Wednesday, June 30, 2010

Lunch? Crisis averted.

I hate lunch with a passion. I love breakfast food. I can usually drum up something interesting to eat for dinner. But lunch??? Ugh. I hate it. I try not to overdo carbs so sandwiches are out. I don't mind salads for awhile but every day? Ick. I'd really just as soon skip lunch all together but seeing that I'm marathon training I can't make it from 5 or 6 a.m. to 7 or later p.m. with nada even though I've tried. Enter my new favorite find. The pro bar. Completely processed sugar free (it uses organic cane juice which is a-okay with prism-yea!). They are LOADED with fat (healthy fat) so if I wasn't running a million miles a week I might reconsider them, but since I am.....cheers! Low sodium, high fiber, high protein..................delicious!! I'm currently working my way through a case of Nutty banana boom - one lunch hour at a time! YUM!!!

Wednesday, June 23, 2010

Stay tuned!!

I just scheduled a bunch of posts!! Some of your book recommendations have been read and reviewed. Several spiritual posts are complete. And other mundane mentions of my so called life are ready to go. Sorry for the delay. The blog is set to get a complete makeover in the fall and I've been working with Kaley to get that going. I'm planning to stay on a better schedule in the fall (Tuesday book reviews, etc.). I'll announce that soon. Those of you who have asked-no, the blog is not going private. I am now blogging for Thomas Nelson and Tyndale house publishers and they won't let it be private. Plus, so many of you get automatic updates by e-mail that it would just create a mess. So, I'll filter through the non-helpful comments and keep the ones I like :) The new blog will have private comments which should prevent some of the backlash that happens to come my way! If you get the blog by e-mail I'll still get your comments but they will no longer post to the actual blog.

Grateful to be on the journey with all of you and a special welcome back from his media break to Jim Kane. He sent me an e-mail the other day that said "I stand with you." What a wonderful thing to say :) Glad you're back.

LOTS more set to post starting tomorrow! Reminder we're reading the classics for the summer and we'll get back to our monthly list in the fall. Suggestions always welcome.

Talk to you soon,

Saturday, June 12, 2010

Re-post Depression

Re-post on depression

I think Depression can absolutely be spiritually related. The farther we are away from the Lord the less at peace we become. I believe with all my heart that absense from the Lord in any way can make us depressed-for sure. BUT, I do not think depression is 100% spiritually related all the time. There are medical concerns and imbalances and life stresses that make some personality types more prone to depression than others. Circumstantial depression is almost unavoidable in the typical human life. Lately it has been on my heart and in my conversations to say to those of you who read this who struggle with depression - DEPRESSION IS NOT A SIN! DEPRESSION IS A SYMPTOM! Being depressed or going through a period of depression is so not a sin. And I don't think it can even be classified as a sin to stay in depression. However, I do think God wants better for you.
From the bottom of the core of my very soul I hope by now you trust me when I say I understand. I've had the seemingly endless nights of agony and despair. I've cried until I was absolutely convinced that there could not be any more liquid left in my body-and then cried for hours more. I've thought very seriously at times that the only way through this is out. And when I say out, I mean out like for real. I've wondered if it was worth it. I still do sometimes. But what I know now that I didn't know then is that God cares.
Depression is a symptom that something is wrong. When you have a fever your body is fighting off an infection somewhere. When you have pain there is something wrong to the tissues and/or muscles surrounding the pain site. And when you are depressed something is wrong. Sometimes it is physical like a chemical imbalance or medication interaction. Other times it's hereditary. And more often than not it's a combination of biochemical factors and life related stressors.
And if I can just be not very spiritual for a moment - I don't always think Jesus alone is the answer. I think Jesus can work in our midst and with our technology to heal. I think it's important to listen to Him. The first bad day you have doesn't necessarily mean you need a prescription for Prozac. Certain situations in life (grief, etc.) take awhile to run their course. We have to give our minds and bodies and souls sufficient time to recover through the losses and heartaches of life.
But I think there comes a time when you know all the outside stuff isn't working. Good diet, exercise and sufficient sunshine can do a lot to eliviate depression, but not for everyone. Talk therapy is extremely beneficial, but not always the answer. There comes a point when medication is a really great option. I'm not promoting or discouraging it, I'm just saying for some people (a lot of people) medication gives the best chance of returning to a normal feeling life. Psychotropic meds historically left people totally emotionless - that's not the case anymore. Medications are available to treat mild depression all the way up to very depressed almost comatose people.
I've heard from enough people lately that medication for mental illness is not spiritual. I'll have to insert what I heard Chonda Pierce say the other day. "Tell those people to take their glasses off and drive home." :) Sometimes we just need a little help to make it! And I think God understands that. I so love the thought of a line of healing where people get hands laid on them and they leave totally healed and restored. I totally believe in the power of God to do just that. However, I think most of the time we grow in Him in the process. We gain spiritual strength and endurance by what we learn THROUGH the valley. And you may not be there today, but one day with God's help I believe you will be thankful for the journey. I am.
People always think that when they break a bone the point where it was broken is weaker than the rest of the body. Not true. The place where the bone heals is STRONGER than the average pieces of bone surrounding the break. I think it's the same with God. When we are healed of our brokenness people want to think of us as weaker, but Beloved we are Not. We are stronger. When God injects his healing power into the broken places in our lives, we are STRONG in Him.
Take courage today those who are struggling. God, even now, is loving you, holding you, and carrying you. He sees your heart, motives and intentions and he knows who you are.....His.

