Wednesday, April 30, 2014

Favorite sayings...........

 Friends, it has been an absolute honor to post on Jeff's blog for you.  On my last day of "blogging", I've decided to share two of my favorite sayings.  I read them practically every day and they keep me in check with all that matters most to me in this world.  My husband and our Marriage being Numero Uno. :-)  The second, my children, family and friends.  These sayings serve as  a gentle reminder that we won't be here on earth forever, and that we should do our very best to make a difference in the life's of others.  A Cardinal Rule at our house, "Do unto others as you would have them do unto you." If you follow this saying, it will be pretty difficult to go wrong. 
Until next time, I wish you a happy, stress free and blessed day.
Hugs to you my friends,

Tuesday, April 29, 2014

An Old Cherokee saying

An old Cherokee told his grandson, "My son, there is a battle between two wolves inside us all.
One is Evil.  It is anger, jealousy, greed, resentment, inferiority, lies and ego.  The other is Good.  It is joy, peace, love, hope, humility, kindness, empathy, and truth."

The boy thought about it, and asked, "Grandfather, which wolf wins?"

The old man quietly replied, "The one you feed."
-Author unknown

I vow to do my best to only feed the Good Wolf.  I pray you do too.
I wish you a positive, happy and blessed day my friends.

Monday, April 28, 2014

What would we do?

Dearest Woods Chapel Friends,
My name is Ami and I have the distinct honor of having Jeff Brinkman as one of my dear friends. 
Jeff asked me if I would fill in and post on his blog while he enjoys some much deserved time off.  Please know that this request is an absolute honor and touched my heart.  Thank you Jeff.  I am smiling.
When Jeff asked me to fill in, I have to admit I was a little nervous.  What could I possibly say that would touch your hearts, make your day better or simply make you laugh like Jeff and the Lion's Den Man ?  Well, those of you who know me, know that I love "quotes".  I have them everywhere.  So, I only had to turn around to see my answer "If someone offers you an amazing opportunity and you're not sure you can do it, say yes - then learn how to do it later" Richard Branson
So here I am!!!  I am doing it.....writing to you.  I hope what I have to say over the next couple of day's touches you, makes you think and above all else, makes you smile.
I am Ami, the proud Mother of 7 beautiful children and two amazing and very handsome step-sons.  Collectively, I have 6 daughters and 3 sons.  I am a blessed woman.  I am honored to be Larry's wife.  He's a wonderful husband and my very best friend in the entire world.  I have 3 horses, 1 dog and 4 cats.  I love my life and my Woods Chapel Family.  Thank you for your smiles on Sunday, your hugs, and your sweet gentle hand squeezes after we sing hand in hand.
So, I've had this question in my head recently and threw it out to all of my children, my Mom and Dad, my Sister and Brother, my Best Friend and my Husband.   I encourage you to do the same.  You may be surprised with the answers you get back.  Their responses made me smile and I wanted to share them with you.  Here's the question. "If you could spend one day with me, what would we do?"
Here are the answers I received back:
Children: (not all answered)
Lauren - "We would be in California, Napa Valley eating cheese and drinking wine....lots of wine"
(Lauren is 27.  Sounds age appropriate huh?) Salute!
Alexa - "Have a Mother Daughter trip, even in some remote area.  No crazy lavish stuff.  Just a fun day to talk, drink wine and bond" (What's with the wine???  Alexa is 25 and lives in Chicago)  Oh well, sounds fun!  Again, Salute!!
Nicole - "I would travel the globe with you helping out children, eating food, drinking wine and loving life!!" Ahhh.......a Los Pinos companion.  Great answer Nicole.... Let's make it happen. (Notice wine made the cut again?  A big SALUTE!  PS  Did I mention that we are Italian?) Nicole is 23.
Michaela - "Oh you know, I'd go to lunch and have a Mommy Daughter day" (Easy peasy.....we will definitely make this happen) Michaela is 19.
Mackenzie - "Email my counselor so I can take my final and be done with high school!" Mackenzie is 18.  Enough said on that one huh?
Brother Tony - "Spend the day at the lake.....chillin...eating good food...swimming....lazy in the sun day talking to my sister". Ahhhhh.......sounds like Heaven.  I love my baby brother.
Sister Nicki- "Catch up and relax doing whatever we want.  Just being able to spend time would be enough."  As it should be. I don't see her enough.  "Quality not quantity."
Best Friend Joelle - "Shop, talk, work out, horseback ride, laugh, talk, laugh some more and solve all of our issues by talking some more! Have vodka tonics, crack up and live every minute!!!"
So what do you think???  Easy right?  Sometimes, meeting people's needs and touching their hearts is easier than we thought.  Let's make the time for those we cherish so much.  Every minute of every day is a gift.
And remember......."It's a beautiful day in Gods world, be sure to see the good".  (Now...REALLY do it, turn all the way a three sixty (360) with your eyes wide open and really look. It's everywhere, the world God created is amazing.

