Wednesday, December 13, 2017

Wednesday's Weekly Recipes - Christmas 2017

2 words...

CHRISTMAS COOKIES!!!!!

I found the most wonderful (translation: practically no fail) sugar coolie recipe and royal icing recipe last year. I confess I did not make CHRISTMAS cookies last year...I was a bit late discovering my passion for these little pieces of art. Iz and I started making cookies in January. This year I have time blocked out to make cookies and i am pretty stinkin excited about it.

Now, to be fair, this is NOT something that can be done quickly. This is NOT the thing you want to try for a last minute something to take to the office party. No, this is a Saturday afternoon endeavor.

My plan is to make make and roll my dough on Thursday night,  bake the cookies on Friday night while I clean house, finish laundry and house work on Saturday morning, get supper in the crockpot and then spend Saturday afternoon decorating cookies with the girls. (it's just too much for me to do in one day)

Before i forget (gasp), here is a link to the recipes for sugar cookies AND royal icing that I use:
The Best Sugar Cookie Recipe. Ever.

Couple of quick things...
Use parchment paper. Totally worth it.
Bake your dough COLD.
Chill your rolled dough for at LEAST 30 minutes
You want to take them out of the oven BEFORE they turn "golden" if you want nice chewy cookies. Once they turn golden, they will be crunchy.

Get a feel for using an icing bag before you start on your cookies.

I have done cookies with my kids since they were LITTLE. Iz and her friends LOVED making cookies when they were tiny. Back then I used sugar cookie dough from the grocery and cake decorating icing (also bought from the grocery) and lots and lots of "sprinkles". We made cookies for Halloween, St Pats, Valentines, Christmas, pretty much any time we wanted.

Yes, they make a huge mess... but OH the memories!

Now that she is older, Iz and I have moved up to homemade cookies and royal icing.

Here are some inspirations from my Pinterest "Cookies!" board:






Enjoy!!!!!


Much love and BIG hugs!
K


Tuesday, December 12, 2017

Tuesday's tips and tricks - Christmas Edition - Week 2

If you've read this blog for any length of time, you realize that I struggle with anxiety and depression. 


If you struggle with Stress and Anxiety, especially during the holidays, here are some Tips and Tricks I use to keep myself relatively sane.


Utilize a Calendar!
I can't stress this enough. A few minutes a couple times each day will help you plan your week and eliminate most all panic over last minute events.

Make a List!
A running list goes hand in hand with your calendar. They prompt each other. A calendar event can prompt me to add something to my shopping list. My to-do list can prompt me to block out time on my calendar. I am visual and need a good bit of positive reinforcement, so marking things off a list encourages me to get more done.


Get some SLEEP!
I mentioned resting last week, but SLEEP is also so very important. I have "lights out" on my calendar every day and do try to get in bed and on my way to sleep by that time, knowing that it allows me enough hours of sleep before my alarm goes off the next morning (also dictated by my calendar). We all know that woman who seems to have it all together but is a sleep deprived grouch. Don't be that girl. Go to sleep.


Eat GOOD food. 
I have to remind myself of this constantly. Food is fuel, not entertainment. Food is not a reward, nor is it to be used as punishment. Food is just the stuff your body uses for energy and nourishment. That's it. OH! I so totally struggle with this! I do know that when I eat good healthy food, my body thanks me for it. I have more energy and am even in a better mood. 
"Do not reward yourself with food; you are not a dog." 

Get moving!
They say that Exercise is the most under utilized anti-depressant. I have experienced this for myself. After a particularly stressful day, time on the elliptical will markedly reduce my level of anxiety. Remember this, Exercise is a celebration of what your body can do, not punishment for what you ate.

STOP Procrastinating!
This is my SINGLE greatest cause of stress. My calendar and my lists help with this, but it is a daily battle. If you are a fellow procrastinator, get that calendar out, make some lists and get some stuff done!

Finally, the greatest thing I've learned this year...You are only responsible for yourself. You are not responsible for making anyone else happy. You are not responsible for anyone else's behavior, nor is anyone else's behavior a reflection on you as a person. Remember, you don't have to set yourself on fire to keep someone else warm.

Much love and BIG BIG hugs!!!
K

Thursday, December 7, 2017

Christmas Tablescape Dinner 2017

What Christmas Means to Me

Christmas means something a little different to everyone. This was the thought behind the theme for our Ladies Christmas Tablescape dinner this year. I LOVE the progression of what Christmas means to the ladies as they age. The youngest table hostesses had festive tables, those who have lost husbands had tables filled with bitter sweet memories, and others used keepsake treasures for their centerpiece.

We all know that Jesus is the Reason for the Season.

We all know that the birth of our Savior is central to our Celebration of Christmas. 

It is nice to recognize the other things that make this time of year so special. Those are the memories we share with the people we love: laughter with friends, treasured decorations, travels, and family recipes. None of these are the "Reason for the Season," but together they do embody the heart of Christmas...

