Overcoming a great fear.

Posted: November 2, 2015 in Uncategorized

Maybe I should be writing an email to the radio station to let them know how much their station has impacted my life. But I figured I would post it in a blog first. I just felt like writing tonight.

I live in a society (especially the online community) where the name of Jesus is either offensive or lame. I have a choice to remain silent and be left alone or to speak out and get trolled or called names or even blocked…honestly it’s worth it. I’m here to encourage and be positive. So here’s one of my many Christian Radio experience testimonies.

12189866_10207132465444409_7019095797268522185_nI live in Central Ontario where my favorite radio station is life 100.3 FM, Life is a christian super station that plays my favorite music, broadcasts my favorite programs and inspires me daily. When I am at work I unfortunately cant get reception to this station so I listen to the local Rock Station…to be honest the ONLY time my local rock station EVER inspired me was a time I was praying at work for God to speak to me and the song “I want you to want me” came on the radio…other than that the rock station has provided me with a few laughs, don’t get me wrong I love rock but it’s not life changing like the songs I hear on Life 100.3.

So many times I’ve tuned in and there was a message for me…be it through a song or through one of the programs. The station has helped me through anxiety, sadness and loss. The station has brought me tears of joy and many many aha moments. I want to share my experience so bad but then when I go to post on facebook or twitter I pause…because I get scared of what others will think. I will admit some days I am strong and can put up with the constant bullying but other times I am weak and need to stay away from social media or it brings me immense stress.

10906134_10204959268195836_5692205277779842224_nI got my drivers license a while back. And while most people enthusiastically get their license at 16 I waited till I was 27. WE got our second car, a nice 2015 Honda civic lease and while most people would be all giddy to drive I was dreading the day I went and got my license because it meant I had no excuse…I had to get behind the wheel and practice driving. The thing is having severe anxiety disorder puts up walls, some days I can push past other days I put up walls. And The day I passed my written exam with flying colors was the day my anxiety grew to epic proportions.

I passed now I had to drive home because all the way to write the test my husband told me that no matter what I was going to be driving home. And I wanted to just die right there. I told myself “I can’t do this…I can’t do it…” And now I had no excuse…I had a legal reason to sit behind the wheel.

We stopped at a gas station, I sat in the driver seat and waited for the hubby to finish pumping gas. And I started to pray…really really hard. I was terrified. So I turned up the radio and here are the lyrics to the song that began playing…

Staring at a stop sign
Watching people drive by
T Mac on the radio
Got so much on your mind
Nothing’s really going right
Looking for a ray of hope

Whatever it is you may be going through
I know He’s not gonna let it get the best of you

[Chorus:]
You’re an overcomer
Stay in the fight ‘til the final round
You’re not going under
‘Cause God is holding you right now
You might be down for a moment
Feeling like it’s hopeless
That’s when He reminds You
That you’re an overcomer
You’re an overcomer

Everybody’s been down
Hit the bottom, hit the ground
Ooh, you’re not alone
Just take a breath, don’t forget
Hang on to His promises
He wants You to know

[Chorus]

The same Man, the Great I am
The one who overcame death
He’s living inside of You
So just hold tight, fix your eyes
On the one who holds your life
There’s nothing He can’t do
He’s telling you

(Take a breath, don’t forget
Hang on to His promises)

[Chorus]

You’re an overcomer
You’re an overcomer
You’re an overcomer

So don’t quit, don’t give in, you’re an overcomer
Don’t quit, don’t give in, you’re an overcomer
Don’t quit, don’t give in, you’re an overcomer
You’re an overcomer

Mandissa “Overcomer”

I sat there with tears running down my face. My husband got in the passenger seat, bless his soul because it takes great strength to put your life on the line like that…trust me he was putting his life in my hands…those hands that were on the steering wheel. The hands and feet that miserably sucked at parking lot driving. And I sat there and said “I’m good lets go”

And off I drove, on the highway (Not a major one) and God kept every car on that road far away from me. I drove and the minute I pulled into our driveway a great big smile spread across my face. I did it, and while this may not be a huge deal for some it was a major deal for me. I was an overcomer…and each time I hear that song I am brought back to the day I first drove a car. It was a huge step for me and now I am driving confidently, I’m doing something I never thought I could ever do and I probably wouldn’t have taken that step had that song never have come on the radio at that exact time.

So thankyou Life 100.3 and Thank you beautiful Mandissa…and Nick, my awesome husband who taught me how to drive even though he was probably scared to death.