Sunday, April 27, 2014

All creation sings

Psalm 19:  The heavens declare the glory of God, the skies show forth the work of His hands.......

This is a picture of part of our back yard.  Pear tree, plum tree, Angelina and yellow tulips.  Spring has sprung!  Very exciting.  Very beautiful. 

It's a beautiful wonderful day in God's world, be sure to see the good.

Saturday, April 26, 2014


I ran across this the other day from Indira Gandhi, former prime minister of India:

"My grandfather once told me that there are two kinds of people: those who do the work and those who take the credit. He told me to try to be in the first group; there was less competition there." 
It's a beautiful day in God's world, be sure to see the good.

Friday, April 25, 2014


I got a wonderful note from a friend.  She mentioned her loneliness.  I feel for her and for everyone that feels lonely.  I feel lonely sometimes.  It stinks.

I only know of one remedy.  The handshake, the hug of a friend.  Catch me on Sunday if you want a hug.  Just understand that you have to initiate it.  Pastors can't just go hugging people anymore. 

If you don't go to our church or if you can't find me, then find someone else to hug.  When hugs are present, loneliness leaves.

It's a beautiful day in God's world, be sure to see the good.

Thursday, April 24, 2014

those who say

I am sure that I have written about this before, but it just keeps coming back up.  The world is full of people who need to tell you how good they are, and how cool they are.  And so that takes me to an old saying, "those who say, don't know, those who know, don't have to say."

If you are great, others will tell you.  If  you try to tell others you are cool, it doesn't count.  It's like blowing your own horn.  It should never be done.  How cool one is never needs to be discussed by one's self. I hope my kids think I'm cool but I am never going to tell them that I am cool.  Good people know good.  You don't have to point out your own goodness. 

Character, wisdom, being right, is it's own reward.

It's a beautiful day in God's world, be sure to see the good.  Enjoy it for what it is.  No bragging is necessary.

Wednesday, April 23, 2014

nice handshakes

I beg your understanding.  I don't know if my hand is broken or bruised. Probably bruised.  I have been shaking too many hands.  I can't stop though.  But some of you have great grips - really confident, sometimes even bone crushing handshakes.

Please be nice to my old hand on Sunday.  It is tired and sore.

And if that is the only problem that I have, then it's surely a beautiful day in God's world, be sure to see the good.

Tuesday, April 22, 2014

new high score

Why do we love dumb things like bowling?  Maybe because I can't play softball anymore.  Anyway, a few weeks ago I topped my all time high score.  234.  I had two spares, two open frames and then eight strikes in a row.  Very exciting!

I thank God for those times in life when things just seem to go right.  All of the ducks line up.  Whether it is a bowling game or what, it is nice to have a day when everything just clicks.

It's a beautiful day in God's world, be sure to see the good.

Monday, April 21, 2014

Thank you

Thank you for a great Easter Sunday!  I thought it was a great morning. Attendance all together was just over 3,000.

Not that numbers matter, but every number is a person.  Hopefully many of those who visited church will come back and find a home with us.  As I said yesterday, I am prejudiced, but I think your church is a pretty good place.

Thanks for all that you are and all that you do.

Its a beautiful day in God's world, be sure to see the good.

Sunday, April 20, 2014

He is alive!

It is Easter. The day of resurrection. Jesus is alive! Praise God. He has shown his power in the world. His power over death. We have hope. We can trust him. He is real.

But on this Easter day, I have a question.
Am I alive?

I don't mean "is my heart beating." I mean, am I living in a way that is free. Living in a way that celebrates the gift of life and makes use of what God has given to me.

When I trust in stuff, houses, cars, and people, for my joy, I am not really alive. When I worry about every little thing in my life, I am not really alive. When I am broken, and refuse to try to become whole, I am not really alive.

This kind of life should not be acceptable to us.

Because Jesus is risen, I can truly be alive. I can celebrate every moment of life that he gives me. I can choose to see his glory in all of creation. I can give thanks for each circumstances of life, the good and the bad.

