It’s funny how you don’t really get over people, and you dont really realize it, until it hits you all of a sudden.  You’re filled with all these emotions like, maybe if I wasn’t good enough for them, I’ll never be good enough for anyone. So you just pull the sheets over your head and pretend to disappear.  One of these days I’ll surface again, until then I’ll just keep hiding from everyone.  I’d rather not leave my room today.

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The great flood of 2016

Lately, flooding in the Houston area, has been much more extreme and often then it used to be, or at least it seems to be that way.  We had 5 people lose their lives today in the rain and floods, and basically the whole city was shutdown.  I know I couldn’t get to work even if I wanted to.  I’d say the storms came in around 3 this morning and they kept going at least until noon if not longer.  The water crept closer and closer to our house, until the rain finally slowed down enough to let the high waters recede.

We live in the Bayou City, so when those high waters come in, our bayous fill quickly and the water has nowhere to go but the streets.  There were spots so high, that whole cars just were swallowed.  When the rain gets out of control like this, we have road signs everywhere that say, “Turn around, don’t drown!”  and as I really fought and struggled with missing a day of work, I kept telling myself is it really important enough to risk my life, risk my car over getting to work?

We have people that lost their lives, their cars, their homes, it was a truly sad day for a lot of Houstonians.  I think about how blessed we are and how the storms are supposed to continue today and I’m just hoping beyond all hope that everything will be fine.  I didn’t make it to work today, and when I called to let them know, I found out that only two people had showed up for work.  How can you run an entire grocery store with two people?  They did somehow.

My mom had to mail her taxes, and my sister and I wanted to pick up our bikes from my house, so we ventured out.  We’ve been remodeling my house for awhile now and I was so scared that the new floors we just finished, would be ruined but thank goodness that was not the case, the house didn’t get any water damage.  My mom and I rode down to the post office and the destruction was terrible, water everywhere, more like lakes, abandoned cars, closed exits, and this was at 6pm.  The rain had stopped for hours.  One area in particular was hit so hard, one of the schools was being used as a shelter for the night, and the community was donating supplies for those in need, us Texans generally band together when things go wrong.

It was a scary, scary day here in Houston, but I’m glad that most people were safe, I’m glad to live in a city where people help each other, and I hope that we don’t have this all over again tomorrow.  God bless those affected by todays weather and please be with those without a home tonight, and the nights to come and also with those having to rebuild, start fresh and sort their losses.

Easter Sunday, Social Media, and everything inbetween

First and foremost, Easter Sunday was an incredible day as it often is, had a beautiful service at my Mamaw’s church and was happy to see she has people that care about her as well as a nice little church home.  We had communion and the last couple of times I’ve had communion, it has been such a powerful experience for me, I wouldn’t be able to even put into words, but I think it has to do with a growing spiritual relationship with Christ.  I spent the day with my Mamaw, my Mom had to work and Dad was at home, but overall it was a good day, except when I started browsing the news feed on my facebook.

I’m Christian, I don’t claim to know everything about everything.  I try very hard not to judge people on anything, I mesh well with people of all nationalities, religious backgrounds, sexual preferences, etc…but I really find it offensive when someone bashes Jesus on any day, but specifically on Easter.  I get that some people aren’t believers I get that so much, but some of the things people post about, and some of the memes that are posted with crucifixion pictures and jokes are just terribly offensive to me.  I’m not sure when that started bothering me, but it’s truly enough for me to want to get off social media entirely.  Instead, I’ve been hitting that unfriend button quite frequently today and though that doesn’t help the cause, I’m ridding myself of negative energy.

I get that people don’t have the same beliefs, I understand that we are born with free will, and come to Christ at our own pace, if even at all but I don’t understand how the biggest sacrifice ever made, can be mocked all these years later.  Someone died, all the worlds pain was put on the back of this man, to free us of our sins and yet we mock Him all these years later just like he was mocked on the cross?  It makes you really wonder about society.  I know I’m not perfect, no one is, no one will be except for Christ himself, but I can’t believe how tacky adults can be.  Lately to me all Facebook and other social media forms are nothing but a means to brag about what we have and what we don’t have, where we’re going and where we’ve been, don’t get me wrong I’m guilty of all this too, but lately its just really been weighing on my mind.

So what do I do?  A fast of social media in my life needs to happen I believe.  It’s getting to the point that I dread signing onto things lately.  I’m proposing a shutdown of my facebook, snapchat, instagram for the course of one month.  Possibly keeping instagram going because I am a new photographer and trying to get some sort of following on this blog and or my photos.  I’d still be available via this blog and email, but just wouldn’t be so active on facebook.  I tried this experiment with Tumblr I guess about a year ago, and I kind of sort of never went back.

