Amy Scott's Thoughts

Sharing the thoughts that bounce around in my brain!

Traditions October 31, 2012

Filed under: Family Time,Recollections,Simply Me — Amy Scott @ 2:56 pm

Growing up we didn’t have many traditions that we stuck to when it came to the holidays. We did most of the normal holiday stuff, but there wasn’t a sense of we-must-do-it-this-way-or-it-isn’t-a-holiday. I guess I can thank my parents for being pretty laid back when it comes to the holidays. It was all about family – seeing family and celebrating with family. That didn’t have to happen on a certain day or at a certain time. In fact, when I got married my parents told me they wanted to see us for holidays at the times that worked best for us. They understood what it meant to juggle two families as well as church commitments, so they wanted us to know that we could celebrate with them anytime. There was no pressure. It’s not about a day. It’s about a season and spending time together.

Today is a transition day for me. In October I start craving Christmas things – like listening to Christmas music and pulling out my Christmas dishes. Jeremy always tries to hold me off until the beginning of November. With a big event like Fall Fest tonight, I need to keep my head in the game and in the month of October! But tomorrow… tomorrow will be like releasing the flood gates and letting the holiday spirit just flow everywhere! Tomorrow is Red Cup Day! Where Starbucks brings out the Red Cups and starts serving their holiday drinks! I only allow myself to get Peppermint Hot Chocolates at this time of year to keep the drink special – just like how I only order Caramel Apple Spice when it’s the fall/winter. Some things are best when they are seasonal and special.

Now I’m not completely void of holiday traditions – here are a few I’m looking forward to:

  • Seasonal Dishware – For November, December and January I pull out my penguin dishes! They are super cute with skating penguins on them.
  • Shopping Trip to Portland – I love doing my Christmas shopping in Portland! No sales tax and a day with my hubby in one of my favorite cities is always the best.
  • Early morning Red Cup – I always get to Starbucks super early on Red Cup Day. It’s magical. I drink more Starbucks at this time of year than any other. I’m sure the red cups make it taste better.
  • A Special Dinner – Every year I get together with some friends from high school and we do a special Christmas dinner. It’s a time honored tradition and it keeps us together even though we don’t live in the same areas.
  • Class Christmas Party – Every year I try to plan an awesome Christmas party for my kiddos on Wednesday nights.  This night is one of the highlights of my year as teacher.
  • Decorating the day after Thanksgiving – I wait until after Thanksgiving to decorate. I think it gives Thanksgiving the special place it deserves. The next day though is free game for decorating. Some people brave the Black Friday craziness… but not me. My hubby is usually out in the wood trying to kill an animal on Black Friday, so I stay home, sleep in, and decorate my house while listening to Christmas music.
  • Good Food – It’s not the holiday season without a TON of holiday baking! I love it! Every year we make these awesome butter cookies and frost them with all the fixings! Yum!

The next two months are some of my favorite times! I know a lot of people cringe at even the sound of the word “holiday” or “Christmas” right now. I get that. I really do. I just love it so much. I want the season to last and I want to make the most every moment of it. I want to sing at the top of my lungs, make my house smells like cookies and drink too many beverages from red cups. I want to spend way too much time with family and loved ones. I want to enjoy each second of it!

As I say good-bye to October with all its color, I say hello to November and to another day, another month to celebrate God’s goodness. November – a month to focus on gratitude and the attitude of my heart. It’s a month to live thanksgiving and to live joy. These are the best days.

Oh, I should also mention that “Falling Back” for daylight savings is another reason why this season is the best! An extra hour of sleep is like heaven! It’s just as good as Christmas in my book! I’m not sure if I could consider daylight savings a “holiday” tradition, but it’s one of the best ways to kick off the season in my book.

How about you? What are you looking forward to?

 

Cold Tangerines by Shauna Niequist October 29, 2012

Filed under: Amy's Bookshelf — Amy Scott @ 3:31 pm

I wrote a book review for Bittersweet by Shauna Niequist at the beginning of the month. I was really impressed with Shauna’s honest writing about change, disappointment and rough seasons of life. She balanced it all so well with growth and healing. Such a good read and it did a lot for as I deal with my own bittersweet situations. I decided to check out her first book Cold Tangerines since I loved Bittersweet so much.