When I am alive, I am concerned about sharing love. That is all. I know my purpose, sharing God's love. The human stuff begins to fade from view. I begin to live in perspective. I am alive. Alive to Christ. Free to live. Free to love.

These are the gifts of Easter.
Hallelujah! He is risen.
He is alive! I am alive!  We are alive!

Thank you God for these unspeakable gifts!

Saturday, April 19, 2014

service times for Easter

Easter Service Times are as follows:

Sunrise Service - 6:30am [start at the flag pole and follow the crowd]

8am in the Sanctuary

905, 1010 and 1115 in the Sanctuary.
[be prepared to wait back from the doors so those leaving can exit earlier services]

905 and 1010 in the Worship Center
[be prepared to wait back from the doors in the coffee bar area so those leaving can exit the 905 service]

1115 Baptismal service in the Worship Center

Hope to see you tomorrow.  Free hugs.

don't know what to say

Have you ever had things happen that left you speechless?  Something happened and I didn't know what to say.  What do you do with that,  I might have though.

I will bet that on the Saturday after Jesus died, the disciples were speechless.  I'll bet they hid in that room and said very little.  Not much arguing or blaming.......just a lot of quiet. 

Some times, reflection is good.  It can open up your heart for the lessons that a moment in life might offer.  Reflection can help you get reacquainted with your soul.  Sometimes the quiet of today opens the door for the joy of tomorrow.

Friday, April 18, 2014

Good Friday

You are invited to our Good Friday services tonight at 7pm in the Worship Center. 

Good Friday. Good because why? Jesus suffers and dies. Suffering and death doesn't sound very good.  In fact, the service is a recounting of the difficult sufferings of Jesus.   It is designed to bring people to a deep appreciation of what Jesus did for us.

Good Friday. It's good for us. Because in the death of Jesus, a relationship is made right. Our sins are forgiven and our relationship with God is restored, healed.

Pause sometime today and say "thank you." To say thank you to God is the beginning of living the Christian life.

It's a beautiful day in God's world, be sure to see the good.

Thursday, April 17, 2014

Maundy Thursday

Maundy Thursday worship is tonight, 7pm at church. You are welcome to attend.

Maundy, from the latin, Mandatum. Mandate. Commandment. So named for Jesus' words at the last supper, "a new commandment I give unto you, love one another, as I have loved you. By this all men will know that you are my disciples, if you have love, one to another."

He washed their feet.
He tells some stories of the kingdom.
They eat. They drink wine.
They laugh. Friends are celebrating.

They are celebrating the passover. This feast commemorates the tenth plague in the book of Exodus, when the angel of death passed thru the land, taking the life of the oldest male child in every Egyptian home. The angel of death "passed over" the Jewish homes because their doors were marked with the blood of a lamb.

After dinner, a walk to the Garden of Gethsemane.  Time in prayer.  Betrayal.  Desertion.  A long night begins for Jesus.

So again, it is Holy Week.
If the death angel passed over your home tonight, is the entry to your home marked with the blood of a lamb?

Wednesday, April 16, 2014

new shower

Well, I have to share.  My remodel work on our bathroom is finally coming to an end.  I have been working on this project for over a year.  New bathtub, new floor, new shower, paint the cabinets, new counter top, paint the closet, and on it went.

It's a hole lot of stuff that we don't really need.  But, we saved money by doing it ourselves.  I am pretty excited about being done with it.  I sure hope that it doesn't leak!  I will have to find a book to read in my spare time now.

It's a beautiful day in God's world, be sure to see the good.

Tuesday, April 15, 2014

Help Wanted

I need help.  You probably already knew that.  Ha ha.

I need a helper or a partner in my volunteer job as the bicycle guy for the Hillcrest Thrift store.  Its a lot of fun and very rewarding.  The volunteers are great as is the store manager.  You even get to see Cotton Sivils, the big boss, from time to time. 

I don't know if they have more bikes than in the past or if I am busier, but I can't keep up and I feel like I am letting them down. 

The repairs are pretty basic.  Clean them up.  Air up the tires.  Fix any obvious broken part if it is easy and inexpensive.  The goal is to get them onto the floor to sell.

If you would like to help me please send me an email at  I hope to find a helper.  I don't want to get fired from Hillcrest.  It would be embarrassing.  Thanks for your consideration.

It's a beautiful day in God's world, be sure to see the good.

Monday, April 14, 2014

april fools

There were some good April Fools jokes last week.  One friend told me that they were pregnant with twins...... I am not sure if they were joking or telling the truth! 

