Thursday, December 22, 2011

CHRISTMAS TIME IS HERE!!!

I know, I know, we're days away from Christmas. Is it possible that anyone is still running around aimless and fretting over what to gift their loved ones?

You may have it all figured out, but in case you don't, I'll share a few of my favorite things!

I love supporting local businesses. It helps support my community, and it helps support the local business owners live their dreams. So, if you're stumped on what to give at the last minute, think local.

- Give the gift of food/coffee/wine.
Local restaurants (Galeotti'), coffee shops (Battle Grounds Coffee), & vineyards (Rusty Grape) have gift cards, special beans, and wines for just such an occasion as this!

- Family Portraits.
There are plenty of local photographers (www.lorijanephotography.com) with a keen eye who would love to snap a few shots of you, your family, or your special little creatures. Try a gift certificate for some special moments captured in your favorite places.

- Everyone loves a super clean ride!
No one likes spending an afternoon laboring to get into those crevasses
where french fries and loose change are lost for all eternity! I say contribute to their freedom by gifting a deep clean and auto detail from a local detailing shop. Their car will thank you.

Don't forget to have fun with the wrapping! Sometimes, it's a gift in itself! Check out sites like www.pinterest.com and www.etsy.com for some inspiring ideas.

There you have it, the short list of some of unique gift ideas given to me by a beloved aunt.

I hope you are all having a truly wonderful holiday season!

Merry Christmas!

~ Amber

Tuesday, November 22, 2011

Music Monday

I would like to thank all of you who participated in sharing your Fall Playlists. It's so fun to share and listen to all the great tunes that are out there to inspire us! 

Without further adieu, here are some Fall Playlists shared by YOU: 

Tuesday, November 15, 2011

Topic Tuesday

Topic Tuesday

Staying Hydrated Through The Winter




My favorite seasons are, without a shadow of a doubt, fall & winter. I love the crisp cold air, the leaves exploding with red & gold, the snow, and all of the celebrations that come with it! That said, one of the things that always drives me crazy is how dry my skin gets. I’m sure many of you can relate -- especially since the fall and winter tend to coincide with cold and flu season, so we’re constantly washing our hands, which of course, leaves them dry. I thought it would be fun to share some ways to keep your skin balanced and hydrated throughout the chilly weather months.


Drink Water.

- Sounds simple enough. Right? If you’re anything like I am, you love warm drinks during the winter: tea, coffee, hot cider. Some doctors and specialists say any liquid is good, which is true, but there is ample evidence out there that these particular liquids can also dehydrate us if consumed in large quantities, not to mention add unnecessary calories if we load up our drinks with syrups and creamers. So, what’s the answer? Have one or two of your fav’s and replace the rest with water. It is recommended that we drink between 8 and 10 cups of water a day. Sounds like a lot, but it really works when it comes to keeping your skin at the right level of moisture. If you need the cozy, heat up the water and throw some lemon in there. Your body will thank you!

Don’t Scorch Yourself In The Shower.

- I just read about this in an article on naturalnews.com. Who doesn’t love a warm shower or bath? This is especially a treat in those cold months, but it is so bad for our skin. It ends up removing any moisture and natural oils that our bodies have created, which can lead to dry skin or an overproduction of natural oils to compensate for the oils lost. Turning the temp down just a touch and limiting shower times will ultimately help inspire our bodies to produce the right amount of oils that it needs.

Moisturize.

- Most of us do this on a regular basis, but let’s expand on it just a touch. First, use a non-comedogenic moisturizer. This means we need to read the ingredients list on the container. You can also use coconut oil if you prefer the more natural route. I prefer to use Lubriderm or Cetaphil. I have extremely sensitive skin, so I can tell you from first hand experience, they work, and they work well.

- Now, if you're looking for more of a cleansing plus moisturizing routine, let me point you to my friend's at Ashbrook Aesthetic's (http://www.ashbrookbeauty.com). They have an excellent product line through a company called, Obagi. I have used this line before to help with some acne issues, and it was fantastic! They also have non-comdedogenic moisturizers which can assist with certain skin ailments as well as hydrate your epidermis.

- Moisturize before you go to bed. This was another little trick I read on naturalnews.com. Our bodies are pretty amazing, but it’s nice to give them a little help from time to time.  Give it a try and see how your skin thanks you in the morning.

Keep The Temperature In Your House At Normal Level.

- Often times, when we get cold, we crank up the heat in an effort to get warm. It’s actually better for our skin to keep the temp between 68 and 72 and throw on an extra sweater, or cozy up with a blanket. It’s better for our immune systems too. Our bodies are really good at adjusting our internal thermostats to keep our temps at the near 98 degrees that they are supposed to be at. It can be a real shock to our systems to adjust so drastically from the extreme cold to the higher (or lower) temps, thus leaving us more vulnerable to illnesses and removing the moisture from our skin. If we give our systems the time they need to warm up naturally, we are better off doing that.

