Harboring Hatred

I realized that for a long time now, I have been holding a lot of anger and a lot of hatred towards certain people who have wronged me. Various people from my distant and not so distant past cause me distress even just at the mention of their name. I cringe and scowl scrolling past them on Facebook. I feel in the depths of my soul a lurking darkness, towards them. I hate them. Hate them.

A few hours ago I wanted to write about all the people that I hold grudges against and how they hurt me. I wanted to air their dirty laundry and expose to the world what they have done to me. How they have ruined me; how they ruined my life. I thought this would help me feel more at peace, if I shared these things. I realize now after some much needed decompression that the real issue here is me. That’s right, me. It’s me holding on to bad things. It’s me letting the people who hurt me have so much control over my life. Harboring this hatred is giving these people power over my life, over my well being. The hard part is I know I can’t let go just like that. I know that letting these hurts go is a process. Yet, it’s a process I need to start sooner rather than later. Because once this process turns to progress I will be even more free. Free from those people, free from hatred, I will be free to start my life again. And that is something worth celebrating. It’s something worth fighting for.

Traveling to Bethlehem

Have you ever stopped to think about how awful Mary and Joseph’s travel to Bethlehem must have been. In the story of Christmas, the whole trip is summarized in just one verse. Mary and Joseph traveled from Nazareth to Bethlehem, the town of David. One verse about one long journey. How long exactly? Well let’s take a look. Google tells me that traveling from Nazareth to Bethlehem via the Yitzhak Rabin Highway would take around 2 hours and 11 minutes. To me, a two hour drive is long. Since there were no cars back then, we can easily assume they traveled on foot, maybe with an animal. Google tells us that the walk would take roughly 32 hours. Now assuming they would need to stop to sleep and eat, let’s say the trip took roughly two full days.

Imagine traveling, on foot, very pregnant, for two whole days. Two days of walking nonstop. Swollen feet, sore back, full bladder, and every other side effect of pregnancy would be in full effect. That journey certainly couldn’t of been easy. Yet, they did it. They did it because they had too.

How often does life throw us out on our own “journey”. It often feels like life gives us the worst circumstances and expects us to carry on and travel through. For me, my recent journey has been with losing so much and learning to graciously accept help when offered. It has been hard and I have been kicked when I’m down but I keep going because I have too. Like Mary and Joseph, not only did they have to go to Bethlehem because Caesar told them to, but they also had to go because the prophet from long ago said the Savior of the World would come from the town of Bethlehem. Can you imagine the ramifications of they would have just quit halfway?

I’m really great at giving up. I think about giving up a lot, in fact. I often wish I could quit my job, move away, hide my face, even end my life. Problem is, I can’t quit. I need to keep going. Not because there is a prophecy about me or because the president told me too. I need to keep going because my life and my journey is meaningful to those around me.

Everyone walks there own path and has there own journey. No matter how long and hard the road may seem don’t give up on the hope that every thing you do has the potential to be meaningful to someone else. Once your life holds purpose and meaning, you’ll find giving up becomes less of an option. This doesn’t mean the road will get any easier. In fact, it could always potentially be worse. What’s important to remember is that once you walk through a really, terribly hard spot, you’ll come out on the other side stronger. Your journey will also cross paths with a multitude of other people walking their own road. You hold the power to maybe help make their journey not so hard. Let them know that they aren’t walking alone.

Keep that in mind this holiday season and into the new year. Carry on and help others to carry on. Make life worth living.

Merry Christmas friends



He Changed Me

I always went to church, in God I believed

I always thought I was a “good girl”

How can just a couple moments change a life?

I thought I loved this man, but on that day

He stole my heart, my mind, my brain.

He destroyed my body

On the other side I stood… cold.. alone.

My heart once on my sleeve, now scraps in a dogs teeth.

I silently screamed as I wore a feeble smile.

Lost in that moment, I would never be the same

But, just a couple moments can change a life.

I met a man the other day.

He spoke softly to me when he told me “You’re beautiful.”

Those words felt weightless, valueless.

He took my hand, and got down on one knee.

He said, “Darling, will you marry me?”

How could I trust another man?

But change takes courage, courage to hope in a better tomorrow.

I said, “Yes. Happily!”

One thing is sure, I’ll never look back.

One man destroyed me

One set me free.

Learning to love myself, I will be.

Just a couple moments, can change a life.

Raise a Glass to Change

Have you ever looked back a year or two and thought about all that has changed? I think a lot of people do this.  Some see change for the good, others for the worse.  Ragardless, change is bound to happen with time.  Noticing change as it happens harder to recognize.  Usually it happens so slowly, or so suddenly, our brains don’t even process that a change has taken place.  It’s only when you look back that you can see a full picture. 

