STELLAR DAY ISSUE 13 | SEPTEMBER 2016
INTERVIEW WITH CORY MARTIN
An interview with the author of Love Sick about her memoir , love , future plans , and hope
Living and walking daily in the calling of your life with boldness , confidence , and with hope
FROM HEAVY TO HOPEFUL Esther shares about finding hope when it ' s hard parenting children , on page 5
stellar day table of con tents
03 In The Meadows 05 From Heavy To Hopeful 07 With Purpose
09 Thready Creations 10 Hope Continually 12 He Has Hope For Me 14 Love Sick: An Interview with Cory Martin 20 Living with GIG Syndrome
25 A Taste of Motherhood 26 Hope For The Things Unseen 27 Navigating Fear With Two Beliefs 29 Falling Into Strength
31 Last Second Hope 34 Editors Note
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Photo by Jay & Jess
In The Meadows by Jessica Williams
t’s kind of hard to believe that we are beginning year TWO of Stellar Day Magazine! This issue begins our second year, and I couldn’t imagine a better and more fitting theme than Hope. A year ago, my featured opening article was titled In the Desert. I was coming out of a dark season of loneliness, probably one of the darkest times in my life. I had just returned back home from Nine Retreat (which changed my life) and I felt like I could see flickers of hope. They sparkled in the distance, but be still my heart, they were at least there.
There is nothing like walking through a season of dark loneliness. It doesn’t matter what your reasons for loneliness are, itis humbling, heartbreaking, and deeply sad on some days. When I reread that article, I can see that I knew I wasn’t alone. My hope has always been in the Lord. But when you are blindly following Jesus, can hear him whisper to your heart to follow Him and you’re trying to while you’re dealing with deep sorrow, it’s a long road. Do you know what I’m describing? I was definitely in the desert. Wandering,
Read In The Desert from our first issue ever to see how far Jess has come!
"I felt like I could see flickers of hope. They sparkled in the distance, but be still my heart, they were at least there." STELLAR DAY MAGAZINE
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"I see beauty sprouting up all around me. I see God's purpose for the desert wandering and I feel His warmth."
waiting, thirsty, lonely, and depending on Jesus for the very next step to take. Some days seemed dark, others seemed like I was going to make it. It seemed dry and sparse, but I knew that my heavenly Father never left me. I took new steps each day. I read the entire book of John over and over again for a solid three months. I stepped out with this magazine when I didn’t feel equipped or ready and I just did the very next thing that I felt the Lord prompting inside my fragile heart. I said no to a lot of things. I confused some people. I let goof some friends. I made new friends. Deep, encouraging, wildly cheering for you on the sidelines friends. I’ve created new dreams for my life. I’ve handed my business back over to the Lord. I somehow came out on the other side of this year ready for anything that the Lord would have me do. Anything.
Is it scary? Yes. Do I still feel unequipped. Mostly, yes. Do I feel fragile or stronger? Both. I feel equally both. The truth is, I still know that I have so much to learn. There are so many mountains and valleys that the Lord is going to pull us through, and for better or for worse I will go with Him. The difference that this year has made is that I DO feel as though I have climbed out of the desert. Do I feel all healed and 100% out of my struggles? No. No I don’t. But I feel like I climbed up one of the hardest mountains in that desert, thirsty, tired, sad, and alone, to look over the cliff and see beauty. Beauty that has come from the wandering, waiting and trusting. It looks and feels like meadows to me. Still in the valley a little bit, but full of grass, creeks, flowers, a breeze, and beauty. I see beauty sprouting up all around me. I see God’s purpose for the desert wanderings and I feel His warmth. This is hope. The hope of trusting a Savior to never fail us. He may bring us through the desert. It might not ever make sense. You might be sad, angry, clinging to those flickers of sparkling lights in the distance that seem so far off. You might want to give up. Your loneliness might seem too difficult to bear. But let me tell you something. Hanging on and trusting the Lord with your whole heart will not only bring you eventual comfort, relief, and beauty, but it will bring you hope. It will be healing to your soul and if you press forward, I promise you WILL get through this. Meadows. It isn’t exactly where I want to live. But this walk through the meadows to the next mountain will be worth every single step. And I will bask in the sunlight, breathe in the fresh air of hopefulness and sing songs full of praises.
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It’s been a year. It’s been one of the hardest years ofmy life, and it’s not through yet. But this fight has been worth itto feel the hopefulness that lingers in the air right now. No matter what you are going through, hang in there. You might bein the desert, or you may have just caught a glimpse of your meadow. No matter where you are at, know that Jesus loves you.He won’t let goof you. He provides the deepest hope we could ever ask for and Hewill give you the strength to take the next step.
