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the in-between

if LOST producers can develop an entire plot line focused on the in-between space – the not quite rescued, the un-arrived – then surely i can begin now. in-between what was and what will be, when I’m sitting in a health food restaurant off Mass Street, listening to live music, and filling out applications for what will be (at most) a three-week gig. defrosting and moving slowly, taking breaks to text the sweetest people. people i get to call my own. answering existential questions for fun and teasing about the future – i’m grinning. i may be cold, congested, and temporarily jobless, but i have a plan. and gosh darn it i have the best people.

leaving Columbus a few days ago was difficult. i’m so tired of trading in people. becoming close and then saying goodbye, though i did realize today – i’m not trading them – i actually get to keep them. and i get to hope and pray they will continue to show up in significant ways. i get to rest in the faith they will re-appear if they are supposed to – God only knows.

so here i am in the in-between. collecting info, making plans, continuing to push forward when i’m comfortable and enjoying this precious time with family.

an old friend quoted Alan Watts with, “the key to being unstuck is to let go of the desire to be unstuck.” and i resonate. though i think somewhere deep down, i’m holding onto being stuck. again – in this phase of life it’s comfortable. it’s familiar. and if i keep letting go (over and over) the risk of never getting [it] back rises.

so, I trust.

and when trusting is so so hard, I pray.

and I remind myself i’m learning lessons i need to learn to complete a much bigger, more beautiful picture than could be created otherwise.

here’s to the in-between

Protected: my heart

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libertad

i know i have a tendency to talk in poetry, around and about without naming exactly what it is i’m saying.

my push now is to become the raw, uninhibited, vulnerable artist i see in the musicians and authors whose work speaks to me the most.

to set narcissism aside and communicate honestly; no matter the cost. no matter who i may be offending or inspiring, to simply be in such transparency – transparency i can’t take back or hide behind when being me is scary.

i used to think the bravest thing was quitting a job or moving.

now the bravest thing is living, heart open, fully me. 

the bravest thing is leaving when i want to stay, because i want full love and full healing more than right now.

the bravest thing is holding myself and others high when my arms are hurting.

the bravest thing is faith in what i can’t see at all.

the bravest thing is crying as many days as it takes because living is a process and feeling is essential.

the bravest thing is stating – all I really want is Jesus. when i wake up, when i go to bed. i want radiance, grace, love, kindness, healing, adventure, beauty, wisdom, faith. i experienced a true taste of this for the first time this year and nothing else satisfies.

the bravest thing is holding onto hope, while so so weary.

the bravest thing is standing, fighting, doing whatever in the world necessary to protect the sweet, innocent children.

the bravest thing is FEELING. living without numbing. setting myself free and allowing others permission to do the same. 

 

 

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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Protected: vulnerability

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2015

I remember with good intention, wanting to reflect on my year in years previous to this one. I never seemed to have make the time though, and last year, I probably made fun of the idea. But guess what – as I’ve mentioned before – this year was the best so reflecting on what it’s been brings me joy

Growing up, I’ve had these convictions. I’ve had this passion. And for some reason, even with these things, I fell into a pattern dictated by everyone except myself. Little by little, I began to chip away the exterior, the pleasing face I wore because that’s what I was supposed to do. As a “Christian.” As a “good person.” As someone who needed a job to support myself. Pleasing. Following rules on the outside even though my inner monologue strongly rejected those rules. I am serious when I say, I thought growing up meant letting go (of who you wanted to be, of your ideals, of your expectations).

If I could pinpoint a date or year I began to shed the outside and step more into me, I’d say 2012. In 2012 I’d been married two years. We started into some real marital problems. While that topic is for another time, my point is that it was enough cause to step back and ask – what am I really doing here? In marriage, in life, at work, at home – all of it. I began to re-evaluate why, and more importantly why not? I began peeling back the layers of every decision and uncovering a similar core theme: I did or didn’t do often because I felt guilty. I did not want to disappoint someone. And the absolute worst – I was doing what I thought I was SUPPOSED to be doing. 

