Love Letter From Depression Part 2

Hello Ashley,

This is Depression. How are you? Well, don’t answer that. You know I really don’t care. You know what I do care about is why we haven’t been spending time together like we used to? I mean, I see you every once in a while. Every time I think we are going to get back together, you leave me for a guy name Jesus. Like, why? What does he have that I don’t?

You cannot deny it, Ashley. We were so good together. You loved me, I loved you. All we needed was each other. And then this Jesus character came along and told you that you would be better without me. I was shocked! I never thought you would see me for who I really am. I honestly thought we would be together forever.

Remember, we used to have the best times together. I miss your tears of loneliness and hopelessness. I miss how we used to stay in bed together for days, even weeks at a time. I miss how you used to put me ahead of your family. Now you act like you never had such a wonderful, miserable history. You used to tell me how I was the only consistent entity in your life. Now I feel like I am nothing to you.

It’s pretty obvious that whoever this Jesus is that he means more to you than I ever have. That’s how I know he’s powerful because I used to be your whole world. Now all of a sudden he is. I’m angry and hurt because now I know I’ve lost my best victim.

I will never let you go. I will always come back and visit to see if you’ll take me back, I will never stop loving you. But because I see that you are stronger than you have ever been, I’ll have to bring my A game.

Love,

Depression

Click here to read Love Letter from Depression Part One

Blogging with a Chronic Illness

Blogging with a Chronic Illness

So, when you live with an illness that affects how you process information, it is very difficult to successfully run a blog. It has been for me, anyway.

So, I want to share with you ways I manage a blog while living with Lupus. Please read here if you haven’t already about my fight against Lupus. Right now, I don’t talk about as much because the Plaquenil prescribed by my rheumatologist, has finally kicked in and my blood work is coming back normal. Which is AWESOME-SAUCE! I am definitely in a better place than I was a year ago. I digress.

So, oh yeah…Tips on how to run a blog while living with a chronic illness.

  1. Set small goals: As you know, when living with a chronic illness, your days can be unpredictable. I know for Lupus warriors, one day we are feeling great and the next day it’ll feel like we’ve been hit by a bus. So, don’t overwhelm yourself with too much at once. Set your own pace. The rest will follow.
  2. It’s ok to take a break: Blogging can be emotionally and physically draining for anyone, especially if you have a chronic illness. For me, pain is an issue. I manage it, but I can’t sit one position for too long before my body begins to stiffen up. If you have a schedule for blogging, set aside times for breaks. Blogging can be exhausting, so make sure you take care of yourself.
  3. Water, Water, and what…More Water!: I know you’re tired of hearing this. I’m tired of hearing it, but it true. Water is known to improve your cognition, improve your mood, and lower inflammation. Which means, the more water you drink, the better you will feel.
  4.  Cut yourself some slack: I know that we have goals that we want to accomplish, but remember, it even took the Lord six days to make the universe, and He is a perfect supreme being. Accomplishing anything will take time and continuous effort. I have to remind myself of this daily, especially when I see other people who have blogs that are thriving and mines is…..

Having a chronic illness can definitely put a wrench in the plans, but it doesn’t have to damage our plans completely. Even if it isn’t blogging. Keep going, keep pushing, keep moving. Even if it’s one step forward, three steps back, you are still making progress.

I’ll be praying for your strength while chasing what you love. Thank for you reading words today. God bless each and every one of you. Please remember to pray for one another.

On the darkest days you have to search for a spot of brightness, on the coldest days you have to seek out a spot of warmth; on the bleakest days you have to keep your eyes onward and upward and on the saddest days you have to leave them open to let them cry. To then let them dry. To give them a chance to wash out the pain in order to see fresh and clear once again. -Tahereh Mafi

 

It’s All About Perception

It’s All About Perception

Good Day Friends!

Today I’m thinking about how we perceive certain things in our lives and how much perception makes a difference in whether or not we have a good day or a bad day. Sometimes, we are unable to avoid bad days, but overall, I believe perception determines whether we allow those bad days to control the decision we make.

I believe that one way we overcome life struggles is to perceive our struggles in a positive aspect. I see a lot of post about how changing our mindsets is important to achieve the goals that we have set for ourselves. Even God says that we have to renew our minds each day in order to live a more fulfilling life.

Don’t copy the behavior and customs of this world, but let God transform you into a new person by changing the way you think. Then you will learn to know God’s will for you, which is good and pleasing and perfect.  -Romans 12:2

I love how it says that God’s will for us is “good and pleasing and perfect”!

I used to think that being diagnosed with mental illness, lupus, and fibromyalgia was the worst thing that could have ever happened to me. I truly thought my life was over, but then I realized it was just the beginning. Changing my perception helped me to realize that I can use this new diagnosis to my advantage.

