this life feels familiar. (five minute friday)

Happy Five Minute Friday! No party this week due to Thanksgiving, though *I* was around (no Thanksgiving celebrations for me– I stayed home!! *praise hands*).

 

We do have a word though, and of course I thought of what to write about as i was going to bed. *insert eye roll emoji here*

Anywho, the word is:

My life feels all too familiar right now.

I’m scared to go to sleep.

I have random aches and pains that make me think something’s wrong. Every ache and pain I have scares me into googling my symptoms, turning to WebMD and forcing the spiral of thoughts even further.

I feel shaky and cold one minute, hot flashes and heavy breathing the next.

The thoughts of dying. The “well if I wake up tomorrow, I’ll…”

The paranoia that causes me to fear sleep, thinking I won’t wake up the next day.

This season of life is all too familiar. 

I’m transported back in time to 2014.

To my first panic attack. The first night of a new life I didn’t want, a life of anxiety and exhaustion.

To when I thought I was having a heart attack, but instead started a 4-month long season of nightly panic attacks, anxiety-induced insomnia, and dreadful fear of dying in my sleep.

It was the scariest time in my life.

And while I’m not 100% there again, the feelings of panic and dread are creeping in more than they have since my GAD diagnosis 3 years ago.

I’m transported back to 2015 when I first started medicine and therapy for my diagnosis and started feeling human again. The need to increase my meds again keeps coming up daily, especially with my serious bouts of depression the last 6 months. But that scares me too, for other reasons.

But I need help again. I know it.

I can’t shake this familiar feeling. And it scares me.

This song has become my anthem as a mentally ill Jesus-follower.

 

Edited to add: For those that don’t about my mental hell (health) journey, hop over to this post for details. I’ve written here and there about it, but this was from the beginning. 

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this thanksgiving, excuse yourself. (five minute friday)

Holaaaaa. It’s FMF time! I actually chatted this week. Victory!!

This week’s word:

Hmm. Interesting!

Excuse yourself this Thanksgiving.

Excuse as in this definition of the word:

release (someone) from a duty or requirement.

(I always forget about this definition of the word).

Excuse yourself. Release yourself from the burden of having a perfect, picturesque Thanksgiving.

Release yourself from trying so hard.

Excuse yourself from doing so much for this holiday that you forget to enjoy it. Things will get done, and if they don’t, that’s okay too.

Excuse yourself this Thanksgiving, if you don’t enjoy the family time or it’s too much for you.

Excuse yourself this Thanksgiving if it’s not what you expect it to be, or what you want.


I dread Thanksgiving and other family-gathering holidays. They stress me out so bad. I feel like I have to perform– put on my fake “everything is fine and dandy” face and make small talk about my life (yes, i am 25 years old and live at home while pursuing a writing career, nope still not driving, thanks for asking family!). I have to hear comments about how much food I’m eating or what I’m eating. I have to sit through the ignorant political talk that hurts my brain and breaks my heart. I get bored playing on my phone while my family yells at football on the TV instead of actually being a family.

I’m used to it. Doesn’t mean I like it all that much.

Last year I sat at the table and ate by myself. Not by choice– because I got picked up late and everyone else had already eaten by the time I got there. Family had already left. Dad was too consumed in a football game to take me home, so I sat and played on my phone. It was absolutely miserable.

And this year, my dad won’t even be there.

I hope every year is different. I hope it gets better– and last year, i even tried to make things better with some ideas from my counselor. They failed.

After last year’s Thanksgiving, I’ve learned to release my dreams for this holiday. I’ve also released the trying so hard. Because I can’t change them. And I excuse myself this year from trying.

This year, I’m excusing myself. Excusing myself from the guilt of not enjoying this holiday. Excusing myself from trying to act perfect for my family. Excusing myself from not feeling the feelings of disappointment I know I’ll face when things are the same old next week.

