Monday, December 29, 2014


for many months, probably since my grandfather died in february, i have felt the quiet breath of God whisper to me over and over, "i am for you. i am with you. i will never leave you". to which, i've replied, "i know" like a flippant teenager more times than i care to admit.

but then the advent season came, the time to prepare our hearts and minds to accept the weight of glory that God wrapped himself in flesh to live and die as one of us. emmanuel. god with us.

and simultaneously life went haywire resulting in me feeling more alone, abandoned, and betrayed than i have in a very long time.

i am for you. i am with you. i will never leave you.

i'm clinging to those words now. some days hanging on to them with everything i have left because it feels like all i have. and even though i have so much more than the promise of emmanuel, isn't that all i really need?

Thursday, October 16, 2014


hi internet friends. the truth is i have had zero time to update you on le blog in the midst of work, school, life, etc. but i haven't forgotten about you AND i wanted to share an awesome opportunity with you.

my birthday is coming up in november. i'll be turning 28! and while that is so amazing there are literally thousands, maybe millions, of people around the world that will never see their 28th birthday due to water-related disease. developing countries only dream of clean water. mothers watch their children bathe in and drink water that they know is deadly. because they have no other choice.

let's give them a choice. let's give them hope in the form of clean water, shall we?

instead of presents or well wishes, this year i'm asking you for clean water for my birthday. i am pledging my birthday to charity: water in the hopes that i will raise $280 that will go toward providing clean water to a community in Ethiopia. what is even more exciting is that right now Keurig is going to double your donation. double. that's amazing.

will you consider visiting my birthday campaign to learn more about how you can help change the world with clean water? will you consider sharing this post or my birthday campaign on your own facebook, blog, twitter? will you consider making a donation to my campaign? don't think i don't want your money. i do. i'll take a dollar. because a dollar could change a life.

here's the facts:
100% of your donation will go directly to funding clean water in Ethiopia.
actually 200% of your donation will go to clean water in Ethiopia, because of Keurig's generous donation in your honor.
water related disease kills over 3.4 million people every year.
that's way higher than the number of people that are killed by war or violence every year.
lack of access to clean water supports gender inequality in developing nations.

right now, in honor of #thankfulthursdays i'm running a super awesome contest to kick off my birthday campaign. the first person to make a donation of $10 or more to my birthday campaign will win a $5 Starbucks gift card. the first person to make a donation of $20 or more will win a $10 Starbucks gift card.

for the duration of my campaign i'm asking you to share share share the hashtag #amandawantswater. if you share your donation with #amandawantswater, you will receive a special thank you from me!

i'm so thankful for clean water. i hope i never take it for granted. will you help me give that gift to a community in Ethiopia for my 28th birthday?

Monday, April 28, 2014

G is for Gatsby

G turned the big 3-0 recently. G is a simple person. He doesn't ask for lots of attention. He would have been content to spend his birthday quietly with his family and maybe a few friends. But I really wanted to live it up because you only turn 30 once. And G deserved a day all about him. So I planned and invited and pinned a black and gold Gatsby inspired party. 

bow tie for him. sequins for me.

it was perfect. every single person dressed up in 1920's inspired or cocktail attire. it was a very fancy party.

I didn't break out the camera until half the guests had left. as awesome as these people look, the best dressed couple left earlier in the evening. complete with wig and firearm.

if i could change one thing about the party it would be adding an official hashtag. because there was a lot of phoning taking place.




happy birthday to my G. you look mighty fine in that bow tie. and i love you. 

Wednesday, March 12, 2014

where i've been

underneath this blog is a person. with a voice. with a story to tell. but without a whole lot of extra time to sit down and type. but this space is just for me, and maybe someday my kids to see memories in words and pictures. with that said what i have to say today is not pleasant. but it is a time i want to remember. because remembering is all i have left.


february began with a bang. G's grandmother was admitted to the hospital on superbowl sunday after falling and breaking her hip. again. after surgery it seemed like everything would be okay but then she got pneumonia. 

right around the time she was diagnosed with pneumonia my grandfather was admitted to the hospital for congestive heart failure. which sounds like a big deal. but he came out of the same exact thing last summer, so we were hopeful for the same. except then he also got pneumonia. and went into acute kidney failure.

by the morning of february 5 we heard that G's grandmother was doing much better. that afternoon we heard that my grandfather was being placed in hospice care. so much can change in a few days. and so we hopped in the car and headed to NJ to be with my grandfather, in the hopes that G's grandmother would continue to improve here in NC. 

i honestly didn't think we would make it to NJ in time. but we did. and G and i stayed until Sunday listening to my grandfather gurgle and struggle and slowly slip away. by Sunday he was suffering so much that i had to ignore all the nurses who kept telling me he wasn't in pain. and we had to leave because of our jobs. 

ten hours later and forty minutes from home we got the call that G's grandmother was also being placed under hospice care. we basically went straight to the hospital to be with G's grandmother and sat bedside over the next two days watching her gurgle and struggle and suffer, just like my grandfather.

