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Wednesday, August 16, 2017

Art Accessibility

I've been escaping through art lately and letting my mind run free in pictures. I found this site  and thought you may like a "mental vacation". It's inspiring how people use their health conditions to express the un-expressible.

Here's a description about the art:
Artsy’s mission is to make all the world’s art accessible to anyone with an Internet connection. Artsy are a resource for art collecting and education.

Artsy's Artsy’s mission is to make all the world’s art accessible to anyone with an Internet connection. Artsy are a resource for art collecting and education.

Artsy's Frida Kahlo page, like all of the artist pages, provides visitors with Kahlo's bio, works, exclusive articles, and up-to-date Kahlo exhibition listings. The page also includes related artists and categories, allowing viewers to discover art beyond our Kahlo page.

Frida Kahlo’s life has become as iconic as her work, in no small part because she was her own most popular subject: roughly one third of her entire oeuvre is self-portraits. Her works were intensely personal and political, often reflecting her turbulent personal life, her illness, and her relationship with the revolutionary muralist Diego Rivera. Kahlo dedicated her life and her art to the Mexican Revolution and the simultaneous artistic renaissance it engendered. Her style of painting has been widely categorized; Rivera considered her a realist, while André Breton considered her a Surrealist, and Kahlo eschewed labels entirely. “I paint my own reality,” she wrote. “The only thing I know is that I paint because I need to, and I paint whatever passes through my head without any other consideration.” She identified most strongly with Mexican popular and folk art, also evidenced in her habit of dressing elaborately in Tehuana costumes.

It you would like to explore more of these exquisite pieces, here are some links directly to the Frida Kahlo, Diego Rivera, and André Breton pages on their names.

https://www.artsy.net/artist/frida-kahlo

https://www.artsy.net/artist/diego-rivera

https://www.artsy.net/artist/andre-breton

Enjoy!

Sunday, August 13, 2017

Respect

Poem - Depression Won't Win

Actively fighting this dark pit,
I WILL defeat it by refusing to quit.
Don't count me out - don't you dare!
I'll be stronger than ever, so watch & prepare!
I'm not done, just changing gears...
I'll rise like a star in upcoming years.

Saturday, August 12, 2017

It Hurts

Life... it hurts.

It hurts every turn I make. I'm scared to look anywhere for fear I will hurt some more. I don't know what to do.

There is a wonderful blessing that lifted my spirits a bit. My health has greatly declined, and I recently got some potentially devastating news. I worry when I die, there will be no one to take care of my Addy and Jireh. My prayers were answered when a friend texted me this morning to let me know she would keep them both together. What a relief! Knowing what a big responsibility that is, I definitely felt appreciative, loved, and understood.

I'm holding on to that to refuse to give up.

Friday, August 11, 2017

Update

Been doing a lot of processing, coming up with new story plots and writing poetry. Definitely in a deep clinical depression, yet there is no one I would want to leave Addy and Jireh to. And so I sleep a lot, read the Bible, and contemplate my place in this world. Sadly, I don't think I have a place in this world,  at least not society.

There's a society in my mind where things are fair, God is revered and people are loving.  Whose to say this 48 year old can't go back to her world of pretend?

To be honest, the world in my head is closer to reality than the world I have been living in! I've seen a few people's true colors this past summer, and they are not who I thought they were. I've been living in the bubble of denial.

Having mental illness is bad enough, but expecting people to understand illnesses that differ from one person to the next is beyond practical. I have work to do... work educating people on mental illnesses. Work explaining depression doesn't impact one's level of faith if they claim to be a Christian.

And a couple other books and articles. I need to be with other writers and people with mental illnesses. Online! Thank goodness, I can do all this online... but I am here, behind my keyboard, making residence in my head.

Tuesday, August 8, 2017

God Turns Burdens Into Blessings

A dear friend just told me she is able to be a friend with depression after watching me go through severe depression.

That means so much to me! That shows me my burden is of benefit to others. It makes my depression worth it.

And this friend confronted me on a very uncomfortable topic..  I know that was hard for her. By talking with her, God was talking to me.

Monday, August 7, 2017

People Come and Go

Article on Sinead O'Connor here.

I feel for her. I truly do. People don't handle mental illness the way you think they should because they can't read your mind (trust me... you don't want to read my mind!). I tell myself what a burden I am and my relatives are right... I think I lost another close friend. So I decided 2 hours ago to know people are just passing through at this moment and keep everything on the surface. Then, I reached out to 3 local friends, and am making plans for the beach, a literature reading, and writing at Starbucks. They are in my life right now. And if I just have Addy and Jireh for Christmas,  that's okay.

Thursday, August 3, 2017

Unexpected Break

I am so thankful I've been homeless. My friends are feeling bad recent events are causing me to cancel cable, wifi, and a few other things. Someone offered to pawn stuff to help. I am very grateful. Yet my pets have everything they need, my car is fixed, I AM SAFE. So I won't have WiFi for 4 months. I won't have my Coke or Excedrine I take daily for migraines. I have more than most people in the world! I will be back in a few months. This is only temporary. Please don't ask me questions... I hate questions and advice. I have taken care of myself for my whole life. I am fine.

I will keep writing and update a couple times per week when I can get to Wi-fi.

Take care.

Sunday, July 30, 2017

Remembering, and An Apology

There's a program on my Tablet which shows photos on what happened on this day in years past. Bittersweet memories with people I was once so close to, such great times, and now few of them are in my life. Initially, I was blaming how disloyal people are until I remembered a conversation with a friend.

She recently told me I basically wrote her off! Here I had wondered why she backed away from our friendship. She told me I only wanted to talk to Cathy and for her to back off. I didn't believe her until she showed me texts I had sent her, mean texts, texts that embarrassed me. I honestly had no recollection of my cruelty. To friends reading this, I am so sorry if I hurt you.

Please believe me when I say a decade of taking psychotropic medications have damaged my brain. Recently, I scrapbooked my most recent birthday. I turned 47. Flipping through the pages days later, I was surprised to see I had titled it 'My 37th birthday'! And another day, I was watching my favorite TV show, "In Treatment", which is about the life of a psychotherapist in private practice. I was thinking maybe I could go back to college to study psychology. About 30 minutes later, I remembered I AM a Licensed Mental Health Counselor, and I have spent several years in private practice.

Okay, this is scary.

I must remember I don't know what I have told who. Thank You, Lord... for protecting me from painful realities, and for a comfortable environment for me to live with my girls. From now on, I will be adamant about recording everything. Keeping detailed records. Write things down. Journal, journal, journal. And keep moving forward.

Saturday, July 29, 2017

Asthma

Here is an old blog entry on Asthma... let me say Asthma, menopause, and Tallahassee humidity does not mix...

Asthma. Not many people know I have asthma so I must have an extremely mild case. I was diagnosed with it about ten years ago when I went to an Ear, Nose and Throat doctor, which I can’t even remember why I went to the doctor. To be honest, I think a coworker told me he was handsome and I wanted to see for myself. I called in with ‘possible allergy’ symptoms and left with a nebulizer and asthma diagnosis!

Truly, I think the asthma is related to my Cerebral Palsy. According to the National Institute of Health: The majority of individuals with cerebral palsy will experience some form of premature aging by the time they reach their 40s because of the extra stress and strain the disease puts upon their bodies.  The developmental delays that often accompany cerebral palsy keep some organ systems from developing to their full capacity and level of performance.  As a consequence, organ systems such as the cardiovascular system (the heart, veins, and arteries) and pulmonary system (lungs) have to work harder and they age prematurely.

           
So I really don’t feel like an ‘expert’ in asthma. If it’s hot and I overextend myself, I have to rest and focus on catching my breath. If I didn’t know eventually, it will get easier to breathe, it would freak me out, so I have to comfort myself by saying I will be able to find a natural breathing flow again.

Asthma is very scary – I do not know from personal experience except to imagine how I would experience a more severe case.

Writing, Writing

Yes, I am still writing. Multiple sources are calling my name… I feel God asking me to use the talents and treasures He has given me to touch a variety of audiences. The new season  brings opportunities and promises for a new chapter into a bright future.

There are blogs online of me documenting my struggles with severe depression, suicidal ideations, and paralyzing anxiety. Blogs so real and transparent that I pray certain people never read them as they make me uncomfortable processing them. Some sound like I am about to put a gun to my head as soon as I stop writing the blog entry, and looking back, there were days when that idea wasn’t too foreign or outrageous, to tell the truth. My identity was molded by my mental illness, and it consumed my life starting in 2006 when I had a major job switch and my beloved kitty cat died unexpectantly. 

