Pre-order Happening Now and New Book Release Coming by Author, Tony Roberts Called “When Despair Meets Delight”…

New Book Releasing Soon By My Dear Friend and fellow author Tony Roberts! It is his second book to release and I can’t wait to give it read! He has been a tireless advocate for those of us who have Mental Health challenges in life.

There is more to learn and the ordering details are at the bottom of this post and shared from his amazing website of Delight in Disorder! 

When Despair Meets Delight Goes to Press

The time is at hand. After five years of gestation, and over a year of hard labor (with a week of major complications), I have been assured that When Despair Meets Delight will go to the printers today. From there, it should take two weeks to prepare a review copy. When I am satisfied that all looks good, I will bring boxes of books home. Then comes the delightfully arduous task of mailing out advance orders — now over 100. On September 3, the print and e-book will be released on Amazon and the audio version on Audible.

This has been an incredibly busy week. I contracted with a man from Uganda to design memes for social media. I hired a sound engineer to create a commercial for iHeart radio. I have been reaching out to podcasters, blog authors, pastors, and others to get the message out. I am both incredibly enthused and emotionally exhausted.


FreshHope - God's Second Chances


I know I can’t maintain this pace and I’m happy to say I have much help. Not only from God, but from God’s people. Over 100 people have joined #TeamDelight, praying for me and our shared mission to spread hope for troubled minds, the hope that shines light in the darkness and turns despair into delight.

Many of you know (some more than others) that I am taking a big risk. With my illness, such a frenetic schedule can do me in. One of the only ways to promote a memoir is to promote the author.

For someone with bipolar, this can lead to grandiosity. I can begin to believe my own press clippings. Please pray with me that I maintain a humble heart, even if it means I am humiliated. I’m willing to play the fool, as long as I am a fool for Christ and give God the glory.

Finally, it is essential that I show integrity; that my actions are consistent with my words. One piece of pastoral advice I’ve given people is — “Receive God’s care, so you can care for yourselves to care for others.” Like the flight instructions often ignored, before we can help children with their oxygen masks, we have to put on our own.

If I deplete my spiritual strength in an effort to manage more than I can bear, I won’t do anyone any good. To avoid this, I’m going to plan each day a schedule that promotes good health — physical, psychological, spiritual.

My primary aim in life is not just to glorify God, but to enjoy him forever. One of the best ways to enjoy God is to appreciate creation. Each day I’m going to do something that better connects me with nature. Whether it is watching the joy of my wife as she plants flowers, taking my dog Briley for a refreshing walk through the park, or going on a retreat at a cabin in the woods. I am committing myself to live more in harmony with what God made and called good.

One thing I know I will continue to do is writing. Writing is not only my vocation, but it is also my primary form of prayer. It is my life’s blood. There is a direct vein going from my heart to my hand that pumps who I am and whose I am onto the page.

When I write, the voices inside and around me are shushed and I can better hear God’s voice. When I read Scripture and reflect on it, I embrace the truth God speaks out of love for us.


Your word is a lamp for my feet, a light on my path. (Psalm 119:105)


Order your copy in advance at When Despair Meets Delight.
You receive an autographed copy before the public release, with free shipping.


Please visit Tony today and pre-order your copy on his special new book website of When Despair Meets Delight…

Lyon Media Services “Special Report” and a Deep Dive For ‘The Least, The Lost, and Hopeless’ by George Miller/Citizens -Ventura County…

ED-NOTE: I want to thank George Miller of the Citizens Journal for printing my story I shared on my recovery blog here last month titled; The Least, The Lost, and The Homeless

Just a piece of my overall opinions after speaking with my dear Lang Martinez about how many become homeless from addiction. He had shared with me some news and happenings going on in the city of Oxnard that didn’t sit well with me and voiced my concerns.

George has now done a deep dive and article hoping to get more answers on how the city is handling their homeless plight and how to better help the homeless with more services and housing. Here is his article as to what he found …



Oxnard Housing Director Emilio Ramirez on Homeless Program

Added by Citizen Reporter on March 6, 2020.
Saved under CommunityFeatureHeadlinesNewsOxnard/Port Hueneme/Camarillo/Somis


By George Miller/ Citizens Journal – us

Oxnard Housing Director Emilio Ramirez recently talked to us about the city’s homeless program effort.

Topics Covered were:

1. Status of new shelter/navigation center, Armory move-out

2 Alternative shelter possibilities

3. In the context of overall homeless strategy


Oxnard, like many other cities, has struggled with a growing homeless problem, even as the economy has boomed. Reasons for this include: more serious addiction problems, mental, emotional and physical disabilities, abuse, social changes, lack of education and more. Spiraling housing and living costs are also a factor. Legal and legislative changes have helped further aggravate the situation.

The city has only had ad hoc approaches until more recently. Things changed with the appointment of a Homeless Coordinator, Housing Director and City Manager who place a higher priority on helping the homeless, with the support of the City Council and Homeless Commission.


So, first …

1. Status of new shelter/navigation center, Armory move-out

Existing Shelter

This has actually been renamed a “Navigation Center,” to place more emphasis on the real goal of helping to move or “navigate” clients from their current dire straits into more stable, happier and hopefully productive, situations, with the “shelter” merely a temporary waypoint along their journey.


Oxnard has one of only two public homeless shelters in the entire County of Ventura (The City of Ventura also has a 55-bed facility). There are also several private facilities. Currently, it is housed in the National Guard Armory on K Street and accommodates 110 people. It is not especially well-configured for living. In addition, it is in a runway protection zone adjacent to Oxnard Airport, meaning that there are potential emergency hazards from aircraft crashes.

While there is no hard deadline to vacate, it is a non-conforming use. The airport authority is exerting pressure on the city to vacate the armory shelter because it is impeding their funding for unrelated grants, per Ramirez. It is possible that the county might cut off funding if the shelter isn’t moved.