Posting this, maybe I’m being judgmental, but I don’t make it a point to publicly bash ones beliefs, and I was very offended today by some of the things I saw out there.  How can I be more of a kind, compassionate person, when it comes to social media, with a more positive social presence, than I am being now?  Am I realizing that what I say day to day, can be seen by just about anyone and is it something that might be offending someone else as well?  Something to think about, before I post.

But, how do we make ourselves happy?

I haven’t posted in awhile, because I’ve been in my feels lately.  I’m usually this easy going, carefree, messy hair type of gal, but even with all of that, I am constantly in my head.  The weight of the world gets kind of heavy, and it’s really hard to put into words just what I’m going through.  Basically, I’m a sad kind of girl, sad for no real reason I suppose.  I seem to have everything going for me, but I’m constantly feeling a void, and I can’t fill that void no matter how hard I try.

I know what you are thinking, easy fix, JESUS.  Well yes, and no, my spiritual well being has a lot to do with my mental well being, and my mental well being has a lot to do with my physical well being.  When I get down in the dumps, everything shuts down on me.  Literally, everything.  First, and I hate to admit this, but when I’m in a funk, the first thing that stops is, my devotionals.  I’ll be the first to tell you that journaling over the past three years or so, has saved my life in the sense that I’ve found purpose, I’ve found something to live for, that’s not to say my life was going to end, or that I have nothing to live for, it just changed my life for the better.  If I know how happy this makes me, and how wonderful it is to have a special bond with our savior, who wants us to come to Him at our lowest, why does it stop, why do I stop?

When the journaling and time with Christ stops, I get really really guilty, and I feel so low that I think no one cares, then the isolation starts, and then the skipping of my workouts occur.  Being a bigger girl, you can always tell when I’m upset, as my weight always fluctuates with my mental state.  Now no, I’m not over here with all these things wrong with me, on my death bed, world is so cruel, can’t get better, just let me rot in pieces kind of mentality, but its more like please won’t you please turn the lights off in my room, lock the door and leave me alone to sleep as the world turns.  Let me tell you, the easiest way I ever stopped devotionals, is my having a date on the top of each one.  Do you know how hard it is to be a day behind, a week behind, a month behind, it can be very disheartening.

Back to Amber, lights out, blankets on top of her, world tuned out.  What happened to my friends?  I don’t even have the want or strength to text them back, or check on them, which really and truly it’s amazing I still have friends.  My energy level is so bad, that I can’t even pick up my favorite book, or do much of anything but stare off into the distance for hours at a time.  Lowest of low, and this isn’t like a once a year type of thing, this is happening more frequently where I can’t really just shut it off.  So, where do we go from here?

My intentions with this post, is not to make anyone feel sorry for me, or worry about me, or anything to that nature, it’s meant to put a face to the fear I feel inside, the constant need to just shut the world out and hide.  Because, quite frankly dealing with this world, and people in this wold, can be exhausting.  I sometimes wish there was an off button, just so my brain would stop thinking for five minutes, just so that instead of isolating myself from everyone around me, I could just shut them out and take a little break.

That being said, this post poses a question, how do we make ourselves happy.  When I’m not feeling all that great, I want to look back, and remember that these things make me happy.

Christ, He is my salvation, my biggest fan, even when I’m not a fan of myself.  He is always here for me, even when I push Him to the side.  Without Him, where would my life be?  Who would I be living for?

2. Children that really love, and admire you for just being you.  Brutally honest you, kids are the true MVPs.  They let you know quite honestly what they think of you.  I have a gig every Friday night with two of the cutest little boys you ever saw, and they brought me so much happiness in a time when I didn’t even know I needed it.  They are the sunshiney rays of my week, every week and I kind of hope it stays like that forever, or as long as it can.

3.My happy place, that is currently under construction.  My bedroom was so dreary and down, it was easy to get lost in isolation in there.  Now, I’ve painted the walls yellow, and invite only good vibes in.  I can’t wait to move back in, and finally take pride in my home.

4)The fact that my friends understand that sometimes I just need to be alone, but still check on me to see that I’m not hurting myself by being alone for too long.

5)Writing!  Dearest Amber, do you know how long you hid from your written thoughts, and do you know how much you miss it, and how even if you never do anything with what you write, it is your gift, and you not embracing it, is wasting your God given talent.

6)Reading!  A good book takes you out of your mind and into wherever the author wants you to be.

