33 Things I've Learned in 33 Years

I don't claim to be wise or learned. However, I do know who has walked with me through the majority of these years on this earth. Some of these are examples of lessons learned and some things are just silly. I hope you enjoy and may be so compelled to follow suit when the anniversary of your birth comes around.

1. "Obedience begins in pain and ends in blessing." -Mullins

2. Marriage is hard, but if entered into in God's will, it will be the most fulfilling, sanctifying relationship ever experienced.

3.Children are a joy...and a trial...to "get". Also sanctifying...daily. She remind me of the immense responsibility I have to guide her on this nasty, sin sick planet. 

4. Waiting for something is super hard and annoying, BUT I have found...every time, that I appreciate "it" because I had to "suffer" time to get it.

5. True, honest friendships are golden. My two bosom buddies, my honest, loving lifelong friends live, one in another state and the other on the other side of the world. We may never dwell in the same town again, but because of the road we once walked alongside one another and the road we travel together as followers of Christ-- we will never truly be apart. For that I am eternally grateful. These women have breathed life into my soul. I cherish the few moments we see each other face to face on rare occasions, phone calls, Skype dates and brief texts. (We are all in the throws of toddler-hood and newborn babe-hood. Our quiet times alone are few and far between, but we know this is but a passing season. Maybe, just maybe, one day in about 20 years, we can meet somewhere exotic and sit along the ocean water's edge and have "deep talks".

6. Coffee is good. It's a part of my soul. (I know that sounds silly.) Way back at my Mem and Paw Paw's house, I would sit at their kitchen table and listen to their spoons stir in the cream and sugar in a simple white porcelain mug. Ahhh...music to my ears. Then was when my sis and I took our first sips of that good ole brew. Granted, we had a little coffee with our cream and sugar.  

7. I feel like I grew up at Starbucks. After a brief stint at a "big girl job" at a law office, I exchanged my computer and transcription head phones for a green apron and an espresso bar. I wore that apron for about four years. I would recommend that job to anyone. I learned so much about life from the partners and customers I got to know. Some of them have become dear friends. There is something to be said about meeting people out of your comfort zone and out of your "bubble". You have no history with them. You can get honest, unbiased responses from them. Often when we know one's past and belief system, we hold back in honest, frank responses. I am thankful for my stint as a coffee/espresso slinger. I feel confident to sit down and chat with people of all faiths, walks of life and job title. (I'm not intending to sound arrogant. I am meaning to be open and honest.) 
Paul said, "I've learned to become all things to all people so that I might save some." I Corinthians 9:22-23 
My hope is that at the end of this life, that might be true of me.

8. I'm pretty obsessed with running. I'm sure if you have known me for a minute, you have gathered as much!
~cheap therapy ~don't need a buddy, but sometimes it's nice ~pretty much an all weather sport ~long runs are the best ~clears my head ~yes, it's hard, but what's not hard when yo have to work for it ~produces perseverance ~it's biblical (ok, it's a great biblical analogy:) ~I won't always have the ability to run, but--TODAY IS NOT THAT DAY. ~marathons are nuts, but, what can I say, I am nuts ~it's a drug-Endorphins ~a cross country coach in high school once told me that because of body mechanics,  I'll never be fast. Well, Carol, I'm thankful for those words of discouragement. They are propelling me to do much speed work ~I will run a sub 2 hour half ~I will run a sub 5 hour full (hopefully before I am 40)
My parents always said, "Who told you that you can't do something?" Philippians 4:13

9. Bear says that if I weren't a Christian, I'd be one of the leading women in the N.O.W. organization. I laugh at that. I am passionate....about everything! No, seriously, I am passionate about spurring women on to be truthful "iron sharpening" sisters in Christ, image bearers and ambassadors to their fellow men/husbands/children/friends.
 "We are not to be those who shrink back and are destroyed." Hebrews 10:39
"For among them are those who creep into households and capture weak women, burdened with sins and led astray by various passions, always learning and never able to arrive at a knowledge of the truth." II Timothy 3:6-7 
I will strive to never be considered a "weak woman", not in a women's lib sort of way, but to always live "knowing who I am and Whose I am" (paraphrase from Dr. Rogers).

