Happy 4th Birthday, Blog: Lessons from Last Year

On January 31st, this past weekend, my blog turned 4 years old! Yay!! I know that year 3 was kind of a wash, but I learned many lessons about myself and life during that time. Today I want to celebrate new beginnings, refreshment, a new year, and new goals–which is what I am hoping year 4 will be for this blog.

I would like to share with you 4 lessons that I learned last year during my little hiatus. While I probably learned more than 4 lessons–these are the ones that stick out to me the most.

  1. Material things will not and do not make you happy. I mean, I guess they kind of do–but if you go in with the mindset of “well, if I get this or that then I’ll feel better about myself,” you will be wrong. I think in the first couple years of blogging, I tried to accumulate so much stuff because “that’s what everyone else was doing” so that things could showed off and reviewed. While yes, I know that some bloggers do a really good job of giving reviews, writing about fashion and style, and marketing for other companies–I was doing a really bad job at it. After a while all of the stuff I had was beginning to crowd me and make me feel overwhelmed with the amount of money I was spending and also just how much stuff I had to maintain. I do not mean to offend other bloggers at all, because I know that many have full-time careers through them, but this was a lesson that I learned because of my blogging and social media experience. This lesson made me check my heart and evaluate the motives behind my materialism. I have since adopted a much more minimalist mindset.
  2. Moments with Jesus are powerful and change everything. If you read my last post, you’ll know that I mentioned my battle with anxiety and depression last year. There were many times that I felt so paralyzed by it all that I couldn’t really pray anything other than “Jesus, help me.” My quiet times with Jesus were not as often as I would have liked–but the moments that I would meet with Him and when I felt so desperate–I knew He was with me. I would instantly feel peace and an assurance that He knew exactly what I was going through. The times that I spent in His Word were so powerful because everything was relevant and applicable to what I was dealing with. That’s one of the amazing and powerful things about the Bible and gospel message–it is alive and active (Hebrews 4:12)! I encourage you to, even if you don’t know what to do or what to say, spend time with Jesus! He loves you, He is waiting for you, and He has given us access to Him at all times (Ephesians 2:18).
  3. Life is precious. Life is short and must be valued and celebrated! Last year, my mom went through cancer treatment and throughout the whole process, the reality of mortality was scary. It made me want to make the most out of the time that I had with her and my family each day, to not complain, but to plead with God for more time. As I mentioned in my last post, she is now cancer-free and God was, and is, so gracious to our family. I know that this world is not our home and one day we will be in eternity. I am so thankful for the promises of God and the hope we have of spending eternity with Him. I hope, very much, that you have the same assurance as well. I don’t mean to turn this post into a morbid topic, but that’s just reality.
  4. It’s ok to wear black 99% of the time. I’ve come to the reality that I just really like to wear black. I used to think it was boring, I really should wear more color, or that everything just looked the same. But that’s just me and my style–and I love it. Yes, I do have some color in my wardrobe–but it will most likely be accompanied with black. It’s classy, versatile, appropriate for all-year wear, and it’s great to mask the occasional coffee spill. Ha!

Those are my top 4 lessons of the last year! Some are pretty serious and some are not as much–but I think important, nonetheless. What are some lessons that you learned last year? I would love to know!

Hello Blog: Where Have I Been?

Hello, blog! Hello, readers! Holy cow. It’s been a while. I had no intention to be away from the blog this long (my last post was in MARCH 2019) and I have been wanting to be back as soon as possible. I thought that maybe I could skip over the “where have I been” part and just jump straight into new posts—but this part is important. I have always wanted this blog to be a space of encouragement and joy, in the midst of a crazy and sometimes difficult life, and it would be wrong of me to just pretend like everything’s been fine.

