You do You

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You do You. 

This was advice given to me by a speaker I recently listened to at a leadership breakfast I went to for my job.  She was talking about her career path and current position at a prestigious local company. At one point, she mentioned her two children and their ages. A quick bit of math brought the realization she had built her career while her children were very young.  After the breakfast, I went up to introduce myself as we had a mutual friend and ask her advice.

Being a working mom is tough. Being a working mom in a world where most people assume eventually you will wake up and realize your lifelong dream is to be a stay at home mom is even tougher.  I have nothing against either camp. But I know where I solidly fit. In the land of working moms. I asked how she did it and if she had any advice to pass along. She had some solid advice and was super encouraging, but one phrase hasn’t left my mind. You do you. She said, you have to do you and that is when you will be the best mom and wife and employee.   As I left and continued to mull over what she said, I could see how so very true it was in my own life.

When I am being me-the best me I know how to be, I am a good mom, wife, and employee/volunteer/friend etc.  But when I try to act like someone else or fit into some other mold, I am tired, cranky, and generally a not-fun version of myself.  In so many ways, in this season of my life, I feel called to stay at my job. I love my son and enjoy every minute with him, but I know this is who I am. I am a working mom. And you know what, when I embrace that, when I live in that space, I am everything else better. I am not spending my days waiting for God to change my heart and make me magically into a stay-at-home mom. I am spending my days doing what I am best at and loving God, my family, and my life well through it.

So friend, you do you.  Whatever you looks like, be the best you. And if we all do this, we will become the best supporters of each other. I can cheer you on and you can cheer me on and we can run our races together, however different they may look.


My Do-Not-Do List

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If you missed my obsession with Hoopla, check here for more details. And download it stat. It might change your life.

My current audio book loves are all of Shauna Niequist’s books. I probably should stop listening to them because they make me cry. Ugly tears sometimes. But I love her. and her writing. and she narrates them. Currently, I am in the middle of Bittersweet and she has a chapter in there on her “Do-Not-Do” List. At one point she was overwhelmed and trying to do it all (hello all my millennial mom friends) and received some wise advice which lead her to creating a list of things she doesn’t do. Things on the list are free from guilt and shame because by not doing those things, she has time to do the things she loves. This was what I needed to hear. After a month of fighting and losing the battle with a nasty cold and generally just feeling overwhelmed, stressed out, and on the verge of a meltdown, this was the breath of fresh air I needed.

The world of social media makes mom-guilt a lot worse I think and I was struggling big time. So I enter for your enjoyment (and accountability or free pass) my personal Do-Not-Do (“DND”) list.  It’s a work in progress and subject to change. But the things on this list today are things which I refuse to have any guilt over. None. Nada. Because the things on this list mean I can do other things I love and enjoy and bring life and wholeness to me and my family.

Amanda’s DND LIST

1. Fold socks-sorry folks, mama ain’t got time to match all your socks. In our family, we go through a lot of socks in a given week. They will be placed in your sock drawer and it’s up to you to find a matching pair. Or don’t because I hear mis-matched socks are all the rage.

2. Halloween Costumes- This is timely as this week was Halloween. I made my list prior to the 31st and since this was on the list, I refused to let any guilt seep into the day. I have a full plate and making a costume was not a reality. And I refuse to spend money on something to be worn once. On top of that, I never celebrated Halloween as a kid and am undecided on what we will do as a family, but for now, it’s a no go.

3. Decorate for any holiday aside from Christmas- I LOVE Christmas. So much I won’t even deny I may become the person with a tree in every room. I love Christmas music, Christmas trees, Christmas decorations, Christmas cards. I think you get it. But only Christmas gets a free pass. Sorry to all the other noble holidays, my house will not reflect your presence. It’s just one more thing I have to clean up.

4. Grocery Shop at multiple stores- I know it would be more budget friendly, but time is money. And in my limited spare time, spending it driving to multiple stores to save a little money just loses out. So sorry Aldi, I will miss you so. But today I will enjoy my one-stop shopping trip that takes less than an hour.

5. Go to the gym- I hesitated to put this one on my list. At different points in my life, I have spent a lot of time at the gym. Early mornings, Saturdays, late nights-you name it. But right now, I have an active one-year old who demands all my attention and a gym membership and gym classes just don’t fit on the calendar or in the budget. They will again someday I am sure, but for now, this is on the list so I can stop feeling guilty about the fact that instead of going to the gym over my lunch I actually ate a meal sitting down without a toddler screaming at me.

