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  • acleveland 9:59 pm on July 30, 2010 Permalink | Reply  


     It’s not too hard for me to forgive other people. I’m normally able to brush it off pretty well and consider it a simple mistake. I don’t want to lose them, for one thing – plus, imperfection is what makes us human.  But when I mess up, it’s an entirely different story. I do not expect to be forgiven by others, and I definitely struggle with forgiving myself. If someone else had made the same mistake, I can more easily see it as excusable. When people demonstrate unconditional love to me, I am amazed, because I don’t see myself as deserving it . I am amazed at being deemed worthy of unchanging love.
    Just last night I was talking to my mom about this. She said, “After all that’s happened, nobody’s going anywhere.” I asked, “But WHY?” She replied, “Because you’re worth it.” This hit me like a brick. I wasn’t expecting it, because I’m constantly buying into the words “Amanda is not worth it”. But when I think of my friends and family, I see them as deserving everything in the world and more.
    I treat myself worse than I would ever dream of intentionally doing to someone else, and it doesn’t make any sense. I’m perfectly fine with believing horrible things about myself. But when I hear other people complaining about their own flaws, I always wish I could convince them otherwise. I don’t get this. I think Christ’s mission was to spread the word that everyone’s worthy of love. I’m grateful to have that reminder, because sometimes it seems I need constant reassurance.

    New favorite song: All That I Am – The Afters

  • acleveland 8:09 pm on July 28, 2010 Permalink | Reply  


    For the past few weeks, I have been angry at and confused by God. I have been watching my dearest friends – my second family – endure pain, loss, and heartache. My most sincere wish was for the ability to snap everything back to normal. Knowing I don’t have that power, I begged and pleaded with God to heal and restore. Daily, people all over the country were asking Jesus to work a miracle.
    On Sunday night, my parents and I were sitting in the living room as I vocalized my questions and frustrations.
    Why hadn’t God been listening, even as I begged?
    Doesn’t He care?
    What should we have said to convince Him?
    How is a perfect God so blatantly unfair?
    I got replies assuring me that God does care, He has been listening, and that we just don’t know the answers. This didn’t satisfy me, and I continued fuming over what I saw as a cruel side of God. It doesn’t work to be angry at God. No matter how hard I try to resist, I am continually drawn in by His relentless grace, and I owe Him my trust.
    The thing is, I still don’t understand. I don’t have the answers, and I won’t even begin to guess His plans. But…we are not supposed to understand.  There are other sides of the story that we can’t see. We are only equipped to see the world view, and God sees through eternal and omniscient eyes. I am not overlooking a key point, and I’m not cluelessly missing an obvious answer. The crucial point is accepting the unknown and embracing it for what it is. That is where TRUST is developed, and trust derives from Truth.
    I can’t answer any questions, and I don’t have any proof. Learning to accept that is a process – along with everything else… healing,  giving up certain things, seeking advice or help instead of playing the “It’s all good” card…everything is a process.
    Step one: Find out how to get to step 2.

    New favorite song: Hear You Me – Jimmy Eat World

  • acleveland 3:53 pm on July 27, 2010 Permalink | Reply  

    don’t freak. 

    Please pray for my best friend Megan Scheuneman and her family. Her mom, Kathy Scheuneman, passed away on Sunday. It’s been a confusing, frustrating, and upsetting few days, but we can all take comfort in the fact that she is no longer in pain.
    Faith would be really easy if we had all the answers. Not understanding makes it mean that much more.

    This is probably going to be really lame until school starts, just so ya know. I really have nothing to say. Band started yesterday, from 9 to 9 except for dinner/lunch breaks.
    I keep writing things and then erasing them.

    New favorite song: Hand Grenade – The Almost

  • acleveland 1:23 pm on July 25, 2010 Permalink | Reply  

    screw that 

    i don’t have the energy or the intention or the motivation or the desire to continue treading water, fighting this
    100% ok with being caught up in the tidal wave, go ahead, i dont care
    because, seriously, what’s the point

  • acleveland 11:04 pm on July 24, 2010 Permalink | Reply  


    I tried to think of some revelation to share, and I’ve got nothing. So here goes that nothing. It’s late.. I can’t sleep, so this is just MINDLESS WRITING.

