Monday, December 28, 2009

My Dad.

My dad is the greatest man ever.
He just started growing a beard and he looks like Santa Claus.
He is married to an amazing wife named Althea with vibrant red hair. (obviously my mom!)
He has a talented daughter (me!) who lives in Orange County, California.
He is the father of my genius brother Cliff.
He is the adored grandfather of my 7 month old nephew Griffin and my 3 year old niece Gaia.
He lets Gaia climb all over him. Baby Griffin spits up on him often and my dad doesn't even flinch.
He is a warrior for his children-even though he knows we are no longer children. He will fight any battle to protect us.
He is my prophet, sending me daily inspirational text messages adorned with unique sideways smileys at the end of each sentence. These texts get me through the day.

That's why it was so hard to see my dad in a hospital bed.
Last week, December 20th he came down with stomach flu-like symptoms.
But it wasn't the stomach flu.
He got so sick that he couldn't walk or stand without fainting. When he tried to walk he fell and passed out. My mom called the ambulance and on the way there his blood pressure dropped to 26.
After my mom's worst fear of watching my dad hooked up to many machines at the same time, they discovered my dad lost five units of blood (out of thirteen units).
He had a bleeding ulcer.
Immediately they cauterized the ulcer and he was hospitalized for a few days.

I returned home from California the day he was let out of the hospital.
Christmas was quiet.
My mind wasn't quiet.
I was so scared for my dad.
I'd never come so close to thinking of what it would be like to lose him before, and I was terrified. I hated change. I hated time. I tried to do things to distract myself but my stomach was so upset.

Last night, my dad said his leg hurt, and he felt a numbing in his foot.
We didn't want to mess around, so in the middle of the night we took him to the Emergency Room where the doctors discovered he had three blood clots in his leg.
My mom, dad, and I gathered together in the small dark emergency room. His legs were too long and hung out over the end of the hospital bed.
I couldn't hold in my tears. I cried with my mom and dad, exposing all of my fears.
My parents thanked me for being there for them. They told me I was the best daughter they could ever have. All three of us hurdled in a circle around my dad's hospital bed, hugging each other. My mom and dad kissed sweetly. This hug between my mom and dad will go down in history as one of the most precious moments in my entire life.

I went home with my mom in the early hours of the morning and slept next to her since my dad was missing in the normal space where she was used to him sleeping. The procedure to get rid of the clots was a huge risk because his bleeding ulcer was still healing.
The hospital wanted to give him blood thinners but this was worrysome---if the ulcer started bleeding they wouldn't be able to stop the bleeding. And at the same time, they had to stop the clots from traveling to his heart or lungs.

This morning my dad was admitted to Theda Clarke hospital in Appleton for emergency surgery to insert a filter into his body so that the clots wouldn't travel to any of his organs. I couldn't eat, and I spent all night half awake wondering if my dad would be ok.
I felt so nauseated. My mom's eyes were wild with panic. I kept giving her hugs. My brother almost fainted at the hospital.

We gave my dad one last family hug before his procedure, and all we could do is have faith that we caught everything just in time.

Now my dad is home. All he has to do is heal now. Once the ulcer heals, then he will need to go through a series of blood thinners. But he is safe. This is what matters. The filter they put in his body will protect him from any blood clots.

I sat down next to my dad tonight to watch football. I never watch football.
He explained the game to me as I curled up next to him, put my head on his shoulder..and closed my eyes.

The greatest dad ever. What would I do without him?

Thursday, December 24, 2009

Christmas Eve

So here I am, stuck in Minneapolis on Christmas Eve.
The weather outside is not frightful though-it's beautiful.
I can enjoy snow since I only see it for 2 weeks out of the entire year.
At first I was upset that Delta cancelled my flight to Appleton until Christmas day.
Until now.
After several exhausting hours of traveling (I could have been to Europe with the eight hours I waited to get on the plane during my layover in Vegas!), I arrived in Minneapolis at 6:30am.
My wonderful father (who is currently at home in Waupaca healing from a bleeding ulcer! Bless his tender heart) took the liberty of using his miles to book me a hotel room at the Holiday Inn right next to the airport and the Mall of America.
I slept most of the day. (When does that ever happen?)
My Minneapolis "dilemma" turned into a small, but entertaining chapter in my life.
I decided to take advantage and take a shuttle to the Mall of America-my heaven! (I am a shopping addict).
I met two hilariously gay flight attendants on the shuttle to the Mall of America and back.
We stood in the blizzard together under heat lamps waiting for the shuttle to arrive (it was 10 minutes late and that feels like an eternity in the cold!)
They made me laugh.
I took a bubble bath, and had a drink of wine with my new friends.
Now I am relaxing, clearing my mind and making this my own little vacation.
Life is truly what you make of it-and this time I found the little getaway I've needed for a long time. Everything happens for a reason. I feel refreshed and I can't wait to see my family.
Merry Christmas.