I was curious about Cold Tangerines because it was her first book and the tag line is “celebrating the extraordinary nature of everyday life.” I wasn’t sure if Cold Tangerines was the happy book before the bottom fell out and Bittersweet was the sad, realistic book to follow. Now I wouldn’t call Bittersweet sad (it did make me cry), but a mix of both bitter and sweet reflections, so it was fitting for it’s title. I thought that Cold Tangerine might be fluffy and maybe I wouldn’t like Shauna as much if she was too perky. However, I found great consistency in her character. She’s an amazing writer. When I read her work, especially when she writes about writing, I think that I could do that. I could be a writer. I could share short insights into what I’ve learned through everyday life. In fact, that’s what I try to do on a somewhat regular basis here on this blog. Let’s face it though, sometimes I just want to write about cupcakes. Shauna also writes a lot about food, so I think she would understand my need to write about baked goods!

This book covers the period of time where she left her job at a church and become a stay at home writer and mom. I could relate to her as she wrote about her identity being wrapped up her job. I think those of us with “church” jobs think that the job is who we are. We are saving the world and trying to make it a better place. What are we without our titles, projects, meetings, and busy schedules. Would we cease to exist? I hope not. This is a lesson that I’ve been learning more and more. My job is only a small portion of who I am and what I have to offer the world. It’s not my identity. Being a church lady isn’t the only thing I’m good at. I love my job and I love being a church lady, I’m not knocking the profession, I’m just saying I’m more than that.

I find myself being drawn to books about finding the extraordinary in the ordinary. I love One Thousand Gifts by Ann Voskamp for that reason and now both of these offerings by Shauna Niequist. I used to think that life was all about striving for the next big thing – the next up and coming, bigger and better thing. It was always about striving for more. Now I realize that right where I am is more than enough. I love the simple things and living a simple life. I don’t know why I thought I had to be all important and massively impressive. Talk about a lot of pressure. So like Alicia Britt Chole writes about, I’m choosing to be Anonymous. I’m finding that by choosing the unseen life, I’m slowing down to a pace where I can see the unseen things in my own life. The treasures of each day are plentiful. Each moment if truly a gift. I used to say that in a Hallmark card kind of way – all gushy and happily-ever-after-like. I didn’t quite believe it because it seemed too sweet to be real life. Now that I can take both the bitter and the sweet and be thankful, I’m learning the value of each minute. It’s not going to be rainbows and sunshine all the time, but God is good no matter what and I can see him in all things if I’m looking. Even in the things I don’t understand, I know that he is there, holding me. I don’t have to get it all. I just have to be thankful. Because being thankful makes me joyful and being joyful makes me smile and laugh and feel free.

Now to keep with the theme of my reading lately, I look forward to starting Love Does by Bob Goff. The tag line of this book is “Discover a secretly incredible life in an ordinary world.” Sounds right up my alley, doesn’t it? I’m so glad that God has colored in my ordinary world with his love! No excuse for boredom and never a dull moment! I’m living an adventure!

 

Deep & Wide by Andy Stanley October 28, 2012

Filed under: Amy's Bookshelf — Amy Scott @ 6:36 pm

I first heard about this book from my dad who happens to be an Andy Stanley enthusiast. Back in my (short) days as the curriculum person at our church, I got to preview some of Andy DVDs and like all things put out by North Point, I was impressed and I enjoyed them. I was watching a session of Guardrails and I can vividly remember responding audibly with a “good word”… I was the only one home. Hmm… it was a good point. I think Toby agreed with me ( for those that know me – Toby is my dog and he probably thought I was crazy. Wouldn’t be the first time).

My dad told me that Andy had a new book coming out and that it was going to be a tell all on what happened in his parent’s marriage and how North Point got started out the drama that went on with his father. I’m human. I’m curious about other peoples messes. So much like reading a tabloid magazine, I was set to get the dirt from the inside source. It turns out that book was about a lot more than that. While the chapters on Andy’s leaving his dad’s church and starting North Point were good, the book is so much deeper than that.

This book is pretty much Andy’s brain on North Point. He gives you the look inside why they do things the way they do. Now I’m not a fan of copy-cat churches. I’m not suggesting we all become mini versions of North Point. I’m pretty sure that wasn’t Andy’s intention either. It’s just interesting to see how they got where they are and why they intentionally went that direction.