    I wonder if prisoners are ever afraid to be released from jail. Maybe after all that time of being confined and separated, interacting with other people feels unnatural. Suddenly it’s not so easy to walk in a crowd, and it might take a little longer to respond to a simple question. It’d be hard to look anyone in the eye, because there’d be no bars blocking the way. People could see right through, absent of distractions and metal rimmed secrets.
    Maybe they’re afraid that after months spent daydreaming of the outside world, fantasies snatched control and painted unrealistic expectations.  Days that slipped into nights were wasted yearning for a taste of fairy tale freedom. They might fear that once they stepped outside of the cell, it would be a let down compared to what was imagined back in captivity.

    Once you were sent home, would you have to relocate your identity? In jail, does it feel like the word “prisoner” defines your existence? No longer is it just a fraction of your life, it consumes your life. It’s surrounds, traps, and steals your connection with family, friends, pets, and hobbies. Once “prisoner” didn’t apply anymore, how would they define themselves? They could believe that once that label is gone, there’s nothing else to describe who they have become.
    Maybe nightmares are only terrifying because we don’t have them every night. After awhile, you would get used to scary dreams. It would become all you knew, all you remembered. It would be normal.
    Is prison the same way? They could say, “Prison used to be a nightmare. Then, it took over my life. Now, it’s normal, and I don’t know anything else.”  Then, nightmares would be more comfortable than dreams, because dreams would offer a tempting, hard to reach sprinkle of  potential to be better. What’s your prison?
    Is this clear as mud or what? Read into it, I dare you.

    New favorite song: Satellite – Dave Matthews Band

  • acleveland 6:43 pm on July 21, 2010 Permalink | Reply  

    it’s true i’ve failed, but your love covers me. 

    It’s weird how I never know what to say anymore. How to phrase it, how to make the words fit. How to translate this craziness. Whatever.
    Mindset. That’s what this is all about, isn’t it? If you think you can, you can. If you think you can’t, you can’t. Let’s seperate fact from fiction. Scoot them as far away as possible and show me where tomorrow falls.
    I remember when I played softball for the Rockies. I dragged my little bat up to the plate as my oversized helmet bounced with each step. My coach stood at the fence and said, “You can do this, Amanda! Be confident!” I looked at the big, bad, 9 year old pitcher and she looked like a professional. I tried to figure out a way to fake an injury so I could go back to the dugout.
    I guess in order to be confident you have to know what you’re up against, and how to fight it to the best of your abilities.
    In that moment, I needed proof that I could stand up next to home plate and survive…or just not get hit. If I hadn’t been playing since I was 5, and if I hadn’t gone to practice, I would have been even LESS prepared. I had watched this girl pitch, and I had spent hours in the batting cage. Past that, I don’t know if there’s anything else I could have done.
    Confidence aside, I went up to bat with everything I had. Although that included shaking hands and a fluttering heart, I got through.

    Then, there are the things that get tossed our way that we have NO CLUE how to handle. No experience, no practice. Where do you go from there? What happens when you don’t know how to fight back — when you’ve never swung a bat in your life, and that pitcher is staring you down?
    I can’t think of any answers other than hope and a prayer.

    New favorite song: Forward Motion – Thousand Foot Krutch

  • acleveland 8:44 pm on July 19, 2010 Permalink | Reply  


    I wonder if the post below is making ya curious. Probably not.
    I’ve been wondering why people are drawn to certain things. Why do we marvel at 300 foot tall trees and oceans miles deep? Why do people travel across the world to see the Grand Canyon or Mount Everest? Why do we gasp everytime we spot a rainbow?  Surely it’s deeper than a good picture or a cool view. Maybe when we take in those big sights, it answers a question. It reminds us that there’s something bigger than us…something more. We are not the end, but we’re also not the beginning. 
    I was reading an article in a magazine about this non-profit organization called To Write Love On Her Arms, which is supported by bands such as Switchfoot and Anberlin.  It began from a simple, short, true story about a struggling girl finding hope and healing. Its vision is community and love, spreading the word of “your story matters” and “you have a purpose”. In a world with 18,000 foot tall mountains, it’s still weird to think that MY story.. YOUR story.. matters. The guy that wrote the story is named Jamie Tworkowski. His life’s work is the stuff people don’t like to talk about. His job is to talk about it. Not only does he GET IT, he shared it, and now it’s helping thousands of people world wide.
    That right there is proof that there’s something bigger than us.

    New favorite song: Breathe You In – Thousand Foot Krutch <—current obsession

  • acleveland 8:22 pm on July 19, 2010 Permalink  

    weird day. 

