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!

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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!

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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.

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

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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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If The World Had A Front Porch

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If the world had a Front Porch, it would be sweet. Not just a sweet feeling—a sweet flavor; a sweet memory re-emerging; a sweet treat! It would also be in Round Rock, TX, I mean, if we were talking about FRONT PORCH FROZEN DESSERTS, that is. Oh wait, we ARE!

 

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Go ahead, grab a seat on that rocking chair right there. Now take this tall glass of sweet tea, and listen up as I tell you about one of my favorite Frozen Dessert shops in Texas!

 

One might call these the pearly gates . . .

One might call these the pearly gates . . .

 

Now, it’s no surprise that I’m a FroYo Fanatic. In fact, I almost took a photo of all the FroYo spoons I’ve saved from some of my favorite spots and then realized how utterly embarrassing it is. As a native Austinite, transplanted to Seattle, who has not been home in what seems like forever, the only reason I had heard of Front Porch was because a large number of my friends in the Austin area posted about it, tweeted about it, and posted Instagram pics of their creations. Upon seeing their tasty treasures, my curiosity was piqued and I KNEW I had to make Front Porch a Must-See on my latest visit home!

 

I think it's safe to say I've found my home-away-from-home-away-from-home ;)

I think it’s safe to say I’ve found my home-away-from-home-away-from-home 😉

 

Oh baby, I am SO glad I did! The ambiance was very calming and a refreshing contrast to the bright neon-glow of most popular FroYo shops I’ve visited. Instead, I felt right at home with the rustic wall decor, wood flooring, and simple chic containers. What also impressed me was the large variety of unique flavors! At most shops here in Seattle, you get a standard sampling of Strawberry Banana, Coconut, Chocolate, Vanilla, Taro, NSA Raspberry, and if you’re lucky, a “wild card” in (my favorite) NSA Low-Carb German Chocolate. However, perusing the flavor wall left me perplexed with a question I’ve rarely been plagued with at a FroYo shop—BUT WHICH ONES DO I CHOOOOOSE?!? I actually felt like I was at Amy’s Ice Cream (one of my favorite ATX shops when I used to eat ice cream) with all the flavor possibilities.

 

These are some GREAT suggestions, a la Amy's Ice Cream!

These are some GREAT suggestions, a la Amy’s Ice Cream!

One of the cute little touches that sets this place apart is their ability to "bring it home" with some dine-in melamine bowls!

One of the cute little touches that sets this place apart is their ability to “bring it home” with some dine-in melamine bowls!

I see you smiling coyly at me, waffle bowl . . . I hear you calling out my name.

I see you smiling coyly at me, waffle bowl . . . I hear you calling out my name.

 

For those of you wondering, Swirl Fusion is code for FroYo SHAKE!! Ugh, if I hadn’t already had my sights set on that waffle bowl and gigantic bar of toppings, I would’ve hit up the Swirl Fusion. Oh well, now I know what to order next time . . . or, YOU could order it and let me know how heavenly it tastes!

 

Along with delicious waffle bowls, they offer "bottoms" that you can add in for a unique flavor. I like that they're all about the WHOLE flavor, and not just the FroYo flavors.

Along with delicious waffle bowls, they offer “bottoms” that you can add in for a unique flavor. I like that they’re all about the WHOLE flavor, and not just the FroYo flavors.

 

Oh, and just in case there was chance of me being confused, they also helped me out by suggesting a named flavor swirl with the two flavors in each fountain. I know it sounds silly, but for me, that actually helps a lot. I just need a lot of hints in life, okay, people!? 😉 Speaking of their plethora of constantly changing flavors:

 

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As you can see, every flavor (and unique combo) features a great photo descriptor of the flavor and highlights any pertinent allergy information. Well done, Front Porch, well done!

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Who knew one wall could contain SO much magic?!?
I think I can speak for us all when I say,

“HOLY YUM!”

It was a tough choice, but one was my favorite:

I'm a sucker for lemony goodness!

I’m a sucker for lemony goodness!

Now before you go on thinking that this place is just cutting corners, let me share some of this quality goodness info with you . . .

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Kosher Certified, Locally sourced

 

Their Yogurt is sourced from a nearby Arkansas farm—Honey Hill Farms. The quality of their yogurt was much greater than the other FroYo shops that I’d tried out during my vacation, including Yogurtland, Orange Leaf, and Kimmie’s Frozen Yogurt, to name a few. It was thicker, creamier, and didn’t taste too “icy” or “strained.” Some might say that FroYo is a guilty pleasure, but honey, when it tastes THIS GOOD, there’s nothing guilty about it!

