Pieces of Amy

Tuesday, September 15, 2015

Syria, a Red T-Shirt, and My Cowardly Heart

To be honest, I tried to avoid it. I admit my cowardly need to somehow keep my distance. I know myself, I know the rabbit whole I will fall into with my thoughts if I let it in. My self-degrading questions of "why was I born here and not there?" that get me nowhere fast. 

(I couldn't bring myself to put the real picture...)
I well remember the picture of the weeping grandfather, sitting on an ice chest in the midst of Katrina chaos that wrecked me for so long. The images of people jumping from windows to avoid burning in the twin towers. I didn’t want to see the pain. I didn’t want the feelings.

But I did want the information. I wanted to know what was going on and why so I could be informed. So I could teach my children life lessons and not look like the idiot who has no idea what is going on in the world. So I clicked some links, scrolled through some sites, careful to avoid pictures. Words don’t hurt me nearly as much as pictures.

Especially this one picture I had read about. The boy on the beach who didn’t make it to safety. I knew that his was an image I didn’t want burned into my memory, one I probably couldn’t handle, so I scrolled fast. I closed my eyes. I turned my head.  

What a coward.

And then it happened. I didn’t scroll fast enough and that one particular picture just happened to be the one I landed on. A three year old boy, face down on a Turkish beach. A little red t-shirt that his mom had put on him just that morning. A boy that doesn’t look too much bigger than mine. My heart. Oh my heart. It shattered like glass into a million tiny painful pieces. That red shirt burned forever in my mind.

His parents just wanted to get him to safety. They wanted a better life for him. What parent wouldn’t? Syria is upside down and frightening, they had no choice but to try to get out. They were so desperate that they would try to sail away in a vessel unprepared for the task and only the father of the family survived.

The news stories I've read talked about the father like a survivor. Like the one that made it, the lucky one. As a parent, I believe he probably wishes he hadn’t survived. He lost his children and his wife in an attempt to take them to safety. His job as a husband and father was to keep them safe, and he probably feels he failed. My heart is broken for him.

I can throw open my home to refugees tomorrow, but no one would come. I could send money for relief, but who knows where it’s going?  What can I do? I am just one Texas housewife with no influence. But God reminds me that there is always something I can do. The most important thing. I can pray. And not just for people groups who as a whole are suffering (although we pray for this as well), but I can pray for one specific person. I can pray for the Dad who survived. Abdullah. I have a name to whisper in my prayers. His name is Abdullah and we all know that RIGHT NOW he is hurting in a way we will never understand.

As you watch the news and read the papers, pray. Pray for Syria. Pray for resolution and aide and homes for refugee families. But I also ask you to pray for Abdullah. I would love to know that as a community we could be lifting him up together. Maybe our prayers can bring the Kingdom of Heaven a little closer to Abdullah’s heart. 

What about you? Has the situation in Syria been on your heart? What are some specific ways you know that we can help?

Tuesday, September 01, 2015

Why We Chose To Go Back To Homeschooling

Back and forth. Back and forth. Do we homeschool again, do we go back to public school?

It’s that time of year, when we buy lists of supplies, new shoes and lunch boxes, and send our kids off to school. Normally. Mostly. But not all of us, I suppose. We’ve homeschooled since my 10 year old started preschool and it’s been the norm for us every year except the last one. Last year we ventured into the foreign land of “public school," and I must say, had a fantastic year. 

homeschool, homeschooling

The school was fantastic. The principal was amazing, and the teachers were the best I’ve known. If my son’s homeroom teacher had been moving up with them this year I may have reconsidered our decision (not really, but I did love her……). It was the best first public school experience we could have had. It was exactly the right decision for us for last year.

But this year? This year God has brought our hearts back to home. We’ve had many ask us why we chose to go back to homeschooling, and there isn’t really a “reason”. There was no definitive moment that made us think we should pull them out. The main reason, of course, is because it is the way we felt God was leading us, but also because we liked our family life so much better when we homeschooled. 

There was such a disconnect between my kids and myself last year. I spent all of my time immersed in the land of baby, and my older two were shuttled back and forth from school to church to sports. That was, literally, our life. It wasn’t a bad life, and it was necessary for the time, but it wasn’t our ideal. 

Researching curriculum, writing out schedules, and buying supplies all made me feel like me again. I feel like I’m back in my sweet spot and I’m ready for this year. I know that we’ll have ups and downs and that there will be days that I will wonder what in the world I was thinking, but anyone who home schools and tells you that they don’t have days like that is LYING. Straight through their teeth.

The answer for this year: Homeschooling. The reason: because God leads. Because we can. Because I like not having to count down my time left with my kids by how many summers we have left together. 

Or maybe I just wanted all day help with Walt. Meh.

Monday, August 17, 2015

Ministry Wives:: The Genuine Struggle to Put Down Roots

As a minister’s wife my life has been very mobile. I’ve learned, over the years, not to be a pack rat. If it’s not worth wrapping, packing in a box, loading in a truck, and then spending precious time unwrapping then it has no place in my life. We’ve moved 14 times in 15 years and I hate the moving process so much that I will do just about anything to make it easier on myself.

Ministry, Minister's Wife, home, moving

BUT my desire to plant roots as I get older has expressed itself in curious ways. I find myself collecting things. For a girl who gave away her wedding crystal to a lady at a yard sale because she was tired of packing it, collecting anything at all is a little strange. I got rid of my crystal, but now I want all the globes I can get my hands on. I have more coffee mugs than I could ever drink from. I have books purchased just because they look old and they’re pretty. My former minimalist decor has morphed into adding anything that can make my house more “homey”. 

Oh, and I should mention, I really wish I still had that crystal. 

I want you to walk into my house without feeling the need to ring the doorbell and know that you can plop onto my couch and put your feet on the coffee table. To not feel the need to ask where the bathroom is because you’ve been here so many times that my home feels like yours. That’s what I want my home to be, and if one more coffee mug helps me meet that goal then I’ll just have to deal with the extra wrapping next time I move.

Not that I’m moving. Ever again. Lubbock may not have trees, but it’s currently where I keep my stuff and I’d like it to stay that way.

I've learned that ease doesn't necessarily bring quality of life. 

So come on over. If you come around 9 at night the house will be clean (mostly), but otherwise just step over the baby toys and shoes that everyone seems to refuse to put in the proper place, and make yourself at home.