Re-post Depression

*Because I know you're going to ask and it's hard to find previous posts by topic I am going to re-post my 2 main posts on depression*

Be joyful in hope, patient in affliction, faithful in prayer. -Romans 2:12

I still get lots of questions about depression. Causes, symptoms, treatment options, my views on medication, etc. And I have discussed depression on the blog over and over again. My views are not changed, but I will post a summary today of what I've already talked about.

Personally I'm tired of mental illness in general being classified as some nonspiritual illness. Particularly people who are clinically depressed can no more get themselves out of depression than diabetics can pray their sugar down while consuming entire cakes. It's ridiculous and it needs to stop in the Christian circle especially. I will say that mental illness gets over diagnosed-a lot. Other disorders do too. Everyone who eats chili fries for lunch goes to their Dr. for an acid reflux medication prescription which is why those of us who actually have it have to fight with the insurance companies for months. A bad day here and there; several bad days here and there; tears of frustration or anger or sadness, situations that happen to and around us that make us less than happy does not equal a mental illness.

Emotions are what make us human! We wouldn't know joy if we never knew sorrow. We wouldn't recognize peace if we never felt uneasy. A disorder is classified as something that perpetually interrupts the normal functioning of a life. If you cannot function because of being depressed. If you can't get out of bed, if you have no motivation, if you have unexplained episodes of crying at least 5 times a week, if your sleep and or appetite are off-it might be time to get checked out for depression. That said, it could just as easily be an imbalance of hormones.

I've said before, I spent 3 years in a semi charismatic church in college. I didn't mind it at all. But I found the lines of people expecting immediate healing to be a little bizarre. I'm not saying God can't miraculously do whatever He wants to do, but I have seen that as more the exception than the rule. We grow in our faith by learning to depend on Him for the answers that we need. He has a purpose for anything we go through.

My take on medication? If you need it - get it. If at some point you don't need it anymore-get off of it.

My take on therapy? If you need it - get it. You might find paying to have a conversation where you can say whatever you want is the best thing that's ever happened to you :)

My take on depression? It certainly isn't a sin. It's a symptom. God intends for us to live free in Him and however He leads you to make that possible is a gift from His heart.

