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Every life has a purpose. Every person
has a story. What's yours? This is a quiet place to read, and a safe place to share and see the significance of your story. Come on in. Get cozy. Relax and enjoy!


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This month, I’m participating in one of the largest blog link-ups that exists, 31 Days hosted by The Nester. Last year, in 31 Day’s 5th year, over 1,500 bloggers participated! The challenge is to choose a topic and write about it for 31 days straight. All the bloggers who participate link-up their series at the 31 Days website. There, you can click on various categories and read until your heart’s content!

I joined the 31 Days craze for the first time in 2013 with a series titled Letters to the Unthanked. I loved my series and loved being part of a committed community of bloggers. From the moment I completed the series, I knew I’d write another in 2014. Yes, my husband’s the one who had to remind me that 31 Days wasn’t all rainbows and unicorns. It’s definitely a challenge to write, edit and publish a post every day for 31 days straight. This is no small task. 31 Days is like birthing a child. There’s no way to get through it but to do the hard work of writing, writing, and writing some more. But in the end – when you look back and realize you’ve birthed a beautiful body of work – you can say with certainty, it was worth it.

This year’s 31 Days series wasn’t conceived as quickly as last year’s. Most of the year, I intended to write another letters series titled Letters to My Baby. But I wasn’t sure it fit neatly within my new blog vision, so I tucked the concept away for another day. Another vision rose to the top. I wanted to interview 31 elderly and and hear their perspectives on loving life. It was and still is a concept I’d love to explore, but once I started making contacts, I realized that logistically speaking, it was going to require a lot more planning than I expected. So once again, I tucked away the concept for another day.

At that point, I was empty handed. But not for long!

I wanted this year’s series to be about people and for people. I wanted to interview strangers. I wanted to ask one question. And I wanted to go as deep as possible within a limited time frame. So my husband and I had a couple brainstorming sessions, and voila! The topic surfaced. I knew without a doubt. This was my 31 Days series for 2014.

31 Dreams from the Street

So here’s what it’s going to look like…

Throughout the course of the month, I’m going to be selecting 31 strangers from the street for brief, on-the-spot interviews. After explaining who I am and why I’m approaching them, I’m going to ask ONE age-old question…

“If you didn’t have to worry about money, what would you do with your life?”

Whether I have two minutes or ten minutes with someone, my goal is to develop rapport and get to the center of their heart as quickly as possible. I don’t want to get too personal, but these are the questions begging to be asked under the surface.

What are the desires of your heart? What do you really want to be when you “grow up?” What’s the thing you always wanted to do, but all the logic and reasoning in the world told you it wasn’t a good idea? What in the world would you do with your one beautiful life if you didn’t have to worry about money at allTell me, you, beautiful you. Tell me.

Here are the things I’m sure of going into this series…

I’m going to get 31 vastly different answers to one question.

I’m going to experience some level of rejection.

I’m going to be blown away by peoples’ dreams.

I’m going to note significant discrepancies between peoples’ realities and peoples’ dreams.

I’m going to see some people moving towards their dreams, and some people far from their dreams.

I’m going to be moved to tears.

I’m going to speak with people I definitely would’ve noticed, but wouldn’t have conversed with otherwise.

I’m going to witness the whole spectrum of emotions.

I’m going to be stretched outside of my comfort zone.

I’m going to learn a hundred things I didn’t expect to learn.

I’m going to publish some edgy content.

And I’m pretty sure I’m going to love it (and I hope you do too)!

So at this point, you might be wondering what’s in this series for you?

Well, I’ve thought about that long and hard. I can’t quite wrap my brain around what this will look like yet, but at the end of each post, I’m going to share a nugget of wisdom, a unique lesson learned from that interview – for you.

It’s not my nature to launch a 31-day series that feels so random, so unplanned, so out of my control in so many ways. I have no idea who I’m going to meet. I have no idea how they’ll respond to me or my question. And it bugs me that I can’t tell you in advance what nuggets of wisdom I’m going to share. Basically, I have no idea what I’m in for.

But this is the series I’ve chosen.

This is the series that God seems to have chosen for me.

So I return to the thing I know for sure. That question…

“If you didn’t have to worry about money, what would you do with your life?”

