my life in my words

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I dunno about you, but I’m feelin’ 32!


Coming off of a week of recovery from a double-whammy featuring bronchitis and pneumonia, I was entirely grateful to be feeling at least 95% on my Birthday! I’m still fighting off the remainder of the infections, and when I do, it’s gonna be a true Fro-Yo Tastic celebration (can’t have dairy or chocolate until I get better)! Thankfully, my wonderful friends helped me ease into a fun Pre-Party celebration and made sure that I also had an incredibly fun special day! On Saturday, my best friend Heather took me to breakfast at GLO’s in Cap Hill and then we got to explore the area, try some delicious Kuma Coffee at BLACK COFFEE CO-OP, and hit up the Value Village for a fun schemy surprise that will come out of hiding at the Westside Women’s Christmas Brunch! Hehehehehehe!! 😉



The morning of my Birthday came early and fast . . . as most Sundays do! I got a call from my folks and I even got to talk to Vanessa!! It was a Happy Birthday morning indeed! I was greeted by my early arriving teen volunteers who brought me gifts and cards—starting the morning off feeling loved is NEVER a bad idea. Then, as I was working the Check-In desk with the 1st service crew, parents and kids alike showered me with sweet Birthday wishes, presents, cards, and best of all . . . HUGS!!!! Our incredible Pastor’s wife also arranged for all the kids to have Birthday hats and blowers handed out to them. Her sweet kiddos also greeted me with hugs and a massive collection of balloons! She also bought Krispy Kreme donuts for the kids to enjoy as a special celebratory treat that morning. They all sang me Happy Birthday and presented me with a HUGE special gift [Gift cards to OLD NAVY and HOGWARTS!!!!]* that all the parents contributed towards, before we all sang our Praise & Worship songs. It was a gigantic celebration and my heart was completely filled with joy and appreciation!


After service, I took one of my youth girls out for our pre-scheduled lunch and chat time date. I almost wore the balloons (that were now belted around my jeans) and the mohawk wig (for Crazy Hair Sunday in Kid’s Church) out to lunch, but they wouldn’t fit in the car we rode down to lunch in. However, the glasses stayed and even garnered me a sweet Birthday treat (Pumpkin Scone) from GREAT HARVEST! Holy Yum! We then headed back to the church to set up the decorations for youth group that night and spent some extra time just talking about life and some struggles she’d been facing. Feeling useful on your Birthday is also a really great thing! Shortly before dinner time, a few of the youth students showed up early, so we had dinner all together. I made them Little Smokies in Stubb’s BBQ sauce—a true Texas (and Birthday) treat!


Then we had youth service and I got even more gifts and cards from my wonderful teens! Everyone helped with clean-up and I got a ride home from our Associate Pastor, so I got to enjoy more of the evening and spend less of it on the bus.  I got to spend the rest of my evening in my pajamas, eating popcorn and fresh pineapple chunks, all the while reading over each of the sweet cards that was given to me that day and opening all the sweet gifts from friends!!
I am truly one BLESSED Amo!

THANK YOU THANK YOU THANK YOU to everyone for making my special day rock SO much!!! Your In-Person/FB/Texted/E-mailed Birthday wishes, messages, DMs, Tweets, gifts, and cards have filled my tanks beyond overflowing!!! It was an honor to celebrate all day w/ my Westside fam.

And last night, the Birthday fun continued as my best friend Maggie treated me to a delicious home-cooked dinner and a movie (GRAVITY 3D, which I have been wanting to see SOOOOOO bad)!! It was pretty good, though I admit, I would have appreciated a little more closure. As the credits were rolling, I was hoping for a “bonus scene” or something to let us know what the “next step” was. Alas, no bonus scene. Only questions and assumptions were our parting gifts. Still, it was a great flick and I’m glad we got to watch it together!

For now the work-week carries on until Sunday night when I get to fly out to Baltimore to spend a week celebrating life with my bestest ever friend on the whole planet—Sarah!! We already talked about our plans for the week and I’m so stoked for our adventures!  To everyone that made my Birthday special—THANK YOU FOREVER AND A DAY!!!
You keep my heart, mind, and life FULL!