Changing our mindset or how we view our circumstances helps us forgive those who have hurt us, it helps us to accept our current situation; good or bad, it helps us to have courage to overcome future obstacles, and it helps us to let go and not sweat the small stuff and become more appreciative. Changing our perception also helps us have more faith in God; that He will deliver us from whatever is going on and like scripture says, it will be “good and pleasing and perfect”.

When I decided to change my perception, I asked God for His help and of course He came through with His promise of changing how I think. Fact of the matter is, God will pursue us. He will find ways to get our attention. He will allow things such as illness’ to get our attention so we can actively seek Him, so we can have a close relationship with Him.

He will use our struggles as a chance to get closer to us. God wants us to have a relationship with Him. He wants us to spend time with Him, just like a Father who wants to have a relationship with his children. His love is neither conditional nor passive. I believe God has used mental and physical illness to get my attention so He can have a close relationship with me. Let’s face it. When I was healthy, I really didn’t seek God. I wasn’t concerned with having relationship with Him. I was so wrapped up in my own life, only seeking what I wanted.

When He uses such things are illness’ to get our attention, God doesn’t just sit back and expect us to fight it alone. He fights for us!

The Lord is a warrior: Yahweh is his name. -Exodus 15:3

“Don’t be afraid. Just stand still ad watch the Lord rescue you today… The Lord himself will fight for you. Just stay calm.” -Exodus 14:13,14

Truthfully speaking, my life has gotten better because of it. Why you ask? Since I’ve embraced that this is the current season in my life, it has inspired me to do the things that I’ve always wanted to do. For instance: I am unable to hold a full time job because of this condition. Since I cannot work, I am able to spend more time with my children. I am able to be at home with them more. I am able to connect with them more. I am able to put more time and effort into starting my own business. I am able to concentrate on starting and sustaining my writing career. And more important, I am able to help people by sharing my struggles and helping them overcome theirs. It truly is the best feeling.

Since my diagnosis, I’ve grown closer to God which is awesome! I feel His presence more and more. I feel His unconditional love like never before. I am able to appreciate life more. I am able to slow down and enjoy sunsets. I no longer desire death when I become overwhelmed. I no longer desire to give up. I’ve shed most of the pain that has been apart of me most of my life. I am free from shame, guilt, and condemnation from the enemy. I’ve been able to forgive and forget. I’m eating healthier and I’ve been motivated to work on my dreams.

My diagnosis has been the best worst thing that has happened to me. It has given me a testimony to share with others who are in same boat as I am.

When changing our perception, it is helpful to remember:

  • Gods love is faithful and good (Psalm 36:5)
  • All we have to do is slow down in our self-efforts and allow God to guide our steps (Psalm 37:23)
  • We are safe and secure in Gods love (Deuteronomy 33:27)
  • We are sheltered by His presence (Exodus 33:14)
  • Allow His knowledge to wash over us (Romans 1:19,20)

“Remember, it is not your weakness that will get in the way of Gods working through you, but your delusions of strength. His strength is made perfect is made perfect in our weakness! Point to His strength by being willing to admit your weakness.” -Paul David Tripp

Thank you all for reading my thoughts today. I pray that you all are having a wonderful day. As always, I appreciate everyone who takes the time out to support my blog. Please remember to pray for one another. God bless you!

No eye has seen, no ear has heard, and no mind has imagined what God has prepared for those who love him. -Isaiah 64:4

 

Funny Friday

Funny Friday

Hey Friends!

I’m so glad to be back. Writing is the source of my calm. Even if I wanted to stop ✋, I couldn’t! It’s my life’s passion. It’s like breathing for me. Do you have a passion like that? Do you find yourself missing something that used to be your “calm”?💆🏽‍♀️ Make sure you make it a priority to get back to doing whatever made your heart flutter. 💕We all need a healthy escape from life sometimes. 😉

Anyway, welcome back to Funny Friday! I pray that you all have a wonderful weekend filled with many blessings and Gods endless grace and love. Please remember to pray for one another and don’t forget to laugh! 🤗

A BUS FULL OF UGLY PEOPLE

A bus full of ugly people had a head on collision with a truck. When they died, God granted all of them one wish. The first person said, “I want to be gorgeous.” God snapped his fingers and it happened. The second person said the same thing and God did the same thing. This want on and on throughout the group. God noticed the last man in line was laughing hysterically. By the time God got to the last ten people, the last man was laughing and rolling on the ground. When the man’s turn came, he laughed and said, “I wish they were all ugly again.”

Can I Get A Lil’ Bit Of That Anointing Oil, Please?

Can I Get A Lil’ Bit Of That Anointing Oil, Please?

Happy New Year, Beloveds!

Early yesterday morning after the ball dropped, I watched a movie with my little ones. I love spending time with my kids. I remember a time when it was hard to spend time with them. I was so convinced that they deserved a better mother, so I began to put a wedge between me and them. Now that I think about, my thinking was so warped. What a great example of how the enemy will use such tactics to get inside our heads to destroy our families and each other. Praise God that I decided to allow God to heal my heart, soul, and mind. Now my children not only have the mother that they need but the mother that they deserve.

