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Monthly Archives: February 2016

Why I’m Stopping Mid-Series and Taking a Minimum Two-Week Blogging Break

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Dearest Blog Readers,

My iPhone died late this afternoon. I tried a bunch of things and nothing’s working to fix it. Looks like I’m going to have to bring it into AT&T tomorrow to see what’s wrong.

For some odd reason, the temporary death of my iPhone caused me to have a significant revelation this evening.

Something is off with me.

Something is not sitting well with my soul.

My last day of work as a 14 1/2 year speech-language therapist was December 18, 2014.

That was followed by two months of my husband’s eye cancer.

That was followed by two months of hefty spring cleaning and acclimating to new normal.

That was followed by a crazy busy summer, home full-time with our three children for the first time ever.

That was followed by September through December 2015, four of the crazy-busiest, all-encompassing AND life-giving months I’ve experienced in my life.

That four month, crazy-busy period was followed by January and February 2016, which have been the quietest, LEAST BUSY months in MY. ENTIRE. LIFE.

How odd is that?

Since the first week of January, I’ve been spending every Tuesday and Thursday working on a long-standing dream. Writing books. I’m working on a children’s book series. The first two children’s books are fully drafted and have been edited MANY times. I think they’re good, potentially very good and unique, too, but doubt and disbelief definitely get in the way. The third children’s book is a crappy first draft that needs at least 500 words edited out before it has any sort of viability. The fourth book is adult nonfiction. It’s a slow go. SLOW. VERY SLOW. It will likely be a year or two or five before it’s viable. But I’m going. I’m moving on it.

I’m certain God’s granted me these months of quiet space for a very good reason. He’s given me quiet before the storm, or quiet to work on these books. Perhaps BOTH. Either way, I’m doing my part. I’m taking advantage of the quietest space I’ve had in my adult life.

For months, I felt as if I’d emerged from a wilderness or captivity, but was standing at the bottom of a wall looking straight up. I wasn’t sure how to get over the wall and was feeling stuck.

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In December and January, I had revelation not once, but three times, that God was going to take care of moving that wall, NOT me. I’ve felt freedom in that realization. I no longer feel stuck like that.

But since that revelation, I’ve felt more and more that I’m LOST. Or maybe I’m drowning due to my own lack of faith. 14 months ago, I took a major leap of faith, arguably the biggest leap of faith I’ve ever taken. I’m in the water. I’m in the deepest deep. But I’ve lost sight of something. I’m feeling a certain panic about the complete UNknown that comes with a leap of faith. I have no idea what’s next. I have no guarantee of what’s going to happen next week, next month, next year or five years from now when it comes to this leap of faith to focus on writing, photography, and staying home with my children. I can’t promise myself or my husband, my family or anyone else what’s going to happen next. There IS no paved path. It’s just me and God here. If I’m completely honest, this is freaking me out a bit (or a lot). It’s testing my faith. I’m simultaneously bored and all wired up. I’m simultaneously full of faith and lacking faith in what God has planned next.

But there’s something else.

I’ve become aware of a grief that’s in me. It’s come out sideways for a long time now. I wasn’t aware it was grief until a few months ago. Now I know better.

Yesterday, I watched a video of researcher, author and speaker Brene Brown. It was about grief and allowing ourselves to say good bye to some things before we’re fully able to embrace and move into what’s next.

That video resonated with me. Deeply.

I’m believing more and more that I need to grieve some things.

This is private business.

This will not be public.

This is for me and me only.

I need to get with God.

I need to do some journaling.

I need to create some crappy art, to do some crappy writing that nobody will see or judge except me.

I’ve already visited one pastor for some conversation. I’m thinking I need to visit another.

I need to give myself time to explore this grief. What is this? Who and what do I need to grieve before I can move on to what’s next?

What is it about me that needs to move out of the way so I can fully embrace this next season God has for me? Thank you, my friend Monica, for helping me see that I NEED TO MOVE OUT OF THE WAY.

Thirteen months ago, my writer friend, Kris Camealy, told me that my “five point plan [wasn’t] going to work anymore.” I have NO idea how she knew that. But she was spot on. My five-point plan isn’t working anymore. I’ve been trying to work a five-point plan, and let me share a little insight. Five-point plans don’t work in God’s economy. Five-point plans aren’t compatible with leaps of faith. Five-point plans don’t cut it when you need to grieve some things you weren’t even aware you needed to grieve.

It’s time.

I’m nearly 40 years old. I’ve already told you I’m going to ROCK my 40s and beyond. I WILL do just that.

I’m also keenly aware that I have no plan B. I’m already IN plan B. Plan B WILL BE God’s way.

There’s been a struggle, here.

I haven’t cracked the struggle wide open yet.

But I’m willing. And ready.

