11 You Might Know About Me

Well, hello there friends. I’m popping in today to share several things you just might not know about me. I love these types of posts from other bloggers I follow and figured you just might appreciate it as well.
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LIFE LATELY, AN UPDATE

Hello sweet friends! Goodness, it’s been a long time. The first three months of this year were a little crazy and extra full, forcing me to really step back from some commitments or extra things to focus on what matters most. If ya’ll have been around for any extended amount of time, you know I’m passionate about living simpler, saying no to things I don’t have to do, and seeking rest over rush. While things aren’t technically slowing down over the next two months or so, I wanted to pop in, say hello, and give a little life update!
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Vacation in Washington DC | amandabixler.com

TRAVELING THROUGH VIRGINIA + WASHINGTON D.C.

Last week I began to share about our trip on the east coast, beginning with my brother’s wedding in Charlotte, NC. The day after the wedding, after a quick (and absolutely delicious) breakfast at the Flying Biscuit, A & I hit the road. Our plan was to spend the first half of the day driving up to Washington DC, check in to our AirBNB, and then spend some time that evening exploring the Mall (where all the iconic government buildings are).
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A PLAYLIST FOR A RESTLESS SOUL

Storyteller: Playlist for a Restless Soul

One of the greatest struggles when you are seeking being grounded, especially grounded in your faith, is feeling so restless. Restlessness contributes to stress, anxiety, feelings of unfulfillment and uncontentment. Restlessness certainly does not leave you feeling grounded – instead, it can leave you feeling like there’s so much more to life and yet when in the world is God going to show up? After all, we read in scripture story after story of these huge miraculous interventions of God, fighting battles and anointing prophets and raising people from the dead. Read More »

FAMILY STAYCATION RECAP, PART 2

A couple weeks ago, my older brother and his family came to southern California for a week-long visit. It was such a fun time hanging out with my brother and sister-in-law and going on mini-adventures with my nephews, not to mention having the week off of work!

family vacation recap week two

One of the things my brother and sister-in-law really wanted to do was visit Temecula, a great little wine tasting town about an hour away from us. It’s really become a favorite destination of A and I, a perfect place to get away for a day and enjoy some gorgeous weather, some delicious wine, and some great quality time.

Wilson Creek Winery, wine tasting in Temecula
Wilson Creek Winery in Temecula, CA

Our first stop for the morning was Wilson Creek Winery. This is one of the larger wineries in Temecula with beautiful grounds and a delicious patio restaurant. This is the second time A and I have done a tasting here and had a great time. It’s one of the few wineries that opens at 10am and we were glad we got there by 10:30am because, even though we were there on a Friday, it was definitely filling up by the time we left. Also, make sure you download their 2-for-1 coupon on their website if you go!

Briar Rose Winery, wine tasting in Temecula
Briar Rose Winery in Temecula, CA

Our second stop was Briar Rose Winery, an incredibly quaint, storybook-esque winery. It’s so small you have to make an appointment ahead of time but it was incredibly worth the little bit of planning! As soon as you step on the grounds, it literally feels like you walked into a scene from Snow White.

Briar Rose Winery, wine tasting in Temecula CA
Briar Rose Winery in Temecula, CA

Assuming it’s nice outside (which California weather was really showing off this day), they have you sit out on these nice, shaded picnic tables and bring out the different wines. Briar Rose has a smaller tasting menu and you pick between doing a white tasting or a red tasting (most other places allow you to progress through the different wines as you wish) so half of us did whites and half did reds and then we were able to share the tastings between the four of us.

wine tasting lunch at Crush N Brew in downtown Temecula
Lunch at Crush N Brew in downtown Temecula, CA

By this point we were ready for some food and headed into the quaint downtown area to eat at Crush N Brew. This is a favorite place of ours when we come down and the food is always delicious! I got a pulled boar sandwich with crispy french fries.

Our third stop was at Danza Del Sol. They have a great spread of white, red and sweet wine options and we loved how relaxed each of the bartenders serving us were. You could definitely tell they enjoyed where they worked but weren’t as pretentious as other wineries we’ve been to. They also have a beautiful outdoor patio – A and I can’t wait to go back and pack a lunch and just enjoy an afternoon outdoors.

Vindemia Winery, wine tasting in Temecula CA
Vindemia Winery in Temecula, CA

We ended our day at the most gorgeous outdoor wine tasting venue. Vindemia Winery was basically a couple countertops set up amongst the vineyards with twinkle lights and a clear view of the valley. It was such a gorgeous, clear day! I was not as big of a fan of the wine here so I was glad A and I split a tasting (he enjoyed it more than I did), but you certainly couldn’t beat this view!

wine tasting in Temecula, CA
Beautiful, clear skies in Temecula, CA!

