Motivation for Every New Day

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*takes a long sip of coffee* 

Today I’m not exactly sure where this post will go, but I want it more hype, so hang on as I turn on my hype playlist. 😉 Okey, we’re ready to start writing. So, just fyi, taking your siblings on dates is a super fun thing to do, and I would totally advise it. It’s the only way I can justify buying coffee for myself. 😂

But today our post is about something that I struggle with. Motivation for every new day.

I’m the person that loves to have a deadline set by someone else. I have a month to do this, a week to do that, I have to have this done by tomorrow night. I thrive on doing everything last minute, my brain seems to get so many ideas right before the deadline, and I can actually crack down and work on things.

But once that’s over, what’s next?

How do you wake up every morning without a goal and find motivation to do exactly what you did the day before?

I’m not sure what it’s like once you graduate, but for me while I’m still in school, it’s really hard to get up five days out of the week, workout, practice the same songs I played the day before, and do the next lesson in each of my classes. Sometimes it feels like the only thing that changes is what people post online, and what I create in my own mind. (Especially if we’re eating the leftovers that we ate the day before.)

I’m a paradox. I love and hate change. The less I see of change, the more I hate it, and the more I crave it. Without change, I get stuck in my head, loosing sight of reality.

Let me tell you, when the thoughts in your head become more real than the world around you, you’ve got yourself a problem. So how? How do you stay grounded and create your own change?

Listen to lots of different music.

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Music creates different emotions and if you keep changing up your playlists, and the artists you listen to, I’ve found it helps pull me out of my head, and realize that not every day is the same.

I hate shuffle. I like knowing exactly what song is coming next, I like being positive about the order of everything, but I’ve found that eliminating surprise from life eliminates the force of the outside world.

Dress up.

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Wait, what? I’m a slob when it comes to my clothing. I would literally wear sweatpants or jeans with a sweatshirt/tunic and jacket all winter long. But I’ve found that being intentional occasionally pulls me out of my rut of being a slob, and gives me confidence to take the day on, even if it’s the same as the day before.

Also, I mean, why not change your outfits? If you have comfy fancy clothes (like ruffly socks. 😍) then why not dress fancy every now again?

Talk to someone.

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This is the biggest one. I hate phone calls, and sometimes I don’t like making time to video chat, but being able to talk to someone totally helps. It often gives me a new look on life, and inspires me creatively.

Even the most introverted introvert needs human interaction, and I think that’s something a lot of people forget. We need to take time in our busy schedules to talk with people, and build relationships.

If you aren’t able to do any of these things, do one thing that is so important. Pray and exercise. Those two things can change your whole outlook on a day, and help make it better. ❤

What are some of your favorite ways to change up a day? Do you have trouble with the same thing every day, or do you enjoy it?

~~Amie~~

The Earth’s Tears

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The earth joins me in my tears, as I think of all those who are so near, and yet. Tonight…today, their hearts are crying out to be saved.

The earth sighs as my breath eases, sobs calming, my tears drying. The earth sighs as she sees my need. The earth sighs as she feels and takes heed. Knowing that there are so many with the same need.

There, sitting by herself, the one who smiles as soon as your eyes meet. Yes, she’s the one the earth is waiting for. She’s the one that the earth cries for.

There, that boy, leaning against the wall, engaging in your conversation at the slightest invitation. He’s the one the earth roars over. Yes, he’s the one the thunder rolls for.

You see, these people are just like you and me, except now their pain has been overlooked, now their thoughts have been scribbled in a secret book. No one will know the tears that they cry when the middle of the night is nigh.

No one but the midnight wind. No one but the earth that they long to be in.

You go on with your busy life, never stopping to tell that girl hi. And it’s okay. The earth shall warm her in its embrace.

You never touch on topics that are dark, leaving the boy in his mind with thoughts that are stark. But that’s okay. The earth will hear his cries later today.

The wind whispers and dries their tears, when all they wish for is a human there. The tears nod and agree, life is often harder than it seems. Even the brook, which others swear is full of glee, cries in a gently harmony.

The world understands the silent sorrow of those like you and me. The cold dirt soothes our warm cheeks, the grass brushes against our sleeves. There is a need of humans in this world, but here’s the tragedy.

Nature accepts, embraces, and understands, while humans shake their heads and stand. We are different because we feel, we are different because we give in to our spiels. But it’s only so long that we will speak. You say to be silent and leave you all be?

Don’t worry, your wish will come true. The earth can only comfort us for so long, you know. Its embrace will only comfort for a time.

Human arms are what we need, human hands to pick us up. Human hearts to beat against ours, reminding us that regardless of the pain, we aren’t without a hand to hold. We aren’t without a person that will listen if told.

