my life in my words


Forever Grateful

What do you do after having a severely intense relapse in ICU the night before Thanksgiving?

You stay up with your sister and color pages while listening to the Footloose Soundtrack, duh!?! 

But more importantly, you




Last night’s walk was not much different from every other one I’ve been on since being in the ICU. Every walk I’ve taken, I’ve set a new goal. The first day I was only able to get two doors down. The other day, I made it past 4 doors and into the lobby. However, last night, I only made it 3 doors down before my night nurse, Gaia, noticed a change in my energy level and insisted we turn around and I be wheeled back to the room. I had become more weak and was yawning a whole lot. She put me back in bed and I pretty much fell asleep then, instead of my typical drifting into sleep. When I woke up, I turned to Nicki and asked her if she had gotten any sleep—she laughed and said, “Honey, I’ve only been in bed for 15 minutes. I haven’t even gone to bed yet.” It was then I realized I just had a relapse. 😦

From what Nicki and the nurse have told me, I fell asleep and shortly thereafter, Gaia came in to check on me because she knew I was so exhausted from the walk. She tried to talk to me and I was non-responsive. Even though I looked like I was just sleeping, she thought something felt wrong about the situation and said to Nicki, “Something’s not right. Is this normal” and Nicki said, “Yeah, this is not normal! Usually she’ll at least talk back to you when you ask for her arm, even when she’s asleep.” The nurse tried to wake me up, to no avail and said, “I’m going to give her a push (a direct extra injection of the antidote from a syringe into the IV site into my arm),” and Nicki said, “Yes, go for it!” The nurse gave me the push and less than a minute later, I was up in bed, alert, back to my normal self and asking Nicki if she had gotten any sleep. Had my nurse not gone with her gut and given me the push, I may not have made it through the night. After that, the nurse called the doctor, who then ordered that my antidote drip dosage be increased and that I be watched more closely and checked on every hour instead of just time to time and when called in. My incredible nurse, Gaia, and Nicki saved my life last night and I woke up this morning more thankful to be alive than ever before!



Since I had gotten the push, I was wide awake and wasn’t going to be able to go back to bed any time soon. Nicki stayed up with me and we talked about the value of life, how to embrace more structure in our lives as creatives, and took time to let our inner kid artist come out to play with the help of some coloring books that friends had given me/left for me to borrow. We cranked up the 80’s Radio Station on Spotify and just shared our dreams, fears, and hopes for each of our futures. We talked about the plot lines to the various screenplays we’ve been writing and had a sing-a-long to the Footloose Soundtrack and I reveled in the moment reciting to myself in my mind: You. Are. Alive. After finishing up our coloring pages, I fell asleep and Gaia came in to wake me up a bit later because my heart rate had dropped below 28. She had me stay up for a bit for observation and then I fell back asleep again and slept a few more hours hanging out at a heart rate of 38. Though I’m starting out today at a low heart rate of 39, I’m looking forward to a day of fun and excitement that will hopefully help stimulate my heart rate to pick up and I can be that much closer to 60! 😀

I’ve never been so thankful in my life!


Today, as I celebrate FRIENDSgiving in my ICU hospital room, I’m more thankful than ever to be alive. I’m thankful for doctors who are diligently working to find out what’s going on with my body in this situation. I’m thankful for medication that keeps me alive while my body works hard to fight against a deadly drug. I’m thankful for a hospital staff that nurtures and cares for me with the highest level of excellence. I’m thankful for nurses that talk with me when I’m feeling down. I’m thankful for my Seattle Sister, Nicki, who has watched over me from day one of being in here and has helped to make sure that I am treated with utmost respect, love and care. I’m thankful for family and friends that remind me every day just how much I’m loved and being prayed for across the miles. I’m thankful for my Seattle Family of Friends that have stopped by each and every day to spend time with me, share life with me, bring me treats and treasures, and MOST IMPORTANTLY have blessed me with their prayers and  words of affirmation. BUT ABOVE ALL, I’m thankful for a merciful God that rescues me—physically, spiritually, mentally, and emotionally! The lessons that I’ve learned from my stay here have all been a major part of me reclaiming my whole health. EVERY SINGLE MOMENT of my time here has been marked by the hand and glory of God. Every relapse. Every rescue/push. Every laugh. Every tear. Every visit from friends and co-workers. Every conversation with the hospital staff. Every. Single. Solitary. Moment. I have been covered by the love, grace, and provision of God. And because of His great love and rescue, today I AM ALIVE!



Today I will be celebrating Thanksgiving in my hospital room with my friends Nicki, Becky, Jessica, and Michelle! We’re calling it FRIENDSgiving!! We’ll be doing arts & crafts, playing games, watching the Macy’s Day Parade and TV show Thanksgiving episodes, coloring in books + puzzles + felt art, jamming out to music, and making Star Trek LIVE LONG AND PROSPER turkey hands! We’re going to have a delicious pumpkin oatmeal breakfast, nutritious hospital lunch, and a full-on turkey dinner in my room, complete with mashed sweet potatoes, puréed garlic brussel sprouts (for me, since my wisdom teeth are still healing), apple pie and sugar-free crustless pumpkin pie!!! We’re even going to ask if the nurse will wheel me out in a wheelchair to the lobby to look out at the city! I cannot wait to share a day of life and love with my Family of Friends!!

No matter what you have going on today, it is my prayer that you take time out to be thankful for being alive! 



