Wednesday, November 21, 2012

I Will Show You Love

As I was driving the 4 hours home for Thanksgiving break yesterday, I became overwhelmed with silly racing thoughts in my head. I’m generally an anxious person, so 4 hours alone with my thoughts and nothing to distract me is a lot! I decided to pop in an old CD that a friend had made for me. I flipped through the songs, singing the familiar ones and skipping the ones I didn’t know. Then I got to this song. The song is called “I Will Show You Love” by Kendall Payne. I hadn’t listened to it all the way through before and was very tempted to skip over it. However something drew me in and I couldn’t change the song. The beautiful voice and the sweet melody was enough to make me fall in love. I listened to a few of the words and felt like I needed to listen again to fully grasp the lyrics. (Yes, I’m a lyrics person). Here’s what the song says:

“I will show you love like you've never loved before. I will go the distance and back for more if you just say the word. 'Cause you will come alive again, call to try and tend your friend. Pain that you have suffered through will never get the best of you. You will hope in something that won't depend on how you feel. When you call my name then I will answer. 'Cause I am on your side, though the wind and waves beat against your faith. And you are on my mind since when the world was made. Trust in me my child. Walk out on the water, where you have no control. You're scared to death of failure; you'd sacrifice your soul. Please let that go. 'Cause you have climbed an upward hill. You have borne a heavy load. You have cried through endless nights, nearly giving up the fight. Watched your dreams like falling stars. Heartache made you who you are. Looking back, you'd see that I have always been there. 'Cause I am on your side though the wind and waves beat against your faith. And you are on my mind since when the world was made. Trust in me my child. Where're you gonna hide? Where're you gonna go that I can't see? 'Cause I have heard your cry and it breaks my heart for I love you so. I would never lie. This is not the end, there is still a hope. And I am on your side though the wind and waves beat against your faith. And you are on my mind since when the world was made. Trust in me my child.”

I was IMMEDIATELY overcome with chills and a strange sense of peace. These words, this is a love letter from God. “And you are on my mind since when the world was made. Trust in me, my child”. How amazing. God was thinking about each of us individually when he created this world and put us in it. He knows EACH of us individually. “Looking back you’d see that I have always been there”. Always. Even in the hardest times in my life, even when I didn’t know about God and had no relationship with Him, He was there and very present in my life. Looking back, I see that and I know there is no way that He wasn’t present. “Cause I have heard you cry, and it breaks my heart for I love you so”. So comforting. Jesus weeps when we weep. He feels our pain and our joy. He truly wants what is best for us.

Whether you believe in Jesus or not, you have to admit that this is a chillingly beautiful song.

Wednesday, November 14, 2012

Faith vs. Fear

Today I heard the quote “Let your faith be bigger than your fear”. Sounds simple enough, right? Then why is it so hard? Why are we so quick to turn to fear instead of prayer or faith? I find that I am most fearful when there are unknowns in my life. I like having a plan and knowing what is happening next. I think a lot of us are that way. So when something doesn’t go according to plan or I’m not sure of the next step to take, I often find myself turning to fear. Unfortunately fear is not productive. In fact, I cannot think of a single time that unnecessary, anxiety ridden fear was exactly what I needed in the moment. What I needed was faith in something larger than myself. Faith that, even though I was not in control, someone or something much bigger was. You see, fear brings about anxiety and can be exhausting. However with faith comes courage and hope.
I know that it can be hard to turn to faith in moments of anxiety, fear, worry, and doubt. I know that it feels easier to rely on the things that seem more tangible. But I can promise you that if you allow your faith to become bigger than your fear, you can do amazing things!
Matthew 17:20 says “For truly, I say to you, if you have faith like a grain of mustard seed, you will say to this mountain, ‘Move from here to there,’ and it will move, and nothing will be impossible for you.
Romans 8:15 says “For you did not receive a spirit that makes you a slave again to fear, but you received the Spirit of sonship…”

A mustard seed is so tiny. Faith is so powerful, that even such a small amount is enough to do great things!.
Choosing faith over fear has to happen again each day. So which will you choose? Being a slave to fear? Or a beacon of hope and fear?