I didn’t expect this. I didn’t plan this AT. ALL. It’s not a part of the five-point plan. Honestly, this all just occurred to me TONIGHT. But I’m taking a blogging break, effective immediately, for a minimum of two weeks. We’re in the middle of a series titled “Love Letters to Friends.” Four posts remain. God’s up to something with this series. And those last four posts are important to me. I’m not willing to write those posts and move forward unless I’m ready. Tonight, it came to my attention that I’m not ready. Not quite yet, anyway.

I’m not ready to finish this blog series until I do some work.

I’m not ready to move to the next step in writing those books and book proposals until I do some work.

I’m not ready to break free until I do some work.

I’m not ready until I’ve cracked the struggle wide open.

I’m not ready to move into my future until I’ve grieved the things of the past.

And I’m not fully surrendered to God until I COMPLETELY surrender my strong people-pleasing tendencies. This is a problem, people. Taking a leap of faith is not a time to worry about people, what they think, how they respond, or how they don’t respond. I thought I’ve been real, but I’m worrying too much if I’m resonating. And it’s spilling over into my book writing.

I have some work to do, friends.

So long.

Farewell.

I want to be better for you.

I’m called to this. So I have to work through this.

Offline for now. Online again, once I’ve worked through some things.

Thanks. I adore you for reading and understanding and hanging in there with me. Please pray I’ll come back better. It’s time for soul care and deep digging.

pinksig

 

Tom Baunsgard - Amy, remember that there is no guarantee in anything accept for God’s infinite Grace! And Grace IS enough.February 23, 2016 – 4:32 am

Monica Anderson Palmer - I am praying for you Amy Pederson. This past week, heck…the past 35+ years have been all about learning OVER & OVER how to get out of God’s way. It should be my morning mantra, and every minute after. I’m thick that way. I haven’t arrived. Not even close. I’m proud of you…so go and get some #soulfood and let Jesus meet you where you are. He loves you and he’ll grieve with you. If you need anything just call, but I’ll be praying for the mercy of Jesus to be overwhelming through this journey. HUGS!February 23, 2016 – 3:33 am

Kris - Wow, I think we are soul sisters. I think after reading your love letter to friends, your sister’s journey and now your expression for the need to grieve, I have to visit with you at some point, While I often look forward to your posts, I completely understand and admire your ability to just listen to your heart hence telling you to take time to rest/listen/create. I am praying for you and want your open Godly spirit to shine through in all you do. Most importantly, for you to feel the power of the support and love of your friends…..some you know well, others you are yet to meet.February 22, 2016 – 10:44 pm

A Letter to the Friend I’ve Neglected

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Dear Friend,

I sigh as I sit down to type this letter. Do you know why? Because I’ve neglected you. I’ve outright neglected you. It’s not okay. It’s simply not okay.

Back in the day, we were best friends. You’re so humble, kind and gracious to have still called me best friend this past year. But I’m afraid I haven’t acted like a best friend. AT. ALL.

Back in the day, we were active friends. We lived together. We did lots of stuff together. We shared our deepest, darkest secrets with one another at the dinner table. Long walks and late night conversations bonded us forever. Not to mention all the crazy fun we had together. Honestly, I’ve never had so much fun as I did with you.

You made me free.

You made me laugh.

You made me feel special.

You noticed all the little things.

And you always had the capacity to go deep.

Back in the day, we spent a lot of time together. In fact, I’ve spent more time with you than 90% of friends I’ve had in nearly 40 years. Time. It’s worth something. It means something. It meant something to me. Time means we went deep. Time means we were true. Time means you saw me, and I saw you. Flaws, beauty and all.

Back in the day, I’m sure we would’ve never imagined that you’d move there and I’d be here. SO far. Yet so close.

What does this mean for us?

It means I haven’t seen you in something like seven years. Maybe more?

Wow.

I’m sighing again, friend.

That’s too long.

Distance made me immune. Distance caused me to believe we’ll never recapture the essence of the friendship we once had. Distance made me believe it’s okay to NOT respond in a timely fashion. Distance made me forget your awesome, beautiful, gracious humanity. Distance told me “Hey, no worries. It’s not like we can go out on Saturday night, anyway.” Distance made me inconsistent and terribly unpredictable as a friend.

I’m not nearly as awesome at friendship as I once was.

And I’ve proven myself to be a horrible long-distance friend.

I’ve neglected to return phone calls. Worse yet, my best excuses were “so busy,” “too busy,” and “too crazy around here.”

I’ve neglected to return emails in a timely fashion. You’re AMAZING at email, and I’m hit and miss when it comes to responding to personal email of any length, width or depth. It irks me beyond belief that you sent an email wishing me Happy Birthday and Happy Anniversary last July 4th, and I found it in my inbox a couple weeks ago, realizing I likely never even responded.

I neglected to acknowledge your 40th birthday with a call or card.

