Meet Producer Michael Gier of Wounded Warrior’s the Movie & Novel/Starbucks Giftcard Giveaway!

Welcome Dear Readers!

http://www.woundedwarriorsmovie.com/

We have a special guest blogger with us today straight from Hollywood! I’m also giving away a signed copy of The Wounded Warrior’s Wife & a $5 Starbucks Gift Card to one winner! Be sure to enter below using the Giveaway Tools function at the end of this post.
Now, please give a warm Tennessee welcome to Michael Gier!

Michael is an actor, director, and producer who has been in the entertainment industry for over 35 years.  He owns and runs Silver Dove Productions, LLC and has produced/directed over 160 Film, TV Commercial, and corporate projects.
Michael is currently working on a movie that has themes very near and dear to my heart, but I’ll let him tell you all about it. Thanks for being here today, Michael.  Fill us in on what’s going on in your part of Hollywood.
There are millions suffering from PTSD with at least 22 Veterans a day taking their own lives; one every 65 minutes. Veterans are reluctant to acknowledge PTSD and get the help they need because of the negative stigma associated with it.  It’s a sad fact that over 50 percent of veterans suffering from PTSD go untreated.  To change that statistic, I am producing a film called Wounded Warriors to bring more awareness and understanding about PTSD.   

http://www.woundedwarriorsmovie.com/The film is inspired by true stories and focuses on the reconciliation between two veterans, a father and a son. The son battles with PTSD, which actually began in childhood when his Vietnam War-traumatized father failed to deal with his own demons. The emotional abuse the boy suffers is intensified by later experiences in Afghanistan, and he turns to alcohol to deal with it. The film not only highlights the effects of PTSD on a young Veteran’s family, but also the courage it takes the entire family to overcome his difficult battles.
 
I have teamed up with experienced filmmakers including Screenwriter Bob Burris, Line Producer Patrick Ingram, and Associate Producer Teres Byrne, Vietnam War consultant Tom Matteo (recipient of six Purple Heart Medals), and songwriter Roger Stephens (who wrote the song “Wounded Warrior,” performed by Billy Dean). Our hope is that the movie will help audiences understand what our soldiers go through and instill in viewers a sense of gratitude for their service and the protection they offer.
 
http://www.woundedwarriorsmovie.com/One of the things I’m most excited about is that we are going to give back a huge chunk of the film’s net profits.  Normally investors fund a film and receive 50% of the net profits, however for this project we are funding the film through individuals and corporate donations so that we will be able to donate that 50% to non-profit organizations that benefit veterans.

Not only can individuals and corporations make donations to the film, but the website also includes a page full of fundraising ideas for those who would like to go above and beyond.  It can be as simple as having a yard sale to sell items that are no longer wanted or listing those items for sale on craigslist/ebay.  It could be a group of people that get together to do a car wash or organize a large VIP event with entertainment, a silent auction, and more.  It can literally be anything that you can think of to raise money that will help get this film produced. 

I have received emails from all over the country from soldiers and family members expressing their gratitude for this movie. It’s a story that needs to be told and with the generous donations of Americans who believe in and support our military, this film will get made. What a powerful gift it will be from the people of America to our military and their families.

http://www.woundedwarriorsmovie.com/

Go to the film’s website and watch the promo video, donate, and sign up to be in our email database to receive updates on the film’s progress, www.WoundedWarriorsMovie.com.

How can we help Michael get the word out about this movie, and help to raise funds? I’m encouraging my readers to take the #BigTenChallenge. Share this movie info with 10 people via email and or social media, and donate $10 to its production.

Remember to enter to win a signed copy of The Wounded Warrior’s Wife & a $5 Starbucks Gift Card using the giveaway share tools below!

Other Suggested Articles:
Postpartum Depression
5 Ways to be Blessed in the Stress
7 Verses That Can Rock Your World

 

Guest Reader & Author: Sara Turnquist on Postpartum Depression

Welcome, Dear Readers!

This year I’ve set out to get to know you better, hear your story, what God’s done or doing in your life, lessons learned, trials, triumphs, recipes, and fun projects. I want to hear what you have to say, and so do a whole host of others.


 

http://saraturnquist.com/Meet Sara!

