Sherry's Story

Sherry has a great story.  She has been diabetic for years and she has made some massive changes!   "I have been on a lifestyle change. It has been a year following a ketogenic food plan.  When I started this journey Read more

Pharmacy to Farmacy

Many of you may know Erin-- the fabulous Pharm D that worked in our office a few years back.  Erin is a phenomenal gal and we embarked on the journey  into natural medicine around the same time.  As we both Read more

When Should I Take My Supplements?

If you are like me -- you are just starting to realize why it is important to add supplements to your diet.  Even if we are eating a clean, healthy and unprocessed diet;  the mineral content of the soil Read more

Natural Tips for Avoiding Colds

This cold and flu season is still upon us and unfortunately, many patients are still being plagued by these nasty viral symptoms.  Here are a few tips to try if you feel like you are coming down with something. Of Read more

More Homemade Salad Dressings

Blackberry Balsamic Vinaigrette 2 Tbsp balsamic vinegar 1/4 cup avocado oil or extra virgin olive oil 1 tsp local honey 1/3 cup blackberries   Process all the ingredients together in a blender and then season with ground pepper and sea salt The beauty of this recipe Read more

Healthy Mayo and Ranch Dressing

This stuff is a must -- If you read labels these days you will be hard pressed to find a mayonnaise or salad dressing that doesn't contain some type of vegetable oil.  Even the commercial mayos that advertise to Read more

Cauliflower Crust Pizza

So I got a little wicked crazy this weekend and decided to splurge on some pizza.  We do gluten-free carry out around here sometimes, but my future son-in-law inspired me to make my own cauliflower pizza crust. He made Read more

Pumpkin Chai Smoothie

Here's a throwback post that is certainly appropriate for this October weekend.  This smoothie matches the season and will be a great way to start the lovely fall day. Thanks to Smoothie Queen Amy for this great recipe I can't wait Read more

Spirit

Ingenue

Kate Chaplin is a mom!  She aspires to pursue her passion for filmmaking, but is challenged by the economic demands of society.  She is currently filming her dream “Ingenue”.  Kate has chosen to follow her desires and be true to herself.  She made the decision to maintain her values during her journey in life.  Her goal is honorable and she is enacting her dreams within a timeframe that she can still afford;  offering her children an education, and remaining respectful to the morals only she was able to instill in them.   “Life is a journey, not a destination.” —-Ralph Waldo Emerson

Meet Kate Chaplin:

“When my oldest was born I promised her that she could be anything she wanted in this world. If she came to me at age 15 and said she wanted to be a magician I wanted to have the courage and the knowledge to say “yes, let’s learn what we need to learn to have you be the best magician you can be and make a living at it.” But I knew I could only do this if I truly gave it everything at my dream and showed them that it was worth fighting for.

Since a young age I wanted to work in film. I thought of it as the Wonderful World of OZ. I wanted to live behind the curtain where men pulled the strings. At the time I had my first daughter, I wasn’t persuing my dream of working in film. I was a stay at home and I was determined to be the best stay at home mom I could be – but I wasn’t happy. I didn’t feel whole.

Then I made a deal with my husband. I would stay at home with our children (I have two girls now) and pursue my creative dreams of writing and filmmaking. If by the time they were both in school full time and I was not making money, I would return to the standard workforce.

Over the last 7 years I have tried my hardest to balance my company, Karmic Courage Productions, and my family life. It’s a hard balance but I’ve been able to manage. In that time I’ve published 2 books (The Belief Test, The Celebration Diet), 13 short film projects, and worked on over 30 freelance film projects. None of it I can make a steady living on. The work is risky, I’ve been attached to more projects that get cancelled due to fundraising than I’ve actually worked on.

It’s now coming up on the eve of both of the girls being in full time school. I have till Fall 2013 to hope for a miracle or get ready to say goodbye.

I knew that if I looked back 50 years from now I’d regret never making a feature film. So this summer, which maybe the last big project I get to do, I’m making Ingenue. It’s a film I’ll be able to show my daughters when they ask again, “What did you want to be when you grow up?” I’ll be able to say whether I am currently working in an office cubical or flippin’ burgers that I tried, I gave it everything I had and it was worth fighting for. Fighting for your dreams is always worth it.

