All posts by Becki

Thursday’s Thoughts on Home: Back to school

Much to my oldest son’s dismay and my middle son’s delight Target, (and every other store) is filled with back to school stuff.  I love markers for 88 cents and glue sticks for 20 cents and crayons for 24 cents… So once it’s all bought and the kids are back full swing into school, how do you keep all their stuff organized?

Overall I’m not a very organized person.  I can come up with great plans and get everything orderly, it’s keeping it that way that’s my problem.  Which, since I live in a small (1000 sq. ft) home, I really should get better at doing.  But one thing I’m happy with is the boy’s school stuff.

Here was the problem, we have no foyer – you walk right into our living room.  Our hall closet is very tiny and the boy’s bedrooms aren’t that big either.  So where should the boys keep their backpacks, library books, shoes, hats, coats, and all the other things they need for school?  Two years ago, I came up with the idea to have some type of locker for each of them.

I searched online and found exactly what I wanted but my wallet said no.  So I kept hunting.  Then at Target I found the perfect thing.  I got these cabinets that have an adjustable shelf in them.  Inside my boys keep their backpacks, shoes, coats and all.  But on the outside, I can decorate them and make them look nice and homey since they are in my living room.  I like it so much, and think that even if I had a larger home I would do something like that just to keep their stuff organized and in one place.  (By the way, from the picture can you tell that we have an insane amount of Phillies hats…)


Have you found something that works for you?

♥Becki, imperfect housekeeper

Training Tuesday: True confessions

True Confessions: Yesterday I ate way too many mint Oreos and chocolate covered pomegranates.  My pizza dinner was void of the normal salad or veggies that should go with it.  I ate my late night snack while watching Ashley choose J.P. over Ben on the Bachelorette and absolutely was not even hungry for it.  I haven’t run or exercised in a couple of weeks.  This morning started out better… but then I found that bag of chocolate covered pomegranates again… So I feel completely unworthy to write any post that begins “Training Tuesday”.

But I’ve admitted over and over my imperfection.  And I’m not content to stay here.  I’ve confessed my gluttony and laziness to God and am begging Him to strengthen me.  This afternoon I’m going running with a friend who’s training for her first 5K.  I’m nervous b/c I haven’t run in a while, but glad to be getting back on the proverbial horse.  I’m planning a healthier dinner and then I just might try using teeth whitening strips tonight to keep me from eating.  I got the idea from another blog:

Diet Tip of the Day from “The V Spot”

And here’s my hope… next Tuesday I’ll be able to post about what a healthy week I’ve had… although I am leaving this Thursday for a girls weekend in Nashville… hmmm… is that possible?

♥Becki, imperfect eater and exerciser



Mothering Monday: Words that hurt

A friend posted the following as her facebook status: “What not to say to the pregnant lady with 2 hyper kids in line at the grocery store, ‘Do you really want a third?’ A little late for that don’t you think?”  It really got me thinking 2 things: 1. People may think they are funny, but they are just rude and 2. You never know the impact of your words.

Thankfully, my friend, who is a great mother with nice, well-behaved kids by the way, was able to go home, laugh about the comment and post it on Facebook to invite others to laugh as well.  But what if she was feeling like a failure as a mom, what if she was feeling overwhelmed and doubting how she was going to take care of another child, what if she was battling depression, what if that particular comment pushed her over the edge and led her to do something “unthinkable”?

Then I started thinking about the things that are said that our kids hear.  Did her kids hear the woman?  Did they understand what she was implying?  Would they think that perhaps their mom didn’t want to be pregnant or maybe didn’t even want them?  Which then led me to think about the things my kids hear me say.

Do I say things that give them the impression that I don’t like being a mom, let alone their mom?  Through our life, we can probably all remember something that was said (whether from a parent, a classmate, a boyfriend, a spouse…) that made us feel unwanted.  Maybe it was said in jest, maybe it was said in anger, but whatever the motive it hurt.  I can remember the sting, I can remember how it feels.

