An Honest Inventory, A Worrisome Result

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Although I have a degree in Psychology and love the field immensely, I am not such a fan of labels.  First of all, I don’t think we all fit inside the parameters of any one box.  Our personalities and experiences differ greatly so there is no way that one size fits all.  Plus, I believe that when we label ourselves and/or allow ourselves to be labeled by others we fall into the pit of self-fulfilling prophesies which often times cause us to unconsciously begin to live in accordance with whatever label(s) we impose upon ourselves and/or accept from others.

Lately though, I have found myself often asking the question, “What’s wrong with me?”  And, as somethings have been brought to my attention and as I’ve taken some steps back to examine certain life pattens, I have learned that there may be a name for a particular set of  some maladaptive, repetitive behaviors that I struggle with.  I think this is significant because I need to uncover the “what” so I can deal with the “why”…which will help me deal with the “how to”, (hopefully) overcome and find healing and freedom.

So I recently read some information for this organization called Sex and Loves Addicts Anonymous that describes itself as “a Twelve Step, Twelve Tradition oriented Fellowship based on the model pioneered by Alcoholics Anonymous. S.L.A.A. is open to anyone who knows or thinks they have a problem with sex addiction, love addiction, romantic obsession, co-dependent relationships, fantasy addiction and/or sexual, social and emotional anorexia.”

I have never been a fan of 12-step programs as I don’t feel as though that particular method is right for me, but I was looking at their website for information and came across a self-diagnostic tool that I thought I would explore.

Below is a self-diagnostic type of  inventory that I took; I answered each question as honestly as I possibly could.  Here’s what I came up with.  It’s bitterly shameful (I may soon delete this post) but I wonder if anyone can relate to this or has opinions about this particular topic.

I don’t know if this is something that I need to do work on or not.  As a Christian, I genuinely feel that God is my ultimate Healer and that I just need to keep trying to give it all to Him.  However, some of the questions on this inventory hit frightfully close to home.  I don’t know what to think…
The fact of the matter is, I’m not a ho!  In the past, when I have been with men that I believed that I truly loved my sexual experiences were nothing short of cosmic.  When I think that I love a man and we have sex, I feel like it’s often this out-of-body, mystical experience and that our souls are completely intertwined in a way that’s hard to express with mere words.  And when I think I love a man I love him with my whole being…. The thought of being with anyone else makes me sick.
Unfortunately, I’m beginning to see that what I thought was love in my past relationships wasn’t love at all.  As a matter of fact, I question whether I’ve ever experienced true love.  Wild, unbridled passion and addiction to toxic people is not love.  I know that now.  I just don’t know which way to go now.
I'm just a few steps away...

I’m just a few steps away…

I don’t want to cut myself off from love and be one of those cynical ol’ man haters.  I don’t think that’s God’s will for me because I know that to be a true man hater I’d have to truly hate men.  I don’t.   Plus, I don’t think I’d be a very good, stereotypical cat lady because I do not like cats at all.

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Love rendition

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Ava Elizabeth Wisdom:

Friends I cannot tell you how much this post blessed me this evening. It was truly a fresh word from God and I think it would do your soul good to read it too.

xoxo,
Ava

Originally posted on Sara Whitesell:

So easily I forget the freedom that lies right in front of me. So easily I fight to unlock the shackles I bear, overlooking the key that Jesus has freely given to me. I say “freely”, but that freedom was bought at such a high price. I forget that the water He gives quenches every thirst. I forget that His ear is bent to hear me. My faith shakes, and my heart breaks, and every day, from dawn to dusk, my God stands faithful and waiting. On the bright side of brokenness, lies Jesus.

I wish I could say my Bible was worn at the seams. I wish I could say I don’t continuously hit the snooze button, making excuses to sleep through my morning quiet time with the Lord. My head doesn’t bow in prayer as often as it should, and my hands hang at my sides while they…

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Green Eggs and Spam

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What makes a popular poem popular?  Personally, I like poetry that is well structured and rhymes.  But then again, I love “The Cat in the Hat” and “Fox in Socks.”  When I was growing up I was especially into Helen Steiner Rice since my grandmother had what seemed like an unending supply of her work.  That being said, I like to keep it fairly simple.

Now, I have been known to bust out with some pretty amazing poems, especially during some emotionally charged times in of my life (i.e. breakups with boys).  However, a while back I wrote this personalized, hilarious rap for my nephews birthday.  In short, it was sick!  It was off the hizzle!  It got rave reviews by my friends and family, my nephew loved it, and I was overwhelmingly proud of it.

One day, I was wasting time on my computer (as opposed to doing laundry or dishes) and I decided I would post some of my poems on a poetry website.  I was curious how I would be critiqued.  The rap that I wrote for my nephew received the following comment:

“I dont know if you were purposely writing in that form to “make your voice” but while i was reading this poem i was constantly saying “this is lazy”. It might be that Im looking at this in a wrong way. I love how your describing another person with such admiration and i think that a poem is worthy of this person. Its a good poem but to me its painful to read.”
 