And yeah, back to email. It seems like every time I throw you a tough one, you respond immediately, with depth, sincerity and love. And I don’t respond for another month or two, three or four. What’s up with me and this long-distance friendship thing? Clearly, I did MUCH, MUCH better when you were in my daily physical space.

I’m running myself into a rut, and I know this isn’t what you would want for me. You always want the best. You always love, even when it’s not justified. You always send the sincerest, even when I’ve been more selfish than I care to admit. You’re always honest. Always kind. Always true. Always loyal. Always FULL of grace. Forgiving. Thoughtful. And humble.

Sighing again, friend. This is weighing on my heart.

I don’t know what to do.

Honestly, I hate talking on the phone. I just need to get better at email. And somehow…we need to see each other again and maybe more often.

Seven plus years is too long.

We need a night or two together.

Girl’s night. Just you and me.

Then maybe another girl’s night with some of our old friends.

Then an afternoon hanging with our kids at the park. They play. We chat. We eat picnic lunch. However long it takes.

No rush.

No distractions.

Just us.

Catching up. In real life. In real time.

Yeah, that would be good.

That would be awesome.

I’m sorry, friend.

Please accept my apologies.

I know I’ve already addressed this up and down, and I know you’re filled to the brim with GRACE, GRACE and MORE GRACE, but I’m wholly convicted. I’ve not been good at this long-distance friend thing.

I don’t have a great solution, but one thing’s for sure…you’re worth more than I’ve given.

This, I need you to know. 

You’re still in my heart. You’re still there. Nothing’s changed deep down.

Above all, I pray you find a true heart hidden in this letter.

A heart still loyal.

A heart that still calls you friend.

A heart that remembers the best days, treasures the bond, and expects hope and a future. For us. As friends. For now…LONG, LONG-distance best friends.

pinksig

 

 

 

loveletters2This is part of a month-long series on friendship titled Love Letters to Friends. To read the rest of the posts in the series, CLICK HERE and you’ll be directed to the series introductory post. Scroll to the bottom and you’ll find all the posts listed and linked for your reading pleasure.

Tom Baunsgard - I think we all have a friend like that… Life gets in the way and those friendships take a toll. Some friendships survive and revive! Nice post Amy!February 23, 2016 – 3:00 am

That Cool Girl

This is a guest post written by my younger sister, Tiffany, who has a diagnosis of schizoaffective disorder, bipolar type. Tiffany has shared a monthly guest post on my blog since February 2015. The purpose of these posts is to raise awareness of what it’s like to live with mental illness. I’m also hoping the posts will help readers recognize that we all have hopes, dreams, challenges and mountains to climb regardless of our mental health status. If you’d like to read the posts I’ve written about Tiffany’s journey and all the guest posts she’s shared on this blog, check out the mental health page. Without further ado, here’s Tiffany.

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I was a freshman in college, sitting in Psychology 101, towards the back in the middle. I looked right and noticed a new friend. She was hip and had short hair. She walked by and sat in the middle, right hand side.

I lived in a dorm for athletes. I wanted a change, so I asked to be put on the waiting list for a dorm transfer. Guess whose room had an opening? That cool girl I saw in Psychology 101. Sure, I’ll live there!

That cool girl and I became very close. One day she was sitting on the roof. I was on the ground below. We had some simple conversations and began to understand each other.

That cool girl has been there for me through so much.

That cool girl had an idea to write notes to each other in a journal. We sent that thing back and forth for months.

That cool girl drove through a winter storm with me. We were off track a bit, but we made it home.

That cool girl was there to listen when I was pacing, screaming and crying on a roof in Venice Beach, California, telling her every detail about what was going on. Not understanding why life was like that. She had a plane ticket to fly to Los Angeles to hang out. That would have been so much fun, but I was not in the right mindset. She cancelled her plane ticket.

That cool girl knows when something is just not right with me. And, usually yes! She is right.

That cool girl is the one who taught me how beautiful friendships are. We don’t see each other too often, but we keep in touch. Thanks for being a friend!

Tiffany

loveletters2This is part of a month-long series on friendship titled Love Letters to Friends. To read the rest of the posts in the series, CLICK HERE and you’ll be directed to the series introductory post. Scroll to the bottom and you’ll find all the posts listed and linked for your reading pleasure.

smc - I think we taught each other how beautiful friendships can be. We were exactly right for each other at just the right moment. Just a little chick cracking out of an eggshell.
I often regret my lack of understanding & commitment during those really tough years. When you needed me most. I feel grateful to hear your perspective is different.
You’re such an important person in my life, Tiff. I can’t imagine who I’d be had I not met you.
xxFebruary 20, 2016 – 11:25 pm

Tom Baunsgard - Nice post Tiffany!February 20, 2016 – 6:40 pm

Denise Korman - Great read Tiff !February 20, 2016 – 1:26 am

A Letter to the Woman Who Wanted to be My Friend

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Dearest You,

I’m pretty sure you wanted to be friends with me. You reached out to me. Personally. On more than one occasion. FOUR times to be exact. I’m quite embarrassed to admit that I declined all four invitations.

