Friday, January 14, 2011

We Are MOVING!!!

Now, don't get on your phone and call all of your friends and tell them we're leaving town! We are just changing blog addresses! Trust me, though! I've been busy all week moving things around and making our new home just like I like it. It combines a little of our home life, along with our ministry life. We hope you will like our new digs and come visit often. We still have some work to do on the place, but we're glad you dropped in!

Monday, January 10, 2011

And the Word of the

My title may give me away as the parent of a preschooler that watches Sesame Street, but really, I've decided to take it a step further and have a word of the YEAR! I've seen a lot of people I follow on Twitter, and really respect as well, talk about their One Word. I had been thinking before the New Year began about some things I would like to have characterize my life at the end of 2011, so when I began to see all of the tweets and updates, it was as though I already knew what my one word would be. No doubt, God had already been preparing my heart. I haven't officially participated in this One Word challenge, but it did give me some encouragement to know that others were thinking intentionally over their year as I have thought over mine. I really believe God is not done showing me plans and goals for 2011, but I DO know that irregardless of the plans or goals, this word will be my constant. I hear it, think it, dwell on it and my heart races! The word?


Wikepedia defines it as "Purpose is a result, end, mean, aim, or goal of an action intentionally undertaken." Guess which part I really, really like in this? "Intentionally!" It changes everything for me.

As I read through the Gospels toward the end of 2010 with my fellow Pastor's wives at LifeSong, I saw Jesus being so intentional day in and day out. I can remember viewing the word, "intentional" as a stressor in my life. I, for whatever reason, felt that it required a whole lot of work and a whole lot of planning ahead. What I discovered when I read is that Jesus just lived life. He was! I mean, He is...OK, He's the great I AM! As I read the Gospels and focused on reading in order to just see Jesus for who He is, I saw Purpose and a realness that felt new and fresh to me. In applying this to a New Year, that freshness and realness took on new meaning and put my focus on having purpose and intentionality in every, single thing I do. Every, single thing I say. Every, single circumstance - whether big or small! I honestly believe that I thought I would see fireworks or sirens would sound when I actually had "planned" ahead on how I would approach my New Year. That just hasn't been the case. I have the most honest, real and sincere peace over me as I seek to make every moment count. I've failed countless times already, here 11 days in, thus bringing another change. The old Amy would be beyond frazzled over failure, but the new Amy is taking the failures and waking up each day CHOOSING to not be ruled by fear, failure, disappointment, but instead she is living.! She rolls with the punches. She looks in her mirror and not the mirror of another for approval or comparison. She understands freedom and she lives in it, irregardless of the opinion of another. There's a lot of life to live. I wasn't put on this earth to live it just for me. Being a mom that stays home, it's easy to lose my identity and feel I'm not making a difference, but when I see it through the lens of purpose I see that I could be raising a daughter that will be a world-changer, or that as I spend a day sending out notes of encouragement to someone who is alone, or taking a meal to someone who is too weak to cook for themselves, or going to serve my husband in the office just so he can concentrate on something else, I see that I'm loving others more than myself. It's purpose! It may not be how the world defines it, but nonetheless, it is loving others as Christ did.

The definition of PURPOSE also states there is an end result. Check back in 2012 for what I hope will be a HUGE end result of changed lives (not just mine) and big impact on me personally, my family and my community. May God use me for HIS purposes and to venture out WAY beyond myself!

Friday, January 7, 2011

Win Your Man Over

They say the best way to your man's heart is through his stomach! I think my man would agree. :)
Before ya know it, the Super Bowl will be here and you better get your dip recipes ready. Let me be the first to "bless your heart"....ummm, I mean your stomach...with this "yummy to your man's tummy" dip. I thank the greatest mentor of my life, The Pioneer Woman, for blessing my heart with this one (OK, maybe not the greatest mentor, but I'm hungry right now as I type this, so my thoughts are to the great food influences of my life). So, here ya go...I bless thee!