It’s time to excuse yourself this Thanksgiving. If you enjoy this holiday and all that’s in it, awesome. i wish I could say the same. If you don’t: take heart. Give yourself grace. Excuse yourself from the table when it becomes too much. And excuse yourself from the expectations and hopes placed on this day, especially if you know they won’t happen. It’s okay. At least I’m preaching it to myself this year.

(this took longer than 5, whoops)

 

I’m a very thankful person for a lot of things this year, and as always, this community lands at the top. So grateful.

Audrey’s latest. Love the Celtic feel!

 

we’re invited in. (five minute friday)

Happy five minute friday, yo.

Skipped the party because… well, I forgot about it until after it was over. #sotired #workingthreejobsthisweek #dogsittingisexhausting

Anywho, the word of the day is:

I was taking the dog I’ve been dogsitting all week out late tonight for his last outdoor adventure of the day. I walked outside, pondering tonight’s prompt, and immediately was taken in by the sea of stars covering the sky. (This and this alone is why I love living in a small city).

Anyone who knows me well knows that I love stars. I joke that they’re one of my love languages, because it’s one of the biggest ways God reminds me of his love for me.

I was looking upward, while keeping an eye on the dog running around when a thought popped into my head.

 

The same person who created and named the stars invites me into life with Him.

He invites me into life with him. Life where he knows my name and all the things about me– and loves me still.

I’m invited into life with Him. Not just life where I do what I think he says I should do and cross Christian-y tasks off my get-to-heaven to-do list. No, actual relationship. He invites me into something bigger and better than i can find anywhere on this earth.

I just have to invite him in first.

 

STOP.

 

I actually wrote this one in 5 minutes, y’all. *throws confetti*

 

and my favorite stars-related song:

Definitely dare ya to not sing the chorus at the top of your lungs. Pretty sure my throat was sore the day after Switchfoot in concert solely because of this song.

i love to tell the story (five minute friday)

Holaaaa. I got caught up watching Full house on Hulu during the #fmfparty tonight– today was a bit of information overload. Started research for a potential freelance project, and went to meet the pups I’m dogsitting for a friend next week and learned their schedules and such. I is tired.

but now I write!

the word this week is:

 I wrote all about stories yesterday! teehee. Go read if you wish, it has good things in it.

Anyhow, on to the post:

My first thought was “This is my story, this is my song…” but Kate stole that one. So here’s another story hymn:

I love to tell the story of unseen things above, Of Jesus and His glory, of Jesus and His love. I love to tell the

Of Jesus and His glory, of Jesus and His love. I love to tell the

I love to tell the story, because I know ’tis true;

It satisfies my longings as nothing else can do.

I love to tell the story, ’twill be my theme in glory,

To tell the old, old story of Jesus and His love.

I love to tell stories. If you’ve ever read my about me page, it’s all about stories for this reason.

It’s why I write: stories are my favorite thing. I love to read them, write them, hear them, share them.

Stories are the best place for me to both escape and unveil myself. I read stories to understand the world; I write stories to understand myself.

The more I learn about following Christ, I realize that He understood this story thing too. He taught through parables, stories that catch our attention and teach us something about him.

That kind of story is the best: one that enraptures us yet helps us learn and understand something– whether that be about us, the world, or God Himself. Stories that satisfy our longing for something– understanding, hope, humor, light in the darkness.

Just like His story satisfies longings nothing on this Earth can fill, no matter how much I try to make them fill the void.

I strive to write these kind of stories, about my life or life itself: stories that grab our attention with beautiful words and details, real-life anecdotes and sassy thoughts. And I try to ensure that they all point back to Him, the master storyteller himself.

And I try to ensure that all my stories point back to Him, the master storyteller himself.

I love to tell the story. His story, mine, and where He weaves the two together. It’s a beautiful story to see unfold, and I hope His story is always the one I long to tell.

I love this version (though the Alan Jackson one comes in 2nd… not sure how I feel about country sounding hymns, though).

