Monday, December 28, 2009

Monday, December 14, 2009

Good Tidings!


Good Cheer!

Yule Tides!

Saturday, November 28, 2009

Monday, November 23, 2009

bright eyed and bushy tailed

Wally gets cuter with age. Every night I call him to come inside and then have to wait for like 5 minutes. Then, all of the sudden, he comes skidding in through the front door, practically crashing into things as he races for the kitchen. He stares at the fridge and meows like a hungry teenage boy, and then eventually gives up and settles for his kibble dish. After he's done feeding, he saunters into the living room where I pick him up and he purrs and snuggles into my shoulder. As I pull out all of the little stickers and brush residue caught in his tail from all the day's adventure, I can't help but be filled with love for my sweet little explorer. All boy. Bright eyed and bushy tailed.

Thursday, November 19, 2009

3 weeks?

you've got to be kidding.
(i'd be mad if i wasn't so proud of you!)

Tuesday, November 17, 2009

One more time, with feeling!

So my new job. It is everything I hoped and dreamed for. I am so thankful to even have a job right now, let alone one that I can find meaning and purpose in. I am learning so much everyday and I realize that, this time around, I am actually interested in learning more and asking questions. This is good because I am not currently an expert in breastfeeding, babies, or parenting. And I find myself looking things up a lot and asking my very knowledgeable coworkers things all the time… “So like what exactly is this nipple shield we keep speaking of…” and my coworkers are the most caring and supportive nurses I’ve ever worked with! As I am slowly building up my caseload (I’m currently rolling with about 6 clients… ), I’m finding that I couldn’t have asked for a better fit for me right now. I am so blessed and so thankful for this opportunity. I have so much to learn and my eyes and heart are being opened to some of the need that exists in my very own community.

This very place that I grew up in my whole life, this place that I thought I knew so well. The streets I drive on, the restaurants and coffee shops I hang out in, the stores I’ve always shopped in…. I’m seeing that there is so much more life that exists outside of my little world. I’m discovering neighborhoods I never knew existed, trailer parks tucked away in the quiet little pockets of the city. I’m seeing some poverty that I’ve only ever really seen in foreign countries. Homes that have cardboard for windows and doors, and no heating or electricity. Meth labs next to my client’s home, and maybe even in the home. I’m slowly starting to see the things that I never have before. The homeless shelters, the DSS building, The WIC office. Have these always been here? How could I not have noticed. I feel humbled and thankful and stirred, all at the same time.

Saturday, October 24, 2009

This little pumpkin is trying to look scary but just looks cute instead.

I think I need to sleep now.

Friday, October 23, 2009


“Our deepest fear is not that we are inadequate. Our deepest fear is that we are powerful beyond measure. It is our light, not our darkness that most frightens us. We ask ourselves, Who am I to be brilliant, gorgeous, talented, fabulous? Actually, who are you not to be? You are a child of God. Your playing small does not serve the world. There is nothing enlightened about shrinking so that other people won't feel insecure around you. We are all meant to shine, as children do. We were born to make manifest the glory of God that is within us. It's not just in some of us; it's in everyone. And as we let our own light shine, we unconsciously give other people permission to do the same. As we are liberated from our own fear, our presence automatically liberates others.”

-Marianne Williamson

Monday, October 5, 2009

Thursday, September 24, 2009

A+A take on Big Sur

Yesterday Ash and I loaded up the car and headed North up Highway one to Big Sur for our first ever annual Girl's camp out (right Ash?)! Boy did we have an adventure. After making a few stops along the way, we made it to our lovely campground. Lucky for us, they weren't at full capacity and we got to choose whatever site we pleased. We looked and looked for the perfect spot and finally decided on the most beautiful site in the whole place. The afternoon sun was streaming through the trees just right and we spent the whole rest of the afternoon setting up our beautiful campsite just so. Unfortunately, the sun went down before we had time to really explore or hike around the area, but we didn't mind. After all, we had dinner to make and s'mores to roast! Here are some pictures of our magical camping trip.

