Monday, April 30, 2007
Bleeding blue and green AND blue and silver, always!
Okay this will probably be a very boring post for women and there are not too many men reading my blog so this may be a waste! But, I will feel better to get this all out! I will probably have zero comments. It's funny I have over three hundred people reading my blog everyday but I have the smallest amount of comments on any blog I have ever seen! :) Lurker, lurker! Oh how I love the lurkers! :)

I was born with a Dad obsessed with sports. Not just any sports but DALLAS sports. I love to play sports (sand volleyball to be exact) and I enjoy playing basketball too. If I did not have three kiddos at home, I would be looking for some kind of women's league to play on like I did when I was single. Right now I am dying to play tennis but I just don't see how on earth that can happen with my current mothering status. Maybe someday.

Okay, so thanks to my Dad, I really love watching the Dallas Cowboys and Dallas Maverick's. In fact, he is the one I call when the games are on. Or I call my Father-in-law because he will talk sports with me too. And I have Jeremy! Last year Jeremy got kind of crazy during football season. I heard some cuss words come out of his mouth during Cowboy season a lot! We LOVE Cowboy season! We both listened to Randy Galloway (l listened to my radio in the kitchen while cooking supper and J listened to it driving home), a relentless Terrell Owens hater, back in Dallas and enjoyed his column in the Fort Worth Star Telegram. I have to say that there is no place like Dallas when it comes to sport's media! It is insane but, we love it. It makes the fans feel like they are a part of something pretty awesome.

So last year at this time, the whole family was sporting Dallas Mavs T-shirts. In fact, the day I found out I was pregnant with Zeke, I was wearing a Dallas Mavs tshirt because we were having a watching party at our house that night for a playoff game. We even had a sign in the yard supporting the Mavericks! Those game nights became nights of grilling out and cold beer. It was so much fun! Well, now we are in Austin. I can't seem to find anyone here with the same passion. Makes me kind of sad. I can't turn on the radio and listen to Randy Galloway. But this afternoon, I plan on tuning in via Internet. Instead of seeing Dallas Maverick's tshirts, everyone is wearing San Antonio Spurs tshirts and I would not be caught DEAD wearing a Spurs tshirt! Perish the thought! No way! And for sure not the Houston Rocket's either! You can forget that!

Well today I am feeling pretty upset about our Dallas Maverick's. I wish I were in Dallas to experience this playoff nightmare with everyone else. They had the best NBA record for regular season, yet they are behind by three games! If we loose tomorrow night, it's done. Last year we came in second place and I actually remember crying when we lost to Miami. And now we are loosing to Nellie, our former coach. It's disgusting, sickening and last night I stayed up late to watch and then couldn't sleep because I was so mad. I felt like throwing up! Last year we made franchise history and if we win the next three games, it will be a miracle!

And just thinking about the Cowboy season right now makes me sad. I can't stand the thought of living three hours away from Dallas during the season. After all, you are reading the blog of a woman who dreamt of being a Dallas Cowboy Cheerleader when she was five years old. I had the jacket and everything! I miss the fans already! It's still my dream to go to the traditional Thanksgiving Day game that the Cowboys play every single year. I'm going to start praying now!

I am loving Austin, promise. But these people here just don't understand! Well, we have one guy in our RC group that does. Brandon. He will understand the rule of no talking during a Cowboy game! But I don't think there is anyone else. I'm not in Dallas anymore but I am so glad that I'm still in Texas. It's the best place on earth, no doubt. Maybe I need to start going to Roundrock Express games. That will give me a sports team to pour my love on!

It seems I am having a hard time getting familiar with the news channels here. Yesterday I was struggling with the Weather guys. I miss Troy Dungan and Pete Delkus! And now I am missing the sports guys! I never in a million years expected to miss Dale Hansen but, I do. (No one likes Dale!) Actually I really miss Babe Laufenburg and Steve Dennis. You see when I watched the news this morning and even over the weekend, Austin did not highlight who Dallas chose in the NFL draft. I had to log on to see it or hear it from my Dad on the phone. And then this morning, the Austin news barely said ANYTHING about the Mavericks.

So you see, I am adjusting to more than a new house with new surroundings! I am adjusting to new news channels and the lack of excitement here for Dallas teams. Once a Dallas girl, always a Dallas girl!

(I can't imagine how my brother felt moving to Seattle. I could never leave Texas. NEVER! Glad your home Josh, glad you are home!)

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  posted at 2:33 PM
  7 comments



Sunday, April 29, 2007
Can it be all about me today?
It's been almost a week since I last posted and I wasn't sure when I was going to be able to do it again. So this will be short and to the point.

Here's the deal. I don't have time to really do anything any more. The battle comes when I am trying hard to make it all about me when it is all about these kids right now. I have had some friends in the past that get upset when I don't return their phone calls. Well, if you are my friend now, you have probably figured out that I may never return your call! This parenting thing is 24/7, totally 24/7!!

Jeremy has been working some insane hours lately, including Saturdays. It's not a permanent thing but there is so much he is learning right now that it's pretty much a necessity. So unless I get up early or stay up really late, we don't have time together. The hard thing is, we moved here to plant a church. But the past three weeks have proved to be very challenging and we have missed a few Church planting events. Our Pastor is understanding and knows we are settling. When they moved here they did not have events going on for a while so it's going to take us a little time to get planted and they understand that. Thank God! But, I am having a hard time understanding it. I WANT to be a part of it. I WANT to be at everything and when I am not, I feel like I am missing out on making memories during the birth of this church. I keep hearing people say, "You've been here THREE weeks. Give yourself some time, Amanda!"

Right now Zeke takes two naps a day, sometimes three. The two long naps are three hours long! One in the morning, one in the afternoon. :) Ava Beth's nap is three hours long in the afternoon. Josiah rarely takes one but he will if I really want him to. Otherwise, he has quiet time with books or trains or a movie. You would think that I would have time to myself during those nap times but it seems like there is so much to do that time alone is very difficult. I have to admit, I am spoiled. I never went to the grocery store with kids until we moved. Now that is the only way I can shop unless I want to go on the weekend or late at night. I was so blessed to have family close by. My Dad lived so close that he would come over while I cooked supper and played with the kids. I was never in a bind with babysitting, never. And getting time alone was something I just had to plan, not pray for. :)

So now I am trying to figure out how I can get up earlier to spend time with God and myself. How can I find the ENERGY? What can I do to organize my day better or will it just be an up hill battle with three little ones? This is a season, I know it will pass. But it is a tiring season, for sure!

This Friday I am meeting J's parents half way so they can take all three kids until Sunday. Then on Sunday, J's mom will meet my mom and they will be with her until Tuesday. So I will have several days alone!! I am so excited! Of course I will miss them like CRAZY while they are gone and think about them non-stop!

Okay so this week I am moving the kids bed time up a notch and hoping to find some time for me and also time for me and J. Daddy just took the kids to the park and he told me to stay home and spend time by myself. But I already feel guilty for not making the park a family event. See! I feel damned if I do and damned if I don't!

Well, my time alone is me folding clothes! The laundry is never done and it never will be. Oh well. As Josiah would say, "Five more moons until I go to Grammy's house!" Yes, five more moons until I can sit on my butt and do NOTHING! I remember my Mom telling me all the time when I was a teenager, "Mandi, it's not all about you." Well, that is so true. It's not all about me but, for one day I would like it to be. Just one day of it being all about Amanda would be great!! Hey, a girl can dream!

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  posted at 5:17 PM
  3 comments



Tuesday, April 24, 2007
breakfast with a friend (part I)
Many of you have asked so I figure it is time to share how we got to Austin.

It's amazing what a little time away can do. This afternoon, I got to have some "me" time. I have not had time alone in quite a while. Actually, it's been about three weeks and that's entirely too long for a mother of three! Or any mother for that matter! My mind has been full of so many things and my heart has been heavy. I figured there was no better place to spend my two hours away than Starbucks. I arrived at Starbucks, anxious to sit alone and breathe, think and reflect. At that moment I wished for a laptop but pen and paper was all I had. It was then I decided to take advantage of those items and write the old fashion way. Yes, I used my hand writing skills and wrote out our story with pen and paper! And here's what came out at Starbucks.


It seems that I am in shock mode right now. I still can't believe I am here. While waiting on my grande, extra hot coffee, it hit me once again that I'm not in "Kansas" anymore. I mean Dallas! Standing at the counter, I survey the Starbucks. I look around at all the coffee mugs for sale. Every single time I go into a Starbucks, I am tempted to buy a new mug. Today was no different, except this time I refrained. I did not buy a new coffee mug! But I decided to go ahead and "window shop" and look. Suddenly I notice one in particular. It said, "STARBUCKS AUSTIN." Something about seeing that coffee cup made this new journey so real.

Just a few months ago, things were different. This, I did not see coming. You might say I was drinking from another cup. Ha!