I’m pretty sure there are a thousand lessons waiting to be learned. It’s a matter of discerning the learning.

So let’s go! Let’s do this! It’s settled well with my soul.

These are dreams from the street.

Call me trailblazer. Call me pioneer. Call me crazy blogger lady. Whatever.

My mission? To discover what God’s laid on your soul. To discover the thing that makes your heart tick if all money’s set aside. Because I believe our hearts beat loudest and most in rhythm with God’s purposes and plans for our lives when we tap into the dreams He set in us from the beginning.

May my eyes be opened. May my soul be ready to hear. May my countenance be on spot.

May the Spirit guide my paths.

All 31 days. All 31 dreams from the street.

Send your positive thoughts and prayers my way, will you?

So I may return with stories of dreams unexpected, nuggets of wisdom, and pearls of grace for the journey ahead.

Let’s get practical for a minute, yes?! 

All 31 posts will be published on my blog home page as usual, but this post serves as my series landing page. At the bottom of this post, you’ll find links to ALL posts from the 31 Dreams from the Street series. It’s simple…find a post that intrigues you, click on it, and it’ll pop right up for your reading adventure!

31Daysgraphic_blogI placed the series graphic on the right sidebar of my blog’s home page ——–> so click it anytime, and it’ll bring you back here where all 31 posts are listed and linked.

You can follow me on Twitter at where I’ll tweet links to all 31 posts using hashtag #write31days, and I’d LOVE to connect on Facebook at!

So glad you’ve chosen to stop by. Make yourself comfortable. Take a peek around the place, and know you’re welcome back anytime.

I don’t know about you, but I’m ready to embark on this adventure. So let’s get to it! Join me, will you?!

Dream 1: Pink Hair, Cats & Phone Cases (Lola)

Dream 2: Money and Greenhouses (Cecilia)

Dream 3: Windows, Wishes and Good Guys (Jared, Andy, Nick & Steve)

Dream 4: Kids, Kids & More Kids (LeAnn)

Dream 5: Coffee and Confections (Jenny)

Dream 6: Basketball and DNA (Diamond & John)

Dream 7: Therapies and a Bucket List Blessing (Lisa)

Dream 8: Happiness (Jouaye)

Dream 9: LA, NYC & Fire (Steve)

Dream 10: Education (Kao Vang)

Dream 11: Work, Art & Design (Alex)

Dream 12: Editing & Producing (Lori)

Dream 13: Writing & Gardens (Lin)

Dream 14: Food & To Be Well (woman on the street)

Dream 15: Travel & Animals (Emily)

Dream 16: Enjoyment & Fulfillment (Carlo)

Dream 17: Travel, Roots & No More Suffering (Cali)

Dream 18: Self Care & Volunteering (Lisa)

Dream 19: Diesel Trucks & The Army (Mat)

Dream 20: Diesel School & A Diesel Truck (Maddy)

Dream 21: Food & Shelter (Jazmin)

Dream 22: Loving, Living & Traveling (Jose)

Dream 23: Cartooning & Animation (Cassie)

Dream 24: Dancing & Giving (Guest Post from a Nine-Year-Old Girl, Elsa)

Dream 25: A Whole Lot of Love (Darlene)

Dream 26: Sabbath: Where The Streets Have No Name

The Day I Wanted to Quit 31 Days

Rejections From the Street

Notes From the Street

My Dreams 

Your Dreams


The evening was beautiful, lovely and inspiring. Singer, songwriter and new Christian recording artist, Jessica Joy, performed her CD release concert. Perhaps the lyrics to one of Jessica’s original songs, Daughter of Mine, along with photographs from the concert, will tell the story best.

“As I wait in the quiet, Lord I long for your presence.

I know you’re here, singing over me with the sweetest melody.”



“Singing daughter of mine, I’ll never let you go.

 Hold on tight, it won’t be an easy road.

But do you know how beautiful you are and the way you move my heart.

Daughter of mine, you are mine.”



“I’m amazed at your ways God, how you bought me with your precious blood.

I can call you Abba Father. You’re so unlike any other.”




“Singing daughter of mine, I’ll never let you go.

 Hold on tight, it won’t be an easy road.

But do you know how beautiful you are and the way you move my heart.

Daughter of mine, you are mine.”



