Move On

I have this other blog that I write along with four friends. Generally, it’s far less personal than this site but an interesting thing happened this morning.
I began writing the post (here is the link) and it became very personal.

http://unendingfaith.blogspot.com/2012/01/do-for-just-one.html 

When I concluded writing and publishing the entry, I realized that some readers are going to find my post unforgiving. Nothing could be further from the truth but….now, don’t get offended…it doesn’t really matter what they think.

This comes directly from the heart of a woman who has been largely misunderstood most of her life. Please know that when I tell you it doesn’t matter what they think, I know that’s a healthy statement. It doesn’t. It matters what YOU think and, if you happen to have a relationship with Christ, what HE thinks. Agreed? Okay….we’re all healthy in that thinking.

I’m no longer interested in popularity (largely over-rated, by the way). I’m no longer interested in conforming if conforming challenges my thoughts and morals. I am, however, interested in going through life and being exposed to differing visions and ideals. So, then, the real beauty comes from knowing who I am in Christ and choosing what “sticks” and what can be discarded.  

There is a great deal of freedom in knowing that discarding something doesn’t mean you haven’t forgiven. It just means you have heard and moved on.

Blessings,
Amy

 

 

Feels Great

I went for a massage last night; for what I thought would be a tranquil, soothing hour of Yani and lavender scented oils. I anticipated dozing off during my 50 minutes of complete self-absorption (as I typically do) and possibly being awakened by my own deep breathing.

Nope. The massage therapist put two hands on me for approximately 5 seconds and remarked, “What the heck is going on? You’ve got enormous knots!” And, just like that, my 50 minutes of bliss disappeared.
Poof!… dreams turned to vapor.

Instead of Yani, I heard heavy metal as her fingers and elbows poked deep into my neck and upper back. She chattered happily as the torture ensued, although I was really unable to respond to much. My sole purpose of breathing wasn’t to speak~ it became more like that funky breathing they teach you to use when in childbirth. I was in survival mode.

“Is that too uncomfortable?”
“Oh, no, it’s fine” (groan) “This is great…really great”
“You’re going to feel amazing tomorrow”
“uh-huh…” (internal scream) “This is great….really great”

The truth is that when she finished, I stood up and noticed the difference right away. I had been walking around with this bundled mass of muscles and hadn’t even realized it!

It’s remarkable to me how much our bodies can be affected by every day stress~ money, kids, traffic, bosses, errands, relationships, etc.   Just last week, lab reports came back that indicated by adrenal glands show signs of stress. What?? I had never even heard of this and now I’m consumed with making sure my adrenals are protected from any upset. How in the world is that supposed to happen? I live on Earth in 2012 ~ my adrenals are going to have to figure out a way to adapt.

OR…. I’m going to have to figure out a way to stop stressing. Maybe more massages?

OR….

“Trust in the LORD with all your heart and lean not on your own understanding; in all your ways acknowledge him, and he will make your paths straight. Do not be wise in your own eyes; fear the LORD and shun evil. This will bring health to your body and nourishment to your bones” Proverbs 3:5-8

That’s definitely the way to go. Release the stress. Release the stress. Release the stress. I’m going to repeat that to myself until I really start to do it. Now, if you’ll excuse me, I have to get some ibuprofen and ice packs.

Be blessed,
Amy 

But Now Am Found

I’m enjoying this wonderful, self-imposed break from working outside of the home. It’s a blessing and one that I am keenly aware will probably not last forever. In fact, I don’t want it to last forever. I’m beginning to feel a little antsy and even met with someone yesterday to discuss an opportunity that may develop down the road. If God opens a door, like flings it wide open, I’ll probably put away the jeans and try to find those black Express slacks that have migrated to the back of the closet.

Until such time, I’ve discovered that staying home can result in a lot of seemingly idle time. Not that I necessarily notice it or even care but when my husband asks the dreaded “So, what is on your schedule today?” and you have nothing particular outside of feeding a dog and watering a plant, there is a brief (ever so brief!) moment to ponder. What in the heck AM I doing today? My daughter and I thought about getting some sun yesterday and then, for some reason, didn’t. What were we too busy doing? No idea.

The hours sweetly pass by and the days of the week become less important. No longer do I live for Friday~ now, my days are important only because I have trash and recycling to lug to the curb twice a week.   But here is the discovery…the golden nugget….I find more importance and validation in doing the small things for my family versus garnering validation from my supervisors who often knew little of my tasks and responsibilities anyway. I rarely rush anymore. My dogs lazily lounge around all day instead of being quarantined to the bathroom during my absence. We eat out less. I do less laundry. I read more. I’ve come to some very solid conclusions about what my future is going to look like instead of waking up and finding I’m already in the future, time lost in the shuffle of emails and the office commute.   My time spent isn’t idle at all ~ maybe it used to be.

I had lost me. I had become what everyone around me expected me to be.

