One Year

Almost exactly one year ago today, my world was turned upside down. I never understood how an anniversary date of a tragic event could place someone back in a venerable state of mind as they were that very day until today. I can almost replay the entire day and the days leading up to and that followed October 21, 2013. I debated whether or not to share publically why this date for me but I am doing so in hopes it will make just one small difference.

Please know I am sharing what I am about to share because I believe this issue deserves more awareness. I’ve spent a lot of this past year ashamed. I hope my story can bring comfort and hope for just one person.  This no longer needs to be a taboo topic. It effects millions of families every day. Mine just happened to be one of those.

On October 21, 2013, my mother had a mental breakdown while in Florida. Again, I say this out of full respect for my mother because after all she will always be in fact my mother. However, I would not hide the truth if my mom received a cancer diagnosis that day. I think the stigmatism behind mental illness is there because people do not talk about it. This was the start of an ugly year. I lost my mother that day and shortly later had to mourn the loss of my parents' marriage. People sometimes pass judgment when I say I lost my mother that day but I  have the grief counseling bills to prove it. I lost the mother who loved me unconditionally and was involved in my day to day life. In fact, the only times I have spent any time with my mother this past year was at the funerals of my uncle and my  grandfather.

I could write a book on how this one day changed my life or how ugly this year has been. There’s been so much hurt and sorrow. Some moments the hurt is still there.  However, I have already focused on that too much this year.  I focused on that so much that it caused me to have crippling anxiety at times. Instead though, I want to do what I set out to do 41 days before the tragic date of October 21, 2013. On my 28th birthday, I decided it was going to be the year of smelling the roses per say. I was going to offer praise to God for something new every day for the next 365 days. I’ve said this before and I will say it again, God knew what was in store for me. He knew how badly I needed Project 28 as I called it. There was going to be so much bad that I had to focus on the good in order to survive.

Tonight as Greyson and I were driving home from dinner, I made him pull over the car so I could take a picture of the sunset. Nothing illustrates my year better than this picture. Beautiful things happen when darkness and light meet just as they did for me this year. I know what Charles Dickens meant when he wrote, “It was the best of times, it was the worst of times.” I never knew some much good and so much bad could co-exist. I think I will always cringe when I initially reflect on this past year but I think I will also quickly remember all the good. It was the year I learned that I have the best support system on this side of heaven. It was the year I was president of MYP and gained so many new and precious friendships. It was the year of great trips. It was the year my relationship with my husband was strengthened. It was the year I learned how to smell the roses even in the midst of storms. Most importantly, it was the year my dependence on God deepened. I have come to fully understand that He is my only constant. He is the only one who will never let me down. Because of my relationship with Him, I have truly discovered that in the end everything will be ok. The darkness may be ugly but the light that comes in these dark times far outweighs it.


I always thought I trusted God. Why would I not and how could I not? I recently I realized that was not the case.

After some encouraging from one friend and a good kick in the butt from another, I decided to start seeing a counselor the Friday before Mother's Day. It took a lot of swallowing of my pride to acknowledge I needed help dealing with my mother's breakdown and my parents' divorce. It was the best six hours and money I have ever spent. I’ve always been an advocate of counseling but after six sessions, I told my counselor that I would be happy to become the poster child for her. I knew it would help but I did not realize how it would drastically change the way my anxious mind saw the world. Since essentially I was recovering from a traumatic event, I participated in EMDR therapy. When my counselor starting talking about helping me think in a clear way, I thought oh no… she’s a quack. She thinks she can hypnotize this control freak….. That. Ain’t. Happening. Well I was happy to learn that EMDR does not involve hypnotizing me. Basically EMDR uses things to stimulate the brain because research has proven over and over again that the brain heals quicker from a traumatic event when it is stimulated in a different way. The method used for me was I held little vibrators that buzzed back and forth in my hands…. It sounds hilarious. I realize this. I use to tell my friends I was off to hold my vibrators. But kid you not, this stuff works. In six short sessions, I became a new and improved Amy. Does what happened still hurt? Heck yes! But the anxiety that was crippling me is gone. I went from not sleeping and not being able to concentrate to sleeping like a baby and becoming my focused ole self.