Happy FRIENDSgiving, y’all!! 



I’ve Got Plenty To Be Thankful For

Yesterday, my ICU room was invaded by the BEST ELVES EVER!!!


It all started when Kristi Lyn came over with some festive Thanksgiving pumpkin decorations, because she knows how much I LOVE PUMPKIN!!!!  ♥


Kristi Lyn decking the window with Holiday Cheer and Melanie working on some sweet festive Coloring Page Wall Art!


And then the fun continued when my friend Heather stopped by and brought me some fine dinner to rescue me from hospital food! 


Deeeeelishus Dinner and a Story, courtesy of my Wing Girl Bestie, Heather!!! | Pumpkin soup + mashed sweet potatoes + asparagus soufflé + Greek yogurt w blueberries + pumpkin tea! & Wookie The Chew ♥


And then my friend Grace came over to visit me and right around the time she showed up, Heather had bust out her box of Christmas decorations to deck the halls of my room! Something you should know is that I LOVE Christmas! It reminds me of all the warmth, love, and joy of family and time spent with family, so it’s a HUGE comfort to me to listen to Christmas music and watch Christmas movies. So you can imagine what it did for my heart and spirits when I woke up in my very own ICU Winter Wonderland!! ♥ 


Deck The Halls Divas

My winter wonderland welcome mat!

Happy Falli-Days even happen in Amo’s Baño!

It’s beginning to look a lot like Christmas! 😀

I even bring along the Holiday cheer when I go for walks! Check out my blingin’ IV ornament

Let’s walk in a Winter Wonderland!

A Very Merry Window


All the nurses and CNAs agree that I have the best decorated room in the ICU 😉


And nothing says Happy Fall-idays like enjoying breakfast with some DAVIDStea in a Christmas Space Invaders mug!

Organic Banana Dream Pie tea? Yes, please and THANK YOU!!


Also, sweet Christmas treasures like these . . . 

It is ridiculously hard to resist the urge to lick my arm when I put that lotion on 😉


I am BEYOND thankful for incredible friends that help make my stay in the hospital more manageable, cheery, and comforting!! 😀


The best part of waking up is having a new non-hospital blanket (in my favorite color) to snuggle with!! Thank you so much for the super soft and warm luxury, Grace!!


♥ A Message From Your Heart ♥

Greetings from Northwest Hospital’s ICU Room 321!

♥ Recovering with some beautiful flowers from Westside Church ♥


I just wanted to take a moment out to update everyone on what’s been going on with me health-wise and answer some questions that have been posed along the way. 🙂 A lot of these details have been shared with me along the way by my doctors, nurses, and those in attendance during episodes, since I am unable to remember what happens during these episodes.



I went in for a routine extraction of all 4 of my wisdom teeth and part of my dentist’s sedation routine involved taking two 5 milligram tablets of Valium. My body responded very strongly to the drug and had a severe adverse reaction. When I first came to, I was a little loopy (see video above), as was to be expected from this type of procedure. My best friend, Heather, had been watching over me during and after the surgery and noticed that my behavior had escalated and that my response to the drugs was not normal. What followed this video was intense hallucinations, loss of muscle control that led to me not breathing, manic outbursts and other symptoms that are comparative to a stroke/MS. Around 5pm on Thursday, my Seattle sister (who had been given permission to leave work early) showed up to switch shifts with Heather for the evening. After seeing all that was going on, they made the call to rush me to the ER. Once in the ER, the docs worked fast and hard to sustain my behavior and assess my situation. I kept slipping in and out of consciousness with continued manic outbursts and they had to keep waking me up because I would stop breathing. They deduced that I had a SEVERE adverse reaction to the Valium and administered the counter-agent/antidote serum, “Romazicon” to my IV and within a minute, I was awake, alert, and it was as if nothing had happened. They kept me overnight in the ICU on the drip to flush out and fight the Valium with the Romazicon so that they could monitor my situation. This case is the most extreme and bizarre case of reaction to Valium and in the half-joking words of my doctor, “You are FASCINATING! Unfortunately in this case, that’s not a good thing.”


♥ They even call me AMO here! ♥


For a girl who spent the majority of her childhood in and out of hospitals and emergency rooms, you can imagine my strong hatred towards hospitals, drugs, needles, machines, being poked and prodded, and just feeling like a lab rat in general. The majority of my experiences in the hospital have been negative, stressful, and depressing. I still HATE drugs (especially now more than ever), but the care and concern that has been shown to me here by the staff at Northwest Hospital and my Seattle family & friends has almost completely changed my perspective on healthcare, hospitals, and the power of a loving support system!

One of the ways that my doctor has been testing my progress is by weaning me off of the Romazicon and testing to see how my body responds once the antidote has cleared my bloodstream. Thus far, every test has shown that the Valium is still showing up strong in my system. I have had about 4 relapses since being in here and each time, the nurses have been able to rescue me in time with the Romazicon and each time, within minutes of receiving the antidote, my body has been restored to normal full function. There have been some visitors who have gotten to witness the recovery and have been just as astounded as the doctors and nurses. Unfortunately, since the Valium is still in my system and my body responds so extremely to it, they have to keep me under observation in the ICU. The good thing is that keeping me in the ICU guarantees that they have the medicinal supply and staff available for a safe and quick recovery after relapses. The funny part is that there are times that they will bring me salt water to gargle with and my Amoxicillin antibiotics for my wisdom teeth and I forget that I’m actually in here with another ailment. 😉

Every day has been a test of my will and my spirits and every day has been another chance to watch the power of God at work in my life—mentally, emotionally, physically, and spiritually. There have definitely been moments of sadness and disappointment, but more than those, there has been an abundance of hope, joy, love, grace, and strength from God, the hospital staff, and the family of friends that have stopped by throughout my stay!