7)Shopping for books!  Nothing better than randomly finding something you want to read eventually, even if you still have 100 books from your previous shopping trips to dive into.

This bloggers eyes are getting heavy, but I’ll leave with this little bit of knowledge that I gathered from this post.  I will never come to terms with the short lifespan I have in this world if I waste the gift of time given to me by not using my talent to serve others.  My grandpa left this world at 68, do you think he wasted his time moping around?  No, he was too busy living his life, and providing for his family both financially and spiritually.  Maybe I’m able to come to terms with what I’ve been dealing with since life became a little more precious to me after losing my Papal, or maybe I’m just ready to come to terms with what is holding me back as I grow older whatever the case may be, something has to change and I have to find out on my own, what makes ME happy.

Turn the Page

Here we are 8 days into a new year, a fresh start, a new page for some, possibly a chapter for others.  This year has started off well for me.  I haven’t been to the gym as often as I’ve wanted, but tomorrow is another day.  Small goals, seriously, think small.  No soda or fast food thus far in the new year, and I intend to keep it that way.  I am a soda free kid most days but the last month of 2015 I was like all the soda belongs to Amber…okay not really but I still consumed way too much (by way too much I mean maybe like 6 sodas in December) and the fast food thing, was the same way.  It’s hard for me to just cook for myself but I am learning.

The first weekend of the new year, I took off to celebrate my Mamaw’s Birthday.  I know it was hard enough for her without her Mom and Papal, this would be her first Birthday in more than 52/53 years without him.  She cried a lot, but I think it was a bit easier for her with us all around.

New Years day, we went to the cemetery and picked up all of the Christmas trees.  We are pretty blessed to have most of the family at the same cemetery, including my grandparents on my dads side.  After that, we had our traditional meal of cabbage, for money in the new year and black eyed peas, for luck in the new year, and it was just really nice being with everyone.

The next day, we went to Louisiana because we had a free room, we shopped a bit, gambled a bit, spent the night and the next day traveled to Port Arthur, Texas where my Mamaw was born.  She has been talking about going, and showing us where her grandparents lived, and just sharing memories with us.  We found one of her grandparents houses still in tact,  

 
and the other, just the lot was left.   

 She really enjoyed being able to see the house and I’m glad we were able to share that with her.  We had been talking about going for awhile, not only so Mamaw could show us her roots, but also because I love Janis Joplin’s music, and incidently she was from Port Arthur.  We went to the Museum of the Gulf Coast to see her exhibit.  It was definitely worth checking out, and I’m so glad after all these years I finally got to see it!  Her music reminds me of riding in the truck with my dad, before he went blind.  He loved playing Me and Bobby McGee and I absolutely hated it.  Now its a memory I cherish forever and her voice grew on me over the years.  I actually picked up a brick at the museum that was a part of her childhood home.   

 I am super geeked out about that as I am a huge fan.  I emailed the director of the museum today to send me a letter of authenticity, they give you one at purchase but supposedly there is another one that is a bit neater.  I plan to frame both and put the brick in a shadowbox and display it once the house is done being remodeled.

 

It’s time for a change.  I need to get better at my writing, kind of take it a bit more seriously, and also possibly find a better job choice.  I kind of feel like my eyes were opened today, to the dead end I’ve been at for awhile.  It’s time to move on, its actually way past that time.

 

“Oh, yeah I’m scared.  I think, oh, it’s so close, can I make it?  If I fail, I’ll fail in front of the whole world.  If I miss, I’ll never have a second chance on nothing.  But, I gotta risk it.  I never hold back, man.  I’m always on the outer edge of probability.”  -Janis Joplin

In a city full of people, its easy to be overlooked.  It’s easy to overlook people.  You become your routine, wake up, get ready, work, gym, back home, and the people in between don’t really catch your eye and you don’t catch anyones either.  You fall into a sort of trance, a daze except when you go to lay your head down and your thoughts grab hold of you.  Everything you left unfinished, everything you left unsaid, it all comes rushing back to you as you lay in bed.  Sometimes, you hate this time awake, but you’re grateful that the nightmares have stopped.  The ones where you’d wake up gasping for air, sore throat, so real that it couldn’t have been just a dream, remember those?  Its funny how things linger for so long, long after the person is gone, long after the nightmare you lived, becomes something that keeps you awake at night.  You close your eyes for a second, and then the piercing cry of the alarm jolts you awake.  How can it be time to wake, when you have barely rest your eyes?  The light fries your pupils a bit but you’re happy for another day, a day in which anything could happen, though it probably won’t, but there’s always that chance, and that’s one of those things that you live for.  That chance that things could be better, or worse than your current situation.  That chance that the stranger you meet on the train, could be the one you grow old with someday.  The chance that instead of going into work one day, you call out and find adventure nestled down deep somewhere you haven’t been before.  Sand and waves calling to you, amongst the boring every day errands that demand attention.  The possibilities day in day out are a gift from God, one that I had never taken the time to notice before.  The sun setting over a mountainside, the sun rising on an ocean shore.  The beauty of the Earth, the beauty of creation lies before us everyday.  To actually open your eyes, and embrace the beauty all around us is a choice we must make daily.

