After 2 weeks on the road with my lovely and sweet Canadian friend Faun traveling from Oklahoma to Kentucky to NYC and Maryland to Toronto… frog-hopping across the central provinces, I am about to leave Edmonton and head for my ‘Homa. 

I will be traveling the country wide on my own. My plan is to go from Saskatoon to Old Faithful on to the Grand Canyon and then home. 

Although I do have my reservations of traveling, hiking, and camping alone for the very fact that I may be lonely, I know this is going to be an amazing experience. 

I will have 3 days alone to think and praise God for this amazing trip.

On my arrival home, I have all sorts of personal battles to face. I know this is going to give me strength from the beauty I get to experience with my only true love.

Here is to honey-mooning with God across the American mid-west!

http://youtu.be/QF0p4I9a1nw 

Day 40 of 40 – Epiphany

ImageImage

Here I am, 40 days older.

I was afraid nothing would come of this journey. It’s been a long 40 days… not because I gave up meat but because life happened.Life has happened a lot in the past 10 months.

At times, life happening is breathless in the most exhilarating and fantastic ways… that flight on Christmas day to a world unknown all alone and excited beyond belief, the stroll around Valencia alone without a map and very little Spanish, that French man’s manners in Portugal, my first city bus alone, Paris with my best friend, Twilight and Sunrise from a storybook of moments only cliches can explain in the City of Love, the food oh the food, a new friendship or two, lying naked and vulnerable in a stone room while a Turkish woman scrubs you head to toe with said new friendship, realizing how many people just want to get to know you for only a moment… nothing more required, that moment waking up to sunshine on a train chugging along to a new terrain, the fiddle player enticing me to say hello to a ship, snow in Bologna, goodbyes to the cloudy greys of the UK,

 

a few coaches… a few trains… the amazing grace of humanity… the miracle of a stopped train… a smile and set of blue eyes I couldn’t wipe from my memory if I tried, Holland, yachts, sunshine, bar-b-ques, dingys, sandcastles, Heineken, Smoked Sole, the Dutch, heights, fears, fog, lost in the best of ways with the best of company, coaches.. France, Fooooodddd mouth-watering, castles and princes and joy, agony in the best way possible…

Serendipity 3, a Greyhound 37 hours, my dad’s face when I surprised him at work after 6 months away, my grandma’s exclamation of joy, road trips… long winding roads, seeing for what seems a million miles, the best hugs in the world, the most beautiful lake in the world, fireside food, priceless conversation, folk festivals….

roadtrips, surprises, exhilarating temperatures, moments you wish would last forever, new friends, foooodddd, the simple pleasure of a fireplace and a bed, frozzzennn hot chocolate and creme-de-la-creme cheesecake, a best friend-soulmate, dreams, long drives, winding roads, fall colors…

I failed.

So many times I have failed.

I have meant to believe in all the things I want to believe in.

then I got lost. I forgot to believe.

That scared me, thoroughly so I just stopped the conversation. I didn’t think about it anymore.

and that is when I found myself in … a rabbit’s hole, and not the colorful Alice-in-Wonderland kind.

I want to believe:

People are good and maybe broken but not intentionally evil.
It’s possible to live impractically.
I can change the world for the better.
I can inspire others to be courageous and live their lives! I love the way that Evan Sanders put this: “To inspire people to live their lives with relentless drive, bold risk taking, courageous vulnerability and inspiring action.” – (www.TheBetterManProject.com)

But the forces of the world do not want you to believe these things. You become dangerous.

On the one hand, I have the dreams that are seemingly up in the clouds and on the other hand I have the ‘practical’…the always-done… the must-be-done.

On the one hand, I know this world… where time is only a concept, where every day is a new horizon, where food is an experience and an adventure, where new friends is a daily occurrence, where my soul jumps for joy, a world in which I am fully alive! This world where I inspire people. A world where I learn something new every single day. A world of adventure and cause and purpose…

On the one hand, I have the man I connect with on a level that I don’t even fully understand…that challenges me and scares me but that is chronically aloof and quite possibly just fantasy (but then why all the miracles?)… on the other hand, I have the man who is practical and here and trying but the connection is missing, at least there isn’t anywhere near the same level as the first. It’s all a metaphor.

