All posts by Becki

Wednesday’s Wisdom from the Word: Crown of thorns

Have you ever pricked your finger on the thorn of a rose?  Perhaps you were admiring the rose’s  beauty, perhaps you were enjoying its fragrance, perhaps someone special gave you roses and you were arranging them in a vase.  For  me, no matter what I am doing when it happens, it usually catches me by surprise, and it always hurts more than I think it should.

So why on this cold winter day am I talking about roses and thorns?  No, my husband didn’t surprise me with any… although it’s something he does fairly often.  The other day as I was doing my bible reading from my chronological plan to read through the bible in a year, (Click here for Bible Reading Plan) I read the part where Adam and Eve ate the apple and God was describing the consequences of the sin.

And to the man he said,  ‘Since you listened to your wife and ate from the tree  whose fruit I commanded you not to eat, the ground is cursed because of you.  All your life you will struggle to scratch a living from it.  It will grow thorns and thistles for you though you will eat of its grains.  By the sweat of your brow will you have food to eat until you return to the ground…”  (Genesis 3:17-19, emphasis mine) 

As I was reading it I was reminded of something I once heard Beth Moore say.  (If you don’t know who she is, she is my all time favorite Bible teacher.  She has such a strong understanding of God’s work and she teaches it from a women’s heart)  In one of her studies and to be honest I’ve done so many that I don’t remember which one it is, she was talking about Jesus’ crucifixion.  I’m sure no matter how familiar you are with the bible, you have some type of picture in your head of the crucifixion.  Jesus being whipped, Jesus being nailed to a cross.  A crown of thorns being placed on Jesus’ head…

Did you catch where I’m going with this yet?  Let me say it again and give you another chance… Jesus being whipped, Jesus being nailed to a cross.  A crown of THORNS being placed on Jesus’ head. 

In the study, Beth Moore pointed out a connection that I had never noticed.  When talking about the crucifixion, she brought us back to Genesis after Adam and Eve ate that apple.  One of the results of sin was having to labor for food because of the newly added thorns and thistles.  The thorns were the result of sin.  When Jesus hung on the cross, he wore a crown of thorns on his head.  He symbolically was wearing sin on his head.  How cool is that? 

This connection is just a little detail of how perfectly the whole “story” fits together.  I love details like that… so minor that most of us miss them.  Yet I’m sure God was very purposeful when he composed it that way.  It really isn’t something that theologically matters much, but I love that it’s there.  Kind of like when you’re at a party that the host went above and beyond with all their little theme decorations and such… it would have been a good party without – but knowing that someone went to all that trouble makes it feel more special.  

So as I was reading yesterday, and I came to that part about the thorns, once again, I was delighted, smiled at the knowledge of God’s completeness and thanked Jesus for dying on that cross for my sin.  Because even though Eve and Adam were the first to sin, I’ve done more than my share!  So thank you, Jesus.


P.S. Have you ever been delighted or surprised by something in God’s word?  I’d love to hear about it.

Training Tuesday: Back on the wagon…

Ok, so it’s January 3rd, the kids are back in school and I know it’s time to get back on the eating right / exercising / blogging wagon that I’ve fallen hard off of!  Problem is yesterday I started reading a really good book, The Hunger Games, and I stayed up late last night and this morning came way too soon.  I babysat this morning and was able to steal a couple chapters in while the kids all played.  I took my youngest to kindergarten with the intention of coming home, typing the blog, doing some quick cleaning and going for a run before I picked him up.  Again, the problem is the book… I dropped him off, came home and heated up some soup that I made last week in my new stock pot and curled up on the couch with the book.  Then I made a cup of coffee and ate 2 of the Christmas cookies that are still lingering while finishing the book.  And now, even while I type this, I’m contemplating ordering the 2nd book for the kindle and ditching the cleaning or run that I’m still hoping to get in before I have to pick son up at school.

Somehow I’m going to will myself to wait to order the book until at least after my meeting tonight.  And then I may need to set some parameters into my reading time… why didn’t I read this last week instead of rereading the Twilight books?

So like I said earlier… I’m hoping to get back on the wagon.  My scale is broken, but my clothes are telling me the sad story as well as my bloated face in the holiday pictures.  Not sure the full extent of damage… not sure that I want to know… I can’t change where I am today, but I’m hoping to change where I’ll be in a few months.  One of my plans is to be intentional about my Bible reading.  I know many of you may not be able to relate, but I find that when I’m rooted in God’s word, I take better care of myself.  So I have 2 reading plans.  The first one is to read through the Bible in Chronological order (read through in order the events happened) in one year.  This is something my small group from church has committed to do together.  (Click here for Bible Reading Plan) The second is a 3 month reading of Ephesians.  (The plan can be found here.)  I got the second idea from Women Living Well’s gentleness challenge for mothers who want to learn to yell less.

