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Tuesday, December 12, 2017

Self-Care When Possible

Taking care of oneself is not easy when having mental health issues because you have no energy or interest. When I feel good, I like to tan because I look so much better.

As mentioned, I got a check from my publisher. I did get 2 Christmas presents for myself... I look so much better tan, and on Black Friday, this self-tanner (normally $50 plus tax and shipping), was $23! And I locked in to automatically get it monthly, so that price will stay the same every month!

I am feeling better about myself as my face and neck are tan enough to make me look healthy without foundation. Proves when you (well, I) am able to take care of myself, it helps me feel better.

Then I walked into the crowded post office where the postal workers all greeted me, asking where have I been?! When selling handmade Christmas cards, I went in there several times per week and joked with all of them. Yesterday, I realized I have made another friend as she told me she had missed me, and we started talking about meeting for drinks, her birthday, and would I come to her party? Meanwhile, Jireh was getting lots of love.

I won't change my stance on socializing. But it's nice having options. It's nice taking care of my appearance. It's nice making my apartment my own. (My sheets had holes and rips all over. I found a sale on $60 sheets for $15). My bedding is now ocean themed with dolphins, sea horses, and anchors. God is providing.

So I guess it's not "self-care", it's "God-care" because HE cares.

Monday, December 11, 2017

Suicide Aftermath

Today is the anniversary of a friend's suicide. I understand the pain he must've felt. I'm jealous he is no longer in pain. I'm sure many people are missing him today, but otherwise, his family has adjusted to life without him... and he is at peace. I have no family, but I do have friends who would be heartbroken.

My closest friends would understand. 


I miss you, Isaac. Glad you found peace finally. I'm jealous you are in heaven and I am stuck in this world. Hopefully, not too much longer.

A text from my close friend-

Giving and God's Plan

I admit I have been feeling sorry for myself because I have nothing to look forward to this Christmas, especially compared to last Christmas, which was a dream come true. I wallowed in depression, went through periods of bitterness, sadness... even hatred. It seems God had His own plans...

What a surprise when I found a photo in my timeline of the lady who helped me at the store a year ago when I was shopping for my Christmas Trip to Central Florida. I saw her again for the second time yesterday. She has a daughter with Cerebral Palsy. Since I got the check from my publisher, I wanted to give back in honor of all who gave to me last Christmas. So I bought her a diffuser since it helps relax my muscles, and am giving her my weighted blanket (has bad memories attached to it).

Last Christmas, my friends gave me an all-expensed paid trip to a 5-star hotel! IT WAS TRULY MAGICAL as I have no family and live at the poverty level.

My publisher paid me for the first time in 6 months. I became eligible for $15 month in food stamps and got a retroactive amount, so I have food. I'm safe, warm and my pets are healthy. I have no plans for Christmas and won't go anywhere. I'm working on monetizing my blog and writing a few books. I am determined to get out of poverty, and use my talents to glorify God.

My friend said it sounds like this will be a great Christmas for me as I told him other "surprise" gifts for people who hardly know me. Told him it feels so good to give to others for a change. No feeling like a moocher this year. No feeling like a burden. No. I am sharing the love of Jesus.

That's the Christmas Spirit.

Mark 11- 
The Widow’s Offering
41 Jesus sat down opposite the place where the offerings were put and watched the crowd putting their money into the temple treasury. Many rich people threw in large amounts. 42 But a poor widow came and put in two very small copper coins, worth only a few cents.

43 Calling his disciples to him, Jesus said, “Truly I tell you, this poor widow has put more into the treasury than all the others. 44 They all gave out of their wealth; but she, out of her poverty, put in everything—all she had to live on.”

New International Version (NIV) - from Bible Gateway

Saturday, December 9, 2017

Do You Want to Grow?

As we become adults, we are free to make our own unique perceptions of what we were raised to be fact. We can do an intensive questioning over what we believe and why we believe it. Frequently, the answer is because others planted certain beliefs, even lifestyles, in our minds.

Thankfully, I am approaching the holidays differently this year, and I believe this is why my depression has lifted the past several days. Christmas will not be like I was raised... Christmas will be like I design.

Sometimes, we get stuck in the traditions of others, and if those individuals leave our lives, we are lost. We may unknowingly stay victims of the past. After all, those traditions are all we know. Not only do we remain in miserable circumstances, we don't realize we can change the situation.

Change is unfamiliar and scary. Yet change is required for growth.

There was a man in the Bible who had been disabled close to 40 years. Jesus asked him, "Do you want to be healed?". Think about it. For the man to be healed, his comfort zone would be taken away, he would be expected to change, facing the unknown. He would be required to grow to the next step.

And so I ask you... Do you want to grow?

Friday, December 8, 2017

Why I Don't Like Suicidal Hotlines

Yesterday, I woke up feeling the depression had slightly lifted. Knowing depression can hit you at anytime, I didn't tell people because I don't want them thinking I am all better, placing social expectations on me.

I texted a few close friends who know my cycle, and told them details, including my Thanksgiving suicide attempt. They said they had no idea I was so depressed and they would have hospitalized me. My response, "That's why I only told (my best friend)!".

Depressed individuals need someone they fully trust. I completely trust this friend and tell her EVERY THOUGHT... every plan. And by being able to share my darkest days, she has saved my life, rather GOD has used her as a vessel to save my life.

Listen, coming from a fellow psychotherapist and clinically depressed individual, I tell people BE VERY CAREFUL ABOUT TELLING PEOPLE WHEN YOU ARE SUICIDAL. The average person just wants you safe, so, with good intentions, they drop you off at a mental hospital, thinking professionals will help. Those professionals pump you with drugs, watch you for 2 weeks, and for me, that started my Xanax addiction.

In conclusion, I cringe when people tell suicidal people to speak out for help. It's not that easy. You need discernment.

Imagine a child victim of incest "reaching out" to an unknown child molester.
Or a drug addict "reaching out" to an unknown drug dealer.

No. Sometimes, it's best not reaching out for help.

Thursday, December 7, 2017

Poem ÷ Welcomed Nuisance

Waking to the symphony of rain,
Hidden like the darkness in my brain.
Am unwelcomed nuisance to most,
This uninvited, dominating host.
Keeping potential visitors away...
I beg, "Stay, rain... please, please, stay.
Insulate me from the others-
Releasing me from all that smothers".

Wednesday, December 6, 2017

There's Hope in Depression

It's going to be alright. The dark abyss may be infinite, yet Jesus takes my hand and leads me out into the light. There may be no speck of light in sight, but Jesus will come for me. And He will fill me with joy and strength to follow Him. He will wipe away all the pain, not just wrapping my wounds, but healing them, and using them to show the world how powerful my God is!
Satan will not win. My God reigns, and He is fighting this battle for me.

Severe Depression

None of this helps if your family has disowned you. I am past the point of wanting to go anywhere and talk to anyone. My psychiatrist upped my meds because I am falling so far into the darkness, I don't know if I will find my way out... even when the holidays are over.

Article from Counseling Today

December Depression

I've cancelled all my plans indefinitely, staying away from social media holiday posts and stopped answering my phone. What little energy I have goes to promoting and submitting my writing, and playing with Addy and Jireh.

I spend my days staring into space, wondering if the depression will lift after the holidays, and pleading to God for relief.

No more whining to my friends. No one can help me anyway. No one understands.

Tuesday, December 5, 2017

Memorizing Scripture

I just started reading this book while in a major clinical depression and paralyzing anxiety. When I finish it, I will write a comprehensive book review. I already know this will be one of my all-time favorite books. It's a small book that I will be carrying in my bag wherever I go.

Closing my eyes, blocking out all thoughts, and repeatedly processing Bible verses.

I am having trouble concentrating, so this book by Tyndale Publishers is balm for my soul.

Stones of Remembrance: Healing Scriptures for Your Mind, Body, and Soul (Memory Rescue Resource)

Depression and Anxiety

Naomi Judd was on the Today Show talking about depression and anxiety.

