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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 (#FiveMinuteFriday #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 WONDER.

Ready. Set. GO!

I wonder, yes I wonder. What am I to learn from these thoughts, these things that I see?

I wonder, yes I wonder. How to respond to this abundance of dancers in front of me? Wild and free, beautiful, graceful, spinning open wide for the world to see. Sit or stand, or dance more too? What is it Lord, you want me to do?

I wonder, yes I wonder. What to do with the soul that got lost in my fumbling early morning fingers, a video, an email. How is it, I am to respond? Which way is up? Which way is down? Which is your way? Or any at all?

I wonder, yes I wonder. This question that’s been asked. What does it mean? What is the answer? What do you want? Where will you lead? How will I know?

I wonder, yes I wonder. What is this quiet? And what is this noise? What am I to do with all of that, Lord?

I wonder, yes I wonder. Why so much? Why so little? Why such disparity? What is the message from you to me?

I wonder, yes I wonder. What is next? What should I do? What would you have me do? How would you have me?

Are you directing these thoughts, these ponderings to something specific, Lord? These jumbled up thoughts and random little visions, moments all together, faint glimmers of perfect sense. And I wonder. Is it possible these thoughts and these visions are from you? Is it possible that the linear, aligned, organized, planned visions I believe necessary for proper functioning are nothing but a figment of my worldly belief system? Unattainable fiction? Your ways, your paths, your fragments, your still small voice calling out, all seemingly random, but so clear in a new light?

Oh I wonder, yes I wonder.


…”Be still, and know that I am God…” Psalm 46:10


Today I am pleased to introduce you to Heidi, warm and welcoming, a bright light at just the right time.

As I walked through the exhibit hall that second afternoon of the American Speech-Language-Hearing Association (ASHA) convention, I was admittedly uninspired. Maybe my intense continuing education schedule paired with the Georgia inspired box lunch of fried chicken wrap, three bean salad, and blueberry cobbler was the culprit?

Then, I looked up.

A light blue sky with a little bee in my line of sight. And a smiling woman with an orange dress. And a crowd.

Little Bee Speech, the sign said. Apps not a part of my current therapeutic repertoire, I had not even taken a second glance at the other app exhibits. But this? This one was different.

Drawn to the blue skies and the cute little bee and the blonde with the orange dress, I couldn’t help but walk right over. I knew this was something I’d love!

I exclaimed to the woman with the orange dress that I really identified with the exhibit and wanted to hear all about their product. After a warm welcome and introduction to the company, she showed me the app titled Articulation Station Pro. Simple. Adorable. User friendly. Kid friendly. Fun. Real photographs. Adaptable. She took a picture and showed us how the app will soon have an option to add custom photographs and target words.

I was sold! For a while, I’ve had my mind set on purchasing an app to replace my articulation cards. This was the one!

A swarm of others gathered around, so I thanked the woman in orange and moved out of the way to make room for another demonstration.

Just to the right, a man behind the booth. I grabbed a bunch of brochures and verified procedures for purchasing. I asked the man if I could take a couple of the cute ladybug pins from a bowl on the table for my kids, explaining they would expect a souvenir when I arrived back home. Responding with his contagious smile, he so kindly asked how many kids I had and what age, and added his kids like them too. I couldn’t help but envision me and my husband chatting the night away with these people at dinner.

Before turning the corner, I grabbed every business card I could. A husband and wife team! Heidi Hanks, M.S., CCC-SLP, speech-language pathologist, creator of the Articulation Station Pro, and blogger at Mommy Speech Therapy. Chris Hanks, her husband and Little Bee Speech User Experience Designer. And this woman in orange, I do not know, but she was simply lovely.

Around the corner was Heidi, busy speaking with customers. When it was my turn, I approached, explained who I was, shared that I find their exhibit to be a light in this place, and asked if I could feature her on my blog. Heidi warmly thanked me and agreed, clearly full of gratitude. I planned to take a picture of Heidi, or Heidi with her husband and the woman with the orange dress, but instead, she invited me to be in the picture and found someone to take it. Point, click, we had our shot. A moment in the light had been expressed and captured.

As the convention came to a close, I thought of my encounter with Heidi, her husband, and the woman in the orange dress, and I was overflowing with gratitude. Before I knew it, three days’ worth of moments in the light started rushing in…

Maya Angelou, her voice, her prose, the way words flow right out of her. Inspiration as a great, she had to let us know we are a rainbow in someone’s cloud.

A woman presenting a poster reminded me of Rachel from Glee. The sparkle in her eye, her energy, her exuberance, her depth, her striving to be who she was created to be. The words on her poster came to life as she explained. An expressed mutual understanding of material, that mysterious chemistry of friendship you feel when you just know someone could become a great friend under different circumstances. Later, recognition of one another at a restaurant, smiles and a wave in passing.