Saturday, September 5, 2009


James 1:
Dear brothers and sisters, when troubles come your way,
consider it an opportunity for great joy.
For you know that when your faith is tested,
your endurance has a chance to grow.
So let it grow, for when your endurance is fully developed,
you will be perfect and complete, needing nothing.

God blesses those who patiently endure testing and temptation.
Afterward they will receive the crown of life that God
has promised to those who love him.

So now there is a new man in my life: Welcome, James.

Wednesday, August 26, 2009

To You.

To those who I have lost somewhere between the Fox River Mall, the Grand Canyon..LAX....this one goes out to you.

It seems so long ago I sat with you in a coffee house on a cold Wisconsin evening. Drinking coffee under a dimilit light convinced me I was a wise adult. I hated coffee. I liked you so much that I pretended to like coffee so that we could pretend to have a deep conversation.
We were going to take on the world. I think I was 18.

And him. Your future husband. He became my friend too.
He has always been such a ray of light, a ball of energy, and one of the tightest huggers I have ever known. I loved his mom too. I gave her a pedicure once. She told me I was classy. I still carry her compliment with me and make sure that it remains true in my daily life.

When I witnessed your marriage to him, I wished that I could find the same happiness that you found with him.
I even caught the bouquet at your wedding reception.

Our friend. Her. She and I always caused trouble. From the time we blew up hot dogs in the the time we posed for a photo next to a giant velvet martini glass in my living room. Her. She convinced me to stop my car, jump out, and dance to Milli Vanilli on the side of the freeway. I know it's still on video somewhere. Her. I loved her. She never listened to my advice and I am afraid she will never quite know how much I do understand her.

Him. The guy who posed with us next to the martini glass and witnessed the Milli Vanilli scene. He was dressed up like a nun. It was Halloween. What on earth happened to him? He was the good guy. I think my life will almost be complete if I can at least talk to him one more time. He always disappeared around conflict.

Me. I moved to California six years ago. Six years seems like an eternity.
But I am still from Wisconsin. I still love Wisconsin.
To be truthful there will always be the soft part of me that wants to throw it all away and move back to Wisconsin to be with the ones I love.

But you see now time has forced us all to move on.
There are babies. New families. Boyfriends. New cars. Mortgage payments. Careers.
Are we really adults?

Somewhere between LAX and The Fox River Mall my heart broke a little bit from missing you. Life has never been the same since.

Tuesday, August 25, 2009

My Favorite Things. (Move over comes Amanda!!)

greenjem's wishlist

I found this new fun website for a shopaholic like me. It's called (And nope I am not getting paid for this). I fell in love with this website on a Sunday afternoon.
I can shop for things I dream of owning and make wish lists or recommend things I already own to shoppers like me.
I always create wish lists and send them to my friends.
It's like daydreaming about a wedding shower.. without the wedding.
And this way it's not a mystery if someone wants to buy me a little (or a big) gift. Hint Hint ;)

I've found everything here. From salt & pepper shakers (which I collect) to shelving.. to DDR and a Playstation 2! And of course.. tons of fun culinary kitchen-esque stuff!!

Putting together a list like this really helps me plan for the things that matter to me. Whether they are fun and little wants..or things I truly need.
It's like a cyber vision board.

I guarantee this site is addictive.
Its like a Target Ikea Urban Outfitters NY LA Vancouver Seattle Williams Sonoma all in one place.
Can you tell I am smitten??!!!!

Just click on one of the images above to visit the site. The images here are just a few of my 127 favorite things. Oh and I am sure I will find more!
The images will take you to the site where you can go on your own shopping voyage.. or you can check out the rest of my wish list.
I have to say it's all interesting. :)

Wednesday, August 19, 2009

Carless in Orange County.