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  • acleveland 9:11 pm on July 18, 2010 Permalink | Reply  

    i’ve had this for over a year. 

     I’ve been staying busy and working like crazy, but it’s really not bad. At all. Mom’s been gone cleaning out my grandparents’ house, so chores are piling up. Wash the dog, mow the lawn, mop the floor, make the bed, clean out that drawer, tape that border and paint that wall, swiffer the hall, vacuum, dishes, kitchen, lalala. I actually like being productive, who knew?!

    I’ve been thinking about what we depend on in our lives, and what it says about us. Everybody has things they rely on, whether it’s people, art, God, or whatever.
    There are relationships that keep us strong when we feel weak. There is art which can serve as a release, whether in words, pictures, music, or paint. There are sports which can pound emotions out in the form of a baseball, some running shoes, or a golf swing. There is God, with undying compassion and a listening heart. And when all these seem too hard, or not enough, there are last resorts, which can be positive or negative. The thing about “last” resorts is they can quickly and easily slide up the reliance scale.
    Pretty soon, what we use to cope becomes a shelter of sorts. It is our safety and our stability. What we depend on turns into the walls, floor, and ceiling of our home – protecting us from rain, snow, hail, and heat. How strong is my house? These surroundings are what get me through the day, it’s important. I see cracks in the ceiling, holes in the floor, and walls that are leaning to one side. 
     A friend has told me over and over, “Amanda, you’ve got to trust me when I say you’re not alone now. You’ve got tangible support RIGHT HERE.” I’m convinced that tomorrow I’ll turn around and there will be no supporting walls left. Magically, they will have disappeared without reason or goodbye, and I’ll have to start building again from the ground up.
    No matter what I have to demolish and rebuild, no matter how long some support is able to stay and help, there’s a constant. There’s hope in here, whether you see it or not. It starts with a blueprint, the framework, the foundation… Faith, God, love. He sees the cracks and the splintery beams, and He doesn’t want that for anyone. He is part of the  strong, faithful walls. We are promised that HE won’t disappear.

    New favorite song: Electric Feel – MGMT

  • acleveland 9:31 pm on July 15, 2010 Permalink | Reply  

    I can’t write. 

    Still reading The Bondage Breaker. It’s really good at exposing misconceptions and using scripture to show the truth. Last night, the scripture was Romans 7:15-25. I loved it because it was so relatable. I understood exactly what Paul was expressing. Journal #5 is completed, and I’m starting journal #6 tonight.
    There are outside forces that attack us everyday. A virus enters your body, infects one cell, and then those cells multiply. Pretty quickly, the sickness dominates, and antibiotics don’t work with viruses. I think that’s what the world tries to do. 
    The world seeps into a tiny crack of insecurity, and uses that foothold to its advantage. It heads for the immune system, our only form of defense. War is waged and the battle ensues as shrill alerts ring. Do you ever feel like one insecurity or doubt tunnels into two, three, and so on? Eventually, it seems to gather more troops, swarming and attacking at all angles. They go for your loved ones, your fears, your aching, your past, your doubts. It pries open that part of you that nobody’s ever seen and raises it up a flag pole, begging for attention.
    So, what’s this called, Amanda? I guess it’s called bondage.
    It comes in many forms. There are many different types of viruses, and there’s many different types of bondage. I think it changes from person to person, depending on situations and the way we think. Even if it’s just an obstacle that’s currently in your life that’s hard to overcome.. something upsetting that’s nudging at your heart. Maybe it’s a mindset: I’m too needy, I’m overbearing, why is this happening, etc. Maybe it’s something happening in your life. Moving, sickness, school, work, a relationship.
    This book says it’s all about fighting back and equipping ourselves with the truth. It’s about not giving up, not being passive, and confronting it. Learning the truth and hiding it in your heart will build the rest of your defenses up to be strong and powerful.
    I’m not saying this is easy. It’s so freaking hard to even admit what’s weighing on your heart or tugging at your smile. But, hey, it happens. When someone gets sick, you don’t wonder “What did THEY do wrong?!” You just accept that it’s part of life, and it’s something to fight through. It’s the same way with this. It’ll all work out.

    New favorite ALBUM: The Song Inside the Sounds of Breaking Down – John Mark McMillan

    • carlums 10:38 pm on July 15, 2010 Permalink | Reply

      You always write what I need to hear, and you do it perfectly. Thank you isn’t enough, because your writing moves me. You will go places, Amanda Cleveland! I love you more than you’ll ever know!

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