Odds are filmmaking and writing will never truly leave me, regardless of what happens this year.  I’m sure I’ll find weekends to make something small and fun but it won’t be a career. I’d be trading in the idea of making indie feature films for earning my kids college money. And I’m okay with that because when it comes down to it, I’m a mom.

But I’m not giving up without one hell of a fight. I’m going to put my heart and soul into Ingenue this summer. I’m so excited about this project, it’s themes and story fuel me. It’s the story that’s been hiding in me since I started this journey. It’s the cornerstone of everything I’ve learned, everything I’ve fought for. It’s the perfect piece to see if I can make some kind of money in this crazy film business.

Please, if you’ve dug my work. If you like what I’ve stood for: compassion, human rights, family and strong female characters, please continue to support me. Like Ingenue’s page on facebook, donate to our campaign (ends May 22), see my filmsbuy the DVD’s, or write me a note.

Win, lose or draw it’s going to be an awesome year. Because of you, my kids and my family I’ve gotten this far and I truly appreciate every moment of it.”

http://katechaplin.wordpress.com

Posted on by Angela in Call to action, Guest Blog, Mind, Spirit, Uncategorized 1 Comment

Let’s be Real

Dee–you are so wonderful, I can hardly believe you are actually human–Any person that can put themselves out there being real and honest deserves to be praised!  Let us all learn a good lesson from Dee–it’s ok to be human, we are all imperfect.  Trying to be something that you aren’t never actually pays off in the long run!  Be yourself, accept your flaws, and flaunt your positive attributes!  We all have something to offer this crazy world!
 
Dee writes:
 
Over the past few weeks, I’ve been more focused on diet and nutrition than ever before. I’ve been publicly posting all of my ups and downs with some helpful tools and informative stats along the way. Unfortunately, I have not lost weight yet. I do, however, know why and what needs to happen for that challenge to be successful. I’m a bit discouraged, but I warned you that this journey would be real and — most importantly — I will not give up.
Here is what I have learned and what I’ve done RIGHT:
  • Made fruits and veggies the primary part of my diet
  • Greatly reduced sugar, white breads, fats, alcohol
  • Eliminated white pasta and white rice (except for a bit of sushi)
  • Started walking and AM yoga, barely, but started
  • Started reducing beef and pork
  • Switched from dairy milk to almond, rice and coconut milk
Here is what needs to CHANGE:
  • Still getting too many calories by eating crap at night after a good day of healthy eating
  • Still drinking beer, although half as much, still too much
  • Still eating/drinking out of boredom and stress
  • Still craving and eating salty late-night snacks
  • Not enough exercise
  • Not enough water
Bottom line — make good nutritional choices, exercise and watch portion control! If you do one or two of these things but not all three, you will not be successful. I’ve had days where I’ve eaten a very healthy diet OR days where I’ve limited calories to 1200 OR days where I’ve squeezed in aerobic exercise. But the only days where I’ve had some fleeting results were those when I managed to tackle all three.
 
We all face challenges.  The journey is never easy.  Many are picked, few are chosen to succeed.  You can be the difference.  Why?   Because you are smart, you are kind, and YOU are important!
 
 
 
Posted on by Angela in Body, Diet, Guest Blog, Humor, Mind, Nutrition, Organic, Spirit, Uncategorized, Weight Loss, Whole Food Leave a comment

The 2012 Mother’s Day Anthem!

Thanks Dee—

I had a wonderful Mother’s Day–I spent it laughing with true belly laughs doing mundane chores with my kids and family.  I appreciate the blessings I have been given and especially take the time to think about them on these holidays! I’m lucky that my Mom is there to support me and not afflicted by disease— however, many people are and are not so lucky.  I am more than thankful that Dee is a fabulous mom despite her woe for her own mother’s ailments.  She has learned from the best example that keeping God or Kindness as your king will always lead you in the right direction.

