Tag Archives: friendship

Scatterbrained Thoughts

Mental illness, in general, is not something that is openly or widely discussed. It’s difficult because it is unlike other problems that you can physically see, like a broken bone. It’s also a shameful thing to admit to others because of the negativity and stigma associated with mental illness. For that reason and more, I want to spend some time today talking about this subject – specifically anxiety.

Anxiety is something that everyone experiences to some degree. However, not everyone experiences it to extent where it becomes a disorder. It’s all too easy to get stuck in your own mind, feeling alone. Anxiety can be overwhelming and extremely draining. Your mind races with all kinds of negative thoughts and self-talk.

I know what it’s like to live with anxiety. I have struggled with Generalized Anxiety Disorder for about three years now – (only officially diagnosed this year). One thing I think people can underestimate is the power of encouragement. It doesn’t even have to be anything huge. Little things, like a kind and uplifting word, can increase my mood and ease my mental stress. I am much better at giving out encouragement than I am at being supportive and kind to myself. This is where friends and family can be really helpful.

I have been struggling this year with self-criticism. I often blame myself for things that may not even be my fault. I jump to the conclusion “I must have done something wrong… or offensive…. or annoying”. And the list goes on. I continue to remind myself to not be so hard. I have really appreciated the friends that have stepped into my life and held me accountable and helped exactly when I needed it.

All this to say that it can be really hard to live with a mental illness. You often feel broken or even paralyzed to act. Just because someone appears to be happy, doesn’t mean they truly are. This next statement is true for me (and I’m sure for others as well): We do not want you to pull away from us because you are unsure of how to help or act around us. All we need is someone who will stay by our side and be a faithful friend. Be a listening ear when we need to vent, a shoulder to cry on, and someone to have fun and live life with.

All of this does not have to be a monumental task. After all – as the saying goes – “Many hands make light work.” You can often accomplish much more in a team than you can individually. So there are my thoughts on anxiety for the day. Let me know your experience on this subject!

Note: For anyone reading this, know you are loved and valued. You are never alone.

Have a good night friends!

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Five Minute Prayers & Casual Thoughts

Some Thoughts

Growing up in the church I have heard my whole life that Christianity is “not a religion” but a “relationship”. I am not saying that this is a wrong thought – on the contrary. However, I do feel that the church has failed to teach children from a young age how to live out that relationship. I have been gradually realizing that this faith journey is about more than just “five minute prayers” and “casual thoughts” that are cast heavenward throughout the day.

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Now this is not to say that I’ve been conscious about myself thinking this way. It is more likely a subconscious attitude I was not aware of.

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In our fast paced world, the faith-minded person has increasingly less time to devote to prayer and other godly things. Maybe it’s more of an issue related to poor time management. However, there is no doubt that our culture is more busy now than in years past.

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In any kind of relationship do you expect to only exchange a few words in passing and assume that you’re best friends? Of course not! We are all aware that to have a good friendship with someone takes time and effort. You need to have conversations with that person and spend time getting to know them in different contexts. Why then do we assume that our relationship with God would be any different?

You may be saying, “But God is all-knowing. He should already know everything about me. He should just answer when he hears my prayer.” Yes, God is all-knowing. however, he still desires a close relationship with us. He wants to hear from us. How was your day? What are your hopes and dreams? What are you struggling with? God wants to spent time with us. Although, he is omniscient, we are not. That is another reason (and benefit) to dedicate ourselves to deepening our relationship with him.

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If any of us wonder why we are not moving forward, why we cannot hear God, or many other questions, the first thing to ask ourselves is: “how is my connection with God?” Now, I understand that even the most devote individual, will go through dry seasons. This is by no means a “step-by-step”, “one-size-fits-all” solution. However, these are some thoughts that I resonate with, that may help someone else out there reading this right now.

To sum it all up, this faith we are called to, needs to be lived in dependance on Christ and according to the truth found in his Word.

Digging Deeper

“[To have Faith in Christ] means, of course, trying to do all that He says. There would be no sense in saying you trusted a person if you would not take his advice. Thus if you have really handed yourself over to Him, it must follow that you are trying to obey Him. But trying in a new way, a less worried way. Not doing these things in order to be saved, but because He has begun to save you already. Not hoping to get to Heaven as a reward for your actions, but inevitably wanting to act in a certain way because a first faint gleam of Heaven is already inside you.” – C.S. Lewis, Mere Christianity 

“We need never shout across the spaces to an absent God. He is nearer than our own soul, closer than our most secret thoughts” – A.W. Tozer

1. God Is On The Move by 7eventh Time Down

2. The Proof Of Your Love by for KING & COUNTRY

3. Wake Me Up (Amnesia) by Group 1 Crew

Mood Altering

Goodbye August and hello September 1st! The topic of mood has been on my mind a lot lately. Now it’s common to see my mood swing up and down, but what can I do when it stays down? How do I get out of a low? Well, there’s no step by step guide. It’s different for everyone, but I thought I’d share some ideas on what has helped me.