It was during one of my therapy sessions that I realized my trust in God was not as grand as I once thought. All I could think about was all the unknowns. Will mom and I ever have a healthy relationship again? Will dad be ok? What’s dad’s future going to look like? What’s my future going to look like? These thoughts and my anxiety consumed every ounce of me.  I finally realized in order to have peace back in my life, I had to increase my trust in God.  And turn it over to Him to make it right again. It was like during the midst of this tragedy I forgot what kind of God I served. I serve the God that no matter what has all the unknowns taken care of. No matter how ugly or hurtful everything was at times, that He would see me through. In the end everything would be ok. There is no greater source of comfort or peace. The God of the universe has it all under HIS control.

July 2 Jesus Calling
Disciple your thoughts to trust Me as I work My ways in your life. Pray about everything and then leave the outcome to Me. Do not fear My will, for through it I accomplished what is best for you. Take a deep breath and dive into the depths of my absolute trust.

July 5 Jesus Calling

Whenever you start to feel anxious, remind yourself that your security rests in Me alone, and I am totally trustworthy. You will never be in control of your life circumstances, but you can relax and trust in My control. Instead of thriving for a predictable, safe lifestyle, seek to know Me in greater depth.

Sweet Missy

My childhood dog who lived with us this past year passed away a couple of weeks ago. Ironically, it was on our wedding anniversary while we were at the beach. Missy was in Florence at the house where we both grew up.

It was love at first sight for me and that pup. When I was in the 6th grade, my parents told me I could get a dog for Christmas. My parents spent time researching the best dog breed and patrolling the paper for that perfect dog. A local civic organization hosted a live television auction on channel 3 (which in most small towns is "the local channel") every year before Christmas. I was flipping through every so often on that Saturday morning and the lights from heaven shined down on this tee tiny black and white puppy. She was eight weeks old, from the local pound. The starting bid was $20 which not only included the adorable dog but also free spaying and 10 free visits to Di's Dip and Clip..  I tell no lie! I ran down the stairs as fast as I could yelling for dad to turn it on channel 3.  He did as I demanded. I picked up the phone. "I'm bidding $40." My dad quickly told me I could bid $25 and that was it. No other bids. No matter what. Well just as luck would have it. I was the only person that made a bid on that sweet mutt. 

Missy came to live with us last year. I will be forever thankful for this extra time I spent with her. It's crazy to think about just how long I had her. I am so thankful for each one of those 16 years. 

While it wasn't easy saying goodbye, I am thankful she did passed away "at home." I just hate my poor dad had to suffer another loss. It's crazy but the night we left her in Florence before we headed to the beach, I couldn't help but think that Missy felt my pain of being back home with mom gone. As crazy as it sounds, I know she sensed the change and the deep hurt within me that last night I stood with her in the backyard of both our childhood home. I can't help but think that Missy knew it would be best to go while I was away.... I without a doubt know the Big Man Upstairs did. It's overwhelming to think that God even planned the right time for my dog to pass away but He did. He knew how much worse it would have hurt to have seen Missy in her final hour. He knew how much heartache I've endured this year. 

While we've since adopted a new dog, there will never be another Missy.  That crazy wild pup turned into the most laid back and loyal dogs. We will miss you, sweet Missy but we know you are running around and feasting on the best table scraps heaven has. 

Happy Anniversary

This week G and I will celebrate four years of marriage. It is so hard to believe. I guess we are no longer newlyweds nor have we been for a while. I can honestly say I still look back on our wedding day and say it was the best day of my life.... Hopefully G feels the same way, ha. I will never forget the energy, the love and the fun of that day.  I wish I could go back in time and soak it all in.

Oddly enough, my parents divorce has had many relationships in my life stronger and that includes the one with my husband. G has seen me at my absolute worst several times over the last seven months. Yet he has stood beside me in every sense of the word. I cannot imagine him being more patient, understanding and supportive. For that, I am upmost grateful and have found a whole new respect and love for him. I am also determined to protect our marriage at whatever the cost. I never want to take the easy road when things get hard. Life isn't rainbows and butterflies. It is hard.  Marriage is hard. It is also one of the greatest blessings in life but like anything you have to work at it. I'm so thankful for God designing us for a partnership with our mate. I cannot imagine life without a partner after having one for four years.  There is no one else in this world that I would want to walk step by step in this roller coaster of a life than my G. Thank you for being the most patient man on earth and loving me for me. 


