Archive for March, 2015

Ever felt lost? Alone? Frustrated? Scared? Unsure? Anxious? Trapped? Unfulfilled. Stuck in a dead-end job. Smothered by others expectations. Has there ever been a time when you didn’t have a clue what you wanted to do with your life and further that when it comes down to it you feel as thought you have no say in regards to it?

imagesBeen there… done that! Maybe not today or this week but not all that long ago. The worst part for me was that i was living the life that society and Christianity had always told me to live. They said it was the “right thing” to do.

i don’t know about you, but it turns out for me that, the “right thing” to do sucked the joy out of life. Perhaps that’s the epitome of becoming weary in well-doing?

Wasting my precious time doing things that i really didn’t want to be doing. Being afraid to express my uniqueness. Having fun on the weekends then dreading the upcoming week. Maybe you don’t have to imagine it at all, a few moments of satisfaction drowned out by a constant grind of activity?

Life should be… most anything other than what i’ve described above. i knew it could be and actually should be different, but i had no clue where to start. Mind you, i was a “Christian” and working full-time in ministry. But i spent my days wishing that things would change—that i could escape a life that didn’t seem to fit.

Forest Gump said, “My momma always said, Life was like a box of chocolates. You never know what you’re gonna get.” That doesn’t sound so bad… if you like chocolate? But i know for a fact that i don’t care for many of the things inside the chocolates… such as bacon!

Am i to settle for a life that seems, somehow, to have just happened? That, in and of itself is ambiguous because nobody’s life has just happened. My life has been a series of choices, responses, actions, words etc., etc..

images-1I think most everyone has or maybe had an expectation of what our lives should be. From my daily mundane tasks to who i will become at some time in the future. Through-out my life i have had many ideas of what i want or thought i wanted from life. And when life doesn’t meet my expectations… i’m so disappointed even in small insignificant things. i can’t tell you how many times i have planned my days right down to the very last half-hour, but no matter how detailed, how perfectly calculated a day is planned, it seldom goes exactly as planned.

That’s not to say that every day is a disappointment. Not even close, especially since i have focused on not defining my days as good or bad days. Even on the days i need to be as perfectly put-together as possible, something is bound to occur that was not a part of my schedule. A train brings traffic to a stop. i find out that i forgot to put something on my calendar, a meeting goes longer than i anticipated, etc. And then let’s not forget that outside of these everyday things, there are the major life events that i think i have planned for but happen outside the parameters  that i have set for them. And then i find out that life or more importantly God has other plans.

Let me close today with two thoughts. First, i don’t want to get to the end of my life and find that i just lived the length of it. i want to have lived the width of it as well.

Secondly, Sometimes my expectations sell me short. Sometimes the expected simply pales in comparison to the unexpected. i wonder why i cling to my expectations, because the expected is just what keeps me steady. The expected’s just the beginning. The unexpected has been and still is what changes my life.

 

Advertisements

i’ll tell you up front that this is not your typical read it post. In order for this to be of any value it will require some or all of your effort and the result you get will be based on the effort you put forth. So let me save you some time. If you don’t want to put in any effort or you feel you have none to give then take the five minutes it would require of you to read this and do something else. i have six things to consider… well, they’re really six questions to help answer the one question, “Life Is.”. By answering these questions we may discover our unique passions, strengths, values, desires, and motivations, which are all just waiting for our own interpretation and expression.

images1. What do I absolutely love in life?

List anything that you love about your life and the people in your life. Think about any activities that get you excited and enthusiastic and make you feel vibrant and alive. This can be absolutely anything: God, music, sports, cooking, teaching others, learning, watching movies—anything. Within your love for these things should be a deep passion.

2. What are my greatest accomplishments in life so far?

List all of the moments that you are proud of as well as the times that you’ve succeeded. To have accomplished these, you would have used some of your key strengths. See if you can identify why you succeeded. Also, list any activities, hobbies, or anything else that you do that you complete with ease. Within these lie greatest strengths.

3. What would I stand for if I knew no one would judge me?

List everything that you would do if you weren’t afraid, even your wildest dreams. This will help you discover your greatest values.

4. If my life had absolutely no limits and I could have it all and do whatever I wanted, what would I choose to have and what would I choose to do?

Describe your ideal lifestyle. List what you would do throughout the day if you knew that you were bound to be successful, what kind of person you would be, how much money you would earn, and where you would live.

5. What would I do if I had one billion dollars?

List everything that you would really love to do if you had all the money in the world. Okay, so you would probably travel the world, buy a house or two, and give some money to your family. Then what would you do with your time?