My new resolution is that my children will not hear this from my lips.  Because they are wanted.  They misbehave sometimes.  Sometimes I need a break.  (This week I’m counting down the days until Thursday when I go away with just the girls to a MOPS convention in Nashville.)  But they are wanted, I love them, they are mine and I wouldn’t change it.  And I don’t want them to think I feel otherwise.  I also want to be their defenders.  If someone says a comment like that to me… which occasionally their behavior in public would warrant such a comment… I want to have a comeback that shows my kids just how much I love them.  I’m thinking my reply would be, “Absolutely, I want another.  I love my children and they bring me great joy.”  (Of course I can correct them later for their behavior…)  

♥Becki, imperfect mother

Thursday’s Thoughts on Home: Stuffed drawers

So this morning I finally got around to putting away a week’s worth of laundry.  At least it was summer laundry so it was only 3 full hampers of folded clothes.  As I was stuffing, literally stuffing, the clothes into the drawers I wondered why on earth the drawers were so full to begin with.  After all, all of the clothes that we wore in the past week were in the hampers – how could the drawers still have so much in them?

I am not a hoarder and I get rid of stuff fairly regularly.  I also remove the clothes seasonally and put them in the attic.  So apparently we just have way too many clothes.  Which got me thinking about how much was the appropriate amount to have.  How many tee-shirts does a 5-year-old need?  What about a 7-year-old or 10-year-old?  How many shorts?  Whatever the number is, I know its less than what we have in our drawers here.  Probably the stuff on the bottom never even gets worn because I think I’m cleaning the same clothes over and over again.

Maybe I’ll get motivated one of these days to go through the drawers and thin them out.  But if I don’t, I think I need to be way more selective about what I save and what I get rid of at the end of the season.  And when I pull out the fall / winter clothes I need to not stuff the drawers so full.

But then, what I need to do throughout the year is something I learned from one of my roommates after college.  Whenever she got something new to her, whether clothing, shoes, or purses, she would get rid of something she had.  (It was very beneficial to be her roommate!)  If I did this with all of our clothing, then perhaps I would not be in the position I was this morning of stuffing the clothes in the drawers!

But regardless of the space issue… it’s probably better to give the clothes to someone who can use them rather than have them sitting in our house only getting worn once or twice a season (if that).   But, here’s my problem… as I’m typing this I’m mentally going through my shirts  and can’t think of any that I want to get rid of.  Same thing with my kids clothes… because even if they only wear it once or twice, they probably looked really cute in them…  And what if I couldn’t do laundry for 2 or 3 weeks for some reason… wouldn’t I want to be prepared?  I have such issues… am I alone on this?

“And why do you worry about clothes? See how the flowers of the field grow. They do not labor or spin.  Yet I tell you that not even Solomon in all his splendor was dressed like one of these.  If that is how God clothes the grass of the field, which is here today and tomorrow is thrown into the fire, will he not much more clothe you—you of little faith?” (Matthew 6:28-31) 

♥Becki, imperfect housekeeper

Wednesday’s Wisdom from the Word: Dog or cat?

We have a cat, Shmoopy (remember the Seinfeld episode when Jerry and his girlfriend kept annoyingly saying, You’re the Shmoopy, No, You’re the Shmoopy).  Now, I’m not exactly a pet person… I am not opposed to having pets, it’s just that I’ve never had a pet that has brought me more enjoyment than the burden of caring for it.  (My family is trying to talk me into a dog… perhaps I’ll relent and it will finally be the animal to soften my heart towards having pets.)  See part of the problem with my cat is she pretty much ignores us all day except when she needs something, like more water, food, the litter cleaned and then she has this annoying meow and wants you to take care of her needs immediately.  So really its a relationship based on her wants and needs.

Do you remember the story of Pharoah and Moses?  God sent Moses to tell Pharaoh to free the Israelites from slavery to Egypt.  Pharoah didn’t want to, so God sent plagues of turning water to blood, frogs, gnats, flies, diseased livestock, boils, hail, locusts, darkness, and death of the firstborn.  It’s a story I know well and I’ve read several times throughout my life.

