Confessions from an Outsider

There are a lot of areas in life where I just don’t fit in. I’ve learned to accept this fact. When I was younger, I didn’t understand why I just didn’t seem to “get” normal social guidelines. Something in me never seemed to click and I didn’t understand why so many acted the way they did and covered up so much of who they really were just to abide by someone else’s set of expectations. I said the wrong things at the wrong times, I shared way more information than anyone often wanted to know, and I generally made people uncomfortable. It wasn’t hard to see, still isn’t at times. I remember saying something and immediately regretting it because it wasn’t “okay” based upon what somebody else thought. I saw so many others acting completely different for different people; personalities adjusted to the situations. And while it works for some, and may even be necessary at times for some people, I just didn’t (and don’t) get it.

There were some people who would truly turn their backs and just walk away from me. It’s not hard to see, or even feel, an awkward hello or an eye roll. While it hurt my feelings long ago, I laugh about it now. This is me. This is who I am. And it’s okay. If someone doesn’t know how to handle my personality, I don’t believe that should be my problem. I’m annoying and odd. And I’m okay with that.

As I’ve gotten older, I’ve realized there are so many of us “outsiders” who don’t like, or don’t know how, to play by the normal rules. And my reality now is that this is who I am, and if some don’t know how to take me, they don’t have to. It’s okay. Those who truly don’t know how to talk to or handle anything out of their comfort zones are really no different from me; we just have different comfort zones. Hiding makes me uncomfortable. I know everything about my close friends and family; I can’t handle hiding.

And now I get it. I get why I am the way I am. This “weirdness” is a God-given strength, and it got my family and I out of the hell we were living in behind the scenes. My being an outsider is the best thing that ever happened to me, but it took me years to embrace it. 

2015-11-16 09.02.30

Do you know how I actually started learning to accept who I am? My husband, the show “Friends”, and the song “Firecracker” by Josh Turner. Sound strange? Get used to it; not much is normal when I’m around. One day while cooking supper, I had my favorite show playing in the background. Phoebe was getting married in the snow in the street, and her soon-to-be husband said to her, “You’re so wonderfully weird.” Jeremy turned to me and said, “You know. That’s so true. You’re my Phoebe. You’re so wonderfully weird.” Jeremy loved that about me. He always loved and appreciated the me that so many made me believe I needed to cover up. I started learning to embrace my outsider status outside of our private life because he let me.

Then there was the song. Another day, a few years later, I was driving and talking on the phone with Jeremy. Over his radio, Josh Turner started singing “Firecracker.” Jeremy turned it up so I could hear. In his wonderfully off-tune voice, he sang…

“When I light the fuse I gotta get back quick.
You gotta be careful with a dynamite stick.
Son of a gun she’s fun to handle,
and she packs a punch like a roman candle.
She’s a pack of black cats in a red paper wrapper.
My little darlin’ is a Firecracker.”

And again, my confidence started to grow. Maybe being an outsider was okay. Maybe I was good enough. And I started putting it together. Jeremy had been the reason I was learning to be okay with who I am, now it was my turn to help him be okay.

Jeremy was diagnosed with severe depression in 2009; we lived a terrible secret for more than three years because he was ashamed of what his brain would do to him. Between 2009 and 2012, Jeremy attempted suicide five times. I flushed countless medications that caused his suicidal thoughts to escalate, and he was nearly killed in a head-on collision with a semi truck.

Jeremy's truck after the accident in 2012.

Jeremy’s truck after the accident in 2012.

But it was later in 2012, after God gave him the strength to leave the suicide note on our computer for me to read even after He saved my husband yet again, when I figured it out. Unfortunately, I found the note before I found that Jeremy was still alive; that was the most terrifying night of my life. Fortunately, Jeremy finally shared the truth, the whole truth, and began healing. I realized being open and honest is what would save my husband. I realized my outsider status may just have not been an accident.

We found true faith because of two things we believed were the worst that had ever happened to us: outsider status and depression. I remember the first time I said something about Jeremy’s depression in public. We were walking around in Menards in Kearney, Nebraska and ran into some friends. They asked what we were doing in Kearney that evening. Without thinking, I said, “Jeremy suffers from depression and our support group is here in town.”

You wouldn’t believe how fast Jeremy’s head spun toward me. He gave me this look of, “I can’t believe you just told them that.” I didn’t care. It was a God moment; He put the words in my mouth. But do you know what happened next? Our friend answered, “I have depression too. It’s so hard sometimes. What support group do you go to?”

