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Monthly Archives: April 2013

Turning Capes Into Gowns

I’ve grown to hate this picture.

I spent hours, maybe even days of that October, 2010, searching for the matching superman and superwoman costumes that now hang lifeless in our closet. We put them on, and it was oh so cute as my mother-in-law took our family picture, but later that night I felt the burden bear down on me hard as I walked in the doors of that adults only costume party.

You see, there was something about that costume that represented right where I was – fulfilling that role of superwoman, supermom, being everything to everyone, doing everything for everyone, being a hero to everyone but myself and my God. But that night, as I played the role of superwoman-supermom at that party, I became keenly aware it wasn’t working anymore. The room was filled with bar maids, vampires, sexy bunnies, and who knows what, but I didn’t feel sexy, I didn’t feel scandalous, I didn’t feel cunning, I didn’t feel clever, I didn’t feel cute, and I didn’t feel like superwoman-supermom either. To be honest, I felt like an out-of-place goodie-goodie girl scout who just wanted to hide away in a tent somewhere in obscurity.

And to make matters worse, I quickly discovered that not just one of my neighbors was pregnant, but three, and bless their souls, they were all there in their pregnant glowing glory. I had been battling this desire, this conflict in me for years, as to whether or not we should have a third child, but these women seemed to know so quickly, with such certainty, this destiny to parent was theirs. In the years that had passed since we had our first two children, I had seen the dark forces of this world, and I wasn’t so confident I could be that superwoman-supermom to raise another precious life safely through to the light.

So I left that party, hung the superhero costumes in the closet, and have since marked it as a turning point, a moment I needed to see the light, to see the truth about myself and who I wanted to be.

See, I don’t want to be superwoman. I don’t want to be a supermom. I CAN’T be. It’s impossible. It’s an unrealistic burden I don’t want to bear anymore.

Because a superwoman-supermom is a hero. She does it all, she’s brilliant, she’s clever, she has all the answers. She works full-time, loves her job and prides herself on doing what she needs to do; or she stays home full-time and has no longings for anything but tending her home, her husband, and her children. She buys all organic and prepares homemade dinner every night, she makes all the beds every morning, does a few loads of laundry every day so she’s always caught up, and dishes are stacked back on the shelves before bed. Oh, and her house is always clean (her toilets are always sterile and pristine white). She wakes up happy every morning and makes a hearty breakfast for her children before sending them off to school; she packs the kids’ lunches with healthy choices so they can grown up big and strong. A superwoman-supermom? She knows how to parent just-right, she disciplines and her kids listen the first time, she runs for disinfectant and bandaids when her kids’ knees are bleeding, and her kids’ principal would never think of calling. She has lots of “besties,” she’s organizes girls’ night out religiously, and she exercises five times a week in stylish LuLu Lemon gear she bought the day it arrived in the store. She volunteers and she’s needed and people are desperate to get their hands on something, anything, she has to offer. She gives and never grows weary. She’s battery operated, like an energizer bunny, who just keeps going and going and going.

I can say with confidence that on most days I’ve tried hard to be that superhero, wanted desperately to be that supermom, envied that superwoman who embodies one or many of those qualities. And that’s just WRONG.

Since formally rejecting the superwoman-supermom notion and becoming pregnant with our third child five months after the above described Halloween incident, I’ve been in transformation. I’m ready to do life differently, ready to step out of the status quo box. I’m slowly, but surely taking off the cape and am stepping into the garments of the woman I was created to be. And through faith and experience, I believe the woman I am growing into is wise, she is grounded and values depth rather than breadth, she sees into souls, she knows what she is called to do and what she is not called to do, and she knows when she needs help.

See dear ones, we’re not superheroes. No, I’m coming to embrace a notion that’s just as controversial and discussion worthy as superwomen and supermoms, but makes more sense in my new reality of cape-free living. Yes, I believe there’s truth in the notion of princess.

Marriam-Webster online definition of princess: 

2. a female member of a royal family; especially a daughter or granddaughter of a sovereign.

Here’s my premise – if I believe God is sovereign King, He knit me in my mother’s womb in His image, then I’m His daughter. Knowing this truth, I should have much more confidence as princess than I’ve ever had as superwoman-supermom.