In the age of Facebook and the newer feature “memories” looking back and see everything that has changed has gotten a bit easier.  I usually look at my post from 7 years ago and shiver in disgust at the annoying teenager I appeared to be.  Facebook mainly captures such shallow memories, however, that it is harder to see any real, valuable changes.  Of course I was annoying 7 years ago.  I was an immature high school senior who thought she knew everything. Of course I have matured since then.

We all mature in different ways.  Our mental ability to navigate in this world usually grows.  Social cues and behavioral norms usually become more learned as we grow older.  Today, I saw a type of change in my life that is a harder one to see.  My regular therapist was recently blessed with a baby boy, so I was placed with a temporary one until she comes back from her leave.  Luckily, the person I was today was a familiar face.  The woman who walked through the doors to call me to her room was recently hired into the office I go to.  Before that, she was finishing her PHD while interning at the inpatient mental health center of Holland Hospital.  How do I know this? Well, she worked there during the many months that I spent during the very dark days of my life.  

Today all of those memories of suicide attempts, addiction, horrible abuse flashed through my mind.  I thought for sure that this is what she would remember me for.  I wasn’t wrong about that, she sure did remember that woman in which she did psych evaluations on and even a case study.  She didn’t treat me like that woman though.  She knew I wasn’t who I was a year ago.  Through our conversation, simply by telling her what’s happening in my life now, she was able to show me how much progress I have made.  She revealed to me the true extent to how much I have changed.

I expressed to her me fears of becoming that woman again. I told her how I didn’t want to fall back into a deep depression. I ranted about the fears I have of the mania that may consume me and turn me back into an addict or worse.  She showed me again, how much has changed.

Since stepping back into real life I have been able to build a life worth living.  That is a life that I don’t want to end.  That is a life that I don’t want to manipulate and destroy.  It’s a life I want to live until completion. I have so much to live for. My family, friends, job, passions, and dreams are all so important to me now.  More than ever, I want to succeed.  I want to help others succeed. 

Today, I had a glimpse of my old self and realized how much I and my situation has changed.  I have worked so hard over this past year and for the first time, I can say it has payed off and I’m proud.

So raise a glass to change.  In this life, we will live.



Over the course of this last week, I have learned a lot.  It’s crazy to think that even great learning can take place in the quiet of my bedroom.  Being sick with Mono has been challenging on me physically and emotionally.  Many of you probably know or have heard of the awfulness that comes with mono.  Having a hard time eating, having the constant urge to vomit, fevers, and being so tired I can hardly go to the bathroom just mark a few of the things that plague me.  I can be greatful that I’m alive, however, and with that, now is a great time to pause and re-evaluate my life.  

Here is where the real learning began.  As I started pondering the what, the who, the how, and the why, I quickly figured out that in order to succeed and be happy in my life, I need to align myself with those who believe and think similar things.  For me, two things stuck out in my mind.  My faith in Jesus is by far the most important thing to me.  If I lost everything, I’d still have him, & that’s who I need to cling onto. The second thing stems from that. When Jesus gave us the great commission at the end of Matthew, I’m sure he didn’t specifically think of me here in 2016. That, however, doesn’t negate the fact that this address was meant for everyone.  He has called his followers to go out and tell people! Here’s where my world got rocked.  I spent time in a third world country doing just that.  I worked and tried my best to share Gods love while I was there.  Now, I’m not saying my two months in Guatemala is my work being done, nor am I saying my time their was meaningless.  To me, I think that if I really want to serve God to the best of MY ability, I need to do that here and now, with the resources and talents God has given me.  This is really nothing new to me, but I feel like in this past season of life I grew comfortable.  I started settling for less.  I became a product of my environment.

I know I can serve the Lord for the rest of my life regardless of where I work, but I think God put passions, dreams, and desires in me for a reason.  So where do I go from here? Well, that is something I also am considering.  Remember I stated I need to align myself with that in which I believe.  As of right now, I quietly follow my passion on the sidelines.  Instead, pursing God with my skills and talents should be the main event.  So, back to the question of where do I go.. Well, I for one believe very strongly that God did not allow me to go through the horrible things I have without wanting to use those things to help others. My passions are helping others, helping those who struggle from mental illness, and bringing light into the community of people who are in such a dark place right now. For a long time I have wanted to be an advocate, a psychologist, a social worker, or something that will put me in the field! How silly was I to believe I NEEDED a degree to do so.  I’m already here.  I’m active in giving those with mental illnesses a chance to relate, to express themselves, and to believe that this is not the end.  

