4 weeks of scary, 3 silly stories, 2 revelations and a partridge in a pear tree

Recently, when attempting to rationalize why I haven’t blogged in a while (“I have nothing interesting to say”), my friend Kelly rebuked me and reminded me that my life is not my own. Touché. So here I am.

Like anyone, I’ve got a lot going on in my heart. I’m not one-dimensional. So I’m not going to blog one-dimensionally. Right now, my life is a nice mix of superficial worries, funny stories, painful struggles, uplifting moments and inspiring revelations. So here is a glimpse of each of those parts of “me” from the last 67 days:

33 going on 50? I’m not sure exactly when it happened, but I am suddenly aware of the fact that I now PAY ATTENTION  to the commercials I used to ignore—specifically for all of those age-defying products. Maybe it started after I discovered 3 grey hairs on my 33rd birthday. Whatever the reason, I am very interested in things like “elasticity” and “firmness”, and even found myself insisting at the MAC counter that my next eye cream purchase must have special ingredients to address the fact that my delicate under-eye skin doesn’t bounce back in place as easily as it used to. The latest age-robbing drama unfolded when my sister pointed out that I appear to have some bald spots in the back of my head (“Oh great, I’m single and balding now!”).  I remembered losing clumps of hair every night during my first 2 months in DC (likely stress), but didn’t realize I had lost so much (Who looks at the back of their own head?) While blood work showed I do have some issues requiring attention, it appears that I’m (thankfully) clear of any life-threatening illnesses. So hopefully my hair will grow back soon and in the meantime, I’ve learned to cover the holes. But it has been humbling—I’m more aware that our looks will fade but we all have an opportunity to leave a legacy that will last forever. I’m not sure if it was that realization, Kelly’s recent encouragement to share my stories, or my own reflections on how precious life is after the recent death of an extended family member at age 36 who left a month-old baby behind…but living a life that matters is back in the forefront of my heart. So that motivated me to dust off the book that I started but haven’t touched for a few years. It is an unabashed look at the flashpoints that led me from faithless to faithful, and records of some of the most powerful and life-changing moments in my journey. I have no idea who it is for, but I’m going to keep writing.

Pulling “An Amy”:  I’m often asked if I’m making new friends here in DC. Not much to report here yet outside of my amazing colleagues, although I’m stoked that I’ve been able to re-connect with my childhood best friend, Melanie, who lives in NJ. But I was looking forward to the Super Bowl party that my friend Adam invited me to as an opportunity to make new friends. I had the outfit planned and was telling my friend Marisa how much I was looking forward to meeting new people at the party when she interrupted me and said “Amy—TODAY was Superbowl Sunday. You missed the party!” (Ooops. I thought it was next week) It never fails—each month has at least one story like this. I can only laugh at this side of myself.

“Fake it until you make it”:  Ah…one of my favorite clichés.  I’ve got this very deep wound that I know will eventually heal someday (but with a scar, perhaps as a reminder of what I’ve learned). But the Lord is gently showing me that He is close while I struggle privately, and He is patiently teaching me how to invite Jesus into that place. I never totally understood the whole “personal relationship with Jesus” thing, but I’m starting to get it. And it is AMAZING. While I have days where I feel that I’m making no progress (and even regressing), I am confident I am growing because the terrorizing nightmares have been back in full force since early February—something that always happens when I am reaching new closeness or breakthrough with the Lord. But what is really cool is that no matter how violent or scary the enemy’s nightmare is, Jesus always (in response to a request I made of Him a few years ago) somehow reminds me to call out his name during the dream—and then He wakes me up. I often hear myself calling out his name as I awaken. It’s hard to explain but is another sweet example of His presence, and it almost makes the nightmares worth it.

