“I feel bad.”


It’s late and I should be sleeping, but there are just moments in life that ask to be written about.

Tonight was a Brighter Tomorrows night. Those who know me know this is my favorite night of life, every single time it happens. Those who don’t know me now know that it’s my favorite. Moving on.

We had 37 kids RSVP. That’s amazing to me. I don’t want kids to have cancer, but if they do have cancer, I do want them to come to Brighter Tomorrows to play games with us, to laugh with us, and to have summer camp with us once every month.

One conversation (among the many that are seriously the most inspirational things in life) tonight struck me and just keeps playing over and over again in my head. That’s why I am writing and not sleeping.

There is a 7 year old boy with Ewing’s Sarcoma, a rare form of bone cancer. I know most of his story because I’ve read it, met his family, talked with others who know him. But he doesn’t know that. He just thinks I know him for him. So we’re making some crafts and I mention that he still has his port accessed (most of the time kids don’t leave with a line in if they are just going for chemo) and I ask him why that is. He tells me that it’s for radiation and goes on to explain the burns that he has from it.

He rolls down the edge of his comfy pants, and I see the red line where that burn starts. I ask him casually if it hurts (because to him, cancer is casual and a part of life…I remember) and he says “Nope, not at all.” I’m sure at some points it does because his skin is all a deep, deep red and has a rough look to it, but he gave me the right now answer which is technically what I asked for. (Kids are amazing and I love them.) Then I go on to explain to him that I had cancer as well. I explain my leg and why I didn’t need any radiation and why he does but how we are similar. And then he listens and he and his brother start asking questions.

“Do you have a scar?”
“Yes, one here and here and here.”
“How did they hook it back on?”
“With a plate and screws.”
“So you have metal on you?”
“Well, sort of. Technically I have metal in me.”
“Does that hurt?”
“Nope, not at all, and it keeps my leg on there safely.”

We giggle.

He persists…

“Does it hurt to wear your leg?”
“Nope, it’s made just for me.”
“So your foot is just in there like that, huh?”
“Yes, just like you’re doing it!”
“Wait, so you lost your hair!?”
“I sure did.”

He stops.

“I feel so bad,” he says.

I tell him not to. He tells me he feels bad for me. I tell him I’m okay and everything is good and life is great. He insists that he feels bad for me.

Life is about perspective, my friends. Look without yourself.

…because love wins.

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Words I support.


I’m tired of people romanticizing overexertion. Exhausted is not the new chic. Coffee (though {sometimes} a delicious necessity) is not a food group, and running on fumes is not admirable. Why do we hold pedestals for sleepless nights, break downs and inner turmoil? Are those things really to aspire to? Self care, balance, the ability to  know when your body, mind, and spirit need to take a step back. Those are things we should admire. We have to stop blurring the line between ‘commitment’ and self endangerment, because too many people are burning out before they have a chance to truly shine.Exertion

…because love wins.

The 25th year!


I think I’ve evaluated that life is often a walk to find the line between remaining optimistic and leading, and being jaded and hiding away. When I was 18, I was like most 18-year-olds and thought I knew just about everything that there was to know. And I did know enough to live through college, collect some awesome friends, do some jobs I love and decide on a wonderful boyfriend. But I certainly didn’t know everything.

It’s amazing to watch little kids look up to me and other people my age. I remember the first time that I realized they expected me to know everything for them. It’s amazing – and somewhat terrifying. But it’s a wonderful thing how loving someone and leading someone teaches you to make up your mind and be what you know you should be. That was one of the most memorable catalysts for growth in these 7 years.

So now I’m 25. I learned a lot since age 18. Here are 25 of those things.

