Amy Scott's Thoughts

Sharing the thoughts that bounce around in my brain!

Feels Like My Birthday! September 15, 2012

Filed under: Cooking Experiments,Family Time — Amy Scott @ 4:02 pm
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Enjoying some funny company!

Heaven? Perfection? YES!

Yesterday was a very fun day! When I woke up, I was greeted by Jeremy who has been researching iPhones while I slept. He had come to the conclusion that we didn’t need the new iPhone, but that we could now get the iPhone 4s for half the price. I agreed that we didn’t need the newest model. We’ve been waiting for months for this revealing from Apple. Jeremy’s phone left the title of “functioning” a long time ago and mine was over 2.5 years old and ready to replaced as well. This was no spur of the moment, we need new toys kind of thing. I just thought you should know. We’ve been planning and waiting… After sharing all his research findings, he asked if we could go to the store that morning and get our new phones. So yes, we got new phones and spent the rest of the morning/afternoon getting them personalized and chatting with Siri (our new best friend).

Empty… sad!

Meat! Ready to cook!

Now most would say any day you get a new phone is a good day and I would agree. However, this day got better! We had made plans to go on a double date with my sister and brother-in-law. April had found a Living Social coupon for half off a three course meal at The Melting Pot. At the beginning of the summer, we had talked about how fun it would be for the four of us to go together. It’s not a cheap bill so we knew it was going to take planning and until the coupon arrived, it didn’t look like our plan was going to pan out.

The best part!

Us!

I had only been to The Melting Pot once before. My hubby had braved snow and ice to take me there as a surprise for my 21st birthday. It was a great memory and we’ve always talked about going back. I’m glad we did! And at a discount! Can’t beat that! It was fun to dress up a bit and head up to a bigger city than Olympia! You can tell we’re from Lewis County sometimes! I get excited over stuff like that.

The food was amazing! As it should be! We had cheddar cheese fondue that we dipped bread, apples and veggies into… well, others dipped the veggies. I didn’t! Just being true my taste buds! The next course was salads. I had a yummy Caesar salad. Then it was on the next course which was cooking meats and pasta in a delicious boiling stock. I used my handy dandy new phone to time each item that went in. No need to poison myself with undercooked food. The final course was dessert – the best of all! We got what they call the Flaming Turtle which consisted of milk chocolate, caramel and candied pecans. They used some form of alcohol to light it all up on the table. Very impressive and tasty!

April and I were talking afterwards and the cheese and the chocolate really were the highlight of the meal. A perfect way to start and end! I might not get a meal like this very often, but when I do I go all out and enjoy each minute of it. Calories were forgotten and I ate everything I could! So worth it! Plus, the company was amazing. There were times where I was laughing so hard I was crying and at one point I almost couldn’t sallow my “free” glass of apple cider! April was describing how using a half off coupon meant we got half a glass and it was so funny in the moment. Good food, good times! I think this what the Teacher in Ecclesiastes was talking about. Each meal being a blessing. This was certain one of those meals and those moments!

 

The Small Things Matter Most September 13, 2012

“Meaningless! Meaningless!” says the Teacher. “Utterly meaningless! Everything is meaningless.” – Ecclesiastes 1:2

“For with much wisdom comes much sorrow; the more knowledge, the more grief.” Ecclesiastes 1:18

Thanks to my wonderful mentor and friend, Vicki Judd, I found myself sitting and listening to a podcast by Jonathan Martin entitled “The Gift of Being Small“. Seriously, it was an amazing sermon on Ecclesiastes. I had a major light blub moment while listening to it. In fact, this sermon hit so close to home. It’s right where I am at! God’s Word is so powerful and a well time message is confirmation from the Lord. It was a beautiful thing. So let me try to explain! I have included the link, so you can listen in as well. It’s worth the time! Please try!

Okay, the book of Ecclesiastes is always really cheery. I mean who doesn’t love being told everything is meaningless? Makes you want to grab some pom-poms, right? YAY LIFE!  But as I listened to the Word and Jonathan’s explanation, it just came alive right where I needed it. You see getting smarter, filling your mind with more, trying to always achieve the next level – in life, at work, wherever – it’s never going to satisfy. There will never be enough. There will always be more that we want, that we need. On this side of heaven, we will never achieve it all. We will never arrive. We can spend our whole existence chasing after more. More money, more intelligence, more skills, more responsibility. Our desires for more will never be fulfilled. In fact, the higher up the ladder of more we climb, we find that it’s harder to be satisfied. Every new thing loses it’s thrill. A new phase of life, a new toy, a new job – nothing stays new forever and the need for more creeps in. This is the life most live. It’s considered chasing after the American dream. Really – it’s meaningless. It will never satisfy. A chasing after the wind.