So that’s what I’m up to… I now have 45 minutes before I have to leave to get my son… will I put away laundry and clean, run, read the Bible, or read book 2 of Hunger Games… hmmm??????  I know I should do 1 of the first 3, but…


Mothering Monday: Christmas traditions

It has been a busy few weeks here and my computer time has been limited – so my posts have been pretty sporadic.   I chuckled when I read the first sentences of another blog writer’s post,  “One of my fans gently chastised me for not posting anything for over a month. Apparently she and my other fan have discussed the lack of posts and both have been disappointed.”   (Thanks Jennifer Thompson for the reminder to get back to posting!)  Anyway, if you enjoy reading my reflections of imperfection here, I am sorry to be so uncommitted lately – I guess it’s just a classic sign of my imperfection!

Have you been busy?  This is definitely a hectic time of year.  What do you do to make this an enjoyable time focused on “Christmas” and not focused on to do lists and shopping lists?  I thought I’d share some things we do in our home to make Christmas special.

1.  Our Christmas tree skirt.  Setting up the tree is always a little crazy.  As a mom, you have visions of how sweet it should be – christmas music playing in the background, cups of hot cocoa, everyone wearing a nice Christmas sweater, the nostalgic feeling as everyone gathers around and admires the ornaments before placing them on the tree – beautifully spaced of course.  Well that’s not what it looks like in my house.  Yes, there’s Christmas music in the background, but that’s the end of the vision.  With 3 boys, it becomes a competition of who has the most ornaments – which somehow my 5-year-old has more than my 7-year-old so that was a problem.  And of course, they all want their ornaments at the top of the tree, so they are all clumped together.  I try to get pictures – but they are not usually smiling – they are more determined.  But then it’s time for the skirt – and they slow down.

When my oldest was 1, I saw an idea in Parent’s magazine.  To take a plain tree skirt and put handprints on it.  Since my mother in law could sew and has made tree skirts before, I asked her to make me one.  So now we have a tree skirt with 10 years worth of handprints on them.  Each year, we put new ones on.

They love to find their old handprints and compare sizes.  It slows the boys down long enough to reflect on our family and how we have grown.  It really is a special time.  And then the paint comes out and being boys, it splatters all over.  The handprints usually turn out sloppy and messy and really it’s not a “pretty” skirt.  But we love it!

2.  Our Nativity – I love my Nativity set.  I forget who makes it, but my mom bought it for me before we had children.   Usually the boys help me set it out and we can talk about who all the “characters” are.  We don’t put the baby in the manger yet though.  I wrap it up like a present.  And then we set it out Christmas morning with a note to open that present first.  That way on Christmas morning, before everyone starts tearing into their gifts, we remember to take a moment and think on what Christmas is really about.

3.  Advent Tree – this year we are starting a new tradition.  At a friend’s house we made an advent tree.  Her family had one growing up and it was one of her favorite traditions, so she wanted to share it with others.  Basically, she cut out a large felt tree and we glued it on to a piece of fleece (she had pre-sewn the fleece edges and rolled the top so that it could be hung).  She created various shapes for the ornaments and drew them on paper.  She then wrote a number (1-25) on each shape along with a bible verse reference.  We cut the paper shapes out, glued them onto matching felt shapes and decorated them.

Now, each night at dinner, we take out the next ornament, read the Bible verse which goes through the Christmas story and then hang the ornament on the tree with safety pins.  I love that instead of getting a piece of chocolate from an advent calendar, they are hearing the Christmas story.  And again – it’s not necessarily the prettiest decoration we have, but they all helped make it.  I love it!

So, those are some things we do in our home to prepare for Christmas.  Some things to help us slow down, to not get all crazy and to really reflect on what this time of year is about: family, friends and most importantly God.  God, not being a distant, uncaring God.  But God, loving his creation so much, that He came to earth in the lowly form of a baby, to dwell with his creation, to be Emmanuel – God with us.  So, as you go through your to do lists and to buy lists in these remaining 2o days before Christmas, I’m praying that you will find time too, time to slow down with your family and friends and ponder the miracle of Christmas.