10. I love my city. Having grown up in Cordova, I still feel that it's beautiful. I love to talk about Shelby Farms. I could easily set up camp in the middle of that amazing park and live (ever so close to the visitor's center because I don't "go" in the woods!) I am passionate about raising my children to detest racism, segregation and the like. It is ungodly, unbiblical and an idea that was formed in the mind of Satan. The idea that one is superior to another (in any way) is utterly detestable. It's sin, plain and simple. I know it will never be solved, but I vow to do my part to never tolerate the jokes or ever make one feel inferior. (End of soapbox:) 

11. Our hearts were pricked by the Lord for adoption way before 2009. I think, for me, growing up in a church that supported Life Choices, standing along Poplar at The Life Chain and learning about adoption, ushered in the desire that the Lord would use to fulfill his purpose to grow our family. It's neat when I can see the Lord's hand clearly as I look back in a situation and see where he started a "thread" and carries it through my life. This journey has changed us and will continue to change us and we approach another adoption, Lord willing, in 2014. One night, while in the early stages of filling out paperwork and such for our first adoption, I had a conversation with a man at a wedding. I explained our journey to get to that point and then the process to adopt. He responded like no one has responded before. He simply said, "that sounds like it's going to be hard." I thought about what he said and didn't take it as a negative comment. All the sudden at about 10:30 that night, I sat up in bed (as a light bulb came on over my head:) I looked at Bear and said, "this is hard". The Lord has "gifted" us with this struggle to become parents. He has chosen us to bear this burden. He knows we can handle it and He wants to teach us something through it. We shouldn't shrink back from all that it brings. That night, I saw so many difficulties in my life in a new light! The tough things He brings in our path are there specifically for us. Just as he has tailored our blessings, He has tailored our burdens. Everything that comes at us, goes through His hands first. It is all for His glory and our good. In some ways it seemed a simple lesson. In other ways, it seemed profound. I have to remind myself of it, often.

12. I have become extremely concerned with what we put in our bodies/on our bodies and with what we clean our home. Over the past two years, I've learned about natural foods, how to make homemade body products and cleaning solutions. In the coming months, I hope to post weekly about each of these topics. I don't wish to "preach" to anyone, but I feel like the word needs to be spread about the truth and lies that the FDA spreads about what they deem as safe products. I am often overwhelmed with the responsibility to raise our daughter in a safe/healthy environment. I know we can't live in a "bubble", but I know I can provide healthy options and she can operate in those parameters. I chose to make her baby food, which was super easy. I knew exactly what she was ingesting. I try to stick to cooking with as many whole foods as possible. At this time, if my body products aren't homemade, I have purchased them from NYR Organic. I am most likely going to be selling this in the next year. Check out their website

13. Bear is the most amazing servant leader. I am truly thankful and eternally grateful for his leadership and wisdom. He is the best daddy! I knew in January 2000 that I wanted him to be the father of my children. We visited our niece, Corian, in the NICU at Vanderbilt. When I saw him sitting there holding that tiny baby and how he held her with such care, I just knew! 

14. I am a terrible housekeeper. I come up with lots of creative ways to get myself to do it, but they don't last. One thing that keeps me cleaning, however slowly, are the homemade cleaning solutions. I just think they are cool, so I want to use them. Whoever said, "oh, I have bleach! I'm going to de-gunk my shower today!" My most recent Pinterest find is a cute print that has itemized lists for everyday, once a month, etc. I framed it, so I could check it of using a dry erase marker. (that wasn't an original idea either) Oh well! Someday I'll get to cleaning. Thankfully, Bear doesn't mind cleaning. He helps me A LOT!

15. I love babysitting!!! I am hardly ever overwhelmed. I honestly know that this is my calling for this time in my life. If it were up to me, I'd have 5 kids by now. I love playing with all these little people. By the end of my "career", I will enjoy seeing these children grow up and am excited to see who they become. I have been fortunate to babysit children that belong to friends. It makes for a comfortable situation for both of us. Amelia loves being with them. 