A person that will send flowers, to remind us the earth isn’t our only friend. We have two, and One is mightier than the earth on which we live. So lift up your chin, my doubting friend.

Sometimes we have to spend time crying to the earth in order to find that our cries were heard. Sometimes we have to spend time alone to appreciate the beauty of being told that even when the day seems grey, we have friends who are here to stay.

~~Amie~~

(Photograph from Pinterest)

The Best Birthday

I like to stretch my birthday as long as it’ll go.  Opening a gift a day, doing activities I don’t normally do all throughout the month.  Well, at least from May 1-20, but today is my actual birthday.

This year I’ve been expecting to spend it really quietly, helping take care of my dad.  I expected to be unhappy, and slightly disappointed.  I expected to be forgotten.

Boy, was I wrong!  Two weeks ago I posted about my father being diagnosed with cancer.  I posted about my depression.  And I didn’t end the post as hopefully as I wanted to, because my hope was running low.  I was worn out.

And so?  I decided to do something I felt like I had needed to do for a long time.  I took a break from talking to a lot of people.  I honestly only talked to my very best friend for the past eleven days.  Was it hard? YES.  You’ll see just how hard it was as I go on to tell you all that has happened in the past eleven days.  I wanted to send so many people emails, text, and messages.  (And I wanted to brainstorm with writers quite a few times.  😂)

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On May second, my dad went in for another test to see how much cancer he had, so they could decide on a treatment plan.  Honestly, I spent the whole day trying not to think about it.  I’ll be honest.  I’ve prayed for healing for A LOT of people, but they’ve never been healed in the way I think they should, and so…I wasn’t praying that my dad would be healed.  I was praying that God’s will would be done.

And it was.  The doctors went in, but they couldn’t find one trace of cancer.  My whole family was blown away by the goodness of God.  I immediately knew that God had heard all of your prayers.  Honestly, at the time I didn’t realize how many people were praying, but I knew quite a few were, and God hears and answers prayers.  

Because of the good news, my parents decided to take us all on a trip somewhere.  I’m the type of person that loves planning trips, even if I’ll never go on them.  So, I actually had a few trips up my sleeve that I wanted to go on.  We ended up going to the mountains, near Chattanooga, and wow.

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The cabin didn’t have any wifi, and so it was just such an amazing experience.  I spent so much time thinking, walking, praying, writing, and reading.  Just having nothing to do is an awesome thing to do, honestly.  😂

I was able to think about everything that had happened, and I’m glad I did.  All of you followers have made me realize why I blog.  Before, it was always just something I enjoyed doing.  I wanted to get my thoughts out there, I wanted to laugh at my own posts.  I wanted a place that I could call mine.

And then when I posted about my struggles, I realized that the effort and time I’ve put into this wasn’t just for me.  You’ve all become so dear and sweet, and wow.  God is good to give us fruit even when we don’t realize what we plant.

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The only downside to the whole trip was the large quantity of ticks that we found on ourselves.  It must be a terrible year, because these ticks were desperate.  The only “person” in the family that didn’t get a tick was Star, the dog!  So you bet I started using her bug spray after I realized that.  Unfortunately, that was on the last day after all the heavy hiking.

We went to Look Out Mountain, where the beginning of the Atlanta campaign started.  It was a neat place, not to mention absolutely STUNNING.  The weather was also so nice, and can I begin to tell you how much I already miss it? (I’ll probably have a photography post coming up. 😉 )

We came home, and I had so many birthday packages waiting for me.  But the one package I want to tell you about wasn’t for my birthday.  This package was from the Smile Project, a group of 30 Christian girls who wanted to encourage me.  Quite a few of them were blog readers!

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Two months ago, I was at a point where I was asking God earnestly to show me His love.  I knew that He loved me, but I wanted to feel that He loved me.

These girls were the icing on the cake.  First God showed me His love through answered prayer, and then through nature.  To finish it off, God used these girls, some who I don’t even know, to remind me that I am loved.

I realized that with so many of these girls and their families praying for my dad, it wasn’t strange that God has healed him.  I’ve never realized before how big God’s church is.  These girls showed me that God’s church, and His people, are everywhere.

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I’ve put all the letters into a notebook to remind me that God is so powerful, and He loves me so much.  The package honestly alone could have made this the best birthday I’ve ever had, but so many people and so many things have happened to make me realize something.

I’ve had probably one of the hardest, and yet, at the same time, it was one of the best years of my life.  I don’t ever want to forget it, or the important things that happened in it.  I want to send everyone of my followers a hug, saying thank you.  Thank you for being here, thank you for encouraging me.  Thank you.

Now, here’s to another good year, right?

~~Amie~~

P.S. I started an instagram for my blog.  You can follow it here.

