Amy Scott's Thoughts

Sharing the thoughts that bounce around in my brain!

Catching You Up! June 15, 2017

Hey all! I will admit that it’s harder to find time to blog these days. The boys are wild and running full steam ahead every waking second. I’m blessed with snuggles and sweet moments in the midst of the boyhood chaos surrounding me. Things are happening at the property. I am giving 150% to my new Usborne book business. And then I have MOPS and friendships and family relationships that I’m trying to keep up with as well. I don’t like being busy. I am very tired. I was thinking today about how there just isn’t enough of me to go around or the age old saying of “there aren’t enough hours in the day.” Today was a day where I tried to multi-task working while the boys were awake and it was insanity. Often, I’m working when the boys are napping or at bedtime. Anytime my kids are asleep, I’m trying to get something done. It’s rewarding. I love the things I’m doing and people that I am investing in, but man, I could use a nap. Instead I’m blogging… naps and blogging are both therapeutic for me, but sadly I can only do one at a time. Maybe I can clone myself…

Okay, so the house. I know that you want house updates. I feel bad because we’re into building season and I would love to chronicle that process in detail here… but that might not happen. Sorry. As you can see I’m loosing my marbles a bit and I have some screws loose and whatever other saying will imply I lack mental clarity. While I get the basic just of building a house, there are parts of the process that I get confused about or don’t know the correct terms. This is not my skill set. Please, keep that in mind as you read my updates. They might include words like “thingamajig” from time to time. Last week we had the home site excavated, our driveway put in and gravel spread over the excavated site. Jeremy, my dad and brother-in-law, spent the weekend assembling the walls of our well houses.  The concrete pads weren’t poured yet so the well houses couldn’t go up over the weekend, but they are now as assembled as possible. Once the pads are poured and set, the well houses will be officially assembled. Jeremy is also working on getting the temporary power set up. And our building permits have been submitted to the county. We are still in the site “prep” stage, but we are very close to being fully ready to build. We had a meeting with Adair last week and they were impressed with how far we were in the process and they seemed optimistic that things would move along quickly. I’ll keep you posted so I know more!

As I mentioned, our days have filled with Usborne, MOPS, play dates and zany kids. Things are going well with Usborne. I’m one recruit away from getting my Success Kit #2. I have a couple recruits possibly joining in June because Usborne is running a special where you can join for $50. It’s a fantastic deal and truly an awesome opportunity. MOPS wrapped up last week and I’m in the midst of meetings and reworking paperwork in preparation for the new year. It’s exciting to see it all come together and I am believing great things are in store for our group. This new role has stretched me and grown me. I seem to be in a season doing new things. It’s good, but again, tiring. I’m doing lots of learning and trying to keep up and on top of things.

I think back to the days when I was at home for maybe 2,3,4 days in a row. Maybe unshowered… just chilling with babies and wondering if I’m losing my mind. Now, I kind of miss that. I’ve been out of the house a lot more these days or I’m doing live videos for my business, so the endless days of no showering just aren’t an option… I’m sure it’s better for the world as a whole, but I miss the slower pace and the option of being presentable. Haha… it takes energy! As an introvert, these new roles have me connecting with people all day long and that is taking some getting used to. I’m very much drained by constant communication. This summer is probably going to be the hardest part (I hope). I’m learning new things, we’re building a house, I’m out of my comfort zone in a lot of areas. But new routines will form. I will adapt to the new schedules and new commitments. Everything won’t be “new” forever. I’m learning a new form of endurance. It’s good, but hard. It’s rewarding, but tiring. Doesn’t that sum up life in a nutshell?

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Airplane

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Telling the time with his new Usborne book!

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One cute kid!

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Celebrating Cousin Bennett’s birthday at the park!

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Home Depot runs with Dad

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Last MOPS meeting of the year! So blessed by these ladies and excited to lead this group in the fall!

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Cranky face

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Home partying with my books!

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We have a driveway!!!!!!!

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Homestead Selfie

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Happy snuggles after Sunday naps

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Making Grandma a birthday card!

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Happy Birthday, Grandma!