Dee writes today:

“Mother’s day anthem for 2012.  It was a great day. All that ever matters to me is getting to spend time with my mom and my daughters. Over the past few days, I’ve been in touch with my brother and sister more than usual and we were all three reminded of how close we are and how great our appreciation is for our mom. She currently lives in a nursing home after suffering a stroke when a brain aneurysm ruptured 20 years ago. She is wheelchair-bound and after surviving breast cancer a year and a half ago, she also was admitted to and then discharged from hospice for failure to thrive.

Today’s visit with her was, at her request, lunch at Bob Evans. She ordered a side dish of sausage gravy and biscuits, only eating half. From the time we picked her up she started thanking us for the “treat.” Then she stated and reiterated how blessed she is, for having a good home with fun activities, good food, and a lot of friends.  When I walk into a nursing home and look around, just being there briefly is more than I care to be there. Her food is ground up in a food processor to make it easier to chew and it seems to be bland and flavorless. People around her moan and call out into thin air. And even though it is a very clean place, relatively, it sometimes smells like an outhouse.

God actually, is everywhere, often in the shape of mothers!

And yet, my dear mother whose left breast is missing, and has no use of one leg or hand, is perpetually blessed. I’m blessed just to know her.”

 

I read a post on Facebook the other day–it said that giving up complaining is one of the 15 things that will make you truly happy.  Apparently your mom is a step ahead of the rest of us.  My father had a stroke a few years ago and was fortunate that it did not leave him paralyzed.  It did affect his balance and he had to spend a few weeks in a rehabilitation center.  It was a difficult time for all of us and we are blessed that he is doing well now.  I think my vow in honor of your mom tomorrow will be to go an entire day without complaining about anything.  It may be rough and I may have a really interesting post for you tomorrow –but, I will try.  The best way to change the world is to change yourself!

Posted on by Angela in Benevolence, Body, cancer, disease, Guest Blog, Mind Leave a comment

The Richest Gift—Family

 

This post is for Mother’s Day.  It is also for the value of family and remembering what is actually important in life.  Dee wrote a post last week that may have kept me out of  jail for considering inflicting some serious harm to a few of my selfish family members.   I texted my mom in my frazzled state (Yes, she is totally awesome and knows how to text) and asked her if I was on the verge of insanity?—she replied, “step back and put things into perspective.”  Thank God for my family and friends that are all consistently there for me!  And thank you Dee for putting perspective back into this crazy world.   Sometimes, you have a “horrible, terrible, no good, really bad days”  just like Alexander–but, that is no excuse to throw in the towel or move to Australia!

Dee wrote:
It’s lunchtime and I just returned from a meeting, so I’m at my work desk. Over the past couple of days, I have been corresponding with my sister Jody and my brother Bil via emails. Simultaneously, I have been conversing with my two teen daughters through text messages and arguing with my husband in a Google Chat. And in my work world I am discussing relatively trivial matters with co-workers and acquaintances while logging hours on a timesheet until 5 o’clock rolls around and my real life begins. I’m fortunate to have a job that I really like, fortunate to have a job at all, and a vehicle to get here and a home to return to. But, in the last couple of days, my brother and sister have given me the richest gift: a reminder of the inherent love that we were given for family and the appreciation of character traits that our parents instilled. This month is Mother’s Day, and Father’s Day next month. There are no words to describe the kindness and love of life my mother has. As a Christian, I know that my joy should never come from my circumstance but rather from the knowledge that I am God’s child and am promised eternal life. My mother has been subjected to nearly tragic medical traumas, and yet she is joyful. She’s in a wheelchair with physical disabilities and mental deficits, but she exudes love and compassion. Our father, the earthly one, is one of the strongest men I know. Even as I’ve grown up and have moved away from him, I don’t think there is any human who has the capacity to make me feel safe the way that my dad would or could. It’s like being a little girl and watching him lift something beyond my ability in amazement.And as for my sister and brother, they are a constant source of showing me in life, what Jesus would do. That’s really what I believe my purpose is, to find ways every day to help whoever God puts in my path. Whenever I see a kid with a broken down bike or offer a kind word to an elderly woman, I stop and thank God for letting me be in the right place at the right time. Jody and Bil are just like that, walking the walk, selflessly. I love you guys, so much.P.S. Dad called me today. It was the first call he made to me in about two years. Thank you.
Posted on by Angela in Benevolence, Call to action, Charity, Mind, Spirit Leave a comment

Make Good Choices!