I made a crazy decision.
Well other people think it's crazy.
I just think it's sensible.
I decided to go carless in Orange County, California.
There are a lot of things I want to do with my life.
Right now I am kind of just waiting to see how I can get there.
I need some time to think (see my previous blog).

But to EVER do what I want to do with my life..I need to be free of debt.
I am sick of having nice things but not being able to go anywhere.
I never get to go on spontaneous vacations, indulge in a random pair of designer shoes because I deserve it.

The main reason is that I am in debt-from this situation I got myself into--I lived in a $1400 apartment in the heart of beautiful Costa Mesa. I was making a $330 car payment plus paying $1300 a year for car insurance.
Not to mention paying utilities and other bills.
Because of this, I racked up quite a bit of debt.

To make up for this I am now making a sacrifice.
I am living by myself yes.. but now since I turned in my little V-Dub Beetle convertible (which some people think is funny that this was my dream car. I actually cried when I returned it and gave it a big hug this past Saturday)....
I have decided to save about $450 a month or more and use that money to pay off my debt in about a year.

Now going carless certainly affects the ego.
I never knew how much it would.
Especially in Orange County where most people look at their car as part of their skin.
When I tell people I am going carless, most of the time they respond in the same way. They ask me when I am getting a car and how in the world do I plan on getting anywhere?!?!

Well, I have done a lot of nice things for other people.
Now I am going to hope and pray that the universe will return a little nice-ness to me because this sacrifice is for the greater good of my life and God's will for me here on the earth.

Because I am doing this I could become a millionaire someday :)
Or I'd be happy just being financially sound.

So now I am relying on other people to pick me up and give me rides.
Yes I will pay them for gas. And if they drive me around a lot of places often, I will also pay them for wear and tear.

I don't know if I will do this for the entire year that I am trying to get out of debt. But so far this is my plan.

I am already starting to go a little crazy-but mostly it's just my ego getting in the way.

I figure I'll just take this a step at a time. I'm saving my wallet, my debt, and helping the environment. Sweet.

And in the end..I'll be able to do just about anything that life calls me to do if I am free of this burden.

Look at me like I'm crazy..yeah..
but in about a year from now I will be 31--and if I want to buy that pair of indulgent designer shoes I will be able to and yep, I'll deserve it!

Monday, July 27, 2009

Wake up Call (hold on, I'm on my hamburger phone!)

So here I am at my new place in Newport Beach, California!
I love it here.
I have a place that I can finally call my home.
I haven't had that in over a year now.
In fact to celebrate (and make my apartment smell good), I baked chocolate chip cookies in my new kitchen yesterday.
I just had to remind myself never to eat that much cookie dough again. I made my tummy a little sick!

With this anchor I finally have under my feet, I have prayed and prayed about making a certain decision that I announced I was doing, but deep inside I didn't feel quite ready for yet.
And I have decided that this year, I am not going to travel to Thailand on a missions trip.
Not because I don't want to.
Not because I am not meant to.
Believe me, my biggest dream is to travel the world.
The reason I am not going to Thailand is because I see how crazy my life has been for so long.
I am honestly exhausted from all the pressure I have put on myself.

I've been jumping from thing to thing, thinking that because my life changed so drastically within the past year that obviously I must be destined to do something amazing.
When what my spirit, heart and mind needs at this moment in my life is a rest.
Kind of like what my body needs to do when I am sick.
I need this chance to heal and clarify things. This past year was so life changing that I became a different person.
Before this past year, I was carefree, pretty selfish, into my own thing. I did everything for me. I acted like I was invincible.
That's what I was used to. I was independent and thought I could be a success on my own.
But honestly, my plans aren't always the best. God let me put my hand in the cookie jar for a long time..
but because he cared about my success in his plans.. he took the cookie jar away from me.

So after this year..minus the cookie jar... I have reunited with the authentic me again. But this time it is the authentic girl meeting a woman.

I'd rather stay at home and watch a movie or have an interesting conversation with a friend instead of go out dancing or share the room with a huge crowd of half drunk strangers.

Friday nights I am always exhausted from work. I love to put on my pajamas, throw myself on the blankets and close my eyes. That is Heaven.

Instead of driving my pretty little convertible I want a simple, inexpensive car that will get me from point A to point B.

I want to pay off my debts so that when I am healed and ready to make the next step, I will be free.

