Monday, December 31, 2007

Girl's Best Friend

One thing I’ve missed by remaining single and childless is not being anyone’s priority. Holidays remind me of this reality. Thankfully (and mysteriously), I’ve been blessed with many friends who keep me from being lonely. Yet when holidays come, I decline invitations because I believe it should be a time of close family gatherings. As a result, I draw closer to Jesus, seeing Him as my ‘close family’.

Let me share how this has blessed me this year: By keeping Christ as my priority;
** My world doesn’t crash when some guy doesn’t call.
** I absolutely love my church despite not getting a position I wanted.
** I no longer write people off if they reject me in my time of need (i.e. depressive episode).
** My closest friends are those I socialize with maybe once per month while we each use our time to discover our purpose in life.

By trusting in God instead of man, I am able to get through the hard times of life as He never lets me down. I completely trust Him to fulfill all I need, which allows me to freely love others without expecting them to meet my needs. Jesus is the only one who can meet our every need. He’s the best friend a girl (or guy) could have!

Jeremiah 17:5, 7-
Cursed is the one who trusts in man, who depends on flesh for his strength and whose heart turns away from the Lord… But blessed is the man who trusts in the Lord, whose confidence is in him.

Thursday, December 27, 2007

Call it a Day

Ever notice my blog entries have a sitcom theme where everything works out in the end? People never hear the struggles and tell me how lucky I am because everything goes my way...

Well - a glimpse into my darkness - literally because Addy just knocked over my lamp, breaking the bulb. It’s too hot to replace the bulb so there goes my goal of finishing reading a book.

I shut my finger in the car door and am in MAJOR pain! Of course, it’s my writing hand, making signing reports torture.

Wait, now the battery is dying on my laptop... forget it... I’m going to bed.

Wednesday, December 26, 2007

Keep the Joy, Lose the Stress

Keep the Joy, Lose the Stress
Following up on this morning's entry, I am sharing tips on dealing with stressful situations. As someone who used these strategies to survive the workday, trust me... they work!

1. Ask friends to check on you. Letting friends know you may need encouragement, or just someone to listen, they can provide much needed support to ground you. For example, a friend emailed me this morning and it was perfect for gaining some perspective:

I am praying for you - try to focus on the things you have accomplished and know that this job is not who you are - it is a place where you have to spend 8 hours a day in order to pay the bills.

2. Choose a memory verse or other affirmation to on which to meditate. Need some suggestions? Try this:
Where is God?
Google words like "affirmations, dealing with pain" filling in your specific need, whether it be financial, marital, social, emotional, etc.

3. Fill your life with other activities/outlets. As tempting as it is to come home from work and go straight to vegging in front of the TV, avoiding all social contact, the isolation only brings my job issues to the front burner. However, when I hang out with friends, participate in church activities, write and socialize online, the job issues are at least tolerable.

4. Love a pet or two... animals are so loving and unconditional... research has proven the numerous benefits animals have on people's lives.

5. Put the stressor(s) in perspective. In the grand scheme of life, does it really matter if Joe does not think you are a hard worker? Do you really need your boss to understand your hidden disability? Will any of this be pertinent in 2 years?

6. Be proactive. Do something each day to change your situation, making today a little better than yesterday. Exercise 5 more minutes, don't take a phone call from an abusive ex-boyfriend, write one more page in the novel you're hoping to publish.

Life is too short to be miserable.

You are what your deep driving desire is; As your deep driving desire is, so is your will; As your will is so is your deed; As your deed is so is your destiny. --The Upanishads

How to Keep the Joy

The day after Christmas tends to be a busy day in the mental health field as people are dealing with let downs from Christmas, family conflicts, and returning to work (which is where I find myself). I’ve gotta be honest - I did not think this day would come when I had to return to such an oppressive environment. If I think about the reality, I will make myself physically sick, angry, bitter, and asking God, “why???”

