Amy Scott's Thoughts

Sharing the thoughts that bounce around in my brain!

Pre-Road Trip Blog May 26, 2011

Filed under: Family Time,Travels — Amy Scott @ 3:12 pm

Just wanted to type up a quick entry before I leave for Kansas in the morning. I will not be bringing my laptop on this trip, so I will write an update when I return from my road trip to Kansas. I appreciate all the prayer you can send our way as we travel. I don’t think I’ve ever been to 10 states in a month’s span of time. I will see some new places – Nebraska and Kansas. The more I travel the more I have an itch to see all 50 states. My next hope is to work New Mexico in some how… however, I would also love to see the New England states as well (preferably in the the fall).

Seems like life is in a continual season of change and this period of my life is no exception. It will be difficult to have my sister and closest friend move so far away, but I believe that God works all things for good. I anxiously await His new blessings and new mercies in this next season. He is so faithful to me in all seasons of life. Through all of the ups and downs.

I will take notes and be looking for God’s insights during this trip. I hope that I have something fresh and new to report to you when I return. The one thing I would like to leave you all with today is – God has given you the family you have for a reason. I know each family has it’s own unique situations and circumstances. Some come from positive family backgrounds and some from negative ones. I believe that God is intentional with the people He has placed in our lives. If you are close to your family, don’t take that closeness for granted.If you are not close with your family, remember that the greatest thing you can do for them is pray.  Family brings out so many different roles and emotions. Just remember that you have been placed where you are a reason and you didn’t pick your family, God did. Make the most of every opportunity!

 

The Sleepover Sensation May 24, 2011

Filed under: Children's Ministry — Amy Scott @ 8:50 pm

Who doesn’t love a good sleepover? I remember as a child sleepovers where the highlight of my friendships. There was something so fun about staying up late, doing fun activities, eating a little junk food and staying away from home. It was truly the best! Now that I’m a grown-up, I still think there is something powerful about the fun that can be had a sleepover.

Every year, our church throws a big sleepover for all our 1st-6th grade girls. We take over the whole church and spend the evening in our pajamas having a blast. Each year we have a new theme that sets the stage for the sleepover. This year’s theme was “All Around the World”.

We start the night off with dinner and door prizes (who doesn’t love getting a prize?). After we eat,the girls are divided up into different groups and are sent off to rotations with leaders. Since we had an international theme, all our rotations represented a different country. We had crafts from Japan and Australia. We played games from France and China. The highlight rotation was our snack rotation where the girls got to try foods from different countries and try to guess where it all came from.

The rotations keep the girls hopping and moving right along through the night. As it starts to get later, we need to wind things down, so they actually can get some sleep that night. We have a short devotional time which includes a gospel presentation. We use this event as an outreach for girls to invite their friends to church and show them how fun it can be. For some girls who attend, this is their first time ever hearing about Jesus and how he loves them.

Once the devotional time wraps up, we split the girls into two groups. The younger students (1st-4th grade) head to our gym to watch a 30 minute movie. The older girls (5th-6th grade) go to a different room where they get to watch a full length movie.  We’re very intentional about doing the devotion time as a “calm down” period of time but they are still alert and awake. Once we move into the movie portion of the evening most just drift off to sleep as the video plays.

After we get a less than full night of sleep, we wake up (normally to the army bugle melody) and have breakfast together and clean up the church. Both girls and leaders help us tidy up the building so it seems as if we were never there. My favorite part is when parents ask the girls if they’ve had a good time and their daughter goes off into instant stories and shows off her crafts she made.

Here are some other sleepover ideas that we’ve used over the years – for boys, throw an indoor camp out. Make your rotations “manly” or camped themed. Even serve meals that would be served out camping. Depending on the time of year, location, and your bravery level, you could even make a campfire and roast marshmallows.

For my midweek class of girls, we do our own personal class sleepover. It’s just for 5th-6th grade girls and instead of being at the church, I invite them over to my house. I love that girls can see that I care about them outside of my classroom. It shows them that I love hanging out with them. Inviting them into my home really creates that environment of investment. We have dinner together, play games (Disney Scene It is always a hit), and we watch a movie. After a not so restful night of sleep, we have breakfast together and meet up with the parents. These smaller sleepovers are every rewarding for just having a good time with the kids you teach.

