~ ~ where some see a hopeless end, others see an endless hope ~ ~

Friday, July 29, 2011

When your visions become your realities… you know you’re not doing it alone

Preface to today’s blog:  The support, encouragement, and love I have received from my family and friends for my upcoming trip to Africa and been so overwhelming.  The words, the prayers, blessings--everything just has made me an emotional wreck.  I recently received a certain email that brought me to my knees, tears to my eyes.  I won’t share the whole thing, but thirteen simple words broke me. "I am so very proud of you, Amanda.  My heart is full today."

For as long as I can remember, I’ve had this dream and vision that someday I would be going to Africa.  It’s just been a “duh” thought, my entire life. Like, “Duh, why wouldn’t I go?”  So for me, it just feels natural.  Like it’s been in my blood, embedded in my brain and on my heart, and it’s just being lived out like the norm.

So when people jokingly call me crazy, or don’t understand my motives, or send me touching emails, I, at first, am like: What’s the hype?

And I woke up today and saw a new light.  This ISN’T the norm.  This ISN’T something everybody just gets to go do in their day to day life, and here I am, living out my dream like it ain’t no thang.  But this is HUGE.  This is my chance to finally DO the something I’ve felt called to do.  And it IS SOMETHING.  I was thinking the other day how some people win Academy’s.  Some win Grammy’s and Superbowls and World Titles.  They win races and campaigns and championships...

Going on this trip is like winning my Grammy.  It’s the ultimate of the ultimate of all the nonprofit work I’ve done in my life.  It’s my dream becoming reality.

I’M the one who’s blessed.
I’M the one who’s humbled and grateful and honored and proud.

So, I guess, what do YOU do when your Visions start becoming your Realities?  I’d like to start by thanking the Academy….

No.  Wait.  I’d like to thank God that He’s got such a sense of humor that He’d trust me with this path in life and continue to thank Him for never leaving my side. God, for some crazy reason, has chosen me for this lifestyle—I think he got my birth papers mixed up at the hospital—but He’s been working through me for awhile, so I GUESS all I can do is sit and ride this one out and see what He’s got up that crazy sleeve of His, huh?

Tuesday, July 26, 2011

Some older, archived journal entries I thought I’d share….

Goin Thru the Motions
June 2011

Have you ever seen those Money Booths where people have to jump inside and then dollar bills are blowing and swirling all around them?  They scatter and stretch and reach and basically, freak out, trying to grab hold of any piece of paper that comes within their reach.  Desperate to get as many dollars as they can in the little amount of time they have…

… See where I’m going with this? …

It’s almost as if my life has been one giant money booth.  It swirls.  And scatters.  And blows.  Sometimes I’m able to grab hold.  Other times its just too out of reach and I can’t get a firm grasp.  Sometimes I just let the bills come to me.  Freaking out, desperate to get as much out of it as I can, in the little amount of time I have to do so.

And so, when all this is going on at once, when it’s all spiraling around me--it seems I tend to lose sight of what it is I’m really supposed to be doing.  I get so involved in the “instant gratification” that I lose the big picture benefits. 

And on days like today, it gets to a place where it’s almost so overwhelming and I tend to just throw my hands up, shut down, shut off, and walk a stagnant walk throughout the day--resistant to any spiritual inspiration.  I wake up, get ready for work, have my coffee, go to work, do what needs to be done and when, leave, go home, eat and sleep.  Yee. Haw.  Whoop. De. Doo.

And really?  With the opportunities I have been blessed with.  The people I’ve met, the experiences I’ve gained, where I’ve been, who I’ve worked with, the hardships and obstacles I’ve climbed and the lessons I’ve learned--this is my ammunition to be better.  This should, in itself, be my inspiration to catapult through each day--BOLDLY, INTENSIVELY.  Why WOULDN’T the enemy try and attack right now?  When I have so much going for me?  When my passion lies with the work I’m doing with Visiting Orphans and the impact it’s about to have on MY heart in a month when I travel to Ethiopia and Uganda???

Why WOULDN’T he try and take me down…

and yet… I feel like I can’t do anything.

I have trouble putting into words the actual feeling I’m having right now, but it’s like, I’m watching my life from a distance.  Watching me “go through the motions” and yet, making none of a difference.  When I’m usually so used to jumping in, gettin my feet wet and my hands dirty, it’s like I’m taking a backseat to it all right now.  I can’t get a firm grasp on it.  AND IT’S FRUSTRATING.

