And it went like . . .

2021

To you, my darling,

You appeared as just a year

Your presence in just ink

Tempered into something more.

To you, my darling,

You took me and made me new

You held my hand as I went through

And healed my bleeding wounds.

To you, my darling,

As you look over your shoulder

As your hazel eyes wonder when

We’ll meet once again.

To you, my darling,

I write this letter, so you will never leave

So that when I wonder where you went

I’ll have these blessed memories.

When I had no more to give

You simply let me live

When I had no more strength to stand

You stood and watched over me.

So when I say goodbye tonight

And watch the calendar change,

I’ll always remember that you showed me

Good years are a thing.

~~~~

I had given up on good years when 2021 showed up last January first. I’d decided life was just one suffering battle, something to be endured, something that you just want to end. But 2021 and God showed me that life isn’t like that. That yes, there’s awful years you simply have to slug through. But there are wonderful years like 2021.

2021 Highlights

Starting Painted Prose Designs!

There’s not many things I started or did in 2021, but I’ve fallen in love with my little Etsy shop. There’s still so much to do and so much growth it’s waiting for, but I’m still really thankful and proud of every piece of hard work and love that went into it. Especially since it’s my second small business.

Which leads me to the second highlight.

Learning how to fail

This one is hard for me, as a person who hates failure, breaks, and any kind of self care. But it was time for me to learn, time for me to take time and breathe, or else I was bound to get myself in some pretty bad places. And I had a lot of opportunities on learning how to fail this year.

First off, I “failed” in a small business attempt. And I’m not even upset about it anymore. It taught me that failure is often the forerunner of success, and that hard work will never go unrewarded, even if at first glance, the reward looks like failure.

Then, in the summer, I “failed” at a law office job. It just wasn’t the right fit for me, and it was running me dry. I learned that I am not at all a desk job type of person, and if you leave me in a cold room with barely anything to do, I will sleep the day away. 😂 Quitting that job taught me that it’s okay to say no. It’s okay to not have things work out. People won’t hate you, and you certainly won’t hate yourself.

Seeing my sweet friend twice in one year.

First trip to visit her was a blast. I surprised her for her graduation, she had no idea I was coming! And that ended up being the best part of my 2021. Late Starbucks run, beach fun, amazing conversation and singing at the top of our lungs in the car. It was magical. And then this December I was able to visit her again, and it was a lovely time. ❤

My first full-time job and being promoted to manager

Taking so much of my time, it’s a good thing I love this stinker. I found a place where I belong as a barista, and now a manager. It’s like a second home, and I may or may not spend as much time or more time there than I do at home. The people I work with are amazing, and I love my customers so much. This was one of the largest and coolest blessings God gave me in 2021. To go from total isolation to being able to see people EVERY DAY? It was a dream come true, a dream I didn’t even know I had.

2021 has been a lovely year, full of healing. In 2020, I started the year with a post that stated I didn’t know who I was anymore. And while it’s true, I don’t have a detailed synopsis on myself, I do know myself now. I know who I am.

I’m Amie, a wild yet cautious being who has more ideas than time, reads more than she speaks, and yet treasures people and stories as the greatest things on earth.

I am ready for the New Year.

Are you?

~~Amie~~

Fun

“Do some fun writing.” (Helpful advice)

Don’t you know that my soul can’t handle fun

It’s off limits for my mind and it makes me undone

Trying to find the thing labeled fun.

I write because my fingers twirl

Words rotate and rotate as I swirl

The world is not real and neither am I

Unless words create my alibi.

I never had a childhood, I never knew on moment or two

Where there wasn’t the weight of something on me

A weight that I wouldn’t give up to be free

Write for fun would be sacrilege

I write to let others know I live

I write so my mind doesn’t take control

I write so that others will have the reasons to know

They aren’t alone in this universe

They aren’t unseen in the world’s many seas

Their words will echo inside my writing

Their mind resounding the ink loud and clear.

Write for fun, take a break?

