Posted by: Amanda Taylor | July 15, 2012

Giggling Dog Fish and Happiness

A couple weeks ago, my Jason told me that he wanted us to have a day together.  He is not the best planner but he wanted to surprise me with a day of being outside, not thinking of work and being together.  I will say, his planning skills are getting better!

On Saturday, we started off with a beautiful sunrise.  Okay, who am I kidding?  I was definitely still sleeping.  I did get breakfast in bed, though!

We made it out of the door in record time.  No, believe me…anything that doesn’t require 6 hours to get out and going is pretty good for us!  We picked up his kayaks, fishing gear, a shelter (just in case a hurricane came again…), and other useful things (five fishing poles…) and headed out.

We had to stop for bait.  He got shrimp.  I got the heeby jeebys.  There was NO WAY (I repeat, no way), I was stickin’ one of those critters on a hook.  The smell of the bait shop ran me out to the truck pretty quickly and I secretly prayed that he would come out with worms.

We finally arrived at our destination and it was HOT.  It took 7 hours forever to find a parking spot (you’d think everyone wanted to be out on the water on such a beautiful day!) and we unloaded our gear.

He kayaks like a pro and I am well, Amanda and I am not a pro kayaker.  I didn’t flip though, which is great.  I am just super slow and get distracted by the water, what’s floating in it, and the large ships that want to knock me over.

Thankfully, he’s a pretty awesome kayak instructor.  Doesn’t hurt that he is good lookin’ too!

We paddled for hours and got to a nice fishing spot.  He tried to get me to bait a hook and I refused. He ripped the head off of a shrimp and I through that would make it easier.  The shrimp still jerked around when the hook went into him.  Needless to say, I didn’t succeed at baiting any hooks that afternoon.  We did catch lots of creatures, though.

This little guy was showing us who was boss.  If he was going to go back into the water, he was taking the net with him!

This, my friends, is a zebra fish….he has real human teeth.  Kinda weird, kinda funny.

A Jack,  also known as, the yellow fish that Amanda caught that was bigger than Jasons!  I was demonstrating the kiss and release technique here!

I think after catching this is when Jason said, “Have we caught two of the same thing yet?”  I think this was also the time I was thinking of The Little Mermaid and how I’d never live in the bottom of the sea with all the strange creatures we were catching!

And this…this is the giggling dog fish.  We have no idea what it is.  It was laughing (for real) the whole time.  He also has legs.  He poked Jason and I was hoping he was not poisonous (side note: not poisonous).

So, after all of that fishing I was sunburned (put on sunscreen 3 times!) and exhausted (and may have had a slight meltdown that I was too girly…).  We paddled to a restaurant and I slammed into the dock trying to park my kayak and had a delicious lunch then headed home.

The sunburn really started to set in around 8:30 but I couldn’t help but smile thinking of what a wonderful day we had together.  More than once I thought life is good today and that is happiness.

Posted by: Amanda Taylor | July 10, 2012

My wishes

I wish that the past could stay the past. Nothing more.  I wish that those revelations we get when looking back on our past were always clear at the time.  I wish our pasts were not bad and not hurtful to our future. I wish our past didn’t make us cry, hurt, or make us ask why.

I wish we lived with no regrets.  I wish regret wasn’t even an emotion or a word in the dictionary.

I wish that people could accept our decisions and be happy for us, assuming that we are making those decisions with our best interest in heart and thinking of others as well. I wish people weren’t so judgmental.

I wish every day could be a cool fall day and even Florida had pretty trees like Tennessee.

I wish everyone traveled to a far away place just once in their life.

I wish more people understood psychology and accepted people who love the social services, instead of seeing it as witchcraft.  I wish more people understood mental health disorders and realized how common they are in the population.  I wish admitting to people that you have a mental health diagnosis wasn’t taboo but accepted in society so those people understand why you can or can not do certain things.  I wish I could better accept that I can’t help everyone.  I wish those people knew how much I want to help, though.

I wish sometimes I didn’t have my job because what it equates to our society becoming but happy that I have the opportunity.  I wish I could find all of my kids a forever home and I wish I knew for sure that all of the decisions I have made since being a case manager were the right decisions.

I wish kisses and butterflies were contracts and they only happen if it is the right person that will never betray you or break your heart. I wish there was an email you would get from somewhere when you met your soul mate so you could know to stop looking and to be happy and know that you are set.