My husband, Jeff, has started rereading the Bible chronologically (in historical order).  This week he was reading this particular part about Pharaoh (found in Exodus 7-11) and something stood out to him that I thought was worth sharing with you.  After the second plague, the frogs, Pharaoh told Moses “Pray to the LORD to take the frogs away from me and my people, and I will let your people go to offer sacrifices to the LORD.”  Moses did, and God relented on the plague.  “But when Pharaoh saw that there was relief, he hardened his heart and would not listen to Moses and Aaron.”  This happened again with the flies, the hail, the locusts, the darkness, and even death.  While the suffering was on Pharaoh he was repentant and cried out to God.  But as soon as it let up, his heart was hardened against God.

I think that happens a lot in our life.  When life is pressing in on us through plagues of sickness, financial worries, relationship issues, death, we cry out to God.  We pray and ask God to “fix” our problems and comfort us.  This is a good thing, it’s what God wants us to do.  But the problem is that in the normal day-to-day when we don’t have “plagues” pressing in, our hearts seem to harden and we tend to ignore God.

I’m sure that God desires that we come to him all the time, thanking Him and acknowledging Him even when we don’t seem to “need” Him.  Jeff tells me that’s why I’ll like a dog better than a cat.  Dogs are loyal to people and desire to please the master.  They will sit at their master’s feet all day and wag their tails with delight when the master gives them attention.  Cats have no desire to please their master, rather they want their master to please them.  So when it comes to God, are you a dog or a cat?  Traditionally in my life I think, like Pharaoh, I’ve been a cat… I’m pressing on to be more like a dog.

… Ok, all you cat people out there… I don’t mean to offend you in any way… perhaps the analogy is a stretch, but I think you probably get the point 🙂

♥ Becki, imperfect daughter of God


Training Tuesday: The stinky refrigerator

Imagine if your refrigerator really stunk… for some of us that’s not that hard to imagine.

What would you do?  You could clean the outside until it shined, but most likely it would still stink.  You could open it up and scrub down the inside shelves and drawers.  That might help, but most likely the stink culprit is still inside.

While cleaning the inside and outside is important to making the fridge look nicer and possibly smell better too and to run more efficiently… if you don’t open it up, find and get rid of the rotting food that’s causing the smell, it will keep stinking.

I think of that with eating correctly and exercising.  These things are important to help us look and feel better, it helps our body to run more efficiently.  But if that’s all we focus on, then all of our training will leave us with bodies in good shape and spirits that are empty and possibly like the refrigerator stinking up the place!

The Apostle Paul agrees with this assessment in 1 Timothy 4:8,9: “For physical training is of some value, but godliness has value for all things, holding promise for both the present life and the life to come.  This is a trustworthy saying that deserves full acceptance.”

So while we are pressing on in exercise and healthful eating, let us not neglect what’s even more important – pressing on in our relationship with God through prayer, reading the Bible, and worship!

♥Becki, imperfect woman (both physically and spiritually!)

Mothering Monday: Knowing and following through on limits

Right now I’m listening to my 2 youngest sons and my husband playing some game in the living room that involves fighting, rolling around and tackling each other.  I can tell they are having a great time, but I’m pretty sure I’ll hear crying soon because it always ends in tears.

One of the biggest challenges of being a mother of 3 boys is knowing how much rough housing to allow.  Some of my friends don’t allow any.  For me, I see how much fun they have and how much energy they spend so I do allow it.  But I wish I knew the perfect point to say, “Ok, time to stop.”  I seem to only recognize that point too late when someone gets hurt.

Other areas are easier to set limits on such as sweets, tv watching, video game playing.  You can come up with realistic guidelines and follow them.

Oh wait… here are the tears… imperfect son #3 just came crying into my room.  Funny thing though, he didn’t get hurt rough housing, he somehow got hurt trying to lie down on the couch.

Back to the sweets, the TV, the video games.  My problem isn’t knowing how much to allow, my problem is following through on the guidelines I set up.  After allowing way too much this summer, I’m going back to a chore chart / ticket system.   I have a chore chart on the fridge with “jobs” that all 3 boys need to do to earn stars.  Jobs include normal things like picking up toys (inside, outside, and in the porch), making their beds, setting the table, clearing the table, cleaning the bathroom, taking out the trash, bringing the cans in.  But I also put things on the chart like brushing teeth, reading 30 minutes, playing outside, Bible time, no yelling.  That way it holds them accountable for doing the things they are supposed to and me accountable to enforcing it.