The facility is currently operated by Mercy House, for about $2 million/year. Until last year, this was mainly a  seasonal overnight shelter with very limited services. It is now year-round, 24/7, with more services offered. Ramirez said that case management services are available there, but another source told us that guests must go elsewhere for some services.

So, the Armory is only a stop-gap solution until a better, long term one becomes available.

Saviers Rd. Navigation Center Proposal Dropped

Last fall, the City proposed taking over a building on Saviers Road, a bit south of 5 Corners, for a homeless Navigation Center. The plan immediately ran into a wall of opposition from adjacent residential neighborhoods, citing concerns about public safety, quality of life, traffic, parking and more. But it would have been a fairly quick turnaround, cost-effective approach.
It would have cost about a million dollars for the buildout and $22,000/month rent. Operating costs would have been roughly the same $2 million a year that the current Armory Navigation Center operation costs.  The City abandoned that plan and elected to pursue a new plan/site downtown near the library ….

Current Proposed Downtown Navigation Center

“The city put out a request for proposal for a homeless navigation center. It looks like Mercy House got a two-year contract to do that, regardless of where it will be located.”


Currently, the city is proposing to put it in a downtown 6 story new construction facility on 2nd & B St. and is now doing public outreach/meetings to get peoples’ ideas and reactions. Ramirez said that there is both support and opposition. No contracts have been signed or would be until this ongoing public outreach process is completed and decisions have been made, he told us.



The proposed project would provide a “Navigation Center” facility to provide services to clients. It would include:

  • 110-bed mixed-use residential shelter complex
  • 40-bed recuperation center
  • 54-bed revenue-generating supportive low-income apartments

Total capacity- 204 clients, plus office accommodations for support staff.

When asked what it would cost to provide the facility, he replied that the estimate is about $34 million, but this isn’t finalized. He said that a developer would take ownership of it and that it would be financed by tax credits, state grants and local (city and county) funding of about $3.5 million.

Ongoing operating costs would be about the same as the current rate of about $2 million annually for the navigation center. This doesn’t include whatever other non-city agencies provide for case management services, or operating the other sections. About half is borne by the city, but most of that has grant funding.

This comes out to $168,317 per bed (mostly from tax credits and grants) development costs, plus $18,218 per client annual ongoing costs for the shelter portion. It was unclear what the recuperation center would cost to operate.

The low-income housing section would actually be a revenue source, financed by tenants, tax credits and any other public assistance/subsidies provided. Director Ramirez points out that the cost per bed we stated above can be misleading because shelter beds and recovery beds are mixed in with total low-income unit capacity. Because the costs provided weren’t detailed, we can’t break that down for you here.

The developer would be Community Development Partners, which builds affordable housing and navigation centers. The recovery center might be run by the National Health Foundation, Mr. Ramirez said at the 3-4-20 Inter Neighborhood Council meeting. The city would also work/is already working with Ventura County Health Services.

Director Ramirez was unable to say exactly when all of this would happen, since the outcome of the public outreach and final decisions on design, developer selection, project planning, and scheduling, and financing cannot yet be known.
He told me that “there are a lot of moving parts.”

Homeless Commission Chair Peggy Rivera said she is concerned about the proposed project’s downtown location and high cost, but sees some good points in it, too.

At the 3-4-20 Inter Neighborhood Council meeting, board member Jackie Tedeshi asked what happened with the Rose Ave site and is the proposed downtown facility 110 beds? Ramirez responded that there are additional beds in the recuperative center and there is also the low-income housing. Re: Rose Ave/Gabriel House possibility: He discounted it almost immediately.  It didn’t seem viable. There is already an active operation serving people. He is already in discussion with them for a family shelter redevelopment possibility.

Another speaker asked about the new anti-loitering/camping ordinances and how local businesses are reacting to the project. But she is concerned about it attracting undesirables and adversely affecting businesses.

Ramirez said business reactions were “mixed.” He said the downtown business board voted to support it. He said some felt better to have the homeless “managed” in the center. He said opposition seems primarily from residents. He said that proper design, building, and operation are important. He finished by saying that without such a facility, it will be harder to attract business and investment.

2. Alternative Shelter Possibilities

So far, the city:

  • Has been told that they must vacate the K Street Armory shelter facility
  • Rejected the Saviers Road navigation center proposal, mostly based on strong public opposition
  • Is evaluating the downtown facility proposal
  • Has engaged Mercy House to run the navigation center
  • Had been in discussion with Shelter USA for a much lower cost and larger solution
  • Has engaged Salvation Army homeless outreach services


We learned from the formerly homeless, now homeless advocate, Lang Martinez that Shelter USA solicited, then was asked by the city to learn about its project requirements and say what they could do. They were previously unaware of the city’s need or RFP. Company President Craig Mc Ilroy told me he hadn’t seen and wasn’t even aware of the RFP’s (Request For Proposal) existence.

They met with several city personnel, he said, on October 9 and sent what he said was a “proposal” on 11-7-19. It didn’t look to us or Ramirez like a true proposal but did lay out how many and what type of units they could build for how much on sites identified by the city. Mcilroy says the city has not asked for anything further from him.

Martinez also told us that the city discussed the possibility of building these units at locations on Rose Ave. and Del Norte Blvd. Housing Director Ramirez confirmed that and added more details. A Shelter US partner confirmed it as well.

It involves two sites:

  • At the existing site for Kingdom Center/Gabriel house on Rose Ave.
  • A vacant 5-acre lot near the foot of Del Norte Avenue.

Without knowing if there is an “apples to apples” comparison between Shelter USA’s numbers and the downtown facility estimates, the former’s appear on the surface to be much cheaper and involve using modularized converted cargo containers vs a higher-end, custom-designed specialized facility.

For the Rose Ave Gabriel House site, Shelter USA envisions 19 housing “modules” accommodating between 48 to 128 residents, made up of a maximum of 20 families of four, plus another 12 families of four in low-cost housing units, which would generate $216,000 in rental income annually.