♥ Becki


Mothering Monday: Report cards

Friday was report card day for my boys.  They all did fine, and basically it was pretty uneventful.  I’m the mom of elementary school age kids, so really how eventful can it / should it be?  I used to be a teacher, and everything we did was ultimately about the grade – grades were important.  But as a mom, I’m finding I don’t really care so much about the grades.  I want my boys to be respectful, to do the work that is asked of them, but if they don’t get all A’s or O’s or 3’s (above grade level) does it really matter?  (Of course several years from now when I’m hoping they get accepted to the college of their choice, I may be singing a different tune…)

In the past year, I’ve taken a slightly different strategy towards their school work.  One day, I read something on a web site that really stuck out to me.  A friend had recommended a discipline method called “Love and Logic” to me.  So I swagbuck searched it.  (Remember I don’t google, I search through Swagbucks so I can earn Amazon gift cards for searching… click on the box below to find out more.)  Anyway, I searched for “Love and Logic” and went to where I found articles on many different topics.  For whatever reason, at the time, I was drawn to the articles about school, homework, and grades.  Something I read, really stuck out to me and since then, I’ve changed how I approach my boys’ work.  (I’m including the article at the end of my post.)

Now, when my boys show me a graded test or paper,  I no longer first look at what they got wrong.  I look at what they got right.  I point out a problem and say something like, “Oh, good job on that question – how did you know the answer?”  I make a big deal about how much they know.  Oftentimes, I don’t say anything about the wrong answers – I figure the teacher is working with them.   But if there are a lot of wrong answers, after I point out what was right, I might say something like, “It looks like there are several questions that gave you trouble.  Do you understand why they were marked wrong?  Would you like my help on understanding them?”  And if they say they don’t want my help, I say, “OK, just make sure to ask your teacher so you’ll know for next time.”

I’ve decided that academically I want to be their cheerleader on the sidelines doing dances and cheering instead of the coach teaching and training them and yelling at them when they mess up.  And so far, it seems to be working pretty well.  But I’ll humbly admit that I’m saying this while my oldest is only in 5th grade… I realize I may be singing an entirely different tune in a few years!  🙂


Here’s the original article that I read that put my thoughts in motion on this…


By Jim Fay  ©1998 Jim Fay
Permission granted for photocopy reproduction.
Please do not alter or modify contents.
For more information, call the Love and Logic Institute, Inc. at 800-338-4065.

You’re on your way home from work. You’re anxious for some encouraging talk and a little relaxation after a hard day. You need all the support you can get to recharge your batteries and feel strong enough to go back tomorrow and face another working day.

You are greeted with, “Hi, Honey. How was it today? Where are your papers? I want to see how you did all day.” “It was OK,” you reply. “I really don’t want to talk about it. I’m really beat.” “Well, no wonder you don’t want to talk about it. Look at these papers. You can do a lot better than this. Where was your mind today? You sit down right now and we’ll go over these proposals you wrote and get the spelling straightened out. And look at these paragraphs. You’ll never get promoted at this rate. I don’t understand this. You have so much more potential than this.”

How long would it be before you find a more comfortable place to go after work? “Who needs this?” you’ll say.”I can find someone who can show me a little more appreciation for my hard work!”

Many school–age children face this same situation daily. They are greeted after school with, “What did you learn today?” and “Where is your homework? You get on it right now!”

Children are also requested to bring home their papers so that the mistakes can be corrected. Even though this is done with love and caring, it trains them to focus on their weaknesses.

The problem faced by students is that they can’t choose to go somewhere else after school. They can’t avoid facing a replay of their daily failures. They must return home and listen to whatever their parents have to say. It is very difficult for a child to say,”Mother! Do you realize you are training me to keep my school progress a secret from you?” Soon they quit bringing home papers. They make excuses and blame it on their teachers. “She never gives me my papers to bring home.”

The next step is for the parent to go to school demanding that the teacher develop some sort of foolproof reporting method. Teachers are actually faced with writing daily and weekly reports for parents. This never provides a long-term solution because it addresses the wrong problem. It also robs teachers of valuable teaching and preparation time.

The real problem is that the child has learned that it is unsafe to discuss school with his or her parents. Rather than developing a reporting plan, it is much wiser to work on the real problem–helping children and parents learn to talk to each other in safe and supportive ways. This solution works, and it lasts a lifetime.

You can teach your child to discuss school with you. While you are doing this, you can also lay the foundation blocks that will build a true winner out of your youngster.

STEP ONE: Sit down with your children two to three times per week. Have them point out the best things they did on their papers.

STEP TWO: Make sure your child describes to you the reasons for his or her success. As they put these into words, the reasons for the success will be imprinted on their brain, never to be erased. They will start to believe they are in control of their success.

STEP THREE: Work with your children on their mistakes only when they ask for your help. Let the school work on deficiencies. Teachers have training to help with the deficiencies in effective ways.

STEP FOUR: Be patient. This is a real change in operation. It will take the child a period of time to believe that this is not just a new phase his parents are going through. Look for the real benefits to show up in several months or maybe during the next few years, depending upon the child’s past history.

Winners always think about how they are going to succeed. Losers always think about their possible failures.

