Meant to Be Here

It’s been a really, really busy few months. GOOD busy but tiring just the same. I never really blogged about our Ireland/England adventure and will do so in the next few days..it was awesome. Better than awesome. That 2 week vacation kicked off May, my niece graduated from high school (with an AA!) and my parents visited. ¬†June brought lots of family get togethers-Nick turned 24 and we celebrated virtually all day at Oystercatchers- we love a good time and free mimosas ūüėČ My business, Happy Hounds Petsitting, has had the pleasure of servicing lots of families during their vacations over the summer, I’m writing articles for the Neighborhood News, and I snagged an at-home gig with HSN. Then, in July (in between all of this), I decided a long weekend in Savannah with great friends would be a cool way to usher in Wayne’s 50th birthday. It was….we have some great friends. They didn’t even hesitate to drop what they were doing, rearrange schedules and make it happen.
blogSo, August begins tomorrow and things aren’t slowing down. More dog sitting, more writing, training for HSN and a major upheaval in my home. My sweet boy (who isn’t a boy anymore) will be moving out and going to Texas with his company. A couple of days later my niece will be moving in as she starts college at USF. My daughter is beginning to teach at a new school since she moved to the beach and I hope to help her get her classroom ready for the middle schoolers who will be filing through the doors in just a couple of weeks. My son-in-law is turning 30 (yes, I’m officially feeling ancient) AND did I mention my husband decided to sit in with his dad’s band occasionally as a percussionist? Tres Dias meetings, keeping this house clean and running smoothly, insomnia……oh, what a life.
All is well with my soul.
This is not an idle life. I am meant to be right here.

Be blessed,
Amy 

Round 6

When you were about 22 or so, do you remember thinking how much about life you had learned since you were 17? So much so, that you barely recognized the “kid” you had been.
Then, suddenly, you’re 30. You wonder what¬†that young person of 22, full of ambition and goals, maybe a crisp new diploma in hand, ¬†had¬†been thinking when they thought college was as hard as it was going to get. You’re 30 now- people now expect you to make some good decisions because the benefit of youth is behind you.
Then 40 smacks you upside your head and you secretly wish you could be 30 again because the difference between 30 and 40 is WAY more than a decade somehow. It’s like the difference between night and day; rain and sun; oldish and youngish.
I would really like to have the skin of my 40 year old self. There were a few (ok, more than a few) less wrinkles back then. I wouldn’t mind that at all- call me vain- I can take it. I wouldn’t, however, want to relive the whole decade again because it was a tough one. For REAL. At the beginning, I was living somewhere I hated, we had the stress of buying a house in another state, we had private school and college tuition ahead, personal disruption to our lives, job upheavals, medical issues with parents, declining eye sight and increased wrinkles! Don’t get me wrong- there were some great things, too….like 2 high school followed by¬†2 college graduations, a wedding, great people to meet and great people to reunite with, trips to beautiful places, having a permanent home that the Navy wasn’t going to force us to leave and many, many other blessings.
Proud moments, humbling moments, shocking moments, devastating moments, disappointments and victories, rip your heart out moments and moments that made my heart burst with overflowing love. My 40’s weren’t as smooth, though, as I had thought they might be when I envisioned them from the vantage point of 30, that’s for certain.

Alas (insert BIG sigh)….50 has knocked on the door and I welcomed it- even offered it some coffee. ‚ô• It’s kind of like an old friend you’ve been expecting for awhile and there’s some relief that it’s actually not awkward; that it feels pretty comfortable. Bring it on, 6th decade of my life (oh God, that sounds scarier when you put it THAT way!!). The 5th decade tried to kick my butt and did, admittedly, win a few bouts, but this girl got off the mat before the final countdown and now I kind of have some new energy…I think it’s the confidence that comes with knowing you can not only¬†survive, you can thrive. Seriously, who doesn’t want to thrive in everything from health to wealth? (please note- wealth¬†means different things to different people) I know I do! I know I can, more importantly. I’ve got butterflysome 50 year old super power these days…I can barely recognize that woman I was on my 40th birthday. FINALLY,¬†my husband turns 50 this week. (it’s a long, long 3 months between my birthday and his- especially THIS year). I’m guessing he barely recognizes that 40 year old he once was, either.¬†Yes, I am definitely ready for Round 6. I’m pretty certain he is, too….
We’re all changing~or at least we should be. Growing in the knowledge of who we are and what our place is in the universe…evolving.

If I’m lucky, I’ll look back on 50- a decade from now- and laugh at how little I knew.

Be blessed,
Amy

 

 

Hey Mon!

For those of you who remember “In Living Color”, a comedy show starring the Wayan’s way back when, maybe you’ll remember this skit they performed titled “Hey Mon”. It poked fun at Jamaican’s for having 8 jobs each… pretty funny stuff. Ok, yeah, not politically correct but being “PC” wasn’t even a term then. This is when people had a sense of humor and didn’t get offended by absolutely everything. Anyway, here’s a clip if you’re interested.

