The Day I Felt Nothing

The Day I Felt Nothing

Hello Friends,

It was like any other day, secretely, unknowingly, holding on to hope that a person is capable of real change. I came to this realization when I found myself terribly upset when someone did what they are known for doing. Honestly, what kind of person would allow themselves to continue to get terribly upset at the fact that a leopard cannot change its spots? What kind of person would allow themselves to go into a mental coma simply because the sun is rising and setting as it should each day.

On this special day something miraculous happened. I was able to see the error in my ways. I was able to realize that no matter what I did, things that are meant to be will simply be. Whether I agree with how they are or not. A leopard will always have their spots, the IRS will always want their money, and the sun will always rise in the east and set in the west.

As my eyes were opened, my heart slowly began stepping out of the woods covering her eyes from the glare. Asking herself, “Am I out?” She immediately feels lighter and safer. She feels the warm sun and its making her radiant, inside and out. She stretches out her arms and legs. She sits up straight realizing she has been hunched over for too long. She looks out in front of her towards the tall trees and the beautiful skyline. She sees everyone that has been calling her name, directing her out of the dark forest. She sees Jesus, family, friends, loved ones. She drops to her knees and apologizes for ever doubting his love and power. Now as she furthers into the unknown of her journey, she is set free. Happily tackling every obstacle like the warriors we are.

I was feeling good after this experience, but then there was something else I needed to do. A ritual I kind of developed since I was a teenager, I suppose. To be honest, I never thought about it until after I did it this last time. Although this particular night where the crickets were extra loud and the cool breeze was blowing around my hair, I went to the gas station and bought a pack of cigarettes. I was never a regular smoker. I guess someone you would call a social smoker. Anyway, the last time I had a cigarette was almost seven years ago when I became clean. I sat outside in my car, lit a cigarette, and started jamming to old school R&B. I listened to everyone from Switch to Keyshia Cole to Jeremih. Sang. Lit another one. Sang. Took a deep breath and I felt nothing. No pain. No guilt. No condemnation. No confusion. No jealousy. No curiosity. No death.

This beautiful women is not me, by the way! ☺️

There is absolutely nothing in this world like freedom. You guys! You have no idea how many times I thought I wasn’t going to make it. I thought this torture was going to last forever. I was fighting myself everyday. Literally battling with the world and the Word; trying to stick to the idea that there is an entity that claims to be The Creator of all AND on top of that loves me unconditionally?? Me?? But this….this moment, that day, me graduating college, homeschooling during a pandemic (and I’m not going to get into all of the things we had going on) and today, TODAY… my heart and I are walking hand in hand out of the forest.

“For the Son of Man came to seek and save those who are lost.” -Luke 19:10

Jesus is with me. He is with you. Every step I take in trusting him, the more I fell comfortable trusting him. Thank God he is not a liar nor manipulator like the real enemy. Once God helped me to realize that it is not our loved ones who intend on hurting us, but the influence of an evil entity, it helps recognizing that days like the day I felt nothing needs to happen more often. In saying that, not everything is Satan’s fault. God is more powerful and is calling all of us to do something with our existence to continue to spread the Message. It is our responsibility to either answer or not answer. And when we answer, we will become mentally and spiritually aware that we are free. Then we will be living and acting like the Princes and Princess’ we truly are. Not allowing ourselves to be feed table scrapes when we have banquet tables awaiting us.

Thank you so very much for allowing me to share my thoughts. I love you all and please remember to pray for one another.

P.S. I didn’t finish the cigarettes. After the two, I was cool as a breeze and threw the rest of the pack away. Weird ritual for closure, I guess. *shrugs*

“…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!

 

 

 

 

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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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

💙❤️💛💚Dancing To Your Own Beat: Autism Awareness💙❤️💛💚

💙❤️💛💚Dancing To Your Own Beat: Autism Awareness💙❤️💛💚

Autism Awareness Month

The word Autism has been coming up more and more in our society for about 30 years now, but what is it exactly?