Love

It's the love we have for those God has given us that makes Christmastime so special and that love is displayed best by God Himself...

For God so loved the world that he gave his one and only Son, that whoever believes in him shall not perish but have eternal life.  For God did not send his Son into the world to condemn the world, but to save the world through him. John 3:16-17 (NIV)

I am excited to share the following pictures from this wonderful evening with you. 


















Women from all walks of life, of all ages and backgrounds were together laughing and enjoying themselves. We had over 80 women attend the dinner, ranging in age from 10 years to almost 90 years. 

What a blessing it is to have such a diverse group of women in my life. 






Finally, Our guest speaker was Jay Tea Leggett from the Center for Pregnancy Choices

She expressed the need for volunteers at the center as she explained to our ladies what services the center offers. Several ladies showed interest in becoming volunteers. 

We will be collecting diapers, wipes, baby lotion, etc. at the Christmas Eve Service and will deliver those items to the center in Pearl shortly after Christmas.








My heart is full.

Much love and BIG hugs!
K

Wednesday, December 6, 2017

Wednesday's Weekly Recipes - Christmas 2017

With Christmas comes baking (or stopping at the bakery) so what better time to share recipes?
I confess, I am a Pinterest junkie and I LOVE to try all the fancy things that people post on their Recipe boards. I don't always have TIME for these kitchen adventures and am learning that sometimes it just isn't worth the stress to do homemade. HOWEVER, when I DO have time, I love to bake. Over the next few weeks I'll share some of my favorite recipes.


Let's start with something super easy. This is my absolute favorite thing to make for parties. 

Jalapeno Cream Cheese Crescent  Poppers


1 package Cream Cheese (8oz) softened
4 oz diced jalapenos ( you can add more or less to taste)
1 Tablespoon Sugar
1 can Refrigerated Crescent Rolls

Makes 32 crescent Poppers (I usually make 2 batches...they go fast!)

Preheat oven to 375 degrees F.

Add Cream Cheese, Jalapenos and sugar to mixing bowl and ... mix
Sometimes I use a mixer, sometimes not. Up to you.
Once everything is blended together, I taste to see if I want more kick.
If you want more, just add more peppers and mix again.

Set mixture aside (Don't put it in the fridge. It's easier to spread at room temperature)

Open can of Crescent rolls and separate into 2 rectangles. Pinch the seams together.

Spread 1/2 the cream cheese mixture over one of the rectangles (I use the back of a spoon for this).

Once you've spread the cream cheese, roll the crescent starting with the LONG side. (like a pinwheel log)

Once it's rolled up, get a really sharp knife and cut it in half.
Cut those 2 in half
Cut those 4 in half
Now you have 8, right?
Cut those in half.
You should have 16 .

Now do the same to the other rectangle of Crescent Rolls.

Once you get them all cut, you can refrigerate and cook later if you are making these ahead of time.

When you are ready to cook them (oven preheated to 375), place them on a cookie sheet sprayed with Pam and bake for 13 minutes or so...might want to watch them since all ovens are different. When they are golden brown, take them out.

They are sooo good right out of the oven!


Enjoy!


Much love and Big Hugs!
K




Tuesday, December 5, 2017

Tuesday's tips and tricks - Christmas Edition - Week 1


Oh my GOODNESS! Is it December already???

I am totally not ready for Christmas and all the craziness that goes along with the Christmas season!
In an attempt to defend against Holiday Overload which can lead to extra anxiety and depression (which I definitely do NOT need), I am making a conscious effort to NOT get overloaded. Thought I would share my tips and tricks for surviving the holidays.

Week 1

USE YOUR CALENDAR!

I have a propensity to over-book myself. I love Christmas and all the things we do during December, so my immediate answer to most any invitation is "YES!!!!" I am TRYING to make a habit of saying "Let me check my calendar." This will help me keep my schedule doable. That being said...

I've already stretched myself too thin and it is only December 5!

Saturday was our Ladies Christmas Table Scape dinner. (pictures and post to follow on Thursday of this week) Sunday was church, I'm on the Praise team rotation this month, requiring practice Sunday morning and afternoon. We had a Chili and Soup Fellowship Sunday night.

Last night was my youngest's band concert.
Tonight we are attending a Christmas party.
Tomorrow is Church.
I have horse therapy scheduled for Saturday and am chaperoning a bonfire that night.
Then Church all day Sunday again.

This brings me to my second tip...

BE REALISTIC ABOUT WHAT YOU CAN DO!

For my friend Christie, the schedule above is no problem. She has 4 children and manages them flawlessly. I, on the other hand, am lucky to get to work with matching shoes most days! Christie can handle this week's schedule without breaking a sweat. Me...not so much. It seriously pushes my limit. My chest is tight and my heart is racing just thinking about it. The thing that is saving me from a panic attack is my calendar...where I can SEE that Thursday and Friday nights are clear.