My soul can’t handle the time it wastes

Let me have a pen in hand

Let me show you and make you understand

Let me become the mysterious ease

That fills your soul when you finally see

Words that echo thoughts you never heard,

Words that touch your soul on solid rock

Melting it into a piece of flesh

Something we’ll both love and grow to see

As a miracle that words breathed.

What do you do?

WHAT DO YOU DO?

What do you do when you’re older than all your peers around you?

What do you do when you’re the one that isn’t seen?

What do you do when you change masks?

Always running, chasing anonymity.

Hair colors flicker, changing designs

All to hide all of the lies

That your mind believes.

What do you do when you’re too responsible for adults?

What do you do when you’re the only one with the knowledge?

What do you do when you have to change tunes

Ever playing whatever soothes the snake

Charming the haters and soothing the lost.

You’re the healer, the charm long lost

The chosen one burned by the spells that you’ve had to create.

What do you do when you’re not you anymore?

What do you do when the madness that caused sanity slipped through the cracks?

What do you do when you have no more cushion?

Only reality to remind you

That you have nothing to choose

Just life.

Life, the stage you play your part.

Life, the prison in which you fall apart.

Life, an opportunity for freedom

Life, a chance to grow your kingdom

No longer are you mad anymore

The irate withers away as you grow

Your eyes on the magic of the leaves

and for once you feel . . .

peace.

~~

P.S. Don’t forget Painted Prose is having a 35% off sale this weekend! If you haven’t already checked it out, you can look at everything on sale here.

Black Friday Sale

Happy Black Friday, folks!

Today I’m thrilled to walk you through Painted Prose’s stock in honor of the Black Friday sale I’m hosting! Everything is 35% off, which is one of the best sales Painted Prose will have until . . . well, next Black Friday.

“Fault in our Stars” by John Green is one of my favorite books from my reads in 2021. A classic that has a beautiful movie made as an adaption. I painted a silhouette of Augustus and Hazel with a galaxy background.

Cinder is a YA icon, starting a rush for YA in the whole market. I love the absolute beautiful earth and moon reference, and then the Cinderella at the floor of the ballroom to signify the end of Cinder. (Won’t give any spoilers!)

I had a hard time figuring out what to do with this one, but I think we can all agree that it fits just perfectly. ❤

Dearest Josephine was one of my top releases in 2021, a book written in the format of emails, letters, and texts, it’s exactly what penpals want to read. I could picture myself next to Josie as she typed her hilarious adventures to her besties, and I could smell the tea Elias was drinking as he penned letters to Josephine. This book represents that people can be in the same place, doing the same thing, just hundreds of years apart, thus the pen and paper verses the computer.

Adrienne Young is one of my favorite authors, and you have to admit that her book, “The Girl the Sea Gave Back” is exactly the type of fantasy for grey evenings with a cup of tea. I had so much fun painting this cover. Fun fact, as a beginning artist, my favorite thing to draw or paint was birds, specifically birds of prey, so I was very happy to go back to my roots with the front of this cover. “The Girl the Sea Gave Back” deals with different tribes fighting, a girl struggling to find where she belongs, and a boy who isn’t sure he’s ready to be a man quite yet.

Sara Ella is my all time favorite author, so when I was getting ready for this launch, I knew that one of her books would be featured. Unblemished is the beginning of a fantasy trilogy involving a girl with a blemish, a girl who’s whole life has been ripped away from her in the death of her mother . . . and it’s only then that she finds she has so much more to loose. Eliyana is a beautiful character, and I relate to her on so many levels. I think this might be one of my favorite covers I’ve done yet ❤

Fawkes is a fan favorite in the Christian YA circles, and it’s certainly a memorable story about Guy Fawkes and his son who are at war in an England that is choosing sides between whether you should stick with the tradition of the masks, or follow the voice within. I love painting the masks, and giving Thomas a face, particularly with the fact that he has a stone eye . . . something you’ll have to read about if you get the book!

