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Friday, August 31, 2012

Seeking Change


Linking up with Lisa-Jo today for Five Minute Friday.  Here are her rules:
1. Write for 5 minutes flat – no editing, no over thinking, no backtracking.
2. Link back here and invite others to join in.
3. And then absolutely, no ifs, ands or buts about it, you need to visit the person who linked up before you & encourage them in their comments. Seriously. That is, like, the rule. And the fun. And the heart of this community..
Five Minute Friday

OK, are you ready? Please give me your best five minutes on: Change       

You would think that a pirate’s booty had been discovered with a faded map.  X marks the spot.  You would think that all the gold doubloons in the world were meaningless compared to this treasure.

The seeker goes around searching high and low.  He knows where his treasure will be found.  Quiet and stealthy he looks around. No one is looking.  He sticks a small hand inside and unzips to find what he is looking for.  Found it.

Daddy comes in and sits beside him on the couch – the small hand resumes its quest.  No place is sacred; nothing is off limits.  Papaw is especially fertile ground for this little privateer.  The unwitting are compliant and generous.  Who can resist that precious little face as he looks up day after day and makes his request for – CHANGE!


The bank is filling. The little screen on top shows the tally.  There has been much fruit for this labor.

STOP

Wednesday, August 29, 2012

The First Four Months



I’ve been at this little blogging gig for just over four months now.  Spring has ended, I’ve gone to the beach – twice, my tan lines are starting to fade, and the little guy has started preschool.  The scenery outside my home office window has changed, but more importantly, I have changed.


Five months ago that collection of books wouldn’t have been assigned to my library card.  Five months ago, I nervously started posting little snippets of writing on a Facebook group page and sweating it out each time.  Coincidentally, I’ve got that same feeling in the pit of my stomach as I type these words.

I now keep a little notebook in my bag with me at all times.  It seems to have been the cure for those random flashes of inspiration one gets when there is no paper around.  When an idea does come, I get up and grab my journal or go straight to the computer to put down whatever smattering of a concept has flown through my harried head.

I may never be an accomplished writer.  My words, grammar, and punctuation might stay awkward – at best.  There may never be more than 50 or so wonderful, generous readers out there who come out of curiosity or a loving sense of obligation.  That’s okay.  I appreciate each of you and the immense kindness and encouragement that you give to me so freely.

I’ve learned that friendships can be built in comment boxes and 140 characters at a time and that inside jokes don’t require shared walls.  I’ve seen how we can support each other through loss and victory, revel in the surprise of a gift that was a wildest dream and answer to prayer.

I’ve learned that paying attention to details can lead to business contacts when you didn’t even know you needed them.  That tweets and retweets can lead to cute little blog buttons and the ability to promote someone else’s dream for a change.



I’ve learned computer code, how to use a hash tag and schedule online activity when I’ll be sleeping (hopefully).  I’ve read words that inspired me to my core, challenged my reactions to status quo and made me laugh so hard my body ached from joy.  These all happened 24” from my face.  All of this has happened on my computer screen and my smart phone.  Well, not all of it.  

Some of these avatars have leapt out at me and given me full on hugs in jeans and brave boots.    I’m counting on many more of those when I will be so blessed to hang out with a large number of you at the Allume Conference in October.  Still there are others that will require me to wait a little longer.

Whatever God wants to use this little space for is fine with me.  I may never see a penny from an affiliate link.  There may never be a corporate sponsor that would like to clothe or feed me or provide a giveaway.  That’s inconsequential to my goal.  That goal is to live a life that is glorifying to my LORD and Savior by my words and without having to say a word.  The blessings already are innumerable.

I want to thank each of you for teaching me about a new kind of community.  You’ve taught me ways to encourage and support that weren’t even on my radar.  You’ve taught me that it really is worth the effort.  For that I give you virtual hugs and high fives and sticky chocolate goodness – all with the hot beverage of your choice in your favorite comfy spot.

The next four months will bring more learning and growing.  There will inevitably be change – I hope it is for the better.  Bear with me as I stretch and reach.  Overlook the cracks, if you please.  It is definitely a Work In Progress when Amy Learns!!

Linking this up with much love and gratitude to Mary Beth at New Life Steward.
WIPWednesday

Monday, August 27, 2012

A Week of Firsts


Last week we had 3 big firsts with the little guy.



