Mid-March 2018

I should probably be headed to sleep about now, it is a work night. But I’m in the mood to write and haven’t in a while, so here I am.

I’ve spent the majority of the past 2 months in pain. Physical pain that is. I messed up my back at the gym in January and it has caused or highlighted some other issues back there. Plus I spent most of the last week with a migraine. Yuck.

At the gym I deadlifted 170 pounds, but that didn’t cause the pain. I was putting away a 25 pound weight and picked it up and twisted wrong and could hardly move after. That pain mostly went away, but the pain in my lower back and hips has intensified. I drive a manual transmission car and every time I push in the clutch, pain would shoot down my leg. I can hardly sit at work for very long and have to get up to relieve some pressure. I started seeing a Physical Therapist and things are getting a lot better now. I just have to get on the ball and do the stretching exercises at home!

Not sure if the migraine was brought on by environmental or hormonal triggers or stress. Probably a combination of all the above. This time of year between Winter and Spring can be harsh on sinuses and headaches. My stress isn’t too bad lately, just was dealing with finals.

On Spring Break now. Off this week and then start my last undergraduate class on the 26th. A little nervous about this class, but I’m sure it’ll be fine. I received an approval for my RSVP to the graduation, so all I have to do is pass this class. 2 months left! Then 2 months off, then 2 years of the Masters program. Then I don’t know 🙂

Spiritual lesson of the day… I realized during worship this morning at church that I have been looking for validation from all the wrong places. Be it from my pastor, friends, boss, other leaders I admire, I’ve been stressing about making them proud of me and approve of me that I’ve lost sight of the One that really matters. And I already have His approval and am totally validated by Him through Christ. God is so merciful and loving, yet it’s like I take advantage of His love. People have their own lives to worry about, making me feel good about myself isn’t their job. My value and worth comes from the One who made me and died for me. Yes, being validated by people feels good, don’t get me wrong, but not being validated by them shouldn’t be detrimental.

Then I worry I’m not pleasing to God. Did I pray enough? Read my Bible enough? Give enough money? What about time? Could I have done xyz better? Did I completely mess it up? Oh my goodness! Stop it! God doesn’t have a sticker chart with our names on it, grading us on how well we did everyday!! Oops, she didn’t pray for 30 minutes, only 10, red X for today! Ugh! The Father sees us through the blood of the Lamb and that blood has made us perfect in His sight. Does He want us to do our best? Yes, but it doesn’t make Him love us any more or any less!! Accepting Jesus as Lord and Savior, believing He died and rose again, and confessing Him to others – that is what matters! Everything we do from there is motivated by Love, not fear that He is going to strike us down.

I’m preaching to my self and as much as to you, BTW.

Through Jesus and only through Him, do we find love, acceptance, and validation that truly matters.

Alright, now I think I might be able to sleep, maybe? hopefully!?!?

Good night! ♥


End of December 2017

It’s not that nothing’s going on, I just haven’t been in the writing mood. But school is out and work is slow, so I thought I’d check in.

Hope everyone had a Merry Christmas!

I’m on break from school! Out until Jan 22, whew! Not doing anything exciting while I’m out, mostly just reading for fun and possibly some art. The next class should be super easy as I’ve already went through the material in another venue, so most of the work is already done. The capstone after that has me a little nervous, but we’ll worry about that in 3 months when I actually take the class. I might take the opportunity to read ahead since the other class will be easy. Oh, and I earned an A in the class that just ended 🙂 My GPA is now 3.31.

My brother and I booked our vacation for May! I’m going to ‘walk’ for my degree graduation and he’s going to support me. We’re spending the next week just hanging out in the Blue Ridge Mts and relaxing. We’ll take a day trip into DC too, but we’re not planning to many other adventures.

Also looking forward to going on a mission trip somewhere next year. Maybe Costa Rica, maybe Nicaragua, maybe Austria, not sure. Leaning towards going back to Costa Rica, but we’ll see. Maybe somewhere else entirely, wherever God leads.