Just one of the many waves of visitors who have stopped by to cheer me up and share love, laughter, and warm fuzzies! 😀 I truly AM blessed to have such an incredible family of friends!


There are 2 unsung heroes that I’d like to take a moment to honor.

The first would be my Seattle Sister, Nicki. 

She has stayed with me all day, every day and night (sleeping on 2 chairs since ICU doesn’t allow cots) that I’ve been in the hospital making sure that I’ve been taken care of, fed, and has been there to answer questions for the docs/nurses. She has also been with me through the relapses and helped the docs and nurses out in those situations and has taken so many opportunities to serve the staff here! She’s been my faithful listening ear & counselor, movie buddy, and comforter through the stress of it all. I am SO blessed to have her here with me every step of the way! ♥

MY SUPER HERO: Kate, my ICU nurse for the majority of my stay

The second would be my Rock Star Super Hero of a nurse, Kate!

There really are just no words for how amazing Kate has been to me! She was my nurse since day one and has made every effort to not only get me my meds on time, but to swaddle me in warm blankets, sit and talk with me when she’s seen me feeling down, and sharing life stories, and go above and beyond to make me feel like a princess! She was my biggest cheerleader each and every day and treated me as if I were her own daughter, suffering in the ICU. During one of our check-ups yesterday, she said she was sad because she wasn’t going to be working on Monday so she wouldn’t get to see me. Then, later she came back in, and excitedly shared that she had taken on an extra shift on Monday and had requested to be put in my room to take care of me! And I’m happy to report that not only is she here and taking care of me right now, but she even snuck me in some contraband: some of her husband’s signature roasted butternut squash soup!!! Her love, care, and understanding has been healing to my mind, body and soul and I cannot thank God enough for putting me in her care!


My TeleBox, which is attached to leads monitoring my heart rate.



I’ve gotten a lot of questions from people about what’s going on and why. Believe you me, I’m JUST AS, IF NOT MORE concerned and inquisitive about what’s going on. Every day I’ve got new questions, new thoughts, new scenarios and theories that I am presenting to my doctor and nurses. I’ve rehashed this instance and the symptoms and circumstances over and over and over and over again. The bottom line from my doctor is that: NOTHING about this case is normal, so there are no “textbook solutions” or “textbook answers.” The Valium has stored itself in my lipids (fat) and based on a wide range of variables, it releases in various amounts at various times on its own accord. The way my nurse put it is this: “According to the text books, it should have left your system by now However, the drug itself has not actually READ the text book and can do whatever it pleases.”

Some have asked if it has something to do with the fact that I had Bell’s Palsy when I was a kid and if that may have left some lasting damage to my system, causing my body to react this way. Again, my doctor assures me that that is NOT the case. However, they are going to have me check in with the Cardio Techs after all this is said and done to make sure that the Valium did not do any lasting damage to my heart. I’ll also be getting a medic alert charm necklace to wear to assure this doesn’t happen again.

A few other people have suggested that my rapid weight loss, healthy eating, and exercise regimen may be a cause/elevating factor of this reaction. I’m so sorry folks, that’s just NOT the case! We have definitely addressed the issue of my eating habits and all of that and the doctor has assured me that it’s for sure NOT because of the weight loss or the healthy eating or exercise or because of anything related to that. They are NOT concerned with my weight at all and have actually said that the GOOD thing is that I AM healthy and have been taking care of my body because that has kept my heart and immune system fighting so strong and hard. So that is definitely not a concern.

They said that the bottom line is that it’s just how my body reacts to that certain drug. My blood pressure, oxygen, etc, are all perfectly fine, it’s just my heart rate and the fact that when they take me off the antidote, if the Valium is still in my system the symptoms put me in danger of losing my life. So they just keep doing tests where they remove the drip and wean me off to see how fast and how strong the Valium shows up and they gotta keep doing it until it’s all gone. Since there is NOTHING normal about this case, we are constantly working together to find answers and it’s just going to take some time—but they are giving me the BEST care and are keeping me informed every step along the way. They have also noted that my wisdom teeth are healing up at a GREAT rate and have attributed my health to that as well! Yay for good health and nutrition—it really DOES work!! 😉


Thank you thank you thank you to all my friends for bringing in the contraband!!! (Flowers in the ICU from Westside Church + roses from Grace & Sean, applesauce from Alisa, Hogwarts Full-Caf Coffee from Melissa)



There have been a lot of great things that have come out of this whole situation!

