Suicide Prevention Awareness Month

September is Suicide Prevention Awareness month. If you’ve read any of my posts, you know by now that this is a subject that’s really important and close to me. I am literally sitting here crying because all I want is to see people believe in themselves and know their worth. That’s literally what this all boils down to: you matter. I wish, with every single part of me, that I could hug every single person in the world and tell them they matter…and have them actually believe it.

If you are feeling anxious, depressed, alone: please know you are not alone. There is so much the world has to offer than what we see at face-value these days, which is hate and divide. More importantly, though, there is so much YOU have to offer this world. You are unique. You were given gifts no one else has. You were created for a reason. I know I say that all the time, but I mean it. I wish I could pop out of this page and throw my arms around you and tell you that face-to-face. There was a time when I was at my lowest point a couple years ago. I was depressed and felt so alone. I wanted to disappear, and at that moment, I needed someone to hug me and tell me it was all going to be OK. That person wasn’t there for me (in fact, I was left in a parking lot). One thing I can promise you is that it does get better. It always does. You will meet people who will make you feel worthy and you won’t be scared anymore. If you are offered help, take it. If you need help, ask for it. It is not a sign of weakness to ask for help. I say that all the time, too…because it’s true. Some people will make you think that it’s weak to need help, but IT’S NOT! You are worth more than rubies. Proverbs 3:15.

You are not alone. You will get through this. There will be better days. Happy days. You will see your dreams come true. I am living proof of that, as are so many others. Your story matters. Speak it. Share it. Your story could very well be someone else’s survival guide.

If you are having thoughts of suicide, please call the National Suicide Prevention Lifeline at: 800-273-8255.

I’ve got your back. Stay safe and healthy, friends. Look out for each other. My promise to you is that I will continue to be as open and vulnerable as I can. I truly believe that’s the way to breakdown stigmas and to create a safe space for you all to do the same. Maybe we can create a ripple effect.

Xoxo.

What I’m listening to:
“This Could Change Everything,” Francesca Battistelli
“Better Days,” OneRepublic (in case you need some encouragement, and you can’t go wrong with this band)
“the last great american dynasty,” Taylor Swift

Starting the School Year!

Hey friends! Someone I knew just passed away, so I’ve been a bit quiet lately. But, I’m back!

Doesn’t it seem like summer just started? Kids are already either back at school or will be soon. Or, should I say you’ll be virtual? In school? Hybrid? Whew, I’m not in school and it gives me a headache just hearing about all the school stuff going on right now. It’s times like this that make us all (whether we have kids in school or not) appreciate the teachers and parents. I have a couple friends who are teachers, and hearing what they have to do this year is mind-blowing. If that’s you—my hat’s off to you. If you’re a parent trying to navigate the demands that seem to keep changing–my hat’s off to you. There are so many factors that seem to play into this. I mean, it’s hard enough being a kid and having your first day at school…now, you have all of this other stuff going on. I am in no place to give any advice on how to navigate this, other than to say: give yourself grace! Whether you’re a teacher, parent, student, janitor at the school, we see you and hear you! You are all in our thoughts and prayers!

I love summer so much, so whenever I started back at school, I dreaded it. I had a break during summer from getting beat up, thrown down flights of stairs, teased, told to kill myself. I never knew what I would be in store for when I went back to school. Would the kids that bullied me before, still bully me? Would there maybe be a new kid in our class that maybe would want to be my friend? Would I be able to enjoy anything about school? I woke up feeling anxious, and I went to bed feeling anxious. For as long as I could remember, I had always wanted someone to stand up for me. I got so tired of doing it myself. Do you ever feel like that? Yes, it’s true that the most important thing is to be able to stand up for yourself, but sometimes we get tired. Sometimes we just want someone to step in and say “I got this. You can rest now.” I heard someone last week say something that hit me: “Be with people who stand up for you, not people you have to stand up to.” Now, that’s a word!

Since the school year is just starting, I wanted to encourage you kids to go easy on the others. Maybe go out of your way to include someone in a conversation or group. Initiate a welcome conversation with the new kid. Ask someone how they’re doing. You can make someone’s day or break someone’s day. It’s your choice.

This is a short post, but I hope you’re all doing well, staying safe and healthy. Reach out to me anytime you need, friends! Be kind.

 

Xoxo.

What I’m listening to:

“Who Am I To Say,” Justin Townes Earle
“Rogers Park,” Justin Townes Earle

Book Recommendation

Hey friends! This is just a super quick post today. I wanted to share one of the best books I’ve ever come across. It’s so stinking cute, I seriously can’t handle it! This is not an ad, in fact, can I even post this without permission?