(One of our Westside Kids workers helps a kiddo sing me HAPPY BIRTHDAY!)

* My nickname for THE JEWEL BOX CAFE, which is my favorite Seattle coffee shop!

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It's a retro kinda Monday . . .

It’s a retro kinda Monday . . .

I had a WONDERFUL weekend full of good times and good treats.
For instance, yesterday, my friend Robert dropped me off at Barnes and Noble so that I could sit in a coffee shop and think through some things that have been going on in my life that I need to wrestle with. It felt incredible to get out of my house and sit in a cafe and drink hot tea
(I highly recommend the Hot Cinnamon Spice by Harney & Sons) that I didn’t have to microwave and to enjoy a piping hot bowl of chili!
Oh the little things I once took for granted.

So what better way to kick off the new week than to share some goodies with you?! Enjoy!

I got to have Christmas Breakfast with one of my 2Twelve Students and his family!

The Millers are an awesome family that have taken me in and covered me in love and guidance. Now that I’m not under house arrest, Mrs. Miller was more than willing to have me over for a special Christmas celebratory dinner. One thing you should know about me by now is that I LOVE breakfast. Any time of the day. I’m a sucker for eggs, turkey sausage, pancakes, fresh fruit, etc. Any time—actual breakfast, lunch, or dinner! So, in following up with my previous brunch party hosted by my amazing G-Mama, the Millers also treated me to a delicious Vegetable Egg Bake, Fresh Fruit, Bacon, and Coffee Cake! Another thing you should know about me is my breakdown of favorite fruits, cause well, I HEART FRUIT!!

  1. Pineapples
  2. Strawberries
  3. Honey Crisp Apples (okay, okay, and apples in general)
  4. Grapes
  5. Blueberries

What’s extra cool is that, knowing how much I ADORE Christmas (hello, we STILL have our tree up at the house), they left their Christmas decorations up so that I could enjoy them as well. *swoon*


Learning ADRIFT from Jedi Master B—, one of my 2Twelve Student Leaders!


I fell in love with their sweet pup pup, Danny!


Basking in the warm glow of the beautiful lights


I totally want to do this when I get a place of my own!

My buddy, Jolly, had me in stitches with this hilarious comic strip!

Seriously, at this point, I just gotta laugh to keep from crying 😉




I celebrated Birthdays with my family thanks to technology!

I’ll be brutally honest—this holiday season took SO much out of me emotionally! I MISS MY FAMILY LIKE NO ONE’S BUSINESS!!!
It’s true. As much as I’ve tried to tell myself that I’m good on my own and I don’t need to have constant contact with my family, I do. I need them. Even when I feel they don’t need me or that I don’t really “need” them to get through tough seasons of life, I do. I got to Skype with them during the holidays but it’s not the same. A computer screen is no substitute for a hug or a snuggle or a good cry sesh. It’s also no substitute for family comfort food, relaxing walks in downtown Austin, or Mamo’s Christmas cookies. Over the past few days, my mom and my youngest niece both celebrated their Birthdays. While I couldn’t be there in person, my sibs made sure to send me pics. I cannot even begin to tell you how bittersweet these pics are. I’m stoked that my mom was treated to a delicious dinner and that my niece got a super cute new pet, but I wish I could have been there as well. I did spend a good amount of time at B&N last night with the water works going because I realized that I wouldn’t get to give my niece Birthday snuggles. The good news is that I’ll get to spend 4th of July weekend with them (AND FIREWORKS!!!!!) this year!


My mom and sis celebrating my mom’s 20th Birthday ;p


My sibs and nieces


my youngest niece chompin’ down on some good ‘ol Tex Mex


My sister and the girls . . .such beauties . . . and ummmm booties 😉


My bro bro and my oldest niece

For once in my life, I am actually factually jealous of a bunny rabbit . . . mostly because this wascaly wabbit, Lola (her present), gets to snuggle with my sweet niece on her 4th Birthday! ♥ PS: You can tell we’re related because she also walks around with no pants on 😉

I got to go out for coffee & shopping with my best friend, the Magster!