Empty Amber Glass Spray Bottle – Large 16 oz Refillable Container for Essential Oils, Cleaning Products, or Aromatherapy – Black Trigger Sprayer w/ Mist and Stream Settings-2 Pack

// We had such an amazing time in Temecula! It was great to spend some quality time with my brother and sister-in-law, getting to know them once again, and share some life together.

FAMILY STAYCATION RECAP, PART 1

Oh how I love when family comes to visit! It’s so fun to get to share our regular visits, our favorite food stops, and to get to have a little staycation in our own lovely city.

southern california family vacation recap

A couple weeks ago my amazing older brother, his wife, and their two little boys flew out for Delaware for a week of chasing the sun, eating delicious food, and drawing endless pictures on the sidewalk with chalk. We went on walks, ate ice cream just because, and were even given the gift of going to Disneyland!

In N Out California vacation

There first stop, like any true California vacation, was to head straight to In N Out for lunch. These boys are just so adorable and full of energy and giggles!

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Brody, 3, and my mom (grandma) having fun with the paper hats

The rest of their first day was spent relaxing, taking my parents’ two dogs for a long walk (and finding some rare California rain!), and cuddling on the chair with grandpa.

California family vacation
Jackson, six, throwing the ball again and again for Radar to chase

IMG_5577

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It started raining on our way home so my mom came to the rescue with big umbrellas!

The next day we went out to LA and saw the Endeavour at the California Science Center. Jackson is really interested in space right now so he loved getting to see the big space ship – and us adults really enjoyed it too!

California family vacation Endeavor California Science Center
It was so huge! We loved being able to walk underneath it, looking at each of the small tiles on the underbelly – many of which had to be replaced with each journey into space

For lunch we headed to a food truck my brother had found – Ricky’s Fish Tacos. These were SO good – perfectly fried fish or shrimp tacos. A and I are huge shrimp tacos fans so we just got shrimp tacos each but my brother said the fish tacos were delicious as well. If you’re ever out in the East Hollywood ever, definitely check these out!

Ricky's fish tacos food truck Los Angeles CARicky’s Fish Tacos food truck in East Hollywood

ricky's fish taco food truck east hollywood CASo delicious! Flaky fried shrimp, a little spice salsa verde, smooth crema – yum!

// What food trucks in the LA area have you visited? Any suggestions?

Be a Champion of Your Tribe

I’m a 26 year old woman – married, college graduate, musician, almost done with her masters. I often find myself in two worlds – the world of music and the world of theology and the Church. Being a percussionist, a scholar and a practical theologian often places me in male dominated cultures – for better or worse, I’m often the minority. In fact, I’ve come to embrace this minority. I revel in be the “lone wolf” (or whatever the female equivalent of wolf is) and take joy when I’m the smartest/most organized/most talented/most prepared person in the room.

ChampionOfYourTribe

Several months ago my husband I went to go see The Intern – a movie that promised charm, humor, and the appropriate Anne Hathaway-ness that I wanted a Saturday morning movie to contain. What I didn’t expect was to be slapped in the face with an apropos message about women in the workforce, intentional decisions, and communally supporting one another through those decisions. A quick synopsis – Jules (Hathaway) is a young entrepreneur who created her start-up company from her dining room table just 18 months previous and led that company to high-end success. Her husband decided to leave his own rising career in his accounting industry to be a stay at home dad so that Jules’ company could continue to thrive and expand under her leadership. Ben (Robert De Niro) comes in as a senior citizen intern – a crazy, culturally relevant idea from one of Jules’ employees. Throughout a smattering of well poised scenes in which Jules interacts with her husband, daughter, and other moms at her daughter’s school, it becomes apparent that Jules is not equally accepted in the “mom crowd” because she has a separate job during the day which keeps her from helicoptering around her child.

In a poignant scene, Ben has taken Jules’ daughter to the park for a birthday party where he begins dialoguing with some of the other moms. He praises Jules’ work and leadership and then turns the tables, asking the other moms “Aren’t you proud of her? She’s one of your people, right? You should be so proud of her.”

But this isn’t always the case. It’s easy to grow competitive when you’re trying to “do it all”. The American culture is set on being exemplary, one of a kind, and unique – so much so that when someone similar to us does something equally or more awesome than us, we cringe.