"Our fire looks so professional"

"Come and get it!"

"Shall we check the corn again?"

"Sure does shut down early around here"

"This looks like something the boys would totally eat"

Of course, the trip did have it's ups and downs. I would be lying if I said that I did not get food poisoning and did not throw up multiple times during the early hours of the morning. Yes it was a low point and we had to wrap things up earlier than expected the next morning (Or rather, Ashley did...) But overall our camping trip was a success! And I would even say that the bathroom facilities were pretty clean and accommodating for "being sick". I used almost every one in fact. And the side of my car. and a few bushes next to our tent.

Ash I love you! Thanks for the memorable camping trip. I loved telling that lady in the store how we were best friends and had been "For fifteen years" and then laughing at how that almost sounded like an old person thing to say. You bring so much fun and love and laughter into my life and I am so thankful for you. A+A forever baby!

Tuesday, September 22, 2009

Dear Diary,

My boyfriend is so nice. I like him.

Friday, September 18, 2009

Dear interview panel,

I thought we really connected the other day. The way you ladies looked at me and smiled and nodded. I honestly thought we were hitting it off. I felt so articulate and charming as I poured out my heart to you, telling you about all my experiences and projects, and how I could really find meaning and purpose in this job. That it would be more to me than just some old job. I told you that I would work extra hours, late hours, and that I would learn do my best to become an expert in this field. I told you how much I loved your organization and your mission. I actually meant it.

And my outfit. I looked cute and professional. And it killed me, but I wore the simple pearl studs instead of my prettier dangly ones. I didn’t want to be too flashy on our first date. And when I left, we were all smiling and thanking each other… the chemistry was so good. I was certain you felt it too.

It’s been over a week now, ladies, and I haven’t heard back from you. No call. No text. No email. Nothing. I got your answering machine again this afternoon and I debated in a split second whether or not to leave a message or try again later. I decided to try again Monday morning, and hope for a real human on the other end.

I braced myself for this. In fact I anticipated it. But now that it’s happening I feel so rejected, so deflated. I put myself out there. I took a chance. Frankly, I’m a little crushed. I took it personally because I am a person. So now I guess I have to get back out there. You know, start dating again… I know something even better is out there for me. And when I find it, it will be magic.


Ps. If you change your mind please call me. I will forgive you and take you back xoxo

Thursday, September 17, 2009

Breaking news!

I know this is sooo last week. But look how sweet little Lucky is with his little coaster-feets... Thank you Lucky for your lesson in perseverance. I love you.

Wednesday, September 16, 2009

furious longing, furious love

When then, eternal father, did you create this
creature of yours?...You show me that you made
us for one reason only: in your light you saw
yourself compelled by the fire of your love to give
us being in spite of the evil we would commit
against you, eternal father. It was fire, then,
that compelled you. Oh, unutterable love, even
though you saw all the evils your creatures
would commit against your infinite goodness,
you acted as if you did not see and set your
eye only on the beauty of your creature, with
whom you had fallen in love like one drunk and
crazy with love... You are the fire, nothing but
a fire of love, crazy over what you have made.

-The Prayers of Catherine of siena
(Taken of course from B. Manning's The Furious Longing of God)

Tuesday, September 15, 2009

believe in me.

I really like this story that B. Manning shares in his book The Furious Longing of God. I cried when I read this.

Back in the 1960s, I was teaching at a university in Ohio and there was a student on campus who by society’s standards would’ve been called ugly. He was short, extremely obese, he had a terrible case of acne, a bad lisp,and his hair was growing like Lancelot’s horse- in four directions at one time. He wore the uniform of the day: a T-shirt that hadn’t been washed since the Spanish American war, jeans with a butterfly on the back, and of course, no shoes.

In all my days, I have never met anybody with such low self-esteem. He told me that when he looked in the mirror each morning, he spit at it. Of course no campus girl would date him. No fraternity wanted him as a pledge.

He walked into my office one day and said, his lisp evident, “Ah you’re a new face on campus. Well, my name is Larry Malaney and I’man athgnostic.”

