All posts by Becki

Training Tuesday: Not doing what I want to do…

So how are you doing taking care of your body?  I’m doing better than I was a few weeks ago… I’ve gotten back to running.  I’m still not back up to a 5k… but I will be!  My eating… well… I know what to do and what not to do, but knowing and doing seem to be two different things!  I feel like the Apostle Paul, “For I have the desire to do what is good, but I cannot carry it out. For I do not do the good I want to do, but the evil I do not want to do—this I keep on doing” (Romans 7:19, 20)  I’m pretty sure he wasn’t talking about eating… but that seems to be my “evil”.

So I press on.  Confessing yesterday and praying for strength for today.  Tomorrow, I’ll ask for strength again, because I know I’ll need it.  Does it sound odd to you that I am spiritualizing food and eating?  I know some of you are saying, “Just eat the right things.”  “Just don’t eat the bad stuff.” “Just limit your portions.” “Just join weight watchers, or jenny craig, or LA weight loss, or just start atkins” Just, just, just.  I wish it was just that easy…

Honestly I think for me, it’s like telling a heroin addict to just stop using.  I’ve tried it on my own strength for 20 some years and it doesn’t work for more than a few months.  It has to be a spiritual issue / discipline for me.  There’s something in my heart that is holding onto eating and I know I need to surrender it to God.  But, “I have the desire to do what is good, but I cannot carry it out.”

So I press on.  Asking for God to show me what I’m holding onto.  Asking God to help me let go of it.  Asking God to help me not delight in brownies and chocolate and pizza and really any food that happens to be there, but to delight in Him, and my family, and the people around me.  And God says I can do all things through Christ who strengthens me, so I’m asking God for Christ’s strength.  And I do know that I will be victorious.  (I just pray that my victory comes on earth and that I don’t have to wait for my new heavenly body to be victorious!)

Do you struggle with food?  Do you have a different addiction/obsession?  Drugs? Alcohol? Shopping? Exercising in excess? Cutting? Escaping into TV? Cleaning? Gossiping?  Is there something that you don’t want to do, but you keep doing?  Or something that you want to do, but don’t?  I’m praying for you now as I’m praying for myself.  I hope you will join me in pressing on and allowing God to work on our heart and strengthen us to victory over that stronghold in our life.

♥Becki, imperfect eater

P.S.  I’m reading a book called “Thin Within” to help with my eating.  It really is an awesome read if food is a struggle for you.

Mothering Monday: The Tooth Fairy

Recently, while play-wrestling on the couch, my 7-year-old’s tooth went flying out.  Despite searching through the cushions, under the couch, chair and coffee table and around the carpet, the tooth was not to be found.  Afraid that this disqualified him from a Tooth Fairy visit, he started to get upset.  We quickly comforted him, letting him know that he can leave a note under his pillow instead.  So he did.  And all was OK in his world.

This reminded me of the Tooth Fairy ordeal we had a year ago after he lost his first tooth and an article I wrote at that time for my MOPS newsletter…

“Dear Tooth Fairy, The tooth is in the mailbox.  Please don’t come in the house.  Thanks.”  A couple of weeks ago, that was posted on our front door.  My middle child lost his first tooth.  We were excited for him and brushed off his apprehensive comments throughout the day about the tooth fairy.  Then at about 8:30 the drama began.

As we were getting ready to put the tooth under the pillow, the questions began firing:  What if I’m awake when he comes (apparently our tooth fairy is a he)?  What if I have to go to the bathroom?  What if it wakes me up when he reaches under my pillow?  How big is he?  Do I have to put the tooth under my pillow…

Sensing his brother’s anxiety, my youngest joined in, “I don’t want that tooth fairy in my house!”  None of my answers appeased them.  And the questions quickly turned into full-blown tears about this strange tooth fairy.  My husband, Jeff, had run to the store and wasn’t home.  My oldest child was trying to console them with no luck.  I called my sister and their husband, who they idolize, in the hopes that encouragement from them would calm my boys down – it didn’t.

