Friday, August 12, 2022

Healthy Habits I'm Working On

 So.... in light of the list I posted in the last blog post about Things That Make Depression Worse, here is a list of things that help depression and mental health, based on a lot of videos I watched on the subject (because let's all agree that YouTube is the most reliable resource for mental health education... low-key for real).

1. Practicing Mindfulness - This is one of the main things I've been trying to implement lately, as I talked about in my last post, which goes hand-in-hand with the ability to self-examine. I have been working on the book "Relational Intelligence" lately, which has helped me largely in this area (as well as improving my ability to interact with people around me in a meaningful and impactful way).

2. Move More - Be more active! This one I used to do a lot more consistently. I used to walk about an hour every single day! Oh to have the time to do that again! But alas. At least I can shoot for 20 minutes these days, and that's something. 

3. Call a Friend, Don't Isolate Yourself - I've always struggled with this one unintentionally. I'm an introvert by nature, so this one just kind of happens. I don't realize it, nor does it really effect me in an obvious way, so I've always disregarded it. But it's true and proven that surrounding yourself with good people who want to lift you up and want the best for you has a major impact mental health. 

4. Eat Better - I have always been off and on with this one. Lately my eating habits have not been of the most healthy nature, but both my husband and I have been working on changing this habit for the better as we plunge headlong into our new life and future for our family!

5. Vitamin D & Sunlight - A dear friend pointed this out to me, that when you don't get enough sunlight and vitamin D, it can greatly affect your mental health. So, when I get my 20 minute walk during the day, I can kill two birds with one stone by walking through the sunbeams and getting those vitamins that I have been lacking!

These are my findings, and these are the habits that I am working on implementing in my every day routines, in order to care for myself in that way. 

Perhaps, this list will be of help to you too. Farewell for now, fwends.

-Amaris

Thursday, August 4, 2022

Random Updates // How Being Married Change My Life Forever

I have realized something important in the past few months since being married. That in order to best care for and love my husband - and later, my family - I have to let God lead me to a place of mental freedom.
These are some things I've been up to in this regard, lately.

Researching Depression : 
I have been very neglecting of my mental health in the past few months, and that's my own fault. I have also not been appropriately dealing with trauma from past experiences the way I should have. This has resulted in a very bad mental health situation. I have had more anxiety, more depression, more misery, more listlessness and purposelessness and more difficulty in completing every day tasks in the past 6 months than I should have. 
I did some research a few weeks ago, and made a list of things that make depression worse, in order to kind of gauge where I'm at in order to help the situation by taking some steps in a better direction.

This is what I added to my list.

Things That Make Depression Worse:

1. Lack of Sleep / Sleep Disturbance / Over or Under sleeping
2. Stress
3. Not being active
4. Alcohol
5. Focusing on the negative / unhealthy thinking styles
6. Hormones
7. Not getting help
8. Low self-esteem
9. Isolation
10. Relationship issues
11. Consuming sugar & saturated fats
12. Engaging in destructive pleasure - seeking behavior
13. Staying away from sunlight
14. Getting caught in the rumination trap / replaying situations
15. Being around toxic people
16. Neglecting physical health

When my husband and I studied this list together, we discovered that I struggle, in varying degrees, with pretty much all of these! What! 
It took a lot to fight off a feeling of hopelessness for my situation. My husband comforted me with the reminder of the fact that in the past year's time, I had been through a lot, emotionally speaking. I had lost close friends, I had been in a situation where I didn't know where I was going to live, I had been through a job change, been without a car, and moved. Not to mention planning a wedding and getting married - although these were good things. 
It was a lot! It was around January and February of this year that it had been the most stressful, I was even struggling at work. 
With my husband's help, in this area I can forgive myself for the struggles I am experiencing now. Life happened, and it was stressful. But now, I can pick up the pieces with my husband and my God by my side, helping me heal and grow - separated from a lot of bad situations that I was dealing with before I was in the place I am now.

So here's where I'm at. It might be tempting to look at this list and struggle with hopelessness at the impossibly long list of things that I've let happen that has caused a lot of problems with my mental and emotional state. But, I have a better God than that. And that God has given me a husband to stand by me, no matter what I'm struggling with. God has said to me, "it is time to heal". 

---

One of my most recent excursions in this journey of healing, has to do with a concept called "mindfulness". I am discovering this extremely powerful concept involving self - awareness, self - examination, and mindfulness. I am new to these ideas - but the difference of observing my thoughts as they appear in my brain from an objective viewpoint- with no judgment or self-deprecation, but simply observing and viewing what goes on in my brain rather than simply being controlled and told what to do by my thoughts and emotions - or worse, having no view of what's going on in my brain at all... like I have always done. This is making a huge difference in my life!!

Let me paint a scenario for you. 
In the past, with no self-awareness, no mindfulness, and no ability to self - examine, a simple bout of the after-work grumps would have ended up with reacting poorly, which in turn makes my husband hurt, which in turn makes me look down on myself for hurting him, which in turn continues a destructive cycle of self-deprecation, low self-esteem, and even more feeling of low motivation and hopelessness. 
But since I have prioritized the practice of these concepts in my life, this is what happened to me two nights ago.
My husband worked at 5 in the morning. So we woke up and had about 20 minutes of getting ready before I took him to work. I then worked at 11am, and didn't get home until about 8:30pm, about which time we went to bed. 
But as we were trying to fall asleep, laying there in the dark, I found that I was feeling very grumpy. I was upset, moody, and irritable. I didn't question why, I had never done so. I was simply reacting and feeling it.
I was beginning to react to it like I always had, much to the confusion and bewilderment of my husband (who was wondering what was wrong with me, of course!) when I remembered what I had been learning about self-awareness of your own brain and emotions. And so in my head, I stepped back, and asked myself "what was I upset about?" 
Believe me, this is not easy for me at all! And the deeper I dig inward, the harder on my pride and heart it is! It feels like physical pain, looking inward like this when dealing with feelings of anger, depression, sadness, and irritability - like this night. But, I dared to do it this time. I viewed my own psyche from an objective perspective - with no judgement, self-deprecation, or opinion. And I discovered something amazing for the first time in my life. I had control over what was going on in there. And I had the ability to view what was going on in there! Perhaps it seems simple to the reader, but remember, I have never done this before, nor has this ever been modeled for me. So I have years and years of habit and pattern-building going for me in the more destructive mindset. 
Through this excruciating practice of peering inward, I realized that the reason I was feeling grumpy and upset was because I hadn't seen my husband all day, and I was really missing the fellowship and communion that I would usually have with him- which my work schedule had made impossible to do that day.
Even if you're able to read what's going on in your head, you might not be able to solve the thing that's causing your brain to feel this way in the moment.
But, that night, even though we were both tired, we were able to turn the light on, postpone our sleeping for a bit, and fellowship with each other for about an hour. We talked about our day, discussed my emotional discoveries, and shared the bond of community that I was craving to have with him. 
This fellowship together, as well as the emotional discovery I had made for the first time probably in my life, was very rewarding and reason to celebrate for us. 
And I knew, and I know, I wasn't hopeless. I am not hopeless.