Maintain A Balanced Diet.

- This is always a tricky one, because fall and winter mean delicious foods; foods that are loaded with sugars, and butters, and oils. Oh, my! We can still indulge without going overboard. Many of us live with the mentality that says “I won’t get to have this again for a long time, so I better get as much as I can now.” The trouble is, we feel horrible after over indulging, and once that ball gets rolling, it’s not easy to get it to stop. It’s not easy to live by the rule “everything in moderation,” but if we consider ourselves, and our bodies worth it, then we should do our best to live by that. Beach Body Inc. has done some great studies on diet and health. One of the things they have shared is that we should be eating 40% protein, 40% carbohydrates, and 20% fat. Keep in mind, those carbohydrates include vegetables and fruit. It’s better to have a heavier helping of complex carbs than to reach for that extra slice of bread. All that said, if we give our bodies the nutrition we need, then it will have the resources to keep our bodies balanced in moisture and our immune systems strong.

Try An Oatmeal Bath.

- I have not personally tried this, but it was another little trick to help dry skin from naturalnews.com. I’ve also read about this in a variety of other places. Pour one cup of raw oats into your bath and enjoy. This would be the most helpful on those days where you just can’t seem to get warm.

Remember, you’re worth having a healthy body, you’re worth having healthy skin, and you’re worth having a brilliant life. We do these things because we know how brilliant and amazing we are, not to stay young or obtain a sense of value purely from our looks. So, have fun with it! Share your stories and tricks with others and help them see that they, too, are valuable enough to live healthy and full lives!

~ Amber

Monday, November 14, 2011

Music Monday

Great Fall Albums

I admit it, I am one of those who cannot listen to Christmas music until after Thanksgiving. Don’t get me wrong, I love Christmas. I love being able to celebrate it for as long as we can, but I also love living in the moment. In this moment the air is starting to chill, the colors are starting to change, and the fog is settling in on the ground. I cannot help but appreciate this moment for what it is. I don’t want to be so excited about Santa, and little baby Jesus, and sharing beautiful gifts with my loved ones that I forget to appreciate the mystery of the seasons changing. That said, here is a short list of some of my absolute favorite albums to listen to through the fall. They help me to relax and enjoy that sweet mystery.


Coldplay - Parachutes
Miles Davis - Kind Of Blue
Sarah Mclachlan - all of her albums...
India.Arie - Voyage To India
David Gray - Greatest Hits
Peter Gabriel - Anything by this man...
Mumford & Sons - Sigh No More
Glen Hansard & Marketa Irglova - Once Soundtrack

There are so many more artists...but that’s the short list. Post your favorite fall artists as comments to this blog post and I will feature your lists up until Thanksgiving, and then we’ll be onto the holiday tunes we’re all anxious for! Like Everly's Fireside album. *wink, wink*

Enjoy! Happy Monday to you!

~ Amber

Friday, October 14, 2011

What's better than wine and live music?


If you're a twitter follower, you may have heard, but I shall be playing a magnificent little show at Galeotti's restaurant in Battle Ground, WA on October 22nd, 2011 from 6-8pm. I'll be playing with a wonderful fellow named, Levi Warren. He is a folksy driven fellow with some lovely tunes, filled with poetry and heart. Click on the picture for more info and make sure you get your little tookises out to listen! :)

Tuesday, September 27, 2011

The Art of Dreaming

In the story of Alice and the Looking Glass, there is a conversation between Alice and the White Queen, where Alice is disbelieving that one could actually believe impossible things can be done. The Queen responded to Alice as though Alice was speaking nonsense; “I daresay you haven’t had much practice,” said the Queen. “When I was your age, I always did it for half-an-hour a day. Why, sometimes I’ve believed as many as six impossible things before breakfast.”

Dreaming in general only begets impossibilities, so we’re told, and yet we continue to dream. At some point, we are shuffled into life and the harsh realities that our frivolous dreams keep us from doing what is practical and necessary for survival. Dreaming, some would say, is for children to do as they sleep. Dreaming, I would say, is a lost art that few dare to practice for a minimum of half-an-hour a day.

One of the most central pieces to dreaming is the concept of belief; It’s part of the foundation. That’s why the stress is on believing the impossible and not simply imagining it. Anyone can imagine that a plane can fly, but will we believe that it can fly. That’s what the Wright Brother’s did. If not for their belief that we could find a way to fly, it would have stayed in the imagination of our minds, and the triumph of that generation’s explorations in aviation would have been lost.

This concept is often what fuels scientists as they seek answers to the variety of mysteries in our lives, but what about for us average folks? How can we put into practice believing the impossible for our lives, our friends, our families, and our communities? You have to start with knowing where you want to go.

