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Realising that I do not have to be good.

Present Over Perfect

You do not have to be good.

You do not have to walk on your knees for a hundred miles through the desert repenting.

You only have to let the soft animal of your body love what it loves.

Tell me about despair, yours, and I will tell you mine.

Meanwhile the world goes on.

Mary Oliver

Shauna Niequist had me hooked in her first stanza. I am not sure if it was because I was on a plane to Indonesia post a very busy season or the Catholic roots of my faith that echo in my loyal soul but my heart she breathed.

“Amanda, you do not have to be good.”

“It is okay to not have it all together.”

“Yes, that pain you feel sits high on your chest, let’s unpack its weight together”

Breathe, stop and heave.

The same realisation came eight years ago when I bought a Hawaiin beach shack in the little town that I grew up, running away from the pain that was so confusing in my workplace.

I stood with a real estate agent, it was the first place I had looked and I was smitten. Full of mold, carpet that reeked of cigarette smoke but it was five steps to the sea.

I had friends grieving from the deep sadness of illness that had consumed a dear friend, I was single and so very disappointed.

Quickly I said to the real estate agent, I want to place an offer on this little Oahu beach shack and my sea change recovery began. As I renovated the past from its walls, the heaviness in my heart released. Each time I walked over the road and breathed deep in the salty air, my questions were not answered but I found the space I needed.

In the midst of this massive season of loss and transition, I realised a deep theological question that had been hovering in my soul. It taunted me, it kept me awake at night and my sea change allowed it space to breathe.

The question was this;

“If I am good, then why do bad things happen?

or the opposite why do people who are bad have good things happen to them?”

In the midst of the sea change, I watched pelicans fly in formation and the tide change slowly from Summer to Spring. I needed to face these questions alone and I needed to reframe my deep beliefs that told me…

If I work harder, please more people and keep it together then I will be okay.

Do you struggle about whether you are good enough?

Shauna’s book Present Over Perfect has helped me unpack my need to keep everyone and everything ticking over so that my world doesn’t unravel.

I realised though all those years ago when I shifted away from the city, from friends who defined my sense of worth and a culture that was toxic, that it is okay to not have it all together all the time and as Shakespeare so eloquently describes in the Tempest;

A man is thrown into the sea, and under the water, he is transformed from what he was into something entirely new, something “rich and strange.”

The funny thing is less than a year ago we sold that little healing beach cave and bought a new place. It is like the journey begins all over again. Maybe that is what life is, a series of becomings.

I am looking forward to this journey of our Book Club together. February could possibly be the beginning of your tempest sea change.

Lets do this journey together.

Amanda Marie

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Is your dream big enough?

Dwellingup |  Photo: Amanda Viviers

We were shopping for something very specific, school shoes, school bags, you know the painstaking trip. My three year old became fixated on a pair of shoes that didn’t really match my idea of what was school efficient, plus they were a size and probably a half too big, with no smaller options. A meltdown was ensuing on both sides of the Mummy and Max team, with Libby slowly pulling anything within reach off the shelves.

This was the beautiful background context to today’s inspiring story.

We were one month old in launching our new business Maximus & Liberty, we were one week out of the craziness of a last minute trip to New Zealand and my patience was thin from the pain of growth and living a life inspired.

In fact, I was probably regretting taking courageous risks, more than I was feeling the beauty of our newborn dream realised.

Have you ever had those days.

Days of regret?

Days with overwhelmed feelings of “what have we done”?

Days when you realise that your friends and family are asking the exact same question without whispering the words out loud?

Dreams awakening are not for the faint hearted, it is easy to come up with ideas, but to actually have the courage to take the risk and have a go, that is next level faith. Back to Target and our school shopping expedition and what happened next.

As we walked past the linen and home wares aisle, my husband pulled a throw pillow off the shelf and threw it casually into our school themed trolley. I looked at him, not much was said between us, until I got home and I rolled my eyes.

As much as I live my life seeking and drawing out inspiration, there are days when another quote is just not what I need.

The pillow said this…

If you dream big enough anything can come true.

Some days lately I have wanted to throw the pillow out of our window.

Living an intentional life, living a life where you are designing the type of future of your dreams is not the kind of life for the fearful.