 

 

five minute friday (depend)

hola. not too chatty tonight– I’m only halfway upright and the heating pad has been my best friend all day (and not for my back this time… let’s just say being a girl sucks sometimes).

 

Anywhooo… this week’s word: Kate once again has good timing.

 

I hate depending on other people.

I’m a helper by nature. I like helping everyone else. But being helped? Not so much.

I was discussing this with a girlfriend over dinner last night. It’s hard for me to depend on people because I spent most of my childhood depending on myself for everything. I had a roof over my head and food and the basics… but love and support and comfort? Nope. So I got used to not getting that from others, thus not being willing to let people in enough that I can depend on them, lean on them in my times of need, let people help me or love me like I do them.

It’s hard to live life dependent only on yourself. it gets quite lonely and exhausting quite quickly.

Help is my word for 2017– I haven’t been super vocal about it, mainly because I’m still struggling through this whole letting people help me thing. Letting myself depend on other people is never going to be easy, but I’m getting better at it.

Last night I was reading in my A Moment to Breathe devotional from incourage (I’m on the launch team for it, releases next week!). The devotional got me right where it hurts:

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It legit made me cry.

I long for a community like this. One that asks the hard questions, that cuts right through the bull and the lying “i’m fine” answers and holds you in the hard stuff. I need this kind of friendship where people see you and know you and go to the throne room on your behalf when you can’t yourself.

But I have to let people in enough, I have to actually depend on people for this kind of relationship to happen.

Stop.


any others out there get this– and if so, how do you figure it out enough to find the community you can depend on?

 

This song has absolutely nothing to do with this post, it’s just one of my favorites (and what I was listening to as I wrote this). I love her voice.

accept (five minute friday)

 

Hii. Wasn’t too chatty at fmfparty tonight. Tired and not in a social mood. This week has felt long yet I’ve barely left my house. Don’t know how that happened.

This week’s word:

I’ve always had this innate longing to belong. To be accepted just as I am by the people around me. For the longest time, I thought the way to do this was to make people happy– this stems from childhood trauma that i won’t go into, but essentially if I didn’t get straight As, or wasn’t perfect for my family, I felt like I failed. Thus my life-long struggle to be perfect, to be the shiny version of myself, to try to please everyone because that was what would make them love me began. When in my heart of hearts I wanted someone, anyone, to see me as I am and accept me for it– no strings attached, no prerequisites or goals to meet to be loved.

When in my heart of hearts I wanted someone, anyone, to see me as I am and accept me for it– no strings attached, no prerequisites or goals to meet to be loved.

 

I’ve been on the launch team for the book Dance Stand Run by Jess Connolly, and y’all, it is good. It is about grace and holiness and mission and you are going to want it in your hands when it comes out. I really think it’ll change the world.

In the first chapter, she talks a bit about belonging. This quote caught me in my throat:

“I don’t want to ask other humans to fill up the gaps in my soul. Rather, I want to be

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 taking the soul answer to them: Jesus. If we’re going to change the world and stop being changed by it, we’re going to have to acknowledge that we already belong, we already have a place, and we’re already accepted. Not by humans or community or the kind gals we do life with, but by Jesus.”

I don’t have to be accepted by people (even if I want to be so badly). I don’t have to please everybody by trying to be it all, do it all.

I don’t have to act like I have it all together when He already does.

i’m already accepted. My seat’s already saved. I’m welcomed, loved, adored for the person I am, not the shiny version of myself I try to put out there with people.

No need to be accepted by the world when we’re accepted by the God of the universe.

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Right?

As much as I want people to love me, I don’t want other humans to fill up the gaps in my soul.   I want to know and believe I’m accepted by the one who loves my soul and let that be my entryway into relationship with people. I still struggle with my yearning to belong, but I’m working on remembering to whom I already belong first.

Because acceptance when it’s from the world isn’t anything when it comes to the acceptance we already have in Him.