Mothering Monday: Protecting my children

This past week has been a strange, emotional week for me.  My beloved alma mater and people I respected have made national news for “alleged” horrific acts by a man to innocent children and despite “alleged” knowledge of these acts, other men did not step up to protect these children and others.

In addition to that, last week, my oldest turned 11 – how did that happen so quickly?  At my MOPS group, we had a meeting about “Special Needs” and I shared some of the challenges about being his mom.  Of course in preparation for that, he timely had an “autistic meltdown” the day before.  Funny, I’m trying to remember what it was about and I have no clue… I just remember the emotions that went along with it.  Then again this morning, he had a meltdown at the doctor’s office during his well visit.  He was kicking and screaming that he didn’t want any shots.  I had to sit on top of him while one nurse held his arm and the other administered the shots.  But even before then, I had to physically hold him down on the table (he has gotten so strong) while the doctor had to check his “privates”.  He didn’t want to be touched there, and there I was holding him down so the doctor could touch him in a place that I’ve told him to never let anyone touch.  So ironic…

Also in the local news this week, was an incident on my friends’ street where a car pulled up to a 5-year-old child and tried to lure him into the car.  Thankfully the child ran to his house and told his parents.  But, a couple of months ago, there was a lost dog near us and people were hanging flyers up all over.  My oldest was out front when a car was driving by.  The driver stopped and called my son over.  Through our front window, my husband saw my son taking a paper from the car.  Thankfully it was truly someone looking for their dog… but no matter how many times we’ve quizzed our boys about what they are to do if someone approaches them, there he was going right up to a car.  It’s such a scary world for a mom.

Through all of this, I’ve been trying to make sense of how to protect my children.  Do I let them play outside by themselves?  Do I let them sleep over people’s houses.  Do I let them join organizations where they are in close contact with adults that I think I can trust… but really how do I know?  I want a bubble!  I want to live in a bubble where I can protect them from people and germs and whatever wants to rob them of their youth and innocence.

But I know that’s not reality.  So I’m praying extra hard for my boys right now.

The Lord is my light and my salvation — whom shall I fear.  The Lord is the stronghold of my life — of whom shall I be afraid?  (Psalm 27:1)

The Lord is my strength and my shield: my heart trusts in him, and I am helped.  My heart leaps for joy and I will give thanks to him in song.  (Psalm 28:7)

He tends his flock like a shepherd: he gathers the lambs in his arms and carries them close to his heart; he gently leads those that have young. (Isaiah 40:11)

And those words give me peace and confidence… but not yet answers to my questions… and so I’m still trying to make sense of how to be a mom in this world, how to trust God while not necessarily trusting “man” and for now, all I know how to do is draw close to God and let him gently lead me as he has promised.


Training Tuesday: The family that runs together

We did it!  Instead of loafing around Saturday morning with the kids watching TV and Jeff and I catching up on sleep, we woke to the 7:10 alarm and laced and velcroed up our sneakers.  My almost 11-year-old was surprisingly excited – you would have thought it was Christmas morning.  We hopped in the car ready for our adventure.  We got to the park, registered and put racing bibs on.  And then we stood in the cold and waited.  Perhaps not wearing coats wasn’t the best idea… but we knew we wouldn’t need them soon.

When it was time, we headed to the starting line.  Knowing we weren’t the fastest, but with plans on running more than walking, we went to the middle of the line.  Next thing we knew the mass of people was moving – we didn’t hear any starting gun.  And so we started going too.  My whole family, all 5 of us, were running in a 5k.   I replaced my goal of improving my 5k time with getting everyone across the finish line.  Through it all, I was reminded of some of the most important lessons I’ve learned about exercise and training.

My 5-year-old did not want to do it.  In our awesome parenting, (said dripping with sarcasm) we did not give him a choice.  And soon into the race, he was crying.  I wonder what it must have felt like… a whole mass of people running and you can’t see anything but the butts of those in front of you.  The start of the race was all uphill and those little legs really had to move.  He was holding onto my hand as he ran.  When the crowd thinned out and we could slow down, the tears began.  Uh oh… what did I do?  Was this OK?  Could he do it?  Should we stop?

