until The End

An incredible thing was born in 2014. It was called #fireworkpeople and it has been changing the world (and my own life) every day since. It's a community of the most creative, alive, on fire women I have ever known, and out of that group have come some of my favorite new friendships.

One of those new friends is Amber. From the very first time I saw her tweets pop into my feed during the weekly #fireworkpeople Twitter chats, I knew I was going to just love this girl. She is an absolute powerhouse-- her words are stunning, eloquent, bold and real all at once and they shoot straight to your heart. I can't get enough.

She makes every single woman she comes in contact with feel seen, heard and loved all within a single second. I've never even met her in real life and I feel like she's one of my dearest friends. She is the kind of friend you want in your corner because she just makes you feel invincible and unstoppable. 

She's a phenomenal writer, and her blog is one of the few I religiously read every single day. She is the most gracious and welcoming of hostesses, in her own life and even online with the link-ups she organizes and runs so wonderfully. She's a beautiful wife who so evidently adores the man she married, and a faithful follower of her Savior. Her heart for building community even amongst people who have never met in real life is so encouraging and inspiring-- she is someone who will pour out everything she is and has to bring people together, and I've seen it make such an unforgettable and lasting impact on so many lives already.

Everything Amber touches seems to turn to gold. She radiates such joy and light everywhere she goes, like she's made of glitter that's just spilling from her bones. I cannot wait for the day I get to breathe the same air as her, hug her so tight, and just talk for hours over huge mugs of coffee somewhere.

This girl is grace and grit all wrapped up in love with a beaming smile, gorgeous tattoos, a heart of gold and a selfless servant's spirit. She's a gem and I cannot wait for you to read her story.

I’m Amber. Born and raised and now settled for life in a small town laying happily under the Californian sun. I'm an adventurer and homebody, a misfit and His beloved, trouble and grace; I'm more contradiction than constant. For years I worked hard to keep my God and my blog separate. Then life fell apart and God brought my many pieces together for one cause: to write for His glory instead of mine. Though my story is flawed and messy and mostly imperfect, His love is redeeming and graceful which affords me the amazing opportunity to share what is great in life: Him.   

I grew up between rose bushes, flowers turned to the sky, thorns prepared to protect and pierce. I grew up snipping thick stems at a diagonal so my mom could display the scarlet, salmon, saffron buds atop her white wooden table. There are chapters, spiny and fragrant, wrapped around those stems, full of those blooms and their soft like velvet petals.

On Sunday mornings, I'd wander the yard from blooming bush to blooming bush, coordinating the colors of the buds until my bouquet's composition felt just right. Rubbing the petals between my fingers, smelling their scent, I fell in love with the yellow roses, my namesake: Amber Queen. I loved their lemony scent, their smiling faces, their small thorns.

I grew up in soccer uniforms, grass stained and numbered, more devoted to the team than to my singular self. I grew up chasing balls covered in black and white octagons, sweating profusely in summer sun and shivering in my sweats come the winter chill. There are chapters, victorious and exhausted, laying on those fields, among the greenest of grasses and sloppiest of mud puddles.

Every weekend spent geared up and laced into leather cleats, tromping wildly like a herd, back and forth, to and fro in the name of victory. Sweaty and exhilarated, I learned there was no I in team, that the individual isn't much without support -for me, ten girls in matching uniforms. Muscles sore from the effort, voice scratchy from the game-time communication, I thanked Him for community in church, life, and teams.

I grew up wishing to be a wife, dedicated and honest, just as I'd seen exemplified by my own mom. I grew up praying with my parents and brother in the mornings before catching the bus and listening to their muffled conversations from my bed in the evenings, There are chapters, tender and care-filled, in those treasured moments, smelling like morning coffee and evening glasses of wine.

Always, from my earliest of memories, I'd notice the small moments within our every day routines, watching them love one another unapologetically. I'd offer silent prayers asking for that kind of love to Him, knowing full well He understood. Following them through life, always aware of their tightly-linked hands, I would wonder what it felt like inside their hearts -warm and happy, like drinking hot cocoa covered in whipped cream in the chill of snow.

