My kids are growing up!

Brett said tonight that he wanted to build a spaceship out of play-doh, fly to outer space, live there with his wife and kids and build paper airplanes. Wow, I can't wait to share that at his wedding!

Kaylie said that she was going to pick the boy who loved God to marry...that a girl Kaylie! I asked her how she would decide which 'boy who loved God' to marry because there may be several. She said she would pick 'the special one' that. I asked her how she would know he was special. And she said she would know him because of his heart. Precious wisdom from my 4 year old princess!

Chaddy insists that he doesn't like girls, but blushes every time he sees one of the girls in his class outside of sweet.

My kids have grown up so much in 2010!

Happy New Year everybody!


Unendingly confused, but fully pleasing...

The cookies are done and I am the cookie! I feel so worked over. The Lord has taken me through so much and I am truly thankful, don't get me wrong, but I do wonder if everyone else feels this way too. Am I the only one who feels like I am on a constant discovery, re-discovery, on-the-verge of discovery crazy, confusing journey through life?

God has done HUGE things in my life every year for several years now. In fact, when I think about it, this has been going on since I first came to know the Lord. I think I was a pretty happy-go-lucky teenager...that is until the Lord grabbed a hold of my heart. At least I thought I was happy. Probably more of that ignorant bliss stuff. More ignorant than blissful, but so in denial that I actually don't remember struggling. I was never brought to the end of my rope until I saw clearly my sin and need for the Lord. Then I saw even more clearly, how through so much growth, I am still so screwed up. Still so screwed up!

But apparently, fully pleasing to the Lord.

I am un-endingly confused. I am led in ways that I have no idea why. I am growing more obedient in even the confusing things. I am so over being timid with people about the gospel. I am filled to the brim with ideas and passions that I don't fully know what to do with. I am known to talk too much. I am working hard to reign myself in and follow Michael's much more methodical lead. I am fascinated by the stories of people. I am spontaneous to a fault and regretful later. I am motivated by relationship to Jesus and my relationship to others for the purpose of revealing Jesus. I am impatient with anyone who can't keep up with me and this makes me sad. I am a lot more angry of a person than I used to think. I am a mommy on her knees. I am a lover of alone time. I am strong. I am in love with forgiveness. I am actually sensitive, which has come as a shock and is super annoying. I am better when mostly busy, but not totally busy. I am most assuredly...A WORK IN PROGRESS!

Lord, I could use a break from self-discovery and new ways you want to mold me, but I understand if you want to keep pressing on. Help me to stay positive and stay engaged. Thanks for not letting go. I will not let go either.


Miranda Lambert!

Just found out she is coming to Billy Bob's February 18th and 19th, 2011...saw her there last February - AMAZING! Could be the world's greatest girls night...hmmm.


Thanksgiving 2010

Our sweet little, Clementine. We decided to name our turkeys like they name the hurricanes...alphabetical, except we are doing all girl names for now. Last year's was Beatrice. It has been so fun learning how to cook all the Thanksgiving food!

Kid Table!

Grown-up Table...notice Chad is there, kind of a big deal!

Daddy's little cutie

Brett enjoying momma's cooking

Chad and Papa

Kaylie and her cousins



I have always been a student of people around me...I love getting to really know people. What makes them tick? What bugs them? Who do they want to be? Who are they right now? How does change affect them...conflict?

Anyways, this has always been who I least part of who I am. Being married now for eight and a half years, much of my course work has come in the form of one incredible man, Michael.

The thing about men:

The thing about men is they have a tough job. They are usually the first ones out the door. They work all day dealing with countless problems, conflicts and work relationships that we know nothing about. Their brains are no doubt tired from all of that and they walk in to a family who fully expects them to be engaged in whatever is going on at home. How are kids doing in school? Does wife feel loved? Any possible problems with cars or houses usually falls to their lot as well...along with garbage and probable other minor chores around the house. Are they intentional to talk to their kids about Jesus? Are they themselves daily seeking the Lord and going to him for guidance? Is their wife doing the same? Is their family being good financial stewards? Are bills paid?

Ladies! Let's appreciate our men today. The thing about men is:

They need to hear they are doing a great job, even the ones who seem to already know...they want us to say it. Even the ones who are struggling right now, they need to know we understand and that we believe in them. They need to hear us say that because if we don't, who will? And what happens to them if nobody believes in them, not even their wife. God thought they needed a help-mate and we get to be that!

They have huge influence over everyone in the home, but we as wives have great ability to provide them with the confidence to influence well.

Their job is hard and so is ours, ladies. But let's not forget that part of our job is loving them well.