But I have to be enlightened.  It’s times like these that I get desperate for more of an intimate relationship with the Lord--and He knows it.  I want to be filled with the Holy Spirit and the Inspiration during my day to day.  I want to live out what He has called me to do.  Done with the routine.  Done with the Dull. Over the redundant course of life and uneventful means of living… I want to give it my everything, so on that Day, I can, with a peaceful heart say, “Yes Lord.  I tried my best.”

Thank you Matthew West for keeping me in line today.  Thank you for taking me by the shoulders today and shaking that Devil right out of me. THANK YOU for your words…

Going Through the Motions, Matthew West
This might hurt, it's not safe
But I know that I've gotta make a change
I don't care if I break,
At least I'll be feeling something
'Cause just okay is not enough
Help me fight through the nothingness of life

I don't wanna go through the motions
I don't wanna go one more day
without Your all consuming passion inside of me
I don't wanna spend my whole life asking,
"What if I had given everything,
instead of going through the motions?"

No regrets, not this time
I'm gonna let my heart defeat my mind
Let Your love make me whole
I think I'm finally feeling something
'Cause just okay is not enough
Help me fight through the nothingness of this life

'Cause I don't wanna go through the motions
I don't wanna go one more day
without Your all consuming passion inside of me
I don't wanna spend my whole life asking,
"What if I had given everything,
instead of going through the motions?"

take me all the way (take me all the way)
take me all the way ('cause I don't wanna go through the motions)
take me all the way (I know I'm finally feeling something real)
take me all the way

I don't wanna go through the motions
I don't wanna go one more day
without Your all consuming passion inside of me
I don't wanna spend my whole life asking,
"What if I had given everything,
instead of going through the motions?"

I don't wanna go through the motions
I don't wanna go one more day
without Your all consuming passion inside of me
I don't wanna spend my whole life asking,
"What if I had given everything,
instead of going through the motions?"

take me all the way (take me all the way)
take me all the way (I don't wanna go, I don't wanna go)
take me all the way (through the motions)
take me all the way

I don't wanna go through the motions

Mercy & Blessings
May 2011
stagnant. a void. lull…. Empty.

Sometimes you just feel like you’re walking through the days, just to get them over and hope that the next will be better, brighter…full of some sort of “Zest”. Today may just be one of those days.

Around every corner, there has been constant reminders of how overwhelming life really can be. All in one day, it’s like you can’t take a breath or are scared of opening your eyes because the ‘next thing is about to hit.’ Waiting to hear how your roommate’s boyfriend’s surgery went--surgery to remove a Cancerous tumor. Hearing yet another update of your 5 year old little nephew’s progress in fighting his Kidney disease. Swallowing the tears when your "stronger-than-ever, pain-doesn’t-exist, invincible" Grandpa tells you he has MS. Finding out an ex is engaged, and then hearing two of your closest friends tell you they’re miserable in their marriages, when nothing but “perfection” seemed to exist on the outside. Hearing that a close HS friend dies a sudden, tragic death, leaving a young pregnant wife and mother behind.  Coping through the anniversary of an uncle who took his life only a year ago today and missing him terribly. Reading blogs and posts and seeing pictures of the devastation that has so dramatically affected the lives of the most innocent little angels in the world--no clothes, no food, no teeth, no beds, water or Love.

Yeah. You could say there are days that are just a little more overwhelming than others…

And it’s days like these that when all you want to do is lie in bed and not get up, not face the world, be mad at the circumstances of “Life”…you have to remember that there’s always someone who has it worse. And by moping and ‘coping’, you aren’t helping Anything. You are allowing the enemy to win. You are blocking the chance for God to enter your Heart and work through you to bring a light, a small 'rae of hope' to those who need it most.

It’s days like these that when all I want to do is be in bed and forget about the world--that I am SO THANKFUL I have a God that plays hardball, shows me some tough love and doesn’t allow me to give in or give up. He holds me at the highest regard, and keeps me fighting for that place in His heart, to rid MY heart of the hurt. It’s days like these I stay thankful for all the blessings i DO have…

……..So, it’s like there are good days and bad days. Times when I “get it”. And times when I just ask, Why. But day by day, I think my heart and soul and spirit are all getting stronger--and I’m so thankful I have the things in my life to tell me so.

Blessings, Laura Story

why A.Rae?

The inevitable question would come up… you know you spelled Ray, wrong…right?