The Cheshire Cat makes the statement about knowing where you want to go to Alice when she asks him if he can direct her towards which path to choose. She didn’t know where she needed to go, so of course, he couldn’t direct her one way or the other. We have to have a purpose. Sometimes that purpose is innate to our being and simply needing definition, and sometimes that purpose requires that we go on some kind of journey to discover it, but it is my observation that to know where one is going, one needs to know who they are; even if it’s only a hint to start with. I think Lewis Carroll was trying to find a way for us to understand these things through his parable of Alice’s wild adventures. He was retelling a story that has been ruminating since the dawn of time, and drawing us into the heart of not only dreaming, but realizing how dreams can come true.

Now, I think it’s important to remember that though we dream, we ought not develop a rigid expectation around how those dreams come true. Sometimes the dream is a means to inspire movement in our lives. There are many, many things I have been dreaming about since I was a little girl that have not been realized yet; some of what has been realized was not at all what I thought it would be. It’s even better. It’s better because I understand more fully who I am, and can better grasp where I need to go. It may be a funny looking road to walk on, but it will be full of adventure, full of the realization of those dreams I’ve had for so long, and full of more dreams to believe in. The same is true for all of us. If we weren’t made for this, none of us would find such a value in it or fight against its devalue. So, how do we move into a place where we believe the impossible? Just start believing. Believe in who you are. Believe in who God says you are. (You read that correctly. And btw, if you’re hearing negative things coming from “God” I would venture to say you’re not hearing the right voice...He says things like, beautiful, strong, intelligent, loved, wanted, powerful, gracious, kind, gentle, humble, full of wonder, inspired, etc. Anything else is bat poop.) Get excited about discovering the mystery of who you are. It’s part of helping to discover where you’re going. Dreams are there to help us see what we could not see by experience alone. We need to practice it so that everyone in our lives can benefit from the miracles we bring from living them out.

So, I implore you, make a list of impossible things that you’d like to see happen. Post them below, if you’d like, and let’s start practicing the Art of Dreaming. I believe. I believe. I believe.

Monday, September 26, 2011

Music Monday - Favorite Movie Soundtracks

Some movies have music in the background for the sake of filling space...some movies rely on the music to help tell the story. These end up being some of my all time favorite movies. It reminds me how important every role is when it comes to telling a story. It's not just about the actors telling the story, it's about the lighting that helps to set the mood, the photography that helps show the depth and fullness of life around the characters, the direction and editing that help keep the pace of the story interesting and engaging, and of course, the music which helps to pull you into the story and help you feel what the characters are feeling. All of these elements (and more) pull together to make something magical happen for which we will pay up to $14 a person to experience with our eyes and ears. (For the record, I was told that the $3 theaters are packed these days because let's face it, if we can experience the same show and spend $14 for a ticket AND treats (or less than that even), then I'd say it's worth dealing with a full theater and a crowded parking lot. Sorry, Regal.)

Anyhoo... here are some of my favorite movie soundtracks in no particular order:

Braveheart - by James Horner
The Matrix Trilogy - by Don Davis & Various Artists
Garden State - by Various Artists
Juno - by Various Artists
Selena - by Selena
Walk the Line - by Johnny Cash & June Carter (performed by Joaquin Phoenix & Reese Witherspoon)
Once - by Glen Hansard & Markéta Irglová
Last of the Mohicans - by Trevor Jones & Randy Edelman
The Passion of the Christ - by John Debney
10 Things I Hate About You - by Various Artists

Oh how I love those sounds! Happy Monday to you all!!



Sunday, September 18, 2011

They March To Their Own Beat - Favorite Drummer Stories

Ladies, put your hands up if you ever wanted to marry a drummer!!! They seem dangerous, your parents probably wouldn't approve, and it just sounds like fun, right?!

I think there are a few drummers this might be true of, but every drummer I've ever met/worked with hasn't exactly been the bad boy imaged by the likes of guys such as Keith Moon (of The Who) or Tommy Lee (of Mötley Crüe).
The truth is, most drummers are a bit anonymous, as parodied in the mock-umentary movie "This Is Spinal Tap." And let's face it, if you're in a metal or rock band at all, chances are you've got quite the personality no matter what instrument you play. At any rate, drummers seem dangerous cause they hit things for a living (without the injuries incurred by a fighter of some sort), the things they hit are loud, and they can be a bit independent, but they are the heart and soul of sounds from hip hop to rock and roll. The only musicians I would say hold the record for being the most anonymous by category of instrument are bass players, and they work rather closely with drummers by holding the rhythm section together for our audio-based enjoyment.


All that said, I thought it would be fun to share some of my favorite drummer moments. For the record, I'm going to use alternate names in these stories to protect the anonymity of these people...unless any of those former musician friends want the credit and then you can email me permission and I'll use your real name...for a small fee...JK.

