Because a) I am still dying from suffering from under the attack of  dealing with a serious case of the “who-am-i-as-a-writer”s, and because b) it’s a sweet story and because c) i think these pictures will make at least one person laugh, i shall post the following.

When my house was broken into a month ago, those dang meanies stole my guitar (the one that the Dancer gave me that was perfect and i loved so much), my necklaces (three hugely sentimental ones that I kept hanging in my room cause I wore one of them EVERY day), purses (didn’t care), a digital camera (uhm, same megapixels as my phone, so, whatev) , and, of all things, my PRESCRIPTION glasses and sunglasses. And I had JUST gotten three new pairs the day before! So all I was left with, specs wise, was my Lennon glasses. You can see them on display here.

Anyway, I love my Lennon glasses when i’m working out (they are light and don’t slide down my nose) or when I’m in the mood to be funky. But most of the time I’m not trying to make a statement with my eyewear, I just want to SEE (which is about to really make you laugh when you see my “not making a statement” glasses). So having these statement glasses on when I wasn’t intentionally making a statement just felt 31 flavors of wrong.


Belle’s parents, they love me. Part of me suspects it’s because it’s a little like loving Michelle, and I’m easier to access ;) But really, they are so caring and considerate and just plain good to me. And through their generosity, I was able to replace a purse, some hand towels (OH YEAH THOSE JERKS STOLE MY HANDTOWELS!) aaaaaand my glasses!

ANDPLUSALSOTOO, informationally,  ZENNIOPTICAL.COM is having a sale until the 14th – buy two, get one free. So I replaced all my glasses. For $75 total with shipping for four RX glasses and two RX sunnies. Boomtown, people.

So today, as the cherubim were singing, my glasses were delivered, and I put on one pair I have been itching to try.

I shall henceforth call them my ugly betty glasses. (I have a pair in pink that i call my Sally Jesse Rafael glasses.) I told the Social Worker (also my new roommate, as The Dancer moved on to greener, less-likely-to-be-robbed, more-approved-by-her-fiance pastures ;) that I feel so at home in these things.

TAA-DAA (i typed that in wall*e voice

because they are so big. like my face (it's not bad, i'm just saying. i have a big face)

and ridiculous. like my face. (this face is specifically for my belle, for her elephant sound. and for anyone who thinks i look like a "who", because i agree.)

I don’t think they’re too much. Do you? Surely not. They can be subtle. Look:

barely even noticeable, right? ;)

Okay, so maybe I had a little fun figuring out how to best showcase these beauts (cause when you get glasses after waiting for a few weeks and are relieved to have fashion options, it is sometimes reflected via your webcamphotolog.

OH LOOK! An orb! Is it going to eat me?

I set my mini to the side and took a photo on severe delay, to try and capture what i really look like in them when I am not posing. I look concerned, right? Nope. I'm actually just mouth-breathing. Allergies and Austin go together like Peas and carrots. especially cause NO ONE LIKES PEAS!

you think these are a joke? bet i won't wear these to choir. BET! (i may not, actually. would these distract you if they were up front?)

i think they blend in a little,

nicely highlight the angles of my... highlights.

okay. that’s enough for now. Next i should tell you about the geeetar. But I may not. We’ll have to see. ::maniacal laugh::

What’s next and Why I’ve Been Gone

Sometimes there are things that, because you can’t talk about them right away, you need to wait. Until things calm down, until you have the proper words, until the sting goes away.

And there are some things that you have to just say. This is a little of both.

I’ve been M.I.A. from the interweb world for the past few weeks. I didn’t have internet at home, life was busy like whoa, and some great/awful things happened.

You know. Great/awful. Like, my great grandmother, a woman who we joked would NEVER die, died. Awful. But I got to go to Tennessee, I spent 24 hours in the car with my mom AND ENJOYED IT, I saw my daddy and generally learned to experience that whole side of the family in a new way/was challenged to see my sin in the way I view them now.  Great!

But I tell you, it’s God mercy to me that things have been so crazy, because something that happened weeks ago is something I can just now update you on, because I needed this time so I could tell you and make sure it was the truth, and not just how it feels (especially because at first, it did NOT feel anything like what it actually is). I should get to “it,” right?