 Looking at them, I realized I needed to make a choice – find a way to make this OK for them, or tell them the truth and take away the tooth fairy for both of them with this very first tooth.  The easy way would be to just tell them the truth.  And probably a lot of psychologists, parenting experts, and friends would tell me that’s what I should have done.  But instead, I let my creative side flow…

“Well you see boys, tooth fairies are not allowed in your house unless you invite them in.  When you put your tooth under the pillow that is an invitation.  The tooth fairy is not bad and would never hurt you, but he also doesn’t want to scare you.  So let’s put your tooth in the mailbox and leave a note on the door for him.”  The crying slowed and through the remaining sniffles, he smiled at me and said, “OK.”

The boys peacefully went to bed.  I pondered the events.  Did I do the right thing?  I don’t know.  (But he did wake up awfully excited to check the mailbox.)  I have been a mom for almost 10 (since writing this 11) years now, and I know that I’m not an expert.  However, the longer I’ve been a mom the more I realize that most situations don’t have a blanket correct answer for all.  Rather you know your children and you through trial and error figure out what works best for them… and sometimes you have to be a little bit creative!

Becki , imperfect Mom


Friends & Family Friday: Letting friends down

Last Thursday morning I was doing some cleaning when the phone rang.  As I picked up the phone, I noticed my friend’s name on the caller ID.  Oh no… my stomach tightened as I realized that I had stood her up.  I was supposed to be at her house 45 minutes before to help her with something.  She was gracious about it, but I felt terrible.  And this wasn’t the first time something like that happened.

Last spring I was sitting at home eating lunch when the phone rang.  As I picked up the phone, I noticed another friend’s name on the caller ID.  Oh no… my stomach tightened as I realized I forgot to bring her son home from preschool when I picked mine up.  She too was gracious about it.  But, what a horrible feeling to let a friend down and to leave a little four-year old at school.

With damaged pride, I admit that I am not a perfect friend.  I wish I was completely reliable, but I am not.  I strive to be, and I am trying to remember to write things on my calendar and then to check it.  But I mess up.  I hope that admission won’t keep you from asking me for help, because I really want to be that friend who is there for you when you need it.  I have been blessed with great friends who have helped me in too many ways to list, and I like to return that blessing.

So besides utilizing my calendar more, what have I learned through my mess-ups?

1.  I need to apologize and rebuild their trust.  (Even if they say it’s no big deal, it is.)  And if someone doesn’t forgive me, I need to forgive their unforgiveness (apparently that’s not a word, but I don’t know what else to call it).

2.  I need to confess it to God and accept his forgiveness.

3.  I need to forgive myself… sometimes this is harder than accepting God’s forgiveness, why is that?

4.  That just like I’m not perfect, my friends aren’t either.  If they let me down, I need to be just as gracious and forgiving as people have been with me or more (in those rare circumstances when someone wasn’t very forgiving).  I should not hold anyone to a higher standard than I myself can achieve.

5.  People let each other down… all the time… we are not perfect.  But there is one who is perfect – God.  He promises never to “leave or forsake us” and when He makes a promise… He keeps it.

So, I forgive myself and accept that I am flawed and mess up… but I do not want to stay that way.  I press on to be a better friend.

♥Becki, imperfect friend

P.S.  just so you know… I do know that I have also been a good friend and I have really helped people out at times… but I write this because I don’t want to think more highly of myself than I ought…

Wednesday’s Wisdom from the Word: I love you

Last week a friend was talking about her daughter learning to say, “I love you.”  She told about how exciting and cute it was.  As a mom, hearing those words from your child are even better than the first time they say, “Mom” or “Mama” or “Mommy” or whatever they call you.  And better yet is when they say it spontaneously because they just can’t help but to say it instead of simply parroting it back to you.  Those are moments that we treasure.