Now that we’re all built up and feeling awesome about life – the Teacher says “A person can do nothing better than to eat and drink and find satisfaction in their own toil. This too, I see, is from the hand of God, for without him, who can eat or find enjoyment?.” (Ecclesiastes 2:24-25). It comes down to the simple things. Enjoy a meal because it’s from God. Enjoy the small things. Enjoy the things in this moment. Looking back – meaningless. Looking forward – meaningless. Enjoy the moment – God’s perfect gift.

As I count 1000 gifts yet again, I  am so aware of the small things. How each one of them is a gift from the Lord. Each breath, each meal, each laugh, each smile. They are all priceless and yet cost so little. These are things that make life worth living. They can not be enjoyed apart of God and the knowledge that he is the gift-giver. Jonathan said, when you think you’re BIG – you expect big things, you need big things. When you realize how small you are, you can be satisfied by the simple pleasures. It’s not about having it all figured out. It’s not about being the greatest. It’s not about how awesome we are. It’s about God. It’s about the fact that he loves us. He is in each moment. Especially the small moments, the ones we tend to overlook. Life is so much better when we are satisfied by the small things. The things that are free and precious and vastly unseen.

While I have known this in my head, for the first time in my life (in my heart), I am living each day with two questions in my mind. The first is – Am I loving God? Have I given him my time, my praise, my worship, my adoration? Is my love for him growing and deepening? The second questions is – Am I loving people? In my actions, in my words, through my decisions and choices? Jesus says these are the two greatest commandments and they go hand in hand. If I can answer yes to both of those then it’s a good day. I’m on mission. I’m living life on purpose. It’s not about to-do lists and achieving and reaching goals and cleaning bathrooms. Love God. Love people. Find joy in the small. See God’s gifts in each moment.

This is manna! This is the meal that sustains me. This is the good life. I am so blessed. Tickled down to my toes over the little things. Why? Because they are signs that I am loved by a BIG GOD! It’s mind-blowing! I am humbled! As Ann Voskamp says, I may never wear shoes again. This is sacred ground!

 

Semi-Homemade September 12, 2012

Filed under: Cooking Experiments — Amy Scott @ 10:26 am

Spiced Butter Pecan Cupcakes!

I love to bake, but I will admit that I am not a baking purist. I don’t make everything from scratch. I love cake mix and brownie mix. I have been known to use all forms of pie crust from dry mix to frozen. It’s hard to beat the ease and taste of these items. Trying to make things from scratch is always a fun challenge, but sometimes it’s just easier to use the box. I have learned though that even with boxed mixes, you can still put a personal spin on things and make it semi-homemade.

All dressed up in autumn colors!

That is exactly that I did for my class snack this week! I started with a box of Butter Pecan cake mix and a container of Whipped Butter Cream frosting. After a little bit of tweaking, these items didn’t stay in their original form. I did a little research to see what pairs well with the flavors and went with my natural attraction for autumn flavors. I added about a teaspoon of pumpkin pie spice to the cake mix. The spices mixed with the nuttiness went very well together! Normally, I would have gone for just cinnamon as the addition, but I figured a mixed spice would take it up to the next level.

For the frosting, as weird as this sounds, I added a tablespoon of breakfast syrup and a teaspoon of pumpkin pie spice. I had read that butter pecan pairs well with maple and caramel, so that is why I added a little syrup to the frosting. Adding the spices almost makes it the perfect base for a french toast like taste. The great thing about these cupcakes is how the nutty flavor and the spices really balance our the sweet of the frosting. I had to try one just to make sure they were safe and oh yeah, they were good. Real good. I think my husband had three!

Last week, I was attempting a trickier snack that didn’t turn out (I’ll do it again now that I’ve learned a few things) and I needed something quickly to substitute. I used my trusty brownie mix from Costco and then I added peanut-butter and mini Reese’s Pieces. Small changes and additions can take something that anyone can make into something uniquely from you. My personality is usually the type that colors in the lines, but when it comes to baking, I love exploring new flavor combinations. It’s fun to experiment and take a basic treat into something semi-homemade!

 

just some more thoughts on you lost me September 11, 2012

Filed under: Amy's Bookshelf — Amy Scott @ 5:02 pm

Our lead pastor asked me to share about 3 minutes from the book You Lost Me this last Sunday. This is a book that is jammed full of so much information and insight. It was really hard to pair anything down to 3 minutes. But here is what I was able to come up with. It’s a bit of a repeat and not new news to this blog, but I figured a refresher would be good to share with the group. Here you go!

In his book, “You Lost Me”, David Kinnaman discusses why young Christians are leaving the church and rethinking faith. With loads of research and statistics from the Barna Group, Kinnaman paints the picture of a very real problem we are seeing in those ages 18-29. While teenagers are the most active demographic in the American church, twentysomethings are the most inactive demographic.