I decided to reply to his gentle feedback, and did so in a way that I caused myself to look extraordinarily mentally unstable.  So I said to the young buck:
 
“Awww…darn it!! I HATE that it literally caused you “pain”. And it’s funny that you constantly kept saying to yourself, “This is lazy.” I have had a serious problem with time management skills….my house is an effin’ wreck. You need a Tetanus shot to ride in my car…. And I haven’t been bathing on a regular basis OR brushing my teeth. PLUS, I dropped a deuce in the toilet that was SO rank…but it looked like a dragon. I was kind of proud of it… so I never flushed it; that was 4 days ago. I’m kind of thankful for your review because it was just like God used you as a vessel to get my attention. I am lazy as a as mofo!!! I’m not kidding. I am soooo effin lazy!!! Uggghhhh!!! But I’m going to actually start trying to work on bettering myself. I mean, the Holy Spirit just spoke to me through “YOU”. Thanks for helping me acknowledge that I need to make a serious change. Oh and by the way, I am feeling “convicted” by the Spirit to tell you that it’s “dreadfully” lazy to not capitalize the personal pronoun “I”. I mean, really all you have to do is just hit the shift key at the same time you hit the “I” on the keyboard. Also, and I didn’t hear this from God (I’ll admit that), but I noticed that you having a hard time with the “its vs. it’s” thing. A lot of kids do… and that’s OK because you’re not Jesus and you can’t be perfect all the time. But “it’s”…(when you put an apostrophe in it)…well that is what we call a “contraction” (not the kind that your Mom had when she was having you). Contractions are neat! They’re a short way to write out two words (it is) and combine them into one word, “it’s”. It may seem hard now but if you study this topic and work hard you’ll learn it in no time flat! Thanks for the feedback… I guess I was trying to sound like a black person. I’m not black but I have always wanted to marry a black man. Now that I’ve written this I feel like maybe I need to immerse myself in the culture a little more before I try to join a black family. Seriously. They would never accept me if I am not using Ebonics correctly. I wish they had Ebonics on Rosetta Stone!

To this my critic responded:

“Well April I am no holy spirit, I was just giving my opinion (which this site encourages). I do like your poem, I just don’t like the way you wrote it. I encourage you to continue writing and I hope to see more poems from you. :)
 
Now I didn’t want him to think that I was being defensive (which I wasn’t) or sarcastic (which I was), so I formulated the following response to the young lad:
 
“You are a REAL poet. I suck ass, big time. I am so humiliated that I even put that lame ass poem on the Internet. I swear to God, what if a perspective employer Google’s me and/or my kids find the logon and password on this site and discover this train-wreck, shit storm of a “poem” (or whatever the hell it is). I do not mean to take up so much of your time. I am not a stalker anymore. I really just want to learn. And Jesus brought you to me for a reason and I swear on my dead, rotting mother’s, worm-infested grave that I am going to “get it” this time. I just need help. Please help me. You are my only hope. I need tips. I need help. Please tell me what I can do to improve this lame pile of shit. I feel like stuffing my head in a porta-potty toilet at a Monster Truck show and flushing it. Please hear my cry and learn me what you know. I will now ask you to refer to me as “Grasshopper” and I will refer to you as “Master”. I’m not an oriental or anything, but I know that those people know a lot about humbling themselves and learning from those who are more enlightened. I look forward to your prompt reply. I am actually going to stay next to my computer and wait. I have a little place to sleep under the desk. I don’t deserve a bed. I am not worthy of comfort at this point.”
 

Would you believe that the young man never replied?  I’m sure he became rather frightened of me.  I mean, after all, that was my intent.  Mission accomplished.

After laughing hysterically as my friend looked on at the exchange between my critic and I, I decided I would take a peek at some of his work.  Here’s what I discovered:

 
Sleeping on Steel
 
To think about death
Is cold and uncomforting,
Like sleeping on steel.
 
 
And then there was this gem:
 
 
What Is Life?
 
Life is __________.
 
 
And then this more complex, obscure piece:
 
 
A Mind With No Fear…
 
As I sat down in the metal beast
I pondered on life’s purpose in detail.
What will I do, where will I go, when is world’s end,
I will never find society’s trail. I pondered for what seemed like days
And the answer was no where in sight.
I was looking for something I could not find
Where others it seemed as finding the moon at night. I was not confortable in my burning machine.
I decided to leave before my thoughts troubled me more
And as I opened the world to my yellow eyes
My mind began to blossom through the door
Into a world not full of smoke, but color.  The land that I felt was strong and firm
As I walked on the sorted stones.
Walking towards a canal of green,
A bright place untoched by dry bones. A sound came to my ears that paralyzed me in happiness
The sound that can only be composed by a friend.
A friend of painted wings and a mind like no other,
A mind with no fear of the end.
 
I sat next to the canal where my friend perched it’s self.
We enjoyed the song, then looked into the eyes of the river.
As we leered we saw different reflections
It saw the world given to him, I saw an answer

No matter what I do, where I go, when the end is
The world will be as new as the day it was felt by man.

As I grow old and turn into smoke,
The flower of my mind still reminds me
The grass is still green, the friend still sings,
The world is not a metal hand.

