All posts by Amy

Where Did I Go?

People wonder why I’m so happy all of the time. There’s lots of reasons actually…like the fact that I have an amazing husband, daughter, family, friends, and a church family that I love. But honestly, over the past 10 years, my reasons have been deeper, much deeper then those amazing people, things, and places in my life.

When you find out that you have a serious medical condition, your life will forever be changed. Sometimes things can get better sometimes they get worse and sometimes, well sometimes you just have no idea what will happen next…

It’s been a couple years since I’ve had any issues whatsoever until these past few weeks. I didn’t say anything to anyone, not even my family, because I wanted to wait it out. I decided not to wait any longer because it bothered me enough that I was in tears at my desk at the office one day. Of course I knew what the doctor was going to say…that he would put me on a heart monitor see how things are going. That’s what was going to happen and quite frankly  what should happen. But what happens from here, I don’t know.

It brings me back to the very reason that I wanted to share this with you today. Although I have so many reasons to be happy with my life, to be happy in my life, and to be happy each and every day, the most important reason but I’m happy is because I’m alive. I was given an opportunity to be who I am, to live through a very difficult time and to actually make it out better than I was when I first started. I don’t know about you but I’ve come to realize that life isn’t just about the things, the places, or even the people alone. It’s about the very reason that God put us here in the first place. Sometimes those reasons have to do with people sometimes they have to do with a lot of people. But know one thing folks, you’re here to serve a purpose greater than yourself, greater than the individuals around you, and far beyond anything you could have ever imagined.

Be thankful.

Be happy.

If you don’t show it on your face, people will know you don’t feel it in your heart. As the saying goes, fake it till you make it. We’ve all heard that but it’s the truth. If your heart doesn’t feel something it’s hard to make the rest of you go along with it. One day, things will catch up.

Last night I was reading James 5, something Pastor Josh had just spoken a great message on this past Sunday. I got to verse 16 and stopped cold:

“Confess to one another therefore your faults (your slips, your false steps, your offenses, your sins) and pray [also] for one another, that you may be healed and restored [to a spiritual tone of mind and heart]. The earnest (heartfelt, continued) prayer if a righteous man makes tremendous power available [dynamic in its working].”

I was reminded of a conversation I had had with my husband, my daughter, my mom, cousin and a friend. In these (all separate) conversations, I openly shared with them the disarray of my heart, my lack of and often times overabundance of emotions, and feelings of sheer emptiness.

On top of the heart issues, I was also feeling “off” with no explanation as to why. In one of my conversations, I shared something very important that I wanted you all to hear and that is, I need to practice what I preach.

So many times I’ve written what words that I believe God has laid on my heart for others, all the while wondering if in fact those words were meant for me. I can talk a good talk when it comes to giving advice and knowing how to handle difficult situations but truth of the matter is, life isn’t always easy for me either. I read the words knowing I should be following them myself, earnestly seeking God’s guidance yet hesitating to put forth the effort it will take to actually change the situation.

I’m here to tell you that my lack of perfection is what makes me the best candidate for God’s correction. My love of life and people is what makes my love of God and all things good produce fruit…when I’m on the right path that is.

Want to know how I know this?

It’s when nothing is going right, so many things are in disarray, yet I still feel the urge to make a difference. I get worn out, feel beat up and simply out of sorts.

Want to know how that happens?

It’s from losing track of myself somewhere amidst taking care of everyone else. My concern for others can sometimes stand in the way of the blessings God has for me. And trust me when I say, most of my blessings end up leading to ways I can bless others. So in closing off myself, I am standing in the way of God working through me to help others.

Do you see this circle I’m in?

Trying to do what I feel is right while losing track of the light. Instead of telling God I don’t know what’s wrong and asking for help, I try to find an explanation, try to fix it or flat out ignore it.

I’ve laid it out there for all to see and WOW, it feels good. Do I feel like a fraud? Nope, not at all. I feel like the person who tries to do it all, who sees the best in everyone, who finally realizes that not everything is peachy. Not everything has to be “right”. I don’t always have to smile every dang minute of the day!