  1. Eating healthy isn’t a fad. It decides an awful lot about how you succeed in life.
  2. You don’t know everything. Neither to do I.
  3. Apologies are real, and if they work, that’s awesome. But sometimes they don’t, and that’s likely not your fault.
  4. You never, ever, need to apologize for who you are. What you have done, yes, but who you are – no. Don’t. Ever.
  5. Mental illnesses suck, and are real, but also don’t decide a person’s character.
  6. I love Justin Bieber.
  7. God can take it when you’re angry at Him.
  8. You really aren’t likely going to know what God is always doing, but eventually you’ll make it through.
  9. Dating people is fun. Don’t be afraid to do that. Heatbreak heals. You’ll grow a lot.
  10. You don’t have to be friends with people that you don’t like.
  11. It’s okay for you to say no and have boundaries.
  12. LOVE YOURSELF. Do things that make you happy.
  13. Never stop dancing. Especially when you’re sad.
  14. Your mom and dad are people. They are different than you, and make mistakes. Not everything is their fault.
  15. Changing poopy diapers is a life skill everyone should have.
  16. Roommates found on Craigslist can be character building.
  17. Listen first. And sometimes just listen, if you have no idea what to say. You don’t always need to know what to say.
  18. Don’t walk away in the middle of an argument.
  19. Arguments and conflict are okay – learn how to fight fair and express emotions.
  20. People who look awesome sometimes make big mistakes. And things are redeemable.
  21. Driving with the windows down doesn’t get old.
  22. Smile wide, and often.
  23. Say what you mean. Try to figure out what you mean.
  24. God holds me so so so close. And I am so important.
  25. I am valuable, and should be treated as such. So are you.

So there you go. I have lots of cool things planned for the 25th year of my life. And Justin Bieber released a song for my birthday. What a guy. Have a wonderful day, lovelies!

…because love wins.

Why you should let people go.


A little while ago there was an app called “Who Deleted Me?” It was designed by Anthony Kuske, whose Twitter profile says he’s from the UK and “makes websites and stuff.” This app was one of those things. The purpose of said app was to do just that – tell people who had deleted them on facebook.

Facebook is a weird, strange, awesome, and dumb thing all at once. We get to connect with anyone virtually anywhere around the world. But at the same time, we can also see all kinds of things that are left to our own imagination. Because let’s be honest – no one is as happy as their profile picture all of the time. And thinking they are can ruin your life.

So then what do we do when one of our used-to-be best friends decides they’re done and we’re not friends anymore? And then what happens when you find that out through a crazy little app? Well, if you cared, it probably sucks pretty badly. If you don’t, you’ll probably have an easier time with what I’m about to say.

If someone doesn’t want to love you, or be your friend, or doesn’t build you up even when they are your friend, it’s time to let them go. Yeah, not that easy, right? Well, it sort of is.

Why would you want to be friends with an enemy you have? Would you call up the kid who picked on you in second grade and ask them to be your best friend? No, I certainly don’t think you would. Sorry to say, but when your friend walked away (and in a dramatic way like a facebook delete to prove a point without a real conversation) they entered the same category. Either they didn’t appreciate you, or they think they will have a better life elsewhere.

I’ve had people die in my life, and I’ve had people walk away. When I was younger, both destroyed me. Now, only death hurts me. Because I only keep camp with the people who I really know love me and who will let me love them back. And it’s okay to know that someone walking away isn’t your fault. It’s the walking person’s fault.

So, if they walked away, don’t chase them. And don’t let them come back. If they cared, and they were someone to want around, they never would have left to begin with. You’re worth more than being someone’s option. They chose to have you let them go, so let them go. And don’t apologize for knowing your worth.

Strong is beautiful – you are beautiful. Smile and do something you love. Because you weren’t worth letting go.

quote

…because love wins.

What loving someone with ADHD has taught me about being like Jesus.


Hi there. A preface – ADHD is kinda like this:

ADHD

The love of my life has ADHD.

That means that he can’t pay attention to what he wants to when he wants to.
That means that he can’t think through what will happen if he says what he’s thinking sometimes.
That means that he can’t sit still and listen to one voice for hours.
That means that he can’t always calm down his anxiety, because he can’t see clearly enough.
That means that for years he was treated poorly.
That means he thinks much less of himself than he should.
That means that he’s a brilliant man, who hasn’t always been able to live freely in that.
That means that he’s a person. A wonderful, wonderful, incredible person, with an illness.

ADHD is hard. Anyone who says that it isn’t or that it’s just a great benefit to their persona has probably not been treated, or hasn’t been stopped to be shown what their lives could be. I am not inferring that people cannot live life and be happy with ADHD. I am just saying that I stand in the position that a person with ADHD can’t know they need help because they don’t know how much better they could use their gifts if they actively treated their ADHD. Without being shown, that is. Jesus helped the sick. As we all should.

