Monday, June 7, 2010

back to the basics

Yes, I've been absent for quite some time now. There are many reasons for this vacation from my postings including the end of school, due dates, vacation, and being down in the dumps. So forgive me and let's get on with it.

I've put together a whole list of insights that I want to post on and will try to work my way through these treasures in the next few weeks. However, first I'm going to begin with what I've entitled "back to the basics." I know, it sounds like we're going to dive into our multiplication tables or practice cursive. The basics that I'm talking about are our roots as in home.

Recently I returned from a wonderful trip home to Omaha, NE for two beautiful weddings. I'll blog about these later. I came home not in the greatest of spirits. Over the past three years I've gotten into the habit of being anxious and was just trying to heal from a particularly painful experience. In the past, home has not always been helpful. However, I've learned some things over the years and I've learned more about myself and this time, home was exactly what I needed.

There was of course moments of frustration and anger (that's what family is for right?!), but home gave me the opportunity to find myself again. And when I say find myself I really mean find myself. I've spent three years scourging every nook and cranny of my being. And I'm finally allowing myself to let go of it all little by little. Moments spent reflecting on love, conversations with my family, scattered sentences penned into my journal, and yes, watching the new show Losing It With Jillian all impacted me in profound ways. You can knock the show all you want, but I am huge believer in using our bodies to push us through the hard stuff and learning to believe in ourselves again.

Anyway, Jillian is pushing one of the family members in a sit-up exercise. This girl used to be fat until recently when she had gastric bypass surgery. She still thinks of herself as this fat girl with issues. Jillian is forcing her to push through the pain of doing sit-ups and this girl just doesn't believe in herself. She is not willing to really take a chance, believe in herself, and believe that this new life is possible for her. Jillian stops her where she is and implores her to just let go and believe in herself.

Well, by this time I'm in tears ( I cry at probably every episode ) and I'm thinking to myself... Amanada, what the hell are you doing with yourself. You need to believe in yourself, you need to let go, you need to believe that the life you desire is really and truly possible. Amanda, you need to get back to the basics and let go. Wow! I know it's sappy. But it's incredibly revelatory and intensely difficult. But I'm on that journey, I'm stepping forward into the life I desire and I'm going to try so very hard to believe in myself. Sometimes it just takes an experience of coming back to your roots, being reminded of what's most important, and pushing yourself to destroy the wall you have created in order to step into a new way of living.

Tuesday, March 30, 2010

way to go Andy and Brian!

a couple of friends are incredibly talented
noticed by some music blogs
check this out...

Excuses, The Morning Benders

Thursday, March 25, 2010


I think I'm turning a new leaf in the blogging world. I feel that this is a good venue for me to rant. I may not go all pessimistic and talk about all of the things that bother me about this world, but my guess is I could get close to it. I'll try and intersperse with some raving accolades.

Let me draw your attention to the picture above. "I Shop Therefore I Am." What the hell has our country come to? I'm guessing that this is a satirical punch at our consumeristic culture, but it does make a good point. I get so frustrated at all of the shallow and hopeless attempts of our culture to find wholeness. But it's so easy, especially when we live in the United States of America. We are inundated with messages, be thin, be athletic, be pretty, be fashionable, be hip, be ___. The noise is so loud that no one even recognizes it anymore.

So we listen and we listen and we change and mold ourselves to what the noise calls us to be. In fact, we love the noise. It's much easier to sit in the noise than in the silence right. I mean, silence is hard. Sitting in silence with just me myself and i used to be so difficult. I would look for things to distract me, I didn't want to be with me of all people. I was afraid of what the silence would show me so I let the noise filter in, cover it all up, and again muddle my sense of self.

But we need to wake up! We have to confront the silence and in the silence our true selves because without this moment of confrontation we are just adding to the insane amount of noise. I wonder if somehow all of the depression, addictions, obesity, anger, etc. are somehow related to our inability to just be. Silence. Me. Instead we load on the noise and we lose ourselves in the process and we forget what it is like to be a whole person so we look to other things. We get addicted to something that makes us feel whole again. Or we feel depressed because we forget what it's like to feel whole but we lack the courage to jump into that black hole of wholeness, of silence, of self.