My point is simply this...be realistic about what you need in terms of social interaction and time alone. If you need alone time like I do, be SURE to schedule that,  which segues nicely to tip number 3...

SCHEDULE EVERYTHING!!

A calendar, if used properly, will not only keep you from being over-booked, but will also insure that you have time to care for yourself. Perry told me to schedule EVERYTHING and this has proven more valuable that I thought possible. While you are marking out time for parades, parties, dinners, and concerts, be SURE to also mark time on your calendar for...

  • house cleaning (i know...YUCK! but better to have time to do it than to have someone show up with Christmas Cookies and see a week's worth of laundry piled on the couch!)
  • REST - oh my goodness, sweetheart...schedule some "me time" - Merry Christmas to ME!!! Schedule time for a nap, reading a book, watching a movie in bed...whatever is relaxing to you. Take time to just REST.
  • baking - if you like to bake, that is...if not... just buy it...not worth stressing over!
  • cooking - (see note on baking)
  • visiting with friends - with all the traveling we do in December, it is so nice to have a stress free evening or afternoon with the people we do life with day in and day out. 


STOP GUILTING YOURSELF!!!!

Yes, your kiddo would LOVE for you to make those amazing Santa cupcakes she saw on Pinterest for her class party, but if it requires you to miss 4 of your 6 hours of sleep...not worth it. Go buy some cupcakes and call it a day. 

STOP STRESSING YOURSELF!!!

Let's face it. Some women can pull out all the stops, be the perfect hostess or guest and make it look completely effortless, but we ALL know that one woman who is present at EVERY event, is the BEST at everything from decorating to baking, whose kiddos are always dressed all matchy matchy and NEVER have chocolate on their faces, who ALWAYS brings the most beautifully wrapped gifts...and is a total sleep deprived, stressed out jerk.

Don't be that girl honey. No one likes to be around that girl.


  • Use your calendar.
  • Be realistic about what you can do.
  • Schedule EVERYTHING (including rest)
  • Stop guilting yourself.
  • Stress less...ENJOY MORE!

Much love and BIG BIG hugs!!!!!!!
K





Thursday, November 30, 2017

Equine Assisted Therapy - session 1

I started "Horse Therapy." 

My friends and family have had great fun telling me what they envision this to be. 

I've only been once so far. Yes,  I talked to the horse. No,  he did not talk back. 

I was talking to the horse the way a person NORMALLY talks to a horse. Ya know, "Hey big guy. Aren't you a sweet boy." He acted like horses act. He wanted me to rub his nose and scratch his back and he sniffed my hair and clothes. The therapist, Nancy, was there of course and we were getting to know each other as well. The horse startled and I said "Oh! I'm sorry!" 

Nancy asked, "Do you realize you just apologized to the horse?"

I don't remember my response, but I do remember she laughed and told me I'd done it twice. She asked what I thought happened just then and I said something startled him. She asked what I though that was and I said that I thought he saw something over my shoulder. She said something along the lines of...

"So you are apologizing to a HORSE for something you have absolutely nothing to do with."

Imagine a 3-D puzzle. Say its 100,000 different shaped pieces that, together make some random abstract image. It has holes and gaps and some pieces are placed in precarious positions that make the structure vulnerable in multiple places. The entire structure is fragile, but familiar and that familiarity allows it to remain intact, albeit unstable. You believe the structure will fall apart if anything about the structure is altered. You are afraid of it all falling apart and fiercely protect the out of place (even broken) pieces that make the structure unstable and fragile...because this abstract, unstable, fragile structure is all you know. 

Initially this was me. Just me. That's almost exactly how I felt for...well...forever I guess. I have said so many times "I am afraid if someone touches me I will break into a million pieces"

I tried so HARD to keep this structure together.  The catalyst that drove me to the point of suicide was the realization that I cannot maintain the "structure."  Almost everything in my life was viewed through the lens of what "should be" or what I "should" do/think/feel.  All these "shoulds" make up the structure.  When my suicide attempt was unsuccessful, I THOUGHT that the way to get over this was to figure out how to get back to "normal" and protect and support this unstable structure that is... well.... I guess it's me. 

Enter the horse.

I realized that I was taking complete responsibility for a horse being startled by something I had nothing to do with, and something that fragile structure shifted.

I realized that I take complete responsibility for LOTS of things that might not be completely my responsibility, and it shifted a bit more...

Add Counseling with Perry back into the picture...

Perry and I revisited my session with Nancy and the horse. We talked about that for a bit and then about the upcoming holidays and how I'm feeling about that.

Somewhere in this discussion, it hit me that I am not responsible...not just that I don't have to FEEL responsible, but that in reality I am NOT responsible for SO MANY things, and that one little piece of the structure that shifted with the horse fell out of place... and when it did, the entire structure started falling apart...

But it didn't really fall apart at all...

It caused other pieces to shift and tumble and find NEW places...places where they actually fit.