That is how we tend to react to things seen, not knowing what God is doing in the background. If you find yourself discouraged today, let me challenge you to focus on the many reasons you have to Praise God and search his Word for direction, joy, and hope. In Jeremiah 15:15-21, Jeremiah did this as he was hated for no reason and suffered without seeing any reprieve in sight. While he did not understand why he had to endure such ill-treatment from others, he knew God understood... he knew God saw him staying apart from evildoers, and he found his joy in God’s Word.

Remember, when we trust and obey, the world may fight against us, but they will never overcome us.

Saturday, December 22, 2007

Monday, December 17, 2007

It's All Good

Tomorrow I find out when I can return to my job. Unsettling feelings and thoughts surround me realizing this sabbatical is coming to an end. Once again, my faith is being tested as I see no way this will work out. However, I believe God has a plan for me that is bigger and better than my comprehension, and in His perfect timing, He will bring it to fruition.

Faith is easy when there is money in the bank and a house full of committed, supportive relatives. I suppose if that described my reality, I wouldn’t seek God except for nighttime prayers. As a single woman with no close relatives, no income for the past six weeks, no money in the bank, fighting debilitating clinical depression, it is my Father who gives me faith to believe. I pity nonbelievers who face similar circumstances because in the natural, this should scare the hell out of me. As a matter of fact, if I was not a Christian, this current season would drive me to the arms of God because I would have nothing to lose by ‘giving faith a try’. My prayer is for God to use my situation to bring others to Him.

I have a friend who is in a similar predicament – except she has no job to return to and is in the process of getting a divorce. About three years ago, God placed her on my heart to love her unconditionally as she makes it clear she does not believe in God, Jesus, heaven, etc. “When we die, that’s it” she tells me. A few days ago, she finally asked me how I am surviving with no income. Imagine my delight to tell her not only has God provided for me this past month, he has assured me He will take care of me (i.e. pay my bills) no matter how long this takes. I could tell she was thinking twice about the whole “faith” issue.

Just as Joseph used what was meant to harm him as good (Genesis 50:20), we can use struggles, hardships, and uncertainty to demonstrate reliance on God. We can ask Him to use our circumstances to prove beyond all doubt he lives within us. If you feel like you are having one crisis after another, seeing no end in sight, praise God for the numerous opportunities He is giving you to glorify Him! Then do just that… Glorify Him!

Sunday, December 16, 2007


Some Sunday Morning housekeeping items:

I wrote about a amazing event that happened yesterday at my Sufficient Grace site. Please check it out.

I'm still working out what to put on what sites. ' Believe in Grace is going to center on disability issues from a faith based perspective. There will be pieces on disabillity, pieces on faith, and the combination of both.

Sufficient Grace will include comprehensive information including information on my consultation services, my updated resume, and poetry I have recently written.

SGWP (aka Sufficient Grace at Wordpress) will primary focus on Christian writing. Since disabilities are part of who I am, the writings will, of course, be seasoned with references to disabilities.

Any comments and/or recommendations are welcomed.

Friday, December 14, 2007

Poem - Thoughts of an Introvert

Thoughts of an Introvert
Why did I do it – why’d I do it again?
Made plans to go out when I want to stay in?
It’s not the company, it’s not the destination-
It’s the way I must shelf creative inspiration.
You’d think I was going for a deep root canal,
I’m just having some drinks with a favorite gal pal.
Still the selfish me longs to stay quiet at home,
If I had it my way, the world would leave me alone!

Recommended Website- Miss Lizzy Show

Was contacted by someone referring me to this website. While I haven't had a chance to listen to the podcast, the lady seems like someone I'd really connect with... check her out.

The Hard Way is Easiest

The more I learn about Jesus and his commands, the more I want of Jesus and his commands. I use to think I had to follow a bunch of rules in exchange for being a Christian, kind of like a pay off. I could live like I wanted to, having fun and feeling good, or I could be a good girl, follow the commands in the Bible, and be at church whenever the doors were opened. The first way was the easy way, while the second was the right way.