  • The dentist had originally given me a take-home packet of an extra dose of Valium and Amoxicillin to take the night before the surgery, but I had lost my packet. Since I had lost my packet, the nurse said she could call in my antibiotic and pain-killer prescriptions, but that I’d have to miss my night dose of Valium and just take my normal morning dosage early that morning. Had I taken the Valium the night before, I may not have been alive when Heather picked me up the next morning for the actual appointment.
  • The timing of my friend Melanie unexpectedly showing up at my place to deliver a pumpkin pie resulted in a crucial moment of assistance.  She was able to help Heather and Nicki get me ready to rush me to the hospital and allowed for everything to run as smoothly and stress-free as possible so that I could get there and get taken care of in the quickest manner possible!
  • The amount of friends that have come has overwhelmed me with joy, love, and hope that has fueled my healing process exponentially! Also, they’ve been so kind in asking me if I want them to bring me anything, and have brought me in some of the best contraband ever:
    • Applesauce, which the cafeteria wouldn’t let me have since I’m on an ICU Full Liquid Diet
    • Flowers galore
    • Muscle Milk Protein drinks, since the only nutritional shakes on the menu are Ensure (nastayyyy)
    • Books & Magazines that aren’t health related 😉
    • COFFFEEEEEE!!! (though my doc now has me on a non-acidic diet)
    • Cranberry Juice (Which they have on the menu but only bring you a little cup of at a time)
    • V8 Fruit Juices (an EXCELLENT change from the menu offered standard V8)
    • Jamba Juice Smoothies
  • My nurse came in to let me know that since this is such a rare case, the Poison Control Center has been in contact with the hospital every day, collecting data and putting together reports with that data to submit to the FDA for drug research and for updates on how Valium may affect others. They said that the information they are collecting from my experience is going to be used to save the lives of people in the future who may have the same kind of reaction and it will provide them the knowledge they need to continue to make advancements in this area of medicine, which to this point has been sparse. The story of my experience here in the hospital has been referred to that of HENRIETTA LACKS. My nurse put it this way: “Girl, you are in the books!”
  • Every day I’ve gotten a chance to deal with my personal demons and since I’ve had Nicki, Nurse Kate, and so many other great friends around, I’ve been able to face them and wrestle through them in a safe, caring, loving environment. ♥
  • I’ve gotten a chance to see my friends from all circles of life connect with one another! My friends have set up coffee dates and hobby get-togethers with each other. I’ve even set up a special FRIENDSgiving Day with my fellow single friends who have connected with each other through coming to see me in the room!
  • I’ve made new friends with the staff of nurses and techs at Northwest and I have a newfound respect for those who serve in the medical profession.
  • I’m gaining so much more knowledge about my mind, body, science, and medicine in general that has been keeping my creative mind fueled with ideas for new songs, stories, and sermons. 😀


Pills on pills, y’all! They’re also helping me take care of my Wisdom Teeth after-care 😀 (Definitely a bonus)


Getting the Valium out of my system and going home! My love for the people at Northwest Hospital is incredibly huge. My love for being attached to machines and having midnight blood-draws, not so much. I want to be able to go for a walk in my neighborhood. I want to be able to sleep in my own bed. I want to be able to drink coffee and enjoy a BBQ Chicken Salad from Panera. I want to celebrate the holidays with my friend family!


I got a special visit from one of my favorite little ladies this morning!! Little Sammi Pants for the win!!


I did more testing today and I’m still not showing enough progress to be discharged. The Valium is still in my system, hiding out in my fat cells, biding their time and taking their toll on my body. My doctor has been working diligently to get to the bottom of this, but for right now, she and her colleagues all agree on the same thing:

This is just a rare, unpredictable case and it’s going to take DAYS and DAYS for it to clear my system. 

So now we just wait. Wait and pray. Wait and hope. Wait and we don’t give up! This drug WILL leave my body, it’s just a matter of time now. 

They are not sure when they’re going to be able to release me, but it doesn’t look like it will be anytime soon. My biggest hope and prayer is that it will be before Thanksgiving, but if not, there will be a big Turkey Day party in my room on Thursday!


Thank you all again SO SO SO much for your love, prayers, and support across the miles!! It has made the road to recovery a million times easier and fulfilling to travel. 

And a special THANK YOU to my Seattle family for all the wonderful visits, hugs, prayers, sneaking in contraband, get well gifts and just for being such incredible friends! I know my own family wishes they could be here to see me through this, and having you here brings the love of family that much closer to me! 

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The Sidestep | Fit Life Friday

My clothing was strewn about on the counter in the Emergency Room, showing signs of the panic that had just ensued. I couldn’t help but laugh to myself and think, “And everyone said:

Oh it’s gonna be fine. Everything will be fine. Wisdom tooth extractions are normal. Nothing will go wrong. You’ll be okay. The recovery will be fun. Nothing ever really goes wrong in these things.”


Remember that one time I got my wisdom teeth out and ended up in the hospital?!? Yeah that was awesome … NOT!!

Wellllllll . . . I guess I never was one for status quo 😉


So for those who don’t know, yesterday morning I went in to the dentist’s office to get all 4 of my wisdom teeth taken out. It wasn’t because they were infected or anything, but rather because I had a surplus of dental insurance funds that I hadn’t taken advantage of yet that would not carry over to the next year, when my dental plan was scheduled to change and exclude wisdom tooth extractions. So I picked  a time that would be most “slow” on the work end and before the year was up.



The surgery itself went fine and my mouth is healing well, although sore at times. The only major setback is that during the time of coming to after the post-op rest period, I started experiencing some extreme side effects. We discovered that I am allergic to valium, which is what they gave me to take before my extraction surgery.