Bring back the popcorn and the late nights, talk until 2:00am, run around in your pajamas! The sleepover sensation will be a hit with your group of students. You might just find that you have as much fun as the kids!

 

Every word counts May 19, 2011

Filed under: Bible,Children's Ministry — Amy Scott @ 4:11 pm

I teach 5th/6th grade girls on Wednesday nights at my church. It’s an honor to teach the next generation about God’s Word. I have moments during my class where I am teaching them, but I’m also feeling convicted by the lesson. It’s almost like an out of body experience where I am the student and the not the teacher. There are verses that just jump out at me and I am struck again by their truth. I had one of those moments last night as I taught my girls about “Taming the Tongue” (that is our current unit we’re working on). Because I have grown up in church and studied the Bible for school, I feel like I have a lot of head knowledge, but there is a connection where the head knowledge must become heart knowledge. Even the things that I might have learned many years ago, I still need to be remind of today and challenged to live them out better.

Last night we were talking about how our words flow out from our heart. If our hearts are full of goodness than good things will come out. If they are filled with evil, bad things will come out. The focus verse was Matthew 12:33-37. Here is a portion of that passage from the Message: “It’s your heart, not the dictionary, that gives meaning to your words. A good person produces good deeds and words season after season. An evil person is a blight on the orchard. Let me tell you something: Every one of these careless words is going to come back to haunt you. There will be a time of Reckoning. Words are powerful; take them seriously. Words can be your salvation. Words can also be your damnation.(Mt.12:35-37).” The NIV puts verse 36 this way, “But I tell you that everyone will have to give account on the day of judgment for every empty word they have spoken.”

Even though I’ve known this truth for some time, I was deeply reminded how important my words are. Each one is acounted for. Nothing slips pass God. If I said, He hears it. If I think it, He hears it. I don’t want to be careless with my words. I don’t want to talk just to talk and hear the sound of my own voice. I’m not sure I think enough about the purpose of my words. One of the activities the girls had to do in response to the lesson was create a mission statement for how they wanted their words to reflect them. Here is my mission statement for my words – I want my words to reflect the love of my Savior and be used for His purpose and His glory. I want my words to be encouraging to all who hear. I want my words to strengthen the body of Christ. I want my words to be gentle and humble; may they point to Christ and not to myself.

Today’s reminder is that every word counts… So make the most of them!

 

Time for moving on May 18, 2011

Filed under: Simply Me — Amy Scott @ 9:23 pm

I know that is a loaded title for a blog – for those of you worried about me moving or major life change – don’t worry! This is more of a “mental” moving than a physical one. Let me explain!

I have the best times with Jesus when I’m driving alone in my car. This may seem silly but the same Switchfoot CD is playing in my car and it just keeps hitting me with reflections and insights. Today’s insight was about moving on. One of the songs talks about holding on to things too tightly and being ready to move on when we’re called. I love to sing along to this song, but it’s probably something I have the hardest time living out.

I don’t like change. I wish I did, but I don’t. Even good change upsets me because it throws off my balance and flow. I am the kind of person that sinks into a routine and sticks with it. I love knowing what is expected of me and what’s coming next. No surprises. Well, sadly, life doesn’t really agree with what I “like.” Change happens all the time.

Here is the beautiful insight that hit me tonight – I keep telling myself that things will go back to normal as a way of coping. Once I get through “this” than it will go back to the way it was. I am learning that things never really go back to the way they were. Change happens and I need to deal with it. There is no going backwards, only forwards. I have often idealized the past and how things used to be or the way I like them to be. I have been holding on to what I want my life to look like. I’m holding on to ideals that are no longer reality. By holding on to things that are no more, I’m inhibiting my success as I go forwards.

Obviously, I’m not perfect. This reflection and insight does not mean I’m cured. I just know that I have been telling myself what sounds good, but is impossible. There really is no normal. Each new season brings new changes and I must adapt and move on. To sum it all up – don’t hold to things so tightly that you can’t move forward.

 

Tribute to my Sister May 16, 2011

Filed under: Family Time,Recollections — Amy Scott @ 6:12 pm

 

photo-2I almost told April today at lunch that I was going to write a blog about her, but I didn’t, because I thought she would try to talk me out of it. I know this will probably be super cheesy. The blog is titled Amy Scotts Thoughts, so I figured sharing this is true to the purpose of the blog. Anyway, here I go, with an entry unlike any that I have written thus far… don’t gag, or if you do – just don’t tell me you did!