I don't know why it is we are in such a hurry to get up when we fall down. You might think we would lie there and rest for a while. ~Max Eastman

And now, thankfully and prayerfully, I am finding me again. I AM still the woman who likes to work and contribute but now I am the woman who will never again seek validation from anyone else. My validation and my worth come from a far more important source than friends, co-workers, or even my family.

And I can rest in that. There is peace in re-discovering yourself and evaluating what changes should be made, even though it is often a difficult journey. An inventory, carefully examined and evaluated…and then, like a garage sale on Saturday morning, taken to the curb or placed in the “keep” pile. But you have time for this…make time…it’s THAT important.

Be blessed,
 Amy

Fwd:

Okay, if you’re like me, you receive an email with Fwd: on the subject line, you simply delete without reading, right?

My father-in-law, for instance, forwards me every single email he receives that has even the slightest “religious” message. He forwards my husband the political rhetoric and off-color jokes. He loves to forward emails and will quiz me on the content of the dozens he sends monthly every time we see one another. Those quizzes resemble a friendly battle on a paint ball range; me dodging bullets and him relentlessly pursuing. (**Disclaimer- if you know my father-in-law and send this to him, I’ll deny ever having written these words)

Yesterday, however, I got a Fwd: email from my childhood friend, Susie. Like so many other relationships that have been rekindled via social networking, she and I haven’t seen each other in years but hope to in the near future. She always sends me a text on holidays and we chat now and again about nothing in particular. She’s infectious. Always smiling and upbeat (she was like that as a kid, too) and she really “gets” the value of friends and family~ it’s woven in every status update she writes. Susie rarely emails me though, SO…naturally, I was intrigued by whatever she might deem worthy of forwarding to me.

Here it is. It’s titled Vitamin F and I love it.

Why do I have a variety of friends who are all so different in character? How can I get along with them all? I think that each one helps to bring out a “different” part of me.

With one of them I am polite. I joke with another friend.

I sit down and talk about serious matters with one. With another I laugh a lot. I may have coffee with one. I listen to one friend’s problems. Then I listen to another one’s advice for me.

My friends are all like pieces of a jigsaw puzzle. When completed, they form a treasure box. A treasure of friends! They are my friends who understand me better than myself, who support me through good days and bad days. We all pray together and for each other.

Doctors tell us that friends are good for our health. Dr. Oz calls them Vitamins F (for Friends) and counts the benefits of friends as essential to our well being. Research shows that people in strong social circles have less risk of depression and terminal strokes. If you enjoy Vitamins F constantly you can be up to 30 years younger than your real age. The warmth of friendship stops stress and even in your most intense moments it decreases the chance of a cardiac arrest or stroke by 50%.

I’m so happy that I have a stock of Vitamins F!

In summary, we should value our friends and keep in touch with them. We should try to see the funny side of things and laugh together, and pray for each other in the tough moments.

Thank you for being one of my Vitamins!

Be blessed!
Amy 

P.S. Thank you, friends, who responded to my last post via email, or twitter, or leaving me a comment here on the blog. I am humbled to be your Vitamin F.   🙂

 

Pop Quiz!

Just taking a light hearted poll here….  I was a little shocked this morning to learn that I have about 80 subscribers to this little blog.

Humbling! That means 80 of you are getting an email every time I post. So now I’m wondering how many of you actually read that email? No hard feelings here~ I know how it is to get email that you mean to get to when the day slows down..and then that time never comes. You aren’t going to get a demerit from me if you admit to being an occasional reader…and, of course, I won’t hear from you at all if you delete my emails (Busted!!)

But I will let you in on a secret. Bloggers (or at least the authors of the many blogs I follow) really value hearing from you. Some of you respond to me via email regularly and some are like crickets………hello? hello? anyone home?

So, just for today, let’s consider this a pop quiz! Remember those? Ugh…me, too.
Just for today, leave me a comment directly on the blog. It might mean you need to get a new password because it’s been a while since you’ve actually logged in. That’s okay, I’ll be patient. 🙂  

Let me hear from you….and, man, this is going to be super embarrassing if I don’t get any comments.

Love you guys. Be blessed!
Amy 

***Okay, cheaters, you can’t email me on this pop quiz. You have to log in and leave a comment! (Yes, I’m talking to Cynthia, Marykay, Derek, and Cathie. Nice try, you guys…)

Going deeper

This past weekend, I went to my second favorite place on earth, Barnes and Noble. The interesting thing about B&N for me is that I mostly find myself walking through their doors when I’m in need of escape and, oftentimes, during a shadowy trial in my life. In times of need, I return to my first love. Books.
Even though I own a Nook and could download most any title effortlessly without the commute, nothing satisfies like a hot cup of Starbucks (greatest business duo on the planet, incidentally) and a pile of hardbacks while nestled in an uncomfortable chair tucked in a corner. 