6. Who do I admire most in the world?

List your greatest inspirations and the qualities that you admire about these people. Think about what really inspires you in. What you admire about others is also a quality that is in you.

images-1Taking the time to answer these question may answer the question “Life Is” for you and if so they may change your life. The more that you can implement your passions, strengths, values, desires, and motivations into your days, the better understanding you will have of “Life Is.”

 

Have you heard of an animal that complains about not having enough money? Have you heard of an insect that suffers Kid to mom about funky dog: 'I'm not complaining, Mom, but when can I get one that's not a bobblehead?'from too much stress? Have you heard of a fish that lives in pain due to a broken relationship? Probably, only human beings live complicated lives. So why is life so complicated? How about this for an answer, because i have increasing needs. When i have more needs, i add more complexity to my life. Here’s another question, do people ever have enough? Or am i always looking for more. What about figuring out how to enjoy more with less.

I shared a story about a 14 year old who committed suicide on Friday. For the parents of this child life got real complicated and will probably remain that way for some time if not the rest of their lives. At the funeral on Sunday this little girls 8 year old sister spoke and shared that she was both angry and sad because her sister did this. This 8 year olds life just got complicated. My grandsons life got complicated as well. my life got a little more complicated because of my grandson. He’s a little young to have to begin dealing with such awful and bewildering situations. The only persons life that didn’t get complicated was this 14 year old who decided to end her life. Obviously she felt the complications prior to Friday but for whatever reason saw no hope of a solution.

This post is not the one i wrote to open this series of Life Is… either. i can not shake this question of, “Life Is…” so i decided to begin asking people if they could tell me the answer. It caught most people off guard and i could tell that they were puzzled and struggled to come up with an answer, any answer so that i would leave them alone and stop making them uncomfortable. The most popular response i have heard thus far is “Hard.” “Life Is Hard…!”

i began looking at those around me and saw some of the complications that they are dealing with. Theres’ the couple that got thrown off track and now they can’t seem to find each other. There’s the person dealing with depression and their own thoughts of ending life. There are several who feel like their in a waiting mode and some of them not even sure what their waiting for. There’s one who feels that playing the lottery is complicated as they try to find the winning combination of numbers. One person shared how their car began falling apart this week end and now life is financially complicated. There’s a single mom trying to put their daughter through college and they only have one car making getting around complicated.

62176560c92ddddee0f2a394f11aed21This series is taking on a life of it’s own and some are willing to share their answer, so i will begin sharing their answers. i am not suggesting that they are right or wrong. They are just what they as individuals feel that life is at this time. i’m guessing that if i ask them the same question in a month or two that their answer may take on a different look.

If there is a reader out there who would like to share your answer please send it to annmarieanded@yahoo.com and i will consider sharing it. i am looking forward to what others will share!

Today’s post expresses that “Life Is Complicated Sometimes” on so many different levels. This is not what i had written for the first post of the series titled “Life Is…”. i got a phone call on Sunday and found out that my grandson’s very first girl friend from last year committed suicide on Friday. She was 14 years old. i do not pretend to understanding what makes a child of 14 decide that they cannot cope with life. i have some understanding when it’s an adult… but 14! They haven’t lived enough of life to make that decision.

It’s said that a child should never die before the parent, but it happens. There are no words that can bring comfort. But when a child decides to end their life it leaves the parents decimated. Most often they didn’t have a clue and that makes things worse because as a parent we think we should know everything about our children. As hard as we try that just isn’t going to happen and so we end up having to deal with the aftermath of an event like this.

The Facts: In 2013, there were 41,149 deaths by suicide in the United States. Suicide is the 10th leading cause of death; homicide ranks 16th.  It is the second leading cause of death for 15 – 24 year olds. There is one death by suicide in the US every 13 minutes. An estimated quarter million people each year become suicide survivors. There is one suicide for every estimated 25 suicide attempts. 1 in 65,000 children ages 10 to 14 will die by suicide this year. i am so sorry to say that my grandson knows that one. 7 in 100,000 youth ages 15 to 19 die by suicide this year. 12.7 in 100,000 young adults ages 20-24 die by suicide this year.

Common misconceptions about suicide.

Misconception #1 “People who talk about suicide won’t really do it.”

Not True. Almost everyone who commits or attempts suicide has given some clue or warning. Do not ignore suicide threats. Statements like “you’ll be sorry when I’m dead,” “I can’t see any way out,” — no matter how casually or jokingly said, may indicate serious suicidal feelings.