Destiny. Support. We learned to be open in every aspect of life. It was excruciating for Jeremy at first, but it didn’t take him long to realize we were helping people. We were allowing people to be honest and open about their realities too. We were allowing God to take something meant to harm us and use it for His good.

“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 (NLT)

Now published authors, we shared our entire truth with the world. Why? Because it’s okay, and because God will use us to help people. “Never Alone: A Husband and Wife’s Journey with Depression and Faith” was our destiny. We wrote, now we want to travel the country and speak to anyone and everyone who will listen or who needs to hear the truth that there is hope in mental illness, there is hope for healing, and God gives us that hope if we learn to see Him and accept His good. We share more at www.jeremyandbailey.com and post almost daily on our Jeremy and Bailey Koch Facebook page in order to continue inspiring and providing hope.

I won’t hide who I am now. I won’t be ashamed, and I won’t hold anything back. For every person I annoy or make uncomfortable, I have two more who message me or tell me thank you for making them smile today because they needed it. My husband began healing when God showed him what it felt like to be honest. So when God puts it on my heart to say something, I’m going to say it. And while it may make some uncomfortable or even annoyed now, I know those people will know they can come to me and be completely honest when they need to, when they allow themselves.

I may be an outsider. I may have been misunderstood my entire life, but there is a reason God made me the way I am. There is a reason He made you the way you are. You are fearfully and wonderfully made. Learn to embrace who you are and find your reason. Be okay with you; I’m okay with you.

Ghandi

Be your own kind of outsider, because, let’s face it, we are all outsiders. None of us are “normal” because there is no normal. God made us so we could use who we are for His good. 

Learn more about our mission and our book at www.jeremyandbailey.com. Like our Jeremy and Bailey Koch Facebook page. Thank you for your support. Thank you for allowing us to be weird.

This Just In…And Today God Gave Me What I Needed!!!

So…yesterday I sulked that I didn’t get a full-time job at UNK. I convinced myself that all classes were likely going to be taken from me; by doing that, I prepared myself for disappointment. It won’t hurt as much if I just believe nothing is changing and I’m not getting any job. But it still hurt. By the end of the day, I was emotionally spent, but I did set my sights on what is important. I remembered that there is good in everything and I held my babies tight. I praised God while watching my boys in their Bible School concert and I prayed for strength and understanding. I prayed that God’s will be done. I prayed that I would be able to help take care of my family financially somehow.

And today, God gave me what I needed, not what I wanted yesterday.

Hi, I’m Bailey Koch, official instructor for the University of Nebraska at Kearney.

I'm a Loper again! But this time, I'm an instructor and no longer the student!

I’m a Loper again! But this time, I’m an instructor and no longer the student!

I just got off the phone with the Dean; he called me this morning. He offered me a part-time job teaching 6 credit hours in the Teacher Education and Teacher Education/Special Education Departments of UNK. I have an office. I have a computer. I only have to drive two days a week (Tuesdays and Thursdays) as they moved around schedules to accommodate my drive time; that’s why they didn’t call me yesterday. I’m not making a lot, but I’m making enough to help support our family financially. It’s exactly what our family needs, and I feel like my hours spent on this degree are finally beginning to help.

Hi, I’m Bailey Koch. And God just slapped me across the face…again. I love it when He does that to me. He gets me every time! God is good all the time. Trust that tomorrow, something more will come. It’s okay to be told “NO” by God sometimes. Because the “YES” feels oh so good.

Girls…Learn that guys don’t show love how you’ve seen in movies.

I see it everywhere I look on social media. Young girls, teens, and even women are sharing photos and fictional stories about how love should be. Usually I see pictures of movies, huge diamonds, and very planned and elaborate proposals (many staged for photos) shared with comments and boyfriends’ or husbands’ names tagged saying things like, “Soandso Babaganush…I want THIS!”

So I have this to say to you, females. Stop it. It’s time to learn that love doesn’t have to be that complicated. It’s time to support your man in reality, not in social media world. In real life, you may have one or two super romantic moments that are photograph worthy, but the reality is that you will one day marry a man, not a machine that can read your thoughts. You better start to realize that true love can be shown in so many ways, and guys show love much differently than you want. You are setting yourselves up for disappointment and relationship failure because of your expectations of people who cannot generally understand that type of display all the time.