Started see a therapist. I really like her, she seems to get me. We’ve had 3 or 4 sessions so far and I think I’m feeling better. That and the adjustment to my antidepressant was a month ago, so it’s had time to kick in. The depression is still there a little, but things don’t feeling like I’m walking through mud so much.

Looking forward to 2018. I’m going to have a lot going on, as usual. I’ve set some goals because I don’t do resolutions. One of them is to walk a 5k faster than I have before (last one was 1 hour, 15 min and my best time is 57 min). I hope to read 6 books for fun, get to my goal weight, read through the Bible… among others. At least they are measurable goals, not just generic things. I’ve done this over the past few years, I didn’t get much accomplished on my goals for 2017, but that’s what the new year is for, right?

For Christmas I got some camera stuff from my brother. Excited to play with all that soon. He also gave me a book for dummies for my camera model. I realized I bought myself an expensive fun toy that I really have no idea what all it can do. Anxious to start learning more soon!

Things are still going well with my trainer. I’ve deadlifted 175 and squatted 160?, I think. Definitely my favorite love-hate relationship! I had to put my scale in the back of my car. I started focusing on that number again too much and putting it in the closet was deterrent enough. My therapist mentioned giving it to a friend and I could go that far.

Well, that’s about it, I think. Talk to you all again soon!

Mid-November 2017

I’ve sat down to write this entry a couple times now. Despite already putting the general news on Facebook, talking about what I’m going through isn’t always very easy. This is post number 270 (wow!) and I’ve talked about a lot of things here. But let me get really real with you. Depression really sucks. I’ve been denying that I’m under the cloud again for a while. Maybe the weather has something to do with it (Fall here in the Midwest and it’s darker longer). I think the clinical depression has returned. And has been around for a little bit. I feel like I’m walking through mud and like everything is a chore. Yes, there are fleeting moments of happiness and I still have the joy of my salvation (deep inside). But for the most part things are hard. I still enjoy some activities, but it seems like getting to those activities can be a burden.

Ugh, I don’t want it to sound like I’m whining or begging for a petty party or anything. That’s the thing with depression though. In order to be honest about how I feel, it might sound that way. I’m just expressing myself and being honest about what this mental illness is like. It’s difficult to explain to people who don’t understand, or have never been through it. Multiple Sclerosis is like that too. They’re both similar also in that I don’t think 2 cases are alike.

A while back I likened depression to being in the ocean. Your feet are sinking in the sand and the waves keep beating against you. You feel like you can handle all of that, but after a while you grow weary. If you’re not careful, the waves can take you down or at least pull you in deeper.

Liken that to our relationship with God though. Stick with me on this. Let’s put a positive spin on the ocean metaphor. In order to have a deeper relationship with Him, we have to leave the shores of this world and all its cares. We start to walk out closer to Him but the world pushes back, wave after wave. Our feet feel like they are sinking in the sand and we can’t go any further. But as we let go, He holds us and carries us deeper still in to His presence.

Not sure that all made sense to anyone else besides me, but I think going deeper and getting closer to the One who loves me sounds scary, yes and hard, but it’s where I want to be. There’s a song called Oceans by Hillsong UNITED that kind of inspired me, check it out sometime

Since I wrote all that things are a little better. I have an appointment with a new psychiatrist next week to go over my meds. I’ve also had a lot of people praying for me, and that has certainly helped. My pastor preached yesterday on joy and thankfulness. I’m willing to fight the depression, and if simply being thankful for things will help, I’m all for it! I believe it’s also a chemical imbalance in my brain, so I’ll still see the doctor but I know it’s also a spiritual battle. And I ain’t going down without a fight, from all angles!

I hope you all have a great Thanksgiving and holiday season and get to spend time with those you love!

Late October 2017

Fall break is on!!

Such a much-needed break! 1 more class then Christmas/Winter break! Yay! Only 3 classes left until graduation! Just received my final grade in the last class, even though I was late on multiple assignments and stressed out, still earned a B, 6 points away from an A. I’ll take it!!