On the other hand, I have to pay my rent, do my taxes, pay my medical bills, and make the grades. I have to figure out what the hell is wrong with my body and intentionally keep myself eating the right things so that I can be healthy again. I have to face mortality. I have to fight to live. I have to pay attention and take care of myself.

Do I keep on my living in my dreams? Or do I settle for living the practical? Is there another answer? Is there a middle road that I haven’t the eyes to see yet?

When life is too much… and these questions are overwhelming, my sub-conscious decides to ignore them. The worst thing you could do to me is ignore me. The worst thing my sub-conscious could do to me is ignore my most important questions.

Thus I spiraled into a dark hole where I was confused… and my sub-conscious had me chasing my tail thinking it was the light.

But here I am, Day 40 and the I finally have found the source.

What now?

I still am not sure where to go.

I will tell you this: I won’t settle. I won’t settle.

Maybe my dream world is a fantasy. Maybe I am full of it. I would rather live my whole life mad and ‘full of it’ than to live it ‘practically’ and settle for mediocracy.

I would rather be insane.

I will keep on believing because it’s possible.

“Nothing is impossible. Even the word itself says, ‘I’m Possible.'” – Audrey Hepburn (Happy would-be 84th Birthday by the way)

 

 

Day 36 of 40 – I’m Cursed, Blessedly Cursed

adventure04

I’ve finally realized that the truth is, I am cursed.

The funny thing is, it’s a blessed curse… and I’m not the only one.

I’d like to introduce you to the theory of the “Hero’s Journey” which comes from Joseph Cambell (also called Momomyth). In the theory, he breaks down all heroic adventures such as Frodo, Harry, Luke, Mel Gibson, or your favorite hero into 17 steps of the adventure. If you want to know more, I hear wikipedia is pretty smart sometimes
[http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Monomyth#Criticism],
or there is a summary of the steps here
[http://www.mcli.dist.maricopa.edu/smc/journey/ref/summary.html]
or if you care enough, you can read “A Hero with a Thousand Faces” which he wrote in 1949.

The truth is when you go on the “Hero’s Journey”… when you step out and do something completely different from what you have ever done before…  By doing that you go through and overcome many challenges and quests which in turn change you.

For me, traveling is what began my journey. Although, traveling is not the point.

The point is going on a journey which changes you and then coming back to your ‘home’ or where you began. Once there, you have to figure out how to combine who you once were with who you have become which should end up being someone new.

This is a very hard and painful experience.

The wanderlust has been embedded in your heart and soul thus making staying in place (especially ‘home’) very hard and uncomfortable.

To understand more of what this feels like, pay attention to the emotions being portrayed in the following two articles:

What happens when we’re not traveling?  http://po.st/H64zhd 

Quitting The Christianity Club http://shar.es/lvsu2 

What I would like to point out is this:

All of this time I thought that my “Hero’s Journey” had come to an end on my return home but what I realized today is, the journey I began over a year and a half ago has not ended or even come to the last step. I am still in the middle of the journey.

And I am so excited to one day reach ‘Freedom to Live’ which I hope is soon in the future although I am sure there are many more battles to fight before I ever get that break between journeys. 😉

Image

It’s going to be great. It’s going to be extra-ordinary. Whatever it’s going to be is unimaginable at the moment.

Amy.

Day 35 of 40 – it’s okay not to be okay.

1. lesson of the day: Unload All of Your Frustrations on God!
Lamentations is a complete book of Jeremiah complaining to God.

There is no where else to go but up…

As scary as this dark rabbits hole seems… As confusing and heartbroken and alone you feel, you cannot fail.

You can’t see to go back the other way and you can’t stay where you are …

The only thing you can do is chase that elusive light…. It’s up, it’s forward, it’s there… And that’s is where you are headed my friend.