That’s my short DND list. I am sure there are other things, but the things I put on the list have, over the past several months, caused me the most guilt so they went on the list. Life is too short and there are too many beautiful and lovely things to do so just know, if you ask me to a Halloween party there will be no costumes. :)

What’s on your DND list? Don’t have one? What are you feeling guilty about that might need to go on the list? Being a momma is hard and there just isn’t time for everything.

One Christian’s Response to the 2016 Election

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presidentYa’ll, listen. If you haven’t noticed, there is this tiny little political election happening this year. I am not sure how you could have missed it. I don’t watch TV, but social media is rife with articles, posts, opinions, and every other type of political fanfare you can imagine. I normally try to shy away from all things political,  but today I hit a breaking point.

Someone on my FB feed posted an article about Trump with a line about how could you not support him after reading this article. Curious by nature and still slightly in shock at the candidates we have to choose from, I clicked on the article.  Perhaps it would sway my decision. I do not believe the article was written by a believer, but the person who posted it is someone whose faith I admire. The article was full of hate. And anger. And all sorts of awful things. But the line in the article which compelled me to fling my thoughts into the giant swirl of thoughts surrounding this election was this “Donald Trump is the last hope for America.

Hours later, I still can’t decide if I want to cry or punch a wall or listen to some really depressing music with a glass of wine.  How in the world did we get to a place where we willingly support and post articles promoting Trump as the last hope for America?!? I do not care whether you love him or hate him quite frankly. I won’t try to convince you how to vote. Those things are your personal prerogative, but please, I beg you, stop calling Trump the last hope for America.

No human will EVER be the last hope for America. Because humans are not the source of hope. Hope lies in the person and work of Jesus Christ. Period. His death and resurrection provided hope. Jesus brings peace and love and an example of how to live.  His words should be readily on our lips as we talk about this election..

I am the way, the truth, and the light..”

“If they persecuted me, they will persecute you..”

“In this world, you will have many troubles, but take heart, I have overcome the world..”

“I will never leave you nor forsake you..”

“Go and make disciples of all nations..”

“Love the Lord your God with all your heart, with all your soul, and with all your mind. And love your neighbor as yourself.”


As Jesus followers, we are called to a higher standard. We are commanded to love our neighbors as ourselves. We are called to make disciples of all nations. We are called to peace. We are called to follow Jesus. And Jesus didn’t promise us a life without persecution or hardship or governments that disagree with us. He promised us His peace and love and intimacy.  The outcome of this election could very well shape history in America. It could very well be less than favorable for the American church. But friends, this is not something to fear. This is reason to fall on our face and pray. This is reason to be a church known by our love and actions, not by our words and hate. This is reason to defend the cause of the poor, care for orphans and widows, and seek justice in our nation. This is a call to the believer to place your hope in Jesus and to live as though God still sits on throne. He knows the outcome. He will not be surprised. And He will never leave nor forsake us.

Trump is not the last hope for America. Jesus is the last and only hope for America.

One Year Later

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birthday1hudsonThey say kids grow up fast, but how truly fast they grow up is not something you understand until you have them. And then all of a sudden you sit here on the verge of your first kid’s first birthday and wonder where the time went. Weren’t you just born yesterday? I still picture that moment with the most vivid of memories. H’s birth was tough. He came into this world as stubborn as his mama and I love every ounce of his personality and little life.

Perhaps because H is our first or because I always wanted an August birthday, I have a big party planned. I have no idea who will actually show up, but honestly, it doesn’t matter to me. Planning it has been the most fun!  It has given me time to reflect and be excited and dream and pray for my sweet and stubborn little man.

Let’s be honest, this whole mom thing is TOUGH. Nothing about it is easy and most days I feel like I am literally wearing my heart on my sleeve and then ripping it out to physically leave it at daycare. This is exacerbated by the fact the last week of drop-offs have been full of huge tears, outstretched arms, and lots of “mamama.” Today perhaps was the hardest because instead of tears, I got the cold shoulder. Oh kid, you already know how to crush your mama. Thankfully, I am confident he is in the best hands and in just a few short hours, his face will light up when I walk back through the door to pick him up.

As I have watched H develop a personality, I see in him so much of me. He is stubborn as can be and adventurous with zero fear. I have a feeling, despite my best efforts, we may become well acquainted with the ER as he grows.  He is also so much of his father. He is so observant and a quick learner. He loves to eat and loves to love. He is the most cuddly, sweet little boy. I pray everyday for him to grow into a lover of Jesus. I pray for him to have a heart for the least and to be a champion for the downtrodden. And I pray he never loses his adventurous spirit.

