Monday, April 29, 2013


According to, only 4% of women around the world consider themselves beautiful.

Only 4%.

No wonder Satan uses this widespread insecurity to shoot us down and keep us down.

As I continued to ponder my post from yesterday, I remembered this DOVE video I saw not too long ago, and I'd love to share it with you.




Please take a few precious moments of your time to watch it, think about it, and let it speak to your heart.

We are far more beautiful than we think. 

We are daughters of the King, the Creator of the universe.

He knows the number of hairs on our head.

He sees every tear we cry.

He knows the depths of our sinful hearts, yet He loves us far more than we could ever hope to imagine.

We are far more beautiful than we think.

Thank you Dove for this beautiful message.

Thank you FATHER for making us beautiful! 

Sunday, April 28, 2013

(Not) Beautiful.

The summer before I moved away to college, Bethany Dillon came into town and performed a small show at a church with Shawn McDonald and Monk and Neagle.

I purchased her CD probably a few months prior to that, and I fell in love with her music. During the show I actually stood in the front row with a few friends and sang every song. Afterward, when we got to meet the artists, Bethany told me that she had fun singing with me during the show. What?! She noticed? I just loved her, and that comment made my night. I admired that she wrote (most of) her own music, I admired how mature she was for her young age, and I admired her love for the Lord and his people.

I especially loved (love) her song "Beautiful" spoke (and still speaks) straight to my soul:


I was so unique 
Now I feel skin deep 
I count on the make-up to cover it all 
Crying myself to sleep cause I cannot keep their attention 
I thought I could be strong 
But it's killing me 

Does someone hear my cry? 
I'm dying for new life 

I want to be beautiful 
Make you stand in awe 
Look inside my heart, 
and be amazed 
I want to hear you say 
Who I am is quite enough 
Just want to be worthy of love 
And beautiful 

Sometimes I wish I was someone other than me 
Fighting to make the mirror happy 
Trying to find whatever is missing 
Won't you help me back to glory 

If God had gifted me with the talent of song writing, I could have poured those words onto a page along with my tears. I felt each one of them so deeply. Throughout junior high and high school (and probably even before that), I had always felt like my friends and cousins were prettier, skinnier, and more beautiful than me. I struggled with being self-conscious. I wanted more than anything to feel accepted and beautiful and loved.

Graduating from high school, moving away from home, and starting college was obviously a time of huge adjustment. My plans were to enjoy college life, meet someone wonderful, fall in love, get married, etc. etc. etc.....and finally feel beautiful. In my fairy-tale, happily-ever-after, Disney-princess upbringing, that's how life worked. Your prince charming comes along, you feel loved and accepted, and you become the most beautiful girl in the world to someone...

Well, almost ten years later, we all know that that prince-charming-happily-ever-after-finally-beautiful thing hasn't happened yet....

For so long I've focused on the first part of Bethany's song--the deep desire to be beautiful, to not feel self-conscious all the time, to be quite enough, to make someone stand in awe, to be worthy of love. 

Isn't that every girl's desire? Doesn't every girl battle with this on some level? Don't we imagine that all of our dreams will come true when we meet our "prince charming"? Don't we all just want to be beautiful? 

I still struggle with not feeling beautiful. I battle with self-consciousness probably more than anyone would ever know. I fight with the image in the mirror and wonder what man will ever find me beautiful. Instead of seeing my blue eyes and bright smile in pictures, I see my fat, white arms. This isn't easy to type. I'm not writing this to get compliments--believe me, people could tell me I looked pretty all day long, and I'd still be battling this demon at night. I'm writing this to be real. I'm writing this to share a struggle that I'm sure many women face, but don't always talk about. 

I'm writing this to share God's amazing truth that He's been trying to drill into my ridiculously think-Satan's- lies-believing-head. 

Bethany's song doesn't end with the lyrics I've posted above. As I've grown up a bit over the years, I have come to realize the amazingly deeper truth written into the end of the song. 

You make me beautiful 
You make me stand in awe 
You step inside my heart, and I am amazed 
I love to hear You say 
Who I am is quite enough 
You make me worthy of love and beautiful

I'm not beautiful because of the image that peers back at me in the mirror. I'm not beautiful because someone says so. I won't become beautiful when (or if) a man finally accepts me. I'm beautiful because God made me beautifully. I am fearfully and wonderfully made. In Christ, I am quite enough. HE has made me worthy of love and beautiful.  

I have an image of Psalm 139 as the background on my phone--in an effort to focus on God's truth and not my own selfish insecurities.

