Thursday, May 27, 2010

forever cherished

**When I first wrote this blog, it was from the perspective of relationships. I never dreamed that so many people would access this post looking for answers as to how Shayne Kohout passed away. I thought perhaps more should be said about Shayne and what happened. Her mother, Sharon, has written a beautiful message that I posted at the end if you'd like to just skip down to there... 

Once upon a time…there were these separate little groups of friends. They attended different churches and knew nothing of each others existence. Then, in weird, bizarre interactions…individuals from the separate groups started connecting with each other in random occurrences. It’s really quite the phenomenon…but for the sake of time…and your attention span, I’ll spare the details.

Then…a Sunday School for young adults was formed at one of their churches. These separate groups of friends all decided to attend…and because of the random individual connections that had been made in the previous year within the groups...they all quickly merged together as one. As time went on…people came and went…the group shifted again and again…and eventually what was left was a new core group of friends. (ok, I thought it sounded kinda conceited to say “core” but really…since it’s the one I’M in…I decided core is acceptable)

Ok, so that’s not the most perfect version of what happened…but it is the basic concept.

There is a unique bond among this particular group. In some ways we’re closer to each other than we are our own families…and in some ways we’re very distant. It’s quite the strange dynamic. We love each other dearly…but like real families…we most definitely have our dysfunctional moments. And really, we’ve known each other so long…in many ways we’ve merged ourselves within each other’s real families. It’s not uncommon to have actual family events that these particular friends are always welcomed at. We’ve known each other through our most transitional seasons of life. We’ve been there through unplanned pregnancies…surgeries…stalkers (yes…true…and yes…plural)…major moves...starting businesses…and so very much more.

Several of us have moved out of Lubbock in the last several years (I was the first one)…but there is still a connection among us. We don’t always get along with every person in our group…we don’t call everyone on a consistent basis just to chat…but there are two things we will always know for sure: 1) We will exchange Christmas/Hanukkah gifts every year…and most importantly, 2) When one of us has a crisis…we will drop everything and come running.

Two weeks ago, we faced one of our greatest crises yet. We all got a text from our friend telling us that her sister had just committed suicide. We all knew and loved her sister...and had known that she had struggled with depression and other issues over the years, so it was shocking, but not completely surprising, if that makes sense. Paige wasn’t in the place to talk to anyone yet, but sent out the text so that we would all know. Literally, within seconds…a myriad of calls, texts and IM’s abounded within our circle. We shared every tiny detail we knew and pieced together as much of a plan as we could. (I think we’ve said “I love you” to each other more times in the last two weeks, than we have in all the years we’ve known each other.) Major pre-planned events were rescheduled, kids pulled out of school, furniture sold for gas money...we all dropped everything and made it back to Lubbock to be with Paige. 59 hours of driving, 3,800+ miles, among us…and we’d do it all again tomorrow if we needed too.

I was very aware of relationships this week. Not only with my specific group of friends…but all my other friends…my family…even my don’t-really-know-each-other-but-feels-like-we-do-cause-of-social-networking connections. I was captivated by the relationships I was watching from the friends with each other…my friends interactions with their own families…people at the funeral hugging, laughing, and crying with each other. I was awed at how each member of the Kohout family had their own circle of support…both in Lubbock and while they were in Atlanta for part of the week, where Shayne lived. And…I’ve wept as I’ve continued to watch the messages and pictures Shayne’s friends and family have been leaving on her facebook page.

Death always makes you stop and become very aware of everything around you and all the things you take for granted. I made a very conscious effort to pay attention to things I could add to my 1000 Gift List…and there were many. But the thing is…I’m not going to publicly share this part of the list. These were very intimate moments that will be held very close to my heart. So #181-194 will just stay in the pages of my journal…and my heart.

But I do want to close with just this one…

#195- The amazing, talented, and precious Shayne Kohout. I only knew you from a close distance and through all-too-short encounters…but I am utterly grateful for those glimpses. My life was changed because of the impact you had on those around me. Your smile, your grace, and your humor will forever be remembered. We can be comforted...knowing that your pain is now eternally gone…and you last...resting in the perfection of love and peace, with your Savior.