That structure that was so precarious and fragile before is now becoming a solid cube, with all those 100,000 pieces becoming firmly seated in their proper place. I can see that the end result will be something solid, dependable, safe, whole, durable, finite, and stable.

It SEEMS like our world will implode if let go of the death grip we have on the way things "should" be, but letting go of the precariously put together, fragile, unstable image of how things "should" be and accepting the reality of the way they ARE is how we find healing.

I've said many times that I truly believe that every part of this journey has been necessary. I absolutely believe this to be true. I believe that my medicine is necessary, as is counseling with Perry and with Nancy. I believe that my time in the hospital was necessary.

I still have good days and bad days...the crazy thing is...it is very freeing.  It's okay to have bad days because I am beginning to feel...

 solid. 

I don't know how else to describe it.

Much love and BIG BIG hugs!
K



Friday, November 24, 2017

Please Join Me at the Internet Cafe today

Yesterday was Thanksgiving. Today is my birthday. I have MUCH to be thankful for. I honestly did not think that I would be here to celebrate 45 years, but, thanks to God and His overwhelming mercy and grace...here I am. What better way to top off my 45th than to invite you to join me at the Internet Cafe where I've shared a bit more about my journey to healing.

Only God could lead me out of the pit of depression. I still have hard days. This journey isn't over, but....



Everyone thinks that suicide is such a terrible thing.
Honestly, where I am now is so much worse. It’s more than I can describe. I’m NOT going to kill myself. I took that option off the table, and that’s what everyone seems to be so worried about, but I feel like I am going to crumble to pieces at any moment. It’s like I am barely holding it together and if anyone touches me I will literally break into a million pieces. I feel so FRAGILE. I feel like I can’t be depended on, like I can’t carry my weight in things, like I am not meeting expectations. I feel like I am letting people down because I can’t get my act together.  I fight back tears constantly and I am afraid if I ever let that dam open, I may not stop crying…ever. I don’t want to FEEL this way. I don’t want to have to keep TELLING myself, “Just get through today.”(excerpt from my personal blog)
Perhaps you’re sitting in the dark, trying to find the light again. Perhaps you’re struggling through each day, putting on a smile to hide the darkness that wants to swallow you whole. If so, I’m glad you’re here. Please, sit with me a while.
I’ve spent the past months trying desperately to soothe the ache in my soul that brought me to this dark place.

Continue reading here Internet Cafe


Much Love and BIG BIG Hugs!!!!!!!!
K

Thursday, November 23, 2017

Project Simicolon

I found lots of "stuff" while searching for help and answers after surviving a suicide attempt.
This is one of my favorite discoveries.
It's Project Semicolon.
Heard of it?

Here's the skinny...


Isn't that great?
I think so!

How about this...


And finally...

Tomorrow is my 45th birthday and

I'm still here;



Much love and Big BIG hugs!
K


Wednesday, November 22, 2017

Things I learned in the Tattoo shop- Part 1


I got my survivor tattoo Friday night. I love it. I drew it, and it is amazing...not because I drew it, but because it is totally and completely mine... but that's a post for another day.

I had to wait for about an hour before the girl doing my tattoo could get to me and, while I was waiting, I was struck by how very out of place I felt. Not one person in the entire place was dressed like me. My hair and make up were completely different from everyone else's. They played music I'd never heard. They talked differently than I do...they used words I'm not comfortable with...words that are neither part of my vocabulary nor the vocabulary of anyone I normally talk to. Aside from their choice of adjectives, they talked candidly about things I do not discuss with...well, anyone and about other things that I am only vaguely familiar with.




I mean, I was in THEIR place. I didn't expect them to change the music. (Although I HONESTLY did not know that a song could contain so many expletives.) I didn't expect them to change their speech to make me comfortable; I realize that not everyone talks like me. The way they were dressed was pretty much what I expected, as were their hairstyles, tattoos, piercings, and make up. I mean... I was in a tattoo shop. None of that bothered me much.  No, what made me feel terribly self conscious and very much like I did not belong (and not only did I not belong, but that they did not care if I stayed or if I left) had nothing to do with any of these things.



They made me feel...awkward. (and not in my usual "I'm such an awkward person" kinda way.) They looked through me. They talked around me. They didn't make eye contact with me. If I asked a question, I only got the most basic answer. Any attempt I made at conversation was futile. I REALLY felt like they would rather I leave. (Which I'm sure is not the case.) They seemed to feel uncomfortable around ME and trying to talk to them only seemed to make that worse.

I was totally an outsider. 

All this made me stop and wonder, "Is this how one of them (the folks working and hanging out at the tattoo shop) would feel if he or she came to my church?" I would hope not, but I can see where it might be the case... sadly, most likely WOULD be the case. 

A friend (who has lots of ink) told me once,  "I was so moved during the worship service this morning. I had my hands raised and tears running down my face... and the old ladies were lookin' at me like I'm gonna blow the place up or something." 

This was not at my church, but that doesn't matter...it could be any church on any Sunday morning.

