A Beautiful Life is Full of Changes

Life is ever-changing isn’t it? Sometimes changes are transitions like the rolling hills on a country road and other times the changes are more like the first deep plunge of a roller coaster ride. Many times, it’s a combination of both! Life has been full of so many changes for me and my family. Lucky for me, they are beautiful, life-giving changes and gifts from God. As it is, changes still require adaptation and periods of transition.

My life has been renewed this last year and a half. I have been given the love of my life and I became his wife. I have a much larger family now (from 2 kids to 5!). My struggle with Fibromyalgia isn’t near the painful existence that it used to be, in fact, it’s minuscule in comparison (not entirely gone, but WAY better!). I think I may always contend with the beast of depression (and always want to talk about it) as it has been with me for most of my life, but my focus in life is, more often than not, to not focus on depression as my life sentence. I am also now focusing on parenting one young child with severe autism and another who was diagnosed as being on the spectrum but high functioning. I am also focused on parenting the three teenagers we have who aren’t on the spectrum but present a whole different set of challenges! And, I continue to be passionate about social media and work from home as a social media project manager. But my main and most important focus in life is to be the best and most loving faith-filled wife and mother I can be, who still makes a mess of things sometimes, has a lot of messes to clean up and works hard to remember that life is always beautiful. Perhaps this new chapter is deserving of a fresh and clean blog slate.

What do you think?

Cleaver Wedding-29


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Moving Through the Moments

I have had the most tear-filled weekend this weekend that I can recall experiencing for months. It’s not a secret to some who are close to me that I can be sensitive and emotional, but tears don’t surface for me all that easily, usually. In the midst of one of the most blessed times I have ever experienced in my life I am also facing some of the hardest challenges internally and circumstantially that I have faced in a long time. It’s odd to be in the face of a miracle and abundant gifts and at the same time to experience issues that literally bring you to your knees.

So with that background, I am here to tell you about what I am learning about moments of great pain and unrest. These moments of intense internal or emotional pain may seem to appear as if they come out of nowhere at times and sometimes it truly is like receiving a hard slap in the back that just plain knocks the wind out of you. It can be deep and sudden and when it comes and hits hard, it truly feels like it may just be the end of you. In that moment, when you are stricken with intense grief or sadness or a feeling of hopelessness, it feels as if there is nothing else besides that pain. It feels infinite and it feels too deep a wound to close up. The feelings are so intense that you may begin to wonder, can I possibly move past this pain? If it’s been a while since you have felt a pang of pain like this then you might not relate, but if you have, you know exactly what I am talking about. I know I am not alone.

Today, I just happened to experience it. I was overwhelmed very suddenly and I had to go into my bedroom and close my door and literally drop to my knees. I dropped and began to sob.  In those moments I felt that the pain I was experiencing was unbearable, that it would not get better, that there was no light.

Despite those horrible moments, here is what I learned today and other times that emotional pain has felt unbearable… it truly does pass. It does. It passes. The pain won’t necessarily be completely gone because there is likely a very real issue or challenge to deal with, but the intensity and severity will lighten and ease up. It will pass. There will be relief.

There are a couple of things that I have found can help to speed the process up of moving past the moment and I think these are even doable in the midst of all the pain.

1) Cry for a bit. You have to get it out, it’s good for you. What isn’t good is stuffing it back in because then it comes out in a lot more unattractive ways than even your “ugly” cry. (And yes, we all have what we might refer to as our ugly cry face when the crying gets real “good.”)

2) Tell someone. (Preferably not your children because they will jut get upset, too.) But seriously, tell someone. Even if you text them, let someone know that you are hurting. And if you are lucky, you will connect with them via phone or in person and then you really will feel an immediate relief. When we connect our burdens are lightened. It’s kind of a beautiful thing. And, if things are super rough, call a hotline. Which I know is hard to do, but if you can’t reach anyone and you might be at the brink just call someone like the folks at Lifeline at 1-800-273-TALK.

3) Pray. Lift it up and look up, especially if you are down on your knees anyway or maybe like me, you start on your  knees and end up laying in the middle of the floor with your mascara all over the place. Looking up to God is easier from that vantage point. And, it helps to cry out to Him. It helps to tell Him how you are feeling. You may not get an immediate answer, but I have no doubt our prayers are heard.

I know this now, after having gone through many seemingly unbearable moments, that the most intense part does pass. Once that part passes we can move on to how we handle the problems or challenges that we need to face or we can just take some deep breaths and calmly enjoy the rest of our evening as best as we possibly can. Either way, please know this… the moment will pass.


Filed under anxiety, depression, Inspirational, mental health, ramblings

To Be Known

Does it ever occur to you that perhaps a sadness you may feel in life is because of a sense of not being known? I struggle with this. I desperately want for people to see me, to know me and then of course, to accept me just as I am. Truly, that’s an awful lot to ask of people, isn’t it? But how my heart craves to be known!

At work I want people to know my good intentions and my strong desire to do good, to excel and produce the best work that I can. In parenting, I want my children to know my love for them and feel it fully. In friendship I want for my dear friends to know my wishes and dreams and the amount of love, care and concern I have for them. There are so many ways I want to be known. I want to be seen and known for my heart, not for my errors or mistakes, not for the foolish thing that may have slipped out of my mouth, and not for the silly questions I may have asked or times when I am obviously seeking approval. I want to be known for the goodness that I am.