God has told me, "It's time to heal. It's time to create new habits, and abandon old ones. It's time for newness."

I am so grateful that my God is all about newness. All about doing away with old, and putting on the new. 
I know and trust in His plan that He has for my mental health, my marriage, and my life. And I am incredibly happy that the LORD is blessing my marriage and teaching me what it means to let go of the past and look to the future. I have never really done this. But it's invigorating and exciting. As well as scary and painful. 
People at work make fun of me when I answer their "So how's married life?" question with "it's like creme brûlée at a fine dining restaurant ... seriously, like the best creme brûlée you've ever had in your life." But I don't know how else to describe how wonderful God is, how wonderful it is to have a partner that I can trust to lead me closer to the LORD, and lead me on this path of healing I am finding. 

The LORD is so, so good. 

Farewell for now, friends!

Wednesday, April 6, 2022

A Small Devotional From Psalm 27

Whilst reading this Psalm on a rainy Wednesday morning at my favorite coffee place, I was struck by a theme of Psalm 27. I noticed that there are mainly two "characters" in this Psalm... God, and the Psalmist. The thing about this chapter that God pointed out to me, and stuck out at me the most was the different roles, or actions, from each 'character'. I think these "roles" say a lot and give good insight about what God's behavior is and attributes are, and also about what our (and the Psalmist's) role and responsibilities are in response to God's behavior. I'd like to outline them here, for your observation. 

These are not polished up in any real way, just note that these are my own observations and interpretations of the Psalm. By all means dig into the chapter yourself and see if you notice the same things!!

God's Behavior:

-He is the Light

-He is my Salvation

-My Defense

-My reason for Confidence

-The Beauty I get to behold

-The One Who conceals me

-The One Who hides me

-The One Who lifts me up

-The One Who commands me to Seek His Face

-My Help

-The One Who takes me up when I am forsaken

-The One who Teaches me His Way

-The One Who Leads me in a Level Path


My (& the Psalmist's) Role in Response:

-I have no reason for fear or dread

-I can be confident in, and as a result of, the LORD

-I can dwell in His House

-I can Seek

-I can behold His beauty

-I can meditate in His temple

-My head is lifted by God

-I am able to offer sacrifices in praise

-I can cry to God

-I am commanded, and empowered, to obey the Lord by seeking

-I can believe that I will see the goodness of God

-I can wait for the LORD

-My heart can take courage



My favorite verses in this chapter //

Psalm 27 : 1 

The LORD is my Light and my Salvation; Whom shall I fear? The Lord is the defense of my life; Whom shall I dread?

Psalm 27 : 4

One thing I have asked from the LORD, that I shall seek: That I may dwell in the house of the LORD all the days of my life, To behold the beauty of the LORD and to meditate in His temple. 

Psalm 27 : 6

And now my head will be lifted up above my enemies around me, And I will offer in His tent sacrifices with shouts of joy; I will sing, yes, I will sing praises to the LORD.

Psalm 27 : 8

When You said, "Seek My face", my heart said to You "Your face, O LORD, I shall seek".

Psalm 27 : 10

For my father and my mother have forsaken me, But the LORD will take me up.


Until next time, friends.

-Amaris


Wednesday, March 2, 2022

Words of Affirmation

I've realized in recent weeks, how important feedback is to me. I like to know that I'm on a good path, a good track, and like I'm doing what I'm supposed to do. It's not necessarily people pleasing. I think it's deeper than that. 

I crave a sense of direction. Perspective. It doesn't have to come from people, but it has to come from something. A lot of times I get it from myself, when I can. Or other people. I crave someone older and wiser than me, to tell me how I'm doing. But here's the part that makes it not a people pleasing thing ... I don't want it to be fake feedback. I don't want praise. I want ugly truth and grit in my feedback. I want true, honest perspective about where I am at in life, beyond what I can see for myself. In my job. In my spiritual walk. I get really insecure about what I don't know... so much that I let it ruin what I do know.

One of the most powerful nights of my life, a cool April evening in 2021 after a Casting Crowns concert, was just that because I was given something I had never had before... honest feedback on my spiritual walk. Growing up, in home, church, homeschool circles, or life, I never had that. I had never had honest perspective on how I was doing or what I was doing on my walk with God except for a very few, precious times. That night after the concert, I was doing a favor and driving home a new friend, from a concert that we both attended. A guy named Cody. 

At the time, we had known each other only a few months, but we had both been drawn to the other by our separate spiritual walks. I was coming out of a severely heartbreaking season of life, where I was pushing God to the back burner and chasing every desire I thought would make me happy, up until it all crashed and burned and I decided that I didn't want to get in my own way and end up in hurtful situations caused by me anymore. Cody was in a stage of life when he was experiencing God every day, like a smoldering fire that constantly fueled him as he went about life, counseling and discipling friends and church people who found themselves lost or confused about who God was. 