I don’t know at what point I got off track but I’m certainly glad I finally admitted to myself, to others and to God that I just didn’t feel like myself.

Here’s to getting back to ME.ily10

You Have Potential

Have you ever thought about the number of lives you have the potential to affect every day? Notice I said “potential”. You see, it isn’t often that we are intentional about going out of our way for someone, that we take enough time to think before we speak or act out of love for one another, regardless of the possible outcome.

All around us are people who are hurting – physically, mentally, emotionally, spiritually – yet we have become so self-focused that we often fail to see it. We have this unique opportunity, day in and day out, to make a difference in the lives of the people we know, we’ve briefly met or who we simply encounter while going about our day.

I don’t know about you, but when I think about that, it gives me hope. Hope that my life is going to make a difference simply by acknowledging that I’m not here to live for myself. I’m here to make this world better, one person at a time. I’m going to acknowledge that what you see, isn’t always what you get because not everyone wants us to see all their junk, their hurt, their tears. Then, I’m going to look beyond what can be seen with the naked eye, to the person who is inside each and every individual. You don’t have to spend a lot of time with someone to know that they are worth more than a wave. We all need that little extra encouragement, conversation, and in certain situations, benefit of the doubt.

Whatever, wherever, whoever…it’s your choice. You can either choose to take a backseat to what’s going on or you can step up and make a difference in the lives of those you meet. Either way, you’ll be living the life you’ve been given…but I guarantee, if you choose the latter, you will be richer for it.

Are There Intentional Circumstances?

I’m a writer. It’s in my heart and, quite frankly, I’m convinced it’s in my blood. My father could write, I had a grandmother who wrote a book of poetry, and now I know that my daughter can write as well. She’s always enjoyed writing and has been very good at creating wonderfully descriptive, fictional stories when asked to in school. But it wasn’t until yesterday that I truly heard the inner writer come out.

I was running late, getting in the shower and she wanted to show me her grade on a paper she wrote for Honors English. I didn’t want to blow her off, but I REALLY needed to hurry or we were going to be late. So, I told her to read her paper to me once I was in the shower, and consequently, I’m glad I was already wet because it made the tears fit the scene. As she read her 3-page paper, I was convinced that she would continue to do just as I have, creating a bond between herself and writing, even if only for her own strength and comfort. She could go on to do more with it but, like me, I believe she’ll use it to impact whatever or whoever it is she’s helping rather than having it as a lifelong career. She’s passionate about people, even if she doesn’t feel comfortable with strangers or making new friends; which is quite opposite of her mother I might add.

Her story was self-reflective, talking about who she is, where she came from and explaining why she is the way she is. She is confident. She is awesome (she says so in her paper!). And she knows how to make her momma cry. She talked about me in a way that I hadn’t heard before. She said things that I only hoped she had felt. And she understood that, even though life is difficult at times, we are who we are because of what we do with the situations we are presented with. It was the best thing she’s ever written and I am proud. I don’t think it’s fair to get into all the details but I will tell you one thing, she’s going places.

Last night, I confessed to a room full of women that I’m scared about letting her go. On one hand, I’m worried that she’s going to make the same mistakes I have in the past but on the other, I don’t believe anything I’ve ever done is a mistake because it led me to right where I am; and let me tell you, this place is pretty cool! I explained something that I tell Aubrey often and that is, as parents, our job is to raise our children to be better than we are. When I look at her, at almost 15, I know I’m doing something right, yet I worry that she’s going to make the wrong decision. Here’s where the tears came, in front of that group of amazing women…I’m so afraid that she’s going to make a bad decision that I don’t let her get into a situation where she CAN make one. ‪#‎truth‬

At some point, I’m going to have to let her go, little by little, knowing that I did a good job. I know I’ve made an impression because of what she wrote yesterday and the choices she makes each day. It’s just a matter of convincing myself that, even if she makes a poor choice, it will be her choice to make. However, I know that she’s already far stronger than I was at her age. I pour my knowledge into her. I’m open, honest and a little less than discrete with her at times. I don’t want her to question things, or wonder, “what if?”