Now, that may be good poetry ya’ll.  I don’t know and cannot tell, especially when you consider my love for Dr. Seuss.  But I had to reply.  I just had to!  So I reviewed his work, rated his work with 5 stars,  and said the following:
 
“You!!! You are GOOD!!!! I mean it. You ARE. I’m gonna have to give you the props you deserve right NOW. I tip thine hat to thee. You are worthy…. You hit the NAIL on the HEAD!!! The world is NOT a God-damned metal hand. And I am tired of everyone acting like it is! It never was and I think that, at this point, you and I both that this rotten whore of a world is NEVER, EVER going to be a metal hand no matter how much you smoke. Oh sure, there is dank that has made me think that I “literally” had superpowers. I was convinced that I could move the wind’s bastard child with my mind. I felt it in my C6 vertebrae and I farted with a mighty roar…like a hound dog of a trumpet keeping score. I regressed. I paused to consider all that had begot me… and SHE.. and HE. Then I lost track of time and the space continuum. I was VEXED!!! What had happened to that ILLUSIVE metal beast? Was it mocking me? To MINE own self will I remain true. It is depravity, I shriek from the bowels of hell… And I shall walk on this barren land no more. Thank you for giving words to the language that knows no language. The speech of me that speaketh not and shall speak NO MORE!!!!!! {Yet, I still scoffed and I SPAT!!!!}”
 
 
For the life of me, I don’t know why he didn’t respond.  I never heard from him again.  He did change the way I viewed poetry, however.  What I realized is that the more bizarre the poem, the more likely it is that the poetic community will accept you.  I received negative feedback on my themed, humorous, sensible poem that was composed of perfectly rhyming stanzas.  But what if I just made up some mindless, random nonsense and submitted that?  I thought I would give it a whirl.  So I submitted the following (brace yourself):
 
I Am Abubaka’s Daughter
 
Chlamydia, you drunken pot of pig’s period.
You again?  THIS day you come to call?
Why don’t you pick another nest to infest?
Flee from me lest I call the One they call, Boyd T. Malgabor.
Doth thou not know that Abubakah is mine own father?
Hark! Hush now! (hatred repressed {bed never made})
You blackened whore who drips incessantly; crying; crying.
This funk you shall take and leave at once.
ABUBAKAH IS MY FATHER!
 

Man!  I got some great reviews on that little treasure!  Can you believe that?  Now how in the world is that possible.  

Perhaps my hormones are getting the best of me.  After all, I am on day 20 of my 40 day fast.  I have been without sex for 43 days too.  I just don’t understand why some poetry is so mother-humping strange.  Who knows, I may become a poet.  I’ll just write poems like the one above, publish a book with a collection of my works, make a sizable amount of money, and win the respect of weirdo poets all over the world.  Before I do that, however, I am going to brush my teeth and take a nap. 

 

XOXOXOXOXOXO,

♥ Ava ♥

 

 
You!!! You are GOOD!!!! I mean it. You ARE. I’m gonna have to give you the props you deserve right NOW. I tip thine hat to thee. You are worthy…. You hit the NAIL on the HEAD!!! The world is NOT a God damned metal hand. And I am tired of everyone acting like it is! It never was and I think that, at this point, you and I both that this rotten whore of a world is NEVER, EVER going to be a metal hand no matter how much you smoke. Oh sure, there is dank that has made me think that I “literally” had superpowers. I was convinced that I could move the wind’s bastard child with my mind. I felt it in my C6 vertebrae and I farted with a mighty roar…like a hound dog of a trumpet keeping score. I regressed. I paused to consider all that had begot me… and SHE.. and HE. Then I lost track of time and the space continuum. I was VEXED!!! What had happened to that ILLUSIVE metal beast. Was it mocking me? To MINE own self will I remain true. It is depravity, I shriek from the bowels of hell… And I shall walk on this barren land no more. Thank you for giving words to the language that knows no language. The speech of me that speaketh not and shall speak NO MORE!!!!!! {Yet, I still scoffed and I SPAT!!!!}
Well April I am no holy spirit, I was just giving my opinion (which this site encourages). I do like your poem, I just don’t like the way you wrote it. I encourage you to continue writing and I hope to see more poems from you. :)
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 

 

Awww…darn it!! I HATE that it literally caused you “pain”. And it’s funny that you constantly kept saying to yourself, “This is lazy.” I have had a serious problem with time management skills….my house is an effin’ wreck. You need a Tetanus shot to ride in my car…. And I haven’t been bathing on a regular basis OR brushing my teeth. PLUS, I dropped a deuce in the toilet that was SO rank…but it looked like a dragon. I was kind of proud of it… so I never flushed it; that was 4 days ago. I’m kind of thankful for your review because it was just like God used you as a vessel to get my attention. I am lazy as a as mofo!!! I’m not kidding. I am soooo effin lazy!!! Uggghhhh!!! But I’m going to actually start trying to work on bettering myself. I mean, the Holy Spirit just spoke to me through “YOU”. Thanks for helping me acknowledge that I need to make a serious change. Oh and by the way, I am feeling “convicted” by the Spirit to tell you that it’s “dreadfully” lazy to not capitalize the personal pronoun “I”. I mean, really all you have to do is just hit the shift key at the same time you hit the “I” on the keyboard. Also, and I didn’t hear this from God (I’ll admit that), but I noticed that you having a hard time with the “its vs. it’s” thing. A lot of kids do… and that’s OK because you’re not Jesus and you can’t be perfect all the time. But “it’s”…(when you put an apostrophe in it)…well that is what we call a “contraction” (not the kind that you Mom had when she was having you). Contractions are neat! They’re a short way to write out two words (it is) and combine them into one word, “it’s”. It may seem hard now but if you study this topic and work hard you’ll learn it in no time flat! Thanks for the feedback… I guess I was trying to sound like a black person. I’m not black but I have always wanted to marry a black man. Now that I’ve written this I feel like maybe I need to immerse myself in the culture a little more before I try to join a black family. Seriously. They would never accept me if I am not using Ebonics correctly. I wish they had Ebonics on Rosetta Stone!!! Ugghhh!!! FML!!! :/
I dont know if you were purposely writing in that form to “make your voice” but while i was reading this poem i was constantly saying “this is lazy”. It might be that Im looking at this in a wrong way. I love how your describing another person with such admiration and i think that a poem is worthy of this person. Its a good poem but to me its painful to read.