Once again:  Thank you Dee for being real!

We’ve all heard about making a lasting decision, but in some cases, you’re better off choosing something that’s temporary, fleeting, and brief. Here’s when…when you feel like using food and alcohol as an emotional fix. The better option is a non-food replacement. In the same way that you get prepared ahead of time in planning healthy meals, plan too a list of food substitutes. One of the most common emotional states in which I make horrible food/drink choices is stress, especially when it’s stress mixed with anger. When I come home from work and find a trashed house, kids fighting and then one more thing happens — like dropping a glass sugar bowl or bouncing a check — straight for a bottle of Stella I go, followed quickly by any kind of animal fat product doused in salt. If there was a way to fry salt, I’d be in heaven. The funny thing is, my emotional eating isn’t always because of stress or anger or sadness. The pendulum swings to eating when I’m celebrating or rewarding myself. Here are some better choices (have them ready to turn to when the urge to eat for emotions comes along): candles, bath, walk, music, hot tea, yoga, nap, reading, blogging…

http://www.angelamd.com

Posted on by Angela in Body, Diet, Guest Blog, Mind, Nutrition, Weight Loss, Whole Food Leave a comment

Feeding the Soul


The founders of Lost Art Press – Lucy May, Christopher Schwarz and John Hoffman – are trying to restore the balance between hand and machine work by unearthing the lost art of hand skills and explaining how they can be integrated with the machinery in the modern shop to help produce furniture that is crisp, well-proportioned, stout and quickly made.  They do this with  the publication of fine books on the craft of woodworking and through a blog which covers everything from techniques to rising stars in the field.

Christopher Schwarz is the former editor of Popular Woodworking Magazine , where he worked between 1996 and 2011. He is now a contributing editor to that magazine, maintains a popular blog through their website and has produced many instructional online videos and DVDs.  In addition to authoring the successful The Anarchists Toolchest, published by Lost Art Press, he also serves as a contributing editor to The Fine Tool Journal and has produced several DVDs in conjunction with Lie-Nielsen Toolworks and on traditional skills.

This week, my husband, Tim is spending the week with Christopher Schwarz at the Mark Adams School of Woodworking.  He is learning the techniques of using hand tools as he builds a 17th century French inspired workbench.  He is having the time of his life.  I added this post to stress the importance of being yourself!  Do things that you enjoy!  Take time to smell the roses!  Remember, doing to please others only leads to heart disease!  By the way, rugged with hand tools is the new sexy!!!

visit http://www.lostartpress.com

http://www.marcadams.com

Posted on by Angela in Family, Humor, Mind, Spirit Leave a comment

The Myth of Discipline

The Myth Of Discipline

I tried taking a little different approach this week because this article was too good to pass up. I received this from a good friend.(Thanks Ben) Written by world renown strength and condition guru Charles Poliquin, this article hits on the essential points of discipline, priorities, and self-esteem. Give this a quick read for some inspiration in choosing your next meal or getting after your next workout.

“There is no such thing as discipline. There is only love. Love is the most powerful creative force in the universe. You are the result of what you love most. You either love finely etched muscular abs more than donuts or you love donuts more than wash board abs you could do your laundry on. It is as simple as that. Don’t beat yourself up that you have no discipline or further drown yourself in a sea of refined carbs. Admit that you like crappy food more than you love strength. Or ask yourself this, what do you really love? Self-esteem is the reflection of self-judgment. One of the best ways to raise self-esteem is to make truly loving choices that lead to increased strength of body and mind. For example, if you truly love yourself in the gym, you choose the full squat with chains over the leg extension machine. At the restaurant, if you truly love yourself, you pass on the heavenly smelling basket of bread and creamy butter, and ask for some more limes for the water. Limes alkalize your body which in turn helps your bones, muscles and your ability to deal with stress.