The Voice of the Critics (pt. 1)

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Today I’m so very excited, not only have a guest post, but also to be doing a two part series.

My guest is the one and only Garrett, from his new blog Sovereign Swag.  Honestly, it’s quickly becoming one of my favorite blogs.  I look forward to reading his posts on Monday mornings, so go check out his blog.

(And can we just agree that Sovereign Swag is the coolest blog name ever?)

*coughs* (Even if you don’t agree, we must get on with this post, and maybe if you check out his blog, you’ll at least agree it’s pretty cool.) All right, so now I’ll let Garrett take over.

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You don’t have to listen to the critics, the voices of people that dislike you. The voices of the jealous ones, the angry ones.  The honest truth is that people are going to dislike you. They may even hate you. And that’s okay. Even Jesus was hated and mocked by people, including his own family!

All you can do is your best, making decisions that are best for you, with the guidance of God. If people don’t like that, then they clearly don’t need to be in your life. Boundaries are essential. You’re not selfish, you’re doing what’s best for you. As I’ve said before, we are called to take care of ourselves.

(Side note, this isn’t an excuse to disrespect your parents. They deserve respect, even if you’re not their biggest fan. However, if they’re abusive, tell another adult. Get help.)

We usually think of that in terms of the physical, but it applies to the mental and emotional realms too. You move in the direction of your strongest thoughts, and who you hang out with influences those thoughts.

If your supposed “friends” expect you to please them constantly, and shame you for having boundaries, then you need to move on. If they only talk to you when nobody else is around, or if they only use you as a sounding board, not caring what your day was like, or how you feel, move on. Your feelings, your emotions, your body, it’s yours. Don’t be a doormat for people. Stand up for yourself.

I know, it’s hard. But you’re never going to please everyone. It’s impossible.  

It’s going to hurt. You’ll feel alone, inadequate, depressed. And that’s okay. Grieve for those friends. Be angry. Feel the feelings. Feel, but don’t believe. Don’t act on them.

You just have to push through the insults, the mockery, the contempt that you recieve. It’s easy to read this, and know you should do it. It’s much harder to actually do it. But this is why God’s given us armor. To protect us, not only from the “flaming arrows of the evil one” but from the flaming arrows of the world and its constituents. It is imperative that you power through, holding the sword of the spirit and wearing the armor of God, doing as he commands. He will support you, because he loves you.

Galatians 1:10 says “For am I now seeking the approval of man, or of God? Or am I trying to please man? If I were still trying to please man, I would not be a servant of Christ.”

The only one we should aim to please is God. And guess what? We don’t have to earn his approval. It’s unconditional. There’s nothing we can do to win his approval or love or pride. And that’s amazing. Think on that for a second, yall. He already loves us and is proud of us.

He’s all that matters. He’s all we should aim for. Everything else is secondary, or even tertiary.

Now, as an extrovert, this is much easier said than done, for me personally. But I remember that people are temporary. Friendships are temporary. Romance is temporary, some relationships more than others.

Just because we lose friends or don’t have them doesn’t mean it will be that way forever. God will place people in our lives at key times. We will never truly be alone, remember that. He is with us.

Deuteronomy 10:31 is perfect for this situation: “Be strong and courageous. Do not be afraid or terrified because of them, for the LORD your God goes with you; he will never leave you nor forsake you.”

Keep that verse in mind, and you’ll be good.

Stay salty friends.

Garrett

Garrett Aldred is a teen blogger, novelist and avid reader. You can check out his blog here,  and follow him on Instagram and Facebook as @sovereignswag.
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Can I just say that this post hit me, and hit me hard?  And because of that, I decided to write another post on the same subject next Tuesday, so be on the lookout for part two.
Also, I want to be clear that Garrett isn’t saying that we shouldn’t ask for advice and people’s opinion.  We just shouldn’t listen to people who give their opinions without our asking.  Parents opinions, our pastor’s opinion, and people we trust’s opinion is something we need and should respect.
~~Amie~~

Enough

Sometimes, I really don’t know what to write.  My life is blank, my mind is blank, and I feel like I really need a cup of coffee.  There’s this little antsy itch that wants to go check social media, and waste time, because my brain is fried.

Sometimes, I feel very ill.  It’s more than I can do to just smile at the people passing by, but I must keep going.  I will my body to keep moving, and tell myself that it’ll get better.  Tomorrow, I’ll be better.  But tomorrow, I’m not better.

Sometimes, I’m just depressed.  I feel like the world is a grey blank in space.  And time someday will be no more, and I’ll be cold in my grave.  What good will I have done, then?   I’m just not enough.  My writing is just not enough, my body is just not enough, and I AM JUST NOT ENOUGH.

