Tuesday, February 1, 2011

What ifs...

What if justice is about more than jail time?

What if Cain's sacrifice was just as good as Able's...he just got jealous of Able's blessing?

What if you re-name a church, but the culture stays the same?

What if you change your attitude instead of trying to change someone else?

What if you read more and watched netflix less?

(just some thoughts i've been stewing on lately....)

Saturday, January 1, 2011

On Family Traits...

Holidays are meant to spend with family...and inevitably having any amount of family around will bring out certain "traits" in a person. Thankfully the one I saw this season is a good one.

My dad is almost always poking about the kitchen making...something. He's the kind of cook who doesn't generally use recipes, and therefore never cooks the same thing in the same way twice. He also tends to get on kicks of using certain ingredients. Lentils, stir fry, cumin....etc. Years ago he got into a kick of cooking everything in oven bags. One memorable evening during this period, I remember him cooking some meat and vegetables in an oven bag, loading the meal, my brother, and I into the car. We drove to a small house where our new pastor and his family were just moving in. As I remember, nobody asked my dad to bring the meal...he just did it. Over the years my dad has brought many different meals to church potlucks, small groups and events and i never thought much about it. It's just what you did. But I think it goes deeper than that. Generosity and hospitality run deep in him.
My paternal grandmother is one of the best cooks I know. Her green beans and rolls can make me the happiest person in the world. (lets not even get into her macaroni salad) As soon as you sit down in her house, she offers you food or something to drink. When you get up to leave, she offers you something to take with you for the road. It's who she is. You are a guest..and you will not go hungry in her house.
I have always prefered cooking for large amounts of people rather than for just myself. I used to think it was just so i didn't have to deal with leftovers that sit in the fridge for weeks. But.....I think its more related to the hospitality passed down from my Granny Rose and my Dad. I may not be able to solve your problems...but you will not go hungry in my house.

My old pastor and his family moved back to town the day before Christmas Eve. That night, I arrived at their door with a pan of lasagna, garlic bread, chocolate muffins, plates and silverware. Nobody asked me to do it...I just figured no one wants to start their life over in Walmart at 11pm the night before Christmas Eve.
So this New Year..I'm celebrating the hospitality that was taught to me by two generations....and oven bags..

Thursday, December 16, 2010

"Six inches deep..."

"To walk three miles, or four miles, or five miles, or whatever it is, above her ancles in dirt, and alone, quite alone! what could she mean by it? It seems to me to shew an abominable sort of conceited independence, a most country town indifference to decorum."

                                                                                                        Pride and Prejudice

A blanket of snow fell over my small town this morning and continued to fall through-out the day. This resulted in my taking a half day at work :) YAY!
My only goal of the afternoon was to send a few packages out for Christmas, and I was quite content to walk to the Post.
My walk was quite enchanting....
Snow was falling quickly, yet softly......laughter rang out from children sledding down the hills.....the festive wreaths that adorned the lamp posts had their proper dusting of white...ah..so wonderful!
I felt transported to another time.......
I love this quote from Pride and Prejudice. Caroline Bingley cannot help but comment on the fact that Lizzy has walked quite a distance (alone) to see her sick sister, and that her hem is covered in dirt.
Lizzy has always been my favorite....sometimes I wish I could be more like her (I am decidedly more like Jane). Lizzy is not content to let life go by but she seems to really live.
It sounds silly and maybe too simple...but I think I experienced some of that life today. I could have sat at home because I couldn't drive in the snow. But, I walked instead. Not really that shocking....just a different way to live through a snowstorm :)

Tuesday, November 30, 2010


Tonight, the Rockefeller Christmas Tree was lighted up in New York City and broadcasted around the world. I watched this spectacle for the first time tonight while I was at my friends house. We watched many different performances from Josh Groban, Jessica Simpson, to Susan Boyle. Some sang new Christmas songs, but most sang the glorious old songs you find in the hymnal. And my friend asked a question....
"How do these people not listen to the words they are singing?"

And she's right. In a world/culture that encourages religious tolerance, we still have "secular" celebrations filled with the unashamed message of the gospel and glorifying Christ in the public places. Traditional songs such as "O Holy Night", "Away in the Manger", "Silent Night", etc. aren't talking about presents, reindeer and Santa. They loudly proclaim that Christ is born as Savior to the world, a world filled with sin, yet so loved that God would send His son to die. If only people would begin to listen to the words they are singing.....

