Every day is wedding day.


Today, I want to make mention of these people – who have stood by us in great times, bizarre times, and hard times. Who make us laugh, bring purpose to our lives, and who we could not be ourselves without. These are words for them:

“The most beautiful people we have known are those who have known defeat, known suffering, known struggle, known loss, and have found their way out of the depths. These persons have an appreciation, a sensitivity, and an understanding of life that fills them with compassion, gentleness, and a deep loving concern. Beautiful people do not just happen.”

-Elizabeth Kubler Ros

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…because love wins.

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I am marrying someone with a chronic illness.


I didn’t want to marry someone who had as much difficultly as I did in life. I wanted someone who had it all together – who didn’t have a hard time doing the things I do – who could take care of every part of me. Maybe somewhere in life I had been led to believe that I needed that. That I needed someone to take care of me all the time, and that there was only a specific way in which that could be done. I’ve learned differently.

So I had a list of qualities that made me think no one was good enough to do the job. They weren’t spectacular, but they were probably very different than others had. I guess I don’t really know what they all are anymore, because I think I’ve thrown those out the window in exchange for way more than I thought I needed.

Ray is perfect, for me. Not in the blah blah blah cliche way. But in the way that only God can possibly know what I need to take care of my soul, my body, and my heart.

He is a mess. And so am I. A big old beautiful mess.

When he was diagnosed with narcolepsy, I suppose that’s the time that I could have said, “Well, that’s going to be too hard, so nope.” That certainly wasn’t on my list of things I wanted in a husband. There are hard things about it. He can’t be scared because his legs will give out underneath him. (no, I’m not kidding – it’s called cataplexy) And there are certainly times in life when he’ll be scared and we can’t stop that. We have strict bed times. It’s not a lot of fun to live in the night all the way to 9:30pm before saying goodbye, but it’s what we have. The medicine is expensive, and if we don’t have it sometime in the future, we’re probably a bit out of luck. And maybe we’re naive (duh, who isn’t?) but we’ll deal with that when it comes.

Anyway, the point is, I’m marrying someone with a chronic illness. And I would recommend you do so too.

The thing is, we know we are very human because of chronic illness. I am sick, then he’s sick, and sometimes we’re sick on the same day. And those days are hard, but they are also full of love. We aren’t prideful because we are aware that it’s all pretty able to fall apart at any time. And we like our weird illnesses and the unique parts about us that challenge the other. I like to stay up late, but it’s healthier for me to go to bed. So marrying someone with narcolepsy makes me a better human – in a way I didn’t expect. Thanks God.

I’m marrying someone with a chronic illness and I’m really excited about it.

Pray for us, always, and forever, please. 🙂

…because love wins.

Some learning about ADHD.


I’ve decided that ADHD is worse than both depression and anxiety. I have also been able to see that not being close to someone who lives with a mental illness can make it very hard to understand what a mental illness even is. But I have learned that if you are close to someone with mental illness, you’ll learn a lot about the beauty of being human. Here’s why. 

Let me state this, as a follow up to my previous post – ADHD stinks. It’s up and down and triggered by all kinds of things. It involves the parts of the brain which need to be used to see problems. It’s like trying to process how to fix a machine through that broken machine, for the person living with it. Of course, this isn’t to say that people with ADHD can’t figure out life. But this is to say that some of them have to work way too hard to do that. 

Then there’s us. People who stand on the outside and see the symptoms of things:
Easily distracted. (Yeah, the shiny things jokes are funny for about 5 minutes, but not a lot after that.)
Wanting to be organized, and not being able to figure out why that’s challenging.
Lacking motivation (not that they don’t care).
Hard time understanding social cues and that being more surprising for them than others around them.
And anger. (I would be angry if I couldn’t understand what I was feeling or why I was too.)

If my brain wouldn’t let me see how I could get out of those things, I wouldn’t know that I was bound to live my life short of who I could be either. No one with ADHD is stupid because of it. They’re not awful. They may have developed some character difficulties, but I would have too. They’re wonderful, beautiful people. Who just happen to have a hard time fighting their own brain.

 

This has been a lot of learning about ADHD. And has me thinking I probably have a new passion to pursue in my life. 

…because love wins. 

Why ADHD is not a disorder.


I love my boyfriend.

A whole lot.

When I met him, he talked a lot. I was really depressed and that was totally annoying to me because I couldn’t handle anything. Once, we went to lunch and he talked for the whole hour straight. I couldn’t make more than 3 sentences fit together, but he struggled to be able to make 3 sentences make sense together. I used to talk a lot too. (Haha. I still do sometimes.) So I kind of understood that. I had just gotten out of a relationship, as had he. So, we had lots of learning to do. And this clearly was not a good place to start another relationship. But there was something cool about that guy.

A couple months passed and we talked here and there. He was loyal, passionate, a dreamer, compassionate, and lively. And that’s awesome. Everyone loves that. He loved that too. And I love that. After a while, I could see that his mind always ran in 100th gear. I asked him if he ever thought of ADHD being a thing in his life. I knew a couple people with it before, but he managed really well. I could just see how tired he would get listening to his head go so fast.

So I started doing some more research. Yeah, totally could be it. I had just been treated for my depression and therefore found it hard to not be researching mental illness and how to be healthy. Fast forward a long ways, some more meds for us both, some new learning, some work and school adaptations, and here we are.