 

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The REAL deal

 

Much like many others, the toppings selection is a mecca of tasty treasures and this one blows every topping bar I’ve seen out of the water! Usually my YoBowls consist of a lot of FroYo and some basic toppings like coconut or sprinkles, but this one gave me some new flavors to try, so I did. It offered a lot more variety than any other shop I’ve been to which made the decisions of what to add both exciting and frustrating—Seriously, could I just get a bowl of toppings?

 

Sweet dreams are made of this!

Sweet dreams are made of this!

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My FAVORITE sector vector and a warm welcome to a sistah with sugar sensitivity!

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This Round Rock honey alone is worth the trip! ❤

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Oh wait, you thought it ended there? Yeah no!

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No wonder all my friends keep going back—the possibilities are ENDLESS!! They are constantly rotating those flavors, featuring some for only a few days, and then providing a very wide variety of sauces and toppings to enable your creative juices to run wild. I also got a chance to speak to the manager about their flavor selections. She informed me that her children, who help her and her husband run the shop, are master craftsmen when it comes to choosing the flavor rotations and combinations that they feature. It’s not just flavors thrown in for flavors’ sake. There is a lot of thought, care, and concern that goes into every selection. But wait, there’s more! 😉

 

This seriously rocks! Down with Muzak, up with RockBot!

This seriously rocks! Down with Muzak, up with RockBot!

 

Nothing makes me want to hang around in an eatery than the music selection. The ambient music playlist is a major factor when it comes to choosing my favorite coffee shops, so discovering that Front Porch actually uses the latest technology to let you essentially ‘rock the jukebox’ through their user-friendly RockBot app is the cherry on top to this Mom & Pop Shop!

 

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Thanks to their innovation, I can choose the playlist from their previewed options. Win-Win!

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Now I can pick a rad tune to keep my toe tappin’ as I sit and enjoy my sweet treat!

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Plus, this screen doubles as an announcement panel—always a great tool to keep handy—much classier than a printed sheet of paper taped to a front door. And I love that you can text in your comments/suggestions!

And you KNOW that no FroYo experience is complete without the right spoon. These are a great shape and texture, plus they're eco-friendly!

And you KNOW that no FroYo experience is complete without the right spoon. These are a great shape and texture, plus they’re eco-friendly!

All in all, it was a fantastic experience and I can't wait to indulge even more when I go back home in January!

I often grab a hot cup of coffee before heading into the FroYo shops here because, COFFEE, people! 😉 I’m still waiting for Seattle FroYo shops to jump on the smart train like Front Porch has and offer COFFEE with their frozen treats. 

I only wish I could have taken some of this back on the flight with me.

I only wish I could have taken some of this back on the flight with me.

 

All in all, it was a GREAT experience and I’m glad
I took the time to add this pit-stop to my itinerary.

It will definitely be a Must-Go stop when I head back home in January!

 

Thank you, Front Porch staff, for allowing me to take a tour of your shop and try out your yummy goodness! Your service was excellent and I truly appreciate your Southern hospitality. In full disclosure, they offered me a free cup of FroYo in exchange for photos of their shop to use online. The review and recommendations are all my own!

Thank you, Front Porch staff, for allowing me to take a tour of your shop and try out your yummy goodness! Your service was excellent and I truly appreciate your Southern hospitality. 

 

Well, what are you waiting for??

 

Hop in your car, blast some rad summer tunes and head on over to Front Porch for your cool and creamy weekend warm-up! 

 

#TreatYoSelf

 

FRONT PORCH on Facebook
FRONT PORCH on Twitter

 

In full disclosure, Front Porch graciously compensated me with a free cup of yogurt in exchange for photos of their shop that they could use online. The review and recommendations are all my own!


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Dedicate | Fit Life Friday

 

With the news and unfolding follow-up events of the Boston Marathon bombings and the explosions at the fertilizer plant in West, Texas, this week has been a roller-coaster of emotions. I’m not going to lie, as I read the reports about the plant explosion, I found myself asking God, “Lord, what is the deal? Why is all of this happening? Couldn’t you just prevented all of this before we had to endure all the death and tears? This is all too much.” Yet even as I was finishing, I found myself wondering why I was doubting so much. I can’t explain why these events had to happen or what God has in mind for the restoration process, but I’m stepping up to do what I can to be a part of it. In order to be able to do that, I believe, I have to look beyond my fears and move past my own issues with being labeled a “runner.”