We had just filed bankruptcy, chapter seven to be exact. Things seem to be looking up and we were on the road to a fresh start. The time had come where we began to feel that going back to a corporate worship service might be a good idea. Really we felt that we needed to do it for the kids. So we decided to go but not get involved for at least a year and maybe never. It's funny to think back to this chain of events because I can now see what God was doing. One Saturday night, we went to church. After it was over, we got in the car and Jeremy said, "We aren't going there. I mean I guess we can if you really want to but I don't think we are supposed to. I just think that God is going to bring the church to us." And then I begin to freak out! "Babe, what do you mean God is going to bring the church to us? We have got to get back into church! We have to try at least! We can't sit out forever and we need PEOPLE!" And he says, "Okay. We can go there if you want but I don't think we are supposed to be there. God has something for us, I know He does." I remember wanting him SO BADLY to say, "Okay let's go there. That is where God wants us." But, he didn't. I started questioning him and thinking, "Is he really praying about this? How does he know what we are supposed to do?" Clear as day, I heard the spirit of the Lord say to me, "Trust Jeremy."

About three weeks later, Jeremy found out he had a vacation. He knew it was in March but he thought it was the last week in March. Instead it was the first week in March. Prior to me knowing he was on vacation that week, I made plans with a friend of mine who lived out of town. Her and her husband would be in Dallas and she wanted to meet me for breakfast so she could see me and the kids. This was a couple we had served with at our old church. The husband was on staff as the Associate/Executive Pastor. While we were attending the same church, we were not close but one day I got an email from my friend telling me she had been reading my blog and that it had been a blessing to her. First of all, i was shocked to receive the email because I had not talked to anyone from our old church in a long time and second of all, I had no idea she was reading my blog. From that moment on, we began chatting on email and sometimes on Gmail instant messaging, eventually we talked on the phone. I really enjoyed our conversations because they were easy, light and fun. Sometimes we talked about recipes, decorating, our kids and even reality TV. I knew they had moved to Austin to plant a church so she often shared with me the fun stuff they were doing and all the people they were meeting. I will never forget hanging up the phone one day after talking to her and thinking to myself, "I wish we could be a part of what they are doing." But that was it! It was just a thought. And I think I thought how cool it would be to find something like that in our neck of the woods.

Okay so back to the breakfast. Jeremy was supposed to be working, so we thought but found out at the last minute (it was on a Friday) that he would be on vacation the next week. We made plans to do stuff as a family and we took care of everything regarding our bankruptcy. It was a fun week and also a week where I could go get my hair done since Jeremy was home. Without thinking, I accidentally scheduled my appointment for the morning I had planned to meet our friends for breakfast. Two different times I thought about canceling and explaining to my friend that Jeremy was on vacation and that I had to get my hair done. In fact, I emailed her to let her know that our breakfast would have to be fast because of my appointment. I really thought she would say, "Don't worry about it. We will do it another time." Instead, she said they would drive closer to me and meet earlier so we could have more time. And she said it would be nice to see Jeremy too since her husband would be with her. Honestly, I was not looking forward to getting all three kids dressed and ready to meet for breakfast at 8am. That's early in our house!

Well, we all made it to the breakfast and had a great visit. We mainly talked about our kids and the TV show, Heroes and laughed over some good times at our old church. I was having such a good time that I lost track of time and realized I was going to be late for my hair appointment. We wrapped things up and all walked out together. As we were leaving they told us to come visit them and if we wanted to go to Sea World, it would only be an hour and a half from their house. I can't explain it but as we walked away to go our separate ways, I felt kind of sad. I thought how nice it would be if they really were friends that we could spend more time with but I knew that with them living in Austin, that would not be possible. Still to this day I remember driving away and feeling connected to them. I did not understand it but I felt it. Before we could even get out of the parking lot, I looked at Jeremy and said these words. "Wouldn't it be cool if we could move to Austin and help them plant the church?" And the words that came out of my husband's mouth STILL shock me to this day. "Maybe that's what we are supposed to do. I could finally leave UPS and we could be a part of something that we believe in and understand." Then I say. "Our families would FREAK OUT!" And Jeremy said, "Yeah. It would be hard. It would be really hard to not have grandparents to help us with the kids but what if, just what if this is what God wants us to do?"

Shock! Pure shock ran through my body. Anyone that knows Jeremy KNOWS how crazy that conversation is. I could not believe what I was hearing. I knew that God was leading Jeremy to quit his job, I just wondered when in the heck he would do it or how. Instantly, INSTANTLY, I KNEW, I mean I KNEW that God was leading us to move. But I remained skeptical with Jeremy. I wanted it to be his idea, not mine. I did not want to play salesman to him. For the FIRST time EVER in our marriage, I kept my mouth shut so he could figure this out with God. I had played Holy Spirit way too many times in the past and I was not about to do it again.

to be continued...

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  posted at 11:50 PM
  3 comments



What is a Church Plant?
If you would like to understand more of what we are a part of, please visit my Pastor/Church Planter/friend's blog.

Many of you have been asking a ton of questions and I have been trying to answer them but I think Kyle does a better job of explaining.

Let me just say, that some of you have even been confused with my homesickness and sadness. Despite the homesickness, I have not doubted God one time. I have not doubted this calling he placed on our lives to move to Austin (Tonight I will write about this). My struggle is not doubt. Also one of my family members has been reading my blog and feels that I am not happy due to the tone of the last few blogs. I don't have a lot of time to write but let me say this for the record. Happy comes and goes. Buying a pair of shoes makes me happy! Buying a pair of shoes does not bring JOY! So I don't even like to use that word. Right now I may be struggling in my pursuit of happiness but I am NOT struggling in my pursuit of JOY. Joy is in my gut, it goes way down into my belly and I've got it! If I didn't have joy, then you should all be worried.

Can I get an amen out there from moms trying to take care of three kids, the house, the husband and yourself? It's a hard job. It's the hardest thing I have ever done in my life and for thirty-one years I lived in Dallas and now I live somewhere new while trying to take care of a three kids (one of them being a newborn). My husband has a new job and there is so much change that I am having to throw myself at the feet of JESUS daily. So, I may not sound happy but I just need time to adjust.

I would appreciate some bloggity blog prayers!

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  posted at 12:10 PM
  9 comments



just a bunch of nothing
Okay, I am tired so I don't feel like writing anything very significant so I will just list some stuff going on. How about that? I could go to bed but blogging helps me unwind and it's quiet around here. So here's a big list of things I have running through my brain right now.

1. My hair is driving me crazy. I would love to go back to the days of being platinum blonde and it being so short that I did nothing but rub some product in it (CREW for Men is my favorite) and go. I'm not joking, I would spike it up, mess it up and even wear a cute fohawk for a girl! I loved it and so did everyone else. But, I think Jeremy would FREAK out and I think I would miss having hair I can put in a ponytail. Seriously though, my hair has major breakage and I am sick of it. I never wear it down. Never! My mom lives three hours away and with me having three kids, I have figured out that it is not realistic for me to drive to her salon and get my hair done. There is no way I can afford to keep up these highlights if I have to pay. Soooo, now I am thinking about going dark brown again! It would be easy, so easy and it was kind of fun being a brunette.

2. I need a break from the house, the kids and even the dog. I want to go somewhere all by myself and sit. Actually I want to take my Bible and read the book of Acts. I've read Acts before but I am feeling drawn to it again and my friend Vivian suggested I read it again. So I think I may sneak away tomorrow afternoon (Jeremy will be home early) and read!

3. Today is my Pastor's birthday. Jeremy went to his house tonight for a Heroes watching party (one of our favorite shows) and I stayed home with the kids. It's weird typing, "my pastor". I have not had a pastor in a long time but I sure am glad I have one now. And yes, I have been homesick but my pastor sent me an email last night and commented on my blog about this funk I've been in. It helped a lot. Yeah, let's face it, confirmation from him is good from time to time.

4. A ton of friends called me today to check on me. I always know who is reading my blogs because when I am having a hard day, the phone rings off the hook. Erika, Diana, Tiffany, Janna, Kelly F., Kelly Ann, Kathy, Paula, Ruth, Cindy. Wow. I feel super blessed! No joke, that's how many gals called me today! (Paula, I will call you tomorrow. Sorry for the phone tag!)And if I left anyone off, please forgive me. A girl can't survive without her friends!

5. I got a Bumbo off of Ebay last week and it came in the mail today. Zeke loves it!!! And I do too! We will probably be taking this in to restaurants with us for sure. I also got one of these but it is not here yet. I hope it gets here soon because I sure need it. Thankfully I was able to get this new stroller because I sold my pain in the butt, tandem jeep stroller on ebay last week too! Man, I hated that stroller!

6. Friday night is a girl's night and we are eating at a really cool place in Austin called Shady Grove(sounds like a mental hospital on a soap opera)! It should be fun to get out and spend time with the ladies! The guys have had lots of guy time lately so they all agreed to give us a break. Have fun with all the kiddos guys! :)

7. The kids love it here. I really think they are adjusting well and they love having so many kids around them. Our lack of involvement back in Dallas was not good for them. Now that we are socializing again, they are too. I am so proud of them!

