Amy Scott's Thoughts

Sharing the thoughts that bounce around in my brain!

Having Church… In My Car! November 30, 2012

Filed under: Simply Me — Amy Scott @ 8:18 pm
Thankful for friendship!

Thankful for friendship!

I love long car rides because they give me and God some good time together. Today I had about an hour and a half drive up north to meet with a friend for lunch. I downloaded some podcasts from Jonathan Martin at Renovatus Church. Anytime I’m going to be in the car alone for longer than 20 minutes, you can bet I’m attending my “podcast” church. I love Jonathan Martin’s preaching and I’m always nodding my head and “amening” as I’m driving along my merry way. Today was no exception.

The message I was listening to today was about prayer and just really telling God how you feel. It was about giving God a gut level response. Just right were you’re at, tell God how you feel about it. Don’t pretty it up, don’t assume that have to “be” a certain way. Just tell him. Even if it involves the raw emotion we all so desperately try to suppress.  It was a good message and I was reminder that God wants us just as we are. We can just be us. What a blessing and what freedom!

So after listening to this message, I felt like God and I should have a good talk. I often pray in the car, so this is nothing new to me. I didn’t feel the need to shout or yell. I just wanted to talk. I wanted him to know how grateful I am for his goodness. His love has been so unfailing in my life. 2012 has been hard year for me in a lot of ways, but he has been faithful to use each moment for my good. Without the hard stuff, I would never have had to rely on him in this way. Without the hard stuff, I would never know this closeness that I now feel with him. The Lord has been my rock, my song, my joy. So even at the end of a hard week, all I could was say thank you and again tell him, I trust his plan over my own.

The drive up north to lunch was a holy one. It’s moments like this when I can say I had church in my car. Nothing like a good message and time spent at the alter. Now I did focus on the road and I did make it to my destination safely. So no worries there! Lunch with my beloved friend, Maggie, is always a special treat. She’s been with me through so many of life’s ups and downs and yet again, I am overwhelmed with thankfulness. Her friendship is just another blessing of the Lord. He has given me such loving people to do life with.

God is so good! I am unworthy and so thankful! His grace is more than enough for each moment! I don’t know what else to say other than I am blown away.

 

Rerun Week: The Small Things Matter Most November 27, 2012

Filed under: Recollections — Amy Scott @ 6:08 pm

Published on 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!

 

Rerun Week: Waterfalls November 26, 2012

Filed under: Recollections — Amy Scott @ 1:12 pm

Published on July 25, 2011

This last weekend, my husband and I got a chance to steal away to the mountains. It was a spur of the moment camping trip. Those that know me well, know that I am not a spontaneous person. Normally my trips are well planned out in advance and in great detail. Jeremy suggested that we go camping on our drive into church on Wednesday night. Of course, there were things to discuss, but once all the details were sorted, in less than 24 hours we were on the road for a mini-vacation adventure.

Before I got married I wasn’t much of a camper. My dad joked that my sister and I’s idea of camping was staying at a Super 8. Since my family wasn’t really into camping, all I had to go off of was an experience I had in 4th grade when I went camping for one night as a Girl Scout. The highlights from that trip long ago were making pizza pockets and drinking Apple Cider from the mix which I had discovered for the first time that night. With such a limited camping history, I didn’t realize that I would become the person that goes on a camping trip every summer. This summer I even get to go on two camping adventures!

By far one of the biggest advantages to camping is the fact that I get to unplug from the real world for a bit. It’s great to travel to a location where there is no cell reception and no electricity. Laptops and television have no place while enjoying the great outdoors. There is something relaxing about sitting at the campfire with a good book while being shaded by tall, old trees.  The chance to step away from the busyness of life and the constant connection of technology allows you to hear and see in different ways.

Where we have camped the last two years is called the Lower Fall Recreation Area in Gifford Pinchot National Forest. The title of the campground might be lacking when it comes to describing this beautiful area. The Lower Falls are located on the Lewis River and are literally right next to the campground. Our campsite was on the loop closest to the falls and you could hear them day and night as they flowed ever constant.

