24 May, 2010

Change is Gonna Come: AmyLizMartin.com

It has been too long since I've actually posted anything on this blog. I could go on and on about the past six months, the joy and heartbreak, the "interesting" lessons I've learned and the moments where all one can do is laugh. What I find amazing about God is that He is a redeemer and restorer, and I understand more about that each and every day. Here is a little recap of some lessons learned...

Just Like Plants, We Need Water
It wasn't until I stopped my former position at a non-profit that I realized how thirsty and tired I was. Here's how it went down: Friday (last day or work) - fine as can be; Saturday - still happy and enjoying the weekend; Sunday through Thurs - sick as a dog. My body just said "Hi, Amy. Remember all of those gross germs you asked us to hold off on? Well, they're all going to attack you at once, now. OK?" I was down for the count for about a week.

After two years in the District, I needed water - desparately. It was like that feeling you get when you are so incredibly parched that your throat feels like sandpaper. And it wasn't just physical water - I need restoration in ways that only God could provide. I need a change in perspective and attitude, and a different definition of success than what I'm used to.

The 3 Rs: Recharge, Renew, Restore
In order to do great things, you must dig deep for strength. We are not like robots who can go from task to task without flinching, even though I like to think that I am at times. However, when you finally get to recharge, how do you react? Do you run to it with open arms? Or do you run the other way screaming? (And doesn't the latter option sound odd?)

I discovered that I run away from relaxation. My default mode is to work until I am a shell of a tired human being. Why do we let ourselves work to the brink of exhaustion and and how is it that I even forgot what "relaxation" is in the first place? My first lesson after the non-profit world was to relearn to sit in silence - and allow myself to be quiet. I didn't grasp this one well at all and I'm still trying to figure it out.

Moving Forward
With these two lessons ahead of me (I call them "flashing neon signs"), I decided to move into the great unknown: freelance public relations and media consulting. I've never pined to be an entrepreneur, but I was approached by some amazing clients and I truly felt that God was calling me to take a step of faith. A step to recharge and reprogram life the way He wants it.

What does that mean? It means that I have a new website that combines both the personal and professional Amy Liz Martin. This personal blog is moving to www.amylizmartin.com/blog. Take a look around the website and also send it out to your friends and family who might want to read.

So, I'm stepping out on my own with the support and love of so many of you. And just like the Sam Cooke classic that has been playing in my head: "It's been a long time coming... but I know.. change is gonna come. "

22 March, 2010

More than the birds

I'm a worrier.

There it is, I admit it. I'm a worry-wart as my mom and grandma used to call it. Ever since I can remember, I pick at my hands because of pent up anxious energy. I tend to take most comments very personal and can't seem to sometimes calm down. However, the last six months have seemed to steadily increased anxiety and I can't figure out why. It started as a slow trickle - I wanted to be the best and put pressure on myself that didn't need to be there. I didn't recognize it, and then a little more creeps in. That process goes on for a few months until life kinda seemed to take some really weird turns. After a huge tragedy in our family, my heart finally broke. Things just kinda broke down in a way that I realized there was nothing I could do. No control that I had over my life would ever make things right, and I've been known to say "why do some things just not feel right in life right now?"

This past week, God has totally be rearranging things in my heart that continually shake me to the core. He has continually reassured me with Matthew 6:25-34, especially with a sermon from my parent's church, New Hope Church, in Manvel, TX.

1) Value the day that you have: Oooooh, how did I need to hear this. "Have you ruined a potentially good day by worrying about it turning terribly wrong?" Yes yes, I have. I've been in a mode of thinking "When this happens, then I'll be happy." No, Amy...not true. I'm truly happy in this moment. I love and am loved and life is good.

2)Worry is your enemy. It is a tool Satan uses to steal joy away. Too many people use the pain of what happened yesterday and the fear of what will happen tomorrow that they don't enjoy the "now." Oooooh, burn #2. If I am not thankful for what is happening now, I'm not truly enjoying the gift that He's given me.

3)Take responsibility for your "now": I can't change the past and what I've been through in the last few months. It has been an incredibly difficult 5 months, but I can't dwell on it - I just have to live in the present.

4)Worry calls God a liar: OUCH!!! Do not worry about tomorrow.. He has it all under control. He has hemmed all of us in behind and before. And He knows it all. If I don't trust in Him to work in the way that He wants to work, I'm basically calling Him a liar.

