Desert Seasons

“There are many marks of a desert season.
I want to draw your attention to three characteristics: loneliness, longing, and lament.”

I’m currently walking through a Bible Study and today’s session just hit me square in the heart. Thole study is based off of Psalm 107 and today I started out reading through the whole section and I saw a beautiful theme. People were hurting, hungry, lost, fearful, etc and they cried out to the Lord and He delivered them. I’m making it sound a lot more simple than it’s listed. Sometimes they were facing hardship from their own choices and other times it was a way to sharpen them and weed out the sin and struggle to where God was their hope and joy and comfort – yet God always came through.

Desert periods were the topic for todays study and we walked through what does it look like to be in a spiritual desert, what are the marks that we can identify with; and y’all my heart was beating so wildly.
It was like finally I was able to take a deep breath and exhale.

I’ve been saying for the longest time to some of my close friends how I feel like I’ve been walking in a spiritual desert for YEARS, years. I can’t put my finger on the why, the how, or the reason, but it’s like I’m choking on dust, getting a few drops of water to quench the thirst, and then still left thirsty. I struggle with the head knowledge and even with the heart knowledge from knowing Jesus for so long – but getting them to connect, OOPHF, it’s like ramming two bricks together. One of my recent conversations with a friend in regards to that head knowledge made me feel so good just finally verbalizing those thoughts. We chatted about how going to school for Biblical Studies leaves you with A LOT of knowledge. After 4 years of theology, hermeneutics, round table discussions, in-depth books of the Bible studies, etc I’m full of a lot of knowledge and conviction on how to Study God’s Word. I put myself on this standard that If I’m not studying/worshiping/praying like XYZ then I’m not really caring. When the truth is, that’s straight legalism and not a true heart of worship.

The author gives a story as an example from the movie “Three Amigos” when people are longing in the desert and I really want to share that story as well as her question and my thoughts with you today so if you feel like reading on, please do!

“A scene in the movie “Three Amigos aptly depicts the longing in the desert. Lucky, Ned, and Dusty wilt under the head of the blazing sun. The barren landscape drops behind them as they stop to quench their thirst. The camera pans to Lucky first. He lifts his canteen high above his eager mouth, but only two splashes of water barely wet is tongue. Ned tries next. He isn’t as fortunate as Lucky. Something pours from his canteen’s spout, but all Ned gets is a mouthful of sand. Last, it’s Dusty’s turn. Surely his experience will match his amigos’. He longingly raises his canteen and, to the bewilderment of his buddies, water gushes forth. Dusty drinks to his heart’s content, gargles and swishes the excess, and drops the  canteen to the ground. The remnant soaks into the cracked earth. Once Dusty feels Lucky’s and Ned’s incredulous stares, he generally offers, “Lip Balm?”

Q – Have you felt like you’re the only Lucky or Ned in a world full of Dustys?

YES!
Can I get an AMEN.
I sat there and found myself filled with SO MANY thoughts that I finished my study, grabbed my laptop and started typing this out (which is probably why it sounds like a stream of consciousness). We live in a society where social media is king. We check in where we’re going, post pictures of our fun times, love photos of other people posting their best looking lives, and at the end of the day we often find ourselves feeling less than or that we are lacking. Our fitness routine isn’t as good as that persons, we don’t get to go on as many vacations as them, our relationships don’t look as fun/strong/happy as theirs do, our children don’t behave so well, our job doesn’t give us those kinds of perks, etc etc etc. I actually just wrote a post on how comparison SUCKS and how we often twist ourselves up into this ball that is just ridiculous.

I’m guilty of this myself.
I post a lot of pretty curated images that took me time and effort onto my pages. It’s part of my business to produce quality content which includes pretty pictures and capturing words and I go through my social media and sprinkle it with “the best” picture from that content. I’m often curious of the opinion people have of me based off of my social media presence. Do they think I live a fun and exciting and adventurous life? Yes, I do, but that’s about like 10% of the time. The other 90% is dealing with building a strong marriage to a military spouse who is gone all the time, living across the country from my support system, moving all the time when I have an adventurous spirit but a settled heart, drama from navy wife life that rivals high school days, and A LOT of alone time. That’s just the tip of the ice burg around here y’all.

I scroll through my instagram feed and see all of these amazing women.
Women who look like Dusty from the story. Women who have it together, who are healthy and fit, who have stunning houses that look so organized, who talk about Jesus as their best friend and pour out just this on-fire spirit that I covet. AND YES I COVET IT, which is totally a sin. Yet when I stop and clear out the cobwebs I remind myself of something: They struggle too.

No one is perfect on this earth.
We all have pain, sorrow, sin struggles, anger, sadness, loneliness, etc. It isn’t always rainbows and unicorns and sunshine, even if that’s what instagram is showing. So maybe this is my way of pulling the curtains back to show you the mess of my heart so that you know you are NOT alone in your struggle either.