I have rolled it around in my head for several days now and I want so MUCH to be able to put words to what I am feeling.

We (church folks) spend a lot of time and effort trying to figure out how to make "the unchurched" feel welcome in our churches. We change the music. We change the lighting. We wear jeans. We try not to use so many "churchy" words. 

I think we are missing something very important. (and harder to change)

After my experience at the tattoo shop, I believe that it isn't the music, the language, differences in dress, hair, make up, etc. that make "Unchurched" people feel uncomfortable.

It's US.

We do the SAME thing to people who do not fit our traditional idea of what a Christian looks like that the folks in the tattoo shop did to me.

We look through them. 

We talk around them.

We answer their questions in the most basic way possible.

WE feel uncomfortable...and it shows.

What if, instead of being uncomfortable because I am focused on how someone isn't like me, I acted more like this:


  • Hi! I'm Kris. So glad you're here this morning! Is this your first time here? Well, you need to know a few things: the Restrooms are down the hall to the right, the preschool department is down the hall to the left. That's Mr. Robert...He'll start snoring during the sermon, so don't let that startle you.
  • How old is your daughter? Would you like to see what the kids do on Sunday Mornings? Here, I'll take you upstairs and show you where the kids have their worship time. Sure, you can stay in there with her if you think that will make her feel more comfortable. I'll stay too if you want.
  • Several of us are going to eat, would you like to join us?

I don't think the music or the color of the carpet or the pews or the way the preacher dresses would matter much to "unchurched" people... if we just loved them. People are hurting. We all fight all day every day to...well, to just get through the day.

What if  "church"  was the one place you felt absolutely loved and accepted? What if "church people" were the ones you could count on to encourage you, cheer you on, support you, cry with you, be NICE to you?

All I know for sure is this, as long as I am in church I will do my best to make sure that anyone who comes through our doors feels welcome, accepted, and loved.

I'm gonna love them and leave it to God to change what HE thinks needs changin.

(don't get all huffy and think I'm saying that we should condone sin. I'm not. Only saying that I'm not going to worry about other people's sin so much. Goodness knows I have enough of my own to deal with.)


Much love and BIG hugs!
K











Tuesday, November 21, 2017

Faking it

I don't know what to think about all this.

Yesterday I cried half the day. I was so upset. Couldn't really tell you WHY I was so upset, but goodness, I just wanted to crawl into bed and stay there.

Then I had the conversation with the friend who, very lovingly and with my best interests in mind, told me to either suck it up and be okay or fake being okay. She made me realize that people are not as understanding about this as they say they are. She also made me understand that this REALLY is my battle to fight; that even though others say "I'm here for you," or "just call if you need to talk," that offer is not open ended, which is what I need.

It's all good. Really. People are just people. They all have their own closet load of crap to deal with.

I think I mentioned that about a week ago another friend very lovingly told me that I probably should just not talk about it anymore...or maybe she said not to talk about it so much. Either way, she's tired of hearing about it. And GOODNESS knows, I get it. There's only so much a person can stand.

According to (some of) the people in my life, it is time to be over this.

 Well, I'm not as "over this" as I think they think I should be. I still spend days telling myself "Dying is not an option. This will pass. It always does. Just hold on." I do have "good days." (The criteria for "good" is that I don't wish I was dead.) So I have days that I wish I was dead and days that I don't. SOME days I do enjoy parts of the day.

I've actually felt pretty good today. I don't wish I was dead. I'm kinda glad to be here. I'm not upset in the least. I MIGHT even go so far as to say that I'm pretty mellow...sorta "chill".

Nothing in my life has changed from yesterday to today. Nothing. Not one single thing.

But

For some strange reason

I am totally okay.


I'm not sure if I "stuffed" it all down- "Sucked it up" if you will- or if I just really am okay today. This FEELS very familiar. It FEELS like....hmmm....like "Okay, I don't want to deal with this right now. Therefore, it doesn't exist." Maybe something more along the lines of, "I don't know how to manage this so I'm putting it in a box, wrapping it in tape and burying it deep, deep down so that I don't have to deal with it." Whatever it is, whether I am suddenly "better" or  faking it so well that I've fooled myself or finally buried this mess so that I don't have it staring me in the face...I like it. It feels much better than what ever was happening yesterday.

I'm on my way to see Perry, so I suppose this is what we will talk about today.

Much love and Big Big hugs!!!
K


The Battle Isn't Over



I wasn't going to write tonight, but I've sat here at the keyboard for hours. The blank screen and blinking cursor are staring back at me as if to ask "Well, what is it? What do you want to say?"

It is taking everything in me to write tonight. So far I'm not doing a very good job. I don't know how to put words to where I am.  I think it is important though...to record where I am. I think it is important to be honest about this journey.

Before I go any further, please know that I am NOT going to hurt or kill myself. At least I don't think I will.

No, I'm not going to hurt myself. That is still true.

