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When my 10-year-old daughter wrote “berry picking” on a tiny piece of green scrapbook paper with white cameras all over it three months ago, I knew it had a good chance of being one of my favorite Summer Bucket List activities.

After all, we’ve been berry picking before. It’s not new to our repertoire of things to do. Once a summer, typically in August, we travel to a quaint little orchard to pick raspberries. It’s awesome every time. I knew this outing would be no different.

The kids kept asking WHEN we were going berry picking.

I kept saving it for the last possible moment, the last days of summer. I kept it for the last week of summer. In fact, it was our last Summer Bucket List activity for 2015.

When we arrived, we headed straight to the main building to pick up plastic containers and a wooden basket for gathering and carrying our raspberries. Then we made our way back to the raspberry fields.

There were two fields as far as I could see. In one, two or three retired ladies were chatting and picking raspberries peacefully. I saw no reason to interrupt their Thursday morning adventure, and to be honest, I wanted this to be an intimate experience, so I directed my kids to the other raspberry field where we’d be alone.

There was nothing exciting or grand or particularly noteworthy about our berry picking adventure. But it was peaceful, relaxing, and delightfully wholesome as usual. I wondered why we don’t do this more often.





The kids picked and picked and picked.

I breathed.

Walked slowly.

Picked and ate a few berries as I meandered.

I took photographs slowly, with purpose and intention, as if my life, my worth, my identity didn’t hinge on my ability to capture this one, beautiful moment in time.

I breathed some more.

Exhaled all the good and bad of the whole summer long.

And thought of the grace I so desperately need to embrace.




By the time we made it through the raspberry field, all three kids’ containers were filled. Well, except the baby’s. She’d hopped in the wagon half-way through and popped those berries in her mouth, one by one.

We slowly made our way back to the car, then back to the main building where we paid for our three containers of raspberries and added two homemade sugar apple doughnuts and a bottle of water to share for good measure.

I found us a nice table for four in the back corner of the orchard’s restaurant. It was lovely. Simple. Quaint. The wholesome I long for.

We broke our two doughnuts in half so we each had a piece. Three of us shared the water. The fourth wanted a Mello Yellow or Diet Coke instead. I calmly told him no. We were keeping it simple. We were staying under budget. If he didn’t want to share water, he’d have to wait to get something until we were home again. I didn’t berate myself for being a “bad mom” for saying no. I didn’t get all worked up. No was the answer and neither of us made it into a big deal.

We sat.

We oohed and aahed over the goodness of the doughnuts.

And yes, I got a little sentimental with the piano music playing and us being in the corner of that little orchard restaurant on this second-to-last day of our first summer home together full-time, just the four of us. Tears began welling in my eyes. I tried to hide it from the kids. But after a while, they noticed.

“Mom, are you crying?”

“Did you have a good time today?”

“Are you sad this is our last day of summer together?”

“Yes,” I answered.

“The piano music doesn’t help,” noted my 10 year old.

So true.

They know me, those kids.

They know I can get stressed and overstimulated, but they also know I can be a sentimental mess over things like this.

We finished our doughnuts, then I brushed the sugar off their shirts.

They fed the goats and sheep. Jumped across hay bales. Popped their heads through a few orchard signs freshly painted for fall apple and pumpkin picking crowds. And just like that, our last Summer Bucket List adventure was over.

Berry Picking.

Cost: $16.65

Mom Lesson: It’s all good moms. Summer’s been good and bad and everything in between. You’ve got this.

Kid Lesson: Kids thrive in the wholesome simplicity of summer.



This post is part of a summer-long series titled Summer Bucket List. This is my first summer home full-time with our three children. My hope for this series is that it will challenge me to adventure out of my mothering comfort zone, will provide opportunities to live and write simply, practically, beautifully and meaningfully, and will stimulate some some fun ideas for your summer as well! To check out the entire series, click here and you’ll be directed to the introductory post where all the posts are listed and linked for easy reading. Enjoy, friends! And have a blessed summer.


As the daughter of two public school teachers and now a grown mom of three, September is just as much a new year for me as New Year’s Eve and New Year’s Day.

September 1st marks the dawn of a new school year, a new year, another fresh start on life.

