises, over a two-year period, including: infertility, the death of an infant grandson, and her daughter-in-law’s breast cancer. This memoir describes how the family struggles with these difficult issues and responds to the setbacks with the help of trusted friends and support groups.
Once I began reading Broken Brain, Fortified Faith, I found it difficult to put down. It is a compelling read, understandable, and well-written. The author writes in a captivating, candid style, sharing all her emotions – her anger, frustrations, and heartaches, as well as her blessings, hopes, and joys.
The central theme of this book — the miraculous power of love and prayer to bring healing and hope in the midst of pain and suffering – captured my heart. Reading this book was like having an intimate conversation with a good friend, the kind of friend who is honest, loyal, and supportive. The author is certainly someone I would want for a friend in a time of difficulty – a woman of fortitude, prayer, and patience who finds her strength in the Rock, the Fortress, and the Deliverer. By sharing her beautiful memoir, she is blessing many who feel alone in these challenging trials.
Broken Brain, Fortified Faith is the poignant, uplifting, and hopeful story of one woman and her family to conquer crises by drawing strength from one another and God to deal with the trials He sends them. It is a book that I especially recommend for all who have had to deal with the stigma of a mental health diagnosis, their family members and friends, and those who counsel and assist them.
By Maurice Prater, Jason Koltuniak (Illustrator)
Counting on Faith is a scriptural counting book for children. Children will learn to count while learning their Catholic Faith because each number represents an important truth found in Scripture. Written to be enjoyed by the entire family, Counting on Faith will stir the soul and inspire the mind.
Counting on Faith offers many impressive features. First, it pairs counting with the tenets of the Catholic Faith, teaching the child to count and to learn about the Faith at the same time. For example, the number one is combined with one God, the number two with a pair of animals of each kind on Noah’s Ark, and the number three with the number of people in the Holy Family: Jesus, the Blessed Virgin Mary, and Saint Joseph. Second, it is illustrated with beautiful full color pictures of the Faith. Third, it has received a number of awards. Counting on Faith has received the 2015 Seal of Approval from the Catholic Writer’s Guild and has also received a Nihil Obstat and an Imprimatur from the Catholic Church, which confirms that it is a solidly Catholic book.
Counting on Faith was designed to be kid-friendly and appealing to the little ones with its bright colors and large print, which will help them focus on the task and have fun learning about their religion simultaneously. The three – six-year-old child seems to be the target audience for this book, as counting to ten is a preschool skill. I highly recommend Counting on Faith for preschool religion classes, for school and church libraries, and for home-school religion classes. This is a beautiful book which your little ones will love.