Category Archives: f. Friends and Family Friday

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!)

Friends & Family Friday: Funerals

Yesterday morning I went to my cousin, Jimmy’s funeral.  Jimmy was a cousin that I didn’t know very well – my dad was 1 of 7 kids and his siblings all had lots of kids and this was my youngest cousin on my Dad’s side, so he was not who I really talked to at reunions, weddings, funerals and such.  He was 21 and died Sunday unexpectedly and tragically when he fell into a ravine while hiking.  I can’t imagine (nor do I want to try to) my aunt’s grief and pain.  When I found out that he had died, I was shocked, saddened and then thought, “This is a bad week for me to have to go to a funeral.”


That’s right, I’m ashamed to admit that was one of my first thoughts.  Tomorrow I am leading a training retreat for the leadership team of my MOPS (Mothers of Preschoolers) group.  It might not seem like a big deal, but it is a 9 hour agenda filled with training, bonding, and planning for the upcoming year.  I try so hard to make it fun, informative, and memorable in a good way.  I still had a lot of work to do on getting ready for the retreat.  And I didn’t think it was a good time to “fit in” a funeral.  It’s strange really how my aunt’s and my cousins’ whole lives have completely changed in an instant and I get a little stressed about an “inconvenience.”  Kind of like when I get really frustrated about sitting in traffic for 45 minutes and being late  to something when the reason for the traffic was a horrific accident and a family’s life is shattered…

But I went to the funeral and am so glad I did.  I am thankful for my family, all of them, the ones I’m close to and the ones I’m not.  Because I know when it comes down to it, we are family, we love each other, we have a bond, and I know that they would all be there for me if I would ask them to.

In the past, I have skipped funerals because of my schedule, and I have regretted it.  I have not called or sent cards to offer condolences because I didn’t know what to say, and I have regretted it.  I have not visited or called someone whom I knew was going to be passing soon because I didn’t know what to say or if it would be welcome, and I regretted it.  I let me self-centeredness keep me from doing what is right and being focused on the important things.  But… I have never regretted doing any of those things when I did do them.  (Lord please help me to think of myself less and others more.)

So now, I’m sitting down to type this because as it turned out I was able to get everything ready for the retreat despite going to the funeral.  My week actually wasn’t as stressful as I thought it would be and have been able to enjoy a lot of it.  I wish it could be the same for my aunt, my cousins and Jimmy.

♥Becki (imperfect wife of an imperfect man, imperfect mom of 3 imperfect boys, forgiven daughter of a perfect God.)

P.S.  I love your feedback and comments and even if I don’t reply to everyone, I read them all!  Also feel free to share any post through facebook or email… I’m still new to this Blog world and figuring out how to let people know it’s here to read :-)


Friends & Family Friday (On Saturday): Friends – old and new

I’m trying to be consistent about writing every Monday through Friday, but life sometimes doesn’t allow it.  Yesterday I had the perfect reason not to post about Friends & Family… instead of writing about Friends and Family, I was with Friends and Family.

The day started out babysitting a friend’s son and feeding another friend’s cat.  These are 2 of my “go to girls” when I need help so I love to be able to reciprocate and help them out too.  Do you have a network like that?  If not, I encourage you to seek it out.  These friendships developed out of spending time together because we were local and have kids the same age.  Playdates grew into swapping sitting for doctor’s appointments and such.  And eventually these women have become the type of friends that I can tell anything to and know they will still support, love and encourage me.  Love friends like that, the ones involved in your day to day.

Then, Jeff took all three of our boys to his parents for a sleepover with cousins and grandparents – and no parents.  This is always a highlight for my boys.  They love the time with grandparents.  And Jeff and I encourage it, its such an important relationship to foster and builds lifelong memories… and it means some free time for us!

