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Showing posts from 2014

Dear Colby--A Final Blessing.

This is the letter I wrote to Colby that they're going to put in her casket tomorrow. 


Dear Colby,

This is my last letter to you, my final blessing. I loved and love you so very much. You and I had grown very close over the last few years. I miss you so much already, and I don't know how I'm going to make it through life without you, baby cousin. I mean, I know I'll keep going. Life will go on. But life for you will not, and that breaks my heart. I know I don't have to be sad for you because you are with Jesus, and that you will never be sad or unhappy ever again. I just can't wrap my mind around the fact that you won't be at my wedding and that I'll never get to see you get married. I can't wrap my mind around the fact that my kids will never know you and that you'll never get to have kids. I can't wrap my mind around the fact that you're really gone and that this letter will join your beautiful body in your casket. Tomorrow is your funer…

Remembering Colby.

My youngest cousin died on Sunday, December 21st. She was 19 years old, and was one of my dearest friends. A week before she died, she commented on this very blog, saying, "Haley you always have such wise things to say and you are the number one role model in my life. I love you to pieces!!! Love, Colby"
What an amazing compliment to get before she died. I do not feel deserving of the title of "number one role model," but now that she's gone I'll do my best to live up to that title. I will keep going for Colby.

Here are some of the things I had hoped for Colby:
1. That she would enjoy her new major of Psychology that she switched to a few weeks ago.
2. That she would get to be part of Sing Song next semester.
3. That she would get to pledge a social club sophomore year. I wasn't going to pressure her to pledge Sigma Theta Chi, but I would have absolutely loved it if she had.
4. That she would go on to do many great things at ACU, like being an ACU Leade…

8 Reflections on my 8th Semester of College.

Another semester has come to a close. It was my 8th one. Usually people graduate after 8, but I'm taking it slow and have 3 left. Just 3 more, and then hopefully I'll go out into the world prepared to face new challenges with a head full of knowledge and a heart full of God.

So here's some reflections after what I can only call a mediocre semester:

#1: We're all in different places. And that's okay!
This was one of the number one things I learned this semester. I was the spiritual director (AKA chaplain) for Seekers of the Word, and I especially learned through being a leader in that group that you just can't meet everyone where they are. God can; I can't! Everyone is in different places in their spiritual journey, in maturity, and in life in general. There are so many ways that we are each unique, and that's a good thing. But creating a devotional that somehow hits everyone's heart is nearly impossible...without God. I mean, if you pray about it, ma…

When God Said, "Yes."

I have recently experienced a real life miracle and scarcely know where to begin.

So, if you know me, you are probably aware that I am an ovarian cancer survivor. But that's not actually the miracle. I mean, maybe that was a miracle, too, but it mostly felt just like cancer and chemo and losing my hair and being generally very sick and miserable, and then suddenly I was all better. That was 12 years ago. Hooray! Well, ever since that time I've had to have check ups. If you know me, I've probably asked you to pray for one of my many check ups over the years. The frequency and nature of my check ups have changed many times. Nowadays, I usually just have to go see my oncologist (AKA cancer doctor) once a year, but over the last few years I've had to have more frequent sonograms due to a cyst attached to my remaining ovary. (News flash: I only have one left! The first one was removed when I had a tumor attached to it twelve years ago.) So, for the sake of my potential futu…

Revolutionary Road, Part 2.

Without further delay, I will explain what revolutionary things God has done in my heart and life this summer, and really over the past several years.

I didn't know it, but I was going down the wrong road. I thought it was the right road, which is why I was on said road, but God has gently revealed to me that, once again, He has different plans for my life--plans which I am beginning to see are bigger and better.

You may have read on my blog about what I like to call my "white picket fence" dream. Basically, it consists of wanting to graduate college, get married, have 3-4 children, go to church, volunteer in my community, have a nice house, several dogs, and generally just live a comfortable life. Oh, and have a white picket fence. A few years ago, this was the dream. That was my dream. Now, don't get me wrong, there's nothing inherently wrong with the white picket fence dream. However, we are called to SO. MUCH. MORE. Let me explain...

I was on the road to the …

Revolutionary Road, Part 1.

This blog post was a long time coming...like months, maybe even years. It's about the fact that God has called me, but I'm just now figuring out what He has called me to.

This past week I was a small group leader at a camp called Kadesh. If you don't know anything about Kadesh, I will tell you that it is unlike most summer camps. Campers (who are around ages 14-18) are called to dig deep into God's word and to worship Him with all their hearts. Most of the day at camp is spent doing bible studies in small groups, listening to guest speakers, worshipping, or doing service in the surrounding community. There is very little free time, and it's designed that way. At Kadesh, we believe high schoolers are able to go deeper. We believe God is ready to show up in their lives. We believe that one camper at a time, God can change the world. And He does.

