amo.says

my life in my words


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Hearts Go Crazy

Powerful leaders and rockin' guitars? Hmm. I MUST be in Austin! ;)

Powerful leaders and artsy rockin’ guitars? Hmm. I MUST be in Austin! 😉

My visit home to the ATX was nothing short of jam-packed, fast-paced,
FUN FUN FUN!!

Along with that fun, it was also filled with a lot of growing! I was finally in a place mentally/emotionally/spiritually where I was able to focus on more positive things and choose joy despite inconveniences & last-minute changes. I became more flexible and more vocal about what was really happening in my mind. I gave grace out of true love, not out of “obligation.” I sat and listened while I was dead tired because I didn’t want the speaker to think that they are invaluable—because they certainly are not! They are, in fact, some of the MOST valuable people in my life. I know that we are going to continue to grow as individuals and as a family this year in fresh new ways. The distance is INDEED making our hearts grow fonder, our ability to ask for help more frequent, and our honesty even more valued. Now that I’ve had time to grow close to my family while visiting last week, I’m looking forward to growing even closer to my family across the miles this year!

Here are some of my favorite moments from vacation:

Cupcakes

Being greeted by Mr. Hello Kitty at the airport and heading right over to Anabelle’s school for her big Birthday surprise!

school

Anabelle was SO focused on what the teacher was saying that she didn’t even see us come in through the classroom door (off to the right front side)!

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But when she saw us, she was on CLOUD 9! It was a perfect surprise!

lunch

And then even better because Grandpa and Aunt Mandy got to join her for lunch and playground time!

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We even made a special pit-stop by Grandma’s work, where the nice soldiers gave Anabelle some sweet Birthday moolah!

Trivia

Trivial Pursuit at breakfast with my mom & sis was priceless!

Nate

We got to celebrate family with quality time at my Mamo’s (Grandma’s) house and I got to watch my little cuzzo cub, Nate, walking around!! Precious moments to the max!

Pops

Quality time with this dude was always a win! 🙂 I just forever love my pops!

We were SO loud in the restaurant and it was quite possibly one of the happiest moments we’ve shared as siblings in a VERY long time! 🙂

Grandma

I *rarely* get to see my Grandma Martinez when I go home to visit, so it was super special to spend time with her before I flew home.

science

Vanessa got to show off her science project + got to share some treasured time together discussing/planning her visit to Seattle next summer! 😉

hearts

Vanessa and I also got a chance to compare heart tattoos and talk about life/school stuff. I love quality time with that little Miss!

I got to treat my mom to her 1st EVER pedicure! She said, “You made me feel like a Queen!” That’s good, because she TOTALLY is! ♥

Even though I had a short amount of time to spend with everyone, I took any opportunity I could to squeeze in time . . . even if it meant staying out late at the restaurant with my dad and keeping myself occupied with work projects while waiting for his breaks. TOTALLY worth it! :)

Even though I had a short amount of time to spend with everyone, I took any opportunity I could to squeeze in time . . . even if it meant staying out late at the restaurant with my dad and keeping myself occupied with work projects while waiting for his breaks. TOTALLY worth it! 🙂

 

Thinking back to those treasured times with my family brings me peace, knowing that there is healing and maturation in store for this divided heart of mine. Yes, you read that right—divided . . . but not divided for long, I’m sure. You see, currently on one side of my heart is my family back home, and on the other side is my family here in Seattle. These two pieces of my heart are miles apart from each other. Yet I have high hopes and firm beliefs that as I grow this year, they can find a healthy way to come together to make up one WHOLEHEARTED Amo. In pursuit of that merger, I’m reminded of a conversation I had with my Pastor a few weeks ago. We were discussing something in one of our staff meetings and I kept referring to GT Austin (the church I used to attend in Austin) as “My Home Church.”  While I kept saying, “My Home Church,” he stopped me for a second and said, “This is your home church.” In that instance I realized just how right he was and just how much I’d been living with my feet on Seattle soil and my mind on Texas life. I wanted the best of both worlds (don’t we all) but now it was time to settle the roots down into something solid. He meant no ill-will by correcting my phrasing, he simply wanted me to focus on the present and embrace the church family that consistently embraces me. I truly appreciate that wake-up call and refocusing that has me set on a forward path. It’s not wrong to keep my family and their well-being in my heart, however, it is wrong to allow the long-distance concerns to keep me from pursuing my goals and dreams for my life and for my future family. As I continue to travel through this year of WHOLEHEARTED living, I’m learning to change the inner-voice that helps to guide my mindsets. By shifting that inner-voice, I am hoping that I will be able to take full inventory of the life around me and truly embrace all that God has for me here in Seattle!