Please watch this. This is such a precise definition of depression and anxiety. I can't wait to read the book. A friend came up Saturday because I am in a severe depression. I told a few people who I thought were "safe" that I attempted suicide on Thanksgiving. One person told me I do all this for drama, and I should have taken more pills. Awful things were said to me, which I am saving for my book. Right now, I can't get off the couch. And every day that passes, I lose money by not writing. Depression and anxiety are REAL.

Monday, December 4, 2017

Disabilities, Sexual Abuse, and Church

After a great Saturday with a friend, and a social detox day yesterday, I woke up clinically depressed. Depression is like that- showing up out of nowhere. Let me add my left side was hurting last night due to Cerebral Palsy,  so I took a couple muscle relaxants before bed. This led to vivid nightmares of the sexual abuse I experienced in 2010… and, I woke up like this. Cerebral Palsy, sexual abuse, PTSD, now severe depression. I don’t dare eat because my Crohn’s will flare up. Welcome to my life.
There are so many directions I could take this entry… since I am still reeling from the Matt Lauer falling from sexual abuse, I will go that way. While it is refreshing to finally see women speaking up, hearing incidents triggers PTSD.  Sexual abuse happens in churches, too. Here is a recount of my experience-

The church conspired with my mom to institutionalize me. Sent the cops to come get me... the cops said "we can't take you... you're smarter than we are!". The bad part was she got all my friends to believe I was an incompetent drug addict. So I pushed everyone away. Meanwhile, my landlord  (who also attended the church), wouldn't fix my heat unless I gave him oral sex. I refused, and reported him to my pastor. My pastor talked to the landlord who admitted everything, saying he was sexually attracted to me and didn't trust himself alone with me. My pastor told me not to worry about it.  I left everything behind and lived in my car at the rest area. I had been going to him for pastoral counseling for Xanax addiction, and he said he was addicted to pornography and told me all about that and sex with his wife... so two different men from my church were being sexually inappropriate with me while conspiring with my mom and friends to institutionalize me. Was I crazy?

I lost everything except Jesus. 
I don’t go to church anymore.

I have a firm understanding of the Bible, spending an average of 4 to 6 hours of Quiet Time per day. Jesus is very present to me, and I survive, spiritually growing, by being in solitude with the Holy Spirit... fellowshipping with a few friends. Basically, I live like a nun. I am going to be with Him now to cry out to my Prince of Peace... He is waiting.

Thursday, November 30, 2017

We are All Human

Those of you who have followed me know I have a long history of sexual abuse dating (no pun) back to the age of 6. People with disabilities are more vulnerable to abuse since they often require personal assistance to change clothes, use the restroom, etc. Plus, being socially segregated from non-disabled individuals doesn't always allow for natural interpersonal development. When I was a high school counselor for students with physical disabilities, the teens claimed to have boyfriends, who, in most cases, didn't even know the student... much like elementary school children. On top of all this, individuals with disabilities experience so much touching through physical therapy, we don't know what parts of our body are "off limits".

Then you add factors such as being unable to speak and cognitive impairments... we are undoubtedly perfect victims for abuse. At age forty eight, I still question what is appropriate in relationships, and so I isolate. Some people are in abusive relationships because they believe they can't get anyone else. And sadly, some must stay with abusers out of financial and/or physical necessity. During my twenties, I settled for a lot of abuse thinking "if he can overlook my disabilities, I can overlook his abuse". I am writing a book about my life, including a chapter on this very topic... the risks I took for the sake of feeling damaged because of my cerebral palsy. The greatest being having unprotected sex with a man who had a sexual disease 'because he loved me enough to be with someone as damaged as me'. (It was quite a scare so be sure to buy my autobiography when I finish it.)

Looking back, I see each of those men as monsters. That is why the firing of Matt Lauer has me... I don't have a word. Due to my chosen limited social interactions, celebrities play a primary role in my life. Second to Gabriel Byrne, Matt Lauer is my favorite male celebrity. How can he be a monster? My heart literally aches.

We are all humans. None of us are flawless. People criticize me for sharing too much personal information when my transparency is what keeps me accountable. Few would be shocked if I was found strung out on Xanax or dead from a drug overdose or jailed for assaulting someone who hurt my cat and dog. I'm human.

Matt Lauer is human. Those who abused me are human. As a society, we have got to be more transparent about our temptations and weaknesses. We cannot turn our head out of personal discomfort. We have to listen and act when people are violated. Regardless of disability, race, position, gender...we are all human.

Wednesday, November 29, 2017

Aging with Disabilities

EXACTLY! And the uncertainty of how my abilities will be in the future, the near future, is a great source of anxiety, then Crohn's,  then depression... it all spirals down for me. This is why I am so hypersensitive about my fear of bothering people. I have no family to care for me. But I remind myself I have Jesus... and He is Jehovah Jireh.

Read this article on cerebral palsy

Morning Time

He knows how it feels to be alone in a sinful world. Christ was rejected, despised, and deserted by those closest to him. Our pain and distress is NOTHING compared to the abuse and scorn Jesus experienced. Still, he woke up each morning to spend time alone with the Father. Whether they were out to stone Him, seek Him to be healed by His touch, or simply praise Him, Jesus always started the day in quality time with The Father. I want to be just like Jesus.

He wakes me up, morning by morning, like one being taught...  I just wrote about this myself, then read what you wrote... and thought,  "What Beth said!".

Tuesday, November 28, 2017

Anxiety Update

A reader responded to one of last year's entries on anxiety and Benzodiazepines. *By the way, I am looking for health blogs so please let me know if you have a related blog so we can connect. Thank you!

Here is my update on anxiety:

I know from experience that getting off Benzo's is torture. You are such a strong woman for getting off the meds. Do you have compassionate support system? Your introduction was inviting,  and I wanted to read more about you. I  couldn't find a blog. Do you have one? Currently, I am using a diffuser with Lavender *have always been a skeptic of aromatherapy, but it works! Also, my anxiety has been really bad lately, so I have been reading the Recovery Bible and meditations for the Twelve steps. It helps reading about hurt people helping hurt people.

Monday, November 27, 2017

Handling Hard Times

Thanksgiving is over. Back to semi-normality if you can survive the Christmas season. No, I won't tell you it's about your attitude. I won't tell you to be grateful for what you do have. I won't tell you to get out and socialize. I won't tell you to have more faith.  While those strategies help for some, each of us were creatively, uniquely made. There is no one universal answer to dealing with mental health issues. If there were, there would be no more mental hospitals, psychotropic drugs, or suicides.

When I meet people who start entering the friendship zone, I make it clear upfront I am not good with socializing. I always feel like a burden. I have a lifetime of baggage that is deeply embedded into my perceptions. Isolation is safer for me as I read books about others who have the same issues as me. Relationship issues.

The best way for me to stay healthy is to stay true to my gut feelings rather than going with the flow, following society.

Jesus had 12 disciples who followed him, a few followed Him all the way to the cross. Yet there were also 3 women who followed along, "some women who had been cured of evil spirits and diseases".  Luke 8:2

Beth Moore suggests the 12 men followed Jesus because they were called, while perhaps the women followed because they were cured.

The women followed Jesus... either because they were so thankful He cured them, or because they had illnesses... or maybe because they loved Him.

Place me in all 3 categories. You see, we have to find coping mechanisms based on our limits, and we know our limitations better than anyone.

And that is why I devour my Bible rather than getting out to socialize.

Sunday, November 26, 2017

What Truly Matters

Yep! Look how quicker I rebound now as opposed to 7 years ago. I don't let life keep me down. I may fall, but I get right back up. The past two months have been one heartbreak after another... yet NOT ONCE did I question my relationship with Jesus, and I ALWAYS like who I see in the mirror because I am true to who God created me to be.

Friday, November 24, 2017

Happy LAST Thanksgiving

Yesterday was awful, so I here is last Thanksgiving's post,  which still applies today..
🐳🐳🐳🐳🐳🐳
Happy Thanksgiving! First, I apologize to the Native Americans for how my ancestors treated you and continue to treat you. This is your land, and I never forget that. Second, I thank Jesus for my life... it's not what I wanted, yet it has brought me closer to You. It has made me rely on You for everything from walking to speaking to pooping to breathing to getting out of bed. Thank You, Jesus. You are My Everything. I am thankful for Jireh and Addy who bring happiness to my days, making me laugh and love. I am thankful for my safe home in my favorite city in the world. I am thankful for friends who put up with my moods and my unpredictability. And I am thankful for my relatives... all of them... who have made me one strong, stubborn, determined, independent woman.