 

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This week’s Work-It Circuit

 

First of all, what fears? I gotta be honest—ever since I recovered from the Valium fiasco, I’ve been living in fear and shame for getting back to working out. The entire time I was sick, the biggest concern I heard from others was about how much I exercised. Any time my friends and family would relay things about me to the doctors, there was always a “THIS GIRL WORKED OUT HARD EVERY DAY!” exclamation. And I always heard it in a tone that made it seem like it was dirty—like I was making a dumb decision to exercise and that it was what caused all my problems. I started developing in my mind that, despite what my doctor said, exercising was shameful and something only “overachievers” did. I realized that I was becoming known for my exercise habits and somewhere inside, I associated it with being that annoying friend that everyone avoids, lest she try to get you to do 24 manly push ups on command. I didn’t want that. I still don’t. And to be honest, even before it all, I DID workout, but it wasn’t every day and it wasn’t always with full energy. I had no problem modifying workouts to meet my level.

 

I’m pretty sure my BodyCombat instructor has the coolest style ever! I totally love this outfit!

 

The truth is, I actually enjoy exercising now. I find myself going to the gym and walking out proud that I was able to do certain things that I hadn’t done in a while. I’m fighting to get my life back. I don’t want to get back into the habit of being lazy about my fitness. I want to get my muscles and my figure back. I want to be strong again. So I’ve been exercising regularly again and doing my best to eat more healthy foods (recovery time for me was filled with grilled cheese sandwiches, pizza, french fries, chips, and cookies to aid in weight gain—but that’s another story for another post). Am I back to my ideal healthy diet and happy weight zone? Nope. Not yet. But I’m working on it. However, let’s get back to this fear talk. Since I didn’t want to be known as that girl who’s always working out, I stopped posting about it. I went and did the work, but I didn’t post about it. I would quickly change the topic when it came up in conversation and do my best to avoid it altogether. I’ve been ashamed of it. Yet, as I walk through this season of my life where I’m having to get real with myself and work through my fears and insecurities, I have come to a place where I don’t want to hide it anymore. If it makes me “that girl” or an “overachiever” or a “health fanatic,” then so be it. It’s a healthy choice I want to make for my life not just today, but years on down the road. Therefore, I believe now is just as good a time as any to bring back Fit Life Friday!

 

Amo, The Color Runner

 

The issues with being labeled a “runner” goes back to a time when a dear Fit Friend of mine would constantly refer to me as a “runner,” after completing The Color Run last year. I smiled and kinda shrugged it off at first because when I think of “runner,” I think of HER—someone who enjoys running for the thrill and great feelings that come along with it. That didn’t really apply to me. I hated running . . . I still kinda do—we’ve definitely got a love/hate relationship going on. I just didn’t think that participating in one run would qualify me as a “runner.” Those folks put all their time, energy, heart, and soul into their sport and I kinda just did the event because it looked cool and colorful. However, with the recent news of the bombing at the Boston Marathon, I felt a heavy hurt, pain, and sympathy for each and every one of those participants. That race was special for them. They trained their hearts and their souls out to get there . . . to join in with a community of other elite runners for a victory comparative to a Bowl Game. I mean, when I think of fighters—I think of runners. They are tough stuff and they go through hell and high water to reach their goals. In what should have been a day of celebrating the huge payoff, they were met with death, fear, and tragedy. I can’t imagine what it’s like to have been in the middle of it all. The fact that Bostonians were able to walk away from it a more united and hopeful community inspires me to no end.

 

 

I still don’t know that I would consider myself a runner (maybe if there’s a Rookie Runner status, I could go with that), but I still want to do my part because I do feel connected to this community. I follow a lot of great fitness blogs, so I get to see the behind-the-scenes of their training for 5ks, 10ks, marathons, triathlons, CrossFit Competitions, Olympics, etc. Their words have coached me along to reach my own fitness goals each time I was ready to throw in the towel. In fact, I was greatly encouraged by a quote that one of my fave bloggers, BLONDE PONYTAIL, posted by Kristen Armstrong of Runners’ World:

 

“Let’s instead do what runners do best.  Let’s be strong.  Let’s be patient as information comes in.  Let’s pace ourselves.  Let’s endure.  Let’s close the gap and tighten up the pack.  Let’s recover together.

