“That” Mom

I was “that” mother today.  You know, the one who appeases a wailing kid with a new toy at the grocery store.

We’re now the proud owners of a baby doll that sits in a pink baby carrier.

And I told myself I’d never be “that” mom.

It was already a rough day.  Lizzy took a miniscule morning nap before waking up and singing in her crib, messing up my plans to eat something nutritious at home before heading out on errands (we ate fast food instead).

My maniacal master plan was to drop off Dan’s car at the mechanic to repair the brakes and walk to the grocery store (Fred Myer) to kill the 2 hours it was supposed to take to get fixed.

But the early wake-up messed up the plan.   Plus, the parts weren’t in, the car needed more work than expected, and we were there for 4 hours. And boy was I tempted to lie about her age to meet the 2-year-old minimum requirement for Freddy’s Fun Zone…aka mom relief center.

So I let her play in the toy aisle when I was at my wit’s end.  Of course, she bonded with a little baby doll with eyes that close and a bottle that I mistakenly encouraged Lizzy to feed it, furthering the attachment.  Lizzy packed that doll around the store in its little carrier as we listlessly roamed from aisle to aisle.

When the car was finally done, I realized we had a problem.

When I tried to remove the doll from her grasp, the four horsemen of the apocalypse appeared, there were tears and gnashing of teeth, and people were stopping by to see if everything was okay.

So I put Lizzy in the cart with the doll.

And the doll stayed there through the checkout line (The cashier had to sneak up behind Lizzy with the scanner to get a price on the thing.).

So we now have a baby doll with a carrier.

And a mom who feels very humbled.

Ever catch yourself being “that” mom?

“Judge not, that you be not judged. For with the judgment you pronounce you will be judged, and with the measure you use it will be measured to you.” (Matthew 7:1-2 ESV).


Amy’s Top 10 Christmas Books For Women 2008 Edition

I got an earlier start on this last year, I know, but I thought I’d try to get you a Christmas list before it was too late to order from Amazon.  Plus, people have been asking me for my gift recommendations, and it’s easier to give a link in response.  I’m lazy that way.

This year, I went with a few brand new books, a couple oldies but goodies, some Christian, some mainstream, and all for women.  But I’m sure there are some men who might like a few of these as well.  If you’d like to see last year’s recommendations, please check them out here.

In no particular order, here are my gift suggestions for this year.

how-people-changeHow People Change by Timothy S. Lane and David Paul Tripp.

In simple terms, this book addresses Christ’s work in our lives to transform us into new creations.  It gives hope to those of us struggling with habitual sins about how Jesus can help us bear good fruit in place of that old, bad fruit.  This is a great gift for a friend struggling to break free from sin’s hold or for someone who is in a ministry that supports people who need this kind of message.   An exciting new way to talk about the gospel.


Three Cups of Tea by Greg Mortenson and David Oliver Relin.

I’ve written another review of this book elsewhere, which you can read here, so I won’t go into detail now.  But this is a great book for the person who has a heart for serving the world in practical ways.  It’s the story of one ordinary man who makes a difference in war torn Afghanistan, by educating girls.

americastestkitchenfamiliycookbookThe America’s Test Kitchen Family Cookbook

I admit, I’m a big fan of this PBS show, hosted by a Vermonter.  It features recipes that have been tested by expert chefs then tried out on taste testers until they find the best recipe.  There are great cooking skill tips and even some hints about what sort of gadgets to buy for your kitchen. And yes, a cookbook is a book, so it counts.  Don’t be snobby.

homeHome by Marilynne Robinson

If you haven’t read anything by Marilynne Robinson, you’d better start now, and Home is a good place.  It’s great holiday reading, since it’s on the topic of homecoming and family.  I’ve reviewed this book before, so I’ll provide you with that link, should you desire more information.

maryheartmarthaworldHaving a Mary Heart in a Martha World by Joanna Weaver

I listened to this woman talk about her book on the Midday Connection radio show, and I was greatly impressed by her wisdom.  I’ve since read portions of the book and think it speaks to an epidemic problem we have today of busyness.  But, the Mary and Martha story demonstrates that it isn’t just a problem for today. It’s been going on for awhile.

thepracticeofthepresenceofgodThe Practice of the Presence of God by Brother Lawrence.

