Tuesday, November 15, 2011


Lets talk about names. Because names are powerful! Just pause for a second and think about it. Your name is the doorway to your identity; the first thing you hear to know someone is talking to you or about you. We all remember names we've been called throughout our life that have stuck with us because they have either been hurtful or encouraging. We love nicknaming people close to us and pet naming significant others because we've inherently recognized that names have deep significance. We carry names in our hearts.

In the Bible names were given to people as a prophetic declaration of their identity and actually released the very characteristics of their caling to them.*

When we know who we are and what our name means, it can alter our behavior because its like something "just clicks." There have been times in my life where someone has said "do you know that you're really good at ____?" and I think "I had no idea! Man, I should do that more!" Its like a lightbulb goes off. It's the same when we know the meaning of our name to its fullest. Its like a window into things that were ordained by God to fulfill in our lives.

I want to walk under the grace my name gives me. I want to know what it means so I can be called up to the prophetic identity of it when I'm not walking there already. I can't help but think of times that I have spent a long time doing something that I didn't really enjoy, thinking that over a duration of time I would just learn to like it or something. But then, when I changed plans or finally gave up and did something I actually did enjoy I would think "gosh, I should have done this all along!" If we don't know what we were made to do, we may waste time doing things that aren't that fulfilling to our hearts. But how would we know unless we know what we were actually made for? I love that others tend to see things in us before we see them in ourselves. I didn't know I was creative until someone told me years ago. I thought everyone was like that until someone pointed out to me that I was different than others in that regard. I thought everyone hated spreadsheets until I met a few people, including some of my best friends, that absolutely love love love them and thrive by getting to make them. If something comes easier to you than it does to others, it is probably a gift in your life. Sometimes we just need help seeing them :)

This made me curious about the meaning of my name. So I looked it up! (and you should look yours up to!)
Carolyn is derived from the names Carol and Linda and is German. (I never knew about the Linda part! I always thought Lynn or something)
Carolyn means joy, song of happiness and free man

Somewhere in my life I started spelling my name with 2 n's. I think I just liked the fact that it was different. And unique. And I liked that I got to add something to my name myself. So I also looked up the spelling of Carolynn (spelled with 2 n's) and get this (for those of you that know me, you might think it's ridiculous that I'm surprised by this..but I'll just be honest- I'm having a lightbulb moment now from looking this up!) Carolynn also means "...one who produces a quest for destiny with words along a variety of lines that may include writing, speaking, painting, drawing and other creative forms. You are fond of reading and like to develop knowledge and wisdom. You can be timid around people you don't know very well and can come off as non-expressive with your emotions in a way that makes it hard at times for others to understand you. You are a dreamer that is totally free and unrestrained by responsibility. You see yourself conversing and mingling with the natives in many nations, living for adventure and life experiences."
no way, right? right on.

I think its powerful that in looking up the meaning of my name I read through some things that talk about specific physical ailments that go with specific names, also social tendencies (positive and negative), various ways that you view yourself and others, and other things that I wouldn't immediately attribute to names. But, I think it just shows the power behind them! If our names play a role in being prophetic declarations of our identities and also actually release the very characteristics needed for us to fulfill our calling in God, we should know what they are! We should know the heritage of our name so we can grow in the grace our name extends to us to live fully and thrive in God and to be aware of and not fall under the potential negative things our name might carry. After all, we were made for abundant life!

So here's the challenge. what is the meaning of your name? Look it up and share it! (leave it as a comment here- I want to know it too!)

*quote from Supernatural Ways of Royalty

Saturday, November 12, 2011


So why should I be afraid? The Lord is my light. 
He is my confidence, my source of hope. 
The Lord is my light, He is the brightness of my life. 

“that you may become blameless and harmless, children of God without fault in the midst of a crooked and perverse generation among whom you shine as lights in the world…”

Today, I was thinking about Jesus as Light. Since He is the light of the world (john 8.12) , that means He is the source and we need Him to constantly shine through us. For that to happen, we need to behold Jesus. We need to take and claim Him as ours and be shaped and molded into His likeness so that we may possess His light.