The thing that struck me about Cody, in that early friendship (and still today) is how rock-solid his faith was. He had experienced God, and that's all he needed to be completely on fire for Him and to let the Lord convict him and dictate his life and thoughts every day. I had experienced God too, but for some reason I doubted the things I knew to be true. I was pretty sure I knew what was true, and what God could do. But I hesitated when talking about it, or acting on those facts, because I didn't want to make a mistake. To describe the difference between Cody and I in that manner, is like swimming in a questionable body of water in the wilderness that God told us was safe. Neither of us disbelieved God. But I would tip-toe in, wading very gently deeper and deeper, checking my surroundings every few seconds, peering into the water for any sign of danger, just in case. As if I didn't believe. Cody, on the other hand, would just find the deepest end and dive in head first. God told him it was safe, that's all Cody needs.

On that April night after I drove him home, we sat outside his house and just talked. And he told me all the things that I knew already, but doubted. It was like affirmation. Confirmation. It might not sound like a big deal, but that night it blew my mind. I had never experienced that. To have someone speak so boldly to me about what God had already been telling me but I had been doubting, was just what I needed at the time. 

You might know already that Cody and I ended up falling in love months later, as the LORD brought us through many trials together. But even before we ever had feelings for each other (or wanted to... we both were pretty confident that we were just going to be friends forever... *insert sarcastic laugh here*), I realized pretty early on that I could trust Cody. Because he navigated life by God's word in his heart and mind, and he didn't question that, even as I was full of questioning.

But here's the thing, Cody is not a replacement for God's feedback into my life. Cody served the LORD by giving me what I needed in my heart at the time, but the reason I find myself depressed is because I can't get the feedback I feel like I need and want in various areas of my life, where even Cody can't tell me. Like at my job. I haven't had a lot of feedback lately, which can be kind of stressful and frustrating when trying to navigate a new position. I want to know how I'm doing! Am I on a good track? Is there a way to go about this task or project or situation or season that could be better for my development and experience?

I am finding I must constantly and consistently put aside my nervousness about whether I'm doing the right thing at work, and just focus with confidence on what I know that God says about me in His word, and what He says directly to my heart as I navigate life. It's a constant call to let go of the burden so I can instead hold on to God's words.

These concepts are still something I am chewing on in my brain and heart. Even as I type this post, I'm not worrying about making anything sound organized or structured, I'm just letting my brain flow into my fingers as they type onto this digital page. Kudos to you if you've read this long into the post with the chaos of it all. But that's the way life is. It's constant and chaotic. It's impossible to understand. It's impossible to know where I am or what path I'm on or who I am. 

I can only rely on the thing that I really can. What does God say about me? 

I hope you are all doing well. Thank you for reading along with me as I navigate the craziness of my heart today. 

Until next time.

Sunday, January 16, 2022

Reflections: 2 Chronicles 20 // Stages of Trials

The stages of a trial. 

If you're anything like me, when you're encountered with a trial sometimes it's hard to know where you are in the middle of it, you don't know which way is up anymore, and you get in your head and forget to take it to the LORD to deal with it. I tend to do this thing where I hunker down into autopilot and just get through life waiting for it to be over so I can get on to the blessing stages. 

Well, today I read 2 Chronicles 20, and noticed a very clear and structured look of a trial. I like how the whole chapter shows the entirety of Jehoshaphat's trial with being attacked from beginning to end- making it easy to be read, pondered on, and dissected. 

I will not go into the whole story of this chapter here... for the sake of keeping this post short and chewable, I will encourage the reader to read the chapter for themselves, to study it and to get the context. In this post I only want to discuss the different stages of a trial that I noticed.

Stage 1: Fear... of the trial (Verse 3) 

"Jehoshaphat was afraid." It's the moment when things start getting difficult. You really start to feel the trial itself. It might cause insecurity, anxiety, and fear. The important thing to note is that it's not a sin to be afraid... it only matters what you do with the fear. Which leads me to the next stage. 

Stage 2: Responding... to the trial itself (Verse 3-4)

"[Jehoshaphat] turned his attention to seek the LORD, and proclaimed a fast throughout all Judah. So Judah gathered together to seek help from the LORD; they even came from all the cities of Judah to seek the LORD." What matters is how you RESPOND to the fear. Always respond well by seeking the LORD and giving the trial into His hands... He can't work on something until you give it to Him to work on!! You have to let go of it yourself first. 

Stage 3: Recognizing... the power of God (Verse 6-7) 

"and he said, "O LORD the God of our fathers, are You not God in the heavens? And are You not ruler over all the kingdoms of the nations? Power and might are in Your hand so that no one can stand against You." In the midst of a trial, put God where He belongs... at the top. Recognize that God is the all powerful ruler of everything. Recognize that nothing can stand against Him or His will for you or the earth. 

Stage 4: Remembering... God's past faithfulness (Verse 7)

"Did you not, O our God, drive out the inhabitants of this land before Your people Israel and give it to the descendants of Abraham Your friend forever?" This is probably one of the best bits of advice I can offer to anyone in a trial. Remember what God has already done for you. Remember His past faithfulness. Remember His past goodness, kindness, sovereignty. God has not changed! He has been faithful in the past and He will be faithful now and in the future. Great is His faithfulness.

Stage 5: Believing... that God will be faithful NOW (Verse 9, 12)

"We will... cry to You in our distress, and You will hear us and deliver us...We are powerless before this great multitude who are coming against us; nor do we know what to do, but our eyes are on You." Believe that God will get you through this. Believe that He will be faithful just as He has in the past. Believe that you are not alone. Believe that this is not all in vain.

Stage 6: Result / Resolution / Blessing... of God's faithfulness (Verse 24-26)

"When Judah came to the lookout of the wilderness, they looked toward the multitude, and behold, they were corpses lying on the ground, and no one had escaped. When [they] came to take their spoil, they found much...including goods, garments, and valuable things which they took for themselves, more than they could carry. And they were three days taking the spoil because there was so much. Then on the fourth day...they blessed the LORD. Therefore they named that place "The Vally of Beracah (Blessing)". This is the part we all wait for. The other side of the trial! It might look different for everyone depending on the trial, the timeline, and God's plan for it. But the end is worth it- sweet blessing from the Lord. 

