Days two and three (and four!) of the Art, Recreation, and Worship Conference!

1. I just love that even when people are in the chairs in the dining room, there’s still room to walk between tables…ample room. Perfect.
2. People are funny. And I have exceptionally good comedic timing occasionally.
3. There are a few people who I’ve built good relationships with these past few days. I’m happy people are kind to me and don’t mind my babbling. ūüėā it happens, man. I’ve been doing the thing where I stare at people and just have no idea what’s going on and people are very gracious to me.
4. Apparently I’m going to marry a man named Barry who writes x-rated notes to girls in class and picks his nose in public. ūüėā
5. I am just really good at talking to people. I’m exhausted but I haven’t felt better anytime lately.
6. I am SO EXCITED to bring back these games to the youth. There are some that they will just adore..
7. I really really really want to come back next year. Hoping there’s a payment plan available or something. I’d love to do a games group next year but then do another workshop for something artsy.¬† I don’t know. There will also be ample time to plan and save and try to convince other people to come with me!!!
8. I have frequently thought my feet hurt really bad, but that didn’t have anything on how they feel now. So that’s interesting. ūüėāūüėā But I keep going!!!

9.¬† I’m terribly sad that today’s the last day for this conference.¬† I don’t know how this week has gone so quickly.¬† But I’m thankful.¬† Oh oh so thankful.


God is good all the time.  All the time, God is good.


I’m doing something that, four years ago, I wouldn’t have even contemplated.

This sporadically updated blog has gone with me through lots of trips…starting with the NAMI Convention in 2013 (HOW HAS IT BEEN FOUR YEARS?!) and going on a couple trips to Colorado, the last for NAMI Con 2016.


But this next trip?  Bigger than all of that.  


I am taking a Greyhound bus to Montreat, North Carolina. ¬†That’s a 21 hour bus ride on the way there and a 24 hour bus ride on the way home.


Yes, Jamie “I hate public transit with everything in my soul” Raye, is going on a day long bus ride two times in a week.


Why, you might ask, would I do that?


I was doodling around on the internet (pretty standard) and ended up on the Montreat Conference Center website (It’s a Presbyterian (USA) conference center just a bit east of Asheville, NC). ¬†As you probably already know, I’ve been a youth leader at my church this past school year and I love it. ¬†The youth are great. ¬†The other youth leaders are the best. ¬†My week leads up to youth group on Thursday and it is the pinnacle. ¬†So I saw that Montreat was having an Arts, Recreation, and Worship Conference the first full week of May (it was November or so when I saw this) and that they had scholarships available to cover part of the conference fees. ¬†Me being me, I filled out the scholarship application and promptly forgot about it (because that’s how my brain works). ¬†I gave it up to God and focused on life (the winter was hard for me. ¬†I had to put my 14 year old kitty Buffy down and that just clouded my life for awhile).


Then early March came and I got an email that I was awarded one of the scholarships. ¬†Everything became¬†really¬†real and I went on a mission to figure out how to pay for the rest of the fees and my transportation. ¬†I appealed to my church to see if there was any funding anywhere that could help me out. ¬†My lovely supervisor-y person (she’s the Minister of Youth, Servanthood, and Adults at my church and is in charge of Youth Group!!) Anna advocated HARD to a fund at church to help me go. ¬†And the rest of the conference fee was given to me so I would be able to go to the conference and bring back new ideas for games and community building for our youth and perhaps for our entire church.


So I’m heading out on Sunday the 7th of May (aka in four days) on a Greyhound bus for a 21 hour bus ride to North Carolina. ¬†I’ve been having stress dreams about the trip since I was 100% sure I was going to be going. ¬†Last night’s was pretty standard- I missed the bus departure (despite the fact my apartment is right across the street from my apartment) because my suitcase wasn’t packed. ¬†I called my mom and begged her to come pick me up and drive me to a city 1.5 hours away where it bus will be hanging out for an hour and a half so I could get on it there. ¬†And then I woke up all terrified. ¬†haha.


I have so many people urging me on. ¬†They believe in me so hardcore that I have to believe in myself a little, right? ¬†They say that I’m going to be fine. ¬†That I have all the skills to face the world and this trip.


And I almost believe them.


Here’s to another adventure. ¬†I will¬†hopefully¬†be updating this blog on my trip (we all know how awesome I am at that. ha).


I’ve been asked when I was going to write another blog post.

By my psych clinician nonetheless. ¬†But it’s true, I have kind of let this blog go accidentally. I was doing the 21 Days to Happiness thing and then I forgot about it. ¬†Well, I didn’t really forget about it, it just wasn’t a priority to me. ¬†We all know how that goes. ¬†Life gets going fast and then we just let things drift out of our memory. ¬†


I thought however that I would start this blog up again because of my trip I’m going on to Denver. ¬†I’m leaving on the train to Denver tonight and getting there tomorrow morning. ¬†I’m visiting a dear friend of mine Johanna and we’ve got lots of things planned. ¬†Plus just spending time with each other since we don’t see each other very often. ¬†I miss having movie nights with themed snacks with the girl. ¬†It’s hard to do that when you live half a day away. ¬†


Anyone who knows me a little more than a little knows that I can be a little anxious when it comes to travel. ¬†I think I’ve made that pretty clear in this blog. ¬†But thankfully, I have a group of people in my life that make sure I’m safe and know what to do. ¬†In preparation for this trip, I made a crisis plan for traveling on the train with my staff. ¬†It outlines how I know I’m slipping into being unwell and what I should do at that point. ¬†The first reaction in all of my crisis plans is to breathe. ¬†When I look at that paper, I’ll be reminded to breathe and that is so important when you can feel yourself slipping into anxiety. ¬†It’s so simple and makes a world of difference. ¬†


So armed with my luggage, phone, kindle, and crisis plan, I plan to travel across part of the country on a train to visit my friend. ¬†If I wanted to do this a year ago, it wouldn’t have happened. ¬†A lot has happened in a year with the state of my whole body health. ¬†My mind, which was addled by my severe mental illnesses last year, has cleared up a bit and I took control of my life. ¬†My body, surprised by severe blood clots, has built up strength since last year. ¬†I’m the same person I was, only more determined and free. ¬†My mind is still addled; I still struggle with my mood and anxiety problems on a daily basis. ¬†But I know how to live an adapted life and choose not to let it take control. ¬†That’s¬†the biggest thing. ¬†I’m making a concerted effort to control my life and not let my thoughts take over. ¬†That’s pretty big for me.


I’m thankful for anyone who has made it to the end. ¬†I just typed what was in my mind and let it out. ¬†I’ll be blogging more about my journey that is life. ¬†And I’ll try to make it as interesting as possible for you all to read! ¬†