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May 19, 2016

Marked By Exploration

image1 (3)Don’t forget about the giveaway to help remind the winner how God is faithfully at work, creating a masterpiece out of YOU. Here are the ways to earn entries:

  1. Sign up for my weekly newsletter – the Monday Minutes! I promise I don’t spam. My heart is to enrich your time without monopolizing it by sharing truth, recipes, links, and stories that have impacted me positively.
  2. Take a step towards art and get Mary Jo’s free design guide HERE. PLUS, at the end of the guide there is a place to sign up for a FREE 30-minute design session with her. You can’t get anything better than that!
  3. Comment below what your life is “Marked By,” or something that intimidates you when attempting to design your home.
  4. Share this post and giveaway on Facebook, Twitter, or Instagram. Each “share” will get you another entry!!!

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I met Amanda through a writing workshop this spring, and I have become a part of her online community. She is someone I would want to be friends with in real life – fun, authentic and living out a vivacious faith. Enjoy this glimpse into her life!

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Tell us a little bit about yourself!

I am a wife and mama of two. My daughter is three and my son is one. My daughter has a contagious joy and a quiet spirit. My son is a firecracker of adventure and is always eager to learn something new. Their different personalities keep me on my toes, but I enjoy every minute I get to spend learning more about them and figuring out what in the world I have to offer them.
I am a part-time writer and certified life coach. I am so blessed to be able to write and coach clients from my home while being able to be a full-time mommy. This stage of life has given me a new level exhaustion (I thought college was hard!) but also a lot of room for creativity. I am able to create every single day whether it be in my jobs or in parenting. Sometimes I feel like these days spent with two toddlers will one day be a blur, but I do try to soak up the blessing of getting a front row seats to their lives while also doing the work that I love.
I live in Indiana and know all about corn and casseroles. I graduated from Indiana Wesleyan University with a degree in leadership. My family loves dance parties, playing outside underneath our willow tree and eating lots of Mexican food!

Do you work?

As I said above, I work from home as a writer and life coach. I love it because I am able to tell stories with my writing. I’m also able to help my coaching clients move forward in their lives with purpose and a clear direction. It’s very fulfilling work and I often wake up wondering how in the world someone like me was chosen for these roles.

What are your hobbies and passions?

Hobbies and passions don’t really get to play in my life as much as I would like. But I love to read and hike. Reading takes me to a new world, relaxes me, and helps equip me to become a better writer. Hiking honors my values of freedom and adventure. I love the outdoors. It gives me a glimpse of God’s creation and a fresh perspective.

Tell us about your story of faith.

I have always loved the Lord. I was blessed with a family who introduced me to God from the start. I will be forever grateful! Along the way, I lost my understanding of grace and became the queen of “good works.” I didn’t understand the extent of God’s grace because I thought since I didn’t do anything REALLY bad, I would probably go to heaven anyway. It wasn’t until I realized there was no big vs. little sin and I was just as bad as everyone else around me that I suddenly grasped grace for the first time. It was so humbling and my relationship with God has never been the same! I am filthy and God gave me a free gift anyway!
It wasn’t until I realized there was no big vs. little sin and I was just as bad as everyone else around me that I suddenly grasped grace for the first time.

Describe your typical Tuesday!

Tuesdays start off with me working the morning hours with a cup of chai tea while my oldest is at preschool and my youngest naps (oh dear God, please let him continue to nap at this time for as long as possible!). After my daughter gets off the bus, we have lunch and then spend the afternoon together just the three of us until their daddy comes home. Most of my current writing projects are actually due on Tuesdays, so Tuesdays are a little bit more stressful than my normal weekday.
In the evening, my husband entertains the kids by playing outside or playing ball inside. It’s loud and crazy, but I get work done at my desk (my favorite part of my home). And turn everything in by that evening. We put the kids to bed together and end the night with an episode of New Girl and sometimes a glass of wine if it was particularly stressful that day. 

If you could have coffee with one of our readers, what wisdom would you share?

I would first want to listen to their dreams and aspirations. I am fascinated by people’s stories. After that, I would want to encourage them to explore their “Why.” Why are those your dreams? What purpose do they serve? How can you honor your dreams by going after them? And then help them form tangible steps to explore them further and move forward.

What did you have for breakfast this morning?

I had a vanilla chai tea with an everything bagel from the coffee shop at Indiana Wesleyan University. There is no chai out there that tastes as good!

What is your least favorite thing about humanity?

The way they view God. Every part of me hurts knowing the world rejects everything they could ever need because they just don’t understand who He is. 

How honest are you?

Probably too honest. Sometimes my “realness” can cause controversy because people think I overshare or things should be left unsaid, but if things are left unsaid, I have an unsettling feeling that doesn’t sit with me well.

What is your life “Marked By?”

My life is marked by exploration.
Growing up, I was the responsible one. I was the oldest of four and took that role seriously. I found it really important to be a caretaker and protector of my siblings who were and are so important to me. That was my number one focus. But once I graduated and was set free from that role passing it off to my younger sister who was the new “oldest” in the household, I was able to discover who I was created to be. I don’t regret how I spent my childhood in any way. I am just happy I was able to learn how to honor the parts of me who I kept buried for so long. The parts of me that valued freedom, adventure, and discovery. I started to explore through travel, taking risks, and being spontaneous instead of worrying about safety and responsibility.
 
One of my tattoos says “explore.” It is that important of a word to me because I spend my time exploring my identity in Christ and exploring the world around me. I value trying new things, traveling, and listening to the stories. All of those are ways to explore. I also use both my writing and coaching as a way to teach others to explore their identity and world. It’s freeing. It’s purposeful. And it’s who God created us to be. He wants us to explore His Word. He wants us to explore His calling. One of the worst things I could imagine is locking myself into a life without being open. There is too much to learn and too much to see.
He wants us to explore His Word. He wants us to explore His calling.
 “Make a careful exploration of who you are and the work you have been given, and then sink yourself into that. Don’t be impressed with yourself. Don’t compare yourself with others. Each of you must take responsibility for doing the creative best you can with your own life.” —Galatians 6:4-5
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Amanda is a wife, mother, freelance writer, and certified life coach. Pen and paper make her spirit come alive. She spends her creative time reading, decorating, and handwriting fonts. Her world is better with an assortment of chocolate and a stack of books packed and ready for travel. Connect with her on her BlogFacebook, and Instagram.

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