you don’t have to hold on to people to hold on to the experience…

i have been enjoying all these random Tennessee snow days.  this morning work told us we would be coming in late, so i was sitting on my couch, enjoying a cup of coffee and cooking some irish oats…just appreciating the slowness of the morning.

i looked over at my bookshelf and saw an old book, one that i have had on my shelf for 14 years.  all this nostalgia came flooding back to me.  i got this book when i was in a missions program in Texas right out of high school.  it was a different world, and feels like a lifetime away.  the people i met there were wonderful, unique, and a true variety of personalities.  of course, like most people, you tend to create a “group” of friends.  while i had a couple different “groups”, this one in particular challenged me.  we would sit around, read poetry (yes, i was that girl…fine art major, duh guys), discuss books, paint with our fingers, sing worship songs and just think.  this book, in particular, was one that we wanted to read.

when i saw it on my shelf, i felt an ache for their friendships again.  i wondered where they were, what had become of them and if they ever thought of those times we had with each other.  i wanted them back in my life…today…right now.  but honestly, that is not a reality.  last time i checked, one was living in New York, one in California, and one still in Texas where we had all met.  for the most part, we are out of touch.  our lives have moved on in very different directions.

i felt like a piece of me had been ripped away and ruined by the thought that i couldn’t have them back.  then a calm feeling came over me.  you don’t have to hold on to people to hold on to the experience.  i may not have these friends in my life now, but i DID have them at one point, and they are part of what shaped me.  i don’t have to seek them out and maintain a shallow friendship across the miles…you know the ones i am talking about, those friendships you don’t let go of on principal.  you think that you HAVE to hold on, but if it isn’t working, and if your lives are moving apart, that’s ok.  it doesn’t mean you have lost that part of you.

life is a journey.  on journeys you see things that you may never see again, taste things that are a one-time indulgence, and experience life in a way that is unique to that moment.

hold on to your memories rather than trying to force these things to happen again.  it happened, and it is a part of you, and it’s ok if you have to let go to move forward.

maybe no one in the world is like me on this, but i’m sure there is someone out there that struggles with this.  i grew up in the same town and basically lived here my whole life.  i don’t let go of people easily.  it hurts, and it feels like if i let go, i lose that part of my past and who i am.  it makes me feel hollow sometimes…sad.  this morning it felt different.  the memories felt complete and warm, and i remembered those times fondly, seeing clearly how it had become a piece of my life, and i did not fear the loss, but embraced it as a step along my journey.the divine conspiracy

does it all HAVE to mean something?

i’m pretty sure i have posted about this before…in the past…i don’t know. but here it is, stumbling back into my brain like a drunk cousin that calls you for a place to sleep while they are “in town”.

courtesy of www.lindseyjohnsonphotography.com
courtesy of http://www.lindseyjohnsonphotography.com

it is odd, the feeling i get when i see kid art. something about kids painting pictures of their moms, their houses, their dogs, their unicorns…wait, what….their DREAMS…it always hits this innocent spot within me. it makes me remember the days i sat around and dreamed for no other reason other than to just dream. it felt good to believe the impossible, and seek out the unlikely. and when i see kid art, it reminds me that at some point in my life, i did things “just because”. i had absolutely no productive reason to do any of it, but i did it none the less. and it made me happy, even though there was no sellable product or result to come from it other than my mom telling me “good job” and my sister laughing at my polka-dotted horse that reminded her of something that had been shot…a bunch.

linds, it was POLKA-DOTS! that horse was beyond happy with its spots.

my husband is a big dreamer. he stops short when you ask him to do it out loud and on purpose, but that doesn’t matter. he LIVES it. i see him teach himself new tricks all the time — embracing the unknown and the lingering desire to just go and do. and i think, “man, i wish i were as unafraid and bold and in tune with my inner child”, but sadly, i am not.

but maybe i could be…

does it all HAVE to mean something? likely, the answer to this question is absolutely not. because if we allow ourselves to drift back to our childhood, maybe we can see that these gifts and creative impulses are to bring delight to God.

in those moments of letting loose, we find that those are some of the most treasured moments, moments that mean a great deal to our Father. He made us…and that doesn’t just include our thoughts and our actions and how we turned out as a responsible, involved adult…it means our creativity, our imagination, our dreams, our sense of humor. He made all of it. let loose, be ridiculous, draw a picture for no one, sing a song alone, make up a dance routine to a song in your kitchen (c’mon, you KNOW you used to do that when you were a kid…always a choreographer), tell a story that is complete fiction and fantasy and includes mermaids and giant sea people…do it, and you will feel all that stress and all that adult-ness wash away, if just for a moment. it doesn’t mean it won’t still be there, but maybe it will make it a little more manageable with a tiny laugh tucked safely away in your arsenal, helping you get through it with a smile.