"Look at the birds of the air; they do not sow or reap or store away in barns, and yet your heavenly Father feeds them. Are you not much more valuable than they?"

16 November, 2009


I'm back! I promise, I won't let my blog become silent. I just simply haven't had time.

I have been working non-stop the past few months. These times have been filled with emotion, both highs and lows, with good and difficult things coming from the left and right. It feels like there hasn't been an escape except for small shiny moments with D and friends. With the recent chaotic pace of my life as of late, I felt that I deserved a warmer, sunny autumn Sunday. Finally, I found a retreat.

There is really nothing better in life than falling leaves, a Starbucks ginger spice latte, incredible new music, and hanging out with people you love. So, I put on a pair of my new favorite shoes and went walking. One of my favorite places is Dupont Circle. It seems to be this eclectic mix of new and old, conservative and liberal, left and right, and inbetween. Needless to say, the people-watcher in me is always satisfied when I walk around Dupont.

Plus, the houses and small streets around that area simply take your breath away.

I walked around for a few hours, just watching and listening to Switchfoot's new CD "Hello Hurricane." I specifically put off buying this album so that I would have something to look forward to once our event was over. I was not disappointed.

For those who know me, if I find a song that tugs my heartstrings, I automatically put it on repeat. As I snapped the shot above of the leaf-lined street, "Alive" by Switchfoot came on my iPod. Take a look at the lyrics below.. I have a feeling they'll touch your heart as well.

With all of the stress behind me, good times and bad, I simply sat on a park bench and listened. For the first time in a while, I had no agenda. No to-do list. No urgent meetings or e-mails on my iPhone. No communications pieces to produce or auctions to orchestrate. A lot of hopeless feelings washed away with the lyrics that "I'm always, I'm always, I'm always Yours." It was the first time I could fully breathe... and it felt so good. I think D noticed the difference too.

When was the last time you took a moment to breathe? I would suggest taking one soon...

"Always" by Switchfoot

This is the start
This is your heart
This is the day you were born
This is the sun
These are your lungs
This is the day you were born

And I am always yours

These are the scars
Deep in your heart
This is the place you were born
This is the hole
Where most of your soul
Comes ripping out
From the places you’ve been torn

And it is always yours
But I am always yours

I’m caving in
I’m in love again
I’m a wretched man
Every breath is a second chance

And it is always yours
And I am always yours

26 September, 2009

Mat Kearney!!

I've been waiting for this concert for a very long time. It didn't matter that I was tired and sick and grouchy... gosh darn it, I was going to go. And, I'm so incredibly glad I did. Do you ever have those moments were you get so lost in the music that you can actually worship, not the one one stage, but the One who created it all? Yeah, I was there all night.

Mat Kearney is an incredible musician and songwriter. He had the best mix of both his old and new favorites, and each one spoke to my heart. This was one of the top 5 concerts I've ever been to, and he tweeted that it was one of his top 10 concerts as well. Rock on Mat! Follow him on twitter: @matkearney

I love it when friends speak Truth

It has been a weird few weeks and I've been up and down emotionally. I'm not quite sure why, but I'm incredibly grateful for the people in my life who have put up with me. They've dealt with grace and honesty, and I couldn't ask for anything more.

An example of this is my new friend Rach. She's such a sweetheart, and I found this on a gchat one morning as I started my early workday:

hello love, I just want you to know I think you are beautiful and smart and kind and funny and that anyone should consider themselves blessed to have you. God's got you where you are for a season, and hopefully that season will soon change. Never, ever doubt how valued and important you are. Nobody, can take away your worth. You are remarkably capable and your experiences will only make you stronger. And whenever you get pissed and want to scream or cry or cuss or pick all your cuticles beyond repair, that's ok too, cause you know what? God's got this. And you can pick and cry and fuss, and he'll never think you're too much of a handful. Because you are his perfect, lovely Amy and he desires nothing more than to see you grow until you're in a place where you can really flourish.
anyway, just thought you may need to hear that. love you my friend!

I love my friends, don't you?!

18 August, 2009

Chubby cheeks and ice cream - photos

Since most of you know that my boyfriend is a photographer, many have asked for pics of the drama that was my wisdom teeth extraction. Well, "drama" is not necessarily the word I should use since the weekend included lots of ice cream, smoothies, and ibuprofen. Oh, friends of the blogosphere, here they are:

The first day that the teeth were removed. Let's just say I don't remember this pic being taken.

