A busy summer and some exciting news…

You would think the lazy days of summer have given me days and weeks of slouching around. You would think I would have all the time in the world to write and post and socialize on media during the hot summer days.

You would think…..

But no, it has actually been a very busy summer!

June is a celebration month for us. All four of my children’s birthdays and my husband’s and my anniversary are all in June. We’ve gone on a few road trips too.

And then, there’s the sleep overs and play dates, not to mention the swim days.

Then, there’s all the eating! Boy, these kids are eating all the time. So, grocery shopping seems to be often. VBS….there’s a week gone right there!

Add to that, I’ve been planning the WoW ReNew Retreat at the beginning of August.

All that to say….I just don’t get to write and post as much as I would like. I have a lot to say, there’s just not enough time or energy left at the end of the day to peck it out, but I’m hoping that’s about to change.

Very soon, I’m going to be back to sharing my thoughts (and hopefully) encouragement through this blog and on another wonderful site! Check out Prayers for Girls where you’ll read some wonderful women sharing their insight on praying for their girls. I am excited and honored to get to join them  in a journey to encouraging each other while we raise our girls! Once a month, I’ll be sharing some ideas at P4G, and I hope you’ll continue to read here and join me over there.

So…stay tuned for more from Women of the Way and discover all the great things happening at Prayer for Girls.

~Amy

Lazy summer days are the best!

Summer days are the best!

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Friday Finds

I’ve shared several great resources for marriages. If you didn’t check them out, you should. Really. If I share it with you, I’m pretty much saying….”this is awesome”!

However, I realize there is SO MUCH emphasis on marriage and relationships that often those who find themselves single are left waffling in the wake of Cupid’s arrow among all the flowers and cards and chocolate.

If you find yourself in this position, then today’s Friday Find is for you!

Here is a really good article by Propel: Surviving the Relationship Status is a great article reflecting about the single life.

Haven’t heard of Propel? Oh..you’ve got to check it out!

Propel was started by Christine Caine and is geared towards women in leadership especially in business with professional careers. They send out great videos and articles to encourage women to utilize their gifts and callings to be Christ in the community.

Several articles like this one address issues specifically geared towards women who are single which is often hard to find when so many other resources are focused on marriage and family.

Hope you enjoy it. If you like it, let me know and share it with someone else!

~Amy

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My Kryptonite

We all have one. No matter how strong or invincible you may think you are, you have one too.

Like Superman with a chunk of Kryptonite hanging around his neck, we all have at least one weakness that will bring us down.

I’ll tell you mine if you tell me yours………

My Kryptonite is not enough sleep.

Oh sure, there’s lots of things that can get me down…work load, loud kids, unexpected expenses. Those things can weigh me down.

But not getting enough sleep can turn a busy day into a stressful day. It can turn a small bump in the road into an surmountable hill.

When I don’t get enough sleep, I get easily frustrated, am much more irritable, can loose my temper quicker….well, you get the picture. I can remember when the triplets were little, on the days I didn’t get enough sleep, the everyday routines were much harder to tackle. I didn’t think I would be able to survive those baby days. I’m telling you that being exhausted would cause me to question my abilities as a woman and mother and whether was God was anywhere close by.  My precious children would seem like little monsters out to get me.

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Photo credit: Nancy Rutledge

Then, a good nap or night’s sleep later, I would think….”Oh, I can handle it. This is going to be ok. I love my life”.

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Photo credit: Nancy Rutledge

I know my experience isn’t very different from any other mother with young children. Lack of sleep goes with the territory. But this was my kryptonite….the one thing that could shade all the other areas of my life.

So what do I do to keep the chain of Kruptonite from dragging me down?

First, I began to recognize that lack of sleep would trigger these awful behaviors in me. Once I recognized the link,  it would help me in the moment of stress. “Ok, Amy, you are tired. Step back and take a deep breath.”

Then, I could (try to) plan better. Taking naps were not a guilty pleasure, but rather a strategic plan to get me through the day. Sleeping late on Saturdays is now a gift to be good to myself rather than laziness.

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Photo credit Nancy Rutledge

Finally, having Kryptonite invade my waking hours on a daily and/or weekly basis, I’ve come to accept the fact, I’m going to not get enough sleep. I’m a mom, I work a full time job, I enjoy watching movies on the weekends. I, sometimes, choose to accept the consequence of Kryptonite in order to get some quiet at night after the kids go to bed or to have some much needed girl-time with friends. But, I’m aware of what it can do to me. Even though  I may be aware of the Kryptoninte around my neck, that does not give me permission to be grumpy or snarky. I can better guard my attitude, my words, and my emotions. I can recognize that it’s my issue and not a bad life or tedious children or forsaken by God!

My Kryptonite is lack of sleep. But what is yours?

Low blood sugar? chronic pain or illness? depression? Yours may be a condition that you may not ever get rid of. But recognizing how it can affect you can help you prevent, manage, and deal with it as best as possible.

I’m going to bed now and get rid of my Kryptonite for a while!

~Amy

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Friday Finds

We made it to the end of the week! Congratulations! Relationship and marriage are still on my mind, and I’ve got some more great stuff to share!!

This week I’m bringing you counselor and speaker, Dr. Richard Marks. His teaching videos The Power of Us and Caress Your Marriage are POWERFUL! These videos have made a significant impact on how I view my marriage and how I related to my spouse.