 

Away Too Long

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ASHAMED.  GUILTY.  REGRETFUL.  FOOLISH.  LOST.  EXHAUSTED.

Well, here I am.  I’m back.  I wonder if you remember your ol’ pal Ava?  It’s only been 262 days since my last post.  I guess you could say that I’ve been a bit distracted and preoccupied since I last wrote.  Okay… Maybe obsessed and consumed are better ways to describe why I’ve abandoned my beloved WordPress family.  I doubt you guys even noticed I was gone, but in truth, I have really missed connecting with you as you mean more to me than you may ever know. 

Folks, I love writing more than you can imagine.  I sometimes struggle, more than I’d like, with devastating feelings of  inferiority and am, beyond the shadow of a doubt, my own worst critic, so it’s significant when I tell you that writing is something that I know I do well.  I know that it’s a gift that God lovingly bestowed upon me and I feel so connected to Him and wholly alive when I write.  So naturally, I don’t do it like I should or want to.  I mean, I am codependent after all and am typically consumed with fixing and serving maladaptive people and simply don’t nurture the things that are edifying to “me”.  I am self-sabotaging and sometimes downright self-destructive,  so it stands to reason that I am not going to do anything that would build me up, right? 

Now, you all know, if you know me at all that brevity is not a strength I possess.  I am too wordy.  I don’t know when to shut up.  I am uncomfortable with awkward silences and feel the need to fill the void with verbal vomit.  Admittedly, my posts are usually way too long.  This one won’t be too bad, so fear not.   Just know that I am having a hard time finishing anything I start as of late.  I feel that I just “need” to submit one post, connect with you, and get myself back into the habit.  It’s imperative.  This is becaus, there are people in my life who–despite my best efforts–did not get the memo about my awesomeness.  My Dad is one such person.  There is nothing that I will ever be able to do or say that will change his pervasively low opinion of me; for some reason, he just cannot see my heart.  You however, see my heart!  You’ve seen my filth, you’ve heard me bitch and moan, and you’ve watched me making colossal mistakes BUT you loved me in spite of that.  That’s major!

Several of you like Grandpappy Sky, Diane, Rod Arters, Arlene the Queen, Sabrina, and Scott Williams  I feel like I know personally.  You make me feel cherished, and I certainly cherish you.  You all inspire me to be a better version of myself.  I dearly love you and am so thankful for your presence in my life as it has served great purpose.  I am going through some struggles that I am working on harder than I think I’ve ever worked on anything.  I have been in bondage for so many years, particularly where my need for love and approval from unloving, disapproving men are concerned.   I have been addicted to sex and love.  Guys want to f@#k me senselessly, but they don’t want to commit to me and they sure as hell don’t want to fight for me. 

I officially reached the end of me and surrendered everything to God with my “entire” soul about 4 days ago.  Before that, the devil was whispering (more like screaming) lies into my ear… again.  When the bottom fell out a little over two weeks ago the fear that I was going to end up just like my mother, dead by my own hand at a young age, was in my face like never before.   After all, we seem to be twin souls.  Moreover, I can still envision the look on my father’s face and hear the sincere disgust in his voice when he’d say, “You’re just like your mother.”   I grew up thinking that being like her was an awful thing.  I’m not so sure it was though…

 I love the Lord more words could ever express and when I make a promise to Him, I take it seriously.  Therefore, I simply will “not” make a promise to God that I know that I cannot or may not keep.  With that, I am fasting from sex, including getting my freak on with myself, which I don’t mind telling you, “I quite enjoy.”   My power tools are about to be locked in my attic.  I am also fasting from booze, which makes me do really, really regrettable things that are out of character for me when I am feeling emotionally fragile and vulnerable. 

I was seeing this guy for about a year.  I stayed too long in the relationship (more later on that).  I could have walked away with my dignity, but “no”.  I did not.  I am fasting from my addiction, not to him, but to what he represents in my head as I have recognized that he, like so many before him, are mere symptoms of the root cause of my problem.  He was just a personification of some really old, deeply repressed shit that I never really knew existed in me.  Nevertheless, all lines of communication (e.g. text messages, phone calls, Facebook, etc) have been blocked and I will not make any attempt to communicate with him in any fashion.  The only reason I have the strength to do this is simply because of my affection for God and desire for Him to be number one in my life.

Enough is enough. The journey that I am embarking on with God is not going to be easy for me.  However, I am afraid that if I do not overcome it, that I may die.  I do not want to die.  So I’m fighting harder than ever this time. 

My goal is to write about what God is revealing to me, at least over the course of the next month, particularly since I am in the Word like I have honestly never been in my entire life…  I hope you’ll stick around and listen to me get honest about my not-so-pretty, insanely unflattering junk.  I believe that pain and the human will to survive is universal, so I’m betting that you may see yourself in some of my stuff. 

Nevertheless, I just want you to know that I love you… and that I’m so thankful for you.  I pray that you’re all still out there.  As it stands, I am feeling a bit:

ASHAMED.  GUILTY.  REGRETFUL.  FOOLISH.  LOST.  EXHAUSTED.

 

If loving you is wrong I don’t wanna be right!

-Ava Elizabeth Wisdom

 

Refuting the Lie: How I Fought Depression and Kicked its Ass for Good!