The road ahead is long.  But little do they know, we’re good with that.” (source)

 

It just really kept my perspective in check and left me hopeful for some good to come out of all of this. I hope I can be part of that good. This past Wednesday, I made up my mind that I’m not going to avoid running because it makes me a “runner.” I’m going to embrace it because it encapsulates my heart and spirit. We’re all fighters. We fight for justice. We fight to be strong. We fight to be the best versions of ourselves and have fun doing it. I walked into the gym on Wednesday in my Color Run t-shirt, with my head held high, proud to give 30 minutes of my time to pray for those affected by the tragedy during my tribute #RunForBoston.

 

 

It was an honor for me to be able to take time out to pray for them as I got in a good run. I’ll be lacing up my shoes again next Monday evening as I join the Seattle runners community in a tribute run to honor the victims of that tragedy. I’m also going to wear the Boston Marathon colors when I do The Color Run again this year. And while I run, I will be praying and thinking of all those who give (and have given) their time, energy, attention, and lives to health and fitness. I know it may seem silly to some. It may seem like a media ploy or a way to ease my own pain, but it’s not. It’s the only way I know that I can personally give back to a community that has given me so much during my own journey to reclaim my health. It reminds me that life is equally precious and fragile. Seeing those runners jet past the finish line and into blood banks to donate, or back into the fray to rescue victims made me proud to be an American. Even from such an incredible distance, they helped to heal my heart along with many others. This is the least I can do and I am more than proud to join the ranks of those fighters. Thanks to them, I am a runner. ♥

 

Happy Fit Life Friday, y’all!

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Currently…

I’m actually borrowing this idea from another blogger that I follow because this is a crazy busy week/end and. while I want to keep everyone in the loop with what’s been going on in my life lately, I don’t have a ton of time to give the lengthy answers I want to. So, those messages, e-mails, and calls will be put on hold and this will just have to do for now 😉 Here are some of the things that are currently going on in my life . . .

 

Current Book:

GONE by Michael Grant

 

One of the students in my youth ministry recommended this book to me and let me borrow it, so it’s my current read! It’s a sci-fi book about a random disappearance of adults and what happens when the young people are left to fend for themselves. I’ll be cracking it open later today and I’m excited to enter a whole new world! When the acclaim on the back of the book compares it to a Stephen King version of Lord of the Flies, you KNOW it’s gonna be good! ;p

 

Current Music:

Y’ALL!!! LISA LOEB HAS NEW MUSIC OUT NOW!!!!! Goodbye life, hello Early 90s Amo!

From the diva that brought you this emo awesomeness . . .

. . . comes this kickin’ jam . . .

just dance with me, folks!

Current Guilty Pleasure:

PIE!!!! A lot of people fault me for not going gaga over cake, chocolate mousse, crepes, doughnuts, etc. The bottom line is that I’m just not that into those things. I’m a PIE girl ALLLLLL the way!! Pecan, (warm) Apple, Key Lime, Strawberry Rhubarb, Marionberry, Pumpkin, Chocolate Peanut Butter, Banana Creme, Coconut Creme, Lemon, Blueberry . . . they are my weakness! I’d skip over a ginormous slice of red velvet or carrot cake for a simple slice of Key Lime pie in a heartbeat. You can imagine my excitement when a co-worker of mine introduced me to a new (to me) Seattle eatery—PIE. I had both their Salisbury Steak pot pie and a “Mini Mini” Key Lime and enjoyed every wonderful bite! Don’t be surprised if you come to my wedding and the dessert table features a bunch of these mini Key Lime pies! Of course, knowing me, it’ll probably be just a big array of various flavors because by then I’ll have tried minis of all their sweet pies and I won’t be able to decide on just one kind 😉

 

Holy Yum!

Current Nail Color:

They’re actually naked right now, but as soon as I get them repainted, I’m going for a nice deep sassy shade of red! Probably one of these:

 

Current Drink:

Vitamin Water ZERO “XXX.” I have not been getting in as much water as I need. I mean, sure I get it in the form of coffee, but that’s not quite going to cut it. I really need to amp up my water intake, but since water can get kinda “blah,” I prefer to twist open one of these satisfying sips to get the job done. I really like all their fruity flavors, but the “XXX” is my fave!

 

Current Food:

Well, I don’t have anything in my mouth right now, but I can tell you what I had most recently that was blog-worthy . . .

 

Ohhhhh glory!

Ohhhhh glory!