Psalms 42:7 says, “Deep calls to deep in the roar of your waterfalls; all your waves and breakers have swept over me.” This verse came to mind as I visited the falls. There is so much power in a waterfall. You can feel the spray even at a distance. You can hear the water even before you can see the falls. The amount of water that pours over a waterfall is powerful. It’s presence can not be denied! Just like this waterfall, there is a strong parallel to God’s presence. Waterfalls can be very pretty, but their strength can also be intense. When you compare God to a waterfall, you can see how He pours over you. This presence roars – it is not silent! I would imagine that having the waves and breakers sweeping over you might be overwhelming  and definitely overpowering! Unlike the truly deadly effects of the Lower Falls, I know that when God sweeps over me, it will not be to harm to me. Oh, it might not feel good, but even in the roar of life, I can see how He uses each situation to speak to me and show me His presence. I am in awe of the God who created this mighty waterfall. His love has an intensity that I can see through the example of nature. I couldn’t ignore the sound of the falls from my campsite, I can not ignore the sound of God in my life. Washed over by His waves and breakers, I can see my dependence on Him.

 

Rerun Week: Small Beginnings November 25, 2012

Filed under: Recollections — Amy Scott @ 4:40 pm

Published on October 10, 2011

My love story started with a board and staff barbeque and an email. That might not sound very romantic, but I have learned not look down on small beginnings. Things that seem to be small can grow and develop and that’s exactly what happened!

It was my first month away from home. I had started college in Portland, OR and I had agreed to come home and help me parents as they hosted a board and staff barbeque at their house. I knew that coming home meant helping them set up and clean up once the gathering was over. I dearly loved the staff of my home church and I was excited to spend an evening with them even if I was only invited for manual labor.

That evening, I can remember meeting our new senior pastor for the first time. I can remember talking with my mentor, Jeannie, about a boy I had a crush on at school… Then it happened… the conversation that started it all. My parents had two chinchillas as pets. The pastoral intern, Jeremy, started asking me questions about them and we settled down in my father’s den to look at the little creatures. Our discussion soon turned to school. Jeremy had a lot of questions for me. I knew he that never had “gone” off to college so I figured he just was really interested in knowing what it was like to live on campus and what classes I was taking since he was also a college student taking distance courses. We had a good talk and I can remember his parents were literally out in the car waiting to leave and he was still chatting with me.  Once the night was over, I took it as we had a good conversation and that was that. Nothing more…

I came home again in October for what Multnomah Bible College (now university) called mid-semester break. It was a four day weekend and I was glad to be back home again with family and familiar faces. My dad had asked me to help him in the Sunday morning services as he appreciated the pastors. My dad used the illustration of PAM, the cooking spray, to remember Pastor Appreciation Month. I got to help him pass out cards the staff. Of course, Jeremy was one of the staff members on stage and I remember wondering if he would come to talk to me that morning. He didn’t… I went back to school yet again not really thinking too much about it.

This week, seven years ago, I received an email from Jeremy (this would be the Tuesday after my weekend home). This is what it said:

Hi there,

How’s school going for you?  This probably seems a little strange just getting an email out of nowhere from me.   Over the past few weeks I have found myself thinking back to when I had the chance to talk to you for a while at the Board and Staff BBQ.  I had fun talking to you and wished we could have talked longer.  I realize that you are away at college but I would really like the chance to talk to you more and get to know you more.  I was surprised to see you at church on Sunday and wanted to catch you then, but the only time I found you was in a service while up front.  Anyway, I’m curious to know your thoughts about all this.  I hope you’re having a great week and pray that your classes are going well for you.  ~Jeremy 

I’m pretty sure I read that email a million times. Like most girls, I was reading between the lines. Did this mean he liked me? Did I like him? I had known of Jeremy over the years because we both attended Bethel. Even though he was older than me (by five years, so we were never in youth ministry at the same time), his reputation for being a strong Christian and his heart for ministry were clear. Knowing his character made it easy for me to see that this a good guy and worth getting to know.