Air

Even if it’s just going for a walk, I find being in nature rejuvenating. Instead of being trapped inside all day – in your house or at work – take some time to get fresh air.

Exercise

I definitely used to be one of those people who hid under a desk at the work exercise. Me exercise…? It wasn’t going to happen. But once I started exercising out of necessity, I surprisingly found that it wasn’t too bad. I actually enjoyed it and it helped to boost my mood. Whenever I became angry, I found it helpful to work out and deal with all my stress that way. It’s healthy for your body and mind.

Friends

I’m an introvert, but if I’m alone for too long, I start to feel lonely. Everyone needs a certain amount of social interaction. So, whether it’s planning a movie night or going out for coffee or lunch, spending time with your friends is a good mood booster. My friends always know how to brighten my day and make me laugh.

Wardrobe

It doesn’t matter if you’re a girly girl or not, if you wear something that makes you feel comfortable and confident, I think it can help improve your mood. In my experience, if I’m wearing my favourite t-shirt or pants, then I feel good and also probably won’t be as self-conscious.

Music

I like music a lot. Therefore, you’ll probably see me mention it quite a bit. Music is powerful. It can bring people together, touch the heart, cause you to sing and/or dance. However you’re feeling or whatever you’re facing, there’s probably a song you can identify with. I usually see a difference in my mood after listening to my favourite artists. If I’m particularly anxious or stressed about something, I listen to peaceful instrumentals or movie soundtracks.

Here is one of my favourite movie songs from LOTR.

*Picture from Pixabay

Just Being Honest

I have had a few shocking eye-openers recently. Some people I had called friends, even ‘best’ friends, showed off their true colours – and as you can probably understand from the tone of this message, it was not in a good way.

Honestly, it’s very disheartening. After years of me investing into these friendships, I’m only finding out now that they are not trustworthy or were just using me for what they could gain. Yes, I may be a nice, thoughtful person, but that doesn’t make me a push-over and I do have limits.

“Fool me once, shame on you. Fool me twice, shame on me.” – Randall Terry

So, you think you can take advantage of my generous and good nature? Think you can get away with doing things that break my trust? Well sorry, but, that’s not what I call a friend. Friendship should be a two-way street. It’s not just about what you can get from someone, it’s about what you can give. A true friend should be someone you can trust with secrets and who respects you.

Dictionary.com says a ‘friend’ is: “A person attached to another by feelings of affection or personal regard.” However, friendship goes beyond simply caring about someone. It means that the care you have for someone causes you to do things with and for that person. Let’s think about the second definition they give: “a person who gives assistance; patron; supporter”. Is that what my friendships look like or am I the only one who is caring and giving support? Someone who truly cares about you will be honest; they won’t do things behind your back or just use you.

So, where do we go from here? For me, I’m in the process of, and have already, weeded out some of these negative influences in my life. It’s really hard because of the connection and years of memories with these individuals, but I feel it is necessary for me to move forward. I’m a life-long learner and I’m always trying to make myself better. Right now I’m learning that sometimes in order to move forward you to have to let go of the things behind you.

Through all of the let-downs and failed relationships, I’ve found out the people who are worth developing friendships with. And these thoughts have stood out to me:

“There are far better things ahead than any we leave behind.” – C.S. Lewis

“‘For I know the plans I have for you’, declares the Lord, ‘plans to prosper you and not to harm you, plans to give you a hope and a future.” – Jeremiah 29:11 (NIV)

To end on a positive note, here is a fun video of Rhett and Link, “Just Being Honest”.

-A

At World’s End

I realized that in all the craziness of my life that I missed last Friday’s poetry post! So I decided to make it up by writing my own poem for you all! Life often goes up and down like a roller coaster — So this is for anyone who feel’s like they’re at the world’s end and hanging on by a thread. Though you may feel all alone, there are always people to fall back on. Friends. Family. We love you. Never give up!


At World’s End

At world’s end, I stand on the edge

Wind roars from behind me

And threatens to throw me

Over the edge.

At world’s end, I ask you to lend

Open hands and eyes to see.

The pit lies before me;

Send me a friend.

At day’s end, I cannot hold on.

There’s one hope that can be

That someone’s come for me

Catch me — I’m gone.


c. Annika Barclay

Tasteful Thursdays!