I grew up on California beaches, blond hair always bleached white by the sun, skin kissed deep shades of tan. I grew up cleaning sand from my nail beds and sore from time among the waves. There are chapters, beautiful and salty, on those beaches, covered in sand and filled with the entitled caw of seagulls.

If even for just a moments time, I'd still on the shore and watch the tides. In, in, in they'd come, closer and closer to kissing the beach wall. Then out, a retreat, as though shy or scared. The water seemed so in control, so dominant as it tossed those surfers -small and black in their wet suits- to and fro on the waves. I'd stand there and think about what gave the water strength: gravity, a moon's orbit, magnetic forces at play.

I grew up unaware of the chapters, the characters, the differing settings. The way they'd transition in and out of my life, changing my heart, rubbing against my story like two rocks in the waves -slowly softening one another's edges. I grew up sure I was in control, I was making the way, I wrote my tale.

Here I am standing on the shore where six years ago I was on a first date with the man who would be my husband. Reflectively, I roll the strong stem of a yellow rose between my fingers and stare out at the sea. The waves roll in, the white foam reminding me of frothed milk on my morning coffee. The seagulls yell to one another, only rivaled by young girls chasing a soccer ball in the sand. He stands beside me, silent, and I smell his scent, pheromones, on the salty air. And here, the chapters are a cocktail, mixed together intoxicating me in gloriously emotional ways.

The chapters, seemingly separate, blend together as a novel, not yet ending, instead unfolding around me, within me. The characters are alive, the setting transforming bit by bit, the forces of plot ever-moving. And, I decide, this is a tale to be cherished, beloved, shared, until I see The End.

Lord of this Dance: A Friday Freewrite

This Friday, I'm back to the original "Friday Freewrite" model-- 15 minutes of unedited freewriting. Last weekend, I celebrated my grandparents' 50th anniversary at a huge party and actually got out on the dance floor for a good while. This week, several devotions and passages I've been studying have resonated with me. The two combined are what led to this idea and post. Happy Friday, friends!


It's like I'm at a party, a bustling gathering with a band crooning in the background and the lights down low. I'm unsure of the proper moves. I feel awkward. I'm moving, I'm dancing, but it's disjointed and disconnected and doesn't feel (or look) right. I glance around at the people around me and try to copy some of their moves, the ones that seem right, like they know what they're doing and have been doing it for decades. The more I dance, the more I realize I'm clueless and my skills are seriously lacking. But then You swoop in. You ask me if I would like to dance. You gently wrap your arm around me and hold my hand in yours. You have a radiant glow about you, like You are the host of this party and You are ecstatic we all have come here to celebrate with You. You start to sway with me, gently guiding me as You show me the steps, slow, simple, steady. Just in these few moments as this dance begins, I realize You just saved me from myself. My dance on my own was all wrong, out of place and clumsy. You move gracefully and effortlessly to the song like Your movement and the music are perfectly married. I lose my footing and trip, stepping on You and worrying I've hurt You. You laugh sweetly with warm eyes on mine and swing me around as we continue on like it never happened. My embarrassment vanishes in the light of Your gracious response. As we dance, I know this is what I was meant for. Wrapped up in You, following as You lead, trusting You when You twirl or dip me, knowing You know the steps better than I do, this is the dance I was designed for. I couldn't know these moves on my own, it's only with You that I'm learning. What felt foreign as we began grows easier as we dance on, my trust in You deepening as I learn You won't drop me or turn away when I stumble. I've never felt more beautiful than I do in Your arms. I've never felt more free and alive, like I'm soaring and shining and it's all because of how You move me. I'm better with You than I ever was on my own, and though I know I'll grow tired, I never want this dance to end. When one song ends and another starts, I stay with You, knowing You'll know the steps to this one, too. Some fast, some slow, some wild and some calm, You lead me perfectly through them all. I was meant to dance with You, in unison. I was never meant to do it alone. You are the Lord of this dance and the Lord of my life.

You  can find more Friday Freewrite posts here!