Transparency is key.
Authenticity is key.
Even if sometimes it’s paired with pretty pictures. 🙂

Thoughts While Sitting On The Kitchen Floor

Life is a whirlwind.
It’s been a little quite around here recently and I just didn’t know how to get back into the routine of creating content, posting, and connecting with everyone. I’m still not sure if I’m at a mindset to get back into the routine, but here I am just typing away.

I’m a floor sitter.
I have no problem sitting on the floor vs furniture especially if there is a comfortable rug to sprawl out on and just chat. Most mornings I’ll find myself sitting on the floor giving Tobi some love or scrolling through social media catching up on what all I’ve missed.

The other day I found myself scrolling through my follow feed and the next thing I knew I was spiraling down that rabbit hole of comparison. I’m not eating healthy enough, my weight is too high, I am not working out as often as I should, my life is boring, my husband and I don’t connect enough, my house isn’t as pretty, etc.

Like raise your hand if you’ve been there.
It sucks doesn’t it?
I’ve been thinking a lot about what all I’m putting into my mind – that whole theory of energy in = energy out. I really believe it’s the same as thoughts in = thoughts out which all boils down to, it’s really important what we’re investing our time in. There is this fine line between feeling that push of encouragement to better ourselves in a healthy and positive way vs the push of comparison that drowns us in this self deprecating cycle.

One of the things I love about community is the fact that when you dig in with another person and hear their heart you’re reminded that we all struggle and have insecurities, we’re not alone in that. I think of the most positive people I’ve been around in my life and they never hide their struggles or frustrations, but they have that unwavering joy through it. I’m sure they struggle with comparison and feeling as though they don’t measure up, but they have this ability to re-ground themselves in truth.

My truth is Jesus.
My truth is knowing that no matter what stage of life I’m in, what size jeans I’m wearing, the status of my friendships, or the depth of communication in my marriage, I’m infinitely valuable and already seen as worthy in God’s eyes. I know that can sound like religious fluff but let me just be completely clear, there is freedom in knowing there is love and joy and acceptance in the imperfect. This world will sit there and throw out so many lies and beliefs that we should be doing or looking like XYZ and if we’re not there is something to help us reach that goal or we should be better at striving to be that perfect instagram-worthy self…and there is no such thing.

My hope is that if you find yourself in that spiral where you’re comparing yourself to this woman, or that man, or this fitness expert, or that couple, etc that you stop, ground yourself, and repeat the truth that lies within reach. It’s ok to be imperfect; in fact you might as well embrace being imperfect because it’s most real, honest, and beautiful. I’ll be doing my job to remind myself of that as well; because I get stuck in the spiral more than I want to admit looking at other people’s perfectly curated social media lives.

For the record, my life isn’t perfect. 🙂
I’m in a city that I hardly know.
I’m making (great) friendships with people I’ll have to move away from soon.
I’m away from family and friends.
I’m not at the health level I want to be at and often scold myself for what I eat or don’t do for exercise.
My husband is in the military which poses a lot of complications on communication and time together.
I often (like daily) feel inadequate in my businesses.
…the list can go on and on and on.


Lorena Canal Washable Rug% | Pants% | Top (currently on sale!)


PS – This rug is LIFE!
I’ve been wanting a bigger rug for the kitchen (for all the sitting I do in there, seriously!) and Lorena Canal sent me this beautiful Bereber Beige Rug and I’m in love.
I actually have Bereber Black Rug in the Living Room under the coffee table and have had it with me since Maine when it was in my entryway as well as in Connecticut in our master bedroom. I’ve washed them a few times and they are still going strong which is a necessity in this household. Having a white rug in the kitchen equals spills (Eddie just spilled BBQ stuff all over it for the 4th of July and Tobi often pukes up hairballs on them) and they wash right out! You should totally browse the other beautiful wall accents, baskets, washable rugs, cushions, and blankets from Lorena Canal.

June Goal Check In & Currently

Oh hello summer!
I’m so excited for some good ol’ beach days, hammock evenings, and good books to read through! I’m currently reading King’s Cage and hope to finish the series in the next two weeks. I’ve been spending the last month going on lots of awesome hikes, spending time with new friends, and finding my rhythm out here in San Diego! It’s still so weird that I’m calling this place home for now.


RECAP MAY MONTHLY GOALS

Go to at least 9 Orange Theory Fitness classes.
YES! I think I ended up doing 11 classes this past month and it was amazing and so challenging!

+ Eat 90% of my meals at home; this should be doable.
Hmmmm I don’t think I fully followed this. I would say like 70% at home. I was a little bad.

+ Work on Blog content.
I definitely did work on this, just not to the extent I wanted to.


