From Nightmare to Dream Come True

Five times…and he described every single suicide attempt in detail to me that night in late 2012. My entire body shook and I said nothing; it was obvious Jeremy needed to say everything out loud. I took it all in and tried hard not to blame myself for not knowing. But something else was happening that had nothing to do with my shock and fear; Jeremy was healing.

In 2012, months after his near-death car accident, Jeremy wrote me a suicide note on my computer and left it open on our kitchen counter. He typed out all of his thoughts and attempts, everything he had been keeping inside and fighting alone for years. It wasn’t fair to anyone. My nightmare of losing my husband was very possible, but my nightmare of losing him was nothing compared to his nightmare of losing himself. I read the note and believed he was gone. I screamed in my head and ran in every direction at 3:00 in the morning to find him, thinking I would only find his lifeless body. But instead, I found him very much alive and asleep on our couch in the living room. Our lives changed.

Jeremy and I began sharing with each other first. We began writing our nightmares…our reality. We opened up to each other about our fears and truly learned to communicate. We learned to fight this demon together. We learned to accept that there is a lot of healing that comes with being open and accepting the reality of a mental illness, of accepting help, and most importantly of accepting God. We wrote our story.

It took us a long time to see how God would take something so terrible and change it for His good. But He did. He took two bruised and beat down Christians who were undeniably angry at Him and opened our eyes to the possibility that we could do more. We could pick ourselves up off the floor and choose to see His good in every situation. We could begin to share with others and inspire hope in those who may be now where we were then. We could help society understand that mental illnesses are real and that those suffering should never be made to feel ashamed or weak. We could help those suffering understand God is always with them and there are many others who understand the struggle. We could be open. We could learn to live for God and for others all while healing ourselves too. We could find God’s good even in something so terrible.

“You intended to harm me, but God intended it all for good. He brought me to this position so I could save the lives of many people.” Genesis 50:20

We began writing to heal ourselves; it was therapy for us. But God revealed our purpose as we wrote. We learned He wanted us to share, to help others come to Him and see His good. So we kept writing. And today, our nightmare became a dream come true.

The tears won’t stop; they are as abundant as before, only very different. These are happy tears…tears of healing, peace, and strength. They are no longer tears of terror. We have been working on this book for over three years. We are finally published authors and our book is ready for the world. We want everyone to know and we won’t hold back. The lives of those suffering are worth us sharing our reality. God is good, and Jeremy is still here for a reason. Maybe you are that reason. You are never alone.

“Never Alone: A Husband and Wife’s Journey with Depression and Faith” is now available in both eBook and paperback format. You can purchase either on our website at and learn more information about our story. Thank you for supporting us as we share and helping us help others. God bless you all.

~ Jeremy and Bailey Koch

When God Tells You to Slow Down…

This is my “baby”. But, as you can probably tell, he isn’t so much a baby anymore. He’s almost six years old.

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Asher (almost 6) when he was first admitted to his hospital room on 4.16.15.

Asher has been the picture of health since he was born. He has only been on antibiotics a handful of times in his entire life and generally gets over illnesses quickly. You can also probably tell that this picture was taken from Asher’s hospital bed. On Thursday night, after Asher had been complaining of a sore neck for a few days, my husband and I found a large and very painful lump had formed on Asher’s neck just under his right ear. Now I don’t know much about lumps that appear out of nowhere, but what I do know is not good. And this lump was very painful.

I scooped up Asher and drove the seven blocks from our home to our local Cozad Community Hospital Emergency Room. I could see the terror in Jeremy’s face too; we were in very unknown territory. My mind immediately went to the horrible things a growth like this could be on my child. Is this cancer? What if they can’t get it to shrink and it cuts off his airway? The true issue is that these are real possibilities and have been all too real for too many parents; I didn’t want to be one of them.