The past 11 years have been at minimum a seemingly insurmountable challenge to which I spent many days merely existing by staring at the ceiling, laying in bed all day. One could say I wasted my life back then, when in reality, I was saving my life. More about this later. Then there was my professional life prior to my “mental breakdown’ – yeah, that’s what it was…a mental breakdown. Life before that time was completely opposite from the depressed, anxious, agoraphobic bed-ridden body morph I transpired into… I was a Licensed Mental Health Therapist and Certified Rehabilitation Counselor in Private Practice… the only Med-Waiver mental health therapist in Central Florida. After hanging out my shingle, I had quite a business! I was living the dream. I was reaping the benefits of a hard earned education. Life was good, professionally. 

Personally, not so much. Now, I see I needed the forced respite from mental illnesses to discover who I truly am, and to live authentically. The Bible states “It was good for me to be afflicted so that I may learn your decrees…” … no truer words have been spoken.

I am not looking back anymore. I refuse to allow circumstances to keep me down. The past is the past. When I look in the mirror, I like who I am. I am proud of who I've become. And God isn't finished with me yet. He's the only opinion who matters, and He's okay with me...

Friday, July 28, 2017

Me

Love this picture. Enjoying life.

Life is GREAT!

Technology is great! I just saw the morning sky of Pennsylvania while greeting my childhood friend, Michele and her handsome puppy. Just think- no matter where you are, we all share the same vast sky. How many of us take the time to appreciate the colors and design? Each day has so many gifts that most of us fail to open because we are too preoccupied with what we already have, or what we are lacking.  Why don’t we be satisfied, no, ECSTATIC with what we have right here, right now? Oprah was on target when she introduced the Gratitude Journal years ago.

Today, I challenge you to think about the great things in your life rather than wallowing in the bad… which, let me add, what YOU perceive as bad may be a hidden blessing of God protecting your from something excruciating! I guess you could sum it up with LIVE IN THE MOMENT.

Right now, I am truly living the life I have dreamed of for fifteen years.  All day, every day, I get to read the Bible, create Worship Art, and write. That’s it! I’m writing a devotional, a psychology text on Aging with Cerebral Palsy and a fiction book. Recently, I decided to start writing articles for extra cash. The great thing is I am living my quality of life, not settling, not answering to anyone. And because of technology,  I am able to live in my favorite city with its academic culture, determined mindset, extraordinary trees and perfect weather all while keeping in touch with friends like Michele.
I have to say that is definitely AWESOME.

So I challenge each of you, comment below on 3 things you are grateful for today. Can I add that I am grateful for YOU, each of my readers? Because as much as I love to write, the more readers who click on the ads on this page, the more income I generate. How great is that, to get paid for doing my passion?! So share this blog site with others and comment below on what you are grateful for today.

Thursday, July 27, 2017

In Between

Outsiders think people living on SSDI have it made by not having to work and still getting a monthly income. After all, we don’t have to listen to a boss or spend most of our time doing jobs we don’t want to do.

Qualifying for SSDI can take years due to the number of people who try cheating the system. Between paper work and doctors appointments, the process is tedious enough without having an illness. Going through the process will make a sane person crazy! Once you finally receive the award letter,  it`s like winning the lottery! Finally, someone believes you’re too sick to work. Admittedly, though,  you have to swallow your pride, too, realizing your fate.

Well, my mind and body cannot seem to cooperate. When my mind is clear, my Crohn’s Disease keeps me constrained to my bathroom,  or my muscles are aching from aging with Cerebral Palsy, or I am having trouble catching my breath due to Asthma.

On the rare occasions when I can physically function, I am afraid to leave my home due to PTSD, Agoraphobia, and  Anxiety. Or I can’t get out of bed due to Major Clinical Depression.  Definitely not the “lucky life” other’s think I have.

So I am writing a couple books in hopes of earning enough money to have a better quality of life. I wrote a children’s book series called, Dillon and Friends, which was published several years ago. Those quarterly commission checks are a beautiful sight in my mailbox.

As long as you are breathing, you still have work to do here on earth. I guess you could say I am in between jobs. Not quite sure what I should be doing.  But there is still work to do.

Wednesday, July 26, 2017

Anxiety Obstacles

For some reason,  I cannot write today.  My spasticity is keeping me from legible handwriting. Something is wrong. Not only that, I am dripping with anxiety. Paralyzing anxiety. Feeling like I need to crawl out of my skin. Very uncomfortable considering writing is my career. I cannot lose my abilities.  Scares me.
But I am trusting God, fighting these additional hurdles. He is a lamp unto my feet and my Guide throughout this journey.  So many people and circumstances will try to stop you from reaching your full potential- don’t let them. The world needs your gifts and talents. The world needs YOU.

Let me explain what anxiety feels like (since I  am in the middle of an anxiety attack). These symptoms vary from person to person,  even from situation to situation. This is what I am feeling right now.  I’m scared, yet unsure of what  I fear. My heart is racing, stomach is churning and extremities are twitching. I’m writing this on my tablet where I am covered with blankets and my Golden Retriever at my feet. I lived in a couple shady places ten years ago,  which is where my PTSD stems from. During those times, I was completely alone with no one to talk with about my fears. I find myself in a similar situation regarding friendships.

Who knows why we go through such hardships? The answer is far beyond our comprehension,  and our lives are merely a blip on the infinite screen of life. We must stay the course to make our contribution. Don’t even think of giving up! We become stronger with each challenge defeated, and our confidence significantly increases.

Hang on.  Keep fighting… but don’t you dare quit.

Tuesday, July 25, 2017

Growth Spurts

Newborn babies require regular medical check ups to monitor their growth process. If a problem is detected early, there is a greater chance the problem can be treated before further issues are presented. As adults, medical visits become infrequent,  and only needed when there is a significant aberration occurs.

While our physical health plateaus when we enter adulthood, our psychological health does not. In fact, life events can alter our mental health significantly. Without proper treatment, our physical health can be negatively impacted by things like ulcers, digestive problems, etc..

Life is about growth and change. We need to take regular inventories of ourselves to be sure our actions and decisions align with the person we are becoming.  Such questions which need to be asked include-

**What is the mission of my life?
**What are my values, dreams and priorities?
**Am I living authentically?
**Am I using my gifts to better society?
**Do I surround myself with people who positively influence me?
**What practical steps can I take to be more like the person I want to be?

Since these are heavy questions requiring great introspection, it is good to take some quality alone time and brainstorm what truly matters. Don’t limit your dreams- the sky is the limit. You’ll be surprised how resources will appear when you begin living on purpose.

Saturday, July 15, 2017

Celebrating Small Steps

Good morning! How are we doing today? If you got out of bed, brushed your teeth, took a shower, even left your house… let me congratulate you if you are suffering from depression and/or anxiety! Each of those things are HUGE, and in a world that makes such acts seem ‘mundane’ and normal, they are monumental tasks when in a funk.

If you are reading this from bed, unable to open the curtains and just want to curl up and wither away, hang on. I know it hurts. I know there are no words to comfort you or make you excited to even consider enjoy life, just take it one minute at a time. Maybe all you can do today is stay in bed… celebrate surviving, celebrate not hurting yourself. Celebrate tomorrow you have another chance, tomorrow you may wake up and have some energy and motivation. But hang on. Don’t give up.

You are still on this earth because God isn’t finished with you. He has a purpose for you being here. I know you may not care and may even be mad at God… that’s okay – He is big enough to handle your anger. You see, He knows what you are going through, He sees you struggling. He sees you persevering, and you will be rewarded for hanging on. Revelation 2:2 says, “I know your deeds, your hard work, your perseverance…” and verse 7 continues, “To him who overcomes, I will give the right to eat from the tree of life, which is in the paradise of God.”  In other words, you fighting and persevering today will result in being rewarded in paradise! Don’t judge by the world’s standards, when in a depression, brushing your teeth is overcoming. Leaving the house is persevering. Not ending your life is being a conqueror! God sees it even if no one else does… and He is all that matters. 

Friday, July 14, 2017

Maybe Tomorrow

Really trying to get back to work. I lost my entire childhood family last week so there is a situational depression going on, along with rediscovering myself without outside influence. I am running the gamut of mental illness from self-injury to addiction relapse. I want to get back into the therapist role as I work on my psychology textbook manuscript, but have been verbally vomiting into my Smashbook. Tomorrow is another day.I am
Take care and love (my new tagline)

Old Post About Anxiety

Life with Anxiety Disorder

Medical Condition #6 – Anxiety Disorder

For the sake of space and redundancy, I will combine anxiety and PTSD in this final category. There are many forms of anxiety (social phobia, generalized anxiety disorder, agoraphobia, post-traumatic stress disorder, etc.) and most are characterized by excessive worry about events that are usually unlikely to happen. The anxiety attacks tend to be triggered by past events (hence, soldiers returning from combat have a high likelihood of PTSD, and many would rather not discuss the events). I’ve buried so many events that my personality has been negatively scarred by the events of years ago.

Again, there’s an endless cycle – anxiety leads to depression, leads to paralyzing feelings of staying in bed, leading to more anxiety from missing so much work. The cycle is vicious and merciless.