Stage 7: Peace... in God's rest (Verse 30)

"So the kingdom of Jehoshaphat was at peace, for his God gave him rest on all sides." How blessed it is to partake in the peace of God's rest! There is nothing else like it in this life, there is nothing that compares. 

Wherever you are in your walk with the Lord, I hope these stages encourage and inspire you. And remember, God has never let you down, and He never will.


Questions for your heart: 

How has God shown His faithfulness to you in past difficulties? 

How can you crucify your flesh in order to fully 'hand over' your trial to the LORD?


-Amaris ☆ //

Monday, January 3, 2022

Since You've Been Gone

I haven't blogged in almost a year!! A few highlights to update my readers ~ or ~ 2021 Went Like This

~*~

I still work at The Home Depot. I hit two years there on August 5th, 2021. I started out as a part-time cashier, then when the Pandemic hit, I went to full-time Order Fulfillment Associate, and then in February of 2021, they gave me a special, on-going project to maintain and prioritize our top-selling merchandise on a week-to-week basis. This is my current position, but I just applied and interviewed for an open management position in my store. I should hear whether or not I got the spot in about a week!! 



I still work at a bowling ally. I hit two years there in November of 2021. But I have let my boss there know that I will be leaving in late February. It's been a fun two years, but it's time to prioritize other things in my life by spending time on other things than a second job. As well as Home Depot being the career that I want to prioritize!!

My best friend got married. It was my first time being in a wedding, and I was the Maid of Honor for my best friend! I always wanted to be in a wedding, and what more could I ask for. It was a beautiful, not-too-hot June afternoon, and I saw my best friend be given away to the man of her dreams. A special day stored in my heart. 


I met someone. This is the most significant highlight on this list! It was on February 28th, 2021 at a small group in my church. We became Bible study friends, and went through a lot of drama with that church that we met at, which we no longer attend. But our friendship continued. Throughout various trials of sticking together, the Lord strongly indicated to us that we were meant to be partners, so we continued pursuing that direction together. As time and our friendship progressed, we developed feelings, much to the fear on both our sides considering we had both had traumatizing experiences with having feelings for others in the past. But God urged us to continue on the path we were on, leading us to the inevitable relationship that, initially, neither of us thought we wanted. It took a lot of giving up our own desires and crucifying the flesh on both sides to reach the point of accepting and admitting that we were in love with each other. He was in a place where he wanted it to be "God and me" and he didn't think that there was ever going to be a woman in the picture, and after a few bad experiences with unbelieving and toxic women in his past, he was fine with that. As for me, I had a very tumultuous year in 2020 which ended in a breakup that broke me and drove me back to God's arms, with a resolve to spend the entirety of 2021 in singleness, with a similar "just God and me" mindset. So you can imagine my fear and PTSD when the LORD was leading me towards this man and indicating to me that my vow was being fulfilled in him and it was for the purpose of leading me to this man, which it did. I realized that my commitment to singleness was largely made because of fear of getting hurt again, and it took a significant process for both of us to let go of past fears and relationship trauma, and trust what God was clearly telling us that not only was it 'ok' for us to be together, but that God had a plan for our relationship, far more significant and long-term than either of originally anticipated when He told us to "be friends". Through all of that, here we now are, happily living life and making plans to be married this April. Never, ever, ever in my wildest dreams expected to find myself here now. My heart is amazed at my God. 


Coffee became a surprisingly big deal to me. My fiancé and I fell in love over coffee. Literally. In our early days of friendship together, we did a lot of Bible Study at various coffee shops throughout St. Charles (where we hope to live once we're married). We discussed and came to understand a lot of our relationship as it developed and progressed throughout the months that we were falling in love, and as well we both developed a deeper appreciation and understanding of quality coffee roasting and dialing in espresso. Our favorite place? Course Coffee Roasters in St. Charles, MO. They have contributed a lot to our love for coffee (we actually went there on our first date!! Also funny story we were engaged before we went on any dates, but that's aside!), so much that it's kind of a pipe dream of ours to have our own coffee shop someday. 

I hiked. My favorite place? Castlwood State Park. 


I learned a lot of things about following God... and realized how much I still don't know. One of the things I learned is that it's extremely rare and probably safe to say it's NEVER the case that God will lead you to do something that's not outside your comfort zone. In other words, following God is not easy. One thing I have found: if what you are hearing from God is not leadings you to constantly crucify your flesh, 1. It's probably not from God, and 2. your relationship with the LORD probably needs to be re-evaluated and re-prioritized. You have to always be willing to be wrong. You have to always be willing to be changed, stretched, pulled until it feels like it will kill you. You have to always be willing to hear whatever God might tell you. You have to have an open heart, and be willing to obey no matter what God tells you. And here's the thing about that, you won't enjoy it. BUT. For all the parts that are so uncomfortable, there are tremendous blessings.  Incredible blessing beyond your wildest imagination. Incredibly worth it. 

I would like to start blogging regularly again. I'm thinking of just posting on here little things that God tells me in life, and maybe it will bless or encourage you too. 

I don't know who reads my blog anymore, but it doesn't really matter because it felt good to post this. I hope you are all well. 

Amaris


Tuesday, February 23, 2021

Golden Hour


One of the worst thrift stores I ever went to unintentionally brought me one of my favorite albums I've ever had the pleasure enjoying.

It was a bad smelling thrift store, the kind that smells far too musty with moth balls and dust, with the ever so light note of BO to top it off. Also, almost every garment on the shelf had a hole in it! I only bought a single garment from that place (yes, I managed to find a hole-less cardigan) and I have since decided I don't even like that garment. 

But while I was in that store, I heard a pleasant sounding song over the station playing overhead. I used a song app to identify it as "Rainbow", and added to my Spotify (I was a Spotify user at the time, but have since switched to Apple Music for the superior audio quality) to listen later. 

It's typical of me to, when I discover a new song from an artist I don't already listen to, I will listen to the one song I found for awhile, come to love it, then when I'm feeling ambitious and impulsive I will venture into the album, and even the artist, to discover more.

