when i said good morning, i was lying
i was truly thinking of how i might quit waking up
He pointed out how selfish it would be to kill myself
so i keep waking up.

[…] You grip my wrists,
i let go. 

—much like falling, flyleaf 

This past week, a few things have happened. 

1) Today is Bell Let’s Talk Day  to bring stories of mental health to the forefront and decrease stigma around mental health issues until we end them. This post is being triggered by #BellLetsTalk, but it’s a story I would have told this week anyways.
2) I hung out with Richard, a conversation which brought forth a lot of reflections on my own faith story.
3) I read The Reason: How I Discovered a Life Worth Living by Lacey Sturm. It made me think, a lot, and reflect on a lot of my own testimony and beliefs.
4) The previous two points, and other conversations throughout the week, prompted me to start taking a look at the Bible again—something I have not done in over a year.

What do these things have in common? Everything.

The summer of ’05 was probably the worst time of my life. For a host of reasons, I was constantly in a state of emotional shakiness—and then, depression and numbness. I was fourteen. I spent a week at a Bible camp after declaring myself an atheist a few months earlier. I resented slowing down each day during cabin time/bible exploration. I sang during worship each night—sometimes—but mostly just enjoyed the music while blocking the words out. I didn’t need God, because God did not exist to me. I struggled the rest of the summer—I contemplated ending my life, but I wasn’t yet at the dangerous step of contemplating how.

A month later, I couldn’t run anymore. I still didn’t even really believe in God, yet I threw myself at Him saying “If You’re real, please show me what to do.”

Around 10:30 PM on September 7th, 2005, I changed. I changed in the fact that I no longer wanted to stop being here.

seven years.

Still doubting—He made me believe.

Yet He loves me despite it all.  He loves me enough that He opened my heart that September day in 2005 by telling me that I didn’t have to end my story then and there.  That He alone could get me through everything I was facing–lighten my darkness, take the depression, and heal my grandma of the cancer that invaded her for a few more years.

I’m living a life that six years ago I’d have never dreamed.  I’ve had amazing ups, and I’ve had huge downs.  I’ve learned, I’ve grown, I’ve danced, I’ve cried.  I’ve reached my arms to the sky in worship and fallen to my knees in desperation.

I’ve created new chapters of the same story that God is writing.


six years.

Did I have clinical depression? At that point, I don’t think so.

Would I have gotten to that point? I don’t doubt it.

Mental health issues need to be treated in partnership with someone who is adequately trained to address them. Medication is not the only solution: but not talking about what you are facing is never a solution. I dodged a bullet: just because I began to believe Jesus, believe in His healing, though, does not at all mean that I should have continued without a support system around me.

Even though I didn’t know it then, I have ADHD: 20 to 30% of people with ADHD will experience depression or anxiety alongside their attention problems. After starting ADHD medication, my psychiatrist noted that I seemed to be less anxious—I didn’t think I was anxious (I’ve experienced that alongside a very mild case of disordered eating when I was sixteen, and this was not at all like that), but she continued on to note that it was likely the ADHD symptoms creating the now less-present anxiety. I do not at all doubt, or disagree with, this.

For me, these things all go hand in hand. My life, my faith, my mental health—my story. The person I am today is different because of all of the above—yet, I would not want to be the person who I’d be without facing my past.


Rock version or acoustic, the words in the two versions of Red Sam below are pretty much the same—the message definitely is. My story is a lot like Lacey Sturm’s. I have a post coming up on worship (soon!) and these both exemplify so, so strongly the way I respond during worship

I’m still alive. The world needs YOU to continue your story, too.

Stay. Be here. There is HOPE in finding help. (usa)

here i stand
empty hands
wishing my wrists were bleeding
to stop the pain from the beatings
there You stood holding me
waiting for me to notice You

but who are You?

You are the Truth
outscreaming these lies.
You are the Truth
saving my life.

the warmth of Your embrace
warms my frostbitten spirit
You speak the Truth and i hear it
the words are
“i love You,
and i have to believe in You.”

my hands are open, 
and You are filling them
hands in the air
in the air, in the air, in the air.
and i worship
and i worship
and i worship

red sam, flyleaf.

i won’t be satisfied with okay
and I can’t be okay with alright
so point me to the edge of life,
i’ll stand up on my toes
stretch my fingers out to there
and bring it back here.

because it’s too important,
for us to forget
we’ll unify our thoughts,
God will hear and save
God will hear and save us.

all together standing up on our toe[s],
we’re reaching for a freedom that they don’t know
so catch it as it pours out, we know what we need
don’t get tired when you’re running back to show them.

–okay, flyleaf


My friend Chris often posts pictures of “how might we” questions he has written down in a notebook—a practice I emulated last week, and used to prepare for my conversation with Richard on Thursday.

