Friday, October 23, 2009

sad day. sweet find.

Today we close on our sweet homeplace. I'm in such a weird mood. The gloomy weather may have a bit to do with the way I'm feeling as well. It's quite dark and dreary. This day has been dreaded for some time now.

I'm sad today. Yeah, I said it. I'm still excited about new things ahead but closing a precious chapter in your life always hurts. I'm so glad that I still have a month left here. I'm going to savor every moment I can with all of my dear friends.

I'm not really going to elaborate and throw up all of my feelings today because they're all over the place and I don't want to come across as being bi-polar. I'm just emotional. I think we've all determined that already. Doesn't take a rocket scientist to figure that one out. ;)

So on a happier note, I thought I'd share a lovely find. I love to go thrift store shopping. Call me crazy, weird or whatever, I don't care. Honestly, I have found some really great treasures at thrift stores. I love to rummage through other people's junk and find something with character.

I went to goodwill not long ago and was digging through their scarf/hat bin when I happened upon a most lovely, antique and very vintage hat from the 1940's era. Fell in love. I don't know if I'll ever actually wear it out but I have a thing for hats. I guess it's the little old lady somewhere inside of me. I wouldn't be opposed to wearing a nice hat every now and again. I think I was born in the wrong era. Who knows? It could very well come in handy for a costume at some point. It would work as a wonderful prop for some fun photo shoots and it can very well be used even as decor, if you ask me. I can find use for most anything. Behold the vintage red net hat in all it's glory that I paid a whole $2 for...

I bet I could sell it on ebay and make way more than I paid for it. Still has the original designer print inside and everything. I believe I'll keep it though. :)

Thursday, October 22, 2009

It's official.

I'm really moving to Charlotte, NC. I have one month left in my sweet beloved hometown of Pensacola and I will be making a move away from the sweet coast up into the Mountains of North Carolina. A change of scenery will be nice but the thought of giving up my beach breaks my little heart. It's bittersweet, really. That is the best way to describe my emotions and feeling toward all of this.

I will always be a Pensacolian. I love it here and it is my home. Our beaches are amongst the most beautiful in the world and I can get around this town with my eyes closed. My dearest and lifelong friends were made here. Pensacola will always have a very large portion of my heart and I will visit as frequently as I can.

Charlotte is a bit intimidating to me. It's SO BIG. Don't they call it the NYC of the south? Seems like I've heard that before. I'm used to a somewhat smalltown feel. I have a feeling I'm going to need to purchase a GPS before I go. Big city traffic freaks me out and getting lost freaks me out even more.

Thankfully, Charlotte, NC is still the "south". I am and will always be a southern girl. It's in my blood. I am all about southern hospitality, sweet tea, grits, the knowing that fixin" can be used as a noun, a verb, or an adverb, ya'll is a part of my everyday vocabulary and I will always say yes/no Ma'am and yes/no Sir (Mama and Daddy raised me right!). There are so many more southern perks. I love being from the south.

I really can't believe this will all be reality soon. It's so surreal. I am going to live in North Carolina. That is SO weird. Of course all I can think about is- I wanna take all of my friends with me! What am I going to do without the beach? I wanna keep my Florida license and tags! I'm going to have to get used to not knowing how to get anywhere and not feeling at home right away. What if I don't like it as much as I thought I would and want to come back? What if I don't like my job there? Some of these these thoughts are pretty silly, I know.