Friday, June 11, 2010

Friend Job

At the risk of sounding a little "glass half empty" I'll say my favorite Biblical characters are Eve and Job. Always have been. I appreciate the spiritual giants and the people you can model your life after, but I just really connect better to these friends. Rejoicing with those who rejoice does not come naturally for me. It's much easier for me to empathize with those who are suffering. I have chronicled my own journey with depression on here before and still get comments on those posts. So, when the pastor at the church I'm attending announced he was starting a series on Job on Wednesday nights I was secretly thrilled :)

I attended a 4 year Methodist college where I got my degree is psychology. I also have a minor in Biblical studies and Old Testament Prophets. I'm grateful for those years and the constant stream of Biblical knowledge that came my way, but what I remember most about those times is the classes on Job. I love a topic that doesn't end and I certainly had the best of the best in Biblical professors. They couldn't reach a final conclusion on Job either. It's a hard book and I adore it. I get asked the same questions Job asked of the Lord just about every weekend. Suffering is hard to explain. The mind of God is even harder to comprehend. It's not much consolation in the midst of a trial to know that God has it all figured out "in the grand scheme of things."

Sometimes I think we do need answers. Sometimes I think we can shake the door off the heavenly hinges and beg God to please answer us only to feel like all of Heaven is silent. I do not think God is required ever to give us any, but at some points He does. It's so hard to trust God in the silence, but it is necessary for the development of a strong foundation of faith.

Have you felt like giving up lately? Me too. Twice today! I always get to the place in Job where he has just lost everything and I want to throw my Bible at his depressed and damaged self and say, "WAIT, it gets better! You get it all back and more!! You suffer well! You make it! You just haven't read the end of the story!" But on that rock covered in sores, lonely, surrounded by the counsel of the unhelpful Job doesn't know that. And we don't either.

I always re-read Sheila Walsh's biography when I hit a silent patch with the Lord. Today she's an established writer, speaker, has a beautiful family and 2 cute dogs :) But it wasn't that many years ago that she was sitting on a bridge trying to decide why she shouldn't jump off. Following that, she spent a month in a mental institution and the complete revamping of her life. Even with all that the Lord gave back to her, she still struggles with depression. She didn't know sitting on the edge of the bridge that night that eventually she would get everything back and more. She also didn't know that she would continue to struggle.

Lately I'm not praying for a map for this life. I'm trusting, like Job, that the questions are welcome. I'm trusting He is the Map. And all I can see is page 6, but there's a whole story still to be written. And I think it's okay to look at the last page once in awhile and see that we win. Depression, heartache, sickness, disease, death - their days are numbered.

I don't know where life finds you tonight, but if you feel like you're on a rock in the middle of nowhere, stuck spiritually, hurt emotionally, a mess psychologically, not where you want to be physically, in an endless cycle mentally, messing everything up relationally, feeling like no one that's offering advice is helping, and ultimately very alone-know that you're not. The creator of the entire universe and every cell in your broken heart is with you, believing in you and whispering in your ear, "I know the end of the story. Don't give up. The best is yet to be."

Wednesday, June 9, 2010

Thomas Nelson Book Greater Love

To be fair, I'm not a huge Robert Whitlow fan. This series is by far the best of his, but he's just not my favorite. This is the 3rd book in the Tides of Truth series the first 2 being Deeper Water and Higher Hope. I liked the character of Tami and certainly felt a connection to her story. The ending was not predictable which I also prefer in a book. It took me forever to read it. I did not find it to be a page turner and I'm not sure if I wasn't reading it for Thomas Nelson I would have finished it. I didn't especially care for the character of Sister Dabney or her prophetic way of giving advice. It needed a LOT more suspense, a better story line, and some more believable characters. Just my opinion.

Monday, June 7, 2010

Goodbye Hello

This is my last car. PT Cruiser Convertible in Red (my favorite). I loved this car. Really. It was cute. It was fast (really fast!). I loved the convertible top even though it's 99% of the time too hot to use it. Super fun for road trips and great to drive.

Until it wasn't.