After our movie, at around 3 a.m., we decided to anoint our home. I’m not sure how often we should do it, but I thought to start the New Year off, we should do it. Plus, my children have been complaining of nightmares so what great way to get rid of the evil spirits that are trying to plague the minds of my children.

There are so many benefits to anointing our homes and our families. Through the blood of Jesus and Psalm 91, we are PROMISED protection from every danger, which included but not limited to sickness, disease, assault, crime, tornadoes, fire and any other threat to your safety and well-being. But God’s protection is not automatic. There are things we have to do in order for God to be our refuge.

4 Steps to Anointing Your Home and Family

  • Obtain Olive Oil – I’ve been told that extra virgin cold-pressed olive oil is the best to use because of its purity, but I’m sure any olive oil will suffice. You can also grab anointing oil from your local religious and secular stores.
  • Pray over your oil – Some people believe that only a religious leader can anoint oil. I believe that we can do it ourselves as long as we have Christ living within us. We pray to Him about everything else, right? Here’s an example of the prayer that I used to pray over our olive oil:
    • In the name of Jesus, I set this oil apart to be holy anointing oil. Jesus, thank you for your sacrifice so that we can have complete healing and wholeness. This holy anointing oil speaks to the perfection of your finished work. I thank you that whatever this oil touches, the fullness of your grace, power, provision, and healing virtue will flow according to your living word. I pray that wherever this oil is applied, it will bring glory and praise to your name. Amen. 
  • Understanding Anointing Oil – Understand that the power of the oil is from God and God only. Anointing oil is a symbol of our faith, trusting that God will fulfill his promises of protecting us. And if you don’t know God is incapable of lying! He is a God of His word:
    • “God is not a man, so he does not lie. He is not human, so he does not change his mind. Has he ever spoken and failed to act? Has he ever promised and not carried it through?” -Number 23:19
    • Please know that without faith, anointed oil is useless. You must believe in the power of God and the authority that Christ has given you. *Remember, the same power that raised Christ from the dead is living inside of each and every one of us (Romans 8:11)*
  • Using Anointing Oil – There are many things that we can anoint; ourselves, our home, our children, our vehicles, our office, etc. When I anointed my home, my mentor told me to take the anointed oil, put a small amount on my finger (many people place it on their right thumb), and rub it around the entrance of each room while praying Psalm 91. Remove all objects that have evil roots attached to them; false idols and/or statues, evil masks, etc. If you are unsure, pray for God to reveal those items to you so you can throw them out. God revealed to my husband and I that a wooden table that was donated to us had evil spirits attached to it. Once we got rid of it and prayed over our home, you could tell the difference.
    • When anointing my family, I placed a small amount on my thumb, made a sign of the cross across the foreheads of my children and my husband and prayed Psalm 91.
    • If you are using anointing oil for healing, you can rub a small amount of oil across the damaged area of the body while praying for healing.
    • When I prayed Psalm 91, I made into personal prayer. God loves it when we repeat scripture back to him, especially when we pray His words. It not only glorifies him, but it also turns him into a blushing papa.

I pray that this helps you and your family start anew this year. Although I feel this should be done more often than once a year, at least we’re all starting off on the right foot. This year, I would like for whoever is reading is this to be free from the strongholds that Satan has on you and your loved ones. We must accept who we are in Christ and begin to see ourselves how our Abba Father sees us; more precious than anything in the universe, in order to do so.

I love you all and please remember to pray for one another. Don’t forget to hit the follow button to the right so you can receive email updates on new blog post. Oh and let me know in the comment section on how you anoint your home and other living spaces. Peace and love!

“Then he poured some of the anointing oil on Aaron’s head, anointing him and making him holy for his work.” -Leviticus 8:12

“…but God, I Don’t Wanna!”

“…but God, I Don’t Wanna!”

Hey Friends,

It is becoming abundantly clear that I whine to God…a lot. Not just a little, but way too much for my comfort. Here I am thinking, “Hmmm, I’m pretty mature. I got this being 32 years old down, pretty well.” Ha! That couldn’t be furthest from the truth when it comes to Jesus. I find myself being more child-like than anything, but then I think that it’s kind of the point, right? How do we try to obtain perfection in the eyes of the only true perfectionist?

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In the morning, I try to spend time with God for two main reasons: 1. To set the tone for the rest of my day and 2. To check it off of my “to-do” list. As the day progresses and I haven’t spent time with him, I become more nervous because I know my chances of actually doing it becomes very slim. Not because I am extremely busy, but because I begin to whine to God as to why I unable to do it.