I want to follow this "tender heart" my mom always told me I've had.
This is a gift from God that I haven't used enough. But now I yearn to use it.

My heart is back. It was always here but I blocked it for a long time.
A certain someone who proposed to me in the sand woke up my heart again-even if it ended up hurting later.
It was worth it.

I've established a relationship with God again. He's always been a big part of my life, but it seems the past six years I've put him at the bottom of my list.
Now this year I want to spend my time asking him what he wants for me. Instead of me asking me what I should do.

I've stopped drinking alcohol pretty much completely except for rare social occasions.

I wear my heart on my sleeve and try not to listen to all the cynics when it comes to love. I'd rather listen to my heart - and if I get hurt along the way.. well.. I guess I just lived a little more than I did before.

I've pondered over going to culinary school so I can learn the science of baking/food and of course to sharpen my decorating skills.
But I know for sure I am going to start my cupcake biz on the down low-for weddings, events, friends, etc.
I've really found a passion for food-and not just junk food either.
This past year-as stressful as it was-was also very nutritionally and physically successful for me.
I really have a passion for health food - especially for finding or turning junk food into health food. I think I might have something there.
I just never knew that food would be the avenue I'd best express my artistic talents in!

I hate negative anything-It actually burns my ears..or my heart..or spirit. Or all of the above.
I can't listen to screaming rock and roll music or degrading rap music.
I used to be able to block that stuff out, but now if it plays in the background I have to walk away from it.
I think this has something to do with my fresh raw tender heart.

Life doesn't have to be this crazy whirlwind of changes in order to be a success.

It is hard for me to just sit here because usually I am the kind that says - you want something - you go out and make it happen.
But right now a little voice in my heart is telling me...

Sometimes the best "plans" aren't planned at all.

Tuesday, June 16, 2009

Thirty Flirty and Thriving!!!!

On June 12th 2009 I turned 30.

I feel a bittersweet twinge of sentiment when I reflect on the past decade-especially knowing that my twenties are behind me and I will never see them again. If someone heard me saying this out loud it would certainly not be in a somber tone.

My twenties were for exploring, growing up, making mistakes and repairing myself from them, experiencing things for the first time, being raw and vulnerable, taking chances, celebrating that I overcame my awkward and mortifying high school years.

Now that I am standing on the edge of my thirties I know more of what I want--even if my plans don't work out how I expected them to. I've learned that God has a plan for me and my way isn't always the best. I still plan on making mistakes because Lord knows I don't know everything and I never will. Mistakes seem to be the best thing that can happen to me. I have grown a little bit taller through each mistake I have made.

I remember being a teenager and my art teacher used my art as an example to the entire class.
She said,
"Amanda has her own style. She starts drawing and doesn't even worry about her mistakes. Instead she works with them and changes what would be an imperfection into something beautiful."

My high school art teacher read me pretty well. I look back on that now and see how much my painting and writing style applies to my life.
I've never been one to look back and regret anything or hate a "mistake" I made.
I am not really even someone who worries all that much because I know that in the end if I make the best of the present situation, it will all work out in some magical way.
(Even if I do cry a lot when something bad happens.. I let it out all out and move on).

So where did time go? I am now a thirty year old woman with a new decade to look forward to. A flawed, imperfect unsure thirty year old woman. Sometimes I still feel like a vulnerable infant when I stand in front of this incomprehensible world before me. At the same time I am really excited to see what this brand new decade brings as I climb uphill.

The Highlights of my Twenties:
..Lost somewhere out here in cyberspace now!

**Falling in Love for the first time.

**My brother's marriage to Courtney.

**The birth of my niece Gaia (who is now 2 1/2) and my new baby nephew Griffin just born last month.

**Getting the opportunity to give my grandpa Carl a hug and a kiss good-bye before he left this earth.

**My parents. Just for being the support that they are and always will be.

**Discovering my passion for cupcakes and displaying my love for art on cupcakes.

**Reuniting with so many of my friends from the past because the world is such a small place. Now they have become friends again to me in my present.

**Living in several amazing places in one decade:

Waupaca-my hometown

Chicago-Short and not so sweet

Green Bay-Really sentimental memories there.

Los Angeles-I've never made a better decision than to move there. It changed my whole life and allowed me to free my true spirit.