Such is how it happened for me to discover the rest of this wonderful, beautiful, different album called "Golden Hour", by Kacey Musgraves.

I won't bore you any longer with how I came about listening to it. 

I'm simply interested in discussing what I like about it so much, for mainly my own enjoyment, as it pertains to me and my view of the world and my opinions during this season of my life (which, granted, is a very narrow viewpoint. I am not the kind who is able to speak intelligently and from a place of knowledge about music, or much of anything else. If you come into this blog, or even this post, expecting to broaden your mind and intellect with my knowledge and opinions of everything in my microscopic world, needless to say, dear friend, you will be disappointed). 

So here we go.


In speaking about the album as a whole, I love the diversity in sound from your usual country or pop music. Wikipedia says it is a "Country and country pop record... which explores elements of disco, electropop, electronica, and yacht rock". It's atypical yet beautiful, different yet comforting. 

It's the closest thing to actual country music I can stomach listening to, honestly. Kacey Musgraves took something that I historically dislike (dare I say abhor), and made something I admire and adore! No artist I know has succeeded in making me love country so much. 

Let me talk about some of the tracks...


Slow Burn

I love how the song begins, it is shy and sweet, it pulls me in right away. And then we are met with Musgraves lovely, simple voice. This song speaks to me because it is typical of me to prefer taking the slow side of things. Sometimes I, like all people, rush into things, but I will always preach the benefits of taking one's time. This song is quiet and relaxing and makes me think of walking through the springtime sunlight, a light breeze on the air. I am here, taking my time, trying to learn what I can with the life I've been given. God's timing is usually slow, forcing me to take my time and learn to be patient with myself and with His work.

"You know the bar down the street don't close for an hour, we could take a walk, and look at all the flowers."

"Old soul, waiting my turn, I know a few things but I still got a lot to learn."


Lonely Weekend

I am still learning to be ok with being alone.

It's harder sometimes. Some experiences don't seem worth living when you don't have someone to share it with. Some weeks it's just me and my own depressing thoughts and anxieties at my workplace, only to end the work week with two days off- full of nothingness. For me, nothingness causes depression, but somethings cause anxiety. After trying to be something with two different significant others in 2020 (one which, I never thought would work out, and the other I really did think would work out, both hurting in the end), the LORD has brought me back to the place where I am by myself. Alone again. Perhaps I can learn more this time around, now that I know how distracting it is to try to work on myself when there's somebody else. 

"Even if you got somebody on your mind, it's alright to be alone sometimes, sometimes."

"I guess everybody else is out tonight, guess I'm hangin' by myself, but I don't mind."


Butterflies

This is the very next track I heard when venturing into this album to see what it had to offer after falling in love with "Rainbow". This track is a nod to my personal tendency to fall for people far too easily. This song reminds me to set aside feelings of bitterness, jealousy, hurt, even anger when thinking about important people in my life who have come and gone, and just remember the lovely feeling of it all, the wonderfulness of time spent with people I cared about at the time. I am a hopeless romantic. Always waiting on the edge of the heart to be swept away by romance. It's in my blood. I love being in love. The LORD is using this part of my life to learn to step back outside of any feeling I might have for someone, and view things logically, sensibly, and with a higher perspective.

"I didn't know him, and he didn't know me. Cloud nine was always out of reach. Now I remember what it feels like to fly! You give me butterflies. You give me butterflies."


Oh, What a World

I love the way Apple Music talks about this track. "Most endearing, perhaps, is 'Oh, What a World', Kacey's free-spirited ode to the magic of humankind that was written in the glow of an acid trip. It's all so graceful and low-key that even the toughest country purists will find themselves swaying along." My mind is ever being pulled in two directions, an existential dread of life like a backpack full of rocks, and my aboslute, childlike wonder of the world around me. This song reminds me how much I adore my mind's perception of God's world. People, places, things, feelings, affection, sunshine! It is all so wonderful and, as Apple Music puts it, "endearing".

"Oh, what a world, I don't wanna leave. There's all kinds of magic, it's hard to believe. Thank God it's not too good to be true. Oh, what a world, and then there is you."


Space Cowboy

And here we have one of my favorites on the album. This song spoke to my heart even before I tried to be in a relationship with someone I thought was the 'one'. Now, since I've had then lost my cowboy, it's even more personal to my ever-romantic soul. I am the kind of person who needs their space, absolutely. I was willing to give him his. I guess he wanted more. So he left. I didn't fight it. I don't now. And I won't. What's meant to be mine I won't ever have to fight for. I thank God for the wonderful times I had with him, and he can drive off in his truck and it's ok if I'll never see him again. I'll treasure the memories, the day trips, the unknown wilderness of what we were to each other while it lasted. All I can say is, I'm sorry you believed what you believed, I'm sorry it ended that way. I thought I loved you. I think now I only loved how you made me feel. I only love romance. Sunsets fade and love does too.

"Boots weren't made for sitting by the door. Since you don’t wanna stay anymore, you can have your space, cowboy. I ain't gonna fence you in. Go on, ride away in your Silverado, guess I'll see you round again. I know my place, and it ain't with you. Well, sunsets fade, and love does too. Yeah, we had our day in the sun. When a horse wants to run, there ain't no sense in closing the gate. You can have your space, cowboy."


 Happy & Sad

This song, the lyrics and the title, makes all the sense in the world without me having to say a word about it. It speaks to my excitement, my sense of wonder for the world, my wanting to jump right in, yet being held back just enough by anxiety. Jumping from one dopamine high to the next, just to get by, for fear of missing out, wanting to experience all I can in this life. Perhaps that high is a person. Perhaps that high is an experience. Until its all crashes down and then there is only depression, because everything that goes up must come down.

"Is there a word for the way that I'm feeling tonight? Happy and sad at the same time. You got me smiling with tears in my eyes. I never felt so high. No, I've never been this far off of the ground. And they say everything that goes up must come down. But I don't wanna come down."

"I don't mind at all, no, I'm used to fallin'. I'm comfortable when the sky is grey. But when everything is perfect, I start hiding, cause I know that rain is comin' my way, my way."


