Can I ask you a question?

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Want to go on an adventure? Great! Then we need to talk about something first.

It is unfortunate to me that our idea of relationship has deteriorated to a quick text, a comment under a post, or a thumbs up. Somehow the internet has made me feel like I’m reading a billboard instead of having a conversation.

What happened to watching your friend’s face as they talk? What about seeing their eyes or their body language as your words actually collide with their senses? What has happened to the sound of the human voice or the gentle touch of someone who cares for you?

There is an art to face to face interaction and sadly we’ve put down what we’re created to share and exchanged it for a device that allows us to tap our way in and out of each other’s lives at our convenience.

I want you to know something about me. This breaks my heart because I know I’m more than this blog and that you are more than your comments.

When I was a kid, if I had the option to be outside climbing trees, or sitting making up conversations with my Barbie, I guarantee I would have been more chimpanzee than super model. I loved interacting with nature, watching life happen, and I still do.

When I wasn’t in a tree or throwing a ball, you could find me inside with a book in my lap. I read so much that once my Mom had to talk to a neighbor who had committed to paying $1 to a charity for every book I read. This man didn’t know the little girl he was dealing with. In one summer I read enough to probably take his car payment.

So these are key things to know about me. I love nature, I love people, and I love the written word.

The internet and social media can be a great way to connect with people far away, but it can also create a deep loneliness. It’s the kind of sadness that makes a person feel like they are watching life and yet not living it.

I have given a thumbs up on a “friend’s” post and been desperately weeping about something else at the very same time. How sad is it that we can interact this way and say we are content with this level of friendship?

I want to change this about my own life. What about you?

When we are with someone, it’s different than if we are interacting with them from a distance. Think of a love letter. When your eyes see the words an old man has written to his wife, your heart probably responds a little. Love stories are sweet, right?

It’s different when you are watching the wrinkled man talk about the faded letter he holds in his hand. When memories of a life together overflows from his eyes as his lips tremble out the story of when he wrote it, how he loved her, and how she is now gone. That’s the love letter come to life.

That’s what I want this blog, This Written Love, to be about. It’s about the parts of life that bring love alive in front of us, within us, and that move us out of our chairs.

So here we are.

Are you content with sitting alone scrolling through each other’s versions of life? Is it enough for you to look at pictures of nature but never smell the fresh air for yourself? Is it okay to feel alone when you have 479 friends?

My answer is NO to all three.

Ready to do something about it?

Let me know in the comments if you are ready to look up from your phone and interact with what’s right in front of you.

I can’t wait to see what happens.

To life and love unexpected,

Aimee

An Unknown Mother

Mother's Day

This is a post I wrote last year the day before Mother’s Day. It speaks of one of my most painful times, and yet it is my most popular blog post to date. Please read and share with anyone who may be an unknown mother…

I am an unknown mother.

I stayed seated at church when all the mothers in the room were asked to stand up. I clapped and smiled for them and the little ones by their side, in their arms, or filling out their tummies.

Not many know that four years ago exactly I could have stood up, but that my husband and I lost our little one the afternoon before.

I am an unknown mother.

My pastor stood to give the message. Before he began, he paused and said he also wanted to honor those of us who have not been able to have a child. To honor those of us who are mothers in a different way.

My husband squeezed my shoulder. I didn’t hear anything my pastor said after that.

I wept unseen tears, lost in the memories of four years ago when my story took an unexpected turn, never to be like the stories of my friends. On Mother’s Day that year we sat at the kitchen table, watching our church service online, my body aching and my heart breaking from the fresh loss. That weekend I was an unknown mother.

Might this be you too?

I remember a few days after I lost my baby, my brother and his family came to see us. My brother got out of his car and walked to me and hugged me, saying nothing, wrapping me in his strength.

Just like he didn’t use words, I won’t either. There is nothing I can say to ease the pain that many of you are feeling today. I just want you to know you are not alone.

I often have wondered how our life would have been different and honestly, everything would have been. We wouldn’t have moved to Uganda for 5 months and had one of the greatest adventures in our marriage so far. We wouldn’t now be the resident advisers in a home that provides a family environment for young men aging out of foster care.

Do I still wish I could hold my child? Absolutely. Even though I cannot, I am still a mother. My mother’s heart still lives. I still give really good hugs and pull my muscles wrestling with my nephews. I still paint my fingernails with my nieces. And I most definitely worry and pray for the young men in my care without them ever knowing.

And I still cry whenever I watch an ultrasound or see my husband hold our littlest niece who finds his arms a cozy and safe place for a nap. I still cry, and you will too.