Finding hope when it's hard parenting children by Esther Gallagher
What do you do with that 500 pound heavy heart feeling that you get after you’ve argued with your husband, been disrespected by your teenager’s eye-rolls or slamming bedroom door, or completely lost it with your toddler who just won’t go to sleep? If you’re more mature than I am, you won’t go to bed angry but let’s face it, your heart has taken a beating whether you were the instigator, initiator, the bait-taker, peacemaker, mean-girl, martyr, or the victim. It just plain hurts. And after you turn all the words, either unspoken or intentionally targeted daggers, over and over in your head, eventually you succumb to weariness and fall asleep for maybe a few fitful hours. At morning’s harsh light, you wake, at first not remembering how
badly the night went down and then... your heartache hangover settles in and it all comes flooding back. You want to pull the covers back over your eyes. But it’s a new day and hope calls you to get out of bed; to make amends; to renew; to be accountable; to forgive or ask for forgiveness; to understand; to show that love you proclaim in that big, beautiful heart of yours. On this morning, you tentatively walk down the hall to wake your 11year old girl, who last night-- out of anger, frustration, brokenness, and quite simply because you can be a really immature mom who can’t control her words at wits end (are you seeing the immaturity trend here?)—when she said she can’t
stand you, you responded that you can’t stand her sometimes either and sent her to bed. You sit at the edge of her bed and gently rub her arm which is the only part of her body you can see under a mound of pillows and the stuffies which remind you how small she still is, even though she tests and fights you big. And you tell her that you are so very sorry you hurt her and you love her with all of your imperfect self. And that you are still learning not just how to be a mom, but how to be a self-controlled one; to be slow to anger and use measured, gentle words instead of the volatile, lavaspewing-from-the lips words you used last night. That you’ve still got a lot of work to do during the heat-of-
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"Grace was there for you last night, even though you didn’t realize it, and is still here for you. Go and receive it.”
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the-moment mommy moments and that she deserves better. That mostly, you’re just hopeful she’ll forgive you. And when you are about to leave, because the comforter’s still drawn over her head and there’s no response, she suddenly wraps her arms, still warm from slumber, around your neck with the strongest bear hug that threatens to choke you with the force of her years of karate-trained defensive tactics. And she quietly says, ‘ It’ s o.k. mommy. We all make mistakes and I forgive you.’. And the last few ounces of heaviness left over from the night before melt away, just like that, as you melt into each other’s embrace. And do you know what I call all of this other than a parenting confession that’s hard to share with you (even though it’s honestly not even close to some of the worst things I’ve said to my loved ones)? Hope. It’s the hope that I prayed for when I drifted to sleep the night feeling so ashamed of myself. It’s hope wrapped in grace that teases me awake with every new dawning light that says, ‘Try again Esther.’ It says each day presents itself with an opportunity to feel, act upon, and share that hope with others; for new beginnings and fresh starts with those we are blessed to call our family. A child's
forgiveness is not to be taken lightly. We must treasure and protect our little ones’ and big kids’ hearts, not hurt them. It's a daily challenge, sometimes hourly, and I continuously stumble and fall hurting myself and my kids in the process. Teen and pre-teen hormones are running high and emotions are erupting in our house these days quite regularly. They can be mean, and I can be mean right back. And on the most exhausting nights, I go to bed feeling defeated and disheartened... but still I know hope will be there to urge me on in the morning. It whispers to all of us parents and children alike, “ It’s OK. Today will be better. Rise. Try again. Grace was there for you last night, even though you didn’t realize it, and is still here for you. Go and receive it.” "Wait for the Lord. Be strong and take heart." Psalm 27:14 'Take heart’ is an idiom for being confident and courageous. If parenting teens doesn’t take confidence and courage, I don’t know what does. When our hope is in the Lord, we can be confident that it will be OK eventually. It might not feel OK right away the next morning. But keep waiting, stay confident, stay courageous. He’s here and he’s holding your heavy heart.
With Purpose By Nicole Thompson
I should start first by telling you that I love being a mom. As far back as I can remember I wanted to be a mom and stay home with my littles. I still do want that and feel so blessed that I get to be home with my daughter. I wouldn’t trade it for anything. However, once I made it through a miscarriage, infertility, a difficult pregnancy, and a rather traumatic delivery, I thought the clouds would roll away and being a stay-at-home mommy would be all that I hoped for. I hoped that after the initial newborn stage I’d eventually settle into this season of life. Although I did settle into mommy hood, I still had this feeling of loneliness, unrest, and longing. When my daughter turned two and those same feelings still lingered,I felt lost. I loved that I got to be with my daughter but I also felt lonely. I was lacking community and wasn’t sure how to build it. Finally, I joined a MOPS (Mothers of Preschoolers) group. At the same time I joined a Bible study group Thursday mornings as well. I cannot tell you how much getting out of the house and letting my daughter go to childcare helped me emotionally and mentally! My SUPER extroverted daughter got time to play with other kiddos and I go to have adult time and feel like a real grown up. WIN-WIN! It also helped me to curl my hair, put some make up on, and wear something besides athleisure a few times a week. That might seem like a silly little thing but it really does help me mentally when I take care of myself and get ready a few times a week. So I was building new friendships and not feeling so isolated but I still felt this unrest within me. Lord what is this about?! A few months later another mom from MOPS had an extra ticket to a Propel women’s event. At first I just glanced over her post and then I looked into it. This is their mission taken from www.propelwomen.org: Propel exists to help activate, connect, and equip you to fulfill your God given passion, potential, and purpose. In becoming a stay-at-home mom I felt that I had lost part of who I was. I no longer knew what my passion, potential, or purpose was. This women’s event sounded like exactly what I needed. I showed up on the day of the event with no real expectations of the actual event but in anticipation of how God would show up. I soaked it all in and hoped that God would speak to me and show me his purpose for me. I was hoping he would impress something upon my heart THAT day, but he didn’t. All throughout the event I just kept praying and asking God to use me. I prayed that my heart would be open to however he responded. Whether he just wanted me to focus on my family or asked me to do something big I wanted to be obedient. Oh how I want him to find me faithful! Although I didn't
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leave with a new mission, I did leave
write so I am a writer. I still have a lot
feeling so encouraged. I needed to be
of growing in this area but I trust that
reminded that we as women have an
God will continue to develop my
important place on the earth beyond our
skills. I also know that this isn’t really
families. That we too have callings and
just about grammar and eloquent
gifts that the world needs us to step
words. It’s just me sharing my life in
into. It was as if my soul had been
hopes that it might encourage
looking for permission to want more
someone, even just one woman, on
and had finally found it. The irony is
the other side of the screen. Whether
that for so much of my life I felt like I
my writing ever goes beyond writing
wasn’t enough yet somewhere along
for the magazine and blog, my soul
the way I started feeling like I was too
finds rest in that I asked God to use
much. It is possible to feel like not
me and he is. Everything I write is for
enough and too much at the same time.