In the end though, my family will be there. I already have a group of friends there and a wonderful church. This will all help so much! It won't be as foreign as sometimes moving to a new place can be. I'm trying to dwell on all the amazing things Charlotte has to offer- INCREDIBLE shopping- IKEA, Urban Outfitters, Anthropologie, Pottery Barn, etc. exquisite cuisine, a lively downtown/uptown and lots of fun things to do like the amusement park, Carowinds. There are a lot of pros! I'll be closer to my cousins and aunt and uncle in West Virginia and just a couple of hours away from my cousin, Tamera in Knoxville, TN. Charlotte is beautiful and I have met a lot of amazing people there. Maybe I'll even meet my husband there. Who knows! ;)

Thankfully, I have a few job opportunities up there already thanks to my amazing boss who is recommending me to State Farm agents in the area. He reassured me today that I will most definitely have a job when I get there. What a relief!!! He also said something that completely took me by surprise as he stated that if I decide to come back to Pensacola, my seat here will always be open and he would gladly bring me back on staff. He also proclaimed that he hasn't told a former employee that before. Seriously? I wanted to start crying. I couldn't believe it. I'm still in shock. This job has been nothing but an absolute blessing in my life in every aspect. I love the people I work with, our clients, my day to day routine and just everything about it. I just have a hard time believing that there is another office out there as great as this one! Let's hope that there is!

In essence- I believe this is going to be a good thing. It's hard, yes but also exciting and adventurous. It's comforting to know that our steps are God ordained and ordered. It's crazy how all of this has panned out and there is more of a story behind it that would take forever to share but God has just put all of the pieces together perfectly. I have no doubt that this is His will. It doesn't make it any less difficult but trusting Him and knowing that He will take care of the details is so relieving and encompasses my heart with total peace.

Today I'm more upbeat about things. We close on our house tomorrow and move out this Saturday. So be expecting a bit of a gloomy post shortly. My emotions are a whirlwind these days. I can go from laughter to tears and vice versa in a matter of seconds. It's a bit pitiful.

So here's to a new season, a new chapter, a fresh start and a scary/exciting adventure!

Tuesday, October 20, 2009

Weekend Recap

Woke up at 6:00 am on Saturday morning to begin setting up for our big moving sale. Note: 6:00 am on a Saturday is more than torturous.

These are only my clothes. Picture this times 3. Yes, the Collins girls have WAY too many clothes. It's somewhat ridiculous. It was time to get rid of some, even the cute ones. I just don't wear them all and there is no sense in having them take up room in my dresser and closet. So, I FINALLY went through and got rid of TONS. It was a relief and I made some good cha-ching in doing so. That never hurts ;) More money for which I can buy new clothes. I love my theory.

Getting it all set up. This doesn't even do it justice. I should have taken a picture from the road.

Saturday night we went to a Gills' show- one last time with my sister : (

My friend, Beth and I. (Would you look at how long my hair is getting!)

(L-R) Ben, Danielle, Myself and my sister, Ashton.

Myself, Beth and Josh

Danielle and I.

Despite the early Saturday Morning, yard sale chaos, wind chills and feeling pretty crappy all weekend with a head cold and unstoppable allergies- I'd say that this weekend was nothing less than wonderful as it was spent with family and friends.

This moving stuff is starting to feel more real. The house is in utter chaos and I'm just kind of ready now for it to be over with. Then again, I'm not. So back and forth.

Tonight shall entail a girls night with my mom's best friend, my best friend and my sister's best friends. Movies, cookies, chips, phase ten, lots of laughing and most likely- some crying. I'm most definitely looking forward to it, though.

Hope you all had a fabulous weekend!

Friday, October 16, 2009

Mixed emotions.

My bedroom is officially all packed up and is no longer "my room" anymore. So sad. I can't believe this chapter of my life is really coming to a close. It's so surreal. 9 years. 9 very significant years of my life were spent within these walls and now, we're only days from bidding farewell to our beloved home. The Collins clan might possibly be the most sentimental bunch you would ever wanna meet. We've spent hours upon hours reminiscing and crying our little eyes out, while also laughing about memories and such that were made here. It's a bit pathetic and exhausting. Being so very emotional on top of incessant packing and cleaning can be draining. Of course, we've taken many breaks to play Phase 10, which has more or less been therapeutic throughout this entire process.