I replied to the email and we’ve been in constant communication ever since! I praise God that for 7 years this wonderful man has been in my life! I still look back on those early days of emails and phone calls. It was so simple. Nothing over the top, but those small beginnings lead somewhere really good and I am glad for them. Sweet memories fill my mind as I remember what started 7 years ago!

 

Rerun Week November 24, 2012

Filed under: Simply Me — Amy Scott @ 9:50 am

Okay, I will admit that I’m a follower. I stole this idea from Sarah Bessey. This week I’ll be posting some reruns. A few of my favorite posts or the ones that really meant a lot to me. I know that not everyone has been with me since the beginning so who knows, maybe a few won’t be reruns for you. I think there is something important to remembering, to going back and looking at the past. These entries remind me of God’s faithfulness. They show me how my journey has been marked by his hands.

I thought it would be fitting if my first rerun post, would be the first post I made here:

New Territory (published on April 6, 2011)

I feel like I’ve hit the ceiling of what I can accomplish. I’m a pastor’s wife with a bachelor’s degree in Church Ministries and a minor in Biblical Studies. I have received my license to preach from my fellowship and now I’m about to become an ordained minister. I work alongside my husband as his administrative assistant and so much more. I love my job and I love the people I work with. However, with ordination coming up in a month, I have begun to wonder what the next step is for me. I’ve been pondering what is the next goal and what am I being called to beyond this. Life never stays still and I don’t want to think I’ve reached my greatest heights yet. There must be a “next” for me.

I have felt called to writing for a long time. I love to read and I have been shaped so much for the voices of authors. My dream would be to impact people the way I have been so positively influenced. Often I have believed the Cinderella line that “a dream is a wish your heart makes when you’re fast asleep.” Nothing about my dream seemed like reality. Just the sleepy thoughts of a girl who wants to do more.  I’ve worried that I have nothing to say, that I’m the only one who feels this way, what if people realize that I have doubts and struggles, would my words even matter. Fear has held me back from making this dream a reality.

After much prayer and a push in the right direction from loved ones, I have started my writing adventure. I’m truly walking into the great unknown. It seems like everything under the sun has already been written. I may have no new truth to share, but that doesn’t mean that I shouldn’t share it. I have realized that unless I speak up I will not have a voice.  If I am stating the same thing as someone else, people out there will begin to see that they are not alone. I myself will also be encouraged to know that I’m not the only one to have these thoughts. There is shared strength in honesty and truth.

I haven’t taken any how to write an article classes or blogging 101, but I feel compelled to go into new territory and share what I am thinking. I want to share what I have learned and what I am in the process of learning. I want to ask questions. I want to explore God’s love and his calling on my life.  I want my voice to be heard and to make a difference. My prayer is that on this journey of writing I will be able to express myself more deeply. I will go beyond the surface and address what is going on in my soul. I will be real and open. Some may think that I am crazy and honestly, I believe there is a bit of crazy in all of us. We might experience life in different ways, but there is truth in the world that binds all together and gives us common ground.

My prayer is that the Lord will guide me on this new path.  I pray that I will be able to step out in truth and share my experiences with love and honesty. I know that I am woman called by God. He has a plan for me and he will equip me to do his good purposes. I don’t want to be scared anymore. So often I have believe that I must keep my mouth shut because I’m supposed to have it all together. The truth is I don’t have it all together. I never will, but I’m learning that is okay. I want to grow from my life experiences and use them to advance the kingdom of God.

So I am open for business! Open to the Holy Spirit and open to life! I am open to being seen and known. I want to step out of my comfort zone and embrace a new path that the Lord has set before me. This new territory is unknown to me and unfamiliar, but that is no longer an excuse not to explore it.   I trust that there is good to be had in this great adventure and I don’t want to miss out. I will not remain silent when I know that I am called to share my story and my journey with others.

 

‘Tis the season to bake! November 21, 2012

Filed under: Cooking Experiments,Family Time — Amy Scott @ 7:05 pm

My Sources!