I’m very proud of myself though. While waiting, it would have been very easy to get on my phone and search “growth in neck” on Google. But I knew what I would find. I would find terrifying and inaccurate information from people providing opinions or asking questions to other unqualified individuals. I resisted the urge to search. As I texted information to Jeremy, who stayed home with our older son, he informed me his research was revealing this is likely an infection and benign. Jeremy could not resist the urge to search, but fortunately he is one who knows where my weaknesses are; he never would have shared terrifying possibilities with me in that moment. He chose to give me hope and positivity instead. My husband and I are complete opposites; where I am strong, he is weak. And where I am weak, he is strong. It works. And I thank God for him every day.

Daddy entertained Asher with legos in his hospital room 4.17.15.

Daddy entertained Asher with legos in his hospital room 4.17.15.

Thankfully, I was blessed with a very calm nurse and doctor taking care of Asher. In order to rule out scary options, it was decided we would have to take blood, run tests, and immediately begin IV antibiotics to fight what obviously was nasty inflammation. Unfortunately, Asher’s blood wasn’t flowing easily and the poor kid had to be poked and prodded more than six times in two days to get the samples needed. But, I will make a very long story short and tell you, after two nights in the hospital, Asher’s lump on his neck has decreased in size dramatically. He was diagnosed with strep throat that caused a swollen and infected lymph node. We received amazing care and were truly blessed to have hundreds of friends and family members praying for us as we were terrified for our boy. We are home now, and I have learned a lesson.

Slow down. Life has a way of getting very fast and overwhelming. Before you know it, you’re telling your child to hold on for a second while you check for that precious email or post. Life is full of adventures, but the family God blessed me with is my greatest adventure by far. These are the people who will be by my side, and have been, from the most terrifying to the most rewarding experiences. And our ride is not over. So God told me to slow down. We can help others and we can achieve our dreams, but we don’t have to be finished by tomorrow. And we can involve the people who love us and support us the most.

We know how precious life can be because we have been forced to imagine what life would be like without those we love. While it sounds excruciating, I recommend everyone do this. Just try it. Picture a life without those people you love. You’ll learn quickly to rely on God, to trust Him, and to be more open than you ever thought you could be in an effort to have more people praying for you and your family in tough times. You’ll learn to let the little things go and put the focus back where it should be.

We all need reminded sometimes. Right now I am typing and listening to my five-year-old belly laugh at a movie in our living room. It is the sweetest sound ever and I have been reminded that God surrounded me and blessed me with these marvelous sounds. So I will embrace them. I will not take advantage of them. I will treasure them. I will slow down and live life for God and for my family. Don’t worry, I still plan on saving the world, but with them by my side feeling completely supported and loved.

Asher Lane gets to go home 4.18.15!!!

Asher Lane gets to go home 4.18.15!!!

Curious About Ear Candling? My Family’s Method.

It only took a few minutes after I posted this image of my 8-year-old on Facebook for me to realize there are many people out there whom are curious about ear candling or want to try it, but they are afraid.

Our 8-year-old fully understands how much better he feels after candling and runs to me to tell me when his ears are "full" and need "emptied".

Our 8-year-old fully understands how much better he feels after candling and runs to me to tell me when his ears are “full” and need “emptied”.

I get it. I’m a mom too, but ear candling doesn’t make me nervous. It makes me feel like I’m actually doing something to prevent health issues for my family…something I fully believe in and has proven itself over and over. I can thank my cousin for the lack of nerves. It all started when I was in college. Neeley lived just a 5-minute car trip from me and we had many evenings of fun and movies. One night while watching “The Heathers” for the millionth time, I complained of ear pain.

And she changed my life. (Insert dramatic music here)

We hopped in Neeley’s car and drove to a health food store where a magical wall filled with what seemed like hundreds of options of ear candles stood towering over me. Thankfully, Neeley was just as tuned in to the “higher price doesn’t always mean better” idea as I am now, so I learned you don’t have to pay with an arm and a leg to get amazing ear candling results. To make a long back story short, Neeley candled my ears that night and I never looked back. I remember having one done and cutting into the hollow ear candle to reveal an enormous clump of ear wax. I felt it as it had gently pulled itself from my ear canal. So strange, yet incredibly relaxing, especially since Neeley literally told me she would be close to setting my head on fire. In retrospect, I can’t believe I trusted her. She was totally messing with my head…literally. I especially remember laughing uncontrollably as Neeley pulled a fast one on me, telling me to get up and walk across the room after only one ear had been candled! Warning…don’t try that at home! Your sense of balance will be completely and hilariously off until BOTH ears are done! My kids love it.