new year, new thoughts…

Processed with VSCOcam with c1 preset

it’s 2015. IT’S 2-0-1-5!!! and that is pretty unbelievable. i remember when I graduated high school, i thought years like this would never make it here because they were so unfathomable. but here it is in all its glory.

i’m a sucker for the new year. i love beginnings, and i AM one of those people that, even though i believe you can “begin” something at any time of the year, i get charged up by the number 1 and the concept of january, and monday.

most years, i make a decision to work out more. (this year is no exception, of course) but the big difference between this year and other years is that i am focused on LIFE! i want more life in my ….uh…..life. so my hubbs, our two best guy friends and i made a decision on new years eve to focus on one goal we want to attack RIGHT NOW. no more far away goals. right now goals are in my very touchable future.

new year’s resolutions/goals:
-to do something creative every month;
-to put God more into my daily living;
-to be satisfied with the parts of my life i can’t control.

#boom

so, to pick this a part a bit further, let me explain.

-to do something creative every month-
i was a fine art major in college. i have a degree to prove it. BUT, when i got out of college i let all of it go to crap. why? oh i’m sure i could entertain you with many reasons “why”, as we can all find excuses for anything and everything. but to be honest, i really don’t know why.
maybe i didn’t feel like it.
maybe i got bored.
maybe i was afraid.
maybe i was just downright lazy.
and the scariest one? maybe that’s not who i really am at all.
that last one is the one i have let torment me—convincing myself that i am a true fraud of a person who floats along not knowing what i’m doing or why.

with that in mind, i decided that in 2015, i am going to focus on ONE creative project per month. be it taking photos of something just for me, or doodling more, or making a piece of art for a friend, or learning to sew. SOMETHING. in school, they teach you to find a way to make a living doing art. props to the teaching, because if you are a fine art major, they SHOULD be teaching you how to move forward, out of your garage and into the world of business. but the bad thing? your brain turns to make-it-into-a-profit mush, and you forget that you started doing this because you loved to DO IT. so that’s the plan this year. make art and be creative just because…for no other reason at all.

-to put God more into my daily living-
i’m actually moved by my husband’s leadership in this. he wants us to read a chapter of the bible together every night, and that is awesome. really, what this is about for me is awareness. last night before dinner, hubbs read a verse to me. it’s a verse i have read a bajillion times (yeah, bajillion IS a word in my world), but last night, the verse just hit home. “create in me a pure heart, Oh God, and renew a steadfast spirit within me.” —Psalm 51:10. we sat and talked about what it meant to us, and it hit me with a fresh awareness. i told adam that i believed that what this verse meant was me asking God to take all the nasty out of my heart, meaning all the judgement, all the criticism, all the impurities. and not only to do that, but to help me stay steadfast, persistent, strong and unwavering in that change. and you know what that takes? GOD. an everyday sort of God. a tiny, dark moments sort of friend who will be there in my head, where my integrity lies, and help me to overcome the sides of myself that well up and make me into a non-loving person. i want God to be so present in my daily living that he is there, like a best friend sitting on my shoulder, keeping me accountable and AWARE of where my heart is at.

-to be satisfied with the parts of my life i can’t control-
in the past, i have written about some struggles i have dealt with here, and that is still something on my heart. adam and i have been trying to build a family, but it appears that now simply isn’t the time. and i have peace with that. God got ahold of me at the Hope Spoken Conference last year and replaced fear with peace. however, it is still the desire of my heart, and i just have to keep trying and remember that God gave me this time to grow my marriage and to find myself. to serve him and to enjoy every moment i have here on this earth. and i intend to do so.

and i pray this for all of you. no matter where you are at, that is where you are, and you have to make the best of it. because there is always something good you can see, no matter how dark the sky gets. it’s not easy to focus on the good, but it’s there, all around us.

happy new year, my friends. i hope this year you find something new and good.

a christmas poem….

i never really “write”. i mean, i ramble and blabber on, but i am no poet or children’s book author. BUT….today i wrote a little poem for my office to let everyone know about a potluck coming up. it is a spin-off of “Twas the Night Before Christmas”. i took a couple words and maybe one direct line from the poem, but most of it is original thought. i’m actually pretty proud of it, so i am going to share it here. a quick note about some “inside” jokes….our office hangs a HUGE wreath every year that half the office loves and half of them despise. i hear all day, “i love that wreath” and “i hate that wreath”. so, that’s that part. also, clearly, you will see that i work at a law firm. Ginger is our office manager—i like to tell her she’s the momma of our workplace. ok….enjoy!

A poem.

Twas the month of December, and all through the office
All the creatures were stirring, including the ………uh……(dangit, I just started this and I already can’t get it right)……

……(ahem)………

It wasn’t a stocking that was hung but a giant wreath instead.
In hopes to delight half the office, and make the other half wish it were dead.