16. I really like ice cream. My neighbor, Katie, and I know that when one of us is craving ice cream, we must call the other and accompany the other to Sonic. Sometimes we walk there, just to even it out. :) 

17. I recently joined a gym (sort of). I think this is the most excited I've been to be in a gym. I have two friends who go at the same time as me. It's always motivating to know that you will have company at 6 am. I prefer to be outside, but when it's 28 degrees, to the gym I go. This time, I am motivated. I want to get lean and mean! :) 

18. Kind of piggy backing on the I heart Memphis part, I love Memphis Tigers Basketball! It's not shaking out to be the best year, but that's not the point. I've cheered for the Tigers my whole life. In 7th grade, when I was asked where I wanted to go to college, I said, "Memphis State". :)

19. I still love Charlotte and Colby. Charlotte is getting really old. She is about 14 years old. She's got some health issues, but still going strong. Colby...well, I still love him too, but some days I want to just open the front door and let him run. It is really a challenge to manage dogs and babies and toys and carpet and poo in the backyard. 

20. I am a social media junkie. I do admit that I am addicted. It is hard to spend all day with people who can't really talk. I can't communicate on the telephone. I must text friends. I resort to Facebook often to catch a glimpse at what's going on in the outside world. It has proven to be a good way of communicating casually as well as a great way to network.

21. I love our neighbors. We almost bought a house closer in the town of Cordova. The deal didn't pan out, and, boy, weren't we glad! I'm sure there are some swell people over on Sun Vista, but over here on Green Moss, well, we've got it goin' on! We know at least nine families within walking distance of our house. I think that is a rarity in this day and time. We are going to the annual neighborhood Christmas party next Saturday night and we are excited! 

22. I like birthdays. Ever since I can remember, my mom has made a big deal about our birthdays. My sis and I were born on the same day, two years apart. Weird, huh? We have almost always had a double party. When my step bro and sis came into our lives, we had two more b-days in December and my step dad has a b-day at the end of the month! Craziness! Michelle and I used to have huge sleep overs and then, as teenagers, we invited everyone to my parent's house for a huge party. We rode the four wheeler, jumped on the trampoline, watched movies, and just had a good ole time. Parties have gotten smaller over the years. No more big groups or four wheelers, but I still like to celebrate. 

23. I love NASCAR! This is something else that I can say is in my soul. Ha! When Garry came into our lives, he introduced us to this. I spent just about every Sunday afternoon watching the start of the race. I'd snooze through the middle to the hum of the engines and wake to see the finish. I pay more attention these days, but do catch at cat nap here or there. Bear and I hope to go to Bristol in March. We will celebrate our 10th anniversary. Go ahead! Call us rednecks! We don't care! I say, "Go Kahne!" He says, "Go Jr.!"

24. I've really gotten into blogging. I started out with the purpose of telling about our adoption journey, took a break for about a year and then slowly got back to it. Now I don't usually go a week without posting. I don't post for others. I like feedback, but I post to journal my thoughts and events. I'm not a scrapbook-er or paper journal-er, so this will be the only written record of my life. I can't lean solely on my Facebook statuses. :)

25. I really enjoy going to the beach. I'm not picky about which beach. Some people love going to the Gulf, others prefer the Atlantic. I just want to put my toes in the water and...you can finish that one. This past trip was like none other. Amelia made it an interesting week! It was unique in many ways and I know we will continue to have many "firsts" in our future vacations. I dread going to Disney World. I don't exactly know why. The first thing that comes to mind is: exhaustion. The second is: sugar. They both go hand in hand. My deal is that if we are going, I want to go to the beach in the same trip. I don't want to be that close to the open water and sand and not see it!!!

