Follow by Email

Friday, August 23, 2013

Out of the Darkness

On October 12, 2013 Josh and I will be participating in the 2013 Out of the Darkness walk at Long Branch Park.

If you'd like to be a part of our team, please go here and click "join this team!" We'd love to have you with us.

What is the Out of the Darkness walk?
AFSP funds research aimed at improving our understanding of suicide and ways to prevent it as well as educational programs to increase awareness about prevention, warning signs and the psychiatric illnesses that can lead to suicide. In the United States, a person dies by suicide every 13.7 minutes, claiming more than 38,000 lives each year. It is estimated that an attempt is made every minute, with close to one million people attempting suicide annually. Suicide is the fourth leading cause of death in the U.S. among adults 18-65, the second leading cause of death among teens and young adults, and individuals ages 65 and older account for 16 percent of all suicide deaths. 

over 90% of those who take their own life were suffering from a diagnosable psychiatric disorder, primarily major depression, we can then understand that this is a medical matter and treatable.

Another goal of the walk is to provide support in remembering and in healing from the loss of a loved one who has died by suicide. 

We can make a difference in preventing suicide which is a major national health problem that takes lives and with it an enormous toll on family, friends, co-workers and the entire community.

Important facts about suicide

And now for some personal thoughts of mine.

I believe all life is a gift. I believe a human being can suffer from mental illness just as they can suffer from physical illness. I know mental illness is very real. If our physical bodies can get sick, why can't our very minds? My heart hurts to hear people who believe depression is a sign of weakness. Leaving people suffering in silence out of embarrassment. Alone.

Last year we stood in the line with hundreds of people who had been, in one way or another, affected by suicide. The line seemed to stretch on forever as I looked back from where we stood. Could it be? Could all these people be here because of the loved ones who were "too weak" to survive? ...Impossible. I believe that those desperate souls would love to be standing there beside their loved ones. I believe most just become so desperate to silence their pain on the inside. They believe the world is better off without them.

but it's not. 

Life is a gift, given to us. The greatest gift we'll ever receive.

Although he died when I was 16, I did not know my father that well. One thing I can remember from his death is the erie way it felt. It was so wrong. So sudden. No life should end that way. It is not a natural way to leave this earth. I felt a million plans that God had laid out for him, completely collapse in a tidal wave of sorrow. He was gone. Forever. A closed book.

Always leaving me to wonder, what happened to him? He always seemed lost. Unable to know how to fully and deeply love. Something was always missing. My heart knows this man was mentally ill.

I do not solely walk just for him. I walk because this cause really weighs deep on my heart. 

Please understand, suicide is a very serious problem. 

Please think about donating for this important cause. Even if it is just $1.00. Your contribution matters. You can click here and hit "donate now!" You will be able to do everything right online on the secure site. You can also click on "make a donation" right on the upper right side of this page.

Thank you for taking the time to read. and to care. means everything to me.

xoxo, Jessie

From -

"Cancer can be deadly and so can depression.
So can the dark and the shame and the crush of a thousand skeletons, a thousand millstones, a thousand internal infernos.
depression is like a room engulfed in flames and you can’t breathe for the sooty smoke smothering you limp — and suicide is deciding there is no way but to  jump straight out of the burning building.
That when the unseen scorch on the inside finally sears intolerably hot –  you think a desperate lunge from the flames and the land of the living seems the lesser of two unbearables.
That’s what you’re thinking — that if you’d do yourself in, you’d be doing everyone a favor.
I had planned mine for a Friday.
That come that Friday the flames would be licking right up the the strain of my throat. You don’t try to kill yourself because death’s appealing — but because life’s agonizing. We don’t want to die. But we can’t stand to be devoured.
So I made this plan. And I wrote this note.
And I remember the wild agony of no way out and how the stars looked, endless and forever, and your mind can feel like it’s burning up at all the edges and there’s never going to be any way to stop the flame. Don’t bother telling us not to jump unless you’ve felt the heat, unless you bear the scars of the singe.
Don’t only turn up the praise songs but turn to Lamentations and Job and be a place of lament and tenderly unveil the God who does just that — who wears the scars of the singe. A God who bares His scars and reaches through the fire to grab us, “Come — Escape into Me.”
Nobody had told me that –
that one of the ways to get strong again is to set the words free.
You know — The Word that bends close and breathes warming love into the universe…. and the words mangled around swollen secrets and strangling dark — just let the Word, the words, all free in you.
My Dad, he had told me that if I told, it’d slit us all.
So much for believing the Truth will set you free. So much weight for a wide-eyed nine-year-old.
So I locked lips and heart hard so no one knew about the locked wards and the psychiatric doctors and why my mama was gone and it’s crazy how the stigma around mental health can drive you right insane.
There are some who take communion and anti-depressants and there are those  who think both are a crutch.
Come in close — I’d rather walk tall with a crutch than crawl around insisting like a proud and bloody fool that I didn’t need one.
I once heard a pastor tell the whole congregation that he had lived next to the loonie bin and I looked at the floor when everyone laughed and they didn’t know how I loved my mama. I looked to the floor when they laughed, when I wanted them to stand up and reach through the pain of the flames and say:
Our Bible says Jesus said, “It is not those who are healthy who need a doctor, but those who are sick.” Jesus came for the sick, not for the smug. Jesus came as doctor and He makes miracles happen through medicine and when the church isn’t for the suffering, then the Church isn’t for Christ.
I wanted them to say it all together, like one Body, for us to say it all together to each other because there’s not one of us who hasn’t lost something, who doesn’t fear something, who doesn’t ache with something. I wanted us to turn to the hurting, to each other, and promise it till we’re hoarse:
We won’t give you some cliche –  but something to cling to — and that will mean our hands.
We won’t give you some platitudes — but someplace for your pain — and that will mean our time.
We won’t give you some excuses — but we’ll be some example — and that will mean bending down and washing your wounds. Wounds that we don’t understand, wounds that keep festering, that don’t heal, that down right stink — wounds that can never make us turn away.
Because we are the Body of the Wounded Healer and we are the people who believe the impossible — that wounds can be openings to the beauty in us.
We’re the people who say: there’s no shame saying that your heart and head are broken because there’s a Doctor in the house. It’s the wisest and the bravest who cry for help when lost.
There’s no stigma in saying you’re sick because there’s a wounded Healer who uses nails to buy freedom and crosses to resurrect hope and medicine to make miracles.
There’s no guilt in mental illness because depression is a kind of cancer that attacks the mind. You don’t shame cancer, you treat cancer. You don’t treat those with hurting insides as less than. You get them the most treatment.
I wanted the brave to speak Truth and Love:
Shame is a bully and Grace is a shield.  You are safe here.
To write it on walls and arms and wounds:
No Shame.
No Fear.
No Hiding.
Always safe for the suffering here.
You can be different and you can struggle and you can wrestle and you can hurt and we will be here.Because a fallen world keeps falling apart and even though we the Body can’t make things turn out — we can turn up. Just keep turning up, showing up, looking up.
Mama came Home and I found grace, a thousand, endless graces, and it is by grace we are saved, grace adopting us into a family that no illness can ever remove us from.
Grace, that miracle which even the darkest can’t consume, but only consumes you.
Light pried through the dark. A shaft came through a window like a lifeline. And the birds sang and we heard them."
-Ann Voskamp