Someone brought me a container full of brownies.  They have heard me complain about how my wife keeps chocolate around the house and I can't stop eating it.  When I saw the large container, I thought, "Oh my, I am not going to be able to resist....and so many."  The purple note says, "brownies for my friend."

Well, when I picked it up, the container was empty.  Just a foil container with air.  Who ever did that to me, well, you got me.  Thanks for the laugh and thanks for not bringing me brownies.  Humor is such a gift from our Father.

It's a beautiful day in God's world, be sure to see the good.

Sunday, April 13, 2014


Every year there is a Sunday or two when the trees at Woods Chapel are in full bloom.  Looks like today is one of those days.  Please take a few moments [don't stop traffic to do this] but take a few moments to pause and take in the beauty of the trees on your property.

I think it is cool that many of the trees were purchased for our property cost $5 each and were about 1/2 inch in diameter when they were planted.  Oh, the miracle of God's green thumb!

It's a beautiful day in God's world, be sure to see the good.

Saturday, April 12, 2014


Change is inevitable.  Although we don't like it, change is a sure thing.  Only dead things don't change.  It takes a level of maturity to deal with change in a rapidly changing organization or in a rapidly changing society.  Those who lead change or push for change must be prepared to help people through the angst that they will feel in times of change. 

The wilderness experience was not much fun for the Israelites.  Many of them wanted to go back to Egypt.  When you are in the middle, it is hard to see the other side.  When we feel like many things are changing at our church or our job or in our family, we need to remind each other that everything is ok.  We will come out on the other side.  Until the next change......

It's a beautiful day in God's world, be sure to see the good.

Friday, April 11, 2014

From a friend:

From a friend:
"There comes a time in your life when you walk away from all the drama and the people who create it.
You surround yourself with people who make you laugh....forget the bad and focus on the good.
Love the people who treat you right, pray for the ones who don't. Life is too short to be anything but happy. Falling down is a part of life, getting back up is living." 

It's a beautiful day in God's world, be sure to see the good.

Thursday, April 10, 2014

hear the birds

Sunday morning, as I was walking from the car to the church, I heard a sound.  I heard the birds singing.  It made me smile. 

During the winter, they are gone.  We don't hear them because they have gone south for the winter.  What I find sad is that sometimes, many times, even when they are back, we don't hear them.  We grow accustomed to their beautiful sounds that we don't even hear them anymore.  It is a very large sin I think, that we take so many things for granted.

Oh if we could just wake up to hear the birds and see the good.  It doesn't make life's problems go away, but it sure makes them much easier to deal with.

It's a beautiful day in God's world, be sure to hear and see the good.

Wednesday, April 9, 2014

God's presence

"We cannot attain the presence of God.  We're already totally in the presence of God.  What's absent is awareness." 
      Richard Rohr in his book Everything Belongs

So, its all there for us.  God is right there, all around us.  Right here.  We just need to wake up and be aware that he is here.  There is no place that you can go where God is not.  Sense him with you.  Sense his loving embrace.  There is nothing to attain.   He is already with you.

It's a beautiful day in God's world, be sure to see the good.

Tuesday, April 8, 2014


What does it really mean to be a believer?  A Christ follower?  Anyone can assent to a list of doctrine.  Anyone can sit in a church pew.  Transformation is radically unsettling.  It calls us not simply to believe, but to love.

Love is the sign, the mark, upon the life of those who would follow Christ.

It's a beautiful day in God's world, be sure to see the good.

Monday, April 7, 2014

why we do what we do

Not too long ago, someone told someone else, "we have to do it that way because that is the way that Jeff wants it done."  As a general rule, this is not a healthy thing to say.

I will not be here for ever.  I will die, retire, or be moved by the Bishop.  The Woods Chapel Church and it's staff will surely outlive me.  What we do here at Woods Chapel has to live on past Jeff's presence.  The reason that we do what we do needs to be because we are pursuing our mission of connecting people to Jesus Christ, and we are doing it while exhibiting our values of joy, authenticity and excellence.

If Jeff's ideas fit our mission, then let's do them, for the sake of the mission.  If Jeff's ideas are off-mission, then let's get him straightened out.  But at any rate, when we talk amongst each other about what we do, let's remember that we do what we do because we are called to God's mission, not because the pastor said so.

I hope that the Pastor is usually spot on with ideas that are on-mission.  But we do what we do because of the mission, not because of the pastor of the moment.

It's a beautiful day in God's world, be sure to see the good.  Not because I said so, but because God desires us to see the good.