How many of you are Anastasia Romanov fans? I for one, certain am after this beautiful book came out in 2019. Romano by Nadine Brandes follows the Romanov family into imprisonment and imagines what might have happened behind close doors and after certain gunshots. On this cover, I followed the design of the dress for Anastasia on broadway, tying in more of Disney’s elements to this story that already is overfilling with magic.

Once Upon a Broken Heart will certainly SHRED your heart, if you haven’t already read it. One of my absolutely favorite books, it’s a novel set in the world of award-winning, New York Bestseller Caravel! I’m so thrilled to paint this book, and while it didn’t turn out like my dreams, it still is a beautiful cover to capture a simply delicious story.

WINTER, WHITE and WICKED was released days after Fifteen, and has always been one of my favorites for that reason and for the beautiful author who wrote it. Think of Max Fury meets our beloved Frozen, in a world where the only way to outsmart Winter is to work with her, as her slave. I love painting eyes, and if you’ve read the book, you know that the main character has some very special eyes. This one is without a doubt my favorite painting I’ve done on a book so far, so whoever gets this one is a lucky bean. 😉

How many fandom lovers do we have out there? A lot? Well then, I have awesome news for you! I have made fandom stocking stuffer bundles for Potterheads, LOTR nerds, Narnia dwellers, and Tributes from the Hunger Games. If you are into any of these fandoms, now is your time to snag the swag before it goes off of sale. Usually $60 for a 6 piece set, it’s only $45.50 for the time being! Snag them while you can!

Don’t see your favorite book for sale? Never fear, because my creativity is right here. *taps my head and then blushes* Sorry, get carried away sometimes. Anyway, right now a custom order is $45.50 instead of $60. As long as the book you want painted comes in hardcover, I’m more than happy to work with you. Send me a message on whatever platform you’d like, or purchase the custom listing from my shop down below.

Yesterday was technically about thankfulness, but I think today is about it, too. I’m so thankful to be able to have this shop, to be able to minister to people like you through it and through this blog. I hope that some of you are able to purchase some books, and that they bring as much joy to you in your hands as they did while I was painting them.

Happy holidays, folks. ❤

~~Amie~~

Author Conservatory Review

In the early months of 2020, I was a directionless writer. I had come to a point where I knew I was good and I could accomplish being a published author. I just didn’t know how. There was no step by step plan. Everyone I asked for advice was too busy for me, and I knew I needed a mentor or some kind of program that was a step further than anything else that was offered at the time.

That’s when I heard about the Author Conservatory, though at the time it was just called Author. As one of the founding members of this program, I’ve been through every change and I’ve watched it grow and blossom into what it is now. And it’s something extremely special.

A conservatory dedicated towards raising a new generation of authors who are business savvy and story sound. A generation of artists who no longer starve because they know what their work is worth and how to reach people with it.

I started Author after one of the hardest years of my life, thinking that 2020 would be my year. As we all know, it wasn’t anyone’s year, and two weeks after I joined the program, I lost my job and ended up staying at home without leaving for the next eight months. But I wasn’t alone, and instead of the isolation and social dryness everyone else complains about, I was so blessed to have a whole community of authors, plus Brett and Kara invested in me and my work.

But now you’re wondering . . .

What is author like?

Author is a dual track three-year course. The first track centers around story telling, craft, and actual writing, where you’ll dive into the roots of plot and structure, learning every last thing you can about having a strong, well-rounded story that will impact your readers for years to come. The second track is business, where you’ll learn how to appreciate your own value and how to create and maintain a pop-up business.

Author isn’t only about the lessons you’ll learn, it’s about the community you’ll join, complete with sprints, movie nights, game nights, book clubs, and more. You’ll find young (and some older!) people who are just as nerdy and invested in the literature world as you are. It’s honestly amazing to see how you can find people all around the world who enjoy the same thing you do, and a great place to create relationships and bounds you’ll have for a long time to come.

Who started the Author Conservatory?

