Majoring in Myself

I have been cleaning out my storage unit the last few days. As I’ve sorted through boxes of mostly junk, I ran across a poem I wrote as a college student. I was lamenting the question. “What do you want to do with your life?”  The poem made me laugh. I found myself asking that very same question this week. Let’s let 21-year old Amee tell 40-something-year-old Amee what to do with the rest of her life.

People often ask me

What do you want to do

When you grown up.

I smile.

I’m twenty-one.

Am I not grown up?

But the question lingers on

Festering in my mind until

I am forced to answer it.

The people want an answer.

A one-word answer

But I refused to be limited by a

One-word profession.

I want more.

I feel more.

I want to

run through the sprinklers

slide down hills

read good books

argue about politics

kiss under the stars

help people

and travel the world.

I want more.

I feel more.

I want to

teach children

write a great novel

sing in the church choir

look up at the sky

and know God loves me.

I want to

buy whatever I want.

I just want to be me.

Is that too much to ask?

And so dear people,

That will be my profession.

I am majoring in myself.

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What’s in a name?

I swished my broccoli from one side of my plate to the other side with my fork. I normally loved broccoli with cheese but tonight I didn’t have an appetite.  I had serious information to share with my parents and I was afraid they wouldn’t like it.

“I’ve made a decision”, I said solemnly. “You didn’t know how to spell my name when I was born. I’ve fixed that problem though.  I will no longer be Amy spelled ‘A-M-Y’. You may now call me by my real name which is Amee spelled ‘A-M-E-E’.

Mom and Dad didn’t smile.

My younger brother John put his fork done and starred at me.

“Amee spelled “A-M-E-E” is better, I explained. “I just made it up today and I like it”.

“A-M-Y is your legal name”, Dad replied. “It’s on your birth certificate and you might change your mind and want to use your real name. It’s the name your loving parents gave you at birth”.

“We gave you that name, because the baby book says it means love”, Mom jumped in.

I was unmoved by their pleadings.  I liked my spelling better. I knew I wasn’t going to change my mind even when I got older.

“Henceforth now and forever, ” I  declared,  “A-M-E-E is the only  proper way to spell my name”.

My parents smiled and gave me the ‘Oh, aren’t our children cute’ look. Then they went back to eating dinner.

My brother John had more to say about it. He scrunched up his little face and pounded his hands on the table. “You are not allowed to change your name without consulting all of your younger brothers. We say no”.

“I can do what I want”, I cried.  ” I’m 11″.

And so 11-year-old me changed my name. It wasn’t legal, but all of my real friends and family knew how my name was  spelled. I told every school teacher at the start of each  school year how I spelled my name.  My coworkers knew that HR would give me a paycheck with A-M-Y but A-M-E-E did the work and spent the money. This is how it went for the next 30 years. I never went back. I was A-M-E-E, because I said so.

During the divorce process, I decided to finally make the real spelling of my name official. I legally changed the spelling. I am ‘A-M-E-E’ henceforth now and forever.

My sister Jenny threw me a Name Reveal Party to celebrate with decorations, cake and presents.

My name

She got me a big box and filled it with balloons. The nephews and niece went crazy when I opened the box and balloons came flying out.

A Big Box

It was a great day.

 

Cookie Cutters

cookie cutter picture

Some people live in this world

Like a cookie cutter.

Never being more than

What everybody else is

Never doing more than

What everyone else does

Never venturing out to discover a beautiful world

Beyond their mold.

I wrote this poem when I was in high school. I rediscovered it today when I was cleaning out some papers.  At the end of the poem, I had written the following in bright red ink.  “I pray that is not my fate. It would be very sad if as a really old 40-year-old I wake up with gray hair and realize that I am a cookie cutter person without a single spark of Amee left in me. Oh, how very tragic indeed.”

At first, I laughed.  I am now that really old 40 year-old with a few gray hairs starting to appear out of nowhere. 40 just doesn’t seem as old as it used to be. Then, I got reflective.  Have I turned into that cookie cutter person that I feared so much? Am I a person who just lives her life, checks off her to-do list but has forgotten she was going to change the world? Am I still me? ”

It was a hard question to ask and an even harder answer to accept.

Sometimes, I am that cookie cutter person. Life. Work. Family. There are molds you accept in order to get a job done.  You can call it growing up or you can call it the great tragedy. It really depends on your perspective. Other times, I am still the sparkling soul who loves greatly, grieves greatly and wants to leave her mark on this spinning planet in some heroic way. There is one thing for certain. I must never stop being Amee.

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My ramblings about the power of creating something

An idea is born. A powerful, creative, joyful idea. I hold it close to my heart afraid that it will somehow die if I let it go into the cruel world. But an idea left in my hand will  also die. So, I release the idea to the world knowing that some ideas live and some must die. The creation process can be cruel at times.  I blow life into the idea’s little wings so it can fly while it is still young. Some day it might have power to fly on its own or it might sink to the bottom of the ocean after being struck by a fiery dart.   I don’t know when I  first get an idea if it will be a success or a flop. There’s so much hope and so much fear looking at the idea in my little hand. I’d rather keep it safe with me but risk is needed in the process of creation.  So, I let the little idea go. And wait. Will into it turn into project and perhaps  ignite movement? It’s a  beginning and I am the artist.

That’s the power of creating something new.