A classic, written by a monk who learned to serve and worship Jesus even in the middle of the most tedious tasks of life.  We all could learn a lot from his perspective.  It’s very short.

theotherqueenThe Other Queen by Philippa Gregory

This is Gregory’s latest book, in her series of books on the wives of Henry VIII.  You don’t have to read any of the others before you read this one, but I highly suggest The Other Boleyn GirlI also reviewed this one awhile back.  For the woman who loves romance, history, and inspiring women.

esv-study-bibleThe ESV Study Bible

Just out this fall, this Bible is an incredible resource.  It has an amazing amount of useful footnotes, charts, and maps. It takes your daily Bible study to a whole new level.  Plus, it’s in the ESV version, which is my personal favorite.

woman-of-moderationA Woman of Moderation by Dee Brestin

Be very careful about giving this book as a present.  I have it in mind for a very good friend with whom you hope to commit to studying it, because in all other circumstances, it could really backfire on you.  Since it’s technically a study on dieting and your relationship with food, a husband is asking for trouble if he gives this to his wife.  But Dee Brestin writes incredible studies, and this one in particular spoke to me more than any other Christian book on the topic of food and eating.

pilgrims-progressThe Pilgrim’s Progress by John Bunyan.

Did you see this one coming?  With all the continuing hype of The Shack, I want to encourage you to provide a theologically sound alternative that has stood the test of time.  Wrap it up and package it as the “anti-Shack” if you’d like.  Feel free to print up and include a copy of my Shack review and the counter proposal for the Pilgrim’s Progress, if you think that would make the gift complete.

Cart of Darkness 3

For some reason, idiots in grocery stores flock to me like fruit flies to the produce section. 

Once again, Costco is the culprit.  Either I spend too much time in Costco, or the mega store has more than its fair share of morons.  Maybe it has something to do with the large empty spaces drawing large empty heads.  I’m trying not to think about what that means for me shopping there.

Today, we focus on the nitwits in line, the checkout line to be precise.

Last Sunday, I stopped at the store to pick up some odds and ends, or in other words, excuses for me to browse the book section.  I went on the weekend, which is typically a fate worse than death.  The lines get really long on those days.  I found a line that was manageable, and when it was my turn to put my items on the conveyor belt, I pulled my cart ahead and began loading items on.  There was a gap between my items at the end of the belt and the items of the person in front of me, about 2 feet worth of space.

From out of nowhere, a snappish looking middle aged woman swooped into that gap and placed her items between my purchases and those of the people who were in line before me.  Basically, she was cutting, but cutting while I had my items on the conveyor belt. 

She only had 2 items, sure, and if she had asked, I might even have let her cut, but to do it without asking?  I stood there dumbfounded, holding my carton of strawberries as the conveyor belt went by empty.  The people ahead of her cleared out, she paid, took off, and never looked me in the eye once.  She knew she did wrong.

Sure, I could have made a hissy fit.  Stomped up and down, demanded that she run to the back of the line (several people deep by now).  But what would that have accomplished?  Well, maybe I’d have a better story to tell you, like the one my mom shared with me recently.

 My mom called the other day to complain about her latest Costco fiasco, so I know I’m not alone.  She gave me permission to relate her tale, and I hope that by doing so, I’ll raise awareness of a disturbing individual who is haunting a Costco near you.  We’ll call her “Sample Woman.”

Costco has great samples. It’s one of the reasons I shop there during the hours of 1-4 (prime sample time), especially on Fridays.  It’s funny the things you’ll eat as a free sample that you’d normally never consider sticking in your mouth under normal circumstances.

“Try a taste of beef fat wrapped in bacon, 9.99 for 10 lbs,” A woman in a red apron says, as she holds out a steaming tray of flesh.  A long line forms as soon as the microwave beeps.  I find myself popping one of the morsels in my mouth, praising its texture and moisture. 

But apparently, some people take the sampling thing a little too far. 

My mom was in line, with her purchases on the conveyor belt, waiting to pay, when the woman behind her reached forward and began browsing through mom’s merchandise. She opened up mom’s box of grapes, plucked one, and popped it in her mouth.  “Oh, those are good,” she said, conversationally.

Watching the woman first touch, then eat her food, mom weighed the appropriate response. 

Mom asked her to please stop eating her food.  But sampler woman continued in her sampling spree.  She proceeded to poke and prod with her long fingernails at some fish fillets mom was purchasing. 

Eager to reclaim her personal space and possessions, mom finally told her, “I’m sick and you’d better stand back, so I don’t cough all over you.” 

That worked.  It also had the benefit of being true. Go mom.

Cart of Darkness 1

Cart of Darkness 2


Published in: on June 17, 2008 at 5:13 pm  Comments (3)  
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Cart of Darkness 2

I just found a new toy.  How in the world did I ever not know these wonderful little devices existed before?  And they’re EVERYWHERE!

