Flight Lessons…

Recently… A friend flew my sister and I home on her flight attendant passes…
The destination?… Shreveport of course…

The path?.. Los Angeles, to Dallas, to Shrevport…

Simple right?…

So we woke up super early and caught the first flight to Dallas…

But… There was a catch…

The passes didn’t guarantee we’d have seats aboard the specific flight she booked…

We would have to wait on a “standby” list until the entire plane was full… And then… Only then would we know if we could board…

After 6 hours and 4 flights… We found ourselves on a plane to Oklahoma City… A plane that guaranteed a direct flight to Dallas… And then a quick connection to Shreveport…

Of course… Once in Dallas, the flight to Shreveport had been delayed 3 hours because of weather…

So we jumped in a friends car and took a short trip to Shreveport…

Now… If you know me… A situation like this causes me to become frustrated… Because I can’t control what’s happening…

It’s simply out of my hands…

Ironically, that’s how I feel about my life right now… I want to get to certain life destinations quickly… Because I feel like I’ve been waiting for so long… And I feel like the process keeps getting delayed…

But, like the flight situation, it’s so evident that certain paths are too crowded… Too many people are going that way…

And so the Holy Spirit says, “No, go this way. Take this turn. It might take a little bit longer and require a few more steps, but it’s less stressful. It’s less stressful and more convivent for you. And, as long as you stay positive, you will get there. And you will get there well.”

And honestly… Well honestly, I’m learning to accept that my journey through life is this way…

And though I want to go the popular route… The one everyone around me seems to be going… Well I’m reminded that it’s a stressful route… A route that seems certain, but then isn’t… Because it can be full of headaches and problems…
But then the alternate route… The one less traveled… Well it’s the route that takes a little longer, but ensures my peace of mind…

Growing Up… 

Throughout childhood, we’re constantly asked the question, “what do you want to be when you grow up?”…

For so many reasons I’ve never felt like I had an answer…

Sure… At times I may have responded with something that sounds like an answer… But deep down I’ve never had an answer…

And then I’ve had years were I was convinced “this is what I will do with my life”…

But then, through a series of events, I realized “maybe I don’t want to do this”…

And so I’ve found myself in Cali… I’ve actually discovered who I am here… And the reasons why it’s ok to just be me…

And sometimes just being me really bothered me… A lot…

Because I was insecure… Because I was lost and out of touch with reality… Because I didn’t like the person everyone and everything had helped me become…

Deep down I felt like I didn’t have a voice at all… And then when I knew I had something to say… Well I was too deceived to speak what I thought…

So now I find myself with myself… I’ve actually discovered who I am…

And within it all… Well I’ve become much more than confident… Because I’ve become bold…

And honestly it’s through following the Holy Spirit that’s brought me this far…

But this morning I had this thought… I’m grown… I’m 27… And what am I?… What have I become as I’ve grown up?…

Because I’m not a teacher, a doctor, a mother, a wife or a slew of other titles I could be…

And I guess the answer is found in the simplicity of… I’m just me… I’m just a girl, from Louisiana… Who went to Bible school and hated it… Who graduated from Alabama… With a degree I was able to create, but that sparked my interests at the time… A girl who decided I despised religion… But love relationship with God…

A girl who felt so lost when moving to LA… But a girl who has transitioned into a woman… A woman that simply does life every single day… Regardless of the ups and downs… I strive to stay present and love the bad times with the good times…
And I sit here grateful… Grateful that I’ve never really known “what” I wanted to be when I grew up… Because I believe my perception about life at the time would’ve confused the process…

And I was already confused enough…

And as different as it may sound… Well I’m glad I can’t always see what’s coming next… Because the surprise of living my life with the Holy Spirit’s guidance, direction and friendship is so much better than “this is what I want to be when I grow up”….