I got to finally reconnect with my bestie after a stretch of busy seasons. Yesterday in youth group, I taught the students about how a true friend cares about your INSIDE more than your OUTSIDE and the Magster is definitely one of those friends to me, as well as one I reciprocate that with. On Saturday, she treated me to coffee at ZOKA in Greenlake (trust me, if you can get your hands on a Zoka roast, you’ve got GOLD!) and some sock shopping at THE SOCK MONSTER. She finished it up in true friend fashion and grabbed some groceries for me for this week. 🙂


Amazeballs! . . . errrr Grounds.


Tea Maxi anyone?!?

Peanut butta’, Zoka time with mah homegirl, the Magster


New Fun Socks!!! DEFINITELY a treat!

New Fun Socks!!! DEFINITELY a treat!

My friend Alisa shared this with me.
I DARE you not to laugh as you read the reviews!

No really. Go. Now. Read. LAUGH!!!!

Playmobil Security Check Point

(click through to read hilarious reviews)

I am officially a Seahawks Poser!

I went shopping with my friend Heather the other day in search of some Seahawks colored clothing to wear to church on Sunday to stand in solidarity with the sports fanatics that attend Westside. Heather spotted this AWESOME sweatshirt and I got to wear it for the big game day. Unfortunately, I missed the game. Partially because I was teaching youth during the majority of it and partially because afterward, I was wiped out and needed to go home and take a nap. I slept through the game 😦 Having watched a couple of Texas games this season, I don’t feel TOO bad about missing this one. At least I got the sweatshirt, though, right?!? 😉


I actually LOVE the style of the sweatshirt too!

Who’s ready to get wild & crazy and cheer on the Hawks?!? This Amo right here!!! Ohhh bed head and face mask, you are mah heroes 😉


My friend Kat is now officially a blogger!

You should definitely head over to THE WIFELY ADVENTURER and subscribe.
She’s got so much snark, wisdom, and great stories to share!

Have you downloaded the new Chris Tomlin album yet? If not, get on it!


(click through to listen on Spotify)

I cannot get enough of this gem. My fave songs are:



Yeah, and that’s only SOME of the fun!
For now, I’m gearing up for a good, strong week ahead as I start to make trips back into the workplaces I once frequented.
And now I MUSTACHE you a question . . .


Amo—little, yellow, different. 😉


How was YOUR weekend?
Did you do anything exciting?!?


What Doesn’t Kill You (Stronger)

Eleven days ago, I turned 30 years old, and I’ve been celebrating ever since! I’ve had a bunch of Birthday parties over the past few days, each shared with some amazing people in my life. One of my favorites was a breakfast brunch I had last Saturday. It was a smaller gathering, but it was so treasured because I was able to spend more quality time with just a handful of people as opposed to little bits of time spent with a large group of people. My friend Alisa planned the Birthday brunch so that we could celebrate both my Birthday, and our friend Elizabeth’s. We invited mutual friends and spent the time sharing laughs, stories, and wisdom with one another.

Kathy, Elizabeth, Emily, Alisa, Me, & Korin

We pick up life lessons from all kinds of sources—public lectures, movies, songs, poetry, stories, and sermons. I get some of my biggest life lessons from hearing the life experiences of others in relaxed settings and just observing the way people around me interact. That morning, we all sat down to eat a yummy breakfast at Portage Bay Cafe and I gleaned so much wisdom from the ladies surrounding me at the table. The jokes and coffee were flowing, as were the encouraging words and presents! I got some sweet gifts: a pretty plant from Alisa (which she guarantees should withstand my not-so-green thumb), new fun socks, a gift card to Hogwarts (The Jewel Box Cafe/my favorite coffee shop), and my most treasured gifts—cards with encouraging words written inside!

this card played a fun fiesta tune!