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Dear Friends,

Mariel Hemingway, granddaughter of legendary writer, is one of the most fascinating people on the planet, in my humble opinion.  My life has been extraordinarily impacted by my mother’s suicide.  It rocked my world to the core.  However, I have had to carry the burden of just one suicide.  One is certainly enough, but Mariel has experienced at least 7, that she is aware of.  I simply cannot imagine how one could bear so much.

The most frightful thing about suicide in my immediately family for me was the terror and the gut-wrenching, incessant feeling of impending doom that suicide was my fate.  I saw it as this sort of tangible darkness that was just waiting in the rafters to eat me alive.  I thought I couldn’t get away from it…ever  And, do you know how many health professionals  told me that my risk of suicide was dramatically increased because of my mother’s suicide?  Why?  Why did so many people tell me this?  I mean, had any of them ever heard of the term self-fulfilling prophecy?

I don’t mind going on record to tell you that the majority of this blog has been dedicated to gloom and doom.  I’m sincerely sorry for that and thankful for the support that you all so beautifully and unselfishly gave me. I honestly don’t even know how long it’s been since my last post.  Do you know why?  It’s entirely because I am blissfully well and happy for the first time in my entire life.   I experienced true healing: body, mind, and soul.  I have truly been delivered and set free from the bondage of unspeakable fear.

My depression had been present since March of 2010 when a remarkably tough and insanely unfair even happened in my life.  However, from October 2012-March 2013, I was in the grips of a severe and seemingly unyielding clinical depression.  I was literally at the precipice of death.  I could barely get out of bed to use the restroom.  My hygiene even suffered.  Bar none, it was the bottom of the bottom for me.  I could barely make a fist at times.  And I was so scared.  I have never been more afraid, particularly for my children.

I fought like hell to get well.  I worked harder than I’ve ever worked in my entire life.  A immeasurable part of the healing process came from the work I did at Onsite Workshops, in Cumberland Furnace, Tennessee.  You can bet that I will write much more about this remarkably amazing, cathartic, mystical place… Right now, however, I just want you to know that I am no longer afraid.  I no longer live in constant, crippling fear and anxiety.  I know that I am NOT  now nor will I ever be a statistic.

I am no longer depressed.  I keep ahead of depression spiritually by praying, meditating, simplifying, expressing abundant gratitude, and not allowing myself to cultivate negative thoughts.  I work overtime to think positive, life-giving thoughts.  I keep ahead of depression emotionally by truly loving and honoring myself, avoiding toxic people who are psychic vampires, not allowing anyone to abuse me in any fashion, setting and keeping healthy boundaries, and by focusing on the people who have eternal significance in my life (as opposed to those who seek to harm me).  And I keep ahead of depression physically by putting healthy, non-processed foods in my body (particularly fresh fruits and vegetables), taking my Juice Plus+ (which I never intend to live without again), and exercising regularly in a way that I love and enjoy.

NO ONE, AND I MEAN ABSOLUTELY NO ONE “HAS” TO ALLOW ANY SORT OF MENTAL ILLNESS TO DEFINE THEM.

I think that each and every one of you should watch this short video. It would sincerely mean so much to me if you did.  We all need to become advocates for those suffering in silence with mental illnesses and/or addiction.  It’s time to talk about the elephant in the room!

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=kov2ZHrA04w

All my love,

Ava Elizabeth Wisdom 

How in the NAME OF GOD Did It Come to THIS?

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IT REALLY IS A SLOW, SLOW, FADE.

(THINK IT CAN’T HAPPEN TO YOU? THINK AGAIN)

 

How does a person go from living a wonderful life that is filled with love and beauty and is something that they are PROUD of to feeling like they are merely existing in a deep, dark pit? Well, it sure doesn’t happen overnight. It’s a slow fade .
 
You may be on FIRE for the Lord one day, but before you know it you may wake up and feel like God is so far away that you may never be able to find Him again. Of course, we know God NEVER leaves us. But how and why do we leave God? The answer lies in this picture.
 
little mermaid
 
Remember these eels from the Little Mermaid? Their names were Flotsam and Jetsam. The terms Flotsam and Jetsam are nautical terms that essentially refer to unwanted garbage that is floating around the sea.
 
Now reflect on the behavior of the evil eels from the Disney movie. First of all, they had a clear, strategically planned agenda. Second, although they were vile and wicked creatures, they didn’t jump out and scare Arielle nor did they pursue her with a chainsaw or an ax. Rather, they were patient and sly. The were smart, alluring, seductive, and convincing. They lied, made false promises, and soon had Arielle, who once feared them, convinced that the life she had was not good enough…and that she could have the desires of her heart if she would just follow them. 
 
Arielle’s greatest mistake was leaving the people who loved her behind and venturing off in secret…all alone and wholly unprepared, while she was vulnerable and desperate. Had the good people from Atlantis been with her she would have never wound up in the grips of Ursula, the sea witch.
 
In the same way, this is exactly what Satan does to us.  He very slowly and provocatively convinces us that what we have is not enough. He uses deception and Jedi-mind tricks to entice us into believing that greener pastures are just around the corner. He is cunning and mesmeric and makes that thing or person which is off limits to us appear beautifully enchanting and scintillating.
 
He did it to Eve in the Garden of Eden. At the time she was residing in Paradise with God Himself AND her beautiful husband. She TRULY had everything she could have ever needed or wanted BUT…somehow Satan managed to convince her that God was holding out on her. Thanks Eve for jacking it up for the rest of us {she was undoubtedly a blonde!!}  Did he con her in front of God? No. Did he con her in front of her husband? No. She was all alone…unsuspecting and unarmed.
 
