I Love You and I SEE You

 

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Picture it, Charlotte, Fall 2003. I was 22 years old and on the doorstep of my 23rd birthday. I had found myself in a ball of gloom that I couldn’t shake. It didn’t matter if those Carolina skies were in fact blue because everything looked dark to me.

Depression. How did I get there?

I didn’t have the answer for that. I just remember it being a combination of nothing and yet everything. So you see, answering the question “what’s wrong?” was difficult for me because I…well I didn’t know! What WAS wrong? Why couldn’t I shake the funk I was in? I wanted company yet I didn’t want ot see anyone. I wanted to go to parties, but couldn’t convince my feet to move. All of the things that used to get me excited – the guy I had a crush on, football, dinner with friends, a new salsa club – none of it got me excited anymore.

The depression deepened and I lost my voice.I was screaming inside. SCREAMING. I wanted someone to hear me. I wanted them to see me. I was drowning in this deep, black abyss and I didn’t see a way out. I would silently pray to God. Lord, please hear me. Please help me. I can’t take this any longer. I remember searching for what the problem was because if I knew then I could find a solution, but it didn’t seem to just be one thing. Apparently over the course of time the little things grew until they became this huge ball of smothering darkness that cut off my air supply. Soon I didn’t believe I was worth it. I wasn’t worth anything.

See, here’s the thing about depression. It doesn’t come into your life screaming it’s presence. It comes quietly, sucking the very joy from you little by little. It takes away everything you believe yourself to be, every part of your self esteem. It invades your mind, body, and soul. It holds you down until you lose the will to fight.

I lost the will to fight.

That december I decided that I would not live to see my 23rd birthday. It was a wrap for me. I was so numb inside. I felt like nothing. Do you know what it’s like to walk around empty all day everyday? To not be able to pull yourself out? Every morning I woke up I cried. I cried so hard. Lord why? Why didn’t you choose to take me in the night? I don’t want to be here anymore! At first I didn’t have the guts to take my life, but then suddenly, I did. That december I planned to end it. December 16th would be a day of celebration for me because I would be out of here and done with all that silent suffering.

The sunday before my birthday I was riding home from church with my pastor in the driver’s seat and my mother in the passenger seat. I was sitting back there with my big Jackie O sunglasses off and I prayed inside telling Jesus that someone had to hear me. Please God let someone hear my silent screams before it’s too late! I need someone to see me! Just then my pastor looked at me in the rear view mirror and said I SEE YOU. I SEE YOU! God told me to tell you I see you!

Just then it was like air filled my body. I hadn’t realized that I wasn’t breathing before but now new life was being blown into me! I cried. I cried so hard. I was saved. It was a new beginning for me! I could breathe again! It took time to get back to good. I had to lay my life out in front of me and tackle my issues one by one, no matter how small they seemed. I talked to my pastor regularly getting counseling on some of the issues. I drowned myself in God’s presence. I prayed day and night. I read my bible. I went into praise and worship. I found myself so deep in him until depression had no choice but to flee. I was one of the ones that survived.

Why am I telling you this today? Because tonight the Emmy awards come on and I have no doubt that they will honor Robin Williams. Robin Williams didn’t make it. He didn’t survive his depression. He took his life because the darkness was too much.

I’m not here to condemn him because I understand. I’ve been there. But I am here to let others out there know that there is another way out. Things can get better. They can. And it takes a lot of work. But you’re worth it! Your future is worth it. Cling on to Jesus like never before. He loves you and wants to help you. I love you! I promise you I do. I care if no one else does. I need you here. I need you to fulfill your destiny. God has major plans for you and I want you to walk into them. The kingdom of God needs you. You have so much to offer. You will be missed if you go. People’s heart will hurt and they will mourn you if you go. They may not show it the way you need them to right now, but people love you and need you here. I know your mountain may look impossible, but God. BUT GOD!

And if you’re the friend of someone you may suspect is depressed, be there for them. Just be there. Many times those fighting depression just want to lay in a ball in the corner and not move. Lay there with them. You don’t have to say a word. They just need to know that they aren’t alone and that someone sees them. And when they’re ready to take the step to get better, be there to help guide them. Pray them through this and show up. Show up! So many people just need someone to show up.Robin Williams, your death hit me like a ton of bricks because I was rooting for you. I knew your struggle and my heart hurt for you because I know that pain all too well. My heart is broken for you and everyone else that didn’t make it. Thank you for the laughter you brought to this world. I wish you were still here so that we could bring laughter to yours. You were, and are, loved.

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#Ferguson : My Thoughts on an American Flashpoint

Powerful. Please read and share your thoughts on Mike Brown, Ferguson, and every other person that had senselessly been killed by those they were supposed to trust.

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“…It was the corroboration of their worth and their power that they wanted, and not the corpse, still less the staining blood.”  James Baldwin, “To Be Baptized,” from No Name in the Street, 1972

I have been asked by many people to take a close look at the Michael Brown shooting case in Ferguson, Missouri and offer my opinion.  I felt it best to take a step back and really absorb all the circulating currents of opinion and matters of fact before I made any personal pronouncements.  This is my best attempt to answer that call, hopefully soberly, responsibly and with as much restraint as I can muster in the face of this deeply American tragedy.  This is inherently a blog about food and food culture, but anyone who regularly reads this blog understands that it also is a blog about social and cultural justice.  It is clear to…

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Field Trip Friday: A Rapping Wolf

Friday’s are field trip Friday’s around these parts. Today we took a field trip to the store…yeah, that’s all I got lol. I have quite a few orders to fulfill this weekend, so we’re going to have to try again next week. However, last week we went to the Puppet Co. Playhouse  to see Little Red Riding Hood and the 3 Little Pigs!