I said, “You’re what?”

He repeated himself and I said, “Wow, congratulations! If you ever become an atheist, I’ll take you to dinner and we’ll celebrate your conversion.”

The story I’m about to tell you is what Larry got for Christmas one year.

Christmas came along for Larry Malaney and he found himself back with his parents in Providence, Rhode Island. Larry’s father is atypical lace-curtain Irishman. Now there are lace-curtain Irish and there are shanty Irish. A lace-curtain Irishman, even on the hottest day in summer, will not come to the dining room table without wearing a suit, usually a dark pinstripe, starched white shirt, and a tie swollen at the top. He will never allow his sideburns to grow to the top of his ears and he always speaks in a low, subdued voice.

Well, Larry comes to the dinner table that first night home, smelling like a Billy goat. He and his father have the usual number of quarrels and reconciliations. And thus begins a typical vacation in the Malaney household. Several nights later, Larry tells his father that he’s got to get back to school the next day.

“What time, son?”

“Six o’clock.”

“Well, I’ll ride the bus with you.”

The next morning, the father and son ride the bus in silence. They get off the bus, as Larry has to catch a second one to get to the airport. Directly across the street are six men standing under an awning, all men who work in the same textile factory as Larry’s father. They begin making loud and degrading remarks like “Oink, oink, look at that fat pig. I tell you,if that pig was my kid, I’d hide him in the basement, I’d be so embarrassed.”Another said, “I wouldn’t. If that slob was my kid, he’s be out the door so fast, he wouldn’t know if he’s on foot or horseback. Hey, pig! Give us your best oink!”

These brutal salvos continued.

Larry Malaney told me that in that moment, for the first time in his life, his father reached out and embraced him, kissed him on the lips, and said, “Larry, if your mother and I live to be two hundred years old,that wouldn’t be long enough to thank God for the gift He gave to us in you. I am so proud that you are my son!”

It would be hard to describe in words the transformation that took place in Larry Malaney, but I’ll try. He came back to school and remained a hippie, but he cleaned up the best he could. Miracle of miracles,Larry began dating a girl. And to top it off, he became the president of one of the fraternities. By the way, he was the first student in the history of our university to graduate with a 4.2 grade point average. Larry Malaney had a brilliant mind.

Larry came to my office one day and said, “Tell me about this man Jesus.” And for the next six weeks, in half-hour increments, I shared with Larry what the Holy Spirit had revealed to me about Jesus. At the end of those six weeks, Larry said, “Okay.”

June 14, 1974, Larry Malaney was ordained a priest in the diocese of Providence, Rhode Island. And for the past twenty years, he’s been a missionary in South America, a man totally sold out to Jesus Christ. Do you know why? It wasn’t because of the six weeks of sitting in Brennan Manning’s office while I talked about Jesus. No, it was because of a day, long ago, during a Christmas vacation, standing at a bus stop, when his lace-curtain Irish father healed him. Yes, his father healed him. His father had the guts to get out of the foxhole and choose the high road of blessing in the face of cursing and taunts. His father looked deeply into his son’s eyes, saw the good in Larry Malaney that Larry couldn’t see for himself, affirmed him with a furious love,and changed the whole direction of his son’s life.

Friday, September 11, 2009


sister I love you. I hope you know how much I've always loved and adored you. When we were little, I wanted to be just like you. I wanted to be a part of the babysitters club that you and your friends started in the backyard. And I wanted one of those beautiful pencils that you got if you were a babysitter. I wanted a day bed like you. And I put my stuffed animals in my window seat just like you. I remember when you fell in love with the Nelson brothers. I did too. We had their cassette tape and tried to get them to play it at Flippos one time. And we went to their concert at the mid state fair and I fell asleep. And then we both got their poster and I had dad put mine up above my bed just how you did. I think you liked the brother with the straight blonde hair and I liked the one with the more flowy hair. haha and I remember I would always end up liking whatever candy or ice cream flavor you picked better than mine. So I would pick it next time.