his glory not mine. When I thought
Thankfully God has brought other
of this month’s theme I knew what
women alongside me that like to dream
God wanted me to write about. This
big too. I’m learning to let go of my
is for you dear reader who feels a
idea of enough. I am enough because I
longing and unrest within you. There
am fearfully and wonderfully made by
is hope for you too. Jesus told the
God who loves me and has placed
disciples, ͞ The harvest is plentiful but
dreams inside my heart for his
the workers are few.͟ There is a
glory. He has given me gifts and talents
purpose for your life and God wants
to help me fulfill the purpose he has for
to use you. We can find hope in that.
me. I am perfectly enough and not too
If you feel restless and a longing for
much and dear sister so are you!
something more seek God in that, he
Whatever end of that scale you find
will be faithful in answering you. He
yourself on, you too are perfectly
created you with a specific purpose in
mind and nobody else can fulfill your calling in the way that you can.
Although I didn’t realize it at the time God did activate some things in me that day, it just took me a while to notice. Had it not been for the ladies in my Bible study group I might still be wondering why God hadn’t answered my prayers. These women saw something in me I couldn’t see on my own. I had been pouring myself into our study questions every week and spent a lot of time writing my answers. They began commenting on my writing, a few even asked if I was a writer. For a while I kept saying no. I hadn’t gone to school to be a writer and I promise you none of my teachers would have thought of me as a writer. However, a sweet friend spoke some truth to me and reminded me that we don’t need to meet any qualifications because God qualifies the called. I
“There is no one else like you, nor is there anyone who can do what you are personally called to do exactly the way you do it.” Doug Addison
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Hope Continually By Danielle Nesper
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I find my hope in the Lord. Without Him I’d be lost. “Behold, the eye of the Lord is on those who fear Him, on those who hope in His steadfast love” Psalms 33:18. I wrote a blog post last month about my struggles leading up to me and my husband going to Hillsong Conference in New York. The attacks that I felt once we made the decision to go were constant. For me it was so clear that these were attacks from the enemy to distract me, make me doubt if we should even go, pull my focus on why we’re going and what the Lord would do in our lives during and after conference. I had to fight hard every day against it. I
prayed all the time, talked about it a lot and filled my mind and heart with positivity, encouragement and truth. I knew that it would be worth the fight in the end but I didn't know to what extent until after conference was over. Now that we’re home and I have been able to reflect from it I've already had huge growth in my relationship with the Lord and in turn huge growth within myself. It has been unreal. During the conference I was overwhelmed with the need to just surrender it all to Him and just let Him be in control. That gives me so much hope because He knows what my heart needs better than I do since He’s the one that
made me. If I allowed myself to cave, believe the lies, get discouraged and get scared then I wouldn't have gotten anything out of Conference. I knew that something big was coming. I could sense God’s presence and I waited to hear from Him. I was nervous sometimes but I never lost hope! “But if we hope for what we do not see, we wait for it with patience” Romans 8:25. I have broken free from a lot even just in these past few weeks and that makes me so hopeful for the future!! ( Speaking of the future I want to invite you to Hillsong Conference 2017 in LA!) The more I lean into His Word, surround myself with positive people, put myself out there, and surrender even more to the Lord the stronger I will be. Imagine what more growth will come!! That gives me so much hope! Being a Christian for the majority of my life, this is something that I already knew… This should be easy for you, Danielle!! But since I came out of a very tough season that happened a couple of years ago it has beautifully reminded
"But if we hope for what we do not see, we wait for it with patience.” Romans 8:25 me of God’s faithfulness and His unfailing love for us. We’re human and sometimes we forget that He’s there with us the whole time and He’s just waiting for us to reach out to Him and to pursue Him. Through the good AND the tough seasons. The more we surrender to Him and pursue Him the harder the enemy will try to get in our way and distract us. We have to fight hard and stay focused on Him! He’s worth it! I'm so hopeful for my future and my relationship with the lord. I've turned a corner and I'm so ready to keep going!! My challenge for us this month is to lean on a couple solid trustworthy people and don't do this journey alone! “But I will hope continually and will praise you yet more and more” Psalms 71:14. Let's hope continually together!
He Has Hope For Me
Hope is a funny thing.
I’m not writing that down.”
I’ll be honest with you; I’m not one for much hope. I’m what one calls a ‘pessimistic-realist.’ I say things how they are and I call out what I see. If I don’t like what I see, I’ll assess the situation; but I probably won’t stick around for much longer. I seem to never have any real hope with myself either. I am constantly feeling like my current state will never get better; and I don’t necessarily mean my finances or my love life- I mean my sin. Of course, yes, we’ll always be sinners. I’ll never reach perfection until I reach Heaven, but boy, do I fail. I fail every day.
“Robyn, write it down.”
Back at the start of my YWAM (Youth With A Mission) school, our first lecture was on hearing the voice of God. This week had so many practical applications, although admittedly, I felt like I was at Hogwarts learning how to use a wand for the first time. The first time I heard the Lord, I heard Him say, “I love you.” My world opened up. I couldn’t believe it. He loved me? After that, we each went somewhere for 30 minutes and asked God two questions, ‘How do you feel about me?’ and ‘What are your plans for my life?’ So I sat down, slightly skeptical, yet filled with with child-like faith that I would hear something. And I did. Hope. “What is that even supposed to mean?