So Jeff and I then went to meet an old college friend (old in how long its been since we saw her – 15 years, and not in age – younger than me!) and her husband, who we hadn’t met yet, for lunch.  We had reconnected on facebook and they were passing through in the beginning of a long drive from New York to Colorado and made time to meet with us.  This couple is not involved in our day to day, but I loved that we could sit down and talk about real life as if they were.  No awkwardness and not just idle chit chat… but real “What’s God been doing in your life and how do you feel about it” type of conversations.  They were very open, authentic and definitely felt like kindred spirits.

After lunch and a walk around the mall, Jeff and I got to go to the Phillies game together, alone, without children.  (I love my children, and being with them… but like any parents time without them is really important to Jeff and me.)  Thank you Mom for the tickets!  It took forever to get to the stadium because it was raining and rush hour and a Friday and people were going to the shore.  But that just meant more time to talk.  We passed a man standing outside waiting for a bus or something and getting drenched so Jeff stopped and gave him our umbrella.  “Thanks Poppy,” the older Asian man kept saying over and over again.  We’re not sure what Poppy means – insult? compliment?  Not sure but I think he appreciated the umbrella and then Jeff realized about 10 minutes later, “I gave away our umbrella, we are going to get wet walking to the stadium!”  So we took a detour to a CVS to buy a new umbrella before going into the game.

We got to the game and our new umbrella didn’t work quite right – oh well, we got a little wet, but didn’t melt.  The game was on a rain delay for a couple of hours so we got a chance to talk to a nice couple from Media who were also on a date night.  They had two boys 3 and 5 and unfortunately for them their babysitter was being paid by the hour unlike our babysitters who were grandparents and didn’t charge… so they weren’t real thrilled about the delay.  But it gave us a chance to talk.  Jeff and I are trying to be more intentional not just with our established relationships, but those we come in contact with.  Anyway, the game finally started and ended after midnight with a walk off home run victory for the Phillies!

Then this morning, we had a knock on the door and were visited by a good friend who has been in Africa (Botswana) for 3 years as a missionary.  She’s home for a few months and this was the first we had gotten to see her.  I had just sent a message to her asking what her schedule was like, so was thrilled to see her and 2 other friends (who live 3 minutes from us and we definitely don’t see enough of – we’ll have to fix that) at our door.  Even though my house was a mess – its been a busy week – and I wasn’t showered, no deodorant (did you read that post about deodorant?), and neither teeth nor hair were brushed, I loved that they had stopped by and visited!  I’m so glad that I’m at the point in life that I can enjoy a visit like that without worrying about what they are thinking about me!

It was a good day and a good start to today!  (Oh I didn’t even mention about the reunion earlier this week at Penn State for the fireworks.  We had connected there with some college friends who now live in Kansas.  We hadn’t seen them in 15 years either, but like our other friends, the conversations were real, authentic, and easy.)  I am so glad for all the people God has blessed me with in my life.  And if you are reading this… that includes you!

Friends & Family Friday: Good intentions

The other day I was going through a pile of papers and found some Christmas cards that didn’t get mailed.  They were the ones that I didn’t have the addresses in my excel file so I had to hunt them down.  I emailed friends and asked for addresses, they replied, but I never went back and addressed the envelopes and mailed them.

I’m like that a lot: I’ve written many letters that were never mailed, bought many cards that were never filled out, planned on inviting people over for dinner or something and never made the call, told people I’d pray about something and never prayed.  If my intentions counted, I’d be one of the best friends ever… but since its my follow-through that matters, I know I sometimes come across as unthoughtful and disinterested.

I don’t say that to put myself down, it’s an imperfection that I’ll admit to.  But in the spirit of pressing on, I will not accept it as just who I am.  I’m trying to be more intentional with my relationships.  If you are like me, here’s some things I’ve learned to improve in this area:

1.  If someone asks me to pray for something, I do it immediately.  Either out loud with them (even if it’s on the phone) or silently.  When I read a prayer request on facebook or email, I pray immediately and respond “Praying now.” Oftentimes I’ll remember later and pray again, but even if I don’t, I’m assured that I kept my word.