Wednesday, November 22, 2017

Christian Spirituality

I read an article on "Spiritual but not Religious" that fascinated me. After spending my life attending church, having others tell me their interpretation of God's Word, I now prefer to read it myself and let the Holy Spirit speak to my heart. Maybe that's why I gladly spend an average of four hours per day studying the Bible. Maybe that's why I chose to be a hermit. I feel Jesus with me when I am alone, as opposed to when I am socializing... after long periods with other people, I miss Him. The world comes between us, and I am unable to hear from Him and write for Him.

Since my dad died 2 months ago, I keep getting kicked down again and again. I became SEVERELY DEPRESSED again, and had to stay off social media along with turning my phone off. Retreating is where I find peace.

Yesterday, a friend and I were discussing how thankful we are to be able to understand one another's perceptions. We are both at the same level of Spiritual maturity after infinite hours of Quiet Time. She walks along with me because she has been through the journey  (which continues until we go to heaven) of a personal relationship with Christ.

The way I explained it to her is driving to Atlanta (which is where she was heading when we talked). I cannot expect to be as far as she was by getting on the road after she has been driving 6 hours. No, I have to take the time to follow the same path in which she has already invested. When you reach that level of spiritual maturity where a friend "gets it", it is priceless.

So I guess, to me... religion equals set rules and rituals, which are the building blocks of spirituality. Once I followed the rules and rituals, I was able to discern what was coming from my Heavenly Father versus what was coming from the world.

And for that, I am thankful.

Monday, November 20, 2017

Book Review - Almost There

"Almost There - Searching for Home in a Life on the Move" was written by Bekah DiFelice, a wife to a former Marine. Since I have had the utmost respect for those serving in the military, I was excited to read about the life of a soldier through the eyes of a spouse. What a pleasure to read this personable story of the realities of belonging to a military family. The author uses descriptive, heartfelt honesty describing the uncertainty of where "home" will be, at least geographically. DiFelice gives the reader stories including the anxiety of waiting for her husband's phone calls, fear of hearing the news (praying an officer does not show up at her door with bad news), transient friendships knowing neighbors are regularly moving, and the cycling of missing her husband, then getting reacquainted with him with each assignment.

The author felt like a friend, sharing her vulnerabilities as she describes how God is the only stability in her life. I learned we find home in God alone. And I also learned to not only respect our military soldiers, but also their families.  In fact, I have sent copies to friends both in and out of the military lifestyle. The bottom line is, with God in one's life, wherever we wander, home is almost there.

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

My Sunshine

This is what I woke up to this morning. When I smiled at her, she wagged her tail.

Reaching Out to the Depressed

So I am seeking like-minded individuals who "get me". Maybe this can also help other believers who tire of people telling them to "just pray about it" or "have more faith".

We seem to have a lot in common... maybe we can pm each other, without judgement, preaching or minimizing. Just listen, and have someone who cares. Jesus is my everything. But sometimes, prayer is not enough. Those who say otherwise have never had severe clinical depression.

Happily Ever After in Isolation


Don't let anyone tell you "you need to get out more", because some of us just weren't wired that way. After isolating all weekend, I fought my gut feelings and went out. It set me back immensely,

The following was written after I spent several days in isolation:

I’ve moved back to the place I left my heart 20 years ago… I left tourists and Mickey Mouse and ‘the fun life’ for intellectuals, poetry readings and ambitions. Here, few people who know me are still around, allowing me to live the reclusive, isolative life I’ve longed for…AND I LOVE IT!

I can be alone with thoughts, writing, Bible and furry kids… I sleep through the night now, no longer am dependent on pills, and better control my feelings and emotions. No longer do I feel like I am living for others, or doing life as society expects… I live authentically. I no longer settle. Instead of seeking to escape my reality, I embrace my reality. I am thankful for the small things and trust God for my needs. He shows up in undeniable ways now that I am still and quiet. I am in the world but not of the world.

And while my faith is stronger than ever, I no longer attend church. I’ve experienced abuse in the church, the idolization of clergy rather than worshipping God. My practice now is to spend an average of 3-4 hours per day in the Word. No distractions from man, just me leaning on the Holy Spirit to speak the Truth to me. 

Basically, I am closer to God than ever before, yet do not attend church. And I feel more complete living in isolation than I did surrounded by friends.

I am happier than ever. Happily ever AFTER!

Saturday, November 18, 2017

Disabilities - Then and Now

Currently, I am not doing well at all. Another severe knock down... I am too weak to reach up to Jesus. I will... after my bruises and broken bones heal. My heart is shattered into infinite pieces... let me rest. Jesus is holding me. I am in His lap. Until then, here's a blog entry from a few years ago.
🕇🕇