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Jpu5_3qk4KM

So, this week, I officially became a Jamaican, I guess (or so my husband thinks!). Let’s see….Nick and I started Happy Hounds and we loved it. I STILL love it but I purposely don’t market or advertise, preferring to keep it very local to my neighborhood and some surrounding areas, especially since my ankle fracture last fall and Nick moving¬†on to fulltime endeavors elsewhere. The summer is very busy while families vacation and then it will slow down considerably when school starts…so there’s job #1. Then I applied for and miraculously got a freelance writing gig that I love. They pay me, which is pretty awesome (yes, would have done it for free but don’t let them know that!). It takes very little of my time and is just a cool thing I enjoy. Job #2. ¬† Finally, job #3 became official earlier this week. Beginning in mid-August (what great timing!), I’ll start training to be an HSN representative…here’s the BEST part….part-time from where? My house! Glory be to God! PJ’s, rats nest hair, sans make-up, coffee 10 feet away, no commute, no sad face from my dogs as I leave the house…. just me, my Juggling-Act_Edited-470x260computer and headphones, and my 401k money maker (small money maker but a retirement tool, nonetheless!). So, yep, 3 official jobs. No depending on sales or pushing a product (this would not be my personal happy place); just loving on pets, writing articles and assisting a customer placing an order. Maybe I’m on my way to becoming a Jamaican on Hey Mon.

You know what the bible says in Proverbs, right?¬†¬†Idle hands are the devil‚Äôs workshop.¬†No idle hands here! Hands picking up puppy poop and hands busy on a laptop keyboard, yes….but not idle.¬†

Be blessed,
Amy

But it’s only 9am

Yesterday, I found myself at a red light at the intersection of Linebaugh and Nebraska (in Tampa) at exactly 9am- so, pretty much at the end of morning rush hour. I was the first car in line and there were several cars beside me and behind me in broad daylight.. sun shining, birds chirping, kittens purring…a really nice Friday morning. Interrupting my commute, the car behind me starts beeping his horn and the light is RED. I can’t go anywhere but this guy keeps beeping the horn. This guy happened to be in a 1990-something Buick? Oldsmobile? Cadillac? I don’t know- it was a big car with wheels that belonged on a Monster truck. Black tinted windows, bass booming…you get the idea.

So just as I was beginning to feel a tad nervous- just a tad because I’m stupid enough to not let stereotypes in a sketchy part of town bother me very much- a guy steps off of the curb, through the cars, and hands the guy behind me in the gigantic car a bag about the size of the palm of my hand. In exchange, he received a nicely folded sum of money, maneuvered back through the cars and as the light turned green, I literally had to remind myself to close my mouth that was hanging wide open and to push down on the accelerator. So the guys needing drugs just blow their horn at a busy intersection now when they need their stuff? So dealers just stand at bus stops with moms and Teenagers passing drugsbabies and wait for a horn to be blown before they jump on mass transit? Am I dumb for thinking this only took place at 11pm and with a little more subtlety?

Ugh. Crap. What is going on when drugs are dealt like someone is buying a newspaper? Not a care about WHO saw WHAT. I get more paranoid when I go 5 miles over the speed limit than this guy who just grabbed his morning necessity rather than rolling through Starbucks like everybody else.

I don’t know. I’m old, I guess. Old enough to just think that’s the craziest display of “I don’t give a ****” that I’ve seen recently. It really makes me want to leave here for greener pastures…literally greener pastures. Ireland pastures. Not Dublin- more like Cork. People were so pleasant there. Genuinely friendly. Bartenders, servers, convenience store workers, doormen, B&B owners, rental car people, shop clerks…everyone. No horn blowing and no paranoia about locked car doors.

But¬†I love Tampa. I do. This isn’t a “Tampa” thing. I don’t even know if this¬†is a “United States” thing. Fewer people care about laws (which are biased toward the affluent) or integrity (whether anyone is looking or not) or even consequences. People cheat at their job, in their marriage, on their exams, job applications…Where does it end? ¬†What has happened is desperation, I think. Unemployment is terrible, education costs are high, company loyalty sucks and 401k’s have plummeted. People need money and they need a form of escape~ and escape can look different for everyone.

It can make us cynical, can’t it? The world kind of feels like it’s going to “hell in a hand basket”. My parents said this is in the 80’s. Their parents said this in the 50’s. ARE things getting worse? Do people not give a crap about consequences and morals and right and wrong and justice and injustice? Did they ever?
I know we’re all born with sin- I get it.
I also think we’re all born inherently good.
So… it’s a pretty confusing place. This world.

NOW…because I do believe in finding the good, like I said in my last blog, here it goes. I accelerated, did my errand, and returned home safely.