Shayne can be seen as an extra in the film 'Life As We Know It'. She is in the first birthday scene, as 'Pregnant Woman with DeeDee'. She is sitting on the right hand side of the screen as DeeDee is sitting on the couch. She looks absolutely stunning, 

*Shayne's family and friends often participate in A Walk Out of Darkness with the American Foundation of Suicide Prevention. You can donate to their team, in Shayne's honor, and for the thousands out there that feel like there is no hope.  Team Shayne

**From Shayne’s mother, Sharon:  In Shayne’s case, as with most suicides, there are questions and details that we will never ever know or understand. However, I have come to several realizations – after months of questioning her friends and colleagues, reading her journals, and pouring over her medical records. Shayne never hid the fact that she had struggled with depression since adolescence.  She was in and out of treatment for clinical depression, anorexia, and bulimia for many years. What a fighter she was! She was fearless in her attempts to examine her behaviors and to try to get better. What was so special about Shayne was that she was more concerned about other people than she was herself. Her compassion and sensitivity were boundless; yet her own self image was incredibly low. After talking to therapists, we have come to the conclusion that Shayne most likely suffered from Borderline Personality Disorder. It is a rather complicated and controversial diagnosis, but the symptoms are so “her.”  During the last several years of her life, Shayne’s acting took center stage. She craved the “rush” and the fulfillment it gave her. Unfortunately, between acting and a full time job, Shayne had little time to take care of herself. She was tired and run-down, and even though she was on anti-depressants, she struggled with bouts of depression. For whatever reason, Shayne was prescribed medication for Attention Deficit Disorder (ADD) in Nov. 2009. Unfortunately Shayne’s use of the anti-depressant, the ADD medication, and prescribed sleeping pills was not closely monitored. She rarely, if ever, saw her doctor and began losing weight. She apparently was trying to figure out how to manage all of her medications, and went into a tailspin. After she quit taking the sleeping medication (about 2 weeks before her death), she found it impossible to sleep…..further impairing her judgment. A series of other life events (career, work, relationship) caused her to completely give up hope and she intentionally overdosed on all of her medications. Our lives are changed forever, but her family and friends are committed to keeping Shayne’s beautiful spirit alive and to promoting awareness of suicide prevention.
If anyone has any further questions, or would like to talk more, I can get you in touch with Sharon...just leave a message in the comments.

Tuesday, May 11, 2010

definitely...definitely more gifts...yaaa

159- recipes from leslie the skinny chef

160- amazingly fantastic wonderful fun time with my friend Belinda from Australia (only reason why I haven’t made a post about it yet is because they had to borrow my scanner at work and I haven’t been able to scan in the proper pictures)

161- reconnecting with Chuck for more adventures (more explanation as soon as I write my post about Belinda)

162- lunch with old friends/staff from one of my YWAM schools

163- invaluable information that was *randomly* shared during that time

164- Norwegian chocolate and Tim Tams

165- friends that went with me to spy out a new anti-Israel/pro-Replacement Theology movie that just came out (produced by someone here in the Springs connected to a group I was once a part of…ugh...the tragedy of it all) :-(

166- realizing I have amazing world-changing connections…and a God-given ability to network them together when needed

167- Sunday lunches with friends

168-173 getting to lock myself up in my house for an afternoon so I could finally read “Same Kind of Different as Me”…complete with being snuggled in my bed…coffee…pj’s…Ella Fitzgerald/Louie Armstrong/Rosemary Clooney playlist softly in the background…and watching the raining snow outside

174- Shane and Shane ‘Rocks Won’t Cry’ cd. Or is it just one Shane? Cause I’m very blurred about the time frame of Shane and Caleb to Shane and Shane and any moments in between. IRregardless…this old school cd makes my heart very VERY happy

175- my favorite team winning Amazing Race (and before people start yelling at me again…I would have also been happy with the Cowboys...blahblahblah)

176- B&B (booze and board games) nights with an extremely entertaining group of girls outside my normal circle who I love dearly and bless my heart in countless ways...

