March for Mental Health 5K; we’re all broken

“Don’t judge my path if you haven’t walked my journey.”

This year one of the things on my bucket list was walking a 5k. Even though I haven’t been walking consistently lately and haven’t walked a 5k in several years, it was still a goal.

And this Saturday I walked and jogged a 5k, the March for Mental Health, and finished it! I felt so happy and proud of myself!

NAMI
NAMI

 

me before 5k
me before 5k

Created by the volunteer-based, non-profit organization, National Alliance for Mental Illness (NAMI) and several sponsors, this 5k walk/run was for the support of:

1) advancing the research and treatment of mental illness;
2) establishing family and peer support groups;
3) suicide prevention;
4) providing support to the health care professionals who treat mental illness, spreading overall mental health awareness.

balloons
balloons

The woman who started this 5k for NAMI, Heidi, was the mom of Adam, who was diagnosed with schizophrenia. He nearly died after taking 100 morphine pills, but to his doctors’ shock he came back to life. With his mother’s, counselor’s, and others’ support, he started college classes and helped his mom with founding this 5k Walk/Run. With his well-known humor, he suggested they call it, “Runs Like Crazy.”

Although she finally decided on the name, “March for Mental Health,” since Adam was born in March, he used his own name, “Runs Like Crazy,” for his team name.

In the end, Adam gave up the fight and took his own life. Heidi continues this 5k in memory of her precious son and others who have mental health issues. Below is a picture of Heidi speaking at the 5k, thanking all the sponsors and participants and her son Adam, who inspired it. 

Heidi, mom of Adam and the founder of March for Mental Health 5K walk/run
Heidi, mom of Adam and the founder of March for Mental Health 5K walk/run

Before the walk started, I also spoke with a beautiful brunette-haired woman named Annette, who was serving at the NAMI table. Her son, Clayton J. Hugill, was diagnosed with bipolar disorder in his teens. She said he was such a kind, loving, and funny boy.

He lost the fight to mental illness, too, and tragically, he committed suicide when he was just 22 years old. She said it was two years ago, but understandably, it is still hard for her. Here is the pin and bracelet she gave me at the 5k. My heart aches for her and Heidi.

Pin & bracelet honoring Clayton J. Hugill at 5K
Pin & bracelet honoring Clayton J. Hugill at 5K

A young woman dressed up in a costume as her “alter ego” shared her story about having borderline personality disorder, a disorder that one of our own family members has been diagnosed with recently. This woman said several profound things:

  • “I’m broken because of everything I’ve been through. Why do we run from the broken? We’re all a little broken.”
  • “Just because I’m broken doesn’t mean I can’t be fixed.”
  • “We need to be present for one another.”
woman with borderline disorder
woman with borderline disorder

I so agree with these words. We’re all broken; we all need Jesus. 

This police officer who works in the Crisis Intervention Team (CIT) at the Kansas City police department also spoke. I talked with him before the walk, and he explained a little more about CIT training, which helps and prepares police officers for coming into contact with people who have mental illness and to respond appropriately to them. He thanked me for participating in the 5k walk/run. I thanked him for being there and his help.

CIT police officer
CIT police officer

There was a spirit of excitement and joy at the 5k before we began. To my surprise they were playing Christian music, which really encouraged me! One was Chain Breaker by Zach Williams, a song I love.

walkers/runners
walkers/runners

 

woman runner
woman runner

 

young girls runners
young girls runners

This kind black man prayed for everyone before the walk and I thanked him afterward for doing this. He smiled big at me and said, “We can’t forget our God!” and I said, “That’s right!”

man who prayed at 5k walk/run
man who prayed at 5k walk/run

The 5k was in Kansas City by the Missouri River. The area and the day were just beautiful, perfect for the walk! Several people brought their dogs to walk, too.

Missouri River
Missouri River

 

Man with his dogs at 5K
Man with his dogs at 5K

Along the 5k walk/run path, the NAMI staff had created boards with stats on mental health, which I found interesting.

Depression in young adults
Depression in young adults

 

Suicide in young adults
Suicide in young adults

 

teens with mental illness
teens with mental illness

 

coping skills
coping skills

This sounds silly, but I was afraid I’d get lost along the way on the walk, since I wasn’t familiar with the area in Kansas City! Thankfully, they had drawn chalk-colored arrows on the sidewalk to guide and help you.

