Friday, February 24, 2017

Where The Light Shines Through

Everyday I have about an hour where I sit in a dark room surrounded by sleeping babies. Sometimes I get some work done and other times I get to read or do little "nap time doodles" as I call them. One day in January I got the idea for the song I Won't Let You Go and decided to doodle it out. The next day I got the idea for Healer of Souls and then I started doing one for each song on the album Where The Light Shines Through. All of them are black and white because 1) I like the look and 2) I have black pens that I love to draw with. So I hope you enjoy this unintentional photo essay.

P.S. you can click the image to make it bigger.

 Holy Water:


Where The Light Shines Through:

I Won't Let You Go:

If The House Burns Down Tonight:

The Day I Found God:

Shake This Feeling:

Bull in a China Shop:

Live It Well:

Looking For America:

Healer Of Souls:

Hope is the Anthem:

Daisy from Nothing is Sound

Thursday, November 10, 2016


Reasons I cried this week...




Because our country elected a man who thinks it's okay to walk into an under aged girl's dressing room while they are changing.

Because he thinks just because he is famous he can "do stuff like that" and no one says anything about it.

Because he has 12 women accusing him of sexual assault.

Because he said sometimes you just have to "grab them by the pussy."

Because Republicans are afraid of Democrats.

Because Democrats are afraid of Republicans.

Because we live in an "us vs. them" environment.

Because my friends are now worried about their marriages.

Because my other friends are worried they will be deported, beaten, or worse.

Because I am not "lucky" enough to be born a white male.

Because my niece/nephew will be born during this presidency.

Because it feels like fear won.

Because I know beautiful and intelligent women who voted for him.

Because it takes more for me to get an entry level job than for a conman to become President.

Because our country has become so divided that this was able to happen.

Because the suicide prevention and crisis hot lines get overwhelmed on Tuesday night.

Because To Write Love On Her Arms HAD to tweet out the information for the hot lines because so many people were/are scared.

I am NOT crying because my candidate lost. For those who think Hillary supporters are crying because she lost that is not true. I don't cry because I didn't win. I cry because I am scared for the state this country is in and what state this country will be in.

Saturday, September 10, 2016


This is the anniversary of when my depression started. It was around this time 10 years ago that I went through the worst season of depression I have ever gone through. A lot has changed in 10 years. Some good, some bad, some happy, some sad. I do not take it lightly that the anniversary of my depression also happens to be on the same weekend as World Suicide Prevention Day. It seems almost fitting in a way.

As I sit here in my "And So I Kept Living" shirt I realize all the things going on in my life. Lots of changes are happening or in the process of happening. Some are exciting and others are stressful. As my anxiety weighs on me today I keep reminding myself that I have made it 10 years and I can make it 10, 20, 30, 40, or 50 more years. In these last 10 years I have had my share of bad days. I have had my share of anxiety attacks, therapy sessions, and anti-depressant medication. But the difference in how a respond to them now and how I did 10 years ago is different. I know how to calm myself down. I can recognize when my anxiety and depression are getting worse and I need to seek professional help. I can tell when I have forgotten to take my anti-depressants and need to take them.

So, now, 10 years later what have I learned? Why have I kept living? Simply put, it's because this is not the time for my story to be over. There is more life I need to live, more adventures I need to have, more people I need to meet. More beaches and mountains to be laid on and climbed up. There are too many things I want to do in my life to stop living. Too many best friend and sister adventures that have yet to be taken.

So even with my anxiety rearing it's annoying little head today I will keep going. I will keep living.

Friday, July 8, 2016

Dear friends,

Today is not the day to post about your point being proven.
Today is not the day to say "I told you so."
Today is not the day to re-post an insensitive meme about a political issue you feel passionately about.

Today is a day to mourn with the broken.
Today is a day to pray for the victims.
Today is a day to pray for the families.
Today is a day to pray for our country.
Today is a day to pray for Dallas.
Today is a day to pray for Louisiana.
Today is a day to pray for Minnesota.
Today is a day to be human.
Today is a day to sit Shiva.

Is this the world you want? You're making it, everyday you're alive. - Jon Foreman

Wednesday, April 6, 2016

TWLOHA, what I have learned in 10 years

10 years. It's hard to believe that 10 years ago Switchfoot posted on their MySpace a post asking their fans to go read a story their friend Jamie had written. The story was called To Write Love On Her Arms (TWLOHA) and it has helped thousands of people, myself included. (If you would like to read my story I have it posted under the title, "Don't Fall Down.")

I have been struggling for words about the 10 year anniversary of this amazing organization. I feel like I owe them at least a simple blog post. But to be honest, I can't find the words to say. I have already shared my story a few years ago (again, see the post "Don't Fall Down) but I feel with such a milestone I should have something to say. So I will just name off a few things I have experienced with TWLOHA.

1. I have been introduced to so much new music. Anberlin, Paramore, and Between the Trees to name a few. All three of those bands became some of my favorites and I still get sad when I think about the fact that Anberlin is no longer a band. (I legit cried when I found out they were breaking up.) The Unwinding Cable Car is one of the most beautiful songs I have ever heard in my life. The whole entire Cities album is pure perfection in my eyes.