 

Little Things

It’s been a busy week. It’s even been a frustrating¬†one, to be honest. Okay, so not every week is going to be “walking on sunshine” (a song I despise, by the way, but the sentiment is sweet nonetheless) but if I had chosen to write down something wonderful from every day of the past week, I would have racked up at least 7 things to smile about.
At dinner the other night, somehow the conversation began about journaling. Men often have this idea of journaling from hearing about 7th grade girls and their diaries (which my mom must have perused often because she always seemed to know my “secrets”). Sadly, I don’t think boys are encouraged to write anything down¬†except for fantasy teams and birthday wish lists…and they’re missing out because writing helps us process and helps us reflect- while we’re writing and even years later.
My husband mentioned to my son that he journaled while deployed during Desert Storm- every day for 5 months. As much as we think we’ll remember events from every day of our lives, we just don’t unless we are reminded. What did you do last Tuesday? What made you feel happiest last March 4th? ¬† It’s why writing stuff down is so critical. I used to have an app on my phone and somewhere it was lost- probably during a phone upgrade- but every day, I¬†just typed in 3 things I was¬†thankful for. Easy enough. Now, to be fair, I like the old fashioned pen and paper or…shockingly, a blog entry, but find something that works for you. You can write a paragraph or a chapter, a sentence or a word- that’s entirely up to you. But, I can promise you, within a month or so it will become a habit and before you know it, you have a journal. You have a story of events and when you look back on it, you’ll remember the things you jotted down…and you’ll smile.¬†bloggin

So, I’m bummed I didn’t write things down over this last frustrating week but it’s not too late to remember some really nice things so I’ll mention them here. Then, someday in the future, I’ll read this and relive the moments that made me smile.

I had a couple of new dogsitting clients and the owners happened to be incredibly nice people and their dogs were a joy to walk and play with. I had a very impromptu job opportunity (I know, this will be my 3rd at the same time) that will keep me busy from 6am-noon if it all works out. Those are great hours for me but I’ll chat more about that later. I enjoyed a movie with my girlfriend, Enid, who I don’t get to see often enough and who always makes me smile. I had a lunch date with my girlfriend, Deena, who ushered in her 50th birthday this week and we chatted about dogs and being an introvert (I love subjects that I’ve got a lot of experience living out). I chatted with my daughter every day on text which is a comedy show, my son made homemade pizzas for dinner and my dad called yesterday inviting me to come to Ohio for a few days to enjoy the weather. So….I’m not writing down the frustrations today. Nope. I’m writing down the little nuggets of things that made me smile before I forget to really treasure them.blogging

Now, if these little things made me smile, don’t you just want to do the same for someone else?

You can, you know.

Be blessed,
Amy 

It’s a Marathon…Not a Sprint

remembered1

Sounds simple enough.
Kind? Generous? Compassionate? Loyal? Forgiving? Caring? Honest?
Now go a little deeper…. kind to people you know and people you don’t? Generous to not only your family but also to people in obvious need? Compassionate in not only words but supported with action? Loyal even when it’s undeserved? Forgiving the seemingly unforgivable? How about caring even when busy with life’s demands? Honest even when the truth can hurt?

What do you truly want to be remembered for and how’s that working out? Today might be a day to tweak some things (or maybe a complete overhaul). I know I’d love to be remembered for all of those things and plenty of other positive attributes but I’m not always kind…give me a customer service rep on the phone who doesn’t seem able to help me after I’ve been on hold for 20 minutes and I’m gravitating toward unkind in a heartbeat. My forgiveness meter runs hot and cold (clearly in need of a repair). I’m getting really good at the honest even when it hurts but then feel like I’m teetering on unkind….

tiredwe’re all a work in progress, aren’t we? Some are at the starting line and most of us are on mile 22 of the marathon, feeling a little like a wet washcloth. It’s ok- I think we’re supposed to feel the nudge of “I can do better” and “I can finish this race strong”.¬†finish
How do YOU want to be remembered?

Be blessed,
Amy

Happy Half Year!

It’s true- July 1st is here. If you happen to live in Florida, just step outside because it’s screaming July humidity right now!
Anyway, I wanted to share YouVersion (an app you should absolutely download if you haven’t already)¬†youversion

They’re doing something really cool- offering a plethora of bible reading plans as part of the Half Year Resolution. Yes! Why wait 6 more months to get your¬†daily reading groove going? They’ve got something for everyone…Hillsong Worship, a Tim Keller plan, Leadership Ideas to do with your kids, Rick Warren, etc. ….free, free, free.

So

What’s Your Half-Year Resolution?HappyHalfYearDef2

Once you decide on your goal, you can inspire others to make a fresh start too! Use the hashtag¬†#HalfYearResolution¬†on Facebook and Twitter to share what you’re beginning today. Talking about your Half-Year Resolution is one more way the YouVersion community can bring the Bible into everyday conversation, right where it belongs.

Happy reading! Be Blessed,
Amy