Let’s start off with where this is all coming from, my sister – April Lynn Gallaway, will be moving to Kansas in less than two weeks (10 full days away). Now April and I have lived apart before but the farthest distance was only 2 ½ hours away. With this context mind, I have been thinking a lot about my little sister and what she means to me.

April was born two weeks before my second birthday. I was told that at first I found her quite boring. I was expecting an instant playmate. Wasn’t that was sisters were meant to do? As April grew, I found that she became a captive audience (only because she was immobile and had no choice). My mom would set April in front of me and I would “entertain” her.  I guess that is when being a sister became fun for me.

April and I have always had a unique relationship. When she was very young, I could translate what she was saying or wanted to tell my mother. She was ornery even at a young age and would lick my well organized stuffed animals just to get a rise out of me.  She knew all the right buttons to push. As we grew into elementary school aged kids, it seemed that we were always getting into some kind of trouble. I would come up with a scheme that would seem fool proof and April would follow along. Somewhere along the line, we realized that the plan wasn’t working out so well and it usually ended with us being grounded. That was a season of life where we were grounded a lot!

During our high school years, we certainly had our “teenage girl” moments when we had dramatic fights, but most of the time, we were best friends. We didn’t look a lot alike so people would just think we were friends instead of sisters. Some of my favorite memories from that time period were the “sleepovers” we had at our house. April would often sleep in my room or we would inhabit the guestroom for the whole weekend.

Especially now that we are grown, I still find my friendship with April to be one of the closest in my life. We share so much history together. She can make me laugh and I can be my weird, silly self with her. She loves my oddities and I love hers. We are so different and always have been. Somehow that doesn’t matter all that much when we are together. True friends are a gift and they are even more treasured when they are a family member.

I know that God has big things in store for April and Andrew. I’m praying that their new life in Kansas will be an awesome one and that April may one day get the corgi of her dreams (Frankie the Fluffy).  I guess I just wanted to the world to know I love my sister dearly and that I am going miss her.

So, April, if you’re reading this – you’re the most awesome sister anyone could ask for! You make me smile and you are the best friend I could ever have! I love you and I know that God has good things for you in Kansas. I have thought of about a million inside jokes to place in this blog, but I was worried about the length and losing people. Here a few though, just for fun – April Ducky, Life and Love and Why, The Switchfoot Quote Board, breaking your leg, documenting your room before cleaning it, meeting in Longview, our Las Vegas adventure – were all we did was walk – a lot, slamming my finger in the locker, teasing Josh about Alabama, annoying mom by always singing and love comes softly!

 

Worthless Idols May 12, 2011

Filed under: Bible — Amy Scott @ 3:38 pm

Sometimes the shortest verses of the Bible seem to pack the most punch! Currently I’m reading through 2 Kings in my Bible reading plan. I find that the book of Kings to be a sad section of scripture. There are a few good kings that get your hopes up, but for the most part it’s about one bad king after another. This is very depressing to me. Because I have the clear vision of hindsight, I want to shout at the characters, “What do you think you’re doing?”, “That didn’t work so well for your grandpa!”, “Oh yeah, ignore the prophet… good idea!” Sadly, I can’t change the story line. I must continue reading through all the messed up stories of screwed up kings.

Towards the end of 2 Kings there is a verse that hit me so hard as I read it. 2 Kings 17:15, “They rejected his decrees and the covenant he had made with their ancestors and the statutes he had warned them to keep. They followed worthless idols and themselves became worthless. They imitated the nations around them although the LORD had ordered them, ‘Do not do as they do.’” Did you get that? They followed worthless idols and themselves became worthless. Wow! Talk about a slap in the face!

Following worthless things led to the Israelites becoming worthless and rejected by God. This made me stop and wonder what the worthless idols in my life are. What are the things that I place above my relationship with God that hold no purpose? The truth is that following worthless things leads to us becoming worthless ourselves. It’s a harsh truth and one that I have a hard time swallowing. I don’t want to become worthless. As a minister and a mentor, my biggest prayer is to be used of God, not sidelined by worthless things.