2. I learned it was okay to have feelings. As strange as that sounds it is not really too far fetched. We live in a world that says we don't want to talk about the "bad" feelings. We don't talk about feeling sad, anxious, depressed, or suicidal. No one wants to deal with that so we simply don't deal with that. But TWLOHA helped me understand that it is okay to feel all those "bad" feelings. That it is something a lot of people deal with and there is no shame in having those feelings.

3. I have been given strength and courage to deal with my depression and anxiety. I no longer feel like I have to keep it to myself or pretend like I don't deal with both on an almost daily basis. I have been given the courage to seek professional help from a counselor and the strength to realize and be able to ask to be put on anxiety/depression medication. Even though I know that I will always be strong enough to overcome the moments my depression and anxiety feel unbarable there are moments I need help. When my anxiety gets the best of me and I end of collapsed on the floor of my kitchen I know that I can no longer handle my anxiety on my own. My anxiety/depression medication help me to rationalize why I am freaking out.

4. I have found that I am no longer afraid to use my voice and my story to encourage others. After I got through the roughest part of my depression in high school I never wanted to talk about it. It was to fresh to talk about. I was afraid I would go back into that headspace and not be able to get out. Certain things that I would turn to during my darkest moments I could no longer listen to or look at because it automatically brought me back to those dark places. It wasn't until about two years ago I was able to listen to the song Concrete Girl again. That song literally saved my life but every time I heard it I would remember everything I went through.

Now, after sharing it with many students, I have realized my story makes me stronger. My story is there reason I am on this planet.

5. I have come to the realization that: a) I have struggled with anxiety since literally the moment I entered this world. (seriously, ask my mom) and b) I will always struggle with anxiety and that is okay.

As much as it sucks and as hard as it is to get out of bed some days I still have to live my life. I live with anxiety but my anxiety no longer runs my life. I used to never want to do anything that involved me spending an amount of time overnight away from my home. (This was the main reason it took me so long to move out on my own.) I would get anxiety attacks the night before trips that I had been extremely excited for. I would back out of plans, all because my anxiety told me something awful was going to happen when I left, but nothing bad ever happened. I eventually got so sick of having anxiety attacks over nothing I went to my doctor and asked for anxiety meds. (I think my exact words were, "I can't keep crying over stupid stuff. I'm exhausted.") Now, I still get anxiety attacks and they still suck but I know how to cope with them and they are no longer as frequent as they used to be.

It is still hard for me to grasp the fact that TWLOHA has been around for 10 years. That also means I am 10 years older than I was when I first heard about it. (EEK!) In ten years I have changed a lot, as most people do in that amount of time. I have also stayed the same in some aspects. I still believe helping people with anxiety, depression, and addiction is important. I still believe Love Wins over all. I still believe in Jesus' love and mercy. I still deal with depression. I will deal with it for as long as I am alive, but now I know there is hope and there is a light at the end of the tunnel. I know that just because some days I want to stay in bed and never leave doesn't mean it'll always be like that. It is easier for me to see the light when I am surrounded be dark. To Write Love On Her Arms has taught me all these things. They make me a stronger and  braver person. They remind me that I am important and my story is important and that there is more to live for in this world than I could ever imagine. They remind me that I am loved and cared for. Thank you for that.

I wish I could do something more than write simple words, but then I am reminded that simple words formed a story that changed my life. So, the more I think about it the more appropriate words seem to be to express my love and gratitude for these amazing people. The only thing more perfect would be if I were to put it on MySpace but I don't know how to use it anymore. :)

Thursday, February 4, 2016

I want to be a writer but I have nothing to say...

I want to be a writer but I have nothing to write. I have this dream of writing a book but I don't know what it is about. Is it a book about life? Is it a book about kids? Is it a novel?  I think about it all the time. How I want to write a book. I think about what I might write and then I think I could never write a book because I have nothing really to say. Or if I write a book it'll be like all the other books in that category. My dream is to inspire people, make them think, make them want to be better, because that is what I want to do. I want to be inspired. I want to think deeply. I want to be better. But how do I put it all into practice?

Well, first, I have to get off my ass and start living. Going places, doing things. But what to do? My circle of friends has become more of a short line of about four people and I am not involved in anything at the moment. Honestly though, it feels good to not have any commitments. For the last few years I had things going on multiple nights of the week. I was either at a small group or leading one, at church or volunteering at church. I got to a point of exhaustion and a realization that I was doing all these things because that is what I had always done. I had always gone to church and when I got old enough, I had always been a volunteer. So why was I doing it now? Did I go to church because that is where I wanted to be or because that is what I had always done?

I had said for a few years that once my high school girls graduated I was taking a break from serving. So their last Wednesday as seniors was my last Wednesday as a leader. I'm not going to lie, I love being able to be home and veg on Wednesday nights. It's so great to get home, get in my sweat pants, and just sit on the couch doing nothing. I do miss my girls but I don't miss the constant drama that comes with volunteering at a church.