Brett Harris and Kara Swanson are the co-owners of the Author Conservatory. What started as a vision to help young authors has blossomed into a vision to help authors in general create quality works in order to impact the publishing world. Brett Harris is the New York Best Seller author of Do Hard Things, and Kara Swanson is the award winning author of Dust, Shadow, and The Girl Who Could See. But they aren’t the only ones who are apart of this conservatory! Authors like Mary Weber, Sara Ella, Joanne Bischof, and Nadine Brandes all invest in the students, while Steve Laube (agent) and Katie Phillips (editor) each have different roles in the program. Andrew Peterson has even visited before!

What is the Author conservatory like in your life?

When I started the conservatory, I was a high school student, but now I work full-time. When I was in school, Author easily took 15-20 hours of my life. But now as I work full-time, it mostly depends on what stage of the process I’m in. Right now I just finished drafting, and I’m in the second year of Author, so I’m getting ready to jump into editing a novella and working on writing some concepts. Because of this, I’ve spent roughly 10 hours this week on Author.

Brett has done an amazing job making sure that the Author program can fit all different people in all different areas of life. Obviously the more you prioritize Author, the more results you’ll see. But Author is also very understanding about the different seasons of your life.

Would you encourage young writers to join?

Author is a college alternative program. So while I think almost all writers should eventually invest in Author, I do need to caution that Author requires personal maturity. There’s critique, there’s stress, and there’s a lot of investment. I’ve had three times where I’ve thought about quitting, either due to personal life struggles, or just the stress that comes with “never having the right story.” Writing isn’t easy, and while I can testify that Author makes it easier in the long run, there’s still that uphill climb that takes a lot of energy and endurance. I’ve ended multiple critique calls crying, as have most of the students I know. It’s hard to see what you love critiqued, and even harder to be told that sometimes where you wanted the story to head isn’t the best direction to take it. But you have to have the wisdom to realize that in order to grow you must be trimmed, and the instructors are very gracious in their tree trimming. 😉

Now for the good stuff!

The Author Conservatory is hosting a giveaway, and it includes a book from my business, Painted Prose Designs!

All of these prizes are from Author student’s businesses, so even if you don’t end up winning, you can go check out the shops. Information about the giveaway is on the Author Conservatory Instagram. You can find it here.

In summary, Author is a wonderful opportunity for Authors to get their leg into the door and to learn needed skills that go along with writing. Now you don’t have to learn by trial and error, you’ll have mentors and coaches to help you for the next three years of your writing career.

For me, they haven’t only helped my writing life, they’ve helped my spiritual life, and my mental health. I’m so thankful for their influence and input in my life. ❤

Amie

People Like People Sometimes

84533689-C8CC-41CD-988C-5F9875D64822_1_201_a

Recently someone said to me, “People usually like people that like them.” That hit me hard. I’ve always assumed that people wouldn’t like me, regardless of how nice I was, how sweet I came across. I’ve been the first one to make fun of myself, to say what I already assume they’re thinking, to beat them to the critique, to beat them to saying the thing that will wound me.

I’m a people pleasure. Nothing makes me more happy than the people around me being happy. Everything about me craves affirmation and a smile from the people around me. My love language is words of affirmation. All I want to hear is that I’m enough for those I care about, that I doing enough, soothing their needs, and brightening their days. In a way, this can be a strength. People tell me about my caring heart, about how I notice things about people and remember their favorites.

But it’s also one of my biggest weaknesses. The minute I attach myself to someone, I’m loyal until they break me. Until they destroy me, bring tears streaming down my cheeks, and I’ve tried everything to be enough.

Olivia Rodrigo says in her song, “Enough,” these words:

Yeah, you always say I’m never satisfied
But I don’t think that’s true
You say I’m never satisfied
But that’s not me, it’s you
‘Cause all I ever wanted was to be enough
But I don’t think anything could ever be enough
For you