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It wasn’t until 2011 that I began to learn what Autism was and how it was about to change my life dramatically. My baby boy, RJ, was diagnosed with Autism Spectrum Disorder in 2013 when he turned five years old. When he was diagnosed, I had already prepared myself, at least I thought. Honestly, there wasn’t anything that could have prepared me for such an emotional journey. By the time RJ turned one years old, we noticed Rj’s speech and motor skills weren’t developing like they should have been. He wasn’t able to speak until he was almost two years old, which delayed not only his speech but language.

When RJ began preschool, we immediately connected with the special school district in our neighborhood so he could receive additional learning services, such as an IEP (Individualized Education Program) for social/emotional development, speech and language, and fine motor development. Since then, RJ has thrived and excelled in every area of reading, language, math, etc. You could understand 50% of his verbiage by the time he was five years old and now you can’t get him to be quiet. He struggled for a while, but my baby boy is so smart. He has and continues to overcome every obstacle in his way.

Ok, I’m going to brag a little bit. My RJ is a master builder at legos. I have seen this kid build a 250 piece complex Dinosaur lego set in less than 2 hours. It takes me that long to read the instructions. 😉 He loves history. He can tell you most of the important facts about the Titanic; specs of the ship, size, number of survivors, date it sank, date it was built, etc. It’s truly impressive to hear him speak about all of the interesting details of historical moments way before his time. He is a wonderful, patient big and little brother. He has more patience than anyone I know. It takes him a lot to get frustrated or to even cry. He is an amazing helper and loves, loves, loves Godzilla. He is truly an amazing kid. ❤️

That being said I would like to dedicate the month of April to my Rj. Although he “dances to a different beat”, he is one of the best dancers I know (I have hours of video to prove it). And I cannot wait to see what God has in store for our little wonder.

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So for the next few posts, I want to talk about how to understand Autism and how we can help our loved ones who see the world in a brighter way. Since I like to go on and on (blah, blah, blah), I thought maybe breaking it up into multiple posts would give you guys shorter post to read (🚨blogging advice alert🚨).

Anyway, thanks for reading my thoughts and allowing me to introduce you to one of the loves of my life. I hope we are all able to learn new information from each other throughout this journey.

Please feel free to drop a comment below to share an experience or relationship you have with someone who is Autistic. Or maybe you have a question about Autism that you would like for me to answer in my future post.

Please read Rj’s First Fist Fight…And Im A Little Proud! to learn more about RJ and our response to his first fight. It’ll surprise you!

Love you all and stay blessed!

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“Everyone has a mountain to climb and autism has not been my mountain, it has been my opportunity for victory.” –Rachel Barcellona

Autism images 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

Seeking God Part 2

Good Day Fellow Bloggers,

I hope each of you had a wonderful weekend. My weekend went well. I was able to get shopping done for an upcoming family vacation. And…I didn’t get angry with my kids, which is a huge improvement. Anger has been a difficult hurdle to cross, but with Gods love, I am able to push forward and overcome it. In the near future, I want to share with you guys techniques that I have learned to control my anger. 

Anyway, today I wanted to speak more about a blog post that I started talking about my journey to seeking God, per his request. To catch up, please read Seeking God to get the full story of why I started this particular journey. I shared that my purpose in Christ, right now, is to know him intimately. Through prayer and elder guidance, it is clear that my mission is to simply, get to know him. The more to I study my bible, the more his answers become so clear.

It’s funny because I’ve been a Christian for 21 years, but this is the first time since being saved that I have actively sought out having a relationship with God. It now seems that the blinders have been taken off. So as a blogger, I feel it would be irresponsible of me not to document this season of my life. I mean, it’s the reason why I started blogging in the first place. I  love each and every one of you, but blogging started because of my Father and it’s running on His Spirit, alone. If I trusted blogging to myself, I probably wouldn’t get it done. Since I know this is what I’m called to do, then I shall obey. Plus, I would be a terrible person if I didn’t admit that I absolutely love it and it shows how gracious God is. He chose blogging to be my outlet, something I never thought I would become. I’m basketing in the glory of knowing I am on the right track to becoming his tapestry. 

