Category Archives: fun

lean into the unknown

six months into fort collins living – I went to a connect class at church today. it’s part of a four step process of learning about this specific local church, and diving into who I’m made to be at the same time – all of this prep to serve on the volunteer team.

i did not want to go this morning. i’ve been tired. like really really tired. and more than physical tiredness. i’m emotionally drained, spiritually apathetic. feeling sorry for myself and little entitled. i noticed my internal conversation this week went a lot like, “after all i’ve been through…this?”

so, i’m human.

and i didn’t want to go interact with people. i wanted to stay in the cycle of self defeat. why do we do these things?

good news though – i went anyway.

and when i arrived, the lady leading the group was stating her intentions for the day, that we would receive reminders, little sparks, (in my own words, synchronistic moments) that point us back to who we’re made to be.

i don’t know about you – but when apathy sets in, i build a thick wall against “feeling things.” against seeing them too – the small coincidences, or letting my heart swell with the vulnerable magic excitement of noticing – nope, not an option.

so with a puffed up chest, and you can’t touch me attitude, i walked into class.

“hmm,” i thought as she stated her intentions. i’ve closed myself off again. tired of feeling, tired of giving, tired of being open to pain.

and i allowed a portion of my guard down.

then we brainstormed the favorable qualities of a leader. she mapped it out on the whiteboard – “LEADERSHIP” with a circle around the word, then lines drawn out to the qualities we listed, “excellent communicator, servant hearted, inspiring, visionary, humble, altruistic, motivating…”

with her next question she erased the word LEADERSHIP, “how would you like your name written in the middle?” she posed to the class.

a few answered, saying it seems like a tall order, most said yes, it’s a high compliment.

then she wrote, “Amanda” in the middle.

again my mind went, “hmm.” out of the 25 people in the room, she chose to write my name, “ok, God, begrudgingly, i’m here. i guess i’m listening.”

we jumped into the lesson. first point she made – we hold ourselves back from incredible possibility. what holds us back? “insecurity, fear, inadequacy, reluctance” and then a bit about integrity (which after the past few years is one of my favorite topics).

and then she noted some values of this specific church: Jesus, a love for this city, family, radical generosity, sustainable rhythms, the importance of the details, and we are desperately dependent on the Holy Spirit.

i want to backtrack to “sustainable rhythms” because i was already planning ahead for my word of intention in July and SUSTAINABILITY came to mind. something lasting. something true; that forever kind of feeling.

and the paragraph under “sustainable rhythms,” went like this:

“we are passionate about going the distance and enjoying the journey. we work hard and rest well. we believe that work is God’s idea, that realizing a vision takes effort, that Sabbath is purposeful resistance against the rhythms of our culture, that recreation is restorative, and that health matters. we measure our pace, embrace our limits, laugh a lot, and trust God’s timing and provision.” 

“was this paragraph written for me?!” is exactly what i was thinking. “like what? how? how did they encompass all i’m searching for, all the themes scattered throughout my brain, and they even nailed the mic drop at the end – and trust God’s timing and provision.”

this is what has had me most sour lately. when some really really seemingly wonderful things have unexpectedly crept into my life and when these situations were climbing, obstacles overcome, the story was being made sweeter, grittier, complex, interesting, exciting, in ways – redemptive, and then –

nothing.

distance.

silence.

a screeching, confusing halt to what has been an incredible gift in my life.

cue the “WTF?” bubble over my brain.

however. because there has to be a however, people! apathetically, i dragged myself to connect class this morning. reluctantly, i opened pieces of me to receive. i (ok, unwillingly) heard trust and provision, and i let them in.

i remembered and can see how i’m in the exactly right place, and the timing is right on. because i can’t understand the pieces i don’t see, doesn’t make them bad.

i’m growing into who i need to be to accept the blessings meant for me in a way that is sustainable, in a way that is forever.