I used to be incredibly annoyed by people with ADHD. Like most people, I had no idea what it really was. I’ve made plenty of jokes about not being able to pay attention, and calling that ADHD. I used to think people with it were tactless, weren’t raised right, or had parents who just didn’t know how to discipline them. Or that they just talked more than I could handle. Of course, that can also be the case, but most of the time, it isn’t. It’s just being human with a brain with ADHD, and me wanting my life to be more comfortable.

Then I met this man.

He totally annoyed me. In fact, I knew that he had untreated ADHD, and I didn’t want to date him because of that. (I know, look at me thinking only inside the box.) I had had a few intimate relationships that didn’t go well and the other in those relationships blamed ADHD. I just didn’t really want to walk down that path again. But then I never went away, and he never went away, and it became something “we” faced rather than something just “he” faced.

I know what ADHD is now. And it’s not his fault. Nor is it his choice. Had I gone away, I wouldn’t have grown in my faith (the whole point of life) the way I have. And I would have missed the most fun, challenging, crazy, awesome, beautiful adventure of the past couple years. So I’m really glad I didn’t. And I’m glad I’ve learned these things:

1) Jesus is patient. I thought I was a lot more patient than I inherently am. 
Myyyy goooooodness, don’t pray for patience unless you want to learn how to be patient. And don’t expect to be able to handle medication trials and irrational anxiety really well if you’re not Jesus. Because I’m not Jesus, and handling those things are (were) really difficult. I definitely thought I was a patient person. And in some ways I was. Namely, when I fully understood situations, I was waiting in line or looking cool on a summer day. But when it comes to MY personal time, I wasn’t the best at that. Jesus is working on it. Thanks, ADHD!

2) I definitely apparently really don’t have a clue what is best for me. Jesus does. 
This fits well with the patience lesson as well. I didn’t exactly plan on having ADHD in my life forever. I was going to have a perfectly calm household where we ate nice popcorn in our perfectly clean living room each night. Where we each have 5 best friends and no tears. Nice ironed clothes and lots of perfect energy. Haha. That’s a little dramatic. But I wasn’t envisioning that we’d get to come up with awesome ways to work around forgetfulness for all of our life. But I also didn’t imagine having someone who wants to dance with me in the kitchen like a fool all the time either. See, Jesus knows better than me. And being organized is really actually super fun. Color coated post-it notes anyone?

3) Jesus makes people awesome. And as Christians in America, we’re bad at seeing that sometimes. 
One of the most challenging pieces for someone with mental illness of any kind is social interaction. I find that Christians (Sorry for saying this outright if it offends you.) are definitely cool with you being around as long as you’re working to “overcome” your issues by “letting Jesus have it.” When every issue is a spiritual one and they can just read the Bible and it should go away. And as long as we can all meet over coffee and they don’t have to deal with you crying, or being anxious, or fidgeting while you’re talking to them. But that’s not what Jesus did with the lady who touched his robe. He knelt down and talked with her. Just something I’ve learned that we can all do better – stop thinking that people are how they act. And sometimes we need medical care. That’s Jesus too. It’s just my job to show up and love. Not say how people need to be outright.

4) Jesus is LOTS of fun. 
Seriously. If you want to know that Jesus is fun, just try to get your brain to do something that it can’t. Usually it won’t work. But there’s always room to laugh. Everything doesn’t have to be straight laced and “perfect” to be absolutely wonderful. And sometimes the sheer unexpectedness of ADHD makes life lots of fun. I definitely see Jesus in new ways I wouldn’t have been able to before.

5) I cannot rely on my significant other to be my strength. But I can rely on Jesus. 
There have been lots of times when Ray wasn’t able to give me the attention that I needed because he just couldn’t. He didn’t try to be that way. He wasn’t a man that was just zoning out. He just couldn’t because his brain didn’t let him. And that was almost more annoying than just being able to blame someone. So I had to just go sit down with Jesus and let Him be who He was. And you know what? I’ve learned a lot about grace and Jesus’ love for me. And I’m so thankful for that.

6) Praying needs to always happen. 
ADHD has taught me to pray. And then pray some more. And some more. And some more. And to keep praying. And I’ll continue. Cuz it changes everything and makes the impossible possible. I prayed for healing for Ray. God sent me and taught me to be supportive and kind. Healing is happening.