Why did I say no? I don’t know.

I’ve likened myself to you more than once. I see myself in you. You and me? We’re kind of the same. You’re the high action version of me. The version of me that achieves and accomplishes and knows everyone. The version of me that’s smart and witty, lovely and involved. The version of me that “does it all,” and does it all well.

But for some reason, that version of me isn’t working right now. I’m all pooped out. I’m all worked out. I’ve achieved. I’ve done it all. But yeah. I’m kind of tired.

I need time to explore the creative side of me. I need time to determine if my dreams have meat to them, or if they’re just puffy clouds of cotton candy high in the sky. I need time to breathe and be, and figure out what life’s gonna look like through and far beyond my forties.

You and me? Yeah. We’re kind of the same.

Deep down, I wonder if you remind me of the person I “should” be, the person I “could” be, the person I believe the world would prefer me to be. Yeah. That’s probably right. Totally right.

Honestly. Shame on me for putting my insecurities in the middle of a friendship you wanted to forge. I should have just been myself, ALL of myself, and said YES to every one of those first four invitations.

But before I go off the deep end and dramatize this as if it’s a done deal…

I did reach out once. (It went well.)

And I did say yes, TWICE, to your most recent attempts to include me in something super cool. (I give you major props. It was as super cool as it seemed.)

But truth be told, we’re much more acquaintances than we are friends.

That’s my fault. That’s my insecurity getting in the way of friendship.

Please accept my sincerest apologies.

If you ever reach out again with a personal one-on-one invitation, perhaps I should seriously consider a YES.

pinksig

 

 

 

loveletters2This is part of a month-long series on friendship titled Love Letters to Friends. To read the rest of the posts in the series, CLICK HERE and you’ll be directed to the series introductory post. Scroll to the bottom and you’ll find all the posts listed and linked for your reading pleasure.

A Letter to the Friend Who Figured Me Out in Six Days

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Dear Friend,

From day one, I knew there was something special about you. We were kindred souls somehow.

I found out you were from Canada, took a couple glances at your husband, and proceeded to initiate our first conversation with the most absurd question ever. “You don’t happen to know who Ann Voskamp is, do you? Because your husband looks exactly like Ann’s husband. I thought there was a remote chance they’re brothers.”

Stupid, okay. What was the likelihood of me meeting my favorite writer’s brother-in-law thousands of miles away from home? 0% chance, I’d say. I don’t know what I was thinking. Sorry for the stupid question. Totally geeky, I know.

But I was onto something after all. Of course, your husband wasn’t Ann Voskamp’s brother! But you were fully aware of Ann and a huge fan of her writing. That connected us, like that, from day one. Without saying another word, we “got” each other, we understood, we both loved Ann’s writing and that’s all we needed to know.

Our friendship blossomed and we forged a friendship in six days. Six days total. That’s all the time we had. We ate dinners together. Conversed together. Asked hard questions together. Experienced beautiful moments together. Experienced GOD together. It was rich, life giving and life changing.

I’ll never, ever forget the day we sat in a circle and told stories and I felt like a fool telling my own. “This is just really important to me,” I sobbed. You put your hand on my leg, looked into my eyes with the deepest sincerity I’d ever seen, tilted your head in the kindest of ways, and said quietly “We love who you are.” I’m sure I cried some more. Only this time, I knew it was okay. Somebody understood. YOU understood. You got me.

We were kindreds.

Before we parted ways on the last day, we hugged and agreed to stay connected on Facebook. Then you handed me that infamous letter, the letter I didn’t read until later.

Yes, friend. You gave me two of the greatest gifts I’ve ever been given. First, the gift of feeling completely KNOWN, UNDERSTOOD and ACCEPTED for who I am. Second, the gift of the most beautiful letter I’ve ever received from a friend.

In it, you expressed the most endearing words. Words of truth. Words that spoke deeply to my heart. Words that mean the world to me.

I’ve kept that letter in my Bible for two years now. Folded with the beauty inside. Just as you handed it to me. Every month or two, I take it out and read it to remind myself WHO it was that YOU saw those six days. You saw the real me and you loved me. Thank you, friend.

I don’t know if we’ll ever see each other again this side of heaven. But every now and then, you pop into my Facebook feed with your incredible words of love and encouragement, and I remember how amazing you were, how amazing you ARE.

Sisters are the best.

 

pinksig

 

 

 

loveletters2This is part of a month-long series on friendship titled Love Letters to Friends. To read the rest of the posts in the series, CLICK HERE and you’ll be directed to the series introductory post. Scroll to the bottom and you’ll find all the posts listed and linked for your reading pleasure.