Not knowing what to do, I asked him if he wanted to quit.  “No,” he said through tears.  So we kept going.  But then he said he was tired so I pointed to a balloon (the course was lined with balloons) and said, “What if I carry you to that balloon?”  He liked that idea.  So I picked him up.  While I was holding him, he saw all the people that were behind us.  It completely surprised him that he was beating that many people.  This got him a little excited and when I put him down, he started running.  Knowing he wouldn’t be able to run too long, we picked a balloon that we would run to and then we’d take a break and walk for a little.  Then when we were ready we’d start running again until we reached another balloon.  Those little legs worked so hard.  But he really got into it.  The “workers” along the way cheered for him, “Awesome job Flyers guy!”  (He was wearing a flyers sweatsuit.)  It was an “out and back” course so he loved when he saw his dad and brothers running on their way back.   Then he was excited to reach the turnaround himself.  He turned down the cups of water that were being held out and laughed at the boy holding and offering a chunk of snow.   We rotated the walking and the running, with 2 more carries about the distance of home plate to first base.  Of course, the highlight was running through the finish line!  It was probably the most physically difficult thing he’s done.  But he did it – in 55 minutes!  And boy was he proud of himself.  He loved seeing his bib tear off on the finisher’s board.  He loved telling people about it.  There was absolutely no part of him that wanted to do it – but now he’s so glad he did and wants to do it again.  That’s always how I feel about any type of exercise – I never want to do it, and may feel like crying during it, but I’m always proud of myself and glad I did it when I’m done!

My 7-year-old didn’t express too much emotion before the race, so I had no idea how he was feeling except that he was freezing.  His lips were actually blue (I’m such an awesome mom, aren’t I?).  So anyway, I think he was thankful when the race started so he could actually get moving!  My husband, Jeff, ran with him and not me so I can’t go into as much detail.  But, it sounds like Bryan ran a pretty solid race.  He controlled their pace.  He stopped to walk a few times.  And apparently he kicked it into a faster gear on the final leg of the race.  A friend of mine who was running said that towards the end she was being passed by a little kid and laughed that it was him.  (He ended up beating her.)

He finished the race in 33 minutes.  He was all smiles when I saw him.  He also was really proud of himself.  At the awards ceremony he was really hoping to hear his name called even though we told him that he wasn’t going to win anything.  The age group he was in was under 18 – so definitely tough competition.  There were a lot of kids running though, and as his mom, I really wish they would have had a 12 and under category because he would have come in 3rd if they did.  But, they didn’t and so he didn’t get an award.  But he’s still proud of himself.  He ran his own race, not worrying about anyone else’s pace.  He ran a steady race and then to push himself he sped up.  His focus was on doing the best he could, it didn’t earn him an award… but that disappointment was short lived.

My almost 11-year-old was the one I was most worried about finishing.  He describes himself as an “indoor kid” and would much rather be playing video games than outside running around.  Back in the summer he decided that he was going to run this, but was not faithful to his training.  I had no idea how we was going to do, but I figured he’d end up walking most of the way.  Well, like I said, he was the most excited.  The race started and he was off.  For the first mile he was beating all of us, but then Jeff and my 7-year-old caught him and then passed him.  Then he spent the rest of the race trying to catch up to them… but couldn’t.  He finished the race with an impressive time of 41 minutes.  Considering his lack of training, I’m amazed.  But he’s angry, embarrassed, humiliated because his little brother beat him.

So instead of being proud of himself and happy that he actually did it, he was mad.  He didn’t want to talk about the race.  He didn’t want his brother to talk about the race.  He’s not in as good of shape as he wants to be, and the fact that his little brother beat him by 8 minutes showed that.  If his brother hadn’t beat him, instead of being upset about the shape he’s in, he would have been proud of himself for doing it.  But since he had someone to compare to, he didn’t measure up.  I’ve done that.  But I’m learning more and more when trying to get into shape, you have to compete against yourself not others.  Thankfully after his anger settled down, I think he understood that because instead of saying, “I’m never doing that again,” he said, “The next time I run a 5k, I’d rather not have my brothers run it too.”  We smiled, breathed a sigh of relief that he wanted to do it again, and agreed.  He plans on training to beat his time.

So when you’re training, remember: 1.  You may not want to run/swim/turbo-kick/cycle (whatever it is you do).  You might actually cry during it.  But you’ll be glad you did it and proud of yourself for it.  2.  Run your own race – find the pace that works for you and then push yourself to go even faster / longer.  3.  Compete against yourself, work on improving your speed, the length of time you can do something, the distance you can go and don’t worry about what others are doing.

Beyond those lessons, I am so thankful for the experience.  The race was in remembrance and to raise money for my friend who passed away this summer – my friend who was a mom of 3 boys.  So the fact that I was able to run with my husband and 3 boys – that we were all healthy enough and strong enough to do it… I am so thankful for that.  Hope you enjoyed a (lengthy – sorry about that) glimpse of my Saturday, and hope that it encourages you in some way.




Mothering Monday: Bubbles, whistles, and snaps…

Blowing bubble gum bubbles, whistling, and snapping.  These are all things that my boys want to be able to do, but I have no idea how to teach them.  I’ve tried breaking them down into steps:  stick the gum behind your teeth, push your tongue through the gum and blow.

But no matter how many times they try, the result is usually a pathetic ball of gum hanging from their lips – no bubble.