Related Post: Weakness Is Strength

I’m rambling, so let’s get to the point.

I’m surprised you guys deal with it. Hehe 🙂 Today, I want to talk about what I have recently learned on my journey to seek God. (I said that already, oh well, too late to delete it.) Sometimes, I feel so burdened by my responsibility, followed by guilt that I am unable to “fulfill” my duties as a wife and a mother. There are days where I am so mentally drained, I am unable to function. And other days, I am so physically drained, I am unable to function. And there are those days that I am so emotionally drained…well, you get the drift. I have wasted a lot of time trying to get through this by myself. My husband will yell at me to “put the laundry basket down, I got it!” or “save your energy and get some rest.” There is so much that needs to be done, and pridefully, I love providing for my family. I feel that I’ve done my due diligence when I cook dinner or fold laundry. You know, mom stuff. Then, it becomes too much and my body will begin craving a comfortable sitting or a heating pad.

On those days that we are soooo mentally, physically, and emotionally drained, we are to look to God because He will ease all of our burdens. God knows our limitations and breaking points. When we feel alone and burdened by our daily responsibilities, we should pour out our hearts to him and trust him to provide relief.

And my God will supply every need of yours according to his riches in glory in Christ Jesus. (Phil. 4:19)

There is no limit to his power and what he can provide. The Lord will never fail us, nor forsake us. It may sound cliche and I’m sure you’ve heard it a million times before, God will never give you anything you are unable to handle. Plus, if you are unable to handle it, he will handle it for you. 

But he said to me, “My grace is sufficient for you, for my power is made perfect in weakness.” Therefore I will boast all the more gladly of my weaknesses, so that the power of Christ may rest upon me. (2 Cor. 12:9)

Whatever storm you are going through, just know it is supposed to make you grow. It is supposed to make you stronger. Your storms are not meant to break you, but to build you. Don’t allow the enemy to control you, trick you into thinking you are going through alone. You are not alone!

And whatever you ask in prayer, you will receive, if you have faith.” (Mt. 21:22)

Learning this during my journey has helped me immensely. I finally don’t feel like I’m drowning anymore. You can read all about that here Living with Depression. I pray that you all have a wonderful rest of your Sunday (or a beautiful start to your Monday for some of my friends in a different country). 

Lord, I pray for whoever is reading this, that you give them strength to continue their fight, but find peace in knowing that you are there to carry the burdens. Lord, bless them and comfort them. Allow them to feel your presence. Grant them comfort in their mind and in their hearts. Stay Blessed!

Lord, help me remember that no matter what happens, nothing is going to happen to me today that you and I cannot handle. -Unknown

Image borrowed from kcm.org

NatGeo #3

Hey Friends!

If you’re new to my blog, please visit NatGeo and NatGeo #2 to see the previous photos. Every week, National Geographic magazine post the most beautiful photos of our earth and its occupants that are captured by very talented people from all over the world. At the end of the week, they’ll post a segment called The Most Compelling Photos of the WeekI’ve been a fan of NatGeo since I was a small child and their photos have always been my favorite part of the magazine.

So here’s what I’m thinking, since I’ve received so much positive feedback when post National Geographic, maybe this can be a regular thing. We’ll see. Until then, please enjoy! You find can find more of their photos here.

In every walk with nature, one receives far more than he seeks. -John Muir

I’m Done Ya’ll!

Good Day, All!

So, yesterday was the last day of My 30 Day Fast From Social Media and I would love to share the results with you.