I didn’t reference the notes once—I didn’t need to. While we weren’t too sure of where we were going—and found ourselves in many different directions!—Richard, more concise than myself, was able to summarize our varied of conversation in a single tweet.

how might we: encourage / move / allow story / gradually / better / encourage / become / embrace / bridge / explore / transcend.While writing this, I fired down a string of questions into a black Moleskine, attempting to pare down the 835+ words that have been strewn about thus far.



The most dangerous phrase in the English language is, “We’ve always done it this way.”

—Grace Murray Hopper

I question everything. I kind of think that refusing to question everything means that we become, and remain, stuck—we do not grow, and thus, we do not change.

How might we encourage change? and at that, the type of change to build connection through story—to build community through connection. To encourage the asking of questions rather than the acceptance of the familiar.


i wont be satisfied with okay / and i cant be okay with alright.


During our conversation, Richard noted that many people don’t know what their story is.

How much do we know our ambition, our purpose, our goals, if we don’t know our own stories? The stories we are creating, writing, LIVING, every single day.

Knowing our stories though, like living them, doesn’t come passively, or with passivity—it comes with being fully alive in them, and in sharing them. How much are we living passively because we don’t have enough opportunities to share our stories with our communities? And if we do, what are the barriers to sharing? Do we, perhaps, as a society, feel as if we cannot open up enough to ask questions of our own beliefs, experiences, our stories, by intentionally communicating these things with others?

We talk with one another every day–do we really engage, or do we just talk? Are we really having a conversation, or are we sidestepping the brokenness right in front of us? Are we swerving around the questioning, the longing, the creating, the uncomfortable, the fucked up? (Are we using this agility to deke around that fucked up even exists?) That problems exist right in front of us, even if they are separate from the base of Maslow’s pyramid? That no problem, no experience, no struggle or triumph, is greater or lesser than another?

it was a beautiful letdown when You found me here,
yeah for once in a rare blue moon, i see everything here,

i’ll be a beautiful letdown, that’s what i’ll forever be
and though it may cost my soul, i’ll sing for free.[…] i don’t belong here, feels like i don’t belong here.
i will carry a cross and a song where i don’t belong […]

we a beautiful letdown, painfully uncool,
the church of the losers, the dropouts, the sinners, the failures, and the fools.
what a beautiful letdown—are we salt in the wound?
let us sing one true tune.

–the beautiful letdown, switchfoot.

the church of the losers, the dropouts, the sinners, the failures, and the fools is where i want to belong. Messing up means we tried.

In the context of faith: Do we worship in this same way? One-sidedly? Aiming for perfection that doesn’t exist—and doesn’t matter? In the church, or in any community, do we have—or how can we facilitate—a conversation around story?

Around sharing our experiences, our downfalls, with freedom from fear.

The stories that make us the people we are.


I got on the bus and put my earphones in—my iPhone shuffled to Okay, above. I repeated it five times.

‘cause it’s too important for us to forget
[…] so catch it as it pours out,
we know what we need,
don’t get tired when you’re running back to show them. 

So, let’s start here in the comments, or e-mail me

what’s your story? 

So this, this is all too true. And with that, I present, Goals from 2011 – Revisited.

Small things

  • Focus on the good things.
  • Complete the onehundredpushups program and not derail. Yes, I am doing girly push-ups. It is better than no push-ups.  If all goes well, this will be completed by the end of January.
  • Stop making Saturday and Sunday the exception: 
    • the weekend is not an excuse to only brush my teeth once a day instead of twice
    • it is not an excuse to forgo a workout or two
    • and it is not a cop out for eating all kinds of random food.
  • Become more reliable at hitting up the cardio workouts 45 minutes/day, 5 days/week.
  • Read over the day’s notes when I get home from school and make study notes as the term goes on, because it will make finals suck less.

Bigger things

  • Health advocacy: do new things, reach beyond what I’ve already been doing in some way.  [Maybe that’s doing more races sporting the Team Asthma gear, maybe that’s trying to see if volunteering at asthma camp will work this year, maybe that’s giving my time and my own body for research if I’m eligible.  It could be a lot of things, or all of these things].
  • Actually walk a half marathon.  I’ve been saying I’m going to do one for about two years, so let’s make 2012 the year pending all goes as planned.
  • Work with others to help them realize their own potential, be a part of that ripple effect.
  • Figure out where I’m at with God.
  • Make another attempt at the 365 project.
  • Hesitate less, do more.

So. How have I done?

Focus on the Good Things: It’s a conscious choice, but I try to nail it every. Single. Day. And I think I’m succeeding for the most part.

Onehundredpushups: Nope. I can safely say that I have not, nor am I trying presently, to be able to do 100 pushups… of any sort.