8. I find that I am having to explain over and over again what a church plant is. Maybe if Kyle reads this, he will be encouraged to explain it in detail on HIS blog. Then I can send all of these inquisitive family members of mine to his site. Obviously I am not doing a good job of explaining because I continue to get the question, "Where do y'all meet on Sundays?" Then I say, "We aren't meeting on Sundays. YET!" This is followed by blank stares. Kyle, could you help me out??? Please!!! And don't explain it with any sentences ending in "blah, blah, blah, blah, blah." :)

9. I ordered a book about spiritual gifts and I can't wait to get it in the mail. It was under $5.00 on Amazon! I really feel like I know what my spiritual gifts are but I want to understand them better. One of my spiritual gifts is a HUGE struggle for me and it is also burdensome at times. So I'm going to do an independent study!

10. We are starting accountability/Bible reading groups at RC. They will be groups of three. I am really excited about it and I know it is something I need. I prayed about my group and my husband's group. I made no request to Kyle or anyone else but I prayed about who I felt like we should be with in our groups. I prayed that God would give Kyle the wisdom to choose the best fit and Kyle put me with the exact two ladies I felt I was supposed to be with and he did the same with Jeremy. And I think that is pretty cool. The fact that I prayed about it, prayed for Kyle as he chose groups and then saw God orchestrate it,gets me excited!

There you have it! Now you know all the stuff going on in this crazy head of mine! And now the night writer is going to bed.

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  posted at 12:05 PM
  8 comments



Monday, April 23, 2007
ticked off
Okay so I have been trying to post pictures for an hour! No luck with BLOGGER OR ROCKYOU! UGH!

I have some incredible pictures of the kids and the beautiful Hill Country in Austin. I guess I will try again tomorrow.

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  posted at 10:37 PM
  0 comments



Sunday, April 22, 2007
homesick
I can honestly say that I have never been in this spot before. Never. I have never lived outside of the Dallas-Fort Worth Metroplex. Everything I have known to be familiar and comfortable has changed. Even as I type this, I can't stop the tears. I did not see this coming. I truly felt that it wouldn't be too hard because we knew the Lord brought us here. I know, I know, that sounds silly. I should know better than that! But, wow! My heart is really having a hard time transitioning. I have even cried over the big, gigantic, full grown, oak tree in the front yard at the old house. Only twigs in my yard here. (I'm sure God will speak to me through those baby trees. I am sure I could find some symbolism there.)

Hebrews 11:1
Faith is the confidence that what we hope for will actually happen; it gives us assurance about things we cannot see.


And this is what I cling to. Despite the lump in my throat from feeling homesick, I still know that we heard right!

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  posted at 9:18 PM
  11 comments



A supernatural source
This morning I am struggling. Struggling with some things that are between me and God. I am wrestling in my spirit. My flesh has me going in one direction, while the spirit that lives inside of me, has me going in another. There is a pattern in my life and it always starts in my mind. I physically feel and emotionally feel that the Lord is pressing in and bringing about things to purify this decision we have made to move to Austin. As much as I understand how REAL life is and how REAL it is no matter where you are, my flesh had this silly idea that things would be easier. But, it's not easier. Instead, I think it's harder. There are many reasons why I think this is hard but I feel that instead of writing them for all eyes to see and judge, I will voice them to my Heavenly Father. He's my safe place and with Him, I will not find judgement. In Him I will find rest, encouragement and affirmation. And that is so what I need right now. The world cannot give me those things in the way that I need them.

My husband just came upstairs, looked over my shoulder as I sat here wondering what to type next and said something that makes total and perfect sense. "It's growing pains, Babe. That's all it is." You know? He's right. The things I am struggling with come in form of growing pains. And the great thing about growing pains is they give me proof. Proof that I am GROWING! I long to grow in the Lord. As I talk to God constantly about what I am feeling, one of the things I have always prayed is this. "Father, help me to grow in YOU, not in the things of this world." That prayer may not makes sense to you but I know what it means and so does He.

There is something really big that plays a huge part in this wrestling going on in my mind right now. God's word. I haven't been in it! I have written in blogs before about how much God's word changes me. It is something I know has power and if I tap into that power, my entire outlook changes. It's that powerful! The Word has a heartbeat. It's living, breathing and life changing. At times I read scripture and may not always understand or remember everything I have read but it doesn't matter. My spirit soaks it up, for it truly is a supernatural source.

Once again I am reminded that I am lacking nutrition that comes from His Word. I cannot walk this walk without the power of God's Word in my life.

Hebrews 4:12 (NKJV) For the word of God is living and powerful, and sharper than any two-edged sword, piercing even to the division of soul and spirit, and of joints and marrow, and is a discerner of the thoughts and intents of the heart.

Sometimes I don't know what I am feeling, why I am feeling it or anything else. Sometimes, it's just feelings. This particular state I am in, is when I feel pretty yucky. That's the only way to describe it, yucky. I know by now, this is the worst possible time for me to make a decision and the worst possible time for to act based on feelings. I also know by now that when I feel this way, I am sick. It's not a physical sickness but something in my emotional state that has to be worked through and that's when I have to rely on Jesus to do the work for me. This is when I KNOW I must draw close to His Word so that the Word can have it's way in my life. And this is why I love the scripture in Hebrews so much. His Word is LIVING and POWERFUL! His word is so sharp that it can pierce the division between my soul and spirit. You see the true division is not between us and other people, it's between our flesh and spirit. Right now I need the Word of God to pierce the division between my flesh and my spirit. That's where my battle is! When I read the part about His word reaching my joints and even my marrow, I can't keep my eyes dry. God's Word is so powerful that it reaches my bone marrow! Wow. The more I mature in the Lord, the more I realize that if I am not walking in the spirit, my discernment cannot be trusted. Often I have to pray through what I am "feeling" and ask God to reveal to me the TRUTH. We cannot rely on our flesh to show us the TRUTH of situations or circumstances. Our flesh will fail us, always. Fear, discouragement, pride, anger, resentment, those come from our flesh.

In order to train that rotten, stinky, disgusting flesh, I have to rely on scripture. There's really no excuse. As growing believers, we should be treating our Bibles like we treat our cell phones. We may be ten miles down the road, realize we left our cell phones and drive all the way home to get it. We search the house frantically for it. We carry it on our hips, in our purses and some of us wear it in our ears at all times. If only we treated our bible like we treated our cell phones. We can't expect to grow, learn and tame that rotten flesh if we don't spend time DAILY in His word.

This morning, I am back at it. I am back in His Word. That's where I long to be and that is where I long to stay. It's through His word I can be a truth teller, truth seeker and someone that is able to discern the truth in every circumstance. Feelings and emotions are crap! So today I am weeding through those and seeking the TRUTH! And that my friends, is the ONLY way to live!

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  posted at 11:07 AM
  6 comments



Saturday, April 21, 2007
We got a pile up in the Hill Country!

PawPaw is here for the weekend and since he has worked for Union Pacific Railroad for thirty-four years, he knows trains and Josiah loves trains. He could not wait for PawPaw to arrive so they could play trains. Now my brother is working for UP as a Conductor and Josiah thinks that is the coolest thing he has ever heard of.

I have mentioned in previous posts on this blog about us living near a UP Railroad track so the sound of trains is constant. Josiah could not be happier, especially if we have to sit at the crossing and wait for one to pass.

So this one is for Uncle Josh.

"We got 'em piled up in the Hill Country. The main line is torn out due to a massive pile up at Hutto/Austin sub.! The derailment has been closed out as human factor due to Conductor Trainee, Josh Livingston, running through a main line switch and making a reverse move! Livingston has been drug tested and removed from service, pending a formal investigation (His Dad, James Pierce, DMM, refuses to comment)." :)

Ha, ha! Just kidding Uncle Josh! You are the best Conductor ever! But from the looks of these trains in the picture, you still have lots to learn!



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  posted at 10:27 AM
  1 comments



Friday, April 20, 2007
Mommy/Mi Mi has arrived!
The parents are here and that means one thing! MY MOM HAS THE BABY MONITOR!!!!! WOO HOO!

I promised homemade waffles, bacon, eggs. etc., as long as she wakes up with the baby at 6am!

I told her it would be more like 7AM! This is the ONE time I don't feel an ounce of guilt for LYING! Between me and you, he will be up at 6am!

I am tired folks! I got nothing else to say!

The night writer needs some sleep!!!!!!!!

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  posted at 10:47 PM
  5 comments



Thursday, April 19, 2007
I come alive when it's dark!
In case you have not figured it out by now, I am a night person. But oh how I long to be a morning person. Morning people, I admire. They just seem to be totally opposite of me and also seem to have their head a little more together than me. And wouldn't you know, I am married to a morning person. He is the kind of guy that doesn't need an alarm because he wakes up with the birds. NOT ME!