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Hot Patootie — Bless My Soul

10 points to you if you just started singing the song. 😉

Puget Sound view from Grace's place! ♥

Puget Sound view from Grace’s place! ♥

 

As I sit here in the C Terminal at DFW airport, I find myself mulling over some the wonderful conversation pieces I shared with my friend Grace last night. It’s been a long while since I’ve gotten to hang out with her, so we had a lot of catching up to do during our pre-flight hangout. So much of the conversation was edifying to my soul and gave me a great opportunity of refocus. We talked a lot about the premise of perfection. We talked a lot about the risks that we don’t take due to our upbringing of perfection and how we’ve developed it in our own lives and seen it focused on in the lives of friends.

 

Tram Time at DFW . . . killin' time during my 3 hour layover!

Tram Time at DFW . . . killin’ time during my 3 hour layover!

 

Often times through our discussion, we reverted to the Pinterest Perfect phenomenon. It’s that moment when you’ve seen something on Pinterest, attempted it, failed, and given up because it’s not PINTEREST PERFECT. We discussed the frustration of spending hours on a craft project only to put in our closet of shame and refuse to share it with anyone because we failed. It not only permeates the way we view our next project (if we even decide to take on another), it affects our willingness to risk the next big step in life . . . what if we fail?

 

 

Failure has always been a struggle for me. I’ve grown up on stories of how so-and-so was a failure, and how I would be failure if I didn’t accomplish A,B,C,D, and E. Why don’t I have kids yet? Why don’t I have a boyfriend yet? Why am I not publishing my own books? Why am I not doing ______ in the ministry. Why is our youth group not running 500 students strong? What is the hold up? Why am I not successful? Well, let me tell you, it’s because:

 

I’m not there yet.
We’re not there yet.
Things are moving in that direction, but it’s just not there yet.

 

And that’s OKAY. I think. I believe. I hope. It’s taken me an entire year of RENEWAL to truly understand and be okay with that. Is it perfected in me, nah. But is it a reality I’m growing in, you betcha! I have friends whose focal points of conversation seem to be: 

  • I can’t seem to get this baby weight off fast enough.
  • I just want a bigger house.
  • My family will never succumb to the pressure of society.
  • Being a stay-at-home-mom is the best thing for children.
  • A proper Christian attends small group, a church service, and serves ministries on the street 5 days a week, while wearing the fanciest Sunday best.
  • All the best moms throw Pinterest Baby Showers/Birthday Parties/Spa Nights 
  • I can totally snack at this party because I took all my diet pill supplements today.
  • By the time you’re 30, you should be married with kids and getting your kids learning sign language by the time they are 2 years old. 

 

And if these are the perceptions of “where I should be,” then by all accounts, I’m hosed.

  • I can’t seem to get this baby weight off fast enough. . . . color me Devil’s Advocate, but didn’t you JUST give birth to a tiny human? Give yourself a break—you still have time to slowly get back into a healthy shape. I also mentioned to Grace that one of my favorite things about watching The Biggest Loser is that it reminds me that it’s NEVER too late to turn your life around and make the next best wise choice.
  • I just want a bigger house. . . . A better, bigger, life is not made in a building, it’s made through a lifetime of experiences. If I can’t be satisfied in a small house, I’ll have a rough time being satisfied in a large house. We must make the most of the space we’re given.
  • My family will never succumb to the pressure of society. . . . Because following your child around 24/7 isn’t creepy at all . . . 