It’s called The Boy, the Mole, the Fox and the Horse by Charlie Mackesy. When I first saw it, I thought it was just a children’s book. But, oh no, it’s not! I might give this book as a gift to my friends, that’s how cute this book is. It has such good life lessons in there for everyone! This one is one of my favorites:

 

Anyway, I just wanted to share this. Here is the link if you’d like to get your own copy: https://www.amazon.com/Boy-Mole-Fox-Horse/dp/0062976583

Be kind,

Xoxo.

What I’m listening to:

“Fearless,” Goo Goo Dolls. On repeat. NON-STOP!

 

With a Heavy Heart

Oh, friends. I’ve been trying to decide if I should post something about this or not, because I don’t want to sound judgmental, or like I’m hating on anyone. However, I think you all know me well enough to know that’s not who I am, or how I ever intend my posts to sound like.

My heart is so heavy today. I hadn’t watched the 10:00 news in months, but last week I decided to turn it on to see if there were any developments in the George Floyd murder. (Yep, it was murder) What I saw was horrible. My home city on fire, being ripped apart. I couldn’t believe it. I started shaking, crying. It was something I never thought I’d see in 2020. Protests, yes. We have the right to peaceful protests.

Thousands of people now without jobs because their business burned down. People without a place to move into, because a new apartment building was burned down. Elderly people without a place to get food or medicine because their grocery store and pharmacies are gone. (and we’re still in a pandemic) I want justice for Floyd and his family just as much as anyone else, but I don’t think this is what he would have wanted to have happen. I truly do believe in the power of our voices, and there’s no better time than now to use them. Call the Mayor’s office, call the Governor’s office. Sign petitions. Reach out to your friends of color.

My Pastor said it best: Racism is evil. Plain and simple. You or I don’t get to decide who deserves acceptance or love. God didn’t create us to discriminate, judge or treat less than. He created us to love. In fact one of His commandments is to love your neighbor greater than yourself. GREATER THAN YOURSELF. Not everyone was born with the same privileges and opportunity. (look up systemic racism) We are to love all.

My faith tells me to love God and love my neighbors, and to help out when I can. I’m scared for what will happen today, tonight, tomorrow, this weekend. I just pray that everyone stays safe, healthy and helps a neighbor when they need it. As my girl Esther says: “Perhaps this is the moment for which you were created.” This is the moment to use our voices in loving, compassionate and caring ways. Love each other. ❤️

 

Just a quick word!

Hey friends. I just wanted to come and say something super quick that’s been on my heart. This time has its own anxiety; don’t add to it by thinking you *have* to be productive, create something, start a business, workout round-the-clock. It is great if you are, but if all you did today was get out of bed—that’s something to be proud of.

I know I said that you can use this time to start something you’ve been putting off, or start something new, but if you don’t, that is 115% OK. There are enough people out there posting workout videos, telling you to do this or that with your time. If you don’t feel like it, don’t beat yourself up. I repeat: don’t beat yourself up. I literally told myself this very thing the other night during my date with God. This time is hard enough as it is, I refuse to beat myself up because I’m not doing what social media is telling me I should be doing. If I don’t get my workout in today, so be it. If I want to watch the same movie I’ve seen 55 times already, I will. I will not add to my anxiety by feeling bad about not doing what other people think I should be doing. And you shouldn’t, either. You don’t have to do everything, or anything, if you don’t want to. If you want to curl up on the couch and binge watch a TV show, then do that. Whatever your body and your heart are telling you to do, that brings you comfort, do it. The last thing we need to be doing is beating ourselves up in a time like this.

You are already enough. You are not alone. Stay safe and healthy, friends.

Xoxo.

What I’m listening to:

“Better Days,” One Republic (because I love them and this song is perfect for this time)

“That’s Just The Way The World Goes Round,” John Prine

“Live It Up,” Colbie Caillat

Spoiler Alert: The Tomb Was Empty

Happy Easter, friends! Wherever you are reading this from, I hope that this finds you healthy and safe. There’s no doubt that this is not the Easter we anticipated having this year, and not physically going to church just feels kind of wrong, but I am thankful that my church does online services.

Thinking about what happened all those years ago today; I can’t help but get super emotional. I mean, I talk a lot about bullying, abuse, betrayal, disrespect…and you guys. What Jesus knows exactly what that is like. Jesus was bullied, abused, betrayed, disrespected, and denied, too. He knows how we feel, He suffers right along with us because He’s BEEN THERE. Talk to Him about what you’re going through!