On Sunday I almost missed an opportunity for my boys to tell me they love me.  We were at A.C. Moore getting some craft stuff.  At one point, I looked at my 7-year-old and he had something behind his back.  He told me he wanted to buy something but I couldn’t see it.  As a frugal, non-indulgent mom, I wanted to say no.  But something told me to give him some money and let him go buy it.  So, not even knowing the price, I gave him a ten and he headed to the register (walking backwards so I couldn’t see what he was holding).  As we were in the van, he asked if I had a pen.  I told him to wait until we got home and I gave him a sharpie.  After a few secretive moments with his 5-year-old brother in their room, I was rewarded with this wooden heart:

It wasn’t my birthday, it wasn’t mother’s day, I didn’t even do anything particularly special.  But he saw a heart and had a vision of how to tell me he loved me.   There’s not many mothering moments that can top that feeling!

I used to wonder why God didn’t just make us love him.  I mean it has to be hard to see the people you created, the people you love, the people you sacrificed your son for… turn away from you, reject you, despise you, hate you. Why didn’t he just made us like robots with no choice but to love Him?  But then I became a Mom, and I heard my children say those awesome words, “I love you.”  I heard them say those words because they meant them.  And I knew.  I knew why God gave us the choice.

There’s definitely a difference between your children saying, “I love you” because you say it to them and saying it because they really, really mean it.   They love us because we have shown them what love is and they can’t help but respond to it.  I think that’s what God was talking about when He said through the Apostle John,  “We love because he first loved us.”  (1 John 4:19)  

And God does love us.  “Nothing can ever – no, not ever! – separate us from the Never Stopping, Never Giving Up, Unbreaking, Always and Forever Love of God he showed us in Jesus!” (The Jesus Storybook Bible, 340)



Training Tuesday: Running lessons

After years of yo-yo dieting and on again / off again exercising, I’ve learned that the hardest weight to lose, mentally, is the weight you’ve already lost and the hardest training, mentally, is getting back to a point you were already at.  So you’d think that I would never slack off, but this summer I definitely did.  And returning to the running but not being able to do what I was doing in the beginning of the summer is frustrating.  And knowing that the next 7 pounds that I lose will be weight that I lost in the spring but gained back is maddening… but I press on.  Because if I don’t now, next week/month/year, it will be even harder.

So this past week, I started up with the couch to 5K training program to train for the H.O.P.E. 5K in November.  I’m trying to retrain in a way that I will increase my speed.  Instead of doing walking/running, I’m doing slow jog/faster jog.  I got new cute pink sneakers which helped ease the frustration of decreased ability and hit the pavement.  As I was running, I thought about some of the things I learned being a new runner.  I figured I’d share them in case you decided to accept my challenge to train to run your first 5K too.  Many of these are women specific and things no one told me about so I thought it was just me… but after asking around, turns out it’s not just me.

  • Good shoes are important – but so are good socks.  Seriously, one day I put on a pair of Jeff’s Under Armor socks and I can’t even explain why, but my feet felt so much better.  I finally invested in some good pairs of my own.  (Go to a sporting good store for some.)
  • The pounding motion of running is hard on the bladder (especially on someone who has birthed 3 babies).  Wearing a pad for the first several weeks of your training is helpful for leaks while running.  When your run is over, sometimes getting to a bathroom quickly is very important!
  • Drinking water before the run is just as important as drinking after.  When I forget to drink ahead of time, my run is a lot harder.  The tricky part is figuring out how much is enough to hydrate you without causing you to have to “go” while running.  (See point above)
  • Sweating is not limited to your face and neck.  I never knew I could sweat at my “lady area”.  If you don’t shower right away, or wear a pad that you change, the wetness can cause itching.  (Sorry Jeff, if you’re reading this… I know you’d rather not think of your wife that way…)
  • Vanity has no place in running – if you are going to run hard, you will sweat, get red faced, and not have perfect hair.  The most comfortable running clothes may not be the most flattering.  Modesty on the other hand is still important.  When you have a figure like mine, most people do not want to see you running in just your sports bra even though that’s what you want to do.  (This however is OK when you are using your neighbor’s treadmill in her basement.)
  • The difference between walking and running for me is that I can feel my bottom “jiggle” when I run.  I’ve talked to “small bottom” runner girls and they say the same thing… so I figure it must be working that area out!
  • Do not be a closet runner.  Sign up for a 5K and tell your friends.  Better yet, sign up with your friends for a 5K or most likely you’ll quit.
  • Don’t compare yourself to anyone else.  Run your own run.
♥  Becki, imperfect runner