Lord, I pray for marriages today. I pray for wives and husbands to be drawn to you and through you drawn to each other. I pray that you would work miracles in homes everywhere. I pray that this sacred thing that you created would be protected. I pray that wives would not forget how heavy the burden is on their husbands. I pray that husbands would not forget how much we are all looking to them for strong, wise leadership. I pray that we would all know and understand how valued we are in your eyes. I pray that you would use that truth to give us all the confidence to live boldly for you in good times and bad, for richer, for poorer, in sickness and in long as we both shall live.


The pendulum swings...

Michael and I have been dealing with infertility since 2003 when we first thought about growing our family, so I guess that makes over 7 years. And yes, as crazy as it seems, we do still want more children, so this infertility journey is still raging on.

When this whole thing started I felt like it was possible that we would never conceive, but we probably would.

Now I feel like it is possible that we will conceive, but we probably won't.

And I don't think it is bad to start feeling the way I do now. My belief hasn't suffered. I still believe that God can do anything He wants and that He loves me with an out-of-this-world passion. I'm just not sure anymore that this is what He wants for me. I know it is what I want.

It is a weird moment to be totally aware of a major change in my thinking.

Kind of cool, too.

Sad, happy, sad, happy, sad, happy, sad, happy...who knows these days.


My Own Personal Revival

That is the only thing I can call it. I can't figure out just when things started to shift...I don't know maybe it had something to do with leaving my position on staff at the church, going on a family mission trip to Mexico, and staying at home all day every day with all 3 of my rascals for that last month of the summer...anyways I have been involved in some inner turmoil that I am not so used to.

I have sought the Lord consistently through out, but all 3 of those adjustments happening at the exact same time did a number on me. It has been hard, but the result is an amazing, painful, joyful, EMOTIONAL, confusing, useful, and ultimately solid place with the Lord. Yet again, I am surprised by how great my God is. Why is it that I keep getting surprised? I should just know by now. Don't you think he probably delights in surprising us with His greatness. It just keeps getting better!

Isn't it amazing how your peace of mind can come back with no change at all in your just doesn't make's a's my God.


Bragging on those Babies!

Today, September 12th, 2010, marks 2 years to the day since these little cuties made there home with us. And what a home it is!

We celebrated them tonight through stories and prayers and lots of laughter over what they were like when we first met them. Isn't it great to get to the point where you can laugh at how horrible things were. Thank you Lord for that! Lord, can you remind me that again tommorow when I am annoyed to the point of tears. You will laugh at this one day Amanda! Because it is so true! Oh, how I love to laugh!

side note...too cute not to tell:

Every time we pray as a family, Brett ends up thanking God for somebody's 'silly-ness'. "Thank you God for Chad and his 'silly-ness'." "Thank you God for Daddy and his 'silly-ness'." You get the idea.

Tonight, Brett started his prayer off like this, "Thank you God for Clover and her 'silly-ness'." "And thank you for when she sits on the couch and looks at me like that."...followed by the cutest giggle in the wide world. I knew when I heard that giggle that Brett was remembering some special way that Clover looks at him and he loves that certain look so much that he thanked God for it...PRECIOUS!

I love that my kids love my dog as much as me! By the way, Clover is my dog.

Thank you God for BRETT and his silly-ness! This kid lives for a good laugh. What's not to love about that!

I am one blessed mommy!


on my heart today...

I was thinking a lot about the people we met in Mexico today. Musgrave's, Colorado's, Hower's, Pastor Eric and family, along with all of those young adults who served so well while I was there----You were lifted up this morning. I pray for all of you to be encouraged today and every day. You are doing an amazing work unto our Lord! Keep fighting the fight! You are not alone in your work in Mexico. We are standing with you!

Wisdom from a seasoned missionary and a man who has walked with the Lord for a long time:

I asked one of the missionaries what somebody like me could do to help support the work of the missionaries in Mexico and the cause for Christ there and he immediately said, "We need accountability. Missionaries are sinners just like the rest." They desire more than just our funds. They desire relationship. We should be spurring them along as they spur us along. He followed that comment with this, "A guy can write an amazing prayer letter and not being doing a whole lot of anything."

He encouraged us to actually know the people we support; visit them; see what they are up to. Maybe all of us here in America just trust too much the people we support, or maybe we are just lazy to actually take the time to get to know them and see what they are really up to. It's much easier to just check our generosity box off than it is to personally invest ourselves in a missionary or a mission.

This was a pretty sobering reality for us and also a great opportunity for me to share the wise thoughts of a man who I admire.

Hope it challenges you too,


There and Back Again

We got back a week ago from our family mission trip to Mexico. It was quite an experience...that's for sure.