So my girls in the RC camp, I am the one to call when you want to make a midnight run to Wal Mart or HEB plus (I am starting to really like that HEB Plus!)! Those trips are the best!

Not this weekend but the next, RC will participate in the Relay For Life. We will be up ALL NIGHT LONG and at first I thought there was no way on earth I would even TRY to do that with three kids but now I am thinking how much fun it will be! Maybe the kids can stay with grandparents (if I can convince one of them to meet me in Waco to get them for the weekend) or they can stay in the tent with some of the other kids. Regardless, I am a night owl and I work best late at night and I have more fun late at night and I make people laugh late at night and I do impersonations late at night and I do things late at night that I would never do during the day because I AM A NIGHT OWL!

My Dad started this. I remember when I was a little girl, my Mom would fall asleep every single night while watching TV. But my Dad came alive. This is when I learned to appreciate midnight snacks! Slices of cheddar cheese on saltine crackers and a big glass of ice milk! Yes, ice milk. And how can I forget my first scary movies? Jack the Ripper and Hush, Hush Sweet Charlotte and countless episodes of The Twilight Zone. Oh sure, this may be why I am fearful sometimes. But, these are great memories and I inherited my love for the night from my Dad.

If you have a movie marathon, a DVD series movie night or you want to play cards into the early mornings hours, I'm your girl!

My mom used to get so aggravated because I would stay up late as a teenager and then come home after school and nap. During the Summer, I would sleep until noon. Wow! That was fun! When I was growing up, I loved it when I was sick, had fever the night before a school day and I knew I would be staying home. That was the best! I would stay up until 2AM watching TV because I knew I could sleep the day away! I love that feeling! Then when I was single and lived alone, I would go country dancing with a church group on Thursday nights. I had a job where I worked every other Friday (nine hour days allowed this) and had the other Friday's off. So when it was my Friday off, I came home on Thursday afternoons, slept until 9pm and then got up, got dressed and went dancing! And then on Friday? Well, I slept!! Ahhhh!

I can think better at night, sing better at night, concentrate better at night, and enjoy myself better at night. For sure, for sure, I am a night owl and so is my two year old daughter. Yep, she likes to sleep too! She's JUST like her mama!

Well, it's 11pm. I think I will go to bed early tonight.

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  posted at 11:00 PM
  5 comments



Wednesday, April 18, 2007
more guts to spill
One of my very best friends back from Junior High, Janna, used to always say in our passed notes in the hallway, "I love your guts!" It stuck with me. We have all heard people say, "I hate your guts" but I love your guts isn't something you usually hear. So I say it to my Mom, I say it to Janna and I say it to Kelly Ann. And if I tell you that I love your guts, I really mean I love your guts. It sounds silly, but it's powerful. At least I think so! So for my friends that love me just as I am, guts and all, here is a blog you won't mind reading because once again, I share my guts!

My husband worked a twelve hour day today. Twelve hours! This also means I worked a twelve hour day. No breaks! I remember when I just had one child and napped every single day when he did. Actually having a newborn was tough in the beginning, especially since he was my first but after a few months, I got a lot of sleep. Then came baby number two twenty-three months later. It was tough in the beginning but Ava Beth began sleeping through the night at eleven weeks and through the help of the Baby Wise book, I managed to get the kids on a similar schedule. I was blessed indeed because they BOTH took three hour naps at the same exact time every single day until about four months ago when Josiah, my four year old, dropped naps. Twenty-four months after Ava Beth was born, Ezekiel was born. Josiah no longer naps but he is pretty easy, Ava Beth still takes a three hour nap every day and Zeke naps too. But, having three is without a doubt, 100%, the hardest thing EVER! Don't get me wrong. One is hard and two is hard but I have to tell you that THREE is harder. All of you moms out there that have more than three, I truly believe you are AMAZING. Praise the Lord, my three month old sleeps all night but I am still exhausted. Actually, I am beyond exhausted.

I knew it would be hard living three hours away from my Mom and three and a half hours away from my in-laws and Dad. My Dad came over just about every other day and I was able to run out to go tan, run an errand or just take a bath. Sometimes he would just play with the kids outside while I made dinner. It was nice knowing he was down the road if I needed him. The same with Jeremy's parents, they were close and often kept them over night. My Mom would sometimes keep them one or two nights at a time since she was a little further. People told me all the time how blessed I was to have grandparents so close and I knew I was but now I really understand what a blessing it was.

So this is where I am trying to find the balance. I am one of ten billion other moms out there struggling in this area. A good friend of mine once told me, "It's not your decade." She is a mother of four so I think I understand what she means! I am reminded of how much these babies have to come first. Motherhood is hard, yes. But, sometimes I just need to suck it up and do my job. Today I have complained a lot. I have whined a lot and been angry that I can't get a moment alone. Then I am reminded that I have the best life ever. I prayed for this. I am living my dream and they are my FIRST priority. If things are not flowing well in my home or I can't find joy in my day to day routine, nothing else is going to work.

I need a better attitude. There has been a lot of change lately and I feel like I have a lot of eyes on me right now. We have family watching and probably reading to see how we are handling it. We have people that thought we should have stayed where we were instead of moving because of our family being so young, etc. They are waiting for us to screw up, at least that's what I feel. Then I feel that our team probably wonders how we are going to manage, wondering if we are the real deal or wondering if we will be able to handle the challenge of church planting while raising a young family. How will our marriage be? How will we be in our relationships? How much time will we be able to give? Are we going to get burn out? Are we going to keep commitments? Are we going to be miserable away from our families? And so on and so on and so on. It's a lot! It's a lot to be on our plate but no matter what, we aint goin' anywhere! This is where God put us, this is where God wanted us. It's tough. I miss my friends, I miss staying at home every single night without ANYTHING on the calender. I miss a lot of things. But, God is ready for us to get up off the couch and do something!

Two years ago I was operating at a very intense level in my relationships. I am not able to do that anymore. At least, not right now. The Lord has changed me sooooooooo much. He has changed me so much that I am still trying to figure out who I am at this new place. Everyone expects me to be outgoing and a non-stop talker (and I still am sometimes). Two years ago that's how I was ALL THE TIME and I wanted everyone to like me. I wanted everyone to need me. I wanted everyone to know me. Now? Not so much. This past weekend when I sang as a guest at a church, I felt so uncomfortable. I did not feel like I used to feel on stage. I felt different. A part of me wanted to hide and not be seen. I did not think my uncomfortableness was obvious until my friend Erika said, "You looked different. You did not seem like the old Amanda I know who sings up on stage. You looked uncomfortable." She did not mean it in a bad way, but she saw the change. Her statement actually brought confirmation to me in a huge way. Two years ago I needed that stage, I craved it and it gave me so much affirmation. Today, I am not sure if I even want that or need that anymore. Oh sure I will always be a singer but it's different now, it's just completely different.

In the past I have not allowed things to develop naturally, including my relationships. It's always been all or nothing. And when I operate at that level, I get hurt. Today I realized that I can't please everyone. I have been scared that I will disappoint those on my team or do or say the wrongs things. I have felt like I have to prove something. It's NOTHING anyone has put on me, it's what I have put on myself. We moved away from EVERYTHING we loved, I don't think I need to worry about proving anything. I think our actions and our obedience says enough.

So today I made a commitment to myself and to the Lord. I have to take care of me first. If I don't take care of myself first, i can't develop relationships, I can't be a nurturing and loving mother and wife or anything else. I'm going to go slow, take my time and do things at my own pace. I have to. Sometimes I feel like saying yes, sometimes I feel like saying no. I can't be flexible with other people until I am flexible with myself and since I am my worst critic, I have got to learn to give myself a break. I have to "chillax"!!

I've been worried about what I say on my blog, what I say at a meeting, what I say during one on ones, what I say during trainings, what I say to new people, what I say in emails. I've been laying in bed at night beating myself up for so many things. I have not done in this in so long because I have been in this place where I don't have to put myself out there. We didn't go to church, we didn't make new friends, we just maintained what we already had. It was safe. And the Lord showed me today that if I continue to worry about what everyone thinks about ME, I can't be used. I just can't! Instead, I have to be me and be okay with being me. And if someone doesn't like me, doesn't understand me, oh well. Kyle, who is now my pastor, told me something over three years ago that I will NEVER forget. "Quit caring so much about what THEY think. Give yourself permission now to QUIT caring. It does not matter what they think about you."

Today I was so frustrated with myself. I was feeling all kinds of things that I have not felt in a long time. But I know that the Lord wants me to put myself out there again. As I try to get my feet wet, I do feel a little scared. I want to be excited, I really do. Right now I am at HIS feet, trusting that He will help me because I can't do this alone. We've got lots of team stuff coming up that will be fun so that's what I'm going to do! I'm going to have fun having all these new people in my life! What a blessing! What a blessing to have these people on the front row of my life. I sure need 'em!