  • Being a stay-at-home-mom is the best thing for children. . . . There is a 95% chance that I will never be a stay-at-home mom unless I work from home, and even then, those kids are getting shipped off to school. Color me selfish all ya want. 
  • A proper Christian attends small group, a church service, and serves ministries on the street 5 days a week, while wearing the fanciest Sunday best. . . . Sometimes I just don’t wanna. Sometimes I am too exhausted to. Sometimes I just want to meet with Jesus while I’m sitting by the waterfront and not in a chair in a church building. I don’t always have time to get gussied up in my Sunday best.
  • All the best moms throw Pinterest Baby Showers/Birthday Parties/Spa Nights . . . Clearly I won’t be winning any Mother-Of-The-Year Awards in this category. Come over to my house for a chick-flick, popcorn, veggies + hummus, and irreverent conversation.
  • I can totally snack at this party because I took all my diet pill supplements today. . . . I can totally snack at this party because I now have a healthy relationship with food and I understand why I’m eating it and it’s not to cover up the fact that I feel I’m the odd person out and can’t relate to anyone at this party. I can totally snack at this party because these fruits and veggies are healthy and these cupcakes were made from scratch and not manufactured and over-processed. I don’t have diet pill supplements because I like the confidence that comes with being able to pick out my own foods and be responsible for what I put in my body.
  • By the time you’re 30, you should be married with kids and getting your kids learning sign language by the time they are 2 years old. . . . I’m just starting to learn a little bit of sign language to teach our kids in Kid’s Church right now. I’m hoping to adopt a teenager sometime early next year whether I’m married or not.

And that’s OKAY.

I’ve got a few secrets to share with you:

I went to public school.
I spent the majority of my life eating Ballpark food.
I got caught booty dancing on a table in a classroom at school and flipped off an administrator once.
I sweet-talked (lied) my way out of consequences for that incident.
My mom didn’t use cloth diapers on me.
I’ve never eaten grass-fed beef. Though I HAVE eaten Grass-Fed Beef, it clearly wasn’t  different/memorable enough for me to be able to tell that it was . . .  and I doubt that it will be something commonly found on my own dinner table in the future.
I still don’t eat ONLY ORGANIC food.
I’ve attempted 4 Pinterest projects and failed all of them with flying colors.
Even when I was “required” to wear dress clothes to church, I refused and wore jeans instead.
I have experienced periods of time where I’ve had no social contact for days and been COMPLETELY content with it!

And in the end, I somehow turned out “okay.” 😉 

Amirite??? 😉

 

Do I still have quirky behaviors and a random sense of humor? Yep! and I love it!
Do I have to wake up at 3 a.m. to breast feed my child? Nope! And I love it!
Am I speaking at conferences to crowds of thousands? Nope! And I might someday but for now, the audience I have in Westside Kids and 2Twelve is MORE than enough!
Do I sometimes say the wrong thing at the wrong time? Absolutely! Please forgive me. I’m still learning.

 

 

All that to say, I’m enjoying the journey—the journey of being okay with growing and learning. The journey of being okay with not being perfect. The journey of understanding that not only was I born for greatness, but I am great right here and right now, simply because God loves me. I don’t have to rise to perfection. I can finally come to terms with living my best life possible right now, complete with victories and valleys! Also, let me (hopefully not) be the first to tell you that life is SO much fun when you don’t have it all figured out! 😉

 

So many great things come out of my quality times with my Gracie Lou Who! 😀

 

As Grace & I finished up our conversation, we reflected on the beauty of seeing mistakes as stepping stones in a forward motion. We rejoiced that we were both on a good track to make the best of the worst situations. It reminded me of a moment yesterday morning (oh stressful Sunday mornings) and one of my youth girls asked me how I was “keeping it all together” when I had teachers out with the flu, last-minute changes, etc. and I said, “I choose joy. If I allow these circumstances to push me down and get me running away, nobody wins. I will be miserable and ineffective for what God has called me to do. These situations suck,* but I choose joy. It’s the only way forward for me.”

