Beautifully Broken

My sister…

I’ve never known anyone like her and I’ve never loved anyone the way I love her.

My first best friend, the one I love and hate the most.

She makes me brave. She makes me mad. She calms me down. She knows where I’d hide the bodies.

I almost lost her.

I almost lost myself.

The fear of not knowing if she was dead or alive was crippling. I forgot how to breathe for a brief moment.

On Thursday, November 29, 2018, my sister attempted suicide. She made a pile of all of her medication and started swallowing them. She text a friend then went outside to smoke then laid down in the bed and went to sleep.

When her friend found her, she was unresponsive and foaming at the mouth. He had no idea what she had taken or when. He went around the house and destroyed any evidence that he had been there then called 911. When the deputy arrived, he left.

The medics tried multiple doses of Narcan, but she wouldn’t come around.

Her friend took some of the notes she had written to her children and ex-husband so not to be incriminated in her death and hit the rest in a dresser drawer.  I only found them because I was being nosey looking for some pajamas.

He called me from her phone Friday at 5:15 pm… nearly 24 hours after finding her unresponsive. He left no message and turned her phone off.

After not hearing back from her by Friday night, I text her ex-husband to see if she had picked up the girls for her weekend visit.  She didn’t.

I called the Sheriff’s office and had a deputy go by her address. He called and said she was not home but her car was there and 2 days ago there was a medical call at her address and someone was transported to Ochsner Medical Center in Baton Rouge. So I called them. The charge nurse said she was sleeping but couldn’t tell me anything else.

The next day, Kendall’s friend called me at work. I had text her phone with the number since he only called while I was at work. He told me she had overdosed and didn’t know anything else.

I called my mom-e and we had no idea what to do. When we were all together in Iowa we had resources, contacts, etc. But with us all living in different states our choices were limited since they couldn’t tell me anything over the phone.

So I headed for Baton Rouge that afternoon.

By the time I got there Sunday morning she was awake but not alert, she was sedated because she had become combative and was trying to leave the hospital.

When they started asking me questions about her medical history I didn’t understand why it wasn’t in her chart. I knew she had seen a doctor since being there, she had even had surgery so there had to be something in there and WHY HADN’T THEY CONTACTED HER FAMILY?!

I was so mad, but then it all clicked together when I told them how to correctly spell her name and gave her date of birth and social security number to verify who she was because her ‘friend’ did not know how to spell her name so they had no medical history on her. They had nothing.

So I spoke with the doctor and they started her on a new medication to help her get back to normal.

How did all of this happen?

My sister was diagnosed as bipolar when she was 13 and has been on numerous medications as she has gotten older. The medication she had been taking wasn’t controlling her symptoms and she started having hallucinations that were terrifying; voices that told her to hurt herself.

She had reached out the best she knew how. She had confided in someone she thought she could trust but he didn’t take her seriously. He didn’t even know she had a mental disorder. He thought she would snap out of it.

She didn’t.  She couldn’t.  She needed help and he had no idea what to do so he did nothing.  

Mental disorders, illnesses, conditions, aren’t something that you can snap out of. Depression and anxiety are very real. When you combine them all together the smallest inconvenience can trigger major episodes of crippling depression and even suicidal ideation.

I am sharing all of this with my sister’s permission. We sat at a plastic table with snotty noses and teary eyes and she told me that people need to know how real this is.

If someone tells you they are depressed or thinking about killing themselves, get them help.

It’s not just a problem somewhere else, it’s a problem everywhere.  Millions of people struggle with thoughts of suicide. They don’t see a way out.  They can’t see past their present circumstances.

But there is hope.  

I challenge you to get involved.  Reach out to those you know who struggle.  Reach out if YOU struggle. You’re not alone.  

Visit American Foundation for Suicide Prevention for more information.  Get involved in your local chapter and support those who are involved if you aren’t able to yourself.  This is a preventable disease.  Yes, a disease.  Once you are infected with depression, anxiety, PTSD, thoughts of suicide or self harm, it doesn’t just stop.