Rainbow

There are two songs in the album that, when I'm in the right mood, will bring tears to my eyes for just a moment. "Space Cowboy", and "Rainbow". The piano, the tempo, the lyrics, her sweet voice. It speaks of hopes, colors, dreams, in the midst of the perpetual grey of life. It is gloomy, yet optimistic. Sad yet happy. Depressing, yet hopeful. What is life, if it isn't a constant, repeating state being in the midst of the moody, grey rain. The sadness. The betrayal. The weight in the heart to move forward. 

And yet in the midst of it all, colors. 

I speak lies if I say that God doesn't shower generous amounts of patience and love on me, to coax me forward every step at my own snail's pace. It seems I'm always in the same old storms. Yet there is always a rainbow.

"If you could see what I see, you'd be blinded by the colors. Yellow, red, orange and green, and at least a million others. So tie up the boat, take off your coat, and take a look around, 'cause the sky has finally opened, the rain and wind stopped blowing'. But you're stuck out in the same ol' storm again! You hold tight to your umbrella. Well, darlin', I'm just tryin' to tell ya that there's always been a rainbow hangin' over your head!"



There are other tracks than the ones mentioned here, all which are unique and lovely, and that nod to my heart in various ways. These here in the post are the ones that I hold the closest in my heart. Even in ways I don't know how to express in typing, yet is felt by my soul. 

I've loved this album for over a year, but I stopped listening to it in October 2020, only halfway with intention. It is a springtime album, I wanted to save it until at least March. I listened to it for the first time since my heart had been made lonely again, and it spoke to me in new and unique ways than I had remembered. 

I did listen to it earlier than I planned. February instead of March. Perhaps I will tuck it away again for awhile, in my heart and in my Apple Music library, like a fond old memory, until I'm ready to take it out, look it over, remember it, and re-live the magic and the feelings during a time still in the future. 


~ Amaris // ☆


Saturday, December 12, 2020

well hello

Hello everyone. 

I have no idea if anyone still reads my blog. 

I don't know why anyone ever did. I certainly don't have anything to say. It's always ever only been for fun that I write on here. 

Something to say or not, here I am yet again. 

It's been awhile. 


There are a few questions people have been asking me when they haven't seen me for awhile. For the sake of this post, we'll pretend you're the friend.


how have you been doing with this *virus thing* //

Unpopular opinion - the "Coronavirus" is just the/a flu. It's nothing special. It's not very deadly. It's not worth all the shutdowns. It's not worth all the fear. It's not worth all the lost businesses and jobs. It's not worth the New World Order.

"But people are dying"

Yeah. People have always died. 

It's what they do.


where are you working these days //

I don't know if I ever actually 'told' my Blog that I got a job at The Home Depot in August of 2019. When The Virus happened, I continued to work, because you know... "Essential Retailer" and all that. Still working there. Good company. Best pay I've ever made at any job, best career opportunities I've ever personally been exposed to. We'll see where that goes. Worked a lot during the first shutdown of April 2020. Worked 90 hours one week, actually. That was a blast (no sarcasm. I actually had a lot of fun working the craziness that week. Plus, overtime. Yay)

Also in 2019 (November) I got hired at a bowling ally. But I consider it a side hustle. Especially since bowling allies are open and shut all the time in 2020 because of *restrictions*. I have spent weeks, even months, at a time not working there this year. But I always come back. It's a great fun place to make a little side cash. 


is God still important to you //

When the Whole World shut down in April, I stopped going to church. Because of all the working I didn't have time/didn't make time to read my Bible as well. Bad idea. "Drifted away" a little bit there. But I never stopped believing, and I never stopped trusting that He has a plan and was taking care of me. 

But it was a little hard to notice Him and think about Him when I wasn't constantly reminding myself with church fellowship and scripture. These days things are a little better,  and I now make more time for Him. Found a new/better church family. I even study the Bible sometimes. It's been pretty good.

Here's a verse. 

Psalm 51:1-2

Be gracious to me, O God, according to Your lovingkindness;

According to the greatness of Your compassion blot out my transgressions.

Wash me thoroughly from my iniquity and cleanse me from my sin.


how's the mental health //

Icky. But I've got a few things in the works to help with that.


read any good books lately //

Working on Atomic Habits, by James Clear. Really, really good book. Finished The Lost Causes of Bleak Creek by my favorite internet comedy duo, Rhett McLaughlin and Link Neal. Not a bad book but you can tell that Rhett and Link don't write novels for a living. 

If I finish Atomic Habits by New Years, I will have read those two books this year. 

I don't think I'm going to make it. 

So.. one book in 2020. 


watched anything notable //

Nothing very notable so far this year. 2020 was filled with The Office background noise coming from the MacBook Air sitting on my bedroom desk as I fell asleep. A few months back, I did watch Breaking Bad. How was that? Riveting. Tremendous. All the best adjectives. 


anything else //

I have 11 house plants in my room. Some are dying. Most are easy to care for, so they're thriving. The Pothos are doing great, as is the Camille. The Dumb Cane, I'm afraid, is suffering and may have to be put out of her misery soon....

Someone asked me to be their girlfriend for the first time in my life. He is a good man, so I said yes. I guess I'm in a relationship as of November 2, 2020.

I went to four weddings this year between the dates of September 17 and November 28. I haven't been to very many weddings but now I guess I can't say that. I can even say I've been to a Halloween wedding. That was pretty fun.


Well, that's about it. So much has happened this year but I can't think of anything short enough to put in this post. I don't want to get all long and ramble-y with it.

There's so many things I could say. 

So many things I could thank God for. 

I worked hard.

I discovered new music.

I got 4 wisdom teeth out.

I got chicken pox.

Found some new restaurants (ironically, considering the shutdowns).

I made new friends.

I got my heart broken. 

I learned some valuable lessons.

I learned the value of true friendship (a rather cliché statement fit for a Hallmark movie ending, I know).


I guess this is my New Years post for 2020. 


Thanks for reading.

Until next time...