O holy night! The stars are brightly shining,
It is the night of the dear Saviour's birth.
Long lay the world in sin and error pining.
Till He appeared and the Spirit felt its worth.
A thrill of hope the weary world rejoices,
For yonder breaks a new and glorious morn.
Fall on your knees! Oh, hear the angel voices!
O night divine, the night when Christ was born;

These words have the power to change lives, but only if we listen.

Wednesday, November 24, 2010

Clean or unclean?

If anything says that I need to be more intentional in life, NOTHING screams more loudly than my laundry basket.
It is not uncommon for me to do a load of laundry, stick it in the dryer and leave it there. Eventually the load ends up on top of the machine and in the morning I pick through the pile to get what i need for that day. Never gets folded, never gets put away....pathetic I know.
Today was the proverbial "last straw". I had a long overdue load on top of the dryer that i knew was clean...but i couldn't remember if I had washed the stuff that was in the baskets. I mean it was bad...almost all my clothes were in baskets or on the floor in my room. I couldn't take it any longer, so i decided to do laundry as soon as i got home from work. Thank goodness my boss let me go early today for the holiday! I'm on load number two with one more load to go before the night is up!

I've been thinking this week....yeah it's great that i've been wearing the covering and started this blog and stuff but, I haven't really done much else to fulfill the purpose of this "exercise". I keep pushing off the changes that i need to make to live an intentional way. Here is the standard definition of "intentional"


done with intention or on purpose; intended: an intentional insult.
of or pertaining to intention or purpose.
I like to slack.....sometimes i get distracted and don't finish projects(my brother is still waiting on a "hear no evil, speak no evil, see no evil" sock monkey figure)....i hate doing the dishes alone.....
I do things without purpose- like checking facebook every five minutes when i'm bored and should be finishing projects, or going shopping when i don't really have the money....
So the next step for me is this....
Creating Routines-Not Ruts
1. Laundry days
    Props to my mum for this, she has her laundry days on Monday and Friday. And since i'm usually free on those nights they are going to be my laundry nights too.
2. Shopping days
    I have an awful habit of going shopping the day I get paid. I know that's not particullarly bad, but i do it way to often. Mostly it's an excuse to get out of town, but I usually don't NEED to go. I'm still thinking about how this will work, but i'm going to put a limit on how often I have these "excursions" per month, and they cannot be the same day as payday.
3. Budget!
    Let's just say I need one.
4. Quiet Times
    I say quiet times for lack of a better term. I guess you could say "focus time with Jesus". I don't do well with morning devos, or evening ones for that matter. Either one usually ends up with sleeping. This, in my opinion, is incredibly sad. I love Jesus, and I want to spend quality time with Him. But for too long i've given in to the lie that i'm too busy, too tired, or I don't feel like it.
As mentioned in other posts, I've been incredibly interested in church liturgy. I even considered purchasing a copy of the Book of Common Prayer ( but then i realized i probly wouldn't have a clue how to use it.)
Somehow, a group of writers new about my dilema and wrote a new book just for me!
Ok, not everything about that statement is true, but there is a book coming out that i will be purchasing this weeked! It's called Common Prayer- A liturgy for ordinary radicals. (by Shane Claiborne and others). I'm super excited, and intend on using it to help me get back into "focus time with Jesus" :)

None of these are hard and fast rules, more like guard rails to keep me on the road. I like this other definition of "intentional" as it pertains to Metaphysics

c. pointing beyond itself, as consciousness or a sign.
That's what I want my life to be..........

Friday, November 19, 2010

So are you converting?

"So are you converting to Mennonite?"
"What's up with the hat?"
"Love the hat!"
"silence....try not to stare...."
silence......I'm staring.................................................................

All comments (or my guess at what people are thinking) from this week. Ah yes, i took the plunge and started wearing my homemade coverings (kapps).