I ended up staying the night at Northwest Hospital because of the severe allergic reaction to the valium. 😦 I had lost all muscle control and was having hallucinations, manic outbursts/meltdowns bouts of not breathing and medicinal psychosis caused by the drugs. After some quality time in the ER, the docs ended up administering a syrum that directly counteracts valium and shortly thereafter I was back to a more normal self. They have me hooked up to machines and are keeping me under observation because of the severity of the reaction and my because extremely low heart rate (in the low 30s) caused by the valium. I’ll be recovering here for a while while they clear out the toxins.


The best part of waking up in the hospital is actually waking up. The 2nd best part is love notes from your friends that stay the night to make sure you’re okay! 😀 Thanks, sis!!


The GIANT praise report is that at my pre-op appointment, the dentist had sent me home with some valium to take the night before, but I had accidentally lost that envelope with the packet of meds and was unable to take that. Even being in the ER last night was touch and go with my breathing, so had I taken that the night before, I may not have woken up. God has been creating ALLLLLLL sorts of Divine appointments/rescues during this!

This will definitely be a wisdom tooth extraction to remember 😉



Now, for the FIT LIFE Friday part of it all, let me start by saying that there is nothing more bummer sauce than being able to order delicious food off the hospital menu and being told, “M’am, you actually can’t have that. You’re on an all liquid diet.” DARN YOU, WISDOM TEEEEEETH!!!



In prepping for the operation, I wanted only healthy foods. I KNEW I could totally take advantage of the procedure to gorge on milkshakes, ice cream, etc, but I wanted a QUICK and healthy recovery, so I opted for Chocolate Peanut Butter Pumpkin Protein smoothies, No-Sugar Added applesauce, V8, Sugar-Free popsicles, hard boiled eggs, and 2x Protein greek yogurt with fruit.



Even the “last meals” I had the day before the surgery were delicious and healthy so that I wouldn’t go into it with junky gross food that wouldn’t promote the type of healthy recovery I was aiming for.


Lunch the day before was a Low-Sodium Chicken and Veggie soup with cucumbers, oranges, and some Decaf Italian Roast! 😀

My Seattle Sister, Nicki had told me that I didn’t want to eat spicy foods during recovery and that I should get them in BEFORE the surgery, so you better believe I FULLY took advantage of that opportunity! My dinner the night before the surgery was a 3-egg Cajun Chicken Omelet, Italian seasoned veggies, Honeycrisp apple slices (which I then later sprinkled with cinnamon) and some peppermint decaf coffee!! Perfect last meal is perfect!!! ♥


My dentist had me start a fast at midnight the night before, so I ate a bunch of italian seasoned veggies and drank some tea RIGHT before the time was up.


Sorry there’s no actual food showing, it was just too good to wait to snap a pic of! 😉


The only thing I had eaten after my wisdom tooth extraction had been a container of apple sauce, a smoothie, and a container of yogurt. Then, I didn’t have anything to eat until this morning just because of the trauma and recovery from the night before. Finally, I eased into my first snack of the day:


The monkey is my faithful recovery companion 😉 don’t worry, no monkeys were harmed in the devouring of this food! PS: the Butternut Squash Soup at Northwest Hospital is THE BOMB DIGGITY!! On the menu: Butternut Squash Soup, Low-Sodium V8, Orange sherbert, and Jello!


My friend Elizabeth works here at the hospital, and stopped by to see if I wanted anything and I had her bring me more snacks 😉


More V8 & Vanilla Yogurt! Yum sauce! THANK YOU, Elizabeth!!!


Then, I ordered some good lunch. It’s nice to know that I’m getting my hungry hungry hippo appetite back 😉


On the menu: Free Range Chicken Broth, Jello, Vanilla Yogurt, V8, Strawberry Sherbert, and Chocolate Pudding!! 😀 Holy yum!!


One of the questions that my friends had posed was whether my healthy eating habits had  been part of the reason why I had the reaction to the valium. I thought it was a valid concern as well, but the docs assured me that not only is that NOT the case at all, but that the healthy eating habits is what is helping me recover so well. All in all, recovery is going great and I should be outta here by tomorrow!! Thank you to everyone who has been supporting me and taking care of me and sending their love, encouragement, and prayers my way!


I can’t wait to get back to my shenanigans!!

Happy Fit Life Friday, y’all! 


Restless Dream

Can I get an AMEN?!? ;p

Good morning! My name is Amanda and I am pleased to call this Paranoid Parrots Anonymous meeting to order!

That’s right folks, for the past couple of days, I have truly been my mother’s daughter—a full blown nervous wreck. In about an hour, I will be sitting in a dentist’s chair, getting my veins pumped with a super set of drugs that will whisk me away to Dreamland. And when I awake, I will have 4 fewer teeth in my mouth—WISDOM TEETH, that is! Don’t worry though, they’re not infected or anything. It just so happens to work out with my insurance company to use their big benefits to get them outta there before the end of the year (because they’ll switch things up in the new year) since they’re just crowding up the place. 

Now, as I said before, I’m a worrier. In fact, I’ll share an honest moment with you—I woke up on Wednesday at 5am and I haven’t been to sleep since. My mind has been going non-stop with the TO-DO list and the WHAT IFs. I’ve been on the phone texting and online e-mailing, posting legit concern questions on Facebook, and even some not legit just to make myself laugh off the fear. :-/ You see, I KNOW it’s going to be a painful recovery. The majority of people I’ve talked to agree—it’s achy and uncomfy and painful. Well, I have a SUPER low pain tolerance! How am I gonna survive?!? Plus . . . 