In desperation, my 5-year-old will have me blow a bubble and then give him the gum to put in his mouth… then he pretends he blew the bubble.

We haven’t had any better luck with whistling or snapping.  Whistling results in more of a humming sound while snapping produces no sound at all.  My husband and I were talking about it, we don’t remember learning any of these… it just sort of happens and then you know how to do it forever.  Maybe you remember learning, but most likely you don’t.  You probably remember the joy of blowing those bubbles and whistling and snapping your fingers because it seems like at some point we all figured it out.  Although maybe you didn’t, I mean after all my 38-year-old husband still can’t properly shuffle a deck of cards.  (Sorry to throw you under the bus Jeff… you are amazing at so many things that I am in awe of, but shuffling cards… not so much.)

Thinking about this makes me wonder what other things my children will need to learn that I won’t know how to teach.  I’m sure there will be a lot – but the one that scares me is knowing God’s grace.  Why would that scare me?  Grace is God’s unmerited favor.  Grace is God’s forgiveness of our sins.

I believe that in order for us to fully understand who God is and how much He loves us, we need to know the fullness of God’s grace.  I’m always teaching my boys about this.  When they mess up, I often use it as a teaching moment of God’s forgiveness – that we are not good enough for God because we all mess up which is sin.  That our sin has an eternal punishment beyond an earthly time-out.  But Jesus took our punishment when he died on the cross.  That we need to thank Jesus for taking our punishment so that we could be forgiven.  Grace.

I can tell them all about it… and I’m praying that they’ll “know” the fullness of God’s grace without needing to experience it for anything major.  But most likely, they’ll need to really mess up at some point to grasp how deep, how wide, how long is the love of Christ (Ephesians 3:18) that He displays through His grace.  And that’s what scares me… so for now, I’ll just stick to bubbles, whistles, and snaps.


As always, I love to hear your thoughts… so feel free to leave a comment.  Also, if you think your friends would enjoy reading this also, click below to share through either email, Facebook or Twitter.  Thanks!

Thankful Thursday: Purposefully being thankful

The Jack-O’Lanterns were hauled away in the trash truck this morning.  Candy was dropped off at the Dentist office to be delivered to troops.  Costumes were put away.  Halloween is over.  Most of the stores are in full fledge Christmas mode now.  I’m mentally making my to do / buy list.  I’m planning on ordering our Christmas cards this week (well, considering we’re at the end of this week already, maybe I’ll get it done by next weekend…).

But, I want to make sure that I don’t skip over Thanksgiving.  Not that I would ever “skip” the Thanksgiving meal – turkey, stuffing, mashed potatoes – YUM!  That’s my favorite meal of the year.  But I mean the spirit of Thanksgiving.  I want to make sure that I am really focused this month on being thankful… then hopefully the attitude will carry on through the remainder of the holiday season, and then next year, and then the year after.

You see, I’m ashamed to admit that thankfulness doesn’t come naturally to me.  Complaining does.  Back when I was working before I had kids, my department took personality tests to help us understand ourselves and each other better.  I forget the terms they used and the name of the personality I had, but basically it said that I see what’s wrong with everything.  The description stressed that it didn’t mean I was a negative person, but it meant that I looked at a situation and could see what was wrong with it.  Oftentimes I could also see the solution – but not always.  The description said that this personality was a very important one to have on a team because it tended to prevent and fix a lot of issues.  But that it’s not always the most popular personality because people don’t usually want to hear what’s wrong.

When I read that description, I realized it was pretty accurate.  I then became determined to “cultivate” my strengths: analyzing situations and preventing or fixing problems.  But that I needed to “minimize” my weaknesses: tendency to be negative and complain, focusing on what is broken rather than on what is right, pointing out things that really don’t need to be pointed out, not being appreciative or thankful.  And now, 12ish years later, these are still qualities of my personality that I’m very aware of and still pressing on in to be the woman God created me to be.

So as I see what’s “wrong” with everything around me, I’m trying to focus on being thankful for what’s “right” about it.  So here are some of the things I’ve been complaining about lately – and what I’m trying to replace my thoughts with…


Choosing what to make for dinner… Thank you God that we have an abundance of food that I not only can feed my family, but I can choose what to give them.

Various issues at my boys’ school… Thank you God that my sons get to go to such a clean, safe school with intelligent, friendly teachers.  

Cleaning, laundry, cleaning, laundry… Thank you for a home and for clothes to wear.

Political issues… Thank you that I live in a country with so many freedoms.  Thank you that we do not live in fear of bombs and missiles and other combat weapons.

Church issues… Thank you God that I live in a country where I can freely worship you.

People… Thank you God that you forgive me when I mess up.