Ami Klin, Ph.D., renowned researcher in autism, Director of Marcus Autism Center, his work narrowed to a mere two hour session. Writing furiously, grasping each word, documenting for later review, nearly in tears twice at the stunning findings of his research and the very real possibility of a medical device for screening infants for autism someday. Hope for families, hope for children. Phenomenal was the word.

Overby, Flipsen, Rvachew and another. I found myself in this group of five in close at a poster session, “three here” Overby exclaimed outloud “are experts,” as she realized the group in front of her. (I, the least of these, and NOT one of the experts!) A semi-circle of thought around this research on childhood apraxia of speech. I happened upon it, and once I knew the circle I was in, soaked up the opportunity to listen, participate without reservation. Dignity and honor was expressed through eye contact and ears open to my clinical observations within the framework of the research.

David Ingram, well known and regarded child speech and language professor presents his research in progress. Practical, interesting. Clearly a down to earth, genuine, and gentle man, I approached with a comment after the seminar. I had barely begun, and he quietly flipped my name badge over in an effort to discover who I was. A kind gesture of genuine acknowledgement from a man who didn’t have to care at that moment.

First American to orbit earth, Senator John Glenn lovingly introduced his wife Annie. Arm in arm, a wink, a tease, true honor in 69 years of marriage. A reminder that despite all of mans’ greatest achievements, what matters most is love.

And congresswoman Gabrielle (Gabby) Giffords, recipient of ASHA’s prestigious Annie Glenn Award, hand waving in front of her, restricted motion but unbridled emotion, exuding gratitude to an audience of therapists in ovation. A precious, indescribable moment experienced uniquely by those present. A brief heart-felt speech that we all supposed required weeks of practice, and her husband Mark Kelly held her from behind to ensure she didn’t fall as she leaned over the edge of the stage to greet and thank her therapists in the front row. A woman choosing hope. gratitude.

All lights. All rainbows in the clouds.

Heidi, Chris, and that woman with the orange dress – A warm and welcoming place.

The others – Authenticity. Connection. Hope. Dignity. Acknowledgement. Love. Gratitude.

All these things we welcome.

All these things we give.

Our greatness lies not in our personal or professional accomplishments and achievements. Rather, our greatness lies in our ability to lay down our lives in service to others in honor of our mighty God. Grateful we are able to give. Grateful for all we have been given.

Do to others as you would have them do to you. Luke 6:31


Today, I wonder a little deeper. Who am I?

Months ago when I was about to launch the blog, a wiser man asked if I was an author. I thought the question was a little odd and answered quickly with no, explaining I’ve simply felt called to write for years and am finally taking the next step by starting the blog. His question stuck with me, and there have been days I’ve felt compelled to contact this man and ask what he meant. If he meant am I an author, published and all? Of course not, definitely not. Not even close. If he meant in my heart of hearts, am I an author? Do I draft sentences and paragraphs in my head all day long, am I an author? My dream, maybe my call to be an author? To move hearts with my writing? Then yes, I suppose the answer could be yes. Maybe my answer should have been yes. Am I an author because I put my thoughts to the screen? Am I am author because I daydream of being a published one some day?

Last night, my daughter was in tears even before I went to give her a good-bye hug. Today, the day I was to leave for the American Speech-Language-Hearing Association convention. I don’t leave often, and she’s an emotional girl, so she just couldn’t get over the fact I was leaving for 3 1/2 days. We hugged and hugged, and I reminded her I would only be gone a few days and there would be lots of people here to love her and have fun with while I was gone. But the tears still came. Daddy calmed her down and talked her to sleep after my final hug in bed, tears still streaming when I left the room. This morning, she peered in the room in the wee hours while I was still getting ready. Tears streamed again. More hugs. And later, more tears and more hugs. This tearing of my heart. The author in me writing the moments on my heart, in my mind. The mom in me feeling guilty for leaving a crying little one so sad. The business owner and speech-language pathologist in me rationalizing why I had to go. Yes, mom I certainly am. And today, I have extra confirmation I am a loved mom, that is deeply missed by at least one little daughter.

This morning in the airport, a young man sat down in the little work cubicle across from me. He struck up conversation about his life, how he helps his dad with the catering business, how he had a hard summer and they are taking a vacation to get away from it all. Dad showed up and first thing he said to me was “Are you a writer?” This struck me as odd. Why in the world would this man think I was a writer? Sitting with my laptop wasn’t anything unique in this sea of work stations with tabletops and outlets designed for electronic productivity. Finding his question still out of place, and for a moment wondering how to answer (Um, am I a writer? Yes or no? I have a blog, but I’m not a professional writer or author? So, I guess no?), I said no, I’m a speech-language pathologist. We engaged in some conversation about my practice and specialities I have been trying to focus on the past couple of years – apraxia and down syndrome. He commented I was calm, quite possibly one of the last words I’d use to describe myself! Maybe it was just that he and his son made me feel calm? He showed me pictures of their mobile catering unit; I was humbled knowing this stranger shared with me something so dear to his heart.