It was a good book for anyone in church leadership to read. It convicted me about some of the things that I’m currently doing in my own ministry. Andy ends the book was the chapter about “What If” – what if he hadn’t of left his dad’s church? What if he hadn’t started North Point? What would he have missed? What lives wouldn’t be changed? This was a challenge to me to live my life fully and take the risks that might seem crazy. I want to live a life that is so on point and so intentional that I would be heart broken if it never happened. I don’t want to miss the God moments. What if I hadn’t give it my all? What if I didn’t connect with that student? It’s empowering to remember that every investment we make into the kingdom of God is worth it.

What I love is that North Point is so different from the church I serve in. I mean size wise there is no comparison. However, Andy has never been about making big churches. The whole premise of the book is creating churches that unchurched people love to attend. It’s so good to remember that the church isn’t a building with walls. It’s a group of people alive and active in a community. It also shouldn’t be exclusive for “members” like a country club. It’s an open invitation to authentic relationships, to family, to find a deeper purpose and meaning to life. Our churches should be a place unchurched people love to come. Okay so maybe they don’t want to come… because they’ve had a negative experience or their scared or worried… but that is the thing. We should put all those fears aside with our love and acceptance. I don’t know about you, but I needed that.

My job is mainly about keeping the church people happy. It’s about making sure that parent’s are happy with the care that their child receives while they attend our services, classes, programs. I really do believe that my job is beyond childcare. I’m not there to make sure kid’s are watched and out of their parents way. Idealistically, that’s not why I am there. However, practically and legally, that’s kind of why I’m there. I need to be reminded that there are some families who show up that may know nothing about this church thing. I need to remember that not every child grew up with a faith in Jesus. Some haven’t made that decision yet and they are just trying to figure this whole thing out. I want to be a safe place for them to come with their questions and with their doubts. I want them to feel loved and accepted and I don’t want them to worry about  judgment.

I do believe that churches can be deep and wide. I’ve often heard the phrase “That church is an inch-deep and a mile-wide. ” – meaning it’s all about the numbers and not growing the people. I’m pretty hardcore when it comes the deep stuff. I don’t want to be a church full of baby Christians who haven’t grown past their faith infancy. So I like the idea of being deep and wide. We need to be wide reaching in our love, acceptance and grace. We need to go deep and be a part of life transformation. It’s a both/and situation.

I’m thankful to Andy Stanley for his honest writing and his ability to share all that he has learned from experience. This is a must read.

 

One of my favorite places! October 27, 2012

Filed under: Family Time — Amy Scott @ 2:43 pm

Yesterday, Jeremy and I made our annual autumn trek down to the Historic Waterfall Highway outside of Portland, OR. I love the waterfalls at any time of year, but it’s especially magical at this time of year with all the fall color and the leaves everywhere! Every time Jeremy and I hang out in Portland or go visit the waterfalls, it reminds me of our dating years while I attended Multnomah Bible College (now Multnomah University). Those were good times and special memories!

Every year we have a to guess a bit about when the best autumn color will be out. The Columbia River Gorge doesn’t get as cold as we do up here in Lewis County, so the leaves are slower to change. Usually we can take our peek color and add about a week or so before the falls will be ready. Also, Jeremy and I are limited in the days we can go – pretty much Friday or Saturday before our evening church service. Add the weather and trying to visit on a dry day… it gets complicated! Yesterday was going to be the best day for our calender and we hoped it would work out in our favor. While we didn’t a dry day, we did get some dry moments to we get a few pictures!

Some of the pictures we took!

After we explored and photographed around the falls, we headed back into Portland for some dinner and some shopping. By shopping, I mean, we bought tealight candles because we realized we were out last weekend when we carved our pumpkins and chapstick. So yes, big shopping spree! We had dinner at Famous Dave’s which Jeremy talks about often, but we never seem to make it there.  Our time in the city was brief, but fun! It’s always nice to stop by the big city!

We met up with Jeremy’s brother and sister-in-law for some bowling. I used bumpers for all three games and you’d think it would greatly improve my score, but it didn’t. I had a great time time being silly and trying to use the bumpers to my advantage. Jeremy ended up beating us all each time – no bumpers. He’s pretty fantastic!

It was a great day spent in one of my favorite places, doing some of my favorite things!

Fall Photos Through The Years – 2005,2008,2011,2012

 

As the October days fly by… October 23, 2012

Filed under: Family Time — Amy Scott @ 8:31 pm

Just one week left… How did that happen? October is one of my most favorite months and October 2012 did not disappoint and it’s not over yet!