• A lot of drummers hit hard. It takes practice to learn how to let the drum stick hit the skin of the drum and A: Not leave a dent in it. And B: Not hit the rim of the drum at the same time. Or the side of the symbol either. This acts like a knife, chopping away at the stick. One of the bands I was in during my high school years, happened to experience the shredding and subsequent breaking of a drum stick in the middle of the performance. This was a pretty common thing for "Stevie." We were a ska band. We played songs at an incredible rate of speed with a hep, yes, hep, full of energy. Normally, "Stevie" would lose his sticks around his drums when they broke and he'd quickly reach for a new one in a pocket attached to his drum kit. This time, however, he was heavily invested in the aggression of the moment and when his stick broke, I felt something fly past my face with a hefty force. It barely missed, and it's a good thing it did, because it was the sharp end of the broken drum stick and it nearly impaled my head. "Stevie," shocked but still filled with adrenaline, did what he always did and grabbed a new stick and flashed a sheepish look towards me, but I couldn't understand why until after the show. Apparently, he not only broke his stick mid song, he decided it would be "rock & roll" to throw it into the crowd before realizing how dangerous sharp, broken wood can be if thrown as hard as he threw it. He, of course, apologized, and we played a lot more shows after that...without impaling each other.


• Have you ever seen Mick Fleetwood, the drummer of Fleetwood Mac? Fantastic drummer! A bit of a kooky seeming fellow. I once played with a guy who seemed to have a similar kookiness. This "Mick-alike" is probably one of the best drummers I've ever played with. He seemed to live in what musicians call, the pocket, but with a kind of finesse & abstract timing that put Stewart Copeland (of The Police) to shame. He also builds drums. Not surprising considering how well he understood tonality and the importance of it in drumming. I learned an awful lot about rhythm from this guy. Especially since I had the privilege of playing with him more often as a bass player than a guitar player. At any rate, my favorite thing about playing with "Mick-alike" was that when you looked over at him to do the whole, "hey, how's it goin'" thing during a song, he would throw in some crazy, off-beat, accent to see if you'd follow. If you caught it, he would challenge you to another. If you didn't he would laugh...and challenge you to another. All in good fun, of course. It felt like you were actually "playing" with each other, much like Improvers do.

• Once upon a time Bob Dylan's son Jakob Dylan put a band together called "The Wallflowers." (Oh how music trends through the ages...also it was in the late 90s) Through some random circumstance the drummer for this band ended up coming to the youth group I was a part of as a youngster, and spoke to 500 high school kids who could say they heard that song about Cinderella and something about a car with one headlight. He spoke about his life. He was very genuine, and humble, and a little bit nervous to speak in front of so many people...especially high schoolers who hold rank for judging what is cool and what is lame. *Note the sarcasm. Anyway, I happened to be a part of the worship team at the time and our youth pastor asked if Mr. Wallflowers drummer would play drums for a song or two after he spoke. The short story here is that I got to play bass alongside the drummer of the Wallflowers when I was 16 or 17, which, by itself is pretty cool, so I'll end this story here.

• It's not often that any musician really finds their own voice on their instrument. This is especially true for drummers. I could rattle off a number of bands where the lead singer is the only person we'd know off the top of our heads. That said, there are bands whose uniqueness is founded in each player having their own unique voice; bands like U2, Colplay, No Doubt, heck, even Fleetwood Mac! Each musician stands out by themselves, not just in personality, but you'd know it by the first strum, first hit, or first pluck. I had the privilege of playing with a drummer, who found his own voice on his instrument. This name I won't hide. His name is Richard Lee Jackson, from Enation. Richard is an EXCELLENT drummer. He has a great sense of timing AND musicality. He doesn't just play a beat, he creates a beat. He settles in it and tells a story with it. One of my favorite moments with Richard was when I was playing bass for Enation and we were writing a song called "Perfect Display." The parts Richard and I came up with were fast and furious. So fast and furious that halfway through, when my forearm and fingers were aflame from plucking at the speed of sound, that I noticed the strain on Richard's face. It was like he was sprinting and doing push up jacks as fasts as he can...at the same time. By the end of the song, he was sweating pretty good, and he had to stretch out his forearms and legs...I think there may have even been something about a muscle cramping in his leg, but I can't remember. All I know is that it was awesome and stands as one of my favorite drummer moments.

I have a lifetime more that I could share, but I won't...cause that would take a-whole-nother lifetime to do so...and I'm too young to spend it on a couch, in a sitting room, without a cane and dentures in an effort to retell it to you now.

Happy Monday!



Thursday, September 8, 2011

Dear Mr. Bernanke and Co.

Upgrade, Downgrade, GDP It’s all a foreign language to me!