Something rings true about this princess concept. Perhaps it’s why Disney has made millions capitalizing on princesses.

Cinderella had faith in her dreams, that “one day her rainbow [would] come.”

Ariel has “who’s its and what’s its galore,” but wanted more. She wished she could be “out of these waters,” “part of that world.”

Belle longed for something more than “this provincial life.” Immersed in stories about far off places, “behind the facade,” she was even perceived as peculiar.

And Rapunzel escaped the tower she had been trapped in all her life. She “[saw] the light,” “the fog was lifted,” and the “whole world was somehow shifted.”

There’s something deeper, something better we women, we moms long for. We want to be authentic, we want to be honest and real. We want to be known. We want to be loved and  cherished, and we want to know we are beautiful. We want to be mamas that make a difference, we want to grow souls that thrive and find their special place in this world. We want to be beautiful examples of grace and truth for our children. We want to escape the superhero cape, step into garments designed especially for us, and dance in the beauty of our true life purpose.

So two days from now, I’m launching a series titled “Special Mamas” in honor of women who want to be mamas and women who are mamas. In this 5-week guest post series every Wednesday in May, you’ll hear from a real mama who bears her heart and soul to uplift others, a mama who steps up to the plate and fights daily battles for her child, a mama who exudes joy and peace in her “bigger-than-normal-sized” family, a mama who steps outside of the traditional mama box to share her love, and a mama who endured years of trials in search of the thing she desired most – to become a mama.

Take off your superwoman-supermom cape and put on your princess garments of beauty and truth. Step outside of your box, leap down from your tower. Sit still in comfort on your Father’s shoulders. Dance with faith. Be real with me in this place. This month is dedicated to you, special mamas.

All glorious is the princess within her chamber; her gown is interwoven with gold.  Psalm 45:13

Amy

Mother, you need rescue. Me too. - You Are My Girls - […] don’t miss Amy’s post introducing the series, sharing why she is tired of trying to be Superwoman and how she is thankful she doesn’t have to do that […]May 1, 2013 – 10:24 am

Amy - Thank you Nikki, so glad to have you here. :)May 1, 2013 – 7:58 am

Amy B. Pederson - You’re welcome, Jennifer. :)May 1, 2013 – 12:35 am

Amy B. Pederson - Oh thank you so much Malia! That makes my day, truly. God bless your sweet soul.May 1, 2013 – 12:33 am

Amy B. Pederson - Tom, I will have to read more from Edna! I know I’m not the first to reject the concept, and that’s good news for us all! May 1, 2013 – 12:32 am

Amy - Jennnifer, thank you for your sweet, kind words. I am blessed to have wonderful soul sisters online like you. :)April 30, 2013 – 7:40 pm

Amy - Vicki, thank you. You in particular have a lot on your plate, and the pressure you are feeling is likely very real. I hope and pray for blessings for you and your son on this new journey together. :)April 30, 2013 – 7:39 pm

Nikki - Oh mylanta do I ever love your heart.
I’m partial to crowns over capes:)
what a brilliant series and I’m looking forward to listening in! {HUGS}April 30, 2013 – 3:12 pm

Jennifer Westrom Peterson - awww just what I needed today! Thank you!April 30, 2013 – 1:45 pm

Jennifer - Amy, this is amazing and beautiful and powerful and so true. I am so excited about your series. What a beautiful heart you have. xoApril 30, 2013 – 12:41 pm

Tom Baunsgard - Wow that was great… And based on reality! Non of us are super-human… But with God’s help we can be the best that we can be. Edna Mode said it first, “NO CAPES!”April 30, 2013 – 1:08 am

Malia Johnson Meyer - I used to be kind of a Tomboy…the cape always appealed more to me and I kind of shuddered at the frufru princessy stuff. However, after reading your post, for the first time I see myself in the princess role. This was beautifully written and a wave of Grace has washed over me. Thank you!April 29, 2013 – 11:32 pm

Amy B. Pederson - Thank you Andrea. Me too! :)April 29, 2013 – 6:46 pm

Andrea Lupino Canniff - Love this, Amy. Thanks for sharing with such beautiful honesty. I’ve always preferred gowns, anyway.April 29, 2013 – 5:51 pm

Vicki - Amy, this is so filled with beauty and truth. So walking this right now. Just this very morning I was thinking on how hard it is to do it all, to be everything that society expects. There is so much pressure, but in my heart my only goal is to raise a son that loves Jesus with his whole heart.