JUNE MONTHLY GOALS

+ Hit up at least 7 OTF classes (I’ll be traveling a good chunk of the month).

+ Continue to eat at least 90% KETO.

+ Love on Eddie hard when I can; be mindful of our time together, put the phone down and just soak it all in.

WEEKLY GOALS

+ Try new essential oil diffusor blends.

+ Stay on top of business work with the blog & photography.

+ See if I can get back into intermitted fasting.

DAILY GOALS

+ STRETCH! I’ve been so stiff lately.

+ Talk to Jesus more. I have been just BLAH in my relationship with God and I need to put in more effort

+ Drink lots, and lots of water!


CURRENTLY

Traveling | Back to Charleston and I am SO EXCITED! I’ve got some house projects to complete, family & friends to see, and some delicious southern beach time to soak in. 

Grilling | Delicious burgers. Y’all just get some grass fed beef and mix in some grilled onions, minced garlic, coco aminos, salt & pepper, and then GRILL THEM. Your taste buds will thank me later! 🙂

Exploring | Books! I’ve always been a lover of books and I feel like the last year I really haven’t been reading like I used to. I’m hoping with all of this warmer weather I’ll get a book in my hands more often and just soak in some good ol’ pages!

Planting | All the herbs. We made some basil martins the other night using the basil from my garden and it was so beyond tasty!

Playing | With my hair! I’m about to chop it off and let the blue go for a while, it will be a new season for me that’s for sure!



Linking up today’s post with Anne & Sarah

A Lesson In Pausing

This post is back from when we were adventuring around Sequoia National Park…so excuse the time loop. 😉


I’m a goer and Eddie is a soaker.
I was up making breakfast and enjoying snapping some pictures while quiet clung to the air.
The rain was coming soon that day so I knew that we needed to get a move on. Eddie however was still enjoying relaxing in the warmth of the bed; I finally decided to crawl back in to cuddle with him.
Honestly, I gave the cuddling a whole minute and patted his arm and said we’ve got to get going. He squeezed me tighter in response.
A heavy sigh escaped my chest and I sank deeper into the sheets as I allowed myself to relax; I had to remind myself that this is also why we are here – to enjoy quiet slow mornings in the mountains with one another.
You may be asking, why is Amy even sharing this random 3 minute part of her life with us, and I feel the need to explain.

I struggle, hardwith letting go.
Control runs deep in my bones and I thrive with order, and to-do lists, and schedules, and deadlines. I actually feel like Monica off of Friends when it’s time to clean, prepare for guests, schedule a trip, etc. I find some weird joy in seeing all the things accomplished and in their right place.
I find the struggle even most when I feel like I “should be” doing something. We were on vacation and we wanted to hike in the park and see all the things and laying in bed cuddling just wasn’t going to accomplish that list. I was under this mind-set of if we don’t get moving everything will be lost!

That’s kind of the story of my life.
I find myself wallowing in these fears, these worries, these thought traps of…
If I don’t get moving, I’ll loose everything.
If I don’t accomplish this then what good am I?
If I don’t make this happen then everything won’t workout.

It’s a whole lot of “I” and that isn’t how a marriage works.
In those three minutes of me choosing to crawl back into the bed to cuddle, my flesh taking over and trying to force the hand of control, and Eddie re-grounding me to relax – I was reminded of the fact that we are a pair, a team. We do life together, we grow and learn from, challenge, and encourage each other. We help to see the good in our character as well as the areas that still need refinement. I help to spur him forward and he helps to slow me down.

It’s just another reminder of how God intrinsically wove our stories together to balance each other out – to cause me to stop, pause, and soak more.
I’ve been having a lot of those reminders recently. Those years of pain, and sorrow, and struggle waiting for a husband and feeling like it would NEVER COME and now I’m paired with someone I could have never imagined. Someone who is everything and abundantly more than I even knew I needed. I used to hate the phrase “God’s timing is perfect” and yet here I am kind of lowering my head and reminding you of that statement’s truth. God’s timing really is perfect. It can feel like it takes forever, or like you’re being punished, or even as if it’s all wrongly timed…but it’s perfect.

May Goal Check In & Currently

The first two days have been a little gloomy over here in San Diego.
We’ve had overcast and rainy days and super cool temperatures that remind me of fall – personally I’ve been loving it, but I’m also ready for that good ol’ sunshine!
It hasn’t been all rainbows and sunshine around here thought, let me just keep it real for a second. Eddie has been gone a lot and that’s been super super SUPER hard. The good thing that comes out of it it is more girl-time with the ladies going hiking, watching movies, and just hanging out and chatting. I’ve really come into an amazing tribe of woman who band together to support, encourage, and inspire each other – I’m beyond thankful!


RECAP APRIL MONTHLY GOALS

+ Learn how to use my NEW IntantPot! (do you have any favorite recipes?!)
I’m so sad to report my InstantPot is STILL sitting in it’s box. It’s my goal to make a recipe with it in the next week though!