Unfortunately, I haven't been home to help as much as I would like due to my being at work every day. My dear Sister helped me rummage through my entire room last night and helped me clean, get rid of and pack things. Such a blessing. I could not have done it all by myself. I didn't realize how much of a packrat I was! I keep everything! I'm getting rid of so much junk and it's quite liberating!

We're having a huge moving sale tomorrow morning. It should be interesting. We're selling a lot of stuff. It's kind of sad. We need the money though and the house my parents will be renting for the next year is smaller than what we have now, thus causing them to either store or sell furniture and such. They're leaning more toward the sell option as money is kind of important right now.

As sad as all of this is, I am sort of feeling like this is a cleansing process, a way to make a fresh start and start a brand new season. Does this make my heart break any less? Absolutely not. I would love nothing more than to stay right where we are but I know that is not possible nor is it the most healthy thing for us. Change is good, the adjusting is difficult.

I think I'm having one of those "A-HA" moments. Of course, when I make my way home tonight and realize that as of today, we have only 5 days left until our lives drastically change, I might just lose it again. My emotions are in full swing. My family will make the move to Charlotte without me next weekend. I will be moving in with my Best friend and her family tenatively until I can get to Charlotte.

I can't believe that this is all really happening.

And speaking of seasons changing- today I woke up to cold weather! Finally! It's 65 degrees and it feels wonderful. I was growing very tired of the Florida heat and humidity in mid October. The annual Interstate Fair makes it's debut next week and I refuse to go to the fair in the heat. I also have been wanting to go to a Pumpkin Patch- another thing I refuse to do in the heat. I hope that this cold weather sticks around! I'm quite enjoying it. Time to bust out the boots and sweaters.

I'll leave you with a "before" picture of my beloved bedroom...

I am a bit excited because I do want a change in my bedroom decor. I'm growing tired of the colors and style and have found some really fun inspiration pallettes and bedrooms. I'm wanting to go for a more colorful, yet rustic/vintage and trendy style in my next bedroom. Might sound a bit contradictory but I have the idea in my mind and it's quite lovely, I assure you.

Happy Friday, everyone.

Thursday, October 15, 2009


Mom, I know you're waiting for an update as I believe you're my most faithful reader. ;) So, this one is in honor of YOU.

It's not her birthday, Mother's day or anything special like that. It's just an ordinary day and I'm thinking about how amazing my mom is.

Thank you Mom for all that you have done and for all that you do for us. I don't tell you enough how much I appreciate you and how much you mean to me. I can't imagine not having you to talk to or confide in. You really are the most amazing, selfless and beautiful person ever. Everyone knows it. I've never known anyone more hospitable and welcoming than you are. You always go out of your way for us and everyone else. You go above and beyond your role as a mother.

You were the best teacher I could have asked for and ensured that we all got a solid education and you always made everything so much fun with your plethora of unit studies and field trips. You're the best doctor when we're sick, the best listener when we're going through something, the best target when we need to take something out on someone (I hate even admitting this one but its true because you never hold ANYTHING against us and always say "that's what families are for- you can let your hair down at home and it won't be held against you".) Ashamedly, I haven't always given you the respect you so deserve and for that, I'm sorry.

Thank you for always supporting ours and Dad's dreams and for standing by us in whatever decisions we've made. You're my number one fan and for that, I couldn't be more thankful. Thank you for remaining humble and selfless and for showing us what a Wife and Mother should be. Thank you for pointing us in the right direction. Sure, we've messed up but our roots run deep and we all know the truth and direction from the compass you and Dad have instilled within us.

Thank you for telling us we're beautiful and that our worth is of utmost value. Thank you for your support, direction, advice, prayers and for simply listening.

Thank you for always having hot meals on the table for dinner and for being the most incredible cook EVER. Seriously, all of our friends always say how they only wish their mom could cook as good as you do! Thank you for also teaching us how to cook. I don't think I'll ever measure up to the cook that you are, though!

