W H A T A Y E A R. 

But in all these things we overwhelmingly conquer through Him who loved us. For I am convinced that neither death, nor life, nor angels, nor principalities, nor things present, nor things to come, nor powers, nor height, nor depth, nor any other created thing will be able to separate us from the love of God which is in Christ Jesus our Lord.
Romans 8:37-39
A M E N.

As I was reflecting on this past year...this verse from Romans came into mind as well as a distinct memory I have from earlier this year. Back in March I was on a 7 hour post bus riding from Gulu to Kampala, the capital city of Uganda. I remember walking to the bus stop at 4am to ensure my spot on the usually overcrowded bus with nothing but my headlamp and my backpack.

I was taking the trip solo because I was meeting up with a few college friends in Jinja. Before I left, I had a rough outline of my travel plans - 7 hours to Kampala - boda to the bus station- 2 hours to Jinja- boda ride to find the hotel to meet friends - and yet the details of how this would all play out were so incredibly unknown. I was terrified. 

Maybe this memory sticks out because I thought it was an impossible journey. Or maybe because I was squished next to a lady and her 2 year old daughter on the bus. Or maybe it's because for the first time the reality of being all by myself, so far from home really set in. Or maybe it's because I had been in Gulu for 3 months and this trip was the first time I headed out to the big city.

all these could be true... but I think the real reason was because on that hot, crowded, long bus ride in the middle of Eastern Africa the truth of Romans 8 rung loud and clear..NOTHING CAN SEPARATE ME FROM THE LOVE OF GOD. whoaa. No time, no distance, no present circumstances, or future plans, or evil spirits, or height, or depth, or anything in all creation could separate me from Jesus Christ. That is remarkable. 

What I hope to remember from this year is the power that Christ Jesus has in all circumstances. The remarkable and undeniable power of Jesus and the promise that nothing can separate us from the love of our savior.  Not even a solo 7 hour bus ride through Eastern Africa! 

Living on the other side of the world made all this a reality to me - but I pray we all hold fast to the love of God at every moment of our lives and to celebrate because in all these things we overwhelmingly conquer through Him who loved us! 

praise God for 2014! here are some of my favorite photos.

Murchison Falls, Uganda
Awach District, Uganda
Gulu, Uganda
Gulu, Uganda
Gulu, Uganda
Gulu, Uganda
Gulu, Uganda
Jinja, Uganda
Gulu, Uganda *taken by Maddy
Gulu, Uganda
Fort Patiko, Uganda
Fort Patiko, Uganda

Gulu, Uganda
Gulu, Uganda
Gulu, Uganda *taken by Maddy
Simi Valley, CA *taken by someone on my phone
home, CA
Julian, CA *taken by Maxandfriends
Palm Springs, CA
Point Loma, CA
Anaheim, CA *taken by Travis 
San Clemente, CA
Torrance, CA
Sequoia National Park, CA


the best way to spend a weekend.

^^ On Saturday afternoon I got to live out my life long dream of being a hip hop dancer...sort of. My boss' daughter turned 7 and invited me to her "frozen-hip-hop-dance-party-themed-birthday" and there was no way I was turning that down. The best part was that my good friend *and real life dancer* Kelcie was hired as the choreographer and got a discount at her dance studio Boogie Utopia. amazing. We had the dance room to ourselves for 2 hours and I'm not sure if the birthday girl had more fun or me haha. The girls performed the routine for the parents and we sang happy birthday and ate cupcakes and pocky sticks - so. much. fun.

 ^^After the frozen party I quickly gathered my stuff and headed out to Azusa for a NEST REUNION CHRISTMAS PARTY!! We did a gift exchange, meg cooked delicious pasta, I brought the dessert, and we spent the rest of the night uncontrollably laughing whilst playing fishbowl and family. Out of the 8 Nesters 6 of us were able to make it out! The "Nestmen" as we call them (Husbands, fiances, and boyfriends) were also invited which made battle of the sexes charades really quite fun.
^^10 points if you can name everyone! This was the "sit in couples" photo haha and Liana's fiances Zach is still in Spain so she was my date one last time! Next to us at the top are Becky and Alex who are getting married next June in Chicago!! WOOO! The middle row is Meg and James who hosted us since the party was at Megs house, then theres Katelyn and Brad celebrated there 1 year anni this past October, then on the right are Natty sue and her boyfriend Eddie - they drove down from Napa and it was our first time meeting Eddie and we all love him! - and then on the left are Marty and Nati who have been married since May! Wow what a beautiful bunch. This photo means so much to me! 
Meg let us all sleep over and this photo cracks me up because its all the roommates (minus becky anneke and anna) and the two Nest husbands Marty and Brad. hahaa. I think this depicts the kind of bonds we have formed over the years...a true family. We haven't all been together since Nati's wedding in May and sharing a bathroom with them felt like the most natural thing in the world. 
^all cozy for the night! Natty sue and I shared an air mattress and it reminded us of the last time we had a sleepover together - in the middle of Jinja Uganda under a mosquito net! 
^^Sunday morning we woke up and headed to Meg and James' church in La Verne. The pastor preached on the Mary miracle of Christmas and her obedience to the word given to her by the Lord. James also led worship and it was so great seeing him up there leading us all into the presence of God! 
 ^^on top of that, our two good friends Courtney and Melissa were also in town (the two on the right) and we met up with them at church! Courtney was in India this past year and is now moving to DC so seeing her for this brief moment was such a treat! And Melissa is a nurse in Colorado and we are already planning to hang out when I one day make it out to CO! 
 ^^and to top it all off we ate Thai food at our favorite restaurant in Claremont. 