I was a Kadesh camper for four years. Before that, I was a camper at the middle school and elementary age camps at ACU. Whe…

Peace, Be Still.

So I'll be the first one to tell you I go to therapy. It's no secret. It's just talk therapy. We talk about my thoughts, feelings, difficult decisions, etc.  Basically whatever is on my heart and mind. I have two therapists--one at home, and one at school. I go to therapy for a variety of reasons, but one reason is because I want to be a therapist someday, so I'm learning as well as getting help for myself. I am not ashamed that I go to therapy, and I believe that everyone needs some therapy, if not a lot. But therapy can come in many forms. My therapists often give me homework or a challenge for the week. This week, my homework is to rest. Easier said than done!

You see, this summer I'm a youth intern for my home church. Last week, we went on Trek, which consists of climbing a mountain and growing closer to the Lord together. It's physically and mentally exhausting. This week, I've had 5 appointments of various sorts, a fellowship lunch called Koinonia wit…

Stubborn.

I was praying about something important today, and I found myself acting like a stubborn little child. I literally told God, "Okay, here's what I want to happen, but if it doesn't please make something else good happen, but know that I'm probably going to be mad at you for a while. I won't be happy about it if this doesn't work out." Yes, I really found myself saying those words out loud in my car. 
Let me just pause right there and say, how amazing is it that we have a Lord whom we can be honest and blunt with? And He can take it. How amazing that we can approach the Lord with boldness and know that He will hear us and answer our prayers? Sure, we don't always get the answer we want or the timing we want, but I DO know that God answers prayers. I've seen it, I've felt it, I've experienced it first hand, and if you have not, I encourage you to keep praying. 
Have you ever heard that saying, "Pray hardest when it is hardest to pray&quo…

Open & Closed Doors.

You know that song from Frozen, "Love is an Open Door"? (We won't talk about the fact that the song is actually basically a sham in the movie...sorry, spoiler alert: Hans is stupid.) Well, I've been thinking lately about the concept of open and closed doors. Both can be good. Sometimes it does not feel good to have a door close in your face, like not getting a job you wanted or the end of a relationship, but sometimes those things are for the best. I'm not saying they don't hurt, but sometimes what is right is not easy.

Lately, doors have been opening and closing for me left and right; job opportunities lost and prospective new ones opening up. Relationships ending and new ones beginning (several of the relationships were long since closed doors, but I'm just now admitting it). So I know, I know, I know that sometimes closed doors hurt. Trust me, I know. I've been heartbroken before.

But what I also know is that God works all things for the good of th…

You Can't Always Get What You Want.

I haven't had much to say on the old blog in a while, but today I'm overflowing with thoughts that need to be let out.

Today was not the best day. I spent way too much time crying and not enough time sleeping last night to help balance out my mood. I found out today that I did not get the job I applied for this summer, the only job I have applied for so far and the only job I've ever really wanted so far. It wouldn't be so heartbreaking if I hadn't already worked there for two summers. Yep, you probably guessed what the job was. But I'm not here to complain about the people who didn't hire me, I'm really not. I love those people despite the fact that I am heartbroken and crushed and confused.

Some other things simply did not go my way today...I was unprepared for a popped quiz that I didn't know any of the answers for, I realized I'm doing very poorly in one of my classes, and a project I spent several hours working on last night fell through.

T…

Celebrate! [Blogathon Conclusion]

Okay, I failed to finish Blogathon on time because I was working on school work this week. Yes, I'm back in school! Hooray for being in school! However, there's plenty of work to do. So let's wrap this Blogathon up now that it's the weekend.

I intended to write letters to many of the people who have helped me through the past year, but I'll have to do that later. It IS going to happen though! For now, I'll just say a few concluding words.

First of all, Tuesday was the anniversary of the day I got out of the hospital. Wow, what a difference a year can make! I think back to that time and I'm practically a different person. I was so fragile and shaken. Now I am strong and confident. Although my struggle will never truly end, I have come such a long way. I am truly happy with my life now. My medicine is working. I rarely need to see my doctor, and I've gone over a month (more like 6 weeks) without counseling and I feel great! Progress is a beautiful thing.

Life Goes On. [Blogathon Day 15]

Well, to be honest, I was working on something today and didn't have time to write much on the ol' blog. I will do a little wrap up to the story and a precursor to tomorrow's post:

After all the hard times early in 2013, things quieted down. As 2013 year went by, things got to be more "normal." Once I got involved in Grace Church I got into a regular weekly schedule of church, community groups, lunch dates with girls from community group, and therapy twice a week. I tried volunteering and babysitting a few times, but not often. I was responsible and everything, but my heart was not in it yet. I also got into a good gym schedule and worked out about 3-4 times a week. I was getting stronger and able to run a 5K, which I eventually did!