This world seems so full of judgment. “You aren’t enough of this, Amy. You aren’t doing good enough at that. Perhaps you should be more like so and so, or maybe if you got better at “X,Y or Z” you would be okay. Maybe then we could tolerate the you we know, the you we think we know…”

Sometimes it feels like if people truly knew me then they would treat me differently, if they knew how much I care, if they knew how much I love to be a part of something important and that my goal is to be a light in the world and to all people, but to also be a helper and a leader… and sometimes I just wonder if they would be kinder if they knew how squashed I sometimes feel inside. Because really, if we are honest, don’t we all feel squashed sometimes?

As a person living with  chronic health challenges, I want people to know my pain and what I am dealing/coping with. I get the sense that if only they knew what it was like, then maybe they would get me and maybe the relationship would be better or they would have compassion or just simply understand what I am dealing with.  But again, that’s asking a lot of people. (And believe me, this goes both ways, I also want to know you and them.)

So here’s one conclusion: they don’t know me. And as much as I want to be known, even if I shared it all, they may still not like what they know. Most of the time, they don’t care to know me because they too are busy feeling squashed or frustrated because they are misunderstood or unknown. Or maybe they are just too busy not thinking about how important it is that other people need to be known. Yet, I think it would serve us all well in this world if we took time to try to know each other better.

So I crave to be known, deeply. I yearn to feel known because when I feel really known I feel safe and no longer alone. I am incredibly blessed to say that for the first time in my life I feel known and understood in a new way with a new love in my life who is treasured by me and I by him beyond any comparison. And most importantly, I realize, with more awareness than ever before, that there is one who always has and always will know me. He knows my heart. He knows my desires. He knows my failings and he knows my strengths. And He loves me, just like He loves you. He is God and He is the reason that I can go to sleep at night worried a lot less about those who don’t seem to know me or even want to know me.  For as long as God knows me, I am not alone. I am known.


Filed under Blogging, chronic pain, depression, fibromyalgia, Inspirational, ramblings

This Is What I Will Do

So often in life I have felt like I don’t fit in… I have felt like I don’t belong.  I don’t remember exactly when that feeling started for me… I don’t recall feeling that way at 4 or 5 or 6. I must have developed that feeling as a teenager or preteen and somehow never shook it. When life became more challenging and difficult life events piled upon one another I must have internalized these feeling so deep because it still lives with me today.

Now, most of the time I feel good being me, most days I am proud of me and can recognize my strengths. But sometimes, the feelings of not being good enough, of being inadequate or feeling like a failure find a way to creep back in. This is one of those days!

I am certain this is entirely human and not a problem specific to me, but wow, when it hits it feels like I am the only one in the world feeling this way. When the self-doubt and insecurities take over, it feels so real and true. It’s hard to shake. It takes work to get past it and sometimes, depending on the circumstances that brought about the feelings, it can take a long time to gain back confidence.


So, here is what I will do. I will tell myself “I can.” I will tell myself “You are good enough.” I will tell myself “You are a beautiful and wonderful creation of God’s and worthy of good things.” I will say, “You are worthy of more than feeling this way.” And, I will say, “You are forgiven for your failures, tomorrow is a new day.”

It may not shake the feelings instantaneously, but it will work. It will replace the negative thoughts and not just because it works to repeat things like this but because it is truth.


Filed under Inspirational, ramblings

Ramblings and Updates and Other Perhaps Important Stuff

I wrote this on Friday and meant to post, but my mind has been a bit scattered recently, so I never published it! Still, some things I wanted to share follow:


The world of social media is full of stigma stomping articles and uproar over people who are adding buckets of shame to a pool of it that is already over-flowing. I have shared a couple of these on Facebook and I am so proud that I know people who share these articles and write these posts to help dispel the untruths that continue to bombard us daily about what it is to live with a mental health issue.

Here are a couple of the articles that I have come across today:

Dear Dr. Phil

First Dr. Phil, Now NBC’s Brian Williams: Stigmatizing Mental Illness

Looking for Attention: Passing Judgment on the Mentally Ill

It ignites my passion for sharing about living with mental health issues when I see others doing the same. Upon sharing one of these articles on Facebook a friend, who I would never know was challenged with these issues, shared that she also has dealt with chronic anxiety and depression for her whole life. Talking about this stuff is GOOD. It is so good to know that we are not alone.

On another note, someone special reminded me last night that it’s okay to share all of the good on here. I think that I do that, but it would be easy for those blogging about chronic illness and mental health issues to stay stuck in the darker side of things at times. I am fortunate that those darker times are behind me now, although I do not know what is ahead, I do know that I am in a good place. I am glad I can share it all.

And finally, I thought I would let everyone know that I have signed up to walk in the Greater Kansas City Out of the Darkness Community Walk for Suicide Prevention again this year. I am hoping to raise twice as much money as I did last year. While I realize this is a lofty goal who says goals shouldn’t be lofty? No matter how much money I raise, it will again be my privilege to walk among those who have also lost loved ones to suicide and who care about preventing suicide in those who struggle with mental heath issues such as depression. If you would like to support me, you can visit my fundraising page here. If you are in the area and would like to join me, just say so, I would welcome your company and support as it is always an emotional experience.

Here’s to finding beautiful things in your day! I feel so blessed to feel the beauty in my heart and soul again today.

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