The kids did amazing! They are such little troopers.

Here are just some of their extra challenges:

*almost non-stop rain
*much colder weather than mom packed proper clothes for
*strange food - which they ate almost every bite of...Brett especially!
*different language
*no toilet seat
*forced to do what we needed to do and not what they wanted to do 95% of the time
*30-40 minute team meeting times w/ 20-30 minutes spent in prayer twice a day
(the kids joined us and sat quietly in our laps or next to us)
*all meals served in an outdoor ampitheater with stone benches...not so easy for
a young child to eat without spilling everything(...which for some reason was the most annoying thing ever. I think at meal time Michael and I were starving and then we had to get them all set. When that was done, any spill or mess was a challenging experience in parenting. All I want is to sit and eat my tortilla in peace, you know!)
*Dad was away for most of the time doing work projects. We were actually on different teams. I was on the craft team and Michael was on the work team. We would see him at meals and occasionally chad or brett could help him. They missed their daddy. I missed their daddy.
*Meals served on 'Mexico time'. Lunch at 2pm/Dinner at 8pm.
*nap times with workers on the roof.
*bed time at least 2 hours later than normal./breakfast at normal time.

Things I said often while we were there:

-"Don't let any water touch you anywhere on your face!"
-"No we can't swing right now, we have work to do."
-"Let the other kids paint now and you can paint later."
-"We don't climb on that."
-"How about a lollipop!"
-"Remember what we talked about...we came here to what?_________Serve others.
That's right. It's not about who?________Me. That's right.
-"Kaylie can you work on smiling or saying Hola to the nice kids." The kids
in Mexico said she was 'muy timida'. She warmed up by the last night.

All in all, we are very, very proud parents. They were pushed so hard. They had to think about others before themselves and they still managed to have a great time. Chad cried at our last team meeting. He never likes to say sweet.

All of this parenting was going on and we were busy with ministry the whole week too. Ministry was amazing! The kids there are beyond adorable and sweet. We were so inspired to watch ministry happen in a different part of the world. The coolest part...they are doing the same things that we are doing. It reminded me so much of my time with Young Life. I saw the counselors praying one-on-one with the kids. I saw them playing silly games to get everyone to lighten up. I saw them being 'oh, boy! leaders'. I saw them sitting with the kids in circles, Bibles open. I saw all of this and it was beautiful.

We were able to bring all the supplies and provide a craft time to them when they don't normally get to do crafts at this camp. You should have seen these little artists! The counselors and even some of the ladies from the kitchen came out to paint and make crafts. It was very special. The things we all take for granted.

It was an honor to be able to love these kids, these counselors, and 3 missionary families who live in the town we were in. I especially had a heart for these young adults who were the counselors at the camp. It is hard to be a believer in Mexico. It is hard to make a life in ministry there and yet they are devoting their lives to ministry. Many of them want to be in ministry full-time, which in that country is a guaranteed life of poverty. One of the counselors was in seminary.

Here, men who choose to go to seminary and want to be pastors are making sacrifices for sure, but to walk willingly into guaranteed poverty. Poverty is not guaranteed here for pastors. I love their heart to hear the call of the Lord on their life, regardless of all other factors.

I am inspired. My kids are changed forever. My family will never forget the week we spent in Mexico.

Thanks be to God!

We all do wrong things sometimes!

Kaylie's favorite quote lately is, "We all do wrong things sometimes."

It seems I have taught them at least one thing over this last 22 months. She is such a little sweetie pie! It's so funny to hear your words come back at you and so precious also. When Kaylie gets in trouble, she gets so sad. She doesn't get mad...just super sad. Usually I can hear her muffled sobs coming out of her room before I even get in there to see her. I guess I gave her the same choice words just about every time she got a 'talking to'.

The other day I was pretty upset with Brett because he kept making the same mistake all morning...I can't even remember what it was. I felt bad about the way I handled it, so I came out to apologize to him for losing my temper. Kaylie overheard the conversation, so she walked over to me and put her hand on my back. She patted me a couple of times and said, "We all do wrong things sometimes, mom. You can do better next time." I must have reminded Kaylie of herself as I sat there with Brett, crying and asking for forgiveness. What a humbling experience and yet so encouraging.

I was feeling like a horrible mom at that moment and then Kaylie showed me that, even though I am not perfect and screw up all the time, my kids are still learning. My imperfections and sins do not have to hinder my children's growth.

Being honest with my kids about my own sin and asking forgiveness when I screw up allows them to see the proper way to handle a mistake.

Oh, how I hate those moments as a mother...and oh, how I love them.