By summer, I was able to do fun things like go to Six Flags and the beach, go swimming with friends, etc. After everything I'd been through, I had a fun, relaxing, NORMAL summer. Yay! Praise God for that.

There's a funny thin…

Back To "Normal." [Blogathon Day 14]

On January 14, 2013, I was released from the hospital. I went back to "normal" life, but things were far from normal.

Coming out of the hospital was harder than I thought it would be. I reactivated my Facebook which turned out to be a bad decision so close to getting home. There was something about being in the hospital that was so simple. There were no cell phones, no computers, no social media, nothing to distract us from focusing on getting better and building relationships. If we were bored, we had a TV, games, books, and journals to write in. Other than that, we talked. I had a limited number of belongs--a few clothes, a few toiletries, a few books and pictures, my pillow, and my stuffed panda bear. That was it. Life might have been complicated, but it was also much simpler.

When I got out of the hospital, I struggled with panic attacks and anxiety. I've written about it before, and I cannot stress to you how horrible it was. Everything stressed me out--driving, clut…

Such Sweet Sorrow. [Blogathon Day 13]

After what felt like a month in Intensive Care, the doctor and nurses finally decided I was ready to move back to the Adult Unit. I'm not entirely sure how long I was in the Intensive Care Unit, but it must have been less than two weeks, maybe around 9 days. If that's correct, then I had been in the hospital for about 11 days total, with about a week left to go.

The next week was one of the most profound weeks of my life to date. I ended up meeting some wonderful people and making friends. We actually became like a family for a time. There were nine of us that really got close, give or take a few. Everyone came and left at different times, so it's hard to say how many of us there were in that core group that became like a crazy little family.

I wish I could tell you all of the amazing stories that these people had to offer, but I feel that would be an invasion of their privacy. They aren't my stories to tell. I actually did get their permission to write about them for …

What I Need From You. [Blogathon Day 12]

When I was diagnosed with Bipolar Disorder I had two thoughts first:
1. What am I going to do?
2. What will people think?

I've pretty much figured out #1- I'm going to deal with it. I'm going to take medicine, go to therapy, keep a journal, exercise, eat regularly, get plenty of sleep, never pull an all-nighter, that kind of thing. Oh, and I'm obviously I'm blogging about it, something most people wouldn't do but something I feel called to do.

Number 2 was a little more tricky. What will people think? What do they think now? If people think less of me because of this, they obviously aren't telling me which I suppose is a blessing. I can't change this, so I might as well make the best of it and take the positive comments that I have received. Thank you for all of you who have sent me positive messages, and to all of you who haven't sent me mean messages haha. I already know what's bad about this disorder; I don't need to be told.

To be honest…

Do's and Don'ts. [Blogathon Day 11]

There are absolutely things you can do or say to help someone with Bipolar Disorder. There are also definitely things that will not be a good idea as they will be hurtful rather than helpful. Today I'd like to take a moment to give some examples of what is good to say and do and what is not-so-good to say and do.

What not to say

"You sound a little down today."
Since I live with bipolar disorder, of course I don’t always feel 100 percent up to par. I just don’t need my symptoms constantly gauged or continually evaluated. It’s like having a never-ending physical. Most people with a mental illness know how they feel. Being told you are not sounding well is not constructive, nor is it a substitute for true compassion.

"I thought you were taking your medication."
Dealing successfully with bipolar disorder cannot be reduced to whether or not someone has taken a pill. There are no quick fixes. Confronting a chronic, serious illness is an ongoing process, and there are b…

All About Bipolar. [Blogathon Day 10]

We all have our ups and downs, but, with bipolar disorder, these peaks and valleys are more severe. The symptoms of bipolar disorder can hurt your job and school performance, damage your relationships, and disrupt your daily life. And although it’s treatable, many people don’t recognize the warning signs and get the help they need. Since bipolar disorder tends to worsen without treatment, it’s important to learn what the symptoms look like. Recognizing the problem is the first step to getting better. Bipolar disorder is not as uncommon as you may think. Millions of American adults are affected by bipolar disorder.

What is Bipolar Disorder?
Bipolar disorder is a lifelong condition that can affect both how you feel and how you act. It is a mood disorder thought to be caused by chemical imbalances in the brain that can result in extreme swings in mood—from manic highs to depressive lows. To be diagnosed with bipolar disorder, you must have experienced a high period (mania). Bipolar mania …