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Saturday, June 18, 2016

To Fathers

Once while talking about the annual opportunity to honor fathers, a friend suggested that we could celebrate because we have pets.  Let me set the record straight by saying that Mike did not father our dog and cat. Mike also is not my father and therefore not only do we have a normal relationship, but we also have no reason to make a fuss about Father's Day at our house.  

Mike does have a father and we honor him each year by spending time with the family; reminiscing and laughing about days gone by.  Most of which I wasn't around for but I enjoy hearing the stories just the same.  Mike's dad has been a hardworking man and his care for his children has been a labor of love, dedication and commitment.  Because of this I have a husband who is equally dedicated and committed to his relationship with me.  If I can celebrate one thing this Father's day, it is that.  My husband's father. But I think there is more to celebrate.

Some wake up on Father's Day wondering why this day should be special.  Their fathers were abusive or maybe they don't even know who their father is. For whatever reason this day is the day that they feel a pit the size of an elephant in their stomachs as they hear people say, "happy father's day".  Good church going people stay home on Father's Day because they don't want to hear one more sermon about honoring fathers.  Sometimes hearing a pastor talk of God as father to bring comfort to a fatherless one is far from comforting.  It hurts even more because a wounded soul wonders, "where was this Father when I was hurting?"  I have wondered that myself and because of my experience in teaching the Bible and spending much of my life in Christian circles it would be easy to rattle off a quick response.  But I take a step back here and say to you, I don't have an answer to that.  I may never have an answer to that question.  Life has simply taught me to make the most of what I have been given.  What I have been given over the years is friendship with those whose fathers have been present.  I have witnessed what fatherhood represents when done with love, loyalty and commitment.

I know there are honorable fathers out there and I applaud them because their work is sometimes tireless and unappreciated.  You deserve this day of honor because your influence is reaching beyond the walls of your home.  It is reaching out to children who are desperate for any example of a good father. I was that child long ago and today I simply honor those men in my life who represented honorable fatherhood without being aware.  You deserve this day.

Happy Father's Day.


Saturday, June 11, 2016

Give Me Five!

A few years back I gave a little boy, who was turning five years old, five one dollar bills.  I did this because I thought he would see five bills as being a lot of money.  Instead he looked at the meager one dollar bills and said, “These are ones, I can’t buy anything with one dollar”.  He tossed them on the table in disgust and opened the next card from his uncle. In that card was a five-dollar bill.  The young boy said, “now this I can do something with”.  To him the single bill stamped with $5 on it, was of more value than the separate bills that I gave him because he couldn’t see past the value of the $1 marking.  Eventually he scooped them all up and announced, “Look at how much I have!”  Holding all of the bills in his tiny hand finally made him realize just how much he really had. 

 I don’t know about you, but sometimes I view people in the same way.  When their lives seem to be in a million pieces, I have trouble seeing them as a whole person; a person of single value.  Instead, I pick them apart as if somehow the person whose life is in pieces holds less value than the one who appears to have it together.  I don’t like admitting this, but it is true. 

People are broken and sometimes it’s impossible for them to see past all the pieces to believe that they can be of any value.  What if we helped them by showing them one by one, the things that make them valuable?  What if we picked up each valuable piece and placed them in the hand of that broken person?  Maybe, like the little boy, they would be able to shout, “Look at how much I have” or better “look at how valuable I am”. 

Short and simple thoughts today and as always I hope that someone somewhere finds encouragement and hope in these words.  You are of value right where you are.

Thanks for stopping by,


Thursday, May 26, 2016

The Dandelion is a Flower

I love the dandelion. It's one of my favorite flowers. Yes, I refer to the dandelion as a flower. It's soft, vibrant yellow bloom tells me when spring has officially arrived in the mid-west. I love dandelions! 

I also love roses. Roses are delicate and beautiful and from what I understand, quite a task to grow successfully. I've not had the patience to try. Still, I love roses! Dandelions are soft to touch. Roses have thorns that can prick your fingers. Dandelions grow plentiful with little effort. Roses are expensive and take a lot of effort. I do love green manicured lawns. I have to admit the appearance of a well manicured lawn surrounding the house in the suburbs is attractive. But, would someone tell me who decided that this would be the standard by which we all should live? 

Who decided that something as colorful as a dandelion is a weed? 

When I was a little girl, I was very proud of the dandelion and violet bouquets that I made for my mom. They were flowers to me then and they still are today. Please grow your roses and prune them with care because they are beautiful and they are worth your touch.  But, if you should cross the fence into my yard and find a field of dandelions, please don't mock them, they are just as beautiful to me as your roses and might I add, not near as fussy.

I love atheists. Atheists challenge me to think about the basis of my faith in an unseen God. But somehow when people here the word, Atheist, they picture the man who hates God and anyone who believes in God. When I married my husband who is an Atheist, there were some who thought my life was in danger; or at least my spiritual life.  Mike doesn't hate people of Christian, or other spiritual beliefs. In fact in many ways he has encouraged me more in my pursuit to nurture my spiritual beliefs than some of Christian faith.  Please don't judge him because of his difference in religious belief. 

