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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.