Masthead header

Meet Me At the Manger

This fall the kids and I had the opportunity to be in a Christmas musical that our church was putting on. The kids were in the choir and practiced weekly for months on end, and I had one of the acting roles. This weekend we put it all together and performed. It was SO much fun and so cool to be on stage with my girls.

photo 1-22

photo 2-23

I love drama and theatre and music so much and to be able to share it with the kids and experience it together was pretty special.


Angella - You ROCKED it. I should email you the video of your JOY performance so that you can embed it. :)

I Thought I’d Be Better At This

Last week I got to meet my newest niece, a two week-old bundle of sweetness and perfection. I held her and marveled at the miracle of new life.

I felt no pangs for another child of my own, but a twinge of sadness trickled through my veins as I mourned the loss of those sacred new beginnings. Even more though, I mourned the past moments I was too tired to enjoy, too overwhelmed to savor, and too wearied to embrace when our own girls were babies.

I wish I hadn’t found new motherhood so HARD, is what it comes down to.

Everyone said it would go by so fast and I didn’t believe them since the babies just kept on coming and we lived in an endless repeat of sleepless nights, soggy diapers, tantruming toddlers, and frozen pizzas for dinner four nights a week.

I look back at photos and am like, “That’s weird, I’m in the photo but don’t even remember having been there.” I was in such a fog, my eyes too bleary to really take it all in and feel any true joy, despite being surrounded by blessings. I am so thankful I didn’t endure postpartum depression, but the six straight years of sleep deprivation, plus the relentless challenges of parenting strong-willed kids, did leave me somewhat lost and blundering.

I love our girls beyond measure; it is a love that lives deep in my bones and my heart and my soul. But I thought I’d be better at staying home with them when they were little, that we would have had more fun; instead I was in survival mode. We made it through, but just by the skin of our teeth. So when I see new mommas who are able to savor and relish those early days, I am envious. I wish I could have been them.

I suppose we all do the best we can, right? And I do have today, to savor with them. To marvel at who they are becoming: all so beautiful and strong and wild and complex.

Steve + Amanda Family 2014 (42)

Babies don’t keep, do they?

Grumble Girl - Dude, I hear you… and I reckon it’s pretty much the same for everyone. We can’t do it all, and be IN it, or OF it all… not all the time anyway. Not even half the time. (Maybe hardly any of the time.) But it’s pretty great once the fog clears, huh? (Most of the time…) xox

Angella - You’re an amazing Mom, Manda Paige. Also, my kids could NOT stop talking about how funny you were at the musical practice last night. :)

Quit It

Steve quit his job last week.

Steve + Amanda Family 2014 (13)

A job he loved, was amazing at, and had so many great things about it. But it was also a job that was stressful, time-consuming and hard to manage with his already full load of responsibilities as a farmer, father, property manager, husband.

Anyone who knows us in real life has watched the struggle the past 12 years have been: project after endless project, three kids in four years, renovations up the wazoo, my jumping head-first into an unexpected career opportunity, the list goes on. It has been beautiful and challenging and hard and wonderful but for the past couple years we have been feeling the pull for more. Or, rather, less. Less stress, less laps around the hamster wheel of life, less busyness, less distance between me and Steve as two ships passing in the night as we struggled to keep our separate spheres from spinning out of orbit.

This has not been a rash decision, by any means. But that doesn’t mean it’s not still a little scary.

It’s good though. We knew there was no option to keep doing what we were doing, so here we go, jumping together into this new stage.

Steve + Amanda Family 2014 (24)

Here we go!


Steve + Amanda Family 2014 (41)

Angella - Hooray, Browns! I can’t wait to see where this change leads you. Love you guys!

Susie - Change can be scary but good for you for leaping out in faith! Praying for the Lords abundant blessings as you search for balance. 😃

Jen - Excited for you guys!!

Danica - Good choice, exciting times, beautiful family. <3

jenny peters - You are a courageous and wonderful couple! So impressed with this decision and excited for your Family and your Future!! Love and Hugs!

Kristin - You are so brave to make this choice especially in our culture that says more and faster is better! Love to you!

Sarah - Stoked that your family is making a healthy-for-the-heart & soul decision. Will eventually follow in your footsteps. <3