Amy Lanham

finding beauty in the middle of the mess

At Least There’s Gravy

What have you done lately that didn’t quite turn out how you anticipated? Were you able to make the best of it, or did it ruin your day?

Today, I made a turkey tenderloin in my Crock-Pot. When it was time to eat, I peeked in, and sadly it looked way overcooked. That’s always so disheartening, especially when you’ve planned ahead for a meal and enjoyed the pleasant aroma all day.

I groaned to my husband, who tends to be a little more particular about how meat is cooked than I am. “Well, at least there’s gravy for it,” I commented.

Gravy is one of those things that can make just about anything better. Kind of like bacon. Both of these additions can help rectify all kinds of cooking disasters.

I remember our minister telling a story one time about some tragedy that befell his garage door. Honestly, I don’t remember the details of many sermons over the years, but this story stood out to me. He talked about how frustrated he was and his mind just wanted to focus on the woefulness of the problem. “The reality is, you can’t change the situation. Whether I choose to dwell on it, or not, the garage door remains broken. So, I might as well not expend the energy being angry about it.”

How much energy do you waste bemoaning circumstances you can’t change? I admit, this is an area where I struggle. Yet, it’s freeing to walk away from a mishap or failure, shrug and say, “It is what it is,” and leave it at that.

So, my turkey tenderloin may have not been the best ever, but at least there was gravy to make it go down a little easier. I’m grateful for things that can help me find a silver lining.

A pessimist is one who makes difficulties of his opportunities and an optimist is one who makes opportunities of his difficulties.

Renewed Hope

We are officially one year into Jason’s clinical trial for his CLL. Today is my birthday, and the one gift that I wanted more than anything was a test result of white blood cells within normal range. We didn’t quite make it, but we are SO close. A result within normal range is under 11 and his count was at 11.9. Man, we just missed the target goal. But that’s down from 16 last time which is an enormous improvement.

There is a Panera across from the hospital where we ate lunch. We ate outside, and from our vantage point I could see a sea of something sparkly. I insisted we check it out before we walked over for the appointment. Here’s what we found:


If you can’t read the sign, it says that each pinwheel represents a lifesaving organ transplant performed at OSU. While we may not be here for an organ transplant, we are grateful for the hope we have found through lifesaving research that happens here. There wasn’t a cure when Jason was first diagnosed five years ago, and each day we get closer to an answer that will same as eliminate this disease.

I didn’t get to do my happy dance in the doctor’s office today, but as he left the room with a parting, “God bless,” I certainly offered a silent prayer of gratitude for the doctors, nurses, friends, and family who have been a part of this journey.

“It is difficult to say what is impossible, for the dream of yesterday is the hope of today and the reality of tomorrow.” Robert Schuller



Love Is More Than a Language

The other day I took some time to reflect on the five love languages. You may or may not be familiar with the concept. Written by Gary Chapman, The Five Love Languages is a book about our preferences in how we give and receive love. Words of affirmation, quality time, physical touch, acts of service, and gifts are the five ways the author says we can express love.

Now, I freely admit I love this book and I believe it has saved and/or improved many relationships. Not only do I encourage other people to read the book, but I have even taught about it on more than one occasion.

However, I’m wondering if the concept can inadvertently cause us to become a bit selfish.

For example, my primary love language is acts of service (sorry about my husband’s luck). This means feel most¬†loved when my husband does something for me like fixes a faucet, loads the dishwasher, or like in the picture, he washes the siding on the house. Only for me. Because mildew bugs me. And loving me apparently involves hard labor.

Here’s the deal, though. While I do indeed feel quite loved when he performs these kinds of chores, it would be dangerous if this was the only way I felt loved by him. During times with his health he hasn’t felt like doing a whole lot, and it would be wrong for me to expect him to do so, and even worse to feel unloved simply because he isn’t up to doing tasks for me.

There has to be more to love than the love languages. Back to my initial question, I have seen marriages end where (at least from a spectator’s point of view) the individuals seemed great at expressing just the right love language. Clearly, they worked hard to show one another they cared, but somehow it wasn’t enough. This is sobering, concerning, and a bit baffling.

The older I get, the more I realize the importance of selflessness in marriage, and that insight is profoundly convicting. I think I have a long way to go in losing my sense of entitlement. 1 Corinthians 13:5 says that love is not self-seeking. The word “love” in this passage is from the word agape.¬†Agape love involves faithfulness, commitment, and an act of the will. This kind of love isn’t about a feeling. It’s about a choice. That right there is where the five love languages can fail us. Because love isn’t always about a feeling, regardless of whether we are talking about a marriage relationship or any other kind of relationship where love is involved. To rely solely on the aspect as to how we can make someone feel loved, or how we can in turn feel loved will likely end in disaster.

What other factors do you think are involved in a successful relationship?


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