I can’t wait to read this series and get to know you more!

Blessings!
VickiApril 29, 2013 – 1:06 pm

Meet Jose: Serving Good Stuff with a Smile

Today, I’m pleased to introduce you to Jose! I can’t tell you how long I’ve crossed paths with this delightful Culver’s employee, but I do know he’s brought countless moments of joy to my life. Positivity like his is contagious.

If you know me really well, you know I LOVE Culver’s. I’m a true blue Culver’s fan, loyal to the bone. If you haven’t heard of Culver’s or know about it but stay away because it’s sinfully bad for your health, well let me take a moment to tempt your tastebuds. Butterburgers, grilled chicken sandwiches, chicken tenders, pot roast sandwiches, walleye fingers, grilled cheese sandwiches, french fries, and of course, custard! And that doesn’t even begin to cover the Culver’s menu. You might have to work out a little harder the next day or eat a little less that night to cover the extra calories, but it’s well worth it.

If you’re a regular like I am, you’ll notice that all Culver’s locations deliver in regards to customer service. Employees are kind, courteous, friendly, engaging, and quick to serve. Culver’s also employs adults with special needs to deliver meals to customers in the drive thru. Being a speech-language pathologist, I delight in seeing these individuals engaged in meaningful employment, and enjoy interacting with them even if it’s just a few seconds as they bring food to my car window.

You may think I got off track with my ranting and raving about Culver’s awesomeness, but don’t worry, I didn’t forget about Jose! See, Jose embodies what I believe Culver’s is all about. Feel good food with top notch customer service.

At least once a week, I encounter Jose as I pull through that Culver’s drive thru for lunch in the middle of my work day. Jose is eager to delight, eager to deliver, and eager to make me feel welcome. He greets with a smile and often a joke. He’ll ask how my day is going, and he even notices when I haven’t been in for a while. Jose is quick and aware of my needs. Most often, he remembers to offer me ketchup (which I’ve learned over the years is a hallmark sign of good fast food customer service), but if he forgets and I have to ask, he gives me two to make sure I have all I need! It’s obvious Jose has an excellent working relationship with his co-workers, and he seems to really enjoy his work. And he always makes me feel like a valued customer before greeting me farewell.

All I can say is that the owner of this local franchise should be honored to have Jose on staff, and corporate Culver’s should come for a visit to study this employee, Jose, who truly understands what it means to deliver excellent customer service.

Thank you, Jose. You embody Culver’s awesomeness, and I am grateful for all the little moments of positivity you have brought to my life.

Light in a messenger’s eyes brings joy to the heart, and good news gives health to the bones. Proverbs 15:30

Amy

*Culver’s did not provide compensation for publication of this post.

Nikki - I love this…and can’t believe it, but we have a similar gentleman at the Culver’s by our house! He always talks to my 5 year old like he’s a real person. asks him questions that gets my son all excited. brilliant strategy on Culver’s part as that is the only place my son likes to go as a result :)

{Hugs} to you, Amy! I am looking forward to seeing you again—soon? :)April 27, 2013 – 10:33 pm

Amy B. Pederson - Thank you Alyssa!! I appreciate your visit and encouraging words. Will you be at #inRLMN this weekend?!April 26, 2013 – 8:55 pm

Alyssa Zech - I love that you love culvers so much. I also love that you encouraged this man, working in the food biz can be so thankless.
A new friend from #inRLMN!April 26, 2013 – 3:11 am

The Pressure Cooker of Life

The pressure cooker of life wears me down some days, no doubt it wears on others too.

Pressure cooker, defined by Merriam-Webster:

1. an airtight utensil for quick cooking or preserving of foods by means of high-temperature steam under pressure

2. a situation or environment that is fraught with emotional or social pressures

Pressure so great that a prominent pastor’s son ended his life.