Lord, continue to draw my children to yourself, despite my imperfect ways.


Smelly Closet Quiet Times

11pm at night.
Michael fast asleep in our bed.
Brett asleep in the boys room.
Kaylie asleep in her room.
Chad asleep on the couch because he wasn't feeling good.
Clover, our dog asleep in the playroom.
In my husband's closet...
Which is located in our master bath...
The actual bathroom light is off, of course,
Because if 1 tiny sliver of light touches Michael's sleeping face
He will wake up mad.

And so I found the only light possible for me to read the 'good book' last night...inside Michael's closet.


Funniest part - I am actually super excited to have discovered that little oasis in the night. I can read late at night (which I LOVE to do) And NO ONE is disturbed! Now I just need to put some comfy pillows in there and get some deoderizers for Michael's shoes! Win - Win!

Gregory in the Middle

So the other day, Brett did something...who knows what and I sent him to his room. Now, when they go in their room to chill out they are expected to sit still in the middle of the floor and remain calm. If they are not calm they will just stay longer. Anyways, Brett was being quiet and I thought it was about time to go get him, so I peeked in his room. He was sitting quietly in the middle of the floor, like always. I sat down in front of him and started to talk to him a bit about whatever it was he had done and I noticed that he had something in his mouth. I said, 'Brett, what is in your mouth?'. He said, 'I don't know'. So I said, 'Let me see it'. No was a toenail! So gross! I guess he had found it in the carpet next to him. I think daddy taught Chad how to clip his own nails last week. Apparently, he did not teach him how to clean up after. Why on earth my little man decided to put it in his mouth I will never understand? But that is my Brett! He does some of the weirdest things. At first, I was so grossed out that Brett got scared...and then we both ended up laughing hysterically.

Did I mention this is the kid who swallowed a penny he found on the playground last year at preschool? Find a penny on the playground...yes. Feel the need to taste it...why? Run with it in your mouth and freak your friends out when you fall and start gagging it down...really? When I picked him up that day, all of his friends were telling me that he choked and ate a penny. His teachers said a whole group of his friends went running and screaming up to them...scared to death that Brett was choking. I guess Brett thought he was pretty cool until he ended up accidentally swallowing the penny.

And the poor thing is the middle child...oh, the middle child. Not as tall or cool or smart or fast as his big brother, who he adores...naturally. Not as sweet and cute and pretty and adorable as his little sister, who annoys him...naturally. He is smack dab in the middle and has the bad attitude to prove it. He's got something, though. He doesn't know it or understand it...but he's got something. I just love my middle man! A total non-conformist, march to the beat of his own drum, 'you can follow me if you want but I don't really care I am just doing my thing kind of a kid'! He is truly a unique guy and I can't wait to see what God has in store for him!

That is my Brett Gregory Kashuba...Gregory in the Middle!


Grief and Life

Something I never expected...and yet such a part of my journey - Grief is such a big part of life. Our ability to handle grief seems to determine what mood our life will hold. It's not that there will or will not be grief, but what we do with the grief that will absolutely come.

Grieving and can do both. Crying and laughing. Content and yet sad. The most surprising thing - there is still joy in grief. I am happy to know that from personal experience.

Death to self = Joy in grief

And the only way to really know that, is to experience it. Real and true death to self will bring joy. But are we really willing to give our selfish selves up?

Lord, for your glory, I pray we are...I pray I am. Besides, this whole self-seeking life stinks anyways.


Arise, Lord!

Arise, Lord! Lift up your head, O God.
Do not forget the helpless.
Why does the wicked man revile God?
Why does he say to himself,
"He won't call me to account"?
But you, O God, do see trouble and grief;
you consider it to take it in hand.
The victim commits himself to you;
you are the helper of the fatherless.
Break the arm of the wicked and evil man;
call him to account for his wickedness
that would not be found out.

The Lord is King for ever and ever;
the nations will perish from his land.
You hear, O Lord, the desire of the afflicted;
you encourage them, and you listen to their cry,
defending the fatherless and the oppressed,
in order that man, who is of the earth, may terrify no more.

Psalm 10:12-18

I have seen this exact thing played out in the life of my family and yet I am burdened by so many more children out there. In your exact time, Lord, I know you will show yourself in their lives too. And "man, who is of the earth, will terrify no more"!

Arise, Lord!


Dangly earrings and little boys

No one ever tells you these things...I have discovered something about my boys in the last several months. Whenever mommy needs to 'talk' about something with them, their little eyes are drawn to my earrings instead of to my eyes.