I’ll just nip this one right away.

People.  The name’s Amanda.  And my middle name is Rae.  Put it together….

…. ok ok ok, there’s more to it.  Sorry.  Actually, the name started coming together because over the years some friends and I began to notice a pretty common occurrence that would happen to me and my pictures I’d take.  It really wouldn’t matter where or when, but there would always be a bright ‘ray of light’ in the background.  And it’s no lie that about 98% of the time, it wasn’t me trying to ‘capture that right moment’.  I decided to start documenting the pictures, and a big photo journal started taking place.

So it would only be a matter of time that the nickname, A.Rae started sticking.

Now, I’m not trying to be arrogant.  Conceited, too Self-Confident or any of the such.  But there tends to be truth to the statement that I can actually bleed light onto a dark subject.  I like to see the good in things.  I see silver linings, and I’m a pretty positive person.  And it’s the things around me that make me this way.

Nature.  Songs.  Family.  Smiles.  Quotes.  Friends.  Pictures…. I mean, the list could go on forever.

So when I had a conversation with God about what to actually name this Blog thingy, we actually had a lot of fun with it.  And it came down to the mere fact that I LOVE being inspired.  I love to inspire.  I love watching inspiration generate.  And to inspire is to grow Hope.  He even had the nerve to tell me that I have the ability to do just that.  Inspire Hope.

So, I guess my mission with my blogs is simple.  I hope that with some of my posts, adventures, pictures, songs, quotes--whatever it may be I’m feeling that day, I hope to inspire someone who just happened to be reading…

What inspires you?

Sunday, July 24, 2011

wait, a Blog?

WHERE in the world…..

Yeah, to say I’m overwhelmed is an understatement.  As I scroll through the countless templates, hundreds of pictures and fonts, overwhelming themes, schemes, dreams and AHAHHHHHHHH!  I just want to scream!  And all I’m trying to do is write a blog.  A what??  Yes.  A Blog.

Apparently, when I blinked, time flew by and now people don’t ‘write in their diaries’….they type in their blogs.  So, here I am, trying to figure this one out and how in the world do I get those cool little buttons on MY page?  Wait…what’s a widget?  I can’t even remember why I even wanted to write my thoughts down because now I’m overwhelmed trying to figure out which color palette I like the best.

Sidenote:  **Remind me to hire an interior designer when I finally buy a house**

Another One Bites the Dust

Take a deep breath....... AND GO.

I get asked probably once a day at least, "Do you blog?" "Are you on Twitter"... "What's your status?" Uuuuum. I'm not gonna lie. Before modern day technology took it's leaps and bounds into this social media society, I had a good hand at writing in a journal. .... A WHAT? Yes, a journal. Ya know. pen. paper. ...

But then, this new world evolved and it was like, PRESSURE: Write your feelings--> GO!. PRESSURE: Who are you following, why are you following, are they following you--> GO! PRESSURE:.. wait, what? You're "Not in a relationship?!" .... Gasp.
And I lost it.

I lost my motivation to write. I lost my motivation to find the inner 'me', cuz the outer me was so overwhelmed with trying to stay updated with the times that I forgot how to "Feel". I forgot how to channel in on my emotions and feelings and just Write. I really honestly never thought that I was 'that important' that people would actually WANT to know what I was thinking or feeling or.... TWEETING. (Yes, Mom, I'll explain later). Not to mention, I ramble. A lot. My self-diagnosed ADD comes in and it's like.... "Oooh, I was floating on the lake and ...OH! A SQUIRREL!". So, I guess, sharing my thoughts to the world comes as a bit of a terror for me, really.

Well. I decided that today, in 2011, I would be a grown up about it and compromise. I would NEVER dreaaaaaaam of sharing what was in my Diary back in the day! You know, those Lisa Frank neon Unicorns, with the plastic lock and key that you hid between your mattresses so your younger brother wouldn't find it and read it to your 4th grade crush on the school bus?.... No. Not going there.

But every now and again, there may be something I'd like to share with the world. And maybe, just maybe, the world would like to hear it.

So in my compromise, I decided that I would still continue to Journal (in good 'old fashion pen and paper), then summarize it for ya'll, and post it on this here "Blog" thingy. But I ask in return that you bare with me. That you have patience with me during this transition. That you keep reading on, even if I drift from point to point. Cuz believe me, once you get to the end (even if it's hours later)--I will make a point. Eventually...