Catalyst

Hello everyone!

I am so happy to have the chance to tap out a message today about how our family has been doing lately! Hot coffee in hand, wishing for sunshine but unfortunately it is a rainy, grey, Fall day.

Our Autumn here in beautiful New York State has been abound with glorious colors painted by the Lord himself! I marvel at the beauty of Fall- it almost feels like driving through a movie set. So beautiful, everywhere you look.

That being said, our family was hit by a small setback, if you will, on October 8, 2016. We were driving in a parking lot near our home, when out of nowhere a large pick-up truck slammed into our cute little Chevy Malibu on the passenger side. So scary! With both airbags deployed, and pinned by the other vehicle from exiting the car, I felt fear and anger of the likes I have not felt in a long time. Fortunately, our guardian angels were working overtime that morning, and Ryan, Carter, and I are recovering from our injuries, but not seriously harmed. Our car, however, was totaled! It really baffles me that this man could have been going SO FAST in a parking lot as to total our car- I have a great capacity for forgiveness, but I do not think I will ever understand. I hope he learned a lesson that day- the injuries could have been a lot worse.

With that being said, going through a situation of this type can be daunting! Ryan has been such a trooper- riffling through the paperwork for medical, making the necessary calls about the other car, and securing himself a new car. He is very happy with the 2011 Chevy Malibu that we purchased to replace the car,  but oh, what a nightmare all the details are!

Getting back into the swing of things! I hope everyone is happy and well! Enjoy Fall in it’s splendor before the majesty is gone!

Amy 🙂

Crossroads

ourloves

Bald Mountain, Old Forge, New York October 2012 🙂

 

It is a beautiful, sunshine-filled Sunday afternoon as I tap this out to share how life has been treating all of us- with all of YOU. 🙂 Our little family has been very busy the last few weeks- the boys both conquered their New York State testing! YAY! Projects for school came due, meetings, piano lessons, and time spent with friends and family.

I have entitled this posting: Crossroads, because that is where I find myself at this point in time. I have vital, difficult decisions to make, and research to do regarding where to move next on my journey towards my degree in Human Services/ Social Work. I have been doing an INSANE amount of reading, listening to folks on the phone and via email trying to convince me that THEIR college is the right fit for me. I have yet to discover ONE that my heart- which has the blessing of being led by our Lord, has heard “the call” for. I just can’t seem to make the edges fit.  I will not rest until I have secured my spot at a school that meets the needs of me, and my personal situation- a Mother and Wife, first and foremost. That means a TON to me! Some of you will understand that, others will not…. it is not for me to explain. My heart is leading the way.

Our home is brimming with happy memories being made all the time, as folks who have come into our lives: through our wonderful church family or otherwise, have warmed our doorstep and shared meals and time with us lately that we are so grateful for. Nadine is so humble, kind, and sweet. She would never take credit for any of the great things she has done, and continues to do, in our lives that make every day just that much sunnier. I  hope that I bring as much joy to your life as you have to mine! You are quickly becoming a most treasured friend, and for that I am so blessed. Thank you! 🙂

Ryan and the boys and I look forward with great anticipation to the coming months of mild weather and an abundance of outdoor activities. Nothing makes us happier than being together as a family and being able to breathe the fresh air on a hike or outside working on a project. As the school year winds down now, jeans and sweatshirts are being happily replaced with shorts and polos- as the boys enjoy the time with their friends and classmates. It is so hard to believe that they will be 10 and 13 in just a few months!

I will keep you all posted on my educational journey. I have had success in following what feels “right” in  my heart in the past, and, as I stated, I rely on that compass once more as I decide where to continue on this quest. I feel deep in my heart that I just have to let things happen as they will. Stress and worry never help a situation. Sooo… stress and worry, I will not. 🙂

Please enjoy this time with your families as our side of the world blossoms into Spring! Wish me luck if you are inclined- that I may share good news soon about my upcoming plans! Blessings to all!!

