Monday, December 05, 2011

the proposal - an entry from my journal

i know many of you have been waiting to hear the proposal story.  i apologize for the delay; the last several weeks have been dizzily busy.  the words i post today are actually my journal entry from the night steve proposed.

november 20, 2011

it was hard to see through the tears; happy ones of course, but i could tell the ring was indeed shiny.  or maybe it was the tears that made it sparkle.  today was the day i got asked the question that i dreamed of for years...hoping for someone who would hold my hand through this crazy life.  someone who would laugh in the midst of chaos with me - for i picture a little bit of just that with a house full of kiddos.  speaking of kiddos, i've been searching for someone who will partner with me to redeem the idea of family and love for kids who otherwise would never know these.  you dream and search and cry and beg God for these things for years.  you hit the verge of giving up many times, but somehow find the strength to press on instead.  and in a small moment, it all can change.  at least it did for me.

we went for a walk in our favorite park today....rainy and 38 degrees.  we stopped along the path to enjoy new-to-us sculptures and animals that we thought we heard.  the path dumped us out into clearing which held a big grassy mound.  there was a steepness to this pile that prevented people from scurrying up its side.  the sculptor had planned it this way as there were also steps to take you to its top.  we climbed and i got ahead after feeling sure-footed at the top.  he told me not to get too far ahead so i turned around.  and just as he did the night we first held hands, he seized the moment, pulling me close.  he's always been really great about saying sweet, encouraging things and he did so just then.  he finished by saying "i'm going to make you my wife."  he has said this before, of course to reassure my own heart so i simply responded with "i know."  "no, really.  i'm going to make you my wife.  can i see your hand?"  and in another blip of a moment, he was on his knee, on the wet, muddy grass.  on the top of that small mountain, he offered to be my partner; to walk through this crazy life, to laugh in chaos, to love on kids, to change the world with me and asking me to love him for life.  then came the tears....

and somewhere in there, a pretty ring.

oh, and michael shelley was out in the woods...taking pictures.

Thursday, November 17, 2011

the end of the beginning of the story

i left the concert a year ago tonight with a bit of a new perspective on steve. you see, sometimes it takes being forced into a new situation with a person to change your perspective, to wipe away your initial judgements. 

the evening had started with a group of people at a restaurant very near my home.  let me tell you, there's nothing quite as awkward as going on a non-date in the presence of a group of people who know that the boy is interested in you and are analyzing your every move in attempt to figure out what's going on inside of your head in regards to the boy.  after dinner, steve and i walked from one end of the loop to the other.  it was raining and i had mistakenly chosen to wear heels which meant it was extra slippery.  when he offered his arm to keep me from falling, i was begrudgingly impressed. I worried about what using his arm communicated to him, but knew that i needed it to get down the street safely.

let me just pause here for a moment and point out what a great example this is of our need for community.  we need others more than we are ever really aware of or even willing to admit.  i have most definitely been a victim of my own stubbornness in the past; trying to do things on my own sometimes to my detriment.  we were created to do life in community.  ever since i acknowledged that and allowed people to be my community on a much deeper level, my life has not only been easier, but filled with deep contentment.  i was already working on this before i met steve, but having him in my life has made me grow so much more in this area.

back to the story.  with his arm, i did make it to the pageant safely.  we found a place to stand near the back with our friends, the rowton's, for the opening act, but then moved to the front with our friends, the burke's (they were not yet my friends at this point), for the main act.  in between the two bands, steve and i talked a little.  it was mostly just friendly get-to-know-you-chat, but he said two things during the course of this that made me go, "hmm."  what he said shall remain between the two of us, but i will tell you that it showed his tender side and gave me a glimpse of the fact that he probably understood me more than i ever thought he would.  by the time he dropped me off at my house that evening, i thought that we could be friends.  but only friends as i was still convinced that i would never date him.

that was a year ago tonight.

