Amy Scott's Thoughts

Sharing the thoughts that bounce around in my brain!

Adventures in Chicago! Part 1 September 18, 2011

Filed under: Family Time,Travels — Amy Scott @ 5:01 pm

I think I’m finally getting back into the right time zone! My body seems to adapt pretty well to the time change while I’m there, but I have such a hard time getting back into routine when I’m home. Now that I’m starting to feel like my head is on straight again, I would to share with you all the fun and adventures that we had in Chicago.

The trip started early Saturday morning. Jeremy and I rode up to SeaTac with my parents in anticipation of our 8:40am flight to Chicago. My dad is one of those guys who strongly believes in being to the airport 2 hours before any flight. The line through security was very long and the line for Starbucks seemed just as long. With all the standing in line, things worked out pretty well so we weren’t waiting at the gate too long before boarding.

Once we arrived in Chicago, we reunited with my sister, April, and my brother-in-law, Andrew. It was an exciting greeting full of hugs and chatter! We were glad to be together and looking forward to all the week held for us. Once we claimed our bags, we made our way to our hotel. We stayed at the Comfort Suites on North Michigan Ave. This was a prime location because it was near public transportation and the Magnificent Mile where all the shops and restaurants are. We set off to find dinner once we had gotten settled into our hotel rooms. We decided to celebrate our first night in Chicago with deep dish pizza. Our dinner destination was Lou Malnati’s. We had discovered this pizza chain by watching Throwdown with Bobby Flay. Bobby had challenged Lou’s son, Mark, to a deep dish pizza challenge and Mark won. We figured anyone who could beat Bobby Flay must make good pizza! Oh boy, were we right! Deep pizza is so thick that it only took one yummy slice to fill me up! We walked around a bit and got some frozen yogurt for dessert at Froyo. Once back at the hotel, my parents decided to call it a night so the kiddos decided to go back out and explore. We had two locations in mind – the Hershey store and the Ghirardelli store! April and I split a chocolate cupcake at the Hershey’s store that was almost like a brownie! The Ghirardelli store gave out samples of their new pumpkin caramel chocolates (we went back almost daily for those free samples).

Day two started early… maybe a little too earlier… We weren’t sure how long it would take all of us to get ready, so we got up at 5:00am… We were ready to go by 6:15am. My parents were not… I think I was a little excited to get the day started. Each morning we had breakfast at the hotel and then headed off to find good coffee else where. I’m not a coffee drinker but those that are in the group needed another source for their morning java. We got our CTA passes which allowed us to ride the “L” all week. We made our way over to the Willis Tower (formerly known as the Sears Tower). We got there a bit early so we made a stop at Starbucks. The Willis Tower Sky Deck is amazing! At 103 stories up in the air, you sure can see a lot! Plus they have built plexiglass ledges off the side of the building so you can actually step out on them and look down below. It’s really quite a sight! After the Sky Deck, we went out to Wrigley Field for some photo opportunities. From there we made our way to the Navy Pier.  We rode the Farris Wheel and got to see the Chicago skyline and be right up against Lake Michigan. We took at a walk through a stain glass museum and then played mini-golf in the shadow of the Farris Wheel. The day ended with dinner at the Weber Grill. It was amazing! I’d never seen a Weber Grill Restaurant before! The whole restaurant is themed around Weber grills, the food is made on them and the store is decorated with them! We did more walking on the Magnificent Mile after dinner and got more froyo at Froyo! Sunday was the only day we had my dad with us all day so we packed it in with as many touristy opportunities as possible!

To keep the length of this blog manageable, I will have to leave you with a cliff hanger! I’ll continue the play by play of our trip to Chicago in upcoming blogs! Stay tuned!

 

Rushing the Gift September 16, 2011

Filed under: One Thousand Gifts Challenge — Amy Scott @ 5:07 pm

My week in Chicago afforded me another light bulb moment through this One Thousand Gift challenge. I was really looking forward to this trip because I knew that the gifts would abound. I was very excited for the amount of gifts I would rack up in a short period of time. Now the joy wasn’t in the fact that I was going to do it quickly, the joy was knowing I was entering a highly gifted season. I was ready for it… or so I thought.

I am now over half way through my gift list and I was sadden to realize that when you live life at a fast pace, you can’t enjoy the gifts as much. I just had a great week in Chicago with my family. There were so many moments that I enjoyed with them. I kept notes on my phone throughout the day so I wouldn’t forget gifts when I tried to write them down in my journal. Moving through life so quickly meant I couldn’t savor the gifts. I acknowledge them and enjoyed them, but I didn’t let them sink in because I was quickly moving on to the next thing.