Amy 🙂

Photofilm memory

kissesfromboo

Ok, so I have already broken my unspoken rule #1- my posts are usually, frequently, essentially centered around one word. Today is like a misbehaving child in a movie theater, grabbing an up elevator on  the 5th floor when you were headed down. It has felt like a misplaced Thursday that should have been a Saturday all day. Just that not so subtle feeling that something is off…. I needed a touch base with a dear friend and everything seemed to be more in focus. I had been meaning to reach out for weeks. Great chat!  ❤

I suppose I should have started my blog quite a long time ago, because with my pseudo-photographic memory– hence the title ( for the lack of the scientific word for the way my brain is wired…;) )- It is quite possible that moments of meaning to me are passing so quickly that I will never get a chance to jot a few lines about all of them.

Perhaps that is WHY I have a “photofilm memory”, and have learned to not mind so much that I remember ALL the details of an interaction with a friend, last night’s Final Jeopardy question, or everyone’s birthday- not to mention my two best friends’ growing-up childhood phone numbers. 🙂

I suppose it all starts with your first child- the camera comes out and never seems to be far from your fingertips. Pictures are scrap-booked, placed in albums, and in today’s day and age, posted on social media platforms for everyone to see. I know folks who don’t ever seem to have any experiences without a complete photographic documentation. (My Photographer friends are exempt from that comment, as well, they are Photographers.)

I often have had the notion in recent years that I was possibly missing out on something by not having each milestone and special moment processed through Kodak in order to fully enjoy and retain every detail. That seems to be the misconceived notion, however in my case, I have found myself enjoying myself much more, being more present in the moment with my wonderful family, and not having any regrets at the lack of photos. Don’t get me wrong– I ADORE photographs, and our dear friend and “Sister” Chels Hover photographs our family portraits nearly every passing season, and I would not have it any other way. But…. some things are just meant to be experienced. Felt, seen and fully enjoyed with the ever growing members of our families who really won’t be small forever, as well as the friends who have become family.

Writing this blog over the last few months has opened my eyes to  a lot of things and allowed me new experiences in commune with other artists that I would have forever missed if not for taking this leap.

Today may have been off, but things are looking bright again- we anxiously await the April showers to bring on the May flowers and the scents of Spring to arrive in the air. Lesson for the day: Make your feelings known. Reach out and be honest and humble.

Amy 🙂

“Humble and Kind” Tim McGraw- Take a listen 🙂

Bliss

It is said that, for some individuals- even famous, reveered, and incredibly talented- a true peace of heart and mind are sought, but ever elusive. Vincent Van Gogh was my own intruduction, in the 7th grade, to the notion that one’s gifts and vision do not always equate to a life of harmonious experiences. I remember still my bewilderment at the mental anguish of an individual with such gifts as he.

I have been truly so blessed in the last year by so many different people and experiences that have molded a broken me into a woman who walks with my head held high- but not so that I cannot see those I may help-who’s vision of myself worth has been given a complete facelift, and I am profoundly thankful to have this platform now to give credit where it is surely due.💗

When  it comes to my emotional well-being, no one could have done a better job of keeping my boat righted than my husband, Ryan. He and I are dedicated partners in this journey called Life, as well as the complex job of raising two wonderful young men, as well as running our household (and all the many tasks which that entails..) 😃 I can never repay the debt of gratitude owed him. He is my rock.

As I have surely mentioned before, I believe in God’s plan and his perfect timing for our lives. We could not be more thankful for that perfection when it relates to our dearest friends, Angie and Tom Slatin. I personally do not believe in coincidences. That being said, we were given a huge gift-all 6 of us (Carter and Brady are certainly included) on a hot, humid August afternoon last summer. That moment in time probably stands, to me, as the most definitive proof of the notion: “Everything happens for a reason.” It so truly does, and we are so blessed because of that fact! Angie and Tom stepped into our lives (again…) that day and the bonds of friendship that we would build were beyond imagining. Tom, owner and exquisite artist behind the website and business: http://www.TomSlatin.com, has become such a cherished mentor and friend to me- without who’s influence, this site may not have become a reality! His writing blows my mind and the photographs I receive daily in my email inbox always touch my heart and make me feel more honored to know him- if that is even possible. He is the brother the Lord placed out in the world for me to find! Thank you so very much, Tom- words fail me to fully express my awe at your work and my gratitude to be a student of such a master!