When I was a junior in high school, my chemistry teacher warned us all that gas would be more than $2 a gallon soon. This seemed impossible and irrelevant to a bunch of high schoolers who had just begun driving. We knew nothing about how the world of oil worked, nor did we care. Not to mention, we all had disposable incomes and low, affordable gas prices. As far as we knew, gasoline had always been .89 cents a gallon. Oh! How I miss those days!

Friday, September 2, 2011

Feature Friday - One Way To Save A Life

"I'll take care of your orphans. Your widows can depend on me." Jeremiah 49:11.

I once sat next to a woman on a flight who had taken in her grandson because his father had disappeared long before his birth, and his mother was unfortunately hooked on drugs and incapable of taking care of herself, much less a child. This woman had shared with me the difficulties of caring for a child who has never known the comfort of his mothers arms, or the encouragement of his father's words. Children well loved grow into adults who love well.

Thursday, September 1, 2011

It Happened Upon This Morning's Entry

Ahhh, the randomness that exists within us all...

Here is some of the randomness working within my brain. Please, feel free to share yours.

Happy day to you!





Wednesday, August 24, 2011

Work It Out! (Topic Tuesday on Wednesday)

I once wrote a jingle for a fitness boot camp as a trade for participating in said boot camp.  I don't know if it ever got used, but I can tell you that I had a blast doing it. The song that is...the boot camp made me wish there was some quick and easy form of getting healthy and strong without having to watch what I eat and rip my muscles to pieces so they can rebuild themselves into machines capable of lifting tall buildings. I have often started and stopped programs because I realized that I simply don't like how much effort you have to put into them. At times I've succeeded in getting healthy, only to find myself in the swing of unhealthy living again, thus discouraged and defeated and not wanting to start the process all over.

About four years ago, I got serious about my health. I decided, with the help of some of my friends, that it was important for me to pay attention to what was happening to my body. I was having serious and chronic bouts with acid reflux, my cholesterol was rising, and my wallet was getting lighter because I was having to buy new clothes, as my old ones were getting a little too snug. I wasn't sleeping well, getting chronic migraines, and was emotionally unhappy. So, I bought into the Nutrisystem world. It was fantastic. I had figured that I would lose about 25 pounds and that would be enough. I was on Nutrisystem for 6 months and ended up losing 39 pounds. I had no idea that's what my body needed to lose. I was truly shocked. In that 6 months, my skin cleared dramatically, I was sleeping better, my acid reflux was curbed (for the first time in my life), my cholesterol dropped, and my self-esteem rose. I felt amazing. Now, I need to mention that I did not exercise at all during that time. I ate 5 meals a day, and I had an abundance of energy. I even cut back on my coffee intake, which was soooo good for me. It was truly an amazing experience. I felt for the first time in my life that I really could take care of myself and beat that little voice that tried to tell me I couldn't do it.

Fast forward to two years ago. I slowly put almost all of that weight back on. I had lost a bunch of my muscle mass (women lose up to 6% of their muscle every ten years), the issues started coming back, and now I was experiencing back and neck pain. I didn't feel like I wanted to go back to Nutrisystem, because I realized that I was missing the understanding of how to eat well without someone cooking and pre-packaging my food for me. I started researching ways to establish healthy eating patterns, read books on estrogen and progesterone and how that affects how your body metabolizes as we age, what foods we should eat and avoid in order to inspire our bodies to work the way they're supposed to, yadda, yadda, yadda. Then I started looking at the exercise piece. I started to get overwhelmed. There is so much out there on how to get healthy and whose method is more correct. Meanwhile, I was making small changes, so I felt like I was at least on the right track. I pushed through the information but wasn't feeling any better or losing any weight. I was simply staying the same. So, last spring, I joined some friends and took on Beach Body's P90X program. I figured I just needed to commit to something and see it through. I didn't lose any weight, but I did get stronger, and a few injuries that had plagued me over the last few years were suddenly remedied. Even with all of that I was discouraged. I couldn't get a handle on how to get to be the healthiest version of me without someone doing the work for me.

That's when it hit me. I was constantly saying "I can't" and "I won't." I was inconsistent, because I gave myself the room to constantly make exceptions. I did this mostly because I was afraid I would "never get to enjoy _____ again." (Fill in the blank in your own world.) (And, let's face it, I was busy and no two days look alike in my world. So setting a schedule including workouts and meal plans can be more difficult when you have no idea what the next day is going to need from you.) I knew I needed to make complete lifestyle changes, but I'm a zealot by nature, so changes tend to mean all or nothing. I wasn't considering the moderation piece after a focused time of withholding. That brings me to today.

I am, smack dab, in the middle of yet another program. This one is called Insanity. And, yes, it's insane. Forty Five minutes of the most intense cardio you can imagine, six days a week. It's incredible. So is the meal plan. Why? Because like all of the Beach Body programs they help you to understand the balance of what every meal should look like, and how to figure out the caloric intake YOUR body needs. They also provide recipes to help you so you don't have to think about how to plan your meals from scratch, hoping to get it right (unless you like that sort of thing, and then they give you a list of food options to choose from). So, how am I doing? 4 Weeks in, and I have clearly lost some poundage, everyone has noticed my clear skin, I'm sleeping better, my chronic issues have again disappeared, and I feel really good about me. 

