Amanda is 30...

If you know my oldest sister Amanda, you know love her. That's just how it is... everyone who knows her loves her. And if they don't love her... well, they must not know her. =) Today, she turns 30. And since she has spent the past three decades being a wonderful person, I thought it would be fun to round up thirty things that people love about her- some are memories shared with her, some are things we admire, and some are just nice things about the nicest person you'll probably ever meet. 

1. She and Steven came and met me halfway on the interstate when Dad died. She got in the driver's seat of my car and drove me home.... helped me so much! She's the best! -Sara

2. Here are a few reasons why I love Amanda: she is funny, she is a positive person, she encourages me when I need it, and her walk with the Lord inspires me to be a better Christian. I could go on and on... =) -Laura

3. There are so many reasons I love that girl! First of all, Amanda is always in a good mood!  In 30 years of friendship we've only ever had 2 fights! One over me using the word "butt" in her presence! [Editor's note: I found this too hysterical not to include!] But seriously, she is always so sweet and loving mixed with a whole lot of goofiness! I am so thankful that our parents kept is close when we were young because there is nothing like the amazing bond we all have as cousins. Most people don't understand but we are more like sisters than cousins. Amanda, 30 is so much better than the 20's in my opinion. Your just more comfortable  and settled in this stage of life. Welcome to the other side! I love you with all my heart and so thankful that God have us each other. Happy 30th Birthday!


4. Her beautiful smile and warm regard for others, no matter who they are. -Aunt Lisa

5. I'm so thankful God blessed me with a friend who has always stood by me and not been afraid to speak truth into my life. Love our many deep philosophical, political and theological discussions we have everyday as we solve the worlds problems! Baines/Azzarello 2016!  Love you!! -Rachel A.

6. I always thought it was pretty amazing that Amanda headed up the bus ministry at such a young age. I also love that she is very even tempered and has grace on her tongue it seems all the time...oh, most amazing pianist EVER! It was a joy watching her blossom into such a wonderful Christian lady and now wife and mother. I feel like a proud mama sometimes. Love you, honey!!! -Mrs. Temple

7. Ahh, this is so hard. There are many reasons why I love her, but one has to be that she is always so positive and encouraging. I love how she is a mother hen to you, Amy, and April. She teases a little, but really knows how to balance out your personalities. -Kailyn

8. When I think of Amanda I think of her love and commitment to those she loves, her sweet loving personality, and her humble spirit! Love her! -Aunt Peggy

9. I love her melodic spirit. Her attitude about life, circumstances, and others is on the upbeat! She can take the negative tunes of life and turn them into a beautiful song! -Mom 

(who else?)

10. What I love about Amanda is her sweet spirit and beautiful smile and how she is always so concerned about how everyone is doing. -Uncle Jay

11. I love Amanda's positive focus. Her optimism is refreshing and contagious. -Matt

12. Amanda, you're such an amazing person! You've always been an encouragement to me and a great role model. I've always aspired to be as great a pianist as you are.But unfortunately, none of us have lived up to the standard you've set! =) I love you so much Amanda and I'm so thankful for you! I'ts amazing to me that we can be 11 years apart, and I would consider you one of my best friends! Lots of love from your favorite cousin. =) -Anna

13. I love her walking on her tiptoes! When I think of her I always remember that. =) 

-Aunt Nancy

14. She is the greatest pianist since Ludwig van Beethoven. -Andrew [Editor's Note: I will most definitely share the rest of Andrew's message in the near future, but it deserves more of a spotlight than to be one of this long list. He did not disappoint.]