We have to stop believing the lies that Satan loves to flood upon us. We have to stop thinking of ourselves as less because we don't look like the image on the magazine or television screen or the girl next to us in a bridesmaid dress. We have to stop finding our value in relationships or spouses or complements.

We need to focus on who we are in Christ and live as daughters of the King--accepted, enough, loved, and BEAUTIFUL.

Saturday, April 27, 2013


While most little girls were playing with their Barbies and baby dolls, I was dressing up and playing "Katie Couric". 

No joke. 

For as long as I can remember, I've had a fascination with the news, 20/20, and the Today Show. 

So, it's no surprise then that my old next door neighbor and I would dress up, pull over chairs or stools, and put on news programs for our families or neighbors or stuffed animals. I admit, we were odd kids, but pretty darn awesome at the same time.  

I'm not sure what it was about Katie that first captured my attention, but I can always remember having a deep admiration for her and her work. 

If you asked me when I was younger who I wanted to be when I grew up, I'd tell you Katie Couric. If I could switch places with anyone for a day, it'd be Katie. 

Yes, I became a teacher, but there's always been a little inner journalist inside me wishing she could burst out. Since I know that teaching is where God has me (and I love it!), I have to feed that little inner journalist bits and pieces where I can (like being on the news this time.... and this time)!

I was quite saddened when Katie left the Today show. I'd watch her on the CBS evening news on occasion, but it was never the same. So, I was thrilled when she started her own talk show. She could finally be herself again--laughing and joking and crying and being real with people. Perhaps that's why I love her so much. She's real. 

When I heard earlier this week that Katie was coming to LA to film a few shows, I was ecstatic. I tried all week to get tickets. I was put on the waitlist, then they were sold out, then I was back on the waitlist--I was dying! Finally, yesterday, the status changed from waitlist to available. FREAK OUT!

So, Mom and I drove down to Hollywood late last night, woke up FAR too early, stood in line anxious and excited, and finally got seated in the studio. I was loving it! 

I had a slight freak out when I saw Katie for the first time. She came out, thanked us for coming, and explained how they'd be filming the show that day. You could just tell that she truly loves what she does. She's so fun to watch! and Zooey Deschanel were the special guests--and both were incredible. We got to take home both of their new CDs! LOVE free stuff! I was seriously so sad to see it end. It was such a fun experience! 

I suppose we'll just have to go see her again when we travel to New York next. Ahhh shucks! :)

Be sure to tune in and watch our episode on MAY 8th on CBS! If you're looking at the audience we were on the very right hand side in the 3rd row. Mom's wearing blue and I'm wearing bright orangish. 


Tuesday, April 23, 2013


Confession: I LOVE being crafty.

Confession #2: I'm not very good at it. 

I mean, really, I just used a hot glue gun for the first time a few months ago. Aaaand, I can't even sew. At all. Imagine the possibilities if I could sew! I should take a class... 

Ok, that's all beside the point....

Last weekend I decided to be a bit crafty, but I knew I had to start small. 

What could be smaller than a light switch plate? Is that what you call them??

STEP 1: Gather your supplies: light switch plate (either from your wall or from a hardware store); Mod Podge (I used the matte kind); an Xacto knife; some sort of paintbrush or sponge; whatever paper you're going to use to cover the plate; a magazine or some other surface you can use to cut on.

STEP 2: Have your paper ready (I chose to use a book page for this one), and cover the front of the plate with a nice layer of Mod Podge. Oh! And make sure you protect the surface you're working on! I used wax paper.

STEP 3: Press the plate face down onto the paper (not onto the side you want showing--did that. oops!) Flip the plate over and press down and smooth out the paper for about 30 seconds or so (let's be real, I didn't time myself--just press it down until it feels like it's sticking!).

STEP 4: Flip the plate back over, cut a slit from the corner of the paper to the corner of the plate. Put a bit of Mod Podge on the back of the plate and fold over each side (pressing down until it feels like it's sticking). Then, when it's "dry", trim off the little corner edges that are left.

STEP 5: Add a couple of layers of Mod Podge to the front of the plate (letting each layer dry before adding the new one). Sorry, I guess I don't have a picture for that. I'm sure you can figure it out.

STEP 6: Get a magazine (or some other surface that won't be super damaged when using an Xacto knife. Flip the plate over to the back and cut out the holes where your light switches go. Flip it back over the front (as shown below) and cut out the holes where the screws go.