Us at Charlotte’s wedding reception!

The theme of the weekend would be celebrations that involve cake! Saturday was a wedding reception for my cousin, Charlotte, who got married in Mexico at the beginning of the month. It was great to see photos and video from her wedding. They had a yummy confetti cake with a tasty whipped frosting! I watched my uncle go back for a second slice!  It was good to see the extended family. Most of them hadn’t seen April and Andrew since they got back from Kansas so it was good for the whole group. We were even able to get a family photo with almost everyone… The biggest highlight of the reception was watching the little ones dance as well as my grandma getting her groove on! Made me laugh so hard! In a good way – not in a I’m laughing at her kind of way! She was braver than me and for that I admire her courage!

Sunday was spent honoring 4 Scott birthdays! We had lunch together and then jumped into what the Scott family does best – table games! It’s not an official Scott gathering without the words “What game are we playing?” being uttered. Jeremy and I learned a new game called Carcassonne. I’ve learned that Jeremy’s dad and brother really rock the strategy games, so I don’t expect to win. The biggest win for me was being able to accurately count my points! It’s the small things that equal victory in my book. We played BuzzWord which is more up my alley and Catch Phrase. For the birthday desserts I had a small piece of Nathan’s homemade German Chocolate Cake and Debbie’s lemon cheesecake with raspberry puree. Good stuff!

Blast from the Past: Kaly & I – January 2003!

Yesterday was another awesome food day, when my friend Kaly’s husband, Isidro, made dinner while I was over for a visit. Isidro is a professional in the kitchen and it showed in the amazing food I ate last night! Even though it was a wet and rainy day, I made my way up north to visit with the Gomez family. I made major headway with Lucas – a cute little boy with beautiful, expressive eyes. At his birthday party a little less than a month ago, he didn’t want me to hold him. Yesterday, he sat himself on my lap so we could read a book. While Kaly and Isidro were cooking, he let me hold me at the dining room table. I was shocked! We made some major progress! My heart was happy! It’s such a special treat to spend with Kaly and her family since she’s lived out of state for many years! Now I’m making up lost time! It’s so much fun!

Oh, October! It’s full of good food and time with loved ones! I’ve been happily enjoying fires in our wood stove and snuggling up in many layers. This Friday, Jeremy and I hope to make our annual trek down to Portland to visit the scenic waterfall highway! I love the colors of fall surrounding the falls. It’s always so beautiful and one of my favorite places for a Christmas photo op! I was talking with Kaly yesterday about how she’s already ordered her Christmas cards! I hope to be in that same boat soon! Just have to get the right photo!

I think I October so much because the fall colors really come alive in this month. Pumpkin everything becomes popular – like amazing baby pumpkin cheesecakes with gingersnap crust (I enjoyed that at staff meeting today – we had a special Pastor Appreciation Month lunch provided by a very talented lady in our church)! Jeremy and I have annual traditions like carving pumpkins and going to the waterfalls. October gets me all excited for the holidays! Red Cup Day (if you don’t know what this holiday is about click here) is less than 2 weeks away! Soon I’ll be listening to Christmas music and planning shopping trips to Portland!

Yes, these are good days and this is the best time of year! I plan on enjoying each day that is left is great month! I love October!

 

When God Reads My Blog! October 20, 2012

Filed under: Children's Ministry,Women in Ministry — Amy Scott @ 2:03 pm

More pumpkin fun!

Okay, so I know that God knows all the thoughts in my head before I think them, so nothing comes as a surprise to him and he really knows me – in a weird, deep down, I would probably be freaked out if I really knew how much kind of way. My last blog post was all about pumpkins and how much I love them and all the wonderful pumpkin treats I’ve eaten this month. I also mentioned that I haven’t pumpkin pie yet. No joke, within 24 hours I was at a luncheon that served pumpkin pie for dessert! I could have laughed out loud. In fact, I think I might have. No one knew that I’d just been blogging about pumpkin pie. It was like God saying, “See, I know you!” It might seem silly, but moments like that just make me feel special and loved. I know that in the grand scheme of things like pumpkin pie aren’t a big deal, but I can see God in the little things, the small blessings. Pie made me feel loved! God must read my blog…

Life has been moving it’s normal rapid pace. The luncheon I mention was for the ministers in our local AG section. I was really scared that I was going to be the only lady there, but I was happily surprised to see that I wasn’t alone – one other lady attend. It’s hard being a female minister in a section that has only 4 credentialed women (including myself). I keep asking those above me and praying that there is something I do to see this number grow. I know that’s difficult due to our rural location. I guess I’ll keep praying. Maybe some great idea or opportunity will present itself eventually. I really want to be a voice for women in ministry, but it’s hard to be a voice when it seems like their is no one to speak to.

