When an Amusement Park and Garden Meet

carowindsfamily  

We had a beautiful welcome to Spring Break this weekend.  It was one of those weekends you just had to find something to do outside because it was a pity not to enjoy the weather.

We kicked off Spring Break with a trip to Carowinds, our local amusement park.  I bought the family passes as an early Easter presents.  It’s one of my favorite places—barring the crowds, wait times and exorbitant food prices. 

I was so excited to go and truthfully, it was a bust.  Scott is not a fan to begin with and only goes to pacify me.  The kids hadn’t been in two years and I guess lost their zeal of roller coasters.  After only riding 2 very mild rides, we ate some fries, rode the needle—which I cannot make myself call a ride–and called it a day.  I passed all the loop-de-loop roller coasters lovingly and promised I’d visit another day—maybe with someone else’s family. 

Parenting is so tricky, y’all.  Sometimes you have to push your kids into doing some activities because they don’t realize it’s going to be fun and they end up having the time of their lives. And then sometimes you push and it’s just as miserable as they thought it would be.  They saw my disappointment on the way home and promised they’d go again and try the Meteorite with me.  At least you go upside down on that one.

One moment I don’t want to forget is being on one ride with Lexi and her belly laughing and exclaiming in surprise, “I’m laughing for no reason!!” That’s what I had hoped for over and over again Friday, but I’m thankful for at least one very joyful moment.

 

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I also planted our garden on Saturday.  I love the entire process—buying the plants at our local Farmer’s market, tilling the ground, planting, mulching, watering.  I’m hoping for a better year than last.

God never fails to speak to me as I work out there and Saturday was no exception.  As I was tilling the soil, I thought of a young man we ran into at Carowinds the night before.

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We walked up the ramp to this roller coaster where it dumps you into a room of about 15 smaller lines for each seat on the ride. There were plenty of spots in the smaller lines but for some reason these ladies were standing at the top of the ramp like there was nowhere to go.  I couldn’t understand why they were waiting there, but clearly, we had several minutes to wait anyway, so I didn’t push it. 

A young family came up behind us.  The young man was making a ruckus as soon as he got behind us.  I looked to find him—baggy clothes, black teeth, a baseball cap tipped sideways, more tattoos than skin—nearly pushing through Scott.  I told him I was sorry but we were waiting for the ladies and I wasn’t sure why they weren’t moving.

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He said he didn’t care and he was going so he just went around us and them and went to a smaller line.  He still had 3 or 4 more turns to wait so he didn’t really gain anything but about 15 feet.  The ladies soon realized what was going on and moved into a line so we did too.

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I was thinking about this young man as I tilled our garden beds.  When you first start, the soil is hard.  The roots have no room to grow.  So I added peat moss and richer soil and turned it.  God reminded me this young man’s heart was like the hard soil.  It was hard and full of himself.  There was no air, so space, no room for others. 

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As I mixed in the peat moss, the soil became airy and soft.  God reminded me that Jesus is what makes the difference for us.  He helps break up the “me” we have and makes room for love of others.  Our spiritual roots can grow deep when the soil is prepared well.

 

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I prayed for me and my family that we would have soft and open hearts for others.  I prayed for that young man that he would have the same.  I really don’t know much about him besides those few minutes, but I know enough about all of us to know we could all use some tilling.

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And before I go, I must show you this picture of Bella.  She has been ruining my beds all winter, jumping in and digging in them.  She tried to do the same as I was working in them Saturday but I scolded her, making sure she knew she was not allowed in.  She got the hint and went over and sulked underneath the swingset and watched me worked.  A few minutes later, I looked up to see she had snuck around the side of the beds and was watching me like this:

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“Mom, are you sure I can’t play in the beds?” Y’all, it was the best moment of the whole weekend.

Hoping you had a wonderful weekend too and have a great week!