Okay, some of you knew, some of you didn’t, that my next “step” in life, after myKidStuff internship was up, was to begin student counseling at a Gospel Counseling Center. It was something I was super excited, although never fully peaceful, about. I was hesitant to talk about it for some time because it just always felt a little off. (You non-feelers have NO idea what I’m talking about) But it seemed clear that this was the next logical step, a great opportunity, and an amazing chance to hone skills that I definitely want in my professional career.

A few weeks ago, while discussing the details of the job, those involved (myself included) determined that I was not yet ready for this role.

In the interest of keeping minds from wandering, I will share a few details:

There was no moral failure on anyone’s part, though some honest mis-communication.

I didn’t fail to grow in any way that was ever asked of me.

But I’m just not ready for this exact role.

I (as well as my professors) feel I AM equipped to give beyond-adequate care in a student counselor role.

But that’s not what’s being asked of me.


I won’t be working there. But nothing is wrong, no one has been wronged, or failed, and life is still just as beautiful.


Now, that’s all I’m gonna say about that.



Get ready for some AWESOME coming your way. Complete with a new house where I live that i LOVE LOVE LOVE, a new semester of awesome learning opportunities, and random musings of conviction, love, and life as your favorite gypsy/counselor/fashion-wanna-be. Oh and pictures. I haven’t been posting them, but i HAVE been taking pictures. :)

Bubba and Belle

if I really think about it, if I really look at them, my brother and sister who are moving across the country and across the world, i tear up.

my heart, unbridled by TRUTH and giving in to perception, cries out along with my eyes. No.

No! Please, please don’t leave. Please don’t go away. I love you, I want you here, I want you near me.

I’ve done it again. I’ve grown attached to people. The deep veins of familial ties never truly established in blood have etched themselves in through these people, this spiritual family. They have become part of my daily routine.

They have become part of my heart.

I was not, at first, quiet about this displeasure. Especially with Bubba. With my Belle, I had more time. I knew this was her plan from the moment I met her. We’ve had years now to grow together and love and as I have supported her, i have, not thinking what it would really mean to not have her (or, in more faithful moments, believing that “what it would be like” is God’s plan – infinitely better than any alternative). So with my Belle, as the date has approached, I’ve kept myself (ever so slightly) in check with the (out loud) “OHMYGOSH DON’T LEAVE ME,”-s.

But Bubba up and made this decision OUT OF EFF…REAKING NOWHERE. (Not true. I’ve known he was thinking about it for months but literally REFUSED TO THINK (or even pray other than a randomly thrown up “oh god, tell him and make it clear….but mostly make it clear that he should stay but i mean, whatever you want, im just sayin..”) about it.

And long story short in a month, they’ll both be gone.

My sweet neighbor who I love and visit and spend time with and who is, as many have pointed out, a special friend, a brother-from-another-mother who plays with me so well that other people will miss our interactions, HE IS LEAVING.

My beautiful gypsy sister, the one who is so different from me, but SO GOOD AT LOVING ME, will be HALFWAY across the dang world and WHO  will i call to come over and have sparkling grape juice and strawberries with my while i scurry about cleaning my apartment and over-analyzing whatever is on my mind and with WHOM will i go on movie dates with my pink glittery flask (a gift from my bubby, the biological brother, the other Valle-felon) if my Belle in in TURKEY. Where the last time i was there, they kept trying to abscond with my passport and squinty-eyed at me even though I don’t have the evil eyes.

(that was a tangent. if those last few sentences didn’t make sense to you it’s only because they don’t make sense.)

This is not supposed to be a rant. this is supposed to be about not ranting.

i’ll ‘splain tomorrow. if i can pick myself out of the “what will i do without bubba and belle” despair.

hares and hairs

I always do new, fun things when I hang out with La Familia.