I was so wrong. Following Jesus and his commands is the easy way because he gives us directions for living in a way that we not only avoid the painful consequences of our own selfishness, he guides and loves us along the way. His Holy Spirit reveals what truly matters, giving life and its struggles meaning, encouraging us to press on to the ultimate prize of spending eternity in heaven.

Jesus gives a simple (but not easy) guideline for daily living in Matthew 6:33- Seek first his kingdom and righteousness and all these things will be given to you as well. The Believer’s Bible Commentary writes it this way- If you will put God’s interest first in your life, I will guarantee your future needs.

Life is hard enough without having to suffer additional consequences of selfishness and the desire for instant gratification. Life is much easier when we trust and obey Him upfront. Knowing he has the future taken care of allows us to fully focus on fulfilling His plan for our lives.

Thursday, December 13, 2007

You Should Know By Now

As I prepare for meeting with my friend/mentor this morning to review what has transpired over the past several weeks of sabbatical, I feel God speaking to my heart in undeniable ways.

Yesterday, I heard some hurtful comments from people from at office questioning the reality of my depression, which is ironic considering they are mental health counselors. As I emotionally exclaimed to a friend-fellow counselor, they should know me by now- it hurts that they believe I would just bail out for no reason! Our history together should tell them I am a responsible, hardworking therapist!

Knowing they doubt my intentions makes it so much harder to return. I want to throw up my hands in defeat.

But then I review my writing the past weeks, how God made miracles happen, saving me emotionally, physically, and financially. He knows where I am. God knows the validity of my depression, and that is the only thing that matters. Other’s view of me does not matter. It hurts deeply, yet I will give my pain to Him.

Finally, my words were spoken back to me from the Lord, piercing my heart as he reminds me of our history together, Him and me. You should know me by now, Shelly. Even my provision the past month should show you my character, and tell you who I am. Trust me, Ask me, Believe me!

Wednesday, December 12, 2007


I heard a tip for driving on ice that can easily be applied to life: When you are sliding out of control, look in the direction of where you want to go, not where you are headed.

Regardless what others say, Christians do get depressed, disabled and discouraged. Life for Jesus was never easy, so why do we think it should be for us? Instead of looking for solutions from those around us, we need to use feelings of unhappiness and pain as reminders to look forward to our ultimate destination. We can pray what David wrote in Psalm 60, “Give us aid against the enemy, for the help of man is worthless. With God we will gain the victory, and he will trample our enemies”.

Struggles and unhappiness remind us of our need for Jesus. There are some things no one can help us with, some pain no one can alleviate. We look around and find no solution to what ails us, then we look up.

The only ultimate disaster that can befall us, I have come to realize, is to feel ourselves to be home on earth… unhappiness on earth cultivates a hunger for heaven. By gracing us with a deep dissatisfaction, God holds our attention.
Max Lucado

Tuesday, December 11, 2007

Peace in Heart

I have only heard my mother cuss twice in my entire life. Once was when my brothers and I were arguing in the living room. I remember where I was sitting, I remember I was early teens, I remember she kept telling us to stop and we wouldn’t… but I cannot remember what we were arguing about.

She yelled “Stop fighting!” followed by another form of ‘darn it’ and we were so shocked, my brothers and I sat in silence for some time after my mom left the room. To her, it didn’t matter why we were fighting, she just wanted peace.

Yesterday, I followed my typical routine of reaching out to a couple of friends when someone hurt my feelings. I have a bad habit of needing to be validated for the way I am feeling, which is so ridiculous – we feel what we feel. No one can force us to feel a certain way. I’ve always presented situations to a friend or two, asking if they think I should be mad/glad/sad. While it is good to have someone ‘balance’ us out by presenting different perspectives, most of the time, it is healthiest to just let it go. I was reminded of this as I read Zechariah 7:9-10:
"This is what the LORD Almighty says: 'Administer true justice; show mercy and compassion to one another. Do not oppress the widow or the fatherless, the alien or the poor. In your hearts do not think evil of each other.'