Jesus isn’t allowing easy because he knows my heart and knows i don’t want it that way. the gritty, deep, raw, everlasting, beautifully shocking, steadfast, full of grace, redemptive, hopeful, powerful, impactful story does not happen overnight.

multidimensional takes time, loads of effort, tremendous heart and will be well well worth the value expended.

God doesn’t draw us out to leave us here.

through no scheme of my own, i made it to fort collins. i’ve found work tailored for me and a church that feels more like home than anything i’ve known. i was eager to keep this option temporary, as this has been my pattern, but I see God at work.

maybe i can’t fully comprehend it all yet; and that’s ok. i’ll know when i need to, and i’ll continue to pour into what i’m doing and where i am and –

LEAN IN to all i’m becoming.

 

legrand adventure – the only kind to have

truly, madly, deeply is playing right now. is that the name of it? i know it’s by savage garden – ha. and i remember vaguely hearing this song at the grocery when i was a senior in high school.

god, that’s so far away.

even yesterday feels distant.

so i’m taking deep breaths and doing the next right thing. because that’s what oprah says to do. and the next right thing is another deep breath and allowing myself grace.

grace because i was only divorced three months ago, and i’ve been transient for over a year, and i’ve been freelancing during this time, and i broke up with my boyfriend and popped my tire in the same week. this week. today.

and i went to california and italy this year, all while transitioning, and new friending, and falling in love again.

i moved here and i moved to nashville and i moved back here again.

i said goodbye to my puppies.

action, movement, motion.

almost poetic as we transition into winter i’m finally pausing.

finally breathing.

finally acknowledging – damn, amanda – a break down is not weakness. in fact, it’s healthy.

a trauma research study stated divorce, moving, finding a new job, and losing pets all in the highest category of stress and life change.

so…

another deep breath. and two more.

this life is truly, incredibly beautiful. i see opportunity. possibility. growth. transformation. empathy. power.

i also see a trampoline down here at rock bottom. (i’m teasing, this doesn’t feel like rock bottom)

deep sigh, exhale, SMILE –

and move.

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Year In Review

Honestly, today I’m cranky. I felt dreamy beforehand when I planned to post all that’s happened this year and now at the very end of the year, I feel there’s been a misstep. It’s the dressing room mirror’s fault.

Regardless, I started brainstorming my list. It made me smile. I guess I did kind of love this one.

  • had the opportunity to work with the sweetest ESL kiddos, during this time the idea of adoption was placed on my heart and will now shape a few things I am doing with the business in the near future
  • left that amazing job after being moved to tears in June, on my balcony, over a book. Had a stirring inside me I could not ignore and knew it was now or never and though I didn’t even realize, I’d been pursuing what was ‘easier’ this entire time. So I said YES.
  • felt more peace than before because of the decision to be myself unapologetically, found my voice
  • attracted more of my people because of the above bullet
  • paid off (almost all) debt. School loans, car loans, anything and everything else is diminished. We don’t own a home so I guess no mortgage can be celebrated – for now.
  • helped Lewis Howes launch his book, was apart of SOGA
  • came clear on my vision for Live Audaciously
  • became a personal trainer
  • helped my ladies shed a combined over 200 pounds of fat – online!
  • did a pull up, almost to two in a row currently!
  • live workouts with Tony Horton & Shawn T
  • read tons of books
  • practiced gratitude more often
  • adopted another puppy (Reg dude) Who am I??
  • met my nephew Gabe, had the chance to talk to my sister immediately after she gave birth (so many tears, so happy for her)
  • put on the guest list for an intimate house show by a musician I’ve followed for the past ten years, such an incredible experience.
  • I’m not telling you how the above bullet came to fruition but I really want to; it’s hilarious (so I’ll still make it a point, because it made my entire year)
  • visited the Oregon coast and the mountains and rode a train to Washington
  • met so many incredible people
  • attended two Dave Bazan house shows
  • FaceTime with family over the holidays (was bummed about not being there but had to look at the positive, still had a chance to drop in!)
  • witnessed my friend talk about her dream of designing a planner and see each step lead to now; launched and published!
  • witnessed my husband become more and more of who he is meant to be – you can tell, there is a peace and a confidence that arrive when you step into your true self
  • was always provided for and supported. So blessed, so thankful