Being a mom has changed so much of who I am as well. I realize how much I value the simple things in life and how much I love being home with our little family. I have realized how tough and lonely being a mom can be and how much we need community. I also think prayer is the only parenting tool you need. Sure, other skills are good to have, but at the end of the day, I have to lay my anxiety and fear and worry at the feet of Jesus and trust He loves H more than I ever could. Over the past year, I have learned to say no to things and to limit my time away from home. I have learned just how truly strong I am and how willing I am to do whatever is necessary for my family. And I have learned to trust and seek Jesus in every aspect of my life.

So my sweet H, as you turn 1, my biggest prayer for you is you come to know Jesus and you know you are always safe in His arms. Even if mine fail, His never will.


You Don’t Have To Be Supermom

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The next time you go to your local library, see if they have an account for Hoopla. It is my new favorite app. I can borrow music and audio books through my local library and listen to them while I am driving. Although, on the same note, I feel old for admitting my new favorite app is one that gives me the ability to listen to audio books. Regardless, I love it. With an almost one-year old,  I just do not have time to sit down with a book. But I do have time to listen to someone else read me one.

My current audio book is “The Best Yes” by Lysa TerKeurst. If you haven’t read (or listened) to it, I highly recommend it. The book came on the heels of another book I will write more about later, but has been the perfect narrative to my current position in life.  Our little family is about to go through some good, but tough changes. My sweet hubby took a new job with more hours and I have a growing non-profit, an almost toddler, and work full-time. Add to this a constant struggle with my calendar and the word “no”, this book has been a lifesaver in so many ways.  I could write about many things I am learning or many of the amazing things Lysa writes about, however, the downside to audio books is a lot of the exact details get lost.  I get the general gist and eventually will pick up the hard copy to fill in the more minute details. But one line has been playing over and over in my head  since I listened to a portion of the book on my way to a lunch meeting the other day. Lysa was talking about a comment a reader had posted on her blog and the line that stuck out to me was “You don’t have to be a supermom.”

Perhaps you don’t need to hear that today, but boy did I need to hear those words. In a world of social media, Pinterest, and an opinion about every-little-thing, those words were a lifesaver. They were a reminder to me as I walk into this next season, I don’t have to be a supermom.  Because the reality is, I can’t be one. I love H more than words can explain. But I am not supermom.  Some days I am frustrated mom. and tired mom. and overwhelmed mom. and don’t touch me one more time mom.  And some days I am Pinterest mom and do-it-all with grace mom and superb chef mom.

But regardless of the day, I want H to remember I was his mom. I want him to remember I wasn’t always distracted or running around trying to be supermom. That I was gracious with him and accepted the limits on my time, talent, and emotional capability. I want him to remember my strength came from my relationship with Jesus.  That I set the laundry aside to do a puzzle or play a game.  Am I good at this? No. Am I working on it? Yes.  I am slowly trying to let go of the to-do list and embrace a be list.  Just Be. Here. Now.

Today whatever season of life you are in, remember, you don’t have to be supermom.  You don’t have to have it all together. Because I bet, regardless of how you feel as a mom, your kiddos think you are super.

Dead Begin to Rise

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When you walk into the room
Sickness starts to vanish
Every hopeless situation ceases to exist
And when you walk into the room,
The dead begin to rise
‘Cause there is resurrection life
In all You do


Sunday morning as we sang the lyrics to the song above, they hit me in a way they never have before. The last three lines rang in my head for the rest of the day. I could not shake the thought of how different things would be if we actually lived like we believed the words of this song.  As a believer, we don’t often question the cross and the message of hope it brings, but I wonder how often we live in light of the fact Jesus brings life.  As a Jesus follower, I bring His light and life with me each and every place I go.

Oh friend do you see what this means?  We should be running to every dark place, every place with the dead and the broken, every place with the sick and hopeless because when Jesus walks into the room, boom. Life, Hope, Healing. When I walk into the dark places, I walk in with Jesus. And when He walks into the room, the atmosphere changes. I can attest to this because I have walked into some dark places. Something changes when we bring the light of Jesus with us.

Because of Jesus there is no place too dark, too scary, too hopeless, or too lost. So let us run into those places with the light and love of Jesus and be amazed at what happens as we go.

Read more: Bryan & Katie Torwalt – When You Walk Into The Room Lyrics | MetroLyrics

Savoring Slow

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For much of my life, I have been a morning person. Prior to getting married, I was up and at the gym between 4:30 and 5 every morning. I love the peace and calm of the morning. I maintained my early mornings after getting married for a while, but slowly the early morning gym workouts fell by the wayside. Add a baby into the mix and my mornings became “how late can I sleep and still get to work on time.” They were chaotic, rushed, and anything but peaceful and quiet. I was barely able to get to work on time and struggling. Majorly struggling.