While I do enjoy telling people about what animals I have I thought it best to regularly blog about my available outreach critters. All of the critters I currently use for outreach are friendly and don’t mind handling, however I do have a few display only critters.  So here are the stars of our outreach.

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Boo The Ferret.

Boo is a crowd favorite as he is very friendly and puts up with handling very well. He loves attention and loves being passed around. Ferrets are very hardy little critters and they always like to get attention. Boo has lots of crazy funny stories too (Mostly involving the things he likes to steal and stash on us) and he always puts a big smile on everyone’s faces.

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Rodney The Guinea Pig

Another one of our furry little guys, Rodney squeals with delight when he is pet and this little guy LOVES food.

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Bowzer The Bearded Dragon

One of our friendly lizards, Bowzer enjoys attention as well as being handled. Bearded dragons are known to be very social lizards and interact well with people.

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Maynard The Uromastyx

Maynard is another interactive and social lizard. He is also a more uncommon lizard making him interesting to learn about in an outreach. There are many types of uromastyx lizards and Maynard is a Mali Uromastyx. Maynard will allow hand feeding if he is in the mood and hungry.

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Odo the Ball Python

Ball pythons are slow moving docile snakes. Odo has been used to ease people who have slight snake phobias to get over their fears. Ball Pythons are safe snakes to handle and kids really enjoy them because they are reluctant to make quick surprising movements.

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Data The Spinner Ball Python

Data is a different morph of ball python and I usually take him out the same time as Odo to show that snakes can be different colours and patterns. The word spinner comes from the mix of morphs being Spider morph and pin stripe pattern. Data is smaller than Odo and is also extremely docile and easy to handle.

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Dax and Worf the California King snakes

Both Worf and Dax look almost identical so I only included a photo of Worf. These smaller sized snakes are also docile however they are faster than ball pythons.

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Nemo the Boa Constrictor

Right now Nemo is just a baby and I use him to explain that it is important to do research before getting a pet. Nemo will grow to be 10 feet or longer in length and as an adult will require 2 adults present for safe handling. Nemo is a one eyes snake as he was born with a defective eye. He is very easy to handle.

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Rocky The Crawl Cay Boa

Rocky is my largest snake however he is full grown at 6 feet in length. Crawl Cay boas are a dwarf boa species meaning they do not grow as large as a common boa constrictor snake. Rocky is used for shows where older kids are present.

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Lolth the Rose hair Tarantula

Rose hair tarantulas are a slow moving docile spider. And Lolth is usually ok with handling and she is very friendly. we only allow kids 12 years old or older to handle the tarantula because if she were to be dropped it can be fatal to a large spider.  Tarantulas have mild venom that can not harm a person however in rare cases someone may be allergic to spider venom so special care is ALWAYS taken while handling any tarantula no matter how friendly. Tarantulas are more likely to flick hairs which cause skin irritation and this is always explained in outreach.

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Sulu The Asian Forest Scorpion.

Scorpions also only have mild venom however in rare cases some people can be allergic. Sulu is docile and when she is handled I know the cues that she would display if she were uncomfortable or about to become defensive. She rarely is defensive while handled but again, any animal can become uncomfortable no matter how friendly they are. I do not allow anyone to pick her up however I place her into hands so people can handle her and then I am the one who removes the scorpion.

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Aragog The Mexican Red Knee tarntula

Aragog is a display Tarantula only at the moment.

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Fire Belly Toads

Display only as amphibians can become ill with handling. Amphibians absorb things through their skin and handling is not recommended. They may eat crickets so a live feeding show is possible.

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Tarantula Spiderlings

We Currently have 3 Tarantula Spiderlings for display as well. The one pictured above is a salmon Pink Birdeater tarantula which is the 3rd largest tarantula in the world. This wee thing will eventually be as big as 10 inches! We also have a Haitian Brown Tarantula and a Panama Blonde tarantula.

We will update if we ever get any new critters or when our critters grow.

Had a very successful animal outreach today at the Marmora family celebration.  Over 150 kids had the opportunity to learn and handle critters. 

Today’s stars were:

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Bowzer the bearded dragon.  Bowzer is a lazy lizard who sits still and allows everyone to pet him.  He loves to hang out on people’s shoulders when he is handled.  Bowzer enjoyed this nice warm day and sat still the entire show.  Kids had the opportunity to pet bowzer and learn what he eats,  where he is from and why they are one of the best kid friendly exotic pets in the pet trade.  He does the same at home,  basks and checks everyone out. 