So, my master’s degree. Yeah, I don’t know. If my end goal or dream job is to be a missionary, do I really need to keep going to school… and increasing my student loan debt? Probably not. I do (did?) enjoy organized learning, but I think I’m burnt out. This happened at the end of high school too. I was supposed to go off to college on the East coast somewhere fancy, but got burnt out my senior year and ended up going to community college for a while and entering the work force. I do not regret that at all, mind you. I’ve changed my mind so many times on what I wanted to do when I grew up, that I would have had so much more debt if I’d kept going to school through the years. I am proud and humbled to earn my Bachelor degree, but I don’t think jumping into more schooling is going to be wise. I still have time to make a decision, so I’m not set either way right now. Prayers for wisdom and guidance are appreciated.

Thinking and praying about where I’m headed next in ministry. I’m pretty sure the new role I’m taking, just seeking out what that looks like. I’m excited about it though, so that’s good! Can’t give away too much yet, but it involves cameras and people 🙂

What has God been teaching you lately? I think I mentioned this a blog or two ago, but I’m learning to take it all one step at a time. While there’s wisdom in planning for the future, if those plans are not prayed through, they fail. I get excited easily about things and think, “this is it!” Only to find later that it wasn’t ‘it’. Know what I mean? Relationships, career paths, schooling pursuits, mission trip opportunities… the list goes on. Being flexible when learning God’s will is so vital, and so hard!

I mentioned in my last entry that my blood work wasn’t very good. After talking with my trainer and my doctor I’m not freaking out as much. This was just a wake up call. The exercising I’ve been doing over the past 16 months is great, I really appreciate what I’ve learned from my trainer and what I’ve accomplished. I just need to work on my eating. I stress eat so easily and need to get a handle on my stress. Easier said than done, right? Learning to say ‘no’ is important, and to not worry about what people think about me for saying ‘no’ is even more important.

Thought I had something else to say… oh well. I’ll write again soon!

Mid-July 2017

Hi y’all! Hope you are all enjoying your summer. So far, my MS symptoms haven’t been a problem, even though it’s been pretty hot here in STL. I’ve even gone on walks outside and not had problems! Praise the Lord!

I have been sleeping a lot on weekends though. Not sure if it’s MS fatigue or if I’m just not sleeping well during the week and am trying to catch up. I’m trying to wear my CPAP every night, which really helps. No, I haven’t been wearing it faithfully for a while, but I’m changing that! Slept a lot this weekend, mostly due to (I think) allergies, which lead to sinus pain, which leads to toothaches. Ibuprofen is my friend!

Earned an A in my last class! Now my GPA is 3.22 🙂 Taking 2 classes right now, a bit overwhelming. But I’ll make it. One class I’m retaking because I earned a D in it the first time. Some of the work I’ve already done, so that helps, but they changed a lot of the format.  Which actually makes it a little easier this time around.

Saw my PCP and GYNO recently. All pretty good, just focusing on losing weight, as usual. Which has been happening, just slowly. I’ve lost inches, but the scale isn’t moving too much. But some of my clothes are getting too big, so that’s a good thing! Still working out with the trainer and loving it! Anyway, we’re also watching my BP, it might be getting too low. Could that be causing some of the sleepiness? Maybe, I guess. My PCP also mentioned getting an ablation, which I’m not sure I’m quite ready for. I don’t plan on having kids, but that seems a little invasive. We’ll see, if things in that area don’t improve, it might be an option, I’ll have to talk with my GYNO. Nothing too scary, but probably a little TMI for here already!!

So, dad’s OK. Mom’s OK. Hard to watch your parents age though. Mom had a little scare the other day, but she’s good. Dad’s at home at least.

Work’s OK. Some days are super busy and drain my brain power. Still love my job, just a lot going on – a lot of hiring, which that’s my main area.