I’ve learned tons, as we both have, but there’s a short version of what’s on the plate these days. We’ve been blessed to find some meds that work, and have been able to work through a lot of healing because of that medication slowing things down for us. And life is a lot less crazy. But I promise, there are going to be more crazy days. And those are going to teach me about Jesus, and love too.

I’m excited for that.

…because love wins.

I must dance. You must dance, too.


She stands behind the curtain, looking at the piercing eyes in the crowd. She could back down, she could hide from the stares and the judgement, and the knowledge that she will inevitably mess up this routine. She will probably fall. It won’t be perfect. 

And they expect perfect. 

“Can I do this? Will my leg even hold out? I haven’t ever tried such a thing.” 

“Dance,” God says. 

“But how?” 

“Dance with me,” He says again quietly – strong. In a way that almost demands to be trusted. 

“No one taught me how. I can’t dance like everyone else.” 

“But you follow the beat I put in you. You need to dance. You’re My music.” He whispers. His eyes are strong – confident. 

“I can trust Him. He knows my steps,” she says to herself. 

Out she steps. 

Just alone out here. 

The music starts. 

A slow, gentle, beat, as she has learned like should be – slow and gentle. 

One step, and then another. Some quick steps. A magical spin under the moving orange lights. The air is crisp, and the audience silent. 

She starts to see the life events show up on the dance floor. 

A sick child – she floats to take his hand, and brings the music to him. Soon he is smiling a most magnificent smile. 

An illness in the family – she ducks for the challenge it is to get to that ill person, but finds that music unlocks the doors to stop her from helping. Healing comes in a brilliant soft white light.

Jobs, pain, rainy days – No need to face them. They resolve themselves as she floats around them and her light shine upon them fast. 

And it occurs to her – 

“I dance to my own life. That’s my own beat. I know exactly how to dance. My life is my dance. He made this. I cannot fail if I try.” 

God steps out onto one side of the stage, opposite of where she took her place. She sees those obstacles that are life between her and Him. But she also sees that wherever He steps, those obstacles minimize to a beautiful piece of the stage – highlighting her special steps in brilliant colors. Her favorites – making her dance more freely still. 

He guides her. A hand motion there, a step there. Pointing, carrying, dancing right along. 

She’s forgotten all about the people who were once her fear, and her eyes, heart, and soul, are locked with Him. 

The stage is now covered in the most beautiful flowers. Open paths. Wide spaces, where she is entirely free. The obstacles are gone. And as He spins her like she spun as a 2 year old, He gestures to the audience. 

She stops, and takes a step towards them. The lights come up on those faces. She gasps a soft breath. Every single one is someone who has come alive because of her dance. They were strangers at one time, but she now sees them all clearly. 

Best friends. Acquaintances. Used-to-be enemies. Mom, dad, kids, boyfriend.

Everyone someone she has danced into the life of.

This is her life. This is her stage. It’s important.

And it’s magnificent.

She beams, and takes a seat on the edge of the stage. God stands proudly and in a lovely way behind her. Tears fill her eyes. She didn’t know how to dance, she thought. She didn’t know where she would step, she thought.

“But He made the music in me know where to dance.”

“And it was the performance each of these souls needed to see to bring them to life,” He says.

And she knew from that point forward that our purpose in life is to dance. To dance, just as we know how. And we all learn together with each step. 

Our lives are His symphony.  

…because love wins.  

Mental Illness and Jesus


So I’m crazy. 

At least that’s what society says. Of course the stigmas of depression have continued to improve as years pass by and we can see that people all around the world have it, but still, there are lot of people who don’t understand mental illness. Either because they have it and don’t know, or they just don’t have it. Which is awesome. 🙂

But for those of us who do understand and are also Christians, there is this post.

So I have mental illness all around me. As you know (hey frequent readers!) I myself have been diagnosed with depression. I’ve got anxiety, more anxiety, addiction, and ADHD hanging out in other people in my family and friends. And it’s a new learning experience every day.