 

Today, let’s choose joy. Let’s choose to be imperfect. Let’s choose to be okay with being completely ourselves and not let our mistakes define us. Let’s step forward and move on to the greater things that God has in store for us!

 

* That’s youth pastor of the year award material right there, folks!


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Better Than I Used To Be | Happy New Year’s 2013!

What could be better than ringing in the New Year with your best friend?

 

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3 peas in a pod 😀

Ringing it in with REAL Texas BBQ . . . and my favorite coffee (Stumptown Hair Bender) for New Year’s Day breakfast! 😉

 

My NYE party platter | Nothing says Happy New Year like real Texas BBQ! Viva la 2013!

 

Look, it’s the way the world should be, okay! hahahaha. If you read/watched yesterday’s blog post, you’ll know that I have some exciting news to share with you regarding my health update and what my new word for the year is. Well, don’t think for a minute that I forgot! Here it is, ENJOY!

 

 

My new word for 2013!

My new word for 2013

 

One way I’m going to start is with the one thing the majority of us tend to focus on during the New Year—food resolutions. (Judge me all you want—this is about renewing my body and my health.) These past few weeks have been crammed with emotional eating . . . cookies, pies, gingerbread men, candy, ice cream, fatty foods, and more. But I’m taking a tip from a nutrition blog I follow and I’m personally making this JUNK-FREE JANUARY. That’s right, back to my healthy eating habits I go. You know why? I’ve DISCOVERED over the past few days, that my body actually hates that junk. I’ve been walking around for the past few days with sugar-cramps, bloating, and nausea. It’s no bueno. So it’s back to freshness! And although in the past year, I let the comments of many around me dictate what I eat or don’t eat and how I exercise or don’t, this year is different. This year is about making wise choices for MYSELF and letting others deal with their own choices and attitudes. I’ll admit, the 2 weeks in the hospital took away a lot of poundage and now that I’m packing them back on, it’s going to be a bit easier to maintain, but I’m not putting junk back in my body just “because I can.” And that goes for more than just food. It goes for activities, habits, certain relationships, mindsets, and more.

 

renew_def

 

 

Another way I’m going to start the cycle of RENEWAL is by following my therapist’s advice. I am going to start knitting! :O She wants me to start knitting so that I can learn to be okay with being imperfect. You see, perfection is something I struggle with A LOT! The past 31 years of my life have trained me to focus on striving for “perfection” when I really need to focus on being “good enough.” So my super creative therapist suggested I take up knitting, and since I trust her and feel compelled to dare to try something new, I’m going to do it! So be on the lookout for some new posts this year featuring some of my best and worst attempts 😉

 

 

Gettin' down to the Knitty Gritty

Gettin’ down to the Knitty Gritty

 

There are a lot of things I want to do this year, but more importantly, there are a lot of things I want to BE this year. This is a year of RENEWAL. To slow down; To breathe deep; To trust; To put things back where they belong; To embrace True Love; To surrender; To dare greatly; To look in AND up; To throw out the old and knit the new in every aspect of my life. I only hope you’ll stick around with me as we journey through this new year of life, striving to be “good enough” human beings!

Happy New Year, y’all!

 

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One Happy Amo wishing you an awesome sauce 2013!

. . . and now I’m off to enjoy some Black-Eyed Peas, greens, and The Dark Knight Rises! 😉 


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For Miles | Fit Life Friday

 

My Fit Life Journey has not just been all about what I’ve been eating and how I’ve been exercising. When I began this rebooted journey in December, I made a conscious choice—it’s ALL of me or none of me! There is no halfway route. Every situation along the way has led me to repeat to myself: DON’T QUIT. DON’T YOU DARE QUIT. KEEP GOING. Yes, I’ve been getting fit and eating healthy, but I’ve also been working on my mental, emotional, and spiritual health as well. Through this journey, I’ve been more honest with myself and others than ever before. I’ve shared deep dark heart issues and I’ve allowed others to get closer to me than I’ve ever let people do before. It has left me with no regret, lots of learning experiences, and some MAJOR milestones of VICTORY!

