Spirit · truth

One More Step

“One more step”… That’s what I keep hearing. That’s what Holy Spirit keeps saying as I move forward into the unknown with some pretty heavy ideas, content and material.

He just keeps encouraging me with that one idea… This one concept of taking one more step with Him.

And… Even if it’s an unknown and somewhat insecure step… It is one more step with Him. One more choice to be consistent in following through.

And I believe that’s the culture we truly need today. One that will take one more step with Him… Regardless of what is said or not said by others. A culture that doesn’t live in selfishness, self-righteousness, pride or insecurity. One that just boldly lives, loves and cultivates life to the VERY fullest.

Confidence · Spirit · truth

“Help. Me.”

“Help. Me.” is what I quietly screamed at my sister across the gym yesterday. The weight I tried to load onto my shoulders for lunges was entirely too heavy for me to lift.

Of course she quickly looked at me like, “What am I supposed to do Amanda?! You think I can help you lift 80 pounds?!”

But she did. My sister helped me pick up the weight and then together we placed it on it’s stand.

And that’s what this entire journey has been… A constant series of two sisters helping each other move forward right when the other seems like she might crumble.

Those are the things no one sees though… The moments where we both want to give up because God’s system for living isn’t working the way we imagined it would.

You see it seemed so simple when He showed me a picture of the outcome. But then I didn’t consider that my choices would lead me to a place that would look like this for so long. I didn’t realize there would be years and years and years of refusing to cave.

And I also didn’t realize my response would consistently be… “Well, I consulted God and He said, ‘No. No, don’t do that. Don’t sell out. Don’t go that route. Don’t buy into what’s cheap, fake and entirely insecure. Keep following me. It will all come together in My timing Amanda. You have to keep trusting Me.”

And so I do… We both do. Actually we all three do. Mom included. Even with the soul-ripping, sudden loss of dad. We have chosen to band tighter to God and go even higher with Him and His ways.

And sure… Sure it hasn’t been easy. But I can promise you this… My choice to trust God and take risks with Him and His ways have been the best choices I’ve ever made because they’ve made me confident, secure, whole, complete and at peace with the out-of-control world around me. And no, no He doesn’t always make sense. And yes, yes spirituality is almost always terrifying because it means we have to let go and trust in things we might not believe are real. But I just want to encourage you to trust that He’s there. Trust that He’s waiting to lift the 80 pounds you cannot lift alone off of your shoulders. And trust that He will guide you after the weight is gone so you can #cultivatelife 🌱

Spirit · truth

Keep Moving Forward

We moved again yesterday… To another borough in the same city, but my point being is we MOVED!

Moving is the one thing I fully believe keeps the Holy Spirit active and alive in our lives. We have to keep moving forward with Him, wherever He leads.

And sometimes movement isn’t more than getting up in the morning while being present. Then others days it’s accomplishing 100 things we have to do for others, God and ourselves.

But regardless, the key… The secret is to keep moving… Past the regret, the pain, the confusion, the frustration, the disappointment, the limbo… Even the happiness and joy that we might feel… We must KEEP MOVING FORWARD! 💃🏻🌷 #cultivatelife

(More in video below)

Spirit · truth

This Way Next

Can I be honest? Sometimes it’s a challenge to keep using this key called faith to unlock the doors God’s placed in front of me. And yeah, I get that it’s part of the lifestyle of following the Holy Spirit, but sometimes the door He’s given me to walk through is intimidating.

So… How? How does one walk through a door marked, “This way next” and still feel confident and courageous while doing it?

Well I personally believe you have to come to that place in your travels with the Spirit… I believe He has to walk you through many doors and chambers before you stand in front of the largest door with the biggest key to date. But then the funny thing about God’s doors is the truth that any key will fit. Because sometimes, in the moment, we don’t have the faith we had in previous seasons. Life has somehow hurt us and dashed the way in which we once believed. And so then we find ourselves with this huge door of opportunity(a door we’ve journeyed to over many travels), but afraid of that the tiny key in our hand is too small to unlock the treasure that awaits.

However, I’m here to tell you that it doesn’t matter how big or small that key in your hand is… Because the key of faith is universal. It fits all shapes and sizes, and it can unlock the biggest and best doors God has created for you to step in to. So please, please do not fear what He places in front of you. Instead walk through the door marked, “This way next” with the only key of faith you’ve ever used.