There’s nothing I want more to be than enough for those who I love. I want to be enough for those who just meet me, I want to be liked by the person who just greeted me. But I immediately expect I won’t be enough, that I won’t be liked.

Because my whole childhood was never being enough. My whole childhood was being disliked, being teased, being excluded. I’m used to be the wallflower.

The thing is . . . I was told this by someone in January. And I’ve done a lot of growing since then, especially when it comes to the problem of being enough.

Me on my own would never ever be enough. It doesn’t matter how hard I try, all I do, it would all be in vain. But I’m not left on my own. This year I’ve been learning about my identity, learning about who I am, and what that means.

I am a child of God. Which means Christ died for me, and gave me his enough (he was perfect, so of course he was enough!). He wrapped in in his enough, tying it around me and giving me a smile. And because of his enough, I get a smile from God, too. It doesn’t matter what I do, how much I screw up, I still have Christ’s enough. (And let me tell you, I screw up A LOT every day.)

I’m enough, and not only am I enough, and I have God’s smile, but I have an relationship with Christ and God the Father! It’s wild, that Christ and God would want to have a relationship with me, a tiny human on a small planet called earth. The creator of the universe cares about me. And not only cares about me, he calls me daughter!

My mind is truly blown.

But now I don’t have to worry about being enough. I don’t have to worry about coming across as perfectly nice and sweet so everyone likes me. I am who I am, and not everyone will like me. And if you ask me, that’s perfectly okay.

I know who I am.

Who are you?

~~Amie~~

Shush, Please Leave

Shush, please, expectations leave.

You say you don’t care, you’d be proud if I work anywhere

And yet you keep pressing, you keep investing

Telling me to leave all the evil in the world that you see.

I’ll disappoint you, that’s clear

I’ll either be miserable making you happy

Or I’ll leave your world

And make my way to the world that I long for.

Let me be me

Let me be free

Why don’t you trust me?

Why do you hurt the art I create?

Why do you refuse the person I can be?

The human who dwells deep inside me

But you force me to hide away

Tell me to keep it hidden for another day

And Lord, what do you see

When you look deep inside me?

Why do the people around me

Refuse to lift the expectations put on me.

Lord, how can I survive

When these emotions crush me

I want to make them happy,

I want them to smile on me

But I’m so freaking empty

And they continue to hurt and hurt and hurt me

All the while saying that they know me

And that they only see who they want to see,

Leaving a shell of a creature who could be

Brave and kind, reliable and not shy

A person with the ability to change the world,

To make an impact so great it’s untold

But they just want me to be never leave,

They want me to continue to play and be

The actress of the century, playing myself

While only wanting to be the actual me.

When when you stop hurting me?

When will you start loving me?

When will the blood from my heart leave my hands

And wrap around your soul in prison bands

When will the vengeance from above

Finally crush all that you love

And show you that you cannot be a control freak

Or else all you love will break

Leaving you to whisper in it’s wake,

Shush, expectations, please leave.

Happy Book Birthday

 Each moment I just had to take a breath and remember why. Why I’m doing this.

God knows it isn’t because I wanted to have a poetry book out there for the world to critique. Fifteen isn’t for me. It’s because God has called me to do it for you. For the people who need to read it, who need a helping hand.

Blog post, Oct. 2020

It’s been a whole year since Fifteen was published, a whole year since I wrote those words, and so much has changed since then, and yet, so much is the same. It’s strange to look back and see exactly what I was thinking during that time period, what was going through my soul as I readied myself to launch my first book.

I’ll forever be proud of Fifteen.

It’s the story my heart needed to tell, it’s what I wanted everyone around me to hear and believe. The poems that fill Fifteen are poems that tell a story, a story that I felt everyone has lived, everyone has understood.

The story of a person breaking, but trying to tape themselves back together. The story of a person who loses it, but then realizes that they don’t want to be the person sunk in depression anymore. They don’t like who they are anymore.