Why am I sharing this with you? Because we need to understand that we're not alone. Getting and staying healthy is hard. There is nothing easy about it. It requires discipline, sacrifice, and a healthy dose of self worth. You have got to believe that you're worth it. You have got to believe that your life is important enough to be taken care of, by others and by YOU. You are important. It's not okay for us to give into our cravings and indulgences 100 percent of the time, because they will eventually hurt us if they are the rule and not the exception. As we age, we become more susceptible to diabetes, heart disease, strokes, and whatever else that comes with age, and if we don't flippin' take care of ourselves we are basically opening the door for those potentials to make themselves at home in our bodies. If I value the lives around me, then I have to value mine, because I know my friends and my family would all be devastated if I wasn't here anymore and there was something I could have done about it in my life right now. Plus, if I want to be able to go about the life that was intended for me to have, and make change in the world then, again, I need make take care of my body now so that I can do all the things I am called to do. And. So. Do. You.

For those of you who are taking care of yourself, I say well done and thank you. You are the ones who help inspire the rest of us to keep going. And when you need, we'll be here to help encourage you to keep going as well.

For those of you who don't know where to start, I will list some resources for you to check out, but remember this: You. Are. Not. Alone. It's hard work, but you are more than capable of overcoming that voice of negativity. You absolutely can do it, and you will. Activate the "I Will" inside of you and don't look at the failures. You might fail a few times. You might get discouraged. But there WILL come a day, when you'll suddenly notice that you won. We don't yell at babies when they're learning to crawl, or walk, or talk, so remember that once you've decided the steps to take in getting healthy. And remember IT IS NOT ABOUT HOW THIN YOU CAN GET. It is about being the HEALTHIEST version of you that you can be. Grab a friend, join a gym and make friends, find a way to get inspired, but don't give up. Never give up. If nothing else, find someone who can tell you simply that they believe in you.

RESOURCES:


Beach Body
Jillian Michaels
Nutrisystem
Weight Watchers
General Health Help
Women's Health
Men's Health


Monday, August 15, 2011

Music Monday

A couple of years ago, I had the unfortunate experience of having my guitar stolen. I had left it in the trunk of the car and when I came out to leave, the car had been broken into and my precious treasure was removed from my care. Clearly, it was precious enough for me to leave in a vehicle for a few hours instead of taking it home before doing anything else... *sarcastic stare* The truth is, I loved that guitar. I loved it because it was the first really nice guitar I had ever owned. My dad had bought it for me somewhere around my 18th birthday. I recorded my first album with it. I spent hours discovering new songs with it. I lead many a worship service with it (both for crowds & just by myself). I was devastated to lose it. But, in the end. It was just a guitar. I couldn't mourn the loss of such a treasure forever, I simply went on to discover a new one.

Wednesday, August 10, 2011

The Gift of Giving

Have you ever been a part of a random act of kindness? Have you ever paid for a stranger's meal, groceries, or gas? Or have you ever had someone treat you to said kindness?

I remember hearing stories about an historical day at a Starbucks drive-thru where a customer drove up to the window, money in hand, only to be told their drink was paid for by the person ahead of them. Not only were they so grateful for the gift, they decided to pass it on to the person behind them. That person, of course, passed it on to the person behind them. Legend has it that pattern continued for a while... Or maybe just until the line of cars was gone. ;) At any rate, it's amazing to recognize the depths of generosity that exist within us.

Tuesday, August 2, 2011

Topic Tuesday

Taking time to take care of you.

We get so caught up in working, socializing, and studying that we end up getting stuck in a rut of carelessness and instant gratification. We tend to look for shortcuts because everything around us is moving so fast. The problem is, we end up making cuts in the wrong places. We forgo our health, our sanity, and our sleep just to keep our heads above water. Look at all the fad diets, get rich quick deals, and commercials about getting a degree without ever having to go to school. It doesn’t take a rocket scientist to look at our culture and see that the overwhelming health issues, public mental break downs, and obsessions with sex and violence are a result of not “making the first thing first” in our lives.

Monday, August 1, 2011

Music Monday

Some people have rhythm. Some people have drums to prove it. Such is the case for another one of my favorite musicians: Joe Mengis.

This fine fellow was another Everly player at our Corn Palace show last August.  After searching high and low, I was given Joe's number. Not long into our phone conversation, I was asking him if he was available to play with us. He is one of the most hard working drummers I think I've ever seen, and it showed during our first rehearsal. There is nothing like showing up to a rehearsal where everyone knows their music as if they've been playing it for a month. And like Annie, there is an incredible humility inside of Joe. I cannot express how amazing it is to work with people who are not only incredibly talented, but walk through life with honest humility. (Humility is one of the most important things we can possess. It opens doors, fosters relationships, and paves the road for healing when we need it.)