the rest of the significant part of the beginning of steve and my love story really happens in december.  the brief overview is that we started texting and then g-chatting while at work.  there was an occasional email and we started including each other in group activities.  my birthday happened in early december.  i had invited him but then spent the entire evening a little disappointed that he had strategically sat next me through most of the night.  for reasons i will not detail, it turned out to be a good thing that he was with me.  after this, i started to look forward to talking to him.  one friday (december 17), when thinking about my plans for the evening, i found myself really wanting to hang out with him.  so we made plans for a late movie.  i spent most of the evening wondering if he was going to try to hold my hand and contemplating what my reaction would be.  at one point, i caught him staring at me.  and then again later.  about the third time i noticed him staring, i expressed my uncomfortability with this in a sarcastic statement and put my hand up to block my face for minute.  he seized the moment, and in one swift move, i was holding his hand.  i liked it, until the movie was over and then remembered that i only wanted to be friends with him and that friends don't hold hands like that.  that very sentence was what i used in my freak out over the phone with him the following day.  his response?  i think we aren't just friends any more and you need to accept that.  those were not his exact words, but that was his point.

the following week, we met for a walk in the park which then turned into a long conversation in his car in the parking lot.  (and by conversation, i really do mean conversation).  the following night, we were both to be at a rehearsal at church.  i still did not want people to know that we were holding hands, but i wanted to hold his hand.  he had gotten to church before me so i called him and asked if he would come out to my car. he did and we held hands in secret before going in to rehearsal.  i know how ridiculous this sounds, but it really was nice to just have him and whatever was going on between us all to ourselves for a little bit.  over an intense weekend of christmas services at church, we would steal glances, sneak texts, and talk with our eyes.  and then people started to notice...

so that's the least the very very beginning of it.  we decided to call the movie our first date. so our anniversary really isn't until december 17,  but i can't help recalling the events of this week.  i mean, they have significantly changed my life.  and this time, this change, is good.

Tuesday, November 15, 2011

when first he called

if you are just joining us, you will probably want to read the last two posts.

even though nothing significant happened a year ago yesterday, you should know that our dear friend nate cybertron was prepping me for whatt would happen a year ago today.  the first text from him seemed so innocent: "what are you doing wednesday night?"  my response, "nothing, you want to hang out?" was returned with, "you'll have to see and wait." (yes, he really wrote see and wait, not wait and see)

more confused, i bombarded him with texts that really got me no more answers which then prompted me to bug him more over the course of the next couple of days.  it wasn't until two days later that i had a clue; this time the message read "you will be receiving a call this evening.  make sure you answer."

he was right.  at 7:09 pm, the phone rang, and of course, i screened it.

in what i now affectionately call his radio voice, steve said he had an extra ticket to a concert that a bunch of people were going to and that he thought i might like to use it.  after hearing the message, i had no idea what to do.  at this point, i still wanted very little to do with him.  i most definitely did not want him to think this was a date nor did i want him to think that it would lead to more hanging out.  i did what any woman in my situation would do: i called another woman.  only the woman i called upon was my wise older friend lauri.  after a long discussion, she recommended that i go with steve.  she help me to see that i could make it clear that it wasn't a date, i wouldn't owe him anything after the fact, and that i'd get a free concert out of it.

so i called the boy back and we made plans for our non-date.  and i went...thinking that i would probably never hand out with him again.

obviously, i was wrong.

oh yeah, the extra ticket steve happened to have?  i found out months later that he didn't have an extra ticket, but had purchased it when he decided to ask me...hoping that i would go...

Monday, November 14, 2011

the story behind the story

so the story continues.....slowly.

although this is the anniversary of the beginning of our story, nothing significant happened on this day.  in light of this, i thought it would be appropriate to share the back story as it makes the whole thing even better.  therefore, i give you...

the prequel, in two parts

the part that involves steve

nearly three years ago, i started attending a new church.  i met a friendly guy there named matt who helped me to connect to a bigger network of people my age.  one evening matt had invited me over to his house for a birthday party for some guy i had never met (yes, it's steve).  when i arrived there, matt informed that the plan had changed and that we were going bowling instead.  that night is somewhat foggy, but i do remember it being somewhat strange.  i had crashed a stranger's birthday party.  i also remember not being particularly fond of the birthday boy nor his best friend.  and as i sometimes have a tendency to do, i stuck with my first impression, basically avoiding interactions with steve and his bff when i could.

the part that doesn't involve steve

i had spent the summer in california.  as i prepared to return home, i couldn't shake the nagging feeling that there was something big coming my way.  before i left california one of my friends told me that she felt like God had something fruit just ahead for me.  i ended up getting a full time job that i was really excited about and was surprised when the feeling didn't go away.  i had put my online dating adventures on hold for the summer and decided to start back up again a couple of months after my return.  as usual, i had a few one time dates that turned into nothing typically followed by a small crush on some random boy at church.  when november began, i was in deep in conversation with an online boy. conversation turned into good date.  good date turned into great second date.  great second date turned into big disaster.  i laid in bed after big disaster, crying, and literally talking out loud to God. why can't i just meet someone from the same church, with the same core beliefs.  that just wants to love on children who may not even be our own.  who will love me exactly as i am, but never let me live in complacency. i think i'm done.  i'm just done.  

i was not only done looking for the various desired characteristics in a man.  i was done looking for the sheer basics.  and really, i was just done looking.

and then one week later...