Speaking of ‘denial’, since I am feeling functional today, I am not going to dwell on the anxiety or other conditions anymore, at least right now. When you can put your dysfunctions aside and live, even ENJOY life… do it. Whatever it takes, live out your life!

Wednesday, July 12, 2017

Wave Bye to Wavering


Do you ever waver between having certain relationships in your life? I confess I have spent most of my life doing this with dysfunctional relatives.

I keep laughing at my friend, Cathy. Yesterday was an annual customer event at her job, so she had a super busy day. I called her crying so hard after hanging up from the most painful phone call of my life. I said, "No matter what I do, they will make me the bad guy.. ". Cathy was tired and angry and had NO FILTER as she yelled, "WHO CARES WHAT YOUR RELATIVES SAY? THEY DON'T LIKE YOU ANYWAY!!!"
I cracked up laughing so hard! She was too tired to sugar coat anything. And she pointed out the obvious - none of my relatives have liked me since I went to college. Why was I so surprised at the phone call? I love Cathy. And another friend always says she feels like she's banging her head against the wall every time I call her crying about my relatives hurting me.
I have decided the word "wavering" is now one of my favorite words. The next time I am wavering, I AM WAVING THE NEGATIVE GOODBYE! NO MORE WAVERING - LET IT GO!

Sunday, July 9, 2017

Someday is Now

Each of us have been given unique gifts, talents, and desires to be integrated into society. When we refrain from sharing our God-given talents, we rob society of God’s intentions, including telling others about the truth of the Gospel. To think, neglecting to use my talents could prevent someone from spending eternity in heaven… that’s serious business. With all this in mind, I am determined to get back into a regular writing schedule. The bonus of a structured writing routine is what win-win situation as I will be earning an extra income. My self-value will rise exponentially as I will be financially comfortable. I’ve been writing since I was 8 years old and constantly told I am a great writer. Yet that pesky voice of self-doubt is relentless in convincing me I am not good at writing and even more discouraging, a writing career requires persistence, patience, and a lot of time before I actually earn some income. This is incredibly frustrating, knowing if I would have fought this self doubt 30 years ago, I would be completely living the dream right now.

And so today is the day when my writing transitions from a hobby to a career. With God’s strength and power within me, I cannot fail. Besides, anything is better than escaping into sleep,  wasting my life. My advice to readers is to push past the self-doubt, and follow the desires in your heart. You deserve to live your full potential.

Friday, June 30, 2017

"I'll Pray for You" isn't Enough

I recently received some devastating news I am not ready to blog about yet.

But I found a timely blog explaining why I told people don't just say you are praying for me. Those  who know me know this is a time to not take anything personally. Like I just called my guy friend (who thinks I need to be in Orlando with friends right now) and warned him he is gonna have to deal with moody Shelly again. That's why I isolate - I lose my filter and say things I know I shouldn't. Sounds like he will go to the funeral with me. Warned him it'll be scarier than Halloween Horror Nights. *I have a cousin who is a prophetic Satan worshipper. I'm talking leaflets and everything!

So now I am going to try to convince God my plan is better, as if I know an inkling of the whole picture, only to have Him tell me a zillion reasons why I am wrong. He says in the Book of Job and Isaiah to come to Him and let us reason together... so that is what I will do... already knowing the outcome - His ways are higher than my ways, and He has plans for me far beyond my wildest dreams...





💌💌💌💌💌💌💌💌💌💌💌💌💌

I'll Pray For You

This is my favorite passage when people say they will pray for you and continue walking. I am in no way discounting the power of prayer, but sometimes, we need a bit more. If the person is willing to listen, tell them how they can help you. If you are the person wanting to help the depressed person, ask. "Is there anything I can do to help besides prayer?" Sometimes, all they can do is pray, and we really need to be thankful for that. We really need to be thankful if someone says they are thinking of us... we need to be thankful for whatever they can do. But try not to discount the power of prayer (as I am this morning). Prayers need to be followed by action... by whomever is praying.


James 2:14 What good is it, my brothers and sisters, if someone claims to have faith but has no deeds? Can such faith save them?15 Suppose a brother or a sister is without clothes and daily food. 16 If one of you says to them, “Go in peace; keep warm and well fed,” but does nothing about their physical needs, what good is it? 17 In the same way, faith by itself, if it is not accompanied by action, is dead.

Wednesday, June 28, 2017

Be Bold - A Coloring Devotional



Be Bold, a Coloring Devotional by Ellen Elliott is a book I was sent a complimentary copy to review for Tyndale Publishers. Here is my critique-

One day when I was feeling overwhelmed, I picked up this book for a morning devotional. To my surprise,  I was greatly comforted. The scripture verse was Nehemiah 8:10, which says the joy of the Lord is my strength, which compares choosing our outfit to choosing our moods. Initially, I disagreed with the author because I experience bouts of major clinical depression and become frustrated when people tell me to `snap out it` or `just get happy’. As a Licensed Therapist myself,  I find it insulting when people are so closed-minded about mental health.  As I was coloring the adjoining coloring page, my mind went into a free-association mode as I became childlike in my actions and thoughts. The facing coloring page allowed me to let go of my worries and stress.

This book is simple yet wonderfully therapeutic,  enhancing personal growth. Not only did the devotional coloring book lift the burdens from my shoulders, I look forward to using the book for daily devotionals. Reading a lesson for life, then pondering the message as I color. I become childlike,  and now understand more fully why Jesus said we must become like children to enter the Kingdom of heaven. I highly recommend this book for readers who want to surrender their daily worries to focus on God’s Word.

Tuesday, June 20, 2017

Remember *reposted

Writing for my blog:
Forcing myself to sit and write without any set agenda except to write. My purpose is to write. I am a writer. I am writing.

"Since you died with Christ to the elemental spiritual forces of this world, why, as though you still belonged to this world, do you submit to its rules: Do not handle! Do not taste! Do not touch"?  - Colossians 2:20,21.

Life changes when you become a Christian. Since college, on my day planner, I daily write "WHAT TRULY MATTERS?" as a reminder life is precious. I'm especially realizing this as I reread my old journals and find I recorded stupid stuff like what my crush wore to school each day. Or some kid laughed when I fell. Thirty years later, who cares? What will happen today that seems so devastating to you, yet in 6 months, you won't even remember it? Do you watch the latest episode of Real Housewives of Beverly Hills? Or do you make a handmade card for your dear friend with cancer? Do you stay in bed, wallowing in bitterness? Or do you force yourself to write articles on ways God has blessed you?

What truly matters? Live on purpose. Find your passions and live them.

How do you want to be remembered? Let me share my list with you:
* Jesus is real to me. I feel Him in my presence. I have never questioned His existence. I believe all the hardships that happen in my life are signs He believes I will always follow Him. For those familiar with Job, I believe God has given Satan permission to "mess with me" because God knows I am strong enough in my faith that I can face anything with Christ. I hope I am not letting Him down.
* I am a fighter. Yes, I have multiple limitations which hem me in, but I believe many of them are to keep me from temptation. When I was homeless, if I didn't have cerebral palsy, who knows what I would have done for money. But because I see CP as a strike against men's attractions to me, certain options are off the table. AT THE SAME TIME, God showed me I don't give myself enough credit when I refused to sell myself to have heat and a safe place to live. God instilled morals in me.
* I also want to be remembered as a someone who never took people's kindness for granted. So many people have helped me, loved me, kept me going on when they didn't have to. I always pray God will bless them beyond belief since I have no way to express my gratitude.
* And I want to be seen as someone who, while she needed a little help, she did all she could to make her own way without taking handouts. God has given me so many gifts to use to bless others, and I want to do just that.
*Finally, I want to be remembered as a writer - recluse who loves the ocean, away from crowds and worldly distractions. This, I admit, can be for selfish reasons. I'm an advocate to the core, and when I see people being unfairly treated, I have difficulty balancing my role without personalizing  the circumstances. Then that steals my peace and interferes greatly with my health.

That is my list to guide me in my day to day activities. I don't do things as the world does. I don't float passively in the lazy river of society. I have died to the flesh and live for Christ.

Remember that.

Sunday, June 18, 2017

Writing my novel

It's a good one!

No Regrets

As I write this, my immediate relatives are all together celebrating Father's Day. Tomorrow, they will all be together at the hospital as my dad has surgery to see if they can remove the cancer or if it has spread so bad it is inoperable. My dear friend came up from Orlando Wednesday to drive me to Nashville to be there. I was reminded the family is better without me, and I would have to stay in a hotel because I was not allowed in my parent's house. The past few days have been torture... I always thought in case of emergency, we would come together. I was wrong.

Reflecting back, I am so proud of my education, my faith, my beliefs. I turned down 3 marriage proposals because I plan on growing my entire life and wanted nothing or no one to stop me.

Yes, it hurts. Yes, I am devastated. But I have no regrets.