When you are faced with difficult choices, ask yourself, in context of course, what would a loving expert recommend? For example, when working chest, would a loving strength coach recommend the pec deck, or full range dumbbell presses. When choosing desserts, would the loving nutritionist recommend a bowl of berries or the triple-decker brownie submerged under melting vanilla ice cream.

How to free yourself from the outdated concept of discipline:

  1. Accept that all your choices are reflections of what you truly love.
  2. Love is the greatest creative force of the Universe. Use it wisely.
  3. Choose to love yourself more than external things.
  4. Treating yourself well accelerates the growth of your self-esteem.
  5. When people comment on your results and say things like “Wow you have a lot discipline” answer “No, I just make loving choices for myself”. Reinforcing your own positive behavior will help you grow in strength.
  6. What you appreciate appreciates. Whenever you make a truly loving choice, say to yourself ‘Thank you for taking care of me in a loving way”. The more you talk to yourself like a loving parent, the faster you will grow. By documenting and rewarding your successes, they will grow in magnitude and frequency. Whenever I meet a goal, I reward myself with positive things like a vacation or a new piece of equipment. When I get something better, I make the choice of giving away the old piece to someone who will appreciate it. Living a clutter free life allows for more growth.
  7. The more you believe in yourself, the more objectively you will be able to take the advice of authority figures.
There is an old Hindu saying: “The World is as we are”. Are you tired of seeing the condition of the world around you? Start by changing yourself- be the change you want to see in the world.
 
 
Kevin Deeth is a Notre Dame graduate with a degree in business/marketing who is currently playing professional hockey in Stavanger, Norway.  He is also an ISSA certified personal trainer.  I would like thank Kevin for his guest post!  He is inspirational to us all. 
Posted on by Angela in Guest Blog, Uncategorized Leave a comment