I’m a stay-at-home mom in Clarksville, TN. But I do also work at Disney’s Animal Kingdom as an Educator seasonally. I have three beautiful children: Audrey, 5, Andrew, 4, and Aiden, 16 months, and one wonderfully supportive husband, Greg. I have been a “closet writer” for many years and my debut novel will be coming out this summer.

His Eye Is On The Sparrow: Postpartum Depression


Are not two sparrows sold for a cent? And yet not one of them will fall to the ground apart from your Father….so do not fear; you are more valuable than many sparrows. Matthew 10:29, 31

Why should I feel discouraged? Why should the shadows come?
Why should my heart feel lonely and long for heaven and home?
When Jesus is my portion, my constant friend is He
His eye is on the sparrow and I know He watches me.
I sing because I’m happy
I sing because I’m free
His eye is on the sparrow
And I know He watches me.

I love this song. Maybe because my grandfather sang it often and it’s a fond memory I have of him. But in the midst of my (post partum) depression, this song took on a whole new dimension (meaning) for me. This song proposes that with Jesus as our portion, we shouldn’t feel discouraged and the shadows shouldn’t come over us. You and I know that this is not true; that even with Jesus in our life, depression will come. It rains on the righteous and the unrighteous the same (Matthew 5:45). Depressive disorders fall on those who live with Christ in their lives and those who live without Him just the same. It doesn’t seem right, it doesn’t seem fair…but yet it is true. Scripture tells us that this is how it will be.

This song does, however, hit on the very thing that separates a Christ follower who suffers from depression from an unbeliever who struggles in that same darkness: “Jesus is my portion, a constant friend is He…His eye is on the sparrow and I know He watches me.” We have a constant friend and companion with us that walks with us through the whole thing. Even our spouses and closest friends cannot understand and may very well end up getting shut out in our attempts to escape from our lives, but we cannot escape from God. And, though it may feel like you can’t see Him at times, that you can’t feel Him (though we know feelings are deceitful, right?), He is there…every moment of every day. He is experiencing every agonizing moment of that darkness with you. He is watching over you as this verse and song says, but more than that, He is with you. Let Him be with you. Let His presence wash over you. Ask Him for that very thing. What part of your depression are you thankful He sees/experiences with you?
 
 

Wow, Sara, that was beautiful. Thank you. Could you share with us a favorite scripture and perhaps the reasoning?

For God has not given us a spirit of fear; but of power, and of love, and of a sound mind. 2 Timothy 1:7
There is so much hope in this verse for those who live in fear and anxiety and for those who struggle with mental illness. During my depressive episodes, I truly felt as if I was losing my mind because of the intrusive thoughts (thoughts that were not my own that came into my mind urging me to…well, mostly to hurt myself). To not feel safe in your own skin is a, well, a very scary, very crazy feeling. But that is not who God made me to be. He did not give me a spirit of fear. He gave me a sound mind. And He gave me the power to defeat what Satan has in store for me (I’m NOT saying depression is from Satan…depression is, by and large, a chemical or hormonal imbalance…but believe you me, Satan will take every advantage he can get).
 

You’re so right. You know, I love hearing how God has set people free, and I think you can relate. There’s so much more to freedom than patriotism. Would you share a time with us when you experienced God’s freedom?

I experienced a lot of freedom during the course of my recovery from depression. It was a hard place to be in for sure, but it was also a place of healing. In the depths of my depression, everything was dark, there was nothing there but this inescapable gloominess. I couldn’t even find God, though I cried out for Him. I knew He hadn’t abandoned me because His word says He never would, but I felt all alone. Where was He? Why couldn’t I see Him? But now, as I walk in freedom from that darkness, I look back and see, just as the poem “The Footprints in the Sand” proposes, one set of prints during that time. What? He was carrying me to be sure. And I now believe that I couldn’t see Him during that time because He was holding me so tightly that my face was pressed into His shoulder, blinding me. But how did I find that freedom? Through faith steps. I had to let go of the need to see the whole path. God only showed me the step in front of me, as a lamp unto my feet. And even at that, sometimes only dimly lit. I found that I would have to take that step in faith and then trust that He would provide enough light for the step after that.