You will do what you were meant to do. Stop fearing failure in the sense that you have the control to ruin your destiny.

It will be okay. Just keep trying.

 

And, please remember… if this is not you right now, it will be one day. Have some grace and love for those people in the world who are black & blue.

It’s Day 35 people! I have failed multiple times in this journey but I’ve gotten back up and kept on trucking.

Day 26/27/28 of 40 – ;

Although it is probably ridiculous and very unwise of me to divulge my personal life on the web, I believe that someone out there deserves to hear that not all days are good; it is okay to have a bad day or a bad week or a bad month. Just because you have them doesn’t mean you have failed or that they will never go away… it simply means you are human. You’re choice on what you will choose every day will determine what you will gain from the struggles.

So what have I been doing lately?

Nursing a broken, disappointed heart and a very overwhelmed disposition along with fighting to believe in a few daunting dreams.

Death, Ended Relationships, Disappointing People, Way to Much Work, Much to Much ‘Busy’, Loads of BIG dreams which the world wants to tell you are impossible, Cheap Talk, Broken Promises, Too Many Little Annoyances… a dirty house.

oh you. Don’t you shake that head at me.
Admit it. You’ve been doing the same.

Maybe not now but in the past… and if not in the past, you will in the future.

hope you do!

Without these, life would be meaningless. Strength would be non-existent.

When I was younger, my older brother and I rode the bus to school and back.

Some days, I suppose I would be especially annoying to him so at the end of our driveway, he would warn me that I should run as fast as I can to the front door. Promptly after, he would start throwing rocks at my head as hard as he could. brothers. 

I will guarantee you that I know how it feels to be right smack dab in the middle of life not just ‘handing you lemons’ but chunking them at you as hard as it possibly can. life. (I am in the middle right now).

I want you to know that you WILL come out of this stronger. There IS an end to this madness.

One day, you will wake up and realize you’ve made it through.

To remind yourself of this, think of the semi-colon – ;.

It is used when a sentence isn’t over and there is more to say.

And here is the sugar to those lemons for me today, my kitchen is clean! My clothes will be put away before the end of the evening… and I live the life of an aspiring rockstar… My entire weekend will be filled with live music. Not so bad hey?

As for me and my life, there is more to say. The action isn’t over yet. It isn’t for you either my friend.

Cheers,

Amy.

;

Day 23/24/25 of 40 – Goodbye for the Last Time

Saying Goodbye for the Last Time.

“There are certain queer times and occasions in this strange mixed affair we call life when a man takes this whole universe for a vast practical joke… prospects of sudden disaster, peril of life and limb; all these, and death itself, seem to him only sly, good-natured hits, and jolly punches in the side bestowed by the unseen and unaccountable old joker.” -Herman Melville, Moby Dick

There is nothing more significant than saying Goodbye.
Especially saying Goodbye for the last time.

As a little girl, I’m not sure I put much thought into what Goodbye means.
To me, every one always came back.
I grew up in a divorced family which simply means that I constantly had my travel bags packed and flittered from home to home every few days.
When I said goodbye to either of my parents, I would see them again in only a few days. I even had the privilege of being naturally very easily entertained.
No matter where I was, I was having the time of my life. Outgoing and talkative, I could find friends wherever I went… even if those friends were my stuffed animals.

So when did ‘goodbye’ begin to take on the sound of danger and doom and intense sorrow?

I would say the most significant goodbye I ever said was to my little brother Michael. I wasn’t anywhere near when the tragedy occurred. You have to understand, I am the BIG sister. I should have protected him… but I didn’t… the last time I seen him was as I shut the truck door on Christmas day… an expectant face. A jovial ‘Bye!’
The last time I would ever say ‘goodbye’ to my dear friend and little brother was on a hospital bed with only a breathing tube to keep his pulse beating.
We comfort ourselves saying ‘I will see you again before I know it. I will see you in Heaven.’ I completely believe I will see him there… but it’s also a battle. It’s a battle to believe that. Like most worthy endeavors in life, it is not easy; not in the slightest.