 

That’s right, y’all! FRIED GREEN TOMATOES!!!!! I’ve actually been craving a lot of Southern, down-home cookin’ lately and I’ve even noticed what little bit of a Southern accent I have creeping back around. :O I recently had the opportunity to join one of my best friends for dinner at the 5 Spot Cafe in Queen Anne and I couldn’t resist ordering up these puppies! . . . errrrr . . . tomatoes. They were heavenly and had a great spicy kick to them. They were most definitely a treat worth savoring!

 

Current Favorite Show:

 

The Biggest Loser!!! Oh you KNOW I have to get my Bob Harper fix! What a fox!!!!! Okay for real though, I do love the stories, but to say that I only watch for the inspiration stories would be a big fat lie. I’m a girl. A girl who likes tough, tattooed, scruffy, fit, funny, geektastic guys! I can’t help it!

 

 

I will say, this season has been super crazy cakes—not just because I’ve yet to be able to stay awake through an entire episode (sorry, Alisa!), but because having Jillian back on the show is crazy cakes!!! She’s fierce, y’all! And in case you were wondering (I’m pretty sure you weren’t though ;p ) I’m hoping that either Jackson or Gina wins this season. 🙂

 

Current Wish List:

A vacay getaway to Barcelona, Spain! Gah—just look at it guys, it’s GORRRRRGEOUUUUSSSSSS!!!

Current needs:

YARRRRRRRRRRn. Yesterday was actually my very first knitting lesson with my bestie mom, Kathy—who is a veritable Knitting Ninja! And as an added bonus, she even brought me over some rare Pumpkin Spice tea that I’d been hunting for!

 

I did 2 of the rows and I’m looking forward to finishing this puppy up!

 

I’m still very much a beginner, but she says I’m catching on very well, so that’s a big plus! I thought it was going to be one of those, “Yeah, sure I’ll try it, but I’m really not gonna like it, I’m sure,” situations but it’s actually a very interesting and entertaining craft. I think I’ll be sticking with this one for a while 😉 However, that means I need more yarn . . . to make more Knitty Knacks!

 

Current Bane of My Existence:

People constantly making comments or asking me if I’m eating enough calories and/or discussing my eating habits behind-the-scenes.Things I’ve had said to/asked of me that are irrelevant and unwanted:

We need to get some meat on your bones!
Well you are absolutely chunky!
Are you eating enough food every day?
You eat like a bird.
Are you STILL trying to lose weight?
Oh my God, you are so thin!
You’ve fattened up nicely!
Good! She NEEDS to eat!

 

Look folks, I’m doing just fine with my food intake, and yes, I am still exercising. Perhaps instead of making those comments/asking me those food/weight related questions, you might choose to ask one of these:

  • How are you doing emotionally?
  • Can I share a funny story with you about something that happened the other day?
  • Hey, I checked out this awesome book the other day! It’s called . . .
  • What have you been learning in your morning devotional?
  • I know this single guy that I work with, would you be interested in a blind date?
  • Have you seen any good movies lately?
  • How’s the ministry life coming along?
  • Can I share with you something that God/life/marriage/family/kids have been teaching me?
  • Can you pray with me about ___________?
  • What are you looking forward to accomplishing this year?
  • How can I pray for you?

ANY of those would be just perfect! And as far as the “polite behind-the-scenes” chit-chat (AKA: Gossip) about what I am or am not eating and about my weight, yeah that can just stop. Thanks!

 

Current Celebrity Crush:

*Cough* *Cough* [Marry me, Bob!] *Cough* *Cough*

I should not be allowed on the computer . . .

I should not be allowed on the computer . . .

Current Indulgence:

There is a veritable FroYo fiesta going on in my life right now! Part of me feels like I should wear a shirt that says, “Body by FroYo.” I cannot get enough of it! In fact, I’m had some the other night on my Sister Date with my bestie, Grace!

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My favorite so far has been the German Chocolate No-Sugar-Added FroYo at Menchie’s!  I just add a bit of coconut and some cherries and it’s Happy Amo time! I’m kinda bummed that I missed the FroYo train when it stopped by around Pumpkin Pie time. Fear not, I won’t be missing out next season!

Nommin’ down on some delicious Menchie’s FroYo, courtesy of the incredible Laurra M. and getting ready to be Texas Loud & Texas Proud! \m/

Current Blessing:

My best friend, Alisa!