“You are a pearl of great price and your hands do the work of Christ.

Your laugh makes me smile, cause you are my beautiful child.”




“Singing daughter of mine, I’ll never let you go.

 Hold on tight, it won’t be an easy road.

But do you know how beautiful you are and the way you move my heart.

Daughter of mine, you are mine.”




This is the last of a three-post series featuring singer, songwriter, and new Christian recording artist, Jessica Joy. Two weeks ago, we looked back and dug deep into the call on Jessica’s life to become a singer and songwriter. One week ago, I shared my experience with Jessica Joy in the recording studio. And today, it’s an honor and delight to share photographs from Jessica’s CD release concert. Learn more about Jessica Joy and purchase her new CD, Nothing Wasted, at  She’d love to connect with you on FacebookInstagram and Twitter! 



It wasn’t the first time I’d gone through his drive-thru window at McDonald’s.

I knew it wasn’t my first time because of his voice. It was unforgettable.

So when I drove through that window, having recognized “that voice” and “that personality” that captures your attention in an instant, I knew I needed to speak to this man. I needed to know more about him. Because he seemed to love his life. At least, he seemed to love his job. Or maybe he just did a great job making the best of his job.

I told Reno I’d love to contact his supervisor and asked if we could meet someday during his lunch break. I handed him my blog business card through the drive-thru window and promised I’d be in touch.

One week later, we sat down for 20 minutes together during Reno’s lunch break at McDonald’s.

I asked him what made him tick, what made him love his work. Because I’d heard the kindness and the depth of his soul through his voice. I’d seen the fire inside him come straight through that drive-thru window. And it was a beautiful, beautiful fire, like this man is ready to light the world on fire, kind of fire.

That’s when Reno told me. “I beat the odds in my life.”

In 2000, he experienced a house fire. He was 21 years old when that happened. And since then, he’s had a better perspective on life.

Prior to the house fire, he had a job at the YWCA as a child care provider. At that time, he felt the purpose of his life was to provide motivation and direction for younger children who desperately needed it.

After the house fire, he got a job at McDonalds working in the drive-thru.

One day when Reno was working in the drive-thru, a man came through. He’d been through before and had engaged with Reno on several occasions. On this particular day, the man approached Reno with an unexpected offer. “How do you feel about making more money than McDonald’s?” He had lost an employee at his metal finishing business, and was looking for a replacement. He wanted Reno on his team. Reno felt blessed to have been offered this great opportunity, which would also provide him more money than his work at the McDonald’s drive-thru.

So Reno left McDonald’s. And he began working in metal finishing – stripping metal, coating metal, and using a fork lift to transport it here and there. McDonald’s, in the meantime, realized the value Reno added to their business, so they asked him to come back. Now Reno keeps two jobs, one shift at McDonald’s, and another shift at the metal finishing business.

He’s busy “working on bettering himself” and “focusing on responsibilities” and his “well being.” He has five children to provide for – a 6 month old, 7 year old, 12 year old, 14 year old, and 17 year old. He takes his life and responsibilities seriously. I can tell.

Reno shared that he “talks to the man upstairs” and prays “morning, night, anytime.” He feels like he “has a direct connection.” It’s “like HD (high definition),” he says.

Reno’s communication with “the man upstairs” clearly translates to the McDonald’s drive-thru window. Heck, that’s what captured my attention when I came through his window. His voice is incredible, phenomenal, memorable by anyone’s standards. And his personality, just awesome, lovely, delightful. He’s a warm, gentle soul. A man you’d be blessed to engage with any day.

So I wanted to know – what motivates Reno, what keeps him so upbeat in the McDonald’s drive-thru, what’s the philosophy he’s operating under so we can all learn from this man?

Here’s what he said.

Reno is intentional about communicating well with the customers that come through the drive-thru window. He never knows what kind of day they’ve been having, so his goal is to “keep a positive beat.” Even if customers are not responsive, he tries to be “kind and grateful.”

Reno says “I’m kind of like the Dr. Phil of the drive-thru.”

People will change McDonald’s and become “regulars” just because they want to engage with Reno regularly.

I can totally see why people would rearrange their routes to have an opportunity to engage with Reno more regularly. And I can totally see why he’s the “Dr. Phil of the drive-thru.” Because he is. He truly is.