But you will learn to love the way he shows love to you more than you could ever dream of. You just have to let yourself. Isn’t it better to let him decide how he will love you than you tell him how to do it?

But why am I giving you this advice? It is because I have a husband whom is very low-key and simple in his displays of love, but what he does, he does with incredible respect and love for me. So I’ll show you how he shows me love so you can understand my view on this. This post started because of this text this morning.

Jeremy textWhy would, “On our way back :)” mean anything to me? How does this show love? Let’s go back a few years…

On February 16, 2012, Jeremy was almost killed in a car accident. I was at work and wasn’t with him. In a room full of 8th grade students, my principal opened the door and brought another teacher in to cover my class for me. He walked me out into the hallway where I saw a policeman walking toward me. At that moment, the door of another administrator flew open and I heard the words, “The doctor is on the phone to speak with Bailey.” My principal, knowing I was extremely confused and terrified, said to me, “Jeremy was in an accident. He’s alive.”

I could keep going and turn this into an extremely long story, but I have written about it before here on this blog and in great detail in “Never Alone: A Husband and Wife’s Journey with Depression and Faith”. Jeremy did almost die and we spent a month in the hospital and then many more recovering. From medication failures, suicide attempts, and the near-death accident, we learned to understand that the person you love may be minutes away from leaving this earth. Love does not have to be so complicated. And showing love can be very simple.

So this morning, my husband hopped in the truck with our two boys to run an errand downtown. Five minutes after they left, the sirens sounded in town. Jeremy is alive and we have learned to understand that the terrible things we have been through have only made us stronger and closer to God, so from the pain we found hope and purpose. But if my husband or children are not home and those sirens sound, I physically and emotionally cannot handle it to this day; I have to call and check on my loves. Jeremy says, “Hey, we all have our stuff. After what we’ve been through together, I think you’re entitled to be a little irrational at times.”

So I heard the sirens and tried to fight my urge to call. I’m working on it. But I didn’t have to fight it…because my husband beat me to it. Instead of judging me for being worried every time I hear those sirens as I had that day the blasts were there for Jeremy, he chooses to love me instead. I received this text on my phone almost instantaneously when the sirens started blaring. Jeremy textMy husband and boys were fine, and Jeremy knew I needed to hear that. The sirens were not for them, and my husband reinforced his love and respect for me through these simple words. That is love, ladies. It’s not extravagant. It’s simple. And I wouldn’t have it any other way.

So I want to share with you how my husband shows his love for me. These are my favorite ways Jeremy shows me how much he loves me. This doesn’t mean there aren’t other ways, but these ways have grown to be my favorite. You’ll notice none of them have to do with money or planned moments. This is just love…and how he shows it to me without even knowing it.

In no particular order…

1. He texts me if he is not home when the sirens blast in town so I know the rescue unit isn’t being called for him.

2. He disciplines our boys when they are being disrespectful to me, but he never uses, “You do not speak to your mother that way.” He changes it. He says, “You do not ever speak to MY WIFE like that.”

3. He seasons my steak differently than his and all the others and marks which steak on the grill is mine.

4. He always says thank you for meals, for my cleaning the house, for me helping him on jobs, etc.

5. He prays with our boys and I and is a living example of what a respectful Christian man should be.

6. He asks me for my opinion and respects it, not always using it, but respecting it.

7. He explains things to me that I don’t understand all the time (sports, mechanics, landscaping…) and has learned that I now have a good knowledge base because I have listened to him. He has trained me without meaning to and has created a fun (and hot he says) sidekick!

8. He works hard for our family. He plays hard with our family. He puts faith and family first and teaches our boys that the two go hand-in-hand. He knows that when we put God first and glorify Him through our actions and daily lives, it doesn’t matter if we are on a landscaping job or in church, we are worshiping Him and thanking Him every second for this life.

9. He tells me what I’m doing right and what he appreciates about me.

10. He rolls over, kisses me goodnight, and puts on his CPAP breathing machine when I kick him in the night for snoring instead of yelling at me like he probably wants to. 🙂

These may seem simple and strange to some, but these are my favorite ways my simple husband has shown love to me. I have been proposed to. I have been on honeymoons, vacations, and dates. But the daily ways Jeremy shows love to me mean more than any of that ever could. So ladies, learn to see the ways he loves you. They will be different than ours, but I bet they’re there.

Learn more about our journey and purchase “Never Alone: A Husband and Wife’s Journey with Depression and Faith” at www.jeremyandbailey.com.