The Rest of My Life

As I write this, my immediate relatives are all together celebrating Father's Day. Tomorrow, they will all be together at the hospital as my dad has surgery to see if they can remove the cancer or if it has spread so bad it is inoperable. My dear friend came up from Orlando Wednesday to drive me to Nashville to be there. I was reminded the family is better without me, and I would have to stay in a hotel because I was not allowed in my parent's house. The past few days have been torture... I always thought in case of emergency, we would come together. I was wrong.

Reflecting back, I am so proud of my education, my faith, my beliefs. I turned down 3 marriage proposals because I plan on growing my entire life and wanted nothing or no one to stop me.

Yes, it hurts. Yes, I am devastated. But I have no regrets.

Thursday, June 8, 2017

Who I Am

A favorite poem written by me...

Unrecognized reflection stared back at me.

It looked like an erosion of who I should be.

Bags under my eyes, tired and weary-

Who is this girl –anxious and teary?

Fighting the authentic whom the world won’t accept-

Fighting the ‘me’ – whom my family rejects.

But I can’t change, I won’t change – God’s creation I am.

I refuse to give up because of my fam! 

Tuesday, June 6, 2017

Snippet of My Novel

Today I am working on writing my next novel, and it's coming along nicely.  Here is a Snippet. Hope you enjoy! 


Sierra thought of writing a suicide note, then realized she had no one to address. Those close to her knew what was in her mind- she had even told them for years, her plan was to take her life. She herself had known this was her fate when she read of tormented writers since middle school.  Never did she think she would survive this long, but it wasn’t for lack of trying. She had several failed attempts which followed her, flagging doctors that she needed to be watched.

“Where the heck was the mailman?” Sierra wondered as the evening was closing in. She wanted to take her pills to escape into a comatose sleep, but had to sign for her package to be delivered today. Ironically, the package was the next three months of her psychotropic medications. It was 92 degrees outside and she was wearing sweats. Her a/c was on freezing, waiting for her to climb into bed for the next 16 hours. But her four legged best friend would need attention. She has only survived this long because of her dog. The only soul who would be affected by her death. 

Finally, there was a knock on the door. The familiar mailman greeted her with a white package containing the ultimate solution to her problems. Taking them as prescribed kept her calm, while taking them all could end her life. Her life that she had felt imprisoned in every since she could remember. It was like trying to escape darkness with no source of light. There WAS no escape to the darkness of her mind… just trapped doors, crevices and pits. Occasionally, a linear pipe of light would enter through one on many broken cracks, giving Sierra an instant spike of hope. But when she looked around at her surroundings, she saw the mire and emptiness. And, inevitably, darkness would patch up the lights opening. A cycle that has been repeating since the monsters entered her room as a child. 

Instead of taking the psychotropic medication, Sierra grabbed a bottle of sleeping pills, pouring several gel tablets on her lap. Seemingly an innocent action, she threw 3 tablets down her throat, then three more, and three more. She hid the bottle in case anyone found her. They would think her heart just stopped until they did an autopsy. By then, it would be too late to revive her by pumping her stomach.
The pills were kicking in. She was getting drowsy and the room was spinning. Tightness in her chest both excited and scared her. What would happen in the next few hours?  Sierra prayed she would wake up in heaven, with her dog and cats. 

Unfortunately,  she opened her eyes to her dimming bedroom. She had survived another attempt, and was so downtrodden to realize she was trapped on this earth. There was no escape, and hopelessness layered her so heavily, it was hard to move… hard to breathe. Part of the pressure had to be the sleeping pills. She could only hope the repeated overdoses were causing accumulated damage, weakening her heart or other internal organs. The one good thing is she was still here to take care of her babies.  They needed her, and she needed them so much, she wanted to die before them. Just the thought of losing them practically drove her insane. Would there ever come a day when she actually wanted to live?

Sierra has her license in psychology after spending years in Private Practice until she was drowning in an ocean of deep clinical depression. She had spent the next ten years staying in bed. All her friends walked away,  not knowing how to deal with Sierra’s raw side. They desperately tried to help with their  “I’ll pray for you”, “where’s your faith?” and “what do you have to be depressed about?” What surprised her most was her psychological peers did not even understand!

Sometimes she longed to go where no one knew her, where there was no chance of being recognized… where she didn’t have to worry about tarnishing her testimony … she always had to be careful not to cause anyone to see her behaving in a way that was less than Christ like… she was a God-fearing Christian down on her core… nothing would change that. Nothing. 

Yet… sometimes… rarely, sometimes… she thinks about who she would be if she wasn’t a Christian… life would be like it was in her 20`s when her lifelong friends had turned away from her because they refused to “condone her lifestyle”… 

She got out of bed and immediately fell backwards. The pills had caused her to feel as if she was watching outside her body, preventing her from standing, so she crawled to the bathroom and used the sink counter to pull herself onto the toilet. Then she bounced like a pinball, grabbing walls and furniture to balance herself and let her dog out. Fortunately, she could lay on the floor while Rusty went to the bathroom. Rusty was such a loyal dog. It was hard to tell who took care of whom. When Rusty came back in, Sierra gave her a dog biscuit, then they both stayed on the floor to go back to sleep.

Chapter 2
“Another great sermon”, Mary said while walking with Ben to the car. She was stopped four times in the church parking lot to chat with people. This church was where she had attended faithfully her entire life. She practically lived in that building due to her active participation in church functions. Mary grew up in a strict, legalistic household, including being sheltered by homeschooling with her two siblings, Matthew and Micah. Mary wasn’t allowed to watch TV, movies, or listen to secular music,  and the same upbringing was on all her friends. Mary had no idea what the real world was like, and that was fine with her. Ben and Mary had met in church preschool and remained best friends until one night at a Single`s retreat, Ben gentry took Mary’s hand as they were walking, and it felt right for both of them. At age 22, this made both of them reevaluate their relationship and they naturally started dating. 

---

Monday, June 5, 2017

Trials

I'm working on a Bible study manuscript and here is a snippet from what I wrote today:

Read 2 Corinthians 1 - God gives us more than we can handle so we rely on HIM, not ourselves.  And when we have people pray for us, they see God at work in our lives, so He is glorified. Just as we share in each other's suffering, we also share in each other's blessings. We reap the rewards of following Christ now, while the ultimate reward will be spending eternity praising Him forever!

Sunday, June 4, 2017

Freedom From Guilt

I had a wonderful day with Jesus... my depression is gone!
He showed me I am excited because I'm spending eternity in heaven... how can I be depressed when I have THE ULTIMATE to look forward to? Going to Heaven! My depression is gone! Not only that, all my life, I have felt indebted to my mom for sacrificing her life for me... she continues to treat me like crap, and today,  after she hurt me by treating me like a burden,  Jesus told me I am NEVER a burden to Him, He is NEVER too busy for me, and...HE GAVE HIS LIFE FOR ME!!! PRAISE GOD! I owe my life to Jesus, NOT my mom! Those chains have been broken! I'm free!

So are you. If you have accepted the Lord as your Savior, you are not stuck in any relationship... you are free to live for Jesus... and He loves you more than you can even fathom.

Great Article

How Christians Should Treat People With Chronic Illness -

See link here.

Saturday, June 3, 2017

Fighting Depression

So I am in a bad depression...and I have reached out to people I trust... and they are encouraging me. They are strengthening me.

Sitting in the bathroom, having a Crohn's attack. Fun. Still, thinking of the amazing people in my life, and determined not to let them down. Wounded Warriors, United Cerebral Palsy, and my writing are all areas to use my gifts. Cher sings this song, "You Haven't Seen the Last of me"... that is my song for all you dear friends who loving me, and are rooting me on. I will keep fighting because I AM the girl who inspires...

Here's a link to the Cher song -

https://youtu.be/vMFRI_DPD9s

Wednesday, May 31, 2017

Xanax Cravings

I've been off Xanax for several years, yet I still crave it. Today is one of those days.

People are so cold-hearted.

Having a hard time with life today… Reading positive information like this from Recovery-Road.org:
In the case of benzodiazepines, the nervous system is in a temporary state of being excessively excitable and overly sensitive to stimuli. Unless there are pre-existing or concurrent medical conditions, this will be the only reason for your symptoms. When the recovery process is complete, the symptoms will subside, you will exhale, celebrate and then enjoy doing everything you couldn’t while you waited for the bumpy ride to end.

The most important thing to keep in mind is that as unpleasant and unsettling as it can be for many, withdrawal does not last indefinitely.  Thousands before you have survived this and are now enjoying fully functional lives once more.  This too, shall pass.

Tuesday, May 30, 2017

What Truly Matters

Forcing myself to sit and write without any set agenda except to write. My purpose is to write. I am a writer. I am writing.

"Since you died with Christ to the elemental spiritual forces of this world, why, as though you still belonged to this world, do you submit to its rules: Do not handle! Do not taste! Do not touch"?  - Colossians 2:20,21.