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  posted at 11:03 PM
  11 comments



Tuesday, April 17, 2007
giving life
I knew deep down that God was going to put us with a church plant. What I didn't know was that it would be to help do the actual planting. Well, sometimes I did but I just couldn't figure out how. If I go back to the archives of my blog, I can read about the journey my husband and I have been on. Several months ago I talked about having a burden for my neighbors and wondering if I was supposed to start having breakfast or brunch on Sunday mornings in my home and invite the neighbors (This is what Church planting is). Just about every single night I would lay in bed wondering what that really looked like. Back in forth in my mind was this whole idea in my head of what church was and what I did not want it to be. Could I have people over for breakfast and show them Jesus without talking about Jesus? Could I be friends with an unbeliever, a homosexual or whoever else the church decides is not worthy and love them for who they were? I felt like I could.

A few weeks ago, my husband had a conversation with someone about us moving and helping plant this church. I heard the questions he was asked. "Does your Pastor preach out of his home on Sundays? Is that how y'all do church?" I listened in as Jeremy tried to explain that Kyle was not preaching right now but investing in the community. He tried to explain that "church" for us was different than what others may be experiencing because we are at the very beginning. A lot of churches say they have church plants in other areas but really they are more like satellite campuses. If a church decides to start another church, they usually send some of their core members to the new location to get it going. Instantly they have members! And that in my opinion, is pretty easy to do. What we are a part of is nothing like that at all. So as Jeremy begins to explain that we are spending our time focusing on the community, he shares about Teacher Breakfasts that Resonate Community has been doing. "Sometimes they do things like go to schools in the area and serve breakfast. They don't put up a big sign that has the church name. They just serve." And then this question was asked, "They present the gospel, right?" Then Jeremy says, "No. They serve."

I am finding that the people that TRULY understand what we are doing, the people that are most supportive, the people that don't sit quietly with blank stares when we share the excitement of what we are doing, the people who TRULY understand are the non-church goers. Or they are people that are craving the exact thing we are. What is that? Well, we want to show people Jesus. It's that simple. And for some reason the "religious/spiritual" people question that because we don't have a Sunday service yet or because we participate in the community without carrying our Bibles. If you know your Bible, you know that Jesus offended the "religious" quite often. I'm finding for some odd reason, what we are doing offends the religious/spiritual. I can't tell you how many Christians gave us a hard time for not being in church for those EIGHT months we were out. Looking back, I know it was ALL a part of God's plan. I know now exactly what He was doing. But I am telling you right now, if we would have been in church, we would not have been willing to do something this big. No way! Now I know why we felt such yuckiness in our spirits every single time we visited a church. Without fail, we left feeling like there was no way we could go back to church as we knew it.

I do believe there is a time and a place for the in your face way of witnessing to someone. I've been through E.E. (Evangelism Explosion), I understand it but now I would never approach it with those methods. My friend Gina (from our church plant) would have slammed the door on that kind of approach. She recently became a Christ follower and is learning so much right now. She brings excitement to my life as I listen to her talk about the difference Christ has made in her life. One of the greatest things about knowing her is listening to her explain how she has always viewed Christians. Gina is from New York and I don't know if you have ever known a New Yorker but if you have or if you do, you will love their ability to BOLDLY tell the truth. I love it! I am attracted to truth tellers and she is one heck of a truth teller! What's so cool about her process is that she is experiencing church in a way far from what she originally thought it would be like. She figured we would all be a bunch of wackos, in your face, hypocrite freaks! She expected judgement, she expected rejection, she expected to endure pain by having relationships with Christians. Thank God for people like Kyle that want to lead a group of people in a way that proves the stereotype wrong. Oh sure, we will mess up. The thing about Christians is we are just like everyone else, but some of us think we are way better (I did). Gina called me the other day and gave me the greatest compliment someone could ever give me. "As I read through your blogs, I realize that you are just a normal, real person. I feel so blessed to have you here." Now folks, I gotta say THAT made me feel like God could definitely use me!

The truth is, I am just a real gal with real struggles and that's what makes church planting so incredible. I can be me. For once in my life, I truly feel like I can be the real me and God can still use me.

Tonight our team here at Resonate Community received a pretty cool email from our Pastor/friend. The email got me excited about this incredible thing we are a part of. I am so proud of this group! I think about how God placed us all together to bring about change in so many lives that we will come in contact with. Kyle will probably hate me quoting him but I am proud of him too and I TRUST him so much that I know we are going to be blessed as we follow his leading. God is working so much in his life and that gets me pumped! Two things he said in tonight's email that really got me excited. "My job is to make you guys the best you can be, to help you discover how God has created you and how he has saved you to make an impact in this world." Well there is a whole other blog I could write regarding that statement alone. Point being, it encouraged me and confirmed something in me that I had been praying about in my own life. Pretty cool! His last paragraph in the email was full of a lot of great stuff but the last sentence gave me chill bumps. "We get to see love envelop the broke-down, worn-out wanderers, giving them life in the process." WOW!!!!!!! I love that!

So there you have it! People can say what they want but we are a part of something that will change lives forever! People will see Jesus and people will find Jesus as we serve them and invest our lives in them.

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  posted at 12:15 AM
  9 comments



Monday, April 16, 2007
Our first out of town guests
This Friday we will have our first out of town guests come to stay with us in our new home. I am so excited! I'm looking forward to making homemade waffles (with my new waffle maker that I got for my birthday from Jeremy), eggs, bacon and countless pots of coffee for breakfast Saturday morning. Saturday we will stay close by because we have a big birthday bash to attend, then maybe Sunday we can go eat breakfast or lunch at one of the places Rachel Ray featured on $40 a day in Austin called Taco Xpress or Cafe Josie on 6th street. Both sound "yummo"!

My Mom doesn't know this yet but as soon as Josiah sees her, she will be reminded that he longs to take her to the Disney Store outlet in Roundrock so she can buy him a few things. It's close by so I think she will agree and asking my Mom if she wants to go to a huge outlet center is like asking a child if he/she wants a cookie! She can't say no, she just can't. I know her too well!

And since my Mom is coming in town that means my hair stylist is coming too (she is the hair stylist)! This means I get FRESH highlights this weekend! Woo hoo! Nothing better than FREE highlights! She even has a portable dryer that we are going to keep at my house!

Of course after they leave, my kids will need to be on Grandparent detox! If they spent two days here, that means the detox will last AT LEAST four days. You can always count on doubling the detox based on the time they spent with any grandparent. It's very difficult for my children to come back to reality when they have spent a lot of time with these people! In fact, it sometimes results in me calling the grandparents and saying, "YOU DID THIS SO YOU COME GET THEM!" But now that the drive is three hours, I don't think I will have that option. My friend Erika said that her almost three year old daughter came home after spending a week with grandma asking for sweet tea! I don't know about you but I have never felt that giving sweet tea to a two year old is a good thing! But when left in the care of a grandmother, you just never know what's going to happen. :) My two year old daughter is no longer content with Sprite. She now asks for Dr. Pepper! Thanks to my Dad! And who would have EVER thought that my children would know the taste of MOUNTAIN DEW until they were at LEAST fifteen! But thanks to their Papa, aka my Father in law, they do! Grandparents, can't live with 'em and for sure can't live without 'em!

For the next several weekends we have a lot going on with RC, so our visits to Dallas for a while will be few and far between. I am so grateful that our families can visit and that we have a home plenty big enough for them to stay. And that goes for my FRIENDS too! Come on down! Let's help KEEP AUSTIN WEIRD!

Okay so I need to post this and get ready to head over to Settler's Park, a few miles away. I am taking pictures of my friend's daughter, Kylie, for her third birthday and the park has a lot of really neat places to capture great photos. What's funny about this is I also took Kylie's pictures at a beautiful place in Dallas (Highland Park) for her one year birthday. We never imagined in a million years that two years later I would be doing it again, my family would be living down the street from one another and we would be helping them plant a church! CRAZY!!! Again, God is cool and so detail oriented!

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  posted at 9:10 AM
  2 comments



Saturday, April 14, 2007
random
Well, I spent most of the afternoon at something called "CPD", also known as Church Planter Development. I have been to a couple of them before. One was with our old church that was also a church plant and the other was when we came here for our initial visit to Austin. There is a lot of information to take in and a lot of processing to go through once you leave and for me I would say a lot of wrestling as well. But this is why we are here, this is the stuff we love and to be a part of it is amazing. I know there will be many more blogs I write just about this journey we are on as we help plant a church. Our leader is awesome! We trust him, we love his vision and we appreciate his heart. Today was fun! Even though it was filled with a lot of information, it was enjoyable. These people are our family. It's a family we have chosen and that makes it even more incredible. We all live down the road from one another and I have already learned that we are all here to help one another since none of us have family here. I can't even begin to tell you how cool it is to be a part of something brand new, to be present for the actual birth! The bond we will share during this process will be unbelievable.