Sometimes all I want to do is move to a deserted island and just be with me. Let God speak to me and soak myself up for once. Hello silence!

Wednesday, March 24, 2010

Harrowing by Parker Palmer

The plow has savaged this sweet field

Misshapen clods of earth kicked up

Rocks and twisted roots exposed to view

Last year’s growth demolished by the blade.

I have plowed my life this way

Turned over a whole history

Looking for the roots of what went wrong

Until my face is ravaged, furrowed, scarred.

Enough. The job is done.

Whatever’s been uprooted, let it be

Seedbed for the growing that’s to come.

I plowed to unearth last year’s reasons–

The farmer plows to plant a greening season.

I recently sent this poem to a friend of mine and forgot how good it was for me to read those words...

The following are some "lyrics?" that i jotted down while thinking through a lot of things

I've become sucked into this place that doesn't let me breathe fresh air

I'm breathing in recycled pain and sadness and fear

How do I let it out and start again?

Remove myself from the disappointment?

Eager for whatever comes my way

Grateful for the day

When did it all become this way?

Time to experiment

and lift myself up out of this pit

Look at things more clearly now

Without the scars and veils and clouds

That used to cover the beauty that lies within

Saturday, March 13, 2010


Wikipedia (the source we all know and love) defines Gastronomy as the study of the relationship between culture and food. It goes on to say that a Gourmet's principal activities involve discovering, tasting, experiencing, researching, understanding, and writing about foods.

I am by no means a Gastronomy expert nor am I a Gourmet. However, I do love to cook and enjoy company over delicious food. In recent months I've found a new love for photographing food and dining experiences. In some ways I curse this new found passion. I tend to miss out on pictures of friends and family because my eyes are peering at the reflection of candlelight off of wine glasses or the organization of dishes set perfectly on the table. However, I still relish the quiet moments when I've captured the essence of the yummy food and feelings surrounding the table.

Below I've posted a selection of these pictures. They include, among others, a delicious roasted red pepper and tomato basil soup (amazing), exceptional wine and people at BrookVyn celebrating Sarah's bachelorette party, and a recent scrumptious eggplant parm cooked in the comfort of our home.

Friday, March 12, 2010

So recently I've been feeling quite bad about my lack of blogging, especially when certain friends are madly producing post after post, so I will rectify the situation with two, you heard it TWO, posts in one day.

You just saw pics of the kitty, so cute. I also need to update you on my recent literary activities. You would think that a girl who has two jobs and goes to school full-time would not have the time to read books for pleasure. And perhaps you are right. However, I've gone against all odds and devoured some pretty tasty reads over the last few months. I'll let you know if that was a good idea once second semester is over.

First up, Let the Great World Spin, by Colum McCann. I picked this novel up at the Chicago O'Hare airport whilst experiencing delay after delay after delay. (Yes, I did use the word "whilst." I have a cousin who is english and love whenever he uses it, whilst) This book offered, for me, a glimpse into the world of beautifully written language. I was always amazed at how the author put together certain thoughts and ideas in the most deep and provocative ways. I was constantly turning to my husband and sharing these juicy morsels. Enough with these insignificant writing details though, this book was an incredible testament to the human condition. It followed a vast array of characters on the streets of New York who all in some way or another were tied in with a single tight-rope walker, a real man by the name of the Philippe Petit. This stunt-man ran a wire from one skyscraper to another (The Twin Towers) in the middle of Manhattan and echoes of his bravery, stupidity, flawlessness, and disrespect rang from one character's mouth to another. The book weaves in and out of the lives of a judge, a priest, a mourning mother, drug addicts, and a young woman weighed down by guilt. I appreciated the deep and conflicting emotions that McCann integrated into his characters and could very well empathize and relate with them. If you live in New York, love you some good writing, or just crave some connections, read it!

I'll be posting a few more of these great reads in the coming days. Recommend if you have any books you loved!