Since I was born with cerebral palsy, being viewed as ‘different’ by those who do not know me is the only life I know. Throughout my life, I’ve heard many comments about how tragic my disability is including a visit to Disney when I was about 8 years old. A couple walked by, pointed at me and said, “They should’ve let that one die.” At the time, I was too young to understand what they meant, but I never forgot that and many other comments suggesting I was a burden to society. As I matured and socialized in various groups, I realized that I was viewed not only as different, but as damaged and blemished.
So many times I have written in my journal about how confusing it is to be seen as lowly yet to feel the complete opposite. I would write, “If they only knew the trouble I have with pride, with knowing I have a special relationship with Jesus that I would not have if I did not have a disability. Jesus took extra consideration with me, not creating me like the norm… how cool is that!” He only gives us what we can handle, and considering He has given me multiple disabilities, that tells me He has extraordinary confidence in me… confidence that I must use with others to glorify Him.
Jesus placed great value on individuals with illnesses as evidenced by the fact that they were involved in most of the miracles that He performed. The crowds and skeptics believed only when they witnessed a blind man see, a paralyzed man walk, and a deathly ill child healed. Scripture describes numerous lives that were changed through God’s use of individuals with disabilities.
Even Jesus Himself became afflicted as prophesized by Isaiah and faced the same issues that individuals with disabilities are confronted with on a daily basis. “Just as there were many who were appalled at Him- his appearance was so disfigured beyond that of any man and form marred beyond human likeness” Isaiah 52:14. It goes on to say that people looked the other way when He walked by, and He was familiar with suffering… a man of sorrows. That pretty much describes feelings experienced by people with disabilities.
Think about it: the Savior, God’s own Son, the King of the universe was scorned and persecuted because of His ‘different’ appearance. They completely missed his being the Messiah because they couldn’t, or wouldn’t, see past His appearance. To state the obvious, preconceptions can be detrimentally inaccurate. How many people have I passed over because of their ‘differences?’ How many times have I insulted Christ by looking over someone with a disability, discounting their worth to society? And how often do I forfeit being blessed by someone’s gifts because of my busy time schedule or mere discomfort? 
Granted, because I have literally spent my entire life around people with disabilities, I don’t have the anxiety that most people have with the disabled. Yet I am still amazed at how much more I am blessed by people who I reach out to serve. I could write pages of how God has used individuals who the world overlooks to dramatically impact my life, but I will only share three examples from forming this ministry.
With the intent of serving as Jesus did and to follow a stirring in my heart, I offered to sit with a young lady named “Mandy” while her parents went out on “date nights.” I had no idea how much I would be the one blessed and served by Mandy instead of the other way around. Mandy doesn’t verbally communicate and is fully dependent on others for basic needs including needing medication to tell her brain to go to sleep and rolling over in bed. Yet Mandy is always smiling… and she knows what is going on around her. She laughs at jokes on TV, she gets excited when she hears her parents walk in the door, and she looks into my eyes intently when I confide in her. Personally, I believe Mandy is always smiling because she has the joy of Jesus inside her, and I just know that she and Jesus share an incredibly intimate relationship. How else could she be so happy knowing she has lost all the friends and freedom she had before her accident? I find myself jealous of Mandy and the joy that she has… I want to know her secret. Isn’t that how we bring others to Christ, by exhibiting ‘something different’ that makes people want to know our source of joy?
I’ve also recently met a new friend named Mac who, like Mandy and myself, the world views as ‘blemished.’ Mac loves to worship Jesus and doesn’t care what people think about him when he claps and dances at church. Again, I want to know Mac’s secret of how to put aside my prideful inhibitions and focus solely on worshiping God. How freeing it would be concentrate completely on worshiping Him instead of worrying who was looking at me and what they were thinking!
Finally, I’ve met an 11 year old named “Nathan” who has trouble making friends because of his disability. Nathan has difficulty with social skills and prefers doing things by himself as opposed to being in a loud, noisy group. Yet he has the intellect of an adult, using vocabulary that I, a college graduate, have to ask him what the words mean. And Nathan hasn’t allowed the negative criticisms of others to steal his childlike belief in dreams and aspirations. While my peers tell me I am not being ‘realistic’ in my goals of publishing children’s books, Nathan challenges me to earn the Pulitzer Prize for my writing. Just another example of how I end up being the one who is blessed when I reach out to individuals with disabilities.
In order to reach out to individuals with differences, we must focus on the interaction with the person instead of our internal discomfort. Just because I have a speech impediment and walk with an unsteady gait, that doesn’t make me immune to making false assumptions about people with disabilities. While it’s natural to be nervous or at least uncomfortable around people who are different than us, it is not natural to voice one’s fears and anxieties for fear of hurting someone’s feelings or looking ignorant and cold-hearted. Perhaps I have more leniency to admit my discomfort around people with certain disabilities because of my own disability.
So what are some basic guidelines for interacting with people with disabilities? How can you calm your nerves enough to actually focus on the person to whom you are corresponding? As with any other dilemma, the answer is found in Scripture.
Think of how Jesus reacts to you when you fail to miss what He has been telling you. Perhaps in retrospect, you can now see clearly ways that He has been speaking to you or showing you the path toward His will for your life. He understands our hearts and, unlike the ‘world’ we live in, He sees what is on the inside, including our motives and good intentions. Therefore, He loves us regardless of how many times He has to patiently remind us what is right and wrong. He takes us by the hand and shows us things He has shown us time after time, but we just can’t seem to understand, hear, or see as He would like.  That is how we can respond to those with hearing and/or vision impairments; see them for the person they are on the inside rather than the differences you view on the outside. Patiently love them unconditionally, knowing they are doing the best that they can do at that moment, and support them in being their best.
As for individuals with cognitive and/or mental disabilities, consider how Jesus responds when you keep doing the same sin over and over again. Everyone has an area of sin in their life where they struggle and want to stop. If you are like me, you pray for forgiveness, believing with your entire being that you won’t commit the sin again. Then life gets in the way and He has to remind you yet again not to do that anymore. Individuals with mental impairments struggle in this area more than those without such impairments. Some of the best people to pray for you are those who have to consciously and continuously rely on God for everything, these are the people who personally know the power of His hand and regularly witness His miracles when the ‘impossible’ becomes reality…these are the people who have hope when all hope is gone as they reflect on the numerous ways God provided a way when there appeared to be no way… and these are the people whose faith is secure in Him after learning by personal experience that He will never leave nor forsake us.
Christ said that the insults of those who insult us fall on Him. That means that when we insult other people, even in our mind, we are insulting Him. He has no favorites, neither should we. In fact, to place less value on someone because of their differences and limitations devalues God’s creation. The church is made up of diverse individuals to meet the diverse needs of the world. When we exclude a group or individual because of our ignorance, discomfort, and assumptions, we are neglecting a crucial part of the Body of Christ.

“Remain true to the faith. We must go through many hardships to enter the Kingdom of God…” Acts 14:22

Thursday, November 16, 2017

Poem - Shellyland

Shellyland

Really, I should care, I have not washed my hair.
My looks – I am aware, simply I DON’T CARE!
Just leave me with my Mac. Eventually, I’ll be back-
Escaping into my mind, where there is no such thing as time.
No pettiness, no shallowness…goal of purpose is mine.
Why am I here? What can I do? To better this world for me and for you?
Your foolish arguments, causing me rage… no more from me, I refuse to engage.
I struggle with Christ keeping me grounded, when my fleshly nature becomes expounded.
You can’t join me, you do not belong… still, don’t judge me as if I’m wrong.
Washing my hair? Oh, PLEASE! I’m too busy on my knees.

Wednesday, November 15, 2017

Godly Friends

Think about this... wow. Gives me chills. I am so thankful for Cathy and Karen, who walk the path, His path, with me... and understand me...and KNOW Him, the way that I know Him. And love Him, the way that I love Him. And experience and interact with Him, here and now... reading His Word as a spring of living water refreshing the soul.

Truly, "to live is Christ, and to die is gain".

Monday, November 13, 2017

Liking Myself Brings Peace

Ten solid hours of sleep with NO medicine. I got a lavender scented beads eye mask with my diffuser filled with lavender oil. Storms all around me, yet such refreshing peace. Liking myself means so much more than worrying about who likes me. Having a few close friends who love me for me is priceless. Busy day ahead. I am ready.

Sunday, November 12, 2017

The Truth Hurts

When people - my closest friends- don't actually reach out to me when I post something that triggers my PTSD, that tells me a- you are too busy with your own life, and while you care, you have other priorities right now, or b. you don't know what to say, so you'll just pray about it. Both cases tell me our closeness has run it's course. When I didn't hear back from people, I texted them on the phone. And I saw who was still by my side by who responded. Cathy is going through something now and we just FaceTime, sometimes with 10 minutes of silence. Sometimes, that means MORE than anything! Just be present. If you can't make time, it’s okay. I understand life takes precedence over friends. Yet as the Phil Collins song says, "you have no right, to ask me how I feel" after being absent when I needed you most. So as All American Rejects sing, "Move Along". Let me go! Someone's niece was abducted the day we were supposed to talk... she didn’t call, and it wasn't a date set in stone so I didn’t think too much about it. THAT SAME EVENING AFTER MEETING WITH THE COPS, she called to explain why she didn't call! That shows me how she values me. That is the kind of "close friends" I want. Otherwise,  you pray for me, I will pray for you... and move along.

But after I move along, you will find your name is off the access to my life and has been replaced by a wall.

Me holding on to people who have more important things in their lives is a burden to them, and heartbreak for me.

Just Me

Not #metoo.

Saturday, November 11, 2017

Lost, Rather FOUND

I've had significant life changes recently, triggering PTSD, anxiety and depression. The anxiety has taken over a chunk of my days as I leave behind the familiar (albeit, dysfunctional) to a new phase.

My mother's birthday was a few days ago, and I thought how she'd be relieved if she no longer had to deal with her "vile" daughter (her description of me) would be the perfect birthday gift. Ironically, Bobby Bowden's birthday is the same day. I realized I am no longer  (was I ever?) part of the genetic family, Rather, I am part of my Tallahassee family. (Coach Bowden's IS Tallahassee.).

After trying to go back to Central Florida for the holidays, I have decided to stay here. In fact, I am finding peace and comfort in my soul, where I am ultimately part of God's family.

He is showing me it's all Him. I am His. I have no reason to fear, for nothing and no one can touch me without going through Him. He is in my tomorrow's, as He was in my past. He never changes - which gives ME the confidence to change. To be even more authentic. To disregard societal expectations. I am finding myself lost in my thoughts, my own little world... rather, my Father's world. Thy will be done.

Friday, November 10, 2017

Getting Out

Another wonderful time with my new friend and her daughter, just chatting around her tranquil home. As much as I hate to admit it, it does me good to get out. My mind is on something other than my current situation.

Migraines have waken me every morning for months, prompting my doctor to order an MRI, which I could not afford the co-pay. I have been up since 3am with major pain. I am writing this in the dark, and I am thinking the blue light thing may have some factor.

So this is a short check-in.

My friend knows I am having ambivalence facing the holidays. Currently, it's affecting my writing and I refuse to elaborate... she took a chance and got me a BEAUTIFUL nativity set.  The lump in my throat prevented me from speaking. I am keeping it up all year.