Later near my destination, far from the rest of the speech-language pathologists, at Jimmy John’s a few blocks from my hotel for the night, a woman looked up and smiled at me from several booths down. My first reaction…why are you smiling at me? Is there something I did to engage you that I forgot about? Do I know you somehow? Her name was Bertha, beautiful, vibrant, lovely with smooth dark skin. She approached, asking me if I was here for the convention. I asked why she was so far off the beaten path. She had hotel troubles and just found a new one while she was sitting here. She’s been coming to the convention every year since 1965, this might be her last year at the convention. She couldn’t be more friendly and welcoming, and I love this woman up until we depart ways. And I wonder again…who am I? To a complete stranger, my presence was positive enough from four booths down that she smiled and felt confident she could approach. I appreciate that, especially finding out later in conversation she was a seasoned woman of much grace.

And later yet at the hotel, a call from a mom. She’s looking for speech-language therapy for her two-year-old son and she’s heard I’m one of the “gurus” in apraxia in the area, and I’m floored. Yes, this. This I have been dreaming for my practice. That one day, I’ll be able to specialized solely on childhood apraxia of speech and down syndrome, the things I love most of all. Although I don’t consider myself a “guru” of ANY sort, this is certainly confirmation I’m on the right path to attaining those dreams of specialization. Insurance will prohibit us from working together, but it was wonderful conversation and I have no doubts it would have been a joy and honor to serve this mom and her son.

So who am I? Well, for now my “professional” roles are three. Mom, blogger (author? writer?), and speech-language pathologist. For now, I marry all three. That special mom role, of course, I will never surrender. I play that role on the days I’m working and on the days I’m not. But what about the other two? For now, I leave them placed in God’s hands. He has the path planned, the path cleared in advance of my arrival, the path prepared just for me. He created me, you, uniquely, specially, to do something He called only me to do. The not knowing, the being unsure is hard some days, but I will wait.

So tonight, I’ll read all the blog posts and tweets from the Compassion International Compassion Bloggers trip to Peru, and I’ll feel without a doubt my heart is there, I dream of that someday. And tomorrow, when I walk into that convention center full of speech-language pathologists, I’ll realize as I do every year that I fit just right into this profession. And Saturday night, I’ll be welcomed with love by my husband and my three little children, and I will feel with all confidence that this is perfect home too.

For I know the plans I have for you,” declares the LORD, “plans to prosper you and not to harm you, plans to give you hope and a future. Jeremiah 29:11


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 (#FiveMinuteFriday #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 QUIET.

Ready. Set. GO!

In the quiet.

In the quiet, I rock you and hold you and love you to pieces.

In the quiet, I calm you and carry you and drift you to sleep.

In the quiet, I take all that is yours and give all that you need.

In the quiet, I love you to the end.

In the quiet, I cradle you.

In the quiet, I say stop.

In the quiet, I’m sorry.

In the quiet, I’m so glad you’re here.

In the quiet, I say start over, it’s ok.

In the quiet, I thank you.

In the quiet, I want you to be the friend that knows it all.

In the quiet, I’m sorry I’m not that friend.

In the quiet, I want the drama to end.

In the quiet, I want to be released.

In the quiet, I want freedom to be.

In the quiet, I want frosted cookies and homemade soup in candlelight.

In the quiet, I want shelter, refuge.

In the quiet, I want meaning, depth.

In the quiet, I want more with less.

In the quiet, I want stuff removed.

In the quiet, I want more Him, less them.

In the quiet, I make a difference.

In the quiet, I am free.

In the quiet, I am me.

In the quiet, I will be.


…”Be still, and know that I am God…” Psalm 46:10


Today, insights on living from two anonymous elderly women. The first, a woman I met months ago at Target. The second, a woman I met four days ago at Cub Foods. I wondered and ruminated over the first encounter for months, but it only made sense in the context of the second. Some learnings take months, even years to unfold. Had not my heart and eyes been open, this story, this lesson, would not be.

It was spring. I entered Target, baby heavy in the infant carrier wrapped around my elbow. It was no usual day. Yes, the week had been hard. There were things happening I didn’t understand. Things that made me cry, things that made me want to hide in a bubble, things that weren’t working. I had come to Target with a heavy heart, misunderstood, humbled, quieted. I wanted things right with the world again.