For example, imagine a very whiney Ashley saying, “…but Lord, I’m so tired. I need sleep. I have to spend time with the kids. I have to make dinner. I’m so tired, Lord.”

Then here comes the bargaining. “Ok, ok, God, give me like an hour to get my body together. Let me put something on my stomach, first, Jesus. Ok, ok, really, I haven’t forgotten about you. Lemme just watch this show real quick.”

Then, all of the sudden it’s midnight and I’m saying, “Oh Jesus, I will definitely spend time with you in the morning.” Then morning comes and the process starts all over again. You get my drift, right?

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For me after a few days, guilt begins to set in. I’ll feel guilty that I’ve promised God my time and haven’t given to him. I’ll feel like a child asking for forgiveness, pleading and begging for another chance of redemption. Not realizing that he already knew that my lazy butt was going to make excuses and he has already forgiven me when he sent Jesus to die for me…and you. Pause and let that sink in, but come back cause I have more to say.

Related Post:

We sin all of the time. Even we are whining and crying like children at 32 years old, we are forgiven. Once I allowed that that to seep into my brain, spending time with him has become more of a pleasure than a chore. Now, I look forward to it. And when I miss the opportunity, I no longer beat myself up. Instead, I pray that I get another chance to hear his words and adhere to his glory and grace since it has already been gifted to you and me.

Plus, it’s a win/win because I always feel so much better after I open my bible. Me, personally, I love having a book to open and read, take notes, and highlight. But if you’re not like that, there is always the free digital bibles online. It’s literally a click away.

Spend a little time with God. He will give you the sustenance to get you through the next day. For Yahweh says, “So don’t worry about tomorrow, for tomorrow will bring its own worries. Today’s trouble is enough for today.” -Matthew 6:34. 

And if someone tells me not to worry about it, you guys should know me well enough to know my whiny butt is not going to worry about. Think of it like this…if someone tells you not to worry about paying the check for dinner, are you still going to pull out your wallet? I think not! I don’t know if that analogy fits, but oh well. I put it in there anyway.

I love you guys! I pray that you are having an amazing start to your week. I pray that your bellies are full, your beds are warm (or cool) and that your minds are at peace. I thank that Lord each day for all that read my thoughts, cause Jesus knows that they are crazy. Amen.

“Reading the Bible will help you get to know the word, but it’s when you put it down and live your life that you get to know the author.”― Steve Maraboli, Life, the Truth, and Being Free

Related Post: Stop Whining, Ashley!

 

 

 

 

Mental and Physical Illness Is My Thorn

Mental and Physical Illness Is My Thorn

Hey Friends,

Today I want to talk about something that has been on my heart to share. So I decided since I am kidless for the next couple of hours, I would take this opportunity to allow the Holy Spirit to use me to speak to you. That’s if you have time to read it, of course.

So, here’s goes. Self-pity is a very real entity in my life. It is for a lot of people, but very few will admit it. I’m sure everyone has gone through a moment of despair and uncertainty and have asked, “Why me? Why is this happening to me? I’m a good person. I don’t deserve this.” Whether it’s a loss of a loved one or possession, job, or when dealing with an unexpected unfortunate event, such as mental and/or physical illness.

There are so many times, I have asked God, “What did I do to deserve this?”  I originally anchored my illness to the idea that it was punishment for all of the horrible things I have done over the years. And it seemed that he would never answer me back. He would only give me tools to get through whatever “crisis” that I was experiencing to get through it, such as, bible scriptures, support from my family and friends, and as of lately, support from my church elders.

There are two scriptures that I have learned to “lean on” during times of self-pity, just in case you’re feeling pitiful right now…

Jeremiah 29:11

“For I know the plans I have for you,” says the Lord. “They are plans for good and not for disaster, to give you a future and a hope.”

Proverbs 3:5-6

“Trust in the Lord with all your heart; do not depend on your own understanding.
Seek his will in all you do, and he will show you which path to take.”

One day, last week, during a moment of “why me?”, I felt God said, “Baby, stop whining and come here. Let me tell you why this is happening.” Or at least that’s how I interpreted it. I’m sure God was so much kinder and gentler, but it was almost like a smack upside the head.

The Holy Spirit lead me to 2 Corinthians 12, where it talks about the visions and revelations that God gave to Paul about heaven (2 Corinthians 12:3-4). Paul says, “…that I was caught up to paradise and heard things so astounding that they cannot be expressed in words, things no human is allowed to tell.” 

Heaven is also described in Isaiah 6:1, which states, “It was in the year King Uzziah died that I saw the Lord. He was sitting on a lofty throne, and the train of his robe filled the Temple.” and also in Revelation 4, which John describes seeing “a throne in heaven and someone sitting on it. The one sitting on the throne was as brilliant as gemstones…and the glow of an emerald circled his throne like a rainbow.” In verse 6, John also described “…in front of the throne was a shiny sea of glass, sparkling like a crystal.”