Sunday, November 13, 2011

the lie you've all been waiting for

kids, it is never good to tell a lie.  (imagine that in a ted mosby voice.  okay, okay, i admit, i've been watching too much of "how i met your mother".)  seriously though, lies, more often than not end in hurt, mistrust, and trouble.  but today, i'm not talking about those kind of lies.  i'm talking about the one lie that actually ended with one of the best things that ever happened to me. 

i've mentioned this lie before: here.  it was not my lie, but my friend nate's, er...uh...i mean cybertron (nate's has always wanted to have a robotic pseudo name to "protect the identity of the innocent".)

anyway back to the lie....

it was a year ago today. i was photographer extraordinaire in the kids area at our church for two services.  during a lull in my photo taking, i found myself hanging out in the boardroom with several of the musicians; three of them noteworthy:  alex (who was fairly distracted. he ended up proposing to his girlfriend later that evening. happy one year of your engagement alex and megan!), steve (some random guy that i never really paid attention to), and nate/cybertron (my friend who i talked to and hung out with regularly).  this was just an innocent time wasting session of no significance, but it was how the evening started nonetheless.

it was the very end of the evening that is of note. i was in conversation with a church intern when random guy steve, on his way out of the building, did the awkward hand in the middle of the back rub goodbye.  what made it awkward was that we were not friends; we weren't really even friendly.  and when one person does the awkward touch thing when two people of the opposite sex aren't even friendly, the other's mind starts to wonder. and what does one do when the mind starts to wonder?  of course, revert back to the ways of junior high and ask friends to give you the scoop.  and so, i called upon nate/cybertron.

my intentions really were to find out if steve was indeed exhibiting an interest in me, and if he were, to figure out how to squelch it as i did not reciprocate.  nate/cybertron answered my questions in what i believe to be an honest way: but little did i know, he was feeding steve total lies. 

"she thinks you're cute."  "you should ask her out."  and other assorted statements that i never even alluded to saying let alone actually said. 

did i think he was cute?  no.
did i want him to ask me out?  absolutely not. 
do i now want to spend the rest of my life with him?
i couldn't imagine spending it with anyone else. 

but i how i got there is whole other story.  and it starts with a phone call, involves a couple of people, a walk in the park, a movie, and of all things, ends (or begins) with another phone call.  

stay tuned.....

"cybertron" (hey just trying to protect the innocent)

Thursday, October 06, 2011

nearly finished

1 paper, 1 presentation, 1 class session, 1 week. after two plus years, it's hard to believe that i am down to my final days of my graduate program. as most students find themselves doing, i have put much of my life on hold in order to write papers, have scheduled intellectual conversations, and pretend to read way more than one can read in a matter of seven days. in anticipation of my impending freedom, i've been making a list of what i am hoping to accomplish in the next couple of months. just for fun, i'll share :)

  • take up regular blogging once again (yes, uncle vern dean, i'm going to try to provide you with some entertainment).
  • play my guitar more than once a month and work to improve
  • finish the dragon tattoo series and read more books of my choosing
  • ride my bike (i know, i know...just in time for winter)
  • spend more time with friends (two specifically)
  • get back into my workout routine
  • spend more time intentionally listening to jesus
  • cooking! and meal planning and enjoy grocery shopping again
  • shake the dust off of my camera and shoot again
  • who knows what other fun surprises may come along...