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Boo the ferret had plenty of attention today.  Boo loves attention and doesn’t mind being handled by everyone.  We tired him out within 2 hours and he was a sleepy boy while not everyone got to interact with him he had a good show.  Boo is very friendly and does not nip or bite he is the absolute perfect ferret for outreach and he enjoys being in the spot light.  While the kids hung out with Boo they learned the meaning of “ferret”  which is little their.  That’s because they love to steal and stash things.  Boos all time favourite thing to steal and hide are slippers. 

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Dax the California King snake.  Dax did great today she was very comfortable being held and the longer she was out the calmer she became.  It was great having the option of letting her get used to handling and kids even got to hold her.  California King snakes are related to corn snakes and garter snakes and have similar temperament and movements.  When scared they will shake their tail pretending to be a rattle snake and if that doesn’t work they will release a musk (kind of like peeing)  on you when you pick them up.  I’ve had my California King snakes do this many times but once out of their enclosure they are very comfortable.  Dax has not been timid lately even in her enclosure. 

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Data the ball Python.  Also a great hit even with those who are afraid of snakes.  We had about 10 people get over their snake phobia today and brave holding or touching Data.  Because data is so friendly and slow moving he is an ideal snake to start out with.  He was handled by at least 50 kids and they learned something… Snakes aren’t really that scary or mean.  Especially ball pythons one of the most docile snake species on the planet (captive bred).  Ball pythons are a top beginner snake for hobbiests because of their amazing temperament.  Data will grow to be 5 feet long.  Data is also comfortable having his head touched and chin rubbed which snakes usually dislike but you can find the odd snake that doesn’t mind handling and attention what so ever. 

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Lolth the rose hair tarantula.  While I don’t let kids handle her she was handled by 3 adults today.  Rose hair tarantulas a docile species of tarantula.  While they are venomous they don’t pack enough venom to even phase a human (however like bee allergies it is suspected there are people with spider venom allergies too)  tarantulas also have tiny hairs on their abdomens they can rub or flick off if agitated… These hairs get stuck in skin and can cause skin irritation while it’s rare for a rose hair to flick hairs it’s still a possibility so special precautions are made when this spider is handled by others. 

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Rodney the guinea pig.  Rodney was pet by many kids today and enjoyed his treat of clovers and grass.  When they are given a little back scratch ( or in Rodney’s case hears bags crinkle)  they squeal in delight.  Rodney loves food and the sound of bags. 

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We had a great time showing off a few of our critters today.  It brings me great joy to be able to educate people on a diverse range of critters.  And the critters had a great time too exploring and being handled. 

My parents flowers

Posted: July 25, 2015 in Uncategorized

My mom and dad wanted me to share their awesome flowers on my blog so here they are. 

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So far it has been a super busy July.  And we are loving and making the most of our summer. 

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What better way to kick off July than with a Canada day celebration.  Took my daughter Aurora and my sister in Law to see some awesome local fireworks.  The firefighters of Norwood out did them selves yet again. 

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We went to eat at the Mandarin with family (above are some of the mandarins awesome koi  fish) we laid great grandma to rest in Uttica  Ontario and afterwards it was wonderful to spend time with family.  She would be very honoured that we all gathered together and we hope to plan many more family reunions in the future.  Life is short make the best of it. 

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We took Aurora to the zoo and then went to see the movie inside out.  Wonderful movie.  We of course had to kill 2 hours so we spent the last bit of daylight at the Peterborough zoo.  With hardly anyone there we got plenty of exercise on the large slide.  The goats were the ones to put on the big show this time as they attempted to reach the leaves on the tree

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The first week of July is always insane.  Our church kicks off every summer with VBS this year it was everest VBS and it was awesome.  150 kids and Jr.  Leaders packed our building along with countless volunteers.  Nick and I ran tech this year which was totally out of my comfort zone but God Provided,  he comforted,  he healed,  he forgave and he loves me forever HOLD  ON!  The kids were amazing such a wonderful group of kids.  VBS is an absolute blessing to be a part of. 

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After a long week at VBS… Actually it goes by way too fast…anyways after our long week of zero sleep Nick and I celebrated our 8th wedding anniversary.  We spent half The Dy trying to figure out what to do… Finally we settled for a walk through the mall where I bought a batman car freshner woohoo.  We went thrift shopping then had a lovely dinner at East Side Mario’s and then we slept ad soon as we got home.  Ah wonderful sleeeeeep

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Oh and we went and saw Minions as a family too then had a lovely dinner and a beach evening.  We played some volleyball and guess what?  I still suck at sports who knew? 