I apologize for my absence. February was an incredibly busy month, lots of work and school and work. I've been meaning to get to this. Unfortunately I've only got a few minutes free time this morning. I'm in the middle of baking a cake and running sounds like I'm a stay at home mom but that is far from the truth. Below you will find some REAL pictures of our cat McAdoo. I've received some complaints about the false imperson[cat]ations of our beloved pet. So in order to right the wrong, see below. More to come soon!!!

Thursday, February 11, 2010


So many of you already know that we got a cat!

His name is McAdoo, named after the famous professional basketball player Bob McAdoo who played for the Buffalo Braves (Nate got the important role of naming the cat). I am at work and don't have pictures on me (I promise I'll get some up soon) so I thought I would post two pictures that pretty much represent who Mr. McAdoo is in our lives!

Monday, February 8, 2010

are you walking the road?

I just read a post my sister Jessica wrote on her blog. She is currently living in Maleme Niami, Senegal, West Africa. Here's the link and enjoy the short story she's posted.

Wednesday, February 3, 2010

it's harder than we think into...believing...feeling...this thing called grace or love or even the all encompassing God is harder to understand/accept/live into/believe/feel than we ever thought.

Maybe that's the point.

Here's a quote my friend Shelley sent me:

"...the thing that keeps me on my knees is the difference between Grace and Karma. At the center of all religions is the idea of Karma. You know, what you put out comes back to you: an eye for an eye, a tooth for a tooth, or in physics - in physical laws - every action is met by an equal or an opposite one. And yet, along comes this idea called Grace to upend all that.... Love interrupts, if you like, the consequences of your actions, which in my case is very good news indeed, because I've done a lot of stupid stuff."

Obviously if you've read my previous posts I'm not an advocate for shoving things under the rug and not dealing with your emotions, but I believe such a statement is meant for the times that you've tried and tried and tried and just don't seem to get it...understand...believe...accept...

Maybe we're just not meant to.

Monday, February 1, 2010

rabbit rabbit

My friend Sarah and I were recently talking and the singer/song-writer Jewel came up in the conversation. I will soon be purchasing an album, but I encourage you to check out these lyrics or even check them out on youtube. I've only posted two, but check out some more and listen especially to the truth it speaks to each of us.

Hands lyrics

If I could tell the world just one thing It would be that we're all OK
And not to worry 'cause worry is wasteful And useless in times like these
I won't be made useless I won't be idle with despair
I will gather myself around my faith For light does the darkness most fear
My hands are small, I know
But they're not yours, they are my own But they're not yours, they are my own
And I am never broken
Poverty stole your golden shoes It didn't steal your laughter
And heartache came to visit me But I knew it wasn't ever after
We'll fight, not out of spite For someone must stand up for what's right
'Cause where there's a man who has no voice There ours shall go singing
My hands are small I know
But they're not yours, they are my own But they're not yours, they are my own
I am never broken
In the end only kindness matters In the end only kindness matters
I will get down on my knees, and I will pray I will get down on my knees, and I will pray
I will get down on my knees, and I will pray
My hands are small I know
But they're not yours, they are my own But they're not yours, they are my own
And I am never broken
My hands are small I know
But they're not yours, they are my own But they're not yours, they are my own
And I am never broken
We are never broken
We are God's eyes
God's hands
God's mind
We are God's eyes
God's hands
God's heart
We are God's eyes
God's hands
God's eyes
We are God's hands
We are God's hands

I'm Sensitive lyrics

I was thinking that I might fly today Just to disprove all the things you say
It doesn't take a talent to be mean Your words can crush things that are unseen
So please be careful with me, I'm sensitive And I'd like to stay that way.
You always tell me that is impossible To be respected and be a girl
Why's it gotta be so complicated? Why you gotta tell me if I'm hated?
So please be careful with me, I'm sensitive And I'd like to stay that way.
I was thinking that it might do some good If we robbed the cynics and took all their food
That way what they believe will have taken place And we can give it to people who have some faith
So please be careful with me, I'm sensitive And I'd like to stay that way.
I have this theory that if we're told we're bad Then that's the only idea we'll ever have
But maybe if we are surrounded in beauty Someday we will become what we see
'Cause anyone can start a conflict it's harder yet to disregard it
I'd rather see the world from another angle We are everyday angels
Be careful with me 'cause I'd like to stay that way