Homeless Commission Chair Peggy Rivera said she thought the Rose Avenue site was an excellent location and that she thought highly of Director, Sam Galluci and his women’s shelter operation. She said it is near services and a bus stop and not adjacent to residential neighborhoods. But Rivera expressed concern that the women/children’s operation might be lost if the site was developed for other purposes.

Mc Ilroy said that the per person housing cost would be far lower than the proposed $34 million downtown project and that they have quite a bit of flexibility to configure these to customer requirements. He said that these could be manufactured offsite and be installed in mere weeks. Of course, that doesn’t include approval, permitting, utilities, site prep, etc. He also said this could all be done at no cost to the city.

I asked where these are now installed and Mc Ilroy told us that they are only in the proposal stage with several prospects, including Riverside, Los Angeles, and the Orange County Rescue Mission. He said his partner is a general contractor, but that they would work with other contractors if desired.

He said that their designs maintain the structural integrity of the cargo containers resulting in higher strength. Mc Ilroy also said that these can be ADA (Americans with Disabilities Act) and FEMA- compliant. The modules would come in studio, 1 bedroom, and 2 bedroom configurations and can be combined.

We asked Mr. Mc Ilroy to send us some info on his product and received the following:

“We Offer A Better Temporary and Affordable Housing”



Concept That Provides:

Safety and Security

Fast Delivery

Affordable – Low Cost Per Unit and Per Resident

Self-Contained to Allow Independence

Many Units A.D.A. Accessible

The flexibility of Module Design for Better Site Efficiency

Low Maintenance and Operational Cost

Multi-Use / Re-Purpose Capable


Environmentally Sustainable

Excellent Value for Public Investment

Advantages of Working with Shelter US

Site Planning Capability for Highest and Best Use of Site

Land Development and Construction Experience

Building Design

Project Management

Consultant Coordination

Creative and Integration of Best Business Practices

Understanding of and Compassion for End Users

Simple Design Objectives for Success

Needs vs. Wants — All components are evaluated so to provide the for

basic living needs.

Flexibility – Overall unit designs provide for multi-use of space and of

furnishings taking into consideration the function of basic living tasks.

Value – Selection of components and systems that provide the best cost

benefit for all stakeholders.

Compatibility and Integration of Systems – Avoid conflicts that arise from

dissimilar materials, missing components, environmental impacts, or

products that do not work together.

Minimize Risk of Maintenance and Liability – All elements and systems

of a unit are evaluated for ease of maintenance and reduce risk of health

and safety standards.

Production and Delivery – All operations are established to provide

efficient production and delivery of units.

Quality and Workmanship – All phases of work to be of the best quality

and workmanship regardless of price point of the product.

Available Options

Decorative Siding

Water Heating Solar Panels

Photovoltaic Solar Panels

Green Roof System

Higher Standard Interior Finishes

Microwave Oven/Vent Hood

Patio Cover


Craig Mc Ilroy

Shelter US, Inc.

Direct: 949.858.1166


We do not know if there are any other possibilities floating around.


3. In the context of the overall homeless strategy

The city has assigned the Housing Dept the responsibility of dealing with programs for the homeless.

Oxnard’s overall homeless strategy is what is known as “Housing First.” When I asked Director Ramirez what that means to him, he replied that it involved the delivery of case management services and “supportive housing” to clients. The latter could be overnight shelters; extended living shelters like the K St. facility, via private organizations like VC Rescue Mission, Gabriel House, Casa de Vida; transitional and permanent housing.
In response to our question about “weaning people out of dependency,” he indicated that while the objective is to make people self-supporting and independently living, it is recognized that some may never have that capability. He included severely disabled, mentally or emotionally ill people in that category.  He said that the opposite extreme is those who can be “self-resolving” after some initial support and stability.

You might find this video of Housing Director Ramirez’s presentation at the 3-4-20 Inter Neighborhood Council of interest (at about 20:00).

Ramirez estimates that for every one of the 600 or so identified homeless people in Oxnard, there are 9-10 more who are “couch surfing” (living at various homes short term), or on the verge of homelessness. The idea is not to build enough shelter space for all the homeless, but to get them transitioned into permanent housing.

Lack of affordable housing and good jobs are reasons which contribute to homelessness.

The city owns 540 public housing units. There are thousands more private, often subsidized, very low or low-income units, plus many substandard units, excessively subdivided, converted garages and nonconforming uses. Ramirez did not have these numbers at his fingertips but promised to get back to us on that. The city has started an initiative to crack down on the nonconforming units, which would create even greater housing shortages until alternatives become available.

The city only has one position dedicated to homeless services- Homeless Coordinator. This position is currently vacant, since Mark Alvarado left a few months ago. Ramirez says they are looking to fill the position. He envisions using that position to manage contracts and relationships with service providers.

Ramirez told us that the city engaged the Salvation Army to provide city-wide homeless outreach services- a two-year contract. Outreach involves contacting homeless people to assess what their needs are, formulating case strategies and referring them to needed resources to help them. Two people will be provided to do this.

At the 3-4-20 Inter Neighborhood Council meeting, a speaker asked how the city plans to deal with those who choose to stay on the street, take drugs and are “in our face on the streets.” Ramirez responded that outreach units will try to deal with that. County Health resources and One Stop will also be used. He said he doesn’t believe that anyone wants to be homeless, but rather those people have “traumas” that cause them to “make difficult decisions.”
He even said, “someone who wants to get high would prefer to do that in their own house, on their own couch.”


Housing Director — City Of Oxnard – Ventura County


Endnote: Community Action in Oxnard forced to close- Help!