Hot Olive and Artichoke Dip
  • 1 can Artichoke Hearts (14 Oz. Can)
  • 10 whole Black Olives
  • 8 ounces, weight Cream Cheese (1 Pack)
  • 1 cup (Real) Mayonnaise
  • 1 whole Egg
  • ¼ cups Red Onion, Diced
  • ¼ cups Grated Parmesan Cheese
  • 3 dashes Worcestershire Sauce
  • Salt and Pepper, to taste
  • Cayenne Pepper (for Spice)

Preparation Instructions

Combine all ingredients in the bowl of a food processor. Pulse 5 to 8 times until mixture is combined but not totally liquefied. Stir and check seasonings, then pour into a small casserole dish. Bake at 350 degrees for 20 to 25 minutes, or until hot and bubbly.

Serve with Stacy’s Simply Naked chips.

Thursday, January 6, 2011

How Many Friends Do YOU Have?

How many times have you asked, been asked, or even checked Facebook to see if you have more friends than someone else? Are you living under the disillusion that the more friends you have on Facebook, or the more people that follow you on Twitter, define how many real relationships you have in your life? Do you feel like you have "arrived" if you have over 500 friends? I feel, sometimes, that our identity gets wrapped up in little petty things like this and in the long run, we miss a way bigger picture.

I'm very relationship driven. I love being around people and it energizes me, but I'm NOT that girl that has/had a ton of friends. My friendships have always been based on an intense loyalty. My friends from 25 years ago, are my friends today...with very little exception. As I've looked back on what makes these friendships tick, it all comes back to the same thing - we spend TIME together. We DO life together and through thick and thin, we endure it all - the good and the bad.
Managing Facebook and Twitter is somewhat a tricky thing for this "want to know the heart of who you are" type person. Let's be real. It's hard to really get to KNOW someone through these two avenues of social media. Sometimes it even keeps us at a arm's lengths distance from knowing the heart of the person. Now, there's no way we can get to know EVERYONE on Facebook or Twitter that we have friend-ed, or have friend-ed (followed) us, but how can we integrate our culture and still pour into the lives of people on our friend's lists? I'm convinced that social media is here to stay and how we use it can make great impact. From time to time, personal statements like where you're eating lunch, or you got a great deal on a sweater (me!!) give us an inside look into the everyday-ness of people's lives, but how are we using the opportunity we have to update our status to be difference-makers in the lives of others? Luke 10:8 says, "
When you enter a town and are received, eat what they set before you." Now, lest you think this post is going to turn into a post about food, look at what the Scripture is really saying. Get to know your community. Put your finger on the pulse of who they are. DO life with them! Tap into the culture where you live. Statements like these can oftentimes overwhelm me because I feel a sense of "I have to get to know EVERY. SINGLE. PERSON. INTIMATELY???!!!!" No! Be engaging. Show people you care from how you treat your waiter, your cashier at the grocery store, to loving on your child's teacher, be interested in meeting people's needs. Speak to people when you pass them by, rather than trying to write them messages, or posting on their wall, and really believe that you are forming some sort of relationship with them. I've had people walk right on by when they see me in public and not say a word, only to come home and find posts and messages from them in an attempt to converse. Look people in the eye. People don't walk right on by and not speak when we are looking people in the eye. Our eye contact often says to someone, I'm saying hello and acknowledging you without even saying a word. We once served in a church where people grew up with one another, yet they barely spoke to each other, much less had any physical contact of hugging or patting each other on the back. We began to break the wall and actually hug on them, and before you knew it, they were speaking and actually stopping in the hallways to share life together. It really doesn't take much.
Now, I have NOT arrived at all in bridging the gap of social media and real everyday life. I despise talking on the phone, and texting, I believe was created for ME alone! We're not gonna be great at all things regarding relationships, but we can sure be great at some things. Not doing anything will not make a difference at all. Tap into the world around you. Coming back from Venezuela years and years ago, this issue still causes me a whole lotta confusion. America seems to live in a busy, get it done fast mentality, leaving very little time to look people in the eye, pat them on the back and actually say, "You matter to me." 2011 should be a year of new beginnings for us. We need goals everyday. Start today making people matter. For the ones God has allowed me to get close to in my life, I'm a waaaaaaaay better person now than I was when I started off!