We get competitive. We stop encouraging and start comparing. We look down at those who may be stay at home moms and label them anti-feminist. We critique those who are single or childless or just passionate about their work and tag them as not caring for the next generation.

And I sit smack in the middle. I feel I face an either-or choice, pursuing academia and a career or pursuing motherhood and being able to make homemade guacamole for my child’s classroom fiesta party (watch the movie – I promise it’ll make sense). And I know we can’t “have it all”. Trust me, I’ve done plenty of research and writing on the negative side affects of working too much and not having breathing room in our lives. There are seasons of where one aspect of our lives takes incredible priority over everything else and that is incredibly necessary to recognize and have grace with ourselves and with one another in and through those seasons.

I guess, more than anything, I just want to know that if I do decide to do both – to pursue a career and have a family – that this would be okay. I want to be able to sit at the feet of Jesus, hear his calling on my life, and then have the courage and boldness to pursue that calling with relentless passion. But I also need to know that I have a community of supporters and cheerleaders who have my back, and not just because I’m a people-pleaser. No, we were called to be in community and to “spur one another on toward love and good deeds” (Hebrews 10:24).

An often quoted scripture verse in times of trial or suffering is Philippians 4:13 “I can do all things through him who gives me strength.” Yet what is frequently neglected is the following verse “Yet it was good of you to share in my troubles”. How can we possibly begin to encourage one another on in good deeds and share in one another’s troubles when our instinct is to judge, condemn, and compete with each other? We should be, in the ways of the wise Ben, so proud of one another.

Wherever you are today, whether single and at lost for what’s to come, married with grown kids, a woman working diligently outside of the home or a brave mom working hard to raise her kids up in the Lord, may I offer this – you are awesome! Keep up the hard work! Keep going, one day at time, pursuing Jesus in all that you do! In the mundane, in the hard times, give yourself grace. You don’t have to make every classroom cupcake from scratch with kale and chia seed. If the laundry doesn’t get done tonight because you are going out on a date with your husband, that’s awesome. But, in perseverance, press on towards the call that God has given you. And let us, as a tribe of people, look for ways to actively love on those around us, to surrender the chains of competition and comparison, and to champion each woman who is doing great things – even if those great things look slightly different than the amazing work we get to do.

// Where are you at today? In your situation or circumstances, what does it mean to view those around you as people of community and encouragement as opposed to competition?

A Sabbath Prayer

As we’ve been going through this Monday series on Sabbath, I’ve shared a brief overview of why we all need a day off, what Sabbath is, and how it can be adapted into your life today or this week. It saddens me so much to continually see friends, family members and coworkers stressed, exhausted and burnt out from their pace of life. While I certainly don’t believe a Sabbath practice on day a week, ceasing from work all together as God originally insisted, is a flash in the pan, fix everything solution, I do believe it has powerful implication when practiced consistently and diligently.

prayer for sabbath, inviting god into our slower rhythms of life

Today I want to share one last tool to help get your Sabbath started – a written prayer. This concept of a prewritten prayer may be foreign to many, but I love them. They certainly don’t make up the entirety of my prayer life, but at times when I’m at a loss of words, uncertain what to pray or how to seek God through the messiness of life, I turn to the words of someone else and make them my own. In the same way we may reach for a meaningful or comforting song, singing the lyrics of another artist, these prayers can mold and shape our prayer life in profound ways.

This prayer is from Shane Claiborne’s book Common Prayer: A Liturgy for Ordinary Radicals

Lord of Creation,
create in us a new rhythm of life
composed of hours that sustain rather than stress,
of days that deliver rather than destroy,
of time that tricks rather than tackles.

Lord of Liberation,
by the rhythm of your truth, set us free
from the bondage and baggage that break us
from the Pharaohs and fellows who fail us
from the plans and pursuits that prey upon us

Lord of Resurrection
may we be raised into the rhythm of your new life
dead to deceitful calendars
dead to fleeting friend requests
dead to the empty peace of our accomplishments

To our packed-full planners, we bid, “Peace!”
To our over-caffeinated consciences, we say, “Cease!”
To our suffocating selves, Lord grant release

Drowning in a sea of deadlines and death chimes, we rest in you our lifeline.
By your ever-restful grace,
allow us to enter your Sabbath rest
as your Sabbath rest enters into us.

In the name of our Creator, our Liberator, our Resurrection and life we pray. Amen.

// It’s a quick prayer – one that doesn’t take much time if you rush through it. Yet, there is much richness and things to contemplate and invite God into in this prayer. May I encourage you to carve out some time this week to pray this prayer, pausing for reflection and listening to what God might whisper to you about?