(this took longer than five minutes, oops)

 

both oldies but goodies.

support (five minute friday)

 

I’m back. Barely. The first few weeks of September have been… hazy. My mental health hasn’t been kind (Not that it’s ever kind), but it’s been even worse than normal thanks to a host of things, but namely a migraine med switch that lists depression as a dang side effect. That’s one way to send a depressed person spiraling down: give them a med that makes them more depressed! Sigh. I have been weaned off the med (PTL) and will deal with the migraines for now. Because i’d rather a migraine cause my head to hurt than depression cause me more hurt.

ANYWHO. This week’s word:

This one took me a couple minutes before I finally said screw it, hit the timer and just word vomited. You’re welcome!


 

support. What does it look like to support someone?

Show up. That’s it, y’all. Show up.

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Scott Sauls hits the nail on the head.

Don’t feel like you have to have all the answers.

Don’t feel like you have to fix everything.

Don’t act like nothing is wrong or everything is perfect if it’s not.

Sit. Listen. Talk. Pray. Hug. Cry if you need. Laugh if you want.

Support isn’t hard. Being a part of support groups like ACA (adult child anonymous/adult child of alcoholics) was one of my favorite communities– because it was real. And we supported each other. Not by fixing or trying to make it better. But by just being there.

I love that one of the definitions of support is to “hold up.” Because that’s what we need: we need to hold each other up, because sometimes, when we’re down for the count, we can’t hold ourselves up anymore.

In this season of crazy depression and stress and in-between, I’ve felt like my in-person support has been null and void. Not because of them at all- they’ve always been there. But because of me, and the fact that depression makes me distance myself and makes it hard to open up and talk about anything. It lies and says I’m a burden so I just shut myself off and fend for myself.

But when things got hazy the past couple weeks (aka when things got epically worse thanks to the migraine med with increased depression as a SIDE EFFECT), my support system showed up. They texted. They commented. They prayed. They shared. They listened.

When I finally got the courage to ignore the depression that said I was a burden and ask a friend to go to dinner with me (the first time I’d left the house for something fun with friends since my birthday– 2 months ago!) she (and another friend) immediately said yes. And it was good. And so needed for my tired, sad, and lonely soul.

My people, the ones that have felt distant lately because depression forces me to keep them at an arm’s reach. They held me up. And I’m so grateful.

 

I discovered this song (and this whole awesome album) this week and OMG WHERE HAS IT BEEN THIS WHOLE SEASON.

speak (five minute friday)

This week’s prompt:

I’m sick and tired, literally. Somehow I got a cold in the middle of August. I haven’t even been around people, yet somehow here I am with my throat throbbing and my nose so stuffed i can’t breathe. Good times.

 

I’ve tried to write three times, but just don’t have the concentration to even get coherent thoughts out. So instead, in honor of the theme, I’m posting a few of my favorite spoken word poems. I love poetry in all forms, but I love, love spoken word. Poetry comes alive when said, performed aloud.

Love her so much.

Sarah Kay is another favorite. I could’ve posted all of hers, but this one was just beautiful.

Instead of trying to come up with mangled words in my sick brain this week, I watched these two poets speak for me.

Do yourself a favor and go listen to their other poems too. Sometimes we need others to speak for us when we can’t.

 

 

place (five minute friday)

This week’s FMF prompt: 

My first thought with this word was some good ol’ classic TSwift:

I don’t know what I want, so don’t ask me
‘Cause I’m still trying to figure it out…

Because lordy mercy are those words relevant in my life right now.

I’ve been trying to figure my life out for about 2 years now, after quitting student teaching and trying to come up with a plan B for the only career I’d ever planned.

Some people re-make their lives and change careers at 40. I decided to re-make my life at 23, because I’m an overachiever. 😉

I’ve been trying to figure out my place– where I’m supposed to go, what I’m supposed to do, who the heck I’m supposed to be. I’ve been consistently stuck, applying for jobs I thought I might like (and never hearing back or getting rejected), or dreading the thought of applying for a job I have experience in (aka education/with children) because I know I could get hired.