The past 6 months it had NOTHING but problems. Big problems. Problems it shouldn't have had at only 65,000 miles. Air conditioning, battery casing, some other car lingo I'm not familiar with but know it had a big price tag problems. And it wasn't getting better. Friday it didn't work at all and everything wrong with it was naturally not covered by any semblance of warranty.

So, what's a girl to do??'

She bought a new one :)

This is my new Jeep Patriot! Yes, I know it's still red. This is my 3rd red car actually. It's brand new and it's so perty!! No miles, cheaper payment, better gas mileage, cheaper insurance and back to a good warranty? I had to do it. I drove it all weekend and I love it! The dogs think that I picked this one just so we'd have more room to go to the dog park. They might be right :)

Sunday, June 6, 2010

People Places and Things

Hey Blog friends. Hope you've had an awesome week and a great weekend. Thank you all so much for the encouragement/re posts/etc. from my last post. And thanks even for the criticism. I can always use a little "get your act together and get on with your life" when it comes with love :)



I've been analyzing several relationships in my life these past few weeks. (Just friendships etc. not "relationships" - don't send your wedding attire to the cleaners!). I think sometimes you have to do that. You have to look at them and see what they're contributing to your life, what you're contributing to their life, ways to make it better, and what about it if anything needs to go. I think you have to be so careful with relationships born out of habits. I'm all or nothing in a lot of ways and it makes boundaries really hard to maintain. More on this in the near future.

Conclusions for now? I can't afford to lose anyone Spiritually. I need to stop being a baby and not focus on stupid lines that maybe do and maybe don't need to be in the proverbial sand. I also need to give much more of what I need to the Lord and let Him be my ultimate everything. I'm 30 years old. Just because I don't have my own family doesn't mean I shouldn't be able to sit at home a few nights by myself without being bored. I do not have to fill up a schedule out of fear. I run my mouth all the time about how busy I am and then talk about how I wish I could stay at home some evening and read a book. Well, I probably could if I wasn't trying to be Wonder Woman!! I NEED some down time. I need unending time with the Lord. I can't give him 10 minutes and expect to be spiritually filled to the brim if I start out absolutely depleted. I'm sure he appreciates my morning monologue while I dry my hair, but I'm wondering if I might feel like our relationship was stronger if I gave Him some time to speak to this often overwhelmed heart of mine. Going to work on that.
I'm not going anywhere that I know of anytime soon. I just like the title of this blog!! :)
Lately I've taken a huge lack of interest in things in general. I'm not really a things person. If you really, really, really love this purse-you can have it. If it would totally change your life to have the mug I'm drinking from, I'll run it through the dishwasher and it's all yours. I don't get attached to stuff. I like stuff I guess as much as the next person, but if you want it, really, you can have it.
Of course lately I've had some unpredictable incidents that have helped me eliminate the great desire for stuff. 2 months ago my TV got fried by lightning. I don't even kind of miss it. Weird but true. My garage door hasn't been working consistently for at least that long (again-lightning). I've rather enjoyed walking around my ENTIRE house to get to my car. Okay, that might not be exactly true and really wasn't this weekend when it was POURING down rain, but in theory I'd like to see the silver lining on occasion :) My dogs ate my very favorite pair of black sandals the other day. I loved those shoes. I love my dogs more and I can totally see where they were pretty enough to eat :) I could go on since the lightning really cooked a bunch of stuff, but you get the idea.
If I had to guess at the mind of God I would say most of this is part of a grand scheme to get me to focus on things that matter. To focus on the eternal and not things that will one day pass away VERY easily. To invest in things that are eternal. To put time, effort and money into things that truly will stand the test of time. I want to be a person focused on what's important.

Tuesday, June 1, 2010

Learning in the Waiting

The only thing I really miss about living in the North is the changing of the seasons. I love how the atmosphere itself reminds us 4 times a year that we can always make things new. I've posted the lyrics to Nichole Nordeman's song Every Season on here before but this verse is on my bathroom mirror right now. In eyeliner :)

And even when the trees have just surrendered
To the harvest time
Forfeiting their leaves in late September
And sending us inside
Still I notice You when change begins
And I am braced for colder winds
I will offer thanks for what has been and is to come
You are autumn.