Satan cannot harm us when we put on the Full Armor of God (see Ephesians 6:10-18) nor can he do it when we are in intimately tight, AUTHENTIC relationships with other believers! In order to get us to the destination he desires he first must isolate us…ALWAYS.
 
He takes his sweet time doing it. He is so smooth and I patient that you may honestly have no idea what is happening to you… Satan can make a hideous, rotting, infected, and infested corpse look like the most captivating, beautiful creature you have ever laid eyes on. So that thing or person that is off-limits to you will literally cause you to become absolutely spellbound.
What you THOUGHT you saw.....
What you THOUGHT you saw…..
 
Your eyes WILL deceive you and your mind will play tricks on you as you lose all sense of reason. Eventually, your desire for that which is forbidden will become insatiable until at long last, it overtakes you! Once you’ve sunk your teeth into the object of your affection, the lights FLASH on!
 
PSYCH! Not REAL! {sucks to be you!}
PSYCH! Not REAL! {sucks to be you!}
 
 
In the dark what you were chasing was SO beautiful. When the lights come on though everything suddenly comes into perspective and you realize that you are in a rat-invested dungeon staring wildly into the eyes of a rotten corpse… And guess what, Boo? What you had before, which you realize now was the purest, most beautiful gift from God… that place that you left to pursue the corpse… Well, it might not be there anymore when you want more than anything in the world to go back to the beautiful place you callously and foolishly walked away from to chase a rotting, rancid corpse.
 
Oops! {Maybe the lighting was just bad...}
Oops! {Maybe the lighting was just bad…}
 
So Beloved, do everything in your power to protect yourself…Be vigilant and on guard at all times because the enemy of your soul is hiding in the shadows waiting to devour you. Stay close to God and other believers EVERY day….and never, ever allow yourself to become ISOLATED.

Bradley Cooper Speaks Out About Mental Illness

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Bradley Cooper Speaks Out in National Dialogue on Mental Illness

By Bob Carolla, NAMI Director of Media Relations

More than a mere entertainer!

More than a mere entertainer!

Academy Award nominee Bradley Cooper, star of Silver Linings Playbook, didn’t know much about mental illness before he made the film.

Since then, the movie has been nominated for five Academy Awards, including every acting category, the first motion picture in over 30 years to earn that distinction. In the process, the movie has become a powerful vehicle for advancing a national dialogue on mental illness (Award winners will be revealed announced on Feb.24).

“I was ignorant,” Cooper said at a press conference on Feb.1, sponsored by the Center for American Progress in Washington, D.C., in which Andrew Sperling, NAMI’s director of federal advocacy participated.

In the movie, Cooper plays a young man living with bipolar disorder, who has lost his job, his house and his marriage. He is released from a state psychiatric hospital and returns home to live with his parents and begin to rebuild his life. His father, played by Robert DeNiro, lives with obsessive-compulsive disorder.

The film reflects family dynamics to which many people can easily relate. Mental disorders seem secondary and gradually fade into the background. Just as one out of every four American adults lives with mental illness in real life, the movie presents symptoms as just one more part of a family’s experience. It does not trivialize them nor make them the butt of jokes in what is nonetheless an often hilarious comedy.

At the press conference, Cooper described the process through which he learned that mental illness is a common thread in many people’s lives.

Discussions about the movie’s plot and characters set the stage. Revelations of personal connections followed. Matthew Quick, the author of the novel on which the film is based, struggles with depression. The movie’s director, David O. Russell, has a son who lives with mental illness.

Cooper learned for the first time that one of his friends lives with bipolar disorder, a fact he had never known before. After ignorance came empathy, he said. The challenge then was to take action.

“The one thing I can do is raise awareness.”

“Don’t walk away from people with mental illness. Don’t be scared.”

U.S. Senator Debbie Stebenow (D-Mich.) who participated in the press conference told of her father’s struggle with bipolar disorder in the 1960s, before lithium was found to be a mood stabilizer. “We didn’t know,” she said. “We didn’t understand.”

“But today we’re at a moment of change.”

“Changing attitudes leads to social change,” said former U.S. Rep Patrick Kennedy (D-Rhode Island), who lives with bipolar disorder. “It doesn’t have to come from government.”

One of the lessons of Silver Lining Playbook is that “the power of family” is a vital force for transformation—a fact that Sperling noted is reflected in NAMI’s Family-to-Family Education program.

Love, acceptance and being embraced by a community are key both to recovery and breaking down barriers of stigma. Looking ahead to the Academy Awards and beyond, let the national dialogue continue.

(source: http://www.nami.org/template.cfm?Section=Top_Story&template=%2FContentManagement%2FContentDisplay.cfm&ContentID=150378&lstid=809)

Nostalgia and a Longing for Simpler Days…

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Dear Friends,

My oldest son, Jeremiah is having some intense emotional struggle right now that I am not even up for writing about.  If you wouldn’t mind, I sure would like to humbly ask that you pray for him; he is 16.

 

Tonight I was going to leave a video on the wall of his Facebook to cheer my boy up and inspire him.  This song always made me giggle and I simply love the message.  Add to that, I’ve been over the moon for Frank Sinatra for as long as I can remember.  I love his music.  Of course, I love old-school music in general.  My favorites include Billie Holiday, Ella Fitzgerald, Louis Armstrong, and Nat King Cole, just to name a few.