NOTE: If I were to do this again, I'd do this step slightly differently. With the plate flipped over, I'd cut an X across the space where the light switch goes. Then, I'd simply fold over the extra paper onto the back and Mod Podge it like I had done with the rest of the paper. (Hope that makes sense--sorry I don't have a visual.) Just cutting out the rectangle made for some imperfections that I wasn't a huge fan of.

STEP 7:  Let dry and mount back on the wall!!! Below is one I did with a book page. The book pages are a lot more fragile than other paper, so this one ripped a bit when I was trying to get a bubble out of it. Oh well, little imperfections are still neat looking!

Here's another one done with a book page.

And, yet another one.... This was actually the first one I did, so I learned a bit from my mistakes. 

And, finally one done with scrapbook paper. I think this one turned out the best, although I LOVE my book-page plates!

Being crafty is fun (and can be easy!)!! Give it a try and let me know how it goes!

Monday, April 15, 2013

The Reunion of An Era

May 2009, almost four years ago, marked the end of an era--I moved out of our Pathways apartment and moved back home to Bakersfield. It's hard to believe it has been that long. In a lot of ways, it seems like just yesterday.

That, my friends, is why I was absolutely giddy about going to Jacob's wedding this past weekend. I was beyond ecstatic to see dear friends from that precious era of my life--some of whom I haven't seen since I moved home. #nostalgic #sentimental

Christy and I arrived to the church a bit early, so we found our seats and walked around outside for a minute in search of the restroom. As we were walking out, we spotted Jake, Jeff, and Aaron. You would have thought I was a little girl at Christmastime. I. Was. So. Excited. to see them. (enter more giggling here).

Me: Jacob! You're getting MARRIED!

Jake: Yah. That's happening today. (goofy grin)

Same ole' Jake. It warmed my heart. He continued this throughout the ceremony--making silly faces, telling the static from the sound system to quiet down, and quieting the crowd as they cheered at the end so that he could finally kiss his bride. I pretty much loved every minute of it.

They were so incredibly happy... and everyone there was almost equally as happy for them.

LOVE those faces!!!

The reception was a blast. I loved the huge hugs, the warm hearts, and the great memories we made. 

I especially loved seeing my boys. Jeff and Aaron and I were close to inseparable for a time during college (Me and My Gang)--joined later by guys like Jake, Sam, Andrew, Zach, and some others.


Jeff and Andrew (terrible angle) 
I remember praying earnestly and desperately my freshman year of college for God to bring me some guy friends. Although I loved the girl friends I had made in the dorms, I so missed hanging out with guys as I had done all growing up. God answered in a huge way with these wonderful boys men. We shared crazy adventures, quiet afternoons, lots of laughter and tears, and made some amazing memories. I've missed them so much, and it was SO good to see them! Love my boys!

Jacob and Beautiful Bride, Nadia

I also had an amazing time laughing, dancing, photo boothing, and carrying on with my girls. They are some of the greatest women I have ever known. 

Loved seeing Jamie again! It's been too long!

Christina, Christy, Jamie, Erin, and me

Gotta love photo-boothing. We certainly made some memories in there!

Oh! And, let's not forget about the amazing couple. Here they are cutting the cake!

Absolutely gorgeous!

Jacob, good job on getting married so we could have this great reunion. To all of my college friends (those that were there and those that weren't), I miss you terribly. I am so grateful for the time that God gave us together, and I'm even more grateful for those relationships and friendships that God has allowed me to keep for now and hopefully for a lifetime. 

Wednesday, April 10, 2013

This One's for You, Brother.

My brother turned 30 today. How did that happen? We were just little kids lying on the floor on our favorite blankets watching TGIF and eating cheese whiz. When did we grow up?

In honor of his 30th birthday, I'd like to share 30 of my favorite things about him (in no particular order):

He's quite talented. Here we are performing a skit on a family cruise. Scotty and our cousin Michael re-wrote "Barbara Ann" and turned it into a skit for our grandparents' 50th anniversary.

He's clever. Hot summers in Bakersfield caused us to be creative in our "activities"--such as frying eggs in the street.

He's fun to beat up on. I knocked out his first tooth--thankyouverymuch.

He's protective. I don't really have a "memory" of this, but apparently he'd crawl into my crib on occasion. Right here it looks like he's protecting me from something quite scary.

He's pretty darn cool. I've always thought so, even when I didn't want to admit it.

He loves Jesus (and ninjas apparently).

He's athletic. He loves lots of different kinds of sports, and he's good at many of them, but I'm impressed that he can ride a tricycle in rain boots.