Pressure so great that wee ones were and are ripped from wombs.

Pressure so great that innocent spectators and participants were terrorized with pressure cooker bombs at a marathon.

And there’s a baby named Charlotte who has Spinal Muscular Atrophy (SMA) Type I. She’s dying. Charlotte’s mama dances with her in the living room to “Blessed Be Your Name” as she holds dear to precious moments that remain.

The grief feels unbearable for Aden’s mama. Her sweet boy passed just weeks ago to cancer, and she and the rest of the family are on a cruise to help relieve the pain, but tears stream in quiet on the ship deck. The pain from loss overwhelms Caribbean beauty, and she sits paralyzed, just her and God in this place of sorrow.

And down your street, men and women fight. Husbands and wives sleeping in different rooms, and they can’t figure out how to fix this. They don’t remember the love, the promise that brought them to the alter years ago. The pressure is building and it needs to be released. Somehow. Now.

On top of all this comes the rain, the sleet, and the snow. We’re hearty here in Minnesota, but when it’s April 18th and it’s been cloudy for weeks and the temperature hasn’t risen above 40-something except for maybe a day, everyone feels the pressure. So when the 1-4 inch snow predicted turned to a major snowstorm in the middle of my work day yesterday, I just about lost it. It had been raining and sleeting all morning as I made my way from house to house for therapy. The sleet turned to snow before my 12:30 visit, so when I returned to my car an hour later, it was covered with a thick layer of snow. And the scraper was nowhere to be found, so my wipers sufficed. Cold snow fell in on the driver’s side arm rest and onto my pants as I pushed the automatic window button, the bare minimum necessary to remove snow from the side windows just enough so I could see. As if denying the snow’s presence was going to make it go away.

The roads were snow packed, the only thing filling baseball fields was snow, and I felt like I was trapped in a snow globe with no hope of ever getting out.

Even the snow packed trees were hard to see as beautiful because I kept thinking it’s April 18th, and we’re supposed to be wearing flip flops and shorts and playing outside on the playground today. For when life’s served you too much pressure, and there’s never an opening for release, finding beauty, finding something to be grateful for is like finding a needle in a haystack.

And when I got home, the task of clearing the driveway from inches of snow loomed.

The school had called notifying us of a school delay and my husband stayed late to avoid the traffic, so after the girls went to bed, my son volunteered to help me shovel.

I shoveled one strip all the way down the driveway, and to be honest, I wasn’t up to the task. But my son, he was pressing on, and I didn’t have to beg or plea, so I thought it best for me to be an example.

After a while, I told him “I can’t do this anymore. It’s too long, it’s too cold.” “Who cares,” he said, and kept shoveling. After that, I was determined to finish that driveway, to be an example whether I liked it or not.

The cold pressed in even greater. The snow was heavy, and it felt like each shovel-full was 20 pounds. And in my grumbling, my complaining to myself, I thought of Ann Voskamp’s One Thousand Gifts, how her book and her blog and through nearly three years of reading, her message of gratitude, of eucharisteo, has been pressing in on me. So I gave thanks for my son who was still shoveling and not complaining one bit, for a flurry of snowflakes illuminated by the street light.

But in all honesty, those moments of gratitude turned to anger because I was still shoveling heavy loads of snow, and there was still half of the driveway to shovel, and it was still. April 18th. In the allowing myself to experience that anger, I thought of messages on anger I heard earlier that day on faith radio, how when we’re angry our “personhood,” our sense of security is threatened. And another message I heard last week about turning our anger not towards others but FOR others, so justice can be served for all the right reasons.

And I realized, I am angry. My sense of security has been threatened, my “personhood” has been threatened. So I started throwing snow in the name of justice. I threw snow for the tiny souls that never got to breathe a breath. I threw snow for little Charlotte who’s going to pass to heaven while still an infant, for Charlotte’s mom who will grieve the death of her precious daughter before she knows it. I threw snow for the little boy whose beautiful life was cut short because evil prevailed through a bomb. And I asked God why? WHY?