and then i lost it. tuesday night in a hospice care center. i just felt the weight of it all crash on top of me. waiting by the phone to hear my grandfather was gone. guilty and heartsick that i wasn't by his side. aching for my husband as he struggled with the same grief for his own grandmother. jealous that he could hold her hand and sing to her and whisper that he loved her just one more time. and then one more.


one thing you have to know is that it rarely snows in NC. and almost never snows in february.

on wednesday at 6:30 in the morning my dad called. i knew what for. he was gone. his race was finally won. i went to work anyway. and so did G. as soon as we got to work it started to snow. and kept snowing. by two that afternoon we were both home. trapped under several inches of snow and sleet. at 4:30 that afternoon G's dad called. she was gone. her race finally won.

then, in the ultimate slap in the face by fate, their funeral services were on the exact same day. almost 600 miles apart. so when the snow cleared that weekend i hopped back in the car to go back to NJ to say goodbye to my grandfather while G stayed here to say goodbye to his grandmother.

and i won't say how i really felt about not being with my husband for that day and those goodbye's. but we made it. as a team. and we're stronger for it than if it had gone a different way.


and the thing about closure is that it feels absolutely complete and totally empty at the same time. i'll always wish i could have my grandfather back for one more minute to say "i love you" one more time. but i'd never wish him back to this broken world from where he's at now.

you have to know. he's my favorite. i know i'm not supposed to have favorites when it comes to people. but he was my favorite grandparent. and he would never admit it, but i was his favorite too. some of my best childhood memories are from spending time with him. sitting next to him while he played organ for me. listening to jazz on record. playing cards. going on walks. eating in little mom and pop diners. the simple, beautiful things of earlier generations.

G and i like to think that our grandparents met each other on february 12 in eternity and had a sweet little chat about how they had sons with the same name who had children that grew up and fell in love. and how they knew we'd still love the Lord after all we'd been through. we'd like to think they stood next to each other as they met Jesus face-to-face. 

Thursday, January 16, 2014

the prayer i didn't pray

i'm not typically a procrastinator, especially when it concerns school. 
just ask G. he will gladly recount the many times i've placed school related activities at such a high premium that i forgot he even existed. i jest. mostly.

however, the winter break inspired a complacency within me that even sloths would scoff at. 
and in the haze of christmas joy i procrastinated in ordering my spring textbooks.
until two weeks before school. which i really didn't think would be an issue thanks to amazon prime and free two day shipping. 

only the texts i needed were unavailable for two day shipping.

alas, i placed my order through my school's online bookstore a full 10 days before the start of spring classes and expected both of them to arrive in plenty of time. except that 4 days later, the aforementioned bookstore unexpectedly cancelled my order.

um, thanks?

so i did what any rational adult would do. i panicked. and i cried. until finally i was forced to place another order and concede that i would not receive one of my texts in time for the first day of class. maybe not even the first week of class.

which led to more crying and more panicking. it's just a book. and i thought my whole educational career was crumbling at my feet.

so i prayed about it. except i didn't pray about it. i didn't even think about praying about it.

and then two days later...

my package arrived. it was sent priority two day even though i had been told that wasn't an option

and God whispered to me beautiful words about trust and faithfulness through that padded envelope.

and even James the kitty rejoiced over the grace of God demonstrated through two day priority mail.

i'm thankful that God is faithful even when i'm not paying attention. that he gives good gifts. the very best gifts. and i'm thankful that God used priority two day shipping to remind me that he loves me.

what are you thankful for? link up on Facebook, Twitter, and Instagram with #thankfulthursdays

Thursday, January 9, 2014

a new year

i obviously have been slacking on the #thankfulthursdays posts.

i'm sorry.

so to start it off i'm thankful for these ladies.

marriage has brought some awesome people into my life. i love the sisters that i've gained by marrying G. but these ladycakes are also like sisters to me. and i love them! 

what are YOU thankful for? link up on twitter, facebook, and instagram and don't forget to tag your post with #thankfulthursdays

Tuesday, January 7, 2014

christmas 2013

since it's january and you're all thinking about health for the next few weeks, i thought i'd remind you of all the yummy memories of christmas. cookies and cakes and candy and carbs. oh my.

G and I made a quick trip to Asheville, North Carolina with our friends/cousins to see the most amazing gingerbread houses. this is edible! this gingerbread "house" was one of the most detailed bits of food i have ever seen. 

i got sick. i even went to the doctor. i almost never get sick. and even when i do i refuse to admit it. 

but then i made cookies and all was well in the world. chocolate and gluten? yes!

G and I spent Christmas Eve at church. we were fortunate enough to be on band for Christmas Services. it was awesome to serve with our church. it was also awesome that both sides of our family were able to come and worship with us.

this little gem is my christmas present from G. we made the decision to only give each other one gift this year. to help us remember that christmas isn't about gifts. to help us remember the one most precious gift of our Savior. and to help us be grateful with less in a world demanding more.

per usual, G still outdid me and bought me a diamond while i bought him a coat.

but it was still a simple christmas. and i loved that. i hope your holidays were merry and bright. here's to a new year full of possibilities!