We’re not perfect by any means. We’ll tell you that. But we do understand each other pretty well. And we understand grace in new ways now. Ray can focus better, and learn things with more silence in his brain. And pay attention to me. And I’m not breaking down because he struggles to give me attention. And I have learned to be able to recognize when he does his best. And he, my best.

But the point of this post is to express that I don’t think “Attention Deficit  Hyperactivity Disorder” should be called a disorder. As I look around at the adults in my life, I see an awful lot of them that exhibit the signs of adult ADHD. They speak without thinking, they spend foolishly, they can get confused, and sometimes they can just be mean because they’re overwhelmed. And that’s pretty interesting to me. Because obviously in this society, we aim for order. And peace. And straight lines. But, that’s not always what everyone is.

Energy is suppressed rather than re-directed. They’re misunderstood and disliked because of the way they state things. They probably don’t understand some key life pieces because they couldn’t learn them when they were little. But that doesn’t mean they’re broken. That just means they’re different. So maybe people need to draw a picture rather than read a paragraph. Or maybe they have incredible insights into the world to share. That doesn’t make them broken.

I don’t love ADHD. Neither does he. But, we do understand it. And we do know that it’s a part of our life. The sooner we stop hating the person with the ADHD, the easier it is to work with and around the ADHD. Because I’ll tell you, ADHD means that that person has been through a lot in life…simply dealing with their own minds. And that means that they understand people beautifully. They may be right on the verge of helping someone else…or reaching their full potential. But they just need someone to pay attention long enough to show them how to pay their own attention.

My boyfriend doesn’t have a disorder. He’s got different abilities than I do. And he knows Jesus in a new way because of that. Because Jesus is still the king of all.

…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.

Words.


We all carry some pretty powerful weapons on our lips. The same lips carry band aids for the the soul. 

Words. 

Sometimes words are the most exceptional of things. I myself am a lover of affirmation. So I am a lover of positive words. 

But there have been words that have wounded me deeply. Because they hold the same power when they are terrible as well. 

Words. 

Quick. Slow. Quiet. Hopeful. Lies. Truth. 

The thing about words, is that they represent something more. They represent a person. And I’ve learned something. From God, from my mother, and from my father. Words should not be said unless you mean them. If you say something positive, you best follow through. Or else your words will quickly mean nothing. If you say something negative, you need to realize that those words carry on. They carry on to the trust that someone has for you later. They carry on to the trust they have for others. 

Do you really need to use that name? 

Do you really need to express your anger while you’re angry? 

Is it really their fault? Or are you calling them what you should be calling yourself? 

Words are powerful. They can make people stay. They can make people cry. They can make people laugh. And they can also make people leave. 

Here are some of my favorite songs about words. Today, and every day, think long and hard and choose them wisely. Think about what you would feel being talked about that way. And what you would feel if you said those things to someone. They can change everything. 

What are Words: Chris Medina

Words: Hawk Nelson

…because love wins.

Why it’s important that you’re healthy.


Today’s challenge in the 40 day challenge is to use something that God has blessed me with to bless another. I’m not a painter, so I’m not going to paint, but I really do love to write, so I’m going to do that. Hi. 

I lived a lot of my life depressed. I’m not exactly sure when I got depressed, but I know when my first real bout of depression came in. I was 16 and my whole life flopped on it’s head with breakups and deaths and cancer. And I thought I had it all together. Haha. No way man. So I basically fell apart. 

I knew that I was depressed. I got out of it. Started biking hundreds of miles per month and eating everything that could possibly help. I was in the sun probably way too much, but I made it. I’ve been aware since then that it’s something I needed to pay attention. I kind of survived college, though there were quite a few days where I thought International Finance 440 was going to be the death of me. Not sure if that was the reality or the depression, but I digress. 😉 

But, living years with depression even though I knew that I had it changed some pieces of me. Namely, my understanding of relationships. I was blessed with many healthy friends, but I also tended towards very unhealthy people. People who had enough issues that I could either a) try to fix them and feel needed and therefore not lonely, or b) know that I was going to feel okay because at least my issues were inside and no one could see them. (thanks, depression.) 

Fast forward to now. I was treated for my depression in January of 2013. It’s changed everything. I can sleep well, I can accomplish things, I can get places on time. And I can catch my brain when it goes off the deep end. But there are still those things that I need to re-learn. 

This is a time of health in my life. Attaining good balance, learning what healthy relationships look like, and mostly, demanding how I should be treated in life. There were plenty of people who manipulated and used me because I allowed them to in my life. They didn’t intend to – they were ill, but I was needed and it filled my emptiness, so I let it happen. But then all of a sudden a person (that’s me) wakes up and decides that they don’t want to live a stinky life like that anymore. 

So now here I am. People obviously aren’t going to be perfect all the time, but if you don’t demand that you treat yourself in a cherished way, and also demand that of others by not allowing them to abuse you, then it’s always going to be that way. You have to stand up for yourself. You have to know that where you are weak you cannot allow others to punch you in the heart and make you bleed. You have to know that this is your life and it’s so important that you’re healthy. You are alive, and therefore are allowed to live a beautiful, happy life. And not everyone will suck. 

Also, if you’re anyone who has someone who allows you to call them names or yell at them or immaturely deal with issues in your life and they’re not standing up for themselves, realize that you’re probably unhealthy too. And it’s time for you to get help as well. 

Here’s to being healthy, and being healthy making other people healthy. Just because other people are hurting doesn’t give them the right to hurt you. And just because you’re hurting, it doesn’t mean you can hurt other people either. 

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…because love wins.