I don’t complain about you, my “readers” but I am thankful for you.  I’m thankful for your encouragement to me, because like I said before this is more or less a glorified journal, but having readers helps to hold me accountable to focusing on areas in my life that are not perfect… because I have not already achieved perfection, but I press on!


P.S.  I wrote about laundry, complaining and thankfulness before… I think that was a better post than this one – check it out by clicking here.

Also, along the same lines, here is a poem, author unknown, about thankfulness that I love:

Be Thankful For:
The mess to clean after a party because it means I have been surrounded by friends.
The taxes I pay because it means that I’m employed.
The clothes that fit a little too snug because it means I have enough to eat.
My shadow who watches me work because it means I am out in the sunshine.
A lawn that needs mowing, windows that need cleaning and gutters that need fixing because it means I have a home.
All the complaining I hear about our government because it means we have freedom of speech.
The space I find at the far end of the parking lot because it means I am capable of walking.
My huge heating bill because it means I am warm.
The lady behind me in church who sings off key because it means that I can hear.
The piles of laundry and ironing because it means I have clothes to wear.
Weariness and aching muscles at the end of the day because it means I have been productive.
The alarm that goes off in the early morning hours because it means that I’m alive.
Getting too much email bogs me down but at least I know I have friends who are thinking of me.

Wednesday’s Wisdom from the Word: Giving, how much is enough?

Yesterday in the mail, I got an envelope from one of those organizations asking for donations.  I opened it, threw the letter out without reading it, and set aside the nice personalized return address labels and notepad they included as a gift for supporting them.

Now, I’ve never supported them, have no intention of supporting them in the future, but I didn’t want to just throw away those nice gifts!  But, I do have a little guilt about it… The organization is a great one, it’s just that we can’t give money to everyone.  And this is definitely the time of year that everyone asks.

Also yesterday, a couple of friends and I were having a discussion about how we respond when people on the street ask for money.  We talked about not trusting what the money would be used for and therefore not wanting to give it.  As a Christian, both of these situations trip me up.  Jeff and I are giving people, we give to the church and we have some organizations that we give to.  We try to help friends either with money or meals when we can.  But we also say, “No” to more organizations than we give to.  We say, “No” to people on the street.  It makes me wonder what Jesus would want us to do…

42 For I was hungry and you gave me nothing to eat, I was thirsty and you gave me nothing to drink, 43 I was a stranger and you did not invite me in, I needed clothes and you did not clothe me, I was sick and in prison and you did not look after me.’

   44 “They also will answer, ‘Lord, when did we see you hungry or thirsty or a stranger or needing clothes or sick or in prison, and did not help you?’

   45 “He will reply, ‘Truly I tell you, whatever you did not do for one of the least of these, you did not do for me.’ (Matthew 25)

I know that Jesus does not expect me to be everyone’s “problem fixer”.  I know that Jesus does not expect me to be able to feed everyone.  But I then think back to when Jesus fed the crowd in Matthew 15.

 32 Jesus called his disciples to him and said, “I have compassion for these people; they have already been with me three days and have nothing to eat. I do not want to send them away hungry, or they may collapse on the way.”

 33 His disciples answered, “Where could we get enough bread in this remote place to feed such a crowd?”

   34 “How many loaves do you have?” Jesus asked.

   “Seven,” they replied, “and a few small fish.”

 35 He told the crowd to sit down on the ground. 36 Then he took the seven loaves and the fish, and when he had given thanks, he broke them and gave them to the disciples, and they in turn to the people. 37 They all ate and were satisfied. Afterward the disciples picked up seven basketfuls of broken pieces that were left over. 38 The number of those who ate was four thousand men, besides women and children.

Just as I think I don’t have enough money to help everyone I come in contact with, the disciples didn’t think they had enough food for the crowd.  But Jesus took the 7 loaves and fish and fed 4000 men and an uncounted number of women and children.  So, is it possible if I gave something, no matter how small – even $1, to everyone who asks, that God could multiply it in the same way?

I don’t have any answers for you, my friends.  I’m just sharing something that trips me up – because like I said, in my human eyes, I know I can’t help everyone… but I also know that when I read through the gospels, Jesus didn’t turn people away.  So how can I?  I don’t want to hear Jesus say to me, “I was hungry but you did not feed me.”  How do I know that I’m doing “enough”?  Not for salvation – because I know that’s through Jesus’ blood on the cross and not from my works… But enough that when I stand before Jesus, He will say:

For I was hungry and you gave me something to eat, I was thirsty and you gave me something to drink, I was a stranger and you invited me in, 36 I needed clothes and you clothed me, I was sick and you looked after me, I was in prison and you came to visit me.’

   37 “Then the righteous will answer him, ‘Lord, when did we see you hungry and feed you, or thirsty and give you something to drink? 38 When did we see you a stranger and invite you in, or needing clothes and clothe you? 39 When did we see you sick or in prison and go to visit you?’