Light posessors become light-transmitters. Have you ever tried to cup a light in your hands? Its nearly impossible, beams of light leak out from the cracks in your fingers. And, even if you are able to close the cracks, your skin takes on a warm orangish-glow because of the light within.  Light doesn't have to be taken literally. It doesn't mean only a plugged in light bulb or the rays of the sun streaming through the trees. I think the abstract definition of Jesus being the Light is where the deeper meaning surfaces. When we have Him inside of us, it's impossible not to shine. He makes us different. He makes us brighter, full of hope, full of joy, full of peace. And often, I think those are the kind of practical ways we experience light everyday. Through smiles, laughter, words that bring healing, calmness and peace to the rush and pressure of everyday circumstances.

So why try to hide the light? Be a transmittor! Don’t hold it in! Shine! Let those around you see the light!

The world is corrupt, so it needs salt.
The world is dark, so it needs light.

You were made to shine. 

salt is flavour.

Let me tell you why you are here. You’re here to be salt-seasoning that brings out the God-flavours of this earth. If you lost your saltiness, how will people taste godliness? Here’s another way to put it: you’re here to be light, bringing out the God-colours in the world. God is not a secret to be kept. We’re going public with this, as public as a city on a hill. If I make you light-bearers, you don’t think I’m going to hide you under a bucket, do you? I’m putting you on a light stand. Now that I’ve put you there on a hilltop, on a light stand- shine! Keep open house; be generous with your lives. By opening up to others, you’ll prompt people to open up with God, this generous Father in heaven. –matthew5

One of the first things I inherently look for when I sit down at a dinner table is the salt and pepper. Why? Because it makes everything better, of course. We sprinkle salt over everything, and in fact some people even rub it into their meat to make it even better. Salt is a product of the earth; used for flavouring and as a preservative. Pure salt is brilliantly white in colour. (doesn’t that sound like characteristics of someone who loves Jesus too?) This is neat. Salt was even used to bind covenants between parties (like of like notarizing an agreement today) by each of the parties eating salt together. (pause. Can you imagine doing that now? What if licking salt was a traditional part of wedding ceremonies?) Anyways, God demonstrated this binding-by-salt-agreement by entering a covenant of salt with Israel and David in 2 Chronicles 13.5 “should you not know that the Lord God of Israel gave the dominion over Israel to David forever, to him and his sons, by a covenant of salt?”

I can’t help but think salt is quite sneaky. I mean, you sprinkle it over something and it works on its own to preserve and delay decay and prevent deterioration. What does this mean of us as Christians? Do we, as salt in some way get to be a part of preserving the world from sin? Do we get to have influence to flavour society and simultaneously preserve as well? I think that we get to be a part of making everything better. Better in Jesus' name that is. Preserving the moral and spiritual spoilage in this world by preventing deterioration and decay in our places of influence.

Think about it. If we are salt, when we go places, there are things that we can sprinkle with flavour and preservatives. Like, encouraging someone that is at the “end of their rope” and watching their spirits be lifted and receive courage to press onward, even when things are still hard. Or, giving (even out of our own needs sometimes) to be a part of God’s provision for another’s need and letting a testimony of the goodness of God take place in their life and preserving trust in God to meet our needs. Or, helping a single mom take her cart full of groceries to her mini-van while she is juggling 4 kiddos and telling her she isn’t alone and her needs are seen and known by God, preserving hope. Salt. Flavour. Its bringing a smile into a room of drooping faces. Its at times being the only full of faith person in a room of discouragement. It is bringing life and joy  and flavour to the places we go and the people we meet. 

"You’re here to be salt-seasoning that brings out the God-flavours of this earth!"
so, go! flavour today!

Friday, November 11, 2011

poor little dead bird

Story time. Although since this is my first post with a story, I think I need to do some character introductions, seeing as I'm suuuuure there will be many stories to come... 