I remember my dad telling me to look him in the eyes when he was talking to me, which for the most part I did not have a problem with. But when he was getting angry and I was annoyed I would stare at his eye brows instead. I knew he would not be able to call me out on it and I knew in my ugly little heart that I was disobeying him. And that is exactly what I wanted to do.

Anyways, now I am getting a taste of my own medicine. As soon as the lecture comes out, their little eyes start to wonder...but not too far off...just to the sparkly, dangly earrings that I chose to put on that day.

The funny thing is that I love a good pair of dangly earrings. Now, when I remember, I take them off before I have a 'conversation' with either of them. This of course just makes them find something else to concentrate on besides what you are telling them.

I have found that if your kids are distracted and their eyes glaze over you are not effective and should stop talking anyways. As soon as I see their eyes float over to my earrings, I wrap it up. Less words. More action. They are smart. They will figure it out.

The Fight in the Dog

Oh man! Today was kindergarten field day at Chaddy's school. I had no idea what I was going to see. I thought maybe some cheesy events that don't even border on water balloon tosses, etc. I am actually impressed with field day...they ran lots of really cool races. They had hurtles...little kindergartener-sized hurtles. And the races were long. I mean they are really pushing these kids. I love it!

Anyways, Chad, for whatever reason, has decided recently to really practice running as fast as he can. Every chance he gets he runs wind sprints. He wants to be timed. He wants to beat his time. He wants to do it 20 times in a row. The cool thing is he is getting a lot faster. Practice really does make perfect...that's what my dad always said.

The kids got to sign-up for 5 events each. There were 5 events that were races. Guess which ones my little man signed up cute.

And I was worried about that because as hard as he has worked, he is just a really little guy. But I knew he would give it all he had.

His first race was the 50 meter...kind of a really long sprint. He looked great. He got second in his heat. I was proud! Then he ran a 200m, which looked so long. I wondered how this one would go. He was super fast right at first and then he got really tired about half way...2 kids passed him and he got 3rd place. He let the last kid catch up with him (on purpose), so that he could blow past him in the end...a bit of a mean streak...we are trying to use these moments as 'teachable moments'. I am sure we will have a conversation about that later. Anyways, he did a relay and the hurtles and those were really fun. And then the last race of the day was the 300 meter run. I thought the 200m looked long. He was stoked to get up there.

He looked calm and focused on the start line. The little boy next to him kept inching up to be ahead of everyone else. I thought this would distract Chad, but he stayed put waiting for the whistle. All of the other little boys were so busy trying to inch their way up that they did not get a good jump off of the whistle. Chaddy had a head start and was leading the pack. He was strong for the first half and then you could see the others start gaining. All of Chad's class was screaming at the top of their lungs for him, as the other boys were getting closer and closer. When he made the last turn, I thought for sure the little boy behind him was going to be able to pass. Chad was fading fast. He was not smiling. His face was in anquish, mustering every bit of energy he had. The faster the boy behind him would go, the faster Chad would go. He would not let him pass. IT WAS AWESOME!

He ended up beating the other little boy by 1 step. I couldn't believe the determination I saw in his face coming down that last stretch. It was precious. He is not the biggest, but he sure works as hard as his little body will let him. I am so proud of you Chaddy! You keep working hard no matter what! Kashubas don't give up!


Crazy Mommy Moment

I had one of those the Target check-out line. Picture this: Kaylie in the front part of the shopping cart that faces me, Brett in the back part of the cart. It was just like any other day, just waiting patiently in the line. Kaylie starts screaming hysterically, which was the weirdest thing. I look down and her little arm was caught in between 2 of the bars on the shopping cart....SO WEIRD! She had reached behind her for some reason and had gotten her arm through those bars, past her elbow. When she went to pull it back out, she had turned it over and it was pinched and totaly stuck in between the bars.

I thought for sure it would just pull out, so I went to straighten her arm and gently remove it from between the bars. Of course every time I touched her arm she tensed up and started to become even more hysterical. I was trying to calm her down because she was making it so much harder. Brett finally looks up and happens to see her little arm all red and squished and then he starts crying. He was so scared to see her that way...kind of sweet, but really Brett!

Needless to say it was so hard to focus on the arm while both my babies were completley freaking out. I think Kaylie thought she was never getting out of that shopping cart...she was totally panicked.

I tried several ways to get her arm out and it would not budge. I kept thinking, 'this is like one of those brain teaser puzzles'. I have never been good at those and now with all the pressure of freeing Kaylie's arm while both of my children are screaming hysterically...IT WAS CRAZY!