Sunday, January 31, 2010

a little optimism for the day

I've been posting a lot of deep existential thoughts lately. It's time to brighten the mood with some of my favorite things. In the midst of winter, maybe it's time to get back in touch with my favorites. Here goes...
Warm Home-made Apple Pie with Vanilla Icecream
Listening to musicals while dancing around and singing at the top of my lungs :)
Cuddling in with a good book, incense, a hot drink, and a special someone
Laughing and laughing at something so inconsequential which makes it even funnier
Driving a cat crazy with a piece of string or a lazer pointer
Sweating and kicking some a$$ through some form of physical activity, preferably dance
Having a really good conversation with people who really care
Dramatically changing your style or hair cut...taking a chance
Going sledding, mainly the going down the hill part, the climbing back up kind of sucks
Participating in some kind of jam session
Laying in the sun by some form of water
Eating a delicious piece of fruit
Having a really good cry and then continuing on with the day
Creating something beautiful
Making my bed and climbing into warm, clean sheets
These are just a few, I should do this more often.

Thursday, January 28, 2010

Lots o' Anger

Anger Abstract Painting by John Biondo

You heard it...I'm angry.

I'm angry I'm angry I'm angry.

For what I can't say because of the public-ness (?) of this blog, BUT I can admit that I am angry!

Maybe this doesn't seem like such a big deal to you. And it probably shouldn't be. But alas, the anger is here, I feel it, and I must work through it. Now I'm not talking about petty anger at the person who just cut me off or getting frustrated because I forgot my book and notebook at home. This is a deep deep anger bordering on hatred. Some may say, wow...that's not very healthy. I say screw that! Anger is a feeling that I feel right now and I can't deny it, I can't throw it under the rug, I can't push it inside, not now, not anymore. Anger is not the problem, the problem is what people often do with their anger - this is what we might call "unhealthy." Here are some quotes on anger that I found while google searching, "quotes anger". I obviously did not include negative quotes about anger...but that's my choice and you can look them up if you want!

Anger ventilated often hurries toward forgiveness; and concealed often hardens into revenge. ~Edward G. Bulwer-Lytton

"When angry, count to four. When very angry, swear." ~ Mark Twain

"Anger is only a natural reaction; one of the mind's ways of reacting to things that it perceives to be wrong. While anger can sometimes lead people to do shocking things, it can also be an instinct to show people that something isn't right."

"The world needs anger. The world often continues to allow evil because it isn't angry enough." ~ Bede Jarrett

"Anyone can become angry - that is easy, but to be angry with the right person at the right time, and for the right purpose and in the right way - that is not within everyone's power and that is not easy."

Anger as an emotion, is perfectly natural, one should pay attention to that anger, and as my dear friend Jillian on The Biggest Loser states, "Feelings [anger] are your moral compass, we must pay attention to them because they tell us when something is wrong or out of place." It's ok to be angry! But it depends on what you do with your anger.

What do we do with our anger? More on that next time. My experiences don't help much in answering that question, but I have time to think and so do you...

Monday, January 25, 2010


Dear reader,
I apologize for my absence. Second semester and work consumed my life over the last two weeks and unfortunately that took precedence. Unfortunately the excitement of heading back to class tops my list of creative pursuits and exciting activities. Therefore, in an attempt to reconnect, I will write about the illusory and unpredictable topic of feelings.

There was once a period in my life where I felt as dry as a desert. I had not cried for months. I did not often get angry. In fact, I actually prayed that God would make me FEEL more. Perhaps it was God answering back, but the flood gates opened, the storms raged and weekly crying sessions are now commonplace. Some of you may hear this and think wow, that's too often, she needs to see someone. Others may relate. Even others may question the worth of feelings, I mean, all they ever do is give you an irrational perspective on a completely rational situation...