Sunday, April 6, 2014

love and fear

What if everything in life boiled down to either love or fear?  Love or fear.  How do you raise children?  Love or fear.

How do you teach people about God?
How do you act at work?
How do you drive your car?
How do you deal with those who don't like you?
Love or fear.

If that is what it all boils down to, then there is only one choice for the Christian.

It's a beautiful day in God's world, be sure to see the good.

Saturday, April 5, 2014


Alfred Dreyfus was a French artillery officer.  In 1894 he was wrongly convicted of passing secrets to the Germans.  He was sent to the infamous prison on Devil’s Island.  From his cell he would see birds in flight that he called the most glorious birds.  Their flight caused him to wish to be free.  Many years later, after his release, he realized that the birds had only been seagulls.

In the 1971 movie Harold and Maude [one of my all time favorite movies], Maude is a concentration camp survivor.  In a scene where sea gulls fly by, she tells the story of how Dreyfus got out of prison and was disappointed to see that the birds were only seagulls.  Maude says, “to me, they will always be glorious birds.”
Those who love life and those who see God's handiwork in creation will find many things that they find quite glorious.

It’s a beautiful day in God’s world, be sure to see the good.

Friday, April 4, 2014

blog content

Someone sent me a note about a post that they found uninspiring.  That's ok.  If you read the purple writing on the blog site it makes it clear that these posts are not necessarily inspiring and not necessarily funny.  It is not really my desire to make you laugh or cry.

I am just writing about real life.  Real life is sometimes funny, sometimes sad.  It is sometimes exciting and inspiring and sometimes difficult.  I write what I am thinking about.  I offer no guarantees.  I don't charge for it, and I refuse to allow advertising on the blog, even though that option is available.

I can't promise that you will find what you want here each day, but I do promise that what you find here will be as real and authentic as I know how to deliver it.  And for me, that is what makes life amazing and awesome.  Let's just be ourselves. For better or for worse.

It's a beautiful day in God's world, be sure to see the good.

Thursday, April 3, 2014

Hail Storm advice

A friend of mine has offered this advice in view of the recent hail storms-

This is the first large storm of the season in the U.S.  After a hailstorm, hundreds of roofers descend upon a city from out of town with one goal – make money and then leave.  They will not stay in town more than a few months and won’t be around to perform any warranty work. 

The following is a list of key information to help you make an informed decision with regards to your home as well as your safety:

1.  Don't sign any documents with contractors that go door to door or that you did not request to inspect your property.  These documents are written in a way that traps you into doing business with them.  If you have signed, call immediately and cancel. 

2. Remain calmHail rarely causes damage that leads to leaks immediately.  While it needs the attention of a reputable contractor to restore your home to its original state it is not an emergency.

3.  Know your rights and the laws that govern insurance claims.  Some contractors will attempt to engage you in a fraudulent scheme with regards to your insurance deductible.  An insurance claim is designed to restore your home.  A reputable contractor cannot replace your roof the right way for less than the insurance claim.  If they are willing to defraud your insurance carrier what does that say about the kind of work that they might do on your house? 

This  is from Jeff- my son worked for such a firm for a few weeks before moving to a reputable local roofing company. The result of working for the shady folks included difficulty getting paid, broken promises, unreliable crews and unhappy home owners.  The moral of the story is do business with people that you know and trust.

 It's a beautiful day [hopefully hail free] in God's world, be sure to see the good.

Wednesday, April 2, 2014

what does that say?

Before I begin, let me say that yesterday was April Fools Day.  I hope none of you were fooled by my post.  I am not closing the blog.

Now on with today's post:

People who really want to live life to the fullest are thinking people.  They experience a thing not simply as joyful or painful, but they experience a think and ask the question- what does that say to me?  What can I learn from this beautiful thing?  What can I learn from this moment of suffering? 

In a time of conflict healthy people don't just want to run.   They don't just blame the other person.  They learn to open their hearts and look for their burden to bear.  They look for their complicity in a situation.  They face the moment and learn from the pain.

What does that thing say to me?

It's a beautiful day in God's world, be sure to see the good.

Tuesday, April 1, 2014

last day

I am sorry to say but I am announcing that today, April 1st is the last day for my blog.  My first post was almost 7 years ago.  May 3rd 2007.   I have been thinking about this for a long time and I just need to take a break.  Thanks for all of your faithful reading over the years.  I love you all.

One last time.......

It's a beautiful day in God's world, be sure to see the good.