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By Robyn Baldwin. Photo by Jay & Jess
“Ugh, fine, I’ll write it down.” (May I just also side-note that this is a pretty typical interaction between Him and I, and it’s usually filled with a lot of laughs.) I finished my time, closed up my notebook, and went back into the lecture hall; still processing this word. I was called on to share what things God had said and so I began to speak, and as I said the word hope I felt Him speak to me again, “Hope, I have hope for you.” Cue tears (and I may or may not be crying right now). It’s been two years since I first heard those words and I am still so sweetly affected by them. He has hope for me. Hope in my failures, disappointments, sin; hope in who I am as a person, as Robyn, as His daughter. There’s a Hebrew word, miqveh, which I think perfectly describes the hope He was talking about then and reminding me of now. It means things hoped for; a ground of hope. I have that word permanently etched on my arm because for the rest of my life I want to remember the kind of hope that He sees in me. The kind of hope that He saw in that excited and scared twenty year old and the kind of hope that He sees in a little-wiser, morejoyful, and little less-scared 22 year old.
I was called on to share what things God had said and so I began to speak, and as I said the word hope I felt Him speak to me again, “Hope, I have hope for you.” "
HOPE is the only thing stronger than FEAR.
An Interview with Cory Martin BY JESSICA WILLIAMS
I first met Cory through Stellar Day Magazine a few months ago. I was gladly intoduced to her through her memoir, Love Sick, and we quickly added it to our book club list. In the time that we were reading her book, I was able to talk back and forth with Cory a little bit. I was completely inspired by her story, her struggle, and her journey after being diagnosed with MS. I thought her book was encouraging and so relateable. So I asked her to be SDM's interview for this month. The theme is Hope, and I couldn't imagine a more uplifting person to share more of her heart with us, than Cory Martin!
1. Thank you so much for taking the time for this interview. I've loved working with you and think your story is really inspirational. Can you let our Stellar Day Magazine readers know a little bit about your memoir Love Sick, and why you chose to write about your story? A: Of course, it’s been so great working with you as well. Thank you for including me! I started writing Love Sick almost nine years ago. I had just turned 28 that summer, all my friends were beginning to get married, I was happily living the single life, but still dating, and I was working on getting my career started as a writer. Then a huge bomb got dropped on me and I was told I had multiple sclerosis. Suddenly, everything I had thought about my future went out the door and I was paralyzed with fear, wondering if I could still work, if I’d have to move back home, if anyone would still love me and on and on. I didn’t know what to do, but because I’ve always been a huge fan of books and reading the first thing I did when I got the news was go straight to the bookstore and look for books on the disease and other’s stories that I might be able to relate to. What I found was that the majority of people who were writing about MS or any disease for that matter were older and married and already established in their careers. There were all sorts of books on the symptoms of the disease, and books on dating, and books on succeeding but there wasn’t anyone talking openly about how to deal with everything at once and I felt completely alone. I started writing my story because it was the only thing I knew how to do. It sounds cliché but I wrote Love Sick because it was the book I needed to read. While it absolutely addresses what it’s like to deal with MS, it is far more than that. Because what I went through was really a journey of finding out that I was still lovable despite my diagnosis. That was the story I was looking for when I went to the bookstore searching for comfort and that’s what I hope people get out of this book. 2. What is something you would like to encourage others with who might have MS or who have a loved one who has MS? I would say be open and honest with what you are going through. Besides my immediate family, I kept most of my struggles to myself, which worked out okay in my case because I am blessed with extremely loving and supportive parents and an incredible sister, but I know now that there were so many other family members and friends that would have helped me get through it as well and it probably would have made things less difficult. Because MS can be an invisible disease, if I put on a happy face and said I was doing fine, then people believed me. So if you have a loved one with MS, I would highly recommend that you don’t take “I’m fine” as the real answer. Ask questions. Offer to go to doctor appointments. Make it easy for your loved one to open up to you. This was difficult for me to do, because I never wanted to burden anyone with my problems, especially because much of what I struggled with was internal, but if people had asked more I might have been more open.