It was surprising to me that things turned out this way. Each gift that I wrote down in Chicago was truly unique and I am thankful for each one of them. I have always learned that gifts are best enjoyed when you have to drink them in. This gift challenge isn’t like McDonald’s where you are in and out in 5 minutes. This gift challenge is 5 star dining with multiple courses. It takes time to enjoy a gift to it’s fullest. It’s not about the quantity of the gifts (which I know sounds deceptive based on the 1000 gift goal), it’s about what you really get out of the gift – the quality of your thankfulness and gratitude.

I know that in the moment it can be hard to contemplate all the goodness of each gift. Sometimes you are thankful for the moment and move on to the next thing in front of you. The great bonus of a gift journal is I can now go over those hurried gifts and relive them. I can lengthen those moments of reflection and gratitude. What you get out of the gift is what you put into seeing it and appreciating it. It’s not really a numbers thing.

 

Off to the Windy City! September 9, 2011

Filed under: Family Time,Travels — Amy Scott @ 12:39 pm

Tomorrow (very early in the morning) my travel adventures to the Windy City of Chicago will begin! I’m so excited for this chance to see a city where I have only ever been in the airport before. I love exploring new places and seeing sights that I have never seen before. What I love even more than going to new places, is going to new places with people I love!

This trip will be the first time the Vitzthum, Scott, and Gallaway clans will all be together since the end of May when we left April and Andrew to start their lives in Kansas. It’s been strange to have a 1/3 of our family so far way. This trip in a sense will be like a family reunion. I am beyond excited! My sister and I were talking just this week about how blessed we are to be a in family of friends. Yes, we are related, but we all really do have solid friendships. We enjoy time together and are deeply connected with each other. I am blessed not just to be a daughter or a sister, but I am friend and that means a lot!

I look forward to updating you upon my return with all the joyful stories of our time in Chicago. It looks like the weather is going to be good and the itinerary is all set for an awesome time! I’m all packed and ready to go!

 

Missional Renaissance by Reggie McNeal September 8, 2011

Filed under: Amy's Bookshelf — Amy Scott @ 4:26 pm

Recently I just completed Missional Renaissance by Reggie McNeal. The book was chosen as a staff read so I was eager to get started on the next book we would be discussing and digesting together. I have read two other books by Reggie McNeal so I knew I was going to be in for something good. The last two books that I had read by him where about personal leadership, so this book was a totally different direction then what I am used to Reggie taking. It was a good direction. It was a very forward thinking direction. It overwhelmed my brain and really caused me to think and evaluate. This book is a must read for anyone who wants to be apart of what God is doing now. It’s about being the church, not just going to church. A big cultural shift is occurring and we (being the church) need to open our eyes so we don’t miss out on the exciting opportunities that are before us.

The tagline for Missional Renaissance was “changing the scoreboard for the church.” What we’ve been doing and how we’ve been doing it no longer the cutting when it comes to reaching out and impacting our communities. I loved the focus that Reggie has in getting out  into the community and being the church right where we are at. It’s about helping people to see that ministry happens beyond the walls of the church. It’s a retraining to show Christ Followers that they have the greatest missions field at their place of work or in their kid’s school. It’s not about doing more church stuff. It’s about being the church where you are at and serving the community.

One thought that was carried throughout the book was being intentional agents for blessing the community wherever we are at and in whatever we are doing. As the church, we are God’s hands and feet to bless. We can join in His plan to bless the world. That’s the plan that He set in motion when He showed Abraham all those stars in Genesis 12. God told Abraham that He would bless the nations through Abraham’s descendants. This promise led to the nation of Israel, which lead to Jesus, which lead to us the Gentiles having a position of adoption into God’s family. Now we are the continuation of the promise to bless all nations.

Reggie has very practical shifts listed in the book. These changes look different in each church and each community, but we know that in order to be missional we need to change and update the way things have always been done. We need to stop being so program oriented and focus more on people and true relationship. We need to stop looking at attendance and offering as health signs for a church. The numbers we focus on might change from attendance to how many volunteer hours have been spent in the community. Instead of focusing on how many programs we can offer the focus becomes how many people are experiencing life change.  The book is full of thought-provoking shifts that will help the church reach missional health.

Missional Renaissance wasn’t always an easy read. It caused me to think long and hard about what the church is currently doing and what the future of the church looks like. Now as one person, it’s hard for me to truly think through the revamping of an entire church culture, but I do know that change starts with me. This book gave me eyes to see what I can do now, what I can do today to be more missional. When my change meets up with others who share a vision for God’s work in the world, then I know that we can go far to make sure the church is really being the church. It’s a group effort! I’m on board with figuring out how this all works out off the page and into real life.