What I Wore Wednesday 4.9.2014

SOS!  I think Pinterest quit letting people embed the pin on people’s sites!  This could be the end of WIWW here as we know it. Help?  Is anyone seeing the ability to do it somehow?

 

What happened to all of our warm weather??  Well, this week has been cold and rainy but last week was really nice and I caught a few of those outfits.

 

black and white striped dress

If you follow on the Facebook page, you would have seen this dress last week after I wore it to work.  I initially wanted a necklace but then couldn’t find any of mine that worked.  I asked everyone what they thought would go and I heard a bright statement necklace, silver and gold statement necklace or pearls.  I haven’t gotten anything yet, so what do you say?

Here’s the pin I’d put with it if I could: http://www.pinterest.com/pin/164803667587946912/

 

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Sooo, this isn’t the best picture of an outfit ever. The wind was crazy and I think we were just trying to get out the door to go eat dinner if I remember correctly.  I really wanted to show you this because I’m super excited about my new coral silk shirt and the black lace shorts.  Also, I bought those animal print sandals on clearance in December and it was my first time wearing them.  So fun!

http://www.pinterest.com/pin/164803667586866414/

 

navy top, white pants

I wore this outfit to the Priscilla Shirer simulcast Saturday.  The whole outfit is new other than the shoes.  I wish you could see the detail of the lace and the necklace better. 

It was cold at the simulcast so during one of our extended breaks, we hopped over to Target where I just happened to find a cardigan that worked perfectly.

navy top, white pants

I love the pattern. Admittedly, I think it ages me a bit but I’m calling it a classic look.

http://www.pinterest.com/pin/164803667587537828/

 

Let’s connect so we can do this again  Like AmyJBennett on Facebook.  Follow me on Pinterest (where I post these inspirational pictures), Instagram (where you might sneak an early peek of an outfit) or Twitter.

Linked with The Pleated Poppy

3 Things I Learned From a 5th Grade Talent Show

Lessons from a Talent Show

 

On Friday night last weekend we went to the 5th grade talent show at my kids’ elementary school.  I admit, I was dreading it.

The night included singing, dancing, gymnastics, comedy and TaeKwonDo. (Sadly, I’m realizing as I type, no instruments).   Did the kids wow me with their talent? Did we have the next American Idol or Olympian in our midst? Well, likely not, but we smiled and cheered and teared up and sang along and laughed more in that hour than we had in weeks.  And none of them were even my kids. It was one of the best evenings I’ve had in awhile.

I learned a few things in that hour about art and life that night that I hope I don’t soon forget.

The beauty of art is the courage

Before a note was sung or a board was kicked Friday night, each child was cheered not for what they had already done but what they were going to do.  See, the real win Friday night was that they showed up.

At some point in the last weeks, they had decided it was worth it to stand on a stage and share their gift.  They showed up for an audition and were vulnerable enough for someone to judge them.  Then, standing in front of a crowd of hundreds ranging from infant to grandparent, they stood.  And then they never left.  Even when the rhythm was lost and the line was forgotten, they stood and they kept going.

The beauty of our art is not that we show up and do it well but that we have the courage to show up at all.

People cheer the loudest when you mess up

Some might think the win of sharing your art is the accolades of when you do it perfectly.  But, from what I heard and saw Friday night, the loudest cheers and the biggest smiles were when someone messed up and then stayed.  The crowds erupted with encouragement and parents plastered on smiles to let them know they were still proud.

One of my favorite moments was looking around during a performance that wasn’t perfect and yet, every single person had a smile on their face.  I especially loved the grandfathers that were beaming with pride–at someone else’s grandchild.

It’s ok to mess up at our attempts at our art.  People are the happiest when we mess up and then we keep going–probably more than if we did it perfectly from the start.

Fun isn’t a waste of time, but the best time

For some of us, it’s easy to dismiss the jokesters and comedians, but let me tell you, listening to elementary kids telling silly jokes and reciting Who’s On First are some of my favorite moments from the night.  There is a talent to memorizing the lines and getting the timing, your voice and your physical movements all in sync.  And a room full of adults laughed and smiled and clapped.