I don't want or need to be hospitalized. I am not crying out for help. I just need to be left alone for a little minute. Let me process this. I'll be fine. I will. I am definitely not okay tonight...but I've learned that I can trust myself even when I am not okay.  I just need to process where I am, then figure out what to do. It may take me a little minute to get myself together, but I will. I always do.

Anyway...Here we go...  

It seems like every time I think I'm beating this; I fall apart...and I swear I think each fall is worse than the one before. I'm not sure how that can be, but really, I feels that way. It feels like I fall farther every time. It's harder to recover every time I fall.

I shared one post from this season on my FB and had SUCH a positive response... I am ashamed to be where I am today. This weekend I TRULY was fine. I was happy even. Today I am falling apart.

I feel like a failure, a fraud, a freak. I feel like I lied...even though I know that I absolutely did not. I WAS better. I WAS. I TRULY thought that I was done with the suicide / depression valley. I truly thought that I had overcome this darkness. Now it's back.

It's like I get hit with a gigantic black blob of thick sticky suffocating gunk that immediately swallows me up. People tell me to "think happy thoughts" and "just don't think about it" but they don't understand. It is all consuming. It hits me so hard, sends me reeling, steals my breath, paralyzes me. I don't have TIME to get my feet under me and "think happy thoughts." All I can think is "Oh my God, this is going to kill me."

I do NOT want to feel this way anymore.

I don't think I CAN do this anymore.

I know that everyone has bad days and I don't expect to NOT have bad days. I don't understand why my "bad days" are so crippling. Why do I have several days where I feel completely normal, and then wake up one morning feeling so freaking BROKEN? Why do I feel so FRAGILE? Why do I feel so helpless?

I don't know what else to say.
It's like this darkness is never going to go away.
I feel like it is swallowing me and there is no way out.

I remember when I had cancer, there came a time when "everyone" was over it. I totally understood. They were just tired of hearing about it, talking about it.  I was "well" so it was time to move on.

That's where I am now. I have reached out to 2 different people and both said in a very loving way that it is time to "suck it up" and "just fake it" if that's what it takes.  Both said that I can't keep on like this or "someone will say something." It's interesting to realize how people really feel...when they give you advice. "I'm sure you feel so guilty for...what you tried to do. I'm sure you wonder what people think. You don't want all of us walking on eggshells because we are afraid to upset you." It's funny... I have not HONESTLY given much thought to what anyone thinks about what I've done or gone through. I have very little energy to worry about anything other than getting through each day. These are both friends. They both love me and would never hurt my feelings. They are honest...and they are honestly tired of my...what ever you want to call this.

I said a few posts ago that I choose to fight this.

I guess that REALLY is a choice I have to make daily.

I FEEL like I should be over this by now...But have discussed how fickle and undependable feelings are. Maybe I shouldn't be over it yet. Maybe I really never will be.

But I am going to fight it..or fake it...or suck it up...or whatever I have to do so that I seem okay.  I'll continue to be honest here. That's only fair. I will be honest with my family and my counselors. Outside of that, I will...

(sigh)

I will get up, I will get dressed, I will put on my lipstick and fix my hair and

I will suck it up and fake being fine...

Until I really am.



Much love and big hugs
K


Thursday, November 16, 2017

I'm Still Here

Once this posts, I will close the "suicide chapter" of my life.
At least that is my plan. 

I am writing this on November 8. It's about 4 am. I am at peace. The demons that have tortured me for months...maybe even years...are silent for now. 

I am going to enjoy this reprieve.

As I struggled to not want to die, 2 women distantly connected to me succeeded in their suicide attempts. I wonder if they had time to regret what they'd done, or if they welcomed the pain that came with the relief of knowing that their struggle was over. Seeing the pain that their family and friends are suffering breaks my heart and I can understand how easy it is for people to think that suicide is an act of selfishness, arrogance, self-absorption, and carelessness...even hatred. 

I know that, in most cases, suicide is not selfish. Most people who kill themselves make the decision to die because they truly believe that they are a burden, a screw up, flawed, and broken. Most people who actually try to die do so in an effort to free the people they love from the burden of being chained to them. Their motive, albeit twisted, is far removed from "selfish." Most people end their lives either feeling that no one loves them or that they do not deserve the love they have received. I also know that this is almost always not the case. Our feelings are so terribly unreliable. I have learned to stop and examine the FACTS apart from my feelings about things. 

In fact, I've learned much these past months

I've learned that there is little healing to be found in looking for someone to blame for wanting to die. The desire to die is within us; the healing needed goes far beyond what casting blame can accomplish. While it does help to sort through history and identify unhealthy relationships, history cannot be changed. As an adult, you cannot get the love and acceptance you wanted as a child but did not receive. No amount of finger pointing and blame casting will heal you. Healing is found in looking forward, not back. 