Community activists and homeless people I have talked to on the subject can’t say enough good things about Community Action on Richmond Ave, just off 5th Street. The NGO provides a host of services to homeless and very low-income people, such as showers, storage lockers, a place to be, WiFi, laundry, mail drop, service referrals (including housing) and more. They also host the “One Stop” people, who help clients get personal ID and service signups, such as health care, food stamps.

But all this will come to an end, at least temporarily, on March 27, as they will run out of funding to continue operations. Executive Director Suzanne Lopez Garcia says they were getting their funding from:

  • City of Oxnard
  • Community Services Block Grants
  • Ventura County
  • Private donations

Learn more about Community Action and/or donate, go here:



We thank Oxnard Housing Director Emilio Ramirez, Homeless Commission Chair Peggy Rivera, Community Action Executive Director Susana Lopez Garcia and homeless advocate Lang Martinez for their valuable guidance/assistance with this article.

George Miller is Publisher/Co-Founder of and a “retired” operations management consultant residing in Oxnard.

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“WordPress, We Have Lost A Friend From Our Blog Community, I Have Lost A Beautiful Friend.” A Re-share & Special Tribute To A Mother, Wife, Blogger, Author, and Advocate~Rhonda Sellers Elkins”

I have been in shock, mourning, and very heart-broken since yesterday morning. I learned through my Author Facebook page that we have lost an “ANGEL” …

A wonderful friend, author, writer, WordPress blogger, and advocate about mental illness has passed away. I really could not believe what I was reading when I saw the Facebook post by the daughter of a woman who has been such an inspiration to me in my own battle with severe depression, and mental disorders. We had just spoke last in April as I wanted to do a nice book and author spotlight for her on my Book/Media blog. I wanted to help her with promoting her new book that had come out in March 2014.

She had such a big heart, and a beautiful soul, and always was encouraging to keep pushing forward in life, as she was still processing the loss of her own daughter to suicide.
“Rhonda Sellers Elkins” whose blog here on WordPress:
So as a ‘Tribute & Memoir’ to the devastating loss I feel, I share the Author & Book Spotlight I had done for her a few months back. The world is a little less “Bright” without you my good friend.
You are going to be missed for a very long time. I wish I could have been there for you like you were always there for me. The Spotlight in her Honor …

UPDATE: There is a Special Remembrance for Rhonda up on Facebook, a Memorial Page for all her to go to and show love & support. Lets let her family know HOW SPECIAL she was to many out here in Cyber-Space! 9/2/2014 …

The permanent memorial page for Rhonda Sellers Elkins is:

Thank you to the now 300 people who attended this memorial event.

In Memory of Rhonda Sellers Elkins

“My Special Guest Author Interview Is With “Rhonda Sellers-Elkins” And Her New Book Release Of, “My Bright Shining Star”…

Originally posted on Lyon Media & Book Promotions~By Author, Catherine Townsend-Lyon:

Hello And Welcome Friends, Readers, And New Visitors,

It’s my pleasure to share with you a good friend of mine who just become a “New Author”!  Please meet Author, Rhonda Sellers-Elkins and her new book release titled; “My Bright Shining Star:” A Mothers True Story Of Brilliance, Love & Suicide….


Rhonda and I met through WordPress where we both have our blogs. I remember the first time I came across her blog, and her story about the loss of her beautiful daughter Kaitlyn. I was so inspired by her words, and how she was able to share such a painful experience with all of us through her blog posts that I became to admire her and her courage. We visited each others blogs many times and quickly became fast friends. Her daughters story really touched me, and many of her blog readers. I could relate to her feelings about the loss of her daughter,  as I had two failed attempted suicides myself from undiagnosed bipolar depression and a gambling addiction.

Her sharing taught me to see what others who are left behind from such a tragic event feel and go through when you lose a child.

I don’t know if I ever mentioned that to Rhonda before, but sharing her story of how to move on, to get through each day with keeping your head up and courage in your heart, I have learned so much from Rhonda. Now, in keeping Kaitlyn’s beautiful memory alive through her new book, I know this has been a “Special” accomplishment for Rhonda, and a “Tribute to Kaitlyn”…
Here is a little more about Rhonda and her new book!


Rhonda Elkins lost her 23-year-old daughter Kaitlyn to suicide 4-11-13. The fact that Kaitlyn took her own life was horrible enough, but the fact that she never displayed signs of depression her entire life made it even harder to understand. She was a 3rd year medical student and was doing very well in school. After Kaitlyn’s death Rhonda began writing about her grief in her blog and after a time decided to write a book about her daughter to tell the story of her daughter and to bring out the fact that there can be hidden depression in highly achieving young people, a fact she did not know until her daughter’s death.

Rhonda lives in North Carolina with her husband Allyn. They have two cats, Dagny, and Kaitlyn’s cat Gatito who they adopted when Kaitlyn died. They also have another daughter, Stephanie Alford, and a son-in-law, Steve Alford, who also live in North Carolina. Rhonda is a registered nurse, but at the time of this book’s publication has not returned to work since Kaitlyn’s death. She is an advocate for suicide prevention.


To all that knew her, Kaitlyn Elkins was a happy, intelligent, compassionate and extremely talented young medical student with a bright future ahead. However, beyond her warm smile and string of impressive achievements lurked a dark secret-depression; something she hid so well from all those that knew and loved her. This is the story about a mother’s quest to find some answers as to how her daughter, who seemed so happy on the outside, could hide such a dark, horrible depression that ultimately lead to her suicide.
It is a story about her wonderful daughter’s life, the lives she touched, the search for answers, the stigma of mental illness, the great love and deep bond they shared.  The book also incorporates insightful experiences from other depression sufferers, contributions from some of Kaitlyn’s friends, and views from medical professionals.  This heartrending memoir of love also serves as a caution to parents, teachers, counselors, and young people that depression can lurk among the high achieving, that they hide it expertly, and if not reported and treated, can lead to suicide.  It is a warning to everyone.