For Joe and my superhero Amy

Lucy and Ethel or The Lone Ranger and Tonto, never mind the gender…the common denominator is simple: 100% True Friendship. Funny how in life we all can relate to side kicks. My ‘side kick’ happened to be my best friend Joe Griffith : aka “Superman Joey”. Joe was my very best friend in the whole world. I don’t even think our family and friends really understood just how much time we spent together. We could hang out all day and night … return home and still talk for endless hours on the phone till the wee hours of the morning. Joe was my confident,my partner in crime, my side kick Superhero. I knew no matter what circumstance he would be there for me. He was funny,caring, and so full of life. Joe was a devoted son,brother, and friend who volunteered in the community. We shared the love of film,art, and cooking together. He had this gap between his teeth that always bothered him greatly, but to me- it was the one thing that set him apart. It brought out his radiant smile and warm deep brown eyes. He had good morals, strong character, and loved God. When he smiled you could feel his heart full of joy and love. We laughed ,cried , and did just about everything together until I got the call one night that would change my life forever. The phone call that ended up making me a stronger woman in the fight for suicide prevention and awareness. I was supposed to go walking with Joe hours before he took his life. He left me a voice mail asking to do dinner later instead of a walk. I often wonder what if I would of been there to intercept that call – would our conversation at that dinner or on that initial walk made a difference? Why or how did I (his best friend) not see any signs of depression or anxiety? What did I do wrong? Was it my fault? It has been 3 years since Joe’s death – I still find myself asking these questions at times but know I will never have an anwser. I also know I had no control of Joe’s actions. I know survivors of suicide must face and ask these same questions. I can understand that deep pit in their stomach the moment when they hear their loved one is no longer with them. It is in that moment of silence and emptiness we die a little inside ourselves too. We feel empty … our loved one and “sidekick” is gone, forever gone and it is a very lonely feeling that attacks our entire body. After Joe’s death I found a letter I had never read before that he wrote to me. I found it one day in a stack of my favorite dvd’s we had been going through before his death and knew it was his way of telling me he loved me, he was with God…and he was okay. People often told us we were like Superman and Wonder Woman – attatched hip to hip trying to make a difference somehow with or without capes in the community. Whenever I was working on a charity event, I could always count on Joe being my number one supporter. He would participate in walks or help me get wonderful donations. I knew after reading the letter, there were many Superman Joey’s out there in the world who brought joy and love to their friends and family. After Joe’s death I realized my own friends became distant and the stigma of Joe’s suicide was a major part of the battle. I registered for my first Out Of The Darkness Walk and realized there were other survivors who understood exactly what I had been going through. A core group of Joe’s friends walked the first year. It was just what we all needed to get through his tragic death. It opened my eyes to be stronger and understand more the importance of suicide awareness and prevention. Unfortunately, the following year I could not find anyone to walk with me. Friends and family members simply just could not make it. I was stunned and a bit numb. Why wouldn’t anyone take time out to walk for someone who showed so much love to them..or just walk in support for such a huge loss? I heard friends were still angry at Joe and some were ashamed to be associated with suicide. Could it really be because of the stigma associated with suicide? I decided to volunteer and run the merchandise booth that year even if it meant going by myself. I felt so alone that day. I pretty much knew no one, had a huge pit in my stomach, and was missing my best friend terribly. I remember I walked up to the registration tent and was greeted with much love and support from other volunteers and staff. I knew then I was right where God wanted me to be. They say God works in mysterious ways – well he does. I was working the merchandising booth when a survivor came up to me to ask if I had seen the Superman and Wonder Woman? I had no idea what they were talking about and all of a sudden in the middle of a crowd of hundreds I see a red cape flying in the wind. I think to myself – “Out of ALL of the Superheroes …My Superman Joey is here at this walk – Unbelieveable!” I made my way to the people who were dressed in the superhero costumes and explained my situation. Within minutes the man dressed as Superman immediately grabbed and hugged me as he shouted he was walking in honor of Supermen Joey today! Was this real? Was this a sign? It was then at that very moment when I felt that Joe was there in spirit. I was not alone anymore.That feeling of spirit was spread all around the walk that day and it was as if I could feel other survivors celebrating their own loved ones too. Their loved ones may not have been there physically but they were living within us each in our own special ways. In every word, in every song, in everything God creates… their spirits live on. I ended up not being alone that year after all, it was then that I wanted to make sure no one should have to ever walk alone. This year I am very proud to be a committee member of the walk .Our local AFSP Indiana Chapter is also going to have volunteers as ambassadors at The Out Of The Darkness Walk for those who may not have anyone to walk with. I never imagined I would be so passionate and such an advocate for a cause that still has such a strong fight and stigma. I am not a Wonder Woman or a superhero by any means nor was Joe. We were just two best friends, two side kicks who will always have a forever bond and now a message. The message is simple – we all need to keep educating. AFSP has paved the way for us all to speak openly and honestly about suicide prevention and awareness. I lost my best friend, my side kick , my own Superhero to this horrible illness. I never saw the signs. I never dreamed this would happen to me. Most importantly, I never thought this would of happened to Joe. I miss his touch, I miss his voice, I miss that silly gap between his teeth that made his smile so bright. The message is simple: The more we educate others – the more we will continue to make a difference. We must remember that every walk does matter …every voice does speak volumes …and every minute counts.

Posted on by Angela in Benevolence, Family, Spirit, Suicide, Uncategorized Leave a comment

Man in the Mirror

Your time is limited, so don’t waste it living someone else’s life. Don’t be trapped by dogma – which is living with the results of other people’s thinking. Don’t let the noise of other’s opinions drown out your own inner voice. And most important, have the courage to follow your heart and intuition. They somehow already know what you truly want to become. Everything else is secondary.