I found this love letter that I wrote you when I was six.

And then I found this sweet goodness.

Friday, August 7, 2009


I know I always over-sentimentalize “this past year”, but I just can’t get over how much can happen in the span of one year. Interestingly, this final week of camp correlates with the first week of orientation for my nursing job last year. Wow. I had no idea what was in store. The transitions, disappointments, confusion, clarity, joy. I still have a lot to figure out. But I am so hopeful. And filled with so much gratitude and love. My heart is very full and I can’t even imagine what kind of adventures are next. I am blessed.

Monday, July 27, 2009

one sweet world.

I am living in a beautiful place, surrounded by some of the most beautiful people I have ever met. Last night we had a fashion show here at camp where the campers got to dress up however they wanted and strut their stuff. It is so sweet. They totally own the runway. They are wonderful and uninhibited and just beautiful. I love watching their faces shine as they take the stage and everyone cheers.

note to self: be less inhibited. It's way fun.

Tuesday, July 21, 2009


So much can happen in the span of one year.
I would never have guessed that I would be here, now.
Life is so clever, such a trickster.

Saturday, July 11, 2009


"This is what I am telling you my sweet but very dumb followers. Love each other the way that I have loved you. You know how I love you? Yeah, do that. To each other. And to everyone else too. If you do this, others will understand that you are my followers. And maybe they will want to share in this love too."
John 13:35 (alw)

Love means more in practice than in theory.
This little disciple has practicing to do.

Tuesday, June 30, 2009

this just in.

Life is busy and full and changing and a little unpredictable right now. I feel a little unsettled in many areas but I'm learning that it's okay. It's actually good. and part of being human. Once one area is resolved, another area gets off center. And according to my mom, this happens until you die. like it literally doesn't ever end- even when you're a grown up or married or have kids or any of those things. In fact, I hear it just gets even more complicated. I can't believe I didn't know this. I'm still taking it in. wowzers.

So apparently it's not about finding a recipe to avoid all the ish that life can dish, but about living a life of love and grace and forgiveness and hope and resilience. There is always reason to have hope and keep moving forward. One way or another you have to get through it, so enjoy it.
soak up the good. the sweetness. the love.

Friday, June 12, 2009

First week impressions

Session one of camp started last Sunday. I love it. The campers are so sweet and wonderful. I am wondering how to arrange a way to be a summer camp nurse all year long. Here are some of my favorite things about camp Krem so far:

1. There is always something funny/random/shocking happening somewhere close by
2. If you aren't in the middle of a dance party, you are probably just leaving one or on your way to one
3. I get to be the nurse lady who sometimes just gives hugs instead of medicine
4. Dressing up in costumes is part of the daily routine
5. I get to hear "Hi Amy, thanks for my medicine, I love you" everyday. and they mean it. and I say it back because I mean it too.

We're only a week in, but I'm hooked.

Saturday, June 6, 2009

Dwelling in a place of surprise and gratitude.
and that's all I have to say about it.

Monday, May 25, 2009

this mystery

If we could see. If we could read the Letter.
If, seated on high, amidst the authors of our destinies,
we could read the book of our life.
Which is written. Already written, finished.
But we shall never know our story. We are only characters in it.
And to think that there will be readers of our book.

Helene Cixous (taken from D. Allender's To be told)

Thursday, May 21, 2009

Knock Knock.

Who's there? Your birthday- almost.

Tuesday, May 19, 2009

short and sweet

So I have thoroughly enjoyed my stint as “stay at home daughter” for the past several months, but the time has come for me to move on. Thanks mom and dad for taking Wally and I in when we quit our jobs, broke the lease on our apartment, and hauled our crazy little selves up here. Seriously appreciate it. You guys are the best! I love you!

In other news, I’m all over California right now, both literally and figuratively. From SLO to Loma Linda and then up to Santa Cruz in a weekend. New people, new places, new things. Let’s just say the whirlwind has begun. I’m excited for this summer and also still a little preoccupied with what to do next, although I'm not going to let it get to me quite yet. Life will reveal herself in due time. And as for the couple of ideas I have up my sleeve... well they may or may not mean anything at all.

