Birthday Advice | Year Twenty Nine

This past year has been a whirlwind.
So many beautiful and challenging changes that I’ve walked through and continued to face – and wholly cow I can’t believe I’m 29! Seriously, I feel like I was just 25 and thinking I was 21, HA! I’ve made it a little tradition on here to every year share some Birthday Advice on lessons learned in the last year as well as thoughts to consider as I move forward.

Twenty-Eight.
A year full of love, sacrifice, sorrow, complete joy, pruning, and growth. I’ve learned a lot in the past year, more than I thought was possible and while a lot of it has felt like chaos it’s been really nice to sit back and reflect on all of the events that have unfolded. When I do take a moment to reflect I’m kind of in awe at the amount of change I’ve walked through and how much more is still ahead. It’s terrifying and beautiful; exciting and cautious; I’m learning to live in that in-between place where you just take what life throws and try to respond gracefully and with a smile on your face and joy in your heart. I don’t always succeed, but I am trying.

. . .

Life Advice

1 || Make time for what is important.

2 || Bloom where you are planted.

3 || Find balance.


1 || Make time for what is important.

We hear it all the time, you make time for what matters to you. I have learned how absolutely true these words are in the last year. Make time for your relationship with the Lord, your spouse, your friendships / relationships, and yourself. If you don’t make the time for these things they begin to wither up and after a while will fade away.

Personally…

Spouse: Eddie and I don’t always get a lot of time together so when we do we spend it in whatever ways we need to in order to connect and communicate. If we don’t make time for each other we can start to drift apart.
Jesus: This relationship has taken a beating over the last year. With so much change I’ve felt disconnected, un-tethered, and overwhelmed; I’ve also felt joy, peace, comfort and a closeness I’ve never known. I’m learning a lot about grace, rest, and contentment – three areas I really struggle with.
Friendships: This is a really hard area for me to write on as I’ve felt really frustrated and bitter in the last year. Before I even got married and moved away from my home town I felt so many doors beginning to close and it was a very deep and raw wound. Since moving I’ve seen many of my friendships begin to close the last chapter and kind of slip away without much effort. It’s a very hard pill for me to swallow because I’m the “fight till you can’t fight anymore” type of person in relationships and learning to just let things go and take care of my own emotional well-being has been a struggle.

2 || Bloom where you are planted.

I think we’ve all heard this saying at one time or another in our lives.
When change happens we often want to curl within and not seek out the new good things that are in front of us. We can get sidetracked by all of the negativity and throw ourselves a pity party or two instead of sucking up some courage and really digging in where we’ve been planted.

Personally…

This took some getting used to for me; and I’m not going to lie and say its as a cake walk. Moving away from your home-town of 28 years is incredibly hard in itself, then tack on getting married and learning what that’s like, AND THEN tack on being married to a man who is in the military. OOPPHHFF. I wasn’t really prepared for all of the changes that were coming my way, no matter how many times I rolled them around in my head. The first few months being away from Charleston were really hard. It was winter in Maine and a lot of things were closed and people stayed inside so making friends was next to impossible; I was also learning the area and trying to spend time with Eddie while I could. Moving to Connecticut was actually a lot easier than I thought and I forced myself to thrive. I stepped out of my comfort zone and went to a class, joined groups, went to creative meeting where i knew no one and slapped on a smile and took on a huge amount of courage. It wasn’t easy, there are still a lot of days where I feel really alone, but I’m choosing to bloom where I’m planted (even when they are only short roots for a few months) and enjoy each season of life I’m in.

3 || Find balance.

Work + Life + Commitments + Rest + etc…things can get unbalanced quickly. We live in an age of technology where being connected to any and everything is literally at the touch of a fingertip. Our eyes are glued to screens, numbers, readers, columns, blog posts, pinterest, Facebook, images, movies, tv shows, etc way more often than they are glued to another human being. Our lips speak through small little boxes instead of deep conversations, our hearts are guarded and we forget how to be real with one another. There is this underlying feeling that we should be doing more, writing more, seeing more, and being ALWAYS connected. Stop it. Find balance, live life, and soak in the day-to-day moments.

Personally…

Now that I work from home I have found this to be even more of a struggle for me. My home is my office, and my job is on the internet and out doing photography sessions. I’m creating content for the blog, taking photos for the blog, taking photos of amazing people, and carefully (and sometimes stupidly) watching my numbers grow and dwindle. I am always aware of phone alerts and emails as well as tags and posts…it’s like I feel like I can never really shut off. That is SO DANGEROUS. I’m trying to make “cut off” times and some days I succeed really well and others I just fail. I’m learning more and more about boundaries and making sure I’m actually present when I’m spending time with other people instead of constantly being on my phone/computer. Balance is hard.