Through every twist and turn of this crazy season of my life that I’m going through, she has been a refuge! She consistently encourages me, prays for me, and offers her listening ear and warm arms when I need to be held. It breaks my heart that she and her family are going to be moving away soon. 😦 I’ve had friends come in and out of my life many times before, but Alisa and her family are golden. I love them a million Red Flyer Wagons—they’re THAT awesome! Not only does her husband, Dan, coach our church softball team, but he’s also our worship leader at Westside and does a TON of behind-the-scenes work! He schedules, preps, leads practices, steps in when others are in a pinch, and helps coordinate our Sunday media crew . . . and all of that on top of a steady 9-t0-5 job plus helping raise his 2 preschool kiddos, on a small stipend to compensate. Alisa also serves in a large capacity with our Meals Ministry, in our church’s MOPs ministry, and she home schools her oldest kiddo. They are serious champs and I wish I could be in two places at once because I never want to be far from them. Dan and Alisa, if you’re reading this, please give each other a million hugs from me! Y’all seriously rock the house and I am forever blessed and changed by the gift of your friendship. 🙂

Dan and Alisa leading worship on Sunday morning

Dan and Alisa leading worship on Sunday morning

Current Slang:

I don’t know if it’s anyone else’s slang, but it’s my slang for sure. I’ve been saying that things are “Crazy Cakes” when they’re bizarre, strange, out of control, out of this world, inconceivable, preposterous, random, scary, or just plain weird.

 

This is actually a crazy cake from a bakery called Crazy Cakes in Austin. So my slang is totally understandable now, yeah?? 😉

Current Outfit:

In all actuality, I mostly wear pajamas or sweats these days. I NEED to get back in the habit of wearing real work clothes so I can get my mind in gear for getting back to office life. So for this one, it’s not anything I’m wearing right now, but it’s definitely something I currently WISH I was wearing! 😉

 

(source)

Current Excitement:

I FINALLY booked my flight home to the ATX!!! That’s right folks, I’m heading back home this summer!!! I cannot wait to see my folks and my Bro-Bro + Sis! I’ll be home for 10 long and wonderful days and I plan to hold each of my family members until they realize just how much they mean to me! ❤ In the meantime, I have Skype, which is a huge lifesaver! Also, every time I go home, I make it a point to bring back some Seattle treats & books for my nieces, so if any of you have any good book recommendations or local Seattle shops with good souvenirs (that people might actually want—no shot glasses please), just holla at a sista’, kay? 😉

 

My sis, my bro-bro, and me! What a team 😉

and I’ll get to spend some great quality (and WAYYYYYY overdue) time with my folks too!

and I cannot wait to hug my sweetie girls!!! And of course, I’ll probably be a good Auntie and treat them to FroYo and an annual trip to Build-A-Bear!

Current Links:

Here are some of my favorite sites as of late . . .

Thought Catalog . . . that one place, besides IKEA, where I could get lost for HOURS!

The Wifely Adventurere . . . my friend Kat’s blog is full of wit, wisdom, and straight up shenanigans

Life After Tampons . . . if the name doesn’t sell ya, the encouragement will

Amara . . . a local Seattle adoption agency. I’ll be attending one of their classes soon to look into the process for adopting a child in Washington State.

Decor8 . . . SO much wonderful DIY and just all-around creative inspiration!

Greatist . . . a health/nutrition/fitness source blog chock full of awesome insight and resources for a Fit Life

Design Mom . . . tons of links, ideas, and templates for crafts/DIY fun family stuff

Hungry For Change . . . by and far one of THE BEST documentaries on health/nutrition I’ve seen yet. I recommend it to anyone and everyone!

Love and Logic . . . informative site that equips parents (or will-be parents like me) to raise responsible kids with less stress 🙂

A Daily Dose of Fit . . . one of my favorite fitness blogs, hosted by a personal trainer/group fitness instructor

My Whole Food Life . . . tips, and recipes for Clean Eating as a family

 

Oh yeah . . . and some bonus footage to cap things off—who wants to go see this with me?!?

Happy Sunday FunDay, y’all!


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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.

 

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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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Hearts and Bones | Happy New Year’s Eve 2012 | Video Blog

Can you believe we are only hours away from FIREWORKS????

 

Okay, okay, so we’re only hours away from a new year too, I guess. 😉

This New Year’s Eve is sure to be even more memorable than the last for a number of reasons. Here’s one:

So the only thing better than my boss from the ‘ol 9-to-5 shipping me some *real* TX BBQ for Christmas is being able to share it with friends tomorrow night at the (Heather & John) Jolly’s New Year’s Eve party!!!