First, he started preschool – and loved it.  He’s only going 2 days a week, but that’s enough to give him some extra enrichment and preserve my sanity.  I bow to homeschoolers!  You guys Rock. It.  Out.

His first day included a reptile show.  I got there in time to see the massively huge and chill-inducing albino boa constrictor.  Let’s just say I’m not a big fan of the creepy crawlies in the world – but I don’t want to pass that along.  I even took him to an aquarium!  Any longtime friend of mine will tell you that is earth-shaking.  I should write about it some time.

Third, he got his first bee sting while we were at the playground on Friday.  Ann Voskamp-style, I thanked God for it.  We were very close to a pediatrician’s office and the fire department and there was no allergic reaction.  There are certain things you just can’t know until they happen.  We were at a very good place for that to happen.  

It hurt him.  

He didn’t know what had happened, and it even took me a while to find the spot.  He whimpered for a second, brushed it off and was playing again in a matter of seconds.  This is the kid who didn’t flinch when having stitches removed from his forehead.



I know you’re thinking I can’t count.  Where’s the second thing?  Well, I wanted to save the biggest for last.  I think I have a budding muralist on my hands.  

While engrossed in several Five Minute Friday contributions, the living room became an art studio.  I had no idea what was happening with 2 crayons on the other side of the office wall.  This was happening:



Apparently the larger is of himself with my sister’s family.  All five of them stand happily head and legs side-by-side.  This is roughly 6’ wide and 4’ high.  To the side of the television we have a lovely portrait of Daddy!  He’s probably thrilled that this shows no need for change in diet or exercise.  It’s just a smiling head and two legs.  Not sure why I didn’t make the cut.  But hey, that’s just one less thing to have to clean off the wall.  Have I mentioned that we rent this house?

Thankfully these are washable crayons and should come off just fine.  I'll follow it up with a magic eraser.  I’m adding that to the hydrogen peroxide and paper towels that should come with every little boy.  It was only a matter of time.  Luckily, all sharpies are safely out of reach, unless he is determined to keep on growing.

So just thought I would share a little of our life with you.  What’s going on in your world that’s caught you by surprise lately?

Saturday, August 25, 2012

Handmade Holidays: Pinterest to Present - Pick It Out



Today I’m kicking off a new series.  Don’t freak out on me, but I’m getting ready to use the “C” word in August.  I’m going to help you get ready for…

CHRISTMAS!!


If you are anything like me you daydream about the wonderful handmade or DIY gifts you will give to people.  Next thing you know it’s the 15th of December and you’ve got no time to get everything ready for the teachers at school and church and the leader of your women’s group that meets in 3 days….

So we are going to get it done this year!  Over the next 4 months we are going to break it down into manageable chunks that will keep us on track.  For the past several years I’ve not gotten many Christmas cards out.  I want to change that this year, so I need this as much as anyone else.  I always have the great ideas that just never see the twinkle of the tree lights.  Not this year!

We are taking it from PINTEREST TO THE PRESENT – wrapped, tagged and given with love and care.

Where do we start and why are we starting so early?  Here, and so we GET IT DONE!!


Step 1: PICK
Go through your Pinterest boards, craft magazines, cookbooks – wherever you have those ideas that you think you might want to do and pick out what you can reasonably do.  Pick out 3, 4, 5, or even 6 that are really good contenders.  You can narrow it down later.

Now start making your list of all the people that will get these treasures or goodies from you.  You may add to or subtract from this list over time, but you need to have an idea of the scope of your projects.

Get yourself a box or bag to start assembling all of the items you’ll be using along with your lists and instructions.

While you are at it, you might as well start thinking about those little Halloween treat baggies and Thanksgiving place cards and napkin rings that you’ve been eyeing on Pinterest and are just dying to make. 

This is also a great time to start thinking back to ways you wish you had served or given last year.  Were the outreaches you missed out on?  What about the World vision or Samaritan's Purse projects and catalogs?  Don't limit it to the material. (Thanks Michele-Lyn of A Life Surrendered for this reminder.)

Did you work through Truth in the Tinsel, by Oh Amanda last year?  I tried, but waited too late to start collecting the materials and it just all fell apart about a week in.  This is one of my goals this year - Do It All.  You can get the e-book here to start working through Advent activities with you child.






