Saturday, February 22, 2014

Our Father's House

"But as for me and my house, we will serve the Lord." 
Joshua 24:15

Some of you may already know the big news, but Matt and I are now homeowners! We are thrilled to be in a house and have loved living here for almost a week now. While I would love to tell the story of how we found the house and show pictures of how we have it decorated, that's going to have to take the back burner because there is a much bigger story that needs to be told.

This house is not our house. 

While technically we own the house, and the mortgage is in our name, and this is where we sleep at night, neither one of us feels as if this house "belongs" to us. This house belongs to the Lord through the graciousness of Matt's dad Bud. 

Many of you know that this past summer, while we were on our Honeymoon, Matt's dad passed away suddenly. Through his provisions to us and Matt's sister's family, we have been blessed to be able to buy a home earlier than we expected. As teachers we planned to do the apartment thing and save our pennies until we could find a house. However, as has been the theme of the past few years, nothing went according to our plan. 

This house is a blessing from the Lord and we would be fools not to share this story. The story of his blessings poured out on undeserving people. For this reason, we want this house to be a testimony of His work in our lives. From unimaginable sadness to unspeakable joy, we have been blessed beyond belief. This year we have seen that it is possible to seek and find the Lord in times of grief, and we want to be honoring him and praising him in this season of blessing. 

Perhaps another time I will share all the ways the Lord led us to this specific home and how he provided for us along the way, showing us what to do and giving us peace in the process. But for now I just ask that you would pray for the following:

1. That this home would be a place where the Lord is sought first and that it never becomes about anything Matt and I did to have this blessing. 

2. That this home would provide opportunities to reach out to neighbors and share our story of how we came to live here, and that this in turn would point them towards Christ.

3. That this home would provide an opportunity to serve people at our church, our friends, and our families by opening it up and being hosts for various needs.

4. That this home would eventually one day be a place where we can raise our children to come to know their Heavenly Father, and to know the absolute love their Bud would have had for them if he were still here.

5. That we would never stop being thankful for the blessings that have been poured out on us, none of which are deserved.

"Oh give thanks to the Lord, for he is good, for his steadfast love endures forever!"
Psalm 107:1

Monday, February 10, 2014

A Snow Day's Eve

Happy Snow Day to me and the mister tomorrow! Getting a text message at 4 pm that school is cancelled for the following day means a few things:

1. I may or may not already be in my pajamas

2. I have time to write a blog post on a Monday night

3. I will be watching the Bachelor live 

4. A few extra items will get crossed off the to do list with all the spare time I'll have tomorrow (making this type A personality extremely giddy)

As I anticipate my day tomorrow of sleeping in, drinking loads of hot tea, and snuggling under a blanket I am forced to think back on this same time 2 weeks ago…which is now fondly referred to as "Snowmaggedon" or the "Snowpocalypse".

A Series of VERY Unfortunate Events

Monday night (2 weeks ago) -

Me - "it's supposed to be super cold tomorrow and it may snow a little bit"
Matt - "ok"
Me - "think school will get cancelled"
Matt - "I hope not. I don't want to have to make it up"

Flash forward to Tuesday

Tuesday (9:00 am)

My kids - "cool." [middle school excitement]

Tuesday (9:30)

Announcement: We will dismiss after the elementary schools with the target time for buses to be leaving by 11:15

Tuesday (10:00)

Influx of parents storm the gates of Simmons to retrieve their children (also known as "The Lucky Ones")

Tuesday (12:00)

We serve kids lunch as we try to figure out how they'll be getting home

Tuesday (1:00)

Me: "Surely we'll be able to get everyone out of here by 4:00, it's not that bad"

Tuesday (4:00)

Commence eating my words

Tuesday (4:30)

Walked with a friend to get her dog to come spend the night with us at Simmons

Tuesday (5:30)

Ate cafeteria food for dinner

Tuesday (9:00 pm)

Are we really spending the night???????????

Wednesday (7:00 am)

We really spent the night. *Note to self: make chiropractor appointment*

Wednesday (12:00 noon)

Our rescuer in a white minivan came and took me home!

Reflecting on our time spent in Simmons I've been so thankful for a few things.