I don’t think I ever tried to decorate a cupcake before this easter. Not too bad for a first attempt. (I made a stencil for the bunny out of paper. Turns out, paper stencils only work once on frosting. :)


or cutting hair. I do hair almost EVERY time I’m over there.

before side

after can tell i still needed to blend in the top on the other side

and FREAKING OUT when the younger/bigger brother looks, in a photo, JUST EXACTLY LIKE Q

eeby jeebers, pplfriends. I hollered "OHMYGOSH Jacob DO NOT LOOK AT ME." (oh and I had NOT cut the right front at this point. This was supposed to be a photo of his gnarly sideburn)

and the cutting the itty borther’s hair the next morning.

plz essckuse the look. I don't know what compelled me to pair those tops. ew.

or dying seester’s hair!!

told ya, i spend a LOT of time on hair here.


of course, she helped me with mine, too! (thx, seester!)


Are you a fan or a not-fan of the abbreves people make?

As in presh instead of precious

or perf instead of perfect

or, abbreve instead of abbreviate, for that matter.

Maybe it’s not something that happens a lot where you are, but my people do it all.the.time. Maybe it’s a phase. Anyway, none of that is ACTUALLY the point but as someone who once met a man named “Steven” and proceeded instead to call him “steamboat” for the next seven years, I’d just like to get a gauge on what the rest of the world considers cute colloquial charm and what they instead deem as just ridiculous. Or, in my case, ridic. ;)

But the ACTUAL point of this post is to give one of those more traditional updates. I’m going to try my hardest to make perfectly plain sense (and not Palin sense, as I just typed accidentally, because I don’t ever want to live in Alaska) but we’ll see how far that takes us.

purely because i never used this photo before. this was in february, i believe.

School: In case you missed it, I’m pursuing an M.A. in Professional Counseling. I expect to graduate between August of 2013 and May of 2014. It’s a very long Master’s program. (61 hours, max 9 hours per semester, 6 hours per summer). After my first two semesters, I have a 3.8 GPA.  I hate that I only had a 4.0 for one semester, but that’s just because I’m prideful. There is nothing wrong with a 3.8. I’m learning a lot and will be in school this summer learning more, even though it will cost me time in the sunshine. The fact that I can say that with a smile is a miracle in itself.

i realize these photos don't at all match up, but i just thought this one was funny, and also hadn't been used.

Social: I am NOT dating anyone. Back in April I went through a break up so emotionally wrought that I actually flinch/shudder whenever I see the man I was dating. Sometimes things just hurt more than you can explain. Sorry, i’d be more poetic, but i’m trying to just be clear so the people who don’t see me that often can know what’s going on. My friendships are growing, though, and it seems just about every day I find myself thinking, “I have more amazing friends than i can count. How can one girl be so loved?” But i am kinda touch deprived (my own fault. After the break up, I got a little gun shy about being touched. Weird reaction, I know).

on the way home from TN during spring break. it's like spiritual. ;)

Spiritual: I’ve totally dropped the REAP plan but do still make time to read the Bible almost every day. I’ve even started reading a chapter of John every morning when I wake up to help me actually get out of bed (as opposed to twitter or google reader. My phone has all of those options). I’m journaling more again (I probably always journaled more than “average” but I’m actually getting back up to “normal” for me.

getting less and less related

Shackled: My felony accusation is still pending. Yes, you read that right. I was accused of a felony, and found out a year later (about 2 months ago) when someone stole from my wallet and then I got arrested. My bail cost more than I make in a year. Yes, you read that right as well. It was an odd night. Not my best, not my worst, and a funny story that I’ll type up someday. Anyway,I didn’t do what I was accused of and even have proof  (police and auto insurance records) to prove I didn’t, but I still have to have a lawyer present those things. I wish I could say I’ve proven faithful through it, but the truth is it’s wearing on me more than I realize. My stutter has presented twice in the past week. I’m learning a LOT through it, stuff that could go up in that spiritual section above, but i lack the right words to describe it now, so maybe I’ll tell you about it later.

i. love. my. bubs!! he does NOT love me taking his pic.

Sibling, etc: Family stuff is just as crazy as it normally is. People fighting, medical issues, surprise funsies, and facebook shenanigans. Par for the course on our insane, multi-cultural, never-boring course.