Thank you for always making every holiday so special. This is another area that you go above and beyond in. Thanksgivings, Christmases, New Years, Birthdays and Easters etc. All of our traditions and baking etc. make them SO much more special and unique.

Thank you for everything, Mom. I could go and on and on but I'll close by saying that I have no doubt in my mind that you're the absolute best at everything you do but most importantly, at being a Mom. I don't give you enough credit and I certainly don't tell you enough how grateful I am for you and Dad. You both have given us beyond what we need and deserve. We're so blessed and I thank God for giving you both to me.

I hope I'm at least a fraction of the person you are.

I love you so very much!



Tuesday, October 13, 2009

Scariest moment of my life. This day is from h*ll.

Today, I experienced my first real panic attack.

Perhaps it had something to do with being "this close" to being kidnapped.

Yeah, scariest moment of my entire life thus far.

Upon taking boxes to a larger mail box in the parking lot parallel to our office (a parking lot that is somewhat desolate), a man sitting in his vehicle began screaming at me and motioning for me to come to his vehicle. Of course it FREAKED (freaked is an understatement) me out and I took off running. The dude then pulled out of his parking spot as if he was going to follow me but I made it to the office by then and didn't see where he had gone. I saw him but did not recognize him. I can't even describe the feeling of fear that gripped me during these few minutes. Something was definitely wrong and he was a SICKO. I could just sense it by the way he was screaming and looking at me. Absolutely insane.

We called the police and an officer came out and I hysterically gave him a report and he stated that this was the SECOND similar report they had gotten today in this vicinity.

Being abducted is my absolute worst nightmare. I can't tell you how much I think about it. We had a friend who was abducted and murdered last year and it ruined me. You can NEVER EVER be too careful.

There are so many psychos out there. The outcome could have been so much worse. Thank you Jesus for swift feet and safety.

....and this day is just progressively going downhill.

Can I just vent for a second?!

I am SO SICK of disgusting, shovenistic, power hungry and demeaning men. We have had so many customers with this attitude and it's really getting tiring. I don't appreciate being cussed out and called a "liar" when I tell you my boss is out on an errand. No sir, I do not lie. My boss is out on an errand!" He then proceeds to SCREAM at me and insists that my boss is out shopping. What the heck?! As if I have the audacity to put up with all of this crap today.

This day sucks and I can't WAIT for it to be OVER!

Saturday, October 10, 2009

The best days.

In the midst of the move, we've had the ability to rummage through a lot of old pictures, cards, and other sentimental pieces. In essence, this has made me ten times more emotional. In many ways, I wish I could go back to being a little kid, carefree and concerned not with the things I am facing today, as an adult. Time flies, huh? I dearly treasure my childhood memories. My sisters and I were so close. My parents always loved each other and provided more than we needed. So blessed.

So, without further adieu, here are a few photos I figured I would share with you of "little Amber" and her dear sisters/family...

Me at Chucky Cheese circa 1990.

Mom, Dad, Ash and I. (I'm on Mom's lap and Ash is on Dad's)

Ticklish much?

Mom's hair was seriously rockin'. Ash and I look somewhat frightened.

Mama, Baby Ash and I

Glow Worms and Baby Alive's- Remember those, anyone!?

Cousin Ben and I havin a good time, as we always did.

Ashton and I...two peas in a pod.

Like our Little Mermaid shirts? ;) New baby sister, Hannah. We were so excited!

Matching windbreaker jumpsuits!

Yeah, I was a bride for Halloween in 2nd grade and I kind of hated it. As I approached every house for trick or treating, the homeowners would all sing "Here comes the bride...". I was shy at this age and this only made me feel very exposed and embarrassed. I remember crying about it. Hahaha. Little emotional me.

That's all for now! There are so many more pictures I would love to post but I have a lot to do, so I gotta get to it!