Climb the Stairs

 

 

 

 

It’s Time

butterfly

It’s time. I can feel it in the air and in my head.  It’s time for me to pause, to put down the Facebook feed, to stop looking at recipes I never cook from the internet, to step away from the day-by-day play of the political drama, to live my own life instead of mindlessly following other people’s adventures. Yes, it is time. It’s time for another no social media challenge.  I did it six months ago for a week and it was a wonderful experience. I wrote a poem and went to lunch with an old high school buddy. I had time to hear my own thoughts.  I did this same challenge a year ago and for two weeks I didn’t use Facebook or read other people’s blogs. I heard the whispering of Heaven as I spent my evenings on projects and other good causes. It’s kind of funny that my social media fast is turning out to be a semi-annual event. I guess once you sit with yourself for  a while, you really do crave the quiet found in just being yourself.

The same rules will apply to this Social Media Fast Challenge that I used on my last challenge. No Facebook. No blog reading. No internet except for what is required by my job and the college class that I’m taking right now.  The challenge will go from October 3rd to October 17th.

When I emerge from creative cocoon, I hope to have many good things to report about on my blog. And if I do nothing for two weeks…at least I will have more time to do the dishes that are currently sitting in the sink.

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See you in two weeks.

Love,

Amee

 

 

 

Technology Fast

Last night, I dreamed I was a hero trying to slay a dragon who was threatening to destroy a cute village. In the middle of the battle, I pulled out my cell phone and started updating Facebook about the battle. The entire village burned to the ground.

I know what the dream means. It’s time for me to take another technology fast. Last June, I did a challenge where I took a week off from social media and all blogs.  It was a great week.  I thought deep thoughts, read books, wrote a lot in my journal, spent time with friends, rediscovered my CD collection and found out that the world does not revolve around me commenting on every issue.  I’m doing my technology fast again.  I will be offline from June 3-June 10. The only exception is that when I go to work I have to use e-mail and web-based tools.  I’m actually looking forward to my technology fast. Last year, it was like my brain reset itself after my fast. I came back energized and so creative.

At the least, I hope this fast will convince my dreaming brain that the next time dragons decide to invade a cute village that warrior Amee needs to leave her cell phone at home.

Salads in a Jar

I’m having fun with Mason Jars right now. I’ve made salads in a jar to take to work for lunch. They really do last five days in the refrigerator.

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I’ve made yogurt in a jar for breakfast. They really do last three days in the refrigerator.

Yogurt parfait

Just for fun, I made money in a jar. It makes me smile every time I see it.

Money jar

I don’t think it will last five days though.

 

I can do anything at eleven o’clock at night

About a month ago, I got a brilliant idea. It sounded so easy. I’d make an app and every one would pay me a dollar to put it on their phones. I only had to get a million people to buy it and then I would be financially set for life. I identified two challenges to my bright future.  Challenge #1: I don’t know how to write in code or make an app. Challenge #2: I don’t own a fancy phone that can have apps so I couldn’t even buy my own app once I made it. At eleven o’clock at night, I can do anything so neither challenge sounded too hard to overcome. The next day I went to the library for  how-to-books, watched a bunch of YouTube videos and started working.

Three frustrating weeks later, I finally got the app to the point where I could submit it to the store for people to buy it. Guess What? I got an e-mail back letting me know that my app does not meet the minimum specifications to be fully functional. Translation: It’s so bad that it doesn’t work and we don’t want it here. I felt sorry for myself for a bit, but then I realized what a truly awesome story I am creating by adding another challenge to my list. Challenge #3: The computer people think my app is horrible.

I’m back at the beginning trying to rebuild my app. It may take a few more weeks before I’m able to resubmit it again. Last night I thought of a lovely ending to my app adventure. After overcoming challenges 1, 2 and 3, my app goes crazy and every one wants it. It is amazing how I can do anything at eleven o’clock at night.

In case you have never seen a phone that can’t get apps, here is a picture of mine.

Phone

Broken Cookie

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There are times when ordinary events produce beautiful thoughts. I made cookies and I  dropped one. I was struck by the way the cookie broke so I took a picture and then I wrote a little poem.

Dear Lord,

I made my friend cookies today.

She needs some extra love.

I don’t know what to say.

May be cookies will ease the pain.

I dropped the plate

I tried. I tried. I tried

To put the pieces back together.

I can’t.

Dear Lord,

I gave my friend a shattered cookie today

And a story about my failed attempt

To ease her pain.

She is hurting in a way

Only You can heal.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Challenge Update: Create More

My challenge has been to create more stuff. I decided to make an all-organic homemade face smoothie as part of my adventures this week. The recipe said it would make all acne go away. The idea of beautiful, porcelain skin filled my imagination with such glee that I happily mashed up all the strawberries, oatmeal, creme and honey. It smelled good, and I knew that after 20 minutes my acne would just melt away.

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The Accountant was laughing about my latest adventure. His laughter made me laugh which made it hard to keep the stuff on my face.

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After several attempts, I was able to cover my entire face with my homemade strawberry-oatmeal face smoothie.

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I sat very still for 20 minutes and waited for my acne to melt away. It didn’t. It just made a big mess in the kitchen.

I’m going to be taking a break from the internet for a few days. It is good to unplug every once in a while and spend time with your own thoughts and feelings. I hope to use this technology fast to be creative. If the world happens to fall apart during that time (and I’m stuck not being able to read about it on CNN), I am confident that someone will call me with the details. Wish me luck! I don’t know if I can really go a whole week without using the Internet, but I’m going to try it and see what creative adventures I can create. Let the great unplugging begin.