During the month of October I heard the calming Emily Freeman speak at a writer’s conference. She shared how the idea of “building a platform” was intimidating and exhausting and crazy making (I added the last one). If you’ve not heard of a platform, in essence, it is the place from which you stand up and share your ideas and yourself. For some, facebook is their platform, for others, it might be Pinterest, their local MOPS group, a blog, or the kids in their carpool or kitchen. Size doesn’t really matter unless you are asked by potential agents, “So, how big is your platform?”


In Emily’s cal-de-sac  there is a patch of grass where parents gather to chat while their kids play. Tired of standing, Emily and her husband decided to buy a bench and placed it in the grassy area. It was a simple enough decision.

And in that simple decision they created space for people to have a conversation. The bench wasn’t the conversation. The bench wasn’t point. The bench wasn’t very fancy. The bench wasn’t very large.

Bench conversation

The Messy Middle is my way to create space for conversations. I love it when you leave comments (and I know many of you are not commenters and that’s fine!). When you comment on each other’s comments and conversation starts, I am humbled that this little bench has been used to connect and encourage and challenge people. And even if the conversation doesn’t happen here, my desire is for these writings to be a spring board for conversations you have with people in your daily lives. Benches aren’t meant for the masses.

This week, I’d like to have a conversation about our 31 Reminders from Eden. It’s  tempting to race on to the next thing, freaking out that you’ve had enough of Eden and “my” numbers will drop this week. But that is fear and platform speaking.

So, we’re going to have three (potential, who knows where this will go!) conversations.

1.  The photos used. Janet Watcher brought a visual image to the series I simply could not. We’ll talk about the images.

2. The reminders. Which reminders moved you? Challenged you? You disagree with?

3. The theme. How has this series impacted your thinking and your soul?

31reminders from EdenOne of the great joys of this project was having  Janet Watcher and Holly Beals add to the bench. Janet with her photos and Holly by designing the button used. Holly designs amazing art, including cards! If you don’t know, I’m kind of a card addict :). Everyone who comments this week will be added to a drawing  on Saturday for a set of your choice of Holly’s cards. And as a model of their generosity, every comment will be an entry.

I look forward to our conversations :). Amy

Leave A Comment

  1. Mark Allman November 4, 2013 at 7:37 am - Reply

    I want you to know that I find your writing engaging and thought provoking. I also have shared many times things you have wrote on. I’ve sent others links to your blog too. I think you do a great job exploring life and helping others think about it too. I am thankful for the opportunity to read and to comment.

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      Amy November 4, 2013 at 7:10 pm - Reply

      Mark, I want you to know how very much I have been encouraged by you these last two years — well, I’ll be honest that I’m not sure when our paths crossed on the internet (it’s The Messy Middle who’s two). Not to get bogged down in details :). I see you encouraging me and other bloggers as well. It would be groovy if our paths would cross and we could actually meet. Amy

      • Mark Allman November 5, 2013 at 8:26 am - Reply

        You know me and that I do like details… it as October 2012 and I think I followed you over here from Tanya Marlow’s blog or it could have been Jon Acuff’s. I admire you and what you do. I live in Virginia if you ever travel this way.

  2. Kristi November 4, 2013 at 7:57 am - Reply

    Amy, your writing is often a springboard for conversations I have with myself, for the stuff that I write. It challenges the way that I perceive God, myself, and the world. Sometimes it gives me an aerial view, or a worm’s eye view, the profile, or it sneaks up from behind. Your perspectives and the perspective of the people who comment often fuel my pursuit of God or quench my thirsty soul. I will take a little time to think about your conversation starters and get back to you later. :)

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      Amy November 4, 2013 at 7:37 pm - Reply

      “Amy, your writing is often a springboard for conversations I have with myself” — just the other day I was talking out loud with my self as I was walking in public :). and then got a strange look from someone and was reminded I’m not invisible. Heheeh. Glad to be in the boat with YOU!