First thing’s first. Jesus CAN fix anything. He totally can. Prayer works, and you should keep praying, no, matter, what. There have been plenty of times when I have been hopeless for the people around me with mental illness. And by nature of depression, I was pretty hopeless for a long time for myself. But, I have learned to not relent. God wants us to keep knocking on that door until He opens it. He desires healing – he desires peace for us. But, that doesn’t always mean that He’s going to answer in the way that we think He will. He’s going to answer in the way that is most effective for bringing us to Him.

I will tell you, being mentally ill will bring a person to Jesus. There’s not a lot more to do without actually going crazy. Trying to help someone with anxiety, depression, or ADHD will as well. And you know what? I’m thankful for that. Some of us are on meds. I used to think that they weren’t necessary. Jesus humbled me…sometimes that’s the tool he wants to use. Sometimes the meds can’t do it all and there’s some serious soul-digging that has to happen.

But through it all, Jesus is king. He knows that mental illness is just another piece of the fallen world, and the truth remains the truth – He has freedom for us. We may not know how healing will come in earthly terms, but we do know that it will come from Jesus.

Anyway…if you’re ill, or someone you know is, don’t give up. Beg for strength, mercy, healing. Keep your eyes on the goal. You may need to change the plan to get to the goal, but walk in with a shield of love, and see that healing will come, in some way. It will. So rest in that. You’re not at all alone.

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…because love wins.

12 Ways to Maintain a Bad Attitude for Your Whole Life


So, today is one of my best friends’ birthday. His name is Dustin. He and I had the same kind of cancer in the same leg when we were little. I was 7, and he was 11. We did everything together – played, talked, threw up, had major surgery; everything. He lost his leg to the cancer, and a lot of his lung. And so did I. But we also have a lot of photos, and we’re smiling in them. Because our mothers and selves, decided that regardless of what was going on, we were going to be positive and enjoy our lives. Dustin died when I was 12. He was sixteen. Our attitudes are still positive.

In honor of his birthday, I’m going to get on my soapbox and preach about the ways we maintain a bad attitude and waste our lives.

1. Wait for everything to be perfect. 
What does that even mean? Perfect changes every day with the color of your skin, the latest fads, who you meet, what you process from your childhood, and the kind of house you just saw on TV. I will just blow that up for you now – it’s only as perfect as you make  it. Fiercely look for the positive in situations. And it would be wise to get used to life being a mess. Because it always is. Put on your best shoes, get ready to get them muddy, and jump in to see what happens.

2. Quit before you see the ending. Aka, avoid at all costs.
This lines up pretty well with number one. This whole world is full of quitters. When you have cancer, you don’t really get the choice to quit. It decides for you. Life should be like that. Cuz when you’re dying it will be. And I will tell you that walking away when someone needs you, when you’re afraid, or when you feel like you’ve failed is an excellent way to make sure that no one ever needs you, everyone is afraid of you, and to fail yourself, and others. Just stick around even if you don’t know what to do. Life has a way of working itself out if you leave your heart in it and bring your good attitude.

3. Hate yourself.
Most specifically, I mean get up every single morning and look in the mirror. Find every piece of your body and mind that you hate, recite every word that anyone ever said to you about how you looked, and then work to combat them with changing your clothes, combing your hair, and all around aiming to be whatever level of perfect they set for you. THAT IS DUMB. Every single person in this world is busy living up to some standard of someone. All the while, the person who set the standard is trying to live up to someone else’s. IT DOESN’T MATTER. You’re a soul. Just go fly, soul. Haters are always gonna hate. But it’s because they hate themselves. There’s no need for you to hate yourself too. It’s really not so great to fit in with all the people who already hate themselves.

4. Take your aggression out on others. 
In the house in which I grew up, we were allowed to be whatever mood we wanted to be. We were not, however, allowed to hurt other people because of our mood. So if I was mad at something, I didn’t get to redirect that at the safe place – my mom. I mean, I did, for a while, until one day she just looked at me and told me she didn’t like me anymore, no matter how much she loved me. She’s a great mom, and that was a pretty swift wake up call. If my own mother didn’t like me, there is a good chance that no one else would either. And it wasn’t her fault. (She again likes me after I stopped being mean.) People are not punching bags. They are not responsible for your happiness. I mean, if you’re happy, unwaveringly lift people up. Don’t quit. (see above) But for your aggression, find a real punching bag if you need to. And then go punch it until the emotions are taken down enough notches to have a real conversation with someone who will share wisdom with you. But leave your walls with the punching bag and let go of your aggression. Being mad about someone or something doesn’t do a thing to them…but it ruins you and your life. Also, anger isn’t a safe place. It’s a lonely place.