To say I’ve been caught between a rock and hard place is an understatement.

Over time, I’ve finally begun to realize there was one place I could go for a job that I was afraid to admit:

writing.

I’d always considered it a hobby, something I do to fill the time and express myself. It was something I’d always enjoyed, something I knew I was good at– I was published for the first time at 16, so I knew it was something I was capable of doing pretty well. I was mightily successful writing papers in college and helping teach others about writing in the school writing studio. It was just something that came naturally to me from a young age, and something I honed in on in school. But I figured teaching would be my job, writing would be my outlet and side hobby.

I never thought of writing as a career. There are a lot of fears going into it– stability, not a lot of money, finding writing work (and places that will pay you for your work!), disciplining myself to write often and on deadline. I figured if I could write in some way as a side hustle, but never as a career. I knew I wasn’t a fiction writer or a book writer, so what the heck would I write?

But a year ago, that started to change. About a year ago, I wrote this blog about reclaiming me– trying to figure out who I really am, not who everyone else wanted me to be. I wanted to find my place in the world, what I wanted to do. This is where I started to think more about what kind of job I really wanted. The more I thought about it, the more I realized the only thing I wanted to be was a writer. It is exactly who I am. Writing is my place. It’s what makes me the happiest, whether I’m writing blog posts or lengthy instagram captions (#microblogging for the win), or devotionals or articles. Writing is something I enjoy, it’s something I’m good at, and something I can use to glorify God all the while as a career. At a meeting last week, the guy I was speaking to said my eyes lit up when I mentioned my love of writing– that’s exactly what it is. Teaching never did that for me, it was just a job.

So I’ve begun taking the leap of working as a freelance writer (and hopefully, curriculum creator). Last week I met with some people at the United Methodist Communications office (I’m a member of the UMC, and a good friend of mine is the chief communications officer there!) and spoke about potential freelance work. I also talked to the editor of the Children’s church curriculum at the United Methodist Publishing House and am applying to write curriculum on a freelance basis for them.

And today, I got my first contract for a writing project. 

It’s the first time I’ll be paid on contract to write for a living (fingers crossed they like my piece!), and I’m freaking excited.  Once I’m successful with them, I’ll begin to branch out more to other writing jobs, but for now, I have a few things from them to get me started.

While telling my dad all of this, he exclaimed, “You’re getting paid to write! Isn’t that what you’ve always wanted?”

It really is. It just took me awhile to figure out. Writing is the only place I want to be.

I think I’ve finally found my place in this world, as TSwift sings… even if it took some convincing for me to admit it.

 

(this was longer than 5– I wrote a freaking soliloquy, oops. And was having issues with wordpress messing up my words, so I had to stop my timer to figure it out!).

 

like I wasn’t going to include this earworm after quoting it… it’s forever stuck in my head (and now, yours!).

try (five minute friday)

 

This week’s FMF word:

I’m trying.

I’m trying to start over, but I can’t figure out where to start.

I’m trying to breathe deeply, and not let the anxiety overwhelm my whole body, making me sick as it has a lot the last few days(weeks).

I’m trying to not get frustrated and overwhelmed despite not knowing what the hell I’m doing anymore.

I’m trying to not let my mom drive me crazy when all I can hear is her hollering for me to do something for her (100 times a day). I literally hear her voice in my sleep.

I’m trying to enjoy my introverted alone time, instead of admitting I’m lonely without my friends close by, ignoring the feelings of isolation and unhappiness.

I’m trying not to grieve the loss of my independence (no public transportation here, so I can’t go anywhere) and freedom I had when I lived on my own.

I’m trying not to let the thoughts and fears of financial strain, the uncertainty of the future, or regrets of seasons past keep me awake like it did last night.

I’m trying really, really hard not to let mental illness win. But some days, like today, it does, no matter how hard you try.