In those moments of anger and throwing snow for justice and asking God why, these verses came to mind…

I have told you these things, so that in me you may have peace. In this world you will have trouble. But take heart! I have overcome the world. John 16:33

But we have this treasure in jars of clay to show that this all-surpassing power is from Godand not from us. We are hard pressed on every side, but not crushed; perplexed, but not in despair; persecuted, but not abandoned; struck down, but not destroyed. We always carry around in our body the death of Jesus, so that the life of Jesus may also be revealed in our body. For we who are alive are always being given over to death for Jesus’ sake, so that his life may also be revealed in our mortal body.  2 Corinthians 4:7-11

Come to me, all you who are weary and burdened, and I will give you rest. Take my yoke upon you and learn from me, for I am gentle and humble in heart, and you will find rest for your souls. For my yoke is easy and my burden is light.  Matthew 11:28-30

So I stopped and I stood still near the end of the driveway. The wind picked up, the snow blew cold on my cheeks, and I heard His still small voice “Feel my presence, even in the cold. Even in the cold.”

Amy

Words From My Heart, Here, For You

It had been a long day at work and I was on my way home, driving on the open road. The sunlight was coming through the trees just like it does in the movies, and David Crowder Band’s “How He Loves Us” was playing loud on the radio. They wrote a song from their hearts, then, there. My heart received it here, now.

I clicked on the post, just like every day, nearly three years now. Ann Voskamp, the one who has been my lifeline, the one who directs me to true north. This time, what I needed from Ann, from God, was hidden. A click within her post brought me back five months to a post I needed that day, words about God’s call. She writes the song of my heart, then, there. My heart receives it daily, here, now.

Jeremy Camp’s “Overcome” played on my iPod as I ran the track overcome by such truth, and a few minutes of complete understanding washed over me. He wrote it one day, then, there. My heart was desperate for those words, here, now.

God knew I needed the words of an ordinary woman, one that’s so human and feels a little flawed and is in need of divine direction. He brought me a humble, loving, kind one who is Simply Striving, Nikki. Her blog, a welcoming and faith-filled place, and this week, not once, but twice, the words I needed. She shared her heart, then, there. My heart needed to know it’s not alone, here, now.

These ordinary and extraordinary human beings? Courage led them to share their heart through the mediums of song and word. And I can’t help but think this is the story of my life.

It’s been one year this week since I decided to move forward, follow what I believe was a nine year call to write. Because messages and thoughts came in, and I couldn’t get them to go away. They came again and again, and I couldn’t stop thinking about all of the things I wanted to share, the things I had to say. The song was in my heart, and I began composing sentences and paragraphs in my mind. And at that point? I knew those words could no longer be stuck HERE. in my brain. NO. Those words needed to be shared. That was the call. That was God’s call. I have something to say that you need to hear. Here. In this place. On this blog.

And although maybe more posts that not this year have been more about my growth, my development, my movement towards Him, my perception of our current reality, I want YOU to know this place is for YOU. This is not just my hobby, this place has something to do with my calling. I share words from my heart, here, for YOU.

Hopes that YOU will no longer feel alone. Hopes that I speak truth, to YOU. Hopes that YOU come to this place and find rest and peace. Hopes that YOU can find depth, something greater, something better. Hopes that I speak straight to YOUR heart.

Here.

My sheep listen to my voice; I know them, and they follow me.  John 10:14

Amy

It’s Friday, which means it’s time for another Meet Me At This Moment for Five Minute Friday post! I spend the last hour of Thursday chatting it up with a group of authentic and inspiring Five Minute Friday bloggers on Twitter (#fmfparty). One minute past midnight EST Friday, Lisa-Jo Baker gives us a single word prompt and we all write a blog post centered around that word. We write for five minutes, and five minutes only! In the words of Lisa, this is “unscripted. unedited. real.” You meet me at this moment in time…my thoughts and opinions, my joys and sorrows, my dilemmas and dreams. And I receive one of the greatest gifts ever…a regular outlet for processing and expressing my thoughts without constantly editing myself. This is my life, my perspective, unfiltered.

The word of the week is HERE.