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  1. I feel less stress and worry– When I was on social media every day, I always felt an overwhelming amount of gloom and worry. When I would close my Facebook or Instagram app, I would walk away from it feeling all of the negative status’ and comments made by strangers. Now, I am free of that.
  2. Better relationship with God– I find that my relationship with God has improved immensely. Without the noise of social media, I’ve been able to discern the voice of God. I find myself developing a more intimate relationship with Him, which in turn, is helping me manage the symptoms of mental and physical illness.
  3. I’ve become a better mom– The time I used to spend on social media, I now spend with my kids. We’ve been able to grow closer by having more conversations, playing board games, and outside activities. At first, I thought that it was helping me keep my mind off of social media, when it fact, it was helping my kids and I grow closer, like we used to be. It feels amazing.
  4. It freed up space on my cell phone– I was able to backup my contacts and media after deleting the social media apps. Something I haven’t been able to do for 17 weeks because how much memory Facebook and Instagram was taking up.
  5. I feel, overall, better about life– Removing tragedy from my life has been awesome-giphy1sauce! When I was online, I read about one tragic event after another. Without social media, I didn’t hear about the awful happenings of the world all of the time. Even when my husband would try to tell me something that he read on Facebook, I would simply reply, “Babe, I’m not on social media for a reason”.
  6. I’ve learned to control my desire– Due to this time apart, I have lost the desire to be on social media completely. Social media is necessary because I am starting an online business and social media is one of the greatest resources. That being said, I now know that I will only use social media to grow my business, not to argue with silly internet trolls and obsessing over meaningless celebrity gossip.

Completing a 30-day social media fast has truly been a life-changing experience. I really feel like this was the right step to my recovery journey. Honestly, I didn’t know what to expect at the end of this fast or even what I wanted to accomplish, really. I just knew that I wanted to disconnect from the stronghold that social media had on me. I was able to accomplish that and more.

Thank you to everyone who encouraged me during my fast. I would recommend this fast to anyone, even if you are not a social media junkie.

“Believe in yourself, and the rest will fall into place. Have faith in your own abilities, work hard, and there is nothing you cannot accomplish.” -Brad Henry

Faith

One would think that in the past 24 hours, every negative entity that lurks around in our universe wants to destroy every ounce of goodness I have left. Everything that could go wrong has gone wrong. If I allow it, it has the potential to discourage me from my walk with God and make me completely give up on my life altogether.

There are a few reasons why I won’t and can’t give up:

  1. Hannah
  2. Rj
  3. Christian
  4. Mark 9:23 says, “-anything is possible if a person believes.”
  5. Philippians 4:13 says “I can do all this through him who gives me strength.”
  6. Matthew 17:20 says “‘You don’t have enough faith,’ Jesus told them. ‘I tell you the truth, if you had faith even as small as a mustard seed, you could say to this mountain, ‘Move from here to there’ and it would move. Nothing would be impossible.'”

I am so tired of cowering in the corner, crying like an infant when bad things happen. It’s not how I was raised and I will not allow this to become a permanent part of me. If I want to survive, if I want to push past these mental and physical ailments that have presented themselves to me, I have to be brave – I have to stand tall against the enemy who is trying his best to kill me.

I will do as God instructed in Ephesians 6:13-18. I will put on every piece of Gods armor so I that I will be able to resist the enemy. He tells us to stand our ground, put on the belt of truth, the body armor of Gods righteousness, for shoes we put on the peace that comes from the Good News, hold up the shield of faith, put on the helmet of salvation, and take up the sword of the Spirit which is the world of God. 

If I allow the enemy to get to me, thoughts of suicide cloud my mind every minute of every day. I proclaim, right now, that he will no longer be allowed to enter my mind. He will no longer be allowed to control how I feel or what I do.

Today’s devotional stated:

Jesus promises that anyone who believes in who he is – anyone who entrusts himself to the person of Jesus – will never encounter an impossibility. -Jennifer Kennedy Dean

I trust that everything that has happened in the past 24 hours is apart of his plan. And if it’s not apart of his plan, I believe that he will deliver us from Satans grasp and bless us beyond our dreams. I also believe that he will not, nor ever, abandon us in our time of need.