 I also love Christians. Some might say this is a given because I can identify with the belief system. But, I love Christians because of the differences in our approach to the same text, the Holy Bible. What I see when I read scripture is different than what my fellow believers understand. Whether Catholic, Methodist, Baptist or Lutheran, we all believe in the same God. But still as Christians, we have differences in belief. Let's not steal from our Catholic friends the reverence they feel when they bow in a most Holy moment to pray with a rosary in hand. Let us not take from my Lutheran friends the teachings of Martin Luther.  Our differences in worship style are not right or wront. They ultimately lead us to the same God

I love people of color. I have had the palest skin all of my life. As a young girl, when I would see someone with dark skin, I thought they were the most beautiful people on earth. I wanted their skin. I wanted to be dark. Apparently I wasn't the only one who thought so. Today there is an entire industry founded on the principle of making white people darker. Someone decided that being too white was not attractive. But, someone also decided that Black is not beautiful. Some time ago I visited with a friend of mine who is African American. She is a beautiful, intelligent, compassionate young mother. She has a daughter who somewhere along the line picked up the idea that the color of her skin makes her like the dandelion; less valuable, less beautiful and less wanted. She was ashamed of having the darkest skin in her family. You know when I look at my lily white skin I sometimes wish I had a little more color.  But never, ever, do I feel ashamed to be white. Why? Because nobody in this society has told me that I need to be ashamed of my white skin. This young girl felt like a dandelion in a world of roses. Her story broke my heart that day and frankly, I hope that it always will.  

Whether dandelions or roses, Christian or not; whether your skin is the whitest of white or the darkest of brown, someone finds you valuable.  And if you are feeling a bit like a dandelion today, know that someone somewhere thinks you are beautiful beyond compare.

Thanks for reading.

Monday, January 18, 2016

Random Thoughts of Amy Potts: That Old Road

Random Thoughts of Amy Potts: That Old Road: There is just something that keeps calling me back. Maybe it's a fear that the good memories will fade with time unless I trace over...

That Old Road

There is just something that keeps calling me back. Maybe it's a fear that the good memories will fade with time unless I trace over and again the path to all I have become. Driving familiar roads making note of the things that remain; only older, warn and broken down. Grieving, in a small way, the things that are no longer there; houses, grocery stores, barns. Time seems the robber of memories. But what we do remember must be met with the reality that someone remembers those things differently, if at all. We remember events, people and places according to the the effect that they had on our lives. Perhaps we remember them as obstacles in our path while someone remembers them as the challenge they needed to push them to achieve more. However we remember those things, they are etched in our minds somewhere. Whether we choose to remember or not, they can creep to the front of our mind.

Most would not know about a little town in Iowa called Clarion. But when I hear mention of this community, I smile and my thoughts are quickly turned to Highway 3 and the straight route to Aunt Lois and Uncle Bob's house. Turn left, cross the railroad tracks, go past the elevator and turn left once more. There on the left still stands memories that have been with me since I was a little girl.  It is where Bob and Lois helped me to understand the Christ in Christmas. It was there that I rode ponies with my cousin Kevin and learned to ride a go-cart. Because of the distance between my home and theirs, I wasn't able to go there as often as I would have liked but I was determined to stay in touch. I didn't want them to forget me and I didn't want to ever forget them. I wrote letters to my aunt and uncle and waited anxiously to receive a returned letter in the mail from them. When I would receive one of their letters, I would read them over and over again until the next one arrived. I would write about school and family and anything that I wished I could tell them in person. They encouraged me to keep writing and to keep working on my music. Lois and Bob were my  cheerleaders and just what I needed at that time in my life. I have never lost contact with this dear family and as often as I can, I turn my car toward central Iowa and Highway 3 just to receive the warm hugs and to enjoy times of reminiscing. We talk about family, friends and faith. We talk about dreams and ideas and grandkids and anything that happened between visits.

Last summer I drove that familiar road once again. On my way into town I stopped my car and walked a few paces in to where I had stood in May of 2006 as we laid my dear Aunt Lois to rest. I stood there for a few minutes to thank God for her influence on my life. I recalled her laugh and how much I loved to hear it, wishing that I could hear it once more. I didn't stay there for too long because that wasn't the reason for my trip to Clarion, really. I was on my way into town to visit with my uncle Bob, who inspires me with his zest for life at 94 years old. I also couldn't wait to spend time with my cousin, Judy, who in some ways reminds me of her mom. We spent a short time visiting about that sad day and how it seemed as though it was just yesterday. But mostly we spent time laughing about good memories and talking about here and now.

The road back to Iowa changes with time. Barns that once were bright red and standing tall are faded and peeling if not completely gone. Houses that once were full of life stand empty and dilapidated with weeds so tall that it's no longer possible to see the path that leading to the door.

Somehow, though, I am able to replay the laughter over and over again. I can retrace each step taken and each mile driven to keep those memories alive. I hope never to forget and selfishly...never to be forgotten.

I don't know the roads that you have traveled in life. But I hope that as you read this, you are taken to a place in your mind that brings you fond memories
I hope that no matter where you've been that you have found a peace that passes all understanding.
I hope that you have found God in the midst of it all.

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