Angie is such a charismatic, intelligent, down right hysterical and utterly kind soul. You must really “know her to love her,” and for those of us given the gift of knowing her, that love runs endlessly deep. I adore so many of her attributes that it is uncommonly hard to describe how my friendship with her has changed my life. Suffice to say, for having known her, I will never be the same. We text back and forth almost daily, and Angie, I cannot tell you the joyous feeling I get, knowing I have a message from you waiting! Not a television watcher, yet a voracious reader like myself, the messages are full of light and love and joy- no matter what obstacle she is staring down at that moment. Thank you, my sweet friend- you have made this world a brighter place to be for myself, your “Brother”, Ryan- your childhood friend of 25+ years and your nephews. 👭.

Lastly, I would not be where I am today if not for the dynamic people who make up my Northpointe family. Ours is so much more than a church, it is a congregation of Christ-followers who are truly the best community of individuals I have ever met. To be a part of this family, and to walk our journeys of Faith together almost feels like our motto should be similiar to a military one: “No one is left behind.” When an individual or a family is in need, and this stretches beyond our church family, the folks at Northpointe take notice and action. The impact on our lives has left us forever thankful. To all of you– FAR too numerous to name, Thank you from this modest little family of four who love each and every one of you. 💕💕

I knew sitting down today that I was setting out to show my gratitude to some of the tremendous people who have been instrumental in my healing this past year. Suddenly I find, there are so many more….. For now, I will conclude. Please hug your children tight, read that extra book, and hopefully enjoy some sweet sunshine! J’adore Les  Printemps!

Amy 🙂

 

 

 

 

 

 

Progression

Ever since I was a small, shy girl I would always imagine myself in one role (consistently, anyway), that was a Mommy. As most young girls do, you gravitate away from those feelings in your teen years, when you are much more focused on relationships, cars, part-time jobs, make-up, and clothes…. I could go on.. Somehow, though, the switch seems to get clicked back on- that untapped yearning that never really went away, but was overshadowed by hormones and dance songs and staying up late.

I remember clearly the day that I turned 25. Something surely clicked that day, because it brought about a series of events and decisions that changed my life 100% and eventually led me to the best friend I have ever had- my wonderful husband, Ryan. Going back to that day, I was in a long term relationship, but now, looking back, I can see that it was very one sided. Not to say that the man did not love me- I believe he did. However, now I can see that even love that exists between two people can sometimes not be the love you need or is in His plan for you. I remember thinking to myself: “I am already 25 years old, and nothing to show for it”- not even a ring on my finger or the promise that there would be one. Unconsciously, the wheels started turning in my head of what I could do to feel more alive, more enriched in my life! I worked nearly fulltime at a restaurant down the street, as I had for the last couple of years. I had friends, I had money of my own, but when something is missing…..well, you just always feel it. I felt it. I had to leave.

I had met a friend while working as a tutor- she lived about an hour and a half away, and I talked with her, visited a few times and found myself a job there before one day moving my few belongings into her home and beginning a new life. This new life would place me face to face with my future husband in less than two weeks.

Why am I telling the story of this time in my life? I guess I have been thinking a great deal about progress. (Hence the title 🙂 ) It is said that the journey of a thousand miles must start with one step. I look back at the last 15 years, and am so thankful that I took those first scared, uncertain, sometimes lonely steps towards what I believe was truly meant to be. In a card for Easter to someone dear to me, I wrote yesterday: What a difference a year can make! Truly! I do not even recognize myself sometimes. I am so proud of the transitions I have adapted to, the time I have taken to think and rethink what I am studying to be sure….100% SURE that I want to use Social Work as a means to help as many people as I can for the rest of my working days. I ask the question of my inner self, and the inaudible answer is always- YES! So, onward I chug, smiling at strangers, doing good wherever I may, and making so many wonderful and truly invaluable friends along the way. Some of the glorious women that I have the blessing to call friends just amaze me with their humble natures. The greatest people on Earth are sometimes truly the ones who have the most to teach you – yet do so in a way that it never seems like learning, just being loved.