That being said, I hope everyone had a wonderful day. And if you didn’t, then you always have tomorrow to start over. God bless each and every one of you. If you are going through a hard time, just remember, God will never abandon you. 

Faith does not grasp a doctrine, but a heart. The trust which Christ requires is the bond that unites souls with Him; and the very life of it is entire committal of myself to Him in all my relations and for all my needs, and absolute utter confidence in Him as all-sufficient for everything that I can require. -Alexander MacLaren

 

 

Feelings? How Many Of Us Have Them?

giphy4Mental illness sucks. I’m sitting here trying to come with clever ways to express those three simple words, but all the comes to mind is mental illness sucks. One reason why it sucks is that mental illness will trick you into believing that feelings matter. When, in the grand scheme of things, they do not. For example, mental illness makes me feel like I’m a bad mother for having a mental illness. When the truth is, I’m not. It’s because of mental illness that I am a good mother. I am always conscious of making sure that my children do not experience the harsh realities that come with having a mentally ill parent. I am always aware of their feelings and what may or may not be affecting them.

Because of my mental illness, I am more aware of my children’s mental stability. I know what it is like to have a parent with a mental illness. For years, I failed to understand why my mother chose to do and say the things that she did to us. I used to be upset with her, but after learning what her struggles are, it made it easier for me to forgive her. Which brings me to my previous point; mental illness will trick you into believing that feelings matter. If feelings truly mattered, then I would be unable to forgive my mother because she has hurt me in ways that no child should be hurt. But I’ve chosen to forgive her for a couple of reasons…

  1. Peace of mind “I have told you all this so that you may have peace in me. Here on earth you will have many trials and sorrows. But take heart, because I have overcome the world.” -John 16:33
  2. God says I have toBear with each other and forgive one another if any of you has a grievance against someone. Forgive as the Lord forgave you.” Colossians 3:13

giphy5For me, forgiveness is more about me than it is about you. People chose not to forgive because they feel they may be doing that person a favor or they may feel like that person doesn’t deserve to be forgiven. But then there is that word again, feel. If you are having a hard time forgiving someone, ask yourself…what great feeling do you have when you chose not to forgive? Do you feel better or worse? Do you feel like a weight has been lifted off of your shoulders or do you feel angry and bitter?

giphy6Feelings should have nothing to do with doing the right thing. For example, saying hurtful words feels so good when I’m angry. When I become angry, my mind begins to fill with horrible thoughts. It’s like I am possessed. I am capable of saying some pretty awful things. When I’m angry, it feels great to say those awful things…until I calm down. Then I feel like the worst person in the world. I then, begin to obsess about how to make it right. Thus, resulting in an obsessive cycle of beating myself up. All because I felt angry. When in fact, my feelings should not cause me to want to hurt someone else. God says:

When you tell you these things, we do not use words that come from human wisdom. Instead, we speak words given to us by the Spirit, using the Spirits words to explain spiritual truths. -1 Corinthians 2:13

Feelings can be wonderful; joy, hope, serenity, gratitude, faithfulness, love, clarity, etc. It is the negative ones that mental illness uses to feed on. Mental illness is just like every monster you’ve read about growing up. The more you feed it what it wants, the stronger it becomes.

giphy7Right now, I feel overwhelmed and hopeless. I feel like I am never going to move past these moments of dread and disparity. I feel like I am losing the war that is going on in my mind and body, but guess what? Those are just feelings. They are not my reality. We have to hold on to the fact that feelings do not define our truth, they do not reflect our reality. They just simply reflect our mind frame.  We have to keep reminding ourselves that we are more than what we are feeling at the moment. Moments are periods of time that have a beginning and an end. Moments can last for seconds or for years, but we are not meant to set up permanent residence in said moments. We are meant to live life, embracing those moments so we can learn and grow from them. What do you do when you are done reading a chapter in a book? You move on to the next chapter, right? Moments are chapters in your book of life. Don’t stay stuck in one chapter because you feel trapped or hopeless.

