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Showing posts from 2014

Finding the Words

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It's the day after Christmas. I should be packing up the Christmas Crazy that exploded in my house. I should be doing laundry and trying to get back to the "normal" that the holidays inevitably hijacks. But I'm not doing those things. My girls had a cousins' sleepover at their Gammy and Poppy's house last night, so I am relishing this gift of quiet on a post-Christmas morning to catch up on my reading for 2014. Like the crazed book-loving librarian that I am, I always set a reading goal for myself on Goodreads. I didn't reach my goal last year (I hang my head in shame), so I am determined to reach it--114 books in 2014--this year. (Yes, I'm reading a plethora of picture books to reach this goal. Don't judge me.)

But there's a book (not a picture one) that called my name this morning from deep within my to-read pile. It's a book that I've been trying it finish for the past two months. I've picked it up, read a few poems, and put it …

Sowing Seeds

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Words can be  weapons Unsheathed carelessly
Wielded from our poisonous tongues Typed
in a frenzied fury fingers flying across the keyboard in a futile attempt  to make some sense  of this broken  world.

More harm
than
good. 
Words can be  seeds Cultivated carefully
Chosen from our compassionate souls
Planted in a hurting heart beauty blooming from the ashes in a desperate attempt  to make a difference  in this broken  world.

More good
than
harm. 
Will our words  be weapons  or  seeds?
I know what  my choice will be:
I want my words to go  up  instead of  out
Up in prayer instead of Out in protest
Up in bloom  instead of  Out in blame
I will use my words for  reconciliation acceptance peace.
I pray that God
will transform my words  into seeds of hope truth love
To plant  in the hearts of the hurting in the minds of the marginalized in the people of this broken world. 
I will be  a seed sower not a weapon wielder.
I will choose my words carefully. 
The words of the reckless pierce like …

Twelve

It happens every mid-November. The nostalgia consumes me, and I find myself flipping through Landry's baby book to relive the weeks leading up to her birth. That was such an exciting time for our family because Landry was the first grandchild on both sides.  Like all new, naive parents, Jason and I worked diligently to prepare the nursery, our house, and our lives for her arrival. Little did we know that you can never really prepare your life for a baby.

I reached the misery mark of pregnancy, so when the contractions started in the early morning hours of her due date, I was ready, or so I thought. On November 19, 2002, at 11:11 am, I became a Mom for the first time. 
Landry Elizabeth Bailey.

Before Landry's birth, I'd lived my life in typical Amianne fashion--with an eye for detail and order--control. College, career, marriage, Masters degree, so the next logical step...motherhood. I read all the books. I made lists. Scads of them. In fact, those lists are stuffed in Land…

Ramblings of a Tightrope Walker

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Can someone please explain to me how it's already November 1? Seriously, I need you to sit me down and draw a chart to illustrate why it feels like my life is in fast-forward mode. Who am I kidding--I'm not a fan of charts and data (sorry, my math friends), but I am a fan of metaphors. A dear friend said something that stuck with me this week. She said, "Some people are circuses and some are museums." Even though I try to deny it, my life is a circus; honestly, I prefer the chaos to the quiet control. This "Working Mom" season of life feels like a circus where I am the star performer. Are you with me, my fellow Working Moms? Our jobs, our kids, our kids' activities, our husbands, our friends, our laundry (I'm even stressed out about the order in which I listed those)--we've got all of these fragile, precious, much-loved balls to juggle (okay, maybe not the laundry). Then we ratchet our juggling act up a notch and take it to the high wire; we ju…

Faith. Hope. Love.

It's been a rough week.

I watched high school students crowd around the casket of their Senior friend, Trey Taulton, and weep over his sudden and inexplicable death.

I watched my husband and his fellow coaches grapple with the loss of Trey while trying to minister to the young men on their football team.

I watched my beloved city, my Big D, become paralyzed with fear as we react to the Ebola scare.

In case you didn't know it, we live in a broken world. This week proves that.

Throughout the woes of the week, my mind keeps going back to the message that I heard on Sunday at church. (You know it's a powerful message when you are still thinking about it on Thursday.)