I acknowledge what may have been a fantastic year for me may not have been for you. If so, I hope you find strength and peace tonight and know it does get better. Life is full of seasons and the above is only my highlight reel. There were frustrating, angry and off moments too. I also hope you find a moment to tease out the miracles this year held for you. May your next trip round the sun be blissful. xoxo

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Looking Ahead, Setting Intentions

Well, Christmas has definitely taken priority this week! I meant to blog through my ‘10 tips to prep for another year,” (most recent post) and have missed: clean house, give away & sell, organize, organize your closet, plan needs and budget. How about I circle back to those topics here this next week and into 2016?

If I pick back up after budgeting, we’ll be discussing setting new goals, which is a favorite topic and something that pushed me to do more this year (because I continued to check back on my progress). I’m a list maker and goal setter by heart but maybe you aren’t. Hopefully, in sharing some of my own ambitions, you’ll be inspired to start thinking up yours.

I had fun reflecting and setting new goals a few weeks ago as I asked those in my fit group to create their own vision boards and share them. I didn’t have a compilation of magazines to use and wasn’t thrilled about printing a ton of Pinterest photos so I did my own spin on a vision board. All that was necessary was a handful of sharpie markers, chart paper (from teaching) music and about 30 minutes. I’ll post a photo, but wanted to list (some) of my 2016 intentions below:

  1. daily gratitude + creative journaling + planer use
  2. WRITE. Blog through 2016 health overhaul
  3. launch Live Audaciously in January + partner with non profit by June
  4. READ. One book a month {health} related
  5. weekly date nights + weekly random acts of kindness
  6. two adventurous vacations planned by May
  7. public speaking + self publish plans set in motion by May
  8. be diligent in learning about adoption and homeschool
  9. help Nigel pursue his dreams (launch career by June)
  10. PRAISE GOD FOR EVERY MOMENT. Okay, I will forget some moments but I can never forget that all my striving is in vain if I forget what it’s truly about – 

I love when Lewis Howes said, “when you doubt yourself, you doubt your Creator.” When we take the focus off ourselves and realize we have something to offer from our own unique person, possibilities abound. You have a purpose. You have a story to tell. You have goals to set (and conquer) and a passion that is singly your own. Entertain these thoughts tonight. 

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On Fitness

I told you there would be more.

Fitness has always been a part of my life. As a child I was involved in many team sports. My father is a Track and Field Coach at KU. I’ve had various workout buddies and the desire to be active and moving makes up a substantial part of me. Etc, etc.

It seemed about right that I would find the Beachbody opportunity worthwhile. I was able to order a challenging workout and begin to transform my body and my health. Along the way I’ve met so many other like-minded people and even inspired others to chase after their own health and fitness. It’s been a hobby for now that’s kept me sane amidst my freakishly-busy life.

As we are nearing the end of 2014, I’m ready to push to make this hobby a career – because I can, and I want to, and why shouldn’t I achieve the passions embedded deep down in me? I’ve seen so many others take this part-time opportunity and make it life-changing. WHY NOT ME?

success

Please stay posted on my “To Be Healthy” page for updates on the pursuit of fitness (and health).

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Moving (on)…

photo(2)

So now I rededicate this blog to adventure, whether that maybe real, tangible adventure or the soul adventure this life has us riding. I feel I keep chasing different styles and goals, but now I’ll make it clear.

I received the news I hoped to hear (after what seemed like years, ok, eight days…) and I am overjoyed to step forward toward the unknown and super exciting.

Many details need to be sorted, but very soon my love and I will get a chance at newness: new places, faces and experiences.

Stay tuned for what is next! (Stay alert for another secret blog as well)

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What’s in a name?

Life events overlap sometimes. Common themes began to appear. A friend called it synchronicity.