 

 

I’ve mentioned here before that I’m really bad at celebrating my victories—and well, myself in general. It’s a thing. I’ll let you in on a little secret . . . growing up, I wasn’t the squeaky wheel of the family. I’m actually the quiet one in the family, and if you know me at all, you know that means you’ll require earplugs when you’re around my fam. Still, I grew up not requiring much attention. I also grew up with a lot of situations that made me feel like I was never “good enough” and I would constantly have to prove myself. More often than not, I would fail and feel as if I would never be ___(fill in the blank with every comparative word)___ enough.” It’s nothing to feel sorry for, it’s just the way life happens. The great thing is that through this journey, I’ve been able to delve into those deep recesses with my trusted accountability partners and I’ve gotten SO much healing from it. I’ve been able to work through my thought life and regain perspective, deal with issues, and find the freedom on the other side of it all! And let me tell you—there’s no feeling quite like it!

 

2 of my amazing accountability partners

 

Though celebrating my victories and milestones has not always been my strong suit and I’m actually still working on it a lot, I’m grateful for friends who help me remember how it’s done! Two weeks ago, I got the treat of a lifetime! It started with this e-mail that I got from my Tuesday workout buddy (and best friend), Heather:

 

SO, just FYI, you’ll wanna doll up just a leetle bit after the gym, since I’m taking you somewhere that you’ll wanna look a little nicer. Not that you don’t look nice, but just don’t look like you came straight from the gym! Keep in mind that I’ll be taking pics of us out ‘n’ about, so that might be a good idea of what to wear/have your hair look like. Your headband would look totally fine where we’re going if you’re wondering what to do with your hair… Still a jeans & t-shirt/”nice shirt” kinda place. Nothing fancy. Wear comfy shoes for walking. I’m NOT taking you out for dinner, so plan accordingly 🙂 We’ll have time to eat food at Hogwarts. But I’d like to be at Hogwarts at 7 for a little chill time before we head out.

HE HE HE This’ll be fun buddy yo!!!! 

wuvs you! 

Lemme know if you have any questions! 

Now, I’m sure any normal person may have been able to guess what was going on, but I’m not-so-normal because all I read was “wear comfy shoes for walking,” and immediately thought:

OH NO!! She’s taking me hiking! Why would she do that?!? She knows I HATE hiking!!! Ugh. Why. Why. Why.”

So that next day, I wore a nicer “hiking-inspired” outfit that I could change back into after our workout and spent the entire day working on keeping a Positive Mental Attitude. In my mind, we would finish our workout, grab coffee at Hogwarts and then she’d take me hiking and then out to dinner afterward to refuel. I was looking forward to everything but the hike. I am NOT a happy hiker. I like going on walks, just not in nature on trails, with dirt and mossy trees and bugs. NO thank you very much! Still, I kept the smile on my face and kept trying to think happy thoughts.
Heather and I had our workout time per usual and afterward, got changed and loaded up in her car to head over to Hogwarts, just like we do each week. I suspected nothing, not even when she was texting as we walked out of the parking garage. She had just gotten a new smart phone, so I figured she was still getting acquainted with all the bells and whistles. We walked up the stairs leading to the street level out of the parking garage, and what followed was something so incredibly so surreal that I’m still confounded with awe and wonder about the whole thing. As we walked behind the elevator annex, I caught a glimpse of a small group of people standing next to each other in the courtyard, which I assumed was for a class reunion or knitting group meet-up (I’ve seen these things happen in that courtyard often). I was sure they were getting ready to take a picture, so my mind went straight to ideas for a good photo-bomb. Then, just as we were about to turn the corner to walk to the courtyard, I heard chanting. As the chanting got louder and louder, I froze—THEY’RE SHOUTING MY NAME! :O