  • I HATE being poked and prodded.
  • I HATE taking drugs.
  • What if he hits a vein the wrong way and I end up bleeding out and dying in the chair?
  • What if I OD and don’t wake up?
  • I HATE not being in control of my mind and body . . . or, honestly, in control of myself & circumstances in general :-/
  • I can’t have a lot of my favorite foods.
  • I can’t do everything I want to do because I’ll have to take it easy at first.
  • I won’t be able to do much talking . . . like . . . at all 😥
  • I don’t like making people feel like they have to babysit me.
  • I’m pretty sure I’m gonna be a bear of a whiny brat through this whole thing . . . and that sucks.

And a slew of other ridiculous thoughts. And though I know how ridiculous they are, I keep thinking them. Boo. The good thing is that I’ve had an incredible flood of love and compassion poured on me from friends who are walking through this big event (for me, it’s huge, y’all!) with me. All I want is a safe, quick, healthy recovery with as little pain as possible. I know I’ll probably look back on this post and laugh, but it’s the real deal raw thoughts of this Paranoid Amo Parrot and I can’t be ashamed of that. 🙂


But seriously, I DEMAND stickers for this!


So here’s to being an Amo the Chipmunk and to lots of smoothies, yogurt, and applesauce! I really AM looking forward to the food though. I think I set myself up pretty great—more on that tomorrow for the FIT LIFE FRIDAY post, though. In the meantime, I’ll show you what I’ve been up to for the past few hours to prep for the big wisdom tooth extraction!


Just me??? No?? yes??? 😉

How I prepped for my wisdom teeth removal surgery:


I did laundry and took a shower so that I could be fresh and clean clean for the quality time I’ll be spending in my bed 😉


Then I got my room all set up ready to keep me occupied in those moments when my friends aren’t able to stick around and/or when we just need something to keep us entertained. 😉


Got my bedside supplies ready: Meds, Coaster for smoothie bottles/food, Hot Rice Pack for easing pain, books books and mas books, house slippers for getting to and fro, lotion to keep me calm and my skin hydrated, keys for those that need them. I also added a notepad and pen so that I could write things down to communicate with the person watching over me.

I’m thinking I may even utilize my Lisa Frank art kit and write some funny snail mail letters & postcards! Would you like one???

Excess movies on my bookshelf for my viewing pleasure, got my electric guitar ready for some strummin’, plus an egg carton craft to work on for this Sunday’s kid’s church craft, got my PS2 all set up to play the DVDs.

The main hub of my movie supply is ready to be hacked into (including multiple viewings of my most recent purchase: MASTERS OF THE UNIVERSE, My computer to check e-mail and blog and play Plants VS Zombies and such, My lil’ cuzzo cub Nate is gonna keep me company onscreen too!; Candles for creating a calming atmosphere, mas booooooks!


I read online that you’re not supposed to lay on your back during recovery, but that you’re supposed to sit up and lean back on the headboard, so I got my pillows all situated for that. I put my stuffed monkey friend on my pillow so I can cuddle with him when I get home. And after I took this pic, I set out my Mario PJ shirt to be changed into when I get home. 😀 I’ll need the power-up for the recovery! 😉


I also double-checked that all my food was stored properly and checked e-mails, sent Heather (my best friend who will taking me to and from the appointment as well as being my main caretaker all day today  😀 ) a list of important codes/logins/pin #s and such,  sent out a reminder text to let people know I won’t be able to TALK on the phone but that text and e-mail were very much welcomed. And now I’m all fresh and clean, dressed in my favorite clothing items, ready to get this game over!


Monkeys, Mario, and Crossbones . . . a winning recovery combo!

Here’s to a happy and healthy recovery!

And don’t worry, we’ll be documenting it all with pics and video footage! :O


Feel free to leave me some love and laughs in the comments! Tell me a story about your wisdom teeth experience. Tell me a joke. Ask me questions. Link me to some funny stuff, sad stuff, education stuff, whatevs. Let me know if I’m the only one who gets all Paranoid Parrot about things like this. :O I’ll be reading and responding to them during my recovery!


Birthday Cake | Fit Life Friday

“Some people come into our lives and leave footprints on our hearts and we are never ever the same.”

—Flavia Weedn

This post is brought to you by the letters

R – O- and B


Rob Vincent, Artist Extraordinaire! |

That’s right, this is Rob! Let me tell you what makes Rob a special part of today’s FIT LIFE FRIDAY post. Rob is a motivator. Rob is a hero. Rob is a challenger. Rob is creative. Rob is inspiring. Rob is an exceptional human being. Rob is a great father. Rob is wise. Rob is funny. Rob is caring. Rob is friendly. Rob is flexible. Rob is weak in all the right places. Rob is an artist. Rob is strong in all the right places. Rob is encouraging. Rob is a giver. And when you dig deep beyond all the extraordinary capabilities that Rob has, you find in there a special role—Rob is my Tuesday/Thursday night Turbo Kick instructor at 24 Hour-Fitness in Northgate

Believe me when I say that he is Awesome Sauce to the max! He’s been such a vital part to encouraging me to get my lazy butt to the gym and get in a fun, high-energy, quality workout. My journey to reclaim my health would not be as possible or worthwhile without his efforts to be the best Turbo Kick instructor that he can be. So naturally, when our class found out that we would be losing our Tuesday and Thursday night classes due to some new classes being introduced (which cased some big scheduling conflicts), we knew we had to celebrate Rob’s bittersweet last night with us in the biggest and best way possible! A core group of my fellow classmates and I schemed together to organize a special NEON FLASHBACK NIGHT tribute to Rob, complete with bright workout gear and glow sticks. Here’s a peek into our special evening with Rob:

Melissa bringing the fun! Glow sticks ahoy!!!