Friday, May 15, 2009

I feel heavy.

Isn’t it weird how you actually feel things in your heart. How do all the little feelings know to go right there? That’s what I’d like to know. Goodnight.

Wednesday, May 13, 2009

Girls Rock!!

“What happens to the girls as they are given a temporary reprieve from being sexualized, analyzed and pressured to conform is truly moving and revolutionary” (Hot Docs)

This movie made me laugh and cry. It definitely breaks my heart that little girls are growing up so fast these days, and dealing with pressures that they shouldn’t even know about yet. I mean I remember building forts and riding my bicycle at age ten, not dieting or texting boys or considering cosmetic surgery… oh sweet little tweens.

I love what this camp stands for and I admire these rocker chicks for how they are making such a positive impact on girls. I may never be cool enough to work at a rock camp but I definitely would love to work with girls in some kind of equally supportive and empowering environment. Rock On!

Sunday, May 10, 2009

Por Favor!

This song makes me nostalgic. It reminds me of dancing around the Houston Way house with Nikki and Hope when we were little. It also makes me want to travel to South America right now with just a backpack and a thermos full of Coca tea. Who's in?

Tuesday, May 5, 2009

Fools for Jesus. Or just plain foolish.

Been thinking a lot about the conflict I feel about being Christian. Or rather identifying myself as a Christian. I think it’s a trap. And I don’t like it. One time I was getting out of my car in this huge parking lot when this really awkward man with one of those catchy Christian shirts (I believe it was either “Subway” cleverly spelled “HisWay” or else the typical WWJD…) invaded my space and forced me to take not one but two ugly leather key chains that had bible verses on them. I actually felt embarrassed for him and took the two key chains out of pity. He told me that Jesus loved me and that I should have a nice day. Really? I mean seriously.

Christianity is affiliated with all things gross. Rich people. Gluttons. Republicans. Intolerance. Potlucks. Oh yeah crusaders too. And we wonder why people don’t buy the BS. Instead we pray for those “lost souls” who told us to F off when we offered them evangelical literature. Oh my. This is bad.

The worst, most conflicting part for me, is that I find myself struggling with the very same feelings of intolerance and disgust that I claim to abhor, toward those conservative Christians whom I should love. Yikes. Where is mercy and grace and love. I think Anne Lamott hits the nail on the head when she writes:

You can safely assume that you've created God in your own image when it turns out that God hates all the same people you do”.

Has the progressive Christian become the new “Holier than thou”. I am too ashamed to answer.

Monday, April 27, 2009

Let's just put this bitch in neutral...

There is something so special and sacred about reconnecting with old friends. The ones who knew and loved you before. Before titles, status, money, or significant others formed any part of the “adult identity”. No fancy introductions or explanations needed to impress each other. Just being together and enjoying each other again is enough. These occasions almost always have an unwritten requirement for reverting back to your kid self, which explains how poor planning and slight irresponsibility can make for an excellent camping adventure. Four people in four different places in life.

This last weekend, love and authenticity genuinely shined.

Thursday, April 23, 2009

Reading preparation never hurts


Tuesday, April 21, 2009

All good things must come to a beginning.

It seems to me that Spring is pretty much synonymous with change. Last year at this time I was busy perfecting my resume and interviewing for an ICU job at the VA. I was also preparing to graduate from college, travel to Africa, and move into my first apartment. I felt so excited to be on the edge of “grown up”. I figured that once all these changes took place I would be somewhat settled, stable, and extremely mature. So fast forward four seasons and here I am again in the middle of Spring in a completely different place and heading in a completely different direction. Wow. All I can say is that life is sweet and although entirely by default, I’ve discovered that life can be fuller, more expansive, and definitely more interesting than plans A, B, and/or C. Not that I don’t like having a plan, believe me I do, I just have a better understanding that my plans tend to take on themes such as “fluid”, “tentative”, and “changing”, especially as of late. Thank goodness right.