We have to eliminate the stigma with mental illness.  It doesn’t mean you’re weak, it doesn’t mean you are too far gone.  The broken pieces can be put back together.

I love my sister, y’all.  I know I am a terrible sister and live really far away… I don’t call, I don’t write… but I would do anything for my sister bear.  Well, accept go to jail for her in 2001, but you get the point.  I don’t know what I would do without her.  She’s super smart, sometimes she’s funny, mostly kinda lame, but I love her anyway.



I can’t do this without you, sister.  I want to fight with you until we’re 100 and race our hover rounds.



Hello and Welcome!

If you’ve ever entered a room that I am in, you’ve probably been greeted. It’s not a funny trick. I’m not being sarcastic… usually.  I am acknowledging your presence. Here is the ‘why’ story:
Approximately three years ago I was sitting in a laundromat waiting for the dryer. A 20-something kid walked in with a black trash bag of clothes so I said. “Hey.”
I went back to my phone when the young fellow came up to me with a tear soaked face. He told me that he came in to wash some clothes that he wanted to be buried in because he was going to go home and kill himself but he wanted to have something clean to wear at the funeral.
Ya’ll, I have about one feeling and zero emotions and this kid struck it.
My laundry sat in the dryer for about an hour after the cycle stopped while I sat with this kid, mostly in silence.  He felt alone, no hope.  I didn’t even have to remind him that God has a future and a hope for him because that’s all he could say.
“God has a plan for me.  He has a plan.  I just don’t know what to do anymore.  I feel invisible.”
He went on to explain that, for months, he has gone through life, gone to work, went home to his family and felt like he didn’t exist; like everyone just went past him in a blur and never said a word to him.
He walked in to a laundromat and some stranger said “Hey” and he decided to give life another shot.
I tell you all of this to tell you that I saw him at the bus stop a few days ago.  He works in Chapel Hill now and has his own place and was visiting his family in Hillsborough.  I stopped for coffee and parked in a lot I never park in and as I was leaving I saw him standing there bopping along to some tunes.  He remembered me and like long lost friends he had a million things to say.  He got on the bus and I went about my business.  (I was on my way to the DMV to get my expired plates renewed because I’m a rebel.)
The moral of the story: say hello to someone that looks like they need a smile.  Smile at them.  Look at them when you speak.  You never know what someone else is going through.
If you want to know the reason why I said hello to him, it’s selfish.  I had been told that I did not acknowledge someone when they walked in to a room and was rude.  So I started saying hello to people.  But look what God did!

What’s Love Got To Do With It?

What’s love but a second hand emotion…

There, now that we’ve gotten that out of the way, let’s get started.

I feel like I should have a lot more to say, but I don’t want to hurt all of the feelings at once.

Winter is here and that comes with it’s own challenges.  My heat isn’t working right so I am having to use the back-up heater, which I am blessed to even have and my water has been freezing so that has been an adventure.  My home needs some repairs and I can’t do anything about it.  I’ve tried fixing things but I can hardly manage with a screw driver.
I have crafty projects that I can’t finish because my hands get too sore.  (Sorry if I promised to make you a gray and yellow purse many months ago and I haven’t finished it yet.)  I saw in my ‘On This Day’ memories on Facebook that the crochet blanket that I started 1 year ago still isn’t done and it is SO CLOSE.

I still can’t play guitar for long.

I think that has been the hardest.  I’m not sure why I am rushing it.  It just seems like the left hand went so much faster.  As soon as the stitches came out I started playing again but with the right hand, I still get cramped up after too long of holding a pick.

I guess I have plenty to complain about.  Let’s talk about some other things…

Abraham Lincoln is a big boy now.  He showed me the other day.  He got right on my lap for some snuggles, rolled over and showed me how grown he is.  He’s going to the vet tomorrow.  They require an examination before fixing him and I’m not sure how I feel about that.  This is the same place that didn’t help Mali and charged me for unnecessary tests that they said were not necessary.  I’d like to find somewhere else, but I’m kind of limited since I live so far away from everything.  I could just put his head in a boot and take care of things myself, but I can’t use scissors yet.  So… to the doctor we go.