1. I wasn't in this:

2. I've made great friends at Simmons

3. We had heat, plenty of food, and blankets brought by members of the community

4. I work at a middle school, so there wasn't any diaper changing! (Hunter Street Church had 50+ young children spend the night there)

5. We got the next three days off school!

3 Cheers to this snow day being spent at home instead of at school! 

Wednesday, January 1, 2014

Merry & Married

The holiday season just wrapped up and we loved celebrating our first Thanksgiving, Christmas and New Years together.

For Thanksgiving we didn't have a lot of time due to teaching schedules, so we drove to my family's house Wednesday and celebrated with them Thursday. We then went to Wetumpka to see Matt's family on Friday and drove in to Auburn on Saturday for the epic Ironbowl.

After the Ironbowl we came back to Birmingham and got to decorate our apartment together for Christmas. This was a fun way to start off the Christmas season together, and Matt was a great sport about decorating the tree with me. 

Another fun thing we did this year was go to the Alabama theater to see It's a Wonderful Life with Matt's former roommate Tyler and his fiancé. The theater is beautiful and it was fun to spend the night with friends.

Christmas was then split between Montgomery, Wetumpka and Lake Martin. Here are a few pictures from our first Christmas together!

These first few pictures feature the first time EVER that our family has completely matched for our Christmas pajamas. Christmas PJs is a tradition in the Bradley family but to celebrate our welcoming of Matt into the family mom decided that it was time to go all out. 

We were very excited to get to facetime with our brother who is in East Asia serving the kingdom. We were sad that he wasn't able to be with us but were also very grateful for what technology can do!

Some family members then came down for Christmas dinner from Birmingham and we had a good time catching up with them that evening.

After Christmas Matt and I came back to Birmingham to work on our project list, relax and prepare for our next semester. That didn't stop us from counting down the New Year with some friends last night, and the clock cake was fun to make! (Also notice how much my brother stands out from his friends...)

Merry Christmas and Happy New Year!!

Better Late than Never

My last post on the blog was August 13th... Life took over after that. This post will be an attempt to recap our first semester as teachers, life in Birmingham, family updates, Auburn excitement and a few other things that have kept us so busy the past few months. Buckle in, I'm going to try to hit all the high points!


We have them! This is such an answer to prayer and a reminder that God is faithful. On January 1 of last year Matt and I had yet to begin internships, let alone real jobs. We had no idea where we would be working or how the Lord would provide those jobs. He did and we are thankful. (My job just happens to include coaching 14 middle school cheerleaders).

Now that we got jobs out of the way, here's what has been keeping us busy in our free time.


We were so excited to fly up to Bloomington, Indiana to celebrate with Matt's stepbrother Alex and his soon to be fiancé. Turner had no idea that we had followed her up there to celebrate Alex's birthday weekend with him. We love Turner dearly and are so excited to celebrate with them in May!


Kendall, Matt's cousin and my puzzle-loving soul sister, got to marry the man of her dreams at the end of August. We LOVED being part of their day and celebrating with them.

3. ENGAGEMENT PARTIES (& Awesome Festivals)

Matt and I also traveled to Dothan, Alabama one weekend to not only celebrate the engagement of one of my dear friends Katie and her fiancé Michael [Big Mike] but also to attend the Peanut Festival. The pictures below should demonstrate how much fun we had...(Roasted corn on a stick...enough said)

Aside from everyone we know getting engaged or married there were a few other things that happened.

1. Auburn's incredible season

Matt and I were very lucky to be able to attend many Auburn games during this amazing season, including traveling to Tennessee, being there for the "Miracle in Jordan-Hare" - Auburn vs. Georgia, being there for KICK BAMA KICK - Auburn vs. Alabama, and traveling to Atlanta for the SEC championship...

Our good friend Nate got to attend the Georgia game with us...

Ironbowl. KICK BAMA KICK. Storming of the field. Themed cupcakes :)

SEC Championship in Atlanta & seeing dear Katie

And you'll have to check back next week for a Pasadena update! 12 of us will be traveling to California this Saturday to cheer on the Tigers (and NOT roll the palm trees...)

Coming up in the next post: our first Holiday season as married people. The joy. The traveling. The joy.

Tuesday, August 13, 2013

The Father's Faithfulness

Yall know how songs come to my mind often when I'm trying to put my finger on how I'm feeling. And the song that came to mind when I was thinking about this post is kind of an oldie that has been sung by Chris Tomlin and good ole' Michael W. Smith. You know the one that says "forever you are faithful, forever you are strong, forever you are with us, forever..."?

