Depression

It’s not something that you can just get over. It’s not something that is short lived. If you’ve never experienced it you cannot fathom how horrible it truly is.

When I was 15 I attempted suicide. I hated myself, I hated my life.

As I got older I began to get a better perspective of things, but the beast would rear it’s ugly head yet again during the years of abuse.

About 18 months or so into the messy relationship, I was diagnosed with clinical depression and put on anti-depressants. I had no support of family–well, I did, but there wasn’t much support that could be given being 2100 miles apart. I was a mess.

After the relationship dissolved and I started the healing process, I took myself off the medication. I was feeling better, but I also could not afford the prescripts anymore.
From time to time I still fight the ugly battle. Sometimes it’s easy and the feelings only last a little while. Other times it’s more difficult and those ugly feelings last for days.

Lately I’ve been dealing with negative feelings again, and they got me to thinking. I did a little soul searching and decided to write a poem in hopes that it would help others to see and maybe have a deeper understanding of what it’s like for people who suffer with depression. I’m not saying that everyone will feel exactly the same, as each case is different, some being more severe than others.

It is my hope that this post will help others to reach out to people around them. People who have depression may look OK on the outside, but hell is on their doorstep on the inside. For those who suffer from this beast, I would like to encourage you to REACH OUT and ask for help. Talk to someone, a trusted friend or family member, a counselor, a pastor, a doctor… Someone who can offer love and support and/or who can find help for you.

DEPRESSION…

The bottomless pit
Devoid of any light
Darker than dark
Blacker than black

From deep within its walls
I SCREAM
It’s echo… infinite
yet no one hears, but me

I grope around in the abyss
searching for a way out
But all I feel
is the slimy filth of emptiness.

I am alone.

xCraftyChickx
9-27-16

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[Spiritual Warfare] Knowing Your Enemy & How To Fight

Ephesians 6:12 (NKJV)

“For we do not wrestle against flesh and blood, but against principalities, against powers, against the rulers of the darkness of this age, against spiritual hosts of wickedness in the heavenly places.”

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 For the past few days I’ve been reading, for the second time, an awesome Christian fiction book about Spiritual Warfare by Frank E. Peretti (This Present Darkness). I first read it as a teenager and it was a real eye opener. As I’ve been reading, it again has opened my eyes, especially regarding things in this day and age.

I’ve noticed many changes over the years and am noticing a few things that I hadn’t realize before. Although I do not know the specifics–the hows or whys–I believe them to be spiritually significant.
Many of God’s people have become complacent–they’re tired and unwilling to change or do better. On the other hand there are those that do seek change. Those who want to do and see better, for themselves, their families, friends, and others around the world, but they don’t know where to start.

 I have come to realize that it all beings with us, as individuals. And prayer. Intercession. I have decided that I want, no, need to be an intercessor–for my family, friends, myself, my city, country, and even the world, even though it may appear to be a lost cause. I know it isn’t the will of God for anyone to perish (John 3:16-17), but I also know that not everyone will enter the Kingdom of God. And that’s a very sad realization.

 Regarding the changes that I’ve seen, many have been within circumstances and worldly happenings–corrupt government, sin & disease is running rampant, communities in upheaval–and more. But one of the biggest concerns are the changes that I’ve seen in myself and in others that are close to me. Just within the past couple of days I’ve realized that in many ways I have been selfish in regards to my marriage. It’s been about what I want or the way I think things should be, or how I think my husband should act or things he should do. I believe my thoughts and feelings are valid… but what about me? What am I doing to show my husband how much I love him? What am I doing to encourage and lift him up? This world beats him down enough, he needs PEACE here at home from the battlefield abroad. He needs to know that I respect, support, and love him regardless of any flub ups he might make.

 I have also noticed, just today in fact, that there are people that I love dearly who have changed in ways I never thought they would. There was a time that whenever they had, watched, or listened to something that was ungodly, secular, or went against the Lord–in any way, shape, or form–it was destroyed, no longer watched, or no longer listened to. But somewhere along the way, some of those things have become OK. For instance, there’s a TV show that is pretty funny in some context, but some of the dialog/language and scenes are unnecessary. We don’t watch it in my home, but some people I love enjoy it. So it raises similar questions that were once asked of me: Would you watch that TV show or Movie, or listen to that song or music if Jesus was in the room? I mean, if we’re born-again and Jesus lives in our hearts, He’s there already, isn’t He?

 We need to protect ourselves and our families from anything and everything that the enemy can use against us! If as Christians, we are not in a place where we should be… if we’re not living the way we should be… If we’re not spending time in God’s Word or in prayer, we need to stop and think… What’s stopping us? To be brutally honest we have no excuse! I don’t always spend enough time in prayer, but I read my Bible daily. It’s difficult with young children and a small living space–I have no “prayer closet” so I’m easily interrupted. Again, I don’t have an excuse. I could spend time alone in prayer after hubby leaves for work–I need to get my sleep cycle regulated though.