Whatever you’re facing right now, the Holy Spirit will guide and help you, too.

“I will ask the Father, and He will give you another Helper, that He may be with you forever; that is the Spirit of truth, whom the world cannot receive, because it does not see Him or know Him, but you know Him because He abides with you and will be in you.” (John 14:16-17)

arrows
arrows

At the half-way point, the NAMI volunteer staff supplied water to the participants. You could choose to walk or run a shorter route straight ahead, or go back the way you came, which would enable you to complete the full 5k. I opted for the longer 5k route!

“Jesus said, “Everyone who drinks this water will get thirsty again and again. Anyone who drinks the water I give will never thirst—not ever. The water I give will be an artesian spring within, gushing fountains of endless life.” (John 4:13-14, The Message)

water at 5k
water at 5k

I walked and jogged, finishing the 5k. Afterward, I asked one of the staff to take my picture at the finish line. I was so happy and excited!

me after I finished the 5K--so happy & excited!
me after I finished the 5K–so happy & excited!

The staff and the sponsors had fresh fruit like oranges, bananas, granola bars, and water to hand out to the participants. Another table had pumpkin-flavored scones. 

The ready snacks for the walkers and runners are typical at 5k’s, half-marathons, and marathons walks/runs, and is one of the funnest parts–your reward! I grabbed a banana (ate half after the walk for potassium), an orange (ate the next day), a pumpkin scone (ate most of it), and some brochures on mental health, too.

fresh fruit and granola bars
fresh fruit and granola bars

 

pumpkin scone & brochures
pumpkin scone & brochures

Pray for those with mental health issues and the people who try to help them each day. You might even have a family member, a friend, a neighbor, a co-worker, or someone you know who is struggling and feels all alone.

The National Suicide Prevention Hotline if you or someone you love needs help is 1-800-273-8255.

We will never give up hope!

hope
hope

One of the reasons this 5k walk/run was a cause close to my heart is because of my own mental health background, when I was struggling with suicidal depression, nightmares, anger, anxiety/fears, and hopelessness, in a time of a 5-year crisis as a young adult in my 20’s. I was diagnosed with major depressive episode, anxiety disorder, and Post Traumatic Stress Disorder.

I attempted suicide three different times during those five years, including an overdose of pills, but God spared my life. Jesus is my Healer and I give Him all the praise and glory for His healing, miraculous power in my life. He sets the captives free and gives us beauty for ashes. 

You can read this amazing story in my memoir at Amazon, Promises In The Dark, One Woman’s Search for Authentic Love, by clicking here

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#Oneword 2017

I believe that God gave me my “one word” and Scripture for 2017. I wasn’t looking for it. In fact, I thought about not having a “one word.” I’m not into fads. 

My precious sis Maria
My precious sister Maria

But as I sought my sister Maria’s counsel on an important matter at the end of 2016 (she’s my sister and a therapist!), she encouraged me about being intentional–doing things on purpose. Here below is what she emailed me:

“My word for the last few days is “on purpose.” We have to do things on purpose – get closer to God and family and friends. Make time to do things. Improve ourselves like health and money management. I guess my question is what can you do on purpose to make things even a little better?”

She also wrote, “I so get feeling like things are stuck in a rut, an endless pit of crap. We can’t control other people, only ourselves. If this was a therapy session, lol, I would try to have you identify three things that have shown improvement in the last month (exercised more, prayed more, went to a workshop, etc), then three things you can do on purpose to improve things. And I am preaching to myself! I love you immensely. Praying God will fill your heart to overflowing!”

Then as I sat in church yesterday in my black dress, cloaked in an emerald-white sapphire necklace and bracelet and many questions about life, our pastor Jeff talked about being intentional in 2017. There’s that word again. When God says something once, I listen. When He says something twice, I sit up and pay much closer attention. Third time, I know He’s a-shoutin’ at me!

2017 One Word Intentional

So my “one word” for 2017 is intentional. 

I didn’t really want the word. It’s tired, overused, much like the word “purpose,” which I’m all over and about in my mission encouraging women to use their gifts for God and doing what they love.

But it’s a word I need in my life. Down to my writing bones. (This phrase came to mind, remembering author Natalie Goldberg’s excellent book, Writing Down the Bones.

The definition of intentional, according to the Merriam-Webster dictionary online is:

  • done by intention or design; 
  • done in a way that is planned;
  • done in a deliberate way; not accidental.

