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  • acleveland 11:21 pm on November 30, 2009 Permalink | Reply  

    wake up call. 

    Flowers can’t grow without sun. You never see green grass during a drought. Flowers and trees don’t defy these simple facts. Yet here I am, a flower absent of sunlight’s flushing warmth, grass without replenishing water. And I’m doing my best to beat the odds.
    If only flowers could store up heat energy inside them, or go search for it. If only grass could have a bucket of extra water off to the side, ready to spill life back to the lawn. I know I have comfort in a hidden place, but seeking is so ridiculously hard. I don’t want to sound like the girl that won’t shut up about “wow, my life is sucking right now.” I mean, it really doesn’t AT ALL. I’ve got an awesome family, some great friends from church. I’m grateful for all that I have. I’m a seriously blessed person with all that Christ has given me. But, even while knowing this, situations can wear me down like sandpaper on wood. I just don’t want to stop growing. It’s why I’m writing, it’s why I’m doing other art things. There’s 13 days left of this semester. Just 13. Maybe, maybemaybemaybe things can get better then. Strength is wearing thin, spreading out until I can see through it. I’m fully dependent on strength from above. I’m grateful that I have the ability now to empathize with people that I have previously seen in my situation. Because now, I don’t just see people looking alone and think, “Wonder if they have any friends?” Now, I do for them what I wish people would do for me. There are opportunities to seize, choices to make, and lessons to learn from this whole experience, and I plan on taking advantage of it. I’m promising to myself and to God that I won’t let this just HAPPEN and barely survive. I want to use it as a chance to GROW, to find what will HELP me grow, to help out where I can, and, most importantly, to glorify God. Because if I’m able to grow and be a light when it seems impossible, then it’s 100% him, and 0% me.

    New favorite song: Your Guardian Angel – Red Jumpsuit Apparatus

    • Kelli 7:09 pm on December 1, 2009 Permalink | Reply

      You are amazing and inspirational and you always know how to describe something. Because what you just said is simplified life. And its inspiring me to seize it and make people notice me as someone who is fighting for Christ. So thank you.

  • acleveland 8:06 pm on November 29, 2009 Permalink | Reply  

    don’t let go. 

    Ya know, when we are little, we believe some crazy things. We are innocent, willing to believe anything, and full of wonder at the smallest things. When I was little, I believed..
    That there were little workers underground that switched the traffic lights.
    That my kindergarden teacher, Mrs. Loney, was a pony. She came in on the first day and said “My name is Mrs. Loney the pony! When I’m not at school, I’m a pony.” I came home and told my mom that I had a part-time pony as my kindergarden teacher, and when she tried to convince me otherwise, I got mad and said that Mrs. Loney wouldn’t lie to me.
    That I really could dig a hole to China.
    That if I swung high enough on our playset, and jumped off at the highest point, that I could land in a tree.
    That a credit card was not really money – just a way to get things without having to pay.
    That the United States was the only land in the world.

    That the number on the back of athletes’ shirts was a rating of how good they are – the higher the number, the better.
    That everyone in the world thought in English.

    Personally, I think we have some things to learn from little kids. Less cynicism, more intrigue, less judgment, more acceptance, less worry about being “correct”, more saying what you think. 

    School tomorrow. Pray hard.

    New favorite song: Time To Go – Keane

    • Kelli 8:27 pm on November 29, 2009 Permalink | Reply

      Amanda you are very good at being a child. Very accepting and loving and wonderful in every way. I’m praying for you.

    • Christine 11:38 pm on December 2, 2009 Permalink | Reply

      Manders! Holy cow, like im always telling you. I learn something new from every one of your writings. I’m so blessed to have you in my life, and I truelly believe God put us together because of what you can teach to glorify him. I love you so much, and I agree with Kelli, you are a good at being a child (which mostr people would take as a negative thing). But I mean this in an amazing way. Your amazing.

  • acleveland 12:33 am on November 28, 2009 Permalink | Reply  

    I like to whisper too! 

    If your life story was the only gospel, how would the readers think they should live?