Sunday, November 11, 2012

Guest Post: Molly

Hey guys! So here’s something I’ve never done before. GUEST POST! My friend Molly is an amazing writer and has a great blog, which you can follow here: Molly writes about disabling the label of mental health and the negative stigma that surrounds this topic. She describes herself as “a nineteen year old student who loves trying new recipes out in her kitchen, using a sewing machine to make her own clothing, and handling any means of photography, whether it be a camera or photograph.” Molly is also trying to become an advocate for Mental Health, hopefully at a national level eventually!
So as you all know, I’ve had a series of posts called “Letters to my Younger Self”. So I decided to ask Molly if she would write a letter for me to use on my blog. Molly, being the creative and eloquent writer that she is, decided to send me a letter she’d written to her current self. She has been through a lot and is currently in the process of recovering from an eating disorder. This letter is so full of hope and strength and I am so proud of Molly for writing this:

“Dear Molly,
I don’t know exactly what is going on for you right now, nor do I know the extent to what you’ve been through in your life, but I am proud of you for taking these first steps in recovery. It’s hard to completely sympathize with you when you yourself aren’t even sure of what races through your mind each day. I realize that everyday you have to recommit to treatment, which is a big struggle; and for that I am truly sorry.
I want you to know that you deserve to be happy and there is nothing that you can do to have that privilege taken away from you. Happiness is a human right that belongs to everyone, regardless of what they have or haven’t done. Never let anyone talk down to you. You are not a burden and you are certainly worthy of living a valuable and adventurous life.
Kate le Page once said, “My worst days in recovery are better than my worst days in relapse” and she is right. Although this might not sound probable, know that one day, you will see that anything is possible. After all, impossible is just like saying I’m possible.
There is nothing that you cannot do Molly, so stop setting boundaries and limitations for yourself. Start believing that you can beat your illness and begin to realize that without it, you will see the kind wonderful woman that you are. You are so strong, determined, beautiful and brave and these characteristics shine outwards everyday. I only wish that you could see them for yourself as well.
Just think of yourself as a gem. Sometimes you get a little bit dusty but after being polished up you are good as new. Don’t judge yourself by your illnesses. You are not Anorexia, You are not Depression, You are not Bipolar Disorder; YOU are YOU. These illnesses happen to the best of us. Perfectionism indicates that you do have a care in the world; just sometimes you care a little bit too much. Is that really such a bad thing?
I acknowledge that “Strong”, “Healthy” or even “Happy” can be scary words for you right now, but you need to learn to embrace them. Someday, you’ll be able to look back and realize that hospitals and emaciation shouldn’t be safe places or sane states for you. Both should be dreaded. I understand that right now it might feel like it’s easier to stay sick than to get better, but in the long run that won’t get you anywhere. Embrace the unknown. If you live by the motto “Forget the past and move on” (which works for you since your concentration and memory is starting to fade) you won’t even remember what you are familiar with and you will try to take a different path each day.
I know that it is going to be scary to start expressing all of your emotions and being truly honest about your eating disorder symptoms, but you cannot continue living with these bad habits if you do want to recover. Think of how badly you wanted to run away from the hospital when you were 13 because you thought there was nothing wrong with you? Think back to even before that when eating was fun, carefree and spontaneous. Where did this new attitude of “returning to my rut (room) and escaping my emotions (isolating)” come from? The Molly I used to know would face reality. She’d challenge herself to eat more and more until she reached her goal. She would not give up the way you are demonstrating. She would most definitely give ED a run for his money, since she’d be so angry with him for ruining her life and making her miss two years of school; her favourite place to be in the world. This being said, the Molly I knew would also be gentle to herself.
Try to think of the positive things you have in life. Don’t let your mind wander allowing yourself to feel guilty for not taking advantage of what you have misused, abandoned or haven’t completed to it’s full potential. Maybe you weren’t dealt the best hand of cards but believe in yourself that at the times you played, you laid your cards out in the correct order. Think about what you have to look forward to. Volunteering at a Naturopathic clinic, Participating in a Study to help with Eating disorder Research, A baby in February, School in September, Becoming a Wife or even a Mom, Removing a tumour or Conducting your Own field of Research… Life is limitless and yours is waiting for you to pop back into it. Right now, you probably have very little energy to even WANT to achieve these accomplishments but try and look past your current worries, anxiety and thoughts, and remember that in some time, you’ll no longer be “faking it” but rather you will be “enjoying things”. After all, as the saying goes, “Yesterday is history. Tomorrow is a mystery. But, today is a gift. That's why we call it the present!”
Don’t ever think that you are too fat, too short or too ugly because you are Molly, a little sister to three, a friend to many and a daughter to two proud parents.
Recover for yourself this time Molly. I believe in you,

Your inner wisdom”

THANK YOU, THANK YOU, THANK YOU to Molly for guest posting on my blog. You are braver, smarter, and more beautiful than you know! Don’t forget to check out Molly’s blog at



My friend, Jaimers!