15. I love a lot of things... I love her because she is a wonderful person. I took care of her for the first three weeks of her life... I guess that's why I love her so much; I was her Mama for three weeks! -Mamaw

16. I cannot help but think of her love of music. She is a beautiful soul with a sweet spirit! -Aunt Annette

17. She is never too busy to give you a hug and ask how you're doing. -Claire

18. I love going out with Amanda on Saturday or Sunday afternoons to "get a drink," which also means "solve the world's problems and listen to Disney music." And of course, singing

along loudly. I love that she can make me feel better about anything. I love how genuinely
nice, funny, and talented she is. I couldn't ask for a oldest sister that is a better role model! -Amy

19. Happy 30th birthday... you will always be Daddy's little girl! I love you so much! -Dad

20. Amanda, I remember the day I met you at GSBC. I remember thinking how talented you were and felt so special meeting you! I never would have thought that one day I'd marry your favorite cousin =) and get to know you better! You are truly an amazing lady and an inspiration to me. I'm thankful for you! -Kaylah

21. She is ridiculously talented. -Jonathan

22. Amanda has been so influential in my life; she has such a kind and loving spirit. SHE IS THE GREAT MASTER! [Editor's note: I haven't the faintest idea what she is the master of.] -Michelle

23. What I love about Amanda is her ability to sing and play the piano, her love for her family, and her Barbara Walters impersonation. -Charity

24. Amanda has always been the model big sister. We've had our fair share of squabbles, mainly over clothing =)... but she has always been a great example of what a Christian should be- faithful and striving to please God above anyone else. She is the most gifted and talented person I know, while also being the most humble person I know. She is a great sister and friend and I would be in a sad state without her advice, her listening ear, and her friendship. Happy 30th birthday to my first best friend, my big sister! Love you! -April

25. What I love about Amanda is that she lights up a room with her warm smile! She brings happiness with her wherever she goes. -Hannah 

26. My favorite memory is singing Disney songs around the piano. I love Amanda because she is so compassionate! -Carrie 

27. I love her sweet spirit and her ability to play the piano, both like Mawmaw Baines! -Aunt Debbi

28. She is a wonderful friend to those around her, and her genuine love of people is something that I have always admired! -Bobbie

29. I love the fact that she really seeks the Lord every day of her life, she prays, she is big on family, she is the bond of love in our family, she is truly kind, and if you look at I Corinthians 13 she has more characteristics of love than anyone I know. -Steven

30. (It's me now... I get to go last because it's my blog and I make the rules. =) I love Amanda for so many reasons... her influence on me (positively) growing up, the example she set for us, her kindness to me in my awkward teenage years whether it was being the coolest camp counselor ever or just listening to all my pathetic boy drama, her commitment to living right that was always strong but never overbearing, her endearing clumsiness, her less-than-endearing paranoia concerning our whereabouts (which she came by honestly, after April and I hid Amy from her for quite a while during one of her babysitting adventures), her musical talent that never ceases to amaze me, and her transformation from rather reserved, even insecure teenager to a lady who is a beautiful and dedicated wife, a fantastic mommy, and a person who is truly passionate about serving God, discipling others, and kindly but assertively speaking truth on a daily basis. 

She is the most loyal friend you will ever have... sticking when others would have let long ago moved on. She is funny and positive, yes, but deeply serious when it comes to ministering to those around her, bringing up her children to love God, and caring for others. When we were little, she was the one going around to all the old people at the nursing home and hugging them (when I was too scared to venture past my dad's side.) She reached hundreds of kids on her bus route in high school and college and still corresponds with them today. Her piano students adore her. The teenagers in the youth group think she hung the moon. Why? Because she cares and it shows. For her, ministry is not part of life, it is her life.

She is a big part of the glue of our family... the only cousin to have attended every wedding so far, the one makes the music happen (literally!) when we're together. She is the mediator, the encourager, the life-giver (a cringe-worthy sappy term, but true.) She is also the one to call and leave long voicemails singing whatever Disney song happens to be playing at the moment. She is a Fox News junkie, surprised us all by being a great cook, and, course, she is our favorite pianist in the whole world.

Happy birthday, Amanda Panda! In case you didn't know, you are very much admired, very much appreciated, and very much LOVED. Thirty never looked so good. =)


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