     I feel bad for celebrities. They have all of their worst mistakes broadcasted nationwide. Hate on Kanye West, he was a jerk to Taylor Swift. Oh, and watch as the Gosselin family falls apart. Those poor kids. By the way, Lindsay Lohan is in rehab..AGAIN. Then, there’s always.. “Hey kids, I’m home. Guess what, I’ve got big news – BRITNEY SPEARS SHAVED HER HEAD.”  I think we are all just thankful that it’s other people’s screw-ups that we talk about instead of our own. But really, if your own life was in the spotlight, how much better off would you be than these people? I’m not defending what some of them have done, but it’s something to think about. What if the entire country watched live as you yelled at your mom, cheated on a test, or gave someone an ugly look? In a partially unforgiving world, I’m shamefully content that my mistakes can be hidden in a corner and kept secret. Part of me believes that I should live my life as if the whole world is watching. Wouldn’t that drive most of us to be more genuine and kind?
    Just today I was in the car with my friends when the driver in front of us flicked off another person. Would they have done that if they knew that 2739823 people were watching as it was displayed around the United States? Maybe, maybe not.
    I guess it’s all “a character thing,” as Justin Lookadoo says. He has said that character is “what you would do if you knew you would never get caught”. Character is what this is all about. Character is doing the right thing because it’s the right thing, not because you’ll get rewarded for it later, or because it will impress others. It’s also about abstaining from doing the wrong thing… even though it won’t be broadcasted across America, and people might never find out. Jon Gosselin cheated on Kate, and the Sham-Wow guy got arrested, and everyone knows about it. My faults won’t be spilled to the world, but I’ll strive to do what’s right anyway, just because of character. God sees it all, even what we try to keep in the dark.

    New favorite song: Her Diamonds – Rob Thomas

  • acleveland 12:54 am on November 27, 2009 Permalink | Reply  

    turkey day. 

    Thanksgiving is a day to be grateful, and as we said grace around the table at my aunt’s house, boy did I realize just how thankful I am. It’s kind of funny how there’s only one Thanksgiving a year. I think Thanksgiving should be everyday, turning it into a verb instead of a date on the calendar. It was a great day. I learned how to throw a football, thanks to future quarterback Will Cleveland (maybe..), and I’m officially a pro (and maybe not.) I can’t even list all that I’m thankful for, and “thank you” is not enough. Words can’t cut it this time. But every ounce of me is weighted with gratitude to God for every aspect of my life, even the unexpected parts. I hope everyone had a great Thanksgiving and ate lots and lots of turkey.

    New favorite song: Feel The – The Goo Goo Dolls

  • acleveland 11:48 pm on November 25, 2009 Permalink | Reply  

    solitude can be pretty sweet. 

    Hellooooooooo, from the porch of Amanda Cleveland. It’s a cold night, but I’ve got a sweatshirt, a snuggie, and a hot drink. I am so ridiculously excited to tell my… three… AWESOME readers about November 25, 2009, because it was incredible on a whole different level. Today was a beautiful day, and I decided to take advantage of it and just spend some time alone with God.
    At about 1:00, I went out on the porch and sat in a chair out there and was still. I turned off my phone, I closed the door to the house, and there were no distractions. I just sat and stared into my backyard, past the neighbor’s fence, and up at the sky. The music was the rustling of leaves, dogs barking, singing windchimes, and the wind blowing through the trees. I realized in this quiet time how thankful I am for simple beauty. I think I take it for granted sometimes and just overlook it, when the beauty of this world deserves to be admired and appreciated.
    The clouds moved quickly from His gentle gust of air, blowing them across the sky. As I looked up at the pure blue sky, it was checkerboarded by the limbs of trees, mirrored by shadows on the dry green ground. Stiff, papery leaves peppered the ground, dazzling the grass with gold silver and bronze medallions dropped from the trees. THAT, my friends, is peace. I spent quite a bit of time out there on the porch writing and just sitting there.
    Then, I went on a VERY long bike ride. I took my iPod and let it be the soundtrack of my amazing ride. I rode up through my neighborhood, onto Boring Road, over by St. John Neumann, through a couple of other neighborhoods, by the Primary School, and who knows where else. It was beautiful, it was fun, and it was a chance to do more than just sit and be still, but to take what I got from that time and put it into action. I finally went back inside after my combined time on the porch and on the bike at around 4:30, feeling better than ever. To sum up the day, I’ll say one word: Revitalized.

    Here’s all the songs I went through on the bike ride:
    The ENTIRE Tenth Avenue North album, “Over And Underneath”
    From The Inside Out – Hillsong United
    Everything – Lifehouse
    Your Love Is A Song – Switchfoot
    You Are My Joy – David Crowder Band
    Your Love Is Extravagant – Casting Crowns
    Something Beautiful – Needtobreathe
    Beauty Will Rise – Steven Curtis Chapman

  • acleveland 10:28 pm on November 24, 2009 Permalink | Reply  


    Can you say no more school until next Monday? I sure can, and I’m not just saying it, I’m SCREAMING it. I honestly could not be happier. I’ve got an art project in progress, music, The Office, and my friends for this beautiful Tuesday night, and there’s a smile glued to my face. I made it through these two days, and I don’t have to think about s-c-h-o-o-l for a very long time.
    Tonight I want to get one thing across. I used to feel like going to church on Sunday morning was boring, and that the Christian way of life was all rules and restrictions, with no freedom. I thought it was just an uneventful, lame way of life with ONE WAY to do it. The truth could not be more on the opposite side of the spectrum. I can’t tell you how chasing what I love has saved me. One of my favorite things about following Christ is that I can do it however I want. I don’t have to follow a specific way of praising Him.
    It’s not a to-do list, like 1. Pray for 10 minutes. 2. Read the Bible for 15 minutes. 3. Repeat until you think it’s long enough.
    NO WAY! I like to turn everything I do into an offering of love for Christ. That’s how I get my mind off of school and onto what’s important. I write, journal, draw, run, play piano, play guitar, take pictures, and I burn math books (Just kidding!). There’s an endless amount of ways to praise Him, and I’m not going to limit myself.