There’s nothing about what your describing that sounds easy, but totally worth every step you took in blind faith. We all struggle in our walk with God, what affected your walk the most through the depression?
The fact that I felt He wasn’t there. During my second episode of post partum depression, I struggled with why He would allow this to happen to me again. I struggle through verses like…”I am the Lord and there is no other, the One forming light and creating darkness, causing well-being and creating calamity. I am the Lord Who does all these.” Isaiah 45:6b-7  How do I deal with that? A kind, merciful, gracious God “creating calamity” in my life, “creating” this darkness that threatened to swallow me whole? But I had much to learn about being disciplined. About what lengths He would go through to draw me to Himself, to teach me, to mold me. (Again, not saying depression is a sign you are being “punished” by God. Quite the opposite…but I DO believe that God causes ALL things to work together for good to those who love Him, to those who are called according to His purpose (Romans 8:28).

I have held on to that verse for years, Sara! It’s given me strength in good times and in bad. For our readers out there who may be experiencing depression, what three things would you say to someone who is struggling?
1)      God is there – you may not believe it, you may not see Him, but He is there, in that darkness with you; He feels it, He cries for you, with you, over you; this is a time He can draw you close to Him, if you only let Him.; quiet yourself and let Him speak to you, dear soul; you would be amazed…the God who sings over you (Zephaniah 3:17) wants to speak into your heart in the silence if you’ll only let Him
2)      Take one step at a time – one step out of bed at a time; one faith step at a time…don’t try to see the whole road, just look for that one step in front of you.
3)      Don’t trust your feelings, trust His word – your heart is “more deceitful than all else and is desperately sick” (Jeremiah 17:9) It is not to be trusted. The Word of God is “living and active, sharper than any two-edged sword…discerning the thoughts and intentions of the heart” (Hebrews 4:12); our emotions are fallible; God’s Word is not; so when your feelings or when intrusive thoughts threaten to take you down the wrong path into negative thinking or something worse, turn to God’s word to find the truth
 
Sara, thank you for being here with us, and thank you for your transparency. It’s been such a pleasure having you here today!
 
Connect with Sara:
 
Other Suggested Reading:
 
Be a Guest on My Blog 🙂
I love hearing from my readers and so does everyone else! Have a testimony to share? Something cool God has done for you? A recipe the world needs to know? What about a DIY project you’d like to teach us? Then I’d love to have you as a guest on my blog! Shoot me an email at authorhannahconway@gmail.com to get started.

5 Ways to be Blessed in the Stress: A Military Wife’s Perspective

So. Stress. Let’s talk about that.

www.hannahrconway.com

We’ve all felt it, right? Life gets real, real fast. Traumatic events. Loss. Broken hearts. Then there are the little stressors that just get under your skin like when a car pulls out in front of you, and then slows down! What’s with that?! Or the person at the drive in in front of you decides to order the entire store when all you want is a black coffee with no creamer or sugar. Geez people!

If you’ve never felt stress, where have you been? Tell me your secret! Turn on the news and I guarantee you’ll be taking meds for high blood pressure soon. The world is a mess, ick.
Stress doesn’t just come from things we experience or see. Certain types of food can cause our bodies to be stressed. Too much caffeine (Sigh of sadness). Sugar is the worst…so sad. Sugar is actually an anti-nutrient…it sucks nutrients out of our body and causes us to be sluggish, sick, and tired, but unable to get the kind of good hearty rest our bodies need, and a lack of good rest/sleep causes more stress on our body. A vicious cycle ensues!
No wonder the world has gone mad. We’re drinking some caffeine-filled beverage in one hand, eating something sugary with the other, couple that with a lack of sleep, our fast paced schedules, life’s issues, and we’re a big ball of stress just spewing all over the place.
Our environment, toxins in the air, and chemicals in the hygiene products we use every day can cause stress to our body. Nice, right?
The medical world even knows how serious our stress issue is, admitting that 80% or more of all disease and illness is stress related. How ’bout that? Insane!  

We can’t live in a bubble, though, nor would I want to. Ok, maybe I would sometimes.

What does God say about stress?He says in 1 Peter 5:7 to cast all your burdens on him because he cares for you. He says to come to him for rest (Matthew 11:28-30). He says not to worry about anything, but pray about everything (Philippians 4:6&7).
When the American Medial Association says that 80% or more of all disease and illness is stress related, do we have any other choice but to give that junk over to God?
Being an Army wife, I know stress, and being the wife of a wounded warrior who struggles with PTSD (Post Traumatic Stress Disorder), well…let’s say stress and I are on a first name basis. 
Yes, life gets crazy, but I can’t seem to find a time, even in the stress, that I haven’t been blessed. I’d imagine if we all took the time to look past our stress we could see how we’re being blessed.