Misconception #2 “Anyone who tries to kill him/herself must be crazy.”

Not True. Most suicidal people are not psychotic or insane. They may be upset, grief-stricken, depressed or despairing. Extreme distress and emotional pain are always signs of mental illness but are not signs of psychosis.

Misconception #3 “If a person is determined to kill him/herself, nothing is going to stop him/her.”

Not True. Even the most severely depressed person has mixed feelings about death, and most waiver until the very last moment between wanting to live and wanting to end their pain. Most suicidal people do not want to die; they want the pain to stop. The impulse to end it all, however overpowering, does not last forever.

Misconception #4 “People who commit suicide are people who were unwilling to seek help.”

Not True. Studies of adult suicide victims have shown that more than half had sought medical help within six month before their deaths and a majority had seen a medical professional within 1 month of their death.

Misconception #5 “Talking about suicide may give someone the idea.”

Not True. You don’t give a suicidal person ideas by talking about suicide. The opposite is true — bringing up the subject of suicide and discussing it openly is one of the most helpful things you can do.

What children might feel after losing someone they love to suicide:

  • Abandoned – that the person who died didn’t love them.
  • Feel the death is their fault – if they would have loved the person more or behaved differently.
  • Afraid that they will die too.
  • Worried that someone else they love will die or worry about who will take care of them.
  • Guilt – because they wished or thought of the person’s death.
  • Sad.
  • Embarrassed – to see other people or to go back to school.
  • Confused.
  • Angry – with the person who died, at God, at everyone.
  • Lonely.
  • Denial – pretend like nothing happened.
  • Numb – can’t feel anything.
  • Wish it would all just go away.

A child may have many mixed feelings or may feel “numb.” Whatever they are feeling, remember our role as an adult is to help them and be supportive. Reassure the child whatever feelings they might experience, they have permission to let them out. If they want to keep to themself for a while, let them. Don’t tell a child how they should or should not feel. Also, don’t discourage them from expressing negative emotions like anger. But most importantly… BE THERE FOR THEM!

Let them know that…

It’s okay to grieve. With the death of a loved one the pain cannot be described and no scale can measure the loss. We want so much for our loved one to return so that we can do something, and we ache knowing that it just can’t happen. It’s okay to grieve.

It is okay to cry. Shedding tears is not a sign of weakness-it is a sign of our human nature and emotions of deep despair and sorrow. It’s okay to cry.

UnknownIt is okay to laugh. Laughter is not a sign of “less” grief. Laughter is not a sign of “less” love. It’s a sign that many of our thoughts and memories are happy ones and our dear one would have wanted us to laugh again. It’s okay to laugh.

Life is… Complicated Sometimes and on that note i’ll close.

I love this thought.  Not just because it’s thought provoking or cute, but because it’s true. We’re all… no… i’m just one small adjustment away, from…. and each of us can fill in the blank.

images-2How about if i make one small adjustment every day for a year regarding my relationship with God! Imagine what i might achieve? But here’s the thing.  i often know what the adjustment i need to make is…  i just don’t do it.  i get stuck in my comfort zone or my indifference or my laziness.

my goal is to make at least one adjustment every day, nothing to bold or daring but an adjustment that’s small, minor or slight by some standards. How do you eat an elephant? One bite at a time! i want 2015 to be a year of growth and maturity, yet realizing that these small adjustments won’t remove all the obstacles. But i’m pretty sure i’ll handle those obstacles in a much different way.

Adjustment – a small change; a minor correction; a slight modification

Isaiah 55 says, “Pay attention, come close now, listen carefully to my life-giving, life-nourishing words. I’m making a lasting covenant commitment with you, the same that I made with David: sure, solid, enduring love.” 

What’s the adjustment required? Pay attention, come close now, listen carefully.

When i make one small adjustment, it will often require another adjustment and then another and i think you get the idea. i imagine perfecting a skill at almost anything, playing an instrument, a sport, or anything else is about small adjustments making big differences. Isaiah 55 says by making these small adjustments to your life you will get My life-giving, life nourishing words. you’ll get sure, solid, enduring love.

sam-gross-in-order-to-be-free-i-had-to-make-certain-adjustments-new-yorker-cartoonJust like the adjustments in Isaiah 55 many of the adjustments i need to make are about being more conscientious. When i am tempted to get angry my adjustment could be to pray for them or zip my lip. When someone is offering their two cents and i don’t want it, i can say thinks you and let it go at that. These adjustments will be personal to each person.