The attorneys were nestled all snug in their chairs,
While visions of settlement checks showed up in their prayers.
And Ginger recovering from Corporate Counsel, and I wrapped in decorations,
Had just given up on not drinking libations.

When somewhere in the kitchen arose such a clatter,
Tony sprang from his office to see if it mattered.
Away to the oven he flew like a flash,
Threw open the door hoping for bangers and mash.

The glaze on the foil of the baking ham below,
Made everyone’s mouths water, but Ginger said NO.
And to all the anxious eaters’ wondering eyes did appear,
Were mashed potatoes and pumpkin pie….. and ice cold beer?…..(ok, ok….holiday cheer…fine)

With a bunch of talented chef’s the meal came together so quick,
Everyone finally figured out that this wasn’t a trick.
More rapid than eagles the courses they came,
And we whistled, and shouted, and called them by name!

Now turkey! now baked ham! now green bean casserole and cranberry sauce!
On sweet tea! on deviled eggs! on stuffing and gravy, leaving nothing to toss!
To the end of the line! pass the veggies and beasts!
Let’s make like the Who’s in Whoville and enjoy this great feast!

Dr. Seuss, you're art rocks.
Dr. Seuss, you’re art rocks.

Merry Christmas!

why i left facebook…

i could likely talk about this for days. because the longer i consider it, the more reasons there are to have left. i “deleted” my account today…which you have to go to a special site that you have to google to find. they will keep your page forever hidden away in their secret stash, but your photos, notes, etc. gets removed from their servers. tricky, tricky, tricky….now, let’s dive in.

my final profile picture
my final profile picture

Number One — Privacy Mush.
facebook is getting scary, ya’ll. all this stuff about social experiments and facebook messenger app is scary and weird. i think because my generation grew into the social media right as we became independently thinking young adults, we take for granted that all is safe. the internet is something that most of us still do not truly understand. and to know that there are sites that are storing all my PERSONAL information is weird. online banking is scary enough! i know we could talk about all the things on the internet that are “scary” and how this statement could possibly be construed as hypocritical if i’m going to keep instagram and whatnot, but i guess you have to start somewhere, right? and today, it’s facebook. i am not educated enough about all these types of things, and really, they aren’t the most important reason i am leaving, so that’s all i will say about that.

Number Two — Attitude? Check.
this is the big one. i heart facebook, to be quite honest. i love to look at all my friends pretty pictures, and be exposed to funny buzzfeeds and music. i love seeing my niece sing and my sister’s photography. i live in a bit of a bubble as it is, and facebook usually keeps me somewhat aware of what is going on in the world.

but there are some major pitfalls to this sort of exposure. while i am inspired, i also, in a most honest and transparent way, have to admit that i spend a lot of time subconciously comparing my life to other people’s. and i know this is a typical struggle, but i think that if i step back, i tend to experience more feelings of lack or regret than of joy and satisfaction.

on another note….it has become a total compulsion for me. if i get up in the morning with time to spare, i tend to spend time on facebook, checking in on everyone’s feed rather than making breakfast or going for a run. that is what i got up early for, but i end up getting “distracted” and letting my plans fall away. same with work. if i’m here and it is slow, then i will spend hours just scrolling. not necessarily posting, but just being a voyer. and that leads back to the feelings i mentioned above…feeling like i’m not doing enough with my life, that i’m not experiencing enough….

WHICH, brings me to my next thought. when i DO experience something amazing, beautiful, emotional, truly life changing, i can’t help myself from posting it. in fact, it’s almost like it wasn’t AS awesome unless i share it with the facebook world. but whatever happened to just sharing these things with the people closest to us? and i mean REALLY closest to us. the other night, my husband and i were having dinner, and he did something so silly and so funny…i laughed one of those deep belly laughs. you wanna know what my VERY FIRST THOUGHT was? “i should post this on facebook”. that’s a problem. an official problem.

Number Three — Are You There God? It’s me, Amanda.
this one is tricky to convey. this may not be the problem for many of you, but my relationship with God has been heavily directed by facebook. it has become my church. inspirational quotes, messages, songs that draw me to the Lord….aaaaaaaaaaaaaand that’s it….i let my own personal relationship sortof fall off, and i haven’t been to church regularly in ages. i have no community here near my home of fellow believers that i meet with on sundays in the flesh. because facebook has “sustained” me by providing some Godly encounters. but that can’t be all there is. in the morning, i could be studying my bible. at night, i could be praying. but i don’t. i get so drawn away. it’s just like any distraction, but this one sortof snuck up on me. i didn’t even realize how much TIME i was spending on social media. and how much time i could be spending on other things.