There are three kinds of dropouts discusses in the book. The first would be nomads. They have walked away from church engagement but still consider themselves Christians. The next group would be prodigals. These leave the church and also their faith. They would define themselves as “no longer Christians”. The last group is called exiles. While they are still invested in their Christian faith they feel stuck between culture and the church.

The bottom line reason why these twentysomethings are leaving the church is a disciple-making issue. You could call it a faith development problem. They are not adequately prepared to follow Christ in such a rapidly changing culture.

We’ve discussed here at Bethel the concept of orange and how when the church and the family come together, it can be a powerful influence on a child’s lifetime relationship with the Lord. It’s going to take a team effort to see the next generation hold on to their faith in a challenging, real world.

In a section about prodigals – those who have walk away from the church and their Christian faith – I found it interesting that their biggest regret is usually how it hurts their parents. These prodigals aren’t trying to be rebellious or hurt their families. The biggest cause of pain is their knowing that it grieves their parents to see them walk away. This speaks volumes to me about how deeply kids are influenced by their parents and how they really do value their parent’s approval.

Another strong feeling prodigals have is that they have broken out of constraints. They have felt boxed in and stuck. They have felt unable to be themselves within the Christian faith and the church. This shows me that there is a deep heart issues going on here. If our kids are just “doing” the church thing, if they are just living up to expectations, then there is no personal ownership in their walk with the Lord. Without that personal relationship with the Lord to keep them connected, they’ll walk away once the decision becomes their own. As we lead children and teens, we have to be careful not just to focus so much on behavior and making sure they do certain things or act a certain way. It’s a heart level issue. It has to be real for them in order for it last a lifetime.

While we can’t make kids have a relationship with the Lord, we can be there for them as examples and role models. So much of faith is caught, not taught. We need to be safe people that they can ask honest and real questions to. Life is complex and messy. If we are trying to make cookie-cutter Christians then we’re going to lose them as they struggle with how Christ fits into their real world lives.  Discipleship is both the responsibility of the family and the church. Together, we can live honest, real faith before the next generation. We can walk alongside of them and help them see the heart of the matter is more important than following a rule or expectation.  Of course, each child must decide for themselves so this mentoring and guiding process must be surrounded in prayer.  This is a key part of making sure the next generation is actively involved in the church and being the Church once the decision is ultimately theirs.

 

A weekend of socializing and Hallmark movies! September 9, 2012

Filed under: Amy's Bookshelf,One Thousand Gifts Challenge,Simply Me — Amy Scott @ 6:53 pm

Okay, I will admit that I’ve been busy… When I’m up, I’m running and when I’m down, I’m down. Like down on the couch with a blanket and a dull headache. It’s been a good weekend with lots of fun highlights that I’ll get into in a minute. When I haven’t been trying to be presentable and forming complete sentences, I’ve become completely obsessed with Hallmark movies. They are mind numbingly corny and you gotta love how they all live happily ever after and seal it with a kiss. I know they are silly, but I can’t help but watch them. They have been the perfect non-moving remedy for this weekend. Also, on a side note, they are advertising for their Christmas movies already. Normally I only watch Hallmark movies at Christmas time, so this is exciting and mean at the same time. Why mean? Because they don’t start until November! Ugh! That is a long time for this Christmas-movie-loving-girl to wait. Advertising this early is a mean tease. Okay, I’m sure you didn’t need to know that… or want to know that. I guess that is one of the benefits of it MY blog! I can ramble about Hallmark movies if I want. It’s my party and I’ll… you get the idea!

Meals with Maggie May are the best!

Anyway, back to what I’ve been doing when I’m mobile and not bumming around! This Friday was my quarterly meal with my forever friend, Maggie May (check out her baking blog to be inspired by her goodies). These lunches are the best! We take up a table for hours talking and catching up. Since we don’t live near each, a few hours together is practically heaven. I’m so glad that all those people who told me that I can’t keep my high school best friends were wrong. Maggie May will forever be in my life and I better person for her friendship, encouragement and support! We went to lunch at one of my favorite places, The Cheesecake Factory! I got my standard Lemon Raspberry Cream Cheesecake for dessert and the entire piece was gone in minutes! I couldn’t help myself! After our lunch, we went over the mall and did a few laps to walk off the cheesecake! I bought fall hand soap which is a big deal to because it’s fall related and anything fall related is amazing. I’m one happy camper with my pumpkin soap.

Any weekend with cheesecake is a good weekend!