What do you think?  Are you small one adjustment away from ……..?  What’s your small (or not) adjustment?

What a story of transformation! i have known Cathy for around 30 years and she is a different person. What she failed to imagesmention in her story was that she at one time was very involved in church and like many left being disappointed by the stuff. That took her to a place of not even believing in God and ultimately looking at multiple Gods as an option, but when she prayed that night she told me she prayed to the Christian God and knew that it was Him who had done this.

Transformation is the act, process, or instance of changing in character or condition. In this case it’s “The Act” a small adjustment and her life is working. Sure there is a process that follows but “The Act” “The Instance” of change has taken place. Her character and her condition have changed.

i knew that this transformation was different than other attempts. She is not just trying to change her life it has been changed. Nothing has been left to trying. She is doing. As she said, she still has things to walk through but who doesn’t?

At one point during all this i’m going “GOD” really? We have been there for her for all those years and this couldn’t happen when we were there? The truth is that the voice of God is a whole lot better than my voice in any matter. i recall a couple of conversations where Cathy and i talked about those same accomplishments… but nothing. God brings it up andimages-1 Bam! i know this is how it’s supposed to be and i couldn’t be more excited and so glad that we didn’t quit her and now we get to share in her excitement and be a part of what’s next.

There was so much i wanted to share about all this but it seems so insignificant at this time. i also don’t want to say anything that takes away from the seriousness of where Cathy has spent most of her life nor from the absolute miracle that God did by reminding her of a few earthly accomplishments, at precisely the exact moment, where it would do what it was intended to do.

Cathy has been at our home for a several weeks now and will be here for several more. i wish i could have recorded all her words and been able to share the excitement she has for life now. She has many thoughts for helping people and animals in the future and not necessarily in that order.

Transformation1As i close i want to say thank you to Cathy. She has always been willing to share her opinions on most anything but is very private when it comes to her and her feelings. That’s one of the reasons i know how real this is. She is not fixed on herself but has become fixed on others and shared openly and honestly. So again thank you to Cathy and while i have always counted our friendship as a valuable one, i am even more convinced of it today.

On January 28th I expected to get my monthly disability deposit.  It’s supposed to come on the first, but often comes a couple of days early. I’m in bed it’s 3:00 a.m. and I grab my phone because I’m not sleeping well. I log into my bank on
Unknownmy phone to pay a couple of bills that are not on auto pay. I pay a little extra when I can. When I looked at the  balance and it said $44,744.00 I just looked at the phone and was thinking holy crap! I just knew that had to be wrong so I put the phone down and went to the back room where the desk top computer is and turned it on. The  desk top computer would correct this error. Well there was still $44,744.00 dollars in my account. Something big just happened! After counting on my fingers to actually grasp the idea of all this i prayed to God. That’s another story in itself maybe for another time.

It turns out that a disability claim that I have with the VA since November 2011 was approved and I got retroactive back pay. Holy cow, I paid off my bills, invested some and helped my mother and brothers. Also the monthly increase will help me immensely. I just can’t describe what a load has been lifted. I have also had another med added to the ones I am taking and I am doing much better.

It still is amazing to me how much of a lift it was to recall my accomplishments as i stood in that cold, dark, dreary garage. Now i remind myself of them every day. Now you  might be thinking that anyone would be better with a financial gift like that, but remember, i had no idea of the gift when God brought the accomplishments to my mind. I have no doubt that I would be been doing ok without the financial blessing but needless to say i am grateful!

Now I could have easily thought ‘WHAT A COINCIDENCE” or “What a bit of good luck”. I can’t tell you how I knew, but I knew that God brought my accomplishments to my brain. At 3:00 a.m. i’m facing the end of my life and at 3:45 a.m. i’m facing the beginning of a brand new life which includes God and is filled with hope. I can see life past when my mom passes and I have been waiting for her to go for years. I am also noticing that I am much more patient than I have been with her.

I am thanking God daily for this gift. I know I can not blow this opportunity, this second, no third chance to actually hopeenjoy life and do whatever God has in mind for me. I still have things, issues to deal with but I know I can do that now. What happened will always be in the front of my brain. This was one of those times in life that is a “‘God Thing”

I hope my story helps anyone who is in a dark place. Think of what God says about you and don’t focus on your dark thoughts.  A big thing “ASK FOR HELP’ its out there, friends, family, agencies. Look and ask!