 

I’d like you to view the following video and note how it somehow lifts your spirits, regardless of what kind of mood you’re in:

 

 

Now, riddle me this, Batman? How can one be in a depressed or anxious state of mind and hear this song without smiling and feeling just a little bit better than you did before you heard it? And how profound is the message of this song?

 

This snappy, upbeat tune was introduced in the movie, “A Hole in the Head” starring the late, great Frank Sinatra, circa 1959! We are talking about 54 years ago!  One must reflect on the simplicity of the world during those times; which were inarguably just not that long ago.

 

I grieve for my beloved America, as we seem to be given over to abundant chaos and such confusingly busy lifestyles that we, much more often times than not, miss out on the simple things in life; the most important and the most eternal things.

 

 Unmanageable stress is literally subtracting years from our lives.  MOST importantly, our children, many living in low-income, single-parent homes are confused and brokenhearted to say the very least.

 

Once upon a time we yearned for scientific progress, which to me, simply equated to us having access to more luxurious “things” and “things” that we thought would make our lives more convenient and somehow more valuable. Well, that certainly has worked out well for us, hasn’t it?

Oh, how I really do miss the old days.  I miss the old console TV sets that had rabbit ears and only a few channels; the ones you had to get out of your seat and turn the dial until you found a program you wanted to watch or could get reception on.  I miss my Disco 8-track tapes, and my cardboard box of a portable record player that played 45′s  and LP’s (33′s). 

 

 

 I miss playing outside, getting dirty, drinking from the water house, peeing on the side of the house so you didn’t have to go in your house and take a chance of getting hounded by your folks about something, and  I sure did enjoy catching crawdads in the creek behind my house.  I miss those things and so much more.

 

More than anything, I miss the family time we all shared day in and day out.  I miss those sit-down, delicious, gravy-invested dinners we shared as a family “at the kitchen table.”  I miss waking up early every Sunday morning to the smell of my grandmother’s cookin’, which literally made me jump right of bed; I was somehow seduced by the aroma of breakfast. 

 

We did the same things every Sunday.  We had our yummy, Southern breakfast, got dressed nicely, hopped in the car, and went to Sunday School “and” church.  I never tried to negotiate with my grandmother about going to church nor did I ever complain and tell her I was too tired to go.  It was part of our established routine.  It’s just what we did.  And after church my grandmother either “fixed” an extravagant lunch or we went to eat at Furr’s Cafeteria.  Mind you, retail stores and most businesses were closed on Sundays then.  Today, Chick-Fil-A is the only business that I can honestly think of that unapologetically closes on Sundays because of the corporations unshakable faith, values, and public desire to please God.

 

Yes, I miss those simpler days.  Praise God, I have so many memories to cherish.  I’m thankful for these beautiful memories and for my Godly upbringing! What about you? 

 

Do you think that as we move closer and closer to end times that the world is becoming increasing dark, chaotic, and depraved or is this all in my head?  I’d love to hear your feedback and opinions (that’s my polite way of telling you that you’d better chime in! lol!)

All my love,

Ava

drinking from the hose

kid peeing outside

tire swing

catching crawdaddies

dirty kids

mud pies

ice cream truck

sprinkler

family prayer

big wheel

I Am More…

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Things are looking up!  As a matter of fact, things are looking WAY up!  Why?  ONLY…I repeat…ONLY because of Jesus.  I’m tired now but my next post is going to be a doozy!  Brace yourselves!  God has revealed SO many things to me that I hardly know where to start explaining!  I love you guys!!!

The Sky Is Falling…

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It’s been well over 70 days since I’ve written.  I know this because I’ve been counting the days…one day at a time.  I’ve wanted…no, I’ve needed to write but my fingers have just been paralyzed.  I guess things really got hard back on October 21st.  I tried to write about that day but to date, what I did write is unfinished and is just looming in my drafts folder.

I have loved writing on this darn blog.  I have come to believe that no one truly cares about anyone nowadays, but somehow you all….strangers to my world…have managed to make me feel so significant, so valued, and so loved.  I will never be able to thank you enough for that.

I don’t even know what to say…and I don’t even know if anything that I say really matters.  But I hope that somehow I can touch your heart and let you know that you are loved… I love you.  Even though most of us have never met, we are all brothers in sisters in the Body of Christ… We are family and we will someday get to spend eternity together.  So you matter to me…  You matter so much.

I am NOT looking for pity or attention and I want you to know that I am NOT a victim.  I just want to put that disclaimer out there before I write anymore.  However, I want you to know that, for me, the sky IS falling.  My life has been a house of cards and somehow I have always managed to hold everything together and give the illusion that I was happy and complete.  I wore that mask so well for so long.  The house of cards is falling down.  I’m afraid I’ve run out of tricks.  My charade is up and at this point, it seems everyone knows that I am a joke.

I was a Psychology major and I minored in Counseling.  I know the DSM-IV-TR quite well.  I was on a research team with graduate students and have devoted my life, and my studies to studying human behavior, especially since my Mother’s suicide.  In my studies I gravitated more toward abnormal psychology, and have always had a deep interest and passion for the ugly part of psyc….the pathology, I guess you could say.  Also, I’ve spent years studying the human brain and have become very knowledgeable in the neuro-psyc part of things…  I wholeheartedly believe that the human brain is the last, great, uncharted frontier in the realm of Science.  There is SO much that we don’t yet know… And I pray that Science will progress in a direction that takes a more physical approach to human behavior and issues of mental health. 