What He went through, what He felt, what He saw: He did willingly and He did it for us. All of us. Not  just the person who never misses a Sunday in church. Not just the one who gives to charity. But for you, and for me. All of us. I mean this about this for a second: Jesus looked at you and knew your worth before you were even born, and He decided that you are worthy enough to die for. He loved you so much that He made the ultimate sacrifice. Then, He rose from the grave!

Whenever you are feeling sad, anxious, unworthy just remember that Jesus calls you worthy. You are never alone, and he loves you unconditionally. It is hard to fathom that kind of love, and it is hard to fathom someone actually dying for us. He paid the ultimate price for our hearts and us. So, every time we deny ourselves, hold ourselves back, hurt ourselves, we are ultimately hurting Him. I mean, imagine how He feels after He did all of this for us, and then we just waste it away by complaining, sulking, telling ourselves we’re stupid or “too this” or “too that”. He grieves every time we do that. We are disrespecting Him!

So, even though this Easter is a bit different than we’re used to, He is still the same today, as He was yesterday and as He will be tomorrow. Spend some time with Him today and let Him show you just how much He loves you.

Xoxo.

Social Distance, Close to God

Hey friends, how are you all doing? It would be kind of weird to not talk about what’s going on right now, even though to be honest, I don’t really want to. It seems like every conversation I have with someone almost always ends up being centered around what’s happening in the world right now. I mean, how can you not talk about it, right? How can you not be scared? Or sad? Or anxious? Or depressed? Or numb to it? Or all of the above and then some?

It kind of all feels like a bad dream. I’ve never experienced this feeling before; where I can be fine, and then all of the sudden I stop and think “wait, this isn’t real, right? This has to be fake.” It’s surreal and I can’t seem to wrap my head around it.

It’s hard to believe that this is our new normal and try to figure out what the other side of this is going to look like. How long will this last? What will the world look like when it’s over? Will it ever be over? I’ve had to turn off my news alerts on my phone and sign off of most social media. I don’t know about you, but I’ve definitely had my moments of complete breakdown—bawling, shaking, scared of what could happen. Missing those I love and not being able to be with them is probably the hardest thing about this for me right now.

Everyone keeps saying that they’re scared of what this world will look like after this. I really, truly believe that this world will be better. We have the capability to be more caring, more selfless, more giving, more compassionate, more gentle. I have seen unbelievers start praying and listening to Christian music. What the enemy meant for harm, God is going to use for good. We have the chance to slow down a bit. To need less material things. Spend less money. Eat what we have in the cupboard instead of going out to eat. To prioritize family time. To enjoy the little things like playing board games (Monopoly, anyone?!), play cards, watch movies, read, write, pray. There’s time to get in touch with ourselves, our hearts and dig deep into what’s really important.

I’ve tried to lean into this time and make the most of it. I’ve gotten to know people on a deeper level by opening up and being vulnerable. All the writing I’ve been able to do with minimal interruptions (welcome interruptions, obviously!) has really felt incredible. And, to be honest, I have never appreciated fresh air and a walk as much as I do right now!

Lean into this time however you feel like it. Whatever that looks like for you, whatever way brings you comfort. You don’t have to write a novel, or create something big. Just be. Connect with yourself and make sure you also connect with others over the phone. Talk to God. He’s there, waiting for you. He is so in love with you and is just craving time with you. As much as we need Him right now, He needs us. He needs us to be his messengers. This situation is not a surprise to Him. We have the choice in how we respond right now. We need to social distance, but we can be closer to God.

Stay safe and healthy friends. I am really glad we have each other.

Xoxo.

What I’m listening to:

“Better Days,” One Republic
“Lovely,” Sara Haze
“Oceans,” Hillsong United

 

Be Together

Hey friends,

What a time in this world, huh? You can’t turn on the TV, radio or social media without feeling anxious and hearing about what’s going on. I am no expert on the topic, but I do know that this world doesn’t need another meme about it, or someone mocking someone because they’re afraid. If you’re afraid, you have every right to be. In my opinion (and it’s MY opinion, no one else’s), we need to be worried about this. If you’re younger, you might think “eh, if I get it, I’ll survive. It’s no big deal.” It IS a big deal. Why? Because if you have this, and you give it to someone, it could be someone who is older and not healthy enough to fight it off. We all need to be aware and take care of ourselves, not for ourselves, but for each other. Don’t be selfish and think it’s just people overreacting. I’m sorry, but I would hate myself if I were infected and instead of heading the warnings of isolating, I gave it to my parents who are older and have underlying health issues and something horrible happened to them. I wouldn’t be able to live with myself.