Do I believe I’m going to use my blog to change the world? Well, no, probably not.  But that’s not the point.  I have so many tools and resources that I have used and can use to reach others.  If that’s not exciting, I don’t know what is.  

I have more to say but I will be saving that for another time.  I would like to offer something to you (my readers, friends, family, whoever stumbles upon this blog post). As I have free time but little energy, the only thing I’ve found to do that isn’t electronic is my art.  I love watercolor and drawing.  To fill my spirit and my time I really want to send anyone that wants one a custom painting or drawing.  Nothing special, just on a sheet of paper in an envelope, but just for you. As an encouragement or an I love you. ūüôā

If interested, shoot me an email (seriously do it) and give me an idea of somethings you might like examples being favorite animal, location, a quote or song and I will base my painting or drawing off of that. Or, if you want a suprise, I’ll send you something of my own design! 

So here’s what I want you to do: 

  1. Email me at: tori.torreson@gmail.com
  2. Give me some ideas or say “Suprise me”
  3. Add your Name so I know who this is going to
  4. Put your address at the end and I will mail it out as soon as I can

Blessings Friends! 

The Longest Year

It’s crazy how one year can look so incredibly different from the last.  On tomorrow’s date (February 27th) two life changing events mark their claim.

Tomorrow, on Saturday February 27, 2016, my brother and best friend will be taking the women he’s been dating for 4 years to be his wife.  Tomorrow, I will gain a beautiful sister.  We will be celebrating with joy in our hearts the unity of two people in Christ.  Tears will flow filled with joy for their new life together.

Last year, on February 27, 2015, I made the suicide attempt that sent my life into a tailspin. One year ago, I overdosed in an attempt to kill myself.  After being taken to the hospital and spending the night, I was informed my time in Guatemala, the country that I love, was coming to an end.  That day marked the beginning of many hard months. Loneliness, anxiety, hospital stays, and thoughts of death continued through the next few months.  One year ago, my life almost ended.  

In many ways, my life did end on that day.  That’s say brought me to rock bottom. Rock bottom, however, is the very foundation on which I was able to build my life.  Through many tears of sorrow, tomorrow, I can cry tears of joy as a celebrate life. Not only my brother and new sisters life, but also the life I worked hard to save.  Tomorrow I’ll stand happy God didn’t let my life end one year ago, so I could witness my brothers “I do” and know he wouldn’t be the same without me there too.

The Clay Girl and The Scarred Hands

Imagine with me. ¬†A small, beautiful, red clay person grows up to believe she is not good enough. ¬†She can’t measure up to the other clay people. ¬†So, she decides to try to fit in. ¬†She gives up who she is in order to fit in. ¬†That means she lets others tell her which shape to be in. ¬†She is kneaded, squished, and squeezed into places she hates. ¬†She is molded into a different person for every person she encounters. ¬†Soon, she is molded by so many dirty hands, her color grows dingy. ¬†The more she is molded, the more pliable she becomes. ¬†One day, she decides she has had enough. ¬†She wants to go back to the way she used to be. She tries and tries to shape herself into who she thinks she is, but no matter what she does, she remains imperfect and dingy. ¬†She is afraid to be molded by anyone else. ¬†She believes he best option is to harden herself. ¬†That way, no one can mold her. ¬†She may not be perfect, but she feels this is better than nothing. ¬†She spends hours in the freezer, just long enough to grow hard. ¬†Satisfied at first, but eventually worn by her imperfections, she cries. ¬†She looks back on her life and looks to back when she was beautiful. ¬†When she does this she notices something she hadn’t before. ¬†Every single day, no matter where she went, a man watched over her. ¬†If something destroyed her shape, he would quickly jump in and fix it. ¬†If she messed her own shape up, he would gently knead her back into his image. ¬†This man was the one that created her. ¬†When ¬†she forgot about him and decided to fit in, she wouldn’t let him mold her any more. ¬†She thought he was the problem and she was better off without him. ¬†Quickly, she ran back to the man, knowing he probably wouldn’t love her dingy, beat up frame. ¬†The instant he was her, he scooped her up in his nail scared hands. ¬†Quickly and quietly, he molds her back to her original shape. ¬†He pours a thick red liquid over her to restore her bright red color. ¬†Soon, she was even more beautiful then she remembered. ¬†When she looked up at him, she noticed his face was pale. ¬†He was beaten, cut up, and bloody. ¬†She asked him why? ¬†He just smiled at her and said, I love you more. ¬†Pondering his words, she wondered who he loved her more than. ¬†It was at this point she realized, he made her beautiful by sacrificing his own beauty. ¬†Her pain, he took from her. ¬†He dyed her to a beautiful red with his blood. ¬†He loved her more than himself. ¬†She cried out to him, knowing nothing she could say would ever repay his sacrifice.