Something had to change. And while I think some of my struggles were from some postpartum issues, I think many of them were from skipping my morning rituals I had loved for so many years. My mornings were so chaotic, the rest of the day just seemed to follow until I fell into bed exhausted, dreading the morning alarm. I ran across an e-book I immediately knew was what I needed- The Abundant Mama’s Guide to Savoring Slow.

Each chapter is a habit to work on in order to savor the moments of life. The book is designed to work through over an entire year so I am going to go through it slowly and then in January start over at the beginning.  The first chapter is entitled “Wake Up.” So with my journal, Bible, and book ready, I set  my alarm for 5:30am in order to give me 30 minutes in the morning to read, write, and pray before starting my day.

Mamas and friends, this is the best decision I have made. It is tough. Some mornings, I want to just stay in bed. And I will admit, a few times I have. I am growing in giving myself grace to not to be perfect. But more times than not over the past three weeks, I have gotten up early and positioned myself on the couch for 30 minutes. Sometimes my little one decides to wake up early and interrupts my time and sometimes I end up talking to my husband for part of it, but it has made the biggest difference. Those 30 minutes have meant my days are less rushed, I have more energy, and I feel better equipped to love my family.  I am learning the moments of life to savor are the small ones. The moments when I hear “ma-ma-ma” coming from the kitchen and I drop whatever I am doing to make sure little H knows his mama is right here. The moments when I spend a few extra minutes eating ice cream with J instead of rushing off to bed. I needed my mornings. They are fresh water to a thirsty soul.

Want to join me on this Savoring Slow journey? Sign up for my e-mails or comment below.  What does “Wake Up” look like in your world? Maybe for you it is getting up earlier. Or maybe it is unplugging from your phone. Or maybe it is reading one extra book or playing one more game. Whatever it is, enjoy the moments and learn to savor them.

Waiting.. And More Waiting.. Part 1

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He is almost one right?!?bebravelittleonearrow

I have lost track of how many times I have been asked that question over the past several weeks. People look at the calendar or see me and little H and all of a sudden, it hits them, it’s almost August. Isn’t his birthday in August?

Yes. His birthday is in August. And yes he is almost one. But the more I get asked about it, the more sentimental I become which is odd because I am not a sentimental person. I have actually been excited each time he has grown into a new size of clothing. I have loved seeing him grow and tried to not be sad about the passing days and the moments when I no longer see a tiny baby in front of me. However, to truly celebrate one year of his life, allow me a moment to reflect.

H was supposed to come the middle of August. We live in Southern Indiana and August is HOT. I also had a lovely OB jump the gun and inform me about 5 weeks before he actually came that I should go home and pack my bags right NOW. (this was not my regular OB..)  I did just what he said because what did I know. The Dr. said he could come ANY day and at that point the farthest I had gotten in packing was making a list of what I wanted to pack. This was at about 37.5 weeks. At 41.5 weeks, I was cursing my packed bags. See, they sat in front of our door, packed, for FIVE weeks.

While pregnancy is not short, any amount of time over 40 weeks is SO. MUCH. LONGER.  It’s like the clock decides to stand still. I was ready to meet our little guy, but I was stubborn and determined to let him come on his timing so I waited. And waited. And at 41 weeks and 6 days, after walking 10 miles between two days, I was done. I called my OB almost in tears and said I couldn’t be pregnant any longer. Remember, it was August. And it was hot. and I was now approaching 42 weeks pregnant.

My husband and I went out to eat that night and enjoyed the last night as a family of 2. Tomorrow, H would be here. Needless to say, I did not sleep much that night. Mostly I kept hoping maybe I would have a contraction. But nope. Nothing. I got up and ate breakfast (shh.. don’t tell anyone) and headed off to the hospital.

I will tell you a little more about his birth day later. But I was looking back through old blog posts and came across this post I wrote in January of last year- The Year of Patience.  Apparently, H knew about my word of the year and decided his arrival would be a great time for me to work on my patience. I am confident he came at the exact right time and I learned a lot about patience in the process. He is my August baby which is what I always wanted. His birthday will be a celebration of the grandest sorts because after almost 30 years of a December birthday, I can now live vicariously through my precious baby boy, throwing parties without the fear of snow or the conflict of Christmas parties or the stress of final exams.

Working Mom Essential: A Deep Freezer (plus recipes)

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Our 4th of July was rainy. It was the type of day you just have zero desire to go outside and mainly would like to crawl up on the couch with a good book or a decent movie. For me, it was the perfect day to jump back into the world of my deep freezer.freezermeals

Right before H was born, I did a marathon of freezer meal prep and had meals for a good while after he arrived. This was an excellent decision and saved us from eating frozen pizza every night of the week (not that my sweet hubby would have complained!).  Then I went back to work and life got crazy and my deep freezer was neglected.