A common sight of the weekend: me and my love of salt water (notice the sarcasm). Another common sight: Dave taking pictures.

Check out other photos of his new place on his Web site or his Flickr page. Luckily, these are the only two published photos of the fun of wisdom teeth freedom.

14 August, 2009

A crazy three months

Well, folks.. its about time for a long overdue update on the life of Amy. I feel like the summer has been an absolute blur of changes, learning, frustrations, joyful times, headaches, and the good ol' DC heat, humidity, and tourists. I'll see if I can break most of it down for you.

For starters, I started May with preparations for ICFJ's bi-annual board meeting and cultivation dinner in NY. It took up a lot of my time, but the results were worth every moment. At the same time, Dave was moving out of his condo in B-town (and no, I don't mean Boston or Bethesda) in the hopes that his condo in the heart of DC would be finished. Construction delays ensued and voila... he was "homeless" as of May 31.

On top of all of this, we had 7 or 8 visitors in 6 weeks. Of course, my favorite was Nae's visit to the Capitol. It is amazing how heart friends just mesh as if no time has passed when they get together. We had an absolutely wonderful time. Since she wrote about it here and here, I'll spare you the details. She's a better writer anyway.

The visitors and "homelessness" carried through June, but work took centerstage as we had many programs and events. We had an amazing reception at the Newseum to announce the Knight International Journalism Award winners and Founders Award winner Seymour Hersh (The New Yorker) I absolutely loved the view and some of my favorite people were there(L: Sarah Marshall, Gary Fabiano and me).

July began with fireworks, literally. The Fourth of July is always special in the nation's capitol. Where else can you see firework displays like this one?

Let's just say that I'm not divulging where we watched the show, but we will be going back there next year with a full day's picnic, and y'all are welcome to join. I wish we could have these seats, though...the Obamas always get the best stuff! If you look closely, you can see them on the roof of the capitol.

The rest of July and the beginning of August was a blur. I started getting massive headaches each day and never knew the cause of them. Then, my wisdom teeth started to hurt. Mind you, I haven't been to the dentist in over 5 years, so I was n-e-r-v-o-u-s. Super scared. Of course, they told me I had to have them taken out and the first time they could schedule an appointment was early August. It was a painful 3-4 weeks, but well worth it in the end.

Ironically, Dave ordered his new Canon 5D Mark II camera and it arrived a few days before my surgery. For those who don't know, the camera is the newest in Canon's line and actually takes HD video. He bought it for the weddings he will shoot this summer. Of course, who could resist taking pictures and video of a chubby cheeked drugged up girl? Yeah, I'm sure there is footage floating around somewhere, but I haven't seen it yet. And no, you won't either :) However, you can check out his other photography here and here.

In the midst of that, Dave finally moved! They finally finished his condo mid-July and he closed at the 11th hour. He's settled and finally feels like he has a home, which is a huge relief.

So to recap, in 3 months, there have been 8 visitors, 4 wisdom teeth removed, 2 amazing concerts (Jason Mraz and Paolo Nutini), 2 major work events, and one new home for the bf. Oh, and one incredibly happy Amy that has no more headaches!

20 July, 2009

On a mission

I started thinking about writing this blog post this morning. I formulated the entire entry to go over the many reasons why I detest the Metro system. Since the accident, fewer trains are running, the trains that are functional are running on manual controls and about 30 mph less than normal. All of this equals incredibly upset Washingtonians and frustrated commuters. For a city that doesn't say "hi" to each other in the morning and ignores everyone else through their iPod earphones, I would say this is a brand new level of grumpiness.

I was going to post this really long rant about how people were being rude and inconsiderate, pushing excessively on the train, and not obeying social norms (i.e. walking on the left of escalators). Each person who steps on and off those trains each day is "on a mission," as my grandmother would say, to be the first through metro turnstiles, the earliest arrival at their workplace, and the best at getting through their to-do list.

And, I'm no exception. I'm a to-do list junkie. But after listening to Will's sermon at Frontline, I realized that my view of "mission" as a 9-5 job is completely screwed up. My goal for each day is not to accomplish all things on the unending checklist. My mission is to live, love, breathe, serve, and be. And, that is so much more freeing than any other mission I've ever known.

Instead of whining and complaining about the people I see each morning and their inconsiderateness, I need to love them despite their mood and attitudes. When I groan about the fact that our train is stopping for 5 min. at each station, I need to be thankful for a way to work and people who are willing to operate it. I just hope I remember those things over the course of this week.