-Amaris




Wednesday, April 1, 2020

Song Challenge

A 30 Day Song Challenge

I'm not sure who created this tag/challenge, but credits to them. I found it on Instagram. (@amaris_todd)
Note: (E) indicates explicite content.



Day 1 // A song you like with a color in the title
Daphne Blue - The Band CAMINO

Day 2 // A song you like with a number in the title
1950 (E)- King Princess 

Day 3 // A song that reminds you of summertime
There For You - Martin Garrix, Troye Sivan

Day 4 // A song that reminds you of someone you'd rather forget
Water Fountain - Alec Benjamin

Day 5 // A song that needs to be played loud
Good Things Fall Apart - ILLENIUM, Jon Bellion

Day 6 // A song that makes you want to dance
Don't Stop Me Now - Queen

Day 7 // A song to drive to
Livewire - Oh Wonder

Day 8 // A song about drugs or alcohol
All Love (E)- FLETCHER

Day 9 // A song that makes you happy
Takeaway - The Chainsmokers, ILLENIUM, Lennon Stella

Day 10 // A song that makes you sad
Malibu Nights - LANY

Day 11 // A song that you never get tired of
Stayin' Alive - Bee Gees

Day 12 // A song from your preteen years
Hanging On - Britt Nicole

Day 13 // A song that you like from the 70s
Rocket Man - Elton John

Day 14 // A song you'd like to be played at your wedding
Dawn - From "Pride & Prejudice" Soundtrack - Jean-Yves Thibaudet

Day 15 // A song you like that's a cover by another artist
I only like originals! 9 times out of 10 the original is better anyway.

Day 16 // A song that's a classic favorite
Fireflies - Owl City

Day 17 // A song you'd sing a duet with someone on karaoke
Islands in the Stream - Bee Gees

Day 18 // A song from the year you were born (1998)
My Heart Will Go On - Céline Dion (technically from 1997 but it was in Titanic which came out 1998)

Day 19 // A song that makes you think about life 
Older - Sasha Sloan

Day 20 // A song that has many meanings to you
Know Me - The Band CAMINO

Day 21 // A song you like with a person's name in the title
Annabelle's Homework - Alec Benjamin

Day 22 // A song that moves you forward
Out of Love - Alessia Cara

Day 23 // A song you think everybody should listen to 
Medicine (E)- Vaines 
(there isn't a song I think everyone should listen to, but this is a unique and different song that I like to recommend)

Day 24 // A song by a band you wish were still together
sugar honey ice & tea - Bring Me The Horizon 
(this band is still together - I don't have an entry for this day so I'm just recommending a song by BMTH because they're one of my favorite different bands I listen to)

Day 25 // A song you like by an artist that is no longer living
changes - XXXTENTACION

Day 26 // A song that makes you want to fall in love
The Few Things - JP Saxe, Charlotte Lawrence
Honorable mentions:
Grow As We Go - Ben Platt
Dawn - Jakes Scott

Day 27 // A song that breaks your heart
Trying My Best - Anson Seabra (CEO of sad music)

Day 28 // A song by an artist whose voice you love
Space Cowboy - Kacey Musgraves

Day 29 // A song you remember from your childhood
Hold My Heart - Tenth Avenue North

Day 30 // A song that reminds you of yourself
Anxiety (E)- Julia Michaels, Selena Gomez
Everybody Hates Me - Vaines (two for Day 30 :))

I hope you enjoyed my song picks for the challenge! Have fun posting your own on your blog or on your Instagram if you have one.



Have you listened to any of these songs? Let me know which ones you've heard and which are your favorites!

~ Amaris // ☆

Tuesday, February 25, 2020

favorite sad music

If I'm being completely honest, sometimes I enjoy being sad.
('E' indicates explicit content)


~

Oh Wonder // All We Do

Alec Benjamin // Let Me Down Slowly

Novo Amor // State Lines

XXXTENTACION // what are you so afraid of

Billie Eilish // everything i wanted

Julia Michaels // Anxiety (E)

Novo Amor // Anchor

Jeremy Zucker, Chelsea Cutler // you were good to me

NF // Let You Down

Alec Benjamin // Demons

Ruben // Lay By Me

Ben Platt // Grow As We Go

Alessia Cara // Out Of Love

Elaine // Falling

Belle Mt // Hollow (acoustic)

Bring Me The Horizon // Follow You

NF // My Stress

Anson Seabra // Broken (E)

Asking Alexandria // I Won't Give In

Peter Manos // In My Head

Julie Michaels, JP Saxe // If The World Was Ending

LANY // Malibu Nights

Lauv // The Story Never Ends

Matt Maeson // Tribulation

Coldplay // Cry Cry Cry

NF // Time

Alec Benjamin // Mind Is A Prison

Billie Eilish // when the party's over

Logic, Alessia Cara, Khalid // 1-800-273-8255 (E)

Anson Seabra // Trying My Best

Oh Wonder // In And Out Of Love

XXXTENTACION // Changes

NF // If You Want Love

MarMar Oso // Ruthless (E)

Oh Wonder // White Blood



~ Amaris // ☆

Thursday, February 20, 2020

Psalm 50 : 6
And the heavens declare His righteousness,
For God Himself is judge.


Psalm 89 : 5-6a
The heavens will praise Your wonders, O LORD;
Your faithfulness also in the assembly of the holy ones.
For who in the skies is comparable to the LORD?

Psalm 97 : 6
The heavens declare His righteousness,
And all the peoples have seen His glory.

Psalm 19 : 1
the heavens are telling of the glory of GOD;
And their expanse is declaring the work of His hands.

Psalm 8 : 1 
O LORD, our LORD,
How majestic is Your name in all the earth,
Who have displayed Your splendor above the heavens!


Psalm 57 : 5
Be exalted above the heavens, O God;
Let Your glory be above all the earth.

Psalm 57 : 9-11
I will give thanks to You, O LORD, among the peoples; 
I will sing praises to You among the nations.
For Your lovingkindness is great to the heavens and Your truth to the clouds.
Be exalted above the heavens, O God;
Let Your glory be above all the earth.