Thank you for reading my thoughts. I appreciate every last person that decided to hit that FOLLOW bottom. You’re the real MVP’s! Stay blessed.

“Anxiety does not empty tomorrow of its sorrows, but only empties today of its strength.” -Charles Haddon Spurgeon

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Stop Whining, Ashley!

pexels-photo-529926.jpegFor some time now, I’ve been wanting to blog daily. At first, it seemed like an unattainable goal. Now, after hard work and meeting most of the previous goals that I have set for myself, now I feel that God is telling me that I’m ready. I mean, it’s not like I don’t have anything to talk about. My mind is always racing with ideas, stories, and more ideas. Even if I was unable to come up with anything to blog about, my life is interesting enough with three little people running around. I’m sure that I would be able to come up with great material for you fine folks.

So what is stopping me? Fear? Procrastination? Uncertainty? All of the above. I am fearful because sometimes I doubt my writing ability. I’ve been experiencing a lot of confusion and that feeling of being “lost”. Apparently, a lot of people with Lupus experience the same side effect of this mysterious auto-immune disorder. Then I realized, if God is giving me instructions to blog every day, then that means He will bless me for obeying his directions, so I shouldn’t worry, right? I believe that all of the instructions that He is giving me will lead me to an overabundance of blessings. He has already proven to me that when I listen, I am blessed beyond my imagination. So, I shouldn’t be afraid. And after this, I no longer will be.

pexels-photo-164446.jpegI procrastinate because, well, honestly, sometimes I just don’t feel like it. Especially when I’m sick, and especially ESPECIALLY when everyone in my house is sick and all I want to do is get some sleep…just a wink of rest. But then how I can ask, no, BEG God to bless me when I’m whining about getting sleep? Sounds foolish when I think about it. It’s like God saying, “Ashley, go buy a lottery ticket. You’re going to win.” And I’m like, *in my whiney child-like voice* “…but Lord, I’m tired. Can I go later?” What sense does that make? He’s trying to give me some money and I’m whining.

pexels-photo-858568.jpegI want to be like Abraham. If you don’t know, God asked this man to not only travel, I believe three days (walking distance) away from home, but he wanted him to kill his own son as a sacrifice (Genesis 22:2-3) Crazy, right? But Abraham obeyed without hesitation. He packed up his stuff, grabbed a couple of servants, some supplies, and his son, Isaac, and headed off. Right when Abraham was about to stab Isaac, an Angel screamed out for him to stop. God told Abraham that he has proven his faith and because of it, God wants him to sacrifice a ram instead (Genesis 22:10-12). How awesome is that? Honestly, I couldn’t have done it. My faith is so weak right now, I would’ve been like, “Ok, Lord, I know I didn’t hear that right. So I’m just going to ignore it.” 

I just learned today, actually, what God does when we disobey Him. In Numbers 14:39-45, it says when the Israelites disobeyed God by not going to the land that He promised them, he abandoned them. When Moses told them that God was upset, they were like, “Oh, well let’s go!” But by then, it was too late. God had already abandoned them.

I don’t want it to be too late for me. I don’t want God to abandon me. Which I know he won’t but still. I want to have unshakeable faith. This I pray every day. Give me strength like Abraham, Lord because I know that blessings will outweigh the consequences.

So, expect to see a lot of me! You all have taught me so much from your blogs and I want to thank you for that. This should be easy breezy beautiful cover girl.

“But don’t just listen to God’s word. You must do what it says. Otherwise, you are only fooling yourselves. For if you listen to the word and don’t obey, it is like glancing at your face in a mirror. You see yourself, walk away, and forget what you look like. But if you look carefully into the perfect law that sets you free, and if you do what it says and don’t forget what you heard, then God will bless you for doing it.” James 1:22-25