P.S. If you are interested in running the 5K that I talked about in last Tuesday’s post for Dawn Leach, here’s the info:   5k for HOPE application



Thursday’s Thoughts on Home: Special red plate

I have a group of Penn State girlfriends that would get together for dinner on the third Monday of every month.  It was a great way to stay connected and also to get a night out.  We’ve gone through pregnancies, miscarriages, births, new homes, job changes, sending our kids off to school, homeschooling, and unfortunately moves.  One of the girls (the one who got us organized) moved to Michigan.  Another moved to DC and then this past month to Cameroon, Africa!  So for the past couple of years, our once a month dinners became twice a year or so.

Anyway, when we were meeting every month, we would take turns deciding where to meet.  One month, one of the girls, Tricia, decided to meet at one of those ceramic studios.  She reserved us a room, ordered pizza and brought drinks.  We arrived and I was overwhelmed at the choices of what to make.  One of the girls decided to make a “Special” plate.  Being someone who is not especially creative when it comes to crafts, but good at copying, I chose to do the same thing… in fact most of us did.  So we painted and talked and ate and laughed and painted some more.

Well now, 6 years later, every time I use the plate, I think of my friends and smile.  And I do use the plate a lot.  Here’s what I use it for:

  • Birthdays:  The person of honor gets their birthday dinner served on the plate.  (Or sometimes, they get their round layer cake placed on the plate.)
  • Guests:  Whenever we have company for dinner, I try to remember to set it at the guest’s spot.
  • Something special at school: A school concert, good job on a test, getting a “Gotcha” Award (being caught doing something good)…
  • First day of school: This year, I couldn’t decide who should get it, so I put 4 cupcakes on it – 1 for each of my boys, including my husband who is a teacher.
  • Just because: I randomly give it out just because that person is special to me because they are my child or my husband 🙂 and because they are special to God.

Being that I have all boys and they are likely to not notice such things, I always point out when the “special red plate” is being used and why.  And I usually notice the honored person sit a little taller and smile a little bigger.  My hope is that my boys (including my husband) and my guests will know that I really do mean it, that they are special to me.  And I’d love it when my boys are older, if they’d look back at their childhood and remember the “special red plate”… and maybe make sure they had one for their own children.

♥Becki, imperfect artist

P.S. If you don’t have a “special red plate” you should find a ceramic studio, get a group of friends together and go make one.  (If you’re local, I’ll come too… I’m thinking I need a dessert size plate as well…) Or you can google “special red plate” and lots of places to buy one will pop up… although I think a home-made one is a tad more special 🙂

Wednesday’s Wisdom from the Word: Bad customer service

Yesterday, one of my Facebook friends posted an unusual prayer request:

Praying friends: in the last few hours we’ve run into some challenges with our move (some more expensive than others). Please pray for us to choose to be kind, gentle and loving… even when dealing with poor customer service…

Usually the prayer requests that I read on Facebook are for illnesses and injuries of loved ones.  When I read them, my heart breaks and I pray immediately.  But this prayer request gave me pause.  I had to read it several times.  Why did it stick out so much?  Did you notice the request?  My friend, Sarah, didn’t ask that we pray that everything would work out, that the “challenges” would disappear or smooth over.  Her heart was that she and her husband would “choose to be kind, gentle and loving… even when dealing with poor customer service”. (emphasis mine)

I’m reading Galatians now, and like I did with Philippians, I am reading the whole book everyday until I feel like I really know it.  Today as I was reading Chapter 6, I thought back to Sarah’s prayer request.