This recipe is a variation of a quiche featured in Southern Living this month but no flour or evaporated milk (yuck, that stuff grosses me out). It also makes two quiches and you might as well because those frozen pie crust come in packages of two. We believe in having leftovers around here or one to share. We're Baptist so food curses all.

Two frozen pie crusts
3 large eggs
1 cup milk
1/2 cup chopped onion
1/2 cup chopped green pepper 
1 lb ground pork or turkey sausage 
1 1/2 cup shredded cheese 
Salt and pepper to taste. 

Cook (brown) sausage in skillet for 10 minutes or until brown. Drain grease but save 1 tbs of  grease. Sauté onion and green pepper until tender in saved grease. Whisk three eggs in a mixing bowl and mix remaining ingredients together, divide and pour into frozen pie shells. Bake for 40-45 minutes at 350 degrees. 

Buy frozen chopped green peppers and onions. 
Bake pie crust for 5 minutes before ingredients are poured in. Helps to have a more flakey bottom. 

Pot Roast

I have finally mastered Pot Roast in the crock pot! It took some time but I finally have a recipe that is amazing. It makes the beef so tender that it falls apart with the touch of your fork. It is a dish G doesn't mind eating leftovers all week. So here it goes….


1 Chuck Roast
1 packet of Lipton Onion Soup Mix
1 can of Cream of Mushroom Soup
1 cup of water

In crock pot mix together 1 cup of water, packet of Lipton Onion Soup Mix and can of Cream of Mushroom Soup. Once ingredients are mixed, placed chuck roast on top of mix and spoon some of the mix over the top of the chuck roast. Cook on low for 8 hours.

Some people cook their veggies (typically carrots and potatoes) along with their roast and that is perfectly fine to do with this recipe. However, I prefer to cook my veggies separately. In a 9x13 pan, I roast my diced potatoes and baby carrots in extra virgin olive oil along with salt and pepper and sometimes onion in the oven on 350 degrees for 45 minutes. I just prefer the taste and this way all of my food doesn’t taste the exact same. This dish is also paired well with good ole mashed taters and green beans.

Hope you enjoy this good ole comfort meal

I Want to See the SON Even When It Rains

I had an ah ha moment tonight as Oprah would say. So many times lately I've focused on how different my life will look once my parents divorce and all the stuff I will be missing out on. I also think about my relationship with my mom and how drastic it has changed. I allow myself to question if I'm the person she sees me as. 

But then tonight I began to think about all the amazing friends I have.  They love me for me.  The Amy that can be controlling, has to eat every so often, can be a neat freak and a slob, can sleep all day and has to have things a certain way. Yet they still choose to love me. They opted to spend time with me. They take every opportunity to encourage me, to support me, to guide me and to love me. So many people would die to have those friendships. And I have them. Those are the relationships that are going to have my focus. 

This year is supposed to be the year I focus on my blessings. As you may remember, for my birthday in September I began a gratitude journal and started writing down something new to be thankful for each and every day. Sometimes I'm not going to lie, I really have to search a little too long for something to be thankful for because the day has been so crummy. I want to change that. I want to continue to see the SON (Son of God) even when it rains. I truly want to train my thoughts to think of all that I have instead of all that I'm lacking. 

So hold me accountable friends. 

Why I Put It All Out There

Thank you to all those who have shared their stories with me. 