Photo courtesy of Megan Sequana

“Wait. Wait. Wait. What’s going on! Why are people chanting my name?!?” I asked Heather, frozen dead in my steps. She got behind me, and proceeded to push me, step-by-step around the corner until I finally saw them—a MASSIVE crowd of 50+ of my friends were all gathered in the courtyard holding a GIANT sign that said, “Don’t be fooled by the pounds that I’ve lost. I’m still, I’m still Amo from the block!” And a bunch of other signs that they had made for me to help me celebrate reaching my healthy goal weight and my entire fitness journey in general. It took my breath away to see all of these people doing for me the one thing I couldn’t do for myself. As I walked slowly toward the crowd, taking it all in, I was overwhelmed with love, peace, joy, and freedom!

Photo courtesy of Megan Sequana

Once I had arrived to the crowd, they dispersed and took turns coming up to me with hugs, words of encouragement, cards, and gifts. I was completely elated and tried to keep some mild form of composure as I hugged necks, cried, laughed, and thanked every single person for the investment of support and encouragement they had been in my life. In talking to some of my friends in the crowd, two of them had mentioned that they had this idea, a while back, to create this BIGGEST LOSER STYLE Homecoming celebration for me to show just how proud they were of me and to encourage me to keep going and not give up!
I realize that on a certain level this may sound Debbie Downer-ish, but this is the truth, the whole truth, and nothing but the truth: In that moment, I realized that Seattle IS my home. These friends that I’ve surrounded myself with ARE my home. I’m wholeheartedly convinced that had I gone through this journey back “home” in Texas, I would have never been celebrated. Even when I had gone back home to visit my family for Easter, the most attention I got from them was a couple of compliments, some hugs from a handful of people, and that’s about it. There was no excitement, no jumping up and down, no real celebration. You might think that would be normal, but let me just tell you now—my family tends to celebrate just about EVERYTHING. But for some reason, after many months of not seeing me in person, this big reveal wasn’t as big of a deal. It was as if it was what was expected of me and would just be a passing fad. In fact, I had to come face-to-face with family members who weren’t proud of my weight-loss/health journey. I had one close family member accuse me of being anorexic. Which . . . I’M CLEARLY NOT. I was publicly humiliated by them in front of some family members and discouraged from my healthy eating. It got so bad that I even binged on 3 handfuls of M&Ms + 8 Reese’s PB Cups + 10 cookies because I felt like such a disappointment. I thought I had done a great thing, only to be left feeling as if it were a “Meh. Who cares. You still suck.” thing. It was brutal. It was night and day from the experience I had 2 weeks ago at Hogwarts. That is how I came to understand that even though I’m thousands of miles away from my immediate family, I am HOME here with my friend family in Seattle. My move here 4 years ago was NOT in vain and not just a whim—there was a purpose and that purpose is constantly being revealed to me, now that I’ve been able to reclaim more of my emotional, spiritual, and mental health. It just so happened to take 50+ of my friends to help me get to a point where I could really see it! Dont’ get me wrong, I still forever LOVE my family back home and I always will, but this event provided me with a concept of family on a whole new level that I had never experienced before. And again, I can’t even begin to describe to you how liberating that is for me as a young woman!

Signs that my Seattle friends made for me for my Homecoming Celebration! They all gathered at a mutual friend’s house the night before to make them for me—WOW!!! ♥

