Wednesday, December 3, 2008

So several people have mentioned the fact that I haven't updated in a while. Here's why: my blog is a place where I can unload. When my heart is full, it's a place for me to be honest, think things through, and tell stories. Recently, each time I think about updating I realize that the events that have stirred my life into a whirlwind would not be wise to put "out there."

For the past month, my life has been one outrageous event after another. Unfortunately, honesty in my writing would be impossible because it would betray confidences, reveal cover-ups, and hurt others.

Until I am once again ready to overflow with stories and ideas worth sharing, my blog will remain silent.

Friday, October 17, 2008


So is there a certain etiquette for the acknowledgment of your recognition for the person driving behind you? The more time I spend in a small town, the more often I look in my rearview mirror and realize that I know the person behind me. It's not like I just recognize them and can act like I don't see them there, it's like, if I saw them face to face I would know them well enough to stand there and talk a few minutes.

But when I'm driving, I don't know what to do. My back windshield is tinted so if I raised my hand to wave, they wouldn't be able to see it. If I tap my brakes to give them a shoutout with the brakelights, I'd probably end up causing an accident. And what kind of fool would lean down and try to get their attention in the side mirrors - on the off chance they are actually looking in your side mirrors?

Oh, and there's no way they don't know who I am - my Yukon proudly displays an "EI" sticker for our favorite vacation spot, a Summerville Wrestling logo, and the all-time coveted SHS Football "S" - and the highlight? My swirly initials across the back, boldly announcing to the world that Amanda Leviner is driving the car in front of you.

So if you have any suggestions, please let me know - I am either left with driving around town like a stuck-up fool, or I may just look into a horse and buggy.

Thursday, October 9, 2008


Holy cow - look at this quote I just found online...

“We cannot blink at the fact that gentle Jesus, meek and mild, was so firm in His opinions and so inflammatory in His language, that He was thrown out of religion, stoned, hunted from place to place, and finally gibbetted as a firebrand and a public danger. We have very efficiently pared the claws of the Lion of Judah into a household pet for pale curates and pious old ladies.”

Monday, October 6, 2008

Oak Trees

Thought about something interesting today. As we are meeting on church structure and all the things that along with that, I have thought about GracePointe as a tree being pruned. Matthew talks about how Jesus will come along with pruning shears when necessary. You know how we all love those times...

But if we are a tree, I would pray that we are an oak tree. Oak trees have the most amazing root systems underground. They branch out and provide an unseen strength that lasts for generations. That's what I want to be involved in planting. And while we're on oak trees...I remembered something I heard when I was younger.

My Mom once told me that a tree's branches will never outgrow it's roots. In other words, the beautiful part we see of a tree can never be larger than it's root system underground. If the branches were larger than the roots, the tree would topple over. Maybe that's where we are at in a lot of ways. But as we begin to lay roots and create a system this tree can grow into, I really am praying that the Lord will find favor in what He sees, and that we will be like a tree firmly planted by streams of water...who bears fruit in its season...whose leaf does not whither.

And whatever is done, it prospers.

Wednesday, September 10, 2008

"Let them see your heart!" admonishes my pastor for the umpteenth time this month. As we sit in the office after another long day of meetings and notes and decisions and ideas, discussing the pros and cons of ministry in the uttermost parts of the earth, um, I mean St. George.

As I turn this reminder over and over in my mind, I find myself empty. What is my heart?

Some say look to what mattered to you as a child to find what lies deepest within. I'm not sure that too much mattered to me then except decorating the forts I would build in the woods and practicing my piano. As a teenager I was passionate about hurting children. I wanted to save them all and become a social worker or a teacher. I would cry over the abused and abandoned in movies books. As a college student I was passionate about learning, asking questions, baiting my professors, and getting the most out of the student loans I was accumulating. As a newly married woman I was passionate about mentoring young girls and discipling them through the teenage years I had just completed. Then for six years I threw myself into managing the Manna House and became passionate about equipping local churches, creating relational bridges in the community, and building the business.

Now, just a year after selling the store, I find myself too busy to ponder the motivation the drives me. Wouldn't a good Christian say that the thought of serving Jesus for another day gets them out of bed in the morning? The truth is, the thought of marking a nice chunk off my to do list gets me out of bed in the morning.

Wow - that's revealing.

The heart of the matter is the heart. We all have high times when we feel deeply about what we do. And there are other times when we don't feel anything. We just do. But when we serve in faithfulness no matter the feelings, there is joy on the other side. This passage is such an encouragement to me regarding hard times and how they grow us:

And now, isn't it wonderful all the ways in which this distress has goaded you closer to God? You're more alive, more concerned, more sensitive, more reverent, more human, more passionate, more responsible. Looked at from any angle, you've come out of this with purity of heart. And that is what I was hoping for in the first place when I wrote the letter. My primary concern was not for the one who did the wrong or even the one wronged, but for you—that you would realize and act upon the deep, deep ties between us before God. That's what happened—and we felt just great.

Here is what it boils down to. It doesn't matter what drove you as a child, adult, or anything in between. What matters is where God has you right here, right now. Where He calls you, He equips, empassions, and empowers. I see myself walking in that truth every day. In the moments when I find myself so inadequate. So overwhelmed. So busy. Tears may remain for a night but rejoicing comes in the morning - it's a promise!

So what is my heart? Who flippin knows? But geez, I hope they see it!

Wednesday, August 27, 2008

House of Pain Mafia

When you were little, didn't you love to have a sleepover at your friend's house and stay up late and play dress up? Did you try on Mom's make up and pearls and put on Dad's shoes and thump around the living room, proudly showing off your newly acquired attire?

Apparently that's something that takes a while to get out of your blood. Maybe it never does.

Something woke me up about 3:00 in the morning last Saturday night and I sat up in bed, listening for a minute. It took me a second to realize it was just the boys, still awake, goofing off with their friend Chase. I went back to sleep.

Sunday morning, as I was yelling at everyone that we were late for church, I noticed my camera sitting out on the counter. I immediately turned it on to see what the kids had been up to in the wee hours of the night. This picture is what I found.

As if this wasn't funny enough by itself, I saw that all the boys were in the picture...meaning not only did they get all dressed up and find toy guns, not only did they go into the sunroom and pose in front of my great-aunt's quilt, but they did all this and stared hard-core at a camera that must have been sitting on Caleb's bunk bed with the timer on. I wonder how long they had to hold those aren't-you-scared-of-me stares on their faces before the flash finally went off!

I swear, I love my life.

Friday, August 22, 2008

Yay for summer 08

So school started yesterday. I read some of my friends' posts as they sent little ones off for their first day and how bittersweet is I don't relate.

As of December our boys will be 16, 19, and 20. I am practically living with four full-grown men! They are in 10th, 11th, and 12th grades and I always look forward to school starting back.

This year, however, I am sooo not ready for summer to be over. It was the greatest summer I've ever had. It was the first summer since I was 13 that I haven't had a job where someone else determined my schedule. Wrestling shorts and old navy tank tops were my attire of choice. Daily. Yes, even to meetings. Hot dogs or Little Caesars graced our dinner table. Yes, almost nightly. And I have had the oil changed in the Yukon four times this summer because of all the miles we put on it since many road trips!

This picture really says it all. We have enjoyed our boys so much this summer. We have enjoyed our dogs, our family times, our vacation, and even sometimes our jobs. Now that I don't own the Manna House anymore, I understand why people always love summers and Saturdays. Since I was 16, summers and Saturdays just meant more customers - now I know what the whole world has been doing while I was behind a cash register! :)