I have to fight these feelings.  They confront me at every turn.  Always a little whisper. Always that little nag of, “you’re not enough.”  BUT!  I’m here to tell you that you ARE enough.

In the Psalms, David marvels at God’s omnipotence, and then he writes in Psalm 139,

I will praise thee; for I am fearfully and wonderfully made: marvellous are thy works; and that my soul knoweth right well.

I can never believe that verse.  My head believes it, yes, but my heart?  Does my heart believe it.  Does your heart believe it?  God knows your hair color.  He knows your personality type.  He made you your perfect height, and ALL FOR A REASON.

Once, there was a little girl who was terribly sad.  Why?  Because she didn’t have blue eyes and blond hair.  She had black hair, and brown eyes. All the pretty little girls had blue eyes and blond hair, but God hadn’t given her that.  She was short instead of willowy, and altogether, she was unhappy with her looks.

Fast forward a few years.  This girl was Gladys Aylward.  She found a reason why God had given her dark hair, and a short stature as she ministered in China.  God has a reason for where you are now.  He has a reason for who you are, and YOU ARE PERFECT.

You might not be enough, but God wants you to feel that you are lacking so that you then fly to Jesus.  So then we may fully know that,

When I am weak, then am I strong. (2 Corinthians 12:10)

God is our strength.  He makes us “enough.”  Whenever you feel lacking, fly!  Fly to Jesus. He is our strength.  The only strength that will really make us strong, and He is the only thing that can determine our worth.

You’re beautiful.  You’re strong.  You’re worth something in Jesus’ sight.  Don’t listen to the devil’s lies.  He’s real, and he’s real good at lying.  The world is colorful, and if you have the joy of Jesus in your life, you will find the simple things wonderful.  God has planned a day for you to be born, and to die.  Never listen to the lies that tell you otherwise.

Take time to thank God for how He has made you.  When you’re depressed, or tired, or just lacking, take time to ask God to help you.  To fill you.  To show you the joy that is in your life.  He’ll listen to you, and He’ll answer all prayers prayed in faith.

~~Amie~~

P.S. Two more days for my giveaway!  Entered at the end of this post.

Who’s Walking in your Shadow?

 

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In life, we always have a shadow.  And we always having someone walking in our shadow.  Who’s following in your shadow?  Where are you leading them?

As an older sister, this realization didn’t hit me until I was seven.  Of course, once it hit me, I naturally rejected it.  I didn’t want anyone copying me.  I wanted to be the original Amie who was as free as that tumbleweed you see tumbling about.  But, the Bible teaches us that God didn’t design our lives to be like that.

God has a reason for putting you in your family.  If you’re an older sibling, you’re put there to make a difference in your younger sibling’s life.  Whether that difference is for good or bad, it is in your power to decide.

If you don’t have younger siblings, you probably have some young person looking up to you.  I’m very popular in the nursery at our church, and I often have to keep from smiling when I hear a younger girl saying she wants to be just like me when she grows up, or a little boy saying that he likes me best…Next to his mommy, of course.  But when I start to think of that, what a huge responsibility it is!  To have younger people looking up to you, ready to follow in your footsteps, and say what you say, is very sobering.

Mark 9:42 says,

Whoever causes one of these little ones who believe in me to sin, it would be better for him if a great millstone were hung around his neck and he were thrown into the sea. (ESV)

This verse often causes me to pause and consider.  Didn’t I cause my little sister to sin the other night?  Didn’t I do something stupid that might cause a child to sin?  It’s something that can drive you crazy, watching your every move as you think about these little people’s futures.

I remember being five.  A teenager was just so cool.  If they noticed me, or talked to me, I was in raptures.  I wanted to imitate them, to be like them, and to be liked by them.  Often the girls I wanted to imitate weren’t the ones I’d imitate today.

But I want to be that girl in the five-year-old’s life that can lead them to the Savior from sins.  The one to take them by the hand and draws them to those sacred Scriptures so full of wisdom, stories, and everlasting love.

But we’re human, and we mess up.  And that’s another thing we have to teach them.  It’s okay to apologize to a child.  In fact, you need to tell them you mess up, and that you didn’t mean to tease them, or hurt them.  We’re all human, and the Bible says,

Confess your faults one to another, and pray one for another, that ye may be healed. The effectual fervent prayer of a righteous man availeth much. (James 5:16 KJV)

We’re supposed to admit our faults to each other.  Even to that little child that looks up to you with admiration.  Or your sibling, who you’re sure will gloat over your failure.  Honestly, every time I’ve told my siblings that I’ve sinned and I’m sorry, it’s brought us closer.  They usually don’t rub it in, plus they already knew I blew it.

Where are you leading those walking in your shadow?  Are you leading them down the narrow path?  Or are you walking down the wide road with them?

~~Amie~~