Wednesday, November 8, 2017

What I Do All Day

Most mornings, I wake up with severe anxiety after several nightmares due to PTSD. Fortunately, I no longer suffer from seizures and night terrors like I did for 4 years following Benzodiazepines withdrawals. As I write this at 8:30 am, I am having my usual chest pain, but my anxiety has lowered after Bible study. More specifically, after time with Jesus.

I don't like leaving my home because of agoraphobia. The most peaceful time of my day is after I pick up Jireh's poop every morning. Since I only go outside as little as possible, I walk the field to pick up everything she did the day before.

And I want Jireh to interact with others, so I try weekly to take her to Michael's and FSU. Throughout the day, I play with Addy and Jireh inside.

My favorite activity is studying the Bible, praying and worship because at those times, it is well with my soul.

I'm in the process of writing several books and looking for freelance writing column jobs since my income was recently cut by 20% - hence, my anxiety.

And I am in bed by 7pm. I want to SLEEP because that is the one time my anxiety isn't at the back of my mind.

So for those who feel sorry for my isolation and want me to get out more
... I am good, in my temporary home.

Tuesday, November 7, 2017

Forgetting

Staying positive by reaching out to safe people. Holiday season is an uphill battle, as usual. But my writing retreat with my friend last month was my Christmas. We celebrated and worshipped Jesus without worldly interruptions.

In my Timeline yesterday, a photo of the book I wrote about losing a parent to cancer appeared. I had forgotten I wrote it. You would think my dad's dying from cancer would have reminded me.

My memory is so bad, I recently posted a video on Facebook and said if I am such a burden (as I have constantly been told), I understood why people walk away. Well, stupid me didn't consider not everyone watched the video. So no response to me meant the end of friendships.

IT IS ALL A MESS.

I am sorry.

Monday, November 6, 2017

Morning Poem


Scattered, where do I start? Jesus, Lord, speak to me…
Protect and guide my heart.
I come to you this day,
Please. Light my every way.
Keep me single-minded…
Sp often I need reminded.

This life is yours on borrow.
You own my today and tomorrow.
Lead me on… I’ll follow.

Sunday, November 5, 2017

Hope Returns

So sorry to have confused everyone. I made the mistake of listening to mom telling me how vile I am and was in an extremely dark place. I was told no one likes me and I am crazy. Yesterday, I hung out with a new friend and had the BEST time! My mom is wrong. I am a good,  likeable person. After all, I was created in the image of Christ, who died for me. I must be worthwhile. The enemy wants me to isolate and even kill myself, convincing me no one would care. Even if that were true, God created me for a reason. And I haven't completed my purpose.

My new friend is amazing. I told her how I sabotage friendships and hurt people to hide in a corner like a little girl, and it would be best if we did not hang out. She is a strong Christian and refused to take that as an answer. So reluctantly,  I agreed to go to her home to watch the FSU game. It was wonderful. So engaging discussing FSU football with her and her husband. Then she showed me her backyard. PARADISE! A WRITER'S DREAM! We actually went kayaking! And we laughed. And we talked. And on my way home, my shattered heart was filled with hope.

Hope I CAN let go of the past. As my friend reminded me, I can do ALL things through Christ who strengthens me.

Saturday, October 28, 2017

Dating

I recently tried a dating website, disclosing my cerebral palsy in my profile since I understand most men would be uncomfortable with my disability. I understand that, and respect it. At the same time, I wouldn't date someone who smokes, is not a Christian, and is not a college graduate.  I really don't mean to sound snobbish. Everyone has preferences and I don't want to settle. When I stayed at a friends house, people were using words I had never heard. They were discussing farm life stuff. I was totally out of place. It's a matter of interests. The woman I am writing a book with and I get along great talking about Bible characters, interpreting Scripture, etc. Another friend and I are both independent women, not willing to settle. Another understands my mental illness so I am comfortable with her.

Frankly, I don't like men touching me. I don't like to be told what to do (like my mom telling me how I can't drive in big cities and making me hotel reservations without my input. No... dating just isn't for me. It would take away from my time with Jesus.

Thursday, October 26, 2017

Writing

After my weekend writing retreat, I am redefining myself. Another new chapter in my life has started. Also, reading a book for review. Enjoying staying home. It's cooling off. Summer is my favorite, but last month's electric bill was  $190! I lost a freelance gig which brought in $200 mth. Plus, my new landlord is talking about DOUBLING my rent. Bad part is I don't have money to move. Been selling Christmas cards, which helps. And the holidays are hard when I have no family. I will take sleeping pills on Thanksgiving and Christmas so I sleep through the day. Otherwise, I am escaping by writing and reading.

God will provide. He is Jehovah Jireh. I know He's got me.

Friday, October 20, 2017

Packing

Packing list-
Pajamas, Bible, Notebook, pens, toothbrush, toothpaste, brush, and Jireh's stuff. THAT'S ALL!  Wearing same clothes down and back. We are meeting at the AirBnB, going to see her life on University of Florida,  then staying in the ENTIRE WEEKEND! I was upset I can't afford to go on Beth Moore cruise to Alaska, then my friend and I agreed there would be too many distractions. This weekend is SO MUCH BETTER! It is all about Jesus!

Thursday, October 19, 2017

Blessings of Mental Illnesses

My 8:30am discussion lasted nearly 2 hours, yet I am still tingling. I am Spiritually spent...I need a cigarette.

I slept the rest of the day. This weekend is going to be INCREDIBLE!

Basically, we talked about my depression, and even my recent suicidal thoughts. I told her I see my clinical depression as an indicator of my deep desire to go to heaven and be with Jesus. We discussed Mandissa, Plumb, and other Christian singers who suffer from deep depression and anxiety. Then, my friend shared something that showed me... she truly understood. A wave of relief, comfort and love washed over me. FINALLY! SOMEONE UNDERSTOOD I WANT TO GO HOME! When I was able to compose myself to speak, I said I felt so validated as a Christian... my faith wasn't being questioned because of my mental illnesses, instead, I realized the importance of fellowship with other Christians who UNDERSTAND. She said THIS is why I must write about it to show other Christians depression and suicidal thoughts are not flaws in faith. There's no need to feel guilty for not trusting God more. Instead, use the feelings of despair to crawl to Him on your knees. He's always waiting... and I am never a burden.

Time to Pack!

It's finally here... a much needed getaway with my dear friend. The timing could not be more perfect. I need to fellowship with her, pour over the Bible, cry, laugh, maybe even yell. All the pent up emotions need to come out, be dissected, and put on paper for the book we are writing. I need to be face down, on the floor with worship music playing, begging the Holy Spirit to renew my strength, declutter my mind, and create in me a pure heart again. I need Him to renew my hope. I need to hug my friend and feel loved and valued as she reminds me of the limitless number of Bible verses she has memorized. I need to escape this world, emptying myself of me so I can be filled with Jesus.

It's finally here.

Tuesday, October 17, 2017

Nothing Lasts Forever

I wrote the following 2 years ago:

Just realized I asked Sunday school class to pray for my estranged relationship with my mom because we haven't talked in awhile. Weird. Out of the blue, she texted me. I didn't respond, but I've had Crohns ever since. Two of my closest friends are meeting with me to discuss what happens if something happens to me. I'm 46 and finally realized who my true unconditional family is, and it's liberating not to settle anymore for people playing games. I forgive, yet I invest my energy in those who have proven they love and accept me, and always have time for me. I feel like I'm part of 2 families now.

Today, I am struggling with feeling all alone. Friendships come and go. Nothing lasts forever. No one lasts forever.  *Cue existentialist quotes.

The Reference Desk: How to Write and Publish Books - LifeWay Women All Access

The Reference Desk: How to Write and Publish Books - LifeWay Women All Access: Once a month, you’re going to hear from some of our authors or from our team on how we study the Bible, what resources we use, and what questions we ask. Submit your questions related to these topics by filling out the form here! Many of you have asked about writing and publishing a book, so we …

Sunday, October 15, 2017

Full Time Writer

 I found a healthy escape instead of spiraling down into the pit of self-destruction. Everyone has ways to escape life's realities, when you cannot take any more stress. Since childhood, writing has been my escape. I've been gifted with a creative imagination, in fact, it's been a main survival tool.