Spirit

The Process Continues…

I’m gonna be really honest… I don’t like to lose…

Losing is … Well it’s losing… It means so many things at one time…

And, other than being a cheerleader in high school, I’ve never been a part of a sports team… But I did go to a winning high school and college… So, as a fan, winning is something that resonates with me often…

But then, what about those moments when we lose… Like last night… BAMA had an undefeated season and we lost on the greatest stage in college football…

And I don’t discredit Clemson at all, I think the game was great and they deserved to win… But it doesn’t take away from the fact that we did loose… And now we have to wait until August for another shot…

Which is why,  for so many reasons, I am still learning that failing, losing, making mistakes, having someone that’s just a little bit better is healthy… It’s good for my spirit and soul… Because it teaches me that life is a process…

BAMA will have another chance… In my opinion, they train and play a better game than a lot of teams… And I love the mentality Saban has instilled into his players…

So, to me, losing won’t define the team or the fact that we are still champions at heart…

Because sometimes that’s that the process life brings us to… We come to a season in life where we’ve been winning more than seems fair, and then life happens… Someone is a little bit better or we aren’t prepared… Sometimes we are just young and immature…

And because of that immaturity, we need several months or years to grow and become more well-rounded, well-adjusted leaders…

And that’s really, truly frustrating in so many ways… But, I believe, if we trust God… If we trust ourselves… If we trust that we are working simultaneously with God in life to accomplish what’s best, well then I believe He will give us another shot… Another opportunity, at some point, to win…

And sometimes, winning at life is as simple as cultivating a lifestyle of forgiveness and grace… Other times it might mean moving forward with our goals and dreams… And then maybe it might actually mean getting another shot at the National Championship…

What ever the case might be, I believe the way we respond to it all is so important… Because our response when we are down reveals who we are on the inside… It is a real character defining moment… A moment that I believe should encourage us to allow the process of life to continue…

Confidence

We Just Do Life

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And then there were three….

Three of us remain… and we are supposed to be a family of four… but that’s not how life turned out… and it’s still hard…. and it’s still challenging… and it’s still emotional…

I’ve heard my mom tell a lot of stories… but this weekend is the first time I heard her tell me about the reasons she married dad… what made him stand out among everyone else she had dated and known… why him? why my dad?

And it was a fitting conversation for us to have…. considering the fact that we were at a wedding reception…. it was nice to hear her talk about how obnoxious she thought dad was when she first met him…. how he seemed like such an asshole…

She met him at a wedding… A wedding for her cousin… He didn’t even know the bride and groom…. He was invited by my mom’s cousins who did the know the bride and groom…. Cousins who probably figured Chris Winder needed to experience Natchitoches, Louisiana and some Prud’homme family traditions….

And she thought he was such a pain in the ass…. That was my mom’s first thought and memory of my dad… But they were engaged 3 months later and married 7 months after that…

To think that they met in the summer and were engaged by Thanksgiving is crazy fast to me… My mom didn’t even meet my grandparents until after they were engaged….

Until this weekend I’d never looked at my mom’s story from these perspectives…. I never really fully encompassed their love and romance… and what it must’ve been like to meet Delores Winder for the first time… She can be a little intimidating and controlling… So it must’ve been a lot for my mom… Especially since she’s so close to her mom…

And after hearing mom’s stories…. The parts of the beginning of her marriage and life with dad… well it made me excited for my future…. and it caused my great sadness at the same time…

I still hate thinking about the fact that dad won’t walk me down the aisle…. and seeing someone so close to me get married this weekend…. with her dad by her side…. and to know deep down that my dad will never, ever be able to do that for me…. well… it hurt my heart on so many levels….

I cried watching Morgan walk down the aisle…. And it wasn’t because she looked beautiful… I mean she looked gorgeous… but my thoughts instantly went from her moment to the moment I’ll never share with my father…. And then I looked up and saw my sister crying….

Standing as a bridesmaid…. I knew we were sharing the same tears… the tears that “dad will never get to do this with us. He won’t be there the day we are given away and start a new chapter in life.”

It’s still to much… Too real… And I asked mom what it like… the absence of a father at a wedding… What does it feel like? Did she cry? Was she hurting? And of course she said she was sad…. that even watching father-daughter dances today make her cry…. they make her wish… and just want her dad to be here… to have shared that moment with her on her special day with my dad…

And now I will experience the same feelings as mom… Knowing dad is gone and that it’s going to be a painful moment in that moment of new beginnings….

But I guess that’s life for you…. I can’t seem to figure it out completely… So I’ve just decided to keep riding the wave and sailing through whatever is thrown my way….

Because the most dramatic, stressful situations don’t leave me in a mess anymore… I just kind of shrug them off and move forward in the moment…. I just kind of make it work and hope it works out well… even if what I define is well doesn’t look well in the moment…

And I saw mom doing the same this weekend too… She was so calm… Much calmer than I’ve ever seen her before…. And she was on top of life like I’ve never seen her before…

Even in the lowest moment of her life… This time where she doesn’t know what’s next…. well she’s ok… We’re hurting but we’re all ok… And it’s encouraging… Encouraging and inspiring to know life does go on after death…. That it’s possible to get up every morning and move forward even when you feel like shit…

Even though the three of us don’t really know where we are going in life… and for different reasons… we do move forward… we do stay positive… we do laugh… we do cry… and we just do life as it comes at us….

And I think… right now in this moment… well, it’s the best way for us to do life right now…. to stay hopeful and helpful… and to watch out for those around us… with bigger hearts and a more understanding and possibly compassionate ear for listening…

Confidence · Mind

Over It…

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Is it ok to admit that I’m ok?… Is it ok to admit for the first time in my entire life I don’t feel like something is negative and bad and full of problems that I need to fix?…

Is it ok that dad’s death has had a powerful impact on me, but not to the point that I’m going to rollover and die?… Is it ok that I’m at this place full of joy and peace and happiness?… A place where life is going my way?..

