Wednesday, October 14, 2015

On Letting Go

If you know me in the slightest, you know I am the person who plans out their entire lives step by step and is pained by even the smallest shift in plans. I vividly remember asking my parents as a kid on Friday nights what we were going to do for the weekend over and over again and them replying with an "I don't know! Stop asking! We're just focusing on getting through today." This drove me crazy for the first 21 years of my life. Then this year came along and it was as if God was speaking right to me through my circumstances and yelling "Let it go, Amanda!" 
Just 9 or so months ago, I thought I had it all figured out. I was going to marry my high school sweetheart. I was going to live with my parents to save money. I was going to start prepping to go to medical school. Although grad school threw my life for a spin, I still kept gripping to my 5 and 10 year plan with a death grip. Eventually, I realized I had to let it go. I had to let go of everything I expected to happen in my exact methodical timeline and let life happen. We often get so focused on our plans and goals that we grip onto them for dear life because they are what keep us in our safe zone. 
You know what though? Screw your safe zone. 
"A ship is safe in its harbor but that's not what ships are made for."
I found myself hanging onto the shore even as the waves came by and knocked me against the harbor, slowly tearing me apart. Much like a ship, we are not meant to go through this life constantly hanging on to the edge for fear of what is out there.

Monday, September 28, 2015

A Mission Statement

It can be hard to live in this world where things are constantly pulling you this way and that way. It can be easy to forget who you are and what you stand for, particularly in the midst of life changes. I found recently that through my job (more on that in another post), I was running into many families that struggled with this and ended up on the wrong path. As I was driving the long 3.5 hour trip to Tucson for a work trip, I found myself thinking about this in my own life. Now, I don't think I'm going in the "wrong" direction per say but I realized that I am at such a different place now than I ever thought I would be even a year ago. And although that can be great and is a part of life, I found myself forgetting what really grounds me and makes me who I am. So I had this idea to make a sort of mission statement for my life. A short thing to look to when I was feeling lost and needed reminding as to what my ultimate goals and values are in life. 
So here is mine:

I want to live a healthy, purposeful life. I want to grow and help those around me grow. I want to nourish, strengthen, and care for the body I was given. I want to radiate positivity and be a light to those around me. I want to live out the purpose God has for my life so that I may help others in the way he intended for me. I want to have a close relationship with my Creator and live my life in a way that it shows his love and grace. 

If you sat down and wrote a mission statement for your life, what would it look like? 

Monday, September 7, 2015

The Best Plot Twist

(photo credit to Danielle Apple Photography)

This man. It has been six months and I still find myself wondering how this could be real. How did I get to the point where I'm crazy in love with one of the most attractive and amazing men I've ever met who was once my best friend? And better yet, how does he love me just the same?
You see, Ricky and I were friends for years before we began dating. About once every two weeks, we'd get together and go to the same coffee shop and talk for hours. Sometimes we would bring a Scrabble board and I'd kick his butt at the game. Other times we'd merely laugh far too loudly and I'd give him containers of my latest baked goods creation to devour. When we weren't having coffee together, we were snap chatting or texting almost daily. He was easily one of my best friends and I loved our friendship. After I ended my past relationship, this us thing just kind of happened and I've never looked back. 
He is exactly what I had always wanted in a partner. Whether we're sitting in bed fighting over a jar of cookie butter or driving 13 hours back home from a wedding out of state, he makes life at least 20 times more fun. He is patient and encouraging exactly when I need him. He is my opposite in several ways and pushes me out of my comfort zone in the most gentle way. 
If you would have told me just 8 months ago that I would be with Ricky, I never would have believed you. I always used to joke with Ricky while we were friends that I wanted to set him up with a good girl but when I would rake my mind for ideas, I would always end up having to tell him that I couldn't think of anyone good enough to deserve him. Now here I am and it just blows my mind. Now, I just hope every day that I can be all that he deserves. 

"My entire life can be summed up in one sentence: things didn't go according to plan." 
And boy am I glad that things didn't go according to my plan. This life with this man is such a gift from God.