Most books and materials I’ve come across discuss the basics of ‘men need respect and women need love’. Don’t get me wrong, that’s all very good. But Dr. Marks goes way deeper into the biology and psychology of of our emotional needs and why God created us to need relationships. He does a great job basing his ideas in Scripture as well.

I’m telling you….if you need deeper understand of who you do what you in your relationships, please check out these videos. And, if you like his stuff, check out his website www.marriedforlife.org and his book “Relationships for Life”.

I really hope you like these posts on Friday Finds. When I find something that is really great or helpful, I just want you to find out about it too!! Let me know what you think is helpful too!

Have a great weekend!!

~Amy

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Why I don’t need ministry anymore….

I don’t need ministry anymore, and I’ve never been more fulfilled!!

Stay with me…..

Early on in my 20’s, I was such a zealous thing. I grew up in a family where our lives revolved around ministry, and I loved it! I was the good-girl, preacher’s kid who didn’t rebel. I wanted more than anything to sing, teach, volunteer….anything! I genuinely wanted to serve God in a real and effective way.

Looking back, though, I was also striving. Hard. I wanted so badly to prove how much I loved and was dedicated to God. I sincerely thought that if I did all the right things…especially ministry, I’d make Him happy with me. I hoped to do enough, to be enough, so I could be accepted enough.

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Photo credit: Nancy Rutledge

As much as I loved ministry…I also needed it to prove myself acceptable. Somehow, people’s approval fueled my efforts and my need for affirmation. People’s approval equated God’s approval which also stirred the battle between insecurity and pride.

Slowly, but surely…..through years of learning how much God loves me and not needing to earn God’s approval, my perspective on ministry changed. I’ve grown into realizing that ministry is the fruit of what flows out of my relationship with God. Not the other way around! Ministry is the overflow of what God is doing in me, not what I can do to prove my faithfulness to Him.

I didn’t realize this maturing process was even happening. A few years ago, I was able to fill in for the worship leader at the church we had just began attending. She had experienced a personal tragedy and needed to take some time off from leading worship to recover. So, I was asked to fill in and was more than happy to do for her and the church. She was my friend, and I wanted to help her in any way I could. To my surprise, this temporary fill-in turned into a regular gig.

When this opportunity was laid before me, something very special became apparent….I didn’t need this ministry opportunity. I was excited and thrilled because I never thought I would get an opportunity like this! I thought my music days were over. But rather than this chance at ministry scratching some itch rooted in my ego or insecurity, or striving to make me more acceptable to God, it simply made me thankful to God that the door was open. Ministry could overflow! I didn’t need it anymore!!!

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Photo credit: Nancy Rutledge

Do you feel like you serve in your ministry out of need or out of overflow? Are you so filled with God’s love that it flows out of you through the ways you serve?

Let Him fill you to overflowing!

~Amy

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Friday Finds

Happy Friday!! And Love is in the air!!!

For February’s Friday Finds, I can’t wait to share some great websites and blogs on love and marriage this month!

I’ve been reading To Love Honor and Vacuum Sheila Wray Gregoire for a couple of years now. She has great, thought-provoking posts on “the good, the bad, and the ugly” in marriage. Challenging and encouraging, this blog has fun tips and advice as well as tackling some serious issues.

Her ideas for Valentine’s Day are sure to spice things up, and her books will help you move towards a Christ-honoring, healthy marriage too! Check her out….I’m sure you’ll find something you like!

Have a great weekend!

~Amy

 

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Chocolate

Let’s all pause for a moment and reflect………….

Aaaahhhhhhh……………………………………….

Anybody who knows me more than a few minutes knows that I am a Gen.u.ine. Choco-haulic. Yes, I admit it. I need therapy.

The honest truth is that once when I was little girl I kept begging and begging to eat the Reese’s cups, and mom decided to “cure” me by letting me eat all I wanted until I got sick. Yep, I ate all I wanted. And Yep, I got sick as a dog. It’s been a down hill addiction ever since.

This chocolate love-affair has also brought with it the whoas of battling the scale, but that is another story for another day. Let us, for now, just think about the chocolate…..

Used to, I’d eat anything that was called ‘chocolate’. Sure- some were better than others, but I didn’t care. I HAD to have it. Literally, it would call my  name. But then as I grew older and wiser and my tastes matured, I experienced a whole new level of bliss. My taste buds and my heart discovered the likes of Lindt, Godiva, and…..Ghirardelli<3<3<3

No longer did that cheap stuff from the Dollar Store satisfy. And even that common, household  chocolate pales in comparison to the richness of those mentioned above only pure enough to be called…..Chocolate.

Even so, it dawns on me this is exactly how it is with my relationship with God. I have spent so much time and energy feeding myself with sub-par substitutes…..tv, magazines, facebook, food. I’m looking to nourish myself, relax and unwind. Sure, it feels good at the moment but vegging out on junk for the mind and the spirit leave me sluggish and tired and not really rested and nourished.

But, during those times I put down the remote, close the laptop, and clear out artificial flavors, colors and additives, I find God waiting for me. When I feast on His Word and soak in His Presence, there is nothing on this earth more satisfying. Nothing.

His Word is bread. His Spirit is water. His Presence is……..Chocolate!

What is it that you feed yourself? Is it the fake, mind-numbing diet of the world? Or, is it the richness and creaminess of God?

 Taste and see that the Lord is Good Psalm 34:8

How have you discovered to be satisfied by God?

Happy Valentine’s Day

~Amy

Ps…I might need to consider what to give up for Lent, but that is another story for another day:)

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