 


What I’ve learned this past year…

// Friendships have seasons and sometimes you just have to let them go.

// That my 30 before 30 list is creeping up on me! I’ve got to start hustling to cross some things off.

// That embracing freedom means so much more than I originally thought.

// I fell deeper in love with this man.

// Then I married him. <3

// I soaked in some blizzard snowfall and started to understand how cold a winter can be!

// I learned how love can look different than we expect, how

// How to embrace change even when it feels like you’re drowning.

// I’ve learned how to get out of my comfort zone and explore new areas, meet new people, and hold a little less tight on superficial things.

// I have learned that I still have a long way to go in practicing being kind to myself. Seriously I’m a HUGE mean girl to myself and it’s no bueno.


Location: Connecticut / Rhode Island Border

Shirt c/o
Skirt
Camera Backpack

birthday advice | year twenty eight

i’m a lover of traditions…
…and the last three years i’ve written posts on my birthday sharing some advice i’ve learned as i walk through life.

year twenty seven.
MAN. some big stuff happened in this past year.
i learned a lot of lessons and i really feel like it was a year of ‘growing up’ for me.
i learned about the comparison game, i hiked my little heart out, i finally crossed something else off of my home list, i soaked in the small moments, and felt the sharp sting of friendship, i traveled like crazy and even got engaged! <3
all in all – this year was amazing.

so here is a little advice from me to you…

1 || your attitude makes a big difference.
2 || chase your dreams.
3 || joy isn’t just a feeling

>>>><<<<

1 || your attitude makes a big difference. 
i wish i had learned this years ago. well, maybe if i’m being honest i’ve always been learning this and will continue to walk through it. while we can not always control what happens in our lives we can control our reactions to them. i’ve really felt like the Lord has been chipping away at some hard-rooted attitude struggles. instead of me focusing on all the bad i’m trying to constantly remind myself that there is so much good, and joy, and love around me. even if the bad stuff is really BIG…i can still have a joyful attitude.

2 || chase your dreams.
we all have those little dreams hidden within our hearts – and most of us try to bury them deep inside in hopes that they don’t get crushed or ruined or we find out it’s not really dream-material. can i just encourage you to push past the fear and give it a try? for so many years i’ve felt like my dreams are stagnant and lame and the more i’ve looked into them and found how awesome they are more and more new dreams come to light. i dream of owning a mountain house, of being a great photographer, of hearing peoples stories and connecting with them…i dream of so many things. and it is ok to chase after them!

3 || joy isn’t just a feeling.
this has been a hard, hard lesson for me to learn.
for so long i’ve tied ‘joyful’ to a way of feeling – and in the past few years my worldview of that has been drastically changing. joy does not come from emotion; it doesn’t come from great situations, happy days, beautiful memories, or hopeful moments. it comes from the Lord – and it is rooted deep within you – and as you cultivate it (think of it like flexing and strengthening a muscle) it becomes more and more grounded and firm. so that even in the hardest of times, your joy radiates through to others. to me joy and hope and patience and steadfastness all walk hand in hand.

>>>><<<<

since i’ve given you some advice, i would also love to share some things i’ve learned this year…

// when God is bringing something to fruition – don’t run from it.
// you can be creative without having to force it.
// i absolutely love having blue hair and i hope to bring it back next year!
// if i put weight on – i can work to get it back off.
// i love my family.
// i am excited to move somewhere else – if you’ve known me for any length of time you’ll know how HUGE this is.
// i can laugh until i cry – multiple times even in one day.

post signature

birthday advice | year twenty-seven

following in the footsteps of the last two years – i thought i would share some birthday advice on things i’ve learned walking into my twenty-seventh year on this earth.

twenty-six was interesting for me.
it was beautiful, challenging, hopeful, painful, disappointing, encouraging, and left an interesting taste in my mouth.

i really processed moving on from an ex, anxiety seemed to creep back into my life, i finally got my feet on a mountain for a girls weekend, i embraced my singleness – and then met someone – and then it just didn’t work out, i finally addressed my 17 year old self, God wrecked me a few times, i had to say goodbye my beautiful grandmother, i traveled with my brother to ireland and scotland, i met amazing people and forged new friendships, i laughed – a lot, i cried – a lot.
all in all it was…good, and hard.

so now onto the advice…

1 || darling, be adventurous.
2 || even if it hurts, say yes to hope.
3 || pursue.

