Saturday, January 25, 2014

Eat. Pray. Laugh.

My sister, brother, and I were dying Easter eggs. 

Suddenly I had the notion to lower that piece of wire--that we were using to retrieve our eggs--into the water and this sound escaped from my lips:

(Sound of electric shock)

. . . . . 

(My sister and brother break into hysterical laughter)

. . . . . .

(their laughter grows into uncontrollable laughter)

. . . . .

2 minutes later.

After the tears were wiped away and we all regained our composure, we went back to dyeing our Easter eggs.

The more I think about this memory, the more I see now that this was an significant moment in my life. This moment was indeed a realization:

I could make other people laugh.
 But not just laugh.

A ridiculous kind of joy (laughter) that was so tangible you could almost taste it--after you had time, of course, to catch your breath and not faint from all the hyperventilating.

Laughter: Life's Calling?

As I've been reading Mark Scandrette's new book, FREE, I've been challenged to think a lot about my life's purpose and calling. And, until recently, I wouldn't have even considered laughter as part of my life's calling.

But, if Frederick Buechner defines calling as: "Where the world's deepest need and your deepest joy meet" then I would agree that actually, making other people laugh can be part of someone's life purpose. 

Laughter's Holy Purpose

When I think of all my comedian heroes (Carol Burnett, Steve Martin, Jimmy Fallon, Will Ferrell, Kristin Wigg, Mindy Kahling, Zooey Deschanel, Tina Fey, Stephen Colbert, Jon Stewart, Amy Poehler, and more), I am reminded:

How much the world needs joy.

And the amazing thing about true, ridiculous joy. . . is that it's free. And, it also takes 10 years off of a person's face.

If you need help getting started, please one of my favorite scenes from Mary Poppins. And read this book.

Sunday, August 26, 2012

Lazy Baby Sundays

How can you have so much love for someone that you've only known for 7 weeks?! 

Answer me that, Einstein!

Sundays generally should and always be special days. Why? 

Whether it's reconnecting with God, family/friends, that desire to bake and consume delicious things like chocolate chip cookies...

Sundays were just meant to be special. Set apart. Different from the other days. 

-add a little country music, and it makes the whole day just a little bit sweeter. Trust me, non-country music fans...just trust me-

My Sundays have recently got a whole lot better in the sense that I have four to five hours carved out of my schedule to spend with this 7 week old baby, who I think is pretty fantastic.

And yes, we are related. She is my niece- Emma Grace.

So far we learned that Emma is cute. She likes to sleep. Eating is also on her top priority list, as well has having a dry diaper. 

Besides that, she is an excellent snuggler and 'burp'-er (she gets bonus points for those last two!)

And last but not least, this girl is on her way to becoming a professional smiling baby. She smiles in her sleep and when I tickle her toes! 

All I can say is...I love this kid THIS MUCH (holds arms wide as they can go)!

I LOVE being her aunt. 

And I love OUR lazy Baby Sundays.

Monday, January 16, 2012

Meditations on Beauty

Beauty is one thing that I rarely take time to appreciate.

There's the occasional hike, where I am stunned by nature's beauty.
Or a conversation with a friend leaves me enchanted by the beauty of that person's soul.
Or a song will leave me in awe as I drink in it's melodies and harmonies,
a language that only my soul understands.

Beauty seems to be chasing me....and I am done running.

I'm done running away from beauty and into the arms of the practical, the useful, and the efficient.
I'm done dismissing beauty as something whose roots are sick,
twisted, or even just plain unhealthy.

I'm ready to begin seeing the true nature of beauty.
To begin appreciating the goodness of beauty.
To start recognizing the true source of beauty.

....and maybe even learn to simply 'waste time' enjoying beauty once in a while.....
or as King David puts it....

"One thing I ask from the LORD, this only do I seek: that I may dwell in the house of the LORD all the days of my life, to gaze on the beauty of the LORD and to seek him in his temple."- Psalms 27:4

Here's the beginning of my 'Meditations on Beauty'.

The beauty of sewing (and fabrics)

The beauty of a picture

The Beauty of Healthy Baking

Simple slice up sweet potato.

Spray a baking sheet with non-stick spray.

Evenly layer sweet potato slices on baking sheet.

Sprinkle as much or as little as you like of these spices:

-garlic powder
- salt/pepper
- paprika
- cinnamon

Bake at 425 degrees for about 10-12 minutes on each side.

Enjoy this simple, delicious and healthy alternative to french fries!

The beauty of the Snow

The beauty of color and light

The beauty of Stringed Instruments

Check out "Living Room Songs"

by Olafur Arnalds,

an Icelandic composer

The beauty of a few words

The beauty of modern film interpretations
of classics like Jane Eyre

to watch trailer go here

Thursday, January 5, 2012

Sister Act and Chopping Off My Hair

Sister Act is the reason I chopped off my hair today. Well, sort of. Growing up, one of my favorite movies from the 90's was Sister Act. One of the best scenes of the whole movie was of course.... the finale: Whoopi Goldberg (a criminal turned choir director) leads the choir of nuns in a stunning version of "I will follow him" (originally performed by Little Peggy March).