Day 1, Sunday evening.
When I am not busy on Sunday evenings I like to attend services at the local Episcopal church. I did not grow up Episcopal, rather as a mostly Assemblies of God child (my older brother is more of the denominational mutt). All the same, I love the idea and practice of liturgy. So after a facebook conversation with my brother, i decided to wear my kapp to the Episcopal church. It was a big step, and the closer i got to my front door and the outside world the more nervous I got. I beat feet out to my truck, and drove to the church and got out of the truck.....
Me- I can't believe I'm doing this
        This is a little more embarrassing that i thought it would be.......maybe i should rethink this......oh gosh                I just want to get into the church......ugh, i am so embarassed!
Thought sent from God-  "many people have suffered much more than humilliation for much less"
Me-.............. um, oh gosh..........ok...thanks...puts this into a better perspective.....

Day 2, Monday at work

I car pooled to work with my housemate and neighbor/coworker. Although I know he saw plain-as-day what i was wearing, DC didn't say a word. This was unusual for him, for he will jump at any chance to tease or provoke. (his wife says he only teases the people he likes...i think that is the dumbest excuse ever) Turns out he was chicken. The first comments were made at luch. I was in the kitchen with two other people and one turns to me and askes "so are you converting to Mennonite?"
I set my lunch on the table and sat down to eat. P is a nice guy who has a huge family and probably lives as close to the "Plain" lifestyle without actually being plain. "Amy, I have to ask you about your hat there." And I knew he was seriously interested. So i explained, and he knew where i was coming from. And that's when DC decided it was now ok to tease. :P

And the rest of the week went about as normal.
You know there was one thing I didn't think through when I started this little project.....everyone noticed when i started wearing my covering...but they are especially going to notice when I'm not wearing it! Talk about accountability!

For those interested, below are pictures of my homemade coverings. I made up the pattern and they are more Amish style than Mennonite...but I like them :)

                                              Side view of the muslin everyday/work covering

                                                                            back view

                                                        side view of organza "church" covering

                                                                        back view
Mazel tov!

Friday, November 12, 2010

Mein Kapp

This could get a bit sticky.....

As stated in my last post, God and I have had an on-going discussion on living with intention. My biggest question is "what does that exactly mean"
God- "well lots of things...but lets focus on what it means to you"
Me- "mmk.........................................not letting my laundry pile up, actually doing the dishes and not leaving them for my housemate, being present in conversations, less time on facebo....
God- "Mennonites...."
Me- "Pardon??"
God- "Oh, just a thought........."
Me- "ookay....what specifically?"
God- "Coverings."
Me- "oh......like......"a woman should always have her head covered when she prays/prophesies thing" ?"
God- "meh...more like......"Amy needs to actually stick to this living simply/living intentionally and knowing her(I created you after all) she needs something tangible to have any hope of this sticking in her brain..."
Me- "wow...thanks for not holding back..."
God-"Don't mention it....I'll be here for infinity..."

I found a video on youtube of Rob Bell explaining a bit about the Jewish culture and the Bible. In Numbers, God says to sew four tassels onto the corners of your cloak.
"You will have these tassels to look at and so you will remember all the commands of the Lord, that you may obey them and not prostitute yourselves by going after the lusts of your own hearts and eyes" Numbers 15:39
So essentially the Israelites wore these prayer shawls with four tassels every day of their lives, as a reminder of the commands of God. God knew that some people (like me) can hear Him speak, but if they don't have something that they can touch or tangibly wrap their head around- they just won't get it.
So what does this have to do with Mennonites and coverings? Read on my friend..

Although I didn't grow up Mennonite, their faith/culture is deffinatly part of my heritage. I would say that the more I research and read about them, the more I'm starting to identify with their beliefs. So I really shouldn't have been suprised when God brought up the thing about coverings...
So, instead of buying a covering, I took to my craft room, rummaged through the fabric box, grabbed some plain muslin, made a pattern and sewed up my own. I later made one of Organza, which is a more traditional fabric.(I'll try posting pictures)
Me- "wow..they turned out really good...and I don't look half-bad with them on either"
God- "So when are you actually gonna wear them outside of your bedroom?"
Me- "well..................................."
God- "faith without works..remember?"
Me- "well, the muslin one will be great for work, although people will probly ask about it..... and the organza one will be for church...although I really don't want it to be a distraction to anyone....after the holidays maybe...."
God- "mmmhhm...that's what i thought..."

We might be working on this for awhile......