Now here is what Readers are saying in All 5 Star Reviews!
This review is from: My Bright Shining Star: A Mother’s True Story of Brilliance, Love and Suicide (Paperback)   Hope in the wake of loss, March 26, 2014
“Though a beautiful life was cut extremely short, this story of a mother’s love uses the pain of that loss to provide both a beacon of hope to others who suffer from depression as well as provide warning signs to those who might not be familiar with depression themselves. I especially loved reading the personal stories from outsiders, most notably other medical students. The deadly nature of depression is a very real thing, and it goes unnoticed so frequently. It is my sincere hope that those who read this book will be able to see that there is always another option and that there are others who are suffering from the same affliction. It is not something that should be ashamed of, and the pain that results from the loss of a loved one is unbearable. Please, give this book a chance to touch your heart.”
This review is from: My Bright Shining Star: A Mother’s True Story of Brilliance, Love & Suicide (Kindle Edition)Heart-rending, beautiful, and important,  March 29, 2014

“This book is a mother’s heart-rending, beautiful tribute to her daughter. I wish there was no need for this book, but given the circumstances, this story is important on both the personal and community levels. Still in the depths of grief, the author felt compelled to speak out about the stigma of mental illness. Her daughter never asked for help or gave any indication that she felt suicidal. I know that this book will help many people speak up and speak out. Kaitlyn’s brilliance will live on in her family’s love.”

*As many of you know when I have an “Author as my Guest,” I only ask them TWO questions of them. Here is my interview questions I asked of Rhonda, and her answers and thoughts*…

1.)  Since we follow each other from your beautiful blog, I know more than my readers about your life. But what made you decide to write and share your personal story in book form?

 From the very day I found out about Kaitlyn’s death, I shared her death of Facebook to let her friends know who I had no other way to contact.  From that moment on, I got a great deal of responses and condolences and stories about Kaitlyn from her friends and many people I knew and did not know.  After that, in my horrible grief, I had no outlet for my grief except for crying almost nonstop and going through her things and touching them and remembering the wonderful girl who was my daughter for 23 years. I began to post on Facebook about my daughter and my horrible grief and confusion about why such an exceptional young woman could take her life.
You see, she was brilliant, sweet, very accomplished, graduated valedictorian of her high school class, graduated summa cum laud from Campbell University in two and a half years (instead of the usual 4 years it takes) with a degree in biology. After a few months she was accepted into Wake Forest School of Medicine in Winston-Salem, NC, to pursue her lifelong dream of becoming a doctor. She was happy.  Always said and seemed to love medical school and was doing well in it, as well as her busy life.  She kept her body fit by eating healthy, exercising and running. She had run a half a full marathon only months before. She never showed signs of depression in her entire life and was a model daughter and student.
Then on 4-11-13 she took her own life, leaving a note to us that she had been depressed all her life and hid it from us to protect us from it. She never told anyone and never sought help. So after writing on Facebook I started a blog devoted to writing about my daughter and that horrible thing that took her life, depression, by way of suicide.  Not long after that, I decided to write a book in the hopes that Kaitlyn’s story will help those people out there that are like my daughter; highly driven, intelligent, but hiding a deep depression that may take their life if not treated.
So many highly achieving young people never seek help for their depression and never admit to it for a variety of reasons, the stigma of mental illness being one of them.   It’s also for parents, counselors and teachers so they will know of this often silent killer of our young people.  My book is to honor my daughter, tell of her life and suicide, and to provide some insights into how such a thing could happen. It is also a warning.
2.)  Even though your new book has only been out a short time, has there been any one thing that has surprised you since the release?
There has not been anything that has really surprised me, but I am very pleased about the very positive reviews that it has received so far.  I was hoping so very much that it would do what I intended my book to do, and by reading the reviews it seems to be doing so.

A Tribute To Rhonda & her Beautiful Daughter “Kaitlyn Elkins & Author, Rhonda Elkins*
My Facebook Share from yesterday 8/31/2014

Author Catherine Townsend-Lyon
I’m so sad. To the Elkins Family, my thoughts, prayers, and much love to all of you today, and will mourn with you from a distance.
I’m so, so devastated. I can not wrap my brain around this. I had talked to Rhonda not to long ago as I had done a “New Book & Author Spotlight” on my blog for her. We were like “Kindred Spirits” as we shared & battled many of the same disorders.
She was always the first to comment on all my new recovery WordPress blog posts with encouraging words, friendship, and loving support. I hope she knew how many of us Authors and Bloggers out here just loved her so much!!! Her sweet southern style, and that accent was adorable! I’m just at such a loss for words, and my heart is breaking.Rhonda my sweet friend, I hope you knew how much I loved and cared for you. And just know that YOUR Bright and Shinning Star will live on inside me until my last breath. I know you have peace and serenity with the lord, and in the loving arms of “K”…. R.I. P. my beautiful friend. Thank you for giving me that little piece of your heart to keep me at peace until we meet again. We will meet again my Sweet….Author Catherine Townsend-Lyon


All my love, thoughts and prayers to The Elkins Family and Friends. She touched so many people with her caring, love and inspiration. She truly will never be forgotten, … I miss you already!

Author, Catherine Townsend-Lyon ~ Glendale, Arizona



OK, I Just Have To Write About It! “Mental Illness & Guns”

Hello and Welcome Readers & Friends,


Now many of you know I suffer from a few mental health issues and disorders, so when I seen this story on the web, I thought to myself,…..hhhhmmm, “Is this going to be another story of undiagnosed mental illness of a mother going ROGUE and killing her children? Even though this is my writers blog, I also write about mental illness and childhood abuse here too, because writing is writing no matter what the topic. So here is what I read on the web this morning..