I can confidently say this morning, that I have done a good job; not to get a pat on the back, but just to be honest about all of the “what if’s” in my life.  Like…

“What if I would have not finished college?”
“What if I wouldn’t have put my all into being a mom?”
“What if I wouldn’t have been a single mom for so long?”
“What if I would have stayed where I was for so long because it was comfortable?”

What if, What if, What if?

Then, this morning, I continued to read a book that I’ve been getting up early for lately. I didn’t make it very far before something jumped out at me.

“Today’s choices become tomorrow’s circumstances.” ~Lysa TerKeurst

It brought me back to all of those “what if’s” and suddenly, I had the answer I didn’t even know I had been searching for. People say that we are the product of our circumstances, yet I sit here, reading this sentence understanding one very important thing…we CREATE our circumstances. Sure, there are unavoidable things that happen to us in our lives, but they do NOT, and I repeat, do NOT, dictate what our choices will be. My life would have been so much different had I not made the conscious choice to step out of a path that would have taken me down a road that I would have not allowed me to be who I was to be.

That’s it folks. It’s really that simple. My amazing daughter, is a product of the circumstances that I created for myself and I’m pretty darn proud of that. Knowing what she knows, sharing what I know with her and being surrounded by people that she is, I know that no matter what situation she’s in, Aubrey will make the choice that is best for her. Regardless of whether I think it’s wrong or right, it will be what she needs to bring her to a similar point in her life, 20 years from now. I envision her sitting on her bed, typing away in the wee hours of the morning, sharing her understanding of life as she knows it.

We have to believe that whatever it is we’re going through is either A. directly reflective of a choice we made or B. something that we will later look back on and see as an opportunity to grow, to learn, to have a story to share with someone going through the same thing later on.

Don’t feel discouraged. Don’t feel stuck. Don’t feel like you can be anything less than the best YOU. We can all make a difference somewhere, doing something but we have to first make a difference in ourselves, then in those around us before we can impact the world. As Stephen Covey once said, put first things first.

I really have no idea where this came from, but I’m certainly glad it came out here. My heart to write is evident, but it’s up to me to make the decision to share it. I choose to share. These words keep coming up everywhere I go so I’m going to repeat them again – BE INTENTIONAL. In all you do, in all you say, in all you are.

Thanks for hanging in there. Hope this helps someone today. Praying for you all.

I was thinking about you…

So I got to thinking about you this morning…

I know there’s something bothering you and you wish it would all go away. I know you want these moments to end and this situation to just be over.
I know that your heart longs for more but your head tells you the time isn’t right.

But are you interested in finding out what else I know?

I know that “this too shall pass”.
I know that at this very moment, Jeremiah 29:11 is screaming loudly in my head AND…
I know that you need to hear it right at this very moment.

Jeremiah 29:11 “For I know the plans that I have for you, says the Lord, plans for peace and not of evil, to give you a future and a hope.”

But what if you read a little further…

Jeremiah 29: 12-13 “Then you will call upon Me and go and pray to Me, and I will listen to you. And you will seek Me and find Me, when you search for Me with all your heart.”

God’s response isn’t simply that He knows what’s best for us, it goes much further than that. In the next two verses, He tells us that we must come to Him in order to see it all come to fruition. It isn’t just about knowing He has plans and being just “ok” with the fact that someday it will all come together. Nope, it’s about fully putting your trust in Him. Knowing that once you go to Him and truly rely on Him that you will start to see things a little differently each day. The answers will become more clear. The direction you are to go will begin to show like never before. Things will unfold, unravel and open up right before your eyes. Believe it and you will see it!

It WILL come together in His time. He has plans. Just be sure you understand this, take it all in and continue to believe in a future that is brighter because of this very belief.

Hope this helps whoever it was for today!

No Worries!

Do you know that there is literally no help in worrying? I would say there’s no reason either, but there’s always a cause for our concern, even if we know there’s nothing we can do about it.

If there is something in your life that you cannot change, I encourage you today to let it go. Give it to God and let Him do His work on the situation. I know this is difficult, but your worries are going to be no help in the situation. Just because you think you’re “right” or that your advice might help, doesn’t mean that you should insert yourself into the situation.

