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!

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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What to Expect from The Declare Conference

** This post contains affiliate links–all thoughts and opinions are my own**

Last year I had the privilege of attending The Declare Conference in Dallas, TX. I am so excited that I’ll be able to return to the conference this October and can’t wait for all that I will hear and learn.

The Declare Conference gave me such encouragement but also inspiration with my writing, so I’m really looking forward to receiving that again. The conference is a great way to meet other bloggers, writers, podcasters, etc who share the same passion of telling others about Jesus and sharing His love. I’m also a conference nerd, so I’m excited for a few days away to learn. 

I will link all the conference information below but if you are able to go (and I highly recommend that you do), here are some things you can expect from attending the conference.

You will be encouraged.

There’s really no way that you can’t leave this conference and not be encouraged. From the main sessions, mastermind groups, meeting and talking with other women, your soul will definitely be uplifted.

You will be inspired.

If you’re in a bit of a writing rut (like I’ve been for a few months), this conference is the one for you. Declare helps to re-establish your “why” and purpose, while also inspiring you to be a better communicator. You’ll learn tools for social media and learn how to use programs effectively.

You will meet like-minded women of God.

It’s such a great feeling to be in a room surrounded by women who are all there for the same purpose–to communicate the love of God. I really challenged myself with getting out of my comfort zone last year and I’m so glad that I did because I was able to meet so many women and hear their stories.

You will hear incredible speakers.

I’m so excited about the speaker lineup this year and can’t wait to hear what they have to say. Last year’s speakers were amazing and provided such wisdom, insight, and encouragement for all different forms of communicating.

You will come home with lots of merch.

Last year there were so many awesome vendors at Declare and I came home with lots of books, shirts, totes, and other goodies. 

You will experience amazing worship.

You just will. And you might even cry a little.

You will literally be well fed.

Food was amazing last year and the Declare team was so accommodating with providing meals for those with Celiac Disease–which I do not take for granted. One evening there were also food trucks and a coffee truck that came to the conference.

You will not regret going to Declare.

I promise you won’t. I’m so glad that it worked out for me to go again this year because I know I would have regretted not going.

Join me at Declare!

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Just Be Kind

The last few months I have been reading Generous Justice by Timothy Keller with some friends. This book has been such a good read and has been really convicting in the ways that I think of and treat people. There is value in every single human life and there is no reason at all to assume that my life is more important than anyone else’s. There is a quote in the book that says “when God put His image upon us, we became beings of infinite, inestimable value.” The book then goes on to say that “we must treat each and every human being as a way of showing due respect for the majesty of their owner and Creator.” Ouch. That definitely stings because I know that I do not respond to others that way all the time.

Furthermore, everything we have has not been gained by our own works but has been given as gifts from God. If that is true, which it is, then everything we have is essentially not ours and should be shared with others. Generosity, sharing, and kindness go a long way and everyone, in any season or situation in life, can practice these things.

10 Ways to Be Kind:

  1. Acknowledge someone when you pass them and offer a smile.
  2. Buy a stranger a cup of coffee who is in the same line as you.
  3. Offer a hug to someone having a hard time or day.
  4. Make someone a meal.
  5. Send an encouraging text message, email, or a hand written note to a friend, family member, coworker, etc.
  6. Practice active listening when someone is talking to you or sharing something important.
  7. Donate items that you don’t need to others.
  8. Put someone else’s needs before your own, even if you have to go out of your way.
  9. Leave a gift for someone else to find.
  10. Forgive someone who acted against you or said wrong things about you.

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