It’s easy to believe we are nothing. ¬†The world sends us signals every day. ¬†It tells us we are not pretty enough, thin enough, fit enough, smart enough, good enough, etc. ¬†It’s so easy to believe these lies. ¬†Especially when they are all we are consumed with. ¬†Soon, we start sacrificing our morals, values, and self worth in order to fit in. ¬†I know I personally try so desperately to be loved sometimes, I will do just about anything for it. ¬†For years, I tried to fit in with so many different groups of people. ¬†I was constantly pretending. My friends, my family, nobody, knew the real me. ¬†I honestly didn’t even know who I was. ¬†After years and years of trying to “fit”, I hated myself. ¬†I looked in the mirror and saw a dingy body and soul. ¬†It wasn’t until recently I did a lot of self reflection and discovery. ¬†Instead of pretending all the time, I was very bluntly honest with myself and those around me. ¬†I discovered something through all this; there is only one man who will love me perfectly. ¬†I kept feeling so ashamed. ¬†I knew how awful I was and I never thought he could love me. ¬†He does love me. ¬†He whipped me clean and made me new. ¬†I wrote this story about the clay girl when I was trying to describe to myself how God has taken care of me. ¬†It might be simple and childlike, but it helps remind me of how he took on my sins. ¬†That’s why I wanted to share it. ¬†Forgive me if it’s cheesy, but thank you for reading and feedback.




Peace Like a River

I’m sitting next to the Grand River with this lovely view as I wait for my class to start.  The phrase “Peace like a river” keeps popping in my mind.  I wonder where that phrase originated and why it is so often used as a  metaphor for peace.  As I sit here and listen to the water gently rush by I do feel at peace.  So yeah, I guess a river is peaceful in the sense.  In others, however, I am beginning to question it.

A river by nature is rushing. Now, I don’t know about you, but I never feel at peace when I’m rushing. If I’m rushing that usually means I’m late.  Being late usually means I’m stressed… and well, you can see where I’m going with this. So how then can we say we have peace like a rushing river.

As I look at the river, I also remember the origins of the name of the great city in which I live. Grand Rapids.  The “Rapids” comes from what once was a river filled with them.  Though the Grand River now has very few rapids due to dams and whatnot, a lot of rivers do still have them.  Now I don’t know a lot about how Rapids actually come to be, but I assume it’s probably similar to how waves form and break.  An uneven or rocky surface causes great waves.  Now, this does not sound peaceful at all. The idea of white water rafting give me the opposite feelings of peace, fear and adrenalin!  Also, when we describe a bad life we commonly use the phrases like, “it’s a rocky situation” or “my life is of kilter”, much like a river floor. How is a river of Rapids peaceful?

Another thing I know about the river, though it can’t be seen while looking at it, is pollution.  Pollution kills living things.  You call that peace? Now I know pollution was never supposed to naturally be in the river, but neither is the pollution in our own lives. And like the river, it has to be delt with before the river, well, dies. Is a polluted river really peaceful? 

There are other things about rivers I could call unpeacful such as floods or the opposite, drought.  But I’ll just stick with these three.

So as I think about it, to me, a rushing, rapid, and polluted River doesn’t seem peaceful. Why would I want peace like a river? It sounds awful.

Then again, I’m brought back to the moment I’m in right now, listening to the waters flow by, and I feel at peace.  So maybe people don’t use the phrase “peace like a river” to describe peace because everything about a river is peaceful. Maybe, instead, the true peace of the river is that despite the rushing, polluted, and rapid filled waters, the river never stops.  It still gracefully flows and carries on.  Maybe, the rivers true peace lies in the fact that though inherently it is unpeacful, it still has a way of making others smile and positively impacting those who see  and listen to it.  

So it seems to me that if I want to have “peace like a river”, that doesn’t mean the bad things in my life have gone away.  It means that despite struggles and hardships, I will carry on and positively impact those around me.  Maybe their love for me in return will also take away some of my hardships. Just like those who love nature will help get rid of the waters pollution.  So as I carry on and try to live with peace like a river today, I will encourage all of my friends to do the same. I’ll end with the first verse to this hymn…

It Is Well With My Soul
When peace like a river, attendeth my way,
When sorrows like sea billows roll;
Whatever my lot, Thou hast taught me to say,
It is well, it is well, with my soul.