Maybe it’s time to pull back. Maybe if you gave less of yourself and more to the One who’s trying to direct your path, you’d start to see that the worries and concerns lie only on the surface of the situation. Deep down, it’s all getting worked out, it’s just not happening as quickly as we’d like for it to.

Let me ask you this. If you were to not worry for just a bit, do you think the situation would seem better or worse? Do you think that, if you took your eyes off of that very situation for just a few moments, that things would get worse? I think not!

So why don’t you try that today. Take a step back. Remove yourself from the line of fire, take your heart back and refocus your mind on what you know to be true. Then pray that God does what He does best in the situation. Give it to Him and be thankful for His leadership. After all, isn’t this His baby anyway?

Hope this helps someone today!

Feelings…

There are moments when the answers seem so obvious, yet we choose to do the opposite. We often choose to follow our feelings versus the direction in which we’re being led.

Every day we have a choice to be ruled by our feelings or take charge over them. We may have a momentary breakdown, a “pity party” if you must, but we cannot stay there. For our own health, for our future despite our current situations, we mustn’t waller in what’s lost.

Stop thinking about what you don’t have or what is gone and turn your focus to what is here, what is true and what you can make of the situation you have right now. It isn’t about what is no longer present in your life, it’s about what you have to give right where you’re at. You have the chance to give your all no matter how difficult the circumstances.

You can’t lay low and let the world go on without you — you’re too important! You DO make a difference. Don’t be a product of your circumstances but rise above, take hold of your feelings so that they no longer dictate your days.

This is your chance to do what you do best. You are at this point, now what you do next determines where you’ll go from here. Don’t worry so much about the difficulty of the journey, just know that you will be able to handle it. The hard times will pass and you will come out ahead but only if you put first things first. One step at a time. You are stronger than you let yourself believe sometimes.

Whoever this is speaking to this morning, I pray that your every breathe today and moving forward is filled with warmth, confidence and the ability to decipher between what’s real and what is simply a “feeling” that you can choose to get past. Don’t reflect on what has passed at this moment, only look forward because it is the direction you are to go.

Is It Really That Bad?

Is it really as bad as we make it out to be? Is life really that difficult or are there just times that what we don’t understand begins to consume our thoughts?

I often wonder about those times when I was really struggling…what if I were to have taken all the worries, all of the “what if’s” and all of the bad feelings and put them in their place. Would I have come out ahead any quicker? Would it [the hard times] have ended any sooner?

There are so many times when we’re hurting and all we know to do in those moments is hurt. What if we try to feel something different? What if we try to worry less about the feelings altogether and focus on what’s next. If we carefully thought out our next move rather than huddling behind our feelings, do you think our difficult times might soon begin to be a little easier?

This week I feel like I’ve been speaking to the struggling; those who are going through a time in their life that they just wish was over. Know that I’m praying for you friends. I know it’s not easy but it definitely could be worse. There is such a bright future ahead and now is the time to turn your focus towards that. Don’t turn back or wonder what you could have done different because all you have is every step you make moving forward. Place your eyes upon the prize which is a life full of love, happiness and blessings in abundance. If you know that is what’s next, why would you ever look back?

You were meant for more than this moment.

‪#‎dontlookback‬ ‪#‎lifeiswhatyoumakeofit‬

You and Your Nemesis

I honestly don’t know why this is on my mind this morning and I’m not sure who it’s for, but it is for one of you so I have to share…

There are some people in your life that you could quite honestly live without. I mean, let’s be honest, you can’t stand them; the very thought of them makes you cringe. You hear their name and you automatically have a rebuttal to whatever it is that they’ve said or done, even if it’s nothing at all. So admit it, if I’m talking to you, that this person is probably someone you will never be “friends” with.

Now that I have your attention, I need you to listen and really HEAR what it is that I’m going to say to you this morning. This person is in your life for a reason. Regardless of how rude they are to you, what they’ve done to turn you off or how bad you just wish you could avoid them at all costs, they are in your life to serve some purpose. And don’t try to turn it around like maybe they are the one who should learn from you. I truly believe that these types of “unhealthy” relationships can be very healthy in the long run if we stop, take a step back and assess.