If we expect God to show us mercy and compassion so our hearts can be at peace, we have to show others the same mercy and compassion. Peace.

Sunday, December 9, 2007

A Few Links

I found this site and wanted to link to it in regards to Friday entry about seeing the positive in disabilities.

This led me to reading about self injury/self-harm which is difficult to understand and harder to explain.

Finally, I added a entry here.

Saturday, December 8, 2007

Disability Podcast

I’m listening to a Podcast on disabilities which I think I like... not sure yet since this is the first one I’ve listened to. So far, I must say I’m impressed. The two speakers both have physical disabilities and are really witty! If they did not have disabilities, the program could be offensive.

For example, one of the announcers talks like he has Cerebral Palsy and after he gives the call-in number, the main speaker says, “I have no idea what he said!”

Friday, December 7, 2007

Making the Best of Challenges

I'm a big proponent of finding strengths in what others consider 'impairments'. The whole glass half full vs. half empty has impact on a person's mental, emotional, physical, and social aspects. There are strengths with every condition, including Attention Deficit Disorder. Granted, finding websites of advantages of Cerebral Palsy (C.P.) or depression is no easy task, yet that in itself can be a good thing.

Too frequently, people are classified by their labels and expectations are set accordingly. I would rather interact with people who have never heard of C.P. as opposed to those with previous exposure to persons affected by C.P.. I am my own person and prefer to be seen as such rather than being falsely portrayed.

For this reason, people should make their own list of strengths related to their disability. For example, some advantages of having C.P. for me are:
  1. People are reluctant to approach me for small talk. (I am an introvert by nature and enjoy 'thinking' instead of trying to fill silence with meaningless discussion.)
  2. People pay attention when I talk. (My speech takes some getting use to so listeners focus more on my enunciation.)
  3. Friends can find me at the beach. (Follow the turned in footprints!)
  4. I don't have to identify myself over the phone. (I have a unique 'accent'.)
  5. When I am speaking with friends in a crowd, eavesdroppers will have trouble following my part of the discussion, allowing me to maintain privacy.
I challenge you to find at least five advantages to what the world views as 'limitations'.

Thursday, December 6, 2007

Learning From Lazarus

As dusk closes in on another day,
With a bit less hope -I kneel to pray.
Sabbatical is quickly coming to an end,
Dear Father, I don’t want to go back again.
Why haven’t You opened another door by now?
I open your Word and read about how-
You waited two days before Lazarus was healed,
All for the purpose of God’s glory revealed.
This message of faith from the Spirit’s received,
I’ll see the glory of God if I believe.
- Shelly

Depression in the News

News Headline: Omaha Police say the 20-year old was behind Wednesday's deadly shooting spree at the Westroads Mall.

I understand.
I’m not justifying, accepting, or promoting his actions, but I understand. His family kicked him out, he felt like no one cared. He felt like a burden, he had nothing else to lose… I understand. Why he killed innocent people, I cannot understand yet the pain and suffering he experienced obviously clouded his thinking.
This is why we need to reach out to the depressed. This is why we cannot avoid and deny clinical depression. People need help. People need understanding. People need love. People need to see Jesus in us.

You may feel unqualified and not know what to say… Jesus will give you the words if you seek Him. Do not underestimate what God can do through you. Take it from someone who has been on both sides – being there for someone who is depressed and hurting could be the difference between life and death.

If you yourself are hurting and depressed, memorize scripture that comforts you. Memorize this poem and pray it to God from the bottom of your heart. I promise, He will answer you. He knows you cannot do it alone. He does not want you to do it alone. Let him help you. Jesus loves you.

I Cannot Do This Alone

O God, early in the morning I cry to you.
Help me to pray
And to concentrate my thoughts on you:
I cannot do this alone.
In me there is darkness,
But with you there is light;
I am lonely, but you do not leave me;
I am feeble in heart, but with you there is help;
I am restless, but with you there is peace.
In me there is bitterness, but with you there is patience;
I do not understand your ways,
But you know the way for me…
Restore me to liberty,
And enable me to live now
That I may answer before you and before me.
Lord, whatever this day may bring,
Your name be praised.