Tuesday, January 4, 2011


About two months ago, I took an amazing group of ladies through "So Long Insecurity" by Beth Moore. We used the online discussion questions found on her blog to guide us through the chapters of the book. One particular day, our discussion turned to labeling people - depersonalizing them by giving them a title, rather than a real person identity. It was....ummmm....TOE-STOMPING to say the least. I was mortified (that's the strongest word I can think of right now) over how I depersonalize people over petty things, like how they dress, how they hold their posture, whether they come to church (or don't), education (or lack thereof). I know of another word that turns into depersonalizing another...JUDGMENT. As I studied to teach this particular day, my oldest daughter was telling me how kids at school had been coming up to her - kids she did not even know - and laughed at her and called her a "goody, goody" because she is a Pastor's Kid. Most of the kids I could forgive because they are not in relationship with Christ. I don't expect those walking in darkness to live like they are walking in the LIGHT, but it's the Christ-followers that I admittedly had problem forgiving. I caught myself depersonalizing the children that depersonalized MY child! It was becoming a vicious cycle, really! The Mama bear in me wanted to yank them by the scalp and give 'em a piece of my mind for labeling my child before knowing her! Then, that still, quiet voice pops in and I'm mortified! Mortified that I am depersonalizing people everyday without taking time to get to know really know what they are going through. I wish I could say that I've become a success at seeing everyone for who they are, but I'm not there yet. I still react in my flesh. I still rush through life so fast that I don't take time to really listen.
Admittedly, I've experienced the receiving end of labels often in ministry. I, too, as a pastor's kid received labels..."You should know the right're the preacher's kid." "You shouldn't let anyone see you do're the preacher's kid." As an adult, I've more than received them. "You shouldn't say what you really think. You're a Pastor's wife." "I can't believe that you listen to Bon Jovi...You're a Pastor's wife." (True statement!) While this bothers me to have my life singled out as though I'm superwoman, a non-human, I'm more disgusted when I see/hear the same things coming out of my life/mouth. So, the statement we've often made so
cliché really ought to hold some truth...we've gotta begin to "see people as Jesus sees them." Rather one is in ministry publicly or not, we ALL...and let me say that again...we ALL have a ministry! We all put our church clothes on everyday and influence someone's life. While it's easier to point a finger at a pastor or a pastor's wife and say, "You shouldn't" this or that, pluck the log out of your own eye and see that the same things we say "you should not" to are true of each of our lives. Someone is always watching, always critiquing. Start seeing people how Jesus sees them. After all, "We’re the clay and you’re our potter: All of us are what you made us.Isaiah 64:8 MSG.
None of us have arrived! I remove labels off of cans to send in with my daughters to school for rewards for their class. It's time I, and the rest of us, begin to remove them off the faces and lives of real, life people. It's time to reap the rewards of knowing a person for whom God created them to really be!

Wednesday, November 17, 2010

My New Year's Resolution...Early!

I'm not a big resolution maker. Half the time, I don't keep them, but sometimes you just need a recharge, and I definitely need one with blogging again. I love writing more than just about anything, but I have simply (yet chaotically) allowed life to take over. Time to take back what I enjoy doing...writing about my family, my life in ministry, sharing recipes and photos of our life.
So, there's no time like the present...

As I look back over the last few years of our life, I've heard myself say, "My heart is so full" so many times. I'm beyond grateful for how God has allowed us to be used and see lives impacted. We have such a great platform in serving LifeSong Church, but it is learning to live and love like Him everyday that excites me the most. It's where life, even in the mundane, not so busy days, is full because His love has become more real to me each day. Life has been full for us, but the moments we have experienced have been as though time has stood still and given us a view of great appreciation.

In a nutshell, life with the Hickman's is full of a whole lot of school, where the girls are doing so well. Mommy has time to herself, even, as the youngest little Hickman is off to preschool. There's a lot of running around, working and playing going on!
We are excited to see our church, LifeSong, experience a great deal of growth over the last year. We have just broken ground for a new building that we pray will continue to be used to greatly impact our community.
We look forward to catching up with you over the holidays, whether it be face to face, virtually or by phone call. Look for us to catch up with you here at our blog, or on Twitter (@AmyCHickman and JeffWHickman)or Facebook.