Tonight, the truth came crashing down on me as I stood in the hot shower pondering all that’s been, all that is, all that will be. Often, inspiration for my writing comes in the shower. Blog posts swirl with detail. But tonight, my words weren’t coming to mind nearly as much as the bare-bones truth of the Bible. Passages washed over me with detail. One by one, they pieced together to tell a story, my story, maybe yours, too? A story of truth and peace. A story of living in the hard things of life, pressing on with purpose, trusting that in the end, our lives piece together into PERFECT sense.

That’s when I knew…for such a time as this, I must proclaim TRUTH over my life.

In this season of trusting, believing, risking, going and doing new things, I must proclaim truth and stick to that truth as my guide, my source of life. I must not waver. I must not look left and right. I must believe that truth exists. I must believe there is a WAY. That I’m not just fumbling around the universe haphazardly, but that I’m on this path for a purpose, for a particular reason in this particular season of history.

So tonight, this September 1st, I’m feeling a need to proclaim publicly, this truth over my life. These are the scriptures that came washing over me in the shower, all together, one after another. Perhaps they’re from our Heavenly Father for all of us. Perhaps you’ll see your story in these pieced-together verses as well. Perhaps these verses weren’t just for me, but you, too.

I very rarely “Bible thump” you over the head with verses on this blog. I strongly prefer showing you how faith plays out in my daily life in subtle ways, as feels natural. So bear with me. I’m diverting from my usual ways to proclaim this compilation of Bible verses as truth in my life because if I’m completely honest with myself and y’all, I’ve felt a spiritual attack these past years and months. I’m OVER it. So DONE. Today, I’m proclaiming TRUTH. Replacing those lies and attacks with TRUTH.

So be the truth.

Long live the TRUTH.

If you’d like to join me in claiming these truths, I would love to have you, friends. Call me crazy. Call me kooky. Call me “she’s lost her mind once and for all!” Call me whatever you wish. I need some truth tonight, this September 1st. And the only truth that’s flowing in this brain of mine are these promises, right here, for you and me.

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“As a prisoner for the Lord, then, I urge you to live a life worthy of the calling you have received.”  Ephesians 4:1 

Whoever finds their life will lose it, and whoever loses their life for my sake will find it.”  Matthew 10:39

“Do not be anxious about anything, but in every situation, by prayer and petition, with thanksgiving, present your requests to God.”  Philippians 4:6

For our struggle is not against flesh and blood, but against the rulers, against the authorities, against the powers of this dark world and against the spiritual forces of evil in the heavenly realms.”  Ephesians 6:12

Finally, brothers and sisters, whatever is true, whatever is noble, whatever is right, whatever is pure, whatever is lovely, whatever is admirable—if anything is excellent or praiseworthy—think about such things.”  Philippians 4:8

“Trust in the Lord with all your heart and lean not on your own understanding.”  Proverbs 3:5

“Whatever you do, work at it with all your heart, as working for the Lord, not for human masters.”  Colossians 3:23

“Therefore, since we are surrounded by such a great cloud of witnesses, let us throw off everything that hinders and the sin that so easily entangles. And let us run with perseverance the race marked out for us…”  Hebrews 12:1

These words aren’t for everyone. But they are for someone. Whoever has ears to hear? Hear it.


  1. Gretchen Wendt O'Donnell says:

    Great verses, Amy- good stuff! I love that you obeyed the nudge to post them.

  2. Sharon Bare Korns says:

    Thank you Amy! Proclaiming truth & letting it wash over us & believing it at our core is what refreshes us, especially in battle, weary days!

  3. David Ellis says:

    Amy – once again you’re incredibly honest and skillful writing has struck a nerve in me. I am definitely one that not only needed these same Truths today as I woke up, but also needed the authenticity with which you shared them. Thank you once again.

  4. Kristin Neff says:

    Your mom always said Amy you reminded her of me. Perhaps we are a bit of soul sisters. You couldn’t of spoke to my journey or heart more as you did in this blog today! Thank you for sharing!

  5. Tom Baunsgard says:

    oh yes, more than a few of these scriptures spoke to me! Thanks for posting them Amy!

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