My prayer today is that the God who sees you would hold you even tighter than my brother held me. Our God understands the pain of losing a child. You are not unknown to Him.

I have included some videos below. One is the story of my favorite hymn, It is Well with my Soul by Horatio Spafford. The other is a newer rendition of it with other lyrics added in.

May they minister to your heart wherever you are on your mother’s journey.

If you feel led to leave a comment, it surely will let others know they are not alone. Let us love and celebrate our mother’s hearts today.

Trying isn’t good enough.

Everyone thinks about bullies, but the truth is not many people do anything about it.

Every day we cross paths with people. Some are good and some are bad, but you know who the greatest offenders are? They are the ones who don’t do anything. They’ve picked no side, and even more dangerous is that they think they have.

They watch from the sidelines as the battle unfolds hoping they don’t get blood or spit splattered on them. They might stay silent, just watching, or they might yell and cheer for one side or the other. They talk about helping other people. They try helping by talking about the problem, but they don’t do.

Bullying is not an issue to be talked about. Let me give it to you straight. Bullying is a heart issue that seeks to destroy another person. It is a tool of an enemy who wants nothing more than to steal the beauty of creation that is you and me.

One day a few years ago I was at a local restaurant with my family and my young nephew was playing in the play place while his Dad and I talked. Over my brother’s shoulder I saw my sweet buddy smiling so big and having so much fun. Kids are supposed to do this. It’s a play place. My nephew’s smile lights up my heart and I adore him.

His child like joy made me want to go in there with him but for some reason it’s frowned upon to have people my size jumping into the ball pit. As I looked up to smile at him, I saw my nephew’s situation change. He was smiling at a kid bigger than him and then in a second the kid shoved him so hard my  nephew’s back slammed into the plastic wall behind him. I’ll never forget the look on his face. Innocent joy turned to fearful confusion.

I jumped up so fast my chair almost fell over behind me. I was instantly angry and about to drag that punk who shoved my nephew out of the play place by his neck and show him what shoving really felt like. Good thing my brother was there or I’d be writing this from a jail cell.

I was full of emotion. What the heck was that kid thinking? Who did he think he was? Someone I love was just hurt and I didn’t like it.

We handled the situation like adults should, but that moment has stuck with me. Innocent joy was stolen and that is never ok.

Every day we cross paths with bullies and their victims. You might even be one of them.

As Yoda said above, there is no try, only do. Bullying isn’t an issue we solve with legislation or in a group setting. Bullying stops because one person steps into a situation and saves another person.

You can be that person. Will you be that person?

Tomorrow, as you go through your day, I want you to open your eyes and ask God to help you see someone who feels like no one has their back.

Tell them you see them. Show them they’re not alone. It can be scary to step into another person’s pain, but you can do it. I believe in you. Let’s do it together.

Tell me the story of how you brought love where you saw destruction in the comments below.

Don’t try. DO.

Let me introduce myself…

recite-2t5ub

Want to go on an adventure? Great! Then we need to talk about something first.

It is unfortunate to me that our idea of relationship has deteriorated to a quick text, a comment under a post, or a thumbs up. Somehow the internet has made me feel like I’m reading a billboard instead of having a conversation.

What happened to watching your friend’s face as they talk? What about seeing their eyes or their body language as your words actually collide with their senses? What has happened to the sound of the human voice or the gentle touch of someone who cares for you?

There is an art to face to face interaction and sadly we’ve put down what we’re created to share and exchanged it for a device that allows us to tap our way in and out of each other’s lives at our convenience.

I want you to know something about me. This breaks my heart because I know I’m more than this blog and that you are more than your comments.

When I was a kid, if I had the option to be outside climbing trees, or sitting making up conversations with my Barbie, I guarantee I would have been more chimpanzee than super model. I loved interacting with nature, watching life happen, and I still do.

When I wasn’t in a tree or throwing a ball, you could find me inside with a book in my lap. I read so much that once my Mom had to talk to a neighbor who had committed to paying $1 to a charity for every book I read. This man didn’t know the little girl he was dealing with. In one summer I read enough to probably take his car payment.

So these are key things to know about me. I love nature, I love people, and I love the written word.

The internet and social media can be a great way to connect with people far away, but it can also create a deep loneliness. It’s the kind of sadness that makes a person feel like they are watching life and yet not living it.

I have given a thumbs up on a “friend’s” post and been desperately weeping about something else at the very same time. How sad is it that we can interact this way and say we are content with this level of friendship?

I want to change this about my own life. What about you?

When we are with someone, it’s different than if we are interacting with them from a distance. Think of a love letter. When your eyes see the words an old man has written to his wife, your heart probably responds a little. Loves stories are sweet, right?