Orange County: Working for Billabong, surrounded by opportunity, staring at the beautiful ocean, feeling the grains of sand between my toes

**Discovering Sushi. I don't know what I'd do without it now that I know how yummy it is!

**Traveling to Paris, Germany, Amsterdam, Iceland, Milan, Hong Kong

**Discovering personal trainers and fitness. I was the biggest clutz in my high school years. Now I can do pullups, pushups, squats galore, yoga, pilates, and would love to be considered an "athlete." This was probably one of my best decisions ever as well.

**The third year IMPD program at FIDM. I created a line of denim to sell at Wal-Mart and presented it to VF Corporation. I totally jumped out of my comfort zone to try for this opportunity..and I made it into the top 12!

**Finding and Sharing Love with all different people. I have found that I have a really generous sharing heart. I've shared this with other people and because of that I have established many interesting and fun relationships with friends from all over the world.

**Meeting Jack Nicholson when I first moved to Los Angeles. Face to face. Just me and him in the room. He was wearing his classic sunglasses, and he flashed his famous smile at me to say "Hello." To me, this was a sign I was doing the right thing.

**Living in Burbank, CA. Probably one of the most fun moments ever in my life.

**Walking down the runway as a fashion/hair model. Check that one off my list.

**I am so glad I learned how to enjoy my alone time. I used to never like being alone but now I treasure that small amount of time just as much as I treasure time with friends or loved ones.

**Becoming strong enough to know that it is ok to stand up for myself. I had a really hard time with this as a teenager and in my early twenties. Now I finally have a grip on it.

**Embracing my beauty-even if it isn't perfect. I will take what God gave me and embrace it. The best praying for the inner beauty to shine on the outside.
This does happen.

**Meeting Ben Elgersma at my 10 year high school reunion. I never talked to him in high school. I was so glad I got the chance to know him for a little while after our reunion because he passed away in January of 2008 unexpectedly.
It really taught me the importance of paying attention to the person sitting next to you-because they could just be a treasure worth taking the time to know.

**Discovering Saddleback Church. I think this place will honestly help me set the foundation for my thirties-traveling to Thailand, singing in the choir, meeting amazing inspirational people who genuinely care for others.

**My Red VW Beetle Convertible. I am getting rid of it this August.. but I always dreamed of having this car and for the past 3 years I made it happen!

**Meeting my current boyfriend Dan. I had promised myself that I was not going to have a boyfriend for a good year because of my broken off engagement.
Then Dan came along and he taught me that things don't always go as expected.
I now know that it is possible to experience new love and it is ok to let myself be vulnerable. Even if I am still trying to heal a little bit from my past.

I could go on forever. But these are just some of the highlights of my twenties.
It's been amazing and I can't wait to see what my thirties will bring!

Some photos from my 30th bday celebration:




Friday, April 24, 2009

My New Home.

I just moved April 1st..
it is a big change for me.
The past month has just been insane.
I moved, made this amazing cupcake tower for my boss's goddaughter while moving, sang in Saddleback Choir's Easter services. Needless to say I am now exhausted and could honestly sleep for probably an entire weekend if I let myself.

I am now living in Rancho Santa Margarita, CA (South Orange County).
I am surrounded by beautiful mountains everyday. I promised myself I would never take this breathtaking scenery for granted.
Rancho Santa Margarita is quite different than anywhere I have lived in California.
I started in Los Angeles-a crazy busy blur.
I moved to Costa Mesa in Orange County 3 years later. That was a huge change because it was much quieter, ritzier, and a little less of a melting pot.
Almost 3 years after that I have now moved to Rancho Santa Margarita.
Rancho Santa Margarita is even more quiet. All the stores close early. Even Yogurtland closes an hour earlier than they are supposed to. I practically trip over little kids trying to escape from their mother in the grocery store.

But I am here to save money, free myself of debts, so that I can do what I love and am passionate for-travel.

I live with two great roomies. Their names are Billy and Brandy. They just got married 2 weeks ago in Tennessee. Brandy's dog Beacon is a famous reality TV star. She's been on that "America's Greatest Dog" reality show along with Brandy.
Slowly my cat Sprite and famous doggy Beacon are becoming friends.

The whole environment in this house is very chill.

I know that eventually one day when my curiosity for wandering the world has faded a bit more I can live in a really really nice place by myself or if I have a husband..obviously with him.