Annoyed that I couldn’t walk for longer than about 15 minutes (which seems to stretch another 5 minutes each additional week), I complained to my mom that I was going a bit stir crazy.  I love my home, don’t get me wrong, but these walls are starting to drive me a little batty.

So mom told me that most major stores have electric carts that you drive in to do your shopping.  Who knew? This was a revelation to me!  I called all my favorite stores to see if they had these miraculous machines, and low and behold, many of them did.  My first stop was Costco, with Dan.  I still needed someone to drive me there, and I couldn’t exactly lift anything to put in the cart, but at least I could putt around and look at things.

There’s a little diagram on them that is supposed to help the average adult drive them, but I guess I’m not the average adult.  Maybe it’s because I’m left handed, and I can’t tell my right from my left.  But I was constantly going backwards when I wanted to go forwards. There was no brake pedal, so the only way I found to stop was to release the accelerator (which as always on full speed).  It sent me skidding ahead a few feet before I came to a complete stop (imagine tires screeching every couple feet).  Small children gawked with eyes as wide as saucers.

 I noticed that people would clear out of my way as I went barreling down the aisles.  Turning was a bit of a problem, and I frequently backed up and had to start over again.  I could hear Dan from a couple aisles away, trying to suppress his laughter at my horrible driving.  People pulled their children out of my path, as I tore through the store.  At one point, Dan decided that it was easier to hitch a ride with me than to jog along to keep up.

Here I am browsing through my favorite part of the store, the books! 

I figured I’d gotten the hang of the cart things, but Dan wasn’t confident enough to bring me to a store during busy shopping hours.  So, he brought me to Target late in the evening when there would be less chances for me to maim someone. 

Just when I thought I could manage the carts, they changed on me.  The Target carts had a different mechanism for turning, so I had to relearn that (did I ever really learn it in the first place?). Plus, the rows at Target are a lot tighter than at Costco, so you can imagine the shenanigans that ensued.  Dan watched, horrified, as I plowed, full speed, into a display at the end of an aisle.  Thankfully, nobody was injured, and the stack of bread and crackers didn’t seem to mind the collision too much.  My pride was a little wounded, and the people who witnessed the event were kind enough to scurry away, even though I could tell they were hiding their violent giggles.  Dan thought it was fun to re-enact the event all evening. He’d regularly slam his hands together and yell, “BAM!”, and laugh until he cried.  I’d glare at him. 

I was also a bit humiliated by the fact that the Target carts added an annoying beeping feature whenever I needed to back up.  “Great,” I thought. “Here comes the wide load.”  Dan liked it because he knew where I was wherever he was in the store.  Personally, I tried to avoid backing up whenever possible, often circling round and round on aisles until I got dizzy.  But, sometimes, I’d just give up and go backwards.  My pride is only worth so much effort.

Thankful for my newfound sense of freedom, I’ll be visiting other local stores in the coming weeks.  If you happen to see me on a collision course with you or your small children, I’d advise you to quickly get yourself, and them, out of the way. 

By the way, what goes around, comes around, or whatever.  Here’s my first Cart of Darkness post.  Looks like I’m at fault this time.

Published in: on March 24, 2008 at 1:59 pm  Comments (4)  
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Why Wait?

“Silver, that goes with everything…I could wear them with black, with blue, even with white. Oh, and they go great with my silver handbag! My other silver shoes are sandals, which are completely different.  But the price…”

Do you ever have conversations with yourself like this?  Well, if you’re a man, chances are, you don’t.  But, if you’re a woman, I’m guessing that this sounds very familiar.

I was standing at Target admiring a pair of silver peep-toe pumps with three inch stiletto heels.  It was right before New Years, and never mind that I didn’t have any New Year’s Eve plans, I thought that silver shoes were just the thing for the proper celebration. 

I passed them once, brushing them off as too extravagant, but they kept calling back to me, from the other side of the store. I’d be hanging out in housewares, and I’d hear them saying, “We’d go great with that red sparkly skirt you bought after Thanksgiving.”  It’s amazing how loud footwear can be.

I caved and returned to the shoe department.  They fit perfectly, just as I knew they would.  I tottered through the isles, imagining all the outfits that I could complement with the new silver shoes. 

This time, my cheapskate conscience kicked in and gave its own advice:  “If you wait a few weeks, they’ll be on sale at a fraction of the cost.” 

The shoes argued back, “But we’re so cute, how do you know that we won’t be gone in a few days?  When people see us, they’ll come in droves to take us away.”