 Having a hard time seeing it? Wanna know how to be blessed in the stress? Here are 5 ways:

1: Be a blessing and Love others:

  • 1 Corinthians 13: 7 “Love bears all things, believes all things, hopes all things, endures all things.”  I’d add, No Matter What to that if I could.
  • In Matthew 14, after finding out his cousin, John the Baptist, had been killed, Jesus withdrew to be alone, but crowds followed Him. He didn’t lash out in his grief, or tell them to go away. He saw their need. He knew a key to being blessed in the stress was to be a blessing to others, and to love those around Him.
2: Be content:
A good friend once told me the keys to being content were: Don’t Compete, Don’t Compare, Don’t Complain. That’s a pretty good start, and to keep us from competing, comparing, and complaining, Paul defines contentment best here:

  • Philippians 4: 12-13 “I know how to live on almost nothing or with everything. I have learned the secret of living in every situation, whether it is with a full stomach or empty, with plenty or little. 13 For I can do everything through Christ,[d] who gives me strength.

3: Get in God’s Word

If we’re believers, we have no excuse but to be students of God’s Word.

    • Hebrews 4:12: For the word of God is living and active, sharper than any two-edged sword, piercing to the division of soul and of spirit, of joints and of marrow, and discerning the thoughts and intentions of the heart.
    • 2 Timothy 3:16:  All Scripture is inspired by God and is useful to teach us what is true and to make us realize what is wrong in our lives. It corrects us when we are wrong and teaches us to do what is right.

4: Be intentional with your thoughts & words
I’m going to park right here for a second. As an author words are a HUGE deal to me. We create with them, and they have purpose and a meaning. Check this out: God created the world with his Words…and we’re made in His image, meaning in part, that our words too, are powerful. He says we can speak life or death with our words (Proverbs 18:21), build up or destroy (Proverbs 12:6), and we’re accountable for the words we speak (Matthew 12:36-37). Thoughts turn into words, so both are a  big deal. Our mind/thoughts/words need to be transformed and focused.

    • Romans 12: 2: “Do not be conformed to this world, but be transformed by the renewal of your mind, that by testing you may discern what is the will of God, what is good and acceptable and perfect.”
    • Philippians 4:8 “Finally, brothers, whatever is true, whatever is honorable, whatever is just, whatever is pure, whatever is lovely, whatever is commendable, if there is any excellence, if there is anything worthy of praise, think about these things.

5: Forgive:

  • Matt 6: 15 But if you refuse to forgive others, your Father will not forgive your sins
I don’t claim to understand all the ins and outs of this verse, but I will say, when we are able to kick our pride to the curb and forgive, there is some serious healing and stress relief that takes place. Sometimes we need to forgive, sometimes we need to ask for forgiveness, and often it’s a combination of the two.


Here’s the bottom line:

We can CHOOSE to be blessed in the stress. We choose love others, be content, get into God’s Word, be intentional with our words & thoughts, and forgive.

I’m thankful for that choice, aren’t you?


 

Wounded Warriors: The Movie Breaking the Silence on the Struggle with PTSD

 
 
I’m excited to introduce you to this movie, Wounded Warriors.  Silver Dove Films will be producing this film. Silver Dove says they “believe that now is the time for a film to show the personal stories of the sacrifices our Veterans and their families make for our freedom.” And I have to agree.

PTSD, Post Traumatic Stress Disorder, effects almost 31 percent of Vietnam veterans, as many as 10 percent of Gulf War (Desert Storm) veterans, and 11 percent of veterans of the war in Afghanistan and Iraq. Millions suffer from it with at least 22 Veterans a day taking their own lives; one every 65 minutes.
 
My first novel, The Wounded Warrior’s Wife, was birthed from walking with my husband as he struggled with PTSD. I can’t think back on those days without reliving the emotion, the panic, stress, fear, and uncertainty. It’s still very real to me…to both he and I. Healing is a journey, and I’m not sure if it’s one we’ll get to this side of heaven, but I’m grateful for those who came along side us to pray, share their stories, offer encouragement, and for a Command that ensured my husband got the help he needed and deserved. We’ve been on this healing from PTSD journey for a decade now. We’re closer together as a couple than we were at the start, and that’s beautiful, but our life could’ve looked a lot different. For many of our friends battling PTSD, the outcome…well, it was destructive on many levels.
 