They then earn stars and have to earn a certain amount to have any screen time the next week.  The more stars they earn, the more screen time they get.  Screen time includes TV, video games, DS’s, and computer time.  I found these great tickets on a site that they turn in for an hour of screen time.  This makes it easier for me to keep track of how much I’m allowing.  It also helps them make better choices for themselves.  They’ll ask to watch a show on TV, I’ll remind them that it costs a ticket and they decide it’s not worth it.  But my dilemma becomes does it count as screen time if they are watching someone else play a video game?  What if their Daddy is watching the Phillies and they sit down to watch it too, should that cost a ticket?  I guess it’s really not as easy as I originally was saying.  But doesn’t that pretty much sum up mothering?  Not as easy as we all thought it would be?

♥Becki, imperfect mother

P.S. I’d love to hear what you’ve found that works for you!

Friends and Family Friday: Kindness in the crazy, suffocating heat

My boys went to a local church’s camp this week with a few other children… ok with a thousand other children.  They are exhausted, hot, and whiny now but had a great time.  I was exhausted and hot just dropping them off and picking them up and I had a 3 hour break in between.  Being someone who’s usually running things or volunteering it was nice to just drop them off and leave.  I smiled and waved and said hi to my friends who were “working” the camp and as I left I thought, “I’m soooo glad that’s not me!”  (Did I mention it was like 100 degrees everyday and the majority of the time they were outside?)

And that’s what impressed me – I know all the leaders were hot, sweaty and probably would rather be inside in the air conditioning, but they were outside greeting my kids with smiles.  When I picked them up, even though they probably wanted to get the kids out of there and get in their air-conditioned cars they took the time to tell me great things about my kids.  My son with asperger’s, complains a lot and is not always a “joiner” and often gives adults a tough time, so it’s really easy for adults to tell me all the trouble he caused without telling me anything positive.  But that was not the case with his team leader.  I’m getting teary eyed now thinking of the great things she took the time to tell me.

But even more than the adults working with the kids, what impressed me was all the men who probably took off of work to stand in the heat directing the 500+ minivans pulling into the church and getting them all parked and then getting them all out of there.  I’m thinking that probably the last thing most people would consider taking a vacation day from work for would be to stand outside in 100 degree weather with the sun beating down on you and directing cars to a camp.  At least when you are working with the kids you get to join in on the activities and get the reward of seeing them have a great time.  But these men (and women) did it and they all had smiles on their faces… they were dripping with sweat… but they were smiling.

So, all of you CCV volunteers, thank you for your sacrifice this week.  My kids and I appreciate it.  Your actions and attitudes showed Christ’s love probably more than anything that was said from the stage.  (Although I heard that was awesome too!)

Thursday’s Thoughts on Home: Why a messy house is good

I’ve said it before, I’m not a good housekeeper.  My clean is another person’s messy.  Hopefully its never so bad that you’ll see me on “Clean Sweep” or anything like that.  I’m not a hoarder, so you won’t see me on “Hoarders” either, but the tables and counters are often covered with clutter.  Toys, shoes, maybe clothes will be found on my stained carpet in the living room.  I like to have all that stuff picked up before I sit down on the couch at night to relax.  But there still might be dishes in the sink and the shower probably didn’t get cleaned that day.

I often look around and get frustrated and look at other people’s homes and wonder how they keep them looking so nice.  I’m trying to find little things/tricks to help keep my home nicer.  But I’m also trying to not be too hard on myself or my family.  So lately I’ve thought about things that are good about having an imperfect messy house.  Here’s what I’ve come up with.