However, I would have to disagree and state that feelings are yes, often very irrational, but feelings allow us to claim ourselves. We gain perspective on who we are and what our priorities may be. We deepen our connections with others. We place a lot on the line, but come out way ahead. There was a time, and I often fight against this tendency still, when I would push away my feelings, feel ashamed to claim them as my own, and internalize just a little more anger or sadness. But recently I've learned to own the anger and face the sadness, feel the hurt and take pride in myself and what I feel.

So I encourage you, if you feel sad or depressed, CRY, and then continue on with your day.

If you are angry, be angry, yell and scream in the car or punch your pillow. Feel ANGRY without hurting others in the process.

If you feel joyful, dance around the house naked to your favorite song, call up someone who will encourage your JOY.
These feelings do not adequately express the range of emotions we as humans feel throughout our days. But you get the picture. We must...I must love myself enough that I treasure, respect and listen to what I feel, even when I don't necessarily want to feel it!

Saturday, January 9, 2010

a few posts on love

I know what you're thinking.
"This is going to be some sappy set of inspirational blog posts that will just make me more upset and depressed with my life..."
Well, this is one time where you can be happy that you are wrong dear reader.

Love is one of the most complicated...things...that is maddeningly and frustratingly difficult to understand, practice, believe in, fill in the blank.

No, I did not get in a fight with my husband. In fact, I'm sitting at home, drinking spiced tea and watching the playoff football game all by myself. However, I've had LOVE, in the broadest sense of the term, on my mind for the last few weeks. Most of my thoughts center on how angry I am with Love.

I recently heard an NPR broadcast stating that Love, while often an incredible emotional state, also allows for a tragic duality of intense feelings of loss and anger. Feeling the high euphoria of Love we take the chance at feeling all that is opposite. This doesn't seem fair, right??

Anyway, I'll probably get back to that at some point but tonight I want to talk about self-love. I don't mean pampering our bodies with massages and bubble baths or buying ourselves new clothes or even getting a makeover. These are all well and good and we definitely deserve them every now and then. I am actually talking about a deep deep Love for ourselves.

I am preaching to the choir, reader, because I can't figure this one out. There are a lot of circumstances that brought me to this difficulty I experience today and I won't be covering those here. But even with the knowledge of these circumstances I still catch myself doing everything BUT LOVING! I get critical. I think about my short-comings. I let this negative undercurrent of pain roll around inside without taking proactive steps to stop the madness. And I see this quality in countless people. Why are so many people over-weight? Why are they angry? Why all this debt? Maybe there's not enough love. So we cover it up. We buy more clothes and eat good food and try to make ourselves feel better without dealing with the ache that is still deep inside. Some of us realize it and some of us don't. Some of us are trying to figure it out and some of us have just given up.

I don't have answers. Maybe you have ideas, thoughts, or inspiration. Write a comment. Shoot me an email. This is by no means meant to be a negative blog post. It's just my reality and I'm guessing yours as well.

Friday, January 1, 2010

i resolve

I've talked to a few people over the last month about New Year's Resolutions. Responses include "I resolve not to do a New Year's Resolutions," "to floss more," "to be more organized," and even "not put sugar in my coffee." All of these resolutions seem so...simple. It's as if we as humans need this renewing of the year, the changing of the seasons, and the reminder of time passing to reset ourselves. I myself look forward for the chance to take another look at my life and make some changes.

So what are these changes?, you may be wondering. I've narrowed the list down and made a few commitments. First, I commit to a regularly update this blog. Although it seems a simple resolution, amazingly I find it hard to write posts without thinking that my posts are inconsequential. Truthfully, they may be inconsequential to you as readers, but the focus and creative energy that updating this blog provides is irreplaceable.

Second, I resolve to write one letter weekly. Communication outside of the here and now has always been difficult for me. I often fail to call others when I should or send a note to someone when that uplifting message is really all they need. Writing a letter a week, I believe, will not only improve relationships, but it will also require me to organize my life in such a way that I make time for writing.

Third and finally, I want to pay more attention to me. When upset, I will examine why I'm feeling sad. When overwhelmed, I will say no. When in need of rest, I will take a nap. When I feel blessed, I will give more. It is when we love ourselves that we can better love others.

Happy New Year to you all and may your resolutions encourage and challenge you as the year progresses!