Show Me How…

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As a child… Growing up… I was given one of the greatest friends I’ll ever have…

Long before I actually had a relationship with him… He was made known to me…

Because my grandmother… As well as several around her… Well they had a relationship with him too…

He’s that kind of being… One who can be close to multiple people at once…

And as I grew I always knew that he was trying to become close to me…

But like most great friendships… Well it took time for us to cultivate a relationship…

Because for years I believed I had a relationship with him… I believed it because I was so familiar with his constant presence… Surrounding me most of the time I was in my home or my grandmothers…

But then came the day… The day I was actually able to cultivate my own relationship with him… Because I realized I needed that more than anything I’d ever needed before…

And it wasn’t a Jesus thing… Or a God thing…

Both of the greats I speak of above… Well they are wonderful in all they did and have done… But the one I speak about in such a close and personal way… That’s the Holy Spirit…

And for years he’s been the Garmin… Leading my life from place to place… From Shreveport… To Dallas… To Tuscaloosa… To Dallas… And now to L.A….

He’s always had this compass that directs me… And a lot of the time I have no clue what is coming… I have no clue how the process will be… Maybe I can see the outcome… Or maybe I know the outcome… But the process… The training… The skill it takes to get there… It’s a serious journey… A mission…

But I believe that the Holy Spirit is almost like the spice of life… Without him… Life…. Life would be very bland… Very tasteless… Very unsatisfactory…

But with him we experience far greater…

With him we learn things that no textbook, teacher or website can teach us… And of course it requires trust… Trust that he’s real… Trust that he’s present… Trust that he’s capable of anything and everything… Trust that he is and will continue to be our closest friend…

Because when I’ve felt out of place (all of my life)… When I’ve felt crazy with ideas… When I’ve felt lonely… When I’ve felt full of joy and excitement… Well he’s been there… Through it all…

He’s the close friend that prepared me for the death of my father two months before my father died… He’s the close friend that surprises me with little gifts of goodness… The one that says “don’t do that. Do do that”… And I trust what he says is always the best choice…

Because I’ve learned… And will continue to learn… Even when I think something appears to be impossible… Even when I don’t know how… Well he knows how… He can always direct me down the path marked “how”…

And that’s where I find myself now… Traveling down this path marked “how”… Constantly curious of how it will happen… And having to trust, more than ever before, that I am following what I’ve been given the best way possible…

And it does make me a little nervous at times… I little anxious… Because the process of it all requires a guidebook… A playbook… Directions that look odd…

And I guess that’s how I know that I am making the best decisions ever… Because oddness… Well it’s his language…

And today… Today as I feel a nervous, anxious and a little afraid… Well I believe more than ever that my closest friend will again lead me… That he will show me how…

Being Qualified… Again…

All of life… I feel and believe… Has defining times of learning… Crafting and preparation of our gifts, skills and talents…

Some refer to it as being, “tested by God”… Others might say, “the universe is consipiring against them, or in their favor”… But I like to think of it as becoming qualified…

Over the past 10 years… Anytime I’ve entered something new… Something unfamiliar… When ever I’ve had to be prepared for a new level in life… It’s come with a preparation period… A time to learn and go over material that will be covered when that “moment” in life comes…

And sometimes the material can really challenge us… It can cause us to question whether we’ll actually be able to live in that “moment” when it arrives…

And… At the same time… Well it encourages us… Because we begin to realize that… If it’s placed in front of us… Well we must be able to handle it…

My mom continues to say, “God doesn’t give us more than we can handle”… Then she follows with, “He must think I can handle all of this. Because it’s a lot”…

And I believe what she says is true… That God looks at our heart… Our current life situation… And that he knows how far we can be pushed.. The limits he can take us too…

And… In the midst of my life right now… Well I find myself standing at divine opportunity in several areas…

And in so many ways… And for so many reasons… Well… I just know that this is the best decision… So I should follow with the preparation… With the qualifying rounds in my present…

But then I still have moments where I think, “ok, I do this and then what? Because I never saw this coming?”….