Life changes when you become a Christian. Since college, on my day planner, I daily write "WHAT TRULY MATTERS?" as a reminder life is precious. I'm especially realizing this as I reread my old journals and find I recorded stupid stuff like what my crush wore to school each day. Or some kid laughed when I fell. Thirty years later, who cares? What will happen today that seems so devastating to you, yet in 6 months, you won't even remember it? Do you watch the latest episode of Real Housewives of Beverly Hills? Or do you make a handmade card for your dear friend with cancer? Do you stay in bed, wallowing in bitterness? Or do you force yourself to write articles on ways God has blessed you?

What truly matters? Live on purpose. Find your passions and live them.

How do you want to be remembered? Let me share my list with you:
* Jesus is real to me. I feel Him in my presence. I have never questioned His existence. I believe all the hardships that happen in my life are signs He believes I will always follow Him. For those familiar with Job, I believe God has given Satan permission to "mess with me" because God knows I am strong enough in my faith that I can face anything with Christ. I hope I am not letting Him down.
* I am a fighter. Yes, I have multiple limitations which hem me in, but I believe many of them are to keep me from temptation. When I was homeless, if I didn't have cerebral palsy, who knows what I would have done for money. But because I see CP as a strike against men's attractions to me, certain options are off the table. AT THE SAME TIME, God showed me I don't give myself enough credit when I refused to sell myself to have heat and a safe place to live. God instilled morals in me.
* I also want to be remembered as a someone who never took people's kindness for granted. So many people have helped me, loved me, kept me going on when they didn't have to. I always pray God will bless them beyond belief since I have no way to express my gratitude.
* And I want to be seen as someone who, while she needed a little help, she did all she could to make her own way without taking handouts. God has given me so many gifts to use to bless others, and I want to do just that.
*Finally, I want to be remembered as a writer - recluse who loves the ocean, away from crowds and worldly distractions. This, I admit, can be for selfish reasons. I'm an advocate to the core, and when I see people being unfairly treated, I have difficulty balancing my role without personalize the circumstances. Then that steals my peace and interferes greatly with my health.

That is my list to guide me in my day to day activities. I don't do things as the world does. I don't float passively in the lazy river of society. I have died to the flesh and live for Christ.

Remember that.

Pure Love

Circumstances have challenged my belief that being fulfilled indepently is of the greatest of self-actualization levels. Being alone defies societal norms. Perhaps many people avoid independent status because they can't get past the pressures of being part of a couple. Despite my high education level, I continue to get that pitiful stare with, "... but not even a boyfriend?"

The patronizing assumptions stopped bothering me years ago. In fact, I take pride in my independence and savor my freedom. My mind, days, life doesn't include the necessity of considering anyone else. I thought I had reached the social pinnacle, until now.

As much courage as it takes to face life alone, the true challenge is living a self-determined quality of life while welcoming another person unconditionally. Life gets messy. Jealousy, insecurity, compromising, forgiveness, understanding, stability become necessary, consistent  ingredients. To allow someone in your heart takes the utmost vulnerability.  Initially, for a long duration, I fought it.

I lost.

My walls have been broken, tests all passed, and I've surrendered. He's so precious, I haven't shared details about him with anyone. I love him like I've never thought possible. Never could I considered promising to stay by someone until death occurs... until now.

Words are insignificant. Nothing can describe the level I've achieved. It's forever. With him, it's forever. I love him. I trust him. He adds vibrance to my life. He makes me laugh, smile, think, excel, and live.

Without hesitation, I vow to be his... 'til death due us part.

Poem - Seas

Progressing along...
When land was no longer in sight, she threw down the anchor and penned these words:

The vast, great sea. My companions and me.

Away from "all them". Watching 3 dolphins swim.

God's greatest creation! A sea-life formation!

So thankful to visit, a place so exquisite.

Careful not to intrude, silently subdued.

Respecting the ocean, her boat rocked in slow-motion.

Light of Christ

From my Systematic Theology book:
Though we do not now find ourselves surrounded by a visible light, there is a brightness, a splendor, or a beauty about the manner of life of a person who deeply loves God, and it is often evident to those around such a person. In the life to come, such brightness will be intensified, so that as we reign with Christ, it seems that we also will receive an outward appearance that is appropriate to that reign and to our status as image bearers of God and servants of the Lord Jesus Christ (cf. Prov. 4: 18; Dan. 12: 3;

Monday, May 29, 2017

Faith

"Faith is what produces works"

This statement is in my Bible Lexicon. Faith is what produces works. I keep repeating this in hopes of believing what it means. Sadly, I don't believe it yet.

Unwavering faith is an enemy of mine. On one hand, my faith is my lifeline. My Jesus is everything. He is my Strength.

But here I am, doubting my abilities, when obviously they're not my abilities at all! They are His. They are gifts and talents He loans me to bless others. Yet I feel too inadequate to share. Even more so, my flesh feels I have no talent.

Do you realize the guilt stemming from that confession? Basically, not only are my actions indicative of my being ungrateful for the gifts God has given me, my responses (or lack of) reveal I don't have enough confidence in these gifts to present them publicly!

I am allowing my low self-esteem to trump not only God's Truth, but my obedience to God's promises. I am giving in to the enemy. That changes right now.

I can do all things through Christ who strengthens me! All things! In order to be most focused on God, we must take our focus off ourselves.

Phillipians 2:13 says, "For it is God who works in you to will and to act according to his good purpose."

Ask God for faith, which He will gladly provide, and work. Glorify Him. He gives us all we need to have an abundant life. He offers, but doesn't force us to take. We have free will. Graciously accept what He is giving you, share those gifts with others, and give God all the glory.

Sunday, May 28, 2017

Intro from a Couple Years Ago

Since I have decided to get back into full-time writing,  I am reposting my intro. Welcome back!

Yesterday, I made the official commitment to be a writer. I’ve written since I was a child, yet it has always been as a hobby or quick money maker, or an occasional letter venting to a loved recipient. But now, I am taking the plunge, claiming writing as my primary profession. What that means is I spend the majority of my days writing. Not researching, not procrastinating, but writing. Sure, I will still research and procrastinate, but not as much as I write. Getting words on paper is my job, my passion, my calling.

This is not going to be as easy as I am making it sound, I know. I’m going to be discouraged, feel like a phony, believe I am wasting my time, want to watch one more Bravo TV show, take a nap, and so on. People are going to tell me my writing is crap, publishers will throw my manuscripts in the trash without a second glance, and most times I will feel my writing is in vain. But that won’t stop me. Not anymore.

Previously, I debated whether or not to include my faith in my writing. Including faith-based content weeds out nonbelievers, and I want as many readers as I can get! But now, there is something more important than the quantity of readers; and that is the quality of my writing. Since writing is the expression of the heart, I cannot leave out my core… my strength… my peace… my everything, and that is Jesus Christ. I’ll respect readers’ beliefs without sacrificing my own. I am nothing without Christ. Literally, nothing! As you learn my history, you will realize the sincere truth in those words. Four years ago, I stayed in bed 22 hours per day. At one point, I was homeless. That same year, I was hospitalized 2 weeks per month for three months in a row. And the story goes on and on. Now, I am the happiest and healthiest I’ve ever been in my 45 years of life. It’s nothing short of a miracle. It is nothing short of my Lord Jesus Christ. So if reading about Him offends you, my writing is not for you. My life purpose is to glorify Him.

If you decide to be my reader, I can assure you of comedy, inspiration, lots of pictures, obsessive discussions about my cat and golden retriever, a tad of Cher preoccupation, passionate and intellectual views on health conditions, especially mental health, struggles and triumphs of addiction, and so much more. Give me a month. Read my blog for a month. I have a feeling you’re gonna like and learn what you read. If you don’t, it’s okay. Tell me I’m a horrible writer. Tell me I have no talent. Bash me, insult me… but you won’t break me. I’m a writer. That is my calling, and I have committed to answer for the rest of my life.

Monday, May 22, 2017

Depression Cycles

I have been in another depression since I found out my plans are not meant to be. Now I'm to the point where I don't tell people how bad I feel or the thoughts I'm thinking. I journal, pray, and take it one day at a time. Saturday, I took Jireh to the beach, and we had a great time! But within 3 hours of being home, reality smacked me down big time.

Anyway, I found this blog entry from five years ago and thought I'd share. I moved far away from Jen and Rob... I rarely see them. My life is MUCH better now as I live in my favorite city. Yet the depression still drops in from time to time...
----

I feel better!

After a week of having hopeless, desperate thoughts, I got up, took my dog (Jireh) for a long walk, and chased squirrels with Jireh. (Don’t worry, I won’t let her catch the poor squirrels, we just chase them.)