Having fun is some of the best art out there.

And by the way, why did the skeleton stay home from the dance?

He had nobody to go with.

Guys, I don’t care what kind of art you make–because we all make something–get out there and do it.  Trust me when I say the world will be a happier place no matter how it goes.  Just show up.

The Prayer Experience

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At the beginning of our “Prayer Experience” on Saturday at the Priscilla Shirer simulcast, Priscilla implored everyone to stay engaged.  Prayer time was not something to be glossed over in between worship and teaching, but it was “the thing” of the day.

She explained how they take prayer requests at each of her events. The requests tend to fall in a few broad categories.  As she introduced each one, she asked for those that felt God had given them victory in that particular area to stand.  Then, she asked for those with prayer requests in that area to raise their hands.  Those with victory were to go to those with needs and pray for them.

The first category was marriage.  If you know our story, then you know I stood up in victory through Christ.  I was able to pray for my sister’s upcoming marriage and the marriage of other women from my home church. 

She then asked for those that had found freedom from addictions—whether it be to a person or thing.  Well, if you know why our marriage was struggling, then you know I had an emotional addiction to a person. I was again able to pray for my sisters in Christ.

She then mentioned finances which hasn’t been an area where we’ve struggled with yet.  And then she asked for those that have been healed, whether physically, mentally or emotionally.  I’ve written here about the healing of my hearing as a child and also just wrote this month about the healing and freedom of my mind.

I was almost laughing as I stood up so many times—probably more than anyone there.  I giggled to my church friends, “I’m such a mess!”  One replied, “No, you’re a testimony!”

And she was right. I’m so, so, so thankful he doesn’t leave us where we are.  We should be eager to stand and give glory to God.

We were all so encouraged by what God had done for the women in the room.  We clapped and celebrated and mostly didn’t even know one single detail.

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On Sunday, my dad finished a 100 mile race after 27 hours.  For real.  He was in extreme pain all over by the end and he declared it the hardest thing he’d ever done.

As I was working out at home during the beginning of his race, I was hating the mountain climbers I was being put through by the guy on the DVD.  But then I remembered my dad at the beginning of his long race.  Surely I could make it for 45 more seconds of mountain climbers.

As my dad’s race was winding down, my sister posted on Facebook, “My dad just finished running 81 miles. That makes my 30 min walk/jog sound doable this morning.”

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After this weekend, I was reminded how much we need someone to stand up and say, “Hey, I’ve been there and God brought me through.”  Even if you aren’t going through something difficult, you are reminded how loving, how gracious our Father is.

 

I want YOU to write the rest of this post in the comments.  It would be so encouraging if everyone could comment on a category where God has really worked in your life—marriage, addiction, finances, healing, salvation, etc.  What is your story?

And, if you have a need, leave your category of need so others can pray for and encourage you.

 

It is for freedom that Christ has set us free. Gal 5:1

What I Wore Wednesday 4.2.2014

Whew, Wednesday slipped up on me this week.  I finished this post last minute and then hit publish before I went to work this morning only to find out it errored out.  So, this is post a little late in the day.  Anyway, better late than never?

It was a record high of 86 today in the Carolinas. Nothing could make me happier!

 

print shirt, statement necklace, jeans

  sweater, pop of color shoes

  pink shirt, white shorts

Forgive all the wrinkles but y’all, shorts and sandals!   Whee!  I’m so excited for the warmer weather.

blue shirt, bright scarf

The scarf made another appearance this week.  Loving it!

 

Let’s connect so we can do this again  Like AmyJBennett on Facebook.  Follow me onPinterest (where I post these inspirational pictures), Instagram (where you might sneak an early peek of an outfit) or Twitter.

Linked with The Pleated Poppy

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