I felt so honored to be celebrated for all my hard work and I was so excited that it came right at the time that I had met my ultimate goal—to be at my doctor’s recommended Healthy Goal Weight! Prior to that evening’s event, I would have gone to bed feeling like I owed everyone a million dollars just for showing up—why would ANYONE take time out of their busy lives for me?? I don’t need to be celebrated, I need to be celebrating these people for putting up with my attitude during the No-Sugar Challenge and for kindly adjusting their family dinners to meet my dietary lifestyle out of the goodness/willingness of their hearts. I need to be holding up signs for THEM—they are the champions, not me. I don’t want people to notice me. It doesn’t always end well and I’m kinda sensitive about it. However, that evening’s even was a major game changer! When I climbed into bed that night, I cried tears of joy as I laid there verbally congratulating myself—learning to be okay with seeing myself as “enough” and as a “champion.” I felt incredibly encouraged and I knew, this is only the beginning of the next step—the step to maintain my healthy goal weight and live my Best Fit Life ever! I realize that as I continue to pursue that, I’m going to hit roadblocks and I’m going to come face-to-face with big challenges, and with that will come more victories, honesty, and deeper friendships. Thankfully, I can rest assured knowing that I have a family here that is surrounding me in support through prayer, encouragement, a listening ear, a gentle voice of wisdom, and dance parties of victory! I’m more confident than ever. I feel more ALIVE than ever. I am secure and content in the fact that this journey was handcrafted by God. I feel loved, accepted, valued, and as if I can rise to any challenge set before me—and even when it gets tough, I REFUSE to quit on myself. And I will learn to reward myself and celebrate my victories as they come—even more so, knowing that they are shared victories with the amazing people surrounding me!
It’s been 2 weeks since I met that goal and now going on the 3rd, things are going great! I’m maintaining steadily and I’m continuing to get stronger and learn to listen to my body more and more each day. I’m DISCOVERING what things really satisfy my stomach, heart, mind, and soul and I’m embracing them full-on. I’m taking those next steps to live my BEST FIT LIFE EVER!

THANK YOU so much to every person who has been a part of this journey so far—your kind words, educational information/insights, words of wisdom, fitness training, prayers, comments on Facebook/Twitter/Tumblr/this blog, e-mails, texts, phone calls, coffee dates, etc. have been pillars of strength for me through every twist and turn thus far. I love and treasure each and every one of you and the blessing you are to me. Here’s to many more victories ahead!

More photos (courtesy of Megan Sequana)
from the Homecoming Celebration at Hogwarts:

HAPPY FIT FRIDAY, Y’ALL!


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Bloom

Thursday night is always a fun night for me because of the people I’m surrounded with. They are people who attend my church and have become such an important part of my life—they are my community group! Our group just finished up a series from Andy Stanley called Five Things Used To Grow Your Faith. First of all, you must know that Andy Stanley is by and far one of my all time FAVORITE teachers. If a speaker is not captivating enough, it’s extremely easy for me to either fall asleep, get distracted, or just zone out altogether. When Andy speaks, I feel it hits right at my level (it’s not just a bunch of Christianese and empty faith talk) and it is presented with a great balance of  biblical teaching and practical life application, which I love! It’s been great going through this series and dialoguing about substantial faith and various Christian beliefs with my community group.

I chose this group for a few reasons:

1. The people: I know both the leaders and the hosts and they are such an inspiration to me! And I get a chance to build stronger relationships with those in the group—who are all from varying age groups and backgrounds.

2. The discussions: I love being able to have open discussions with the group. I know they are a safe zone for me to ask questions, learn new things, and walk away challenged and encouraged in my faith!

3. Pre-group dinner at Chez-Irwin: The Irwins lead our community group and they are some of the most generous people I know. They go the extra mile and invite me over to dinner before CG time and then we ride over to the hosts home together. I always love hanging out with them and enjoying some yummy home-cooked food. I love the Adele dance parties in the kitchen, tech & pop culture discussions with them, and all the fun laughs we share at the dinner table!

4. The convenience: Tuesday nights are BL nights at the Siers Ranch, so I couldn’t do one of the Tuesday night groups. It’s nice to be able to do two fun group things during the week!

5. The memories. New ones are shared each week and they are all treasured! Here are a couple of my favorites from our last get together:

Me: We could make it a Cajun theme party and we could all dress up like alligators!

Jeff: There are two things wrong with that.

Del: Only two?

 

Del: (singing an old hymn) Day by day . . .

Me: So, does Snoop Dogg sing that?

Del: (throws hand out like a gangsta) Get down.

 

I really enjoy the fact that they are all just as playful as I am. The added bonus would definitely have to be all the new yummy food I get to try when people bring snacks, like this Chocolate Chip Angel Food Cake drizzled in chocolate!

om nom nom