 We need to stop making excuses and start making time to do what we MUST do.
NO EXCUSES!

 We live in a day and age where the enemy is doing EVERYTHING he can to screw us up–to draw us away from Abba Father. The devil tries (and sometimes succeeds) to keep our minds on things around us, our circumstances–he wants us to lose our focus. We need to remember, Jesus gave us authority over him. We have been given the tools to keep that old devil under our feet!! RESIST & he MUST FLEE! (In Jesus’ name)

 We need to be in, what I like to call, “Lion’ or ‘Lioness Mode”.
Have you ever watched an animal show and seen how a lioness hunts? She’s focused in and nothing can distract her. That’s how we should be! ALWAYS!
Is it difficult? Yes! Impossible? NEVER!
All things are possible with God. (Matthew 19:26 paraphrased)

 Think about this… If we learned, once and for all, who we are in the Lord, the devil would have a fit! If every God-fearing person on this earth KNEW who they are in Christ… no demon of hell could mess with them–they’d run screaming, and scattering in all directions! We as God’s people need to get off our duffs, out of our comfort zones, get into our armor, and RUN to the battlefield. There are many who have or are nearing the point of dropping their swords and shields, and giving up.

 IT’S TIME TO RISE UP, O WARRIORS OF GOD MOST HIGH!

 I pray that the Lord would stir your spirit. May He open your spiritual eyes and ears. May you hear and heed His voice above all others. Stop laying in the muck and mire of your circumstances!
 It’s time to stand and fight!
 It’s time to pick up your sword and shield and RUN to the battle grounds.
 Don’t walk…. RUN!!

 “If God be for us, who can be against us?” Romans 8:31b

 “Yet in all these things we are more than conquerors through Him who loved us.”
Romans 8:37

 “I can do all things through Christ who strengthens me.” Philippians 4:13

 “He who dwells in the secret place of the Most High shall abide under the shadow of the Almighty. I will say of the Lord, ‘He is my refuge and my fortress; My God in whom I will trust.’ Surely He shall deliver you from the snare of the fowler. And from the perilous pestilence. He shall cover you with His feathers, and under His wings you shall take refuge. His truth shall be your shield and buckler, you shall not be afraid of the terror by night, nor of the arrow that flies by day, nor of the destruction that lays waste at noonday. A thousand may fall at your side, ten thousand at your right hand, but it shall not come near you. Only with your eyes shall you look, and see the reward of the wicked. Because you have made the Lord, who is my refuge, even the Most High, your dwelling place, no evil shall befall you, nor shall any plague come near your dwelling; for He shall give His angels charge over you, to keep you in all your ways. In their hands they shall bear you up, lest you dash your foot against a stone. You shall tread upon the lion and the cobra, the young lion and the serpent you shall trample underfoot. Because he has set his love upon Me, therefore I will deliver him; I will set him on high, because he has known My name. He shall call upon Me, and I will answer him; I will be with him in trouble; I will deliver him and honor him, with long life I will satisfy him, and how him My salvation.” Psalm 91

 If you have read this far, I hope this has blessed you. I also highly recommend reading Frank E. Peretti’s books (This Present Darkness, Piercing the Darkness, and The Prophet). I have read the first two when I was a teenager. They really do open your eyes to see and understand the importance of Spiritual Warfare in our daily lives. (I am not making any money from this, I just think it’s important to know and understand).

From the back cover of the first book: “A fast-moving, riveting thriller, This Present Darkness offers a fascinating glimpse into the unseen world of spiritual warfare—and the power of prayer.”
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Learning a New Skill

For the past month I’ve been taking online classes to learn how to use Adobe Lightroom. It was a great course and the instructor taught each class in detail. Whatever questions he couldn’t get to during the session, he would take via email as well.

It was a free course through Shaw Academy (Mastering Lightroom). You can buy a membership and take as many classes as you’d like. Right now they are offering a FREE course for a very limited time (HURRY! Less than 24 hours left in the offer–I apologize for not posting about this sooner). I’ve been so busy getting my assignments and challenges done, as well as normal life stuff. I actually still have one assignment and my final exam left to do.

Shaw Academy offers several courses including: Photography, Cooking, Weight Loss, Career Advancement, and many more. They are currently creating several other courses to be introduced by the Fall.

Anyway, I learned a lot in the 8 classes of this course. You may be thinking you can’t learn very much in that short of time, but I actually learned quite a bit. Thankfully they offer replays of their courses. You can go back and watch the recordings up to 2 weeks after the course ends. (I took down a lot of notes). This is a BIG help for studying before taking your final exam for your certification.
(You are given THREE (3) chances to pass the final exam).

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So, what’s this course like? Well…

For the first couple of lessons we learned about the program interface, how to import photos and how to organize them. Each lesson after covered a few to several other tools; learning how to use them to edit and improve photographs. After each lesson we were given a challenge to send in to show the instructor our understanding of what we had learned. We also had an assignment for each class (a multiple choice quiz). Challenges were not mandatory in this course, but as a visual/hands-on learner this was great for me.