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Graham fell asleep in his highchair after a super active play date!

 

 

Off to the Races May 17, 2017

I’ve been dying to post an update. I’m finding that now that I’m managing a business in my spare time, it might mean that blogging can’t be a top priority. This is hard because blogging is my therapy. I need to write things down. It helps me process life. Just like all things, balance is important. There will probably be days, even like today, where I could be doing stuff for my book business, but I will choose to blog. Because I need to blog. I just can’t stop.

As you can imagine, learning a new business is taking up some serious brain space. This month has gone better than I expected and my calendar has booked fairly solid. I have two openings left in May. Not too shabby. I think I can fill at least one of those openings at my next few parties. I’m already booking into June and July.

I am enjoying my experience so far as an Usborne book lady. I have a big box full of reward books and prize books coming on Monday and I can’t wait to get my hands on it. I’m super close to winning my first success kit (more free books) and getting my consultant kit partially refunded. Jeremy even encouraged me to have a display table at a big garage sale our church has last weekend. I sold a book, booked a party and gave out a ton of business cards. I was able to talk with a lot of people and share my passion for books and why I think Usborne books are great. It stretched me because I was running a table for MOPS at the garage sale as well, but overall, it was positive experience and I’m glad I did it.

The theme of my life right now is the tension between Usborne and MOPS. So far I’m surviving it and I don’t think one is suffering because of the other. I just always have something to do for both groups. Keeps my to-do list long and tension in my soul. And you know, I have kids, laundry, cleaning, friends, family, a husband who all deserve my time and attention. I’m learning a lot about being “present” in my life right now. When I’m working, I’m working. When I’m with my kids, I’m giving them my full attention. When I’m in a meeting, I’m not looking at my phone or going over my mental to-do lists. My relationships are important. My commitments are important. No one wants half of me or my scattered mind. I want to be all in where I am, in whatever I am doing. I don’t always succeed at this, but I am learning and growing. My prayer is that the Lord is building character in me through all these things.

The house is moving along slowly. Not a ton to report. We did hear back on the appraisal and the numbers were great. We are waiting to close on our construction loan. This will give us the funds to begin the great building season. It’s so close! Prayers for patience would be appreciated. One of the upsides to being out of my mind busy is that I have less brain space to be impatient with the house.

I’m sure there is plenty more I could mention, but we will leave it at that for now. My time allotted for blogging is now up! Thank you all for hanging on with me during this wild ride.

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Trains don’t need to run on the track, right?

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Graham could live all day in a swing…

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Owen and his best friend, Maci, at a play date in the park. Here they are off to go look at trains!

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Books on one side, MOPS on the other. Kids watching trains. Miss Elena cheering me!

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Painted the night with my MOPS friends. This was so stressful for me, but I’m so glad I pushed myself to try something out of my comfort zone!

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Owen was in a burrito, so Graham took the opportunity to attack Owen’s head.

 

Spinning Around May 1, 2017

Filed under: Family Time,Parenthood,Usborne Books & More,Women in Ministry — Amy Scott @ 6:49 pm

I might not be in the best place to be blogging at the moment. My mind is spinning. Totally swimming through a sea of 90 million thoughts and responsibilities. I feel a bit loopy and dizzy. But the kids are on a walk with Nana and Papa. Jeremy is running a quick errand. And I am sitting in silence, alone in the house (a truly rare experience). I process my world by writing things down. Welcome to my therapy session.

The last week has been spent out of town. I was at conference from Monday through Wednesday. I was home Thursday and Graham was a sick mess. I had planned to be very productive with my one at home in between trips, but Graham’s illness made that complicated. Friday through Sunday I was at our church ladies retreat.

This was the first trip for me to leave Graham at home and my first time being truly kid free in two years. I had a dumb grin on my face the whole time. During the first trip I got lots of good time with my hubby and it was a blessing. I am amazed how much easier traveling is when I’m not pregnant or taking care of a baby. It was bliss to feel good and be able to focus.