The great thing about ministry is that you are never really alone. After that luncheon, I had dinner plans with my AG network mentor. She and her husband are home from Africa and she’s been such a blessing to me. She offers a different perspective of ministry and she understands what it can be like to be a credentialed women in a male dominated environment. I’m glad that even though I’m not surround by a ton of other female ministers, I am surround by a handful and they keep me going and inspire me.

Jessica was a beautiful butterfly!

Not only do I love being mentored, but I love the process of mentoring! Last night I was at the theater cheering on Jessica, one of the girls I mentor. Jessica and I met while she was still in children’s ministries and we’ve maintained our friendship ever since. Now she is a senior and doing a production on the same stage that I did a production my senior year. While practicing at the theater, she saw my name on the cast poster for Les Miserables. I didn’t even realize that my name was somewhere in that hallway. Moments like that make me feel like the roots I have in this community have been worth it. It’s been a joy getting to know my students through the years. It’s a special treat to share the same stage or the same milestones in the same locations. Sometimes I get jealous of those who have moved away to the big cities. I wish that I could get to Costco in 10 minutes, not 45… but then these moments come when staying put makes sense and I can see the fruit of deep roots.

I have been seen by a loving God who cares about smallest and silliest things. I have been empowered and mentored. I have been encouraged to stay the course and keep loving people right where I’m at. I am pouring myself into a kids that will affect this community and for that, I am grateful for roots. I am thankful for the whole process. I am thankful for time – time spent developing, growing and going deeper!

 

Pumpkin Happy! October 17, 2012

I love pumpkins! My ideal garden is a pumpkin patch! I love to decorate with pumpkins and more than that, I love to eat pumpkin goodies! Not only are the weather and colors of autumn high on my list, but so is the flavor! I love all the spices and the pumpkin goodies! It’s terribly tempting! This fall I’ve munched on pumpkin waffles, pancakes, bread, cookies, bars, marshmallows, ice cream and frozen yogurt. I haven’t had my first slice of pumpkin pie yet or even my Starbucks staple – a pumpkin scone. I am positive that there will be plenty of these in the near the future!

I’ve been on a bit of a quest to sample different pumpkin ice creams and compare and contrast. I’ve had Ben & Jerry’s pumpkin cheesecake ice cream before it was very good. At the end of September, I sampled Dryer’s pumpkin ice cream and I think it honestly beat B&J – shocking I know! Last night, Jeremy and I went to LimeBerry (our somewhat local fro yo place) and I had pumpkin spice fro yo with cheesecake chunks and graham cracker crumbs. The result was marvelous!

Pumpkin Chocolate Chip Cookies!

If the pumpkin yogurt treat wasn’t enough, I decided to bake last night with pumpkin. I might happen to have an obscene amount of pumpkin puree and pumpkin bread mix in my pantry…. just maybe. Based on the inspiration from an email by Taste of Home, I made pumpkin chocolate chip cookies. They turned out well. In my opinion the pumpkin flavor isn’t quite strong enough and I could have added a bit more spice. However, they are very tasty and the oatmeal in the recipe makes them feel hearty while still being light and fluffy. I’m excited to share these with my class tonight at church.

Jeremy and the giant pumpkin!

I guess on blog about pumpkin love wouldn’t be complete without sharing with you what was delivered to the church yesterday afternoon! In preparation for our annual Fall Fest, we have a giant pumpkin just waiting for it’s weight to be guessed by many families on the 31st! This giant pumpkin was graciously donated to the church and we are honored to display it by our front doors. It’s really amazing the amount of effort that goes into growing such a pumpkin. I’m glad something this awesome can be enjoyed by many – myself included!

So yep, I’m pretty pumpkin happy these days! Just as long as my weight and the giant pumpkins weight don’t start to match up, I should be just fine! All things in moderation, right?