“Christians”, Stop Making the Rest of us Christians Look Bad

I write when I’m upset. And right now, I’m upset. It started a few weeks ago when I saw in the media that a woman was suing some organization or person or state or something (Can you tell I refuse to read crap like that?) for supporting homosexuality. All of this was based on her “Christian” beliefs.

Yes, Christians, I just did that. I put the word Christian in quotes. And I meant it. So sue me. Now here is my disclaimer…I, as a Christian, will not say how I feel about homosexuality or anything else controversial in my religion. Do you know why? Because I don’t even know how I feel about it. Honestly, I don’t care. I don’t care if you’re gay or straight or bi-sexual or white or black or blue or purple or green. Are you a human? Awesome! So am I!

And I’m also a Christian. I have a relationship with Christ. I know my God. And I know my God is only good. That’s it. That’s all I need to know. I DO NOT have a right to judge another human being. Period.

So when you “Christians” attack others based upon your religion, who are you helping? We talk about being all-accepting and trying to be like Jesus. Do you seriously think He wants us to treat others like this? I get that you have your beliefs. Fine! But seriously, get over yourselves. Just because you know you are right doesn’t mean that everyone else is wrong! You have your own sins. Why are yours any different than anyone else’s?

If you truly have a relationship with Christ, then you should be completely and perfectly secure in your own beliefs. Why do others have to agree with you?

I am a Christian co-author. I believe wholeheartedly in finding God’s good in every situation because He is there. He is with us always, and I imagine that my God is desperately trying to help you see the good in every person and situation. My husband suffers from severe depression. It is accompanied by suicidal thoughts and actions. He has almost taken his life on five different occasions. We have learned to live with the reality of mental illness, understand it, and help others see the truth. God is good all the time. There is good in everything, we just have to allow ourselves to see it. And God wants us to help others see Him. If you want to know more about why my husband and I are the way we are and why our faith is so strong (and often different), read our book. “Never Alone: A Husband and Wife’s Journey with Depression and Faith” is real. It’s our reality. It’s how we found our faith and our purpose in the most terrifying circumstances. We have learned to know God, to understand His amazing grace, and to truly understand that God only wants us to spread His good.

Trying to beat the sin out of someone will not help. Telling others you are superior to them will not help. Have you tried accepting? Being nice to someone? Praying with them or for them if you don’t agree? God has a way of helping me see life more clearly if I pray for someone else. Usually, I’m the one who needs to open my eyes more to see a different perspective.

What’s the best perspective I have found? Look at life and people from Jesus’ point of view.

The newest media buzz is what happened with Josh Duggar when he was a teenager. Now we have all of these “Christians” saying the show should be completely pulled and Josh and his family should be shamed and ostracized. That’s awesome. Way to completely and totally destroy everything Christianity stands for. You want to know how I see it? I see a family who stood behind their son when he was going through an extremely confusing and difficult time. I see parents who got their kid the help he needed and a kid who learned to accept that his actions were inexcusable. I see a Christian who is not denying that he has sinned…that he is not perfect. And I see a family standing behind him. I also see “Christians” continuously judging. Let me ask you this, do you want to be judged for everything you did when you were a teenager? Have you accepted what you did growing up? How will you respond when your sins are splashed all over the media for the world to judge?

Grow up, “Christians”. And start being Christians.

I am fully prepared to stand up for everything I have said in this piece. I am taking a stand for God. For love. For everything in this world that is good. It is true that we all sin, so let’s learn to love one another and help grow our relationships with Christ. THAT is when we will see the change we all so desperately want to see in this world. Just love.

“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

I stand behind my words. Here I am. :-)

I stand behind my words. Here I am at the exact moment and location when I wrote this. It is clear to see I’m not perfect either. I often write to remind myself as well. 🙂

Learn more about Jeremy and I and our journey and mission at www.jeremyandbailey.com.

When God Speaks to Me: My Top Christian “Keep Going” Songs

It all started after Jeremy’s accident. I always believed in God, but I didn’t truly understand how present He really is until I was so mad that I screamed every cuss word I could remember in the English language at Him. Why did my husband suffer so horribly from suicidal thoughts? Was Jeremy here now fighting for his life because he had almost succeeded at ending it? Is that what happened? Is that what God wanted? I didn’t understand any of it. Nothing.