Saturday was spent up in Puyallup catching up with family, which was shamefully overdue. I hadn’t been to a family gathering in more months than I care to admit. It was good to see my grandma, aunts, and cousins. The occasion was a bridal shower for my cousin, Charlotte. It was fun to celebrate this long awaited upcoming wedding. The joke is that shower games are something I’m skilled at. I have no idea why these random and unique games have a way of coming easy to me. This shower was right on par with my winning skill set. Now the funny things is I don’t live close to the bride and I’m sure no one would say we know all about each other. I beat Charlotte’s close relatives and friends in the “Who Knows The Bride The Best” game. It made me chuckle, because it was pretty much dumb luck, but I felt pretty cool. My mom told me that I’m observant.  Hopefully Charlotte didn’t find it too creepy!

Today was not as social as Friday and Saturday, but still full of it’s own energy requirements. I got up in both of our Sunday morning services to take a few minutes to talk about You Lost Me with our congregation. It was good to get back up in front of people and continue to conquer my nerves in front of a crowd. Like any skill, it takes practice and the more I do it, the easier it gets. It’s been a few months and let me tell you, it really gets my blood pumping and that induces that I could throw up feeling each time. Working through these emotions is good for me. But tiring at the same time! I’m glad I got the chance and I’ll share my notes with you tomorrow. They are more complete then what I actually articulated on stage! Go figure!

Well, my hubby is out hunting. I’m all out of Hallmark movies, but I plan on watching TLC’s new show, Breaking Amish, later this evening. It sounds fascinating. I’m always curious what makes people tick – what is like to be Amish? Why do they want to leave? How hard is to adapt to the real world? I think this might be the first time I’ve blogged more about television than books! I’m human and my very real need for down time has been the focus of the weekend. Don’t worry, I’m still keeping up on my daily disciplines! God’s Word and counting my gifts has been just as important to this whole restful, soul-recovery process. Hard to believe that another September weekend is coming to a close.

 

When A Trip To Costco Can Be Good For The Soul September 6, 2012

Filed under: Simply Me — Amy Scott @ 6:47 pm

Thank you, Costco!

I’m just going to come out and say that this week has not been easy. It hasn’t been bad, but it certainly hasn’t been the easiest week I’ve ever experienced. In fact, I’m pretty tired… make that exhausted! I haven’t been this tired in a long time. It almost hurts… So yeah, you get the point – I’m worn out.

When Jeremy asked me if I would like to run some errands with him this afternoon, I was pretty tempted to say no. Nothing sounded better to me than some quiet, alone time at home to unwind and detox. However, with it being hunting season, I never know when I’m going to get to spend time with my hubby. Our schedules are pretty opposite this coming weekend, so I figured this might be the one time we get to hang out for the next couple of days. So despite the fact that moving and breathing take effort at this point, I said yes.

I’m glad I did. Jeremy didn’t seem to mind that my pace was a little slower and it was good to just do something together. Jeremy and I are no stranger to Costco and often go there with a list from the church nursery. We entered Costco with a church list and a home list, prepared to stocked up. Right away I saw they had the Sherpa throw blankets back. I got one two years ago and it’s been well loved. My hubby was very sweet and let me pick one to take home with us. It was like picking a new pet. It’s so soft and cuddly (as advertised)! As we were wandering around the store, we came across not only my favorite pumpkin mix, but they also had samples of it baked and ready for munching. Warm samples, right out of the oven. Oh my! It sent me over the edge! A new fuzzy blanket in the cart, the anticipation pumpkin baked goods and a yummy sample – it was a heavenly moment. It was the moment this tired soul needed. I know that sounds silly, but these comforts of fall really made the difference for me today.

Now I realize that it was in the mid 80’s today and it will be 90 something tomorrow… I realize that summer isn’t officially over… But I love the autumn season so much. It’s all over in the stores and each item is like seeing a welcomed friend. It speaks to me! Just like those silly Pier 1 commercials. It’s a beautiful thing.

And that is how a trip to Costco blessed my soul. The end.

 

1000 Gifts: All Around Me September 5, 2012

Filed under: One Thousand Gifts Challenge — Amy Scott @ 1:26 pm

As I ate my lunch, I pulled out my gifts journal and started writing out today’s blessings while they were still in my head. Part of being thankful is stopping in the moment, acknowledging the gift and truly seeing it for what it is. So often I breeze through life and never stop to say thanks for the small things. They just pass me by, unseen in my busied pace. I was thinking as I made my list how many gifts are not new. Things that bless today – like my dishwasher or clean towels have been with me often. They didn’t just appear. That thought led me down a rabbit trail where I realized that I am surrounded by 1000 gifts right now. I could name each item in my house, each a blessing in its own way. I know that I have a lot to be thankful for. A roof over my head, blankets on my bed, hot water. Seriously, it would be an endless list if I really went through all the daily blessings that I just pass in a hurry, that I don’t think about, that I have gotten used to, that I feel entitled to… Today I am aware of that fact that I am right now, in this moment surrounded by 1000 gifts and more. I feel a warm peace in my heart and a sense of contentment. This is a good place.