    I don’t want to waste another breath wondering if my doubts are reality
    This joy is better than any type of reality that the world could ever dream up.

    New favorite song: Chasing Cars by Snow Patrol

  • acleveland 11:43 pm on November 22, 2009 Permalink | Reply  


    Ahh, you and your sweet-talking. Not for me. Nope, I won’t fall in that net again. Getting untangled is too tricky.
    Only two days this week. Just two days. Then WednesdayThursdayFridaySaturdaySunday off. I can deal with 2 days. A great weekend is drawing to a close. Elf, werewolves, laughing while sleeping, music… What else could I need?

    Your love is my miracle,
    A saving grace sculpted by angels.
    Lord, you blossom out of frozen winter ground,
    Forcing your way up through the cracks
    Adding color and life to what had wilted away
    When Sun turned her back on the restless, stirring the wind.
    Wind blows strong and fierce,
    Goodbyes on wheels out for the hunt
    Cold, sleek, and driving.
    Bittersweet farewells are jagged around the edges, scraping my calloused hands.
    Yet, they are soft on the inside,
    Soft from the hope they unknowingly left behind.
    The goodbyes helped me see the strength I lack,
    They helped me see that there’s no turning back,
    They helped me see that I had it all wrong,
    They helped me see that I sang a tired song,
    I was pushed away with a bittersweet farewell,
    And nudged into the arms of my Savior.
    So, now is whenI thank you, Farewell,
    For the scrapes.

    New favorite song: Can’t Get Away – Rush of Fools
    **addicted to this song, it’s on repeat.repeat.repeat.repeat.

    • Kelli 7:40 pm on November 23, 2009 Permalink | Reply

      wow Amanda. They helped me see that I sang a tired song. So poetic. So pretty. and So true.

  • acleveland 10:39 pm on November 19, 2009 Permalink | Reply  

    hey now. 

    Today, I went to my grandma’s nursing home with my family for the Thanksgiving dinner they were throwing. I love seeing my grandma. She had a stroke in 2007, but she makes sure that is known that she won’t let anything get in her way. She calls herself the “nursing home troublemaker”, because she said it’s a necessity in every nursing home. She said that if there has to be a troublemaker anyway, it might as well be her. She always comes up with elaborate schemes where I steal a car,  pick her up, and she and I drive off to another state where nobody can find us. We’ve made (fake) arrangements several times, but she always calls them off at the last minute, claiming that the nursing home just wouldn’t be the same without her. I must say, I agree. This Thanksgiving, I am thankful for grandparents.

    The song “Can’t Get Away” by Rush of Fools has been playing on my iPod nonstop. It talks about how no matter where we go, no matter what happens, we can’t get away from God. Sometimes, it feels like He’s not there. I know there have been times in my life where I have felt afraid and like I had somehow slipped away from under God’s watchful eye. Once, we were at my great-aunt’s apartment downtown for New Year’s Eve. My cousin John, Will, and I were out in the hallway just hanging out while all the adults were talking in the room. Suddenly, John and I looked around and noticed Will was gone. We went down the elevator and were going to all the different floors searching for him. When we got to the second floor, we heard screaming and yelling for help. John and I ran as fast as we could to find out where the screaming was coming from. We found him in the stairwell. We opened up the door to let him out, but then John let it close behind us, and we were locked in. Panic set in. We looked for every escape plan. We went to the top floor, and there was an exit leading outside to the top of the roof. It was super late, cold, and pitch black outside. We were even considering scaling the wall and going in through a window. After throwing out that plan, we just sat in the stairwell and yelled for about 45 minutes. By this point, we were all fairly certain that the stupid stairwell would be the end of us. We freaked out, yelled, hit the door, and ran up and down the stairs until someone finally let us out.
    I guess what you could learn from this story is that no matter how scary, new, and confusing life might seem, God won’t leave. His love is stronger than any fear or confusion. You can look for other escapes, but He is the only one that will free you from the stairwell once and for all. This Thanksgiving, I am thankful for not being able to escape God.

    New favorite song: Something Beautiful – Needtobreathe

    • Kelli 7:41 pm on November 23, 2009 Permalink | Reply

      I want to meet your grandmother. And I want to know how it is you get yourself in all these crazy situations!