The baking urge kicked in hard and strong this week! Must be the fact that Thanksgiving is now right around the corner and baking just seems like the thing to do! The marathon started on Sunday with banana bread. The recipe I use is out of a 1972 United Methodist cookbook that was passed from my grandma to my mom to me. We were given some left over bananas from a church function and they needed to be used before they went bad. I couldn’t eat all them so bread seemed like the most logical choice. One loaf when to a family friend and the other stayed for us!

The next project was Monday night after I got the power back on! I’ve been wanting to make my own pumpkin pie for a while now and I finally did it! I figured I had all the ingredients on hand, so why not? I used my Food Network Magazine for their classic recipe. I’ll be honest, the pie was a bit of a let down. Jeremy says it’s great, but he has a head cold so I don’t trust his taste buds. I accidentally added an extra egg so I’m not sure how it really effected it… Probably made it a little fluffier. I’m not sure about taste. I’ll try again in the future or just leave all my pumpkin pie needs to Costco.

The final project was this morning  as I prepared a dessert to take to Thanksgiving tomorrow. This was probably my favorite dessert from the trio that made last year. They are called Hello Dollies (I’ve also heard them be called Magic Bars). This recipe came out of the 2010 Taste of the Holidays recipe book. I’m already been munching on a few as I cut them and prepared them for tomorrow’s travels.

I hope that tomorrow is a wonderful Thanksgiving day for all you who frequent Amy Scott’s Thoughts. I’ll enjoying not one, but two meals tomorrow. The party starts with Jeremy’s side of the family and ends with mine! Lots of dinner rolls in my future! What a yummy and tasty time of year!

Banana Bread

Pumpkin Pie

Hello Dollies

 

 

 

 

Evergreen vs. Deciduous November 20, 2012

Filed under: Simply Me — Amy Scott @ 10:18 pm

I live in the Evergreen State surround by tall trees with needles instead of leaves. Now that doesn’t mean we don’t have our fair share of deciduous trees. They are just less prominent. The tree has long been a metaphor for our spiritual life and lately I find myself pondering, do I want to be a evergreen or a deciduous tree?

My sister and I have a much loved and little known song by Switchfoot that we sing to each other. It was on a holiday album even though it has very little to do with the holidays. It’s more about the seasons. The main point of the song is “I want to be evergreen, I want to live all around.” For a long time, I would sing this song like a motto. I want to live all year around. Always alive, constantly growing.

Then I read about deciduous trees and how their leaves signify the seasons, the cycles of life. There are some seasons where we are in cold winter and it seems like we are bare, a hollow shadow of our former selves. Then there is spring. As small things begin to bloom and change, we find ourselves coming to life with the warm light. For a summery season, we bask in the glow and we are fully alive. However, nothing stays the same for long. We find ourselves falling toward change. Our leaves turn from green to gold. Then they fall. What are we left with? The hope of spring and the promise of summer.

I see myself in each tree. I see the benefit to both. Recently, I was driving over the mountain pass to see family and attend a conference. At one point in our travels, we passed a large set of deciduous trees. Their leaves had fallen in perfect piles around the base of the tree. The wind had not scattered them. Here sat these trees with all their majesty laying at their feet. Though they were bare, it was a beautiful sight. At that point in my pondering, I decided that I am deciduous tree, because I have cycles to my faith and have recently learned more than ever to see the beauty in the pain. It was a long lesson to learn, but I have finally accepted the winter times of a my soul as blessing.

I thought that being evergreen meant being constant without change. The word that came to my mind was stagnant. If I was evergreen, would I really have a vibrant, living faith? Then I remembered, evergreens grow a tiny bit each year adding inches to their branches. I never really noticed the brighter green tips in the spring until my sister told me how soft they were and instructed me to pet them. Being evergreen to me means constant faith and hope. It means no flashy gold, orange or red. It does mean slow, but measurable growth. The new growth is soft – just like our hearts.

So I’m left wondering – do I want to be evergreen or deciduous? Could I be a hybrid plant? The best of both parts. I’m not sure. I do know that when I look at these very different trees, I see beauty in both. I see the creator in both. Each are different, but both speak volumes into my spiritual journey. I’ll throw the question out to you, evergreen or deciduous?