Our conversation was lovely and delightful and I loved every bit of who Reno was, who Reno is. But I had one more question to ask before we parted ways.

I wanted to know what Reno’s ultimate dreams were for his life. I had a hunch those dreams might have something to do with his voice, and I was right. He knew right away – he’d do voiceovers, be a radio DJ, or a motivational speaker.

And with that, I got goose bumps all over. Within seconds, he got goose bumps all over, too. We showed each other our holy goosebumps.

Perhaps we were on to something. Perhaps “the man upstairs” was trying to tell us something that day. Perhaps Reno was made to do voiceovers or become a radio DJ. Or perhaps, just perhaps, he was made to be a motivational speaker.

(Reno, this next part is just for you.)

Perhaps you’ll become a motivational speaker. Perhaps we crossed paths for a reason. Perhaps I’ll see you speak on stage someday. That would be awesome. And if not, I’m confident that you’re motivating people already through that drive-thru. Motivating people to be kind, motivating people to be grateful, motivating people to love, motivating people to live, motivating people to live this day a little differently than they had prior to coming through your line.

So motivate on, Reno. I’m 100% behind you. You are the awesomest.

I do believe your call is to motivate, to love on people with your voice, with who you are.

So motivate on, Reno.

Motivate on.







I pulled in to the recording studio at the same time as Jessica Joy and her mom. Before we walked in, Jessica’s mom handed me a hot pomegranate tea. I’m not typically a hot beverage drinker, but let me tell you, that tea certainly set the tone for one of the most incredible afternoons of my life.

It was March 26, 2014. And I’d been blessed with the opportunity to join Jessica Joy in studio while she recorded one of the songs on her new CD, Nothing Wasted.

Once we were inside, Jessica introduced me to her producer, Luke Fredrickson, who’s also guitarist for Christian recording artist, Natalie Grant.

After a short trip down the stairs, we landed in the studio. I had no idea what to expect before I’d arrived, but the place was super chill, way more relaxed than you’d ever imagine. Jessica’s mom and I made ourselves comfortable on a couch facing the sound booth while Jessica and Luke chatted about the plan for the day.

Before I knew it, Jessica was headed for the sound booth where it was just her and the microphone. Jessica’s mom and I sat on the other side of a two-way mirror along with Luke, who was at the sound panel.

Jessica’s voice was piped into the room where we sat, and when discussion was necessary in between recording, Luke’s voice was piped into the sound booth.

They got to business right away.

Instrumentals for the album had been recorded during previous studio sessions, so the day’s task was to record Jessica’s angelic vocals for one song, “Run.”

The song was dark, deep, and a little mysterious. It was the kind of song I knew I’d play on repeat a thousand times in my car. I loved it. Absolutely loved it. Jessica’s mom shared that this song is unique to the CD, artsy and somewhat open to interpretation. Perfect. Just what I like, I told her.

The process was smooth. Professional. Flawless as far as I was concerned.

As Jessica and her producer ran through phrases and portions of the song again and again, until they felt just right, my attention turned towards the lyrics…

You stare at your past in the face, ashamed of your masquerade. 

You’re searching for hope to hold onto.

You won’t take the truth that’s been given to you.

You just run, run, run away…

from the voices that taunt you each day.

Who you gunna turn to now, when everything else fails?

Don’t just run, run, run away.

Love is chasing you.

Those words. They were incredible.

Tears welled in my eyes as I sat quietly, sipping hot pomegranate tea.

When the lyrics became comfortable and familiar, my attention drifted towards other elements of the experience.

For example, I couldn’t get over the fact that Jessica and her producer, Luke, had landed such tailor-made jobs. As I watched them, I couldn’t help but wonder. Who in the world tells their child they could consider becoming a music producer someday? And who would ever guess their child would record an album when they’re 17 years old? What I loved most was that these two were tucked away in a recording studio, quietly, but powerfully using their God-given gifts. What a divine appointment this was. I couldn’t get over it. This was beautiful, purposeful living at its best. And it was ridiculously inspiring.