This article ran in the school newspaper in 2007:
“Four years ago, Jaime Cathell was climbing the steps to her third floor Staley dorm room when she had to stop, gasping for breath. That’s when it struck her that something was wrong. Cathell wasn’t out of shape; she has cystic fibrosis, an incurable genetic disease that causes mucus to clog the lungs. “My freshman year, I was the healthiest I’ve ever been, and I kick myself now for throwing it all away,” she said. Cathell’s life wasn’t much different from any other student’s when she entered college as a freshman. The history major followed the norm for many freshman and took advantage of her newfound freedom by letting loose and partying. She started her year faithfully performing her twice-a-day treatments, during which she spends an hour wearing a vest that pulsates, shaking loose the mucus in her lungs. She took her pills when she ate like she was supposed to, but before long her treatments started to take the backseat to college life. “By then I was doing my treatments, maybe, once a week,” Cathell said. “It contributed to a pretty dramatic decline in my health. But if I hadn’t I never would have learned the importance.” Until she got to college, cystic fibrosis was never a problem for Cathell. Her parents always encouraged her to have as normal a childhood as possible while she was growing up in Chapel Hill. She was active in church, a competitive swimmer and went to summer camp every year, accompanied by her mother who administered her treatments. Before Cathell had the vest she now uses, her treatments were administered by hand. Her mother or a therapist would pound on her back to shake loose the mucus in her lungs. “Basically, it looks like they’re beating you,” she said. For Cathell, those sorts of things were just a part of life. Her illness was diagnosed when she was three months old, so there was never a time that she remembers it being any different. Now a fifth year senior, the 23-year-old looks no different from her peers. “You would never know I’m sick unless I’m really feeling bad,” Cathell said. “Cystic fibrosis has no outward physical signs.” In reality though, she is at high risk for life-threatening lung infections. The mucus in her lungs is over thick due to a defective gene. The mucus is present in every person’s lungs to keep them free of bacteria, but the thick mucus is difficult to cough up, which can clog airways and cause bacteria to build up. Cathell had never missed school because of her health until December 2006. She was hospitalized and given IV antibiotics for a serious lung infection. She recovered, but had to increase her treatments for four or five times daily. Since then, she has been hospitalized for lung infections numerous times. After her scare of the stairs four years ago, Cathell got involved in Campus Outreach, an evangelical Christian organization at Elon. Cathell learned to study the Bible, and now she leads Bible study sessions and mentors younger girls. Her faith is what helps her deal with the implications of her illness- the knowledge that she will eventually die from it. Her disease has no cure, and the median age of survival is about 37 years. How Cathell feels about it depends on the day. When she’s having a rough day, the knowledge weighs on her, but typically she comes to terms with it. “Well, we all die,” she said. “I just might die a little sooner.” Cathell believes in heaven, which makes it much easier for her to deal with. “The Bible says that when you die, you’re rid of everything you have in this world,” she said. “So I think, what’s a few years with this disease compared to an eternity without it?”

I was blessed to meet sweet Jaime 6 years ago when I was a freshman at Elon University. Shortly after beginning my freshman year, I got involved with a campus Christian organization called Campus Outreach. Jaime was also involved in Campus Outreach and lived with some other girls I knew. I didn’t know much about Jaime at first; all I knew was that she was always smiling, had a great sense of humor, and gave the best hugs! It wasn’t until much later that I realized that Jaime was sick. As a 5th year senior, Jaime was incredibly busy, yet she always made time to schedule lunch dates or hang out times with me. I would frequently pick up milkshakes and head over to her house so that we could watch Oprah together at 4. We laughed about a stuffed pink poodle, watched numerous Youtube videos, and attended baseball games. Even after she graduated, Jaime and I still stayed in touch. She came to visit me at the beach over the summers, and I would drive to Greensboro for lunches sometimes. Jaime is not only a GREAT friend, but was also a huge spiritual influence in my life. She showed true bravery and what it really meant to be a woman pursuing the Lord. In fact, I drove over the Jaime’s house at midnight the night I became a Christian and Jaime stayed up to celebrate with me. She has such a big heart and has loved me so well over the years, which is why it was amazing to be able to celebrate her at her wedding last night! The ceremony was gorgeous and it was the perfect day for a wedding. With her illness, Jaime has overcome so much already in life. It was amazing to see her walk down that aisle, looking beautiful and grinning from ear to ear. If anyone deserves to be that happy, it’s Jaime.

I don’t see an illness when I look at Jaime. I see an amazing friend, a beautiful young girl, and a woman actively pursuing Christ daily.


Sunday, November 4, 2012

A little bit of kindness...