3. What is a common misconception that you have run into with your journey with MS and what would you like to see changed about it? I’m not sure this is a misconception but one of the things I ran into that was difficult to deal with was the fact that so many people wanted to re-diagnose me or send me the cures they’d found on the internet, even though they were not doctors. I knew they meant well and wanted to help, but when you’re dealing with a disease like MS that is full of unknowns instead of hearing ‘we just want to help you’, you hear ‘I don’t believe you.’ When you already feel like the whole thing might just be in your head, because MS is not a concrete disease in the sense that you get one test done they say you have it and then they put you on a treatment, you can start to feel a little hopeless. No two cases of the disease are alike, so there’s no predicting what can happen to each patient, and I wish that is what people would understand. I am not like that person you read about on the internet who was cured by some miraculous new procedure, or your aunt’s sister’s best friend who can no longer walk, or the person you see smiling in the drug commercial, I am me and the way this disease affects me is completely different from anyone else. That’s what I hope people will understand - that we just want to be heard and believed. 4. I love that you teach yoga and wish I could take a class from you! What is your favorite health benefit of doing yoga? That would be fun – maybe some day I’ll start traveling and teaching on the road! For me, the biggest benefit I’ve gotten from the practice is the ability to quiet my mind. As a writer, I can create some of the scariest scenarios in my head that deal with life and disease and everything else, but through yoga I’ve learned to let those thoughts dissipate. Another thing about yoga is that it makes you hyper-aware of your body. Had I not been doing yoga I’m not sure I would have noticed some of the things that were going wrong with my body that prompted me to go to the doctor in the first place. In that sense I look at yoga as a sort of preventive medicine. 5. What would you encourage someone who has never tried or who is a super beginner with yoga in? The thing I love about yoga is that it constantly evolves and doesn’t always have to involve asana (the poses). In fact, the poses are just one part of yoga, so if you can show up on your mat and simply breathe you’re doing yoga. If you can then focus on your breath so that the other thoughts in your head drift away, you’re doing yoga. The poses were created to help you get to these states. It’s not about being able to put your foot behind your head or balance on your hands, if you can do those things great, if you can’t it’s no big deal. I always tell beginners to listen to their body and do what feels right for them. If they want to sit in child’s pose the entire class I’m completely okay with that. Also, I tell people that all the other students in the room are so focused on their practice that they don’t care what you look like. As a teacher, I’m only looking at you to make sure you don’t
get hurt, I don’t care if you can touch your toes or not. That’s not what yoga is about. It’s about being able to tune out the outside world and focus on the inner part of yourself, so don’t worry what you look like in class. 6. I loved reading your book, Love Sick and found it to be full of HOPE, sharing your story from a normal girl’s perspective with honesty and openness. What is the message of HOPE that you would like to share with other women through your story? My biggest message to any reader is that we are all lovable no matter what. I think we, women especially, tend to let the external things that happen to us define who we are and there’s always something about that thing that makes us wonder if we’re still lovable. For me, it was the worry that no one would ever want to take me in sickness and health because I knew that the sickness was inevitable. What I found was, yes, there are people out there they may choose not
to love me because they fear what my future holds, but there are far more people who love me because of who I am at the core. Not who I am because of a diagnosis. So whatever your thing is that holds you back from feeling lovable, know that it doesn’t matter and that you are truly lovable. 7. What has been your biggest challenge or set back of having MS? I think the biggest challenge I’ve faced is the emotional part of the disease. I’m very fortunate that all of my symptoms are manageable, but there is nothing to take away the fear that comes with the uncertainty and unpredictability of MS. I said earlier that no two MS cases are alike, which is very true, but the emotional journey of the disease is pretty universal. Even though my symptoms are completely different than someone else’s I have many of the same fears others do – and I imagine that this doesn’t just apply to MS, but probably to most diagnoses as well.
"My biggest message to any reader is that we are all lovable no matter what."
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"I am more comfortable being in my skin, because it’s all I’ve got and I’m always worried it’s going to be taken away."
8. In what ways has it surprised you and taught you the most? You know, I struggled with this a lot when I was writing the book, because I knew that editors, publishers, etc. were going to want that big epiphany or that big life change and the truth is that rarely happens. Instead, what happens is a slow gradual change from who you once were to who you are now. Having to deal with MS changed me. I am not the person I was nine years ago. Yes, I have age to thank for some things, but I believe a lot of the change happened because of what I’ve gone through. I care less about what people think of me, I care less about working hundred hour weeks to prove I am good enough, I care more about my health and self-care, I am slower to judge, even the people who are rude, because I’ve learned that everyone’s facing some unseen battle, I'm no longer afraid to speak my mind
or speak in public because I’ve learned that I have something to say, I am more comfortable being in my skin, because it’s all I’ve got and I’m always worried it’s going to be taken away, I’m quicker to ask for help because I know what silence can do to my mind and my body, I’m even more of a ‘say yes to anything’ type of person than I already was because I truly don’t know what’s going to happen tomorrow, I’m more compassionate towards writers, friends, business owners who share their stories and dreams in any public manner because I know how hard it is to put yourself out there, I don’t worry about failing because the worse that ever happens is that you don’t get what you think you wanted but you always get something more, I am more open to giving and receiving love and I am always savoring every moment of life. I am changed. 9. What is something that you dream of doing, big or small? I would love to live in Europe for a year and write another book. I’ve always fantasized about the lives of the ex-pats of yesteryear like Fitzgerald and Hemingway. I want to go live in an old flat somewhere like Prague or Vienna, write a few hours a day then take long walks around the city exploring, stopping for wine and food along the way, then sitting in a park to read a book or people watch, then doing it all over the next day. 10. What are your plans for your future? (if you can share) Right now I’m still kind of enjoying promoting Love Sick, but I’d like to write another book in the next year. I’ve been contemplating some novel ideas, probably focused on love and dating – there are a lot of stories that didn’t make it into the book that would be fun to embellish and turn into a work of fiction. I’ve also contemplated writing another yoga book and I wrote a screenplay this summer that’s being shopped around and have ideas for more. I’m also a regular blogger now on Psychology Today. And more than anythingI’m still happily in love and looking forward to that future.