Paul then goes on to say that God gave him a thorn in his flesh to prevent him from becoming too proud, or full of himself. In other words, Paul was forced to be uncomfortable to remain humble with all of the wonderful blessings that he was receiving (2 Cor. 12: 7-9). Paul even states that his visions are worth boasting about, but he doesn’t want to do it because then it would take away from the fact that it was because of God’s grace that he was able to have such beautiful visions in the first place. Talk about humility.

In verse 8, Paul states that he asked God three times to remove the thorns. And do you know what God said…

2 Corinthians 12:9

“Each time he said, ‘My grace is all you need. My power works best in weakness.'”

When I first read this, I was like, “wait, what?” I need a little bit more than that Lord. I need money, I need health insurance, I need peace of mind. But then I learned the meaning of God’s grace.

The Old Testament word describing God’s grace is chesed. This word speaks of deliverance from enemies, affliction, or adversity. It also denotes enablement, daily guidance, forgiveness, and preservation. Grace means God moving heaven and earth to save sinners who could not lift a finger to save themselves. Grace means God sending His only Son to descend into hell on the cross so that we guilty ones might be reconciled to God and received into heaven. –AllAboutGod.com

See 2 Corinthians 5:21, Romans 3:22-24,Ephesians 2:8-10

And that’s not even to the tip of the iceberg. So then I was like…

Then our Abba Father hit me with his Tsunami-sized grace that had me like…

I was weeping like a baby, shouting, “Yes Lord, thank you, Jesus!!” Like Paul said, “That’s why I take pleasure in my weaknesses, and in the insults, hardships, persecutions, and troubles that I suffer for Christ. For when I am weak, then I am strong.” (2 Cor. 12:10)

So in conclusion (if you’ve made it this far down this extremely long post) I no longer see my mental and physical illness as a punishment, but yet the thorn in my flesh to draw me closer to our Abba Father and help further his agenda of drawing you closer to him as well. To be extremely honest, I wouldn’t have sought an intimate relationship with Jesus if I weren’t sick. I would still be living a life of sin…that good ole nasty, sticky sin, too. You know what I’m talking about.

My friends, if you are going through trials, hardships, loss, persecutions, and troubles as Paul describes, do not fret. Use this opportunity to draw closer to him. He will give you his grace on a platter. He will not only help you through it but restore you and heal you during the aftermath. He promised to never leave, nor forsake us. (Hebrew 13:5)

I love you all. I pray that each and every one of you is having a great start to your week. Happy Memorial Day to all of my United States followers. Stay safe out there.

“So be strong and courageous! Do not be afraid and do not panic before them. For the LORD your God will personally go ahead of you. He will neither fail you nor abandon you.” -Deuteronomy 31:6

Funny Friday: The Man and Ostrich

Funny Friday: The Man and Ostrich

Namaste Friends!

Is it Friday already? I guess it is cause I have a joke for you! I hope everyone is having a wonderful start to their weekend. Please enjoy today’s Funny Friday by SunnyDayz.com

A Guy Walks Into A Restaurant With A Full-Grown Ostrich Behind Him…

The waitress asks for their orders. The guy says, “A hamburger, fries, and a coke,” and turns to the ostrich, “What’s yours?”

“I’ll have the same,” says the ostrich.

A short time later the waitress returns with the order. “That will be $18.40 please.” The man reaches into his pocket and, without looking, pulls out the exact change for payment.

The next day, the guy and the ostrich come again and the guy says, “A hamburger, fries, and a coke.”

The ostrich says, “I’ll have the same.”

Again the guy reaches into his pocket and pays with exact change. This becomes routine until one night they enter the restaurant and the waitress asks, “The usual?”

“No, this is Friday night, so I will have a steak, baked potato, and salad”, says the guy.

“Me too,” says the ostrich.

The waitress brings the order and says, “That will be $42.62.”

Once again the guy pulls the exact change out of his pocket and places it on the table. The waitress can’t hold back her curiosity any longer. “Excuse me, sir. How do you manage to always come up with the exact change out of your pocket every time?”

“Well,” says the guy, “several years ago I was cleaning my attic and found an old lamp. When I rubbed it a genie appeared and offered me two wishes. My first wish was that if I ever had to pay for anything, I would just put my hand in my pocket and the right amount of money would always be there.”

“That’s brilliant!” says the waitress. “Most people would wish for a million dollars or something, but you’ll always be as rich as you want for as long as you live!”

“That’s right. Whether it’s a gallon of milk or a Rolls Royce, the exact money is always there,” says the guy.

The waitress asks, “But, sir, what’s with the ostrich?”

The guy sighs and answers, “My second wish was for a tall chick with long legs who agrees with everything I say.”

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Lupus Awareness Month

Lupus Awareness Month

Hey Friends!