RESOURCES
Pinterest - start with my Pinterest boards and then look around


HOMEWORK
Do these two things and let me know in the comments what great ideas you are coming up with.  I want to be able to help you with the next steps.  Grab a button from over there on the right while you’re at it to remind yourself and share with others if you like.



I’m getting in the holiday spirit just thinking about it.  September 25 we'll move on to the next phase.  You can read about the Plan It phase of Handmade Holidays by clicking on this link.

Friday, August 24, 2012

Join Me Tomorrow


Linking up with Lisa-Jo today for Five Minute Friday.  Here are her rules:
1. Write for 5 minutes flat – no editing, no over thinking, no backtracking.
2. Link back here and invite others to join in.
3. And then absolutely, no ifs, ands or buts about it, you need to visit the person who linked up before you & encourage them in their comments. Seriously. That is, like, the rule. And the fun. And the heart of this community..
Five Minute Friday
OK, are you ready? Please give me your best five minutes on: JOIN

It shouts at us every day:  Join Here for Free, Join us, Sign up, Click here.

The call to come and be part of something.  A something that has no community, but where we are a commodity, an information source to help the marketing gurus and advertising whiz kids push their wares at us in exactly the right way.  These are the same ones who line the aisles of pharmacies with toys cars at just the right height for every 3 to 7 year old boy .  The same ones who have Hello Kitty greet your knees at the building supply store, but stare longingly into the eyes of daddy’s little angel that just had to come along.

This is not what I want I want you to join ME.  Join me on a trip through the next 4 months to the celebration of the birth of our Lord Jesus Christ.  We start here tomorrow and I want you to JOIN ME and others in a community of support and encouragement and hot chocolate stirrers made of peppermint sticks.  Will you JOIN?


Thursday, August 23, 2012

How I Found My Own Passion

Photo Credit


Yesterday I wrote about finding your passion and following it. Since then, the most common thing I have heard is, “I am trying to figure that out.”  I thought that today it might be helpful if I gave you a little bit of my own journey.  Granted, I don’t have it all figured out.  I can tell you about how I got to this point.

I mentioned going back to your childhood and trying to remember what you played.  My whats were sometimes determined by who I was playing with, but when left to my own devices there were definite favorites. 

I loved making blanket and furniture tents.  These were multi room constructions that involved sofas, chairs, beds, cushions and every type of blanket, throw or sheet I could get my hands on.  Sometimes they were one big open space, but normally you had walls with “doorways”.

I remember lying on the floor in my bedroom in the patch of sunlight coming through the window and coloring.  I would color in coloring books some, but most of the time I drew my own pictures to color.  I wasn’t your rainbows, flowers, or family portraits kind of artist.  I drew pictures of houses and even colorful rows of townhouses.  That seems odd to me, because there aren’t any townhouses where I grew up.  I have no idea where that notion came from.

In seventh grade, I had the opportunity to be a part of a computer class.  Y’all – this was programming in BASIC on an Apple IIe that used those 5” floppy disks with the exposed film you didn’t dare touch.  (Some of you are wondering what in the world I’m even talking about right now.) One of the things we learned was how to draw pictures by using numbers for the colors and line placement.  Now it’s called graphics.  Back then we had the technical name of “drawing on the computer”.  Guess what I drew?  A house.

I would draw out dream house floor plans for fun. How no one ever picked up on this and decided that I had a deep interest in architecture and design is beyond me, but that’s in the past.  Let’s move on.  As a side note: Parents, please pay attention to your children’s play.  It can give you so much insight.

Through a series of events I was moved off this track. In college I chose a library science class as an elective.  I thought it could be helpful for research and I had always loved the library.  I was fascinated and even thought briefly about becoming a research librarian.  I love finding information for others.  This is part of my story.



Eventually, I found my way back when we moved to Chicago and I began interior design school.  It was like I had come home.  One of my color classes – which is another love – was taught by a designer whose job was the resource librarian at a major design firm in Chicago.  She offered their library as a resource for materials for her class.  When I first stepped into that room it was like a chorus was singing in the background.  I had no idea jobs like this even existed.  The Merchandise Mart quickly became one of my favorite places and trade shows a highlight of each year.