MOTHER Held on suspicion of killing of 3 daughters…( Courtesy Of The AP )
Los Angeles County sheriff's deputies block off the scene of a triple homicide that occurred in the unincorporated area of Los Angeles, Calif., on Tuesday, May 20, 2014.: Los Angeles County sheriff's deputies block off the scene of a triple homicide that occurred in the unincorporated area of Los Angeles, Calif., on Tuesday, May 20, 2014.
AP Photo: Steve McCrank, The Daily Breeze Los Angeles County sheriff’s deputies block off the scene of a triple homicide that occurred in the unincorporated area of Los Angeles, Calif., on Tuesday, May 20, 2014.

TORRANCE, Calif. (AP) — A mother was arrested Tuesday on suspicion of killing her three young daughters, the youngest only 2 months old, authorities said.

Los Angeles County sheriff’s deputies were called to an unincorporated area near this Los Angeles suburb shortly after 5 p.m., a Sheriff’s Department statement said.

“When they arrived, they were met by family members who told the deputies that a mother had killed her children,” the statement said.

Deputies found three girls, a 3-year-old, 2-year-old and 2-month-old. They were pronounced dead at the scene.

“The deputies were directed to the house by the grandmother,” sheriff’s homicide Lt. Dave Coleman told the Daily Breeze of Torrance ( “We did find the babies inside the residence.”

Carol Coronado, 30, was arrested on suspicion of murder, taken to a hospital for examination and then to a sheriff’s station for booking. Authorities say she made no statement.

Neighbor Ashley Madrid told the Daily Breeze that the children’s father was working on his car across the street when his mother-in-law discovered her daughter and the three children in a pool of blood on a bed.

“I saw when they were bringing him out,” Madrid said. “He was crying. He was crying, ‘She killed my daughters!'”

Madrid said she was told the mother had a kitchen knife in her hand and was trying to cut her wrists.

Sheriff’s deputies took the mother, who was naked except for a blanket, to a patrol car and she was then placed in an ambulance, Madrid said.

“She was full of blood on her face and arms,” Madrid said.

Madrid said the children’s grandmother told her that, ” the woman had called earlier in the day and said that she was going crazy.”

So I ask the question again? Will this be another mental illness killing?


See, those who struggle with mental illness like myself,  this is a topic that needs to be talked about, written about, and blogged about in order to ‘Raise Awareness’ of how broken our mental health services & systems are in this country! I advocate, and I speak out, and write about this. I blogged a while back here on my blog about the difference of mental health services I’m receiving here in Arizona, compared to the services I was getting back in So. Oregon where I relocated from due to my husband’s job 8 months ago. In Oregon, my primary care doctor handled all my mental health services, screenings, and my meds. But here in Arizona, the law requires, due to health insurance requirements, that mental health services need to be handled not by the primary doctor, but through a Mental Health & Behavioral Center with a psychiatrist and therapy councilor. They monitor my meds, progress, and help with life skills, and they send all info to my new primary doctor here. They handle all my evaluations, blood work, and more.

So I wonder why other states can’t do the same? Arizona should be a model of ‘How Right They Have Mental Health Services” in this country. And to take it one step farther, I feel the government could use the ‘DATABASE’ of the states mental health systems, if they were modeled after Arizona’s, to then use it for a form of screening of NO GUNS or weapons allowed to be sold to those under current care by a doctor with mental or emotional illness & disorders. It may just cut down all the tragic loss of life by suicides, and less loss of innocent by standers getting killed in the process by people who are mentally ill. Yes, I’m very aware of “The People’s Rights to Bare Arms” as the constitution ~ 5th amendment gives them that right, but I feel it should not give that right to a person who is mentally ill. And I do believe these past few years of tragic loss of life by GUNS PROVES this POINT.



I mean come on now,….lets BE REAL about this issue and problem! For those who want to stick to ‘The Right To Bare Arms NO MATTER WHAT,’  let me ask you this? If your loved one was mentally ill, would you go purchase a gun and let them have it in good conscience? Would you? How about if your child or spouse was in the wrong place at the wrong time, and a person shot them in a mentally ill or suicidal rage and taken from you? I think you’d seen the other side of the coin, that’s what I think. What about all the families and ones who have already died because of this scenario, from these tragic shootings of late? Would you still let a mentally ill person buy a gun? I think I made my point. Look, I’m not down on people protecting their property and families with having guns for protection, that’s a No Brainer!

What I do advocate for, is those who have mental health illness & issues should NOT.
It’s just that SIMPLE…..

I guess only time will tell when we here about the facts behind what made this woman want to kill 3 innocent children. In the meantime? I will continue to write, blog, share, advocate, raise awareness, and help Shatter The STIGMA of Mental & Emotional illness & STILL NO GUNS PERIOD….

God Bless All,
Author, Catherine Townsend-Lyon


Depression Can = Suicide So The Time Is Now To Talk About It.

Welcome Friends And New Visitors,


*WARNING* ~ Content may not be suitable for young kids.

No, I’m not trying to SHOCK anyone, but another suicide has happened in Hollywood. A well-known director has committed suicide, and it happens to be due to mental illness of severe depression. When will this stop? When will this loss of precious life end? How can we reach out to these people who suffer from depression and help save their lives? Many of us who have mental illness and disorders like myself, understand how depression can get so dark, that many consider the option of ending ones life. We feel so hopeless, so down and full of fear and doubt, even when good things are happening in our life, sometimes it isn’t enough to push away the darkness we seem to not be able to get out of…

WENN / Malik Bendjelloul
Report: Director Bendjelloul committed suicide
By MALIN RISING , Associated Press
Story Courtesy Of AP…
STOCKHOLM (AP) — Malik Bendjelloul, director of the acclaimed “Searching for Sugar Man” documentary, was widely known for his enthusiasm, kindness and high spirits — so the news Wednesday that he had taken his own life shocked colleagues around the world..
Malik Bendjelloul
Bendjelloul’s brother Johar Bendjelloul told Swedish daily Aftonbladet that his 36-year-old younger brother committed suicide Tuesday after struggling with depression for a short period.
“Life is not always simple,” Johar Bendjelloul was quoted as saying, adding that receiving the message that his brother had committed suicide was the worst thing he had ever experienced.