26. I like a good bath. I go through phases where I go weeks with taking one every night. I'm in that phase these days. It is relaxing and proves to be a quick escape after a long day. Sometimes it's coupled with a little persistent knock and a tiny voice that says, "mommy, what'cha doing?" :) 

27. I have chosen to embrace the "gift" of barrenness. (I'm sure you didn't expect to stumble up on that one!) As I said earlier, it's all about Him. 
"It's all about you, Jesus. 
And all this is for you, for your glory and your fame. 
It's not about me, as if I should do things my way. 
You alone are God and I surrender. 
To your will. 
And to your way."
I don't recall who wrote this song, etc., but it states how I feel, especially with this heart wrenching situation in my life. I will never get over the hurt of barrenness, but I believe that to be a good thing. If it is his will to keep his finger on me in this way, I agree that it's a good thing. It keeps me humble and in complete dependence upon him. If for some reason he changes my situation, I will have learned from it and will never be the same because of it. It is difficult for me to talk to people about it, especially if they are in the throws of infertility treatment. I understand that the want to be pregnant so bad, but that's just it "THEY want to be pregnant". I am much more comfortable talking about adoption because I know how that has turned out for us. I don't desire to pursue pregnancy. It is a sore subject for me. I still get emotional in certain seasons. Many times discussions rip that "band aid" off my wound. It's not always a bad thing, but it is extremely difficult. I believed him from day one. He had a plan and he would bring it to pass. I haven't doubted him and he has remained faithful. 

28.This year I've tried to make more about Christmas than just the gift buying/giving and leading up to the big day. I've attempted to celebrate Advent in several ways. I got together a calendar for her, using a mini muffin pan and magnetic numbers. I placed candy and stickers/temporary tattoos in each spot. Each day, she gets to take a treat out. We are also memorizing the Magnificat, which is found in Luke 1:46-55. It is the sweetest thing to hear Amelia say, "And Mary said..." :) I've attempted to read through Piper's Advent devotional. I'm currently behind, but hope to finish before the end of the year.

29. I'm a country music junkie. Another thing that's part of my soul. I grew up from a wee little girl on that genre of music. I remember sitting in the Grand Ole Opry many times. I took it for granted too. Now I would love to go back! Of course there are a lot of sorrowful songs, "there's a tear in my beer, etc", but there are also many upbeat and uplifting songs. Many days on the way home from work, I'd click over to the country station and I could just feel my shoulders relax. People make fun of me for it, but I don't care. :)

30. I want to move to the country. That's where I started, so I guess you could say I want to go back to my roots. :) I've come to know a family that lives in the country and when I go to their farm, I just feel like that is really living. It's gritty and dusty and real. You don't need make up or a fancy purse. Just some jeans and boots! Hopefully one day that dream can come true!

31. I have a love affair with chocolate. (Shhh....I have at least a little bitty piece a day) And now it all comes together for ya! That's why I run! :) I prefer dark, but any variety will suffice. 

32. I miss those that have gone before me. They aren't gone. They are just having the most amazing time and I will see them sooner than later. This year, we said goodbye for now to two dear family members. I regret that I didn't spend more time with them here on earth, but distance prevented that. It will be a great reunion one day. (Paw Paw, Grandma, Grandaddy, Aunt Rene, Uncle Elvon, Uncle Dale, Uncle Roy, Lynn, Uncle Bobby, Aunt Nell, Tony, Grandmama and many more)

33. The Lord had really been ministering to me in song over the past month. At least once a day, a song comes to mind that soothes me and puts me back on track. It is so sweet of Him. I love how he faithfully meets us at our point of need. He knows us so intimately. I find such rest in that fact, as I navigate my way on this terrestrial ball. Many times I feel alone and misunderstood, but He is there and he understands. I find comfort in that. Many years ago, I claimed these verses....

"Come to me, all who labor and are heavy laden, and I will give you rest. Take my yoke upon you, and learn from me, for I am gentle and lowly in heart, and you will find rest for your souls. For my yoke is easy, and my burden is light." Matthew 11:28-30


In Definition said...

love this, buddy. and miss you BAD on a day like today. i'll try to make a call go through at some point this week. just left you a little song on your voice mail.

Tammy said...

This is beautiful, Amanda. A beautiful glimpse into what makes you, you! Thanks for sharing both the silly, the joyous, and yes, the painful, parts of the lovely creation God has made in you!

Lee said...

Loved this , Amanda. Love you, too.

Shannon said...

I really enjoyed reading this Amanda! Great insight into what makes you, you!