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Oh and #DeadRaccoonTO happened.  I’m not in Toronto but Conrad the dead raccoon had a beautiful tribute.  Check out Conrad the Toronto raccoon it blew up social media and it brought tears to my eyes. 

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Tim Hortons released Reese cup donuts.  Good bye everyone’s diets and hello diabetes!  Drool. 

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World snake day was this month too.  I took the opportunity to handle all my snakes.  Yep all 6 of em.  And did some photo shoots.  Love my guys… And gal. 

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Spent a Saturday out fishing on sturgeon Lake in bobcaygeon.  Water was so calm and even though we only caught 3 fish and almost caught a muskie we had a blast.  I got over my fear of canoing out on open water and even started to enjoy riding all the waves made by the boats.  The sunset was phenomenal too. 

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And just recently I acquired a new snake.  I traded mad Eye my baby boa for a young spider pinstripe ball Python.  We named him Data.  He ate his first meal with us and is a sweet heart.  Excited to introduce him into our outreach program. 

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Speaking of outreach we did one this month too for havelock weird animal vbs.  The kids loved it.  Our snakes and guinea pig were a huge hit.  We are set up for another outreach in August.  Love educating kids on critters. 

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July isn’t over yet there’s a few days left but my goodness is this summer flying.  Now time to focus on getting together with friends and family and enjoy it while it lasts.  To be continued. 

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There’s a new trend (or should I say movement)  that has blown up social media and that is the semi colon tattoo which survivors of mental illness (suicide attempts,  depression,  self harm,  etc)  are getting tattooed on them selves to indicate that they choose to continue. 

While I don’t have my semi colon tattoo yet I still have a story and I would like to share it and bring hope and show everyone what a future of holding on looks like. 

When I was 17 years old I attempted suicide but failed.  I self harmed (hit my head against objects and walls)  for years after because I couldn’t handle the pain of hopelessness and anxiety.  There were times I was so afraid of my future or a situation I just wanted to end it… I was done.  But I can’t stress the importance of support for mental illness because if I did not have many people encouraging me and watching g out for me I wouldn’t be here writing this and sharing my story.  Having suicidal thoughts is very scary not being in control during an attack of rage is even more scary.  But I survived and looking back at my life I am so glad that I did. 

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I was proposed to a few months after a major breakdown.  I would go on to have many more but I survived them all.  My biggest support has been my husband I’m his world and he would be devastated if I ended it. 

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If I ended it I wouldn’t have had given birth to my amazing beautiful spun y daughter.  She tells me every day how much she loves me.  I’m her hero. 

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When I smile with my daughter there’s no sadness there.  At a post in my life I felt hopeless and my mind lied to me telling me I would always be in despair.  That was an obvious lie because these momenta were so joy filled and happy. 

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I would have missed out on some amazing family time.  I Even pushed past my anxiety and attended some awesome concerts and got to go to Florida to visit family and go to Disney world… All which were anxiety free what a relief. 

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I made some awesome memories on the family farm.  The farm may not be ours any longer but the memories last forever. 

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Because I’m alive not only am I my dogs best friend but a child hood dream of owning a German shepherd came true.  This girl loves me and waits by the door all day for me to come home.  Sometimes the husband waits by the door all day too. 

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I’ve had so many awesome experiences I can’t even name them all. 

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I had a break down in 2013 where I cut my hair uncontrollably and had to call 911. This was the year I had to go on medication to help manage my anxiety.  Anxiety wasn’t the issue I could fight that and I fought years.  But every so often that anxiety created a psychosis state which caused fear… I had great days but each great day I feared the day that I wouldn’t have control.  I was terrified of medication and I’m almost ashamed to admit I need them.  But the last 2 years on the meds have been pure freedom.  I’ve NEVER experienced long periods of time without a breakdown and since those meds I’ve been break down free and today I can live on no longer afraid of what I’m capable of doing to myself.  I don’t have to fear psychosis because it’s just not rearing it’s ugly face. 

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And you know what?  Even 4 days after I was hospitalized I was still joyful and inspiring.  I inspired others.  I took another step back but choose not to give up for the hundredth time.  I may have fallen so many times but each time I stood up… And I continued that sentence. 