Have you ever had one of those years that, even after it’s ended, is difficult to process? Last year was one for the books, in that respect. My family has been and has come through a really difficult season, but also one that had been full of so many blessings. Last year my mom was diagnosed with breast cancer, one of my siblings took a job far away, and our family had to adjust to a new way of life in specific areas. But we also welcomed another precious nephew, who we had been praying to arrive for a long time. Last year was a difficult one for me in dealing with anxiety, depression, and just an overall inability to emotionally cope with everything. I had felt paralyzed by life’s circumstances and honestly, I didn’t feel like I had anything to offer anyone on this blog. I didn’t feel like I could encourage and uplift others, when I was having such a hard time encouraging and uplifting myself. But then there were also many good things that happened last year such as hitting milestones in my career, spending some extended time in Maine during the summer, going to England in the fall, and enjoying life in my new-ish house. That is life though, an ebb and flow of good times and times that make you want to curl up in a ball.

But, in all of that…and in everything the happened in 2019–I will say that God is good. He has been so faithful through all of these seasons and it has been such a comfort to know that He has walked with me and with my family through all these times. Perhaps some would think that living a Christian life comes without suffering and difficult times–but that is far from the truth. God even says in His word that–“in Me you may have peace. In the world you will have tribulation. But take heart; I have overcome the world (John 16:33).” I think one of the biggest blessings about going through tough times is knowing there is hope and peace through Christ for those who are in Christ. My favorite worship song lately has been Goodness of God by Bethel Music and it’s words have been so encouraging! I can definitely say that I have lived in the goodness of God! And praise God, my mother has been declared cancer free!!

I love Your voice

You have led me through the fire

In the darkest night

You are close like no other

I’ve known You as a Father

I’ve known You as a Friend

And I have lived in the goodness of God

And all my life You have been faithful

And all my life You have been so, so good

With every breath that I am able

Oh, I will sing of the goodness of God

Goodness of God by Bethel Music

I think this may be a very random and jumbled post, but it’s just a little snippet into the last year and some of my thoughts. I feel like I am finally able to move forward with my plans for this online space, now that I have addressed the elephant in the room. I know that hard times are still going to come, but I want to encourage and support you through whatever you may also be going through. I have plans for travel posts, home posts, cooking posts, etc., so bear with me!

Hello, blog! Hello, reader! I’m excited for 2020 and I hope you’ll continue to join me on this journey!

You Are Loved: Encouragement on Valentine’s Day

Happy Valentine’s Day! Today is the international day of love, sentiment, and all things lovey-dovey/mushy. If you are single, married, dating, etc., I hope you’re able to celebrate the day with those you love.

I feel like there is so much pressure associated with Valentine’s Day that sometimes it’s not a day that people enjoy. Some may have experienced pain and heartbreak on this day or might just be longing for love. Regardless, I want to share some encouragement with you, in case you need it today.

First of all, you are incredibly unique, precious, and loved. I hope you never forget that. You have a valuable purpose in life and there is no one else like you. You are fully equipped and have what it takes for life, in Jesus’ name. You are exactly where you are supposed to be.

“For God did not give us a spirit of timidity, but a spirit of power, love, and of self-discipline”– 1 Timothy 1:7

“The Lord bless you and keep you; the Lord make His face shine on you and be gracious to you; the Lord turn His face toward you and give you peace.”–Numbers 6:24-26

“Love is patient, love is kind. It does not envy, it does not boast, it is not proud.  It is not rude, it is not self-seeking, it is not easily angered, it keeps no record of wrongs.  Love does not delight in evil but rejoices with the truth.  It always protects, always trusts, always hopes, always perseveres.  Love never fails…”– 1 Corinthians 13:4-7

“But the fruit of the Spirit is love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness and self-control.”–Galatians 5:22-23

God’s love will never be taken away from you. He loves you so much and has given His life for you. In the scope of the universe, humans are just tiny specs. But yet God loves you so much that He came to die for you. God cares for you and you are valuable to Him. He will never leave you or forsake you. You are not alone and are not forgotten.