I spilled a bottle of water in my bag today so I got to take everything out and dry it.  I found a lot of things in there that I didn’t know I was looking for.  7 lippies that I actually was looking for and all of the snacks.  I usually just throw a couple in my bag each day but I guess I don’t actually eat them.  If I ever get stranded on my way to or from work I won’t starve to death.

I had every intention of talking about real things, but now I don’t want to.



It’s New Year’s Eve.

I was in the kitchen getting some coffee as I start my shift and I was reflecting on some things.  The year started out pretty horribly and it’s all my fault.  I set myself up for failure by not expecting great things.  However, I started making some changes and forced things to get better.

In March I made a vision board.  I thought about all of the things I really wanted to accomplish this year and decided that I would make it happen.  Nobody else would do it for me, it had to start with me.

And then God answered: “Write this.

    Write what you see.

Write it out in big block letters

    so that it can be read on the run.

This vision-message is a witness

    pointing to what’s coming.

It aches for the coming—it can hardly wait!

    And it doesn’t lie.

If it seems slow in coming, wait.

    It’s on its way. It will come right on time.

Habakkuk 2:2-3

The board is huge and hangs in my living room where I can see it every day. Some days I don’t even think about it but last week when I was looking at it I realized that I could check multiple things off.

I sure wish I could find a picture of it.

I’ve done a lot but also messed up, but the slips weren’t as bad as I made myself think they were.

I’ve lost over 50 lbs of body.  I’ve been eating healthy and actually enjoy it.  I’ve encouraged others to make lifestyle changes just by my own changes.

I’ve laughed.

I’ve cried.

Oh, man, have I cried.  This job can get you.  Some days I don’t think I can do it anymore but then I don’t see myself doing else.  It’s frustrating and hard but the best thing that has ever happened to me.  I have grown so much since starting here.  All of the jobs in the past were setting me up to excel here.

This might be the first year ever that I am excited to be starting.  I cannot  wait.  Things may not have gone the way I planned in the past, but I can finally see the path and I am SO ready.

Here’s a very poorly recorded song that happened many years ago…

I’ll try to find a picture of the vision board, but I’ve run out of things to say.  I hope you have the best year ever and I can’t wait to hear about it in 365 days.

Edit: picture added20180101_221922

The First Time

Do you remember your first love?  The way they made you feel? That flutter when you whisper their name… when your eyes meet and quickly break away.

I had that feeling again, but not in the romantic sense.

Do you remember your first encounter with Christ?  When you first felt Him near?  Not like some guy you read about in a book, but really felt His presence…

I do…

It was the summer of 2003; the first time I went to Twentyfour7.  I was standing on the right side of the stage, in the back of the group that were all pressed up against the small stage.

“What are they doing?” I asked myself?  This was the first time I had ever experienced a real worship experience.  I grew up in a small church where we would stand and sing hymns, but it didn’t feel anything like this.  Nowhere near it.

And then I felt it… The Holy Spirit rushed through me as the band played and the crowd sang at the top of their lungs… “He is Mighty to SAVE!” Tears flooded my eyes.


Too late… they’ve already seen me wiping the snot from my face.  I’m caught.

To this day, I cannot hear, play or whistle that song without evoking those feelings.  But somewhere along the line, it got lost.  Somewhere in my walk I decided that I was fed up with God’s timing, that He was taking too long to make things work out for me.  I saw everyone around me being so blessed.  Was this because of my past?  Was my sin worse than anyone else’s?  I became bitter.  I went through the motions.  I lost hope.

It got dark.

Things really started falling apart.  All of the things that I had heard about people falling away from the protection of God were true.  I knew what I needed to do but I refused to do it.  By the time I finally decided to get things to turn around, it was hard.  It was really hard.  I looked for a church, I tried going back to my old one but that season ended long before I left.

I finally found a church that seemed like a good fit but never found my place.  I tithed and showed up but beyond that, it was hard finding where I was supposed to be.  I was on my way to that church one day and I went to get coffee and accidentally stopped at a different church.

This is where things got strange.