I  wish cats could talk and I wish that Atticus didn’t have to try everything that I eat.  I wish everyone could get a chance to cuddle with a sweet animal, especially Atticus.

I wish I was more accepting of not knowing what the future brings and at the same time I am glad that every day is a journey.

I wish everyone had a great Papaw to play catch with.

I wish everyone got at least one text, message, or call per day to make them smile and feel loved.

I wish religions weren’t so complicated and faith was just enough.

I wish that food could automatically appear on those days when I am too tired to cook.  I wish it wasn’t so expensive to have a fruit basket filled with fresh fruits and vegetables to eat everyday.

I wish it were easier to maintain a full-time job, have a great social life, do things around my house, and maintain my blog everyday.  I wish I would write in my journal more religiously like my grandfather and I hope that my grandchildren one day appreciate my journals as much as I appreciate his.

I wish that everyone could experience camp at least once.  I wish that these kids didn’t have illnesses and didn’t have to hurt but I am thankful they have a place to go and experience hope and love.  I wish I could bring home the joy, love, peace, and hope from camp and let everyone around me feel it.

I wish I stayed in better contact with my best friends from back home and sometimes wish that I had never left because I am missing out on so much.

I wish that the GRE didn’t exist and wanting to truly make a difference in the life of a child was enough to get me in to grad school for my degree.  I wish I had better study ethic.  I wish that money was not so important and I could meet the needs of myself and those around me financially, assuming they have worked hard to get to where they are at. I wish that I could know for sure what I need to do with my future and if some of my decisions are the best ones to make.

I wish people knew how much little acts of kindness meant to others. I wish they could feel the warmth that I have in my heart when I look at these things.

I wish I had more time to reflect and did not feel so overwhelmed at times.  I wish that everyone, even you, would just stop for a couple seconds every day…look around…and be thankful for the good that you can bring to your world and for the beauty that’s everywhere, even if it’s hard to see sometimes.

Posted by: Amanda Taylor | June 24, 2012

Trying To Get Back

Choose Your Battles.  I can’t recall how many times I have heard that saying.  I seem to do a terrible job at it.  Tonight I was going to update my I Tunes, study for the GRE, make picture CDs from camp, and blog about my week at Boggy, however, my night was turned all around.

Here is a sneak peak of the most amazing week of my entire life.  I think my ultimate goal in life is to bring camp to the world that surrounds me, starting with the love and hope that fills my soul as I drive down Brantley Branch Road.

I wish it was easier for me to figure out life sometimes.  I wonder if it is difficult for everyone.  Is it because I don’t choose my battles?  Is it because I am going after something unattainable or that is not wanted? Is it because I am looking for happiness in the wrong places or removing myself from those things that make me truly happy?

I feel like I have learned so much in the last several months.  I have learned things about myself, about what I want, what I am capable of, and what I need.  Once again, I find myself putting those things on the back burner to fulfill others needs.  Why is it so hard for me to just make me happy?


Tonight I feel very disconnected from those things that I really need in my life and maybe a bit overwhelmed with all that I feel needs to be done.  Can my camp pictures wait?  Will I be ready for the GRE by November?  Should I go to the gym for an hour?

I’m choosing to fight all of the wrong battles and it’s exhausting.  I need to get back to me.  Not too long ago, I wrote about being selfish and how hard it was to just give to myself instead of constantly thinking about others.  It wasn’t as scary as I thought.  It was good for me.  How do I get back to that?


This little fella needs to cuddle right now and I guess for now this will have to do.  Is there such a thing as to many time outs from life?

Posted by: Amanda Taylor | May 23, 2012

Not fair…

How is it that mean people get to be parents to awesome kids? How do you ever say bye to a kid?. How does it ever get easier, to wake up one day and see that kid and not completely fall apart? It’s so frustrating. I’ve been doing so much better. I’ve been laughing. I’ve been smiling. I’ve been surrounding myself with amazing people. But Good Lord if this doesn’t hurt right now. Will I ever not miss her? Will I ever see a dinosaur egg and not think of her? Will I ever hug her again and be able to give her kisses and walk away and be ok? It hurts. I’m sorry, maybe this is too real to put on here. I don’t know. I just don’t get how it’s fair.

Posted by: Amanda Taylor | May 21, 2012

I’m a little bit country…

And she’s a little bit rock and roll.    I want to write about someone super important to me.  I met her in 2009 and although there are things that will never be posted for the world to see, she has been one of the greatest friends I have ever had.  She dances to Miley Cyrus with me and I let her listen to gangsta rap. She’s my Jen!