This month is officially Lupus Awareness Month. Until I was diagnosed 2 years ago, I really never knew what Lupus was. I’ve heard of it here and there through conversation, like, “Hey, so and so has Lupus.” The only thing I knew about it was that it made you really sick. Now, since it is a struggle that I am now facing, I’ve had to educate myself about it. Ways to live with and cope with this illness, and how to overcome it.

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So first, What Is Lupus? If you are a new follower and have never heard of it, Lupus is an inflammatory disease caused when the immune system attacks the healthy tissues in your body.

Lupus can cause:

  • Organ damage/failure
  • Inflammation
  • Swelling
  • Damage to Joints/Skin/Kidneys/Blood, Heart/Lungs
  • Other illness’ such as Von Willebrands disease (blood clot disorder), Fibromyalgia, Raynaud’s Disease (numbness in fingers and toes), Cardiovascular disease, etc.

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There are 4 different types of Lupus:

  • Systemic lupus erythematosus, or SLE, is the most common form of lupus.
  • Discoid lupus erythematosus causes a skin rash that doesn’t go away.
  • Subacute cutaneous lupus erythematosus causes skin sores on areas of the body exposed to the sun.
  • Neonatal lupus affects newborns.

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Lupus is known as the silent killer. Why? Because most of the time, you become extremely sick before you know anything is wrong. Most times, there are no warning signs. For me, one day, I didn’t feel well. I gradually became sick over a 3 month period. Until finally, I became so ill, I had to stop working.

Please read my Lupus story When It Rains, It Pours

Unfortunately, there is no cure for Lupus, but fortunately, there are ways you can ease your symptoms.

How can you support a loved one with Lupus?

Annoying things to say to a Lupus warrior?

  • “But you don’t look that sick…” – Looks can be deceiving
  • “Have you tried…” – We love your suggestions, but trust me, we’ve tried everything
  • “…but everybody’s tired.” – I get that, but not everyone is “lupus” tired.
  • “I wish I could spend all day in bed.” – Uhhh, no you don’t!
  • “You’re STILL sick?” – Uh, yea, bish, it’s Lupus.

Now, when my loved ones say these things, I know they are coming from a place of pure and utter love. Also, it is coming from a place of confusion. Honestly, doctors aren’t even able to fully comprehend what Lupus really is and it’s origin. There are so many unknowns, it would be unfair for anyone to “blame” others for not understanding themselves.

So, here are helpful tips on things you can say to a loved one with lupus

  • “I understand you couldn’t make it…” – This helps with the guilt we carry for always missing important events and parties
  • “I’ll be praying for you…” – We sure need it
  • “What can I do to help…” – I’ve found that most Lupus warriors don’t like accepting help. It hurts an already fragile pride, but knowing that you care helps tremendously.
  • “I’m going to educate myself more on the topic.” – Just offering support and understanding will lift our spirits. It’ll help us feel less alone.

Lupus is extremely expensive. All of the medications that I take equal up to about $300 per month. If it is in your heart, please donate Ashley’s GoFundMe Medical Expenses. Thank you all in advance for your prayers and well wishes.

Thank you guys for reading my thoughts. Have a wonderfully blessed day.  And if you see one, hug a Lupus warrior today!

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Funny Friday

Funny Friday

Oh crap! I’ve been so wrapped up in mental wellness, I almost forgot to post today’s Funny Friday. Why didn’t anyone tell me? Oh yea, that’s right…you’re not suppose to!

Today’s Funny Friday is brought to you by my 4 year old, Christian.

Christian: Mom can we go to field trip (QuikTrip gas station) to get a donut?

Me: I don’t mind, but I have to take a shower first.

Christian: Why?

Me: Cause I haven’t showered yet and I’m starting to smell.

Christian: …don’t forget to wash your tate o tots (testicles).

Me: Girls don’t have testicles

Christian: Yes they do. And they’re musty so you have to wash them!

Have a wonderful Friday! Stay blessed

Crash the Chatterbox

Crash the Chatterbox

Did you know that the average human being has up to approximately 60,000 negative thoughts per day? According to Psychology Today, 70% of our thoughts are negative. That’s a lot, right. I mean, out of all of the things that we think about, 70% are negative? It makes me sad to know that I have spent so much of my energy on negative thinking, but it also makes me feel better to know that I am not alone when it comes to having negative thoughts.

So, what next? How do we not have so many negative thoughts, when obviously, it’s a flaw that most people struggle with.

In my attempt to grow closer to Christ, I have joined a handful of support and community groups at my church. I so badly want to drown out the negative thoughts that plague my mind. Do any of these sound familiar?

  • I’m not worthy
  • I’m ugly
  • I’m fat/skinny
  • No one loves me
  • My life is meaningless
  • God doesn’t love me
  • No one understands me or my condition

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Pity party, right? Well, no more! One of the classes that I joined is based on the Christian bible study called Crash the Chatterbox by Steven Furtick. This study focuses on how to replace your own negative thoughts (the chatterbox) with the word of God. It also focuses on building a closer relationship with Jesus so you can learn how to seek him in peace and turmoil.