20 points if you can figure out what I'm doing here.

What else might you want to know? This fall I start working at The Austin Stone Counseling Center (a job with an hourly pay NOT involoving fundraising). So I’ll still be working for the church in the sense that I’ll be working at their Counseling Center. But it’s a more 9-5 m-f job. And I’ll still be in school full time. And I’ll move SOMEwhere at some point after the 1st of August, which is still exciting if for no other reason than I’ll be just shy of a year in the same place. The longest i’ve been anywhere since 2002. I’ve been working out more (meaning at all), and enjoy going to the gym 2-4 times a week to get in some quick time on the elliptical. Which is really a result of me taking self-care more seriously.

Questions? Questions? No?

Sorry for the Radio Silence

It was purely unintentional.

Because i got to take a totally spontaneous trip to see the squeezies. Dr and Mrs were taking a trip to the river. I had lost my joy, my appetite, and a bit of my mind, and just wanted to see them.

She cried when I left. she was just tired and i calmed her down, but it's still nice to be loved.

enter: a perfect two-day get away to somewhere so far removed that I didn’t even open my computer, and I let my phone go dead with no concern, since no one had reception anyway. I have not one single picture nor one single regret from the excursion once with left the Z’s house, but I do have a tan, a rested body, a smile on my face and an ability to eat. Jury’s still out on the sanity. ;)

But srsly folks, I’m SO SO thankful for this weekend. Having two days off in a row is a rare and special treat afforded only by the two-week break in school. (Don’t freak out. Yes I work 6 days a week, but I also get whisked away to Uganda sometimes. It all works out.) And two days away was SRSLY a need at this point.

i found this dead moth in my car. I was sad for the beautiful, muted colors on the strange, furry creature. I took her as a sign. I didn't want to keep loosing my brightness.

Lemme share something you’ve probably picked up on. I struggle with the occasional bout of depression. Thanks to the Lord and the amazing community around me, I’ve learned to recognize the signs, NOT FREAK OUT, and tend to myself (or ask for tending, when necessary).  One of the signs that I’m dealing w some emotional stuff I may not recognize is loss of appetite. Last week I ate one meal per day for five days. And the meals were getting smaller. I know better than to WORRY about this (never gonna make it better) and instead kept my closest friends up on the sitch, in case this lasted too long and I needed to start getting my calories from a cup. :)

But on day six, I finally felt hungry, and not like putting something in my tummy would cause reverse-peristalsis. Then I saw a picture where I looked fat.

Oh yeah,that IS me cuttin' bubba's hair. At the office.

Look y’all, bad posture bad smosture, I felt like i looked awful in this pic.

So I was TEMPTED to not eat. I knew it had been long enough that I could do it, without people really noticing. I used to be really good at not eating. And i lose weight when I don’t eat.

This was a big warning flag for me. I texted The Social Worker, “I’m tempted to not eat. I’m going to go eat dinner right now.”

There. accountability. Then I called Mrs Z.

“I feel awful. Can I come see you?”
“We’re going to the river.”
“Can I come with?”
“YES! Absolutely!”

Yes, it was a two hour drive, but I needed to shake the system. I needed to get out of the funk. And like I said, I’ve learned enough about myself to know it’s a BAD idea to just expect things to get better, if I want to get out of a bad funk, I need to do something about it.

i dunno what's up with the lighting in this one. after zumba, at the ball game.

When I got to Castroville, I told Mrs Z “I have to eat while I’m here. And NOT any gluten. If i say I’ll be okay or it will be worth it, I WONT AND IT WONT.”

We went to Zumba (secret: i love working out. wouldn’t figure it, i know) and then to a ball game for a niece of hers. sunshine, dancing, babies, friends, and lots and lots of hugs.

y'all are my teeth really that color? Don't tell me.

I hope, if you struggle like I do, you’re afforded the opportunity to know how to ask for help, to see what doesn’t need to be made an issue (In my case, missing a few meals because i’m tummy-sick) and what demands immediate attention (I am tempted to not eat because I feel fat).  And I pray you have someone, someones, who know and love you well enough to help you through it all. I thank God that I have the Spirit as my constant companion, and that he’s seen fit to give me lots of earthly companions too. But NOT the kind of companions they have on Joss Whedon’s Firefly. ;)

Once I could take this and laugh at it rather than stress abt it, i knew the fog was lifting.