The Roller Coaster Continues

This roller coaster that I’m on has more twist and turns, highs and lows than any other imaginable. I wish the stupid ride would just stop. I’ve grown a lot through the highs and lows. A lot of great stuff has happened lately but there are moments when the lows try to trump all the good. Take two weeks ago for instance. It had been a great week both professionally and personally. Then I receive a text from home in Alabama and it does something to me. I know I need to just let it go and push those feelings aside but as I am thinking this I am calling that number. The next thing I know, I am in a fit of range. Words and her actions have attacked my core once again and I’m attacking back. I’m spewing out words, crying hysterically and snorting up snot all the while, I am frantically walking through my house getting ready to host an executive committee meeting. Sadly this is not the first time this has happened. I think I’ve mastered the act of “getting it together” after a meltdown and before an important event. That’s the funny part. I can be poised and pleasant around everyone in the entire world except this one person. She knows where to go and she goes for it. I on the other hand, know how to conduct myself and know what I am supposed to do but no matter what the worst in me comes out. How can someone bring out the absolute worst about you? You see I know all the right things to say not just to people but also about my walk with Christ. Let’s be really real…. sometimes Christians just pick up the lingo without picking up the real meaning of our words. I really have done a lot of growing the last few weeks and truly felt some of those right things to say. I’ve made tremendous strides. I really am thankful for the heartache because of the growth I’ve experienced. I place a high value on my greater dependence on God. Yet, I can say and feel that but I spew words like I am Satan himself and I’m not brining any glory to God during these moments. How do I make it stop? Should I just stop talking to my mom? Yes, I said my mom. I don’t understand how the woman that gave me life can bring out the worst in me. I never imagined the hurt she would cause and the anger that would explode within me. How do I stop this nasty cycle? The only way I see is to stop talking to her a while. But when is that deemed suitable? The most peace I’ve experienced is when I am not in contact with her. I know what light this puts me in. However, I just want to be real. Life cannot always be seen through rose colored glasses and sometimes we can’t even pretend. As much as I would like to say that now I get it. Now I have a plan. Now I can hold myself together. I don’t get it. I don’t have a plan. And as much as I would like to hold myself together, my track record is not promising. I don’t have an important message in all of this except for the acknowledgement that I do not have it all together. I am not always that girl you see at the boardroom table. And my not so proud moments give me another reason to be thankful for God’s grace and mercy. Without it I would just be the girl that knows all the right things to say and feel but would have no one to wipe me clean when I fall into the dirty pit of despair.

Move Over the Millers

CBS debuted a new sitcom this fall called “The Millers.” It was an immediate new favorite of mine. The sitcom is about two grown children whose parents divorce. It’s very ironic to me that this is now one of my favorite shows because this sitcom is living out a funnier and friendlier version of the nightmare I am living through.

My parents will be divorced soon. WOW! It still stops me in my tracks. It can’t be my life. No, my parents loved and adored each other.  They were also best friends. Suddenly this all changed without any warning. I’m still recovering from the shock that my mother moved out and filed for divorce without any warning and no explanation. There was no phone call, no text, and no visit. I bawled my eyes out watching “Parenthood” last week. Yes, I know I watch way too much TV. One of the couples sat their small children down to tell them that daddy was moving out because they fought too much. Boy, did that hit a little too close to home! The foundation of the battles (fights are too civil for what we’ve been having) I’ve been having with my mother all go back to the fact that this has all happened without any warning. Imagine calling home on a Sunday evening after a trip and ask to talk to mom before you run into the grocery for a recipe and be told by your dad that she’s moved out. Each time I bring this up to my mom, I am told her divorce doesn’t concern me or that it has no effect on me. No effect! Are you serious? Obviously her parents are still married. Now my parents will reside at two different places. My childhood home now is missing my mother. This impacts everything: birth of future children, birthdays, holidays, every day life and you can’t forget funerals.  I want to kick and scream that this is not fair. I can’t help but feel like my life has been a complete lie. Just on my birthday in September, my mother posted on Facebook that the greatest men to ever walk this earth were my father and G. How can I not feel like my life has been lie? How can something change so drastically within a person without a warning sign to anyone? I am told this feeling like your life was a lie is a natural reaction for adults whose parents are divorcing.  But enough of that. I’ve done pretty well at focusing on the good in my life but I still have moments such as now when I want to wallow in all the hurt.

God has been gently reminding me that I’ve depended on my parents too strongly for too long. My dependence should lie within Him. But it has been so easy to rely on my fleshly father when he is right there and always there. It’s been a spiritual battle within me as I realize that only my Heavenly Father can make it all right. He can wipe away this hurt and anger that I have and use it for His glory. I just need to work towards getting there.