Synonyms for intentional are:

  • voluntary
  • willing
  • deliberate.

Voluntary implies implies freedom and spontaneity of choice or action without external compulsion.

Willing implies a readiness and eagerness to accede to or anticipate the wishes of another.

The antonyms (opposite meaning) and near antonyms of intentional are even more intriguing:

  • nondeliberate;
  • nonpurposive.
  • accidental;
  • hit-or-miss;
  • aimless;
  • coerced;
  • forced;
  • casual;
  • impulsive.

As I look over and reflect on these lists of words, I ask myself: am I willing to do what God says to do in 2017? Will I obey Him? 

mule Image source: : http://images.wisegeek.com/mule-near-grass.jpg
mule
Image source: : http://images.wisegeek.com/mule-near-grass.jpg

Everyone who knows me knows that I’m stubborn as a mule. I like to think of it as “being my own person”–independent, a free spirit. But many times it’s just plain defiance and obstinance. No one is going to tell me what to do, by God! Not even God!

Control. Pride. “Stiff-necked” the Bible calls the Israelites. This trait cost many of them their lives in the wilderness.

So I surrender. Thy Will Be Done. https://youtu.be/Dp4WC_YZAuw

Beth Jones Women's Conference Speaker & Author
Beth Jones
Women’s Conference Speaker & Author

My prayer for 2017 is that I’ll be intentional:

  • in seeking God and His Kingdom first;
  • in taking care of my health;
  • in my marriage’s healing and restoration;
  • in spending time with my children and grandchildren;
  • in speaking to empower men and women;
  • in writing more books;
  • in sharing the good news of Jesus Christ and lead the lost to salvation;
  • in generous financial giving to others in need;
  • in intercessory prayer and spiritual warfare;
  • in walking in peace, not worry, fear, frustration, anger, stress;
  • in being  a productive, profitable Proverbs 31 woman.

My Scripture for 2017 is Ephesians 5:10, The Message: “Figure out what will please the Lord, and then do it.”

What is your “one word” for 2017 and why? Please leave your comments below.

Have a blessed, happy, and prosperous New Year 2017!

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Summer Bucket List

84 degrees
84 degrees

Summer has definitely arrived. It’s 84 degrees today in the Kansas City, MO area. Today I texted my husband Ray, reminding him of the hot temperature and asking him why he uses the freaking electric blanket in the summer. Here’s my text:

 

My text to Ray today

He never answered the text.

In the summer time, I always freeze my family cranking the A-C, so that might explain it a little. I’m trying to stay cool drinking lots of water.

water

Recently I also discovered Sonic’s mango lemonade, which is very dangerous. I’m trying to avoid them, but they are so tempting! The medium size is almost as much as the large, so I just go for the large, with easy ice.

But if I want to hit my summer goal of losing _____ pounds (for me and God to know only!), I can’t do this very often! (Confession: I’m drinking one right now as I blog!)

I will tell you that the morning stop drinks are cheaper than the afternoon Happy Hour 1/2 off drinks! Some employees let you get the lemonades at the cheaper price in the morning, and some don’t.

Sonic's mango lemonade
Sonic’s mango lemonade

A lot of people plan family vacations for summer. Our family has rarely done this, due to cost, but a girl can dream, right? My place of peace and restoration is the ocean, and I want to go so bad!

I’ve written down a goal of going to Destin, Florida this year, the location that was the setting for my first fiction book, Storm Tossed.

Right now I’m writing the second book in this fiction series, called Afflicted, where the main character Rachel and her husband Jackson are kidnapped by extremists while on a mission trip in Africa. (Stay tuned for details!)

me on the beach, my place of peace & restoration
me on the beach, my place of peace & restoration

Ray’s dream vacation spot is Bora Bora in the French Polynesia Islands, and I fully intend on sending him there one day.

If you could go anywhere this summer, where would it be? Are you taking a family vacation this summer? Where? Leave your comments below!

Bora Bora
Bora Bora

Ray and I need prayer for this summer. Our landlord is selling the rental house where we live. We’re not sure what exactly is going to happen with our housing situation or where we’ll live, so please keep us in prayer for God’s leading, wisdom, and His provision.

But one thing I do know is that I’d like to do some FUN things with Ray, our kids, and our grandkids this summer. What’s on your summer bucket list? I’m busy making mine! I’d love to hear from you below!

Summer bucket list

 

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