Basically, you light the end of a hollow ear candle on fire while it’s inserted snugly into the ear. The smoke billows into the ear canal, loosens the wax, and a suction is created that sucks the wax out of the ear and into the candle. You stop the fire when the candle is around 3 or 4 inches from the head. Then you can cut it open and see your results (see the wax in Hudson’s ear candles in the featured image)! You’ll feel incredible!

So tonight, Hudson, our 8-year-old, came to me again. “Mommy! You said you would do it last night and forgot! My head is full! I need candled please!” He has been very stuffed up with a horrible cough and sore ears, so I knew it was definitely time. We do our whole family about every six months to stay ahead of ear issues. And yes, since we have been on top of it, we have not had one ear infection. It works. And it’s worth it.

But you learn through trial-and-error with ear candling. I get that trial-and-error, when dealing with fire and human heads, is frightening. So I put together a step-by-step detailed list for you! You can do it! My kids totally trust me…and let’s face it, I’m not the most gentle of moms. Phrases like, “Are you bleeding? No. Then you’re fine. Hop up and shake it off!” are very common for this mom of two boys.

You’ll need:

  • Pillow for the head and blanket to cover the shoulders
  • 2 ear candles (any kind is fine, but I do like the kind with a plastic tip inserted inside to be sure the smoke flows freely)
  • One small bowl of water
  • Metal Scissors
  • Paper plate with hole cut in center just large enough to insert the ear candle
  • Lighter

Here’s a pic of my setup:

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Steps to follow:

  1. Have the human (easier than saying boy or girl or man or woman) lay on the floor on his or her side. Lay the head on a pillow and cover shoulders with a blanket to protect from flying embers.
  2. Cut a hole in the center of the paper plate just large enough to insert the ear candle and place the candle through it.
  3. Have the human insert the small end of the ear candle into his or her ear snuggly and hold it in that position with hand under the paper plate (see pic above of my son).
  4. Light the larger end of the ear candle with the lighter (human will hear crackling and it will increase).
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  6. Allow the ear candle to burn down a couple of inches and cut burned portion off occasionally.
    1. I know some people who don’t cut off the burned part but it gets too smokey for me and makes me nervous that it will fall.
    2. Don’t cut below where the flame is burning or it will put out the fire. You have to cut just above where it’s burning. (Yes, it will turn your scissors black.)
    3. When you cut, allow the portion you are cutting off to fall into the bowl of water. This will extinguish it immediately. You just have to be careful that you are cutting in the direction so the burned part will fall correctly off the tip of the scissors. This is why I cover the head with a paper plate just in case. Sometimes embers will fly off when I cut but the plate catches them instead of the head. And covering the shoulders too ensures my human won’t get burned.
  7. After around three or four cuts, the fire should be around three or four inches from the head. Instead of cutting again, I simply grab the ear candle from the human where he or she was holding it. Remove it from the ear and immediately turn it over in the water, extinguishing the fire.
  8. Cut off the burned portion of the ear candle.
  9. Cut vertically to see the wax you just removed from your human!
  10. If you want a good laugh, have your human stand up and try to walk normally.
  11. Repeat the process for the other ear.

So there you have it!

My husband, Jeremy, our two boys, and I are full believers in ear candling and are happy to help you! You can learn more about us at We are Christian co-authors and motivational speakers…a real family with real issues and we just want to help as many as we can. Find our first publication detailing our journey on Amazon; it’s called “Never Alone: A Husband and Wife’s Journey with Depression and Faith”.

Be sure to like “Jeremy and Bailey Koch” on Facebook.

Happy ear candling!

An angel in human form…

God sent me a sign…and a new friend…today.

So if you know me, you know patience is not one of my virtues. I am not a patient person…period. We’re talking not even a little bit. Understand my point yet? Because I don’t have the patience to keep explaining it if you don’t.