Everyone asks, "Where do y'all meet?" Well, we don't have a Sunday service yet. Jeremy and I are so glad that our Church Planter/Leader/Pastor is not spending all of his time trying to get a building, trying to find a school to have service, trying to buy a sound system (which this is usually the first thing a new church does). Instead, we are reaching out to the community first. So since we don't have Sunday service, everyone usually goes to service twice a month. One Sunday is spent at Mitch's church (Kyle's coach and our CPD trainer) and another Sunday is spent at a local sponsor church which happens to be in our neighborhood. The other Sundays are spent with one another. Tomorrow was not a scheduled church day but now it is.

During CPD today, Mitch asked if I would be available to sing at his church tomorrow. For some reason all of the female singers are not able to be there tomorrow. I was kind of shocked when he asked. First of all, he has never heard me sing! Second of all, I have not sang in a corporate worship setting in almost two years! As soon as he asked me, my heart started pounding and I did not know what to say but I saw my friend Erika's head turn quickly towards me to see what I was going to say. When I looked at her she had a HUGE smile on her face and at that moment I felt like saying yes! And I did. I said yes.

So Resonate Community will all be going to church tomorrow! I am so glad they will be there. They are my family and I need them.

God is pretty cool, He really is. And that's all I've got to say tonight folks. I am singing six songs, all but two I do not know. But thank goodness I can hide behind harmonizing and an add lib here and there! Also, there is a TELEPROMPTER!!! :)

Tonight I am going to bed with a big smile on my face. It's great to have friends and it's great to be in the CENTER of God's will and KNOW IT! Does that make sense? Well, most of you know what I mean!

It's been a long process to get to this place. I am so excited to finally be through a lot of the crap we have gone through to get here!

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  posted at 11:00 PM
  3 comments



Friday, April 13, 2007
And here's to being REAL!
I started reading Beth Moore's blog a few months back. My mom reads it too and we both love reading what Beth has to say. There is something about Beth that makes me feel normal during all my outbursts of emotion as a wife, a mother, a friend and a daughter. Especially after reading this. I also feel a little bond with Beth since she named her daughter Amanda. Beth and my mother both felt the name Amanda was a name fitting for their daughters and that's pretty neat.

(If you have not read Beth Moore's blog lately, please click on the link I have in the above paragraph before you continue reading this post.)

During the last six years, I have run into a lot of women that have a hard time admitting that their marriage is not perfect. I don't care how long you have known your husband or how much you pray together, have sex together or whatever else, your marriage is not perfect. Now don't get mad at me ladies! I am not trying to make you think you have a bad marriage. For some of you it's easier than it is for others. But to be quite frank, it's hard for me. It's hard most of the time! I do believe that there are couples out there that have conquered things I have yet to conquer in my marriage. The longer you are married, the more you are able to let things go and not concentrate so much on the negative. Time helps everything and time helps you grow in your relationship.

I remember the dating season with my husband. It was pure bliss! We made out like crazy and the butterflies in my stomach were unbelievable! We made a commitment to not have sex until we got married, so the passion ran deep. It was a struggle to NOT have sex before marrying, especially since we had broken that commitment with other people before meeting one another. I find it kind of funny that when you are dating, that's all you want to do and six years later, three kids later, it's the last thing I want to do!

And since I have guts to talk about SEX on a blog, I must have the guts to say this. I DO NOT ALWAYS LIKE MY HUSBAND. As gorgeous as he is, as in shape as he is, as helpful with the kids as he is, as much of a hard worker that he is, I am not always in the mood to be physical or even nice. Instead, I am in the mood to sleep or run away to Starbucks or Target and leave the kids with him.

There are times I have made threats to leave and I actually have a few times only to drive around the block in hopes of him calling and telling me how much he can't live without me. I've cussed at him, called him names and I have even thrown things and pushed him (physically pushed him). Let me just get it out there for all of you, I AM NOT A PERFECT WIFE! Ha! Not that you ever thought that but I just had to type it for all to see. My kids have heard arguments, seen arguments and I have cried myself to sleep because I have exposed them and felt so guilty about it. Self condemnation in my marriage has almost destroyed me at times and I have even had family members tell me in a round about way that I am not a good wife. Not only have I dealt with the pressure I have put on myself but having my in laws down the street to sometimes see that I am not perfect has been the hardest thing EVER. They are very aware of my imperfections and they are extremely protective of Jeremy and quite often I have looked like the ass. If this move to Austin is to just transform my marriage and nothing else, it's totally worth it. Totally! While I miss having everyone around us, I also feel relieved to not have my marriage and my parenting under the microscope! So relieved!

Yesterday was a very difficult day. I did not realize how much I run to my family for comfort. When I am having a hard time, I call my Dad. He always tells me that it's going to be okay and I believe him. Or I call my mom and she prays for me or gives me scripture and sometimes a scolding and I devise a plan for myself to get a better attitude. Yes, I need to go to God with these things but I need to go to my husband too. And yesterday I was forced to do that.

There are times that I want to literally pull my hair out and scream at the top of my lungs every cuss word I can think of. Sometimes I do but in my pillow so the kids can't hear me. That is very therapeutic by the way! And I know God doesn't judge me, I know there is freedom in being the real me and God knows my heart. Thank GOD, GOD KNOWS MY HEART!

Yesterday was a breaking point. We realized the breaks from the kids would be few and far between, no grandparents to bail us out. We realized that we just moved from everything we found comfort in. Jeremy realized he had just quit an awesome paying job that gave us FREE benefits. I realized how much I needed to be praising my husband and telling him how proud I am of him. He QUIT a job after thirteen years and today started a brand new one where he knows no one and is learning a completely different trade. I need to quit complaining, worrying and TRUST him. I need to give him my all. I need to give to him emotionally, I need to give to him physically. I need to BE with my husband in every way possible and I haven't.

Having children is so hard. It sounds like a pretty basic thing to say. It's a "no duh" statement for sure! Everyone knows having kids is hard, IF they have kids. Having three kids in a span of FOUR years is more than hard, it's insane! I love how couples that have no children talk about how wonderful their marriage is. Okay, I am being sarcastic! I hate, I abhor hearing couples without children say that. Sure, I think marriage is a lot easier when you are not sleep deprived, when your husband isn't sex deprived and when you as the mom get to shower regularly and have time alone regularly. Young couples, like us, have a hard time. It's not easy, it's just not. And now we are helping plant a church. No pressure has been put on us, we are taking our time and they are supportive of that. But, good grief! The pressure I put on myself is enough to do me in!

So the breaking point led us to a beautiful moment on our BED. No, not sex! Instead, we sat on the bed, held one another and cried. It was a moment where we realized that we only have each other now and we have to totally depend on God. We prayed together and then heard Zeke crying and went back to raising kids. It's never ending. The next decade will be exhausting, wonderful but exhausting. Our kids need us, we need them. But we have to learn how to put one another first. If we don't do that, if we don't figure out how to fight fair, how to SERVE one another in every way imaginable, we will constantly have strife.

Remember the beginning of this post when I talked about Beth Moore? Well, when I read the post on her blog regarding marriage and small children, I felt like I wasn't alone. You mean Beth Moore wanted to leave her husband? Beth Moore struggled? Of course she did! Beth Moore had days where she did not like her husband? Yes! And because of that, I feel better today.

And even though I have felt these things, I find comfort in knowing that I am married to the man God gave to me. He is a gift and I will never doubt that. I am blessed beyond measure and I love him so much that it hurts. Even when things are tough, I know he is the one whom my soul longs to love! He is perfect for me in every way. But he cannot fulfill my every need, he was not meant to. That's what God is for. If I love God, if I put Him first, I can love my husband the way I am supposed to and if I love Jeremy the way he is supposed to be loved, it will be returned. It has to, that's how it works!

So today I am praying for my husband and I am praying that I can SERVE him. I can't serve anyone else, if I can't serve him. Serving means serving when I am mad at him. Serving means serving when I have nothing left to give. Serving means serving without expecting a return. If I serve my husband, then I am serving God. And lately I have not been serving.

It's a brand new day. The enemy longs to see my screw up and throw tantrums, slam doors and be angry. But, it's time for me to march on over to the enemy's camp and TAKE BACK WHAT HE HAS STOLE FROM ME!

Song of Solomon 6:3 I am my beloved's and he is mine.


It's MY blog, and you have to play by my rules. I just saw a blog the other day with a comment full of anger towards the person's post. So this is a reminder to all of you that this is MY blog! There are some of you that just can't help yourselves so I am preventing you from being ridiculous. It took GUTS to share this. GUTS! So do not be tempted to send me judgemental, correcting, churchy, holier than thou ADVICE. Feel free to comment but REFRAIN for what I have just mentioned above. Yuck, yuck, yuck! If you don't, you won't be published. And if you don't agree with things I write, don't read it. :) Sorry to sound harsh but some of you have been experiencing a lot of crap on your blogs by women who write hurtful comments. I won't allow that here. Respect my boundaries or stay away. :)

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  posted at 11:58 PM
  21 comments



Thursday, April 12, 2007
a word from Ezekiel


I know everyone is wondering about me so I asked Mommy if I could write a few lines on her blog. She said yes, so it here it goes. I hope you like the pictures Mommy posted of me. Here I am in my pajamas. It's too hot here for a sleeper, way too hot!