Stop making Saturday and Sunday the Exception: Here’s the issue: every day is Saturday and Sunday to me right now. Which means that I try often and fail at brushing my teeth twice daily—I always get bedtime in, morning is a bit tougher to remember and I don’t know why—I can tell you that I haven’t done any working out since several weeks ago when I impulsively bought a yoga app and did a yoga workout I really enjoyed and then… didn’t touch it again—and, I eat random food all the time. Right now I have Combos beside me. If you want to talk about random food, that is the epitome of it right there.

Become more reliable about hitting up the cardio workouts: 2013 derailed this because I was sick for so much of it. But you know what? it’s effing over. 2013 is effing over and it has been for a long time, and yes that got me off track but it is no reason to still be off track.

Studying: Currently irrelevant, but I can say I never really made good on this, except for in Anatomy round 3.

Health advocacy: In the big picture, I have done this—when I wrote this, I had maybe haphazardly filled out an app to medicine-x at Stanford… But then I got in for 2012. I had yet to learn of attending the World Congress of Asthma with the Asthma Society in Quebec City in 2012. And, I had yet to know that I’d start taking on more roles with the ASC, link up with the Canadian Severe Asthma Network, attend MedX again, and, most importantly, find more ways to practice everyday advocacy within the places I was all the time: school and work. So I’m going to give this a check mark—but it’s a constant growth, and I still have more work to do. See also: Badassmatics!

Actually walk a half-marathon: I don’t even know if this is on the goals anymore to be perfectly honest. But maybe see that thing about cardio above.

Work with others to help them realize their own potential, be part of that ripple effect. I’m gonna give this one a check-mark, but once again, that isn’t something that ends.

Figure out where I’m at with God. My journal would indicate that is still a big question mark, but it’s actually something I’ve been contemplating in the last week. And, I feel like I might never figure that out and that’s just part of my story.

Make another attempt at the 365 project. CHECK MARK. More to come on this!

Hesitate less, do more. Sometimes I meet random strangers off the internet in airports in a country I don’t live in, and they drive you down me state awhile and drop me off to crash in a hotel with someone I also don’t know. And then I repeat that process in a few different ways in a few different states. And, sometimes those people end up becoming your best friends. That’s a pretty extreme example, and I’m sure there was a lot of reservation, but… adventure is really not born of extreme caution, it’s born of optimism and trusting your instincts. And, it’s worked for me.

There are certainly things to build off of here, but the important thing is, I have been building. But, I need to act more, and more fully. And I know this—I just have to harness the energy to make it all happen, because I can. In the coming weeks, I’ll revamp the goals list for 2015—and be doing some introspection surrounding previous goals lists, too.

Even though I am to not be bound by calendar years, yes, that fresh start effect everyone gets so into is contagious.

hello, I’m trying to focus but my eyes deceive me / focus — I’m witnessing history repeating.

–Made for TV Movie, Incubus

At about 12:30 am yesterday I thought about it. It being September 7th

And did not think about it again.

In semblance to what the rest of the faith aspect of my life has looked like for the last year and a half. if not more. If not more than the last year and a half, if not more distance. If not more of everything–except closer.

This was last year. And that is the same as my thoughts at present.

But I know I don’t deserve this. I don’t deserve anything. I am blessed. I am blessed to be here, to be thriving, to be alive.

You keep healing me in spite of me / opening my heart and killing me for me / bring me back to life, yeah I’m gonna be alright / i got You on my side tonight.

me, october 2010

So, I will say thank You. Thank You for having patience, thank You for giving me hope, and thank You for life. Because I don’t deserve this. At all. And I need to not forget that. I need to worship, I need to love, and I need to live.

Still, two simple words raise from my heart: “Thank You”. Thank You will never be enough, Lord.


Why can I not see all around me? Feel it? Reach for it? Think about it. Why am I so resistant, so distant?

So emphatic about staying this way? So consistently pushing away from God–the only One I need to be holding on to?

I have woken up in so many ways in the past two years–why not this one, too? Why don’t I feel like I want to try to fix this? Everything that’s kept me . . . made me alive. Why am I, like everything I hate, taking this for granted? My own cynicism is obviously part of the problem–seeing people who also identify as Christians–who frustrate me by their actions of hate. The label process that I try so hard to deviate from. The things that lead me to change the Religious Views section on Facebook so many years ago from “Christian” to “I worship JESUS”.

Jesus. He’s who it’s all about. And maybe, instead of trying to wrap my head around everything that the mess that is “religion” is . . . I should just focus on who HE is first.

I want to reach forward.

