So, my reflections of 2012 continue.........
2012 was the happiest year of my life on a personal level. The lessons I learned caused me to be closer to my husband, children, and family.
However, it was also a year of trials that stretched my faith, and demanded strength of character.
As well, it was a journey that wrenched my heart in disappointing ways I will never forget.
I was reminded that God uses imperfect people to speak His perfect word, and to do His perfect will.
We can draw strength and wisdom from the experiences life offers us.
I want to live the demonstration of how to Love and Live Life in the midst of difficulty.
So let's begin.....
'One Day At A Time'
It's not just a song title. It's not just a good idea.
It's a great way to live.
When the waves of life continued to come crashing in on me, they flooded my days, and threatened to knock me off my feet.
Believe me, they succeeded many times.
Many days I spent most of my energy trying to predict the future, and then prepare myself for it.
Considering I have never been capable of accomplishing either, I was open to another option.
My spirit was impressed, time and time again, to live One Day At A Time. Life is good. God is good. I am here today. I can do this. I can do today.
Maybe 'today' is all I can do, but I can succeed today!
I learned how to plan wisely for tomorrow, but not live there. I learned how to be present in the moments of each new day, and how to squeeze every drip of juicy goodness out of this gift of Life.
More prayer, Scripture reading, meditation, and solace were instrumental in teaching me how to slow down. To calm down. To Focus.
'Things Aren't Always As They Seem'
There will always be rumors talk we hear, perceptions that exist, battles that appear to be lost (or even pointless to begin with), trust destroyed, and issues that entangle the heart.
Sometimes Fear is at the root.
False Evidence Appearing Real
I learned how to dig deep, and remind myself of what I believe. I learned how to dig my heels in, and take a stand for the truth of right and wrong.
I determined to make the right decision before God.
Then move on.
Move on without making a scene. Move on without proving my point. Move on without my voice being heard (soooo difficult). Move on with battle wounds. Move on feeling defeated, but knowing my feelings do not determine the truth. Move on without looking back.
Do the right thing, and then move on.
"No One Left Behind"
Circumstances will sometimes require us to make changes to the relationships we find ourselves in
(let me clearly say, I am not referring to marriage here).
Simply stated, boundaries can be a good and healthy way to bring change.
However, implementing boundaries does not mean that one person succeeds and moves on, while the other side is defeated, destroyed, and becomes a failure.
Sometimes it means a simple separation, or increase of distance, where both sides move on successfully in life.
Success in business. Success in other relationships. Success in family.
Success all around!
God is good. He has enough goodness for all of us. He has the power to provide for each person in an abundant way.
No one gets left behind.
We are just travelling different roads. On a different journey. With a different purpose.
Whether I liked it or not, I learned how to be at peace with that truth.
At the closing of 2012 I was stronger. Physically, Spiritually, and Emotionally. The only way to get stronger is to work a muscle. The muscle gets torn and rebuilt, then it is stronger.
What does one do with new strength?
Well, that's the journey of 2013, I suppose.
Loving and Living Life.............. Amanda
I have learned that when everything around me appears to be undone, so to speak, as if situations are getting worse, instead of better........... it means that God is working.
When God is the One working it out, then I can hold on.
God works in our favor. Always for our good.
I wrote this post in anticipation of 2012. I purposed to live it. I had no idea what I was in for.
2012 was a Whopper of a year!
(Do people still say, Whopper?)
God led me through a lesson of 'Focus' that was brand new to me. His purpose, which I see now, was to lead me to 'Freedom'.
As I said in this post,
Focus grants me freedom from,
Wasting time and money.
The expectations of others.
Putting things off.
Wandering aimlessly through my list of "Things to Do".
Always wanting to DO more........in order to feel successful.
Always wanting to BE more............in order to feel accomplished.
So, my lesson started with practical everyday issues. Time management skills were tested and fine tuned. Lists were made. Goals were accomplished efficiently. I was stoked!
The lesson continued in the area of business and creativity. I chose to focus on my business by taking three creative online courses. Many of them had 'homework' that allowed me to explore new forms of art, which has taught me the skills necessary to launch the new leather cuff line. The cuffs are selling steadily locally, and via the Etsy shop. I learned how to tell the story of inspiration behind each piece.
My business grew artfully and successfully in 2012.
Then the lesson continued to my personal health and well being. By May I was soaring through the year, and feeling good.
I wanted to feel Great!
I was already involved in Mixed Martial Arts, but as I advanced in that area, I realized I need to get stronger physically if I was going to continue to be successful. So, I joined the Fit-X team at the same location, and attended classes 3-4 times a week.
"Boot Camp" does not begin to describe it!
I had never been involved in intense workout sessions like these. I didn't even know that classes like this existed. It is a non-stop combination of cardio and martial arts. For me, it involved a lot of 'Focus' just getting to class. Once I was there it involved a ton of sweat, determination, perseverance.......... even some tears. But.........
I lost 26 pounds during those months.
I also gained a ton.......... confidence, physical strength, health, and more.
Regretfully, I have had to removed myself from the Martial Arts class. A couple of leg injuries, along with other issues in my knee/back, do not allow me to participate because of the impact on the body. I enjoyed wearing the full body gear and face mask (wish I had a pic to show you). I really loved the art of this workout.
I continue to be dedicated to the Fit-X. I attend 3-4 times per week. I have never felt this great before, and I look forward to even more success in 2013.
So, the lesson continued. God had a plan for me in 2012, and it wasn't just about time management, business, and health.
He had a lesson of 'Focus' that would bring me to 'Freedom', and I want to share it with you over the next few blog posts.