She has seen me at my worst, as recently as last Friday night when I was in the ER.  She has caught me before I fell out on the floor at a restaurant.  I have crawled on bathroom floors during bike week to find her in (I’m still trying to get over that one…)  Nights together have turned into arriving home at 6:30 AM and laughing for weeks afterwards.  We will text each other every time we hear Shots even if it is 2:30 AM and I had so much fun bashing a piñata that we made of her stupid ex-husband.

We really couldn’t be anymore different.  She belongs in Jersey Shore and I belong in a field somewhere.  She will dance to any song playing and I’ll stand and watch.  She prefers to take 2 hour lunch breaks and I’ll work through lunch (that was actually a complete lie..)

Truth is, she is great.  There have been so many times that I have acted like a complete crazy person while we are out and she is right there beside me.  She has been there through all the stupid tears over stupid boys and hugged me when I needed it the most.  She hosts Camp Jen for people’s kids and pets.  Chance liked her so much that he didn’t even pee on any of her stuff and we all know how much he enjoyed doing that at my house! My time here in Daytona definitely would not have been the same with her. And if I ever get stuck on a boat again, I hope she’s right there with me 🙂

Posted by: Amanda Taylor | May 13, 2012


“Your mom gave me my first detention.” My sister and I heard that a lot growing up. One thing for sure, mom was there, sometimes it seemed like she was everywhere!  I was scared to say a cuss word in fear that it would get back to her (by the way, it usually did…so did that love letter I wrote in 5th grade).

My Papaw still tells the story of them inviting me to their house to stay the night and I would look with big puppy dog eyes and say, “Is my momma coming”.  I wouldn’t leave her for the night.  I also recall late night calls made by Kacy’s mom after I failed at sleepover attempt number 900.  Separation issues?

My momma didn’t teach me how to cook but she taught me to not take no for an answer and call Mr. U-Haul if needed.  She never taught me to drive but taught me how to wrap my baby dolls up in blankets.  She never pulled a single tooth but she was there every competition, game, show, I ever had.  She made my elementary school yearbooks, dressed up like Clifford, and was my Girl Scout leader.  She showed me that girls can catch fish and can walk around in barefeet.  She taught me that grades were important and I shouldn’t be so boy crazy (still workin’ on that one!!)

I have had a lot of wonderful people involved in my life, that have shaped the person that I am today.  I had Mrs. Teresa to cut my hair and give me puppy dog ears, Ms. Karen to get my splinters out and pull my teeth, my Mamaw Ruby to bring out the country in me, and Mamaw Taylor to always make it known how much I was loved. My Aunt Karen for talking to me for endless hours about love, heartbreak, life, and growing up, my Aunt Kitty and Aunt Debbie for showing me the true ways of a Southern girl and my cousin Bobbie Sue for being a cousin and a best friend.  I had Mrs. Howard keeping my school work from 1st grade to give to me on graduation day, Ms. Bradshaw giving me the best advice I have ever had, and my sister…well, I punched her and made milk shoot out of her nose one time.

I have been blessed with so many wonderful “Mommies” in my life. I wanted to be a mommy since I was about…3?  The last couple years, I was put in a spot to help raise a little girl and do “mommy” things.  I thought about her today as I remembered when she would call me “mommy, but only cause I miss my real mommy, but really your myamandy”.   I thought of my future and how I know one day, I’ll be a great mommy to some kid because of all the great people that have been in my life.

I am so blessed with so much more than I deserve.

So, Happy Mother’s Day to all of you out there.  You all are great 🙂

By the way, my mom is still everywhere  – thanks Facebook.

Posted by: Amanda Taylor | May 5, 2012

Hit The Road Jack!

On my 11th birthday, I was at a dirt track with my family and I won a bicycle.  I remember being incredibly embarrassed as my mom practically pushed me onto this muddy racetrack.

I didn’t know how to ride a bike! Let alone a 10 speed huge bike!  I preferred my hot-wheels.  Just saying.  I was always left out when the neighborhood kids would ride into the woods, or ride around the neighborhood super fast.  I would just park my powerwheel by my play house and play dolls instead.

When I won the bike, I decided I should probably get over my fears and learn how to ride.  Thanks to my neighbor and second mom, Mrs. Karen, I rode around all day with her letting go of me and me continually falling over.  I must have been a sight, thinking back on it now. I mean, I imagine little kiddos learning how to ride bikes.  Not 11 year olds on 10 speeds.