~ Steve Jobs

I saw a patient in pain today– having been her doctor for the last 6 years.  I have watched her downward spiral into depression and chronic pain. My empathy overwhelmed me and I had her come into the office today for my form of a “Come to Jesus” intervention. Now in retrospect,  I feel my conversation was dead on arrival.
I’ve met many a soul that are so beaten down by the things that are out of their control, that they have given up and lost the insight into the situation. I’ve been there more times than I care to remember. Somehow, I have managed to pull myself out of the vicious cycle of pity and sef despair. I’m embarrassed to admit that the process has taken way too long to evolve in the past. Usually, a song, a person, or a self reflective moment in a state of fatigue has been the eye opener. I’m not sure she heard anything I said today, but I pray that she will trust that there are angels on earth, placed here to help us gain insight. God only knows that I’m no angel.  I do however have kindness as my king. On the opposite hand, I then saw a patient that is neglecting her own health out of fear and self abuse. She did hear my message thankfully.  She is someone who just needs to believe that there are some people in the world who still care. Every inkling of her being wants to pursue her dreams in lack of ignorant judgement. A very wise soul (my daughter, Ciara) recently told me a message that I will forever try to remember and maintain.  “I’ve learned that you can’t ever judge or shut someone out of your life until you have taken the time to hear their story. Sage like words from an 18 year old girl.   If you don’t want to be judged, then judge others less. We all say we don’t judge but I’m not sure that is really true. I am starting with the man in the mirror, because the best way to reboot your life and change the fallacy in the world is to change yourself.

Posted on by Angela in Mind, Spirit Leave a comment

“We were made to be lovers bold in broken places”

For Lucy and Maggie …

 

Countless hours spent on the deck discussing the uncertainties of life.  Innumerable days of listening to our children giggle, play, fight and cry together.  Tears shed watching one another battle the ups and downs of family life in the 21st century. These experiences have made our former neighbors become our dearest friends and confidants. They are our “wolf pack”.

This week, the Henriksens, and their dear friends watched their families bond together once again as they faced yet another frightening event.  An event that would forever change the way all ten of us view life and the ambiguity of the world.  We will become different people having experienced this sad tragedy.

Our dearest friends’ daughter has known one of the most vivacious, loving, talented and endearing girls for many years.  The two girls were kindred spirits at the mere ages of 15 and 16.  To the shock of everyone, she took her own life this week.  She battled depression for years. Unfortunately, the disease won the strenuous fight.  Sadly and despite her suspected perception, young Maggie was never alone.

Most all of us probably know someone whose life has been affected by depression, either directly or indirectly.  We may not know that someone is suffering from depression, they may not even know themselves. Two out of three people who struggle with depression never seek help resulting in untreated depression as the leading cause of suicide.  In America alone, it’s estimated that 19 million people live with depression, and suicide is the third-leading cause of death among those 18-24 years old.

Perhaps you have seen the countless photos on social media of outstretched arms with the word “love” scribed on skin and merely thought it some new type of arm art fad.  There is a much deeper meaning to these sharpie tattoos.

Renee was a troubled Florida teen.  Described as one who “has felt the touch of awful naked men, battled depression and addiction, and attempted suicide” she at one point used her cocaine-cutting razor to carve  “F—k Up” on her arm adding to the other fifty self inflicted scars there.  A group of concerned friends finally convinced her to go to a drug treatment center but she was deemed too “high risk” due to her distinctive markings and denied treatment.  Fearing for her life, they designed a T-shirt selling drive in hopes of raising enough money to pay for her care.  Their experiences led them to realize the greater need beyond  just Renee.

Together they organized and formed TWLOHA, a non-profit movement dedicated to presenting hope and finding help for people lost in depression, addiction, self-destruction and suicide.  You can read their complete story and Mission Statement here: http://www.twloha.com.  Their efforts caught on and went viral.  Photos of teens with “Love” on their arms began popping up in dramatic fashion.  Famous bands and the Hollywood elite began wearing their trendy T-shirts.  “Why do you have that written on your arms?”  “What does that T-shirt mean and where can I get one?”  All were keen efforts to raise awareness for this cause and show those in need that they are not alone.  By metaphorically applying “Love” as a pressure bandage to the self inflicted ugly wounds of the story’s character, this band of persistent friends helped not only Renee, but began to define and fulfill TWLOHA’s  vision including:

The vision is the possibility that your best days are ahead.

The vision is the possibility that we’re more loved than we’ll ever know.

The vision is hope, and hope is real.

You are not alone, and this is not the end of your story.

 

Lucy, I won’t let this be the end of Maggie’s story either . . .

 

Posted on by Angela in Spirit, Suicide 1 Comment