With that, I began to take special note of Luke. He clearly knew and loved what he was doing. There was no hesitancy in his words or actions at the sound panel. It was fascinating to watch his fingers work. One adjustment here, another there. He knew exactly when to start and when to stop recording. He knew what still needed tweaking and what was good to go. His skill as a producer was beyond evident. The peace and professionalism with which he executed his work was admirable.

soundpanelJessica and Luke had a recording studio language of their own. I was most fascinated by all of the starts and stops throughout the process. When they determined a portion of the song needed to be re-recorded, they quickly agreed on the exact place they’d start recording again, and before I knew it, Jessica kicked in with vocals and Luke was back working that sound panel. If it had been me in that sound booth, I’m pretty sure I’d have been a fumbling, bumbling mess trying to figure out where Luke wanted me to start singing again. But Jessica pulled it off like a pro.

As the recording process proceeded, Luke said a couple things to Jessica that captured my attention.

“Don’t think too much,” he said at one point. “Just sing.”

I wondered how many times I’ve overthought my life, my work, my mothering ability, my writing ability. I wondered how many times you’ve overthought your life. And I realized. We should all just forget the overthinking.

Sometimes all we need is a reminder.

Just sing.

Just live.

Just be in the moment.

Later in the recording session, when Jessica and Luke were discussing different ways they could end the song, Luke said this to Jessica…

“If we wanted to be really indie, we’d just end it there.”

These words captured my attention. It’s important to note that there’s room for great freedom and creativity, even while we’re actively seeking and engaging in God’s will for our lives.

I remembered wise counsel I’d recently received on this topic. God leads us to green pastures, gives us free will, allows us to make choices within our lives. He doesn’t dictate. Go here. Do That. Or else. There’s freedom to live boldly, beautifully, and courageously, all while staying within His parameters and plan for our lives.

As the recording session wrapped, I knew the absolute miracle this afternoon had been. God had blessed me with an experience of a lifetime. I’d watched a just-turned 17-year-old singer and songwriter professionally record her original song.


Every bit of the experience was miraculous, beautiful, incredibly amazing.

I wished everyone could see. This is what it looks like to live like anything is possible.

Sometimes we need to witness others living their purpose in order to realize our own purpose. When you discover and walk boldly in the purpose of your life, your heart beats one with the Living God. Life makes sense. It feels right. And you know…this is why I was made.

Right then and there, I knew. I’d been assigned this afternoon for a reason. To witness it myself, and then share with everyone I could. This story of living beautifully, right in the heart of your purpose? This discovering, uncovering who you are, who God created you to be? It’s phenomenal. Important. Noteworthy.

Jessica Joy was made to sing.

And you were made to fulfill a beautiful purpose, too.

So take the truth that’s been given to you.

Live in freedom. Walk boldly in the truth of your life. Embrace what’s already yours.

Love is chasing you.

This is the second of a three-post series featuring Jessica Joy. Last week, we looked back and dug deep into the call on Jessica’s life to become a singer and songwriter. Today, I shared my experience with Jessica Joy in the recording studio. And on September 29th, I’m going to share insights and photographs from Jessica’s CD release concert. Learn more about Jessica Joy and purchase her new CD, Nothing Wasted, at  She’d also love to connect with you on FacebookInstagram and Twitter! 



The call to write, not just for myself, but for others, began in 2003.

Let’s just say I was a little slow to listen.

Yep. I’m admitting it here. Now.

I was a little slow to listen.

Okay. Maybe I was really slow to listen?

I witnessed events unfold through the years. They’re all detailed in a private document I wrote in April 2014, titled “A Possible Calling.” Perhaps the truth’s in the title. As much as God’s tried to (gently) bat me over the head with His truth, with His vision for my life, I’m still calling this whole writing gig “A Possible Calling.” Because I’m human. I’m not God. Even with all the evidence, even with all the unfolding of this and that, it’s still hard for me to prove to myself and everyone else that this is my calling.

I struggle with this, can you see?

A wiser and older owl I met in November 2006 affirmed the vision I shared in the quiet of a dark hallway nook. A vision, which at the time, seemed like utter crazy talk. I seriously felt like I was making stuff up, people. Like I was pulling dreams from the sky and taking them on as my own.

Anyway, that day, among other words of wisdom I wrote down in detail when I got home, the wiser and older owl shared two pieces of advice I’ve never forgotten…

“Don’t look to people to affirm what God has already made very clear to you.”

and this…

“Walk. And follow the lily pads of grace.”