I somehow find peace there, in the midst of people who speak too loudly and children who run unsupervised. That’s an unexpected irony for someone like me, my natural tendency moving in the opposite direction from those who are “laid back”.
It turns out that I came across a book last weekend which was fascinating even after reading the jacket, helping me to identify why I’m not laid back.  This book has challenged me and I’m not out of the first chapter! The premise is that we all function as adults, be it positive or negative, as a direct result of our Core Story. Each and every one of us have the personality that God created in us but we also carry the story of our upbringing, the events of our childhood, and the lives our caretakers modeled.
As I have mentioned here before, I love my parents. They provided a meticulous upper middle class home and none of my basic needs were unmet.
I had the ice cream sundae childhood in comparison to many but I may have been missing the “cherry on top”. My Core Story lacked faith in anything greater than man and my Core Story lacked affection, honor and even integrity. Most importantly, maybe, above all things is this: My Core Story lacked security and peace…. and I wonder why I am not the laid back person I long to be?

I’ve learned that passivity and peace were actually personality traits God blessed me with before the world around me had its way. I remember that little girl, quietly content and absorbed by books and aspirations. I’m just beginning to remember who she was before she chased validation from the wrong people and places and before she had her heart broken.

Really broken, not childhood crush broken.

My “cherry on top” as an adult is that I have hope to regain who I was meant to be when my Creator set about my blueprint. I have the promise that my Core Story can be conquered; in fact, I can use the deficits to my advantage according to this author..and though I don’t know how yet and can only dare to imagine the possibility of it actually happening, I am going to try. And I will keep you posted.

James 3:18 (Amplified Bible)
And the harvest of righteousness (of conformity to God’s will in thought and deed) is [the fruit of the seed] sown in peace by those who work for and make peace [in themselves and in others, that peace which means concord, agreement, and harmony between individuals, with undisturbedness, in a peaceful mind free from fears and agitating passions and moral conflicts].

Be blessed!
Amy 

Priorities

What are your priorities? I don’t mean your errand list hastily scribbled this morning on a Post-It that lists detergent, toilet paper, asparagus and cold cuts… I mean what are your priorities?

pri·or·i·ty:  the right to precede others in order, rank, privilege, etc.;precedence.

It’s not only critical that we each define what ranks above other things but that we actually put our money where our mouth is and give those things the precedence WE have decided they deserve.

We all know people who claim not to live for their career yet place the corporate ladder directly in front of their children, their health and their ultimate happiness. How about the young girl who claims that time with her friends is a priority over time spent with a new boyfriend? Students who claim studies are their priority but who routinely skip homework in favor of parties? Our “priorities” are often what we give the least attention. True story.

To complicate matters further, what happens if our spouse or significant other doesn’t share our priorities?  Recipe for conflict…and, in my effort to more deeply share, I will tell you that I know this personally.  I’m not sharing this to disparage anyone or point the finger; I’m sharing this because it’s important that we all recognize what’s going on in our own relationships and take steps, if necessary, to align. That is, if the relationship is a priority for you.  🙂

Don’t get hobbies and interests confused with priorities. I’m talking about the BIG picture painted with the BIG brush. Do my husband and I have the same priorities for our lives? Are we moving in the same direction with commonalities that compliment one another?

My priority list for 2012 is pretty easy and I am listing them here in no particular order… these are the things I have determined take precedence over other things…the things I will nurture and protect even if there is a personal sacrifice involved…the things I value and give special ranking to.

  • God
  • Family
  • Health
  • Joy
The last 2 things I listed are new to my list of priorities. I have often taken my health for granted but as I’m getting older, I realize that health isn’t just affected by catastrophic illnesses but also by silent killers like emotional stress and strain. That leads me to the last item on my list. Joy.  I intend to keep my joy intact despite what is going on around me. Instead of caving in to whatever is attempting to rob me of my joy, I will remove myself. Period.  Why? Because faith and health are priorities, too.
Oh, ONE MORE! 500 words or less. My new blog post priority. Quick reads and more valuable, consistent posts.
Be blessed!
Amy

2012

If you follow me on Facebook, you may have noticed that I recently began another blog. This new blog is a collaborative effort and I am just one of 5 who will contribute posts meant to inspire women on their walk of faith. Please check us out~ I think you’ll truly be blessed by these ladies and their authenticity.

http://unendingfaith.blogspot.com/

 

As for this blog, my own personal journal…I’m changing it up a bit. Recently motivated by another writer, I realized that I hold back quite a bit. I tend to be a little bit “on the surface” vice “in the dirt” and I hope to challenge myself to share on a deeper level.

It’s 2012. Whether your 2011 was escorted to the door like an unwelcome guest or you were devastated to see it go, it is history.  It’s a done deal and we have been given the gift of a new, unblemished calendar. I, like so many of you, have hopes of it being an amazing year…but, in all probability, this year will be what we make of it.

Let’s make it awesome. Let’s take care of ourselves and the people we love with wild abandon. Let’s play like kids and challenge ourselves to be better people. Let’s climb outside of whatever box we’ve put ourselves in and open ourselves up to new experiences and new people. Let’s let God set our paths straight. Let’s do this right.

Blessings…….Amy