Hope you're all having a lovely weekend thus far. If you would be inclined to post some pictures of you as a baby/little girl I would love to see!!!! So, please do! :)

Back to being emotional and sentimental. I think I'll start by having coffee with my mom...


Friday, October 9, 2009

Mi corazon deseos...

For those of you who are not aware, I was apart of a Spanish Church for a year and a half back in 2007. It was a life changing and definite growing experience for me. I was stretched in almost every way possible and a huge love and stirring desire was planted inside of me for the Hispanic people and nations. I learned about their culture, their language and their hearts. I was honored to be apart of a worship team and sing in their most beautiful tongue and worship the Lord with a new song, literally! I was honored to help out with the youth group and love on and mentor young girls who were undergoing some very difficult home situations. It was so eye opening.

Amongst all of these things, I also served as an assistant to the Pastor and learned so much in doing so. I accompanied her on various trips and even got to go to Mexico with her. It was a truly amazing and humbling experience.

I've actually experienced quite a bit in my short lifespan. I've been apart of many different ministries and internships as well as worship teams and Bible colleges. I guess you could say I just got burnt out.

I'm finding myself in a very strange place as of late- with all of these abrupt changes taking place and my future very much hazy and distorted, I am so confused as to what I should do or where I should go. My heart desires so much, yet my mind stays busy reasoning and analyzing thus drowning my dreams and heart's desires.

What makes me happy? What gives me purpose? What brings me alive?

Worship. Music. People. Singing. Ministry. Culture. Nations...

I miss these things in my life. It's no wonder I feel such a void inside of me. I am doing absolutely nothing that makes me feel alive. I'm simply existing and working to live. I want more than anything to take a blind leap of faith and go out on a limb to experience the divine grace and provision of my merciful Father but I am just so scared to do so.

I can be this honest here, right?

I have so much ahead of me. These are my dream years. I don't want them stolen from me simply because I was too comfortable.

Stability brings me comfort. I'm not a fan of change and I'm terrified of the unknown.

I want to be as free as some people I know. You could say I'm a faithful person but really, do I have the faith to do let go of things that I've known all of my life or things that keep me financially stable and comfortable? I admire those who do and I only hope to get to that point.

Lord, help me trust you more. Ashamedly, I haven't given you the trust and faith that you so deserve.

Señor, cambia mi corazon. Abre mis ojos y oidos. Eres siempre fiel y digno de mi vida.

Thursday, October 8, 2009

On Knowing You.

Because i knew you
now i know Love.
And i know that, i want more of...

the thing that poets write about
the thing that singers sing about
the thing that flowers bloom for
the thing that stars shine for
the thing that babies laugh for
the thing that jesus died for
the thing that winners wait for
the thing that trees reach for
the thing that addicts stop for
the thing that widows die for
the thing that proud are humbled for
the thing that lonely are looking for
the thing that made me come alive
the thing that made me realize
that Your love is the most beautiful thing can happen to anyone.

-Bradley Hathaway

Wednesday, October 7, 2009

and thus the process begins...

Packing. I so loathe that word and concept. How in the world am I supposed to cram my life's belongings into boxes for who knows how long to be sent and stowed away with my family until I figure out just what I'll be doing and when and if I'll be moving?

This stresses me out.

I have so much cleaning, organizing, and getting rid of to do in the next few days. Ugh. I am not a fan of all of this.

Packing also makes this whole idea a concrete reality. A reality that I am kind of in denial about. A reality that I don't want to become real yet. Dang it. Can I just freeze the clock and calendar for a bit longer, please?

While new beginnings and fresh starts are always exciting and adventurous, they are also scary as crap. Are you with me? I'm not so sure I'm ready for such a drastic change in my life. Whether it be my ENTIRE family leaving me here or me leaving all that I know here. Either way, it's going to be hard and will take some getting used to.

Change is necessary for growth and maturity, yes. I keep telling myself this. I can't stay in a rut forever.

And I won't be because things are changing....and fast. Too fast.