+ Eat 90% of my meals at home.
HA. No. I struggled so hard with this, with Beth visiting, seeing Joshua Tree, and all the other things I ate out more than I wanted to.

+ See more places in San Diego!
DONE!


MAY MONTHLY GOALS

+ Go to at least 9 Orange Theory Fitness classes.

+ Eat 90% of my meals at home; this should be doable.

+ Work on Blog content.

WEEKLY GOALS

+ MAKE AN INSTANT POT RECIPE. Seriously Amy, do it, you even created a pin board full of yummy ideas.

+ Focus on business!!!! Blog content, planning out posts, instagram, facebook, pinterest, ya know, all the fun things.

+ Do devotionals / Bible Studies.

DAILY GOALS

+ Go to bed earlier.

+ Eat more clean/real food.

+ Strengthen my relationship with God.


CURRENTLY

Celebrating | Baby showers! I’m opening up my home for a sweet dual baby shower this weekend and I can’t wait to show these mamas some love!

Creating | New morning drinks. I finally ordered some moon juice items (specifically dream dust, sex dust & lucuma ) to add to my routine and I’ve sincerely noticed a difference. All the adaptogens help with stress, anxiety, muscle function, inflammation, etc. I’m still doing my research but overall It’s been great! I add it to my smoothies, protein pancakes, or even to some warm milk at night. ((**use this link to get 20% off your first purchase**))

Wearing | Comfy cute clothes and Activewear like it’s my life. These leggings, this tee on repeat; I’ll be more fashionable some other day.

Sharing | THIS DIY if you’re a cat owner. You’re welcome in advance, it’s changed everything in our house!

Going | Through my house. I’ve been feeling the need to minimize and simply, so it’s time to start going room to room again to get rid of some things.



Linking up today’s post with Anne & Carrie

April Goal Check In & Currently

We have family in town this week from South Carolina and it’s making my heart so happy!
My Aunt, Uncle, and one of my cousins are here and we are exploring San Diego like a pack of wild animals; it’s been so nice to spend time together doing so much and nothing at all. I’m finding that if I keep my days full and my nights easy life is starting to find that rhythm again and It’s slowly sinking in that San Diego is our home for now – not just another resting place for a few months. I will fully admit that it’s weird to be on the west coast and see the different culture and call it home – this southern girl is a little wide eyed. I’m also SUPER excited because Beth is hoping on a plane and coming to visit shortly and I can’t wait to spend some time together!

I’m also toying around with the idea of joining Orange Theory Fitness. I’ve done a few classes in the past and LOVED them but wasn’t ready to make that financial commitment. The more I’ve been thinking about it the more I’m seeing it as an investment in my health and a place where I can go and do some great workouts on top of my hikes and at-home stuff.


RECAP MARCH  MONTHLY GOALS

+ Finish a book.
Y’all I’m actually super upset that I didn’t accomplish this goal. I HAD THE TIME and I wasted it.

+ Cook a few healthy meals every week.
Done! I got back into the cooking grind an am now getting back into it even more.

+ Finish hanging all of our pictures/curtains/etc.
Literally just finished this on the last day of March! While we still have a few things to hang (trying to figure out their homes) for the most part everything is up on the walls and the curtains are hung! It’s finally feeling more like a home!


APRIL MONTHLY GOALS

+ Learn how to use my NEW IntantPot! (do you have any favorite recipes?!)

+ Eat 90% of my meals at home.

+ See more places in San Diego!

WEEKLY GOALS

+ Run at least 6 miles a week & pair it with HIIT/Tabata workouts – Or – do orange theory fitness 3-4x a week with hiking/at home workouts.

+ Try new recipes! Get out of the cooking rut I’m in and switch things up.

+ Put on makeup + actual clothing more than just one day. INSTEAD of always being in workout clothes. I’ve noticed I’ve not been making that a priority and personally it’s making me feel a little frumpy.

DAILY GOALS

+ Read my Bible.

+ Stretch.

+ Plank Challenge.


CURRENTLY

Showering | With my new Saje Tingle Mint body wash  – it smells amazing and when you leave the shower you feel so refreshed! 

Cultivating | Some new friendships. It’s nice to get to know all of these new women in this new area who are just awesome. Making friendships as an adult is straight up hard; but it’s worth it when you get to know people and invest in them.

Expecting | To get back into reading – to attempt to finish a book sooner than later, and learn!

Making | My husband has been making some amazing pieces of furniture for the house recently and I can’t wait to share them.

Buying | These turkish towels! We now have 6 and they are THE BEST for every day use, when family comes into town, heading to the beach, or to just keep in your car. They dry super fast and don’t smell and just happen to be really pretty!


Linking up today’s post with Anne