Please keep reading…

Often times the very things that drive us crazy about someone are the qualities we carry within ourselves that only others are noticing. Ouch! That’s truth speaking there ladies and gentlemen.

Hear me out…

In order for us to grow in our lives, to become better people, more productive employees, the best we can be in the roles we have in life, we MUST learn from every situation, every person, every good, bad and ugly thing that we encounter.

I want you to start thinking about this person in a different light. Today, I want you to find some qualities about this person that you find admirable and learn from them. I don’t want you to focus on their faults, their poor approach or negative responses. Nope, not this time. today and moving forward, I want you to look beyond where this relationship has gone and I want you to choose a different step today than you would have in the past. Today you will be the bigger person and you will continue to until one day, that relationship isn’t so strained.

I believe with my whole heart that these opposing forces between the two of you are acting like a magnet. They are drawing you closer together but in such a way that you’re moving about this way and that, furiously trying to part. When if you would just turn around – connecting the right end to end – you might just be stronger…a force to reckon with!

You have something to learn from this person. Maybe they are very good at some things that you struggle with. Maybe they push you harder than you like to work. Maybe they even challenge you when you are just happy being complacent. It’s time to shake things up a bit. Step out of your comfort zone and make a few changes. The only way you’re going to make a significant impact on this world is to learn to get along with others and learn the value that you can have on each other’s life.

‪#‎changestartswithyou‬ ‪#‎bethechangeyouwanttoseeintheworld‬

Just a friendly reminder…

Every now and then we all need a little reminder as to why we’re here, why we do what we do and how we can get back on track.

You see, it’s easy to start letting everything around us take our attention. The little thief is there, stealing our thoughts, whispering in our ear and determining our feelings has been guiding our paths for too long. It’s time to refocus, to get back in the game and to see all that we can do right where we’re at.

Stop worrying about all those around you – what they’re doing wrong, how much time they’re putting in and what we think they should do different. Let’s bring this back to YOU now. Why are you here in the first place? My guess is because you want to make a difference. Guess what? I believe you can, God knows you can because He gave you all the skills you need to do so, now it’s up to you to put it into action.

Don’t feel bad that you went astray for a bit. Just use that to fuel your passion even more. All you can deal with is what you have right now and where you are headed from there.

I am confident that today is going to be a good day for you. You have what it takes to make a difference in so many lives but you have to believe it too. You have to make the choice to work harder, put first things first and desire the end result so much so, that you will feel as if you can accomplish anything.

My desire for you today is to become all that you have inside of you to be, that you stop worrying about everyone and everything else around you and that you honor the position God has called you to be in, right where you are now. You have so much potential. Now prove it!

Happy Friday!

‪#‎getit‬ ‪#‎youvegotthis‬ ‪#‎youaremorethanyouvebeenshowinglately‬

Look Ahead

There are moments when the answers seem so obvious, yet we choose to do the opposite. We often choose to follow our feelings versus the direction in which we’re being led.

Every day we have a choice to be ruled by our feelings or taking charge over them. We may have a momentary breakdown, a “pity party” if you must, but we cannot stay there. For our own health, for our future despite our current situations, we mustn’t waller in what’s lost.

Stop thinking about what you do have or what is gone and turn your focus to what is here, what is true and what you can make of the situation you have right now. It isn’t about what is no longer present in your life, it’s about what you have to give with right where you’re at. You have the chance to give your all no matter how difficult the circumstances.

You can’t lay low and let the world go on without you — you’re too important! You DO make a difference. Don’t be a product of your circumstance but rise above, take hold of your feelings so that they no longer dictate your days.

This is your chance to do what you do best. You are at this point, now what you do next determines where you’ll go from here. Don’t worry so much about the difficulty of the journey, just know that you will be able to handle it. The hard times will pass and you will come out ahead but only if you put first things first. One step at a time. You are stronger than you let yourself believe sometimes.

Whoever this is speaking to this morning, I pray that your every breathe today and moving forward is filled with warmth, confidence and the ability to decipher between what’s real and what is simply a “feeling” that you can choose to get past. Don’t reflect at this moment, only look forward because it is the direction you are to go.