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Living With GIG Syndrome By Arianne Dellovo I've suffered from GIG most of my life. Symptoms include restlessness, inability to concentrate, distractibility, confusion, and an overwhelming urge to drop everything and go out in search of the antidote that will assuage all of your symptoms. So what the heck is GIG, you ask? Don’t bother looking it up on WebMD; it’s just a little something I came up with called: Grass is Greener Syndrome. People that have known me since I was a child probably can recall that I used to "quit" things a lot. Barring a few exceptions, there were not many extracurricular activities that stood the test of time for sweet, fickle, little Arianne. Soccer? I lasted about a month. Ballet? A week. I’m sure my parents were a tad concerned at times and that they received criticism from relatives and friends for being such “pushovers.” I was
grateful, though, because I felt like I was always given the ability to spread my wings and fly. Granted a lot of the time, I was flying away from things. Sure I played softball, basketball, and volleyball for years…but after a while, I refused to attend camps and put in the time to become great. And yes, I always loved music, but I stopped piano lessons after 7 years and then never really practiced. Needless to say, I can still bang out a shaky version of Silent Night at the holidays but that’s about it. As an adolescent and a young adult, I often fluctuated between groups of friends and I had a million crushes but very few serious relationships. All of these things were classic signs of early-onset GIG. By the time I reached my mid-20s, I began to make peace with this “disease.” I told myself it was normal to have the aforementioned symptoms, and that the
best thing to do was to just take a little time out of each day to daydream. It's a healthy enough habit, but certainly not the cure. Then again, maybe I didn’t need to be “cured?” Nearly all of my symptoms could be spun to sound like attributes rather than detriments. I wasn’t restless; I was adventurous. I wasn’t easily distracted; I was great at multi-tasking! I wasn’t confused; I was just curious. I learned that sometimes you have to really open up your mind and heart to those symptoms and make your daydreams a reality. Progress. Forward Motion. "Everything must evolve or else is perishes," according to a character in one of my favorite books, A Separate Peace. If it weren't for GIG, I wouldn't be a high school English teacher. And for ten years, I've been absolutely confident that I made the right move acting on those
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daydreams I used to have while sitting in my cubicle at Houghton Mifflin. But GIG never goes away. It's a chronic, life-long syndrome. A year ago, I impulsively convinced my husband that we should sell our house. I was so incredibly unhappy living where we were living, even though four years prior, I was the one who found the house and fell in love with the gigantic kitchen and glorious two-car garage. And yet, as time went on, I became really depressed about things I could not change about the house, namely the physical location. All I could think about was how I wanted to be living somewhere else. We did eventually sell the house, but before we did, I had to come up with a plan to manage my GIG. Oddly enough, my inspiration came from a Justin Bieber song of all things! It honestly gave me a new way of looking at life. The song was "As Long as You Love Me" and the line came from the rap part performed by someone named Big Sean. It goes: "the grass ain't always greener on the other side, it's green where you water it." Now maybe this was a famous saying before it was used in the song, but I'll be honest, it was the first time I had ever heard it. It struck a chord with me. It made me realize that maybe the next
time I want to hit the pavement and run to the next best thing, I should stop and make sure I've really done my best nurturing or perfecting the thing I'm running from. When it comes to family, true friends, my marriage, and my career I definitely now embrace the concept of watering the grass that is right in front of me. For example, my brother is one of my favorite people in the world. He’s three years younger than me and, although we are nearly polar opposites, he is my first and oldest friend. When we were little, I was bossy and creative and extremely lucky to have this adorably agreeable little buddy who let me be his teacher, his boss, his hairdresser, his foreman, his coach, the lead singer of the band. I was all over the place, even when playing pretend, and he was always up for whatever. Like I am sure many people feel, the grass does seem greener in the rear view mirror. Those were simpler times. We lived under the same roof, had very little responsibility, and certainly didn’t have differing opinions on anything noteworthy. So what now? Well, now we’re grown-ups, with busy jobs and other serious commitments, and certainly differing opinions on a variety of things. And yet,
I definitely now embrace the concept of watering the grass that is right in front of me." "
I know that if I want to maintain this friendship that was once so readily available to me and is still very dear to me though not as convenient, I NEED TO WATER IT! I need to call him, text him, email him, invite him over for dinner, and spoil him on his birthday. I need to hear him out, respect his opinion, apologize when I mess up, and tell him that I’m so proud of him. That’s what you do with things you love. You take care of them. You nurture them. You put in the effort. It’s the way I approach my relationship with him, my parents, my core group of close friends, and of course my husband. And how about the things I don’t water? The things I fly away from? Because, yes people, I do still fly away from many things. I still have a wandering eye, if you will. Something shiny and new catches it and suddenly I am drawn away from a current project, workout trend, group of people, television series, you name it. I’m happy to say that I’ve made peace with the fact that I just might always do that. I just might always suffer from GIG but I don’t need to be cured. All I need is to be able to discern what is worth watering and what is not, and I am confident I have done just that.
A single thread of hope is still a very powerful thing.
A Taste Of Motherhood
By Cassidy Rich
I was sort of a teen mom. My little sister, Zoe, was born shortly before I turned 10 and Zack came along when I was 12 ½. Zander, the youngest of the seven kids in my family, was born when I was 15. Changing diapers, feeding them baby food, waking up to the sound of their cries at midnight, putting them in timeout, cleaning up after potty training accidents, dropping off and picking up at Sunday School, and driving them to various activities became everyday life for me when I was a tween and teenager. From the time I was 12 to when I began college full time at 19, I made dinner, washed the laundry, and cleaned the kitchen. This is making it sound like my mom was MIA and left me to take care of my younger siblings all on my own. That was not the case. My mom was (and is) a private tutor, college counselor, psychologist, chauffer, and personal assistant. In other words she’s a stay-at-home mom. She works tirelessly to ensure the safety and wellbeing of all her children. When I was nearing my teen years I discovered that I absolutely loved doing “mommy things” and as a result I took over in the areas where I could. This allowed my mom to focus on our activities, school schedules, and plan wonderful memory-making family vacations. From a very young age I was able to get a taste of motherhood and see the daily sacrifices of parents who raise their children in the way of the Lord. I’ve learned that parenthood is not for the fainthearted, especially because a huge part of raising little humans is delayed gratification. Stubborn, hardheaded, smart-mouthed kids can push parents to the breaking point and create this cycle of discipline and anger that drives a cavern between the parent and child. While in that season of upbringing and training it can seem hopeless from the parents’ perspective that their kid will turn out all right. But there is hope.