Here is the link to the message.

If you don't take the time to watch it (but I hope that you will), here are my notes:

This is the last message in a three-part series on the story of the Prodigal Son entitled "Divine Insanity" by Lakepointe's teaching pastor, Jared Herd. This part of the story f…

A New Plan

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Maybe it's this Texas Cold Front that has me feeling clear-headed and inspired.  Maybe it's the fact that September's arrival helped me find my school rhythm and ended my bout of August Anxiety. Whatever it is, I'm grateful for it.

I've been struggling to write since August. Actually, "struggle" is an understatement. I have been downright scared to write since August. I blamed it on going back to school, the lack of time, and all the stress that this time of year brings, but I think I was just using that as an excuse. The truth is that my Demons, Fear and Insecurity and Self-Doubt, came back with a vengeance. I thought my Summer Streak destroyed them for good because I was able to push them away during the summer and focus on my writing goals, but for some reason, I hit a major wall at the beginning of August that allowed them to creep back in to my consciousness, and I listened to their evil whispers of doubt, erasing all the progress that I had made.

Al…

My Top 17...At This Moment

I've been tagged by several people on Facebook to list the "Top 10 Books That Have Had the Most Influence on My Life." Honestly, to hone this list into 10 stresses me out--causes me serious angst. It's like asking me to name the children I love the most. I. Just. Can't. Do. It.

The truth is that every book I read influences me in some way. It's why I read. I read for escape--to calm my anxious, constantly churning mind, but I also read to put myself in someone else's shoes--to consider things from another point of view (Thank you very much, Atticus Finch.) When I encounter real people in the real world, I can't help but think about them in terms of characters, He reminds me of Holden Caulfield...She's just like Hilly Holbrook...She could be as crazy as Amy Dunne...Because I have spent a little time inside this character's mind, it helps me be more empathetic to people. And I'm not crazy for thinking that this helps me connect to others. St…

"I grow old... I grow old..." But I Refuse to Wear My Trousers Rolled

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I've got a strong case of the BIG FEELS tonight. So bear with me while I try to sort it all out and search for a tie that binds...

First of all, it's my birthday. THIRTY. NINE. This body might be on the brink of forty, but my heart still feels like it's twenty-two. No, make that twenty-seven (sorry, Taylor Swift). 
Summer is fading away, but I'm still squeezing every last bit of goodness from it. You've been good for my soul, Sweet Summer of 2014.

My brain is starting its shift into school gear as I embark on my seventeenth year as an educator. SEVENTEEN. YEARS. It overwhelms and humbles me to think about all of the lives that have intersected with mine--to think about all of the students I have had the privilege of teaching--to think of all the people who have left an imprint on my heart. 

Like the rest of the world, I'm still trying to grapple with the tragic death of Robin Williams. How is it that the death of someone we never knew personally can leave us with …

A Grenade

I know what you're thinking..."Enough with the TFIOS metaphors." But this post has nothing to do with Hazel Grace and Augustus and everything to do with what is going on at the border of my beloved state, my home sweet Texas, and the southern borders outlining America. 

Yep. I'm going THERE. 

Confession: I've purposely ignored the crisis at our border. I caught glimpses of images on the news, heard bits and pieces from soundbites, gleaned a few facts from newspaper and internet articles. But I chose to keep my head in the sand on this issue. I continued writing my words, reading my books, enjoying my vacation, and living my easy suburban middle-class life. It's been a Summer of bliss. And indifference. 

And I am ashamed. 

This is wrong. 
This is unchristian. 

Thanks to a Friday morning Facebook scroll, the veil of indifference was yanked away. 

First, I came across a beautiful blog post by my girl, Jen Hatmaker. If you know me at all, you know that I ADORE Jen. (I t…

A Metaphor

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Augustus Waters is faultless for many reasons. (Sorry, I couldn't resist.) But maybe the best reason of all is his excellent example of a metaphor:


My mind is a tangled web that searches for connections in everything. It's impossible for me to turn off my reader/writer brain. I constantly try to make sense of the world around me, and like Augustus, I think in metaphors.