These worthless idols and convent-breaking habits were formed by imitating the nations around them. This also speaks loudly to me because I can see a similar cultural dynamic today. As Americans, we have the habit of comparing lifestyles. We’re concerned with who has what and what the next latest and greatest thing is. As Christ followers, we are not called to imitate the culture around us. We are called to change it – we are meant to have an effect on it, not let it have an effect on us. Imitation is easy because you blend in and go with the flow. Imitation makes you feel like one of the crowd. Imitation leads to worthless idols.

My take away from this passage of Scripture is this – what or who has the most influence in my life? Are the things that I’m investing myself in going to grow me closer to God or farther way? Even in the small things, I want to do my life on purpose. I don’t want to be worthless. I’m so struck how simple the path to worthless can be. It is an easy road to follow because it seems like everyone is doing it. The Israelites decided to not be counter-cultural and they became sidelined by God. They are important to Him, but He did call them worthless. Ouch! My prayer is that I will be intentional about the influences in my life and not fall in with the masses. It’s not about being like everyone else. It’s about being like Jesus.

 

Just Keep Swimming May 10, 2011

Filed under: Bible,Women in Ministry — Amy Scott @ 3:35 pm

Finding Nemo is now a well known Disney/Pixar classic movie. It follows the tale of a young fish named Nemo who gets captured from the open ocean and placed in a fish tank at a dentist office. His father, Marlin, sets off to find him and along the way meets, Dory, another fish that joins that journey to find Nemo (thus the title). There is a really cute song that Dory sings along the way called “Just Keep Swimming.” In fact, those three words are the entire song. The simple little tune of “Just Keep Swimming” comes to mind many times when I’m tired and overwhelmed. It might seem silly, but it’s a great reminder for me to keep going.

It seems like this song fits a multitude of situations – when you’re tired and stressed and you know you have to wake up another day and do it all over again – just keep swimming. When you’re dreams aren’t panning out at the pace you had hoped – just keep swimming. When people don’t come through for you like you had hoped – just keep swimming. As much as we might want to throw in the towel from time to time, we know that we have been called by God to complete His glorious purpose. We can’t allow our visions to become detours. Sometimes you have to just keep swimming.

Galatians 6:9 is the best verse I know to keep me swimming. It says, “Let us not become weary in doing good, for in the proper time we will reap a harvest if we do not give up.”  It might be a cheesy illustration, but Marlin didn’t give up in the quest for his son. He kept swimming despite hardships and received the joy of being reunited with Nemo. There will be a great reward if we keep on going. It might seem easier to stop, but we’ll be sacrificing the joy at the end.

I think one of the reasons I love Galatians 6:9 so much is because Paul acknowledges we can become weary in doing good. Being in ministry isn’t an easy vocation. I know personally I can become weary when I look around at all that still needs to be done. I can grow weary when I invest in people only to see them stay in the same sinful cycles. I can grow weary when the pace seems faster than me and I can’t keep up. Let’s be honest – we all limitations and weariness can set in.  Sustainable ministry is so important so that when weariness sets in; you can be rested and renewed. It’s important to not let weariness lead to burn out.

As you swim through this journey of life, we have to remember that the good outweighs the bad. When we’re investing into Kingdom endeavors then our hard work will not be in vain. We might not see the reward as quickly as we like, but it’s there.  This verse reminds us that there is a harvest to be had if we don’t give up.  Here is a personal example of how I’ve seen this happen in my life – I’m very close to my students and stay in contact with them long after they leave my classroom. I had one student keep in touch with me for many years only to push me away after a hard season in her life. I tried so hard to encourage her and let her know that I was there for her, but it didn’t matter. I learned that I can’t make someone be open and share with me. I was left with only one option and that was pray for her. I let go of all the efforts I was making to connect with her. It was over a year before I heard from her again, but when I did, let me tell there was great joy! The wait was more than worth it! I can now see the harvest of my prayers. It was in God’s timing, not my own. I could have never brought this all about on my own.

Some days when I just need a little “something” more to keep me going, I might start humming the tune “Just Keep Swimming” and quote to myself Galatians 6:9. I know what I am called to do, but I realize that I can get weary in doing good. When I remember the harvest – my true purpose for doing it all – it helps to me not give up and just keep swimming!