Related Post: Seeking Emotional Refuge in God

When I first learned about this study, I was super excited. I am so tired of hearing my own thoughts, getting caught up in my own mind. Now, I am learning to turn off the chatterbox and directing my focus completely on Jesus.

This weeks lesson we learned that:

  • The chatterbox will always try to convince you that God doesn’t love you
  • We have to turn on focus on Jesus. When we focus less on ourselves and more on Jesus, we are able to hear him clearly and feel his unconditional love.
    • Trust in the Lord with all your heart; do not depend on your own understanding. Seek his will in all you do, and he will show you which path to take. -Proverbs 3:5-6
  • Gods says I amOverpowering who I say I am
    • When Moses said to God, “If I come to the people of Israel and say to them, ‘The God of your fathers has sent me to you,’ and they ask me, ‘What is his name?’ what shall I say to them?” God said to Moses, “I AM WHO I AM.” And he said, “Say this to the people of Israel, ‘I AM has sent me to you.’” God also said to Moses, “Say this to the people of Israel, ‘The Lord, the God of your fathers, the God of Abraham, the God of Isaac, and the God of Jacob, has sent me to you.’ This is my name forever, and thus I am to be remembered throughout all generations.” (Exodus 3:13–15)
  • Gods says He willOverpowering my fear
    • So we can say with confidence, “The Lord is my helper, so I will have no fear. What can mere people do to me?” -Hebrews 13: 6
  • God says He hasOverpowering condemnation
    • In his kindness God called you to share in his eternal glory by means of Christ Jesus. So after you have suffered a little while, he will restore, support, and strengthen you, and he will place you on a firm foundation. -1 Peter 5:10
  • Gods says I canOverpowering the lies of discouragement
    • Thank you for making me so wonderfully complex! Your workmanship is marvelous-how well I know it. You watched me as I was being formed in utter seclusion, as I was woven together in the dark of the womb. -Psalm 139: 14-15
  • The Chatterbox will always try to make you misunderstand the nature of who you are in relation to who God is.
  • God wants us to have confidence in his everlasting love and notin our circumstances

There is so much more in this study that I am unable to go over without turning this post into a book. If you are interested in learning how to turn off the chatterbox on your mind and focus on what God has planned for you, please click here for the complete set; study guide, book, and DVD.

Click this link to view Steven Furtick teaching one of his lessons. He’s really inspiring and you’re always left feeling inspired as well.

I’ve been doing this study for two weeks and I can already see a difference in my thought process. Please read Changing your Mindset; Becoming More Mindful for more ways you can transform your mind to become more positive.

Related Post: Fuel for Thoughts: Monday Motivation

Please remember friends, allow God to transform your thoughts into his word. Allow Him to transform your heart and your mind to be more like him. So you can have peace knowing that Jesus is always with you. Pray so he can hear you. Read His word to hear him. Stay blessed, family. I love you all and I pray that you are having a beautiful Sunday.

“Don’t love money; be satisfied with what you have. For God said this, ‘I will never fail you. I will never abandon you.” -Hebrews 13:5

Image borrowed from google pics

I’m Coming Out, I Want the World to Know

I’m Coming Out, I Want the World to Know

My dark passenger is angry, possessive, and selfish. I like to call her, Harley. She is someone that I have hidden for a very long time. She is cruel, inconsiderate, and too smart for her own good.

When I experience a manic episode, Harley rears her ugly head. She is no longer easily tamed but instead crazed for attention and dangerous fun. She used to be someone I wished I could always be, but that was the mania talking. After speaking to a few people who have experienced Harley, come to find out, she’s not that great at all.

If you are unfamiliar with my story, I was diagnosed with Bipolar Disorder I in 2003 when I was 17 years old. For the next few years, I would take depression medication here and there, but honestly, I didn’t take my diagnosis seriously. I thought I was perfectly ok when really I wasn’t…far from it.

People, like myself, who struggle with Bipolar Disorder usually experience manic episodes. Clinically, manic episodes are defined as periods of extremely elevated mood that are not just feeling “good” or “high,” but moods that are beyond reason and cause major distress and life impairment.

Symptoms of mania or manic episodes include:

  • Inflated self-esteem or grandiosity-You feel like you’re on top of the world and no one and nothing can stop you.
  • Increased Insomnia- One time I was awake for 46 hours straight
  • More talkative than usual or pressure to keep talking
  • Flight of ideas or subjective experience that thoughts are racing- Your brain never turns off, NEVER!
  • Attention is easily drawn to unimportant or irrelevant items
  • Excessive involvement in pleasurable activities that have a high potential for painful consequences (e.g., engaging in unrestrained buying sprees, sexual indiscretions, or foolish business investments)

I experience every last symptom listed above, some more than others at times. Sometimes, I don’t realize I’m manic until I’m at the end of it and I begin to crash. For me, a manic episode can last for days, sometimes weeks. Once the mania is over, my mind goes into a deep, deep depression. I can’t stop it. I can’t prepare for it. It literally hits me like a ton of bricks every time.