The only slight stress factor was being away for a week while trying to launch a new business. I worked on some Usborne stuff while I was away. I ordered my kit and went through as much of the official training information as I could on Thursday (but remember Graham was sick and this was difficult because I also needed to do laundry and repack for my next adventure). Things with Usborne are going well and I am excited for my launch this Thursday. It has taken some time to go through the welcome and training information. I’m learning a lot and processing a lot. I know things will get easier with time but right now it’s a whole new world I’m trying to master.

Part of my stress comes from MOPS, I’m still seeking team members for next year. I’m working on planning and preparing for next year. In a lot of ways even though I’m coordinating next year, I’ve taken on more leadership at the end of this year than I expected. Especially in the form of two fundraisers that surprisingly have landed on my shoulders. I’m discouraged by the lack of participation in the fundraisers, leaving me to carry the weight.

My hope is that by the time I’m actively leading MOPS over the summer, I will have enough Usborne experience to feel confident with these two big commitments. I am the type of person who believes in doing one thing well instead of multiple things only okay. For me this has looked like a scaled back schedule so I could make motherhood my top priority. I created a relatively simple life so I could give my best effort, energy and focus to mothering. Now I’m responding to texts, sending messages, learning new programs, recruiting leaders, asking questions, planning meetings… I would love to say this all happens when my kids are napping or sleeping at night, but it doesn’t. My focus is split. I am distracted. Even if I’m not actively working on Usborne or MOPS, I’m thinking about them.

I realize this is a season of growth for me. I am learning. Things are changing. But I also know that I will get into a routine and a flow with these new commitments. They won’t always be new. They won’t always take the same level of interest or intensity. At least, I hope not. I’m praying for firm footing and confidence as a I move forward. I definitely want to be present with my kids. Especially with Owen as we move toward summer. These next few months will be the last I have with him home all day, every day. I want to make those moments matter. Owen has appreciated that I am home from my many travels. When he got up from his nap today, he asked me for the all hugs and kisses I could give him. It was a super sweet moment as I showered him with goofy hugs and kisses. I listened those giggles and smelled his little boy smell and just loved on him. He was happy I was home and I was happy to be there with him too. Bliss!

Now Graham on the other hand has been super cranky lately. He is unhappy soul at the moment. I think the main issue is teething, but he is no fun to hang out with. I love him dearly, but he makes my days complicated. It’s hard to multi-task when he is crying at my feet. I often think I can accomplish a list of little things to do through out the day, but that list turns out to be way more challenging than I expect because Graham just isn’t happy. Poor kid. Poor me. Here’s hoping he grows out of this stage soon. He is the cutest thing and he loves his Mama, but he isn’t all that sweet at the moment. I’m a part of a moms’ group that calls kids like him “Sour Patch Kids”. I think that sums Graham up quite well.

Anyway, all that to say, I am spinning around in circles. Trying to keep it all straight. Trying to do the best that I can with what I’ve got. I’m really pushing myself to connect with others on a lot of different fronts. Conferences were about connecting with people, starting a business means I need people to get it off the ground, MOPS needs people to lead and attend. I have greatly valued pouring into my family and having my connection energy spent on a smaller circle. I am having some growing pains as my world expands. Life will just keep spinning. What overwhelms me today, hopefully won’t be as overwhelming tomorrow. Prayers appreciated!

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Kid free time with my sweetheart!

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Working while away

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When we have free time, we look at appliances

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Enjoying a movie

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Look how happy I am without children!

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Had a quick dinner on the ride home with the E-burg crew! Love them!

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My book model! Helping Mommy get her business off the ground.

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Retreat weekend!

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The Three “A”-migas! Haha! Love my sis and mom!

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Home with my cuddly, cranky pants.

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Out for a one on one walk with Owen.