  • acleveland 9:44 pm on November 18, 2009 Permalink | Reply  


    It is easy to be thankful for the great things in our lives: family, friends, youth group, weekends, AWESOME(ness) :), pets, nature, music, Starbucks!, trips,  journals, instruments, good health, church, a home, protection, and love. What gets tricky is to live out what Thessalonians 5:18 commands
    “Be cheerful no matter what, pray all the time, thank God no matter what happens (in all circumstances). This is the way God wants you who belong to Christ Jesus to live.”
    I heard this verse twice today. First, it was on the radio when I was driving from school. I remembered it and wrote it down. Then, the same verse showed up at church tonight.
    So basically, we praise Him when everything is going according to plan, but we should also praise Him in the middle of a storm. I don’t know about you, but for me, it sounds super backwards to say “I thank you for the struggles, the persecution, and feeling alone.” Most of the time, during all the painful situations, I just want to say, “Come on, God, why is this happening?! What did I do wrong?!” And honestly, that’s what I’ve been saying lately. I’ve been thinking this entire time that I must have messed up somewhere. I thought I just needed to focus on what I was thankful for… in other words, everything OTHER than the persecution, feeling alone, etc. So today when I was asked to write down 3 things that make me thankful for school, I was at a loss. I thought, “Wow. Grateful for what goes on at school? I don’t think so, sorry. This is stretching it.” But maybe it’s time to stretch my ways of thinking! If I’m supposed to thank God for EVERY SINGLE CIRCUMSTANCE, then every single part of my life – good and bad – falls under that category. So today, I’m thankful for persecution, feeling alone, feeling worn down, crazy teachers, and crazier classmates. I”m thankful for persecution because it gives me a chance to show the courage that Christ’s love gives. I’m thankful for feeling alone because it reminds me that I never really am. I’m thankful for feeling worn down because it gives Christ a chance to build me up. I’m thankful for crazy teachers because I can pray for them, and they show how NOT to be. I’m thankful for crazier classmates because hopefully I can be an example of how God could change their lives. This Thanksgiving, I want to be thankful….for ALL circumstances.

    New favorite song: Wait – Mat Kearney

  • acleveland 9:46 pm on November 16, 2009 Permalink | Reply  

    once in a lifetime. 

    I’m trying my hardest to switch up my outlook. School was a hurricane today. “Hello hurricane, you’re not enough. Hello hurricane, you can’t silence my love.” Everything tried to hit me hard today. I felt it rushing in, I saw the backwards glances in class, wondering “Is that really true?”. But you know what? No! Hurricane, you think you’re big and bad. And honestly, I think you are, too. I honestly still think you’re scary. But I’ve got something so much bigger, so much more powerful. Hurricane, you’re NEVER going to be enough. You hit me hard before, I still feel and see your effects, and you’re still trying, and I still need help, and part of me is still weak, and part of me is still lonely. But you won’t win. This hurricane in my life is not easing up. I still see it, I still acknowledge it, it’s still raging and trying to pull me down. But God’s love to me is strength. And THAT is what’s enough. That is more than enough. I’m trying so hard to get back in full swing.
    “You say if I lose my life it’s then I’ll find my soul.”
    This year I’ve felt like I lost everything that I called my “life”. I’m starting to see that I’m so wrong. I didn’t lose anything, I gained everything. I had forgotten how good it feels to be strong. I’m more grateful now for His strength than I have ever been, because I’ve never needed it so badly. Maybe if I hadn’t lost my old life and what was a part of it, I wouldn’t have learned about God’s direction, love, being my constant, taking me by the hand.
     I finally felt God for the first time in months last night, and my opposition was trying to take that away from me today. I finally felt Him, I finally found Him, even though I’ve known He’s been there all along. I’ve had a lot of prayers go towards hoping that feeling Him doesn’t leave. I don’t want to lose this feeling of reassurance and love. I decided last night to turn all of this around. Starting today, instead of sitting silent at lunch, I’m taking part in the lunchroom challenge, because now I know how those other kids feel. I’m one of them. But now, maybe we can band together. I’m starting to think that I can look at this as being lucky. I’M STANDING AGAIN! I’m pouring myself into art, a sketchbook that’s about halfway filled, music. My grades are getting better because I don’t have as much to focus on at school other than just classes. What now, Chemistry? What now, high school?

    New favorite song: Hello, Hurricane – Switchfoot.

    • Kelli 10:15 pm on November 16, 2009 Permalink | Reply

      “i got the nv touch! what now?” jacob tankersly.
      but seriously im so happy. i pray for you every morning. for you to find strength. i dont want you to be alone. so go ahead and form a band with people. just no marching and feathery hats!

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