So to share some visuals...because I've said enough.
This is the Amandaness that makes up my new living space:


I'm a Genie in a Bottle hm?


You can stay under my umbrella :)


A little something Dan wrote me. Nice hm? I like it.


I love this song by Frank Sinatra.


Getting all National Geographic up in my bedroom.







This painting has always made me yearn for love and happiness.


The best lamp ever. $6.99 at Goodwill in Waupaca! Yeah.


My Memoirs of being Jessica Rabbit (Halloween 2007)


I need to frame this lovely Breakfast at Tiffany's poster of Audrey.

Tuesday, March 24, 2009

Welcoming Love.

Wow I am truly dizzy and my vision is distorted right now.
I came back from Wisconsin in January and I was crazy depressed..sadly to say, practically suicidal. I just wanted to fall asleep for awhile and get away from the world.

Then I decided to change my life. I decided to hand it over to God, get involved with the Saddleback Choir, take care of myself, plan on traveling a few places that I've always wanted to go.
I really wanted the Australia thing but I guess it wasn't meant to happen. I also decided that I needed to give myself some time to heal.. get rid of the left over pieces of pain..and promised myself that I would focus on the plan for my life instead of trying to seek out a boyfriend. I decided that if God wanted that for me, he would eventually make it happen. For the first time in years I wasn't even looking for a man in my life.

Once I changed my perspective and handed my life over to God it was like he handed me things I never expected would appear in my life.

Ironically, one of these things is a new man. (Even though I said I didn't want one!!!) Yes, I call him a man because he gives me something that no man has ever been able to completely give me.
Time. He always wants to spend time with me.

He brought me tea when I had laryngitis..on the night I was rejected from the Australia trip.
He brought me a vase of orange roses on our second date.
He woke up super early to prepare a dinner that was cooking in a pot roast while we were at work all day. That same night he asked me to be his girlfriend.

He dedicated a song to me on my lunch break as we sat in my VW eating flame broiler.
He didn't even try to make a move on me too fast like so many guys have. This showed me he wants so much more of me than something physical..and he has morals.
We went to see an African childrens' choir sing together and danced in the crowd.
He went to see me sing twice in one weekend in the Saddleback choir.
He showed up at my door step last Friday night without telling me.. to help me pack for my big move! He just called me from my front door and asked me to let him in.
That same night he took a piece of paper out of his pocket and read some romantic Spanish words that he learned from some friends at Billabong (he works in QC with a lot of spanish speaking people). I melted.
His roommate is his best friend...and when we went out for Fish tacos we all said "grace" in a public place before we ate.

I didn't expect any of this..and honestly right now I can say that I am not used to this either.

We'll see where it goes.. but right now.. my head is spinning.. and I have that beginning warm fuzzy feeling inside my heart. It is kinda fluttering. And who knew I could feel this?

When I sat in my living room in January crying hysterically from the pain of losing someone who meant the world to me.. I felt hopeless.

But now I have someone's hand to hold in the line at the grocery store.
Someone who wants to give me a kiss good-bye in public.
More importantly I have someone who told me that if he could give me one kiss hello everyday then his day would be worth it.
Someone whose eyes welcome me when I walk into the room..and light up when we talk.
Someone who calls me "Babe."
Someone I can laugh with.

I feel like I can be happy again.





Tuesday, March 10, 2009

Amen to that!

This last weekend was a blur. I went through it like I was in a dream.
I spent a lot of time with a certain boy whose company I really enjoy lately.
I enjoyed yogurtland.
I slept in.

I sang for the first time ever on the stage with the Saddleback Church Worship Choir for Rick Warren's services. It was one of the most inspiring things I've ever done with my life.

The thing about standing up there is that I can see everyone in the audience.
As I sing I pull the energy from the crowd-the good, the bad, the pain I see in the eyes of the people. I take in the energy, blend it all up inside my heart and throw it back out there as God's powerful love through my smile, dance, and voice.

I can feel God radiating through my being and I can't stop myself from reaching my hands up to him, to praise him. I let go..and as I let go I feel myself connect with God and everyone in the room.
It is the craziest tingly feeling-better than an adrenaline rush. This has more substance because it is something more powerful than just a physical body.
It is God working through a gift he has given me.

I feel even better when I know my friends are in the audience. I was really flattered that people wanted to come watch the choir perform. In fact one of my friends came to two services. It made me feel really supported and special. Most importantly I was happy to share this passion with them.