 

MOPS, Eggstravaganza and Half Birthdays April 12, 2017

I would love to figure out a way to start this blog by saying something other than “the last two weeks have been busy.” I hate starting things off by saying that we are busy. I’m not a fan of the word busy. I don’t wear it as a badge of honor to show you how awesome I am. We’ve had lots going on and busy just seems to be the only way I can explain it…

Over the last few weeks, I’ve been diving deeper into the world of MOPS leadership. We had a member of our group lose her brother tragically and I coordinator an effort to assemble and deliver a gift basket to her. It was great to be part of a group of ladies that came to together to love on someone in their time of need. Our MOPS group also participated in a bake sale this weekend at Easter Eggstravaganaza. I made, decorated and individually packaged 7 dozen cupcakes. The bake sale was a huge success. I helped them set up the table and then I worked the booth from noon to 4pm. It was nice to chat with ladies I worked with as well as connect with moms in the community and let them know about the changes we’re making to MOPS next year. I’ve been meeting with ladies to recruit our leadership team for next year. I’ve been learning all I can from our current coordinator and I’m trying to wrap my head around all the things that will land on my shoulders in June. I am excited. I have tons of ideas, hopes and dreams. I’m still searching for about 5 more ladies to join my team and then I’ll be super jazzed moving forward.

As I mentioned, this weekend was Easter Eggstravaganza. Anyone who knows our family, knows that this event is the biggest event of the year for Jeremy. It’s huge. And true to tradition, each year seems to get bigger and better. I am so proud of the energy and effort my husband and his team give to making this community event such a blessing to families. Our boys participated in the morning hunts. Graham wasn’t too into it, but Owen was a pro. I tried to give Graham a trial hunt on Friday night to prepare him, but he was more interested in the buckets than the eggs. Nothing wrong with that.  It’s nice that EE is now the weekend before Easter. It’s takes the level of busy down for Easter weekend and give us the chance to enjoy Easter on a smaller scale with our family. On Saturday the boys will get their baskets from Jeremy and I. We will do a small egg hunt with them and then dye eggs together. Sunday will be a celebration at church with our Bethel family and then off to spend the afternoon and evening with loved ones. I’ve been trying to share the true meaning of Easter with Owen this year. It’s challenging because I don’t think he fully grasps the concept of death (I’m okay with that). More than anything, I want Owen to know that we celebrate Jesus at Easter and his great love for us.

April is half birthday month for the boys. Owen was officially 3.5 on the 8th and Graham will be 18 months on the 19th, less than a week away. Because I’m a dork and didn’t call in time, Graham’s 18 month well check really be a 19 month well check in May. Oops. You’ll have to wait another month for Graham stats. Graham is a climber these days with no fear. I’m worried that he will need to start wearing a helmet 24/7 to protect his head from his daredevil ways. He can now climb the play structure in the backyard all on his own and that terrifies me. He needs to be watched like a hawk when he is outside. Nothing stops him. Graham loves to dance and listen to nursery rhyme songs. It’s what he is currently doing some I can blog. Graham just learned how to blow kisses this last week and it’s adorable. I feel guilty because I have more photos of Owen to share than of Graham. It’s not me playing favorites, trust me. If Graham knows you are taking his photo, he tries to grab the phone and turn it to selfie mode. Selfie mode equals pictures of the ceiling or Graham’s forehead. He is a tricky kid to get pictures of right now.

Owen continues to amaze me. He is such a smart kid. We just finished his alphabet sticker book today and continue to work on his tracing skills with his wipe clean books. We’ve been in massive preschool research mode. Owen will most likely attend the preschool that will be apart of the new learning center going in at Bethel this fall but we are looking into the local Christian school as well. We have a tour of the Christian school next week to check it out. Since Bethel Kids Learning Center is still in the development stages, I am anxiously waiting for more details so I can make a firm decision between the two preschools. It blows my mind that Owen will be gone a couple mornings a week next year. I realize for the first time now how quickly the years of just being us at home go by. I’m not used to having commitments multiple days of the week that need us to get out of the house by a certain time. I’m used to slow morning and days spent in our pajamas and sweats.  Owen is so friendly. He makes friends wherever he goes and I know that preschool will be a joy for him. I can see how he is learning and growing daily. He is ready for structure and to be challenged. Because of his birthday being at the beginning of the school calendar, Owen will have 2 years of preschool before kindergarten. I have time to adjust to a few days a week schedule before all day, every day school happens.