177- the countless A.W. Tozer quotes that have been everywhere I turn for the last several weeks…which have been greatly insightful…and making me curious and searching for the bigger picture God is trying to show me…

178- plans finally fully coming together after months of trying to figure it out for our POP outofthebox Night (Pursuing Outrageous Prayers -an all night prayer event at my church-*shameless plug* anyone reading this in Colorado Springs should come!!! ferserious! Ridiculous amounts of fun and insightful prayer principles planned) -say that 3x fast

179- that indescribable...powerful...overwhelming feeling I get deep in my Spirit when I see someone I know taking steps on their God-directed path…

180- realizing that apparently EVERYone is at the same loss of opinions as I am since no one commented on my last post (except Holly who was just probably tired of me whining about it)


Every good and perfect gift is from you, Father of Lights

Friday, May 7, 2010

"read" any good books lately??

So one of my New Year’s Resolutions this year was too not buy any new books…but instead concentrate on the dozens and dozens of books I already own…but have yet to ever actually read. Does anybody else do this? I’m REALLY bad about this if I’m on a trip…especially to IHOP KC (prayer place not pancake place) or something.
I sit and budget and rebudget…trying to figure out a way to buy the 9 books on my lap that I just MUST have or I'm sure my spiritual life could come grinding to a halt for lack of the specific revelations contained in those pages…and then…I come home and read only the first one in the stack…while the rest just gets displayed nicely and prettily throughout my house.

It’s like a crazy disorder or something. Part of me LOVES information…hence the love of sitting in a bookstore scanning and searching the shelves for interesting titles or jackets. And part of me loves the look of books. I’d line my house wall to wall in shelves with just books and decorations. Someone recently told me how she loves to read, but she NEVER holds on to the books. She either gives them away or sells them to a used bookstore and gets more. “Why would I just want them lying around my house if I’ve already read them once?” she said, like I was the crazy one in the scenario. I really just couldn’t wrap by brain around this concept. I mean, why would you ever give them away if they’d look so good sitting somewhere in your house…or what if per chance you DO want to read it again…or LOAN a great story to a friend but of course holding it’s important, perfectly displayed spot, on the shelf while it's gone…OR…what if someone asks you a question about something you like to pretend you’re the expert on…and you can’t just rattle off the answer from the top of your head…but you know exactly which book would have it and must be kept easily obtainable. And really, come on…who doesn’t just love the thought of having your own personal library at your fingertips?
Or perhaps…I’m the only crazy one out there.

Well…it’s May…and I haven’t been completely successful in this 2010 goal. I HAVE started reading some of the books already in my house…but I have also been sucked in to a few purchases here and there. So, now I’ve just told myself that I can’t buy two in a row…and must alternate with ones I currently own. AND I’m not allowed to buy one and turn it into art until I read it first. I think this is a pretty darn good compromise if you ask me.

Which brings me to the slightly related but not quite completely point I usually have…I’m starting to find a new adoration for audio books. I don’t completely love them, mind you…but I do enjoy listening to them while at work or doing something around the house. But I never know if I get to claim the “I just read such and such”. Do I get to declare that I read it…if in reality…I just listened? If someone mentions the Left Behind series…I’d totally say that I read the first few. But in reality…I listened to the first few waaaaaaaaaaaaay back in the day. Did you know that I used to make Santa Claus dolls for a living? Lynn Haney Santa’s to be exact…which are insanely high-end really expensive collector dolls. I know…the irony of this fact is killing some of you, isn’t it? And yes…this was at the very moments I was learning all those lovely Constantine-Connections…but I digress. ANYWAYS…we all went through this audio-book phase and I can’t even begin to tell you how many we had checked out of the library and were passing around to each other. And Left Behind was in its 4th or 5th book I think…and I listened to the ones that were out. So if asked now…I’d say that I read them. But if you ask me if I read the “Stuff Christian’s Like” book that just came out recently…I’d have to be honest and say…“Well, I listened to it a few weeks ago.” (fyi-TOTALLY freakin worth it…and the author reads the audio version himself which always makes it 100x better…everyone should read/listen to it! SO freakin hilarious!!)
It’s like there’s some sort of statute of limitations in my head as to whether or not I can claim an audio book to my why-yes-I-have-read-that-book-list. If it’s recent, I clarify that I only listened…if it’s years…I just say I read it…but honestly…in the back of my head I feel guilty about that claim.

Am I crazy? (regarding this point specifically people) What are the rules here? Can I claim an audio book as “read” or must a distinction always be made? Cause these things must be clarified before I continue on in any book-sharing posts. Except now...the more I think about it...regardless of whatever the opinion results're always going to be questioning which category a particular book actually fell in. Crap.