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Over the years I’ve witnessed my parents praying for their children, asking God to guide their hearts and steps in the direction that glorifies Him. So often it appears that prayers go unanswered or unheard and we are left to our own devises. But waiting and persevering produces Christ-like character and I’ve been blessed to see this in my parents. They fought the good fight and continue to do so because they are following God’s call for them. Even though I’m not a mother and don’t possess the actually experience of raising children, I’ve tasted it to know that it is filled with joy and hardship, tears and laughter, and hope. God created parenthood and perfectly models it for us by being our Father. My parents have taught me and my siblings to put our hope in Him because without Him we’d have no hope. No hope for a better future. No hope that we could possibly achieve our goals. No hope that a stubborn, rebellious child could soften his/her heart and come back home. God fills us with hope through His word and He delivers on His promises. It may not be in the way or timing we expect, but ultimately it’s all for His glory. I’m incredibly thankful that I’ve seen this firsthand through the parents He blessed me with.
Hope For The Things Unseen
s g n i h t f o e c n a r u s s a e h t s i f h o t i s a n f o i t c i v n o “Now c e h t , r o ” hoped f . n e e s t o n s g n i th 1 : 1 1 s Hebrew This verse has been on my heart since I found out what the topic would be for this issue. When I think of the word ‘hope’ I think of things that are unseen. For some reason that excites me and also makes me nervous at the same time. I like being able to see. I like knowing what’s going to happen, what’s predictable. What’s easy? But lets keep it real, when is life ever easy? Ever predictable? Um, hardly ever, at least in my life. I try and control things, and then everything becomes unraveled and I’m left with a hot mess. Unseen. There has to be a whole lotta trust and faith right there to be totally ok with not seeing what’s lying ahead. Maybe it’s going to be a loss of some sort. Maybe it’s going to be the biggest blessing of your life. You never know until you are there, seeing. I don’t know about you, but I want to live a hopeful life. I want to be ok with the things unseen. There are reasons beyond me that we can only see and understand up to a point with our lives. And you know what? I’m getting to the point where I am ok with that. I trust the Lord and I trust that no matter what lies ahead, that He is going to be with me and walk along side me no matter what. He loves me more than I can ever describe and wants the best. He also is fair and just and what He allows for you and me to endure is for His good. All of whatever we have gone through, are going through and yet to step into is to give Him the glory. He is worthy and He loves you too much to leave you where you are. Trust Him. Take that step and look at the future with hopeful eyes. He is our hope. He is the one that knows all things and sees all things.
Navigating Fear With Two Beliefs By Jessie Christensen Let’s just say that if trains could travel as fast and as easily as planes, I would earn big time land miles. Unfortunately, my fear of flying has become legendary among those who have had the misfortune of flying anywhere with me. Thankfully, as I have stepped out and into obedience, God has helped me develop a deeper insight about flying. It hasn’t been easy. Last month I was at the Phoenix airport ready to board a flight for home. I was excited for my grandpa’s 90th birthday. Festivities were planned, the family was gathered, friends were texting and I was happily making plans. Amid the arranging, it hit. Anxiety! I was going to board the plane. Seatbelts! Safety instructions! Liftoff! (That’s when my stomach begins to lurch) Loud noise! TURBULENCE? Is the pilot experienced? Expected storms? And so I pray…. Ahhh… He calms me. Jesus promises to help break our fears so that we can live in complete freedom. My fears are small, the Lord reminds me, and He is big enough for all things. So when it comes to flying, I have discovered two beliefs that keep me flying. Belief One The pilots are much wiser than I am. I don’t have the slightest clue how to fly a plane, so here’s the thing… I have to trust in their expertise. That means, with complete surrender, I have to have faith in someone I don’t know, can’t see, and who is not going to listen to any advice I can give. And when he finally says, “Sit back, relax, and enjoy the ride,” I need to believe him (or her!), get out a book, and trust we will get to our destination. And funnily enough, I do. Isn’t that really what Living in Christ is like? Sometimes the path is scary. You have to let go, losing what you thought you wanted, and trusting that God knows where you need to go. Or when you think everything is going well and Wham! Turbulence hits and you are free falling.
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But just like the pilot of the plane, The Pilot of our life, knows where we need to be and how we need to get there. Belief Two Adventure awaits when you step on the plane. Admittedly, fear and excitement wrestle continuously as I linger around an airport. I look out at the waiting planes, some taking off to far away countries, and realize that anywhere in the world is just hours away. People are taking off on marvelous adventures, some to unknown or unexplored regions. Others are simply heading home to familiar faces, places and loved ones. Many are anxious, maybe even frightened, but they are fueled by the excitement of the unknown. Our journey with Christ can be scary, too, filled with
unknown’s paths and unexplored journeys. But how great it is to know the one who loves us and fill us with His love and care. The deeper my relationship with the Lord becomes, the more secure I am that I will
…and the more confident I become in knowing that
if I surrender, and get on board with Christ, it will be one amazing journey. I can hear his voice now,
“Jessie, sit back, relax and enjoy
This is a pilot I can trust.
"Our journey with Christ can be scary, too, filled with unknown’s paths and unexplored journeys. But how great it is to know the one who loves us and fill us with His love and care."