There isn’t too much new news to share about the house. The nice thing is we get emails every other day or so with updates on where things are at. Things are moving along even if we haven’t broken ground yet at the property. I am thankful for a process where I can mark progress and I know that things are moving forward daily. It gives me hope. I have spent way too much time on Pinterest looking at bedroom decor for the boys and paint colors. One of the big things I’m researching right now is exterior paint colors. I like the idea of having a painted door that is a pop of color. In Winlock we had a white door, but I’m thinking I would like to have a blue door in our next house. Daydreaming is so much fun and now that things are moving along, day dreaming doesn’t seem painful anymore. Patience is hard, but I am thankful for where we are at and I am excited for future!

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Time at the park on a sunny day

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Sweetness

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Trying to get them to come inside after church. It wasn’t happening easily.

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Spring time

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Waving at a train in Napavine

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Another day, another park

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Helping do the dishes

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Peeps cake for my Wednesday night class. Thank you, Pinterest!

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So many cupcakes for the MOPS bake sale

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Thanks to Friday’s windstorm, our trampoline was relocated.

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Graham’s practice hunt

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Owen got all the eggs in the practice hunt

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Easter Eggstravaganza 2017

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Learning about Palm Sunday

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Ready to ride

 

It’s Such a Good Feeling! March 29, 2017

It’s such a good feeling to have our house sold! It’s exciting to see the online status listed as SOLD! I am thankful and grateful that we are one step closer to being in our own home again. Yesterday, we visited the Adair office. We went over all the paperwork and signed on officially with them to build our house. It was the first step of the building process! Now I realize that building itself probably won’t happen for at least two months, but there are things to look forward as we move toward building. Building a house doesn’t happen overnight and there are lots of prep steps. Hopefully, once we start building, it will be in the summer months and things can move quickly because of the improved weather. There is lots of hope in my heart right now. I keep looking over my floor plan and daydreaming. This is were Pinterest now becomes a useful and dangerous tool in my hands!

Over the weekend, we celebrated Jeremy’s birthday. We had a busy day full of family visits and good food. Even though Jeremy had to work on his birthday for part of the day, I think the afternoon/evening of celebrating made up for it.

On Sunday, we went over to my parent’s house at the property. It was fun to explore their house now that their are exterior walls are up. We walked over to our property and talked about moving our house a little closer to the road. We are trying to save some extra dollars and being closer to the power will help with that. We are also reversing the floor plan to save money. The boys roamed around and enjoyed a break in the rain. Graham plopped down in a giant mud puddle. He was a mess and left a nice little impression in the puddle of his bottom. We had to load up the little dirt ball and take him home for a bath.

Monday, I had friend over to talk about MOPS leadership for next year. I am in the recruiting phase for the MOPS team. It was a great discussion and I am thrilled for this mom to be apart of the team next year. Please be praying for me and the whole team. We have more roles to fill and I am praying God brings the right ladies to the table. There are so many possibilities for next year. It’s been an exciting journey so far and I’m hopeful that it will continue to be a fun and positive experience as we move forward.

After signing the paperwork with Adair yesterday, I came home and had a long phone date with my forever friend, Maggie. Now that she lives in California we talk more than ever. It’s funny because we have grown closer with the distance. I do miss our in person lunch dates but I am really enjoying our frequent phone calls. We went from talking every other month or so to now talking about twice a month. I’m always blessed by time with Maggie even if it is on the phone.

My evening yesterday was spent at the movies with my mom and sister! My mom heard that I enjoyed Beauty and the Beast and suggested we do a girls’ movie night with April! I couldn’t pass up an opportunity to see the movie again and spend time with my mom and sister! It was a win-win!

I’m sure there will be lots of things to check off the list as we move toward building. I’ll keep you informed through each stage! As the month of April is right around the corner, our family focus will be on Easter. Jeremy’s big egg hunt will take place on April 8th. I plan to attend with the boys at the first hunt and then work at a bake sale for MOPS. We hope to get the word out about the big changes to MOPS at this huge community event. This is the demographic that MOPS ministers to and we hope to get the information out so ladies can plan to join us next year.

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Birthday morning picture! Happy birthday, Jeremy!