Last night, a friend came and ran Jireh after she had been at my bedside practically all week. I had even sent Jen this picture earlier in the day of Jireh lying on my hip, looking so pitiful. I felt so sad. I told Jen, “Jireh knows I want to die… and she doesn’t know how to help.” Jen told me to tell Jireh she feels the same way. Rob kept asking what he could do. I DIDN’T KNOW WHAT I COULD DO, so I had no idea how anyone could help. There was no money for me to go back and see if the new medication was the culprit. And so a week went by, Jen and Teresa sat with me one night in attempts to help, Rob emailed concern…. I wrote, a lot. And I thought a lot. But I slept the most. I was beginning to think this was the beginning of another bout of years of suffering. I never became suicidal, I just prayed for God to take me home.

So what changed?

Jireh went running with a friend. I saw Jireh go from my sad, helpless best friend to a happy, energetic dog who was ecstatic to see me when she got home. She wagged and wagged and gave me high-fives and loved me. That made me happy. Jireh had a respite from being by my side to being a playful dog. And then she came home to me.

And it got me thinking…

Life isn’t about being a priority in anyone’s life. When I go in my dark places, I tell myself no one would miss me, and Addy & Jireh would be happier with a non-depressed owner. I am realizing social relationships aren’t that black and white.

Rob told me every time Jireh gets closer to home, she runs faster as if she can’t wait to get to me. Jen tells me when she drives Jireh home, Jireh gets excited when they pull into my neighborhood. Yes, Jireh has fun away from me, her life is exciting when I’m not around, but ultimately, she loves coming home to me, sharing her day with me. She would be fine if I wasn’t in her life, but a huge part would be missing: Me.

People are replaceable. I could find someone to replace Jen – someone who helps me grocery shop and with laundry and endless dark conversations. I could survive without Jen in my life. But it would be lacking, lacking the priceless gift that only Jen can provide. The laughs and jokes and tears and, well, friendship. We have a connection that greatly adds to the quality of my life.

If I wasn’t here, I would take that gift from my pets, friends, and all those who lives I impact.

So if you are depressed and feeling people would be better off without you, or if you think people would get on with their life after you are gone… you may or may not be correct. But don’t you see – you’ll be taking away a piece of their quality of life. We all add to each other’s experiences, and your absense would create a missing link making the experience incomplete!

I know, when you’re in the depths of despair, none of this matters. But take it from me… YOU matter. You have to fight. You have to be the piece in puzzles that complete lives. Hang on. I won’t lie to you. Life sucks. But it can get better over night. YOU HAVE TO HANG ON!

Friday, May 19, 2017

Embrace the Light

Then Jesus told them, “You are going to have the light just a little while longer. Walk while you have the light, before darkness overtakes you. Whoever walks in the dark does not know where they are going. - John 12:35 

This passage brings great comfort during the current season of a succession of losses. Though my mood has become despondent, my faith in God has not wavered. I know He loves me, I know He is with me, and I know He is holding me. Throughout the years, He has proven to be faithful, loving, and never leaving me. I know my Jesus, and nothing can separate Him from me.

That doesn't mean I never get depressed, anxious and scared. What I thought was my perfect future has been taken from me. I literally feel I am lost in a dark pit, with no direction or purpose other than to glorify God.

Because I daily meditate on the Bible and spend most of my waking hours feeling His constant presence, I am not afraid of the darkness because I know He is with me. I may not know what is immediately in front of me, or what is creeping up behind me, but I know my Jesus is besides me.

Get to know Him while He can be found. He is there, waiting, Don't wait until you're in the darkness... whether it be mentally, spiritually, or physically. Take advantage of the light before it's too late... and then go share that Light with others... Be the light of the world.

Tuesday, May 16, 2017

Abandoned Faith Book Review




Recently, I reviewed the book "Abandoned Faith" written by Alex McFarland and Jason Jimenez from Tyndale Publishers. I was sent a complimentary copy to review the book, and here is my critique:

"Abandoned Faith" is a timely book about why Millenials are walking away from the church and how we can bring them back. The authors discuss how children who were raised in the church no longer attend once they go off to college. Parents are distraught, wondering what they did wrong. In many cases, families become estranged over the new generation of adults breaking family traditions.

The authors describe how churches are trying to be more accommodating to this new generation by playing loud music and tailoring the sermons to avoid offending congregants. Basically, churches have become more worldly, and less Godly for the sake of filling pews. Issues that are clearly defined as sin in the Bible are now becoming openly discussed and welcomed. When churches preach condemnation on such lifestyles, young adults walk away. In fact, the author's research found Millenials have increasing animosity toward churches where they are ostracized. 

This book is a much needed reminder we need to keep God in God's house instead of comforming to the changes of this world. Parents are given encouragement not to beat themselves up over their wayward children, and most importantly, trust God to intervene with broken relationships. The world will continue to change, but God's Word never changes.

*I was given a complimentary copy of "Abandoned Faith" by Tyndale Publishers to review this book.

Thursday, May 11, 2017

Awful Week

What an awful week. Now it's Mother's Day weekend. I sent my mom a bracelet... won't hear from her, though. Who is the idiot, here? I can't be a Medicare Provider because after my Scavenger hunt, they told me I have to get CPR certified. I can't even blow out a candle! And as Jen said, I would crush the person's rib cage. Why couldn't they tell me this at the beginning? So it's back to writing for money. Finally, I have been so consumed about a close friend attempting suicide, I totally missed another friend's heartbreak! I proved to be the "too busy" person I accuse most other people of being! There's no excuse. I should have known. I should have been there. I am so proud of myself when I take a shower, I highlight it in my planner. Depression hurts. Getting out of bed hurts. Water hurts. Thinking hurts. And unless others have been there, they cannot understand.

Saturday, May 6, 2017

Snapchat

Add me on Snapchat! Username: shellyedsfsu https://www.snapchat.com/add/shellyedsfsu

Thursday, May 4, 2017

Being There...Silently

Someone I deeply care about told me the detailed suicide plan they once had. My reaction surprised me. I didn't want to say how selfish it was, what about the pets, how it would devastate me, fill in typical responses. I definitely didn't consider walking away because it was too heavy for me, or say I would pray... No. None of that crossed my mind. I had to roll in a ball as I weeped harder than ever imagined. I couldn't catch my breath. "Shelly, did I trigger you?...I'm here... I didn't do it... Shelly? I'm sorry..."
They were sorry they told me.
I was HONORED they told me.
I knew I couldn't fix it, or respond in any way besides being there.
My sobbing was knowing what feelings accompanied the plan:
Indescribable pain, loneliness, confusion, worthlessness, hopelessness...

It was sobering being on the other side... I'm thankful I have been suicidal. Because I understand. And that means I realize the gift of being there...silently.

Friday, April 28, 2017

Too Busy

When people claim they are busy, neglecting to return even simple texts, I walk away. Until a couple months ago, I would try to justify the absences, the realizations I am the one always initiating contact, but not anymore.

We make time for what truly matters.

One of my favorite authors shared how Jesus was sought by all the people wanting healing, the witnessing He was sent to do, the critics trying to get Him... and I thought about how BUSY Jesus was while on earth.

He loved everyone while keeping the Father's will a priority. He set boundaries. Jesus, the busiest individual of all time, walked the walk, proclaiming the great commandment-Love Another.

Jesus was never too busy for loving others.

Wednesday, April 26, 2017

To My Friends

Thanks for trying to help. I have been praying about God's will for this season for awhile. Please just listen and don't try to push me into something I don't feel right about. I know I need to earn a couple hundred dollars a month. God will show me His will. I am prioritizing my mental health right now. Please understand. On the outside, it appears I am lazy,  a moocher, and moody. I am protecting my mental health. I am taking care of me before I end up back on drugs and suicidal. Please, please... take my health seriously.  I am not doing great right now. God is in control. Thank you.

Navigation

Asked God for ONE MORE SIGN He doesn't want me to be a Medicare Provider as a psychotherapist. I just received a call... I need to be CPR certified. There's the sign. I can't do CPR. Plus, I don't need that stress. God has something better planned for me.

Monday, April 24, 2017

Rerouted

I am realizing the plans I have for my life doesn't match God's plan. There is so much I want to do, yet I was recently on the verge of a breakdown. God has given me so many blessings, it is hard to take it all in.

The dreams you had in the past may change as you grow. The old self is gone. Discover who you have become,  ask God to fill your heart with HIS desires, and go from there.

Let His Word be your map.

Romans 6:11 In the same way, count yourselves dead to sin but alive to God in Christ Jesus. 12 Therefore do not let sin reign in your mortal body so that you obey its evil desires. 13 Do not offer any part of yourself to sin as an instrument of wickedness, but rather offer yourselves to God as those who have been brought from death to life; and offer every part of yourself to him as an instrument of righteousness. 14 For sin shall no longer be your master, because you are not under the law, but under grace

When you accept Jesus as Lord, you die to your self. What this means is your life is no longer your own. Your future years, future days, future minutes are to be lived for HIM… not your selfish desires. The great thing about Jesus dying for our sins is we will not be put to death for our sins. Romans says ‘the wages of sin is death” Romans 6:23. Thank God we are no longer under the law… He died for us. We are free… but don’t use your freedom to sin – use your freedom to live for Jesus.