Monday, July 25, 2011

Chicks Who Slap-a De Bass

I originally didn't want to play the bass guitar. Only later in life did I realize I had been influenced by my dad's view of bass players as
This is me!
"lazy lead guitarists." He, of course, is a lead guitarist. (The apple didn't fall far from the tree.) Once I discovered the joy of harmony, depth, and rhythm incorporated with the bass guitar, it was hard to follow in the footsteps of the "over-zelous melody player." (Love you, dad) And let me not forget my mom, who helped me learn how to harmonize with my voice. She was so very patient, as I was virtually unable to match my voice to whatever key the music was being played in until I was 11 years old.

I was often asked to play bass in various bands, as it was an anomaly to see a girl playing any instrument besides the piano, much less a rhythm instrument. Apparently, I wasn't bad at it either. I ended up filling the space as the original bass player for ENATION because of a recommendation via one of my previous band mates. It really is a fun instrument.

Wednesday, July 20, 2011

Memories, in the corner of my mind...



It's not easy to up and decide to try something new when there's a gazillion things in the world to try, so it's nice when someone drops a new experience right in front of you and asks you to have a go with it.

I had such an opportunity two weeks ago when I visited my family in Colorado. My aunt and uncle are regulars when it comes to outdoor activities, and they kindly invited me to engage in one of their favorite recreational pastimes: kayaking. I. Loved. It.

Tuesday, July 12, 2011

Dear Stephen Spielberg

No script. No locations permits. No hair and makeup teams. No studios or networks. No money. Just pure, ridiculous fun. That's what home movies are all about!

I had the privilege of working on a home made video promo with my pals in Enation last weekend. First off, those guys are HILARIOUS, so running around town with a wacky plot left me a bit sore from all the laughing. Second, I can't believe how easy it is nowadays to make home movies look better than a 1990-something blockbuster with nothing but an iPhone and some creativity. Yes, we really did shoot our little adventure using only an iPhone 4.

Wednesday, July 6, 2011

Traveling 101

We all do it at least one time in our lives...travel that is. Whether it is a camping trip, a visit to a foreign country, or just to see your grandparents, the majority of us have had to travel from our homes to some location that we don't reside.

Truth be told, I rather like traveling. I love meeting new people and seeing places that I don't get to see on a regular basis. I've done it a lot in my life and have learned a few things that I'd like to share with you.

Packing: 

1. Roll. Your. Clothes. 
          Gives. You. Space. For. More. Shoes. 

2. Seriously. Always pack a snack
    You never know when you'll be stuck somewhere longer than you thought without food nearby. 

3. Make sure your iPod
              MP3 player
      laptop, netbook, iPad
            or old fashioned CD player has a fresh charge (or batteries).
                         And don't forget to pack your charger for said device(s)...

4. Invest in the travel size containers. 
            You know, for hair products, toothpaste, body wash, etc... 
And you can now use reusable quart-sized zip top bags for your   
precious products when going through TSA security.
                                  

                 







5. Put a scented sachet, fabric softener, or cedar block in your suitcase to keep your clothes smelling fresh! 



OH! And bring a sack or bag for your dirty clothes.


Traveling:
By Air

1. Dress for the security check. You can always stash those cute bangles and sexy boots in your carry on and change once you make it through security. Everyone will thank you for it.

2. Sign up for email/text notifications with the airline. Just in case they change your gate, or delay your flight, or any of those things that NEVER happen... note the sarcasm.

3. Always have gum.  This is for the greater benefit of your fellow passengers. :)

4. Think ahead. 
About your snacks and entertainment.
About your next flight. 
About needing to use the potty. 

5. Be Considerate. No one really wants to share the tiny space they paid hundreds of dollars for, but like you, they need to get somewhere important to them. Find out their story. Share yours. Make it fun.


By Car (or bus...or train, I suppose, as well...)  

1. Put together some killer road mix tunes. 
(Or have your friends make some for you. I had my friends do this for my cross country road trip a couple of years ago. It. Was. AWESOME.)

2. For real. Load up on the water and snacks.

3. Give yourself time to stop at that random place you keep seeing signs for.  

4. Stay with friends, family, or campsites. 
You'll save soooo much money. Reserve hotels for when you absolutely MUST. Unless you have the cash for the hotels...then do the hotels.  

5. Put a road trip blog together and blog it out! 
This helps keep tabs on you for safety plus it lets everyone else in on the adventure! 


I could write sooo much more, but these are some of things that I consider when traveling by air or by car. The most important things to know are: where you're going, how to be as safe as you possibly can, and to HAVE FUN!