But even when I do . . . I still have to open my hands.

court is in session, a verdict is in / no appeal on the docket today, just my own sin / the walls cold and pale, the cage made of steel / screams fill the room: alone i drop and heal / silence now the sound / my breath the only motion around / demons cluttering around / my face showing no emotion / shackled by my sentence, expecting no return / here there is no penance, my skin begins to burn

so i held my head up high / hiding hate that burns inside / which only fuels their selfish pride / all held captive up from the sun / the sun that shines on only some / we the meek are all in one

i hear a thunder in the distance / see a vision of a cross / i feel the pain that was given on that sad day of loss / a lion roars in the darkness: only He holds the key / a light to free me from my burden and grant me life eternally. / should have been dead on a sunday morning, banging my head. / no time for mourning, ain’t got no time. / should have been dead on a sunday morning, banging my head. / no time for mourning, ain’t got no time.

i cry out to God, seeking only His decision / gabriel standing confirms i create my own prison

i created, i created, i created, i created, i created my own prison . . .

should have been dead on a sunday morning, banging my head. / no time for mourning, ain’t got no time.

my own prison, creed

I create my own prison.

And I’ve been freed. I only have to walk outside of this.

From the first time I heard the title track of the Incubus album Make Yourself seven years ago, I’ve (as I always am overanalyzing) constantly listened with a new appreciation of autonomy; of choice. The world only shapes us as we allow it to. Consciousness, mindfulness of what we are doing has every ability to win out if we let it.  Nobody is in charge of our reality except for ourselves.

if i hadn’t made me / i would have been made somehow. / if i hadn’t assembled myself, i’d have fallen apart by now. / if i hadn’t made me / i’d be more inclined to bow / powers that be would have swallowed me up, but that’s more than i can allow.

if you let ’em make you, they’ll make you papier-mache. / at a distance you’re strong, until the wind comes / then you crumble and blow away. / if you let ’em fuck you / there will be no foreplay / rest assured, they’ll screw you complete / till your ass is blue and grey.

you should make ammends with you / if only for better health, better health. / but if you really want to live / why not try and make yourself? / make yourself.

if i hadn’t made me / i’d have fallen apart by now / i won’t let ’em make me / it’s more than i can allow / so when i make me / i won’t be papier mache. / and if i fuck me, i’ll fuck me in my own way / fuck me in my own way.

make yourself.

–make yourself, incubus

There is the reality that we are shaped by our surroundings, however, we are not created/formed by them.  We can decide how we choose to let our circumstances alter our realities. It’s an intentional process of growth.

If I hadn’t made me, I would have been made somehow.

Letting go of apathy can be extremely hard–it’s evident in some past posts that I’ve been trying to let go of spiritual apathy for almost a year and a half now, and I’m still stuck.  In the process of that apathy though . . . I am allowing myself to explore my thoughts deeper through my disconnection. And that, i think, is a good thing.  Looking back on the last seven years, it is completely obvious that I have been being shaped, and then remodelling myself from what I did and didn’t like spiritually–kissing “religion” goodbye; preachiness goodbye; spiritual bullshit goodbye.  It’s not by the book, it’s not to the letter, but I am so much happier this way.

Assembl[ing] myself.

Spiritually, I’ve figured out for myself that it’s okay if I don’t follow all the “rules”. Others may not be okay with this . . . but that’s okay.

To me, that means love is love. Maybe it means “broken rules” and disconnect. All that can be okay if I let it be okay. It’s experiential, it’s experimental, it’s journeying with God . . . what’s the point of having a story if there’s not story to tell?

Powers that be would have swallowed me up, but that’s more than I can allow.

Though it sometimes perhaps felt like a curse, the fact that I simply couldn’t allow myself to become a cookie-cutter clone in the past has worked out to my advantage. The world has shaped me in many good ways, taught me many tough lessons, but in the end, I’ve still come out of it myself. “I don’t know what I am, but I’m not a category.” [inspectors of inspectors, driftless pony club.]

If you let ’em make you, they’ll make you papier-mache.

Choices, friends and good things, good influences, have lead me to where I am.  Mostly healthy in spite of this thing called chronic illness. Happy most of the time. A sense of insatiable wanderlust that is being fulfilled in more unexpected ways than I could have ever dreamed. I’ve fought myself. I’ve fought with the world around me.  And . . . I grew. To realize the importance of growing through these experiences.

You should make ammends with you if only for better health. But if you really want to live why not try and make yourself.

The world can impact me, shake me, teach me . . . but I am who I am.  If I’m not on the right path, well, I’m quite enjoying this one–so, if I’m fucking up, I’m fucking up my own way: the way that will teach me something and help me see things better every day.

If I hadn’t made me I’d have fallen apart by now […] and if I fuck me, I’ll fuck me in my own way.

make yourself.

We make ourselves. I make myself.

make yourself.