Friday, June 17, 2011

about a boy

ever notice how surreal time feels? it's moving fast and slow all at once. the days feel long, but the months zoom by. for me, the last six months have been just that sort of contradiction: at times so fast that i feel i cannot keep up, but the beginning of those six months feels like forever ago. but alas, this post isn't really about time.

it's about a boy....or to be correct, a man.

as many women do, i've spent my fair share of time dreaming up what the perfect-for-me man would be like. i can even recall conversations with other women where we declared these things and then affirmed or corrected each other. my list always contained things like Jesus follower, a little less serious than i am but the ability to quickly be serious when needed, musical, enjoys sports of some sort, handy in some way, and some deeper, value specific things. Oh, and facial hair. (yes i have a thing for dark, man scruffs).

while i desired these things, i don't think i ever really believed that i would find all of these things in one man. date after date caused me to reevaluate and drop certain things off the list. pretty soon, i was struggling just to find someone that was a Jesus follower.

but God gives good gifts.

and this time, my gift was in the form of a man. i remember laying in bed one evening just a few weeks before this man appeared in my life, crying after a rather frustrating date (once again). in the midst of my tears, i asked God why i couldn't just meet someone at my church who really loved Him and that wanted to live life in a way that changed lives.

i prayed mostly certain that it was a prayer that would never be answered. boy, was i wrong. exactly one week later, after an odd touch and a lie told by a friend, a man entered my life. the touch and the lie are a story for another time. seven months have passed since that moment, six of which have been in an "official" (but not facebook official) relationship. a relationship that is proving to me over and over that God listens and He cares; that it really is about timing and authentic readiness.

so this man? i met him at church. he's not just a musician, but has quite a gift for the technical side. he's not just handy, but could do the kind of things it would require to build a room in an empty basement. he enjoys sports, although he cheers for the wrong team. he loves to cook and cuddle and will watch movies that i choose. he treats me in ways i dreamed of being treated, but never actually imagined would happen. we laugh and we cry together. we share an uncommon vision for life. a vision, by the way, that i've yet to find in any other man i've ever dated. most of all, he loves Jesus deeply and is consistently in pursuit of growth and change. it seems that i am regularly amazed at the way God has been listening to my hopes and dreams in this area over the years. it's almost like steve was custom-made just for me.

there are times when i honestly can't wait to change the world with him.

in the grand scheme of life, six months doesn't seem like all that long, but there is something about the last six months with steve that feels so right. it's like we've never not known each other. hmmm, yet another small detail seen by our Maker?

Sunday, May 08, 2011

i am a mother lover

my friend nate asked me last night if i am a mother lover. (yeah, he's witty like that) although it has an odd ring to it, i won't deny being a lover of mothers. in fact, there are many mothers in my life right now that i have great love and respect for. mothers that inspire me and that i aspire to be like. here are just a few of my favorites:

Katy: 6 years ago she adopted me as her sister-like friend and aunt of her six children. she has unreal amounts of patience, grace, and flexibility which are an asset when raising six kids.

Pam: talk about a mother! she has four biological, some step (i'm unsure how many), two adopted, and five foster plus all sorts of unofficially adopted people. oh, and grandchildren. i love how Pam loves very deeply, but calls out the nonsense and other unwise things in people's lives because she loves them. she isn't afraid to push people in ways that will make them grow!

Lisa: much like the two women above she welcomes almost anyone into her home, me being the recipient of this many years ago. she's raised four incredibly wonderfully boys (men now) and is taking on a whole new family of five. her house could be packed to the brim and she'd still welcome you in if you needed a place for the night. she has a wonderful sense of humor and somehow always manages to get me hooked on new tv shows.

Emily: this is one mother that i don't know very, but admire from afar. she is a single mother who has devoted her life to kids in the system. she's not much older than i am, but has fostered numerous children and of those, has adopted four. the strength it takes to be a single mother, especially to kids who come with a greater need for a sense of security and love and sometimes with special needs, blows my mind.

my own mother, Denise. from her i learned about self-sacrifice, perseverance, and inner strength.

Sunday, May 01, 2011

my friend, emily, has a recent post on her blog that goes very well with the quotes from my last entry.

Read it here:

Saturday, April 30, 2011

the art of everything

i'm taking my "for fun" class (for my master's program) this term. it's called "artists are alive and well", but it should be called "art appreciation for dummies (or those who have never had memorable basic instruction in art)". i consider myself a creative, but did not have those memorable moments of art instruction (sorry, mr. collingham) so i feel like i am learning quite a bit in this class. i have moved from looking at a piece of art and saying, "it's pretty" or "i'm really drawn to it" to actually explaining, using basic art principles, why it's pretty or grips at a certain emotion. but i digress....

as we went further into the class, i found myself thinking more and more about Jesus and about the city. it all started with an article by roger rosenblatt centered on 'what is art.' while mr. rosenblatt was really talking about art and artists, i couldn't help but think about the way of Jesus. read these quotes first, and then i'll explain:

"the art of everything is to make one see what is present and real rather than what one wishes to be monumental and ideal."