So I did it. I yelled at Him. I screamed at the top of my lungs and asked Him why us. I told God to **** off. I told Him I hated Him, that Jeremy didn’t deserve this. MY husband…a man who always puts others first…a man who loves me and his boys so wholly that his depression diagnosis made no sense to me at the time. This was about me and my family. And I let God have it.

Jeremy in ICU, February 2012.

Jeremy in ICU, February 2012.

Jeremy's truck after the accident in 2012.

Jeremy’s truck after the accident in 2012.

After I got my wits about me and believed God had likely had enough, I pulled my shell of a self off the floor. While it had seemed like only God and I were having it out in that waiting room while Jeremy was in a life-saving surgery, the reality was that over 20 people had just witnessed my breakdown. I looked up and saw Him.

Yes. Him. I saw Jesus crying.

I’ll never forget it. My sister-in-law, just 19 years old at the time, had tears streaming down her face having witnessed what I had just done. But instead of lashing out in anger at me, God chose instead to reveal His presence to me in a way I could no longer ignore. I saw my Savior in Jacqui. He was there and I couldn’t deny His plan any longer.

In that moment, I knew Jeremy was going to live. I was still terrified, but a comfort I had never understood before began to overtake my fear. And 20 minutes after that breakdown happened, a surgeon approached me with news that Jeremy’s internal injuries were healing. Jeremy was, in fact, a miracle. Twenty years ago, without modern life-saving technology and the incredible surgeons who allow God to save others through their hands, my husband would not be here. There was still a rough road ahead, but Jeremy was healing. It was the first good news I had heard in a long while…and it came directly after I told God to screw Himself.

Now that’s forgiveness.

After that, everything changed. My faith exploded. God had revealed Himself so strongly to me that I knew something was going to come from this…something good. God is only good and I knew He had a plan I knew nothing about. I didn’t have to know at the time…I just had to learn to trust. Key word…learn. It wasn’t easy. But now I get it. Three years later, Jeremy and I are published Christian co-authors. We found healing and faith during our journey with depression. We learned that God wanted us to fight together in order to help others suffering understand they are never alone. You are never alone.

Jeremy designed the cover of our book himself as this was such a personal endeavor.

Jeremy designed the cover of our book himself as this was such a personal endeavor.

“Never Alone: A Husband and Wife’s Journey with Depression and Faith” is now available in both eBook and paperback. A labor of love, Jeremy and I are sharing our reality with the world because so many suffer in silence. The book is only one way that we can share with the world the truth about God’s presence during terrifying or devastating situations.

But we all need reminders sometimes.

I’ll never forget driving in Omaha only a few hours after my waiting room fight with God. A car in front of me stopped short. My face was still stained with tears and I was ashamed of what I had yelled in that waiting room. I slammed on my breaks and the tears began to flow again. But I looked up and saw a bumper sticker for My Bridge Radio. I tuned in and began understanding how God would speak to me so clearly through music. I heard, “I remember the moment. I remember the pain. I was only a girl, but I grew up that day. Tears were falling. I know you saw me.”

I knew God was there. He was sitting right beside me in that passenger seat. And this is where haters will hate. And feel free. But you know what, He’s with you too. You can say music is just music, that it’s only there so the artist can make a buck. But what if God wanted that song to be written for me? Can you prove He didn’t? As a Christian co-author now, I can tell you that writing that book came about because Jeremy and I knew it is what God wanted from us. We know we are meant to help others. It is possible that somebody, somewhere, will pick up our book and choose to put the gun down. THAT is why we wrote it. YOU are why we wrote it.

“Hiding there in my bedroom, so alone. I was doing my best, trying to be strong. No one to turn to. That’s when I met You…

All this time, from the first tear cried till today’s sunrise
and every single moment between.
You were there. You were always there.
It was You and I.
You’ve been walking with me all this time.
You’ve been walking with me all this time.”- Britt Nicole

Jeremy, in February 2012, just after they extubated him and woke him from the medically induced coma.

Jeremy, in February 2012, just after they extubated him and woke him from the medically induced coma.

Thank you, Britt Nicole and My Bridge Radio. I am one of the reasons you were supposed to record and play “All This Time”. To this day, music is still my reminder of His company. Reading our book and remembering where we were then versus where we are now is always encouraging. But we all slip sometimes. Being a human requires pain, lessons we don’t want, and acceptance of realities we aren’t ready for. So the choice is ours.

Do we choose to see God’s good in our lives or do we choose to continue to ignore Him?