This all but disappeared when we moved away and there were no design jobs in our new home.  Even when we went back to Chicago, I didn’t get to work again because of the economy.  I did get to go to the big trade show and the Mart, but I wasn’t being productive.  Then, along came the little guy.

So, how would I follow my passion if it was something so specific that relied heavily on location and circumstance?  I took the aspects that I loved and turned them inside out.  I started a blog.  Here I can share information that I find, I can play with design , I can learn – and I can meet YOU!!

So writing, while not my favorite thing in the world, is my medium.  This is where I am right now and how I’m making it work.  Passion is too strong to ignore for long.  I’m sure this will evolve over time, just as anything does.  Thinking outside of the box was the key for me.  I hope this sparks a fire inside of you to do whatever it takes to give your passion the life it deserves.

Need help figuring out how to make your passion work?  I’m here and so are others to be your sounding board.  Think out loud and put your questions out there.  The answer may surprise you.

Wednesday, August 22, 2012

Pursuing Your Passion

One of my crafty Pinterest boards


This past spring I went on a studio tour of local artists in my town.  I only went to two.  I chose these two because I was most interested in their work and had very little time to spend.  Luckily, they were both very near to me and each other.  They were also fiber artists but very different from each other. 

One was an art quilter with a very refined, but whimsical style.  The other was a weaver who hand dyes some of her own yarns.  Her style was much rougher, but in the way that makes you want to touch everything and gently squeeze it to feel the thickness and body of the work.  The weaver had a loom set up on the front porch of her studio for anyone to give it a try.  The quilter had her machine set up to show how she added texture to her work with intricate quilting. 

I was struck by the openness and accessibility of these two women.  I was invited into their homes as a friend.  Each spent time with me individually and we had conversation.  You know, the real kind.  It started as their basic “welcome to my studio, this is what I do, feel free to look around” bit, but ended with us each learning something about the other. 

Another thing happened.  Each shared their passion for what they were doing and why they loved it or how they had come to love it.  I also shared my idea of this blog and they were so encouraging.  Passion can be contagious if you expose others to it.

That is what I want for you.  I want to share my passion for helping you experience your own.  Then I want you to do the same for others.  Our passions do not need to be similar.  I want to encourage you to pursue your ideas.  Begin to pursue discovering your passion if you haven’t already.  Experiment, look around, have fun, daydream, see what catches your eye on Pinterest.  Here is how I found my passion and what I do with it.

Wondering where to start?  Think back to how you played as a child.  What did you love to do for hours on end?  What couldn’t you get enough of?  Start there and let me know how it goes.

What is your passion and are you pursuing it?  What’s holding you back? 

WIPWednesday

Tuesday, August 21, 2012

School Time


Today marks a major shift in my life.  It wasn’t an entirely intentional goal that I had marked out and circled in red on a calendar.  There is a red circle on a calendar, but not mine.  It belongs to a precious little boy who is as curious as they come.  He’s smart as a whip and loves being around others.  His energy level and endurance could put the Energizer bunny to shame at times.

The earth didn’t jiggle on its axis and Kleenex stock didn’t jump because of my excessive need for tissues on this momentous morning.  But a certain preschool a few miles away is about to have its world ROCKED!!!



On this morning, my little guy – who is 3 ½ , started preschool for 2 days a week.  I’ve worked with him on writing, counting, cutting and other pre-learning activities.  I knew early on that his education would be above my pay grade – and I have an advanced degree in education!  This degree, however, is not in early childhood, so I’m letting the professionals help with this. 

I’ve not fretted and been all weepy about this decision.  That’s just not my style.  I relish watching my baby grow up.  I am loving every here and now with him.  (Well, honestly not all of them.  He could have been the poster child for the terrible twos.) But it is a marvel to watch him become himself and he will only become more himself over time.  I don’t want to go back.  I don’t want to keep him where he is right now.  I’m looking forward to the next.  Maybe this makes me strange, maybe it’s because I’m an older mom.  Who knows?  It’s just how I am.

Another major shift has also happened in my life.  I have now been married – officially – for more than half of my life.  I have a new wisdom and appreciation of time. I will have 2 days a week drastically different than they have been for the last nearly 3 years.  There are rooms to be cleaned, menus to be planned, posts to be written, and so many things to LEARN.  My little guy isn’t the only one who will be getting schooled.  Knitting has been mocking me since Christmas.