Either way, I’ve found the dilemma is not knowing what to write about, rather, owning what I write. I hold back because I don’t want friends or family to knit my writing to me, to draw conclusions about me because of what I have written, or to be disillusioned by what they comprehend.

One by one, lots of happenings began pointing me toward something that would allow me the freedom to bleed: a mask, a name, a pen name.

Man is least himself when he talks in his own person. Give him a mask and he will tell you the truth. -Oscar Wilde

Dr. Suess; Mark Twain; William Shakesphere; George Orwell; Pablo Neruda; Voltaire – to name a few famous pens. Now to creating my own. What an adventure this will be!

 

 

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Hallelujah – Part Two

Nothing is ever the same, but everything is always familiar.

I’ve posted this song before. Here it is again played by Dave Bazan.

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2013

Fresh. New. Possibility. Adventure. Alive.

I can almost feel these words as I think them. The psychological and ideological approach to the new year is not new, nor is it realistic, but it sure is fun. It’s fun to imaginatively pack up 2012. A memory just the right size to put in that box over there and, here, this one will fit too. That one memory gets shoved into the “never again box.” The NA box will be thrown out completely, burned, and hopefully we’ll lose sight of the ashes.

On NYE we construct new boxes. We fold them just right, we decorate them too. These boxes are created in the form of wishes, dreams and resolutions. These boxes are always much better than the used, sometimes ugly boxes of the years past. I realize I’m a day or so late in constructing my own box for the new year, but I wasn’t feeling the drive to create until now.

Mine is far more abstract than it has ever been before. The rules which dictated my dos and don’ts are loosely embraced this year. I’ve flung aside the brown cardboard that told me exactly how my experiences should appear and exactly what I will do to create them. This year’s ideas are merely suggestions.

Some suggestions I will paint on the outside of the box include: creatively existing, less do-ing/ more experiencing, a transition into better health, allowing myself to live by my own advice and learning to feed my soul.

Near the close of 2012, I shed the thought that my life had to seem a certain way. I too sensitively listened to everyone’s plans and thought I had to have my very own plan (and it had to look like every other plan). Sometimes my life will look radically different than anyone I can name, and that is OK. This epiphany birthed the choice to quit my job and purposefully not focus on the inevitable question of, “what’s next?” This decision has ignited so much feeling of freedom within my being. This decision has allowed me to entertain the world of possibility that lies ahead. I don’t want to be slave to the “have-tos” and I am embracing the “want-tos” and the “wouldn’t it be amazings?”

I know this year will be chalked-full of adventure and I cannot wait to share the “what’s next?” as it evolves into existence.

Here’s to a less complicated and more holistic new year. CHEERS.

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Snow Day

I tried to make it to work today, really.

I left 20 minutes earlier than normal and was honestly driving about 20 miles an hour. Even though many cars were having some trouble, I thought, “I can do this.” I thought this right up to three minutes into my drive. My normal route was completely blocked due to a wreck and several cars swerving hopelessly on the ice.

As I turned around, I realized my car would not be so lucky to make it back without swerving around like the rest of them. Half an hour passed as I turned my wheels this way and that way, trying to gain enough traction to move. While trying to coax my car into movement, a jeep came careening backward, right toward my front bumper. “Oh crap,” I thought.

Fortunately, I was able to swerve right out of the way … just in time. Shortly after this, my car realized it’s power and moved forward, upward toward home. An hour later, I was back home.

—————————————-

So far I’ve done up my hair and make-up, tried on several different outfits, had my own impromptu photo shoot (which included a trip outside in my big winter parka) and had some down time filled with music and reflection.

This reflection has led to much brainstorming: first, what a year this has been…I’m excited to reflect completely and set some new goals for 2013; second, I am so thankful for all the beauty and grace every moment brings. Sometimes beauty comes in the form of bitter, sometimes it’s more obvious like falling snow. Also, I think, like the Grinch, my heart has grown three sizes today realizing how much I really do enjoy people. I often like to be alone, but oh how I enjoy being surrounded by such wonderful, different and interesting people.

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