—————————————————————————————————

this is all personal preference. it’s all personal struggle and personal testimony. i am not trying to get everyone to leave facebook, and i’m not trying to tear down anyone who stays. in its humble beginnings, it was meant to be good. and it was for me. but now, now i have forgotten who i am living for. when i see something awesome, i forget that i used to be introspective and let it find root in me. now i just blurt it out on my wall and kindof forget about it. and there is something sacred about the relationship between husband and wife….we get to see sides of each other that we are honored to know, and maybe, just maybe it isn’t everyone else’s business. at least not the 200+ people i couldn’t bring myself to defriend on there. as we grow together and experience life together, and maybe one day get pregnant and have a family and grow old and experience disease and sadness, maybe we should keep those things close to the heart. and while some people can, i found that i had lost my ability to maintain some privacy in my life, my thoughts, my emotions, my experiences. i think it is time to get back to my roots a little bit.

my hope is that this blog might encourage someone who might be dealing with similar struggles. maybe i could help put into words something that you struggled to see clearly in your own thoughts.

…come fly with me….

comeflywithme

i really am not a huge fan of flying. i would rather be spread out in the back seat of a car with the feeling of tires on the pavement and my snack bag and blanket tucked beside me…not in a little seat that i just fit in with the elbows of my neighbors wing pointing at my boobs. i feel a little trapped. what if i get a wedgie? “sorry sir, my ‘allergies’ are causing me to need to clear my throat every 2 minutes…no, no…it’s not a nervous tic….it’s allergies” (followed by my best embarrassed and courteous smile).

i’m typically convinced i’m destined to be in that small percentage of people involved in a plane crash. (disclaimer: i am very sensitive to these tragedies, so please do not take the following rant to mean different) every time i land, i let out all the breath i had been holding for the preceeding 2 hours and think, “i made it! i didn’t die!”. but then i immediately regret my relief, convinced this very sense of security will surely be my downfall on the connecting flight i have in 45 minutes.

i’m quite superstitious when it comes to flying….if you couldn’t already tell. i always kiss my fingertips and touch the outside of the plane as i cross the threshold.

bieber

bieber one

so…imagine bieber touching the outside of the plane rather than showing his “i heart peace super cool fingers” to everyone….yeah, that’s what i do to the outside of the plane. weird. i know. …..i know. if you are my family reading this and thinking, “i haven’t seen that!” it’s because i am terribly embarrassed and don’t want you to know…or i’m super stealth, like catwoman. either way, i’m embracing this quirk before i regret it, as my paranoi has convinced me that this, too, is probably what will cause the aforementioned crash….as if i have jinxed us all with my “kiss of death”.

best seat on the row? i changed my mind 4 times during my flight to chicago at 6am last friday, which was a whopping one hour. i sat in the middle. which normally is the most feared seat. not one stranger, but TWO! i decided about 30 minutes in that the middle seat was actually best, but only if i am feeling brave enough, or rude enough (i can’t decide which), to not hunch a bit and just sit normal. people HAVE to make room for your shoulders…right? they know you have no where to go, so they tend to be accommodating. i had made my decision….middle is BEST! not worst. ….but the window seat is nice, right? you are in control of the shade and at least you can lay your head on something! (this jealously driven indecisiveness likely was because of it being 6am with a 6am sunrise in my eye for 10 minutes.) maybe window seat is best…..i found myself envying the woman with the aisle seat shortly thereafter. she can lean out as far as she wants! guilt free arm rest usage! ….i eventually came back to the decision of no decision.

i don’t like flying.

on my connecting flight, i got the middle seat again. thank you Southwest boarding group B. but again, i am a superstitious flyer, so i feel like everything is “meant to be”. i told the two girls that were seated in the aisle and window seat that they should have known they were doomed to get a third person based on the fact that they are both skinny. (yes, i actually said this to them.) my biggest fear is being asked if i want some comped drinks or some sort of credit if i would be willing to take a later flight because they overbooked, etc, etc, etc. NO! now which flight did God intend me to take!?! don’t give me OPTIONS!

luckily i have a God who can ease all of this for me.

“That is why i tell you not to worry about everyday life – whether you have enough food and drink, or enough clothes to wear. isn’t life more than food, and your body more than clothing? Look at the birds. they don’t plant or harvest or store food in barns, for your heavely Father feeds them. and aren’t you far more valuable to him than they are? can all your worries add a single moment to your life?” —Matthew 6:25-27

“And i am convinced that nothing can ever separate us from God’s love. neither death nor life, neither angels nor demons, neither our fears for today nor our worries about tomorrow – not even the powers of hell can separate us from God’s love.” —Romans 8:38

“We can make our plans, but the Lord determines our steps.” —Proverbs 16:9

“Teach us to number our days, that we may gain a heart of wisdom” —Psalm 90:12
(i really love that one)

God is good. no matter what the outcome may be. He is with me, when i’m afraid….so i have nothing to fear.