“I don’t know how to handle it. I don’t know,” he said.

“It seems so unbelievable,” Chinn told The Associated Press over the telephone. “I saw him two weeks ago in London. He was so full of life, hope and optimism and happiness, and looking forward to the future and future collaborations. We were talking about working together and talking about specific ideas, so the idea that he is no longer is just too hard to process.”

The soft-spoken Bendjelloul worked as a reporter for Sweden’s public broadcaster SVT before resigning to backpack around the world. He got the idea for “Searching for Sugar Man” during one of his trips, but it would take him more than four years to complete the film.

SVT’s culture chief Eva Beckman said his death was incomprehensible.

“One always says it is unbelievable when a young person dies, or when anybody dies, but it is even more unbelievable with Malik,” she said Wednesday. “Malik was simply such an incredibly alive person.”

Beckman also praised Bendjelloul’s strong storytelling skills and his willingness to experiment with new formats.

“What really set him apart from everybody else was his passion for storytelling. He was a fantastic storyteller,” she said.

This really is a sad story. What I just don’t understand many times when these tragedies happen, how can the people closest around you not see any WARNING SIGNS? That truly is the most baffling to those left behind. Many who have never been touched by mental and emotional illness and disorders just don’t seem to understand how others can take their own lives. Depression alone is hard, and can take you to such dark places that we feel the only way to get out of this dark fog, grasp at the clarity of life that we feel it’s our only way to “Sanity & Freedom” from blackness. I know, as many of you know I attempted suicide twice, but I was the lucky one. The guy upstairs told me I had too much to do to help others from this same fate.
Just being able to talk about it, and looking back, I didn’t realize how painful it is to our loved one’s and friends around us, as they are the ones to have to pick up the pieces and try to make sense of it all after the person is gone. Later, as I got properly diagnosed, and reading my journals back in those dark days that seemed to never end, that’s when I realized how selfish I had been. We don’t mean to be this way, it’s the illness that gets to us. Even when I was starting recovery from my addictions, it didn’t seem as severe as my depression and agoraphobia.
So once I started on medications to help, I started feeling more even with my moods and my thoughts.  I still struggle on some days, but that is the nature of this beast. It comes in waves, like a cycle. Learning to journal how you feel each day, then look back at them each month, really helps me to see when I do seem to get or be in a cycle. We can than use “Life Skills” we learn to work through them. But for some, even that is too hard to do when you’re in full-blown severe depression.


This picture above is an excellent warning sign. WHY?  If a loved one goes out and gets Life Insurance for no reason, or spur of the moment? Start asking questions. I say this because of being in recovery, many who have addiction problems and are in recovery actually DO THIS. I remember listening to one man in my “Gamblers Anonymous” meeting speak about his past “Suicide Plan.”  It really touched me. He had gambled a long time addictively.  He said he had went and bought a life insurance policy for a large amount. He was into gambling games like Dice, Poker, and Roulette. He said, “once he lost the SAME AMOUNT as the insurance policy he purchased, he then planned to commit suicide, so his wife wouldn’t be broke because of his addicted gambling addiction.” The insurance money would cover all his gambling loss’s so his wife wouldn’t HATE him when he was dead. I just sat there listening to his story and couldn’t believe what I was hearing.
That was a pre-planned SUICIDE I was listening to! I was taken aback and shocked to say the least, that someone would actually think something like that through. I got goose bumps just hearing him speak each word. Now I understand many who may read this, may still not understand why with just depression, that a person would want to take their own life. Let me share a little research I found about just how bad depression can get for some of us…



Definition of depression (n)

Bing Dictionary
  • de·pres·sion
  • [ di présh’n ]
  1. sadness: a state of unhappiness and hopelessness
  2. psychiatric disorder: a psychiatric disorder showing symptoms such as persistent feelings of hopelessness, dejection, poor concentration, lack of energy, inability to sleep, and, sometimes, suicidal tendencies..
  3. Common symptoms of bipolar depression include:

    • Feeling hopeless, sad, or empty.
    • Irritability
    • Inability to experience pleasure
    • Fatigue or loss of energy
    • Physical and mental sluggishness
    • Appetite or weight changes
    • Sleep problems
    • Concentration and memory problems
    • Feelings of worthlessness or guilt
    • Thoughts of death or suicide



    Signs And Symptom Of Severe Depression:

    In the past, bipolar depression was lumped in with regular depression, but a growing body of research suggests that there are significant differences between the two, especially when it comes to recommended treatments. Most people with bipolar depression are not helped by antidepressants. In fact, there is a risk that antidepressants can make bipolar disorder worse—triggering mania or hypomania, causing rapid cycling between mood states, or interfering with other mood stabilizing drugs.
    Despite many similarities, certain symptoms are more common in bipolar depression than in regular depression. For example, bipolar depression is more likely to involve irritability, guilt, unpredictable mood swings, and feelings of restlessness. People with bipolar depression also tend to move and speak slowly, sleep a lot, and gain weight. In addition, they are more likely to develop psychotic depression—a condition in which they’ve lost contact with reality—and to experience major disability in work and social functioning.

    Treatment Options For Depression:
    If you spot the symptoms of bipolar depression in yourself or someone else, don’t wait to get help. Ignoring the problem won’t make it go away; in fact, it will almost certainly get worse. Living with untreated bipolar disorder can lead to problems in everything from your career to your relationships to your health. Diagnosing the problem as early as possible and getting into treatment can help prevent these complications.

    If you’re reluctant to seek treatment because you like the way you feel when you’re manic, remember that the energy and euphoria come with a price. Mania and hypomania often turn destructive, hurting you and the people around you.

