Updates from November, 2010 Toggle Comment Threads | Keyboard Shortcuts

  • acleveland 10:09 pm on November 17, 2010 Permalink | Reply  


    I haven’t been writing on here lately.
    It has seemed too forced, as if it needed to be perfect and cookie-cutter. I felt the need to live up to a previous standard, with no room for question, struggle, or life. As I flipped through the archives, my discouragement grew. My entries a year ago were loaded with vitality, joy, certainty, and solid faith. My posts in more recent months reflected the valley and its affects on my heart. My journal has been filling up at a rapid pace, but I’ve slowly begun losing interest in this blog. I’ve considered deleting it and to start writing for myself on pages that nobody will ever read. It has nothing to do with losing a love for writing, and everything to do with humility.
    I’ve been too ashamed to admit that I’ve been struggling in ways beyond my carrying capacity. I don’t have it all together, and that’s an image I try to uphold. I probably fail at maintaining that image more than I realize. Eventually, the mask won’t work anymore. It will start disintegrating, but I won’t remember what’s beneath. That’s why I’m trying my hardest to break the walls down and be authentic instead of faking perfection or going unnoticed. 
    I tell myself things that I would never say to anyone else. Somewhere along the line, my thoughts got distorted. I began thinking it’s okay to bash myself, just not other people. I tell myself the lies until I’m convinced they’re true. I haven’t wanted to accept love, from God especially, because I feel undeserving. But I’ve been thinking.
    The Bible says that we love God because He first loved us. If we don’t let God love us, then we can’t really love Him back. The Bible also says that if we love God, we will keep his commandments. If we don’t accept His love, then we can’t love Him, so we won’t obey his commandments. Instead, we’ll be relying on self-discipline…and that won’t last very long, it won’t be permanent, and it won’t change us.
    It’s all connected. Once we are willing to allow God’s light to overshadow our shortcomings, a relationship can fall into place – and you can come just as you are.

    New favorite song: All That I Am – The Afters

    • Kelli 8:46 pm on November 18, 2010 Permalink | Reply

      Best. Post. Yet. Why? Because I love knowing that you aren’t perfect. It makes me feel okay, because I’m not perfect either. I love you so much. Authentic Amanda, even if I see her posts every few weeks, gives me so much more encouragement than cookie cutter Amanda. Cookies aren’t that great anyway. But you are.

  • acleveland 10:03 pm on November 10, 2010 Permalink | Reply  

    my bad 

    “You know,” Paul begins, “it’s funny. Two weeks ago when we talked about things we wanted or our aspirations, we would have talked about houses or boats or cars. Now that we’ve been on the road for a while, everything is reduced to a bowl of cereal.” Paul develops a smile as he stands straight again. “Isn’t that just beautiful? Cereal. There are people in this world who are killing themselves because they want more and more of nothing. And the only thing you and I want in this world is a bowl of cereal. That just shows you how the things we think are important really aren’t important.”

    The world makes us think that money, over-time, and salary boosts will bring us happiness. It’s all so pointless. The more I think about it, the more ridiculous it seems. Here we are, trying to be successful by the world’s standards – and the world is dying! When we chase what the world offers, we chase a dying, pointless cause – and  in turn, our own lives dwindle away.
    It makes me feel a little sick to hear statistics. The world is 6% Americans, yet we consume 40% of Earth’s resources. Only 8% of all people have cars.
    Do WE own our possessions, or are we letting our POSSESSIONS own US?
    Gah, I feel that I’ve been so ungrateful and oblivious! The Rob Bell video was definitely a wake-up call. I want to start appreciating everything and acknowleding the cold hard facts. Some people, when faced with the truth of poverty/hunger/homelessness etc. play the “It’s not my problem!” card. But really… It is.
    We are God’s hands and feet, and it is our responsibility to walk and serve for Him. Representing Him is all about love – and that includes generosity. If it affects one, it should affect all. Our compassion should be so authentic and deep that we feel unified with strangers, desiring to help and spread our gifts.

    We can ask God, “Why is there this problem? Why do so many people go hungry? Why do so many have so little?”
    I think He’s asking us the same question.

    New favorite song: The Last Night – Skillet
    PS – Sorry (Kelli) about the inconsistency. Life’s crazy. I’ll try harder.