“So let’s not get tired of doing what is good.  At just the right time we will reap a harvest of blessing if we don’t give up.  Therefore whenever we have the opportunity, we should do good to everyone – especially to those in the family of faith.”  (6:9-10)

Doing what is good… “choose to be kind, gentle and loving”.  Sarah was definitely wanting to do what is good.  But she knew that it didn’t always come easy, which is why she was asking for her friends to pray that they wouldn’t give up.  Because let’s face it… we all know how hard it is to be kind when we feel like we are wronged by some company/business/worker or when we feel frustrated by their policies and the lack of sympathy/kindness we receive from them.

This is an area that I personally struggle with… I get very haughty and self-righteous and demand my own way, because of course, I’m always right.  But here’s the thing, even if I am right, I still need to “choose to be kind, gentle and loving”.  I have to decide if the “injustice” is worth pursuing, and if it is how to handle it in a way that I am still “doing what is good”.

I love the promise from God in verse 9, “At just the right time we will reap a harvest of blessing if we don’t give up.”  Although, I’ll admit, I wish it said “At the time we want…” instead of “the right time” because God and I usually have different definitions of “the right time”… although, I know His is always best…

So as I prayed for Sarah, I prayed the same for me.  (And since God usually puts me to the test when I pray things, I’m expecting some lousy customer service soon!)

♥Becki, imperfect customer

P.S.  Sarah and I became friends at Penn State.  Living a Christian life was new to me, and I always admired Sarah and the way she was able to express her thoughts about God and life.  I still do, if you want to read some of her thoughts, check out her blog:

Mothering Monday: First Day of School

Today I took my baby to his first day of kindergarten.  Such a bittersweet day.  I’m excited for him, I’m excited for this new phase in our life.  But it also comes with a pang of sadness.  I feel like I’ve wished too many days away and now all of a sudden they’re gone.

If you’re a mom, you know the days I’m talking about.  The days that you keep looking at the clock and praying for nap time, and then bed time to come quickly.  The days when you don’t know how you are going to make it through another 5 minutes let alone another 5 hours.  The moments are overwhelming and sometimes unbearable, and you wish them away.  (I’ve often said that a day can feel like an eternity, but a year goes by like the blink of an eye.)

But there’s also the other moments that get wished away simply because you are waiting for the next thing to happen: to sleep through the night, to crawl, to walk, to talk, to go to pre-school, to go to kindergarten, to play sports, to get their license, to go to college…  As we focus on what’s coming next, we sometimes wish away the moments we’re in.

So now, I have 3 boys off to school and am determined to live in the moments and not wish away the days.

♥Becki, imperfect mother of 3 school-age boys!

*First day signs were printed from:  life… your way

*Cupcake toppers printed from: The Paper Cupcake 

Friends & Family Friday: Inspired

I don’t know where yesterday and today went… really I wasn’t busy, but they slipped away and I just realized that I hadn’t written yet…

On Tuesday, I went to a friend’s funeral.  She was one of those women who always went above and beyond in friendship and hospitality and whose faith and outlook on life was inspiring to all she came in contact with.  At the funeral, numerous stories testified to that.  I left, saddened that she is gone, but encouraged and inspired to want to be more like Dawn in various ways.