"it is not simply a matter of catching the small stuff. it's about being alert to the non-ideal, the imperfect, the accidental gesture, the distracted gaze, to the pose that is not a pose. to be alert to the emotion of the continuum, rather than to search out a single lofty moment-one needs to look in the wrong direction to find the right direction."

"again and again to remind the artist to look for the eternal in the evanescence and not to wish life be better than it is because it's better as it is."

these quotes (and the article) are very much about not setting up a moment, but rather catching a moment. to catch a moment in process we often have to look in the places that are the least likely or that may feel wrong.

ten years ago at the end of this month, i was exposed to the city. not just the city, but the most visibly broken, struggling, rough parts of it. this is when i met the real Jesus (as opposed to the Jesus in my head). see, Jesus was very much in tune with the non-ideal and the imperfect. He went the "wrong direction" and in doing so, led people the right direction. He still does so today by leading people to humbly and faithfully cross cultural and economic barriers in order to build lasting relationships that change lives. my dealings with the city have taught me about community (as it takes a village not just to raise a child but to live life), authentic relationships (my life became much less stressful when i realized the value of practicing authenticity with all people), and most definitely humility (when i first came, i thought i would be helping people, but really they have helped me, or rather changed my life). i have learned to stop trying to create my moments and see my moments as they are happening. i never imagined that i would sit on the porch of an 88 year old african american and have him say to me that he never imagined he would sit and the hold the hand of a young white woman. i never thought i would get to walk alongside families who not only foster children, but try to connect with the birth family in a way that might bring them to know Jesus. it never occurred to me that i would get to be a part of what Jesus is doing in my city and even briefly in a city on the west coast. but here i am. just like mr. rosenblatt says, i'm learning to pay attention for the accidental, the forgotten, the thrown away. it's the "art of everything."

just as that third quote says life, even in the hard moments, is better as it is.

Monday, April 25, 2011

the whole dang thing

on april 10th, my roommate was proposed to by a seemingly wonderful man, ben. i am not known to do this on my blog, but today, i'm going to promote his blog.

ben has a strong love of scripture (as does andrea) and is taking it to new levels. he is manuscripting the entire Bible from front to back. for those of you that are unfamiliar with the term manuscript or inductive Bible study, it is a way of studying scripture that strips back a lot of what the world says about the Bible and just uses the Bible and your brain (and a few resources) to see what is being said. the passage is printed on paper that often gets marked up as the reader makes observations and poses questions. here is an example.

as you can imagine, this inductive study of the Bible is quite a process. ben is hoping to finish in four years (if i remember what he told me correctly) doing at least 4 chapters a week. the coolest part of this whole adventure, in my opinion, is that he is letting the world benefit from it as well. he is blogging about each and every chapter; hence the reason for my promotion of this blog. ben has some great insight, allows the Lord to speak to him through his studies, and then writes about it in a way that often infuses pop culture and daily life with that from the days of the old testament, not at all an easy feat. his writings are relevant, funny, and challenging. each time i read them, i not only learn something new, but find myself contemplating the concepts throughout the day.

so, check it out.....the whole dang thing

Friday, March 25, 2011

i've been trying to figure out how to write about this for days now; twenty-three to be exact. but for once i am truly struggling. i don't really know what will come out as i write this one, (and it will probably not be a well written piece) but i just need to let it flow. i'm one of those people that tends to hold onto hope, but there may be a fine line between hope and naivete or even hope and pure denial. i got to visit my grandpa in the hospital on february 12th. he had been there (unexpectedly) for several weeks. when i left that room, i honestly believed that he would get better. i knew it would be a long road of recovery, but i really thought i would see him again. hope or denial?

grandpa passed away a week and a half later, and i found myself at my first funeral. i know, almost thirty and never been to funeral? i sat in the pew with my sisters and watched as person after person hugged my grandma. it quickly became clear that grandpa was a well-liked man as the room was packed. we had been hearing stories of some of these people for years. a handful of them read my blog and have followed my past adventures. in some ways, we felt like we knew each other, but we had never actually met. by the time i left for home, i had a deep admiration for my grandparents' friends.

it's been almost a month since his death and i'm finding it interesting the things we remember about him; my sister keeps talking about the clicking of his dentures when he chews his gum. i sometimes hear his voice, "well, ya know amanda...". and that darn pink frosting; at its mention during the funeral, i could no longer hold back my tears.

i don't know what else to say. it's not profound. it's far from funny. but it is therapeutic. and that's about all i can ask for right now.