Mania Crash Symptoms Include:

• Feelings of hopelessness, pessimism
• Feelings of guilt, worthlessness, helplessness
• Difficulty concentrating
• Loss of interest or pleasure in hobbies and activities that were once enjoyed
• Difficulty sleeping
• Overeating or loss of appetite
• Persistent aches or pains, headaches, cramps or digestive problems that do not ease even with treatment
• Thoughts of suicide, suicide attempts

I hid my condition for a very, very long time. I was afraid that people who see me as crazy and unlovable. I felt as though no one would understand because who would listen to a “crazy” person, right? I lied to my family and friends all of the time. I created a facade, a secret identity, if you will, so no one would see the real me, Harley. I later realized (just recently) that I am not really Harley. She is just my dark passenger called Bipolar Disorder I.

After Harley comes out to play, I, Ashley, is left with the destruction. Confused by the wreckage and heartbreak that Harley has left behind, I would always feel so ashamed, I would hide. I’ve lost a lot of great people in my life due to Harley, but what can a gal do?

Anyway, this post is what some may call My Coming Out post. I’ve briefly mentioned my bipolar diagnosis in other posts, but I’ve always felt the need to kind of hide. You know, mention it, but not really deal with it. I would think, what if someone that hates me read that I am Bipolar? They would probably say, I knew she was crazy! But I wouldn’t be fulfilling the purpose of my blog if I continued to hide my mental illness from the world. I’m choosing to deal with this head-on.

Love me or hate me, I’m bipolar.

“Courage doesn’t always roar. Sometimes courage is the quiet voice at the end of the day saying, ‘I will try again tomorrow.’” ~ Mary Anne Radmacher

If you know someone who is struggling with Bipolar Disorder, please let them they are not alone. If you are experiencing any of the symptoms above, please contact your healthcare professional. Bipolar disorder is manageable, but not without treatment. Take care of yourself!

If you liked this reading, please visit Journey to Forgiving Yourself and Blogging With Depression to learn more ways cope with mental illness.

Music is Life

Hey fellow bloggers!

The last few days have been extremely busy. First, I was hit with an unexpected Lupus flare (which slowed down my “to do” list). Secondly, we’ve been very busy getting prepared for an upcoming family trip to Disney World. I’m super excited because this is really a dream come true for my family. I think my husband and I are more excited than our children.

Just to give you a visual. My husband and I reactions when we officially knew we were going:

What I thought my kids’ reaction was going to be:

Their actual reaction:

Honestly, I think they won’t believe it until they see it. We’ve had to cancel family trips in the past due to my illness or finances and I know how disappointed they were back then. So, I think they are holding their excitement. I do see, the closer we get to the leave date and the more we pack, the more excited they become.

Anyway, since I haven’t had that much time to put into blogging (hence the reason why I didn’t post yesterday), I wanted to share with you a very inspiring cover sang by one of our fellow bloggers, Haley with Red Letters Blog. I love listening to her while I blog. Her angelic voice is soothing, allowing inspiration to flow easily through my mind and spirit. I would recommend giving her a visit and a listen. Below is one of my favorite covers that she has done. You can also find her on YouTube, just click the video below.

 

There is so much inspirational music that I listen to on YouTube. Some you may have heard and some are hidden gems (like above). Starting now, I will be sharing that list. I believe that music is vital to the survival of humanity and without it, we would become, even more, emotionally disconnected…in my opinion.

So take a listen and have a wonderful rest of your evening (early morning to my friends overseas). Stay Blessed!

“Where words fail, music speaks.” -Hans Christian Andersen 

Fuel for Thoughts: Monday Motivation

Happy Monday Friends!

I want you to know that right now, your struggle is only temporary. I mentioned in my post yesterday Seeking God Part 2 that your circumstances aren’t designed to hurt you, but to make you stronger. If we avoid our problems, then we will be missing out on a chance to become a better “us”.

Allow your struggles to teach you, not hinder you. Allow them to mold you so in the future you become to better equipped to deal with any of life’s challenges.

Related Post: Trust The Process: What Choosing Life Looks Like

It’s ok to feel defeated, but that is when you pick yourself up by your bootstraps and push forward. Don’t live in defeat. Don’t allow defeat to become apart of you. Acknowledge it, pray on it, and give it God. Stay faithful to his will and the Lord will provide you with everything that you need.

Have a wonderful Monday, my friends. I pray your day is as beautiful as you are.

“Strength and growth come only through continuous effort and struggle.” -Napoleon Hill