Is it ok that I know how to handle drama and gossip… but then I allow them into my life because I’m searching for some kind of problem?…. Where it’s another’s or my own?….

I feel like I’m in such a good place in life right now…. even though dad is gone…. even though I have no clue what I want or what I’m doing next… even though I’m afraid of the unknown and how I’ll get to the next point in life… I know deep down that life is so good…

But I continue to find myself freaking out…. following other’s drama… allowing it to rule in my life… not allowing it to bounce of my sleeves, but actually getting down in the dirtiness of it all… and honestly, it’s not healthy and it’s driving me a little bit crazy…

So how…. how do I allow myself to see another’s problems… their hurt and pain and drama… and well just allow it to roll of my back and continue to enjoy the ride of life that I’m on?..

I need to be able to do this with everything in me right now… and honestly, I don’t think it’s hard… it’s probably fairly easy to do…. but in so many ways…. I feel like I need drama in my life… and I don’t…

I asked God to drive it out of my life… and I think he’s doing just that… right now… so why is it that in the midst of it…. I find myself panicking and afraid?…

Maybe I’m scared of what life will be like without it…. I think that’s a huge possibility… because I know…. and can feel… that once it’s gone… once it’s over… well there won’t be a reason to really be down anymore… life will be peaceful and calm and full…

And maybe I’m afraid of that… because it’s unknown and uncharted for me to be content in the moment without having a fire spring up here and there every once in a while… but damn I’m tired of drama… I’m tired of losing in this area of my life on a consistent basis… especially when I know better…

It’s just become too much… and I know….I can feel deep down that this can be over quickly…. it’s like putting out a house fire… once it’s out… it’s out…. there’s no more going back to check and make sure because you know you took care of it…. you know the water was stronger than the fire…

And that’s how I feel right now… I know and feel that my want to be done with drama is becoming so much stronger than the fire of drama…. so I just need to put it out now… once and for all… to be done with getting in the middle of another’s life… to be done with creating drama for the sake of having it around… to just be done with it all…

And then to live in peace… because peace is so much nicer… and that’s where I want to be….

Confidence · Mind · soul · Spirit

Keep Moving

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Do you ever feel like life’s a roller coaster? A constant up and down? And when ever you feel somewhat settled and on the ball, that’s when things get a little shaky again and so much of what you know is questioned and you feel challenged?

I feel like that this week. I’ve felt like it all week. Aside from the tragedy of my dad, life has been really good. I really enjoy where I am in life and what I’m learning and experiencing…. but then the questions start to fly and I begin to question everything….

Funny so many of us love roller coasters….. the thrill of being taken up and dropped so quickly…. the excitement of the twists and turns of it all…. and in reality, I think of life like a roller coaster….

I have moments of excitement and thrill…. moments where I can’t wait to get to the top and the ride up feels long and unbearable, but then I have moments of thrill and stress from the thrill…. like when I’m being dropped 100s of feet to the ground…. only to climb up again….

So I guess in the midst of it all…. it’s important to remind myself that…. if I’m riding a coaster…. or even mountain climbing…. will there will be an end to it all?.. there will be a point when I get to the top of the mountain and can understand everything and see out around me….

All week I’ve felt like I’ve been climbing a small area of a mountain…. riding up a leg of the coaster…. and I just need to be able to see something around me…. but there hasn’t been time to look back or look out around me…. only time to look forward and do what I’m doing…. to be where I am….

And finally last night I felt this realization…. I could see things much clearer…. Like I’ve come to a short resting place for a moment…. enough time to observe where I am and see that it’s good…. but to keep moving…. to keep climbing up…. to keep riding the coaster to the top…. in aims of reaching the peak…. the highest point of this mountain…

And I do feel frustrated at times… wondering what in the world I’m doing…. wondering if I’m doing life “right”….. when I know deep within me there’s really no “right way” to do things….. there is a way that is good…. one that brings forth goodness and life…. but there’s no right way…..

The funny thing is…. the way that brings the goodness and life…. well it also requires struggle and questioning… heartache and pain…..

I agree that this world is in a lot of pain…. and I would hate to be the one carrying it all… I would hate to be responsible for the pain and heartache of the world…. and I don’t know if there’s one person out there responsible for it all… feeling it all…

But if there is…. don’t you think we can help make the load a little lighter by thinking of others a little more…. by considering that everyone around us is feeling some type of disappointment…. that we all share something…. something that will bring us together and hold us tighter than glue…

And I don’t know why I feel this need to express that what I’m experiencing may be so close to what you’re experiencing…. but it’s ok because we are going through it together…. we are here together and not alone…

And this ride… this roller coaster ride of life we are on…. this mountain before us… it may look daunting, challenging and scary… it may feel unbearable, depressing and painful…. but it’s not going to last forever…. we just have to keep moving forward….

Moving forward and helping each other…. thinking of one another and hoping for the best in one another’s lives…. and making the load a little less heavy for the one that might be carrying it all…