She clarified, stating that if this vision is God’s will, if this is God’s call on my life, that He will lead me through. One by one, He will place “lily pads” in my path, next steps along the way. And I will know. This is what I’m supposed to do next. This is His call.

Doesn’t it sound mystical? Maybe even a little kooky? “Lily pads of grace?” What the heck does that mean?

Well, let me tell you in plain words, friends. Maybe I didn’t know then what she really meant. But I know now. “Following the lily pads of grace” quite literally means to take one step after the next, after the next. First take this little leap of faith, then this door will open. Go through it. Take another little leap of faith here, and you’ll feel a tug to go there. So you do it. Then, you get a kick in the butt and realize there’s no other way but to do that next thing. So you do it. And it goes on. And on. And on. Until the light bulb turns on. I’ve taken 20, 30, 40 steps towards this vision. And truth be told? All of those steps have been leaps of faith.

Leaps of faith can be scary. Leaps of faith require courage. But after a while, leaps of faith make way for the answers you’ve been looking for. Things start to make sense. Little by little, the purpose of your life becomes clearer.

So today? I’m announcing the next leap of faith I’m making on this journey I’ve titled “A Possible Calling.”

I’m jumping on the next “lily pad of grace” God’s set before me. And as far as I can see, I’m jumping on over to a big one.

Well, I’m not really going to be jumping. I’m going to be flying, down to South Carolina where I’ll be attending my first writing and blogging conference! It’s happening next month while I’m doing that crazy every day writing challenge called #31Days.

I already know this writing conference is a lily pad set before me by God…

Because I’ve been a part of this community for more than four years.

Because I’ve been following this conference closely for two years and I’ve longed to be there.

Because it’s never been a possibility for me to go until this year.

Because I approached my husband about going to the conference just one week after I’d written that document, “A Possible Calling,” and he said yes. Pretty much right away. Without much persuasion on my part.

I already know this writing conference is a lily pad set before me by God…

Because my all-time favorite blogger, Ann Voskamp, was scheduled to be a keynote speaker when I signed up to attend, and then we got word she wasn’t going to be there at all. With or without Ann, I knew I was supposed to go anyway.

Because I asked Jennifer if we could room together, but she isn’t going this year.

Because I emailed a different Jennifer, Michele, Anna, Nasreen, Alia, and Kris to see if any of them would want to room with me. Four of them aren’t going to the conference this year. And two of them are, but already had roommates.

Because the week I’d planned to just go ahead and book a hotel room by myself, it was announced that the place was sold out. No more rooms available. Everyone make space. Find a place to crash. Bunk up.

Because I knew there was no other way but to put an announcement out there – I need a roommate. And believe me, that was the LAST way I wanted this to happen.

Because the eighth potential roommate decided she couldn’t afford to go this year.

I already know this writing conference is a lily pad set before me by God…

Because the ninth roommate? She had a room. And hallelujah, she had space for me! The funny thing is that we were already connected through Twitter, but hadn’t ever connected in that space personally. I’ve since discovered that there’s only one thing I need to know. She’s beautiful. She’s amazing. She’s kind-hearted. And God was determined to match us as roommates. In other words, God had the pad laid out. It just took me nine tries to find the right one to hop onto.

So I’m taking this leap of faith. Because after all of that? After all these years of feeling called to write, way back to 2003? I think it’s high time I attend a writing and blogging conference. In fact, it’s long, long overdue. Clearly God thinks so, too, or He wouldn’t have made the way.

So yes. I’m leaping. To a Christian writing and blogging conference called Allume. It’s next month and it’s sold out. 450 spirited, sold-out souls will gather to share and learn what it means to be called to write. And bless my leaping soul, I’ll be one of them.


  1. Linda Johnson says:

    I’m so glad for you, Amy! (My longtime school friend lives in Greenville, SC with his family. I’d so love to visit them there.) It was great sitting next to you & reconnecting while at Jessica Joy’s CD release concert last night!

  2. Gretchen O'Donnell says:

    How cool for you! I wish I could do something g like that!

    • Amy says:

      Gretchen, it would be a blast to attend a writing conference with you sometime! Perhaps we can make a local twin cities one work sometime? Seth’s been encouraging me to find a good local one.

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