With all of the election stuff going on, political ads, tension, and arguments are everywhere. It’s times like these when we all need to read a heartwarming story of different people coming together for good. Seriously, if this story doesn’t warm your heart, you might have a problem

“How about a little good news? In the scrub-brush desert town of Queen Creek, Ariz., high school bullies were throwing trash at sophomore Chy Johnson. Calling her "stupid." Pushing her in the halls. Chy's brain works at only a third-grade level because of a genetic birth defect, but she knew enough to feel hate. "She'd come home every night at the start of the school year crying and upset," says her mom, Liz Johnson. "That permanent smile she had, that gleam in her eye, that was all gone." Her mom says she tried to talk to teachers and administrators and got nowhere. So she tried a whole new path -- the starting quarterback of the undefeated football team. After all, senior Carson Jones had once escorted Chy to the Special Olympics. "Just keep your ear to the ground," Liz wrote to Carson on his Facebook page. "Maybe get me some names?" But Carson Jones did something better than that. Instead of ratting other kids out, he decided to take one in -- Chy. He started asking her to eat at the cool kids' lunch table with him and his teammates. "I just thought that if they saw her with us every day, maybe they'd start treating her better," Carson says. "Telling on kids would've just caused more problems." It got better. Starting running back Tucker Workman made sure somebody was walking between classes with Chy. In classes, cornerback Colton Moore made sure she sat in the row right behind the team. Just step back a second. In some schools, it's the football players doing the bullying. At Queen Creek, they're stopping it. And not with fists -- with straight-up love for a kid most teenage football players wouldn't even notice, much less hang out with. "I think about how sweet these boys are to her," says volleyball player Shelly Larson, "and I want to cry. I can't even talk about it." It's working. "I was parking my car yesterday, and I saw a couple of the guys talking to her and being nice," says offensive lineman Bryce Oakes. "I think it's making a difference around here." And the best thing is? The football players didn't tell anybody. "I didn't know about any of this until three weeks ago," says Carson's mom, Rondalee, who's raising four boys and a daughter by herself. "He finally showed me an article they wrote here locally. I said, 'Are you kidding me? Why didn't you tell me this?'" All of a sudden, Chy started coming home as her bubbly self again. When her mom asked why she was so happy, she said, "I'm eating lunch with my boys!" The boys take care of Chy, and she takes care of the boys. Carson, carrying a GPA of 4.4, got in a car accident last week; since then, Chy is always trying to carry his backpack. "I know his neck hurts," she says. I get emailed stories like this a lot, but most of the time they don't pan out. They turn out to be half true, or true for the first week but not the second. But when I walked into the Queen Creek High School cafeteria Tuesday, unannounced, there was 4-foot-high Chy with 11 senior football players, eating her lunch around the most packed lunch table you've ever seen, grinning like it was Christmas morning. It was Carson's birthday, and she'd made him a four-page card. On one page she wrote, in big crayon letters, "LUCKY GIRL." I asked Chy to show me where she used to eat lunch. She pointed to a room in the back, away from the rest of the kids, the special-ed lunchroom. Much more fun out here, she said. "I thank Carson every chance I see him," says Chy's mom. "He's an amazing young man. He's going to go far in life." Nobody knows how far Chy Johnson will go in life. The life expectancy of those afflicted with her disease, microcephaly, is only 25-30 years. But her sophomore year, so far, has been unforgettable. She'll be in the first row Friday night, cheering 10-0 QC as it plays its first playoff game, against Agua Fria. Some people think it will be QC's sixth shutout of the season. Sometime during the game, Carson probably will ask Chy to do their huddle-up "Bulldogs on 3" cheer, with everybody's helmet up in the air. You won't be able to see Chy, but she'll be in there. "Why do I do these interviews?" Chy asked her mom the other night. "Because you're so dang cute," her mom answered. I've seen this before with athletes. Josh Hamilton used to look out every day for a Down syndrome classmate at his Raleigh, N.C., high school. Joe Mauer ate lunch every day with a special-needs kid at his St. Paul, Minn., high school. In a great society, our most gifted take care of our least. But what about next year, when Carson probably will be on his Mormon mission and all of Chy's boys will have graduated? Not to worry. Carson has a little brother on the team, Curtis, who's in Chy's class. "Mom," he announced at the dinner table the other night, "I got this." Lucky girl.”
Chy with her boys.

Chy and Carson at a football game

Chy's birthday card for Carson



Saturday, November 3, 2012


I want to start off this post by saying that I am copyrighting this genius idea. If nursing school doesn’t work out for me, I now have a backup plan.


BOOM. Genius. I see a need, a gap in services if you will. I want a puppy. However, I don’t have to time or money to adopt and raise a dog. I also can’t imagine (or afford) fostering a dog for a few days/weeks and then having to give it up. Therefore, I want to rent a puppy. Here are my thoughts. You could pick a dog to rent for 12 hour shifts. I’m thinking a 12 hour minimum charge, and everything over that would be an additional fee. You could cuddle with the dog, take the dogs on walks, run with the dog, take it to the park and use it to make friends. The possibilities are endless! And then, at the end of the 12 hour shift, you bring the dog back. No vet bills, no constant food bills, nothing. Just a one time rental fee.
I mean, you can rent a porta potty, a house, and a car, why not a dog?
So to wet your palate, I present you with the worlds cutest pups. I hope to own all of them someday when I have time and money.