And I have stopped stressing about “following the right path”. What does that even mean? Life is about listening to our insides (I don’t like overusing heart) and doing what it is that excites, stirs, drives, and pulls us. Is it not God that places certain hopes, dreams, and passions in our heart that tend to resurface as recurring themes in life over and over again? If God is my maker, the creator of my being, how in the world could I ever make a decision in which God cannot make something good come from?

Lord you have searched me and know me! You know when I sit down and when I rise up; you discern my thoughts from afar. You search out my path and my lying down and are acquainted with all my ways. Even before a word is on my tongue, behold oh Lord, you know it all together. You hem me in, behind and before, and lay your hand upon me. Such knowledge is too wonderful for me; it is high; I cannot attain it…
For you formed my inward parts; you knitted me together in my mother’s womb. I praise you, for I am fearfully and wonderfully made. Wonderful are your works; my soul knows it very well. My frame was not hidden from you, when I was being made in secret, intricately woven in the depths of the earth. Your eyes saw my unformed substance; in your book were written, every one of them. Psalm 139

Thursday, April 16, 2009

Flashback to '92!

When I was little, nothing could get my heart fluttering more than the thought of a trip to Flippos. Reserved for only the most special of occasions, Flippos had all the necessary staples for a dream birthday bash.

Giant roller skating rink- check.

Greasy snack bar-you betcha!

Giant DJ booth- heck yeah!!

Private VIP rooms for entire birthday entourage- double check.

At Flippos, you could forget about all your worries and just skate. Even luckier, you could travel between the rink, snack bar, even the bathroom- all with your roller skates still on! In addition, if you were comfortable and of course skilled enough in your wheels, you could participate in games such as limbo, hokey pokey, and the corner/bean bag one. So when it came to celebrating my 6th birthday party, let’s just say there was no question as to where the location would be.

You see, it wasn’t all about the skating and games. There was one special perk that only the birthday kid and a specially chosen friend got to enjoy, while the rest of the crowd watched from the sidelines. Sometime during the day, all skaters would be asked to clear the floor and the giant, beautiful, shining roller skate would come rolling out onto the rink. It was during this time that the birthday kid and special friend got to take a ride around the rink inside of the Giant black and white skate as lights flashed, Birthday music blared, and everyone cheered!

Oh to be six again. Wonderful would be an understatement.

Monday, April 13, 2009

better together

I first met Wally at the Redlands animal shelter one morning in late October. It was a little over a month after the sudden and tragic loss of my first born (r.i.p. Pedro) and I didn't think I was in any kind of a place to love again, let alone adopt. The shelter, being about a minute and a half away from where I lived at the time, had become a frequent place for me to go when my spirits needed a boost or I just wanted to give and receive love.
I would go and visit the dogs mostly, but this day I decided to venture into the cat arena for a quick browse. Well, as soon as I walked past his cage, the three little kittens inside went crazy! They were all climbing over each other and sticking their paws out of the cage trying to get my attention. They were the loudest cage in the whole place and they were crying out "pick me! pick me!". I couldn't resist picking them up. The first one was cool but he had a funky eye issue and the second one- well there just wasn't really very much of a connection with her.

Then there was Walrus. The best looking of the three, he had big bright eyes, the fluffiest of tails, and mischeiviousness written all over him.
I picked him up and he just purred. He melted my heart.

He looked at me like "Are you my mother?" and I knew I was.

Sunday, April 12, 2009

umm hello. Is this thing on?

So I'm not gonna lie. Lately I've had a little extra time on my hands. And before this sweet season comes to an end and the inevitable whirlwind of life hits in all its glorious madness, I am gonna soak it all in. I am practicing the art of living and existing in the present. Yes I am optimistic and hopeful for what is around the corner, but I'm not there yet. I'm here. And I will probably never be in a place like this again, so I am just going to go ahead and own it.

So about this blog. Let's just say your guess is as good as mine.