And i just wanted to share. Because it was not always this way. I did not always have these helpful coping tools. I was not always able to look and God and say, “This is awful. Please come help me.”  I was not always able to look at my friends and say that. And I want you to be able to.

sometimes self care means walking around in flippers

Spring Break w Daddy (Lucky #7 was true)

I know this is late, but I spent a little of Spring Break with Daddy.

I spent 24 hours driving to and back from Tennessee and 36 hours IN Tennessee. 8 of which I slept. What? Don’t hate. Here are some of the pics from my adventure.

great beard of mean...daddy!

Daddy had a half sleeve before they were cool. because he kept having to cover things up. ;)

the lexington version of "gluten free" dinner

"her momma must be real pretty..." his friends all said,

"cause she don't get that from you"

as you can see, we frequented the most happenin' spots

my **charming** bedside decor

and yes, i did go with the full hope of spending a whole trip not going to the hospital with a relative.

and no, even thoght it was only 36 hours, this was NOT that trip. ;) i mean, I am grateful it was picking someone UP from the hospital rather than having to take them TO it.

Anyway. I love my daddy. And I think there are a lot of really fun things to do in Tennessee. But truth be told, I tucker out REALLY easily when left to my own devices with no company. It’s not that there aren’t adventures to be had, it’s just that I want adventures to be shared. And Daddy can’t get around very well, or for very long. Since the longest I’ve known the man to sleep in one sitting is two hours,  and that’s really a stretch, he tuckers out WITH too much company. So, I’m REALLY hoping the next time i go visit i can bring someone. I wouldn’t have guessed it, but having someone with actually helps me pay more attention to my family and stay there longer.

so, that’s what I meant by a travel buddy. not those silly neck pillow things. goodness, I don’t need neck support to DRIVE!

# 3 – True – I Got Handled

::This post was written about a month ago. So the fix lasted for a month!! But then, while i was buying $700 of toys for work, it broke again. Thank the sweet Lord that it happened BEFORE i loaded the car and could still climb in to open the door, rather than after, when I would have just been stuck. :) Anyway, so, #3 was true, and I still am in need of a new door handle::
Last week was one of those weeks. Lemme ‘splain, via pics:

that IS what you think it is

You may not have known this about me, but i RARELY wear anything but dresses and skirts. Just how i like it. So yes, this little how-do-ya-do meant that every time i had to get in my car, I was climbing in the back, reaching to open the front, slinging the door open, climbing back-and-out and then entering like “normal.” And hopefully not flashing anyone in the process.

But, remember la familia ? Yeah, the host of people I sorta-kinda thought I’d be one day? Well, i am one. Just…not the way I thought I’d be. Instead, in  a better way. A way that spends the day and cuts the brother’s hair and takes a nap when I get tired and a way that has Daddio and Brother bear fix my car door when the handle gets handled.

YAY!! Looks even better than new.

You can’t always get what you want. But I am a child of God, an unofficial member of la familia and honestly I ALWAYS get exactly what I need. (and most of the time it’s what I want. God’s just gracious like that.)

Twenty Truths and a Lie

Have you ever played that game “Two Truths and a Lie?”

It’s a getting-to-know-you game that you play with people who haven’t heard your life story. You tell them two true things and one false thing and they guess which one is the falsie. (Oh mercy. Augmentation jokes running through my head!) 

Well since I’ve been off-line for 6.5 weeks, I decided I will tell you all about my adventures – but first I’m going to make a list of them and one will be an adventure that I did not have (although maybe one I want to) and it’s up to you to figure out which one did NOT happen. Then, once you’ve guessed, I’ll go through telling, or at least summarizing, the stories.

Yes, I’m going to purposely tell the truth but kinda stretch it to be funny and challenging on this list. BECAUSE IT’S A FUN GAME, PEOPLE FRIENDS!  I’ll clarify upon elaborations. Ready?