I also stopped going to church. Not because I was mad or anything, but because I needed to stop for a little while. I have been going to church my entire life. It was a part of my routine but it needed to stop being part of a routine. So I stopped going and I LOVED sleeping in on Sundays. I loved waking up and lounging around until I had to do my laundry. I would go every once in a while but not consistently. Then my church started a series at the beginning of  January that I knew I had to hear so I started going back. Now, with my best friend back by my side since she moved back home. I am happy to be going back to church. And I am thankful to be part of a church that is okay with me easing back in. It has been healthy for me to go back but, it was healthy for me to take a break. There was so much drama everywhere I turned and it was no longer about Jesus. It was about everything and everyone else. I was no longer learning about God, I was learning about what someone did or said that was rude or judgmental. Ugh, it was exhausting! Always, every week, I would walk in and it would be this whole thing of "OMG *insert name here* said *insert offensive sexist remark here* today!" And then I would get all hot and bothered and caught up in the drama. And guess what!? I learned nothing about Jesus! But, I did learned that *insert name here* was an even bigger ass than I thought they were. And where did knowing that absurd piece of gossip get me? Not closer to Jesus, but definitely further away.

When I stopped volunteering and going to church I basically stopped my life. I stopped hanging out with people and I stopped going places, but it was good for me. I needed to stop and refocus. Refocus on who I was as a person.

I do miss have a group of friends but I am fine with where my life is now. I am fine with having a short line of friends. The people in that short line have been with me for a while now, some since high school, others since just out of high school. But I have found that these are the people, no matter what, are always there for me. I have had my ups and downs with every single one of them, but somehow we always find our way back to one another. Time and time again God has shown me that these are my true friends. My true, ride or die, friends. The ones that you call in the middle of the night or get drunk with and profess your love too friends. The ones that you text all the weird shit you think about too.

So now that I have gone on this somewhat random, ADD, roller coaster of a post let's try and bring it back full circle.

The only way I can be a writer is if I write things down. (Duh). So I am going to start living life (again) and embracing it. And only watch a few movies on the Harry Potter marathon weekends instead of all of them. So I'll see where this year takes me. Hopefully it'll be an adventure that will make its way onto a page somewhere to maybe become something someone, somewhere, will be inspired by. Luckily, I've got my ride or dies by my side to help me through.

Sunday, April 5, 2015

Easter 2015

Today is arguably the most important day in the Christian faith. Easter or, Resurrection Sunday as some call it now. The day Jesus rose from the dead. It is supposed to be a day to celebrate the renewing and rebirth of our King. A day to acknowledge, honor, and worship our Jesus Christ for giving up his own life for man kind.

So how do I celebrate? Well to start off I woke up at 2am and cried to Jesus. I asked what I was doing wrong. I asked if I was wrong for feeling the way I was feeling. I asked what I could do to help my situation. I cried for understanding of a situation that just goes in a circle and never gets fixed. Then I went back to sleep after I felt a small bit of peace. Then I cried again on my way to church, which pissed me off because I didn't want to cry on my way to church. Then I cried at church which made me even more angry. I didn't want to bring my drama into a place where I was supposed to be celebrating. I didn't want people to know I was upset. I didn't want my sister to know I was upset. (Which, because she is my sister, she knew the moment she saw me.) I didn't want to cry in public but I have an annoying habit of letting my anger and anxiety get the best of me.

So how do you celebrate the most important day of the year when your heart is in such a dark place you don't know how to get it out? Quite frankly I have no idea. I don't know how to put aside all of the negativity in my life because there is so much of it. In the last year I have become more cynical, angry, and mean. (Not to mention the amount of weight I have gained.) I have put down, criticized, and been down right mean to people that have been nothing but kind and supportive of me. I have completely shut out people that have done nothing to deserve it. And why? Because I keep having the same conversation and all it does is go in a circle. And I'm frustrated and pissed off and exhausted and sad and hurt. And I can't do anything about it at this exact moment in my life so I take it out on my friends. I can not even begin explain how awful I feel about it. I am truly sorry to all of the friends I have hurt in some way, shape, or form. Whether you knew I was doing it or not, I am sorry.

I have let my anxiety and anger take control of my life. I didn't think I had. I thought I was doing good but I still have specific triggers that set me off. And it's not from time to time it's Every. Single. Week. It's not good. It's not healthy. It is destroying me from the inside out and I am exhausted and can't do it anymore.

Christ died and came back to free me from my anger and anxiety so why is it so hard for me to let Him have control instead of my emotions? Time and time again I do this. I try to control everything in my life and all I do is get hurt. So why can't I release control? Why can't I let Jesus, the one who loves me so much He gave his life, take control?

I can answer that. It's because I like to know what is going on at every moment of my life. I like to have control. The question I don't know how to answer is how to I change so that God can take control? Do I just say "God you have control now"? Cause I can say that but I know I really didn't give it to him. So how do I give up control so that God, who is much better at my life than I am, can take control? I guess I'll start with the Bible and talking to Him instead of talking to myself.

If you have any suggestions please share them.