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Owen and Nolan decorating Jeremy’s birthday cake. Owen had been waiting a long time to put those deer and trees on a cake!

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A fun family day spent celebrating Jeremy!

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Status: Sold

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Exploring Grandpa & Grandma’s new house!

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We’ve been very into blanket forts this week.

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Reading the fort

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Movie night with my mom and sister

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The future is looking bright!

 

News & More News March 21, 2017

Filed under: Bible,Selling, Building, Moving,Simply Me,Women in Ministry — Amy Scott @ 8:43 pm

Where to start? I promised you some news in my last post. Non-house related news. Here we go!

About a month ago, I agreed to be the MOPS coordinator for next year. Not only does this new role bring more responsibility in our MOPS group, but we are also shaking things up as we move forward. Our church will be opening a learning center in the fall and the classrooms we use for MOPS will soon be occupied during the day. We had to assess if MOPS was worth keeping and if it was, we had to find a new time to meet. This led to moving MOPS to the evening next year. We will meet now on the 2nd & 4th Mondays of the month. I’m excited to see the group continue and I think this new time and day opens up new opportunities. Right now we have a mens’ group that meets on Mondays so adding a moms’ group with childcare could be a good match for the whole family. If the evening hours are too late for little ones to be out, hopefully a father or grandparent could stay home to put the kiddos to bed. Right now working moms can’t attend our group because it meets in the day. We are hoping that working moms or single moms have better availability in the evenings. We also plan to move our outings to the weekends and promote them as family outings so whole families can make greater connections. We announced the change to the leadership team last week and to our group this morning. The next step is recruiting the team for next year and letting the community know about our upcoming changes for the fall. We have a bake sale booth at Easter Eggstravaganza and I hope this will give a good connection point to get the word out. I am nervous about leading the group next year, but I am blessed to the support of my friend and mentor, Pastor Jeannie. She is shouldering the weight with me so I don’t breathe into a paper bag. I’ve had many positive conversations about next year and it fills me with hope that we are moving forward in the right direction. I’m sure I’ll have many more updates on my MOPS adventures. It’s just beginning!!!

Now on to some house related news! Jeremy got word today from our real estate agent saying we are GO for closing. The buyer could sign his papers as soon as this Friday which means we could be closing next week. Praise the LORD! Our appraisal must have come in at asking price because we didn’t have to sign any papers to changed the agreed on price. This is thrilling news. My happy dance is seasoned with a bit of skepticism, but for the most part, I am hopeful this is the real deal this time. The true happy dance will happen once the papers are signed.  I am ready for this next season of life. Bring on the building season and the moving season and the finally settling into our own space season. I realize that life moves slowly at times. This whole “selling” process has proven that. I’m hopeful and prayerful that the next phase of building has less hiccups and slow downs. This might be naive, but I’m a dreamer. I can’t help it… I’m just so excited.

That’s the update for now! I’ll keep you posted on the wild and crazy adventures of the Scott clan.

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Brotherly love!

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I’ve been keeping this verse close by me this week.

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Cousin play date while the moms slip out to see a movie!

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Peekaboo smiles

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Free Cone Day at Dairy Queen

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He kept telling me he didn’t need a nap. Yeah right, kid.

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It took me a few seconds to realize that Owen let Graham out the backdoor. Oops!

 

You are Loved & God is Good! December 7, 2016

img_4121Here are the notes from my MOPS talk yesterday. It should take about 15 minutes or less to read. I hope that it brings encouragement to you.  I had such a wonderful response yesterday. I was blessed to share my heart with such wonderful ladies!

Hello. For those of you out there that I haven’t met personally, my name is Amy Scott. My husband is the children’s pastor here at Bethel Church. I’m on the MOPS steering team and have been for the last few years. I love MOPS and I love that you are all here today. This is a special place and what we do here is important. I hope that as you’ve spent time around the table with other moms, you’ve felt a sense of community and belonging. It’s so encouraging to know that you are not alone and that you have a group of ladies cheering you on.