Dietrich Bonhoeffer

Wednesday, December 5, 2007

Truths About Cerebral Palsy

1. C.P. is not contagious.
2. C.P. is brain damage caused most frequently before, during, or after birth.
3. The area of brain damage determines how person is affected.
4. Personally, I believe there is a high correlation between CP and Attention Deficit (not to mention other secondary conditions).
5. Secondary conditions are frequently overlooked and mistakingly attributed to CP.
6. While the brain damage does not worsen, the misuse of muscles from the brain damage speeds up aging affects for adults with CP.

Tuesday, December 4, 2007

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Contact me for information and prices.

Did You Hear That?

While chatting with a friend in the church parking lot, I noticed a magnificent sky-piece over her shoulder. I asked her to look at the sky and she silently admired it for 45 seconds or so. It looked like a beam of light coming from heaven, as if a way was being made for Jesus’ returning. We didn’t discuss what we saw but I am sure she saw something completely different. Maybe she saw a path going up to heaven… maybe she didn’t even see a path.

Nature and our world around us are God’s masterpieces. He made our surroundings colorful and melodious for a reason – I believe he did it to grab our attention. Sometimes I imagine He has a mega etch-a-sketch that he shakes and makes a new sky patter to grab our attention again. Just as I never become bored with my niece’s art work made especially for me, I never tire of God’s creations. They literally speak to me, rather He speaks to me through them. Look up at the sky today and listen with your heart – He’s talking to you.

And God said, "Let there be lights in the expanse of the sky to separate the day from the night, and let them serve as signs to mark seasons and days and year… Gen.1:14

Saturday, December 1, 2007

Joel Osteen

Another reason to be thankful for afflictions - we get to experience blessings that are meaningful to everyone involved...

That’s it – I am making a hair appointment first thing Monday morning! I look like an indigent here. Anyway, we had a blast. The whole thing was so “God” the way it happened, i.e. Amanda did not receive my email before she interviewed Joel... I had emailed asking if this one time, could I ‘use her celebrity status’ (in so many words) and her get me tickets to see Joel. She didn’t even know I wanted to go! She was talking with Joel’s brother-in-law and said she doesn’t know why but she started talking about me... She said she has a friend who wanted to go to the show but it was sold out. She said she doesn’t know why but she mentioned I have Cerebral Palsy and the guy said, “Do you know Joel’s sister was born with C.P.?” thing led to another and he told Amanda he’d give her tickets and get us backstage *which Amanda did not tell me that part! I didn’t know until the very end when a lady came up to Amanda and started whispering. Amanda leaned over to me and said, “okay, Shelly... Get ready, you are going to meet Joel.” I looked at the girl beside me (who was with Amanda earlier) and she smiled, telling me it was all planned out. We had to casually walk up to the side because they didn’t want other people coming back. As we stood there while Joel walked off the stage, he shook a couple hands, then came to me and excitedly said, “Hi! Nice to meet you! Let’s go in the back so we can talk...” WHAT?? Even Amanda said she doesn’t know how he knew to come to me. Anyway, only a handful of non-staff went back with him and his family. (Amanda and I both love his mom... She’s adorable!) Victoria told me about her son’s iPhone (was so funny), then Joel talked with us a bit. Amanda (so cute) tried marketing me to him, saying how I inspire her and I am an artist and writer... Very humbling that she turned the attention to me. Joel told me to “Go For It!!” (writing career)... I said, “God talks to me all the time!” and Joel responded, “He has a lot to say!” I loved that response. Then (Amanda liked this part) Joel signed my book (rather HIS book) and asked how to spell my name, and I told him then asked him to put “to my best friend” which he did!

As Amanda said a few times through the night, “God REALLY loves you!” No doubt.