    • Kelli 7:35 am on November 11, 2010 Permalink | Reply

      Hey I like inconsistencies. They’re like my Amanda, a little crazy but strictly mine. I really like your last paragraph. That’s super duper cool. And there’s so much we can do, we just have to get off our lazy glee-watching butts and do something. That’s true contentment I think: just doing, without ulterior motive or hidden agenda, but just acting on faith, living and doing because we are called to, because we want to see a change. God knows our world could use some change.

  • acleveland 9:10 pm on November 3, 2010 Permalink | Reply  


    A house stands on the corner, sturdy, new, and clean. Well maintained flowers are planted next to the red brick, their vibrant colors standing out like fireworks against a black sky. The front porch has a pretty welcome mat, the lawn is healthy and green. Every Christmas a wreath decorates the front door. The house puts on a good show. The presentation is nice, the view is cheerful. Everything seems put together, modern, and normal.
    But the dad slams the door every night and pitches his briefcase against the wall. The mom sits in her bedroom and dreams of what could be different. The kids come home from school and pretend nothing is wrong. Meanwhile, the house looks pretty on the outside. The flowers keep growing, the wreath comes out of the closet and returns with the new year, the lawn is freshly cut and is not infected with traces of brown grass.
    But behind the face of the house, the interior is crumbling. The walls are collapsing, the plumbing is gone, the floors are caving in. The dad continues to walk into the house each night, slamming the door and entering a room that’s no longer there. He throws his briefcase into a wall that fell down years ago. The mom sits on a dirt ground with her head in her hands, back against the front door. The bus driver waves goodbye as the kids hop off the bus. But as soon as the open the door, there’s nothing left.
    Keeping up appearances is a waste of time.
    You might look like you have it all together, but the facade is pointless. What good is a house with no roof and no rooms? What good is a mask that represents a false life?
    Are you that house? At some point, the front of the house will start to wear down with age and exhaustion. We put up a mask and pretend to be alright, all the while fading and disintegrating on the inside. Eventually the mask will wear thin, but you won’t remember what’s beneath.
    Lose your life and you will find it. Let go of the consuming mask and rebuild what’s beneath.

    New favorite song: Fix You – Coldplay

  • acleveland 9:10 pm on November 1, 2010 Permalink | Reply  

    missing the point? 

    There’s a certain comfort in being rooted to facts. Being swept away by awe baffles our minds, crushes our scientific reasons, and takes a certain poetic majesty. Allowing yourself to experience wonder requires rejecting the answers to “how?” and embracing the question of “why?”.
    In school, we learn about reasons.  I write papers about neurotransmitters stimulating the sarcoplasmic reticulum, allowing tropomyosin to relocate and for myosin’s cross-bridges to attach to actin. There’s an incredibly complex process to move one muscle one millimeter. The answer to “How?” can be answered in a page. But have you ever thought about the complexity? Have you ever thought about how amazing it is that our bodies automatically know how to maintain a specific body temperature, move, think, and breathe? School answers our questions with facts and memorized definitions. These leave no room for amazement or appreciation. It doesn’t include how amazing the solar system is, the crazy idea of creation and birth. I know about the sensory glands and the parts of the brain that are stimulated, but that doesn’t address our incredible ability to love, see beauty, and feel pain. Sometimes the pinpointed answers threaten to steal our chances at being swept up in the amazement of this world. Beauty can’t be reduced to chemical reactions and scientic answers – it’s a direct reflection of God.
     Twice a day, the sky performs a light show. Orange eyebrows furrow as blue eyes melt into cheeks of rosy red, a dancing lightshow that is never repeated. Meanwhile, we are catching reruns of Glee or procrastinating on homework. I feel like we are missing so much beauty and so many experiences while we’re caught up in the day-to-day things: Money, work, plans. We might think, “There will be plenty of sunrises to catch”. But, really, how do you know? And if you’re willing to miss the experience today, what will motivate you to enjoy it tomorrow?
    It’s like there’s this gaping, nagging hole at the bottom wells of our hearts and souls and minds. It’s the weight of questions needing answers and of beauty being reduced to science. There are pieces of our hearts that can only be plugged by gifts such as the majesty of the stars, the sound of the ocean, and the simple joys of relationships. Don’t miss it.

    New favorite song: Starting Over – Robbie Seay Band; Song of Hope – Robbie Seay Band

    • Kelli 8:34 am on November 2, 2010 Permalink | Reply

      Hey. This is a really cool blog. Sometimes we get so caught up in our own stuff that we really don’t take the time to just be so incredibly impressed. Thanks for reminding me to do that. I love you.

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