Time, is it on my side?

The thing about life, it goes pretty fast.  One minute you’re 18, thinking that you have it all figured out, running away from your dad being sick and then the next minute, you’re 29.  But where did all those years go?  I keep thinking about life and living.  It scares me to think about the limited time we have with our loved ones, and the fact that they could be here one day and gone the next with no warning.  I’ve been blessed with an amazing family and with amazing friends.  I’m not good with emotions, and I’m sometimes really selfish but I don’t know where I would be or what kind of person I would be without them.  They each hold a special place in my heart.  I strayed from my parents during the typical teenage rebellion years and I’m glad to say that the relationship we have now is something that I never thought would be possible back then.  They are the ones that taught me how to be a decent human being.  I didn’t know how to deal with my dad being sick when he was doing really bad 10 years ago.  I was too busy following a boy.  My dad was in and out of the hospital, dialysis, open heart surgery and I was running from it all.  I guess that was my way to deal but to this day, I can’t really think back to those days without feeling such awful shame.  I wasn’t the best of daughters back then, and maybe I’m not still but my dad is such an important part of my life.  I couldn’t imagine my life had I lost him when I was running away from his mortality.  But that’s the thing, we all are mortal.  Anything could happen in the blink of an eye.  When I finally moved on from that boy I chased around for 7 years, I was worried that something might happen to me especially living by myself so my Papal bought me a gun to protect myself with the promise that I would go get my CHL.  That was 4 years ago and I only recently got serious about going to get that, I was going to surprise him soon with it but that’s one thing I won’t get to do, because I waited too long.  Instead I’ll always carry his CHL with me just so he’ll always be with me.  The truth is, we do not get enough time with our loved ones and we only realize this after they’re gone.  I don’t want to wait for that.  I want to look back and know that my parents, grandparents, sister, etc, all knew and know how much I loved them and how much I appreciated them.  Then, when we meet again in Heaven, we just pick up where we left off.  I spend a lot of time in my head saying things like I cant, I cant, I cant instead of trying.  Maybe, if I tried then I could clean my house, I could get a resume going, I could get back to my gym routine, I could get a better job instead of playing it safe like I have been.  My parents and grandparents worked hard for everything they have and we kids, never went without.  There were so many times and so many years my moms wardrobe didn’t change because she was buying for me and my sister before herself.  I know a lot of parents that are not like that, they see their kids as burdens and are more about themselves which is one of the reasons we have so many problems in society.  I strongly believe that your upbringing has a lot to do with who you are.  I am strong because of how my parents raised me.  I hope they always know that.  No matter what happens between us, they will always be my parents firstly, and my biggest influences secondly.   We all make sacrifices in life, but are we making them for the right reasons, for the right people?  I want the things I do in life to change people in positive ways.  I’d like people to think that I am a positive and that anything is possible if you work for it, but to do that I actually have to work for it.  How many times have I took time off from work to go to a concert, or travel with friends, but I don’t make time to spend with my family?  What sense does that make?  I guess that I am getting older and I’m getting scared about the time I have left to enjoy my family, is what it all boils down to.  This week I’ll be going to New Orleans with my family and I’m really excited to take a few days off from work and be with them.  I can’t honestly remember the last trip we took together.  We will have to take two vehicles because I have to get back to work Wednesday, so I’ll probably get to road trip with my sister and that hasn’t happened in years minus our houston to austin trips which, are hardly a road trip.  This post kind of all came from the movie “Wild”  I’ve been watching it off and on for a few days and she’s flashing back to her mom dying and I can’t even imagine nor would I ever want to be in a world without my mom or dad.  That shit is super scary to me.  I know its life but I don’t want to think about it, which is why its taking me so long to get through the movie.  It all boils down to the fact that we aren’t promised tomorrow, we need to let our loved ones know how much we love them, live life to the fullest and know that the best is yet to come.  Embrace the life you live, starting now.  What you get out of life, is all up to you.