Well, sometimes you don't realize just HOW faithful our Father is until you have a little bit of distance to look back on things. Other times it hits you in the face and it is impossible to credit yourself or anyone else besides God with how things all happened. Well, this story is one of those times when His faithfulness was impossible to ignore.

"For we know that in all things God works for the good of those who love him, 
who have been called according to his purpose"
Romans 8:28

This story will be presented in timeline form...

November 2012: Matt Sutter & Amanda Bradley get engaged

December 2012 - January 2013: Wedding plans commence

January 2013: Both Matt and Amanda begin semester-long internships. Matt was in LaGrange, Georgia doing student teaching and Amanda was in Birmingham at Mitchell's Place. Matt finds out that he will have two preps, neither of them really history. The first prep was for psychology and the other prep was for government classes. We both tried to find a reason that he'd have to drive an hour into another time zone in order to not even teach a history class....

January 2013-April 2013: Matt slugs his way through his student teaching while Amanda quickly falls in love with Mitchell's Place.

March-ish 2013: Amanda starts to stress about finding jobs. For both her and Matt. Matt, true to character, doesn't stress. 

May 2013: Matt & Amanda graduate from Auburn University. 2 days later, Amanda travels to Birmingham to interview with Hoover. (Long story short, I got the job!) Then...the principal asked Amanda to be the cheerleading sponsor. After some laughter and some prayer, the newest cheerleading coach at Simmons was someone who had never cheered in her life! 

July 2013: What a month. Marriage. Loss. See earlier blogs for what happened in July. Still no job for Matthew. Confusion. Doubt. And maybe a couple of prayers that went something like this...

"Dear Lord. Matt's life has been kinda poopy lately. He deserves a job. Why hasn't he gotten a job? This isn't fair!....etc etc."

(*Note: Probably not the best example of all those key good Christian words like "faith" "trust" and "leaning not on your own understanding")

July 31st, 2013: Cheerleading parents meeting. One parent shows up (a dad) and makes the comment that he wouldn't be here except that his wife was out of town. [Obviously totally thrilled to be in attendance]. He's wearing a local school's athletic shirt. Amanda's big mouth opens and asks where he works. He says "Irondale Middle School". Post meeting, Amanda opens her big mouth again and says that if he ever needs a social studies teacher she's got one at home. He says "I just posted a position today actually". SHUT THE FRONT DOOR! (Didn't say that out loud). Email promptly sent by my sweet hubs to said dad (and principal) of this middle school.

August 2nd, 2013: Matt gets a call that said principal/dad would like him to come on Monday for an interview.

August 5th, 2013: Matt interviews for the position. Thinks it goes well.

And then. NOTHING. Not a word. For 2 whole days!!!

Wednesday August 7th @ 7:00 am: Another stellar prayer went up "Dear God. This stinks. You messed with him again. Seriously?!?!?!?!?! Another lead and it's not going to work out. WHAT ARE YOU DOING???"- Maybe don't take prayer notes from me yall.

Wednesday August 7th @ 11:00 am: Matt shows up. At cheer camp. And.. Wait for it. Is employed. He got the job! He's a teacher! He's employed! He will be teaching 7th & 8th graders at Irondale Middle School and will be helping coach football and track. Oh, and the funny thing is. He'll be teaching civics to 7th graders. Aka. Government. (Ohhhhhhh that's why He placed him in that internship)

It should be noted that at this point on Wednesday I instantly felt a wave of guilt for the struggle session I had been having that morning with Jesus. How little faith I showed. But this I know. HE is FAITHFUL. Even when I doubt, even when I struggle, when I whine and complain. He is still faithful. He is working ALL things together for the good of those who love him. 

My lesson from all of this is to try and do a little less whining and complaining and to keep my eyes open for the incredible ways He is working in our lives. 

Saturday, July 27, 2013


Our first few posts on this blog have been quite serious and in depth. Originally this blog was created to share our life with you, and so today that takes a different meaning. A fun story, fun day with friends and a freebie!

Fun Story:
Kathleen is one of my dear friends and was one of my bridesmaids a few weeks ago. Originally from Birmingham she went to Auburn and we met freshman year. Little did we know that we would become life-long friends through Auburn's freshman orientation program Camp War Eagle where we served as counselors our sophomore year, along with two other sweet sister-friends, Katie and Lauren.