I walked to the string of carts just inside the door, like any other day. I noticed an elderly woman getting a cart in front of me, cane transferred from hand to cart. Baby and carrier in my left hand, I pulled at a cart to loosen it from the string of others. Got it. Started moving it forward and slightly to the right, but realized the front wheel of my cart had hit this elderly lady’s foot.

Shocked my sense of body space had failed, “I’m so sorry ma’am, I didn’t see your foot there,” I said.

“Didn’t you see ME there?” said this elderly woman in a tone shaming to my ears.

“I’m really so sorry, ma’am. I didn’t mean to do it, I didn’t realize I was so close to you.” I pleaded, on the verge of tears.

“You don’t have to be so cross with me,” she said. “You look so cross.”

Knowing in my heart I had been misunderstood, I apologized again, trying with all sincerity to make her understand I was NOT cross, but was very sorry for this mishap. To this day, I’m confident she did not understand, did not believe what I had to say. She thought I was cross and that I was a rude young woman in a hurry. As she departed, I wanted so desperately to chase after this woman and explain my heart away until she understood it all. But I didn’t. I just milled and milled, then finally had to talk about it with someone because this had cut to my core.

I spent the last seven months trying to make sense and make good of this incident. Out and about, I took time to really see seniors, acknowledge them, engage them in conversation. Maybe I just needed my eyes opened to the elderly, I told myself.

And then there was Saturday when all the pieces came together.

An elderly lady appeared from behind as I paid. I wasn’t expecting to meet this saint of a woman in the checkout line at Cub Foods. Warm, inviting jewel tones, pink lipstick, silver white hair, an unforgettable smile, and kind eyes that had seen much. She noted the cashier’s light, asking “Are you supposed to be closed? I see you turned your light off since I got in line.” Young man explained he was going on break once we were through. Elderly lady exclaimed “Oh good, you really need a break to take care of yourself. Good for you.”

She turned towards my children who were obediently packing bags of food as I had asked, smiled at them, then at me. I saw her notice and was intrigued by this woman. I felt comfortable to share I was proud because they stayed up really late at a sleepover the night prior and could be behaving much worse considering it was almost bedtime. As she passed with her two or three items, she so sweetly commented to my children, “I would be much worse off if I stayed up that late! You two are doing very well helping your mom. You have a great night.”

Sweet. Kind. Compassionate. Full of grace. A woman that notices, a woman that takes time to look deeper into the hearts of others. Not to mention as beautiful and poised as a woman could ever be. That’s who this elderly woman was and I was honored to have met her even for just a couple minutes.

And this time? This time, I wanted to chase after the woman and tell her how wonderful she was and how she was full of such grace and beauty, and how I admired everything about her in just a couple minutes of experiencing who she was. But I didn’t. I sat with it and thought how stupid it was to have left my camera at home and reveled in how magnificent this encounter had been, how it so strongly contrasted with my experience at Target months ago.

And so it is. We have a choice about how we will be in this world. We can fill others’ carts or empty them. We can choose to be a victim, leaving others feeling unsure, as if they failed or did something wrong. Or we can choose to be a warm, lovely ray of hope in this world, encouraging, noticing and loving others, and always full of grace.

May the elderly woman at Target experience acknowledgment and love from those in her circles, and may the elderly woman at Cub Foods continue to bring joy into others’ lives just as she did for me that day.

As for me, I need to surround myself with people that build me up, care for me, and love me for who I am.  May I not live life as a stressed out victim, but with grace and peace and love and joy, so others may see the light in me.

You are the light of the world. A town built on a hill cannot be hidden. Neither do people light a lamp and put it under a bowl. Instead they put it on its stand, and it gives light to everyone in the house. In the same way, let your light shine before others, that they may see your good deeds and glorify your Father in heaven.  Matthew 5:14-16


  1. Eileen Jacobson Isackson Hagenbrock says:

    Amy, you are definately a young woman who has noticed those older than you. The tender loving moments of care shown to Seth’s grandparents were surely noticed and appreciated. It’s too bad the Target lady didn’t get to know your heart…..

  2. Tom Baunsgard says:

    God’s Grace is enough… Sometimes with us humans though, our grace is lacking, other times overflowing. Simple gestures of Grace can be mistaken by others in this callused world in which we live. It’s wonderful and refreshing when you meet folks like your full of grace lady from Cub foods. Conversely, we hope that we give all the grace we can when in situations like you had with the lady from Target. Thanks for your DITD and sharing the Grace!

    • Amy says:

      You’re right Tom. Our ability to receive and extend grace waxes and wanes. This is certainly something I want and need to keep in mind when encountering each and every person. You never know what they are bringing “to the table” that day you happen to cross paths with them. A good dose of grace is always appropriate.

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