The shoes won the argument.  I placed them in the cart and happily paraded around in them on New Years Eve, nevermind the fact that we spent the evening working late.  Dan had to stay at the clinic doing charts late into the night, so I brought him dinner, dressed up in my New Year’s finest.  We rang in the New Year together, with a bottle of sparkling wine to match my sparkly shoes.

I recently returned back to Target, a month after purchasing the shoes.  There, on the rack, were a line of several pairs, including my size, all marked down to 1/4 of the cost.  Part of me wishes I would have waited, but I also know that I would have missed out on my special surprise dress-up celebration with my husband.

I wonder how many of us hold off on seeking the treasures of God’s kingdom because we think they come at too great of a cost right now.  We are willing to hold off until heaven because we think it’ll be a free-for-all then. Without sin, without worldly desires, everything will just come easily.

I think that we can enjoy God’s treasures today, and to wait until we’re dead, we just miss out on the opportunity to have a whole lot of happiness.  God offers us the peace that transcends all understanding (Philippians 4:7), love beyond all measure (Ephesians 3:19), and joy that fills our hearts for now and for eternity (Acts 14:17). 

Don’t wait for heaven.  Enjoy him now.  He longs to lavish you with the greatest gift in the world:  Himself!

Gifts of the Magi

Now that Chanukah has come and gone, and all the nine menorah candles have burnt (note all the leftover wax). It’s time to turn my full attention to the Christmas season. 

For most of us, the Christmas season begins with a day we all call Black Friday, when we’re stuffed and lethargic from turkey engorging, and then, we race around the mall before the break of dawn, fighting fellow celebrants to catch the best deals.  I can think of better ways to initiate the season dedicated to our Savior’s birth.

As you can probably tell, if you read my Black Friday post, my attitude about Christmas shopping lacks a little of the holiday spirit.  Maybe I’ve been too inundated with advertisements this year, or I’m just searching for some more meaning amidst all the rampant commercialism.  Whatever the cause, I want to renew my joy and get the proper perspective for the gift giving traditions of Christmas.

The tradition began with the Magi from the east, who visited the baby Jesus in Bethlehem, guided from afar by a star (Matthew 2:1-12).  We don’t know how many magi there were, but we know that they gave the newborn Messiah three symbolically important gifts:  gold, frankincense, and myrrh.  Gold was a gift of tribute to a King.  Priests offered incense, such as frankincense, to God.  And myrrh was an embalming ointment.  These gifts announced Christ’s kingship, his deity, and his upcoming atoning, sacrificial death. 

Here are some lessons I drew from the magi’s example:

1.  Don’t be afraid to give extravagantly and generously, especially if it’s for Jesus.

2.  Glorify Jesus with your giving

3.  Give gifts with significant meaning for the recipient.

As I think through the Magi’s first Christmas gifts, I want to share with you some gift ideas that meet these three criteria.  Beginning today, until Christmas, I’d like to submit a new Christmas gift idea for each day, one that allows you to be generous, glorify Jesus, and offer significant meaning for the recipient. 

For this first day, I’m drawing my inspiration from O. Henry’s classic tale “The Gift of the Magi” (Click here to read it online).  In the story, a married couple gives extravagantly and sacrificially, in ways that glorify Jesus.  Their gifts also mean a lot to each other, especially in light of the surprise ending (which I’m not going to spoil for you).

In the story, the wife gives her most precious possession, her hair, so her husband might have a gift that will honor him.  A non-profit organization called “Locks of Love” allows you to donate your own hair, in the spirit of this classic Christmas story, to help make wigs for children with cancer (http://locksoflove.org/).  You need to donate at least 10 inches of hair, so for most men, this isn’t an option (although I’ve known men to do this before). 

I admit that I’ve chopped off 10 inches a couple of times and sent it off to the organization.   It’s a great way to give generously (it takes awhile to grow 10 inches of hair!), glorify Jesus, and offer a significant service to seriously ill children.

Stay tuned for tomorrow’s gift idea.

Why We Call it Black Friday

Black circles under your eyes from waking up so early

Black and blue bruises all over from the flying elbows and cart collisions

Black, the kind of coffee you chug to keep awake

Black, the mood your husband gets into when you drag him along

Black, the color of ink on all those cash register receipts

Black tire marks left in the parking lots when people rush to the next store

Black sky when you leave, black sky when you return

Black, the condition of your heart after you’ve successfully wrestled the last toy in stock from a 5-year-old child

Black, all you see after opening your credit card statement

Published in: on November 23, 2007 at 7:32 pm  Comments (1)  
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