My friend came to see me this weekend and she took some photos.
They are really fuzzy and blurry.
I am the girl in the back wearing blue.
How exciting.
My goal is to one day sing a solo up there. I have a feeling it will happen.

Being part of the choir is beautiful though. I stood next to the tenors and as I heard our separate parts harmonizing, blending beautifully together I imagined that this must be a little piece of what Heaven could be like.

My next performance is Easter weekend.. and all the services play live on Saddleback Church's website. So perhaps...I can even share this amazing experience with my friends from afar. I'd love to hear from anyone who gets the chance to watch.

Photos from the experience. Find me. The Blurry Girl on the top row in the Blue.






Thursday, March 5, 2009


This weekend was my second trip ever to Disneyland.
I have a few Amanda guidelines to follow when visiting this fun place.

1. Skip, dance and twirl through the park. Even at the age of 29, I can get away with it. I did it. A lot.

2. Buy some ears to wear. My friend Dan even wore my Minnie Mouse ears for a little while.

3. Ride It's A Small World. It is happy and full of whimsical eye candy.

4. Indulge in some yummy sugary treats. The whole park smells like cotton candy, caramel corn, and cookie dough.

5. Ride the teacups. I promise they don't make you sick. They are just giggly and silly and fun. I think riding the teacups should be on everyone's "Things to do before they die" list.

6. Watch the children at the end of the nightas they fall asleep under the spell of Disneyland on daddy's shoulder. It is adorable, and really does make my biological clock start to tick. Perhaps. Just for a moment.

7. Make sure to get a pass for both California Adventure Park & Disneyland. Ride "Soaring Over California" in the California Adventure Park. On this ride I could fly over the San Francisco bridge, inhale the scent of orange groves, kick my feet in the ocean..need I say more?

8. For a scary experience..ride the Tower of Terror. Probably my worst nightmare come true. I only went on it with Dan because he promised to go on the teacups with me.

9. Don't puke on Space Mountain. The line to get on the ride is almost always 2 hours long, and when someone pukes on the ride it means about another 25-45 minutes waiting in line.

10. Most importantly-go with someone that interests you. There are a lot of great standing in line conversations to be had. I have to say some of my best memories were created standing in line.

The photos tell the rest of the story..


(Very Nervous to confront my fear of falling elevators in the tower of terror).

(About to step onto the elevator).

The tower of terror. Truly.








We took a lot of standing in line photos. But this one is interesting. It looks like I am shooting fire out of my mouth.




It's A Small Small World.







Tuesday, March 3, 2009

An Update On Australia

So I just want to send a thank you out in this cyberworld to all of those who gave me stars on my video for Australia. I didn't make it unfortunately. There is still the wild card round-where if your video becomes the most popular on the site you can become the wild card finalist. I will leave this part totally in God's hands.

But honestly..the thing that gets me here is that I really had a feeling about this one too--even if I was one out of 34,000!
My question of the day is--how can one tell the difference between instinct or optimism? Because my instinct was so strong on this-I could have sworn that this was meant to be-it would have been the perfect next move in my life. (Since I love to write, photograph, daydream, travel, meet new people, see new colors, experience fashion, explore and seek out my adventurous spirit).

I can hope that one day I will get a chance to travel and write someday in the near future. This definitely is not where my journey ends.
This is where it begins..and I find a new door to open.
For months I have just had this feeling that something new and big is going to happen soon. Actually it has almost been a year since I've had that feeling. I am still not sure what that "thing" is. And I've been growing a little excitedly impatient about this feeling in my gut.

So this is where faith comes in.

I am a little sad this morning and I know it will only last for a few days and I will move on to brighter things. I worked really hard on the video and sacrificed quite a bit to make it.It's one of those moments..that I worked really hard on something..put my all into extremely excited about all of the possibilities..and suddenly it's done.
..Now what? What's next and what did I learn from it?

So we will see what is next..and I am thankful for all that I do have-
a view of the Pacific Ocean, a great job, lots of people who love me, awesome past experiences of international travel.. and more to come.

Monday, March 2, 2009

Bringin' Sugar Back

My latest creation.
A Justin Timberlake Rolling Stone Magazine cover with my boss Raquel - from Billabong photoshopped into it.
I am proud of this one. :)
Bringin' Sugar Back. Yeah.