So let’s get going.  Let’s savor every minute of time we’re given and make the most of it alone, or not.  I’m spending this day with my husband after our first school dropoff.  I’ve got some great things planned for all of us.  Please join me on this journey.  Subscribe up at the top of my page if you’re like me and don’t want to miss anything.   




Wednesday, August 15, 2012

Let the Mudslinging Begin

Photo credit
Now that the political season is in full swing, and really when is it not anymore, you’ll be hearing a particular word a lot.  As mud is slung from network to network don’t forget to duck.  Answering the phone without first checking the caller ID is at your own peril.  Even opening the mailbox exposes you to the onslaught of glossy propaganda.

Each candidate and his or her representatives will be appalled at the actions and words of the opposing candidate and his or her representatives.  You’ve seen it happening while we are three months out from the elections.  It will get so bad that there will be fleeting thoughts of returning to a monarchy to avoid all the ads that run on television.  I know there are some of you who feel they will no longer have to make a case for why they don’t watch one in the first place.  You may be on to something.

Come late October or early November we will hit a fever pitch and here it comes:  the vitriol.  And it always does!! But what exactly is this vitriol or the vitriolic behavior that is condemned, but continually practiced?  It all goes back to chemistry.  According to dictionary.com, oil of vitriol is actually sulfuric acid – YIKES!!  That’s some nasty stuff.

Therefore, this is basically anything that is highly caustic or inflammatory.  The effect is severe and damaging and usually refers to criticism, but I think it covers the accusations and innuendo spewed forth as well.

So now you can call it what it is, the slander, the libel, the outright falsehoods lies: VITRIOL. You too can be the next political pundit ready to climb on a soapbox – or into the chair at the table of the talking heads.  Either way, you’ll sound like one of them, but you’ll know better than to spread it, won’t you?

This time of year always make me think of preschool or kindergarten and how one learns to be truthful, kind, play well with others and be a good sport.  Hmmm…. If only those were some of the qualifications necessary to hold all of these positions.

(That’s about as political as I plan to get on here.)

Monday, August 13, 2012

Going to The Well

This originally was written as part of the Allume Better Writer challenge series.  The very challenge that got me to start this blog.  The Well is a title referencing the need for writers to read.  I love reading a good book.  If I don’t care for it, it’s nearly intolerable.  Some of these books I've returned to the library or finished, others I haven't.  I want to you know me and this will help a little.

Photo credit


Reading a book is something that you don’t have to remind me to do.  Finishing a book is a completely different story, pun intended!  Admittedly, most books I read are not quick read page turners.  Right now I’m working on several: One Thousand Gifts by Ann Voskamp, Bonhoeffer by Eric Metaxas, Very Valentine by Adriana Trigiani, and Mere Christianity by C.S. Lewis.  One of the things is not like the others…..  I also have 3 knitting reference books checked out from the library.  Oh wait, how could I have forgotten?  I finish at a minimum 3 kids’ books per day reading to my son.  That boy loves a book!  I love that he loves books! 

Picking a favorite book is a tough one for me.  There are a couple I could name.  For me it’s more about favorite authors.  I have several that are true favorites and for various reasons.  I could read page upon page by Willa Cather describing a wheat field in the wind and sunlight.  C.S. Lewis puts me in my place when I get too big for my britches and think I’m the least bit smart or understanding of God’s marvelous ways.  He has also taken me to other planets (did you know he wrote sci-fi first?) and to other worlds with rings and furniture.

 Speaking of rings, Tolkein can draw me through hundreds and hundreds of pages with thirst for more when the last page is ended.  Madeleine L’Engle was over my head in elementary school, but I tracked her down and then discovered she even had books for me as an adult.  Who knew that Meg would grow up and have a daughter of her own?  Then there’s my homegirl, Adriana Trigiani.  Basically this is the only contemporary fiction I read because I haven’t found anything else I like.  Kingsolver is a little preachy and a lot of the other stuff out there just isn’t my style or is trashy.  Adriana, though, can take me back to my mountains and my childhood with her Big Stone Gap books, or to New York City in the 40’s, 50’s, 60’s, 70’s, or 5 years ago.  She settles you in and then turns the steering wheel straight toward a gasp and laugh you weren’t expecting.  I like that. 