For me, seeing Him is as simple as hearing the music He places in my life just at the right times. I find myself singing along before I realize it. Then I remind myself that God may be wanting me to hear something. I listen to the lyrics and before I know it, I’m crying tears of joy and sheer astonishment at how good He truly is…how He speaks to me so clearly to get through difficult days and situations. It’s all about allowing myself to see Him, to hear Him, and often to let Him use me to help others. I let myself see God through music.

So if you are new to this Christian music scene but you believe in the power of seeing God’s good in your life through music, let me help. These are my favorite and most motivational Christian songs that have helped me through very dark times. This is when I always see God…no matter if I turned on the music myself or if it comes to me because He wanted me to hear it and I was ignoring Him. And all of these play as I write. Writing is how I know I can help others because God gave me this gift and I intend to use it for His good.

In no particular order…

1. “All This Time” – Britt Nicole

2. “Voice of Truth” – Casting Crowns

3. “Restore” – Chris August

4. “Listen to the Sound” – Building 429

5. “King of My Heart” – Love & the Outcome

6. “Lead Me” – Sanctus Real

7. “Losing” – The Struggle

8. “Do Not Be Afraid” – Tanner Clark

9. “Love Came Down” – Kari Jobe

10. “I Am” – Nichole Nordeman

11. “Brave” – Nichole Nordeman

12. “God’s Not Dead” – Newsboys

13. “Dancing in the Minefields” – Andrew Peterson

14. “Do Something” – Matthew West

15. “Drops in the Ocean” – Hawk Nelson

16. “More of You” – Colton Dixon

17. “Hope in Front of Me” – Danny Gokey

18. “More Than You Think I Am” – Danny Gokey

19. “On Fire” – Sanctus Real

20. “Worn” – Tenth Avenue North

21. “You Love Me Anyway” – Sidewalk Prophets

22. “Fix My Eyes” – For King and Country

23. “Beautiful” – MercyMe

24. “Lord, I Need You” – Matt Maher

So now you know my favorites. Here is your challenge…what’s your story? Share. Find the healing in being open about our realities. And the best part is…as you heal, you will see others healing because you started something. There’s nothing more thrilling than seeing others come to God, healing, and knowing you allowed God to use you to help others. We can help one another when we learn it’s not about us.

So share this post and comment telling me the songs that should be added! Let’s start a viral post of positivity, healing, reality, and most importantly…FAITH!!!

Why be silent? We all have a reality.

Why be silent? We all have a reality.

“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

Learn more about Jeremy’s and my story at www.jeremyandbailey.com. God bless you.

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 www.jeremyandbailey.com 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

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:

2015-04-09 20.16.27

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).
  5. 2015-04-09 19.54.23
  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 www.jeremyandbailey.com. 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!

My Own Worst Bully

There seems to be so much negativity in the world anymore that our brains are naturally wired to think the worst of ourselves. As I sit in the shade at a water park watching my two beautiful boys splash carefree in the water, a breathtakingly beautiful woman is sunbathing a mere 20 feet away.

She is wearing a pink polka-dot bikini and looks absolutely stunning. Her skin is naturally pale, just lightly kissed by the sun. Her hair rests in a messy bun atop her head and she laughs with the kids. She looks to be in her mid to late twenties. This woman looks so healthy; she does not have chiseled abs or legs that look like she spends hours running or at the gym. She looks healthy, happy, and…normal. She’s perfect.

But even as I sit here thinking this about this woman, I rest in the shade while covering my legs and belly so nobody sees my stretch marks from the miracle of two baby boys. “She looks amazing,” I think, “I wish I looked like her.” And at that moment, I was re-wired. God whispered, “You do.”

I mustered up the courage to approach her.

I told her that I noticed her in her bikini, while apologizing for the forwardness of my crazy, red-headed self. I told her how beautiful she is and that she gave me confidence in myself. It was a very special moment, because as I told her how stunning she is and how I wish I had her confidence, she insisted, “We are built a lot alike!” And we are. She told me that I am beautiful and that she had noticed me too.

Thank you to this mystery woman who God sent. Why can I see the beauty in her but not in myself?

I’m fighting it now. No more. I will stop being my own worst bully. I will stop the negative digs I give to myself. No. More.

YOU are beautiful. Open your eyes and see yourself from God’s eyes. If you are against bullying and want to change it, start within yourself.

Who’s with me?!?!