People lose their battles to physical illness every moment of every day. Please try to gain a greater understanding of mental illness. We all know the 'invisible" pain on the inside can, at times, surpass any pain we've ever felt on the outside. ...why are we so quick to turn a blind eye to those who are dying on the inside? Do they mean less? 

Everyone matters.

Thursday, August 15, 2013

The pink bear

Before I begin, I'll let you start with this video. (excuse the state of exhaustion in my voice).

I'll be having my first sonogram next Wednesday and we'll be finding out the official due date!

We are very excited! Looking across our kitchen table, I see one last empty seat. My heart fills with such joy knowing it will be filled. We are feeling incredibly blessed. Each pregnancy has been just as exciting as the last. Thanking God for this new life.

Being in the 1st trimester, I have been feeling quite sick and tired lately. ...but things have been really good. I try to go to sleep as early as possible and that helps so much. I am also blessed that my morning sickness actually happens late-afternoon. It really helps to wake up in the morning and to be able to go through the usual morning routines with the kids without having much sickness holding me back. Our dinners have been pretty simple lately. We also do simple activities like basic crafts, to reading, to watching a whole bunch of movies. (Thank you to our Varengo family for the netflix! It helps so much).

Moving on...

So, the pink carebear wasn't quite the hit we thought it would be for Josie's birthday. She seemed to love her at first. ...but soon after, she and the purple carebear formed some sort of alliance against the pink one. Now cheer bear sleeps at the foot of her bed. "That's a mean bear mama. She bites!"

Cheer bear needs a muzzle.

We do a lot of this lately.

and this.

I gave the kids their school surprise early. New backpacks filled with new school supplies!

We went to a baseball game with the Laforte family last Friday. We were also able to stay late for the fireworks. It was honestly the best baseball experience we ever had. All the kids were so well behaved. It was awesome. I felt like doing a cartwheel out of the stadium. hehe.

Playing at the park with our dear Irvine friends the next day. It seems whenever I am not pregnant, Julia is. ...and vice versa. They are also our fellow homeschooling family. Their friendship means so much to us.

Josh and I love to shop at thrift stores whenever we can. Last weekend, we let the kids pick out a couple treasures to take home. Josie chose a pair of shoes and a new purse. As I passed her bedroom that night after she had fallen asleep, I couldn't help but smile. She was so excited about her new purchases, she had laid out her entire outfit for church the next day. So sweet.

Painting with our favorite homemade paint. I know I have posted about it before on here. Somewhere...

That's about it for now. The kids have been enjoying VBS this week and we're looking forward to the barbecue tomorrow.



Monday, August 5, 2013

Our time with Grandma Kelly - Josie is 4!

Out of the cage pet mobile at the library

Picnic and exploring Chittenango Falls

An afternoon at Green Lakes

They ran into their little friend, Colin

Josie's 4th birthday!

She loved her carebear

She also received a notebook and pens, a play cash register from Ashton and a tin purse filled with her favorite things. -Like zebra bubble gum and chapstick

She picked a Unicorn theme this year

Matt made Josie a highchair for her dolls

Her cupcake eating game face is on


Thinking of you. Loving you.
xoxo, Jessie

Daddy painting Josie's nails