Chef Lucia’s Big Debut:  I am overwhelmed by how much joy has come with living on a budget. So many people in my life are living in far more humble conditions than me, so if I can’t make this new budget work, shame on me. I don’t miss being able to spend money whenever I want. I am realizing I have everything I need and am enjoying living a more simple life. The only challenge in this department is the food budget—it is pretty much impossible to stick to my daily food budget unless I cook. Therein lies the problem—as many of you know, I can’t cook to save my life. I once made breakfast for a friend and forgot to put milk in the eggs so had to start the scrambled eggs all over! But I decided that I’ve conquered more difficult learning curves in my life, so set out on a journey to master (or at least become proficient in) the kitchen. I first started with the issue of my inability to make a decent cup of coffee. My community group friends in Seattle used to politely say how “great” my coffee was, but as a coffee drinker, I knew the truth—there was something interfering with my ability to properly interpret the instructions on the coffee bean label. I’ve now mastered the art of successful coffee brewing, and have fallen in love with Dunkin Donuts Vanilla-flavored coffee, which has now replaced the morning latte excursion. I’ve also incorporated new recipes into the mix, which enable me to have leftovers for a few days in a row. Every single time I’ve attempted to make one of those dishes, however, I’ve realized halfway through cooking that I forgot a major ingredient. Realizing that with pots on the stove, I cannot go to the grocery store, I’m left to improvise, which usually doesn’t go so well. So that means I end up with a week’s worth of something ranging from average to terrible. My favorite story was when I forgot the cream of chicken soup for a casserole, so attempted to make my own cream of chicken soup with regular chicken soup and milk. But slowly I am making progress. One night a few weeks ago, I attempted to make a “fancy pants” pasta dish—it took an hour of preparation and almost another hour to bake, but it looked and smelled BEAUTIFUL when it came out of the oven. Too bad I dropped it on the floor. I almost cried as I watched the dish shatter into pieces.  But then I just laughed, picked up the broken pieces and spent the next 30 minutes scrubbing red sauce out of my wool rug while I waited for the pizza man to arrive.

Never lonely:  While I haven’t made many friends here yet, I find it interesting that while I miss those I care about most very much, I never find myself feeling lonely. Part of this may be because I’ve been living life by myself for many years and am used to being alone now. But I know there is more to it—I can feel God watching over me and protecting me as I try so hard (and sometimes not so hard) to embrace the life He has called me to. I’m very thankful for that.

Stretch: I’ve had a few interactions with friends recently where they talked the entire time and didn’t ask me one question about me.  At first I was hurt and a bit annoyed, but then I realized that the shoe has been on the other foot many times. It’s amazing what a revelation like that can do to one’s ability to extend grace. The truth is there have been many encounters recently where I believe the Lord was trying to tell me to focus on loving others vs. worrying about myself. But because I’m a little obstinate, He got creative and literally injected the word “stretch” into a prayer session. Despite my attempt to dismiss it as some random, self-created thought, I remembered that the sermon on Sunday mentioned “stretching” out in love of others. And then later that night, I picked up a book and fell on a chapter about loving and serving others, again using the phrase “stretch”. Intrigued by what I thought might actually be the Lord’s attempt to get my attention, I started praying about this. And He reminded me that there are MANY people in my life that need my prayers and love.  Among that long list is a short list of amazing people that I’m praying fervently for because they don’t yet know the Lord. I was where they are once (and even called the “Amy” of my day a Jesus freak that clearly must have “fallen off his rocker”), and because I love them and want to be with them in heaven, I want them to know what I now know. I realize that their salvation isn’t ultimately up to me, but I’m praying that God will open their minds to pray a “if you are there, please help me find you” prayer because I know they will find Him (Matthew 7:8) and that would make me very happy. Interestingly, the more focus I place on loving, praying for and serving others, the more I feel healing in my own heart and contentment in my own life. Bonus. 🙂

Next blog:  Social media and the perfection of surface relationships—silly encounters that have made me go “hmmm”.

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~ by amylucia on March 14, 2010.

2 Responses to “4 weeks of scary, 3 silly stories, 2 revelations and a partridge in a pear tree”

  1. Glad you updated your blog…..as I always enjoy reading your entries!!! I am extremely happy that we have reconnected…..you have and always will be a good friend! Knowing you over the years, I don’t think that I have ever been so proud of you and the decisions that you have made! You have A LOT of people in your corner!! PLEASE know that I am always here if you ever need to talk. Oh, and I am looking forward to visiting again soon….can’t wait to have a meal cooked by Chef Amy (you do remember that you make good nacho’s)!!! Love ya, Amy!

  2. I was wanting to see you so much and connect and find out all about the AMAZING work you do in D.C. but I think my phone not working right worked out okay for that visit as I was only able to spend a limited amount of time with my grandmother and extended family there and if I had time with you I would have wanted to spend so much time talking and catching up that it would have taken away from my short time with my aging grandmother. We will be back around Easter I think and it would be so great to reconnect then. I am always here for you as Juan and I have worked non-profit work for 8 years now and know the ups and downs of serving “the least of these” http://www.nycr.org It can be hard and it is normal to fantasize about moving some where warm, or easy in one way or another but I always come back to what Jesus asks us to do. And in doing that, we truly do have an unexplainable joy. Love you, Tracy:)

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