Thursday, September 3, 2015

A Giant Update

Since I last posted on this blog, my life has turned upside down and backwards. I know I have come and gone from this blog many times over the three years I've had it but you know, that's just how life goes. There are ebbs and flows, ups and downs. But here I am, once again navigating post grad life along with juggling the 300 other changes in my life over the past several months. Let's start with the previously mentioned graduating part. On May 15th, I graduated with a Masters of Science of Science of Healthcare Delivery. Although getting the degree was tough with the 9 month program and a lot of adjusting on my end, it is one of the things I am proudest of in life. During my last week of classes, I was offered a full time position as a family support specialist at the hospital where my parents worked at for 16 years. Although this was a bizarre position for me to have even applied to in the first place due to the fact that my parents had just moved in February to Phoenix where I was living at the time,  I quickly accepted. I wanted to start off my career in a place where I felt comfortable and knew the people and culture. Of course, this meant moving back to the small town I lived in through most of my childhood but this time, without my family. In fact, just a week or two before receiving the job offer, my parents found out our house, that had only been on the market for a month or two, had sold. This meant that I finished my degree, moved out of my apartment, moved back to town, and then moved out of the home we lived in for nine years all within the same month. Upon moving out of our home at the end of May (which I could still cry at to this day), I had no place to live until the place I was looking at opened up in the beginning of June. Luckily for me, my amazing boyfriend and his roommate allowed me to stay at their house. The next three months turned into a series of unfortunate events as far as my housing went and finally after living with my boyfriend and his roommate for three months, moving in and out of an apartment, and having a few places fall through, I finally moved in with a friend into a house. 
Don't get me wrong, the past six months of my life were quite a mess but they have been times of so much joy, self discovery, and growth. In those six months, my brother married the love of his life and my best friend became my sister-in-law, my parents purchased a place I can now visit and feel more at home in, I went to beautiful Colorado for a beautiful wedding, I went to Vegas for a weekend of bachelorette partying, I found out what we were scared of being possibly cancer in my breast turned out to be a cyst, I earned a master's degree at newly 22, and the most wonderful part, I fell in love with my best guy friend. Oh, yeah, I forgot to mention that detail. As many of you know, I dated Jake for six years. Those were a good six years and six years I do not regret. But we began to grow apart and it became apparent how different we were but had never realized because we started dating at 16 and 18. I was ready to move my life in one direction and he was going in another. I made the very hard decision to end things at the beginning of the year. After that, my best guy friend, Ricky, and I became very close and realized the connection we had had for years was meant to be more than a friendship. It was all quite a blur but now six months later, I can safely say that taking the risk to be with him was one of the best decisions I have ever made. 
So that is my life right now. I am adjusting to living on my own, living away from my family, working full time, not being in school at all, and everything else that has come my way. It is not always pretty. It is sometimes crying on the drive home from the gym because nothing is the same and I long for the familiar. But other times it is dancing in the car because I am so full of joy for what is and is to come. It is a roller coaster and constantly keeping me on my toes but it is beautiful and breathtaking and inspiring and challenging and I wouldn't want it any other way. 

Saturday, January 24, 2015

Bridal Shower Gifts

As I mentioned in one of my previous blog posts, my brother is getting married to one of my best friends this summer and being that I'm her maid of honor, I've been planning her bridal shower. Their wedding isn't until July but with her also being a graduate student and my parents selling their home soon (a story for another day), our options for the date of the party were limited so we are having it in March during Spring Break.
Now, I'm a broke graduate student so my budget is not a large one. So, I'm planning on making most of the decorations and really just focusing on adding those cute details without spending a fortune. 
I'd thought I'd share with you guys the planning process in case you are planning a bridal shower as well! 
This first post is (as the title says) about bridal shower gifts. So this is perfect even if you're the one attending the shower! 

This print if the bride is a Friends lover

This personalized hanger for her to hang her dress on on the big day

Love this for putting her ring on at night or while washing dishes

This dainty bracelet is one of my favorites

Another perfect gift for her big day that will look great in pictures

For the wine lover (also can be used on the big day!)

Let me know if you all have any more posts you'd like to see regarding the bridal shower! 

Friday, November 28, 2014

Post Thanksgiving

scarf: kohls, shirt&jacket: forever 21, jeans: american eagle, boots: maurices

Yesterday, it was a whole 78 degrees here in Northern Arizona. An almost 80 degree Thanksgiving... For some, this sounds like paradise but my Maryland born self is aching for some cold weather. I've been listening to Christmas music for weeks just begging mother nature to give us a little wintery weather. 
On the bright side, I am just on the tail end of my first semester of graduate school and I honestly can't believe it. Graduate school has not been easy for me and the first six weeks or so were a disaster of me crying on the daily and living for the weekends. I thought far too many times about quitting and moving back home to spend all day baking. But, here I am. Almost half way done and I truly can't believe it. I know second semester will be a whirlwind of crazy change and lots of work but I'm so proud of myself for making it this far. Now, the best is yet to come as 2015 rolls in.

Friday, November 21, 2014

"You can wear it to so many things after the wedding!"

As I mentioned in one of my earlier posts, my brother got engaged this summer and I am the maid of honor for their wedding this coming year. So when I got an email from the folks at Weddington Way about styling one of their bridesmaids dresses for a wedding day look and a normal day look, I was right up to the challenge considering I will be facing a similar situation this next year!

The wedding day look:

I loved the scalloped edge on this dress and the color is similar to the color scheme for my brother's wedding so I went ahead and picked accessories that also match the color scheme, blush and gold! 

The everyday look:

For the everyday look, I swapped out the heels for some flats and added a jacket and tote to dress it down! I still love gold accessories so I stuck to that. 

What do you guys think? Is this a bridesmaid dress you'd actually wear after the wedding?