I live with an incredible family in Waco. Let me introduce you. (If don’t already know them, that is)
Jimmy is a wise, influential, humble father/man of God. He is filled with incredible obedience to Jesus and has the kind of adventurous stories that everyone wants to have but that not everyone can handle. And he always has the best/wisest answer to everything. And I mean everything.
Laura is absolutely full of life and wisdom and joy. She is inherently nurturing and attentive and loves people so well. She is thoughtful and spunky and there is just never a dull moment with her!
Abby and Lauren, college age daughters and both dear dear friends live across town. It’s the best when they come home. I wish they lived here all the time!
Caleb, high school senior is ridiculously amazing. Athletic, smart, disciplined, mature and quite hilarious. He is going to change the world, no doubt.
Daniel, 7th grader has got to be one of the smartest people in the world. Observant, intelligent, profound and knows the coolest animal facts I’ve ever heard. Someday, I’m going to go to him when I have questions about life because he will have ridiculously deep answers. 

Anyways. So last week was Laura’s birthday. After she had dropped a few hints about wanting birds, the family decided that would be a great birthday present. After findng quite a deal on a cage and everything else you could possibly need for a bird on craig’s list (..and why was this person getting rid of these things??)  they picked out two little finches, later named Fred and Esther. They look(ed) like cute little song birds.

No one was quite sure what to feed them, or really, what to do with them at all after the first 5 minutes. Do we put them by a window? Do they need water? Will there be a draft from the door? Will they fly away if we open the cage? The girls were told by the kind pet store owner that if the birds got sick or died in the next few days, we could bring them back and get new ones. That doesn’t seem to offer a lot of hope for longevity of life now does it? But, needless to say, the undertaking of caring for birds began with a bit of hesitation and skepticism. But it sounded fun so... why not!? :)

And..a mere 3 days later.. we have a dead bird on our hands.

(sorry for the graphic picture.. but I couldn't help it  :) 

Poor Esther. We heard a constant bird call for an hour before someone examined the cage close enough to notice the upside-down bird in the food container. Oops...

But don’t worry, Jimmy put it in a plastic bag in the refrigerator, right next to the Tupperware of salsa for safekeeping. We were sure to show all of the guests that came over in the next 24 hours we had a bird in a bag in the fridge. Not quite so normal. But hilarious.

Poor little dead bird. 
Life is so entertaining. 

Thursday, November 10, 2011

white paper cranes

White paper cranes are just one of those things that I am just drawn to! You know what I mean? When every time you see something you just think “ahee that is just wonderful!” and then you realize you’ve had the same thought about the same thing multiple times and finally realize its time to think about why you think that in the first place? Mmhmm. Paper cranes. Always captivate me and draw me in with their mystery. So, it was time to dig in to the reason behind this quirk-love of mine.

Historically, cranes are an animal of special value. They have served as a symbol of various things including love, joy, happiness, light, longevity and a spirit of wisdom. Greek and Roman myths portray the dance of cranes as a love of joy and celebration of life and Japanese refer to cranes as “the bird of happiness” and the Chinese call it a “heavenly crane.” Personally, I just like them. And God speaks to me through them.

I love paper and I love white and I love birds. So, it just kind of makes sense that I would be drawn to this concept. But the more I think about it, the deeper I go in meaning.
One individual crane is so beautiful! So many creases, folds, corners and surfaces- they are so intricate! One can stand alone. So why make a million more and tie them together? Simply put, because there is beauty in the repetition.

The tradition of folding 1,000 paper cranes started with Sadako Sasaki, a girl diagnosed with leukemia after the bombings of Hiroshima, and believed 1.000 cranes would bring about recovery to good health, happiness and a world of eternal peace. She only completed 644 before she died, but her classmates folded the remaining 356 to honour her. Now, folding 1.000 cranes is a tradition that has carried into events like September 11 as a gesture of healing and sympathy. Although I don’t believe in the superstition of this tradition, I think the heart behind it is remarkable; the heart of healing, peace and hope (which, really come in their fullness from the Spirit of God). I love what is represented and communicated through the form of a crane.
And, to me, for some reason, the repetitiveness is captivating. Its like a pearl. One pearl is intricately made, but a string of pearls adds a depth to the beauty that is otherwise not conveyed. One folded crane is striking, and a string of them is just marvelous!