Maybe now you know a little more about me.  I’m a geeky dreamer who wishes I was waaaay more glamorous than I actually am.  I’m also a thinker who is still trying to figure out exactly what I think.  It all goes back to the fact that in many ways and about many things, Amy learns.

Thursday, August 9, 2012

Pinterpretation: What My Pinterest Boards Say About ME

Last week I saw a tweet that piqued my interest.  It alluded to my beloved Pinterest and how I could use it to understand myself better for branding.  Because I love to learn and may one day be a multi-national corporation –not really – I clicked.  That click took me to a beautiful blog with a book review called Uplifting Words.  Holley Gerth and Stephanie Bryant are at it again, this time with “Pinterpretation: 16 Fun Ways to Find OutWhat Your Pinterest Boards Say About You”.


After reading the review I knew I needed to get this ebook to read for myself.  I read through the book on my phone’s Kindle app in less than 30 minutes.  Its approach and insight were intriguing.
“You scan, click, pin.  It all seems so random.  But those boards you’re building?  They might as well be billboards along the highway telling the world who you are.”

Before going to Pinterest to do my analysis I sat and thought.  What had I put on there?  How well did I think I knew myself and my true preferences?


I have a pretty darn good visual memory, especially for color.  I thought this would come in handy as I sat back and went through my boards in my head.  Based on my reading, I was convinced that joy was my strongest characteristic based on my bright color choices.  I also knew that I had a very strong affinity for clean, simple lines and geometry.  I like order.  But there were other questions:  What is the basic composition of the photography?  How many people can be accommodated by seating in photos?  What types of food have I selected?  This was going to be interesting!

It was time to go online.  You can view my Pinterest boards to see what I’m talking about.  After I went through and made notes about the contents it was time to analyze the data!  There were several parameters that stood out to me:

1)Color as an Indicator of Personality and Emotional State
I was shocked frankly at the amount of neutral colors.  There were very bold, bright pops of color everywhere, but on a background of greys, tans, browns and white.  Sometimes no other colors at all but the neutrals.  Not surprising is that I am an extrovert who experiences emotions intensely.  To that I say – DUH!  What was surprising is that this also conveys a strong sense of contentment.  And all that white??  A desire for tranquility in my life and schedule!  Sigh… wouldn’t that be wonderful?!?

2)Lines
I love regular geometric shapes.  Parallel lines, repeating patterns and symmetry just make my brain happy.  Here was the second real light bulb moment for me:

“is your life chaotic and you need to develop a daily routine to empower you to accomplish more of your goals?”
Say What?? Yes, please! Has Pinterest been holding the key to part of my happiness all along?  I think I’ve known this in the back of my mind, but this was confirmation and has given me ideas of what to do.

13)Time
You will see quickly from my boards that I love Modern.  Even more traditional things like quilts, knitting, cupcakes and toys all have a modern bent to them.  I can appreciate the historical and things with grand flourishes, but they’re just not who I am.  What does this say about me?  I’m a dreamer, a visionary, and I look to the future.  I enjoy making things that take time and are intricate in detail.  I’m a great starter and planner – not so much a finisher.  That’s a big part of the purpose of this blog – to give you a push, to set you off, and give you the information you need to do that.  So that’s what I’m doing here. 

At the bottom of this post you will find a link for you to go get your own copy of this book for just $0.99!  For less than a dollar you can then start your own journey into self-examination via Pinterest.  You can use this for helping you design your home, adjust your life’s schedule, develop branding, or just know yourself a little better.

Finally,

16)Personal Statement
I love order and people and I want more of both in my life.  I also appreciate the fine details in all aspects of life.  This is true for relationships, as well as petit fours.

“What you see on Pinterest isn’t always attainable – but it does tell you a lot about how you truly want to live.  We all have a sweet spot between the ideal and the real where we can actually thrive.”