It felt great to be surrounded by my friends as I celebrated what some would call “THE BIG THREE-OH!” Honestly, I haven’t felt “older” since I turned 21. I can see and hear certain changes in my everyday life, but my perspective on life hasn’t changed much since then. I still feel very young and very free. I still feel like I have the whole world at my feet and a drive to grab life by the reigns and hang on for the ride. The day before my birthday, I decided to do something that I hadn’t done in a while. I cancelled my plans for the evening and took some time to reflect on where I’d been in the past few years, where I wanted to be during this next year of my life, and who I wanted to become as I continue to get older. It made me come face-to-face with some realizations about myself and at the end of the night, I felt ready to take another step forward, out of who I had been for the past 10 years and into a new season of life.

I thought about what mattered most to me:

my faith
my family
my friends
the students I pastor
my hobbies/passions

I thought about what doesn’t matter:

being right
situations I can’t control
not being understood by people who don’t know me
having an abundance of material possessions
selfish actions of insecure people

I thought about what I wanted to gain in this next year of my life:

more wisdom and discernment on how to positively affect the lives of others
a stronger relationship with my extended family
to sharpen the skills and talents I’ve been given
to explore more and have more adventures
to find true love and nurture it

I reflected on some nuggets of wisdom 
and made a commitment to put them into practice:

Roll with the punches
There are many things in life that will catch your eye,
but only a few will catch your heart…pursue those.” — Michael Nolan
Life is far too short to take every thing seriously.
It’s the time that you spent on your rose that makes your rose so important.” — Antoine de Saint-Exupéry
Run mad as often as you choose, but do not faint!” — Jane Austen (Mansfield Park)
Whether you think that you can, or that you can’t, you are usually right.” — Henry Ford
Finish each day and be done with it. You have done what you could.
Some blunders and absurdities have crept in; forget them as soon as you can.
Tomorrow is a new day.
You shall begin it serenely and with too high
a spirit to be encumbered with your old nonsense.” — Emerson

A few months ago, a guest speaker came to our church and prayed for me. While he prayed for me, he prophesied some incredibly hefty things over my life. Don’t worry, it wasn’t anything hokey or like apocalyptic—it was just empowering and challenging, and humbling. In the past, I’ve been severely skeptical about those who claim to “prophesy,” mainly because it’s gotten such a bad rep in the public eye and it’s always seemed so weird to me in general. For some reason, that night as I was being prayed over, the words were real and they had actual factual meaning to my life. That a man who didn’t know me at all spoke words that dealt with the core of my heart and life, piqued my curiosity and left me thinking,”Wait. What just happened?” I can’t promise that anything or everything he said will come to pass, but it’s definitely encouraged me to think outside of the box and dream bigger. I have a CD with his prayer recorded on it. The night before my birthday, (and what spurred on this time of reflection) I listened to it. Twice. I felt the words and remembered the moment all over again and I knew that it was time to really think about and digest what was said. When he first prayed for me, the others who had heard it came up to me and were buzzing over all the great things that were said. For the next few weeks, it was the hot topic in all my discussions with friends—”So I heard so-and-so prophesied over you and that it was pretty incredible! What did he say?!?” So I had to relive it and cut the prayer down to the Sparks Notes version. It was still very hard for me to wrap my mind around the entire situation.

It was a bit weird, since I’d never really taken time out to reflect. I felt like I had put a book on a shelf and grabbed a new one, with fresh pages to begin writing a new story. In a sense, I kind of see it as The Neverending Story. You know, the one with the luck dragon and sneezing turtle. I just hope that as the story moves along, it’s filled with light, love, laughter, and hope. I’ve already been asked to take on some new creative projects and I’ve even started brewing some new ideas of my own. I think the only other thing that would make this next story perfect would be to have Falkor come to life and whisk me away on all those adventures. But I guess in the meantime, Jet Blue will have to do. 😉 I’m not sure how it will all play out, but it will be fun to take a look back at some point even further down the road and see the ground I’ve covered. What will be even more exciting is having all of my closest friends and my family in the story with me! I’m very excited about what lies ahead for me and I still feel like I have the whole world at my feet and a drive to grab life by the reigns and hang on for the ride!

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Close To You: A Birthday Post!

