Thoughts from October 2-6, 2017

As many of you know, I stopped blogging two years ago, mostly because blogging consumed the time that I had for writing, and I chose to write books instead of blog posts. But I still enjoy sharing thoughts with readers in a more immediate way, so I have been using my Facebook author Page to share book recommendations, reflections on culture, stories from our family, and updates about the books I’m working on. For those of you who don’t use Facebook, or who don’t want to check the page daily, I’m going to start posting a weekly compilation of those thoughts here on my website. I hope you enjoy!

Friday, October 6, 2017

Dear friends,

October is Down Syndrome Awareness Month. I’ve created an eBook called “Missing Out on Beautiful: 7 Essays about Raising a Child with Down Syndrome” as my way of helping to raise awareness about this genetic condition. The eBook is FREE.

That’s right–you do not need to pay a dime, or even a penny, to receive it. You just need to go to my website and enter your email address where it says, “Signup here and receive my new free eBook,” and the link will be sent automatically to your inbox.

The book compiles six essays I’ve written over the years as well as new material, including an interview with Penny herself. It is filled with beautiful photos. And yes, it is great for people with children with special needs. But these essays are for all of us because they are reflections on where we find meaning and purpose in life, how we understand value, how children help us grow up, and what it means to base life on love instead of achievement.

Please click on this link to get your free copy of this eBook, and please share this link with anyone else who would benefit from a reminder about what makes life worth living today.

As Penny herself says, “Don’t be scared because your child’s life could be easier than expected. My life is filled with caring, loving people and joyful happiness.”

Amy Julia

Tuesday, October 3, 2017

“Prepare the child for the path, not the path for the child.”

That’s my little gem of wisdom for the day (that a friend shared with me), along with a confession that I am inclined, like many of my fellow “helicopter” parents, to make that path as smooth as humanly possible for our kids. I still wake them up in the morning and pack up their lunchboxes if they/we are running late and give in to many requests for sweets and treats.

But I also see the joy and freedom they experience when they encounter some small measure of adversity and work to overcome it–William forgetting to study for his spelling quiz one week and missing a few words and then becoming more attentive to his homework the following week, Penny getting hot at school and starting to check the weather the night before so she’s prepared for our 30 degree temperature swings, Marilee heading out the door to school even though she has a cold.

To prepare the child for the path pretty much ensures that the child will fall down, will be bruised sometimes. It also pretty much ensures that the child will learn how to navigate small obstacles, how to pick themselves up from a fall, and when to ask for help because they truly need it.

As with everything I try to teach our kids, I want to learn as well. What am I doing to prepare my mind, body, and spirit for the path ahead, whatever twists and turns, stones and obstacles, it might hold?

Monday, October 2, 2017

“God’s love is like my neighbor’s vegetable garden.”

I had the chance to preach last week on being called to love one another, and among other things I had a chance to talk about Where the Red Fern Grows and our neighbor’s plentiful and generous supply of kale, tomatoes, leeks, and herbs. If you’re interested in hearing more, here’s the audio.

And in case you don’t have time to listen, here’s the vegetable garden part. God’s love is abundant (and for anyone who has ever planted tomatoes or zucchini, you know what I mean). God’s love is freely given (I have done absolutely no work to grow these vegetables next door). And God’s love tastes so good you want to share it (my neighbor is so excited about these vegetables that he will even pick them himself and bring them to my door).

The sermon says more about the source of love, how to receive that love, and ONLY then, how to give that love away.

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