  3. Mike November 4, 2013 at 8:13 am - Reply

    The reminder of Elation was definitely a reminder that I am so blessed to be paid to do what I absolutely love to do! Today some of my teammates who had observed part of my choir rehearsal a couple weeks ago said that it was like I turned into the Energizer bunny when I conducted, as compared to “an empty shell” of what I’m normally like these days. Another one made the observation that I’m most animated when I’m able to combine my love for the Father with my love for music. And that really rang true to me. I’m not sure what to think about the “empty shell” part, but I know I really do feel most alive when I’m involved in music, particularly when it’s music to worship the One who is most worthy to be worshipped.

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      Amy November 4, 2013 at 8:52 pm - Reply

      Mike, I LOVE your enthusiasm :). Isn’t there just an energy around what we were made to do!!

  4. Sarah Skinner November 4, 2013 at 3:19 pm - Reply

    With Abandon was a great reminder. I have been working toward being open with my thoughts and sharing them with others over the past few years via Facebook and my blog. I am a quiet person, but, I have felt the Holy Spirit leading me to open up and share, letting my light shine with abandon.

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      Amy November 4, 2013 at 8:54 pm - Reply

      LOVE your analogy about light, Sarah. Light can’t help but look for the cracks to shine through (with abandon?). And it sounds like your light is making it’s way through cracks you are widening :)

  5. Heather Meyer November 4, 2013 at 4:41 pm - Reply

    I couldn’t wait for each of your 31 reminders to come into my box. I thought about them, cried over them and allowed them to go deep. It’s been a different season for me and your reminders pointed me to Him, in whom I live and move and have my being. Thank you

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      Amy November 4, 2013 at 8:56 pm - Reply

      May the Lord bless you and keep you, Heather. May he make his face to shine upon you, both now and forever more. Amen.

  6. Martha Lester November 5, 2013 at 12:01 am - Reply

    Hey – I’m still thinking about some of the 31 reminders and I need to reread some of them. For me, Extravagance and Elation are two that have really been meaningful…especially in this new phase of life for me. Sweet spot (Elation) for me has to be teaching young small ESLers or those native English speakers (K-3) who are reading below grade level for whatever reason, another sweet spot is praying with people on-the-spot. I am still mulling over what you said in the Elation reminder “But here is the key difference I see between now and then. Now, we taste and know indifference, the thief who has come to steal elation. Then, we will not be indifferent to people or causes. Nor will be treated with indifference.
    Now we nibble, then we will feast on who it is that God has uniquely made each of us to be!” Powerful words…and I believe this thought of the thief coming to steal is at the root of the opposites of all of your 31 Eden reminders (despair, indifference, hatred, anxiety, etc.) – How wonderful to know that there is Christ who came as a giver, not a thief, a restorer of Eden.

    I also like this “building a bench” (for conversation) theme. Just to let you know…when I shared one of your Eden reminder posts, it became like a conversation bench for a college roommate and me. So pleased!!!

    • Martha Lester November 6, 2013 at 8:20 pm - Reply

      Wanted to say also that the photos are helpful in how they have related to the topics. They make me worship the Creator as I see the variety, hues, color and expressions (like in Abandon). They have inspired me to get my camera out more and capture what I see around me…Very thankful to you and Janet!

  7. Sharon November 5, 2013 at 5:32 am - Reply

    I have not read all of your Eden writings yet. I do not know which ones I read but I do know where they all are. It is hard to believe but I am so occupied with life/work that taking time to read each one was just not possible. I find your blog to be a place of calm in my crazy busy world and I am grateful to have found it. I will be back when I take time to read through all the messages.

    Thanks for sitting on a virtual bench with me. I am so glad we are having these little talks.


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      Amy November 5, 2013 at 9:13 am - Reply

      Sharon, how generous to take time to share a bit of your life with us. And I like the picture of us sitting on a bench, chatting. Peace to you in the midst of this busy season! Amy

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