And I think… I believe… Regardless of my thoughts… Regardless of my feelings that might be negative… Well I have to simply follow the preparation and become qualified… Even when it’s all still a mystery…

Just Tears and Love…

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Sometimes pain isn’t evident until you have something to provoke it….
You feel fine and life is just moving along… And then something reminds you that there’s still a gap in your life… And that life became so much realer… So much more authentic and true with death…
And there’s nothing you can do but cry… Not that crying makes it better… It does help you feel better… But it doesn’t make the situation better… It doesn’t bring someone back from the dead… And it doesn’t give the person you are hurting for what they need in that moment….
So it’s just tears… And they won’t stop… And they don’t stop… Because it feels like every one that falls from your face is followed with a thought… A memory… Things that remind you of what’s true in this life… And how you can’t change the situation… And how you just kinda have to work with what you have… How you have to be the person you were created to be…
And I guess that’s how I feel right now… Weighed down with what I see in my present life… Weighed down so much that it hurts me… And then it causes me to feel pain in other ways… It causes me to remember the pain of dad not being here…
But at the same time it causes me to be grateful that I had a parent that cared so much about me… sometimes it felt like too much…
So then i’m stuck… stuck without knowing what to do next… How do you keep loving someone who doesn’t know love?… How can you be insured they will be taken care of when you are gone?… When you aren’t a part of their life anymore…
This is what I question… This is what I don’t have answers for…
And I know deep down I should believe that love is enough… That the simple ability to be there and care is enough… But I still question… I still wonder… And I still find myself hurting for those that are in hurting in a way that i can’t really imagine…
But maybe that’s part of who I am… Part of the person I pushed away so long ago… Maybe it’s within me to have this type of compassion for others… And maybe I didn’t want to see it before… but maybe it’s been there all along and maybe I should just keep it… Hold onto it and allow it be cultivated inside of me…
Because maybe it’s the very thing or one of the very things that makes me Amanda… That causes people to call me sweet… And loving and caring…
And if that’s true… I guess the ability to love and hurt for others… The ability to feel compassion and want to do something… Well I guess it’s more than enough and I should be confident in it….

Death Lessons

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Death keeps teaching me so many lessons…. I wonder if it is one of the greatest teachers… There are so many facets to it… The absence of a loved one… The heartache and knowledge that they’re never coming back… ever…

And then there’s the people who come in and try to fill the gaps… The strange friendships that are made in between… The ones you realize aren’t there for you in the hardest times, though you were there for them in their roughest…. And then those that are like angels in disguise… Always checking in everyday to just be, well a good friend…

And then death has taught me that having things, caring about our “first world problems,” and keeping our focus on what’s going on in the world around us… well it’s dumb… It’s not significant…

What’s becoming increasingly significant to me is the fact that I only get to live once… One go around in this world… In this life… Sure maybe reincarnation exists… But it doesn’t matter to me in this moment because I only get to send these moments in this lifetime… And this lifetime is so very short…

And I don’t know what’s next for me in life… I don’t know how I will get there and who will journey with me… But death is teaching me that, in this short life, it’s important to travel with all of me… To live out and journey through my story…

Everyone has a story they are creating… But sometimes we aren’t brave enough, confident enough or bold enough to allow our story to be enough… We are too concerned with others stories… I am so guilty of this…

So guilty, yet so encouraged to continue to allow my story to be told as I live each and every day to it’s fullest… and maybe I won’t always get it right and maybe I’ll hurt some people a long the way out of jealously, anger and pride… But in the end I’m living…

I’m getting to do more than my dad can do… I’m alive…

But then maybe he’s more alive than me right now… Maybe he’s more conscious and present than me too…

And though I don’t really know the answers I do know that this thing called death is hard too… That my family is hurting in ways I’ve never seen them hurt before… That the surface looks okay… But deep down it’s pain no one can really heal… Only try and comfort…. Try and emphasize and show compassion…

And it’s also amazing to see how strong my mom is in the midst of all of this… I know she doesn’t feel strong… I know she’s tired and weary and ready to die some days… But she continues to live… Even with the fact that she has to find a new life now… Outside of dad….

I think that breaks my heart the most… I feel like I’m trying to find a new life here in Cali… But mom is really trying to find a new life… She’s really the one that is going to have to start new and fresh… And I believe that mom can teach me lessons here… Because she’s pretty phenomenal… And she doesn’t experience the fear of new things like I do…

So death… all that it is… All that I’ve experienced and have yet to experience… Well I kind of consider it a friend in this strange way because it’s pretty amazing to me… There’s nothing like the knowledge and fact that someone I loved and held so dear to my heart is gone because of death… And so I guess I’ll continue to allow him to teach me… To teach me and show why living is so very precious….