 

When Biscuits Abound September 6, 2011

Filed under: Cooking Experiments — Amy Scott @ 7:45 pm

Through a strange turn of events, my husband and I ended up with quite a bit of refrigerated biscuit dough. Now in my eyes, this is not a problem because I love biscuits. I think they are amazing! However, with all this dough, I wanted to find creative new ways of using apart from biscuits and jam or biscuits and gravy.

I set off with a goal to find a new way of preparing biscuits. I figured I would explore a source that knows biscuits well. I ended up at http://www.pillsbury.com. This was a very fascinating experience for me. Let me just say, they have some awesome biscuit recipes, but they also have so much more than I expected on their website. I looked over quite possibly 30+ recipes while drooling and giving Jeremy my positive feedback on how yummy looking they all seemed to be.

I decided on two recipes. One I would use for dinner and the other I would use for dessert. I have recently decided that I wan to learn to cook more than just mac and cheese. Jeremy and I have set aside time for a weekly date night and every other one will be spent at home (because going out every week really adds up). On these nights where we stay home, we’ve decided to cook something new together. I figured cooking together sounded like a great shared interest… it’s food, we both love food! I got to pick the menu for this date night and I know it’s super simple – but remember I have a ton of biscuit dough in my fridge and I’m trying to use an ingredient we have a ton of. Jeremy has decided for our next cooking experiment we’re going to be making our own pasta and pasta sauce. He is like Food Network and I’m like… there is no comparison. He has high standards, I just want to learn more!

The recipe I chose for dinner was a turkey and cheese panini. I chose this recipe for two reasons – 1) I know Jeremy loves paninis and 2) I got to use the George Foreman Grill for the 1st time. I was already expanding my culinary skills by using a new appliance. The recipe called for Pillsbury Grands, but I had the jumbo flaky biscuits in mass supply. I was a little nervous that the difference in the two biscuits would be a big deal, but it wasn’t. The thing I loved about the grilled paninis was how quick they were to make on the George Foreman. I also love how thin the biscuits baked up and the crunch of the outer layer.

For dessert I picked a lemon-blueberry shortcake. We have a ton of blueberries at our home thanks to my in-laws. Again, I was trying to use ingredients that I have a lot of around my house. The lemon part of the shortcake is a combination of lemon peel, lemon yogurt, and whipped topping. It was truly amazing! Seriously, Jeremy licked his plate! The biscuits went great with the lemon whipped topping and the fresh blueberries. Jeremy even suggested baking the blueberries into the biscuits next time to add another layer to the dessert.

Overall, the first cooking experiments went very well. It wasn’t high class or gourmet, but I had a lot of fun using ingredients that I had in bulk around my house and trying something new. I found that just the experience of looking for the recipes was fun and I’m every excited to try our next cooking experiment together!

Turkey and Cheese Paninis

1 can refrigerated biscuits (the recipe calls from Grands, I used jumbo flaky)

1/2 lb. thinly sliced deli turkey

5-8 slices of Colby-Jack cheese

Heat closed medium-sized contact grill for 5 minutes (or in my case – when the ready light goes off). Pull each biscuit apart into 2 layers. Press each layer into 5-inch rounds (we used a rolling pin to help in this process). Place 2 rounds on grill at a time; close grill. Cook about 1 minute or until lightly brown. Remove from grill; layer turkey and cheese on rounds. Top with remaining rounds. Place 2 at a time on grill; close grill. Cook 1-2 minutes or until cheese begins to melt. Makes 8 (or 5 depending on which biscuit dough you use). 300 calories a panini.

Lemon-Blueberry Short Cakes

2 Flaky Layers Biscuits

Filling – 1/4 cup lemon burst yogurt, 1/4 cup reduced fat whipped topping, 1/2 teaspoons grated lemon peel

3/4 cup fresh blueberries

1 to 2 teaspoons powdered sugar.

Heat oven to 350F. Bake biscuits as directed on package. Place on plate. Cool in refrigerator 5 to 10 minutes. Meanwhile, stir together yogurt, whipped topping, and lemon peel. To serve, split shortcakes; fill with blueberries and yogurt mixture. Sprinkle with powdered sugar. Make 2 servings. 260 calories a serving.