1 || darling, be adventurous.
run. jump, hike, climb, swim, run, sweat, lay down…experience life.
adventure can come in trips, but mostly adventure is found within – in how you view your day to day life. it can come from delving into a new friendship, a hard conversation, taking a day trip, and finding that spark in the smallest areas. i truly believe i have a wandering heart – one that craves the adventure the Lord has created, one that won’t be tamed by the mundane…but that is seeking out new experiences.

2 || even if it hurts, say yes to hope.
this is hard for me – because i’m a pretty guarded individual.
if you get to know me – i’m rather optimistic and positive, but i don’t allow myself to be super hopeful. i’ve had the rug yanked out from under me more times than i can count….so i get cautious.
but there is something beautiful in hope, even if the hope is dashed later on.
it allows you to feel things you didn’t think were possible.
and i think that is beautiful – being reminded that life itself is fragile so the things we are able to experience is so delicate and precious and we should be thankful.

3 || pursue.
God, passions, new experiences, friendships, community, goals…
anything and everything that is good.
complacency is for the birds – and it does no good for the soul. so push yourself, harder, faster, stronger, more diligently – and pursue what’s in front of you. pursue what you thought was never possible. pursue the Lord in new ways….pursue.

>>>><<<<

…after the advice, i figured i might as well share some things that i’ve learned this year.


// i’ve learned i have a heart bent towards adventure.
// i’ve learned i have a lot of work to do to move forward in some areas.
// i’ve learned laughter truly is the best medicine.
// i’ve learned i can still fall for someone.
// i’ve learned the Lord is bigger and more personal than i ever imagined.
// i’ve learned it’s ok to feel things – and not shut down.
// i’ve learned i can push myself farther than i think i can.
// i’ve learned good things take time, and a lot of effort
// i’ve learned to love those who walk into my life.
// i’ve learned that while life may not be where i thought it would by twenty-seven, i can be ok with it.

post signature

birthday advice | 26 years

i feel like twenty-five went by in a blur.
it was a whirlwind.

i went on date(s) (ok like with two guys haha), started writing fiction again, stepped out of my comfort zone, met new people, started the you are lovely series,  i’ve struggled with singleness, i’ve found joy in the every day things, i’ve had my sins thrown in my face, i’ve grown, i’ve triumphed, i’ve fallen, i’ve…learned. and through it all God has been harping on me one thing: He is steadfast.

so let’s do a little “yearly advice” like i did when i turned twenty five.

>>>><<<<

1. make yourself a priority.
2. it’s ok (and sometimes needed) to say no.
3. you are meant to be set apart. 

>>>><<<<

1. make yourself a priority.
i wish i had learned this sooner.
you are important. everything about you is important. your mental health, emotional health, spiritual health, and physical health all carry such a beautiful weight in balancing out your life. age 25 really showed me to take my life back and get healthy. i started my weight loss journey, cut unhealthy relationships, learned new things about myself, followed some adventure, enjoyed the sunshine and the rain. AMY is important – i am important…that has taken me so long to truly believe (and satan tries to tell me the lies that i am not important, but i’m trying not to listen). my life (and yours) has infinite value, and i have to take care of myself.

2. it’s ok (and sometimes needed) to say no. 
yes, you can say no.
i learned i needed to say no to certain things, and people.
NO to unhealthy food addictions that have plagued me for years.
NO to sitting lazily on my bum when i needed to burn some calories.
NO to the ex boyfriend(s) who turned their ugly heads back into my life (ok, so that took some time and mistakes to say no to)
NO to the people who drug me down.
NO to that invitation because i needed to focus on me for a night.
NO to the devil when he tempted me.
NO to the daily internal battle of hating myself.
^ these are all still a process to me. and i’m learning and growing and struggling through them. i know it will take time and effort and sometimes failure, but praise God i’m learning.

3. you are meant to be set apart. 
this was a hard pill for me to swallow this past year.
as a christian i’ve always been told how we are to be set apart, that as a christian we are held to a higher standard. i’ve always known it to be true, and have followed it here and there over the years – but this past year i really really learned the damage of not following God’s command. there were months that i strayed, moments where i really, really hurt myself and my relationship with God. times were just wanted to walk away from my faith and just ignore the prompting of the Holy Spirit (yeah, 25 carried some weight!). PRAISE GOD He didn’t give up on me, and neither did my friends. I did a lot of soul searching, a lot of…figuring out what i believed and why, a lot of seeking out affirmation and fulfillment in all of the wrong places.
and do you want to know what i learned?
i am meant to be set apart.
there is a reason i don’t “fit in” with most of the world, there is a reason i don’t agree with social “norms” or with how others act…because i’m called to be different.
when i feel like settling – NO, i’m to be set apart.
when i’m being drug through the mud – change my attitude.
when i’m joyful – continue to praise.
etc.
i don’t fit into this world…and i am so thankful.