 
I’d say the most difficult step of our journey with PTSD was the very first one: admitting there’s a problem. PTSD can be a silent war, with silent sufferers, when there is no need to do so. Speaking out helps, and that’s why I am thrilled to help producer Michael Grier spread the word about Wounded Warriors, the movie.
 

The film is inspired by true stories and focuses on the reconciliation between two veterans, a father and a son. The son battles with PTSD, which actually began in childhood when his Vietnam War-traumatized father failed to deal with his own demons. The emotional abuse the boy suffers is intensified by later experiences in Afghanistan, and he turns to alcohol to deal with it. The film not only highlights the effects of PTSD on a young Veteran’s family, but also the courage it takes the entire family to overcome his difficult battles.

This film will also be financed by individual and corporate donations with 50% of the films net profits donated to non-profit organizations that benefit Veterans.  This will be a quality film with a powerful message that honors our Veterans and Silver Dove Films appreciates your help by taking the time to Donate.
 
Let’s help get this movie made! You can help! Check out all the ways you can help Wounded Warriors come to fruition. Who can you share this article with? Local organizations, Veteran groups, Church programs, Family Readiness Groups?

Click Here to Download the Film Prospectus.


Loving my Soldier: Hindsight Insights of PTSD and TBI

No one told me what to expect when my husband returned from stressful combat situations.

I guess no one told him either.  He wasn’t the same. What was different? Hmm. Nothing too much at first. He didn’t smile or talk as much, and he just seemed a tad distant, but that could’ve been because we’d been a part for so long. 

Something more? Nah. No way.
It wasn’t that I didn’t believe in Post-Traumatic Stress Disorder (PTSD) or Traumatic Brain Injury (TBI). I just felt like most soldiers were falsely claiming to have it, as if it were an excuse for their bad behavior or some sort of get out of jail free card.
My husband and I, and most of our military friends felt the same way, but when PTSD symptoms starting emerging in my husband, I started to secretly second guess my preconceived notions. Now looking back on our journey through PTSD, I’ve been able to make a list of things I wish I’d known. I pray that my list will in some way help you or someone you know that could be struggling with this issue.

Hindsight is 20/20:
*Pressuring your husband to talk about his  deployment experiences is not a good idea. Just love him, and talk about other things.
*Listen when your husband wants to talk about the war. Just listen. Don’t talk. Just listen.
*Don’t tell him how he needs to be feeling or what he needs to be doing. Just love him. Let your actions and words show him how much you love him.
*PTSD symptoms can show up months or even years later. Your brain does a really great job of covering up and trying to protect you.
*Men want to know that they’re good enough. Good enough to save the day, get the job done, make ends meet, protect you and your family. Their ego is fragile no matter how big their head may appear. J Build them up with your words and actions. Let them know they are good enough.   
*Sometimes soldiers returning from stressful combat situations literally can’t feel. This was hard to swallow, and understand. As a woman, I feel LOTS of emotions, lol. Many soldiers returning from war have lost the ability to feel any emotion other than anger. There is a constant numbness. And that’s normal. It’s how many are able to successfully do their job. BUT at home, these men who are fathers and husbands, need to feel. It would’ve been nice to know that my husband feeling distant from me and others was normal, and that it takes time, rest, patience, good nutrition, and prayer to learn to feel again.
*Prolonged stress can literally alter your genetics, and cause damage to your brain. Google the effects of stress…you’d be amazed! I’ve read that upwards of 80% of diseases are a direct effect of stress, and soldiers, and their families—yes, even the kids are stressed. What helps? Exercise! Music! Positive Thinking—putting the Word of God in your heart and mind. Staying busy. Getting involved, and volunteering.  
*There is no shame in admitting that you or your spouse need help for PTSD/TBI. My husband denied any problems until others began to recognize symptoms in him, and then he was worried that getting help would be embarrassing, make him less of a soldier. That wasn’t true. Getting help saved him and our family.

Please feel free to leave comments or shoot me a message. I’d love to hear from you.