The description per their website:

What’s so bad about the Big Bad Wolf?  At last B.B. (Big Bad) Wolfe tells his side of the story, in rap, no less.  Has the notorious pork poacher and grandma impersonator gotten a bum rap, or is he truly deserving of his moniker?  You be the judge!  This is one of our funniest productions and includes lots of audience participation.

Now to be honest, it did NOT have a ton of audience participation. The great thing is that there is an area on the floor in front of the stage for the kids to sit if they wish, while their parents sit on the benches. Johanna started getting a little fidgety towards the end, but she still enjoyed it. It had really good messages mixed in, a rapping wolf, and a cute little set.  Johanna said that the wolf was her favorite character, but when it was time to take a picture with him she wasn’t having it.

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The great thing about Glen Echo Park is that there is still fun to be had after the show. We headed to the playground, then to the cafe to get donuts. And you know about the Carousel right? Loves it!

The show ends August 31. Tickets are a great price (we paid $10 per ticket). Run time is approximately 40 minutes. So if you find yourself looking for something to do with your little one before they head back to school, checkout the show. Another awesome show, Pinkalicious, is showing now as well if the puppet thing just isn’t for you. You can go here for tickets to both shows.

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The park itself is gorgeous, and old fashion. I hope you go and really enjoy yourself, even if you don’t see a show.

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A Tasty Experiment – Homemade Lollipops!

One thing that I learned about Johanna early on is that she is a kinesthetic learner. According to wikipedia “Kinesthetic learning (also known as Tactile learning) is a learning style in which learning takes place by the student carrying out a physical activity, rather than listening to a lecture or watching a demonstration. People with a preference for kinesthetic learning are also commonly known as “do-ers”. Tactile-kinesthetic learners make up about five percent of the population.” This means that Johanna needs more projects than book work.

That was hard for us as I had forgotten this summer that my child was a hands on learner and I kept trying to teach her through book work. While I would find fun ways of doing so, it wasn’t the way that she learned the best. Now that I have figured it out again, we have more of a balance going on. Mondays and Wednesdays we do book work. Tuesdays and Thursdays we go over a couple of things, but mostly do activities. Friday’s we go on field trips. Some times we go to the movies, a museum, or a play. We’re hoping to start play-dates soon.

Another thing that Johanna loves doing is eating sweet crap, like most kids. And since I currently sell cakes and other baked goods, I thought it was a good idea to start getting her involved in the kitchen. What better for a kid to cook than C A N D Y! So we made lollipops.

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Don’t they look adorable? The perfectionist in me had to calm down since I knew they wouldn’t be perfectly round. I mean, she’s only 3 after all. But I think she did a fine job.

If you and your little one would like to make your own lollipops it’s super simple. Just follow these steps:

Ingredients:

2 cups white sugar
2/3 cup light Karo corn syrup
1/4 cup water
(optional) a few pinches of edible glitter
bowl deep enough to fit the pot you use in
you will also need lollipop sticks
parchment paper
cookie sheet
(optional) food coloring of your choice

Directions:

1. Place 2-3 sheets of parchment paper on a cookie sheet

2. Lay your lollipop sticks out on the baking sheet, leaving enough room to pour candy onto each stick. Sprinkle edible glitter directly above each stick.

3. Fill a bowl with ice and cold water. Set aside.

4. Place sugar, corn syrup, water, and food coloring in a saucepan. Stir until the sugar while bringing it to a boil.

5. If you have a candy thermometer, place it in the pot and continue to boil mixture until it reaches 300-310 degrees. If you do not have a candy thermometer boil to the hard-crack stage (about 5-7 minutes). You can check out this link to see what the hard crack stage looks like.

6. Remove from the pot from the heat and set it in the ice bath you prepared for 20 seconds. It may steam – A LOT! That’s quite alright, just be careful.

7. Use a half-tablespoon scoop to slowly pour the candy onto each lollipop stick, over the glitter. Let it cool for 10-15 minutes and that’s it! Enjoy your yummy lollipops!

Fill free to add some flavoring if you’d like. I would love to add strawberry flavoring next time. Yummo!

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How to Get My New Protective Style

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Last week after doing my hair for 4 hours I had a mini photoshoot with Johanna. She’s always up for some camera time and I secretly love that about her. Anyway, after posting one of the photos on facebook, quite a few people commented on how much they loved my hair. A few asked me where I got it done. I was quite proud to say that I learned it from a youtube person. Now it’s not perfect, and it doesn’t look half as great as theirs, but I still love it. Now I know that you’ve noticed by now how terrible my eyebrows are. Stop staring and judging. A new lady at the nail shop totally jacked them up, and now I’m screwed trying to grow them out so someone can make sense of them. I have no idea how to perfectly manicure eyebrows, so I have just been walking around looking quite sad. Stop judging. I see you judging with your judgey eyes Mister/Misses Mcjudgeyson. Hmph. It could happen to any of us.

Anywho, here is the tutorial that I used. If you decide to to do this style, or some variation of it, let me know so I can check it out!

 

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