 

I left off in the last post by saying, “during this entire time I’ve been so depressed that all I can think of is, when my mom images-1goes, I won’t be far after. I have simply been waiting for my mom to pass, so I can go. That’s how dark the hole I was in was. But on this cold day in January 2015 at 2:30 a.m. I was no longer willing to wait for my mom to pass. I had to do something now… and this was as good a day as any.”

Have i shared that i was in my pajamas, in my bare feet, freezing, looking at the rafters thinking what a loser I am, what a failure I am. I was just so tired of the meds not lasting more than a year or so, when BAM my accomplishments suddenly come to mind. I have a letter of appreciation from an Admiral, 2 Navy achievement medals, several sailor of the quarters awards rank. I also scored an 80 on my advancement exam for Second Class Petty Officer. That’s the highest you can score and I don’t know if any other Minemen ever scored an 80. When i left i was a First Class Petty Officer.I walked back into the house, deleted the note… stop! Sorry, let me back track here a little bit.

When i say that i was just waiting for my mother to die so I could follow, that’s not quite true. I found myself thinking “with my luck she will live to 90” and not being glad about it I knew I couldn’t wait any longer. Oh and just for the
record I never thought about helping her along. But i did decide to be proactive and actually take steps that supported my ultimate goal. Step #1 I deleted my Facebook account. Step #2 I got rid of most of the contacts in my phone. I also got rid of a bunch of crap so there wouldn’t be a lot for my brother Christopher to deal with. Then I became an online shopper and for several months I was buying… well crap, and when i say buying i mean that i was using the credit on the credit cards that i had. My thinking was, “what do I care, I’m not going to be here.” My final action was to put a note in my phone to my brother Christopher saying, “I’m sorry but i just can’t accomplish anything.” I then instructed him to leave my body at the morgue… that is if it can’t be donated to science. And in closing i told him that the state could bury me.

So you must realize by now that i did not go through with my plan. My hope is that by sharing my story it would help someone else who feels trapped in the life they have… which seems to be worthless. Today my thoughts are not about depression, no hope and death. For the first time that I can remember I’m trying to figure out how to put into practice a positive attitude and being thankful for being alive. So the question might be what changed? Surely it wasn’t just recalling the awards that I had received? No, that was just the first step. But a very important one because without that step none of the rest would be possible.

images-2As I shared I had accumulated that rather large and daunting chunk of debt because of “I just didn’t care.” Now that I have been reminded that I am a capable person, with talents, accomplishments, a life I can be proud of and a life worth living, “I have no choice but to care.” I have many things to figure out. None of them more important than the reality that now that “I am going to be here,” i will actually need to pay off that large debt i created.

 

On a few occasions over the past 12 years of blogging i have found someone with a story of transformation that if shared, i thought would help others and thus i have encouraged them to share that story through the meandiam blog. It is my belief that this is a story worth sharing.

It’s the third week of January 2015 and while I don’t remember the exact day it was, i remember the details of the day very well. I was in my garage in Hometown Ill. It was about 2:30… a.m., in the morning, the temperature was in the upper twenties, and I was in my pajamas and barefoot.  You might ask yourself “why on earth is she in her pajamas and barefoot in her garage at 2:30a.m. in the morning… when it’s in the twenties? Well, I’ll tell you.

I had a extension cord in my hands and was examining the rafters to see which one I could hang myself from. That’s right hang myself from! And if that didn’t do the job completely there was the fact that I would freeze to death.

imagesI have been battling with and losing to Major Depression Disorder since about 1998. I attempted suicide January 1, 2000. I slashed my wrists 5 times on the left and three on the right. Up and down slashes not across.  That’s what serious suicide people do. I also took a hand full of some sleeping meds, layed on my back on the bed, so if I threw up I would I choke to death. At the time i thought i had covered all my bases.

I was in the Navy at the time and living in the barracks. My command called the barracks to check if I had over slept. The barracks people broke open the door and I woke up with paramedics bandaging my wrists. From there to the hospital, from the hospital to the psychiatric hosp, or “the bin” as we called it who were there.

I got back on my feet and worked hard to stay on an even keel. (notice the Navy reference) I still found myself battling and losing to the Major Depression Disorder, nothing had really changed and honestly I had no hope of it changing. From then until now l have had a difficult time finding the meds and dosage that will work best for me.

Now it is January 2015 and I have gone up and down, been on several meds and had ECT (electro convulsive therapy). That by the way was no joke. I was in the mental locked ward for three weeks. The stories from that time of my life are another whole series of blogs. While it had some elements of success they were short-lived.