BY SARAH COSTA
“If you die, get up and walk it off.” - Captain America Ok, maybe it’s a little cheesy, but I heard this quote today and just can’t get it off of my mind. It’s been a journey uprooting our lives and starting over. It’s been hard to admit that I’m not as great at making friends as I would like to believe I am. Change is HARD. The thing about change is, once we decide to go for it, life hits us and punches us in the face. Have you noticed that? Once you decide to lose weight, clean your house, be friendlier, be more patient, or whatever, all hell breaks loose and tries to deter you from your goals. I’ve noticed it a few times. I noticed it when I started to try to lose the baby weight after my pregnancy. I noticed it when I decided to start
my own business. I notice it now that I’ve completely changed my life to pursue my dream of performing. We moved to Philly for my career. Not my husbands. Not better schools. Not to be closer to family. We moved specifically so I could pursue opera. And do you know what? Over the past 2 months, the idea of giving up and quitting has crossed my mind more than it ever has before. I’ve had thoughts that tell me I don’t know how to sing. I’ve felt defeated and helpless in figuring out how to find a babysitter. I’ve considered quietly doing nothing to pursue lessons or auditions for myself and letting the excitement that I told the world I had subside, hopefully unnoticed.
The thing about Jesus is that His goals for us are greater than our own. His desire for our hearts and lives fuels our own. He doesn’t give up on us no matter how easily we give up on ourselves. He shows up for us time and again because He is faithful! What I find so awesome is that He planned for me to have these past 2 months in quiet so that I could search for Him and seek Him. And then He put things in my life to point me back to Him. He wanted me to find my fulfillment in Him first and only, and then He pointed me in the direction I am supposed to go. Today, He reminded me that no matter what, nothing is greater than He is. He is my hope. He is the
source of life and the reason we breathe. If He loved me enough to send Jesus to DIE for me, then He definitely loves me enough to figure out where He wants me to be, what He wants me to do and where He will use me to bring Him the most glory. So, I’m deciding to get up and walk it off. Not in my own strength, but in His. I’m falling into the power of His love and leaving the self-pity and depression at His feet. “Humble yourself in the sight of the Lord, and He will lift you up.” James 4:10. Hope in Him. He holds onto you and your dreams. He will lift you up.
"The thing about Jesus is that His goals for us are greater than our own. His desire for our hearts and lives fuels our own. He doesn’t give up on us no matter how easily we give up on ourselves."
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LAST SECOND HOPE by Sarah Trapp
s a pessimist, the concept of hope was a struggle for me to write about. I’m someone who worries about the worst happening, and convinced that the worst will happen to me. But hope, always seems to creep in at the last possible second. Hope whispers through the darkness, through the doubt, through my pessimism, and frankly crappy attitude. Hope suggests, that just maybe, some good will come from the bad. That the night will end. That there will be an answer to prayer. That there will be change. That my heart would heal. As a Christian, I feel as though I hold hope so easily, but the pessimist in me always finds ways to let it slip through my fingers. Maybe it’s because I don’t always think I’m good enough, or
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that the promise that hope brings doesn't apply to me because I messed up big time. In any case, hope is beautiful and terrifying. While hope always brings a bright new change, most of the time it is only after enduring the darkest night. The scariest thing about hope, quite possibly, is trusting and waiting that good will come. Sometimes it takes a short time, other times it drags on. Sometimes we can expect what will happen in the future, but most of the time we have to trust and hold onto the tiny ribbon of glimmering hope, keeping us from falling into the caverns of our own doubt. Hope is a driving force, more powerful than many things of this world. It keeps us from quitting and believing, even when the odds are stacked against us. In this crazy world, we need more hope. We need to see the good again, even when there is darkness everywhere. We need to have hope when we expect the
worst, but there is the slightest chance that the best will happen. We need hope to know that there will be a tomorrow. We need to start seeing the glass as half full, with the possibility of gaining more water.
“Hope means that we must trust and wait for what is still unseen.” Romans 8:24
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Editor in Chief Jessica Williams Associate Editor Jennifer Stamps Contributors Brianna VanderWeide Christine Cram Danielle Nesper Esther Gallagher Jennifer Stamps Jessica Williams Kate Williams Nicole Thompson Rennai Hoefer Robyn Baldwin Sarah Costa Sarah Trapp Columnists Arianne Dellovo Cassidy Rich Christine Cram Cory Martin Danielle Nesper Esther Gallagher Jennifer Stamps Jessica Williams Jessie Christensen Nicole Thompson Robyn Baldwin Sarah Costa Sarah Trapp Special Thanks AFC Chiropractic Hello Happiness Card Co. Nine Retreat Jay & Jess Photography Thready Creations
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Jessica Williams EDITOR-IN-CHIEF Hope is rising. Can you feel it? These days can be really, really dark. They are dark in our minds, our neighborhoods, our communities, our cities, states and countries. Everywhere we look there's news of the evil in the world. Something else to be scared of, to worry about and be nervous over. It's constant. We are reminded that we should live in fear, not leave our homes, and fear the future. I'm here to remind you that this is NOT what God promises for us. He promises us life and abundantly. He tells us that times will be hard, but to take heart because he's overcome it all. He promises goodness, love and mercy. He sees the evil but it's not without his mighty hand above it all. You might be in a hopeless place. There might seem like no way out. The future might scare the hell out of you and it might look bleak. But we have no reason to fear. Hope is the shining beacon of light down at the end of the tunnel that beckons us home. It's within our reach and we must never loose sight of it. Times may be tough, but my God is bigger. Hope is rising. It hasn't stopped rising. And it will rise around the darkness until the God of the universe comes back again to take us home.
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