Click here to view more details


All quotes are from  Pinterpretation: 16 Fun Ways to Find Out What Your Pinterest Boards Say About You.   Link provided is an affiliate link.  Use this link if one under photo does not work.Click here to view more details

Wednesday, August 8, 2012

How it took 11 years for me to fill out a form – Part 3


Welcome back.  I’m glad you are still with me.  If you are new you can catch up and we’ll wait for you.  The first day covered our relocation through 4 jobs:  New Orleans, North Carolina, Ohio, and Chicago.  Day 2 was about our time spent in Chicago and the first connection made in this story.  Now we are on to New York City.  Here we go.


In the spring of 2005 we were headed back east.  There was no way we wanted to live in Manhattan after being in the city of Chicago.  They are two completely different beasts.  Several factors caused us to land in Stamford, CT.  I’m not sure what exactly to say about that part of the country except that it can be a surreal existence at times.  There are nearly as many celebrities and corporate executives as there are average joes.  I’m part of the latter, but lived just down the road from the former.  That will have to wait for another day.
First order of business was to find a church.  Let me tell you, that is not the easiest thing to do in certain parts of the country.  This would be one of those parts.  It took a while but we settled into a small church in Greenwich, CT.  Yes, THAT Greenwich.  It was very much like being in a church plant.  It was there that some very deep friendships were forged over coffee, cupcakes and calendars.  I think these three tools are all that’s really necessary for women to change the world!

Over the 4 years I was there, with my amazing friends, we grew a women’s ministry and love for each other that is deep and abiding.  Greenwich is where the next link in my chain was made.  After we’d been there for a little while an associate pastor for community life was added.  With him came an amazing wife and two precious children.  This is when Amy met Becky! 

Becky is a pastor’s wife (now) with a deep passion for God’s word and encouraging other women.  Any given fall day, you might just find her at Starbuck’s with a pumpkin spice latte in hand.  I think she would lobby for the first day they are in store as a national holiday.  She also shares her passion and her life freely and warmly at Daye by Daye.

Becky and I also shared a deep love for the city of Chicago.  She and her husband had both gone to Moody.  Our time had overlapped there, but our paths had never crossed even though they came very close at times. We were able to share our city one time.  We returned to Chicago at the end of January in 2009.  The lovely Daye family spent the afternoon with us at Navy Pier shortly after the New Year in 2010.  By this time we totaled 8 instead of 6, each of us adding a little boy.  That was just one other pier in the foundation our friendship.  This is a relationship that was formed in real life, but has since mainly moved online and to the telephone.  It is a strong one and in October we will be like giddy school girls sharing a room at the Allume conference in Pennsylvania.
One note: I feel like I am slighting the other amazing people there by not writing our story.  I am hoping to introduce you to more of them in the future.  But this is not the time for those stories.
May of 2011 we made our most recent move back to our home state of Virginia.  Granted we are still 6 ½ hours away from our family, but we are at least in the same state now.  We are in the suburbs of Washington, D.C.  surrounded by people and knowing no one. I do have some friends relatively nearby, but connecting with them has been difficult.  Things started looking up this past spring.  I started hearing about local meetups that would be happening all over the country.  I checked the (in)Courage website to learn more.  There were towns listed but no takers.  I kept checking.  Oh how, I wanted to meet people.
THE BIG FINISH
This is where God started to slide the jigsaw pieces together and give me a glimpse at the picture.  It was just a peek.  The Gypsy Mama had posted on her wall that she was gonna host and who wanted to come?  Jill, aka Mrs. Diaper Diaries, tagged me in a response saying that I needed to get in on this because we were close.  I did!  In April at the (in)RL meetup I had the pleasure of getting to know Lisa-Jo.  My chain now had three links.

Lisa-Jo sent an email to me about the (in)Courage community leader applications and told me to pray about it, look it over, and think of a partner.  I’ll give you three guesses who?  I bet you only need one.  At this point the links all connected and I sat dumbfounded at how God had worked for so long, in my mind, for me to fill out an application that took 10 minutes, after discussing with Becky and having her pray as well.  These three other women have been placed in my life for such a time as this and now it’s up to me to use that chain.
So 11 years after meeting Jill in Chicago I hit submit on an application that took 10 minutes to complete.  The rest is up to God, but already I’ve seen him work in an amazing way.  I’m grateful for getting to see this jigsaw puzzle completed – no pieces missing. 
Now for the next one…
 For I know the plans I have for you, declares the Lord - Jeremiah 29:11