   40 “The King will reply, ‘Truly I tell you, whatever you did for one of the least of these brothers and sisters of mine, you did for me.’ (Matthew 25)

So that’s what’s twirling around in my brain right now… Like I said, I have no answers, just thoughts.  I’d love to hear yours – let’s make it a discussion!

♥Becki, imperfect giver

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Thursday’s Thoughts on Home: A warm, inviting, peaceful home

An apple scented candle is burning, dinner is cooking in the crockpot, worship music is playing and I have a cup of hot hazelnut coffee.  Life is good, life is peaceful…

Granted, I didn’t make my bed this morning and there is laundry all around waiting to get done.  But there is a load in the dryer and my shower/bath got a scrubbing like it hasn’t in awhile.  So after I just typed that, I thought, “That’s silly, I should make my bed.”  So I quickly made my bed and sorted the laundry sitting here.  It really takes no time at all, why is it that I am sometimes willing to let things go, when it only takes a few minutes to fix it up?

Anyway, I’m sitting here enjoying my coffee and thinking about how a couple of things really makes a huge difference in your home.  You can have the nicest, cleanest home but it feels sterile and cold like a hospital.  On the other hand, you can have a slightly messy home filled with secondhand furnishings but it feels warm and inviting.  (Don’t get me wrong, I know you can have a nice, clean home that is warm and inviting, and I also know that you can have a messy home that feels as though a hazmat group needs to be called in…)  My point is just that perfect doesn’t mean warm and inviting and ultimately peaceful.

So what does?  For me, it is definitely candles.  Candles set a mood, they offer a nice scent, and it seems to say, “Someone made an effort, someone cares.”  And if you remember from a few weeks ago, I was participating in a “Make Your Home a Haven Fall Challenge.”  (Read about it here.)  In that challenge, the author, Courtney suggested that we light candles to set a mood, but also as a reminder to pray for peace in our home.  So I’ve been doing that (although my autistic son gets a little worried about candles and he goes around blowing them out).  So perhaps for him, my peaceful setting is just adding anxiety, maybe I should reevaluate my fondness of candles???

The next week, Courtney suggested adding music to your home.  So I’ve been trying to be more purposeful in having music in the background instead of TV… which I’ve been known to have on in the background all the time.  But the idea is that music can definitely set the mood in your home.  Whether it’s a quiet mood, a fun/lively mood, a reflective mood, or a festive mood… you can create it with music.   For this, I love the cable Music Choice channels, Pandora and Spotify.

Right now, I’m hooked on Spotify.  (Click here to go to Spotify’s site.)  Basically for free, you can listen to any album you like.  Except unless you upgrade, you have to listen to the occasional commercial – but it’s no big deal.  You can create your own playlists… right now I’m listening to our sleep play list, so if all of a sudden there are a bunch of random lettersljkgjalkdfu;gv poufud[awkl’ , it probably means I nodded off while typing. 🙂

Spotify is great, they often have albums the day they’re released.  The problem with Spotify though is you usually need to know what you’re looking for.  If you’re not sure, Pandora is great.  Pandora is an online “radio” in which you design stations based on your music interest.  (Click here to go to Pandora’s site.)  For example if you like Taylor Swift (like me), you can make a Taylor Swift radio station and you’ll hear songs by Taylor in addition to songs that are in a similar genre, like Lady Antebellum or Jason Mraz, so you can get to know other artists as well.  You can also create a worship station.  We have a Chris Tomlin one that I love.

If you haven’t ever listened to worship music in your home, I encourage you to try it.  Why?  Because the lyrics of music get stuck in your head, and as you are going around singing, would you rather be singing something that glorifies God and draws your heart nearer to him or singing curse words about sex or girls kissing other girls???

“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 – I personally translate “think” to “think, talk, and sing”

I’m not saying that I listen to worship music exclusively, I already admitted to having a Taylor Swift station, but it is the majority of what we listen to.  And the added bonus is listening to your 5-year-old singing, “Savior, He can move the mountains, our God is mighty to save…”

Lastly to me a warm and inviting and peaceful home has coffee anytime you want it.  That’s why I love my Keurig one cup coffee brewer.  For you it might not be coffee, it might be tea, hot cocoa, or hot cider… but there is definitely something comforting about holding a hot mug of something in your hands on a fall/winter day.  Especially a rainy day like today.

Well, the laundry beckons and a friend is on her way over, so I’ll stop my babbling for now.  Thanks for reading.  As always, feel free to share with your friends by clicking one of the boxes below.  Also, I know that candles, music and coffee might not be your thing.  What do you do to make your home warm, inviting, and peaceful?  I’d love to hear.