Being a writer can be solace for my mental health. When my muse is flowing, there's a vivid fantasy land going on inside my head. My dream is to live on a boat, alone with my cat and golden retriever, on the ocean away from civilization. I've lived alone since I was 22 and have had to fight staying in my home all day. Writing, reading, praying, Bible study... those are my daily needs.

As a therapist AND as a member of God's family, I know how isolating is frowned upon. I get sick of hearing about the need to get out, socialize, blah, blah, blah. Leave me alone with the ponders in my head!

Recently, my health has declined significantly as I experience middle age. I fall a lot, can't control my bowels, have severe panic attacks, etc. After much prayer, I believe God is telling me it's okay to isolate, to live like a Baptist nun, on one condition: I share His love with others.

He has blessed me with an insatiable thirst for His Word, along with an understanding of how to apply Scripture to life today. The more quiet time I spend with Him, the more writing I share from His insights, the less time I have to worry. He moved me away from my childhood home. I started over in my college city, made new friends, and have a whole wonderful life! I still cannot grasp THIS IS REAL. I'M A FULL TIME WRITER. I no longer have guilt for being a hermit.

The funny thing is, my friends support me for who I am instead of pressuring me to "get out more". Even the writer's group I joined tell me come to meetings whenever I want. We keep in touch on Facebook.

So today I am working on my Christian Fiction manuscript where Gabriel Byrne is the protagonist. Basically, I'm daydreaming about being in private practice, using my expertise in psychology as research, advocating for disabilities... in Nantucket... I'm working. Alone.

Life is better than I've ever dreamed or imagined. I truly never wanted to marry or have kids. My heart's desire has been being like Emily Dickinson - a reclusive writer. God has given me the desires of my heart... and so much more.

Friday, October 13, 2017

Oh My Soul

Since Dad died, there's a song that comforts me, but I didn't know the name of it. I wanted to add it to the Quiet Time playlist for Karen and me to get on our knees and connect with Jesus next weekend. After hours of searching, I gave up. I knew it said "this is the one thing you didn't see coming", and "I am not strong enough, I can't take anymore".

I said nothing to Karen. She sent me this song to add to our playlist.

THIS IS THE SONG!!!!

https://youtu.be/DjNZf878ISQ

Christmas in October

Christmas is next weekend for me because Karen and I are celebrating the true meaning of Christmas. Nothing from the outside world. We are staying in our PJ's, worship music playlists, and we each have been compiling Bible verses for each other.  Just her and me. That will be my Christmas. I get so jealous everyone has family for holidays... well, I am making next weekend my Christmas. On the actual Christmas and Thanksgiving days, I take sleeping pills to escape the holidays. Yet this way, I am celebrating the TRUE MEANING of Christmas.

Wednesday, October 11, 2017

Sexual Abuse Scandal

I apologize for my transparency this morning -actually, I  don't. Don't read if I am too candid. Watching the news about the women who kept quiet when the producer sexually abused them... don't judge them. You make a choice. You weigh your consequences. I spoke out against my predators... and I was told to not speak about it, I was overreacting, and I became the "bad guy" both in my family and later in my church. If I would've kept quiet, my life would appear much easier on the outside. But I am a child of God. I trust Him. The world can turn against me, but He never will. So as a nonconformist, I speak up when it's "uncomfortable" for others. And I suffer the consequences. But I have my dignity and self-respect... no regrets.

World Mental Health Day

I lost my 2 closest friends when my dad died... pushed them both away. The 2 people I talked to daily... we have stopped talking. Let me just say YOU NEVER DEFEND MY RELATIVE'S ACTIONS!

Mental illness sucks. It truly alters your thoughts and reactions. I am guarded again  only around people for Jireh. That girl is the only thing that gets me out of bed. After my  girl's weekend, I am making no plans until after the holidays. The dreaded holidays.

Monday, October 9, 2017

Peace

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).

2 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".

Sunday, October 8, 2017

Friends Means More Than Football

Getting excited about a trip my friend set up for us weekend after next... you'll never guess where...GAINESVILLE! It's the midpoint between the two of us. She told me we won't go to University of Florida. I said BECAUSE SHE WENT TO THAT SCHOOL, I WANT to go. I want a tour of all her memories. I want her to take me back to her college years so I can know her better. The University is part of her. And I love her. I want to visit what helped shaped HER.

An anchor just talked about how his alumnus, University of Miami had the greatest win of ten years last night. He didn't bash the loser, (which happened to be FSU), he merely expressed the passion for his school. As a FSU grad, I found that classy and respectful.

As for my weekend in Gainesville, I am so honored she is taking time out of her busy life just for me. Now, I have to find something to wear since 75% of my wardrobe is garnet and gold. I definitely won't be borrowing her Gator clothes. I do have limits.

Saturday, October 7, 2017

I NEVER Learn

BAM! Mother got me AGAIN! I NEVER LEARN! I'm fine. Jireh got me laughing, so I tried calling Cathy, then Jen - who let me vent... and we realized how awesome God's plan is once again. If I didn't have mental illnesses, I never would've went in the psychiatric hospital 3 times right after I got Jireh, and Jen wouldn't have kept Jireh for 3 months when she was a puppy. God used Jen as a vessel to shape Jireh's personality. Also, Jen went on to train her Golden to be a therapy dog after meeting me. She has been working with people with disabilities ever since... Jen and I went our separate ways friendship-wise. We only talk about Jireh. I called today to thank her again for Jireh and told her no matter how bad life gets, I will never take my life AS LONG AS Jireh is alive and well. And I realized our friendship went separate ways because I needed to rely more on God than Jen... Wow.

Friday, October 6, 2017

It's All God

I am the queen of thank you notes. I have always written notes for every act toward me. So many have showed unending kindness, I feel words on paper is demeaning compared to the love shown me. So I have been waiting to think of a comparable action which to respond. This morning, I read Psalms 54:4 - "Surely God is my help, my Lord is the one who sustains me.".

Wow. Thanking my friends for their immerse kindness is not as intimidating when I realize God is the source of every good thing!

Palm Trees and Blanket

Remember how scared I was yesterday? I received a palm tree blanket from Gidget at 3:30. Palm trees are my reminder from God that He loves me. So I thanked Gidget, went to bed with my fresh smelling blanket and fell asleep. I woke up at 7:30, phone lit up (ringer silenced) with Gidget calling to check on me. Tried staying awake to watch Scandal, wrapped in blanket... didn't make it. Just woke up (NO MIGRAINE!) feeling great!! God ALWAYS takes care of me. Always. I get sidetracked by the world, my faith wavers, yet He always brings me back. When we belong to Him, no matter the situation, He's got us.

Thursday, October 5, 2017

I'm Scared

Anxiety is really intense this morning. I'm scared. Not sure what I am scared of. Since I don't know what the source of my fear is, I don't want to leave my bed. This has happened before, where I am scared to leave my bedroom. My bedroom! I run to the bathroom and back.

My hope is this doesn't last. The thing about mental illness is you never know when symptoms will hit... or when they will go away.

I texted a few friends early this morning. One of them texted me this quote and said she will call me this afternoon.

That helped.

Wednesday, October 4, 2017

I'm Human

This blog is about faith, coping through adversity, perseverance. God has rescued me many times from humanly hopeless situations. My life circumstances have been so much worse than it is now. In fact, I am in the best situation of my life when the absolute reality of my life is concerned. I've been homeless, cold, starving, abused, trapped, and on the verge of insanity.

Thank God,I am safe, in my favorite city, writing full-time. I don't have to deal with bosses, don't have to answer to anyone, and love my freedom.

The fact is it has been a hard month. I lost the relationships of two of my closest friends,one of who regularly helped me financially... the other, I feel our lifelong friendship was rocked, and I don't know if it will ever be the same... in fact, I know it won't. After some time, maybe we can be close again. She did not intend to hurt me, and I go by intentions. She was trying to help, yet I can't get past my perceptions. So I am mourning the loss of 3 significant relationships. And it hurts. It angers me. It depresses me. It scares me.