It’s different when you are watching the wrinkled man talk about the faded letter he holds in his hand. When memories of a life together overflows from his eyes as his lips tremble out the story of when he wrote it, how he loved her, and how she is now gone. That’s the love letter come to life.

That’s what I want this blog, This Written Love, to be about. It’s about the parts of life that bring love alive in front of us, within us, and that move us out of our chairs.

So here we are.

Are you content with sitting alone scrolling through each other’s versions of life? Is it enough for you to look at pictures of nature but never smell the fresh air for yourself? Is it okay to feel alone when you have 479 friends?

My answer is NO to all three.

Ready to do something about it?

Let me know in the comments if you are ready to look up from your phone and interact with what’s right in front of you.

I can’t wait to see what happens.

To life and love unexpected,

Aimee

Big Dreams Start Here

Chris Fly Fishing

Yesterday didn’t start out like a good dream. Unless of course, you consider waking up to a filthy kitchen a dream come true. My first moments of consciousness were welcomed by the irritation that comes when the young men I live with don’t do what they say they are going to do. Instead of a smile, my heart was grumbling, “I’m sick of this crap.”

I am the token female in this house, and although most days I love and adore my boys, there are some days where I want to scream, “I must have sanitary conditions!”

So, even though I often feel like Cinderella pre-fairy godmother, thanks to God, my days often turn into something a little more princess like. Yesterday was definitely one of them.

My Dad, my husband, my brother, and I have a tradition of going to an annual fly fishing show at a local fly fishing shop. Even though my brother couldn’t come this year, we carried on.(We missed you PM!)

After a stop for donuts and coffee we met my Dad and stood outside in line for an hour so we could be some of the first 100 people to get goodie bags. These bags hold the possibility of fun things like gift cards, hats, product cash, stickers, etc.

Fly Fshing show group shot

The theme of the show this year was “Big Dreams Start Here.” I love fly fishing. The arc of the cast soaring backward in a perfect loop and then gliding forward and laying out in front of the fisherman. The fly landing gently on the top of the water like the bug it’s meant to imitate. I love fly fishing.

And yet, I’ve never fly fished. Yeah, you read that right. I’ve never been in the river with waders and a fly rod. I’ve taken pictures of my Dad and husband doing it but I’ve always watched from the shoreline.

Yesterday at the show, God surprised me with his tender care for the little dreams I hold tucked down in my heart. My small dream found its beginning.

In my goodie bag was 1 out of 5 $100 gift cards to use in the shop. I also had $35 worth of product cash. With just a minimal amount out of our own pocket, I was able to buy waders and boots for less than what the waders cost. The fun didn’t stop there.

The owners do raffles all day long and in the afternoon I tied with a guy for a $120 fishing pack but lost in the tie breaker. A half hour later, my competition, a young man I’d never met until the raffle, called me over to him and told me he wanted me to have the bag. He insisted and I will not forget him or his generous gift. The young man’s name is Lucas and he didn’t just give me an awesome pack.

When he put it in my hands, I heard God whisper to my heart, “Just because I love you.”

I walked away in awe because I knew that was a gift from my father in Heaven. I knew He was saying, “Daughter, I know how hard things have been lately. I know you feel weary. I know you’ve been praying for ways to connect with me. Let’s go fishing…”

At the end of the day, my husband won the grand prize for the second year in a row, a brand new fly rod. Chris picked it up, walked back towards me and handed it to me with a kiss. I now am a proud owner of my very own fly rod!

I know God is the same every day and His love never changes and yet, I know that His love comes to us in extra special ways sometimes, just because.

Sometimes big dreams start with little dreams. I’m thankful that even if my dreams are small, my Abba in Heaven is big.

Enjoy God all the time…but don’t let the moments pass when He bends down to tell you something special. This is part of the adventure of loving Him and being loved by Him.

Big Dreams Start Here…with our big God.

Has God ever answered a small unspoken dream in your heart? I’d love to hear what it was in the comments below.

Aimee Fly Rod

Intimacy Exposed

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In the last blog, I invited you to join me on a journey. We asked God to love us up close, intimately. I don’t know about you, but when I think of intimacy, visions of candles, sweet conversation over coffee, and hopefully chocolate drift through my mind.

I daydream longingly about all the possibilities of uninterrupted time in each others presence. This goes for my time with my husband or with my Lord. Wait, you don’t eat chocolate during some of your quiet times? Anyway…

There is something very important I forgot to say about true intimacy when I invited you on this journey, so I want to make mention of it now. Let me tell you a story…

Imagine me, a wife, who is looking forward to a special alone time with my special mister. Maybe no special date has been set for this moment, but my heart is longing for that time together, a time to reconnect, to be sure of him, of him and me.