 

One Thousand Gifts Challenge Update 3 September 4, 2011

Filed under: One Thousand Gifts Challenge — Amy Scott @ 4:28 pm

Just last night I started to reread One Thousand Gifts. I’m very serious about making the most out of this book and out this challenge to see and document 1,000 gifts.  As I’ve been making my gift list, I can see patterns and I’m noticing my personality really shows up in the things I tend to view as gifts. So far there a lot of food items, things that smell good and things related to cleaning on my list. Its makes me chuckle. I do realize that each new day brings new gifts, but at some point, I’m going to have to see beyond all the fluffy gifts and start seeing the gifts in the not so fun parts of life. It’s harder to claim those gifts. I know they are there, but do I want to see them? I hope I do. I’m challenging myself to look for them with my eyes wide open.

As I was reading One Thousand Gifts today, Ann was writing about thankfulness and how it really is at the core of truly living. The focus on thankfulness brought an interesting insight to my mind. I can write out 1,000 gifts and not be thankful for them. Isn’t that crazy? I can make this giant list of things I view as gifts and not truly thank God for giving me these gifts. I view it much like a young child at a birthday party. I can get caught up raving about the gifts that I forget to thank the Gift Giver. This challenge isn’t for me to see 1,000 that make me happy or 1,000 things that I like. This is about changing the perspective of my heart to see God in all things. It’s about opening my eyes and seeing His activity in every element of my life. Today I am reminded that I still need to say thank you even if I am writing down these good gifts. I don’t want to assume that God knows I’m thankful. For my own soul, I need to verbalize my thanks and say it out loud. I can see the gifts, but I need to remember the whole purpose of this is the see the Gift Giver, not the gifts.

 

Mentoring Matters September 3, 2011

Filed under: Women in Ministry — Amy Scott @ 10:22 am

Mentoring is one of the most important things that I can invest my time in. It’s become a deep passion of mine over the years and I am so blessed by each of the relationships I have in my life that offer mentoring opportunities. Each is different and each is a gift from God. Mentoring colors my life and brings so much joy and yes, sometimes much pain. Even when it seems like a roller coaster, I know God values the work of mentoring and can use all things for His glory.

Mentoring for me started in high school. At that time, I had some great mentors in my life and they really showed me how valuable mentoring is. Without those leaders I wouldn’t be the person I am today. They would listen to me as I poured out my heart. They offered wisdom to my tough my tough decisions and were prayer partners with me. I knew that I could come to them about anything and that they would be there for me. Also in high school, I had a strong group of friends and I would say we had a relationship of peer mentoring. We encouraged each other and held each accountable for our words and actions. These friends in my life were strong influences for good and I know that their support also shaped my character.

After high school, I started to see ways that I could become a mentor and bless others as I had been blessed. I started teaching in children’s ministry. At that time it was a 3rd/4th grade group of girls. I was really nervous about if I was cut out to teach to kids. It turn out I ended up falling in love with that class of girls. The relationships that I built with that class is still strong. Those girls are entering their junior year of high school and I’m still in touch with many of them on a regular basis. Mentoring is a relationship that isn’t measured by a certain time or teaching obligation. Just because a student moves up from my class doesn’t meant that my relationship with them is cut off because they are too old now. The most rewarding relationships I have in my life are with students that I have maintained friendships with years after they have moved out of my classroom.

Mentoring looks different with each relationship. A lot of times, it’s a meal out, a stop at Starbucks, or a movie night. In fact, just this week I had two students over for one last movie night before school starts. These lovely ladies will be starting their freshmen year of high school next week. One of them, I used to baby-sit when she was three! Movie nights are a fun time for us to just hang out, but I find that the car rides from their house to my house and back, hold powerful times to catch up on what’s going on their lives and the issues they are facing. I know I can’t solve their problems, but they know that I am a listening ear and I will be praying them.

Now mentoring isn’t professional counseling. It’s not all talking about issues and working through problems. In fact, I would say most of my mentoring relationships just revolve around having fun together and staying up to date on each others lives. It’s the consistency in relationship that allows people to feel comfortable sharing the hard stuff when it comes. If I never hung out with my girls then they wouldn’t feel like they could trust me when stuff did come up. Mentoring is also just living a consistent life of character and integrity. I’m human and they all know that. I don’t pretend to be perfect. I do, however, want to model what living my faith looks like. I want to be a good example so that they don’t just learn from my words, but more importantly from my actions.

Finally, I find the best way for me to be a mentor is have a mentor. I need people in my life who can speak to my joys and sorrows. I need people who I can be honest with and I can have fun and laugh with. I’m very lucky to have a couple ladies in my life who I know love me and care for me. I can be real with them and they will not judge me. They are here for me to see me grow. I also still have some of those peer mentors from high school in my life. We’ve grown into adulthood and now have different lives in different locations, but our friendships are still strong. Their voice is my life is still very important and valuable. I’m blessed to be loved and in turn have the opportunity to love and pour into the next generation. It’s seriously the most rewarding thing I do!