We were sitting in church on the weekend and our pastor spoke a message that challenged every regret in our today. His words were steeped in faith and expectation. He spoke about courage and taking risks, it was the exact message we needed to hear.

Courage to take risks,

Courage in wisdom,

Courage to take the steps necessary to live the life you have dreamed of.

It reminded us of a message we heard from Erwin McManus last year when he made this profound statement;

One of the great ironies is that most people do not think of themselves as artists or believe that they are creative.  Yet we all have dreams and aspirations.  We all have, if only as a quiet whisper, a voice within our souls calling us to awaken our creative essence.   Too often the voice calling us to embrace our artisan soul is overshadowed by all the voices that tell us we are less.

Most people have been diminished by the voices that have silenced their childlike wonder and faith.  Here, by the way, is a good measure for when you are hearing the voice of God- God never makes you less human; He always make you most fully and beautifully human.

True courage takes great risk.

The future does not belong to the faint hearted, it belongs to the brave.

Ronald Regan

Every day that I see that pillow sitting on the chair in the corner of our lounge room, it is like a beacon of hope to my soul and it implores me to take heart and courage stepping into the brilliance of God’s plans for our future.

Are your dreams big enough my friend?

Or can you do them without hope and help?

If your dreams are not scaring you, then maybe they are so achievable that you are making them safe and therefore God-less.

Step out and dream brave my friends.

Take risks and have courage to actually act today on the dreams that lie dormant.

Pick up that manuscript,

Type that blog,

Put on those exercise clothes,

Step into the great unknown,

Pull out that camera,

Write that book proposal,

Contact that person,

Step forward with what you have in your hands today, even if it is very, very small.

Be bold and courageous, your future self will thank you.






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you have enough

Monday night dinners
Monday night dinners

This morning we woke slowly, ground coffee and walked thoughtfully through our morning routine. We fell onto the beach by nine and watch clouds roll past, chatting about nothing and everything in one breath. My two babes played on the sand and I floated softly in the ocean. Watching the sky change every minute with thoughts of fires, friends and what is truly important this year. If you had have asked me four weeks ago, I would have said, number one priority for twenty sixteen, to find our little team a bigger abode. Today that is the furtherest thing on my mind.

My mind quite emphatically has been reassuring my wandering heart, that we have enough. We have enough.

Enough room,

Enough toys,

Enough time,

Enough technology,

Enough towels, sheets, clothes, shoes, jewels, food, delicates.

We have enough.

How often are our days motivated by the culture of scarcity, rather than a culture of gratitude?

Do you rush hoping to fit more in, so that you can purchase the latest trinket?

Do you worry your kids will be rejected because they don’t have the outfit recommended by the most amount of likes on instagram?

Do you fret when walking into a social situation that you will be outed by your nineteen nineties hand bag?

We, those holding our iphones, ipads, macbooks, windows glittered technology we have enough.


There is a big enough line, drawn across our hearts and unless we are determined in defining it we can live our days accumulating things rather than people.

We can spend our days ignoring people in our present, whilst stalking people from our past. We scroll through hidden advertisements masked as people’s social media curated life, thinking that unless we have more, unless our house presents a pretty picture, unless we are decorated in finery that we are not enough.

My friend you are indeed enough, if you swam naked today in a beach filled with onlookers you are not only enough, but I am sure that you also have enough.

I remember so fondly the year that I did not buy any new clothes. It was the most fantastic season of growth in my whole life. I redefined who I was outside of layers that covered my soul and I lived free of approval addiction.

So as we step into twenty sixteen and a pile of carefully culled decorations from our jam packed little shack sits in the corner and everything within me wants to hoard up that jar in case one day I may need it and I stare at my cupboard assuring myself that I indeed have many things that I could wear, I am declaring across my life and yours that we have enough. We have enough and everything we need to grow, mature, stretch and become is within our reach.

The scarcity that echoes in our hearts saying we need more to be happy, we must have more to be fulfilled is a big fat lie.

What if this year we prioritised people and experiences over possessions?

What if this year we used generosity as a growth strategy rather than an obligation?

What if we became a river that gave away our possessions, without the feeling that they may never come back, but a river that shared our life sacrificially with others not counting the cost, but revelling in the rebellion?