I pass along my Faith in Jesus Christ to my children and friends every day. As I held Carter’s hand during the church service yesterday morning, an undeniable sense of peace came over me. I have Faith. The winds may blow, the storms may come, but we keep battling on…sometimes moving inches, others-miles. But, that is what progression is. Progress. One little bit at a time. Enjoy your loved ones this day and this beautiful Spring season. Stoop to smell the daffodils, take a hike, plant some seeds. Time progresses whether we want it to or not, and I chose to take advantage of every opportunity to enjoy mine!   🙂

Amy 🙂

** The photos that accompany this post are of our son, Brady, at age one (on left) and myself, My Father: Bernie Smith, our son Carter age 12, and our son Brady, now age 9) **

 

Inspired

 

lifeWow! The mild months that are normally cold and brutal in this part of the world have been just flying by! I have logged a great deal of information onto paper in order to keep an accurate track of the many joys and blessings that we have been privy to. (I have, unfortunately, found that my mind is just too cluttered lately to keep it all in line. :)) One thing you will always, I hope, note in my writing- the message that I hope to send out to the world- is positivity. Sure, there have been FAR too many moments when it felt like the sun had gone out. For a moment. But, I choose to look for the lesson in every situation.

My hard-working husband is on the go, seemingly nonstop, as he was promoted to Sergeant recently and is enjoying the new challenges that have arisen. The gorgeous area where we live is now starting to come alive with robins, tiny scurrying critters, and warmer breezes as we prepare for Spring to make her grand appearance. True to New York State style- a snowstorm-our area’s ONLY real storm to speak of this winter, is predicted for Sunday into Monday ( March 20-21; The first day of Spring.) For those of us who have lived their entire lives in New York State, this comes as absolutely NO surprise.

Bonds of friendship are being strengthened all the time as we thoroughly enjoy every moment that we are able to spend with our friends, family, and church family. We are truly SO very blessed to have been given the suggestion to visit Northpointe Church in September of 2013. We are ALL four forever changed by the love and kindness and kinship that have been shared and shown to us. Remarkable! If you are local to Binghamton you are missing out if you are not attending there! I was so blessed today to be invited into the home of a wonderful friend of mine met through Northpointe. What a relaxing and enjoyable conversation we had- it felt like 5 minutes, and I then look at the time to discover we had been conversing for over 2 hours! We both agreed that THAT is the mark of a great friendship combination. We share a lot of common bonds and I came away feeling- well, as the title says: Inspired! When your soul meets another like it, you cannot help but come away with the feeling that “Yeah, everything is alright in the world today.” The feeling hasn’t left me, hours later.

No one says life is ever going to predictable, and really- would we want it to be? I know all too well from first hand  experience that life can throw us some nasty curveballs. Loss and fear creep into my thoughts occasionally, usually late at night. The kids are asleep and I am left to read, think, channel surf. I usually find myself doing a combination of thinking and praying. I wonder? Does God hear unspoken prayers? I think he does. I have begun to pray aloud a whole lot more lately. The sudden losses of so many wonderful entertainers, the unrest that surrounds the state of our Country, the downright deplorable behavior that the men and woman who are campaigning to be President of our Country routinely engage in, as well as the loss of two great people in my own life have gotten my thinker really tuned-in to how I am feeling.

I may have mentioned that I am studying to attain my Master’s of Social Work. I look forward with uncontainable excitement to the day that I will sit across from my first client in my new role as a Therapist. I find the greatest joy in life, besides my family and friends, in helping others and listening to people tell me about themselves. There is so much perspective to be gained from looking outside yourself and listening to people. Everyone has a story to share- although some individuals may not feel like their story is worth telling (they always are!) I had a chance to do that today with my great friend, and she was right in tune with me, listening, encouraging, appreciating everything I had to share. Rare? Yes, very. Gratifying? Yes. Yes!

I hope everyone is well, happy and pursing their dreams! I live now by the mantra that, to paraphrase loosely, if you find a job that you love, you will never work a day in your life! Thanks for the love and support shown to my blog by everyone! It makes me smile to know that I can share this journey called Life with all of you!

Fondly,

Amy 🙂