My name is Amy and I live in the messy middle of life. The tag line for this blog is “where grace and truth reside.” I find people tend to be drawn to grace, grace, grace OR truth, truth, truth. Neither side requires much discipline, do they? Instead they foster autopilot living. But real life happens … in the messy middle, with both.
I know, it can be maddening. But also exhilarating!
In terms of this blog, The Messy Middle is where the pains, joys, boredoms, frustrations, interests, relationships, and God reside. It’s not as easy or clean or simple or safe as life on the perimeter, but there’s no place you would rather be. Right?!
I returned to the US a couple of year ago after living almost 20 years in China (most recently in Beijing). It is tempting to assume that because I’ve lived in a land that requires a passport, the mess of life is more interesting in foreign lands. Here’s the thing, the messy middle exists everywhere! The Messy Middle is not so much about a location, as an attitude. Am you going to take a risk, live life, and when you fail, fail towards God? Do you see God not only in the extraordinary, but in the ordinary too?
This space leans into the tension of living with purpose while also having fun. I’m taken with the question: how do we invest enough in life so that we are not floating around tether-less; but not so rooted in any one part of our lives that we are unable to keep growing, changing, and exploring as a person who loves God?
Two events in the last few years have influenced me greatly: the death of my dad and the birth of a book.
I love this photo because it was taken two weeks before my dad unexpectedly died.
My book Looming Transitions: Starting and Finishing Well in Cross-Cultural Service came out in January 2016.
Here’s what a few people are saying about the book:
“Reading this book feels a lot like spending an afternoon catching up with an old friend, sipping coffee and telling stories, and yet, I walk away from reading it with a lens through which I understand every subtle shift and massive transition in my life differently and a framework through which to approach pending transitions with grace and wisdom.” Cassi L.
“Looming Transitions is an excellent roadmap and manual for those of us in transition. Amy is a gifted teacher and communicator, and her writing reflects her commitment to help us understand and walk through the transition process. Her passion is to help us, and it shines in the pages of this book. Looming Transitions takes difficult concepts and provides vivid word pictures, personal examples, and practical suggestions to help guide you through your own journey. Amy’s encouragement to pay attention along the way, reminders that “the goal isn’t to get the transition ‘just right’,” and that “your transition joins a larger story” are life giving nuggets of wisdom.” Jason I.
I also love reading and seeing book lists people have put together. Here are a few I’ve made:
- 10 Books I Loved in 2015
- 9 Books I Loved in 2014
- A Non-Cook Reviews 3 Chinese Cookbooks
- 9 Lessons on friendship from a pig and a spider
- My top 9 Christmas books (Um, it appears I like the number nine or factors of nine.)
As much I I love reading and writing, I love meeting with people in person more. If you’re in need of a speaker for an event, you can check out my speaker page and get ideas of how we could work together. Whether you’re needing a speaker for a weekend or one-time event, I’m your person.
“I’ve heard Amy speak many times to large groups and small ones. Every time Amy speaks she is energetic and passionate about the topics. She is also very relational with her audience. She’s the kind of speaker that you listen to and think to yourself, “I want to be friends with her because she understands me and I would like to hang out with her afterwards.” I always leave refreshed and encouraged after hearing her speak.” Jonathan Wu
The majority of my working time is invested in Velvet Ashes—an on-line watering hole for women living overseas—and in part I host a weekly book club. I also contribute to China Source, Self Talk the Gospel, and A Life Overseas.
Thanks for stopping by. In China one always has a gift ready for a guest, so, my welcome gift for you is 14 Tips for Navigating the Messy Middle of Life.
Take a deep breath and settle in. There’s room for you here.
P.S. The photo I used in an earlier version of this blog encapsulates for me what the messy middle is all about—climbing out from the shelter of safety and being fully engaged in life. You can read the back story of the photo here, yes, that photo is real! I know, crazy, right?
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