“Your love, O Lord, reaches to the heavens, your faithfulness to the skies. Your righteousness is like the mighty mountains, your justice like the great deep.”– Psalm 36:5-6

“The earth is filled with your love, LORD; teach me your decrees.”– Psalm 119:64

“And we know that all things work together for good to those who love God, to those who are the called according to His purpose. For whom He foreknew, He also predestined to be conformed to the image of His Son, that He might be the firstborn among many brethren.”–Romans 8:28-29

Because of God’s love, you now have an example of how to love others. You are part of a fellowship of other believers who love Him and you just the same. Because of God’s love, you are part of a community that is different than all the others.

“Love must be sincere. Hate what is evil; cling to what is good.”–Romans 12:9

“Dear children, let us not love with words or speech but with actions and in truth.”–1 John 3:18

“Dear friends, let us love one another, for love comes from God. Everyone who loves has been born of God and knows God. Whoever does not love does not know God, because God is love.”–1 John 4:7-8

“We love because He first loved us.”–1 John 4:19

“Greater love has no one than this: to lay down one’s life for one’s friends.”–John 15:13

Happy Valentine’s Day my friend!

Allow Your Soul to Rest

Hi friends, happy Thursday. I hope you are having a great week! I have been settling back into my routine after being at The Declare Conference this past weekend. It wasn’t until the conference that I realized how life had taken a toll on my soul and spiritual life–but I am so glad to feel rejuvenated after the conference.

There’s something about being in a worshipful setting that allows your heart to become quiet before God and open to the things He has to tell you. The biggest eye-opener this past weekend was the revelation that I have been trying too hard to do all of the things (ie work, home, putting pressure on myself, going non-stop, etc) that I have forgotten to focus on The One thing. That One thing is my walk with God–because only He is my purpose, strength, and peace. He is the only One that provides rest to my soul–when I feel like I run it into the ground.

If you are needing rest for your soul–let me encourage you to do so!

Remember the faithfulness of God. Remember what God has done for you and how He has answered prayer. I think that so often we tend to forget these things, even after praying so hard and for so long for that thing to happen. When you feel like life is just all bad and not turning out how you thought it would–stop and think about how God has worked in ways you did not expect.

Go to God. I have been waking up earlier this week so that I can have time in prayer and Bible study before I begin my day. Going to God first thing each day needs to be my first priority–and I’m ashamed to say that sometimes it’s the last. Let God be the best part of your day and allow Him to guide you in the words you speak and work you complete.

Literally stop and let yourself rest. It’s ok to say “no” to things and spend that time instead to care for yourself. You know what flight attendants tell you–“put your oxygen on first before assisting another person?”–well that is true in the sense that you can’t help anyone if you are just totally done. Also, you cannot minister or encourage anyone else as effectively if you are not right with the Lord. So, stop and let yourself rest before God.

Love from Amy Signature

Starting Fresh in September

Last week I wrote about how September is my favorite month and holds so much meaning for me. This month signifies a new start, the beginning of a new birth year for me, and reflection over the last year. September is about starting fresh.

Today I’m going to encourage you in some ways that you can also have a fresh start this month. What do you love most about this month??

Personal Health

Start a new workout plan. Be better at healthy meal planning and prepping. Go to bed earlier. Drink more water.

Relationships with Family and Friends

Put the phone down more. Be intentional about spending time with others. Have people over and look for ways to gather others. Send more texts or messages to friends and family to let them know you’re thinking of them. Look for ways to serve those you love.

Work Life

Get to work early. Focus on work tasks and really give it your all. Facilitate a positive work culture and environment. Clean and organize your work space.

Spiritual Health

Make a point to spend time with God each day. Spend your commute in prayer and as you go about the day. Be open for opportunities to share the love and compassion of Christ. Begin a new Bible study plan.

Home

Bring out the fall candles and decorations. Make a point to keep the house clean and cozy. Put away your summer clothes and bring out all the fall wear. Declutter. Finish a project you’ve already started.

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