In light of paper cranes, Breathturn by Hammock (click it!) is the most creative and amazing music video I’ve ever seen. its overwhelmingly beautiful and moving.

and, alas, I love paper cranes. 

new things..

new keys..

Today I got keys to our new studio and it got me thinking about.. well, keys. What an interesting concept! This tiny piece of metal that instantly grants me access into an entire building and every door and closet inside! (well, not actually all of them). But think about it. Keys are magic. They are specifically cut and molded to fit into a space that is less than 1 inch long and 5 mm thick, deciding as you stick it in and turn it if you are granted access to the other side or not. They are powerful little things!

Its like when Jesus says that He has given us the keys to Heaven (matthew 16.19). I started thinking about how when we are saved we are given the Spirit of God which says that “greater works that Jesus did, you shall do.” (john 14.12) How often I underestimate the power of those keys! And, how often I just plain and simple forget about them or, heartbreakingly choose not to use them. But really, we've been given God's keys-the ones that have the right size and shape to unlock healing, gifting, restoration, joy, peace, satisfaction, and well, eternity!

new jeans..
I just have to say. I've been thinking of and saving for a new pair of jeans for a while now. I went to gap to see if I could replace the daily favs that have just gotten worn OUT! There were no sales going on but! Lo and behold, found the exact same jeans, my perfect size marked at 40% off because there was a hole in the side seam at the bottom. Nothing a few stitches can't fix! Favour of God! I was so blessed! I love when little things happen that just turn an ordinary day into a happy one.

a new studio...
Our jewelry studio used to reside in an eclectic half-finished little loft, where the 2x4’s that constructed the staircase and walls were part of our wall décor. I loved it! It was so cozy and unique. The delightful boutique down the stairs let the muffled sound of acoustic music and snippets of conversations float about. My co-worker and dear friend Laura and I had spent time making resourceful décor for our space. Resourceful meaning low-low budget but still beyond cool. We spent less than $5 and chose to dye hundreds of coffee filters in big bowls of tea, laying them out on the driveway to dry which resulted in the mad chase down the street of the flying filters when the wind came :) a favourite memory, indeed. But they look awesome!

But alas, our time in the cozy comfort of the studio as I knew it came to a close. It became time to move to a bigger space! My boss, the most talented designer of all time as I mentioned before, came back from living overseas and although it was fun seeing how creative we could be maneuvering in just a few square feet of open space, we new it was time to move. As we wait to transition into our spacious new studio, we are temporarily in a, well, make-shift closet-type space. Well, not type, it is a closet. And its splendid. (I’m being serious).

the studio in an elevator..ha!

Yesterday Summer and I were laughing at how we can take the most random space and make it welcoming and peaceful and turn it into a place we actually want to be! I feel like a real artist, stationed in a small room with an old-style window letting in the breeze from 6 stories up, a lampshade tied to a non-working socket in the ceiling, a stack of shelves hosting my ipod speakers and basket for a trash can, a few pipe ends sticking up from the floor so I have to creatively position my chair so I don’t get stuck and my dozens of clear stacking containers holding the parts to create the most beautiful jewelry in existence. And don’t worry, the coffee filters came with, they are dangling from a few pipes that poke out of the walls. Im finding that I love quirks. I think plain, is lame. I love that there isn’t a single other closet space in the world quite like this one. Its like everyday im walking into the kind of place I always think “I want to do that someday” when someone else talks about it. What a gift! Its like living in the middle of a cool story.