He's strong. Look at those guns! (Here we are eating in my grandparents' living room--a rare occasion!) 

He always gets the best tans--he's a natural bronzer.

He's still a little kid at heart. It's rare that we can take a serious picture.

He loves tradition. Here we are reading the Christmas story out of the big, family Bible at my aunt and uncle's house.

He still loves to wrestle....or pick me up and throw me over his shoulder.

He can swim with dolphins, absolutely love it, and still be a man.

He's supportive. He'd always come watch my shows in high school.

He's inclusive. He'd always "let" me hang out with him and his friends in high school. I pretty much loved it. Here we all are at Six Flags.

He's so thoughtful and a great gift-giver. Here I am wearing a shirt from him that has Stephanie from Full House on the front. Classic.

He's fearless.

 He's funny. He can always make me laugh. I still look at this picture every morning (it's in a frame in my room) and chuckle.

He thinks he can play the piano. It's quite cute, actually.

He's very artistic--just look at that piece of art on a paper plate (and try to ignore the shorts).

He married the most awesome girl ever!

He's good at sharing (or at least letting me take his sunglasses).

He's an awesome skateboarder.

He's nostalgic. Here he is wearing a shirt that has a picture of the three of us on it from our Hawaii trip back in 1994.

He's fun to play games with (especially when I win!--which is rare).

He's super duper smart. Here he is graduating from Pepperdine.

He's great with kids (thanks in huge part to his awesome niece and nephew!).

He loves his family. Here we are with our grandma (dad's mom).

He's classy and well dressed. Let's be real, he dresses better than I do. 

He's pretty much the bestest brother ever. 

Happy Birthday, Brother! Love you. 

Monday, April 8, 2013

Guest Book Flashbacks

I was just scrounging around in an old box, and I came across our old guestbook from our Pathways apartment in college. I'm not sure whose idea it was originally, but we put a guestbook (blank notebook) near our front door and had our friends (and family) sign it when they came to visit. Perhaps the idea stemmed from Nathan and Nicole who would post a polaroid picture of anyone who spent the night in their Atlanta house (love it!). I'd love to begin one of these traditions (or a similar one) when I have a house and a family of my own one day. Try it! :)

Let me tell you, it was quite amusing to look back at some of the entries. I'll share a few with you here:

I basically almost live here! I love Amy! This place makes me happy! ~Christina C.

Hi, don't forget to unplug everything. ~Jeff M. 

Can I use your kitchen, please? ~Aaron S. 

Idon'tknowhowIfeelaboutthis. ~Dennis

What up yall. All I can say is that yall is crazy. Oh, and don't smoke crack...more than twice a week. ~Jeffrey R. D. 

Dear Amy--I love you so much that I gave you my signature which will be worth millions in a couple of years. Hope you don't get too wasted now that you are 21. Peace! ~Josiah

Te iubesc. ~Erbear (12-17-06)

Oh ya! It's okay! SAUCE. BJs was sweet. Many good times. ~(Wasn't signed, but it was obviously David B.) 

Hello once again. We came to see your face, eat cupcakes, and drink Guanna juice! We came, sought, and conquered. ~Christina C. 

Hey sexy. ~Mindy

Thanks for playing darts with me. AKA--shooting me as I attempt to work the gun! I love you dearly. ~Jamie

Amy, so I had fun hanging out in your apartment making fun of Jeff. ~Michael

Hello! I'm leaving now. ~Aaron P.

Name stealer! There's only one Aaron! Don't make me go buck wild on you! ~Aaron S. 

There's an Erin over there too! ~??

Doesn't count. ~?? 

I'm not a guest anymore! I live here! ~Jessica

You should be a chaplain or something like that. ~Aaron (12-11-07) 

Hi! I enjoy hanging here! Well, not in this book, but I like being here in this place of Amy's living space.  ~Jamie

So Amy, you are amazing! And Fishie, you are a LAMOFACE! And Christina you are AMAZING too! ~Duckie 

Smitty was here. Smitty was here also. And here too. ~Smitty 

Jessica is my freaking hero!! I love you! ~Lauren

Jake waz here 2! This is cool. Yes it is. Your dumb. No you are. What? Yellow carpets are gross. You know it! ~Jake

I think this is the third time I'm writing in here. We're going to Costco right now. Kbyebye. ~Penelope 

And, as I scrolled through the pages, I found this tucked in there...

I have some faint memory of this. Jessica? Do you remember where this came from? I just remember laughing at it.

Well, I certainly enjoyed this little stroll down memory lane. What were your favorite memories of our college days??