 BBQ + Friends + Fireworks = Everything America Should Be 😉

Another one would be:

I will get to adventure OUTSIDE OF MY HOUSE!!! Since I am doing (by necessity) at-home Physical Therapy, my insurance company prohibits me from going outside of my house except for doctor appointments, religious events, and special holiday events. I am honestly going stir crazy, cooped up in my house. Don’t get me wrong, I TOTALLY understand the necessity for me being cooped up in the house, considering I can’t even walk up my driveway without difficulty and sheer exhaustion and the fact that I fell down from walking in my house a week ago, but I have cabin fever like no other. I am looking forward to a “night out on the town!” Also, did I mention FIREWORKS??? 😉

At one of my PT sanctioned religious events: Ringing in a wonderful Christmas Eve with my awesome sauce Pastor, “Papa” Richard Vicknair, and our Westside Church family! ♥

And here’s another one:

I was recently diagnosed with an irregular heartbeat and bradycardia post-hospital stay. Basically, my heartbeat is pausing and my heart rate is low (even for my normal resting heart rate) and is not rising fast or high enough during activity. I will be going in today to meet with a Cardiologist to determine what the next step toward my healing is. The worst-case-scenario is that I will need a pacemaker put in. However, I am hoping that the solution is much simpler. Either way, at this point, I am ALL FOR whatever it takes to get my heart restored so that I can resume a “normal” healthy life!

I’m one appointment closer to solid answers and an upward, onward, next step to full recovery!

 

This past year was all about DISCOVERY and I definitely DISCOVERED a lot of great things about myself and the world around me. In light of my recent medical setbacks, I wanted to write a long post about everything, but I just don’t have the strength + energy + focus I would need in order to get that done. So what I decided to do instead was record two video blogs: one to post today for New Year’s Eve, and one to post tomorrow for New Year’s Day (once I have the results and solution from the Cardiologist). I know it’s not much of an offering for all of you who have been following along with me in this journey and covering me in support, care, love, and provision, but I hope it blesses you in some way! Without further adieu, here is part one:

I don’t know about y’all, but I am MORE than ready to ring in the New Year!

 

New Year’s Eve 2011

Viva la 2013!


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On This Winter’s Night

☃ Merry Christmas Eve! ☃ 

 

Merry Christmas 2012!

Merry Christmas 2012!

 

One of my big questions for everyone during Christmastime this year has been:

WHAT IS YOUR FAVORITE FAMILY TRADITION?

 

Knowing that I wouldn’t be spending the holidays with my family, I made it my mission earlier this year to try to set up some new traditions for myself.

  • What will holiday traditions do I want to build into my life now that I’m on my own, livin’ the single lady life?
  • What will my future holiday traditions look like when I find that special someone?
  • What will my future holiday traditions look like when I have kids?

While a few major (and minor) events have set me back recently, I have been able to establish some and I’m looking forward to developing more next year!

 

Things I’m including this year:

 

Going to see the Nutcracker Ballet 

Even though I am mandated by my PT to be housebound, she gave me permission to have a special outing. So, I received one of the best Christmas gifts—my friend Melissa T. treated me to a night out to dinner & my 1st ballet ever—The Nutcracker!! It was by and far one of the most incredible, creative, and beautiful experiences I’ve ever had! ♥

 

Christmas Eve Breakfast for Dinner

I actually haven’t made dinner yet, but I will in just a bit. It’s going to be Turkey Sausage Egg Omelet with salsa + Gingerbread Pancakes + Pumpkin Granola and Stumptown Hairbender Coffee! Breakfast is my favorite meal and so what better way to kick off a season of happiness than with those delicious treats!?!

 

Video Chat with my Family

After tonight’s Candlelight Christmas Eve service at my home church, I’ll be sitting in front of my computer video chatting with both sides of my family all the way back in Texas! I’ll also get to chat with them tomorrow!!

 

Going to Bed in my Favorite Pajamas

These pajamas are special. It's actually a big deal to me that I'm wearing them to bed tonight. They are not only my FAVORITE pajamas, but they are actually the ones I wore the day I got my wisdom teeth taken out. And while I still can't watch the video from that night that turned into a month-long nightmare, I'm determined to wear them tonight and celebrate the victory of where God has brought me through every twist and turn along this crazy journey. I am looking forward to waking up in them, not in turmoil and danger from benzos, but in joy and victory, ready to embrace this next season of life!