I have pondered the Nature vs. Nurture debate deeply.  I have researched it well… and have personally arrived at the conclusion that it’s both.  However, I would tend to say that the “nurture” part of things has the greatest impact.  In essence, I subscribe quite a bit to John Locke’s theory of Tabula Rasa, which as you probably know means that we are born a blank slate.  I know that this isn’t entirely true, but I think it’s mostly true.

I think babies are the closest thing to Heaven… Really, I think this about ALL children in general.  There is nothing more pure and precious than a childNothing.  And I know that Jesus Himself feels the exact same way. 

I can‘t make sense of the world we’re living in these days.  What happened at Sandy Hook Elementary has greatly affected me.  But the reality is that children are abused in a myriad of fashions all over the globe… constantly.  What’s more, most of the time they are abused, neglected, and/or abandoned by the people who were supposed to love them the most… and to protect them with every fiber of their being. 

The world is a nasty, depraved place and honestly, I don‘t know why we continue to have children knowing full well that we are living in End Times.  I compare my generation to my kid’s…and to my Mother’s…and for GOD sakes, my precious Grandparent’s.  It unraveling and changing so fast that I can hardly process it.  Our country, which WAS founded on GOD has, I’m afraid, become an abomination to Him as I KNOW it has become an abomination to the rest of the world.  I fear that God’s blessing is vanishing from our land…  He flooded the world once and I have to wonder, “Was it even half as depraved now as it was then?”  I ponder Bible stories that my grandmother used to tell me about Sodom and Gomorrah… but see, I know NOW that those weren’t just “stories“.  Do we as a nation think that we are invincible from God Himself?  Jonah tried to outrun God and he wound up in the belly of a whale.  How much longer is God going to tolerate the depravity of our culture?  I just really wonder.

I am not well right now.  I fear that I may be losing my mind somehow.  I am absolutely terrified beyond words, but I am finding that I have not been able to escape this perpetual downward spiral that I am wildly riding.  My depression is beyond anything I could explain…and probably beyond anything anyone would be able to understand.  I feel powerless and I feel utterly paralyzed.  I have no idea what tomorrow will bring, but for me, hope is just not on the horizon.  I’m trying to fight but I’m very weak and I’m very tired.  My whole life has been a fight.  I will be 40 in January and NEVER in my wildest dreams could I have EVER imagine that I would be here.  I’m embarrassed, I’m morbidly humiliated, and shame and guilt are just killing me.

I have somehow managed to isolate myself from the world and the outcome has not been good.  The ONLY hope that I have is in Jesus,  but for the LIFE of me I cannot feel Him right now.  I am reduced to an absolute shell of the vibrant, charismatic woman I once was…  I don’t have much left.  So with every ounce of my soul I humbly beg that you pray for me and my boys.  Please intercede in my weakness.  Please beg God to help me survive and see my way out of all this.  I want you to know that I love my children more than anything on this Earth.  They are the reason I draw breath…  They are my whole entire world and I am so afraid that I am somehow failing them.  GOD HELP ME!

I have honestly never felt this way in my entire life and again, I’m just overtaken with complete terror.  There is a neuro doc whose primary practice is in San Francisco.  His name is Dr. Daniel Amen.  I have followed his work for years and know some incredibly reputable people who deeply believe in his work.  His clinic does brain scans that give CONCRETE answers to what is going on with a patient’s mental health.  That‘s what I want…of course I could never afford it.  But still,  I want CONCRETE answers.  Something is totally NOT right with my freaking brain.  I adore my counselor and my doctors too but diagnosing  neurological problems are really just a hit or miss….or a trial and error kind of thing.  I’m SICK of that. 

What happened to my mother HAUNTS me each and every day.  Her depression was real, but no one, INCLUDING AND ESPECIALLY  ME ever took her seriously until she was dead.  She lay in her bed for THREE whole days before anyone even found her.  I will NEVER forget what she looked like.  She has the SADDEST look on her face.  My mother was an incredible, beautiful woman but something happened and when she began to deteriorate it  seemed, to me, to happened really fast.  I take this shit seriously and I wish to GOD that the rest of society would too!!  This isn’t something we can just sweep under the damn rug people.  Look, the Sandy Hook incident would more than likely have never happened if someone would have reached out to that young man and taken his issues seriously.

I thank you for giving me a venue to express my heart…  And I thank you in advance for your prayers.  Jesus is not just MY only answer… He is YOUR only answer as well.  Keep your eyes FIXED on Him.  Recognize that He does NOT make rules so that He can be a buzz-kill or because He is just very bossy.  God gives us rules to protect us from our stupid selves!!!  When we disobey Him and veer out in our own direction we are blindly veering out from underneath His Almighty protection.  We just cannot afford to do that anymore, can we?

All my love,

Ava

Lord, do not rebuke me in your anger
or discipline me in your wrath.
Have mercy on me, Lord, for I am faint;
heal me, Lord, for my bones are in agony.
 My soul is in deep anguish.
How long, Lord, how long?

 Turn, Lord, and deliver me;
    save me because of your unfailing love.
 Among the dead no one proclaims your name.
    Who praises you from the grave?

 I am worn out from my groaning.

All night long I flood my bed with weeping
    and drench my couch with tears.
 My eyes grow weak with sorrow;
    they fail because of all my foes.

 Away from me, all you who do evil,
    for the Lord has heard my weeping.
The Lord has heard my cry for mercy;
    the Lord accepts my prayer.
 All my enemies will be overwhelmed with shame and anguish;
    they will turn back and suddenly be put to shame.

-Psalm 6

WHY?

WHY?

Really?  WHY???

Really? WHY???