When I saw the weather forecast for the weekend was rain and more rain, I decided to spend the day cooking.  Freezer cooking ALWAYS takes longer than I remember and it is always exhausting, but the sense of accomplishment afterwards is amazing.  I think you could get by with a regular freezer, but trust me, a deep freezer is soo nice. The meals keep longer and I can cook more without having to play a game of Jenga every time I try to get things out of my regular freezer.

Sometimes it can be hard to find decent sounding freezer meals unless you want to eat something Mexican flavored for every meal (which I do not) and since its summer, using a crock pot is just not as appealing so I included below most of the meals I made ahead in case you need some inspiration.  Pinterest is amazing for this too! (which is where all these meals came from!)

1. Honey Mustard Chicken-this isn’t a crock pot meal and I actually made and prepped this one for dinner this week. I think it might hold up in the freezer, but I just figured I would keep it out so I had dinner for this week already done.

2. Lamb Burgers- this was my score of the week. I have been searching for ground lamb and finally found it. I prepped lamb burgers to have and the rest of the toppings sound amazing.

3. Slow Cooker Sweet Potato and Chicken Korma- I love Indian flavors and decided after making this, I was going to look for more Indian food to add to our diet. It’s one of the things I miss the most about living overseas. There is nothing like fresh Naan. This isn’t a make it and go to work recipe so I plan to cook it some the weekend.

4. Real Food Sloppy Joes-these take me back to my days as a camp counselor. I love sloppy joes and this recipe passes my healthy eating test.

5. Zucchini Meatloaf- this is on my to-do list for this week since I actually forgot about it. I bought the ingredients and then failed to transfer it to my freezer meals list. I am not a meatloaf fan normally, but this is my favorite. It is so moist and I promise, you can’t taste the zucchini at all.

6. Slow Cooker Quinoa Enchilada Bake- I am trying to eat more Quinoa, but I haven’t figured out how to cook it. However, adding it in to other recipes is easy and this one is really good. You can add chicken or beef and it’s super good!  Also, I omitted the Pinto beans just because I knew I was going to add meat and didn’t want that many beans in it.

Those are a few to get you started. I made a couple of other meals, but I don’t have links to those. You can check out the rest of my Pinterest board here. If you are a busy mom, I highly recommend freezer cooking and becoming best friends with your crock-pot.

The Dark Side of Social Media

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phone2For all I love about social media, there is a side a loathe. The side which often rears its ugly head after holidays or vacation days or even some ordinary weekends. Honestly, it’s not actually an issue with social media, but more the way it brings out the dark side in me that I hate.

This morning as I was scrolling through my Instagram, I realized how quickly my internal emotions shifted to anger, jealously, and disappointment. It happened in a moment and when I realized it, I quickly set my phone down like it was on fire. This has to stop. I needed to re-direct before I spent the day wallowing.

Another holiday had gone by and another weekend in which not a single friend had invited us to celebrate. Truth be told, I hadn’t invited anyone over either so I cannot blame this totally on everyone else. Plus, I know life is busy. I get it. But nevertheless, as I saw those in my life celebrating with friends, I felt this heavy weight of feelings. In that moment, I had a choice. I could keep scrolling through my social media or I could put it down and give the weight over to the One who holds my heart.

Hence the dropping the phone like it was hot. As I finished getting ready, I flipped over to a devotional I had been reading and spent my time in prayer. God promises us His burden is light and His yoke is easy.  He knows our deepest thoughts and sacred moments. He saw an almost 30-something feeling like the junior high girl who got kicked out of the popular kids crowd. He saw the heart so desperately in want of community. And He reminded me as I overheard the sweet conversation between my husband and 10 month old of the amazing weekend we had just the three of us. These moments are fleeting and while sometimes incredibly tough, I cherish them deeply.

Although I wish I could tell you I left for work feeling all peachy keen about life, I can tell you I left for work knowing the heaviness of my heart was laid at the feet of Jesus. I re-focused on my sweet little family and how thankful I am to be married to my best friend. I put the desires of my heart squarely in the box of Jesus. He is the only one who can meet the deepest desires to know and be known. He is the only one who can strengthen my soul and equip me in the fight. And He knows. He understands. We serve a Savior who can relate to us in our weakness.

So dear friend, remember today Him whose burden is light and yoke is easy. Remember the One who knows our deepest struggles and who meets us in the low places. And trust He will answer every prayer whispered in the secret.