It scares me because I am reconsidering things I thought were defeated. Things messing with my faith. I still have faith, still believe God has a better plan than I can dream of, and He can change my circumstances in the blink of an eye.

But my depression is looming. My agoraphobia is returning. And hopelessness is creeping in.

My dream is to rent an RV when my lease is up so I can get out of this neighborhood and live in a spacious campground. Seems impossible. I'm telling God this is the desire of my heart. But sometimes, God answers our prayers only to face worse consequences. In the Bible, King Hezekiah prayed his life would be extended 15 years. The results was Manasseh became King after Hezekiah, leading to the worship of idols and a completely corrupt nation. This would have never happened if King Hezekiah had followed God's will.

I don't know what is going to happen. All I can pray is God's will be done.

Moving Forward

Growing means letting go, walking away, reevaluating reality, and setting new goals. It is mourning the old, celebrating the new. Putting away the things that meant so much to make room for what's to come. It's scary, challenging, and exciting. But once you make the decision to embrace what experiences have shaped you to be, there is no looking back. Your next chapter needs to be written.

I love this quote -
“If we consider the unblushing promises of reward and the staggering nature of the rewards promised in the Gospels, it would seem that Our Lord finds our desire not too strong, but too weak. We are half-hearted creatures, fooling about with drink and sex and ambition when infinite joy is offered us, we are like ignorant children who want to continue making mud pies in a slum because we cannot imagine what is meant by the offer of a vacation at the sea. We are far too easily pleased.” -C.S; Lewis

Tuesday, October 3, 2017

Peace Amidst Tragedy

John 14--- The Spirit will never leave us as orphans; He answers our prayers to glorify the Father; He gives us PEACE the world does not understand; He shows himself to those who believe; He makes my heart His home...

I personally love how Jesus said, " If you loved me, you would be glad that I am going to the Father "

I love Jesus! In the evil of this world, Jesus said this would happen in the end times. I can't help believing Jesus is coming back soon...

Monday, October 2, 2017

Friends for a Loner

So excited about a Girl's Weekend coming later in the month!

I often say I don't have many close friends... I do have friends who share specific interests. An upcoming weekend would be boring to most... but it is PERFECT for me!

My friend, Karen and I both have the Holy Spirit speak to us through Scripture  (and life), and both of us are writers. So we are shutting ourselves in a cottage together with no distractions, except Christian music. Sounds so BORING, yet it is a DREAM GETAWAY for me!

Isn't it cool we all have different friends for different interests? Sue and I are silly, laughing, joking, doing my hair. I have my Turtle Friend, Michele, writer friends who go to weekend poetry readings, Jennifer who loves goldens, my friend, Brian and I talk about philosophy and Existentialism, Dr. Gorman and I discuss neurobiology... I love it!

We are texting each other as I write this, planning like little girls going to a sleepover.

"We can write ideas and revelations from Jesus.  Maybe even an hour or two of writing per day to get us in the habit?"

And:

"I need to get away!! I'm sooooo looking forward to this time w you and the Lord!! We can eat simply and have more time for praise Prayer and worship.".

I am so excited! Maybe I am not a complete loner afterall.

Sunday, October 1, 2017

Puerto Rico

Let me vent for a second. Please, don't blame and argue when people are hurting.  I have learned this following the death of my father - which is totally unrelated to Puerto Rico. My circle of people I talk to has greatly decreased because arguing with someone when a crisis is occurring only adds fuel to the fire. I chose loneliness and isolation over defensiveness and hurt.

This is happening with the President.

I am seriously sending this guy a thesaurus. HE DRIVES ME CRAZY WITH HIS LACK OF COMPASSION AND LIMITED VOCABULARY!

My opinion - PEOPLE ARE DYING! DON'T KICK THEM DOWN MORE! EVEN IF YOU ARE SENDING SUPPLIES, OBVIOUSLY, THERE'S A KINK IN THE HOSE! FIX IT!  

Notice I am not arguing with Puerto Rico, the people who are hurting.  It's the leader I am frustrated with.

Watching videos such as this reminds me of the lack of compassion in the world today.

Friday, September 29, 2017

Poem - Me Now

Had another setback yesterday. Then again, I had several blessings.

Wrote this poem to check in-

Me Now

While my mind is racing, my heart's at peace.
Seeing my character since dad has deceased
Following my Jesus, keeping Him near,
I like who I see when I look in the mirror.

Unconventional, I trek against every grain. Not listening to those who call me insane.
No more do I settle, predictable - I am not.
Having very little, yet loving all I've got.

You may kick me down, for awhile, I may stay.
But God's always with me each second of the day.

Tuesday, September 26, 2017

Ready For Heaven

Knowing heaven awaits believers when they pass away, I have never understood why people tell me "don't say that!" when I say I am ready to be with Jesus. We use to sing about being homesick for heaven and the center of Christianity is following Christ. I am ready to reach Him.

Reading 2 Corinthians 5 is very comforting to me as I anticipate the day My Father calls me home.
In 2 Corinthians 5, there is a description of how God created us to long for heaven. The Bible says we moan and groan in our temporary homes on earth until we reach our eternal home in heaven.

So I may make a sign saying READ 2 CORINTHIANS 5 the next time someone tells me don't say I am ready to go to Jesus.

"For we know that if the earthly tent we live in is destroyed, we have a building from God, an eternal house in heaven, not built by human hands.Meanwhile we groan, longing to be clothed instead with our heavenly dwelling,because when we are clothed, we will not be found naked.For while we are in this tent, we groan and are burdened, because we do not wish to be unclothed but to be clothed instead with our heavenly dwelling, so that what is mortal may be swallowed up by life.Now the one who has fashioned us for this very purpose is God, who has given us the Spirit as a deposit, guaranteeing what is to come.Therefore we are always confident and know that as long as we are at home in the body we are away from the Lord.For we live by faith, not by sight.We are confident, I say, and would prefer to be away from the body and at home with the Lord.So we make it our goal to please him, whether we are at home in the body or away from it." - 2 Corinthians 5:1-9

Checking In

Checking in for those worried and praying... I am okay. Talking to a couple friends daily. Learning so much about myself, the biggest practical fact is there are people who respect me despite my unconventional beliefs. Be you. Stand by your beliefs. Most will leave your side. The ones who stay are genuine keepers.

Monday, September 25, 2017

Living Proof

My reality.

Matter of Perspective

I've had it all, according to the "world". Many boyfriends, lots of friends, teaching grad students at UCF, writing for UF, speaking statewide for the Department of Education, my own Private Practice making $120 hour in 2000 - 2005... sports cars, luxury trips, books published... there was always something missing... time alone with Jesus.

You pity me... I pity you. I live in my favorite place in the world, FINALLY living authentically for the first time in my life. I have had the life the world says is successful. No thanks. I want MY LIFE. Don't try to change me, please.

Sunday, September 24, 2017

It's Hitting Me

I was never close to my dad. I'm not going to act like we were really close and I would do anything to have him back.

It's more the fact my dad died. A momentous event forcing me to search within and look deep down.the 

I'm in the anger stage. Wanting  to completely isolate and just stay in bed. People irritate me, and I am about to lose friends again. I finally opened my planner this morning, and my last entry was asking God to take me to the next phase in my life... then I got the call Dad was dying. I changed my profile photos because I am not pretending I was close to him. I never was. He was my dad and I  am heartbroken he died. Yes. But I can't romanticize the situation by pretending we had something we didn't. I am so empowered that I succeeded in saying goodbye to him. That was beautiful, and I followed my heart. It is a new phase. Facebook is such a facade to act like you are best friends with people and close. It's stupid. And I am not wasting my time with things and people who do not matter anymore.

Saturday, September 23, 2017

Falling Rocks and The Solid Rock

My father passed away two days ago. I am doing much self-reflection, which will make for innovative writing material.

God has truly carried me through. Despite multiple health issues, I drove from Tallahassee to Tennessee with my Jireh. In the fog and darkness of mountains, somehow, I remained calm navigating signs like "Falling Rocks" and "No Shoulders". At several points,  there was no phone reception.