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I know the feeling of dread.  I know hopelessness I know fear I know what it feels like to just give up I know.  I wouldn’t wish those feelings on my worst enemy… It’s what hell feels like.  But I want everyone to know that even in your deepest painful moment even in those moments of despair even in those moments you feel there’s no future… I’m standing here to tell you that you have a future and I encourage you to make that future and continue your story.  Yes you are going to fall as you move forward but that’s okay because you are amazing and your going to continue every single sentence.  Your life matters. 

Light up the sky

Posted: July 2, 2015 in Uncategorized

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Light light light up the sky to show me that you are with me…

I try not to preach,  preaching is for those who already believe in the Gospel… Preaching and sermons are there as training tools for the believer.  Give an atheist or a skeptic a sermon they aren’t even going to listen… It’ll just go in one ear out the other.  I’m just here to live my life and testify my experiences.  Even when I testify I am still accused of preaching.  I guess if ANYTHING  in my life remotely relates to Jesus it’s preaching and people will stop listening there…or sometimes they will try to convince me that I’m in chains and held back by religion. But I know this isn’t true and I can certainly say those actually laying their lives down for the Gospel know this isn’t true.  But all the power to those who keep saying I’m imprisoned and need to be set free.

I did free myself one time though.  I turned my back on God.  You know it actually really sucked.  I was depressed,  stressed out,  mean to everyone,  snappy,  bitter,  living a life that only benefited myself,  confrontational,  someone mentioned I was like the Tasmanian devil.  Heck there was a time my marriage was on the line.  Something was missing… Nothing in life satisfied me.  My anxieties were high because I was searching for more and more and couldn’t find it.  I don’t want to go into details but I was a mess. 

Until that sky lit up for me again and I dared to seek once more.  Everyone’s seeking and I hope that they find what they are seeking.  Actually I had wrong intentions and I think many who experience Jesus actually have wrong intentions and that is OK.  I walked into church because I figured I’d gain some customers for the store I owned at the time.  I literally went from one end of the spectrum to the other.  I was brought up so conservative it isn’t even funny… I did religion and religion tired me out and betrayed me.  I defied everything  I was taught (don’t enter a pentecostal church they are there only for self entertainment and they are fakes)  I stepped on dangerous ground.  At first I laughed at how spiritual everyone was… Something I was not used to.  “oh goodness look at those hand raisers… Wait do they actually roll around?”  (only actual roller in my church is my kid but it is pro ably because the carpet is all plushy)

Some people can sit in a pew their whole lives just because it’s tradition and never even be moved.  I was one of those who got hit full on with the holy spirit… I don’t know why but God grabbed hold of me and refused to let go.  This wasn’t a Bible experience this wasn’t some “I’m gonna just believe because this book says so”  experience this was full out surrender.  Tears streaming from my eyes,  hands in the air,  complete utter abandon,  best feeling in the world… Oh man I was home for a moment. 

I don’t get how people assume Christians just only do stuff because a book tells them too and they are superstitious.  Like if I volunteer in ministry it’s because I was told to and I’m living a lie.  If I donate to a cause it’s because I have to and I’m only doing it for show.  If I do anything the Bible says I’m just fooling myself.  Or my favourite someone who only gets their daily scripture from atheist Internet memes  tells me that if I don’t follow EVERYTHING  in the whole Bible I’m screwed… Sometimes I want to just take a Bible and wack em… Or just hit my head off a wall.  I have so much revealed to me it wants to burst out but I know even if I let it loose they still won’t get it.  I hold back sooooooo  much from commenting on posts online.  Actually I’ve been really practicing self control and instead of arguing I just go find something positive to post…. Then when they try to tear that down I’ll go find new stuff… Gotta keep em busy right? 

But yeah I don’t understand people sometimes.  In the end all I can do is be me.  A big part of me is Christ in me and so many people hate that but I carry it anyway.  Because when I don’t  carry that part in my life I’m lost.  That’s just how it is.  I suck at relying on my own strength.  Everytime I do things in my own strength I fail. 

I’m a sucker  to the world around me but at the end of the day I look behind me and realize I’ve got an army standing at my back and no matter what comes against me I’m not going to fall. 

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A stranger once told me to always look up at the sky at night and tell myself that I’m a good and kind person.  I needed that at the time because everyday I thought I was just a failure.  I look at the night sky and it’s awe and wonder and I don’t see mistakes up there I see purpose and hope.  If anyone is actually reading this no matter who you are you matter you are not a failure and you have a purpose.  Look up at that sky and know that it’s lit just for you 💖