Finally after what felt like an eternity (probably only 2-3 minutes), I was able to figure out how to free the arm. Poor Kaylie! When I had her in my arms and she had death grip around my neck and everyone was calm, I looked up and the entire staff of Target had gathered around, along with several passers-by. I had a whole audience watching me work that out! I had no idea!

On top of all of that, now I had to pay for my items which had been rung up during the commotion I guess. My heart was racing the whole time and then on the way out tears started welling up in my eyes too! And then I could not stop laughing. It was really quite funny!

Anyways, mommy saved her! It's moments like that, I will never forget and I don't think Kaylie and Brett will either!

Super Mommy, off to save another child from disaster!


Realness and Rudeness

I find it humorous that the adjective the church uses to describe anyone who often uses brutal honesty to communicate is "real". The word "real" seems to be getting thrown around a lot lately, always with a very positive connotation. We are all looking for others who are "real". I think that is a good thing to look for in a person.

But more often than not the person that people describe to me as "real" could also be called "rude" in many situations, depending on what perspective you are coming from. This person usually 'tells it like it is' which can be refreshing for sure. I think there is nothing wrong with being honest, as long as we are honest with everyone in our life and not just with a few select individuals. The problem comes in when our honesty becomes brutal honesty.

I have to admit that I have been referred to on many an occasion as "brutally honest". I do seek to be honest with everyone in my life. It's with those closest to me that the brutal part seems to come out.

If we are not careful our "realness" can and will serve to isolate us from those that we love. Our "realness" can become "rudeness"...lessons learned from a very forgiving husband.

I would have to say that our culture of "realness" within the church has come at a price. How about using that word in a positive way. There is such a thing as "realness" that would not hurt anyone else. We can be "real" about our own struggles and not everyone else's. What ever happened to plain old good manners? After all, if you can't say anything nice, don't say anything at all. How practical is this...not saying anything to anyone at all if you have something negative to say. Take it all to God, right? But we are so imperfect and so scarred and possible is it really?

Regardless of how hard and impossible, I do think we are called to something better. Praying today for myself and all of you to bring this before the Lord and ask Him what He thinks.


My Peeps at Easter

My sweetie pies!
the boys
Kaylie and her cousin, May---2 silly girls

Moving on...

I have officially made the decision to leave my church staff. I have worked as our church's nursery coordinator for four and a half years. It really has been a joy.

I love welcoming young families to our church and seeing them get plugged in. I love looking them in the eye and telling them that we are going to take good care of their babies. I love being the one who gets to greet every baby and every parent, every week, as they come down the nursery hall. I love knowing all their names. I love the people that help make the nursery possible...all of the nursery staff and their families.

I love all of this so much because this is how God chose to use me in His church. I love being on our church's team, but I love being on His team more!

When we got the kids 19 months ago, Michael and I considered the idea of me leaving staff...fully expecting that God would of course say that it was time for me to step down. The weird thing is, He didn't. It was the right decision for me to stay. And now it is the right decision for me to leave. Simply put, it is time.

Thanks to all of the families I served and to the rest of the church staff for making the last several years so amazing. And a special thanks to everyone who worked with me to take care of those little ones. You all mean so much to me and my family. You were always there for me professionally and personally and I will never forget.



Such great ages!

My kids are 6, 4, and 3 years old...all with late summer birthdays, so they are well on their way to 7, 5, and 4. I have to say, as physically demanding as my life is because of them (and all of their laundry) this is truly an enjoyable time with our kids. Every idea I ever had about being a parent is possible now...they can enjoy an amusement park, run wild at the park or on a playground, use a potty every time without fail, put all their own clothes on, hold conversation with me or any adult, express their own opinions, skip a nap without losing it completley, play sports. It's all happening everyday and we love it!

As much as Michael and I would like to grow our family even more, I do know how disruptive that would absolutely be to what we have going on now. Don't get me wrong, a baby or two is what we want, but what I am saying is that we can enjoy this waiting room. It is possible to enjoy the waiting room! My goal now is to soak up as much of my kids as I can while I am in this waiting room. And if I never leave this particular waiting room, then I have spent my kids entire life soaking up as much of them as I harm in that! If the Lord ever decides to bless us with more children, I don't want to have any regrets with how I spent this time. Am I just waiting to get to the next thing or am I actually living my present out? I choose to live my present out!

Speaking of great ages, I am turning 29 in a few excited! I love getting older...getting smarter, hopefully. I love being a more experienced person. I love understanding life more and coping better with the hard times. I love how much more I love my God. Almost all of my friends have turned 30 this year. I'm excited to be 30. I think my 30's are going to be great! I have officially entered the soccer mom years...the mini-van years...the family vacation years...the years when I hardly ever get alone time with my husband (that's a whole different blog). These are the years my kids will forever remember. These are the years I will forever remember. Thanks be to God for making my dreams come true in completely different and crazy ways that I would have never chosen or guessed, But I am so glad He did!

