Grateful(a Christmas Prayer)

Dear Lord,

I come to you tonight with a message of thanksgiving– a heartfelt, hopeful prayer; sent up to express to You  a few key things:

First off: Thank you from the bottom of our hearts for the enigmatic, beauty-filled, and a bit chaotic life we are so blessed to live. From You all blessings flow, and to You and You alone goes all the thanks. Please remind us when we forget, sometimes the greatest things may be learned from the most difficult of circumstances. Americans are surely no strangers to adversity, and as it’s lessons that chisel into us our character are not always welcome, something can surely be learned.

Secondly: Please, please show the way out of hatred for so many Americans as well as those around the world. Lord, we cannot turn on a T.V or our IPADs without a daily terrorist attack, random violence, or horrific act of outright hatred for other humankind. Peace on Earth, is of course, a notion that seems to be as unreachable as it is undefinable. We do not ask for such certain terms, but a steady movement towards love and acceptance that builds, like a snowball rolling down the hill always gathering speed. You know best what is in the hearts of men. Daily deposits of kindness, humility and acceptance would benefit many.

Lastly- and this one is pretty simple. We just want you to know: We know you- your followers- and we are on fire with your love. Spreading that love is what we do, every day. For, we are so fortunate to know that the greatest gift that we can give our friends and family as we celebrate Your birth is the opportunity for them to know your love in their own lives.

In the precious name of Jesus Christ we pray,

Amen

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 🙂

Praying

I am not unlike all of you- over the course of the last month or so, I have been subjected via social and other types of media, to some of the harshest, meanest, most hateful news, opinions and messages about Law Enforcement, as well as our country. I have needed much time to process my thoughts. I have cried, spoken to God, watched clips of events that just rock me to the core of my being. I entitled this “Praying”, because honestly, this is what I do, aloud or silently, throughout each day.

This is not an essay on judgement– I am not an Officer, a Judge, or the Lord. I will not be the one who has the final say. I do not believe that expressing my political opinions fit well with the mission and message of positivity that I seek to offer through my page. In all honesty, my heart has been broken for our country for a long while now– in order for there to exist so much discord, hurt, and separation, it has taken more than just the last few months.

I am happy to know that I am a pretty good judge of character– and I have met many characters, good and bad, throughout my life. The advice to never judge a book by its cover is such a fundamentally great mantra to carry with one’s self. I have walked a mile in many different pairs of shoes. Known poverty, and also had enough. Enough about me though, what I want to say is this:(and it is really so basic)– To come back together as a Country, the “melting pot” that we are of cultures, religions, and nationalities unlike any other in the word, we must seek to see the good in others. Don’t judge one race because of the actions of one person, or three or twenty. Please don’t judge all Officers of the Law because of the action(s) or mistakes — admitted or not, remember WE are not the final judge of anyone! We have a justice system in this country that was devised 240 years ago, although amended  through the decades, by wise and dedicated men who believed with all their hearts– enough to die– that we would be the greatest Country in the World. We ARE. I truly believe too many people do not have the ability or have not been taught the empathy to try to understand where someone comes from, what they have seen and experienced, and how this has crafted them into who they are. Empathy is taught- no one is born knowing how to relate to others, our parents are given the job along with so many others- to teach us morality, reverence, and hopefully, a peaceful attitude towards others.

Of course I know that this is not the case with everyone. I will be a Social Worker in just a few more semesters. Believe you me, I have listened to some personal stories that made me question whether I truly had the heart for my chosen field. Stories during which tears unexpectedly sprung into my eyes– and words failed me.

The idea of embracing who we are as a country, as a WHOLE people reminds me of words from our Pastor, Kenny Mulligan. He and I agree on many things– he is one of the most outstanding people I have ever met. One is this: Our country needs God. We need Jesus. Truly, we believe that the church is the hope of the world. It is not a “bible thumping”, drag you to church on Sunday, memorize your scriptures-type of message. It is basic, easy to understand, but can be so difficult to practice. Jesus teaches us LOVE– Love so abundant that he was willing to die so that we would not suffer the fires of Hell. Jesus teaches us FORGIVENESS. ( I know– that is a big one!) It is the Christian way to forgive. Let it go, release yourself from the agony of a grudge or a feeling of guilt, and release those around you as well. We are all human beings, we are all so very different, yet; we are all given diverse, wonderful, and unique gifts that we are to share with the world. We need to come together as a Nation, as a people, as human beings. Judge not, for you shall be judged.

The wisest people, those who actually “have” the most, ( and I do not mean possessions) can sit down and talk with anyone of any walk of life, and feel comfortable and at ease. THIS is the nation that I dream of for my children and their children. Please pray for those who have lost love ones because of wrongly displaced hatred, and reach out to your neighbor, someone in need, a lost soul and begin to help to sew back together the fabric of our nation. This is my prayer today– and every day. God Bless us all and the Officers who walk the beat everyday to protect our lives and livelihoods.

~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) **