  1. When a friend spills an entire cup of coffee on the living room floor I can point to all the other stains on the carpet in an effort to help her not feel bad.  (True story)
  2. When a friend’s son draws on the walls in my son’s room in permanent marker, I can point to chipped paint and other marks on the wall and assure her that its ok, that one day eventually I’ll get around to repainting.  (True story)
  3. Friends with imperfect homes don’t feel “bad” inviting me over to them or feel like they have to do a major cleaning/scrubbing overhaul first.
  4. When my kids spill something, usually I can calmly hand them something to clean it up without stressing about it.  (I say usually because if they were being completely careless sometimes I get angry at the carelessness.)
  5. I don’t take our cat “to the farm” after the millionth hair ball.
  6. It is obvious to me that material possessions are not what’s most important to me.
I’m sure that’s not an exhaustive list.  But that’s just some things I’ve come up with.  If you are the person with a “perfect” home, I don’t say those things to make you feel bad, I say them to make me (and others like me) feel better.  Can you come up with other reasons?
♥Becki, imperfect housekeeper

Wednesday’s Wisdom from the Word: It’s a tomato…

“It’s an apple.”  “No, it’s a tomato.”  “Not uhh!”   “No matter what you may say or think, it IS a tomato.”  “No it’s not.  It’s an apple.”  Imperfect son number 3, my youngest, is convinced that he is NEVER wrong.  I have yet to figure out how to end a conversation like the above one.  He is definitely 100% wrong, but is 100% convinced he’s right and will not let you say otherwise.

If it were a matter of opinion, I wouldn’t care.  But he’s wrong about facts.  It would be easier if he’d let me just walk away from the conversation, but he doesn’t let it go.  He wants me to say, “You’re right, it’s an apple.”  But the thing is – it isn’t, and I don’t want to say it is just to get him to drop the conversation.  Some days it can be quite amusing, other days it can be quite frustrating.  However, it never makes me love him less.  He’s my son and I love him.  He’s wrong and I love him.

One day after one of those debates, I read Philippians again.  That time, here’s the passage that stood out to me:

“… as Christ Jesus:  Who being in very nature God, did not consider equality with God something to be used to his own advantage, rather he made himself nothing by taking the very nature of a servant, being made in human likeness.  And being found in appearance as a man, he humbled himself by becoming obedient to death – even death on a cross!  Therefore God exalted him to the highest place and gave him the name that is above every name, that at the name of Jesus every knee should bow, in heaven and on earth and under the earth, and every tongue acknowledge that Jesus Christ is Lord, to the glory of God the father.” (2:6-11, emphasis mine)

When I read this, it is clear to me that there is no other God, no other way to God, no other truth.  Otherwise the Bible would not say that every knee would bow and every tongue acknowledge… Why would EVERY one do these things if there were other ways or other Gods?  For me to believe in the Bible and to believe in Christianity, I have to believe that all other religions are wrong.  

In America today, I know that is a very unpopular statement.  I know what most people want me to say is, “I believe in Jesus, but being a Buddhist, or Muslim, or Mormon or whatever is right for you.”  But I can’t.  Not if I truly believe what the Bible says.  For me to say that is to say that my belief in Jesus is a fraud.  To me, it’s as simple as my conversation with my son, it’s not an apple, it’s a tomato.  I believe those who think otherwise are wrong.

But… and this is a big but (as a mom of 3 boys I’m chuckling like they do at the fact that I just said big butt…) But – I never stop loving those who think differently than I do.  I hope they would never feel like I am disrespectful or unkind, and I hope that they would never stop loving me despite thinking I’m wrong.  Some of my favorite people in the world follow other religions.  We are friends, we are family, and I love them.  But, just as with Cole, I cannot say they are right.  However, I can invite them to believe in Jesus and to allow Him to be their savior as well.

If you disagree with me, and are still reading, thank you.  I have to tell you I have known for weeks that this was what I was supposed to write about on a “Wednesday’s Wisdom from the Word.”  But I fought it.  It’s one thing to think the way I do, but to publicly write it on a blog knowing that many of you might disagree, well that’s a little scary.  In fact, so scary that last week I skipped Wednesday’s post.  I had no other inspiration for a different topic.  This week was the same and I knew I had to post it.  I hope you will come back on other days and continue to read what I learn through my imperfection…