How can we apply this to our lives?
Remember, our Heavenly Father isn’t ‘a man upstairs’ (He isn’t a ‘man’ at all!) taking tally of when we do good versus when we sin. We were formed from dust – He knows that. He loves us like crazy. If you worry, are anxious, and/or are a perfectionist, keep this in mind: God’s love for you is full of grace – He knows we are going to mess up! In the Old Testament, people were killed for sinning. Jesus shed His blood for us so that is no longer true. Forgive yourself. Forgive others. If you are a child of God, your debt has been paid.

Romans 6:1 What shall we say, then? Shall we go on sinning so that grace may increase? 2 By no means! We are those who have died to sin; how can we live in it any longer?

Romans 6: 22 But now that you have been set free from sin and have become slaves of God, the benefit you reap leads to holiness, and the result is eternal life. 23 For the wages of sin is death, but the gift of God is eternal life in Christ Jesus our Lord.

Friday, April 21, 2017

Relationship with Christ


Romans 3:27 Where, then, is boasting? It is excluded. Because of what law? The law that requires works? No, because of the law that requires faith. 28 For we maintain that a person is justified by faith apart from the works of the law.

Romans 11:6 And if by grace, then it cannot be based on works; if it were, grace would no longer be grace.

Just like after Jesus rose from the dead, there continue to be people who miss an important part of Easter. They miss the fact that all we have to do to be blessed by Jesus is admit we are sinners, accept Him into our hearts, and allow Him to be Lord of our lives. They miss the point of ‘works’ – thinking if we do certain behaviors, Jesus will increase our blessing.  It’s sad to think people fail to see Jesus’  crucifixion  as the way to to wipe out the rules of the Old Testament in order that we may remain free.

How can we apply this to our lives?
Many people believe in “The Prosperity Gospel” – God blesses those who are most obedient. “If you do this (fill in the blank), then God will bless you…”. First of all, knowing and conversing with Jesus is the greatest blessing of all, and I already have that. Secondly, the whole purpose of Easter was to do away with ‘earning your way into heaven’ or ‘earning favor with God’ because we were born sinners, we cannot earn favor with God… we can only approach God through Jesus’ crucifixion and resurrection. Thirdly, Jesus has no favorites. He loves us all the same. We are all His children regardless of our actions. Fourthly, if Jesus only gives us what we can handle, wouldn’t that mean He trusts individuals who face harder challenges more than those with minimal struggles? Fifth – I don’t do things to be blessed by God; I don’t use Him like a Santa Clause. My life is based on my relationship with God and my desire to please Him. My love for Him is unconditional, whether He blesses me or not, He remains the Lord of my life. And His love for me is unconditional, it does not wax or wane based on my obedience. Praise God… He definitely is my Savior… and not man.

Galatians 2:16 know that a person is not justified by the works of the law, but by faith in Jesus Christ. So we, too, have put our faith in Christ Jesus that we may be justified by faith in Christ and not by the works of the law, because by the works of the law no one will be justified.

Galatians 3:2 I would like to learn just one thing from you: Did you receive the Spirit by the works of the law, or by believing what you heard?

Tuesday, April 18, 2017

Peace and Light

Meditating on "peace"- reading 1 Thessalonians 5:3, which says "while people are saying,  "Peace and safety,' destruction will come on them suddenly..." - scary. Verses like this are why we must read scripture in context of where it appears in the Word. Skeptics use examples like this to claim the Bible contradicts itself, which it does not. Here Paul is speaking of those living in the darkness. Christians are children of the light. (as verse 5 continues).

Second Corinthians 4:4 says "the god of this age has blinded the minds of unbelievers,  so that they cannot see the light of the gospel that displays the glory of Christ..."

Praise God once we make Him Lord of our lives, He opens our eyes to the Light, which is Christ!

Living in the Light gives us genuine peace.

*excerpt from upcoming devotional, "Falling Into Grace".

Poem - Rain

Rain

Protection, safety, soaking up the gloom.
Frosted windows guarding the room.
Raindrops falling from infinity above,
Quiet, tranquil... embracing the love.

Jesus is here speaking to me,
Without His presence, broken I'd be.
He's given me everything for my worries to cease. 
Nothing compares with His unfathomable peace.

Mental Health Awareness

Education about mental illness is slowly being exposed. Here's a great website about Prince William.

Sunday, April 16, 2017

Dr. Drew Podcast

Found a great podcast on Dr. Drew Pinsky which summarizes beliefs on human behavior, especially trauma and addiction.

While I disagree with much of his subjective ideas, he has been a profound impact on my career.

Check it out for interesting information on brain and behavior. What especially struck me was the reminder how when the brain has been traumatized at an early age, we automatically go from 0 to 100 when triggered. Our natural instinct is to go in a self-defense mode. Also, addiction is a way of dealing with trauma, and I find it fascinating Dr. Drew insists the addiction must be treated before the trauma can be addressed.

Definitely a podcast for psychology professionals.

Enjoy-
https://youtu.be/1eh4fMcvAVE

Saturday, April 15, 2017

Life Plan

Just had great talk with Cathy... we realized Jesus CHOSE Judas to be one of the 12 disciples KNOWING not only Judas would betray Jesus, but Judas would commit suicide. He was still chosen. That's the grace of God. And, Jesus knew suffering and affliction more than anyone. He also knew God's plan for Him. However, Jesus STILL prayed if there was anyway the cup could be passed by, please let it pass. He KNEW HIS ULTIMATE PURPOSE IN LIFE, yet still begged the Father for another way... that is so comforting. I won't start back counseling again until I get some things straightened out myself. A colleague pointed out I step out of myself when I am counseling clients. I believe the writer in me demands I be a recluse, yet there is a gift of experience, empathy, and education I am to share with others. I believe the writer in me demands I be a recluse, yet there is a gift of experience, empathy, and education I am to share with others. That is where counseling comes in. If I see 5 clients per week, including wounded warriors, that would be perfect!

Why I Hate Religion but Love Jesus

https://youtu.be/1IAhDGYlpqY

This is why I no longer participate in organized religion.

Great Article on Suicide

See link here
This is so true. The thoughts of suicide never goes away. Identify your triggers and take care of yourself... prepare like a hurricane is approaching.

Thursday, April 6, 2017

Check In

My goal tomorrow is speak to no one. Today was 30 minutes asking Medicare Provider people why they need my college transcripts if I have my Licensure, where do I get a background screening... Then an hour with Comcast trying unsuccessfully to fix my cable and no one can come out until Wed. Then an hour with Amazon trying to fix my Kindle. Then telling my 2nd professional reference he basically plagiarized my example of the letter of reference I wrote.... I want to be left alone. I'm still blissfully high knowing Jireh is HAPPY and healthy. I still don't have a grasp on time priorities and where to devote my energy... but I miss my quiet time with Jesus.

P.S. Remind me to tell you what the neurologist said yesterday.

Saturday, April 1, 2017

Comfort Zones

What a great day! God used a friend to show me STOP FORCING MYSELF TO BE SOCIAL! Society says we need friends... the Bible says we need community. I have someone who, our conversations are sooooo honestly sincere, we get goosebumps from feeling the Holy Spirit!

In summary, when I fill out medical forms this week, I will leave emergency contact BLANK because people are too busy,  I'd rather be "Jane Doe" than interrupt anyone's busyness. My Father will be with me.

Also, it really pissed me off to be told "everyone feels sorry for me" until I realized the majority of society has NO IDEA what they are missing... what I have with Jesus,  it is beyond comprehension, even for me! Jesus said He tells His friends secrets, and I am His friend. He is with me in such a solid, constant present. There is NOTHING that compares! There is NOTHING I would trade for my relationship with Jesus. And the best is yet to come... so go ahead, feel pity for me. I ask you to pray for me to have the humility to remember what I have, rather WHO I have,  does not give me superiority... and pray above all, I use my circumstances to glorify God.

More Truth

Truth

Time

Sometimes we need to reevaluate how we spend our time.

So guess what my friend is hearing people are TOO BUSY to have a Pampered Chef party. I feel bad I don't have money to order, so I am definitely planning a virtual Facebook Virtual Pampered Chef party to help her out.

What is wrong with people? YOU MAKE TIME FOR WHAT AND WHO MATTERS TO YOU! People are finding out I stopped responding after THEY didn't make time for me for WEEKS! I'm "too busy" making time for people who have stayed by my side all along.

Yesterday, 2 college students with full extra curricular activities AND jobs came over to play with Jireh. One had 4 hours of sleep the night before... but they took time to help me out... and Jireh had sooo much fun, making me sooo happy!