So you can probably imagine how well I’m handling the printer setback we had. “Never Alone” was almost done printing and we were actually going to hold it in our hands…after three years of writing and then waiting for it to actually happen. And then we had another holdup. We just want the book in our hands. We want to be able to get it to as many people as we can. We know there are so many who need to understand they are never alone. But we also are beginning to understand we can help in many ways. The book is not God. Our goal is to help people understand, to support those suffering…the book is not the only way to do that. Yes God is using us to spread His good. And today He sent us another sign.

The day started out very busy. We had every intention of really sleeping in and being lazy this morning; it seemed a good day to just chill out and catch up after a long weekend of tons of faith, fun, and family. But at 8:15, a semi truck rolled up to our house (note that we live 20 feet from our landscaping and greenhouse services business…Natural Escapes in Cozad). He was loaded with 41 trees and it was time to unload. We began and 8:30 and quickly learned these trees were not only huge, they were completely water saturated…which means they were three times as heavy to move as they normally would be. With me operating the Multitrac (our loader) and my husband climbing in and out of the bucket loading and unloading trees, Jeremy and I were finally done at 10:40. I was exhausted…and Jeremy had done all the manual labor. I just drove a loader. So I can’t even imagine how tired he was! After that, I cleaned up the house (dishes, laundry, vacuuming, a bit of back yard spring cleaning) and dealt with an extremely cranky and stubborn 8-year-old who was pretty sure my grounding him for being disrespectful and mouthy was the end of his entire world. So I truly punished myself by punishing him. The weather was dreary, the attitudes were flying…it was not a good day.

So I walked outside ready to just be cranky, and I saw him. An older gentleman sat on our stump next to my minivan in front of our house. He looked around 70 years old and there was no car to be seen. He explained that he was on a mission to find something, but it became more clear he just needed a friend. I sat with him as he told me about his “lady friend” in another state and his beautiful plans to buy every empty building in Cozad and revitalize the town. From time to time in between and during his stories, I watched tears fall from his eyes. He had walked all around town and his water cup was empty. So I asked if he would like some. I went in and filled his cup he had carried with him with ice and fresh water and brought it back out to him. I still had two boys testing me as I chatted with my new friend, and I smiled when this gentleman looked at my oldest and said, “Didn’t you hear your mom? She told you to knock it off.” I love having parenting support. Hudson just looked at me with a “Can he say that to me?” look. Yes, he can, my son. He’s got more life experience than the four of us combined.

Finally, I asked this man where his tears were coming from. He replied, “Well when you talk to somebody real…” Then I couldn’t stop the tears. I understood.

After about an hour of our chatting, he decided he best walk back home, but he was exhausted and beat up, and I knew God brought him to me for a reason. He told me who he was living with and who his children were, a wonderful family here in town and I knew of them well. So I loaded him up in my van and drove him across town to his home. As we turned the corner leaving my home, he revealed something I had seen in his eyes when he first appeared in front of our home.

“I just got out of the mental hospital in Kearney.”

My response was, “My husband has been in there twice. I get it. It’s not easy to live with depression.”

“That’s what I have. Manic depression. I think about suicide every day.”

“I know. I can see it because we live it. But it’s a lot worse when you think you’re alone.”

I told the man about our book and what we lived and we talked about how God had obviously put us in one another’s lives for a reason. Tears continued to flow. I dropped him off where he lives and chatted with his son for a few minutes. What a beautiful family. To you…you know who you are…you are never alone. God is always with you. Support and love. We are always here for you as well because we know what that life is like…we know how hard it can be. But it gets better. We can be here to support you in lots of ways…one of those ways is to just be someone who will listen when you need to talk. The gentleman ended our conversation with, “When that book comes, I want one. And I want you to sign it. And I want your husband to sign it. And I want your kids to sign it.”

You got it, JJ. I didn’t just help you today. You helped me too.

You helped me understand we can help in lots of ways. There are lots of ways to help those suffering understand none of us are ever alone. Sometimes it’s just listening to your heart and allowing God to use you to support those He loves…everyone.