Now back to the garage. I was so tired of feeling like I couldn’t get on top of this, in fact I was beyond feeling tired, I was exhausted, I was done! I decided that i had been, was, and always would be a failure. I had to get a medical retirement from the Navy at 16 years. I really wanted to do 20 but as hard as i tired, I just couldn’t find it within me.  It confirmed that I was a total failure.

For the last year or so I have been sleeping until noon. I stay up until about 3, go to bed, maybe get up to eat dinner, or maybe not. That was my life, day after day, week after week, month after month.  Without going into much detail i’ll just add that since May of 2007 I have been living with my mom. In her own ways she needs a little help so it’s what I have resolved myself to accept and do.

During this entire time I’ve been so depressed that all I can think of is, when my mom goes, I won’t be far after. I have simply been waiting for my mom to pass, so I can go. That’s how dark the hole I was in was. But on this cold day in January 2015 at 2:30 a.m. I was no longer willing to wait for my mom to pass. I had to do something now… and this was as good a day as any.

 

Today is the greatest day i’ve ever known because i will not give in to the struggles!

internal_struggles_by_valentin947-d4ojg9xDon’t confuse your path with your destination. Just because it’s stormy now doesn’t mean it won’t be sunny later. Let me say it another way, Do not confuse your circumstances with your day being the greatest you’ve ever known.

Strugglesto contend with an adversary or opposing force. Man webster’s got this definition absolutely right.

God designs every single day of mine to be the greatest day i will even know. Then the adversary or the opposing force comes to kill, steal and absolutely destroy that very same day. Struggles come in all shapes, sizes, colors and any time of the day or night.

Today being the greatest day of my life has nothing to do with my circumstances, my disappointments, my hurts, my fears or any of those types of things. Today being the greatest day of my life is dependent on one simple truth. God is God and i am not. i am turning my attention on Him and His heart and not my struggles or even His plans.

For every thing God has done or does the enemy comes up with a counterfeit. I wake up with great faith and trust in God but many days the enemy convinces me to fear. i am intentional about knowing who i am in Him and yet the enemy fills me with doubts about myself.

Ginny Owens taught me the true meaning of struggles and about Today being the greatest day i’ve ever known through her song “If You Want Me To.” This is where i live every day. Every word ministers to me overtime i hear it.

The pathway is broken and the signs are unclear. And I don’t know the reason why You brought me here. But just because You love me the way that You do. I’m gonna walk through the valley if You want me to

‘Cause I’m not who I was when I took my first step. And I’m clinging to the promise You’re not through with me yet. So if all of these trials bring me closer to You. Then I will go through the fire if You want me to

It may not be the way I would have chosen. When You lead me through a world that’s not my home. But You never said it would be easy. You only said I’d never go alone

So when the whole world turns against me and I’m all by myself. And I can’t hear You answer my cries for help. I’ll remember the suffering Your love put You through. And I will go through the darkness if You want me to

When I cross over Jordan, I’m gonna sing, gonna shout. I’m gonna look into Your eyes and see, You never let me down. So take me on the pathway that will lead me home to You. And I will walk through the valley if You want me to. Yes, I will walk through the valley if You want me to.

images-1i really felt that it was important to share just a small portion of her story as well as the song.

Owens was born in Jackson, Mississippi, with poor eyesight and has been blind since the age of two. She earned her bachelor of music education in 1997 from Belmont University, but found that most people were skeptical about hiring a blind music teacher. She entered the music business by writing songs for Michael Puryear’s Final Four Publishing, which led to a number of labels competing for her, before she chose Rocketown Records. She concentrated in singing and songwriting and began making CDs, and has been producing them since 1999 with Rocketown Records, a label under Michael W. Smith. Owens won the Nashville “Lilith Fair ’99 Talent Search”, which earned her a spot singing at that year’s festival, and the following year performed at the Sundance Film Festival.

Her music has been featured on television shows, such as Roswell and Felicity. Owens has also received three Dove awards, including New Artist of the Year (2000) and Inspirational Recorded Song of the Year (2001) for “Blessed” with Rachael Lampa and Cindy Morgan.

In 2005, Owens started a non-profit organization called the Fingerprint Initiative. The organization has worked in conjunction with other groups, such as Compassion International, International Justice Mission, and Habitat for Humanity. Owens was featured on national television, including NBC’s Today Show and CNN, for her contribution to help rebuild New Orleans following Hurricane Katrina.

In closing, i choose to present the greatest day God intends for me verses the perverted day that the adversary or opposing force would like me to buy into. No i’m not faking, i’m practicing!