Signs of affection

Rob leading our Thursday night pack of stone cold fitness foxes!

Workin’ it with the King of Turbo Kick!

Rob passin’ out the goods . . . 

It’s about to get cray cray up in here . . .

We are the light show!! Viva la Glow Stick Turbo Partaaayyyy!!

Finishing up with a sweet recovery . . . which we needed after bringing our A++ Game!

Rob makin’ sure we take care of our bodies with a refreshing post-workout stretch sesh

A small part of our Thursday Night Turbo Kick Class (those that could stick around) showin’ our love for our TK Jedi Mastahhhh!

I picked up these wonderful flowers at Pike Place Market for Rob because they remind me of his love for gardening. I found it fitting because he definitely has a knack for making beautiful, healthy things grow! 😀

Booty shot with Rob, me, and my Turbo Kick fitness friends! ♥



Dear Rob,

I cannot thank you enough for all of your encouragement and for your friendship! You are so much more than just a Turbo Kick instructor. You are a superhero and I am forever thankful for all that you’ve done to help me become the best version of myself. You’ve helped me make the impossible possible and have helped me embrace a healthy, body-positive lifestyle. Your time, energy, motivation, and ability to make fitness fun for me has NOT been in vain. Thank you for sharing your life and family with me and our class (especially that adorably sweet panda, Oliver!). Because of you, I’ve made new fitness friends and have learned to fight for my life in a whole new way! I hope that there will come a time soon when you’ll be back teaching at 24Hr in Northgate because that family (and my Fit Life) just isn’t the same without you! Keep up the great work and party rock on!

All my love and warm fuzzies,



If you all get a chance, head over to Rob’s art SITE and FACEBOOK and take a peek at another piece of his talents at work!


Happy Fit Life Friday, Y’all!


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The Purple People Eater | Fit Life Friday

The new Starbucks red cups are out!

Do you know what that means????

More than happily embracing my favorite fall color combo: Black + Red ♡ Their Thanksgiving Blend brew is deeeelish!! And I’m really looking forward to trying their Holiday Blend too!

I mean aside from the fact that it means that you can now order a venti Caramel Brulee Latte with an extra shot, extra caramel sauce, and whipped topping . . . every day for the next 2 months, guilt-free! 

It also means that the holiday season is full-force upon us and we will be greeted more readily and heavily with EVERY opportunity to embrace the excuses that have kicked us off the path to reaching our healthy life goals. Let me just get real with you for a hot second. Even though I strive to avoid processed and added sugars, I have a sweet tooth too. However, I’m tired of letting it dominate my clarity of mind and my ability to be in control of my health. It’s for that reason that I bought some of Torani’s Sugar-Free syrups (Pumpkin Pie & Gingerbread . . . and soon, Peppermint). I’ve now given myself a way to indulge without letting the drug that sugar is, rule my mind and body.

I guess I no longer qualify as a “Starving Artist” 😉 Breakfast is served! On the menu: Spicy Garlic & Herb goat cheese omelet w/ onion & black beans + veggie mix & fresh pineapple and (of course) Trader Joe’s Pumpkin Spice coffee w/ Torani syrup boost! ♥ Happy Fall, y’all! ♥

One of my biggest goals this season is not to fall into the big “Holiday Trap.” It’s tough to do—we as Americans live to eat and food has become the center of our attention at every party, every meeting, everything. It’s everywhere, and coupled with our lack of self-control, it’s killing us. And I don’t just mean with diabetes and heart disease, I mean it’s killing our minds, our hearts, and our sense of wholeness as human beings. I just spent an entire evening at a Halloween event with adults who were eating just as much (if not more) candy than their kids were. That’s no big deal to me at all, but what killed me was that they would eat some and then say, things like “I know I shouldn’t.” and “Ugh. This is the 10th Kit Kat I’ve had. I need to stop. . . after this Reese’s.”  And my favorite, “Well, I gotta test it out for my kids, right?” That breaks my heart, because whether or not they meant it as a joke, they meant it. Eating should not be something we’re ashamed of or something we have to justify.  Food should not have THAT MUCH power over us. As I’ve been on this Fit Life journey, one of the biggest things I’ve wrestled with is developing a healthy relationship with food. I don’t want to treat myself like a dog and justify every treat because I’ve “earned” it or because it’s what’s expected of me. I want to make conscious choices about what I put into my body and learn balance and healthy boundaries along the way.

Try spending 2 weeks around all of that candy, with the smell wafting in the air each time you pass by because the guys on staff have already opened a bunch of bags and started snacking into the stash non-stop throughout the days. Good thing the smell was so sugar sweet that it was mildly unappealing at times. 😐

For instance, with the holidays coming up, it’s my natural go-to to bake, bake, bake, and bake some more! Pumpkin pie, Apple pie, Berry Cakes, Cookies, and the like generally make their presence fully known in my kitchen around this time. And since I’m living the single lady life, I usually end up having a few extra slices lying around that just so happen to end up in my tummy as I mindlessly snack on them out of convenience or stress. However, I’m challenging myself to make only savory side dishes for potlucks, parties, and special events this season. I want to DISCOVER whether or not I can break the social norm and refrain from gorging on alllll the sweets that I’ll be presented with as I go about life during this hectic stressful time.