  1. Dawn had a sign in her kitchen that said, “Be so happy that when others look at you, they’ll be happy too.”  Over and over people commented that Dawn was always smiling.  I’ve noticed in my life, my normal expression is a frown… even when I’m happy, I’m usually frowning unless I’m laughing or posing for a picture.  It doesn’t feel natural to smile, but I’m going to start.  I’m sitting here typing this trying to smile, and it actually feels weird, but I’m happy right now, I’m home with my whole family, we’ve had a nice day, and I’m happy… so why does it feel funny to smile?  I’m determined for a smile to be my natural expression… not a fake smile, but I’m usually happy so I should usually be smiling.  I’m still smiling now, and it still feels funny.
  2. Dawn was extremely hospitable.  She would have friends over and pull out her good china for tea.  A friend stopped over to drop something off, and Dawn invited her to stay for dinner and she used cloth napkins!  Dawn said, “It’s not hard to get closer to friends.  Everyone has a tea bag at their house, throw a pot of water on and call up someone to come over.  It’s that easy.”  What’s so inspiring to me about that, is Dawn didn’t live in a huge perfectly decorated home with a cleaning lady who kept it spotless.  She had a smaller home, that she kept homey and inviting.  That’s how I want to be!  I’m going to try to do more inviting.  But if I don’t call you up and invite you over, I’m giving you permission to randomly stop over for a visit… maybe I’ll invite you to stay for dinner.  Also I’d love it if you called and said, “I’m not doing anything this afternoon, mind if I stop over?”
  3. Smile more – I have to type that again, because I just reread what I’ve already written and realized I’m not smiling already!
  4. Be focused on others instead of myself.  Over and over people talked about how during her last months, Dawn was always comforting those around her and never had a “Woe is me” attitude.  I think I’m usually pretty good caring about others… until my life gets in the way.  Dawn was able to do that because she completely trusted God… which leads me to the last area…
  5. Dawn had complete faith in God even when it meant laying down her life.  A friend who visited her just 12 hours before she passed away said Dawn was filled with joy and peace.  I pray that I would daily put my trust in God and live a life that honors him.  I pray that no matter what troubles this world brings me, that like Dawn, I will know that Jesus has overcome.
So, as I continue to press on to be the woman who God created me to be, I thank you Dawn, for inspiring me to improve these areas.


P.S.  I’m hoping Hurricane Irene won’t be as bad here in PA as they are forecasting… but if my power’s out, I’ll write as soon as it’s back on!  Stay safe my east coast friends.

Wednesday’s Wisdom From the Word: I got nothing!

“For this reason, since the day we heard about you, we have not stopped praying for you. We continually ask God to fill you with the knowledge of his will through all the wisdom and understanding that the Spirit gives, so that you may live a life worthy of the Lord and please him in every way: bearing fruit in every good work, growing in the knowledge of God, being strengthened with all power according to his glorious might so that you may have great endurance and patience,  and giving joyful thanks to the Father, who has qualified you to share in the inheritance of his holy people in the kingdom of light.  For he has rescued us from the dominion of darkness and brought us into the kingdom of the Son he loves, in whom we have redemption, the forgiveness of sins.

The Son is the image of the invisible God, the firstborn over all creation.  For in him all things were created: things in heaven and on earth, visible and invisible, whether thrones or powers or rulers or authorities; all things have been created through him and for him. He is before all things, and in him all things hold together. And he is the head of the body, the church; he is the beginning and the firstborn from among the dead, so that in everything he might have the supremacy. For God was pleased to have all his fullness dwell in him, and through him to reconcile to himself all things, whether things on earth or things in heaven, by making peace through his blood, shed on the cross.

Once you were alienated from God and were enemies in your minds because of your evil behavior. But now he has reconciled you by Christ’s physical body through death to present you holy in his sight, without blemish and free from accusation—” (Colossians 1:9-22)

I almost didn’t post anything today, because I’m not feeling particularly inspired or spiritual to post on Wednesday’s Wisdom From the Word.  I’m having one of those “foggy” days… where I’d rather crawl back into bed then think.  I’m not sick, but my eyes want to close and my thoughts aren’t all that coherent.  So, like I said, I wasn’t going to post.

But, today I read the above passage from Colossians and I love it.  I really wanted to have something great to say about it… but I have nothing.  So, today, I’m thinking the words of God are more than enough.  Go back, reread them and let God speak to your soul.  (He’s a much better writer than I am.)

♥Becki, imperfect writer 🙂