Ever since I first saw this film, this version of a popular 60's song has spoken to me again and again as a Christ-follower. This scene not only captures the love that I have for God as I follow Him but also the joy in experiencing His goodness.

Most of the time, I as a follower of God have no idea where God is leading me. But as I've learned to follow and trust God, He continues to prove Himself as One who knows what He's doing. For example:

Last year, I had been struggling with ongoing and painful depression. My body hurt, my emotions were haywire (anger and sadness being the most common feelings), and I had absolutely no energy. After struggling with depression for six months (October- March), I began to realize that I probably needed help. So one day, I cried out to God and asked him: God, what do I do? Immediately, the next thing that popped into my head was: Stop eating wheat.

Now for someone who knows little to nothing about nutrition, special dietary needs, or even what Gluten-free was all about... I was CONFUSED. But I decided that I was desperate and willing to try anything. And if this thought was from God, than I should probably do something about it. So, over the next couple weeks.... I began to learn to take wheat out of my diet. And what do you know what happened? I began to feel NORMAL.

Intrigued, I emailed a friend who was gluten-free, and asked him,"Was depression one of your symptoms... before you were gluten-free?" He said, "Yes, in fact I was on bipolar medication for 15 years. After I became gluten-free I no longer needed the medication."Relieved to NOT be crazy, I then realized that God indeed led me to the source of my depression- a food allergy. Isn't that amazing?

Following God is a journey- not an equation. It is like driving with a GPS that directs you to make left and right turns, without knowing what your "ending" destination is. Sometimes there is a lot of waiting. Sometimes there is pain. Sometimes there is frustration. But at the end it all, there is a joy waiting to be found- a joy that can only be experienced when we choose to follow God.

So, today... I woke up this morning and I know this may sound silly, but I seriously felt like God was sending me to the hair salon- "You should do something different Amy with your hair!"

While it may sound silly that God would care enough to give me a beauty tip, the more I follow God the more I realize how much God really care about us and every tiny detail of our following his advice is really something to get excited about. So I decided: You know God, that's not such a bad idea. So, I went and got my hair chopped off today. And yes, it was the best decision I made all day!

Wednesday, August 24, 2011

I Saved a Little Rascal Today... True Story

I was running in San Rafael Park, and what did I see?

An owner frantically chasing his dog- who got its first taste of freedom- and decided running away was a great deal. But then, I realized he was only a couple hundred feet from ongoing traffic. If we didn't do something fast, this dog was going to get hit by a car.

As the owner and I began chasing the dog, the dog of course thought we were all 'fun and games' and continued to run away from us.

I turned to the owner and asked, "Is this your dog?"

He said, "No, it's actually my sister's dog. And she lives in an apartment complex, and this is the first time this dog has ever experienced freedom."

I began to think, 'poor guy. what could we do?' And then out of nowhere, an idea came to mind!

"What's the dog's name?" I asked.

"Rascal" replied the man.

I began to walk fast and confidently towards the dog who had continued on his little stroll of freedom and then.....with a deepest, loudest, and ANGRIEST voice I could muster:


The dog literally froze. He turned to look at me, and I kept walking confidently towards him, as if I were his owner and began rebuking him like I've rebuked him my entire life.


By the time I finished my little speech, I was within arms reach of the dog and grabbed his collar. The poor dog was so afraid of me, that he literally fell down on the ground in surrender.

After the man reached us both, I said: "I just thought, maybe if I yelled at him like I was your sister, and made him think he was in the worst trouble of his life, he would stop."

The man looked at me and with a relieved face said,"Yeah! He totally responded to authority."

I couldn't believe it. With just a few words, and the angriest upset voice I could muster...and this dog was powerless.

This little experience made me think about the kind of authority God has given us in this world. And do we realize that we have it? To think about authority and to actually use it... are two very different things....

Friday, April 1, 2011

True Repentance

It's a word so familiar
and yet ……………….so alien
A word, full of connotations
begging for action to take root
in our lives
so far removed
from our hearts and minds.
It falls on our ears without effect
Or meaning
We've heard Repentance
tossed around like a ping pong ball back and forth
in the "business of Christianity",
in the mission of prophets,
in the agenda of misguided preachers
But, Jesus Himself preached about Repentance.
HE said: "Repent and Believe in the good news".
This word was intended to woo us
back to Him-
But others....
they have betrayed Repentance
and use it as a weapon of destruction
to attack, ASSUME,

If this is what we have become,
we've missed the point.
It was as if we stared into God’s face,
………………………….And we didn’t
We are unclean vessels
unworthy resting places for
the Spirit of the HOLY God,
In need of cleansing.
“But if we confess our sins to him, he is faithful and just to forgive us our sins and to cleanse us from all wickedness”
1 John 1 : 9
For Repentance, true repentance is GOOD.
It is beautiful.
It restores and it heals.
It humbles and it erases every mark of filth.
And it is simple.
Only YOU will know when you are truly REPENTANT.
It will be like a click, a turn,
like night becoming day.
You will be different. You will act differently. And you will appreciate the difference.

Til the end of our days,
our God will be calling us to a journey
of true Repentance
as it is the gate to His Kingdom.
This gate of repentance is the only entry point we have to Him, his truth, hope and love.
It is necessary
And in the end, it is the foundation
of who we are to become-
HOLY vessels of