I hope you will come back and journey with me.
Loving and Living Life........................ Amanda
I am writing straight from the heart today.
I sure hope you don't mind.
My usual style is artful, creative, and edited. I love the process of combining thoughts and ideas, and adding fabulous photos. Today I offer something different.
Something quite simple.
Christmas thoughts. Family ideas. My love for both.
This is the time of year that I am very drawn to family and home. My heart aches to look deeply in the eyes of my children. I want them to believe they are known to me.
That they are important.
That they are loved.
This is a very special time of year for me with my husband also. We celebrate our wedding anniversary and Christmas in the same month.
Oh, how my heart overflows!
So, knowing this is the way my heart is drawn, then my thoughts flow something like this...................
The busy, chaotic, and intense atmosphere of this holiday season is very unattractive to me. Impressing others with the best gifts, or by having the most popular Christmas party is unimportant.
Spending a ton of money, wasting a lot of time, or losing my joy is not an option.
Instead I choose home. I choose family.
Hot chocolate for dessert.
Music playing softly.
His favorite pie.
Low lights in the evening.
Mistletoe............. always mistletoe.
I choose to be present in our home.
During this very busy time of year I choose to give my family the best gift I could possibly give them............... the gift of myself.
I try to stay healthy and well rested, so that my energy is high (and emotions stay balanced, let's be honest).
I shop online, so that my time is saved (as well as my nerves).
I plan each purchase carefully. We use coupons, and shop wisely. We stick to the budget.
I work diligently on my business during the day. I am so thankful for my clients, and the opportunity they give me to create special pieces for them. Then, I close shop at a set time.
Time management is key.
I am very very far from perfect. I do not have it all together. I fail at times, and most of my 'to do' list is still there at the end of the day........ and the next day.
Still, I know it is worth it.
Loving and Living straight from the heart is worth it!
A woman knows her husband. A mama knows her children. She knows when their eyes light up, and when she has touched a heart. She knows when she has impressed them with her love........ a deep impressions on the soul.
That is exactly where I want to live........ at Christmas and always.
Please tell me. What are some of your holiday disciplines? How do you stay focussed on family? Tell me some of your favorites, please :o).
Loving and Living Life................. Amanda
Several years ago I signed up for a Shutterfly account.
I am so glad I did.
The quality is fantastic. The coupons are amazing.
The memories are lasting.
This is just one of the Christmas cards I designed this year.
This is the most wonderful time of the year!
Do you have your Christmas or New Year cards yet?
Loving and Living Life................... Amanda
Weekends are for fun and family.
We stay busy. We stay close. We love weekends.
Sunday nights are a rhythmic process of wrapping up a few days of wonderful, as we prepare to enjoy a week of work, school, and busy schedules.
Goodbye bonfire and talking for hours with friends.
So long hot chocolate with marshmallows.
Farewell to laying in the grass gazing at the stars.
Goodbye long lazy days of family cuddles.
So long freshly baked Snickerdoodles.
Farewell Sunday dinner.
I hope you had a wonderful weekend. Enjoy your family this week as you celebrate Thanksgiving.
What a wonderful time of year this is.
Loving and Living Life............. Amanda
If you purpose to be productive, as I do, and you are goal oriented, then it is likely that lists are a handy tool you use daily.
Lately I have found myself making a new kind of list.
As I learn life lessons, experience joy, focus on my goals, all while growing as a person......then, I find that some things just aren't as important as I had previously perceived them to be.
So, I make a new list.
The style is the same, complete with bullet points and abbreviations.
The focus has changed.
My life mission has deepened:
Love my Life. Reduce Stress. Make Art. Do the things I Love.
Would you like to see my new list?
Do Not Do: The Master List
Care too much about something that cannot be changed.
Neglect the talents that are within.
Stay down too long when I fall.
Take today's trauma in to tomorrow.
Let fear influence decisions.
Spend energy on things that break my heart.
Miss unique opportunities because I am too distracted with life........this busy life.
Cry over losing something that wasn't there to begin with.
Lose the passion that has carried me to where I am today.
Life has a way of knocking us down sometimes.
Hope, Strength, and Courage have a way of picking us up,
dusting us off,
focusing our eyes, head and heart,
and sending us on our way,
in the right direction.
Please tell me, what would YOU add to this list? I would love to know your thoughts.
Loving and Living Life................ Amanda
The power of Life and Death are in the tongue.
Words can help create a beautiful life.
Our words can build confidence in the ones we love.
Words can change your mind.
They can Convince. Teach. Inform. Heal.
May we introduce our new line of leather cuffs.
Inspired by our belief that words are a powerful tool.
What words inspire you? Do you believe in the power of words? What is your favorite way to express that?
Loving and Living Life............... Amanda
Every Moment is Grace.
Grace is the gift undeserved.
A broad covering of forgiveness, repentance, kindness, and love.
Like a blanket. Cozy. Soaked in mercy.
Because He lives, I can face tomorrow.
Because He lives, all fear is gone.
Because I know, who holds the future.
Life is worth the living,
Just because He lives.
Loving and Living Life................ Amanda
It's a good practice in life to process our feelings.
It's a healthy behavior.
Spiritual disciplines, such as meditation and prayer,
are powerful tools.
Feel the process.
Learn life lessons.
Diligently apply what you know.
Look forward to a happy tomorrow.
Purpose to choose happiness.
Count your blessings and be thankful.
Do what makes you happy.
Do good to others.
Believe that yesterday is gone,
and today is all we have.
Today is a beautiful gift.
Today is a new chance to live.
Today will never come again in life..........
so, make it wonderful!
Loving and Living Life............. Amanda