Exhausted, I kept going, racing to get to my dad before he died. As the Bible says, I kept focused on running the race ahead of me. I stared at Truck lights in front of me, imagining Jesus, the Ultimate Light, was guiding my path. I dared not look to the right or left... I dared not waver.

Praise God, I made the trip safely. I kind of felt like Elijah during his journey!

Now, I haven't gotten out of bed, haven't eaten or written. Maybe tomorrow. God taught me so much these past few days.

Still, the "Falling Rocks" started when I got home. Mental rocks. I had the 3rd black out of my life due to mental and physical exhaustion. 

I may take a short break from writing and functioning... as I regain my balance... on Christ the solid Rock I stand.

Monday, September 18, 2017

Heart Stuff

Emotional Rant-
Life goes on, right? My best guy friend was supposed to come up this past weekend, but he has acquired new responsibilities and I didn't hear from him until yesterday when I texted where was he. We finally talked, and after much heartbreak, we agreed it was time to end our friendship. Yes, the same guy who promised to be there when Jireh died just 3 days prior. I don't blame him. I see this as part of God's plan. One day, I will understand but right now... it really, really hurts. I have been praying about going back to BSF, and I feel God telling me no. It's strange to think I am not supposed to go to a Bible Study, meeting other Christians, yet He keeps giving me reasons not to go- He wants my writing about Him a priority; my health problems limit how long I can be away from home; the thought of filling out "emergency contact" and hearing about other's talk about their families; and my desire to interpret Scripture through the Holy Spirit.

His answer becomes clearer every time I pray. I am scared. The guy friend was my main support. I wanted to meet other people to help if I get in trouble, especially with holidays coming. I miss his company.

And I think maybe that is part of the reason we parted... I am finally strong enough in my faith and far enough in my Spiritual walk to know God wants to be all of this and more for me.

Most of you will likely pity me... please don't. I am so honored God created me to have such a personal relationship with Him that I feel His presence and trust Him. And I know my relationship with Jesus will never end.

Sunday, September 17, 2017

Anxiety Help?

Article claims song calms anxiety here.

Sure hope so as my anxiety meds are no longer working. Comment below if it helps you.

Blogging Business

The number of people reading my blog posts has multiplied by TEN! WOO HOO! My goal for this week is MARKETING, MARKETING,  MARKETING. Hard work and persistence pays off. Focusing on your brand is key as you form online communities with others who share your passions. For example, I will be connecting with other brain geeks, psychotherapists, writers, and Bible scholars. Mental health and physical rehabilitation white papers intended for professional submission, as well as material from two of my book manuscripts will also be peppered throughout. 
Back to my cave I go, being a recluse. My happy place. 
By the way, I am LOVING Instagram's new story features. Add me, and click on my story as I post throughout the day. My IG is Shellyedsfsu.

Saturday, September 16, 2017

Tallahassee

I love Tallahassee.
I found this in last year's journal:

Bam! Got kitty litter before people came out at 5am. Heard football player talking about upcoming game. He goes to FSU full time, then practice, then works all night. Then I saw a nurse who works 2 full time jobs to care for her kids. The moon over canopy trees warms my heart. I am safe. People go the other way when Jireh has her vest on. She walks bolder... "No one better mess with my mom!". I got this... ummm... God's got this.

And this is from 2013 when I lived in Central Florida-

Though nobody asks me, I miss Tallahassee.
I get homesick sometimes, when it comes to my mind.
Oh, sure, I’ll move back… within the next year, in fact.
My heart was left there, where I soar through the air.
Dreams come alive – in this place where I thrive.
Doak, Bills, FSU…how my heart misses you.
‘Til days of my old, my heart beats Garnet & Gold.
Absence leaves a deep hole, ’Cause I’m a true Seminole.

----
It's good to be home.

Friday, September 15, 2017

Arrogance

I was told to put more substance in my blog posts instead of mere poems. Lately, I've been hesitant to write for fear of coming off as arrogant. I likely will in this post. Maybe it is healthy self-esteem I'm experiencing and I'm so unfamiliar with excelling at something, that I shrug it off as arrogance. 

My writing seems mediocre to me. When people respond to my emails complimenting my word flow, I'm taken back. I just write! I have a friend who has an amazing vocabulary and talking with him awakens my brain as he invokes such deep thought when we talk. And reading his emails brings me back to college writing classes when I savored the written word like a fine wine. He says he wishes he could write like me, when I am jealous of his relationship with words. Anyway, it is hard for me to write when I feel my writing is blah. Then I see the "Dolphin Tale" movie which totally stole my "Dillon the Dolphin" story and Perez Hilton wrote a Children's book and I arrogantly think, "I can do better than THAT", and I think maybe I need to push my  writing. Or maybe it's conceit.

Counseling, on the other hand, I tend to be OVERCONFIDENT. I know clinical psychology like the back of my hand, psychopathology is my second language, and empathy is God's gift to me. I thrive on helping individuals who have seemingly impossible life crises as the Holy Spirit gives me words of comfort and healing to give them. I guess having a life crisis and having my church join alliances with my enemy in trying to have me committed makes me determined to prove not all Christians sweep problems under the rug in denial. I am still very bitter with my former church and wouldn't wish that type of (ahem) "guidance" on my worst enemy. People need compassion, love, and understanding. I provide these things when counseling the wounded. I am an incredible counselor. Arrogance.

Finally, the Bible. I know the Bible because I know my Jesus. I have spent infinite hours studying scripture, praying and being with Christ. After this 20 year pattern, I know Him in an extraordinary way. It's hard to remain silent in Bible studies. Why? Arrogance. So I refrain from writing blog entries when I have such a chip on my shoulder. 

Truth is, I have no reason for arrogance, just as I have no reason to deny my gifts. They are God's.

Ephesians 2:8 For it is by grace you have been saved, through faith—and this is not from yourselves, it is the gift of God— 9 not by works, so that no one can boast.

1 Corinthians 4:6 "... Do not go beyond what is written.” Then you will not be puffed up in being a follower of one of us over against the other. 7 For who makes you different from anyone else? What do you have that you did not receive? And if you did receive it, why do you boast as though you did not?

Thursday, September 14, 2017

Prayer Poem

Trying to follow You, Wanting to follow through-
Path is wild with vines, from avoiding so many times.
Depression is under control, but anxiety has taken hold.
Must chose to do what's right, Lord, shine on my path Your light.

Wednesday, September 13, 2017

What An Inspiration

There are individuals who leave you speechless by their character. Individuals who are so positive, you reevaluate the world when you are alone. These individuals are extremely rare. One of them, well, two of them, just left my home after a year of no contact.

I am being vague for privacy reasons, and only speak of HER... we were friends until I hurt her. Instead of lashing out at me, she simply walked away because it was the healthy thing for her to do.

The next time I heard from her was a couple years later, DURING A HURRICANE CURFEW, asking if I needed help... and they brought me food. My closest friends didn't check on me, but she did.

I didn't hear from her again until the other night when another hurricane hit. "Shelly, this is ----. Do you need help?". And she checked on me a few times until the hurricane was over.

The couple just left after helping me with my dog. I am incredibly inspired by her. Not many people successfully stay in Tallahassee after college graduation because interns work for dirt cheap. Jobs are hard to come by. After 20 years of trying, I was finally able to move back after living on SSDI and writing. I am thankful to live paycheck to paycheck... until now.

My friend bought a house. She is fulfilling her goals, living her self-determined quality of life. My goals are different: I don't want a house, I want a RV and a boat. My friend has worked hard to become a success. Not just financially, but socially, educationally, etc..

Wow. What an exceptional couple... what an inspiration.

Tuesday, September 12, 2017

The Air I Breathe

I was so afraid my power would go out in the hurricane since the eye was directed right to me. With respiratory problems, I was especially scared. But God had me... I never lost power. As Job 33:4 says, the Lord Almighty is my breath of life. With friends texting me throughout the night, praying with me while they were in the worst part of the storm, I was never alone. My God, You are the air I breathe.