Wednesday, February 02, 2011

revisiting an old post

i'm perched at a table by the big picture window, watching the big fluffy flakes swirling against the backdrop of brick buildings and moving cars. the focus of today was supposed to be grad school work. while i've been mildly successful, i've had to fight through the wanderings of my own mind. today, my thoughts are in two places.

last year, i attempted to write about 50 people who had left imprints on my soul. while there are definitely 50 people, i only wrote about half of them. as of today, one of them has been in the icu for three and a half weeks. i try not to think about it because it breaks my heart. i can't stand the thought of not having him in my life, despite the pink frosting he puts on my birthday cakes and the fact that he always firmly believes that mizzou will beat nebraska. i pray constantly that god will heal him, but he has a very long ways to go. just for fun, here's what i wrote about him in my footprints on the soul series:

i call him grandpa

we share not one drop of the same blood, yet he calls me his. when i was little girl, he'd make the process of washing my hair memorable and remind me to be a "good egg". now, he only reminds me to wear a life jacket.

he's an interesting fellow; confident but not showy in his uniqueness. once a successful business man; now retired, but retirement has not slowed him down. he has a great house on a big lake where he fishes from the dock and from the boat. every once in a while, he can be spotted cruising down the channel on a jet ski. he's put in over a thousand hours at the local fish hatchery which has involved days of untangling little kids' fishing poles.

he does things you would never expect, like collecting marbles. i can't even tell you how many he has, but he knows the story of each one; each artist. this knowledge almost makes the marble come alive; like looking at a glass painting. he took up quilting not too many years ago and likes to finish the unfinished he comes across. i'm convinced he can fix almost anything. if he doesn't have the right tool, he does research and figures out how to get or make the tool to fit the project.

he's traveled the world; china, the amazon, alaska, the middle east, europe, australia, northeast iowa, adding diversity to his stockpile of wisdom.

what i love about him? the fact that he makes my birthday cake every year intentionally with the wrong kind of frosting because its funny; that he'll shoot squirrels and geese and snakes for trespassing, yet he intentionally builds things to welcome hummingbirds and bluejays; that he's known for cheating while playing cards, although i don't think i've ever actually seen him cheat; that he never tires of my questions.

we share not one drop of the same blood, yet he calls me his. and me? i call him grandpa.

Friday, January 28, 2011


it isn't ironic. it's not even coincidental or fate or by chance. in the old testament, names were given based on personalities or characteristics of the individual. in many cases, God actually renamed people to fit who He had intended for them to be instead of the person the world defined them as. jacob became israel because he wrestled with God; abram, abraham as he would one day be the father of many. God told the newly renamed abraham to name his son, isaac because he was about to bring much laughter to the older, barren couple. later God renames saul to be paul.

my name is amanda, and god named me. my parents had been expecting a boy. they were so caught off guard by my femaleness that their lack of choosing a name caused a delay in my release from the hospital. out of desperation my parents agreed to pray as they parted ways one day. they reunited at the end of the day, each carrying a slip of paper. i like to imagine my dad walking down the hospital hallways with sweaty palms and a nervous heart, wondering if what he carried in his hand would match anything my mom had heard from God. when at last their papers exchanged hands, i picture shock and awe and gratefulness as they read "amanda" written by the hands of their beloved. just like God told abraham to name his son isaac, He told ron and denise to name their daughter amanda.

now, as a twenty-nine-year-old woman, i am finally understanding the depth of just why God chose that name for me. i have spent most of my life feeling broken down, tired, sometimes ugly, and often unloved (although many people have loved me very well). God knew that this would be a lifelong battle for me; that there would be days of extreme loneliness even in the midst of people; that i would be my worst enemy in finding a fulfilling kind of love; that even when i felt loved, i would be uncomfortable. He knew that there would be a need for a daily reminder, a sort of stamp on my soul. God gave me something i could never get rid of, even in spite of myself. He branded me with a meaning, a characteristic that the world could never reshape no matter the circumstances. God named me amanda, "worthy of love". in that, there is no irony.

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