Think about what truly matters to you. If it's family, or boyfriends... great! My friend is a single mom of 3 kids, yet always has time for me, so I am already there for her.

Maybe I am the April Fool.

Wednesday, March 29, 2017

God's Individual(s) Plan

God uses Scripture as one way to personally communicate to us. The Word is living and breathing. The same verse that did not jump out and speak to me a year ago may bring me a divine revelation today. One of the many benefits of having an overall understanding of the Bible is being acquainted with the Author. Knowing God allows us the privilege and responsibility of anticipating His ways. We know God is Love, God is just, God will never leave us nor forsake us. Additionally, having an intimate relationship with Jesus creates a closeness where you share understandings from the past, including lessons He has taught and trials He had brought you through. Times He picked you up and brushed you off when no one else was there. Sure, He uses individuals to help accomplish His plan. He has built us for community.  Still, He calls us to trust in Him, not in man. You may not understand why I do what I do... and that's okay. I am following Jesus. The path He has for me is unlike the path He has for you. I follow Him as He quips me with knowledge and understanding.

Sunday, March 26, 2017

Aging with Cerebral Palsy

Since I am part of the first major generation of adults with Cerebral Palsy, I want to share my experiences. It's 4am so this will be brief. At about age 35, I started falling, had trouble opening jars and trouble with fine movements. My legs started shaking while sedentary.

I'm now 47, as I said, awake at 4am because my legs ache. Ibuprofen helps a lot. I can't walk in sand anymore.

Granted, my activity level has been increasing as I have been mentally feeling better, or shall I say psychologically since my short term memory is bad. I forget fighting with friends, and then wonder why they stop calling me. Also, when in extreme situations, I forget where I am. This happened on the way to an obgyn appointment because of past sexual abuse. I couldn't remember what city I was in, or where I was going.

I'm having an MRI next month and will keep you informed.

Friday, March 24, 2017

Sheltered Workshops

Sheltered Workshops Get Reprieve

https://www.disabilityscoop.com/2017/03/24/sheltered-workshops-get-reprieve/23495/

** MY OPINION - THIS IS APPALLING! SHELTERED WORKSHOPS ARE BARBARIC!

Trump Pulls Bill

I needed today to give me hope. Maybe there are enough people who agree with us.  My asthma inhaler is over $100 mth. so I do without it. I am on 5 medications. And haven't been able to update my glasses in 3 years, never mind the dentist. Cerebral Palsy ages my body much faster the older I get. My memory is deteriorating quickly. I walk from my bedroom to the kitchen to get my dollar store reading glasses,  and misplace my glasses coming back from the kitchen!

We must continue to fight for healthcare,  including mental health issues.

Tuesday, March 21, 2017

Shine for Jesus

What truly matters.

Rough Day

Attended Disability Awareness Day at the State Capitol.  Mentally and physically exhausted so I can't really think right now.

No one is free to talk about my day with....God told me, "I am always free for you, Shelly... and I hate being your last option." So I will be out of communication until further notice. Big decisions to make.

Monday, March 20, 2017

Supreme Court Concerns

Supreme Court Nominee’s Rulings On ADA, IDEA Have Advocates Worried  Article here

Lost Mind

Brainpickings
Interesting article on loneliness, creativity, and Mental Health. As I read this article, I wonder if the three are intertwined? And is it a blessing or a curse? When not in a depressive episode, I view introspective thinking as a privilege which not everyone has the ability -or guts- to experience.

But it's a dangerous place to tread. The abscesses of one's mind can be dangerously revealing. The deeper you go, the harder it is to escape and come back to tangible living. Hence the term "lost in thought".

Don't get me wrong, sometimes it's better there, more authentic.  Just enter at your own risk.

Sunday, March 19, 2017

Faith and Temptaion

“No temptation has seized you except what is common to man.”

This verse has been repeated at least 20 times in my mind this morning, sort of like a meditation or promise, or CLAIM. Did you notice I said, “this morning”?! It’s not even 10 AM. We all have coping strategies to deal with hard times in life. Whether it be eating, shopping, drinking, exercising, socializing… everyone has a way to ‘escape’. Some are healthy, but most can be destructive when negative consequences result from escaping yet we continue engaging in the ‘escape’.

I’m reminded of the passage in Genesis 24 when Abraham describes life as a journey with the Lord, and there is even an angel that joins them. The Lord promises to prosper him, and later in the chapter, verse 56 says “Do not detain me, now that the Lord has granted success to my journey…”

This can apply to anything and everything, which is why I am blogging about it. Maybe I am writing this more for me than for you. To live a self-determined quality of life, we need to keep our eyes on the prize, don’t get side tracked, and avoid all temptations when possible. I have a friend with an eating disorder who can’t have sweets in her house or she will binge and eat everything in her house. She finds the solution in going to the grocery store every day to buy one day’s portion.

I’m not going to claim that praying will remove the temptation. I believe it will help, yet I also believe people are too quick to deny temptations and struggles Christians experience. Just like children know what pleases their parents yet that sinful nature keeps them from being perfect. Of course, no one is perfect.

Trying to remember the Lord will prosper me and go with me and even send an angel with me should be a comforting resolution. It’s obvious the correct answer, to focus on doing God’s Will. Even non-Christians know the right thing to do… It would be a chaotic world if everyone just did whatever they felt like.

I don’t have an answer. Wait, yes I do… do I have to respond to the question?

Saturday, March 18, 2017

Cathartic Journaling

Art is the best form of self-expression. There is no wrong way... release your inhibitions and create.

Why Mental Illness Continues

Sad realities of why mental illness in children continues.  Article here

Psychotherapist

This is from a blog I wrote 2 years ago... finally, I feel called to return to Private Practice...

I’ve been binge watching “In Treatment” which is a HBO series about a psychologist and it has reawakened my love for being in private practice. Maybe I will return to the field. You see, private practice is conducive to the introvert lifestyle because you interact with a few patients per day, 50 minute intervals (just long enough to say, “whoops, time to go!”), and I don’t have to worry about vulnerability because I don’t share personal information unless it is to further the patient’s well-being. Sure, patients yell and treat me crappy but that is usually due to the sensitive subject matter. Picking and prodding at life-time wounds which need to be addressed for their quality of life. Of course they get emotional. Therapy brings realizations that can feel like life has kept secret from you, ABOUT you, your entire life, as if the whole world knew something that no one told you. Many times, the course of denial is used to survive the unimagined. “Everyone’s uncle molests them…” or “It’s normal for church elders of the opposite sex to tell you about their marital problems.” Days are lived feeling the world is a safe place, everything is status quo….  Until you go talk to a psychologist who shakes their head in shock, surprise, even horror when you describe scenarios. “What? Why are you making that face? You mean, it IS bad when your pastor tells you you could find someone to marry you because circus freaks find marital partners?” Hmmm. So the client reacts as if the therapist is the bad guy for crushing the bubble of denial. They yell, cry, throw fits. Then they leave until next week.

As a Christian, I reflect on the awesomeness of God’s intricate plan… how He only lets us know the parts we can handle. How encouraging it is to see Him giving you harder trials, knowing He not only knows you’ll be faithful, He will be there holding your hand.

This show has me missing the deep, introspective thinking I once practiced on a daily basis. I had a fall, spent several years ‘on a break(down)”, yet I’m coming back… better than ever. Before too long, I’ll put my shingle back out and have a sign on the door saying, “Therapy in Session”.

Friday, March 17, 2017

YOLO

Get out there and LIVE!

YOLO

You Only Live Once

Happy St. Patrick's Day!

My new motto is "You only live once". Today, I put into practice to do what I want to do.

This was my entry this morning: For the past year, one of my favorite restaurants has HUGE Reubens only on the 17th of the month... and every month, all my friends are too busy to go. Well, today I AM GOING ALONE with Jireh (my Assistance Dog)! You only live once. If I fall, I have the Lord with me. I AM GOING TO GET MY REUBEN AT MADISON SOCIAL!

I am so glad I went! Don't let fear hold you back. Get out there and LIVE!

YOLO - You Only Live Once

Career Decision

After more than ten years, I have decided to go back into private practice.

Yesterday, I called to see about becoming a Medicare and Medicaid Waiver Provider.  My plan is to make house calls for patients with limited mobility or anxiety/agoraphobia, as well as other disabilities. My main focus (as it has always been) is to help stagnant individuals discover their passion in life, and take steps needed to make their dreams a reality.  This is a process using My Dream Portfolio.

Also, I want to do group counseling using My Dream Portfolio in schools. That way the students can bring their Portfolios to IEP meetings to show teachers their future plans are all mapped out. This works for all populations from incarcerated  juveniles to I even did one for my cat once after being told a student was too low functioning.

Finally, since I am versed in Special Education, I will be the students advocate. 

The application process takes a month or two, so I will have time for writing in the interim.

Hope all my readers are well, and please let me know if I can add anything of interest on this website.