Anyway, I’m hopping off of my soapbox now. Right now, we need kindness. We can all take this time of quarantine/isolation, and use it for something good. We can take this time to be creative! Start that project you’ve been meaning to start/finish. Get that canvas out and start that painting. Tune up your guitar and start writing. Take an online class. Learn to cook (I should probs do that, tbh). Do at-home workouts (because, going to the gym? no bueno). Send an encouraging email to someone. Pray for your friends and family who might be sick. Take time to read an encouraging book. Start a podcast. Listen to a podcast (hit me up if you need any true crimp recs). Facetime with people. Ask your elderly neighbor if they need anything, because they are the most vulnerable with this virus and can’t really go to the store. Send someone flowers. Send food delivery to a hospital for the nurses and doctors. Send supplies/food to an animal shelter. Dig deep into the Word and have some alone time with Him. Take a break from social media and do something nourishing. While it’s good to be informed as to what’s going on by reading about it and watching the news, you also need to take a break from it. Too much of it will do more harm than good. The Pastor at my Church recommended Psalm 91 to read. I encourage you to read it as well. I’ve been reading it a couple times a day and it calms me down, which is what my soul needs right now…and I’m guessing you could use some calm right now, too.

I don’t know how long this will last and I don’t know how bad it will get. What I do know is that we are all in this together, and we need to help each other now more than ever. Our older friends, families, neighbors, need US. I promise to try to be as uplifting as I can. If you need someone to talk to, please don’t hesitate to reach out. I’m not a trained counselor/therapist/healthcare provider. I do have a listening ear and just remember: we’re all in this together. Sending prayers and hugs your way. Stay safe and healthy, friends. We’ll get through this.

Xoxo.

Day 30

Hey friends, guess what today is? Final day of our 30 day bucket list challenge! This, by all means, doesn’t mean that you have to stop today. I encourage you to keep going and live to your fullest! Regardless of how long you do this, finish the 30 day strong! Go out with a bang. And of course let me know what you did and how you’re feeling!

Lots of exciting things happening over here and can’t wait to bring you along on the ride.

Have a wonderful Sunday, friends!

Xoxo

Kindness In the World

Hey friends! My bucket list challenge has been going really well so far! It’s been really fun hearing from some of you who are doing it with me, so it’s kind of like a little community we’ve got going, I love it! Keep sharing and so will I!

One thing that I really do find helpful (in any situation, really) is to notice the good things. Notice the kindness, the beauty that’s still left in this world. I feel like lately so many people are only focusing on the negative things, which don’t get me wrong, are valid and we need to notice them in order to change them; however, we can’t lose sight in the good things. Those are the things that keep me going. I can still see that this world is good and beautiful and worth being in. I see people spreading kindness, offering help to strangers, going out of their way to support someone. No matter how much hurt a person inflicts on another person, I still truly believe that everyone at their deepest core, is good. One of my heroes, Anne Frank said it best: “In spite of everything, I still believe people are really good at heart.”

I believe that life throws us experiences, lessons, hardships and it’s what we do with those that make us who we are and how we treat others. That’s on us. Not the world. Not other people. We can either take those experiences and let them make us bitter or better.

If you can look at the ocean, mountains, lakes, rivers, valleys, peaks, wildflowers, forests, wildlife, the sun, the moon, the stars and still say this world isn’t beautiful, then I’m not sure what else to say. If you can witness a complete stranger buying groceries for the elderly man behind him, or seeing a stranger console a single mother who is overwhelmed and not feel a bit of hope and love, then check your heart. Maybe I’m just sappy or too much of a dreamer, but even a simple smile to someone in passing or buying someone’s coffee can take someone’s day from bad to good in a second. I know, because I’ve been on the receiving end of those things and even a smile can make me feel better. That’s why I always try to do something for someone else because I know what it’s like to feel low, sad and hopeless.

We are here to love and support each other. If someone says “it’s not my job to make them feel better. It’s theirs.” That’s just not true. At least, not to me. Yes, I do believe that there is a lot of internal work that needs to be done, but we are not here for just ourselves. We are not the center of the universe. We are for each other. We were made for community. I’ve always believed that since I was little.

I hope this encourages you to take one step to do a random act of kindness today for someone. It doesn’t have to cost a dime. You could quite literally save a life.

Xoxo.

What I’m listening to:

“Lady Like,” Ingrid Andress

“Mandolin Rain,” Pam Tillis

“Kids,” One Republic