What I want to share with you ladies today is a lot of preaching to the choir. It’s a message that really touches where I am right now. I don’t know this as a fact, but I’m assuming a lot of you might be in a similar place or maybe can relate to my story.

I’m a thinker. I can’t turn my brain off. Sometimes it’s a blessing and sometimes it a curse. I’ve been thinking a lot about life, especially the last year, 2016, and all the changes that have happened. It’s been a big year. I turned 30, bought a minivan… Jeremy and I put our house up for sale. It was our first house and full of so many memories because we started our family there. My home has been my sanctuary, my refuge. Selling it and letting go was has been an exciting, but emotion filled decision.  I won’t go into all the details, but we’ve had one deal fall through and it’s been months of delays and extensions with our current buyer. We thought we would close at the end of September and now we are praying that we close at the end of the December. The kicker is, we thought for sure that we were going to close in October, so we moved in with my in-laws. Now it looks that was two months too soon. My in-laws have been great to live with, but it isn’t ideal when we could have been in our home. In a lot of ways, I’m ready to move forward, but I feel stalled.

Some of you know that at the end of this summer, my husband had some serious health issues arise and we had to take a step back from ministry for a few months to make his health a top priority.  He is doing better now, but there are still some questions that we haven’t found answers to. It’s been a lot to take in, a lot to process.

There are numerous other changes that would take too long to go into, but this whole last year; I’ve felt like my life has been sifted. It’s been a rewarding process in the sense that I’ve learned a lot about myself and what I can handle. Mostly I’ve learned how much I truly need to rely on God to get through the day. Sifting happens when things get shaken up. And I’ve felt shaken this year. In a lot of ways my sense of security has been lost. When your security is in things or even in people, life can be scary. There is a sense of doubt and worry. I’ve learned a lot about God being my rock, my anchor.

I’m a writer and a blogger. I used to attempt to write deep thoughts about life and ministry, but once I had kids my blog morphed more into our family life and what we’re up to on a weekly basis. My 5 followers love my updates. I’ve chronicled the highs and lows of this year through my blog. It’s interesting to me that after all the updates, once I’ve gone through all hang ups, holds up, struggles and fears, I would always wrap things up by talking about the goodness of God. Strange to think that I would write through all the struggles of life and then close by saying God is good.

And that brings me to what I want to share with you today. The heart of my message is you are loved and God is good. In the midst of it all, I would hold on to these two truths. I am loved and God is good.  I knew this was true. I didn’t doubt it. And with these two truths being whispered in my ear and repeated over and over in my heart, I was able to walk forward on firm ground even when life felt unstable and insecure. I didn’t have a lot of answers. I still don’t.

I could choose to stress and worry about my husband’s health or about why we keep experiencing hold ups with our house, but instead I remember that I am loved and God is good and the details that I cannot control lose their hold on me.  I can have peace.

Philippians 4:6-7 says:

Don’t worry about anything; instead, pray about everything. Tell God what you need, and thank him for all he has done. Then you will experience God’s peace, which exceeds anything we can understand. His peace will guard your hearts and minds as you live in Christ Jesus.

God’s got this has been my motto. I don’t need to worry, I don’t need to figure it all it out. I just need to trust that God’s got this.

I want to share a passage of scripture with you from 1 John 4. I’m going to read verses 9-19:

God showed how much he loved us by sending his one and only Son into the world so that we might have eternal life through him. This is real love—not that we loved God, but that he loved us and sent his Son as a sacrifice to take away our sins.

 Dear friends, since God loved us that much, we surely ought to love each other.  No one has ever seen God. But if we love each other, God lives in us, and his love is brought to full expression in us.

And God has given us his Spirit as proof that we live in him and he in us. Furthermore, we have seen with our own eyes and now testify that the Father sent his Son to be the Savior of the world. All who declare that Jesus is the Son of God have God living in them, and they live in God. We know how much God loves us, and we have put our trust in his love.

God is love, and all who live in love live in God, and God lives in them. And as we live in God, our love grows more perfect.

So we will not be afraid on the Day of Judgment, but we can face him with confidence because we live like Jesus here in this world.