WOW. I drove away on Sunday with a heart full of thankfulness.

What an incredible testament this all is the grace of God in our lives, in our stories, and the way He weaves in people, places, experiences, personalities, and years of life together to create a scenario far more beautiful than we could ever paint up ourselves. On weekends like this i'm reminded that the stories I try to force into writing by myself can never compare to the unpredictable, wonderfully mysterious stories of God. I feel lucky to know these people and to call them friends.


favorite videos.

I love when I find rad videos on the web. Here are few of my recent favorites.
I aspire to be all of these people.

^Mom and I watch the voice every week and when Craig Wayne Boyd sang this song last week I think we both stood up and started cheering like we were watching his concert. ha! The best part was when Pharrell said, "how does it feel to be at the top of your game - and to surrender it all to God in front of millions of people?" WOW. needless to say - I hope Craig wins the voice!

^I found this video on my favorite art website (this is colossal) and was in awe of this man's craftmanship and literally perfect paintings on these Japanese Kokeshi dolls. Its mesmerizing watching the wood spin and be cut by one tiny touch of a blade. SO COOL. 

^For those of you who haven't seen this yet - my bro in law Ant was a part of this incredible work of art. Its truly beautiful when the gopsel meets talented artists and powerful storytelling...things like this are formed. Every line of this poem is so captivating. Encouraging yet haunting all at once.

^Vimeo is such a well currated place for videos and this one hit the nail on the head. Samaritans purse has their hand in every disaster that strikes, and this short film really paints a beautiful picture of when its like to engage with the people youre helping and find out about the hobbies that keep them smiling - keep them unified. 

^this one just put a huge smile on my face ahhhhh! This video was made by Hurley, and all I know now is that I need to go meet this kid.

いきましょう!- lets go!

Welcome to the life of Amie-Sensei! 

Last week I had the opportunity to host a three-day english class for 18 Japanese clients. The tutoring company I work for usually does private tutoring lessons (one-on-one style) but we got hired to host a group class and we decided to jump on the opportunity with hopes that this type of program can become a regular occurrence! 

I was a bit nervous for all the small detail to fall into place (also there was a 100% chance of rain one of the days which was a real bummer) but thankfully I had an incredible team to work with and my boss ended the week by saying this project was a 200% success!! HA. take that rain! 

And to me...the craziest part of all of this is how fun it is to spend time with new friends from across the world. The blessing of living in LA is that I don't have to travel far to be emerged in another culture- beautiful!

^we were lucky enough to meet at the Marriott conference rooms which made things feel 
super legit haha! 
^the goal of our classes was to get the students to "break their shell." All 18 clients work in the
computer science/engineering field so they were all pretty shy! This is them playing 
family feud hosted by one of my fellow instructors -traci mats! 
^last group photo at the mall!
^also did I mention 3 of my dear friends were able to teach along side me! Emiko, Kelcie and Trac!
These girls were such amazing teachers and became quick friends with their groups!
^farewell party! They gifted the teachers with matcha green tea and thanked us all of helping them with their English. What really stood out to me was what Masaru said (guy on the far left). He said something along these lines, "I've traveled to many countries. 11 exactly. In every country I have visited people have been nice and understood my English - but this was the first time someone really helped me by correcting my English. Thank you for helping me fix my mistakes. I appreciate it!"

I found that to be pretty cool! 


thanksgiving 2014.

O come, let us sing for joy to the Lord,
Let us shout joyfully to the rock of our salvation.
Let us come before His presence with T H A N K S G I V I N G. 
psalm 95

^tiny Lenya Jean and a huge turkey. *her first thanksgiving! 
^This is my client Jiyoung and her family. They were so impressed by G&G! 
^One of our guests Kanako made these adorable panda onigiri! 
^its not a Japanese American thanksgiving without some sushi! 
^Yuma, Jiyoungs son, and Russ lol! 
^Cam's first thanksgiving too!
^how cute is this bunch of kiddos. Hunty, Cam, Lenya, Yuma, Miu, and Momoko!
^it was truly a blessing to have these guests at Thanksgiving!
^Cam really stole the show!

Praise God for a night of family, new friends, delicious food, and quality time being thankful for all we are blessed with. I think thanksgiving is truly one of the greatest holdays!