I've learned that you have to fight for healing. IMO-This is something that isn't really discussed enough. Just like with any other disease, you must take action and get the help needed to fight depression. This help comes in many forms including medication, group therapy, a strong support system, inpatient and outpatient care, and counseling. Healing requires you to take care of yourself physically; you must eat well, rest well, and balance work and play. Healing does not fall in your lap. You have to go after it. Some days, no, MOST days, you have to fight for it. You have to want healing. Every moment of the day and night, you have 2 options, fight or give up

I choose to fight.

I've learned that healing is incomplete unless your spiritual self is included. I know for an absolute fact that my true healing began when I remembered who I am in relation to God. When I remembered the great lengths Christ went to in pursuit of my heart, remembered that God knit me together, remembered that God works ALL things together for good for those who love him, and remembered all the many times God has already proven Himself faithful to the promises in His Word throughout my life...I started to heal. Without the hope of Heaven, I have no hope. Without the promise that God works ALL things together for good...I have no hope. Without the understanding of the glory God gets for a life lived for Him, I have no hope. Without HOPE, healing is incomplete. 

I have also learned that, just as with the desire to die, the desire for healing is inside you. No one can give it to you. YOU have do decide that you want to be healed of the agonizing pain that makes you long for death. Just as blaming someone for your desire does't heal you, looking to some person to save you doesn't work. The ONLY one who can give you the desire in your soul to live is God. He is ultimately faithful. HE is trustworthy...even when we cant understand WHAT He is doing. No one can make you seek God, but I do know that there is a "God sized hole" in all of us. There is a longing, a never-ending heart ache, that can only be soothed in the arms of God. 

I will close with this promise from Jesus Himself...

The thief comes only to steal and kill and destroy; I have come that they may have life, and have it to the full. John 10:10 (NIV)

If you find yourself in the depths of despair; if you believe that the world is better off without you, know this...THAT is an absolute lie from the pit of hell. SATAN comes to ONLY to steal, Kill, and destroy. 

If you have thoughts of suicide, you DO have a choice. You CAN choose to fight. Get the help you need. God has a plan and a purpose for your life. 

Don't cut your story short. 


Big hugs and Much love!
K




Wednesday, November 15, 2017

Romans 8:28

And we know that in all things God works for the good of those who love him, who have been called according to his purpose. Romans 8:28 (NIV)


I believe that every piece of this journey has been important and necessary. I am not and will never be one to say the you "just need more faith" to get well. I am not and will never be one to say "just get over it" if you are depressed or anxious or suffering from any form of mental bondage. I am eternally grateful beyond words for my medication, counseling, and yes, even hospital stays. I will say that these things, though good and necessary, were not enough to truly heal me. God drew me back to Himself, and THAT is when I became whole. These other things treated me physically. Let me say again, they were and are necessary. HOWEVER, they were not able to bring complete healing.

This may (or may not) be my last "suicide survivor" post. 

In every "bad" situation, I try to understand what good God is bringing from my pain. In 2 battles with cancer, God allowed me the distinct privilege of sharing the love of Christ with people I would not have come in contact with had I not been a cancer patient. I will not bore you will all the skeletons in my closet, but will say with complete confidence that GOD does not waste a single hurt. Not a single one. Every terrible, earth shaking, crippling event in my life has given me opportunity to relate to, minister to, and share the love of Christ with at least one woman. Many times, so many times, God used a valley I've traveled through to be the very thing that allowed me to gain the trust of a woman who otherwise seemed quite different from me. This has turned my greatest hurts into treasures...only God could make that happen.

I have a completely new appreciation for Romans 8:28. This verse says "ALL things work TOGETHER for the good of those who love Him, who have been called according to His purpose." (As I'm typing this I realize that there will be future posts on this verse)

ALL things (not most things, or SOME things) work TOGETHER.

If I believe Scripture (and I do) then I have to believe that GOD uses ALL things for the good of those who love HIM and are called according to His purpose (that's me).


So


If I believe God's word to be true, then I HAVE to believe that God will use my suicide attempt and my major depressive episode for my GOOD.


MY good


MY good...not someone else's....Mine.


What in the WORLD could POSSIBLY be good about a suicide attempt?  How on EARTH could that work together with ANYTHING to be for my GOOD? 


Oh Honey, Let me tell you.


Through all this...mess...God gave me the one thing I needed more than anything else...the one thing that only HE could give me...


God gave me Himself.


True to His word, He worked all this together for MY good. 

God allowed me to drift from His side. He allowed me to turn away to the point that I could not feel His presence. He allowed me to fall. He allowed all the things I trust in to fail me. He allowed pain so great that my only desire was to end my life. He allowed Satan to deceive me. He allowed darkness to envelop me and steal my breath. 

But HE did not allow me to take my life. If you want to get completely "in the Battle" with me...He did not allow Satan to take my life.

God will allow terrible things. He will. He does it out of His undying and overpowering love for us. He KNOWS that MY greatest need is HIM. My soul CRAVES my Savior. I need Jesus like I need air to breathe. 