I will wait patiently, trusting you Lord, and enjoying the blessings you have already brought into my life, because I know for sure that you have the VERY BEST in mind for me...and right now that does not include pregnancy.


Breaking out of the bubble

Having a child in public school has been just about the best way to break out of my safe little McKinney bubble. I love it! When we were deciding where to live, schools were one of the most important things we considered. Not which school has received the highest praise or which school has the most money, or even which school has the most kids who look just like my kids...but, Lord...which school would you have us be a part of?

After you have gone in and out of all of the reasons why you would prefer this school or that school, the last, final, and most important question is 'where does God want my child to attend and where does God want me to serve'? I spent so much time praying that exact thing before we made the decision to buy our house. I knew that this would be one of the most amazing opportunities to love others and represent my Lord that I would ever have. I actually think I got this one right.

It has taken me a while to get comfortable in this role as mom and especially in the role of mom-with-a-school-aged-kid, but what a rewarding experience.

Being on staff at the church for 4 and a half years now, it has been an honor to welcome, love and encourage young families. But I have to tell you, nothing has been more exciting to me than getting to know the staff and parents at Chad's school...people different from me, people who may or may not know the Lord, people of different faiths, a lot of people who would probably never enter through our church's doors or any other church's doors for that matter.

We are devoted as a family to represent the Lord in all walks of our life. We love serving our God at McKinney, but we also love serving our God outside of McKinney. Michael is coaching Brett and Chad's t-ball team this spring. The first practice is this Thursday night...more opportunity to love the families in our community!

God is really big and really cool!


Second Thought

Today I was reminded of why I stopped writing on my blog (besides the whole 3 kids thing). It's just too easy to write a blog about God, instead of actually spending time with Him. I think I took a step back from blogging in order to assess my heart in it.

I also think this is true about great conversation/discussion about God. Those conversations serve to spur us along and inspire us towards God, but nothing truly great can happen in our relationship with God unless we are alone with computer, no one else. I think we all want some kind of sympathy vote or something. Like the most wise, valuable counselor is not enough. The only one who can actually do anything about anything is God and yet we desire a human audience to make us feel...well, understood.

I am not knocking fellowship and wise counsel from other believers at all. I have friends that have served me well in this capacity. But we could all stand to give it a second thought. When we think we really need to talk to someone here on earth about life, stress, frustrations, etc....have we even talked to God about it?

We talk about Him all the time, but are we talking to Him?


Walking Wounded

I am going through the book Conversations on Purpose with a friend right now and can I just say it is kicking my hiney! This book just really makes you work through a lot of stuff that is not super fun to work through. I actually consider myself a pretty self-aware person, but this takes it to a whole new level.

Today's chapter was titled 'Unearthing Blockades to Your Purposes'. Sounds delightful, right? There were four topics in this chapter: motives, fear, grief, and mistaken thinking. The sections I found particularly unsettling were fear and mistaken thinking. I am not sure I love discovering all of my weird fears, not to mention the mistaken thinking.

I feel far more screwed up than I did before I read through those lists...I knew I was a little screwed up. The author even recommended us at the beginning of the book to 'trust the process'...I never actually thought I would hear those words for real. And after realizing today that one of the parts of my mistaken thinking is 'Don't trust anyone', I am sure my skeptical heart will have a hard time 'trusting the process'.

Life is funny, though...I finished that chapter on all those gross, hard things...woke B and K up, got them in the van and headed for the carpool line to get Chaddy from kindergarten. Life goes on, even when we are walking wounded. I found myself looking around at all the other mini-van moms wondering if they could tell what my fears were by looking at me....heeheehee. And I also wondered what they had learned about themselves lately. How could anybody do life without Jesus?...that's what I was wondering...


More than just a mommy

I am thankful for infertility in so many ways. It was the first really bad thing to ever happen to me. It helped me understand this sinful world and my loving God, and how those two somehow work together in an amazing way. Motherhood was my biggest dream. My ultimate ambition...fall in love, get married, stay happily married forever, and raise children in a Godly home.

As I realized that motherhood, for me, was not going to come quickly and may never come, I crumbled. Everything I had ever hoped for was wrapped up in the idea that I would be a mother...everything. After years of wrestling through all of this with God, I came away a different person...a better person. I still wanted and hoped for the family I had long desired, but I also wanted and hoped to be and do whatever He wanted. Somehow through all of the tears and anger and searching scripture and crying out for justice, I realized my own sin. I realized what I expected of God was for Him to fix my problems, instead of fixing me. I was the one who needed fixing, still do.