I rode 23 miles today.

It was me and the road.  No distractions, no talking, just me doing something I have absolutely fallen in love with.

In 2008, I got a hybrid.  She was fun on the trails in Clearwater.  She was very girly and very…me 🙂

After moving back to Daytona, I realized that there just aren’t many good spots to ride around on a hybrid bike here.

So, I got some type of courage and got a mountain bike.  I was going to be a tough trail rider.

Ha!  More like cry like a huge baby in the middle of a trail because I fell twice in a matter of 5 minutes.

She is currently sitting in my Papaws shed with a flat tire.  Roots, hills, and falling down aren’t really my thing!!

I really wanted to ride.  I needed some type of release/escape.  And more than anything, I wanted to give back.  To ride for a purpose, especially after hearing about Boggy Creeks Ride .  I broke down and bought a road bike and have loved every minute of it!

So, on September 8th, I am going to be riding for a purpose.  If you want to help me raise my fundraising goal to support Camp you can click here.  Just know, there are hundreds upon hundreds of kiddos that would appreciate it as well!  Riding has given me a chance to explore, de-stress, and find so much peace in life.  Now, it gives me a chance to help those kiddos that are so much stronger than me, that have such a fight that is so much harder than mine.

I’m glad I won that purple 10 speed after all…

Posted by: Amanda Taylor | May 2, 2012

New Wheels

What’s a girl to do with a mountain bike that sits in a shed with a flat tire and dirt caked in the handles from a flip down a hill?

Nothing. She gets a road bike.

I now have three bikes though I am trying to sell one. I figured I wouldn’t be biking any Florida trails for awhile and needed something fast for Boggys ride this fall!

I bought a Trek Lexa. She’s very pretty and goes super fast. Yesterday, I took her for a 20-ish mile ride. My initial goal was to ride down to the Ponce Inlet Lighthouse, find a quiet spot by the water, and write. Not too many miles, nothing too hardcore. On my way down, I came across this pier.


It was beautiful. Quiet. Peaceful. I rode down to the end, praying my tires wouldn’t blow up from splinters in the wood. I quickly decided this was one of my new favorite spots.

I continued my trek (ha, get it…) down to the lighthouse. It was a nice ride. Lots of memories of a rainy day drive and pointing out “dream” houses but I pushed through realizing that’s all it ever was. A dream. Not all dreams should come true.

The lighthouse was nice but there wasn’t anywhere to “escape” to.


I took some pictures that I’ll post when my computer decides to be my friend again. I watched some kids playing and laughing (wow, I sound like a creep), and looked at my, well okay not “my” but one day, boats parked at the restaurant. I decided to head back and found myself pedaling down that old pier again.


I sat, I wrote, I listened, I relaxed. I knew I love the sweet, salty air but I wondered if it was home. I wondered where all of these hopes, dreams, and new road bike tires could take me if I just let them.


Posted by: Amanda Taylor | April 30, 2012

Fake blog

So, I still don’t have a computer. I’ve missed updating! In the last couple days I had yummy sushi with a fried banana desert. I’m pretty sure it’s what Jesus eats for his bedtime snack. I had a night of drinks and lots of laughs with fun people and a day on the beach with my Jen. I saw a whale from my porch and lots of dolphins. I got an incredibly bad sunburn and wanted to pelt jeeps with eggs today. They all would have made excellent posts, promise! Hopefully my computer will work soon and then I can add pictures and give you accurate updates into my oh so amazing life! 🙂

Posted by: Amanda Taylor | April 26, 2012

Draw This!

So, I’ve wanted to link up to this blog for the last couple of weeks.  Kacy over at does this very fun post every Wednesday.  I’ve been flattered she has kept my drawings off of her blog.  We are pretty good at guessing!

SOMEthings Drawn

This week, I will post some of my HORRIBLE drawings.  I will admit, I do not have any great masterpieces.  I am surprised the people I am playing with are able to guess these.  I always hated art and my high school art teacher let me know how horrible I was, so I will blame my skills on Ms. Moser.


Would you have guessed fistbump?  This person did.  I was impressed.  I like my fists…


And my favorite….my horse.  I will see if they get it.  It kinda looks like a dog.  The blue is a supposed to be a saddle?  Maybe? Close?  Who knows!

I hope you all have had a good day!

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