Here are a few of my challenge results:

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Challenge 1: Send in a photo we improved in Lightroom using the basic tools. (Photo taken with Pentax K-50)

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Challenge 3: Send in a photo that we edited in 2 different ways. (Photo taken w/ Pentax K-50)

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Challenge 4: Send in a photo with a local adjustment–use one or more tools from the lesson. (Photo taken with LG L Stylo)

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Challenge 5, Part 1: Enhance the color of a photo w/ HSL.  Part 2: Do a B&W Conversion photograph. (photo taken with Pentax K-50; a request by my daughter)

 

I hope you enjoyed seeing some of my work.
Remember to take a look at the classes being offered, you might find one you like.
HURRY! Offer expires in less than 24 hours!

Recommitted–Twice Over

Weight Loss… it’s a difficult road. If you are overweight you know exactly how hard it is.

If you’re one of my usual readers you know I have struggled for years. You have read my unfinished story. The saga continues…

It has been a few months since I have worked out. I’ve become lazy and more sedentary. (not good!)  I have known just by the way I feel that I have been gaining weight and needed to do something about it. I’ve been angry with myself. I’ve felt discouraged because I hadn’t seen any results when I had been working at it after having been so sick. (My family and I had had terrible colds, lasting many weeks, thrice over the past 2 years).

For the past couple weeks I’ve sat knowing I need to change my habits and get back into my fitness routines, yet at the same time I was thinking, “What can I do? How can I change this?” Then I remembered some wise words I had spoken to others–JUST MOVE!

Yeah, I was taking my own medicine.

This week I jumped off the self-pity train, recommitted myself, and got back on the Fitness Wagon. For the past 2 days I have been kicking my own behind. Do I hurt? Oh yeah! But I’m not going to let that stop me. It’s a good pain.

This morning I did a weigh-in. I didn’t want to do it, but I knew I had to. I was shocked. I knew I had gained, but it was more than I thought I had.

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I’m glad that I made the choice to do better for myself. Not only that, I have a family that needs me too.

With all of that said, last week I recommitted my life to Christ. I had not walked away from Him, I just wasn’t as serious in my relationship with God as I used to be.

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Maybe you’ve been struggling with losing weight or to break a bad habit. Or maybe you, too, haven’t been totally committed in your relationship with God.
Don’t be dismayed. Recommit!
Smile and hold your head up high. You can do it this time! If you happen to fall along the way, get up and keep going.
You only fail if you quit.

Now I’m off to plan my workout for today.
Much love and God bless you. ❤

Fun with Felines

I am really enjoying my new camera. I didn’t realize how much I have missed shooting photographs. I had a ball. Our other 2 feline fur-babies were my subjects today.

Let me introduce you to Maximus Leonidas and Yoda.

Max was my birthday present in 2013. I named him Maximus Leonidas specifically for the meaning behind the name–the Great Lion. He is anything but. He’s long and thin, and is fairly skittish. He’s probably the most gentle and quiet cat I have ever had. He can also be a bit of a brat, sometimes taking after his step-brother Yoda, who is an instigator and a bit of a trouble maker with our other two felines.

Yoda was named by my husband who, at first sight of him, said that he had a green tinge to his fur. Not only that, but when you scratch him in just the right spot on his head he flattens his ears out to the side; similar to the way Yoda from Star Wars ears appear.

In my first attempt at photographing Max, he started nuzzling the camera lens which made me laugh. He doesn’t often show affection so it was a cute surprise. Yoda also tried to “nose boop” the lens and fogged it up in one of the photos.

 

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Photos taken with Pentax K-50

Cat Nap

A day in the life of your average kitty cat…

They say felines sleep on average, 18 hours a day. I have never counted the hours any of our felines have slept during a day. I have, however, enjoyed watching them sleep peacefully.

Meet Bear, my family’s Tuxedo Tabby.

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Photos taken with Pentax K-50  f/5.6  1/80 sec.  ISO 1600

I love the little 2-tone pads on his feet–pink & grey.

[PHOTO] After Sunset

April 8, 2016 — About an hour after sunset

While eating dinner with my family, my husband looked out of the window and declared, “Honey, you need to take a look at the moon. It’s lower than it has been lately. I think you should take a picture.”

I tried leaning over to see what was so interesting about it and barely caught a glimpse. So I got up and walked over to the window to get a better view.

The moon was lovely, even if only as a thumbnail. From our standpoint it appeared the dark orange-y sky could have represented sand at the beach… if it weren’t for the trees, buildings, and telephone poles in the foreground.

There is a slight reflection from the double pane window, but I like it that way.

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Thumbnail Moon After Sunset

Photo taken with Pentax K-50  f/5.6  1/40 sec.  ISO : 12800