(For an even more extensive analysis of this brilliant scene, read John Green's Tumblr post here.) 
My family recently spent a week in the picturesque mountains of North Georgia. Our rental house rested at the top of a mountain. (Okay, so it probably was not a REAL mountain, but I'm from the FLAT LANDS of Forney, Texas. Anything with an elevation is considered a mountain in my mind.) In order for Jason and me to get our weekly running/walking miles logged, we had to go down the mountain and then turn around and come back up. The going down was easy. In fact, I broke out into a sprint several times; the …

The Sign of a Good Vacay...

I am pecking this post out on my iPhone in the middle of Some-Small-Town, Alabama, as we make our way back to Home Sweet Texas after a fantastic vacay in the mountains of North Georgia. We spent quality time with extended family, enjoyed copious amounts of delicious Southern cooking, and experienced outdoor adventures--zip lining, kayaking, and white water rafting.  But I think the true sign of a great vacay is how many books you read, and in just 12 days of vacation, I have finished three books and am starting my 4th one! Here's a quick rundown:

Call Me By My Name by John Ed Bradley --This is the book that I posted about on FB because it made me burst into tears in the middle of Louisiana. It reminds me Remember the Titans. I insistedthat Jason read this book, and he flew through it and thought it was excellent. (He got choked up, too, so it's not just me.) If you are a football fan, then add this one to your list!

All Fall Down by Jennifer Weiner--I don't think I had this …

Bliss

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This time last week, I was waking up in Wimberley. I was easing into the day with a mimosa while sitting on the front porch of a cute stone cottage. Then I went on a walk on the banks of the Blanco River with one of my besties.


Bliss.

This is how we roll on a Girls' Trip. When I told people that I was going on a getaway with my Aggie Soul Sistas, Emily and Tracie, they asked, "So what are your plans? What are you going to do?" And the answer was always, "NOTHING. That's the plan."

There are no agendas. There are no expectations. When we get together, whether it be in the Hill Country, Houston, Fredericksburg, or Forney, there is rarely a plan (unless it involves a tattoo). We just let life lead us where it may. Because here's the thing--we NEVER get to do that the other 363 days of the year. It's the one time that we allow ourselves to revert back to our college days. We aren't Mom, Chef, Wife, Librarian. We are just Aim, Em, and T. It's th…

The Struggle IS Real

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Something happened at school this week that keeps running on replay in my mind:

A freshman boy walked into my office and handed me some stapled pages. "I would like you to read this and give me some feedback on it." This boy is a frequent flyer in the library, and for the sake of anonymity I will refer to him as "John" for the remainder of this post. I worked with his history class on a research project earlier in the year, and he comes in daily at lunch to play Minecraft with his fellow gamer friends. He's my favorite kind of kid--what others see as a typical Band Nerd, but what I see as a bright, unique young man doing his best to not get swallowed up by the conformity of high school.

I felt honored that he would hand me this paper because this kid is SMART. We've had quite a number of conversations this year about history, religion, and the various works of John Green--you know, the normal teenage boy talk. Every time I've had a conversation with Joh…

Sweet Summer, Where are You?

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Memorial Day weekend makes my mind drift towards the lazy days of summer when I can stay up late and READ. Or lie on the couch in the afternoon and READ. Or go to the neighborhood pool and READ. Or spend 14 hours in a car on the way to vacay and READ. So many of my friends ask me for "Summer Reading" recommendations, which I feel honored to give them. Hopefully, summer is the season of reading for you, and if it's not, then why not start now.  So without further ado, here is my personal "Summer 2014 Reading List."  I have divided it into 2 lists: YA and Not. I have to keep reading YA in the summer (because it's my JOB and I love reading it). Because I read so much YA year-round, I use Summer to relish some adult books. In fact, I usually alternate between YA and adult during the summer months. You can click on the covers below to read more about these books on Goodreads.  NOT YA Books that I Want to Read this Summer:









NEW YA Books to Read: 





Not-so-New YA That I…