Oh hey, I even got to sneak in a good workout on Halloween! 😉 Why, oh *why* did I decide to fill up this huge tote DOWNSTAIRS when it clearly belongs upstairs?!? hahaha!

My big concerns for this upcoming season have been:

  • Since I’m not going home to see family, I’m going to be more homesick, and therefore more emotional. I still struggle from time to time with emotional eating. This could all end badly and derail me from reclaiming my Fit Life. However, if I play my cards right and I do my best to plan for success, I can overcome another round of learning to not feed my emotions. I definitely want to be stronger in this!
  • Being involved in ministry automatically signs you up for an increased amount of cookie exchanges, parties, events, dinners, etc. so I know that a large amount of fatty restaurant foods and sweets will be more than readily available to me after a hectic day of racking my brain to make seemingly impossible things happen and it’s more than likely that no one in attendance will care if I’m eating unhealthy foods, because we’ll all be doing it together. This is where peer pressure kicks in and that’s another hard battle for me.
  • Being a Children’s Director + Youth Pastor and not using candy and treats as an easy go-to reward for these little lives, of who we are trying to teach how to live an all-around healthy, full life in Christ. I don’t want to teach these kiddos that the only way to reward themselves is with sugar treats, because God gives us so many other awesome things to reward ourselves with that won’t make us lose control, drug our bodies and cause us to bounce off the walls.
  • I DO want to maintain a healthy eating lifestyle and part of it is learning to eat in moderation. I mean, I’m definitely gonna have some pumpkin pie this Turkey day, but if I can help it at all, I’m going to enjoy one slice, and not half the entire pie (I’ve been known to do that in the past, by the way). I’m also going to be sure I eat all my fruits and veggies first. Those treat my body wayyyy better than pecan pie does.

In order to take a strong foot forward to reach my goals, I used Halloween as an experiment of sorts. I mean, c’mon, being around all of that candy for the past 2 weeks has been Temptation City! However, I was able to make it through the day with the ability to consciously enjoy every single moment, not feeling robbed of treats! And unlike my episode at Easter, I didn’t binge on a bag of Reese’s afterward. 😉 What I decided beforehand was that I was going to spend the day treating myself to some healthy and fun things that I wouldn’t normally spend money on and this would be one of those extra special occasions—much like Christmas Day. I chose 3 of my favorite fruits that I rarely buy because they’re so pricey and then I stopped off at the Target dollar spot to pick out some toys that gave me warm fuzzies. If I can spend the day feeling like I’ve got treasures waiting for me, there’s less of a desire to fill that void with candy, which has a habit of making me feel good for a 2 minutes and then dropping me like a bad habit. Here’s how it all went down:

Food Indulgences: Cinnamon Apple Spice Tea (seriously tastes like hot apple cider!), Mixed berries cup, Tillamook Light Marionberry Yogurt (Marionberry is my 2nd favorite type of pie), Strawberry Lemonade Cascade Ice, & a Honeycrisp Apple = HOLY YUM!


Fun Feeling Indulgences: Rudolph The Red-Nosed Reindeer Coloring Books!!!!!!!!, Watermelon Fun Dip Lip Balm, A new coffee mug with one of the best phrases ever!, A coupon to Savour in Ballard (which sadly, I didn’t have time to use before it expired), and a Space Invaders Rubix Cube! 😀

And of course, I did allow myself to have a piece of candy, duh! Much to my excitement, one of our candy donations was this bag of Sugar Free Caramel Coffee Werther’s! I snagged a couple before adding them to the big Candy Zone bin, but I only ended eating one since I had been full off of the other food I’d been eating all day.


I made sure to eat a tasty, filling breakfast: Paleo Coconut Bread toasted w/ “Leafy” eggs and salsa 😉 Yellow peppers, my mixed berries, and TJ’s Pumpkin Spice coffee!

Snacks were packed with protein and healthy fats to keep me going full-force all day long” . . . and of course, my Werther’s made its grand entrance 😉


Lunch was hearty and filling: Crockpot Chicken Enchilada Soup, Salad & my beautiful, delicious, Honeycrisp Apple! (One of God’s FINEST creations!)


Not pictured (since it was so busy) was my dinner—Turkey sandwich, apples & veggies galore! Also not pictured is the Tupperware bowl of cauliflower that I brought into work that day JUST IN CASE I had a moment of weakness and was tempted to stress eat. For the record, I DID have a big stressful moment in the evening and I DID stress eat. Thankfully, my best friend Heather was in the kitchen with me when it happened. She made the comment about me “going to town on all that cauliflower” and I told her it was because I was so nervous and stressed about whether my 1st event as the Children’s Director would be a success or not. She gave me a chance to talk (and snack) it out and then she prayed for me and gave me lots of hugs. That gave me all the strength I needed to get through the next part of the evening. Well, that and another cup of coffee! 😉 When I got home, I busted out one of my coloring books and just took some time to unwind and get ready for bed. I felt that my experiment was successful and it gave me hope for this upcoming holiday season. I know it’ll have its ups and downs, but I’m definitely feeling more confident about it!


Happy Fit Life Friday, y’all!


I will say, I had about 7 cups of coffee total on Halloween. And let’s get real, if that’s not a TREAT, I don’t know what is! 😉