I am a mother now, by the grace of God. We have adopted 3 precious children. And now I see how infertility's legacy of blessing in my life is trickling down to my own children. Had I not learned everything I have learned, I would have probably put my children before my God. I would have felt worthwhile and lifted up because of my role as mother and not because of who I am in the Lord. I think this is a trap that a lot of mothers fall into unaware. We, as women, are so insecure. So many women are searching for significance in the wrong things. Motherhood, especially in the church, is the most exalted role a woman can have. I think so many womem use this role to give them significance, when what they don't realize is that they were significant long before they were ever blessed with children.

Let's not think that we are special just because we are mothers! This role is just one of the ways the Lord is choosing to use us in the world. And our daughters need to know that they are significant because of God and not because of any role or title they are blessed with. I am first a child of God, then a wife, and then a mother.

I know now that I am more than just a mommy.


Seeking Discipline

It seems that one major thing the Lord has been throwing in my face this entire year is SELF-CONTROL. Basically, I am a mess...still recovering from about 17 months of ridiculous life-change. I am positive that any of you new moms, new married's, or new anything's understand. After major change enters, there is a fall out somewhere.

I have heard the words 'self-control' from my children who learned the fruits of the spirit last summer, from several sermons at my church and sermons on the radio, and just in random conversation with other believers. I actually use this word all the time with my own kids...what kind of teacher am I? Practice what you preach, Amanda! I have known for a long time that I needed to address this particular area of my life, but just plain did not have the guts.

I used to shy away from spiritual discipline...always been a bit of a Mary, instead of a Martha. I preferred my interactions with God to be always completely organic. I felt that if I made it so scheduled or orthodox that it would not be as intense or amazing. But now, I recognize the beauty in discipline, especially spiritual discipline. The intensity and amazement in our relationship with God has nothing to do with how we come before him and when, but it has everything to do with why we come before him. As my passion for Christ has grown, my ability to have a regimented time with Him has also grown. My knowledge has increased and in turn my desire to spend time with Him has increased. The more we learn of this God we serve, the more we are inclined to pursue Him. As everything else in my life has grown more regimented, so has my time with God.

From Mary to Martha in so many ways. I love Mary. She is super cool...completely free-spirited, loves Jesus, always in the moment. But if we were all Mary's who is going to make dinner, you know. I think Jesus rebuked Martha, not because of the choice she made to serve instead of sit, but because of her resentful attitude toward Mary. Yes, serve. You gotta get dinner ready, but keep your eyes focused on Jesus, not on your neighbor, not on your sister, not on your husband...ouch! Hope that last one pierced you as much as it pierced me.

It takes discipline and self-control for me to serve constantly. Especially when my tendency is to sit in silence and relish the beauty of God in quiet contemplation. I am so not knocking the silent relishing at great and amazing. In fact some people may need to use self-control to sit silently relishing God. For me, that comes naturally. I have spent 17 months trying to be a Mary who is also the mother I want to be. I actually know amazing mothers who are Mary's. I, sadly, am not one of them. I think I will need to fall somewhere in between the two in order to fill this role of motherhood the way I want to. Is this yet another thing that I need to find balance in? Can't I live a happy life of extremes?!

Anyways, back to self-control. I am deciding that this year, 'Year 29' for me (I am turning 29 at the end of March) will be marked by an all-out effort to practice self-control. This will entail spiritual as well as physical discipline.

Areas requiring an extra measure of discipline:

drinking (cokes, not alcohol...come on people!)
writing again
reading the good book daily
prayer every day, and at least 1 especially long prayer time per week
holding my tongue...particularly when it comes to my kids
taming the temper...particularly when it comes to my kids
doing the laundry and actually folding and putting it away in the same day

Please don't be a critic of how horribly legalistic this whole thing seems...seems. See, I need discipline in this way. You may not. You may be a great task person. You may need a different kind of discipline. I know that none of this alone will get me closer to God. I am not trying to win favor from God. I already have favor. I genuinely desire more discipline in my life because I want to honor Him with my life, every aspect and every detail.

Of course, some of these things are significantly more important than others. I am completely aware of that. I am also completley aware that I will crash and burn a lot this year. But I am, right here and now, before all of you...or maybe just before Tracey Shellum (the only one still reading) commiting 'Year 29' to the use and incorporation of Self-Control!

Let the games begin! Oh yeah, the Olympics are on right now...the spirit of the Olympics has even permeated my writing.