Los Angeles Heartbeat

Los Angeles has become synonymous with some very key images.
Palm trees, beaches, and Valley girls for example. Those of us who live here know there is so much more than that. And some of it is very sad.
Los Angeles has been my home for 18 years. For most of those years I had a love-hate relationship with the famous city. I dreamed of getting out. Going to college in another city or state was my dream. Of course, that didn’t happen. I stayed pretty local.
The Lord knows if or when I’ll move away, but I know I’m here for a reason after all these years and have not been able to leave.
Growing up I saw countless homeless people. Some of them I even talked to- they knew me, I knew them and they watched me grow up. I watched some of them find homes and jobs. I watched others disappear over time, never to be heard from again. There were many more of the latter cases.
My heart is saddened by the very thought of a homeless person dying in the forgotten corners of the greater Los Angeles area, but that’s a reality.

Recently I’ve had it in my heart to really pray for and help the homeless people in my city and partner with others who have the same heart for the homeless.

As Christians we must love people and be compassionate. It took me long enough, but God’s timing is perfect. I vow from this day forth to pray for, feed, and minister to the homeless in any way I can while I’m still in the area.

Will you join me in praying not only for the homeless in LA and all over the world?

By this we know love, because He laid down His life for us. And we also ought to lay down our lives for the brethren. But whoever has this world’s goods, and sees his brother in need, and shuts up his heart from him, how does the love of God abide in him? My little children, let us not love in word or in tongue, but in deed and in truth. (‭I John‬ ‭3‬:‭16-18‬ NKJV)

Rachel’s List

With Halloween now three weeks away, I am beginning to feel more pressed to make sure the second part of Second Chance Rachel gets published on time on October 31st. With the short amount of time , however, I am finding this project to be a lot of fun to work on. The publication date for part two coincides with Rachel Denton’s journal entry being written on the same date.

I thought I’d share a little secret that may not quite be much of a secret.

If you read part one you will recall that Rachel wrote out a list of things she hopes to accomplish in college. A list of things she hopes to get a second chance to do that she was unable to do because of past experiences getting in the way.

Her list is the following:

-Get good grades

-Make friends and build on friendships she  currently has

-Sing, learn drums, and improve on harmonica

-Be in a meaningful relationship with a great guy

-Act in a play

-Get a part-time job

-Improve on the languages she knows a little of- Tagalog, Spanish, Arabic

-Write more

-Run a marathon

-Play basketball again

If you’ve been reading my blog for some time now it won’t be a surprise to you to know that this list and Rachel’s story are semi-autobiographical. I believe in second changes and getting a chance at doing things over again. With that belief, I created this story.

Although a work of fiction, I used elements of my own testimony and personal experiences to help me create what I hope will be a funny, heartwarming, and encouraging story that people can enjoy for free via Wattpad.

As always, thank you all for your support!

Tell your friends abut my work, but more importantly, if you are a Christian, tell everyone you know how much God loves them!

If you haven’t read part one yet, here it is [link]. Click the link here or the one above.

Happy Friday!

Spokesperson, one year later

A year ago this very day I found myself in the car with a trusted friend in the early afternoon after experiencing a panic attack that morning. I missed chapel and all my classes.

Panic attacks weren’t new to me. But for a lot of my friends the fact that I had one so bad that I was headed to a medical walk-in to get myself a prescription for anti-depression and anti-anxiety medication was very new…and very scary. The outpouring of support I got from friends was a great comfort to me…but I was still a mess. And some people still did not understand what I was going through and made quick judgments.
That week at school was perhaps one of the hardest weeks of my entire senior year of college, if not my whole college experience. My body was adjusting to the new medication: lexapro. And it wasn’t easy. Not at all.

With so much on my mind and a difficult time dealing with certain social situations that were laid out before me, I felt I had no choice but to turn to medication after keeping myself away for six years.

Generalized Anxiety Disorder struck again.

My parents were not too keen on my drug use so they told me to stop after my first month’s supply. I didn’t listen of course. Instead I hid my pills from them and took the lexapro every morning until January.

Things did get better and eventually I was able to wean off the medication. I started exercising again and it helped. Journaling did too. Most of all, reading my bible and praying constantly helped me to deal with my depression and anxiety for the rest of the school year.
While I’m not free from G.A.D. I am doing much better than I have before.
I believe that many people, including Christians misunderstand depression and anxiety. I feel very strongly that God wants me to be a spokesperson for these conditions.
Can a Christian be depressed and anxious when the bible says that we are to be joyful? Yes. I do believe that a Christian can have anxiety and depression. I do not think that every instance of these illnesses is a result of a spiritual issue of the person or a lack of faith and prayer. I think it is just another part of this life, this fallen world that people could find themselves dealing with.

I am going to start a movement to end the insensitivity and bring light to the issue by encouraging people to love on those who are anxious and depressed and not judge them right away or put them in a box.

What these people need is love and understanding.

I hope to be an effective voice for this cause that is so dear to my heart.

Will you pray for me as I prepare to put this together?

Thank you all so much.
God Bless each and every one of you.

Faking Fiction

Being required to take so many writing classes in college for my major, one would think I’ve got fiction writing down. In reality, out of all the writing I did, I produced more quality work in my non-fiction writing classes such as Autobiography Writing and Writing Essays. I struggled with fiction.
Nevertheless I have allowed my imagination to lead me to the online writing community Wattpad and put down part one of a series I created called Second Chance Rachel.

Like my own non-fiction stories, this one stars a young college female who tries to better her life. It’s targeted at teens and young adults, but hopefully people of all ages will enjoy it.
Part two will be posted on Halloween.

Thanks, as always for your support and love, friends!
God Bless you all!


I’ve Always Been Honest

I’ve always been honest and open about my depression. Very few people choose to talk about it and different people have different things to say about it. In light of recent events, I think it is now more important than ever that I share my heart on depression even more openly on this blog.
I’ll start by saying that lately my symptoms have been at their worst. It’s something I’ve had a hard time coping with and something I have tried to hide with happy blog posts for all of you and a smile on my face when my family is around.
I’ll be honest, it has been very, very hard for me adjusting to life after college. I might go back to school…either a couple community college courses or straight to grad school. I’m just not a hundred percent on anything right now. It scares me.
I wrote a book but sales haven’t been very good.

Trying to make a living as an independent writer is very hard.
At times I wondered where God was the last few months while I hustled to make a living after graduation.

I’m learning more and more that he was and is always and WILL always be here. He will never EVER leave me even if I can’t feel it. That’s not what it’s about.
My faith needs to grow, I’ll be honest about that.

In terms of writing, I have so many more ideas and so much on my mind…future projects and books on the way!
I hope to gain an audience and see people walk in the truth that I have shared with them through my life.
By being honest, I know I’m being vulnerable. By being vulnerable I let people into my world…and they then meet the center of my world: Jesus Christ.

I will be posting more about myself and really truly hope that people will be encouraged.

I don’t mean to try to sell too hard but, really, if you or someone you know is having a hard time and feeling depressed and anxious, please buy my book Who is Kris Toni? You will be encouraged, I promise!

Thank you again to all my readers around the world. You all have been so influential in helping me to become a stronger person despite my health issues.