One night after a busy day at work, dealing with drama at home, and then collapsing into bed, my husband smiles at me with a slight twinkle in his eye. Now, one would think that the invitation to intimacy would have me excited and throwing back the sheets. I mean, I’ve been daydreaming about this time to reconnect, right?

Instead of turning towards him with my own twinkling eye, I turn away for a moment and blow hopefully minty fresh breath into my palm. Oh wait, I haven’t brushed my teeth yet and I ate garlic for dinner. Then I berate myself in my mind as I think back to my time in the shower that morning when I saved a few minutes by choosing to skip the razor and go into my day more like a Sasquatch than a supermodel.

In the moment where intimacy is ready to connect with me, my ultimate vulnerability is about to be exposed, and all I can think about is my imperfections and what makes me feel ugly and unacceptable.

What if he sees my hairy pits? What if he gags when I breathe on him? What if he sees how ugly I really am?

True intimacy doesn’t come when both parties are perfect but when the one looking upon you casts away all doubt by seeing you fully exposed and not turning away.

There is no fear in love, but perfect love casts out fear. For fear has to do with punishment, and whoever fears has not been perfected in love. We love because he first loved us.1 John 4:18-19

Some of my most intimate times with my husband are not the days where my legs are shaved and my hair is done and I smell like, well, whatever he wants me to smell like…

The most intimate times are when he has seen me, completely exposed in every way, and his eyes have only held love for me.

Imagine Adam and Eve. In Genesis 2:25, it says, And the man and his wife were both naked and were not ashamed. (ESV) They were fully exposed to a holy God and they were not ashamed. They had intimacy with God. That close familiarity, one to whom the thoughts of another are entrusted without reserve, to love entirely, to make one intimate to enter…

I would venture a guess that most of us are not living Genesis 2:25. We are more experiencing Genesis 3:9-10. But the Lord God called to the man and said to him, “Where are you?” And he said, “I heard the sound of you in the garden, and I was afraid, because I was naked, and I hid myself.” (ESV)  Intimacy has been broken, we are separated, we are afraid to trust or to love entirely, and we don’t know how to allow that closeness because our sin and shame has hidden us in the bushes.

I want you to know that as we embark on this journey to deeper intimacy with God, it’s not going to be all candles, shaved legs, and chocolate. It’s going to be vulnerable and scary and awkward and at times you will want to turn away.

When you wake in the morning and you hear God call to you, or in the midst of your day you hear that still small voice, I want to challenge you not to hide yourself away from the God who comes to walk with you.

The beautiful thing about the story in Genesis is that it was only the beginning. God still demonstrated his care for his creation when he clothed them before they exited the garden. He covered their shame even then and we can trust Him to cover ours now.

This isn’t going to be easy, but I don’t want to live the rest of my life in the bushes. (I hear there are snakes in there.) I want to walk in the garden with God.

Still want to join me?

Love Me Up Close…

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For the past few years, I have prayed and asked God for a word that I might focus on in the year to come. The last two years my words were order and restoration. This year, my word both frightens and excites me. It is INTIMACY.

The following are definitions from the Webster’s Dictionary 1828 – Online Edition.

IN’TIMACY, noun [from intimate.] Close familiarity or fellowship; nearness in friendship.

IN’TIMATE, noun A familiar friend or associate; one to whom the thoughts of another are entrusted without reserve.

IN’TIMATE, verb transitive [Low Latin intimo, to intimate to register, to love entirely, to make one intimate to enter, from intimus.]

Close familiarity, one to whom the thoughts of another are entrusted without reserve, to love entirely, to make one intimate to enter…

These struck me. Is anything stirring in your heart as you read the above? I don’t know about you, but I have missed God. I am weary of this world’s version of Him. I want Him.

God knows that the pain and challenges of life can cause us to withhold our hearts, not only from those around us, but most tragically from Him.

In the coming year, I hope this blog will be a place to talk about the journey God has me on as I entrust myself to Him with fresh intention. I’d love to have you join me if you too long for an intimacy with God. Let me know in the comments if you’d like to join me.

I am certain this will be challenging. There are some things we must be willing to do to go on a journey like this. We must be willing to repent of the things that are revealed to us about our own hearts. We must be willing to let go of all other things and focus our minds on God alone. We must humbly approach the throne of grace so that the intimacy can flow both ways. We must allow Him to prepare us for intimacy with love Himself.

My brokenness has made me ready, has yours?

Lord, my prayer is simple. I know that what I am asking is beyond my comprehension. Yet, I am still asking. Please come and love me up close.