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A chance at life again

Spring

Today is the beginning of a new month, March. I always feel like the first of a month is an opportunity for a fresh start-a reset button. Like if last month was really crummy, then here’s a toast to a much better one!

I remind myself that, “The faithful love of the Lord never ends! His mercies never cease. Great is His faithfulness; His mercies begin afresh each morning.” (Lamentations 3:22-23, NLT) So thankful for that! God, You are good, faithful, and true! Full of grace and love. May I be so.

sun

sunrise

Today I painted my nails powder-blue, in anticipation of spring. (A nail model, I am not! Twenty-six years of washing dishes and doing housework has done its toll on my hands, and they show my age more than any other body part! Yet American businesswoman, interior designer, and fashion icon Iris Apfel said it well: “I don’t see anything so wrong with a wrinkle. It’s kind of a badge of courage!”) I like the soft blue color. 

Powder-blue nail polish

Spring 2020 is officially on Thursday, March 19. Today as I  walked outside, I saw and heard robins singing and doves cooing, excited about spring in the air. Spring is also like the Earth offering a brand new start-a chance at life again.

Our precious grandbaby, Willow

My schedule now is primarily driving our youngest daughter Leah to her doctor appointments–her fibula surgery follow-up visits, physical therapy, and other appointments and errands. I drive the 45 miles to her city, willingly, happy to do it. But on days that it rains and snows/ices, I grip the steering wheel, praying that the car’s tires won’t slide and I won’t wreck, especially if Leah is with me in the car–another reason I welcome spring and summer.

Leah at physical therapy with her therapist Sam, who rocks!

A fall on ice and snow in Leah’s driveway at her rental home is WHY our precious daughter broke the fibula in her ankle, requiring surgery and the thick, black ankle boot that she must wear 8-10 weeks post-surgery.

Although normally a snow bunny who loves the beautiful snow, I now hate ice for doing this to her. It is the enemy-one of many. Yet last week when she began 50% weight-bearing on her ankle at physical therapy, I was filled with joy! She’s on the way to walking again!

Leah on one crutch, using 50% weight-bearing on her ankle

Helping Leah–driving her to her appointments and on errands–is my #1 priority for 2020. Everything else–my speaking, writing, and traveling–is on hold for now.

me & our precious daughter Leah at Jose Pepper’s restaurant

Before Leah’s accident near Christmas that caused her fibula to break, I did have my first children’s book in the works. The illustrator is still working on coloring the last four images for the pictures inside the book. Again, God has me waiting. It seems that I’m often in the waiting room.

The book is about my and Leah’s black cats, Natalya (Nat) and Jax, learning to become friends when Leah was still living with us. While certainly not BFF’s, they did play with each other at times (and fight, as well!)–frenemies. The idea of the book is that we can develop friendships with others, who we may not like at first.

Jax and Natalya

Jax and Natalya

Ray and Leah encouraged me for years to write a children’s book. I kept giving excuses why I couldn’t–I’d never written one before! Ray pointed out that I’d never written other types of books, either. Yet now I’m the author of 19 books–16 non-fiction and 3 fiction adult books. You can check them out at my Amazon Author Page here.

Beth Jones’ book signing for LaToya Gay

So I decided that I would write a children’s book, after being inspired by our comical cats, whom we love so much. I hope to have this book launched in mid-March or late March 2020, so stay tuned. If you aren’t already subscribed on my website personal mailing list, sign up now at the top of the page on the right-hand side to be FIRST to hear when this eBook for Kindle goes live on Amazon!

As I anticipate the warmer weather, beautiful flowers, and watching birds and squirrels feed from our sunroom, I also wait eagerly for the miraculous healing of Leah’s fibula in her ankle. I have strong faith that God is going to completely heal her. She’ll soon be walking again and I will give Jesus Christ all the praise, honor, and glory.

Leah at physical therapy, at 50% weight-bearing on her ankle

“And your ears shall hear a word behind you, saying, “This is the way, walk in it,” when you turn to the right or when you turn to the left.” (Isaiah 30:21)

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Blog, Faith, Fitness

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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