This goodbye led to years of sorrow and pain. That’s what they are… goodbyes are sorrow and pain.

Saying Goodbye to my high school sweetheart was definitely not an easy choice. Especially being that he was the one I turned to after my little brother passed. You never want to let go of all those good things you see. You never want to see what isn’t working or maybe never did.It is doubly painful when you made them your world. When you expected them to fulfill you.
All the times we broke up, I never thought it was over.
Then one day, I knew. In a short conversation, we had dispersed.
I said goodbye for the last time.
And I moved on. Always never easy. You have to learn to live alone again.

I had to learn who I was again. I had literally forgotten. Goodbye first love, we learned a lot.

This week, I said goodbye to my Grandma Watkins for the last time on this earth. I didn’t expect to feel what I felt. It was so much more painful than I thought it would be.
Grandma has been with me my entire life. She taught me to cook and to sew.
We made dresses for all my dolls and my Winnie-the-Pooh bedroom set. She even made me beautiful dresses for a good decade. I distinctly remember watching her chase my older brothers around the coffee table with a fly swatter.
She made the best Alphabet soup, Mashed Potatoes, and Corn. She introduced me to green beans covered in cheese.

She made me brush my hair 100 times a day as a girl. And she has always had something to say about my outfit choices.

She was a beautiful woman. I remember all the stories she would tell me of meeting my Grandpa Lawrence. They would always go dancing. She had strawberry-blonde hair. Lipstick, Jewelry, Dresses, Heels. My grandma was a stylish and class lady.

She was so alive.

For her last birthday, the big 9-1, I took her out to listen to music.
I asked her 5 times if she’d like to do something else but no, she wanted to stay there. She loved drinking her frilly summer drink and listening to the blues music played by men with ‘horrible hair’ as she put it even if it was through ear plugs and she was the oldest person in the place. I jokingly asked if she was old enough to be in there.

I told her I always wished she would be at my wedding. I’m her only grandchild that she’ll miss my wedding and children.
She told me to make sure I love the man I’m with and to make sure he loves God and treats me right.

I was so blessed by a series of unfortunate circumstances to have my Grandma live with me the last few months of her life.
I will never be more thankful for this priceless gift from a loving God.

The day she died, she waited for me to run in the room to her.
The night before, I had brought some beautiful things for her to hold. As I left, she said, ‘Amy, come back and see me.’
I promised, ‘I will Grandma, I will.’

A nail in the tire. A busted water pump.
Waiting, Waiting.
A 90-mile-an-hour drive.
Nothing is worse than a Red-Light at a time like this.
Check that, Nothing is worse than 2 Red-Lights at a time like this.
“Grandma hold on” I yelled out my window.
Running from my car, through the doors and pushing that elevator button what seems a million times.

I ran into that room to find my older sister just sitting down.
I grabbed those pretty things and laid them by her side.
“Hey Grandma” She moved her head just a bit. “Your hair is beautiful Grandma”

And she was gone.
I bought a beautiful white dress to wear with my black and white sun hat to celebrate her life tomorrow.
I’ll add it below then.

Goodbye isn’t forever. But, nevertheless it is painful. Never say it unless you must.

4583_1136383456689_4794430_n

4583_1136384016703_1075332_n

19872_1331910864752_1426263_n

19872_1331937545419_2005074_n

39474_1531268928579_2229221_n

61151_4822670571563_1048496358_n

67919_10201014327827302_818043564_n

308764_2674152619957_571237922_n

380982_2674181740685_1145533790_n

396374_4584695982347_624469209_n

526257_4955869821461_1470356489_n

529742_394879643856228_2019882456_n

531183_398308700196772_1285661923_n

534597_4773718267786_759291397_n

545135_4190102997769_715227715_n

555145_10201014346947780_390792644_n

574679_4955860341224_825835735_n

644326_10201014326427267_862433222_n

I love you always you beautiful woman.