Such love has no fear, because perfect love expels all fear. If we are afraid, it is for fear of punishment, and this shows that we have not fully experienced his perfect love. We love each other because he loved us first.

There are a few key thoughts that I want to focus on. The first is that God loved us so much that he gave his one and only son so that we might have eternal life. God’s love is all about relationship. He loved us so much, so deeply that he gave the greatest sacrifice so we could have a relationship with him. It’s because of this truth that I have never doubted the goodness of God. God is love and his love restored my relationship with him. And I know that he desires that same relationship with each of you. His love is constant, searching, reconciling. He never gives up and never let’s go.  I am secure in this knowledge.

Which leads me to verse 16 where it says, “We know how much God loves us, and we have put our trust in his love.” We can trust this good news. We can trust God! No matter what happens in life, we can trust that he loves us. As I say it, it sounds simple, but it is deeply profound. We can trust his love. We can trust in a world that doesn’t make sense, that God’s got this, because he loves us. He is love. We don’t have to have it all figured out. We can trust his love.

In a period of time where fear has been waiting at my doorstep, hoping I will let it in and take root in my heart, I have relied on verse 18 that says such love has no fear because perfect love expels all fear. If I am truly trusting in perfect love then I don’t have to be afraid. This doesn’t mean that everything works out the way I hope because God loves me. I have gotten many answers I didn’t like and I’ve walked down roads that I didn’t plan to walk down. I’ve experienced hurt that I didn’t want or expect in my life. I think we all have. But I don’t have to be afraid of these things. God’s perfect love casts out all fear.  Even when I am uncomfortable, even when I’m confused, frustrated, broken hearted, or worn out, I know that at the base of it all, my foundation and my rock is this perfect love. This perfect love that knows where I’m at and is with me in each moment. When our trust is in God’s love, we can say good-bye to the hold that fear has over us.

Now the overall context of this verse isn’t just about us and God. It’s not a bubble. It’s not God loves me and I love him. End of story. This love is lived out in the context of community and relationship. It’s about us shining that love to those around us.

Verses 11 and 12 say:

Dear friends, since God loved us that much, we surely ought to love each other. No one has ever seen God. But if we love each other, God lives in us, and his love is brought to full expression in us.

God’s love is brought to full expression in us. WOW! That’s big. I’ll be honest with you all. I’ve been debating about what I would share with you for a while. I’ve taken this talk a thousand different directions in my mind. But God really challenged me to share my story today, to be real and honest about where I’ve been and what I’ve walked through.

I’m a private person by nature. I want you to all think that I’ve got it together and that I’m composed. Over the last year though I’ve had more than one moment where my composure has fallen apart. In those moments, Christ followers have been there to encourage me. I’ve had the best support as I’ve been honest and open with trusted friends and family members. By sharing my story with them, even the ugly parts, they have been able to respond to my need and love me in a deep and personal way. I lose out when I keep my story to myself and you lose you out to.

This great love that we are a part of invites us to share that love. We aren’t meant to keep it to ourselves. We can live like Jesus here in the world and extend that same love to others. We need that love and we need to give that love. Community is important. Sharing your story is important. God has given you a unique story that only you can tell. Maybe you’re in the middle of the hurt and you need the love of community to hold you up as you sort through the mess. Maybe you’ve recently walked through something and your testimony of how God got you through it can give encouragement and strength to someone so they don’t give up. It’s a cycle of encouragement and every part of the process is important.

Now, I realize that this is a Christmas party. I haven’t spent much time talking about shepherds or wise man. The heart of the Christmas story is Jesus. God came to earth in human form and walked among us. He loved us to much that died for our sins, so he could have a relationship with us. The love and the sacrifice of his story is why we are here today. It’s why we celebrate Christmas and even more so why we celebrate a risen Savior at Easter. This story isn’t a holiday story. It’s an everyday story. The truth of God’s goodness and his love is evident all year around and it’s up to us to respond to it and to share it with the world. My hope and prayer is that you will walk out of this room holding deeply to the truth that you loved and God is good. With that knowledge tucked in your heart, I pray that you shine a little brighter today and love a little deeper.  This is the heart of the Christmas message.