I have gained a lot of weight and I am sure you can tell by my thighs! I smile and laugh all the time. How can I not with all these crazy people I live with? I hold my toys, I love music, I roll from my stomach to my back and I sleep all night long. I love my swing, love, love, love it. I love music and I love watching my brother and sister. Mommy says I am smart and very advanced for a three month old. And I think I believe her. I feel advanced. :) If you met me, you would for sure think I am the greatest, cutest baby you have ever seen!

I miss having my grandparents right down the street but I am still getting lots of love. My big brother is watching out for me. I now get to sleep in his room. Well, actually it's my room too. Since he knows I am in there with him, he stays in his own bed all night long and doesn't go into Mommy and Daddy's room in the middle of the night. My MiMi said that would probably happen and she was right.

My big sister, Ava Beth, she's doing good but she's been pretty fussy lately. She keeps asking Mommy to go potty but Mommy keeps doing the diaper thing. I think Sissy is ready to be a big girl but Mommy is still trying to catch her breath. If you want to know the truth, Sissy just wants to wear Dora panties! I sure love my big sissy. She is just like my mommy! She is always kissing and hugging me. My big sister is so pretty. I think Josiah and I will be pretty busy keeping the boys AWAY from her. She's a looker, no doubt!

My big brother, Josiah, is great! He loves our new house and he has a new best friend, Kylie. Kylie is only three but she thinks she is five! Actually everyone thinks she is five because she is the smartest three year old you have ever met! She bosses Josiah around and I think he likes it. He talks about her all the time!!!!!! She is about to have her 3rd birthday party and since he will be the only boy, he told Mommy today that he is a prince, Kylie's prince! Wait until Kylie's Mommy and Daddy hear about this! He is also very much into his trains and he asks mommy all the time to take him to the Disney Store to buy some Lightening McQueen stuff! Mommy keeps telling him to quit nagging but he doesn't listen. He's a persistent boy, I will give him that!

Daddy starts his new job tomorrow. I went to his new job today. It looks like a pretty cool place. I sure am proud of my Daddy for working so hard to take care of us. I heard Daddy's boss today talking about shotguns and fishing. Then I knew that God gave my Daddy the perfect boss. He likes all the same stuff! Daddy has helped mommy a lot unpack boxes. He is a great Daddy and he sure loves my Mommy. I want to grow up to be just like him. I love him so much.

And what can I say about Mommy? She's my girl. My favorite part of the day is seeing her green eyes when she smiles and says, "Good morning Zekee baby!" I just love hearing her voice. Mommy has some sweet friends keeping her company and I think she is enjoying the change and she LOVES her new kitchen! Oh and I will be three months old in a few days and Mommy keeps saying how fat I am getting. Personally, I don't mind the rolls on my legs. I think the girls dig it. I know Mommy does! Oh how I love my Mommy!

I miss my Opoh, my Grammy and Papa and my MiMi and PawPaw. Oh and I also miss my cousins. Adysen, Kyle, Mason, Brooke and Hayden, I think about you all the time! And Uncle Josh and Aunt Desiree, Aunt KiKi and Uncle Jon Michael (Uncle Tyrone), Uncle Randy and Aunt Lori, I really miss you. I can't wait for all of you to come see me at my new house. Oh I miss you soooooooooooo much!

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  posted at 10:38 PM
  5 comments



Homesick
I remember being five years old at a slumber party once and having this sick feeling in my gut and lump in my throat. The feeling of homesickness is like no other. It's a feeling that overtakes you, especially when you are five years old and you want to go home to Mom and Dad. Unfortunately I was one of those children that never seem to get past that feeling. Just about every single time I went to a friend's house to spend the night, I called my Dad and asked him to come get me. He never made me stick it out, he always came and got me. He always picked me up. Always.

I often struggle with things being stable. I fight it. That's why moving and making huge life changes are not too hard for me but sustaining those things can be quite a challenge. Thank God for Jeremy, my stable, steady Eddie husband! Today I have had to deal with some challenges. I knew it was coming but I did not expect it to come so fast. I felt homesick. My eyes are swollen from crying and I am trying to figure out what the heck we have just done! Despite my emotions, I still believe this is exactly where God wants us to be. I do not doubt that, I do not wish to go back. I know by now that my emotions will not help keep commitments, they will do the opposite. I also know that I will have more days like this but I will also have great ones. The truth is, I miss my Dad a lot. I am homesick for him. When I was a kid staying the night away, I always missed Daddy. It wasn't anything against my Mom, it was just a little girl craving her Daddy's arms. I have always worried about him and even though I no longer have to, I still do. I don't want him to be lonely, I don't want him to be sad. We have been through a lot together and experienced huge victory in our relationship over the last two years. I liked having him only a mile away from my house. Now, I am three hours away. For the first time in my marriage, it is truly just me and Jeremy. This is a great thing, I know. But it is also hard at the same time.

My emotions are pretty raw today. I miss everything about where I was, I miss being comfortable. Now I have to step out, be challenged, build relationships and I am just not sure how that's all going to work. I am worn out from three kids. Having a four year old, two year old and three month old is the hardest thing in the entire world. Today I have felt like that little girl at the slumber party crying to go home. I can't explain it, it's just hitting me that we have MOVED. I can't believe it! One of my best friends told me something that I have thought a lot about today. Let me try and quote her because it's good stuff. "This is your Egypt Amanda and your leaving it. You are headed for the promise land." And I agree.

Everything I am feeling today is a part of that raging, flooded Jordan river. My feet have physically stepped in that water and now it's time for my heart to do the same. Once I do, the raging waters will stop and I will truly be free to cross over.

I continue to pray that God will help me truly "get" here. It's only been a week and I have already been so blessed by new friendships and I know there are more to come. But it's been a hard day. That's it, just a hard day. And the fact that I know it's just a hard day and I am not questioning our decision, lets me know I am in the center of God's will. I have peace even in the midst of raw emotion, I have peace and no doubts.

Yes, I am homesick but I know my Heavenly FATHER will pick me up. He won't make me stick it out. He will pick me up. He always has, He always will. Always.


This really ministered to me today and I love this version.

Romans 8:15-17 (The Message) This resurrection life you received from God is not a timid, grave-tending life. It's adventurously expectant, greeting God with a childlike "What's next, Papa?" God's Spirit touches our spirits and confirms who we really are. We know who he is, and we know who we are: Father and children. And we know we are going to get what's coming to us—an unbelievable inheritance! We go through exactly what Christ goes through. If we go through the hard times with him, then we're certainly going to go through the good times with him!

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  posted at 6:50 PM
  6 comments



Wednesday, April 11, 2007
Blake Shelton was at American Idol and so was my cousin!
I was just watching American Idol on the TiVo/DVR and guess who I saw sitting on the FRONT row? Blake Shelton and my 1st cousin, Brandon! My friends know that Brandon was once Rascal Flatts Road Manager but now is Blake Shelton's MANAGER. Anyway, I am just jealous that I am not at American Idol and I watch it tonight and see my cousin on the front row. So if you have TiVo and you see Blake Shelton on the front row at the very end (When the last song is being sung), pause it and you will see my cousin standing right next to him. So I am related to someone famous! :)

Okay enough bragging!

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  posted at 9:52 PM
  1 comments



PRAYER REQUEST
Please be in prayer for Heather. I truly believe that we can join together in prayer and see a miracle take place. Please take the time to read it and view the brain scan that she had done at the doctor today. God is big enough to show a completely normal follow up brain scan with NO tumor.

Please join me in prayer. How awesome that we can spread the word through blogs and have people all over the world praying for Heather, her husband and her three children.

NOTHING IS TOO DIFFICULT FOR THEE!

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  posted at 4:53 PM
  6 comments



a change of pace


















Sipping hot coffee with the windows open sure starts my day off right. The Texas breeze feels good. Soon it will be so hot that opening windows will not be an option. It's spring time and in Austin, things seem greener. In fact, it's so green here that my whole family seems to have developed allergies we didn't have back in Dallas. I think it's worth the trade.

Everything is different here. Everything. People are friendlier, more approachable and move a bit slower. I guess I didn't realize how fast pace things were in Dallas until we got here. I am getting used to the new roads I have never traveled, the grocery stores I have never shopped and smiling at the people I have never met. A new trash day, a homeowners association and their rules, a mailbox down the road instead of in front of my house (I miss that) and the HARD water in Austin. As soon as you move into a new home, people begin knocking on the door for alarm companies, pest control, and here in Austin, men offering a water softener because the water is so hard here. It's kind of fun being the center of every one's attention!