On the day that you were born,
the angels got together
and decided to create a dream come true . . .

Not too shabby, eh?!?   ;p

I decided that since my parents were pretty much the major part of this day being a thing, I’d call them up and ask them to share one of their first memories of the day of my birth. So without further adieu, the story of me:

From mom: 
You were born in the afternoon and you were two weeks early. I was so surprised when I realized I was going into labor that I just packed a bag real quick and jumped in the cab wearing my pajamas and my hair rollers. It was like a Carol Burnett moment! And I gave birth to you in my pajamas and hair rollers too! You weighed 6 pounds. And we gave you your name—we had it picked out and it’s the one I really wanted to give you. I wanted a little girl so bad and I got what I wanted! I was very happy to have you. You had jaundice, so I had to keep taking you back to the hospital for check-ups. I told the doctors that I’d keep bringing you back, as long as I could bring you home! I wouldn’t trade you for anything in the world.  You were very smart, very cute, very everything we ever wanted.

From dad: 

The day before you were born, I was out in Stuttgart, which is almost 2 and a half hours away from Nuremberg Hospital. I worked that morning on the 2nd and then I went home to get some sleep. When I finally got home, my sergeant called me and told me to call him back. When I did, he said, “Hey boy, somebody called and said your wife is going to have your baby! You need to come home right now!” I was half asleep, but I went home, got packed as fast as I could through the snow, and drove to Nuremburg. I was so tired, I stopped all along the way at three different Gast Hauses to get some espresso to make it to you! I finally got to the hospital and asked if the baby had already been born, and they said no, and I was so relieved! After you were born, I was so excited to see my baby girl! You had a tremendous amount of beautiful black hair. You were so beautiful, my Mandy Pandy.

They also shared some other milestones with me and some of their thoughts of who I was as I was growing up. It really made me appreciate the way they navigated through my shenanigans. I have truly lived a blessed life full of ups and downs and I am looking forward to another year of wonderful milestones and memories!

Today’s wonderful birthday wouldn’t have been as awesome without hearing their stories, and without the love I got from ALL of my friends! Here are some other great moments from my special day:

 A sweet note from one of our work volunteers, Gale

 A fruit tray that Gale got me—she knows I’m doing the game on diet, so she brought me fruit with Greek Yogurt! Then she and my boss sat down and told me all of their favorite things about me and what they appreciated about me. 🙂 

Then I went over to Alisa’s house and she treated me to pizza from my favorite pizza joint, Pagliacci Pizza! She also baked me a cake and invited some people to come over and join us for a nice evening before my big trip—PERRRRFECT!

My friend Maggie brought over this creative snack tray for me!

 This is the AMAZING cake that Alisa baked for me! It was yellow cake with chocolate frosting—my fave!! I had told her daughter that I was turning 4, so they got me a 4 candle to blow out.  ;p

 All my cards and my birthday balloon from the evening!
And I finished the night, coming home to
this sweet birthday message from my housemates!

Today, I truly felt celebrated! I’m looking forward to many more years of celebrating!


I Think I’m Getting Older

Today is my birthday! A little video blog love for ya! 😀

Birthday Video Blog: I THINK I’M GETTING OLDER from amanda martinez on Vimeo.

It’s my birthday! Help me celebrate the twenty eight!

PS: today we’re going to pretend that I’m turning 27 okay?? 😀 yay! hehehehehe!
PSS: I failed math.

Also as a bonus today, I asked people to share a short/sweet memory that they have of times with me! Randomly throughout the day, I will post them here for all to see and enjoy! Thanks for 27 great years of memories and I look forward to more!