I feel like my soul is living in autumn right now and it's way hard. Maybe it's just not been such a good week. I've cried twice and it's TUESDAY! And I'm trying to make these contacts last until my appointment next month-crying plus mascara will wreck a perfectly good pair of disposables let me tell ya!!

Humor me? I'm a little overwhelmed. I really want to run the Disney Marathon in January but I don't know how I'll ever find the time to properly train. Between a sprained neck and horrible shin splints I haven't run around the block in over a week. There's time, but I need to make a decision and soon. September 1st is my personal deadline for being at my ideal weight. That will be 2 years since I gave up sugar. I have a really long way to go and am way discouraged about it. I can't keep my house organized, I can't keep my yard maintained, I can't keep my car cleaned out, I can't keep the laundry done (and I'm ONE person!), I feel like I'm neglecting the dogs, and my friends, and just feel halfway at any given place at any given moment.

I know you're sick of hearing about Robert Benson's book Between the Dreaming and the Coming True. Too bad! :) I'm so drawn to that book because I feel like I take up permanent residence in that space between and I'm not good at it. Living in the here and the not yet. Longing for Heaven without giving up on Earth. Waiting and waiting and waiting.

Honestly, I'm leaving God out of the process at the moment (I just felt myself hit my head falling off the spiritual pedestal some of you insist on putting me!) I really am. I'm tried of questions without answers. I'm tired of feeling left by the spiritual wayside. I'm tired of feeling like I'm my biggest spiritual obstacle and not being able to get away from myself. I'm tired of telling the Lord "I can't do this, it's too hard, ANSWER ME!" and hearing WAIT. No explanation. No promises. Just wait. HUMPH!

Every time I insist on anything from the Lord the litany from Job "Where were you when...." starts racing through my mind. So true.

I've known the Lord long enough to know He cares deeply for me flaws and all and He will always absolutely have my best interest at heart. He knows that last night he added 256 tears to not my first bottle! He knows that my heart may bend to the point of physical pain, but it will not break. He knows what's around the next bend and the next corner. He knows the greatest good in this life is a relationship with Him and he will stop at nothing to see that I'm becoming like Him. He recognizes the prayers that start with, "I can't," as a sacrifice that is beautiful to Him.

I also feel certain that He would like to be included in this process, in this struggle. I feel like it would be in my best interest to learn the lessons He's assigning-even in the waiting. I don't want to waste this time. I don't want life to be different one day and think, "I really should have trusted Him in the process." I don't want to get to Heaven and God say, "That wasn't an accident." I want to learn what I'm supposed to learn where I am right this moment. I want to love Him NOW even if it's through doubts and tears. I want to find His heart now through confusion and frustration. I want to trust Him especially when the way is cloudy and the path unclear. I really, really, deep in the very corner of my soul want to. And I know He knows that.

Based on the last several posts and the comments that have flown my way (some good-some UGLY!!) I have considered setting my blog to private again. I can't do that because of Thomas Nelson and also because I don't want to. The comments I get from people who have told me I give them permission to be real about their relationship with the Lord are worth any ugly comments I get. So, take it or leave it. This is my life. This is where I am at the moment. I could write some sugary post about leaving everything at the foot of the cross or I can tell you that sometimes I don't feel like Heaven's listening. I can pretend everything is always perfect or I can tell you that life's hard (you already knew that!). This blog started for me and it will end for me. It's a perfect outlet for me and that anyone wants to read it is beyond amazing to me. But you don't have to. I will understand if you don't-honestly. But I'm going to keep writing honest posts and believing that living out our faith is a process. Some mountains. Some valleys.

To those of you who love me good or bad, faithful or faithless, funny or heartbroken - love you right back and so thankful for the ways you contribute to what the Lord is doing in this life. You'll never know how thankful.

"To the child of God there is no accident. He travels an appointed way." - A.W. Tozer