Psalm 113 : 4-6
The LORD is high above all nations;
His glory is above the heavens.
Who is like the LORD our GOD,
Who is enthroned on high,
Who humbles Himself to behold
The things that are in heaven and in the earth?

- Amaris //

Thursday, August 15, 2019

how to talk to people (and not die)

Here are some questions I've thought of to start deep conversations with people if you're an introvert like me and are deathly afraid of dislike small talk.

p.s. they actually work- I've tried them myself and it really helps me when I'm in a social situation and I don't know what to say or how to start a conversation.

--

What's your favorite way to appreciate God? 

Should you ever regret caring, even if it made things worse in the end or it seemed to not matter?

How do you maximize the positive and minimize the negative without ignoring the negative or pretending it doesn't exist?

How do you tell if your way of 'helping' someone becomes enabling to them and their toxic/bad behavior? 

What does spiritual and emotional maturity mean to you?

Do you think we choose God or did He choose us?

Do you think that miracles run out for a person or situation? 

Do relationships define a person? What about a person who doesn’t have a lot of friends? 

Do you think a person's personality changes as they get older? Or do you think it just advances and evolves, while remaining still the same mainly?

What's the best way to learn about something? 

Do you think hatred exists or is it just the absence of love?

At what point do you give up trying to be friends with someone?

What do you like about (or dislike, if they're not a believer!) Christianity? 

Is sharing an opinion worth the risk of embarrassment if you’re wrong? At what point do you think you have enough information to share an opinion and stand by it?

Do you see video games as ultimately good or bad for a person/s character? 

In your opinion, what makes a good movie?

--

Photo Credit: Me
Well, that's all you guys. Let me know if you use any of these and if they help you at all/what you think of them.

~ Amaris // ☆

Thursday, July 25, 2019

// spending time with God : //

You guys; I can't 'recommend' God enough.

In all the hard times I've been through in the last 9 months or so, I could NOT have gone through it without God.
I mean, I barely got through it at all (for example : I've never had anxiety attacks before, yet so far this year I've had three -_-), but as hard as things were (and still are), God was there for me every step of the way, and I grew to love Him and rely on Him like I never have before.
And I'm still learning!
I'm especially learning that growth with God never stops. Even when I feel like I've learned so much and think I've come so far with Him, He will show me through something in my life that I have still so much to learn!
A relationship with God is never ending, and that's the best thing about Him in my opinion.

Top reasons I love spending time with God:

// spending time with God : puts my problems back in their place //
To me, this is one of the sweetest things about spending time praying to God and reading in His word. All my troubled and anxious thoughts are put into an amazing perspective that only God can give. What things am I worried about, anxious about, angry about, obsessed about that really don't matter very much? Turns out, quite a few.

Photo credit: Me
// spending time with God : gives me ways to relate to other believers //
Ever heard of church friends? My life has improved in countless ways since I started asking advice from mature Christian friends in my life! God has blessed me with several people in particular at my new church who have helped me grow as a woman in God, all because the LORD moved in my heart to open up to them and ask!

// spending time with God : calms my anxiety //
If you're new here, here's a fact about me. I have anxiety. It's rather bad, actually. It comes and goes in waves throughout different periods of my life. For example, in 2016-2017, I was having a really good two years and I had almost no anxiety. For real, I had almost none. It was awesome. But, things in my life started to change (not necessarily in my external life, but actually largely internal) in 2018 and this year, and it's gotten truly bad and difficult to deal with yet again. But during these times, the word of GOD is even more of a comfort to me! I am incredibly blessed with verses such as these :

Psalm 34:17-18
When the righteous cry for help, the LORD hears and delivers them out of all their troubles. The LORD is near to the brokenhearted and saves the crushed in spirit.

Psalm 51:12
Restore to me the joy of Your salvation
And sustain me with a willing spirit.

Photo credit: Me
// spending time with God : reminds me who i am //
As a girl in her early twenties, I am still learning who I am in this life. Who am I living for? What is my purpose? What paths should I take to glorify God? What friends should I try to make? What friends do I let go of? What kind of friend should I be to others? What are my strengths? What are my weaknesses? Why do I struggle with this or that? You get the idea. Going back to the perspective thing, spending time with God helps me to hear from Him about who I truly am supposed to be, and puts in perspective the things that I am worried about. That post that I published a bit ago about being single? That came from many hours worth of praying to God and asking Him how He wants me to live my single life, whether it be just for now, or the rest of my life. He has helped me - and is still helping me - see that I don't need another person to be a better version of myself. Believing the lie that I am not complete without "mY oThEr HaLf" would be coming from a place of insecurity and not trusting that God has good plans for me whether they include a significant other or not.

2 Timothy 1:7
for GOD gave us a spirit not of fear but of power and love and self-control.


// spending time with God : reminds me who He is //
I truly believe with all of my heart that God is the best thing that can happen to a person. I think this pin describes my thoughts well:
I like those words. "If you KNEW". God is so mighty, and full of blessing and satisfaction! When Paul went to visit the city of Athens, he noticed that the Athenians had many false gods. They were SO religious, in fact, that they even had a statue dedicated 'TO AN UNKNOWN GOD' for whatever god they might have missed! Well, needless to say, Paul had their answer. He was passionate about showing the Athenians that the One True God is here! He is not unknown but wants to be known by us! The Athenians worshiped the created things when they could be worshiping the Creator! Of course, some of the Athenians scoffed at Paul's words (you can read the full story in Acts 17 if you want), but the concept is rather simple: having the 'unknown god' but not discovering who He is or getting to know Him is like having an amazing subscription box delivered to your house with all the incredible things inside but not opening it! It doesn't make any sense to do that.
I truly believe that the LORD is the answer to all problems and He is full of blessing, and reading His word and spending time with Him helps me learn and remember all the ways that He is amazing.

I will close with this verse, from one of my favorite books of the Bible during this time:

Psalm 116:7
Return to your rest, O my soul,
For the LORD has dealt bountifully with you.

Photo credit: Me
~ Amaris // ☆


What does GOD mean to you? What is the best thing God has done for you lately? What is your favorite way to get to know Him?
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