    Bipolar disorder requires long-term treatment. Since bipolar disorder is a chronic, relapsing illness, it’s important to continue treatment even when you’re feeling better. Most people with bipolar disorder need medication to prevent new episodes and stay symptom-free

  4. There is more to treatment than medication. Medication alone is usually not enough to fully control the symptoms of bipolar disorder. The most effective treatment strategy for bipolar disorder involves a combination of medication, therapy, lifestyle changes, and social support.
  5. It’s best to work with an experienced psychiatrist. Bipolar disorder is a complex condition. Diagnosis can be tricky and treatment is often difficult. For safety reasons, medication should be closely monitored. A psychiatrist who is skilled in bipolar disorder treatment can help you navigate these twists and turns…
    *Bipolar Disorder and Suicide*
  6. The depressive phase of bipolar disorder is often very severe, and suicide is a major risk factor. In fact, people suffering from bipolar disorder are more likely to attempt suicide than those suffering from regular depression. Furthermore, their suicide attempts tend to be more lethal.
  7. The risk of suicide is even higher in people with bipolar disorder who have frequent depressive episodes, mixed episodes, a history of alcohol or drug abuse, a family history of suicide, or an early onset of the disease..


So I hope I’ve been able to help educate, inform, and shed a little light about depression disorder, and to know there is NO SHAME in asking for help from this destructive mental illness and disorder. There is now so much more information and helpful resources about severe depression that we should be able to help those who feel they have no options of living with severe depression. Here are just a few websites where you can get informed about depression, and how you can help. Half the battle I feel is being informed about it, and to get timely diagnosed and treated…

National Suicide Prevention Lifeline Phone Number

My Thoughts and Prayers to The Bendjelloul Family & Friends
God Bless All,
Author, Catherine Townsend-Lyon







“A Unique First Day Of Mental Health Services In Arizona. They Got THIS!”

Hello Friends And Welcome New Visitors,

Since moving here to the State of Arizona via So. Oregon, I had a very interesting experience at my new Mental Health & Behavioral Center here in Glendale, AZ.
It’s because of the new health insurance changes with “Obama care,” I now have two different insurance services, and two different doctors. One for my “Primary Care,” and a different doctor for all my mental health needs, which are free and billed through a separate insurance and meds provider then my medical health. Now I’m aware of the past shooting here in Arizona that made national news about Gabby Gifford, but after what I went through yesterday for my first visit for mental health service, I’m shocked that it even happened.

Let me tell you why. I had never been through such a rigorous mental health screening process like they have here in Arizona. AND,….it was only my intake, and to be assigned a service councilor. I go back in a week to have my full mental evaluation, meet my psychiatrist who will be treating me, and filling my meds. They set up a new mental health plan for me, and then I check in with my service councilor every month! So I’m blown away on how “In-depth” the State of Arizona is of Mental Health Care. My councilor said that much of the information he collected about me will help track those who have mental illness & issues, so hopefully no more people can fall through the cracks of not getting the help and care they need.

Soon it will also be used as a tool to aid with making sure those of us who do suffer ALL  levels of mental illness, service providers will be able to better track clients to help with Suicide Prevention, Gun Control issues in the future, ( those who have mental illness should not have fire arms). I think this an excellent way of being able to help the “Public be Safe, as well as the person who suffers.

Lets face it, we have seen these past months, and just resent of mothers driving their mini vans into the ocean with kids in the van, trying to commit Suicide! We have read and seen all the gun violence and shootings by mentally ill people who have fallen through those cracks of “needed mental health services.” We have seen SUICIDE rise to the highest levels in years due to unmonitored people who suffer or stop taking their medications.

We have even seen what can happen when family tries to get their children,young adults, or even a spouse to be seen or treated just to be told there are no beds open or service available and they are released, or get NO HELP at all!  And we all know how the stories play out right? A Senator from Virginia had that experience with his son, no beds were available so he was released and ended up stabbing his father before he then took his own life. The same with Pastor, Rick Warren and his wife, except they knew their son had mental disorders and they helped him get a gun? WHAT?
So the place I went to yesterday has  offers free services for the families who help and care for loved ones with mental illness. When is all this loss of “precious life” going to stop? It needs to stop!

So plain and simple, I feel all States in the US should really explore, and investigate the model of how mental health services are being provided here in Arizona. Due to copy right laws, I can not speak of the specifics, but I can tell you where I went where I received services so you can “Google” them online to all they have to offer. They also offer for free as part of my service plan, recovery help and class’s like, anger management, drug, alcohol, and a wide variety of support group class’s as well. The center is called Terros, Inc.”Inspiring Change For Life” and they have a couple of locations in Glendale and Phoenix AZ. They also offer primary health care services as well all in one convenient location. All this is free, and is part of my “Behavioral Health Service Plan” made for me, and all covered with my State Health Insurance Plans. They will help me with life skills to lessen my panic attacks, agoraphobia, and I’ll learn new life skills to manage and reduce my manic bipolar depression and other disorders.

Since yesterday was my first appointment, I will come back and share my full experience  after each visit and blog what I learn. It just might help others. I can not tell you how impressed I was after my first visit, which did take 2 1/2 hours, but a lot of it was new patient paper work and interview. The laws about mental illness are very different here in Arizona compared to Oregon. It’s all about care and medication control, which is another plus I feel strongly about. Since 70,000 people misuse their prescription meds each day, that is another reason Arizona keeps close track of their clients through places like Terros, Inc. Even my Primary Care Doctor can not prescribe my Bipolar meds, I have to go through a Mental Health Center to get the meds I need to be monitored properly.

So if you happen to live in Arizona, I can tell you that this state and the laws regarding Mental Health Services are exceptional, and how they help and care for those who suffer from mental illness and disorders. You get GOOD CARE here! I think all states should do the same. It may not stop all the heart breaking tragedy’s that have happened all over the US from unstable mentally ill people, but it is a HELL of a good start!

God Bless All,
Author, Catherine Townsend-Lyon

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