1) I got arrested and became (or realized I was) an accused felon.

2) I tuned into a mermaid.

3) Bruce (my car) denied me access to himself. Twice.

4) Bruce (Willis) just made me fall more in twitterpation.

5) With much alacrity (almost not sarcasm) decided to start selling my body for money.

6) A surprise trip to San Antonio with a boy turned into pretty pretty baked goods for me and the squeezies.  A surprise trip to Dallas turned into an awful fight.

7) A planned trip to Tennessee showed me my sin and how much I need a travel buddy.

8) I finally, not of my own choice,  gave up my lovey. 25 years was all the life he had in him.

9)  After hearing mean awful things from a mouth pledged to protect, I saw myself the way God did.

10) I signed up for my first counseling conference. I’ll go w a woman called dust and a man named after a gun.

11) Oh and speaking of counseling,  last week in class, we had a memorial service for a cat. We all sat and mourned a cat we never met.

12) I finally started the process to get official on the dyslexia diagnosis.

13) coincidentally? I started going blind.

14) And deaf.

15)  Being away from posting social media was not hard.

16) Admitting that I metaphorically run to reading other’s social media posts was. So I started cutting myself off from google reader. Or, I thought about it at least.

17) Broke from lawyer fees and stressed for time, I decided to buy and re purpose patio furniture. #logic

18) Starting LTG with two amazing ladies showed me that I have THE best friends. But no best friend. It also made me realize that $50 is not always too much to spend on dinner.

19) I considered that I might have the gift. You know. THE gift. ;)

adorabuns. can't we all just get along?

20)I started, went through, and ended a relationship mostly kept from those around me.

21) I spent my favorite day of the year with a few thousand of my closest relatives.

And there you have it, peoplefriends. So what’s you’re best guess? Leave comments below and I’ll make cookies or something for the first person who correctly guesses.

I Forgive You (stuff my dad says)

Let’s do like Don Henley did and get down to the heart of the matter. ;)

Swoon. Now that that’s done…

I’m in a grateful but contemplative place, so I’m giving myself permission to share this little how-do-you-do.


I was just thinking about how my daddy has a lot of quirks. A lot of things I love to contemplate because they’re special and I appreciate these things about him.

One is:

saying “I forgive you.” (He also uses “I accept your apology.”)

Here’s how.

When someone shows remorse for something, like me calling to say, “Daddy I’m sorry I didn’t call you back when I said I would.” He replies, “I forgive you.” (Well he’s a bit more enthusiastic with me, his baby. He says it more like, “Well baby ya know I for-give ya.*”)

He NEVER rubs it in, mentions that he told me so, or that he’ll have to think about it. He gives forgiveness like it’s a blade of grass and he’s got an entire hillside to spare.

He DOES allow himself to admit his feelings. Sometimes, like in the instance mentioned above (it happens a LOT, i’m AWFUL at calling him back) he says, “Well angel I sure would like to talk to you more, but I forgive you.”

No malice. No hatefulness. Just honesty. And always forgiveness.

And it does not get brought up again.

And what if I’m not so gracious as to admit I’m wrong? The comment changes just a bit. “Amanda(my middle name), I want you to know that it hurts me when you say you’ll call back and you don’t. I forgive you, but I just want you to know that this matters to me.”

But sometimes people apologize for silly things. Things he doesn’t think were wrong. Like has anyone ever apologized for doing something rude that you didn’t think was rude? Even here, he’s gracious. He doesn’t sweep the other person’s emotions under the rug. Doesn’t demean their different, but valid, experience. A conversation might be:

“Daddy I’m sorry I wasn’t in the mood to play cards earlier. I was pooped!”
“Now I don’t think there’s nothing to apologize fer*, but I certainly accept your apology.”

In a world of “no problem,” and “we’re cool,” I appreciate a sentiment and according actions that so beautifully reflect the heart of our Father, coming from my daddy.

*I refuse to rob you of the charm of this man’s accent. Grace is grace but grace in a hillbilly accent is like a biscuit with honey. Just a little sweeter.