S.G. > Happy Birthday!! First thing I thought of was your Turkey Dance! Hahaha
M.W. > HAPPY BIRTHDAY!! And camp Rise and your suitecase and the stairs, so good. I have more 🙂
B.P. > 😀 bday!! Fav memory was def the ‘we’ve got cookies!’ night! Also, the family dinners, sat morning brkfast. …too many to choose..
D.A. > Happy Birthday! and, via your request, cue the indian
K.M. > meeting in Seattle,while Mark & I were @ a conf. Protein Planet, shopping,that hippie stringed instrument store & the ?able marquee. Going 2 lunch with you for the 1sttime in Austin & getting 2 know you a little. I knew right away-I’d found an “adopted daughter
K.D. > Happy Birthday! One of my favorite memories of you – and this is a loooooooooong time ago, is all of your witty wise cracks from the color guard locker room, they were a riot! …
One of my favorite( and obscure)quotes is “how can we miss you, if you don’t leave?” 😉 Have a great Birthday! 🙂
E.Z. > Happy Birthday!!!! Favorite memory??? How bout my entire first year! Snores-ville bunk-mate…LOVE YOU! Have a wonderful day!
A.M. > Happy birthday!!!!! My favorite memory has to be all of us acting a fool up in the prop room!
B.A. > Happy Birthday!!! 🙂 I think to describe my favorite memory with you I just need one word…. BEENO! bahahaha I love you! ♥
E.A. > happy birthday! my favorite memory is the Portico Christmas party
J.C. > HAPPY BIRTHDAY!!! remember when we worked at hallmark and you snuck out to get free burts bees stuff then our manager came down stairs.. I was scared, but we didn’t get caught! 🙂
P.L. >Happy Birthday Amanda! Hope you have a fabulous day and maybe even get some Chick Fil A! =) My favorite memory I think has definitely got to be our summer trip this year….more specifically the “5”, HAHA! Unforgettable! =)
L.C. > Happy Birthday!! TOO MANY memories! chicken bank, life lessons involving water & media track
C.C. > happy Bday! “My chicken bank won’t put out!”
D.M. > happy b-day, left you a vm (I’m kind of a creeper in it). Best memory, wow, too many. Shober receipts, HOF flyers, slapping Jordan, your music video, Let’s Get It Started, dragons & HSM tattoos, your sweet MCA jeapardy games, & French fries @ McDonalds

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Hammond Song

My birthday is about 4 months away. . .and I think I discovered a wondermous birthday present:

On Nov. 3rd (my b-day), the U.S. version of HOW TO BE will be released!! wheee!! I love it! 😀

Okay so really i love Rob Pattinson, but hey it counts. It’s a really fun movie 😀

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Real Life Fairytale

Yesterday was so much fun! 

The morning started off a little rough… I got on the wrong bus. 😦
(the blue shape is my house, the red shape is where I went at first, and the green shape is where I needed to go.)
You see, I use the online metro transit site to navigate my way around here, but when I typed Meridian Park into the destination line, I guess it never occurred to me that there was not only a Meridian Park in the Wallingford neighborhood, but there’s also apparently a MERIDIAN PARK neighborhood in Shoreline, which is the COMPLETE opposite direction of where I needed to go. 😦  who knew…

Anyway, I finally made it to the party and had a great time helping Christiaan Vodegel celebrate his FIRST birthday! 😀  

And if it’s possible at all, I think I’ve actually fallen head over heels in love with a park—MERIDIAN PARK!  It was so whimsical and all the playground equipment was just…the bee’s knees! seriously!  All of the decor was centered around storybooks.  And there was SO much to do! I WISH this stuff had been around when I was a kid…it’s seriously so innovative!

Then after the party, I headed over to Soundview Playfields in Crown Hill for a DOUBLE HEADER game! We didn’t win either game, but we had a whole lot of fun just playing and cheering each other on and laughing so hard.  😀 Unfortunately, we were short on players so I didn’t get to take a whole lot of pictures, but trust me, it was fun…

…Unless you count the umpire, who obviously didn’t know what was going on. First of all, he was calling really bad calls. But what’s worse is that he would call it, and then be like, “I think it was a….” (REALLY??!!??) And then when he would make calls, he would kind of say them under his breath so we had to constantly ask him to repeat what the call was. And playing catcher, it was so creeptastic because he was all up in my area and i actually accidentally pushed him against the back board because he was so up on me that it was a natural chain reaction.  In my head I was like, “Look, H-Umpire… ease up off.”  Aside from the umpire madness, it was a great time!  😀