It’s a lie to say I only realized the flame in 2012. I’ve always had the flame, however in twenty twelve, I slowly began to add kindling. Piece by piece, with every decision toward me, I gave light to the fire inside.

And now, almost four years later, I feel the closest to myself I’ve ever been. My inner thoughts are lived out in action, my heart is at peace. 

Ladies and gentleman: My year, my goals, my thoughts in December. 

 1. Debt free by June 1st, 2015. This was fun. We knocked out all debt except 1k, then we added a few “k” to that in the form of my own education/professional development, so I’m going to say – win. I’ve learned so much about money and will continue to do so! It’s such an important subject. Don’t shy away from it because of a money misunderstanding. Learn how to manage it well (I believe this applies to all of the gifts we are given – manage them well).

2. Goal weight of 130# by May 12th, 2015. Another “learning goal.” I’m not at 130. I weigh more than 130. I’m made of a lot of muscle and I’m not unhappy with my weight now, but my goal going forward will be less numerical and more abstract, like, do you feel like a badass? Yes? Ok, then – win!

3. 10k in savings by December 31st, 2015. This one is comical. We legitimately had a plan to save this amount with ease and then I went and QUIT my job! That makes a difference. I’m in the growing stages of doing what I absolutely love, so can I call this a win too? I believe with absolute conviction that I traded instant gratification for delayed success. No, we didn’t save 10k by the end of the year, but I started early in building in growing in ways that will save me so much more for the rest of my life. So thankful.

4. Read 30 new books by December 31st, 2015. I will be writing more about this tomorrow. Currently I’m about ten books shy of my goal. This by far has been the most important. Because of one of these books, I felt convicted enough to take the leap and start my life now, instead of “buying time,” for another year. Check out the blog tomorrow for my book list and thoughts for each.

5. Take a summer trip to Portland, OR. Yeass. And it was beautiful. We rode the train on the coast up into Washington, stayed in a few Air BnBs, went to the coldest, windiest beach, took so many pictures, got lost in the mountains. Oh Oregon, I miss you.

6. Start writing that book. So this is one of the hardest. I love to write and I often make excuses to keep busy instead of writing – so how does that make any sense? An author I respect said something this year. He said the hardest thing to write is that first line, that first chapter, that first book. You just need to start. I’ve put so much pressure on myself regarding this goal specifically. I still didn’t know what to write about, where to begin. And as I take a deep breath, I’ll say, I didn’t begin in January. I didn’t begin in May. Not even in November. Instead I’m starting…now? Via this blog and the health overhaul I have planned for next year. The most important step in all decisions will always be starting, so like, this is me starting. Hoo-rah.

7. Start a personal website for BB and other passions. I did this right away. “Jumped the gun” and bought a domain name. Then used the site for a few weeks and forgot about it. How about we try this one again?

8. Sponsor 10 new coaches MINIMUM by December, 2015. Yeass! And my team is the freaking bomb. We have so much planned for 2016, be ready you guys. And if you’ve given thought to joining us – reach out now!

9. Shakeo + Workout + PD daily – Goal: 25/30 days of the month. This is funny. I set this huge, ambitious goal of almost daily and did absolutely nothing to track my progress. Guys, tracking is key! I’ll try better next year and I’ll go into it with the tools I need. (funmeetsfunction.com)

10. Be me, unapologetically. (Not as measurable, but it’s important to me this year!) I’m all smiles. And I lied before. This is the goal that was the foundation for all the rest. I was me and my heart and soul are at peace. Thank you, Lord, for another year.

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Reviving the Blog

Hey there.

It’s been awhile, huh? I started this blog in 2012 as an outlet. Posted a bit about my ideal of teaching English in other countries and how that dream was a bit – squashed. I began with the hope of finding adventure in the every day. Because it’s possible, and interesting. And we all have a story.