What if our instagram following was not the measure of our success, but the amount we secretly gave to empower another?

My friend we have enough.

Enough clothes,

Enough space,

Enough possessions,

Enough technology.

Snuggle those who are closest to you and don’t fall into the trap that another toy or gift will win over their love. Time, kindness, grace, forgiveness these are the kind of currency that the world is indeed in poverty from.

Faith, hope, believing the best, loving the unlovable, putting our devices away and loving the ones that we are with.

This year I am hoping to….

Make generosity my growth strategy

What about you?

Do you believe you have enough?

Because honestly someone, somewhere is praying for that which we don’t even notice is a answered prayer of ours from long ago.

What is your enough line?


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you are enough

The farm
Eagle Rest, Dwellingup

Each day awakens across our Earth with the same number of moments. There are families in this very moment savouring each and every breath as they wait and watch their loved one pass, there are Mothers today regretting times when they said something that fractured their family apart. There are wives sitting without husbands, counting the days, seconds and milli-moments, hoping they could rearrange and go back to a place when what was lost could be re found. There are men crying at the charred remains of their beloved homesteads.

Every moment across our Earth, people are succeeding, people are fading, people are burying and people are birthing.

We each have the same amount of moments, but we each spend these moments very differently.

The last month for us, has been a crazy ride of delight and devastation. From losing loved ones, to welcoming favourites from overseas. From opening presents, to New Years reflections. From the bushes of the outback of Western Australia, where scorpions landed on friends legs, to winding back lanes in New Zealand, foraging to celebrate the life of a dear friend.

Tonight as I sit here and write, the farm where this photo was taken just a few short days ago, is just one town from a raging bushfire. Life is increasingly fragile and the more we give in to the delicateness of its trust, the more we struggle with our capacity to move forward into new days.

As I have traversed the highs and lows, the long plane trips and the slow, telling forrest highways, I have had a little something raging in my heart of hearts. A few words that change absolutely everything.

These words are not just for me this New Year I suspect, I am thinking they are for you as well.

Words that have haunted me, because if I was absolutely down right, disgustingly honest. I did not achieve either of my goals for twenty fifteen. Both of them remain unfulfilled. With every valid excuse in the world, I just didn’t pull them off.

How about you?

What about your New Year?

Has it been quiet?

Has it been devastating?

Has it been uneventful?

What about quietly inspiring?

The words that have been whispering to me in the wake of such a unexpected and dramatic end to twenty fifteen are these simple three words.




You are enough my friend.

My dear friend Ruthee has taught me more in her passing, than any moment of intense conversation that we have shared together. That life is so short, it is a vapour, it passes through our hands, leaving joy and questions in its wake.

What stops us often from stepping forward into days of deep satisfaction, is we spend our days looking backwards and trying to make sense of our past mistakes.

This New Year the greatest gift you can give yourself is to be kind, forgiving and gracious to yourself more than others. By telling yourself you are enough.

You alone are enough

You have nothing to prove to anyone.

Maya Angelou

We stumble and we fall, we step over and around people and memories, we are impacted greatly by grief and unanswered questions but one of the greatest hurdles to living a deeply satisfied life is always carrying the burden of shame and not enough-ness. (I know it’s not a word, but I like it).

Not only are you enough, but those who are closest to you, your kids, your husband, your friends, they are enough.

Isaiah 41:10 reminds me of this…

Do not be afraid for I am with you.

Do not be discouraged, for I am your God.

I will strengthen you and help you.

I will hold you up with my victorious right hand.

In the wake of seasons that don’t make sense, when you are unsure if you can keep walking into a New Year, New Day, New Season, New Month, New…new…new..

Be kind and forgiving, take it slow and be soft with yourself.

You are enough.

Lower your expectations of yourself and just walk.

Walk slow, walk kind, walk…walk…walk.

And if you haven’t taken time to reflect this New Year yet, then it is not too late.

Ask questions.

Forgive yourself.

Let go.

Step over.

It is a new day and you are enough.

I had so many plans about how I would launch twenty sixteen, with new looks and new ideas, but honestly for today, this is enough.

Join me in tagging your creative pursuits or what inspires you this year with the hashtag #inspire16