Everyone was so familiar.  I know I’ve talked about this before, but I want you to know where I was… I want you to see what God has done.

After a few months of going to this church, I still don’t know exactly what to do or where to go, but I know this is where I am supposed to be.  Things are being confirmed through other people.

If you didn’t know, I had surgery last month on my left elbow and right hand.  I haven’t been able to properly play the guitar for a few years and it has sucked.  I think having the first surgery 6 years ago really messed me up.  Mostly emotionally.  I had been struggling for a couple years to play and there was this expectation that I would just be healed or shut up and just play.

“Stop being so dramatic, Kelsie.”

That crushed me.  At the time I was playing  the guitar 20-40 hours a week on top of a 40 hour work week.  I was expected to know all of these songs and it was hard.  I doubted that I was supposed to even be on the worship team.  I wanted to quit every day… but I wanted to play.  I knew deep down that this is what I was called to do.

I can finally play again.  My right hand still hurts a bit and I’m re-training my left pinkie finger to move right, but ya’all…  I can play again.  And… I WANT to.  I have had to just sit there and stare at a wall of guitars and not play them.  I’d take one down and strum a bit but it wasn’t long before the pain was too much.

As I write this, my hand hurts from cracking a bunch of pecans the other day.  Then I cut up a bunch of pears and made a pear pie with pecan streusel.  I hope it doesn’t suck.  We’re having family dinner for Thanksgiving at work.

I’m sorry this is allover the place.  I haven’t been writing much lately and I just got a notification from that I have had this blog for 10 years.  I should be more diligent because looking back over the past 10 years has been awesome.

I’m done.


This Place

I was on my way home from work last night thinking about some things that have been going on. It’s been a rough month. So I was trying to make a positive list in my mind. It was a short list but it reminded me that we should celebrate the small victories.
Here’s one: I’ve lost 35 lbs. I found some jeans I had packed up thinking they’d never fit again. They fit again. My favorite bra also fits again. That’s something you know now.
It’s a struggle, but I have every tool I need to succeed as long as I just keep at it.

I went to a financial seminar of sorts and it really struck me when he was speaking about being able to fund our dreams. I just happen to have some pretty big kingdom dreams that are quite costly; but here’s the thing, some of it is free. God really tugged on my heart that night. Why am I not serving and working on the parts I’m already prepared for?
If you’re not familiar, I want to be a church planter. From the ground up. If you’ve ever read a post about mission trips I’ve been on you know that it’s my heart.
I’ve spent so much time trying to fund the next trip, forgetting that my own city is my mission field.
So I’ve started going to a new church.
I went to get some coffee on my way to church then ended up at a totally different one.
I just showed up and fit right in.
Don’t get me wrong, I really liked going to New Horizon, but I never really found my place there. I kept trying to force it, but I think my season is closing there. I got what I needed for the time and that was my encouragement to press on.
This new church is small and meets in a community center in Hillsborough, but the Spirit of God is so alive in that place.
I’ve been so far from where I should be for so long that I can finally breath. Like being lost in the woods and you finally get to the road and can see the lights of the city.

God celebrates our small victories. He rejoices with us when we succeed and more so when we are fulfilling our destiny.

I am so ready for the next season. Like… Soooooooo ready, y’all.

Here’s a song I wrote about this moment a couple years ago…

On a serious note:

I found a blog that I wrote in 2004.  Yeah, they were around back then!  I had been drug free for about a year – everything free.  I’d say it’s been ‘freeing’ but I never thought 1 year would turn in to almost 15.  I’m trying to find a picture of me back then to really set the mood…

I was invincible!

If you’ve never heard me give my testimony or read it, or watched the video or read the article… you should.  All of that seems so far away.

Without further ado…

Here’s the link.

auntie sue
Look at those pink dreads!

Hopefully one day I’ll return to this girl in the picture.  She was strong and on fire!  I get jealous of her zeal some days.

On a different serious note.  My dad’s birthday was yesterday.  Shortly before he died I remember him saying he was proud of me for the first time.  For a brief moment it made all of the struggle worth it.  If he could see me now…