These pajamas are special. It’s actually a big deal to me that I’m wearing them to bed tonight. They are not only my FAVORITE pajamas, but they are actually the ones I wore the day I got my wisdom teeth taken out. And while I still can’t watch the video from that night that turned into a month-long nightmare, I’m determined to wear them tonight and celebrate the victory of where God has brought me through every twist and turn along this crazy journey. I am looking forward to waking up in them, not in turmoil and danger from benzos, but in joy and victory, ready to embrace this next season of life!

 

Christmas Morning Quiet Time Devotional

Christmas morning will be celebrated with a special quiet time devotional from my Jesus Calling devotional. I received it as a gift when I was going into the rehab center to do my Physical/Occupational Therapy recuperation time and it’s carried me along every day since. It DEFINITELY belongs on the forefront of my Christmas Day. After all, Jesus IS the reason for the season!

 

“Stockings Only” in the Morning

Even though I have a bunch of presents under the tree, I want to open the little ones in my stocking first. They are simple, small, but packed with love and care. I had friends pick them out for me according to what they thought I might like. It’s going to be a time for me to celebrate the friendships that seem simple and small, but come overflowing with love and care!

 

Mexican Food For Christmas Breakfast

This is actually something that my family does every year and I’M NOT LETTING IT GO!!! It will FOREVER be tradition! 😀 We always do turkey and ham and the traditional stuff for Thanksgiving, but Christmas is ALLLLL Mexican food alllll day! Breakfast would usually consist of Mamo’s (grandma) tamales, Barbacoa tacos on Mamo’s homemade flour tortillas, Menudo, Migas, and TONS of salsa! Tonight, my dear friend Melanie is bringing me Pozole. I’m going to save it for tomorrow’s breakfast and party it up Latin style for Christmas breakfast before hitting up the Christmas Caroling! I’ll also be enjoying some pumpkin pie with my breakfast too 😉 I can’t wait!

 

Making my own recipes for Christmas Day

That’s right! I did it! I’ve always wanted to contribute something to Christmas Dinner. My aunts always bring their signature dishes (*ahem* Holla, broccoli rice and cheese casserole!!) but I tend to come up short and just bring some canned corn that I microwaved. Not this year! I’m stepping up my game!

It took every ounce of energy I had in me, but yesterday and today, I made my Christmas recipes! Rosemary + Basil roasted carrots (Caroling Carrots); Green food-dyed oatmeal cookies [not pictured because they need to be decorated tomorrow] (Green Grinchies); and home baked + mashed Cinnamon Sugar Sweet Potatoes (Yuletide Yams)! I'll be honest, there's about a third less yams in that bowl because I couldn't stop eating them . . . you know, cause I *had* to taste test them ;p

It took every ounce of energy I had in me, but yesterday and today, I made my Christmas recipes! Rosemary + Basil roasted carrots (Caroling Carrots); Green food-dyed oatmeal cookies [not pictured because they need to be decorated tomorrow] (Green Grinchies); and home baked + mashed Cinnamon Sugar Sweet Potatoes (Yuletide Yams)! I’ll be honest, there’s about a third less yams in that bowl because I couldn’t stop eating them . . . you know, cause I *had* to taste test them ;p

Christmas Caroling at the King County Juvenile Detention Center

For the past couple of years, my amazing best friend, Maggie has organized an event where people from our home church (Westside Church) get together and head down to the King County Juvenile Detention Center to sing Christmas Carols and pass out Christmas gifts that our congregation has prepared for the teens. Though I am a Children’s Director, my utmost heartbeat is still teenagers and being able to give back to these hurting hearts that are without family time during this season is a no-brainer! I’m looking forward to making this a full-on Christmas tradition!

 

I am overwhelmed with gratitude for my Family of Friends from the East Coast to the West Coast and my own housemates! These are ALLLL gifts from them—including stocking stuffers and regular presents. I am truly one blessed girl!

I am overwhelmed with gratitude for my Family of Friends from the East Coast to the West Coast and my own housemates! These are ALLLL gifts from them—including stocking stuffers and regular presents. I am truly one blessed girl!

 

Who knows what other things I’ll add next year. What matters most is that I’m learning a lot about myself and who I am in Christ during this season of questions and soul-searching. Being away from my family is definitely an emotional struggle, but knowing that I’m surrounded by the abundant love and hope of Christ and the warm fuzzies and life that come from my Family of Friends is carrying me through . . . which is great cause right now I can’t even walk right ;p hehehehe

One more sleep until the big special day, so . . .

Merry Christmas to all and to all a GOOD night!