I posted about leaving my wonderfully amazing non-profit job and pursuing other things. Those other things brought us to Nashville, and pushed me through conquering my certification in teaching Elementary and ESL. This included: the summer from hell (2013), living on Nigel’s income and withdrawing our retirement money, working 12+ hours daily with no pay, trying to show love and grace and add value as we were stressed to the point of breakdown. In fact, in the program I survived, there were several literal breakdowns daily. The only possible experience I could equate this to is boot camp, except for teachers. So yes, there was that summer from hell, which I survived when not many of us did. Nigel landed a job and then found an even better job. We slowly started accumulating furniture. Our one bedroom, unfurnished condo turned into a one bedroom with a couch, and then side table, and in the following summer we graduated to owning and enjoying a queen sized mattress. (Gifted by the parentals – thank you forever)

So we left Kansas City and set our feet in Nashville. We came with nothing (see above paragraph) and completely jobless. My teaching internship was unpaid and yes, I was admitted into the program, but surviving and passing was separate and undetermined.

But, my God, here we are. Two years into our Nashville adventure and already dreaming up our next big hoorah. I’ve quit two jobs while here. Not something to be proud of in the quitting sense, but if you look at it from my perspective, you’ll see with each decision to leave something, I’ve opened myself to something new, and better for me. Or I’ve uncovered another piece of myself that I didn’t think was reachable until the very moment in time when I had to make the decision – should I stay or should I go?

With every step, the intensity of my choices was greater and the reward was as equally great.

Currently, I am calling myself my own rule maker. I freelance my abilities and accept work when I want to work. As a married couple, we are not thriving by societal standards, but I hate those standards any way and choose not to live by them.

By our own standards, we are living an adventurously blessed life. Stepping more into myself is lending light to the vision I’ve had inside of me for some time; and suddenly I’ve found my voice that had been muted (not sure by who, probably me) and re-approaching my public story.

Again, here we are. We wanted something new and we found it. We stretched and grew into who we wanted to be, and we are preparing daily to do the same thing again – in a different way.

Please keep posted on our journey. Here we go!

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Current Adventure

So, I moved to Nashville. This isn’t news, really, it’s been almost a year and a half since we packed up our small Independence Square apartment and moved into an equally small West Nashville condominium.
In reflection, I have so many experiences I’ve collected in this past year. When we moved here last May, we came without much furniture or money. We maxed out my bank credit card and lived off of my retirement money (yikes) while I conquered this unpaid teaching fellowship program over the summer. As everything does, it worked out and we are still comfortably living in our West Nashville condo. Nigel has a job he enjoys enough and is playing in a band he enjoys even more. I am still teaching the sweetest little pumpkins in the world. We only had to make it 14 months on an air mattress and then my parents gifted us a bed. Life really does work out – you either find your own way or you have rich relatives. I think both scenarios are true here.
In the beginning, the transition was difficult. I was beyond stressed and secluded by my new (and extremely beautiful) surroundings. For a few months I had a hard time calling any place home. We no longer were a part of KC but didn’t quite feel it here either. Fortunately, this didn’t last and now as I sit here at 5:00 am on my balcony I couldn’t feel more at home. In fact, every time I make the trip “back” I find myself giddy excited at the thought of coming home to Nashville.
My mind keeps recalling so many other adventures I want to share but I’ll save those for another day. Stay tuned for thoughts:
-on waterfalls
-on Providence
-on teaching
-on 29
-on writing
-on traveling
-on fitness
-on my balcony
-on fear
-on Nashville nights
-on living in my own skin
-on growing out of things, or people
-on dreams and passions
-on ADVENTURE
Too much?
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2014.

Success. Absolute euphoric success. That is how I describe 2013. The rubric I use to gauge this success is the post I made exactly last year at this time.

“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.”

Yes, yes, and yes. I’ll carryover the proposed transition to better health and consider the year conquered.

This years themes: know your worth; know you are beautiful even in your failure; know you’re doing a good thing; embrace the quality in life; keep exploring; keep asking questions; keep writing; keep defining (no one else gets this privilege!) who you are, every moment, every day.

With daily grace, I’ll conquer this year too.

Hallelujah

I long so deeply for home today; for it’s fullness and beauty and truth.

Hallelujah.

 

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