So, let’s just come out and say the obvious… It’s really really cold outside. It seems that increasingly each year my body is disliking the cold winters more and more. I do like having snow on Christmas, however, unfortunately for all you lovers of this cold season, I’m one of those people who’d want snow for December 25th but have it disappear the very next day. Whether you love or hate the cold, are hibernating as much as you can or are out there in the snow everyday, everyone likes to come inside after and warm up. Especially those of us who’d rather not have been outside in the first place.

Here are a few of my favourite things to do inside to warm up or as an activity on an “inside” kind of day.

1. Hot drinks!

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Oh look! One of my favourite things: chocolate! And HOT chocolate is even better to combat the freezing temperatures! Ask anyone who knows me and they’ll tell you another of my favourite drinks is TEA. Herbal, white, red… I like all kinds of varieties. However tempting it may be to sit inside and consume large amounts of chocolate daily, hot drinks is a better and more healthy way to get comfort and warmth.

2. Bundle Up!

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Being inside is the perfect time to pull out the sweaters and sweat pants, or to cocoon oneself within a blanket. I’m not trying to make it sound like I laze around during the winter months, but come on, who doesn’t like cuddling up?

3. Watching Movies!

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If I’m going to be hanging around indoors, watching movies can be a fun pass time. You can watch your favourite flicks alone or with others. Action movies, romance (“chick”) flicks, and there’s so much more to choose from! I like seeing and can relate to the characters overcoming their challenges, as I daily take on my personal challenge of facing the brisk cold head on! (Last movie I watched was “the Giver” — and I recommend it!)

One of the best things about winter is that it doesn’t come to stay. Each season comes and goes. I’ll do the best that I can to enjoy each time of the year, and/or appreciate the life lessons learned through them.

“Winter is the time for comfort, for good food and warmth, for the touch of a friendly hand and for a talk beside the fire: it is the time for home.” ― Edith Sitwell

“Spring passes and one remembers one’s innocence.
Summer passes and one remembers one’s exuberance.
Autumn passes and one remembers one’s reverence.
Winter passes and one remembers one’s perseverance.”
― Yoko Ono

What are some of your favourite warm winter activities?

I Appreciate…

To start, I’m going to take a minute to say what I appreciate.

  • AIR – air, or clean air, isn’t something everyone in the world has. Anyone who has breathing problems, or lives where the air polluted, can understand how vital good air is! Air affects every aspect of life – actually, it KEEPS us alive!
  • WATER – For a long time I have been someone who really really likes drinking water. But that doesn’t mean I’ve always consciously appreciated it. Water is so important for living healthy but, again, isn’t something everyone has access to.
  • FELLOWSHIP – I know sometimes I don’t truly think about the great people (friends, family, and peers) I have around me until something bad happens where I’m stretched and my need for them is brought into the light.

There are times in life where things happen that make you truly appreciate the blessings you have! But am I the only one, who after experiencing such times, vows: “I will never take ____ for granted again”! Then what happens? Slowly and surely we forget about it; it can so easily slip out of our distracted minds. Then we usually don’t think about it again until another big, or shocking, event brings those thoughts back to forefront of our memory.

Hey! What if I want to be the one who enjoys life and remembers everything that I have to be thankful for? Is there any hope for me?

There is always hope! So, I have thought of some things that I’m going to try so I can hold onto those good things.  The blessings; the big and the small.

1. Do something daily to acknowledge what you have or appreciate in life! 

Maybe you like writing in a journal, and you could make space to say the positive things (like that friend you just spent time with, etc.)!

Or you could fill a jar.

Or you could just take some time everyday to consciously think about the benefits you have where you are (your job, owning a car, having clean water, etc.). Or be creative with it: think of a way that would be memorable for you!

2. Community!

As soon as you say “community” it opens a whole other world of topicsI However, I’m going to use it to say: “talk about it”! In my experience, if you talk to someone, (a friend, group, coworker, etc.), about the things you appreciate, then you’re more likely to remember it later.

Each sentence can be a conversation starter. For example, “Hey, I really like water. It’s so great that we have this privilege in North America!” Or “I’m glad to have access to healthcare here, I can finally breathe properly!”

In this North American society, we have no problem with sharing negative news with others. Look, it’s everywhere on our TVs, radios, and on the internet. But If we share the good things with our connections –  friends and neighbours – then maybe we can help more forward a movement of people who won’t forget or take for granted the small, but hugely important, things in life!

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I know 3 is a good number, but 2 is good too so I’m going to stop there. Let me know your thoughts on actively keeping in mind what we want to appreciate!