The connection to the deeper lesson I see here is that sometimes God takes us out of something we think is really wonderful or cool because He has plans for something bigger and better. Although, we don’t always get the “trade” right away. Sometimes He has something in the middle of the old and the new that has a specific purpose that only the awkward transition time can teach us. Like working in a closet in between an old studio and a new bigger studio. Or the time of searching between an old job that was okay and a new job just beyond the horizon that is a dream. Or the time of saving money between selling an old camera and waiting to buy a new one. It’s an awkward time. But that’s okay. Sometimes its even the point. We get to experience God, the same God as the old and the new, in the middle too. He omnipresence makes it impossible for Him to go away. And He knows exactly how to fill us with peace in the in-between if we would let go of our discomfort and impatience and embrace the transition time and let Him do what He wants to do. If we give Him space to accomplish His purposes right away instead of fighting and arguing and thinking we know what would really be best here and then reaching the end of our rope and deciding to give in and let Him do what He has wanted to do all along, we may get to move onto the next thing, sooner J but who knows. I just want to learn how to embrace seasons and receive the fullness from each one. No matter how easy, hard, challenging or box-breaking it is. Whew. That could be a dangerous statement.

Wednesday, November 9, 2011

you are welcome here

Hello lovely people.

Nice to meet you (or whatever the proper term is for this semi-one-sided-conversation-via-my-blog). I’m glad you’re here!

Blogs seem to have a multitude of purposes, reasons, inspirations,etc., and I very well fit inside the ambiguous mold of not really having a defined purpose.  So, maybe that is outside the mold, or whatever.

What is intriguing to me about the idea of blogging is having a place to collaborate ideas, thoughts, ponderings, photographs, revelations and stories. Recording things strikes me as an important concept, recalling the things that God has done or taught me are powerful testimonies of my life that I don’t want to lose sight of, ever. I want to share them, actually! In the fashion that others inspire me, I want to join the movement and pass it along to you!

So here it is. My blog. My name is Carolynn Amy and I live in the wonderful city of Waco, Texas. I studied art at Baylor and am a Jewelry Artisan for the most amazing jewelry designer in the world, Summer Ellis (www.summerellis.com). We have our little studio in a marvelous old white building downtown with thick marble and peeling paint and really cool doors. I love Jesus with all my heart and God has done radical things in my life. The Holy Spirit is my best friend and I believe the local church is the hope of the world. I love adventures and spontaneous things, love football games and the salted caramel on the whipped cream of Starbucks drinks is my favourite. I have the best friends in the whole world, the kind that will bring me a chili dog in the middle of the night just to make me smile. (yes, chili dogs. I love them, strangely so). I live with an amazing family here in Waco in a house covered in the peace of God. I like the idea of organizing more than I like actually doing it, I say yes to far too many things far too frequently and tend to doubt myself about silly things. I love fresh air blowing through open windows and art in just about every form. I tend to have so many inspirations and ideas in my head at all hours of the day that I usually don’t know what to do with any of it. 
Something I heard Max Lucado say last week in Elevate (a discipleship training school I’m currently in) is that through writing, you go places you will never go otherwise! I want to go! I want to just…WRITE! I see it as a way to focus, organize, develop and recognize things I may not otherwise. I find I put my best thoughts into writing. And perhaps by trying to communicate them with you, I will actually learn them myself :)

So in an effort to mesh and blend lessons and things from home, the studio, the Lord, spontaneous experiences and simple mind tangents I take throughout the day, it will be a miracle if I make sense at all! If I was into corny phrases, I would call this “things God is doing or teaching me” but that is just too predictable for a creatively bent person like myself, right? Funny how we expect creative people to always have a unique or “out-of-the-box” idea. False. It just doesn’t work that way! The truth is, creative ideas are still a stretch for creative people. I promise. 

I want to recount the marvelous and rich moments held in each precious day. I want to take notice of the big and the small things, reveling in the goodness and Sovereignty of God.

Therefore, I will call this, miraculous things. So welcome, dear one! I’d love to know you back!