>>>><<<<

…after the advice, i figured i might as well share some things that i’ve learned this year.

// i’ve learned i still have sin struggle.
// i’ve learned God is merciful.
// i’ve learned some people are not worth any of my energy.
// i’ve learned God has put people in my life for some incredible reasons and to learn from their triumphs, mistakes, joys, and lives.
// i’ve learned to be thankful for everything.
// i’ve learned i’m given ONE body and i need to keep it healthy.
// i’ve learned to appreciate the pain and struggle.
// i’ve learned that there are still solid, good, decent, and God-fearing men in this world.
// i’ve learned that i still have that spunk – that i haven’t lost the amy i know and love.
// i’ve learned that God isn’t even close to finishing with me.

so cheers to 26 years!
thank you LORD for all of your lessons and blessings in twenty-five and i pray you will continue to discipline, guide, and strengthen me in the next year.

post signature

25 years…

this weekend i was asked two things: 
1. when will you have kids?
2. what have you learned in your 25 years? 
the first question was from my 12 year old cousin Dylan. i promptly answered with a “when i’m married” and cough-laughed. kids man – they ask the darndest things. 
the second – was asked right before we started eating dinner last night. i had to really think about it – what “advice” could i give those coming after me…what can i tell them that i’ve learned in 25 years that they could maybe learn ahead of time. 
after a few minutes of thinking, it came rather easily.
. . .
1. God’s plans are bigger than mine, and i have to trust that. 
2. Take chances – fear can steal a lot from you. 
3. Never be afraid to make a fool out of yourself. (in the good way)
. . .

1. God’s plans are bigger than mine, and i have to trust that. 
it’s true. God has bigger plans than i could ever dream up.
& his plans are often completely different than i had in mind.
growing up i never thought my life would look like it does today at 25.
parents in heaven – single – no babies – living with a roommate – owning a home – having a close relationship with my brother – super close with my family – learning from mistakes – actually enjoy cooking and cleaning…the list goes on.
some things i just wouldn’t trade.
i’ve learned from everything, death, life, joy, pain, frustration, celebration…all of it has a purpose. 
i’ve learned that it is better, easier, and less stressful to just trust God.

2. Take chances – fear can steal a lot from you. 
man oh man. 
i can be a fearful person. 
i struggle with anxiety, worry, and fear on a daily basis. 
what i’m learning is – what kind of life are you living if your’e not taking chances?
to follow God – you have to take chances, steps of faith.
to “broaden your horizons” you have to take chances.
to build deep relationships…you guessed it, take chances.
will you get hurt? yes. sometimes you will.
will it be worth it? not always – but you learn. 
taking chances can be a beautiful thing.
i’m so glad i took the chance and went on my first over-seas vacation. 
i’m still baffled that i actually did it and loved the whole experience. 
i’ll continue to take more chances as each day passes.
some chances are small – others are bigger.
it doesn’t matter – just take a chance.

3. Never be afraid to make a fool out of yourself. 
what does amy poehler say? 
“there’s power in looking silly and not caring that you do”
that rings so true today.  
i’m not talkin about shaming yourself or your family – that is foolish
i’m talking about being yourself and not caring if it’s PC or if others will like you.
listen – i listen to weird music sometimes, i’m known to dance around the house in leg warmers, i’m loud, hyper, and overbearing, i sometimes start talking in a weird voice, i make weird faces – at the best and most inappropriate times. i’ll tell a guy who works at target i think he’s cute, i’ll play tag in a grocery store, i’ll randomly yell across an restaurant if i see someone – i just dont care
i’m not disrespectful. 
but i’m not afraid to make a fool out of myself.
it helps me to laugh, to grow, and to build relationships. 
i’ve always said people respond to me in three ways:
they love me, they can’t stand me, they don’t know what to do with me. 
either way. 
i’m not afraid to make a fool out of myself.

. . .

So cheers to 25 years!
 Thank you God for blessing me with this time, and Lord if it’s in Your will – here’s to 50+ more!

post signature