I know she’s happily dancing away with Grandpa again… In Red Lipstick with that beautiful strawberry blonde hair done up and a gorgeous dress and heels… Grandpa has been waiting a long time to explore heaven’s boundaries with her… I hope I find a love like that.

531969_10201037622729660_2009209078_n

557950_10201034259805589_1154429476_n

 

Day 20/21/22 of 40 – Betrayal

I came home in August 2012 from  the most adventurous, mind-blowing, independent journey I had ever been on. It had completely transformed me as a person. My ideas, worldview, and heart had grown by leaps and bounds. I mean, I had to buy a whole new wardrobe for them!

The thing about a journey such as this, is that assimilating back into your old life is not easy. In fact, I think you honestly must create a new life… which combines the old life and the journey together. I did this. I have done this. It’s not easy… not even slightly.

It is very painful.

I have gone through all of my old ideals and new ones. I have been disappointed and betrayed. I have been delightfully surprised and found adoration in the most unlikely places.

But, I can feel now that the time is approaching where this ‘new life’ begins to make sense and I am able to create something out of it.

I am very excited about that. I can’t wait to see what God pulls out of it.

I am thankful to all the people who helped me along the way and even to all the people who betrayed and disappointed me along the way. Without you all, I would never have made it here…. or to where I will soon be.

To those of you going through this painful period of life currently, I want you to know that one day I will write more extensively on the subject but for now, you have to know this: People will hurt you, betray you, disappoint you, and even lie about you. They will assume things about you without ever even having a conversation with you. Ignore them. Let them think and say what they will. I promise you, those who love you and care for you, those who matter, will come to you. They will be concerned enough about you to ask you about those accusations from others and will believe your answer. They will trust you. And, the best of all, they will stick up for you. Without you even asking or maybe even ever knowing, they will put the liars in their place because they know you and they love you.

Personally, there is ONE who I answer to and he is never condemning, harsh or accusing. His conviction brings a desire for repentance; Satan’s accusation kills our hearts. He loves you so much that when he comes to you to help you, you want to be better. You don’t feel hurt.

In the hard times… in the times when those you love are hurting you, betraying you, lying about you… my best advice is to go to God and lay your heart in his palm… let go.

let go loves.

I love you all… even those who hurt who me, I even love you and always will.

Cheers,

Amy.

Day 18/19 of 40 – Ties

When you look into that Tigers eyes, you are seeing the reflection of your own emotions.

– Life of Pi

This is important, I believe. I think I do it all too often.
I inherently expect people to live up to the person I believe in them to be. Maybe, all of those times, I am just seeing myself.

If you haven’t seen Life of Pi, watch it.
It’s a phenomenal film.

Lately I have been pondering on the fight between the Heart and the Mind. The Mind can rationalize all day long. She can come up with a million reasons and explanations but the Heart… doesn’t often want to listen.

The Heart makes her will known in your dreams in the middle of the night.

And I want to be thankful,

7613_10200980007169307_344992562_n
Mike Hosty – top 3 professors in my University Career

12527_10200989331442408_1903430642_n
My closest friends from around the world

58810_10200964365578277_1841277377_n
This amazing opportunity to serve and experience amazing worship at LifeChurch.tv every weekend, not to mention the opportunity of bringing the Word of God to Asia as my JOB

482757_10200983929627366_2132800457_n
My amazing siblings and their families.

538057_10200979949007853_1154016162_n
1) an Amazing 9 months with this French Girl I found at an airport 2) a heart and mind to stick up for the things I believe in.

20130412-141025.jpg

Day 15/16/17

Jesus, come. I am desperate. I am raw. I am exposed. I need you. I am hungry. I am thirsty. I am lonely. I am tired. I am uncomfortable. I am restless. I am in need. Come, beautiful, kind God. Come. I need more of you or I am not going to make it. Come.

 

(borrowed from John Eldredge.)

 

Amy.