5. Never take ownership for your mistakes. 
This is a perfect way to pretend that you’re perfect. And it’s a perfect way to keep everything locked inside like poison. Every person you hurt will carry that hurt because you have legitimized the mean things you did to them. They’ll think of your bitter words when they look in the mirror in the morning. Being disconnected from your reality is not okay. That’s a great way to continue to be disengaged and distant. Because you know, even though we all pretend we’re perfect on facebook, we’re really not. And no one really likes someone who thinks that they are and can do no wrong. No one likes to get blamed for someone else’s pain all the time either.

6. Always blame everything on everyone else. 
This is a great way to continue to never take ownership for your mistakes. The guy at the grocery store didn’t smile at you. What a loser. So negative. Your mom didn’t call you soon enough on your birthday. Work was challenging because your coworker was mean. Your toe hurts because you hit it on a curb and the city built the structure wrong. We can all pretend that we don’t do that, but oh, we do. And the thing is, you see what you want to see. And you see what you feel. So pay attention. If you’re blaming the whole world for your pain, it’s probably because you’re putting yourself in that painful place all on your own.

7. Never let anyone love you.
We all have bad attitudes because people don’t love us, right? Wrong. We have bad attitudes and that makes us hard to love. How are you in any more trouble than the rest of us? We all have our hard stuff. And just because it’s hard and someone or something hurt you before doesn’t mean everyone is going to be a twit and hurt you again. Or they might. But that’s how life works. It’s better to love and get hurt than to live in the lonely place where you keep yourself. People just want to help. You have to let them. And be prepared – they may not help just how you want them to. But it may be how you need them to.

8. Never listen. 
This is an excellent way to be in a bad mood forever. Never listen to what anyone says. When they’re talking, always be thinking about how dumb what they’re saying is and be waiting for your turn to talk. Because obviously that’s what needs to happen for you to feel better. Wrong. People hate people who don’t listen. And that’s a good way to make sure that you never have anyone to listen to you again. Yeah, you need people to lean on, but you might learn a lot if you hear what they say and apply it to your own life.

9. Always think about yourself. 
You’re walking down the street. What are you thinking about? Yourself? Well, stop it. Just, stop it. Think about anything else. The trees. The water. People who need prayer. Your shoes. Jesus. Anything. I promise that the more you think about yourself, the worse your attitude is going to be. Life comes from helping someone. When things are hard, go help someone else. Call a friend and ask them how they are. Do anything but think about yourself and what you think you’re missing in life.

10. Never be pleased. 
Always let your emotions lead what you say. Never speak out of logic, only emotion. Complain whenever you can. That the food doesn’t taste good enough. That the service isn’t fast enough. That your hair isn’t nice enough. Whatever you can complain about, DO IT. I’m totally kidding. Stop complaining. You won’t feel better doing it. When you’re about to complain, stop. Whatever it is you were going to complain about, find something positive to say about it instead.

11. Don’t be thankful. 
This is an awesome way to be in a bad mood always. Don’t be thankful for stuff. Always focus on what you don’t have and never on what you do. Also kidding. Stop doing that. Focus on the positive. Don’t think that you’ll be ignoring all your sad thoughts and that they’ll build up or something. No. Just fill your mind with good things, and the negative will come to the surface manage-ably. Whatever it is you’re upset about, stop being upset about it and find something in it for which you are thankful.

12. Try to hide from God. 
This is the capstone here. The best way to have a bad attitude forever is to hide from God. Cuz then he can’t change you, and you can wallow until you die. Continue to think that He can’t heal, that he won’t come through, that if you keep your heart locked up you’re safe, or that you’ve done too much bad stuff. Nah, focus on the truth. And see the positive in Christ every day. I promise you, that will set you free. Your joy will turn into happiness, and pretty soon you’re going to be known for being the person that is happy. And all of a sudden everyone will want to be around you. And that will create a positive cycle for you to live in.

But, it has to start with you. No one else makes you happy all the time. But you can make sure you’re much happier with the way you think. You need to do what you need to do inside yourself. Happy day, all!

…because love wins.