So they start picking up the pieces and learning. Learning what it is to be a person in a world that is broken. The story is about finding joy among broken things, finding love in broken people, and loving your broken body.

Today I’ll be doing my very first book signing at a coffee shop, and I couldn’t be more excited to be able to talk to people about my book. I can’t wait to see people holding my book, flipping through it’s pages. It’s something to know that people ordered my book, it’s a totally different thing to see it in people’s hands.

So happy birthday, Fifteen.

I’m so glad you’ve been in the world for a full year. I’m so glad you’ve been able to touch people, and I pray you touch so many more in the future.

~~Amie~~

Growth

I started blogging when I was thirteen. Something inside of me craved a blog, craved to take my words and put them inlace on the internet. I wanted to find people like me, people who would read my words and understand. Understand the emotions that filtered through my mind. And when I started blogging, there was one thing I swore to myself.

I would never stop blogging.

It’s been years on WordPress now. It’s been about four different designs for my blog, four different ways to present myself. And part of me isn’t disappointed. I haven’t been disappointed with the people I’ve met, with the stories I’ve told. I’ve found myself through poetry, I’ve found who I am as I’ve grown and changed. But this year, I entered a new season of life.

I’ve been working full time, while being a part of a writing conservatory, and trying business ventures. Overall, I’ve just worn myself out. Each moment I have is taken up with some kind of work, whether it’s art, writing, or actual work at the coffee shop. My soul finds itself growing exhausted, my mind doesn’t have enough brain cells to split with everything.

But thankfully, I have five days off work. Five days with nothing to do except heal. Because I’ve had wisdom teeth surgery. Needless to say, surgery is NOT fun, lol. But I’m surviving. I look like a a chipmunk and feel like I’ve been in a fight, but on the positive side, it’s giving me time to write. Time to come back to my blog, the place where I belong.

This past week has been full of amazing things. First off, I started drafting a novella, which I’m so excited about.

Astoria’s existence revolved around her scientific discoveries — no, really. If she didn’t make scientific discoveries, the rulers of the merrealms would euthanize her and her family, turning them into the sea foam that capped each wave. And even though she was a mermaid, she had no experience with humans or luring them into the depths. . . that is, until a siren brought in a half drowned man with the perfect genetic makeup to save their world — and her life — once and for all. 

Weapon of the Deep, concept

I started it on Friday, because besides watch movies, that was about all I could do. I’m afraid reading has had no attraction for me, and sleep has been hard to obtain. So being productive is the only other option. I’m so excited to see how this project turns out.

And talking about writing, I finished writing my last project on Wednesday. It was a fairytale mashup high-concept fantasy story that I had been writing since May. Which means it was the longest it’s ever taken me to write a book, but I don’t think I regret it. Different seasons of life mean that things take different amounts of time. And I’m proud of this book, it definitely caused me to grow as a writer, and that’s what’s important.

Growth.

I’ve been doing a lot of that, growth. And I don’t know if it’s been fun or if it’s been miserable. Probably a good amount of both, if I’m being truly honest. It’s not fun to have to grow, but it’s what it is.

I also started a new business, called Painted Prose Designs.

It’s a business where I hand paint hardcover books, and I’m so excited about it. The first launch was on Wednesday, so if you’d like to take a look at it, click the button right up there ^

I had so much painting these books, and I hope that you can purchase your favorite book with it’s unique cover. I also have some Christmasy ideas that’ll be launching soon, so make sure to follow the store, or follow Painted Prose Desgin’s Instagram @paintedprosedesigns.

So yeah, to say the least, I’ve been a bit busy this week, lol.

Back in 2017, when I first joined the blogosphere, one of the main questions was why do you blog? And I always struggled with that answer, but I think I know now.

I blogged because I needed it. Now I blog because I know others need it. And I’m so glad to be ale to blog. So thankful to be able to impact other’s lives. It’s something that carries such weight, but also such honor.

Why do you read blogs?

~~Amie~~