I forgot how GOOD it feels to FEEL God's presence, to KNOW that He will absolutely NEVER leave me or forsake me, to TRUST Him with every breath I take. I forgot. I just forgot. I forgot how much I need Him...Because He has been a constant in my life for so long...I FORGOT how desperately I NEED Him. 

I became religious. To be honest, I became quite legalistic. Over time, I lost sight of the NEED I have for a Savior. I came to depend on people, on rules, on systems and..on myself. I believed I had a pretty good grip on life and how to make things work, so I figured God could focus on someone who "really needs" Him. 


Oh... forgive me. 


God, in an act of unconditional love, allowed me to remember what life is like apart from Him. Out of His LOVE for me, He allowed me to feel the ache in my soul that comes from being distant from Him. HE allowed me to feel His absence so that I would REMEMBER how much I LOVE Him, how much I NEED Him, and ONLY Him.


HE allowed me to go through the deepest darkest valley I can imagine... so that I would understand my need for Him, so that I would ask Him to save me....

again

And, when I finally asked Him to save me from the darkness that was drowning me...


HE DID



Much love and big, big hugs...
K




Tuesday, November 14, 2017

Perspective

I give a lot of power to my thoughts and feelings. This is my downfall, if you want to call it that. I over analyze every thought and feeling and easily frighten myself with the "what ifs."

  • What if I'm not strong enough to fight the desire to die today?
  • What if this darkness doesn't go away?
  • What if I feel this way forever?
  • What if I'm always this broken?
  • What if I really am crazy?
It's amazing how quickly our thoughts can become twisted...and how equally quickly they can be straightened out.

Perry has taught me to look at the "What Ifs" and answer them from the perspective of faith. What did Daniel say when threatened to be burned alive?

If we are thrown into the blazing furnace, the God we serve is able to deliver us from it, and he will deliver us from Your Majesty’s hand. But even if he does not, we want you to know, Your Majesty, that we will not serve your gods or worship the image of gold you have set up. Daniel 3:17-18 (NIV)

Yes, God CAN deliver me from this torture that is my mind...but He may not...and if He does not, I will do my best to bring Him glory in the struggle.

Perry reminded me that it's easy to give God glory AFTER a dark season. Anyone can do that. We show the world our FAITH, our TRUST, and our OBEDIENCE to God as we travel through the valley. NOW is my opportunity to be used by God. NOW is my opportunity to build my testimony and witness. NOW is the time to live out my faith. 

It's all perspective. 

When I am focused on myself, I am sad, depressed, wishing that things would change. When I am focused on myself, I feel cheated, like things aren't fair, and that I deserve more. When I am focused on myself, I want to find someone to blame for where I am, I worry about my future, and embrace darkness. 

When I focus on others, I feel insignificant, weak, and out of place. When I compare myself to other women, I come up short because there is always someone prettier, sweeter, more helpful, happier, more self-assured, and smarter than I am. When I focus on others, I feel that my life is lacking ... I want what I don't have...and there is ALWAYS more to want.

When I turn my thoughts toward heaven, and the hope I have through Jesus Christ, my mood lifts. When I focus on Christ, I have hope, purpose, and meaning. When I focus on Christ, I have peace. I am comforted by stories of God's faithfulness in Scripture and the memories of how HE has walked with me thus far. When I focus on Christ, I am reminded of the value I have as a Child of God. When I focus on God, I realize that I am part of a story much bigger than myself. When I focus on God's Word, I am comforted in knowing that HE has a plan and a purpose for me and my life. He has numbered my days perfectly to accomplish what HE desires to accomplish through me.

I so easily forget that this life simply isn't about me. There are people God puts in my life every day who need to know that God loves them, that this life isn't all there is, and that there is hope in Christ. Life is hard. I am comforted knowing that, because of Christ, my worst days here are as bad as I will ever experience, because I have Heaven to look forward to. 

Others need that hope. 

Every "bad" thing that has happened in my life has opened the door for me to relate to someone who needs to know Christ. Every struggle has added to my testimony. Every dark night has added depth to my story. That story is, and always has been, the story of Christ's endless pursuit of my heart. When I consider the lengths He has gone to in order to win my love, I am left breathless. 

I have said many times that I cannot WAIT to hear "Well done Kristyanna, welcome home."


It strikes me that if I end my life, I will have to stand before God and tell Him that the life He gave me wasn't good enough, that I didn't like the story He gave me. I'd have to tell Him that He didn't do enough. I cannot imagine looking at Christ who gave His life for me and saying these things...but ending my life would say just that. 

I'm okay. I can trust myself even when I'm NOT okay, because this life is not just about me. God has a plan and a purpose, 

And we know that in all things God works for the good of those who love him, who have been called according to his purpose Romans 8:28 (NIV)

So I can finally say that I am okay. I really am. I am excited to see how God will use this valley. I hope that He allows me to witness Him work through it.

Much Love and Big hugs!!!
K