Ever mess up something in your life and think you’ll never get back to where you were? I know, kinda vague, bear with me. I know God is like a GPS, He has a destination set for us, and even if we take a wrong turn, He can still get us there. I’ve probably shared that before, not an original thought, but a comforting one. I just think I went down a path that I shouldn’t have and feel like I lost a lot of ground. Ground in my friendships, leadership, walk with God, reputation, etc. I’m feeling condemned, which isn’t from God and I know that. I just, I don’t know, wish things were different. I know He’s forgiven me because I’ve repented and all, but there’s still the regret and remorse. Guess maybe I’m mourning the mistakes I’ve made?

But that’s all in the past and I need to look forward. He has amazing things in store for me, and I want to follow hard after Him. Whatever and wherever that may entail. I’m excited for my future and His plans for me. I know that last paragraph might sound otherwise, I was just lamenting. Things are getting back on track and I’ll be OK.

Thanks for sticking with me through my (sometimes mis-)adventures!

Beginning of June 2017

Does it simplify the Gospel for you if you hear, “You’re not going to hell because you do (fill in the blank), but you’re going to hell because you do not have a personal relationship with Jesus Christ?” Well, that’s what it comes down to. We all sin, we all fall short of God’s standard. Yes, He loves all of His children, but if you don’t accept the gift of salvation through His Son alone, you have no one to take the punishment for your sin, and you go to hell. God is holy, and we on our own cannot exist before Him because we’re covered in rebellion against His standard. Jesus’ blood, as weird as it may sound, washes us clean of that sin. We are made holy through His blood, blood that He shed on the cross at Calvary. The Good News – He us loved so much that He came to Earth as a frail human to take the punishment for our sins so that we could spend eternity with Him. Him – a perfect Father, lover of our souls, not a mean tyrant or someone so different from us that He can’t be around us. We were made in His image, God’s image, originally designed for companionship with Him. Rebellion came into the picture, we fell away from Him, but He had a plan for our redemption. We just have to accept the gift. You don’t have to clean yourself up first, He takes us as we are. It’s His job to clean us and give us faith after that… we have to choose to obey Him though. But when you fall in love with the Designer and Lover of you soul, obedience should be easy.

But that obedience doesn’t always come easy though. I walked in disobedience for a long time recently. But things are so much better on this side of obedience. Yeah, the decision hurt, but the blessings of listening to Him and doing what He said are amazing.

On that, does He talk to us today? That’s a huge theological debate in Christianity. But I know this, yes, He does. He speaks to me through His Word, the Bible. He speaks to me through other people. And through His still small voice in my spirit, which never goes against anything in the Bible.

Anyway, that’s my preaching for the day 🙂

Beginning of May 2017

The sun is shining! It has been raining so much lately! I’m sure if you’re from the Midwest or know someone from here, you’re probably tired of the rain, and even tired of people taking about the rain! But its nice to have sunshine again. Kind of reminds me of the commonly used illustration where someone is in a plane and sees the sun shining above the clouds, reminding them that the sun is always there. Like life, it may seem stormy down here, but God’s still there even when it seems like we can’t see Him.

Seems like I’ve been going through revolving times of storms and sunshine in my life. My boat gets rocked around and overfilled with water, then the sun comes out. When the sun’s out, I repair the boat and let the sun dry up the water. A lot of times I can see the storm in the distance, other times it sneaks up on me. One thing I’ve been challenged with is to keep my anchor down, even in the still times. Jesus is my anchor in life, and I need to keep my foundation in Him and His Word. Even in still times a boat can drift off its place. I have a goal to increase my worship and devotion time. That kind of leads me to…

Made a hard decision recently. I don’t want to put all our business out there, but Mike and I are officially broken up. I truly feel like God’s calling me to singleness. I’ve been so comfortable with his companionship, that is what has made this a hard thing. But I feel like God has something even better in store for both of us. So yeah, there ya go.

I’m learning (always will, right?!?) who I am. Specifically who I am in Christ. I’m set free from sin, not just in eternity, but He gives me the power to live free NOW. Letting that settle in my heart and head, praying that I become more like Him all the time. I don’t want to be overly religious or legalistic, I just want to be like Jesus. Righteous and loving. Faithful and obeying. In the storm and in the sunshine.