new year, new thoughts…

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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… 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.


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.


hope spoken….hope heard

where do i begin…i mean, seriously. where? i can feel my throat get tight and my eyes get hot just thinking about this past weekend. when my sister called me one night last october, and asked if i wanted to go to this conference with her in dallas, i thought…..”um…….sure?”. she gave me no time to decide, which honestly helped me. so i jumped in, bought my ticket to Hope Spoken, and put it out of my mind. as the day approached for us to go, i started to get nervous…no longer sure i wanted to.

courtesy of
courtesy of

see, at the conference, i heard Jami Nato speak, with great confidence and humor i might add, and when i read her blog, she said it best…”hey, remember how i’m an introvert that everyone thinks is an extrovert?”…this is totally me. my husband swears that i am not, but i’m like Jami…i’m the introvert that when i get in a space to speak i come out like i’m a total extrovert, but really i just want to duck into the little invisible brown box sitting beside me so that no one notices me. the outspoken behavior only happens in smaller groups. but i thought about the 250 women due to be at this conference, and how i would have to MEET some, and SIT with people i didn’t know! and i’m supposed to TALK to these people!?! my sister, lindsey, our friend alissa and i were laughing so much on the should-have-been-11-but-became-14-hour-road-trip, because alissa and i were trying to explain to my sister what it is like to be an introvert. i’m the awkward girl that shoves my hand IN people’s hands, really not giving them an option, because i have to get through that hump. “HI. I’M AMANDA.” (said with great force and in business voice)….

ok, so all of that to say, i started to question if i should be going. thinking about all the times i have ended up hiding in my car during a party…all the times i have run to the bathroom during “meet and greet” at a church service…all the times i felt myself wanting to melt into the wall while i wait on a far more extroverted friend to finish up her 4 million conversations with her 10 new bff’s at a music venue (big breath)…trying to figure out how i can hide or look distracted to pass the time. a conference where i am forced to meet new people? hmmm….maybe not my best impulse decision. but God knew….

i could go on and on and on about the conference…how beautiful everything was, how awesome the vibe was, the worship, the speakers. but what i want to say is that God came out in a way i fully did NOT expect. i thought, “yeah, this conference will be super feel-good, all about the hope we have in Jesus and how good he is, etc. etc.”, but these women…they gave their testimonies, and they were h-e-a-v-y. the women that i heard speak talked of broken hearts, loss, fear, and the feeling of utter hopeLESSness. not what i was expecting. but my faith was so challenged. one woman spoke of losing a child at only 11 months. “i could trust God in the cancer, the chemo, the surgeries…but could i trust God in her death?” that sentence will resonate with me. i think we forget that God comes through in ways that don’t always look like the picture in our minds. i thought to myself…do i really REALLY trust God? i mean, have i even thought about what that looks like? the first picture i see is trusting God in the semi-rough, but that, of course, he will come through….right? ……right? but what if he ‘doesn’t’? then what? is he still God? is he still my Lord? do i still serve him? what does it look like to serve him in the storms?


over the past couple months, i have been asking God to show me my purpose. if you have read my story about patience, then you know adam and i have been trying to have a baby. i recently sat with a friend and cried over feeling like i don’t know what i’m doing, or what i’m supposed to be doing. she said, “i think when you become a mom, you are just going to KNOW!”….but what about now? because all i have is now. i pray pray pray that i will be a mother, but God is holding that back from me for now….so why? one night i called out this question to him…”God, what am i supposed to be doing? what is your purpose for my life?”. his response? “to be my child”. how difficult and how liberating that answer is.

and he really drove it home at the conference. we talked about just listening…being in his presence…seeking him ABOVE all the other things….making him the thing we desire FIRST, before desiring anything else. i want this desire to be pure. i don’t want it to be something i say i desire, when in the back of my head i am still thinking “if i just desire him, then he will give me this thing i want”…

….because what if he never does?

will he still be enough for me? will i be satisfied.


God and i have a long way to go. but this was a start. and i am so so so so 100-times-so thankful for the women i met, for not melting into the walls, or running to the bathroom, for the conversations that occurred, then reoccurred, then re-reoccurred, for the small group of women i truly believe i will keep in touch with and grow closer to, for the raw emotions expressed by the brave speakers, for women who aren’t afraid to admit that their faith scares them sometimes, that they are stumbling, but always getting back up and turning their eyes towards the heavens…that we can all do this together, from different states, but from the same heart. that God has given me community.

hope spoken? hope heard.

hope spoken welcome board


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swag bag!
swag bag!
my forever community
my forever community