"Leenie" as we often call her is one cool chick. Anyone who has met her knows that, as evidenced by the fact that she's Lebanese, was President of AOPi, has an infections laugh, and moved to Australia for a semester of school. Well, this next part of her story just adds to her cool factor as she sets out for Tulsa, Oklahoma where she will be spending a year mentoring and tutoring students. We cannot wait to follow her adventures in this next phase of life.

Fun Day:
The four frumps (a name we received that summer of CWE) gathered together today in Birmingham to celebrate Kathleen, catch up on life, and have a girls day. Complete with greek/Mediterranean food, Steel City Pops, and lots of talking & laughter, our day was an overall success...These four friends never lack for a good time.

As Kath got ready to head off on a year-long adventure to Tulsa I wanted to give her something to remind her of home. Something that she could put in her room/office/car/closet. It wasn't much but the other two wanted a copy, and I promised to share! So, as promised, a freebie. Click the link below the picture to download your own copy.

We promise that wedding pictures, funny newlywed stories and cheerleading craziness will be shared soon. Happy Saturday!

*If you want a preview of our wedding pictures, visit Brandon's blog here!

Friday, July 26, 2013


One of the ways I most connect with the Father is through music. This may be a shock to those who know me as I am the one child in my family NOT gifted with musical ability. Something about praising the Holy One through song just gets me connected to the Lord in a special way. Several songs came to mind as I thought about the topic of this blog post, and they'll be sprinkled along the way.

This is my prayer in the fire,
And weakness or trial or pain
There is a faith proved of more worth than gold
So refine me Lord through the flames

I will bring praise
I will bring praise

All of my life
In every season
You are still God
I have a reason to sing
I have a reason to worship

(Parts of Desert Song by Hillsong)

There are two reasons that this song came to mind. And specifically, two words. Those words I put in bold because they speak to how Matt and I feel a lot of days. We "will" bring praise. Our praise is not something that should only be done when we feel like it, are having a good day, or something awesome happens to us (like winning the lottery). Praise is a choice, and sometimes we have to set our hearts and minds to that fact that we WILL praise. 

Along these same lines, the second word that stands out is "every". In "every" season. All of our life. And the reason we can praise and will praise all of our life, in every season is because God is still God. He still has a plan for us and he is sovereign. This thought, the Lord's sovereignty, brings me to the real reason for this post.

Sovereign one
You work all things to your plan
Sovereign one
You hold all things in your hands

Perfect in power. You control all things
Perfect in wisdom. You know everything
Perfect in goodness
Jesus You're so good to me
So good to me

(Sovereign One by Sovereign Grace Music)

Something that has brought us great joy and led us to praise during the past few weeks has been to look back and see the Lord's sovereignty working through time and our lives, orchestrating His perfect plan for me, for Matt, for Bud, and for all of our family. I would love to tell all the details, all the stories, and all the ways we've seen sovereignty but that might take a novel. Below are a few of the things that stood out to us as amazing.

1) Our wedding date:
For the longest time, Matt and I talked about getting married on July 13th, not July 6th. We were afraid to do it on a holiday weekend, that people wouldn't be able to come, or that we'd interfere with other people's plans. But, because of the Lord's Sovereignty. NOT chance. We landed on July 6th. And Bud was able to stand by my husband, as his best man, and experience one of the happiest days of his life as a father.

2) Bud's toast:
Because we had our wedding a week earlier, Bud was able to give my husband a toast, a challenge, and words of encouragement. He got to tell my husband that he was proud of him. That he was man enough. And give him words of advice on how to love & serve me. This stands out because due to the absolute sudden nature of Bud's passing, it's possible that their last words may have been mundane, routine, or even filled with frustration or some other negative emotion. We are so thankful that Matt got to spend meaningful time with his dad that weekend, and that we were able to receive wisdom and encouragement from him

3) Bud was not keeping Grayson:
Those of you who knew Bud know that he was retired and was in part time Early Childhood Development (aka; he kept his 3 year old granddaughter several days a week). However, on that day, he was not. This is such a relief and a point of peace for her parents and all of us. Grayson will be able to cherish memories of her Poppy without having to remember him in that way. We are beyond thankful. 

These, along with many others, are the reasons that Matt & I will bring praise. Right now and for all of our lives. We encourage you to do the same!