About alanham73

Stay-home mom, former 4th grade teacher, an almost librarian, former minister's wife.

Moving on UP!

After just over three years, I have decided to put Middle of the Mess to rest. Not because life isn’t still messy. It is. But it was time for an update, I wanted to expand my theme, and I needed some of the advantages a self-hosted site could give me. From now on, please join me at amymlanham.com. I so appreciate all of you who have read my words in recent years. I’m not giving up yet!


Simple Joys



Candace Payne recently rose from relative obscurity to Internet fame by posting a video of herself wearing a Chewbacca mask she bought herself for her birthday at Kohls. It quickly became the most viewed video ever on Facebook, and brought millions of people joy as she expressed her unbridled mirth over her find. At the end of the video she says, “It’s the simple joys.”

That phrase has resonated with me ever since I watched the video.

The week before I left for vacation included a number of discouraging moments for me. The day before we headed out was particularly frustrating and sad. I found out some terrible news, and had a handful of annoying and expensive things get in the way of me getting ready for our trip. One of my tasks included making a stop at Walmart. When I checked out, the cashier asked me how I was doing. I replied that I was having a pretty crummy day.

“Do you like butterscotch?” she replied. I answered in the affirmative, and she reached in her pocket and handed me one.

“A man came through here earlier and gave this to me. I didn’t want to hurt his feelings and tell him I didn’t care for them. Maybe this will help you have a better day!”

“You’re paying it forward!” I exclaimed, as I teared up while checking out my travel pillows.

I walked away, and Candace’s words instantly came to mind. It wasn’t the butterscotch, and it didn’t matter that it didn’t even cost my angel disguised as a Walmart clerk anything. The whole idea was that simple acts can have a domino effect. Spreading joy often doesn’t take much…a hug, a kind word, letting someone cut in line, a compliment, and yes, even a butterscotch.

On one of our recent plane rides, I loved watching my youngest get so excited about the simplest things…a face mask or sleeping, a blanket, ear plugs, plastic purple silverware, and bright red socks just for the flight. His eyes got bigger with each new discovery.

austin mask

socks simple joys

What I loved most about Candace’s video was the light in her eyes, and I was happy to hear later that she is a Christian. If that is the faith you claim, then your joy should be contagious. I feel like I am a work in progress in this area.

I choose a word every year as a theme. This year my word is “fun.” Sometimes I need to take life a little less seriously. Maybe I need a Chewbacca mask, too, but last I heard they are selling out quick!
Search for the wonder. Spread some cheer today. You never know what a difference it might make!



P.S. Candace is selling the above shirts, and 50% of the profits goes to the “All in” Initiative. You can click the picture to take you to the place to order!

I Need Your Help


You will probably hear me say the above title a lot in the coming days. Right now I am trying to choose a subtitle for the book. I am going to show you the table of contents and the back cover copy. Then click on the link at the bottom to tell me what subtitle would most make you want to pick up the book. The title, One Mom Can Change the World, can sound intimidating, when some of us are just trying to get by. Help us make this book seem approachable and doable!

Thanks for your feedback!


Can One Mom Really Change the World?

Part 1       What Are You Wearing?

  1. What Lie Is Written on Your Shirt?
  2. Do You Need a What Not To Wear Nomination?
  3. Have You Looked in the Mirror Lately?

Part 2       What Clothes Need to Be Trashed?

  1. Is Your Shirt Moth Eaten?
  2. Is Your Shirt Stained?
  3. Is Your Closet Too Full?

Part 3       Is It Time for Some Power Shopping?

  1. Does One Size Really Fit All?
  2. Do You Have the Proper Work Attire?
  3. Are You a Trendsetter?
  4. Are You Ready for your “Dynamite” Makeover?

Back Cover:

Are you tired of feeling inadequate as a mom? Do you look at amazing crafts on Pinterest, pictures of blissful families on Instagram, enthusiastic status updates on Facebook from other moms and feel like you’re getting this “thing” called parenting all wrong? Do you desire to discover your unique purpose and make a difference in the world, but you just don’t know where to start? If you answered yes to any of these questions, then this book is for you.

Prepare yourself for a mini spiritual makeover. Claudia (a seasoned nana) and Amy (mom to two lively young boys) will provide you with strategies to help you get rid of the shirts labeled with “Lazy,” “Impatient,” “Less Than,” and “Anxiety-ridden,” and assist you in replacing them with a wardrobe far more powerful.

One Mom Can Change the World will allow you to:

  • Relate to stories of other moms in the trenches just like you.
  • Learn techniques for positive thinking.
  • Identify your strengths as a mom and learn how you fit in the bigger picture.
  • Discover how to clean up your “insides” in order to present a better “outside.”
  • Recognize and avoid dangerous comparison traps.
  • Celebrate your ability to be a world changer through small, deliberate steps.

Go ahead. Dive inside and learn how you can make a difference one thought, one step, one child at a time.

Give your feedback here:



Thanks to Stuart Miles for the graphic. freedigialphotos.net