 

Amy P Boyd - I love that you are moving forward in your calling. I have been working on a message that I will be giving at a women’s conf in May about fear. It is based on Exodus 14. The focus verse is verse 15 where God tells Moses to basically just get going/move forward. Prayers for you as you walk this path of your calling.April 12, 2013 – 8:55 pm

Amy - Nikki, technically it’s not my blog “anniversary” until July when I launched, but this week marks one year since I decided I was going to blog, moved forward with getting it set up, etc. Thank you, thank you. You embody all I love about the safe place I have found in Twitter and blogs. A bunch of people willing to bare their souls together to create greater good.April 12, 2013 – 1:21 pm

Nikki - First, I cannot believe it’s only been a year since you’ve shared here (Happy Blogaversary!)…it feels like I’ve known you longer.

Second, wow is God ever good. and my goodness does He ever pursue you…thank you for listening.

Third, He has given you an amazing story to share and I’m so proud of you for doing just that.

It’s through our mess, the contrast of our darkenss that His glory and light are revealed. And I see Him brightly through you, friend {HUGS}April 12, 2013 – 12:26 pm

Amy - Dear sweet Iris: I am so glad! Perhaps you linked up right next to me because my words were to provide you encouragement today. And for that, my post, my sharing of my heart today, was all worth it!! Be still and know that God has plans for you and He will direct you…I am trusting this today, myself. :) A big hug to you, and I took a peek, those two little ones are adorable!April 12, 2013 – 12:06 pm

Iris - WOW! God is so good. You are the person to link up before me on Five Minute Friday, so I am ‘supposed’ to come and read your five minutes of writing and leave you encouraging words, but it is YOU that have encouraged me through YOUR words. Every day for the last while, God has encouraged me to pursue a silent dream that I have. I am not sure how it is going to unfold. Especially since I have two very busy little children blessing my life right now and it involves writing and busy noisy children don’t really allow for much writing. Your five minutes of writing have encouraged me and I thank you for that. Thank you for the vivid imagery and the sense of peace and encouragement you have left me with. Thank you!April 12, 2013 – 11:45 am

Running From, Through, For, To

It’s Friday, which means it’s time for another Meet Me At This Moment for Five Minute Friday post! I spend the last hour of Thursday chatting it up with a group of authentic and inspiring Five Minute Friday bloggers on Twitter (#fmfparty). One minute past midnight EST Friday, Lisa-Jo Baker gives us a single word prompt and we all write a blog post centered around that word. We write for five minutes, and five minutes only! In the words of Lisa, this is “unscripted. unedited. real.” You meet me at this moment in time…my thoughts and opinions, my joys and sorrows, my dilemmas and dreams. And I receive one of the greatest gifts ever…a regular outlet for processing and expressing my thoughts without constantly editing myself. This is my life, my perspective, unfiltered.

The word of the week is AFTER.

 

 

My natural inclination is to walk rather than run. I walk fast, I walk hard, I walk long.

But since October, I’ve been running, more than ever. And I get it. I understand why a runner runs.

For when I run, I’m running from something, through something, for something, to something. There’s power and there’s healing in running. One foot in front of the next, hard against the road, I’m propelled by something greater. Nothing can stop me. And after a run like that, all I want is to do it again.

That dream of mine, to run a marathon? It’s no longer so far fetched. Because now I understand the power of the race.

Therefore, since we are surrounded by such a great cloud of witnesses, let us throw off everything that hinders and the sin that so easily entangles. And let us run with perseverance the race marked out for us.  Hebrews 12:1

Amy

Jodi Beckwith - Thank you for visiting my blog for FMF? Don’t you just love these prompts and the after results? Kudos to you for hard work. I’ve never been able to run much due to asthma, but, I can understand that drive to do so.April 8, 2013 – 2:40 pm

Lisa @ four simply living - Ahh I lost the dream of ever running a marathon this week… stupid knee surgery. But I love that I can visit blogs like yours and run one in my heart with you. Keep us updated won’t you. Visiting from 5MFApril 6, 2013 – 6:46 pm

Dolly Lee - Wow, good for you, Amy :) You’ve been on mind…praying you are well :)April 6, 2013 – 5:27 pm

Marybeth Thielke Blog - *cheering you on* Great post!April 5, 2013 – 7:11 pm

Leslie Crain - Preparation reaps a good after, I like it.April 5, 2013 – 6:22 pm