Right now I hear the train passing through town (makes me want to sing the Johnny Cash song). There's a train track about a mile away and it's a very busy one. Josiah loves it. His obsession with Thomas the Train has not let up and since he has a grandfather and an uncle that work for Union Pacific Railroad (the track by our house is a UP track), he gets super excited when he hears the train. Just this morning Ava Beth heard the train and started screaming, "PawPaw's train! PawPaw's train!" Some would be annoyed by the busy train track, especially if they are stuck behind it trying to get to Wal Mart. But there is something about those trains blowing their horn that brings me comfort. I don't know what it is, but when I wake up in the middle of the night to use the bathroom or check on the kids, I often hear the trains driving in from Taylor. When I do, I feel safe. Something about trains makes me feel like I am in a movie, or a dream or in a safe place. I love it. This may be as close to Stuckeyville as I get.

If you love football, Texas is a great place to live. If you love High School Football, Texas is the only place to live! In this town, "Friday Night Lights" is the perfect phrase to describe the heart of this town (the show has even filmed episodes right here in town). The mascot is everywhere you go! People have the mascot in their yards, on their t-shirts, ball caps, on their cars, it's everywhere. It's not even Football Season and I am already anxiously awaiting the Friday night games. The marching bands, the cheerleaders, the players, the cheap nachos and the town "Gods", aka, the coaches! I already bought myself a t-shirt with a Hippo on it. That's right, we are the Hippos! The only Hippo Mascot in the United States and I am pretty sure the only Hippo mascot in the entire world! My husband is actually considering buying an orange Hippo for the yard (everyone has one). Of course it's Orange, just like the University of Texas! I keep trying to talk him out of it but now I think it may be fun to join in and be a part of the Hippo Cult. For those of you that have been to College Station, Texas, you know that it looks like the color burgundy threw up all over the town. Those Aggies are serious about burgundy! So serious that the mailboxes, the cars, even some of the homes, are burgundy. Well, it seems the same kind of insanity is here too. And I think I like it. I feel like I belong to something important.











And what is a small town outside of Austin without a pie shop? It's next door to the "Everything Hippo" Store. Yep, we have a Hippo store! I am hoping my husband will take me over to the pie shop today for Pie Happy Hour. That's right, PIE HAPPY HOUR. Can it get any better than this? I feel like I am living in a town that you read about in Fictional books. People here love their community, they are serious about their community and I can't think of a better place than this to plant a church. The more I am here, the more I realize that we are a part of a major "God thing". I have been saying it a lot lately and I will continue saying it for the rest of my life. There is no greater place to be than in the center of His will.


(outside the Texan Cafe and Debbie's Pies)


And here comes another train...

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  posted at 12:03 PM
  7 comments



Tuesday, April 10, 2007
Enjoying our new life
Well, what can I say? I am having fun here in my new town! I made my friend Erika take me all over town today so I could find the nearest Target, Old Navy and of course the Round Rock outlets! Wow, I love that place!! And now that I know how to get to those places, I feel a whole lot better. As long as there is Target, I will be okay.

Jeremy just got home from playing Settlers of Catan with the guys and a lady (you go Cindy!). I have linked the game for you because I have no idea what it is or how to play and I don't think I care to learn how to play. I think it would just make me feel dumb and I don't like feeling dumb! So while he played, I got to spend time watching a show with Erika (thanks for keeping me busy Erika). The kids played, fought and screamed at one another while I pushed pause on the DVR at least fifty times to say "Ava Beth, knock it off. Ava Beth, you need to share. Ava Beth, we don't hit! Ava Beth, you are going to bed!" We ate pop-corn, drank diet coke and laughed at the dumb show we were watching. What fun!

I share all of these details with you because my life has been missing this kind of stuff for about two years now. Jeremy hasn't really had guy time, and I have not had consistent social time either. For a while I did not think I wanted to enter back into this kind of world but now that I have it again, I wonder how on earth i made it this long without it! What a blessing to have friends within walking distance or friends just across the road.

There is so much I am feeling right now. There is so much God is doing and He is blessing us so much. Even though I miss my family, there is no way I would go back. God has His hand all over this and we both see it, we both know it and that's what makes it so much fun! When I think about what God has done over the last MONTH, I am amazed. My prayers have truly been answered in ways I never imagined.

(Tiff, Kelly Ann, can you believe how social I am being? I know you are proud!! Maybe the "I" in me is coming back out again!)

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  posted at 12:05 PM
  12 comments



Sunday, April 08, 2007
Moving Day


Wednesday was a difficult day. I don't like saying goodbye. Yes, the drive is only three hours but that's enough to make it very difficult to see friends. Family did not come over that day, I don't blame them either. My in-laws lived only two miles away and my Dad lived about ONE mile. My mom lived thirty-five miles away but I saw her all the time. I won't lie, this is hard when I think about it. I miss ALL of our families. I miss the familiarity. I miss my Glade Rd. Super Target and my Old Navy. I miss knowing where everything is! I miss my huge tree in the front yard. I miss being comfortable. My precious friend Kelly, Jackson's Mom, gave me a card that I have read over and over again. I can't really read it without crying. Her words made me realize that I will be missed and that I truly made an impact on her life. And now I pray that I can make an impact where I am now. Oh how I long to be used and show others they are LOVED. When someone feels loved, they can do ANYTHING! To all of my friends that came to see us on Wednesday, you made me feel loved. You truly sent us off with so much joy and you gave us confidence to step into this new journey. Thank you. What a gift you gave us!

Tiffany, we talk every single day (you JUST called me and I had to stop writing this blog because you called!)and of course I am so sad that we cannot meet at Grapevine Mills or have a day at my house talking about our views of church, celebrities and fashion! But, I know that this friendship is forever. In fact, I can't wait for you to come in town so we can shop the Round Rock outlet(Michael Kors!)!! I love you my friend.

Kelly Ann, words just can't say enough. You are my rock! You give me so much. You truly are the most incredible giver I have ever known. Our history all the way back to eighth grade says so much. We know that we were meant to be friends forever. I can't wait to meet baby Shaefer! She is going to be beautiful, JUST LIKE YOU! I love you.

Kelly, I don't think you realize how incredible you are. You are beautiful and that is obvious. But there is so much more! I don't know how you do it with four kids! I can barely handle my three, yet you seem to keep the house running like a well oiled machine. A call from you, always makes me feel better. Thank you for loving my children and loving me. You have blessed me more than you will ever know. I can't wait for our trip to San Antonio! The boys are going to have a blast! I love you Kelly!

Rebecca, Bobbie Sue, Aunt Rae Rae, what can I say? You are my best friend and I love your guts! You were my husband's best friend first and now you are mine. I'm never gonna let you go! I can't believe I am in Austin now and you are moving to Baton Rouge! I am so jealous of all the people that are going to have the pleasure of being your friend. They have no idea how much they are going to be blessed. There is no one that can make me laugh like you. You truly are a gift from God. I need you in my life so much. I love you more than shoes! :)

While I miss our life in Dallas, I still know that this is the best place for us because this is where GOD put us. There is no better place to be than in the CENTER of His will. Thank you Lord for making sure we heard your voice. We are so excited about this new journey.

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  posted at 10:31 AM
  7 comments



Saturday, April 07, 2007
We are here!
Well folks, we are officially moved in! The unpacking is crazy right now. The kids rooms are almost done, the game room is a mess, my room is a mess, the bathrooms are a mess but the KITCHEN IS PERFECT! I have already been using my new cook top to boil Easter Eggs. I have not had to really COOK yet, thanks to my wonderful friends here. Dinner was served last night by Erika (she made me my favorite birthday cake-chocolate pecan praline cake-YUMMO!), tonight by Cindy and we are having Easter lunch with friends tomorrow. Needless to say, we are being taken care of.

I don't have much time to write yet. We are about to head to IKEA!! We live close to one and that is pretty exciting as far as I am concerned! I made my first trip to Wal Mart yesterday and stocked up on a ton of groceries so I think I am finding my way around town pretty good.

Okay, last Easter we were in the 90's and today we are in the high 30's! What is up with that? Texas Weather! My Dad called to tell me that Dallas has snow falling! It's cold in Austin but no snow! A white Easter? Who would have thought!!

Love my house, love the area, love that my Dish Network is hooked up and now my Internet! I miss having my family right down the street but it sure is nice being down the street from friends. Josiah spent the day at Kylie's house (he now has a friend in the neighborhood!) and keeps asking when he is going to see her again! Oh and my next door neighbor came over yesterday to introduce herself. She is super sweet! I feel like people are a lot more friendly here. I love that! There is definitely a slower pace in this part of Texas.

I will write more tonight and I have pictures too of the move and all the friends that came to see us in Dallas before we left!

Happy Easter!

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  posted at 3:12 PM
  4 comments





Name:
Amanda

Location: Austin, Texas


Mommy, Mama, Mandi, Amanda, Babe and whatever else you want to call me! How do I have time to blog with three kids under the age of four? I'm up until midnight and usually later!

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