 

Monday, July 4, 2011

Happy Independence Day!

Ahhh, there's nothing like waking up and getting ready for a day of grilling, fireworks, friends & family, and an all around good time in celebration of the United States first major steps towards becoming the United States of America. I read an article this morning that said the declaration of independence was actually signed on July 2nd. We happen to celebrate the day that congress adopted it and made it an official "Hey! King George, we're takin' off. Thanks for everything. Sincerely, US."

At any rate, for US today, and not the magazine...We get to remember that it was a fight for us to have the privileges we have in this country, and for that I am truly grateful. And with my gratitude I thought it would be fun to share a recipe one of my lovely aunts shared with me!

We know about hot dogs, and burgers, and grilled onions, and bell peppers...even pineapples get grilled! But did you also know you can grill lettuce?! It's true. And it's delicious. And I hope you try it!

Here it is:

Grilled Lettuce

Use green leaf, endive, romaine, or radicchio lettuce.
Quarter the lettuce, and roll it in a mixture of:
1/3rd cup sugar
1/3rd cup red wine vinegar or balsamic vinegar
1/3rd cup olive oil
Garlic, salt and pepper to taste (you can add a little freshly squeezed lemon juice to the mix as well)
Grill for about 25 seconds on a side on a medium heat setting

And there you have it! Grilled lettuce. Super simple. Super tasty. And whatever you do I hope that you have a BLAST today with your friends and loved ones! Be safe. Eat well. Have fun.


P.S. I want to say a special thank you to our men and women in the service who are faithfully laying down their freedoms and their lives for us to be able to live like we do. May God truly bless you and keep you safe! Thank you, thank you, THANK YOU!


~Amber

Wednesday, June 29, 2011

I Heard It First Watching Saturday Morning Cartoons

Way back when there were no DVR's or endless cable channels to melt our brains, there were Saturday morning cartoons. I had to share the 19 or 20 inch faux-wood box, fitted with a shiny knob that changed the channels, with my little brother, who had to patiently endure "Care Bears" and "She-Ra" so he could enjoy "G.I. Joes," although I don't think he minded "She-Ra." Of course, I had to sit through "G.I. Joes" in order to watch "Inspector Gadget" so I guess we were even.

It was during the endurance of my brother's favorite cartoon that I first remember seeing the Army's "Be All That You Can Be" campaign seen below. It came packaged with catchy little jingle that I can't seem to ever forget...no matter how hard I try. 


 


Why am I bringing this up? Because I was talking to my friend recently about being the best version of ourselves that we can be, and I immediately had one of those rewind sequences that you see in movies and television where the character rewinds their memories back to a certain point, and then they re-live the experience in their head for just a moment before they get some wild idea. I happened to rewind to the memory of Saturday morning cartoons and this silly commercial's jingle, and it got me thinking...

The army's campaign is a sales pitch, sure, but they got something right with their slogan: Be All That You Can Be. I do believe that we are endlessly discovering ourselves, each other, and God. We never "arrive" anywhere that cannot be changed or discovered further, thus bringing the reality of eternity into our present lives.

I was thinking of it this way: I used to be incredibly active and never had to really worry about what I ate, and I ate horribly! Then I hit my mid 20s and my metabolism changed, which meant I couldn't eat In N Out every day. I also realized that it takes a little longer to recover from an injury, and I can't get away with all-nighter's like I had when I was a teenager. So, I have had to re-learn how to be the best version of me as my body changes, which means making sure to stay active, stretching a lot, sleeping (like a normal person!), and eating foods that will nourish my body.  The same is true on an emotional and spiritual level. Take time to learn something new, journal, read, work at a soup kitchen for a weekend, play an instrument, sing, dance, paint, listen to music, whatever it is that feeds your soul... and in this generation, particularly, take some time away from the computer, the cell phone, and whatever other technology that keeps us from actually getting out and smelling the roses.

The most important piece to this thought, and the discussion I had with my friend, is to not compare ourselves to anyone else. We're not trying to be the best version of our friends that we can be. We're trying to be the best version of ourselves! Let's take pride in our individual body shapes, our hair colors, skin tones, personalities, and passions, and let's make them stand out features, while respecting other people's stand out features. We're all pieces of a larger puzzle, and it doesn't make any sense to me to try to be anything other than my piece, unless I don't want the puzzle to ever get finished. That would just be silly.


So, my thanks to the Army's campaign to remind us that while it is a fight to be all that we can be, it is a good fight, and like my friend Graham Cooke says, "A good fight is one you win." Let's be all that we can be!

Tuesday, June 28, 2011

Mind Nuggets

Ahhh. Here we are web logging our mind nuggets together. How fun this will be! Some of these treasures will be delightful and insightful, and some may just be ridiculous but, I promise to have fun with them if you do too.  Don't forget to pass along all the fun to everyone you know!

Cheers!

~Amber