2.  Sending cards – allows you to create a custom card and they will mail it directly to the recipient for you.  No more buying a card and not mailing it!  I’m sure other sites like snapfish and shutterfly does this as well.  I also like to send e-cards. has some nice Christian ones.

3.  Helping friends – I like to help friends when they need it, whether through babysitting, bringing a meal or something along those lines.  But I’ve learned that when I ask friends to let me know if they need anything, they rarely do.  So I’ve started being more specific and saying things like, “I noticed in your Caring Bridge post that your son has an appointment tomorrow, can your other son come play with us?” or “I know things have been a little hectic for you lately and I plan on bringing you a dinner this week, is Tuesday or Wednesday better?”  I have a friend that when she brings a meal, she always brings a second one to heat up another day… I want to be that kind of friend who goes above and beyond.

4.  When I am planning a girls night out or some type of party, I purposefully invite people who I know are going to be away or unavailable so they know they were thought of too.  That way if their plans change they can come.  (I used to not invite people to things that I didn’t think they could come to.  But then I realized it was better to let them say no and know they were thought of then to have them think they weren’t included.)

5.  I’m trying to pick up the phone more.  Whenever I get in the car, I think who do I need to connect with and call them.  I’m also texting more, just a quick, “Hi, I hope you’re having a great day.” to let someone know I’m thinking of them.

I don’t know if any of these tips are helpful to you, but in my process of trying to improve myself, I know this is an area I need to work on.  So I press on to be a better friend, daughter, sister, wife…

Do you have any ways that have helped you be more intentional in your relationships?  I’d love to hear them.


Friends and Family Friday: The imperfect spouse

I’m married to an imperfect man.  I could list some of these imperfections, but I would hate it if he pointed out all of mine for everyone to see so I won’t do that to him.   But he is imperfect.  He had messed up on little things and he has messed up on big things.  His imperfection gives me a lot of power.  I have the power to choose how I respond to him.

I could point out every flaw, keep a scorecard, belittle him to his face and behind his back and so on.  In the moment it might even make me feel better.  But in the long run, all that serves is to tear down our marriage.  And then how could I ask him to overlook and forgive my many, many, many imperfections?

This week on the third or fourth time that I read all the way through Philippians I started reading it as if I, like Paul, was talking to someone else instead of reading it as God talking to me.  That really convicted me on how I look at others, especially my husband.  Here’s some of the verses that stuck out to me.

“And I am certain that God, who began the good work within you will continue his work until it is finally finished on the day when Christ Jesus returns” (1:6) God’s not finished with Jeff yet so I shouldn’t expect perfection.

“I pray that your love will overflow more and more, and that you will keep on growing in knowledge and understanding.  For I want you to understand what really matters, so that you may live pure and blameless lives until the day of Christ’s return.” (1:9) Am I praying for Jeff like this?  What if I silently prayed this first when he messes up… perhaps it would help ease any anger or frustration.

There’s so many more that I won’t go into… but I’ll leave you with one that when I read Philippians as God talking to me definitely applies when you’re married to an imperfect spouse.  (which I’m suspecting anyone married is…)

“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.” (4:8) Let’s not spend our time dwelling on our spouse’s, or children’s, or co-worker’s, or friend’s imperfections.  Let’s trust God to “continue his work” on those things while we think on their great qualities.

Jeff is kind, thoughtful, funny, fun to be around, picks out great gifts, a great listener, loving, romantic, an involved dad, forgiving, blind (he must be because he tells me I’m beautiful…), athletic and a great encourager.

What are the great qualities in those around you?


Friends and Family Friday – dying flowers…

Last week a friend unexpectedly gave me a beautiful potted flower.  I don’t know what kind of flower it is because beyond roses and sunflowers I don’t know much about flowers.  But, the blooms were vibrant and it brightened my day.  Such a simple gesture, yet it meant so much to me.   I set it by my front door and then left it to fend for itself.  It did great for a few days.  Then it slowly shriveled away.

On Wednesday she was over my house and after she left I noticed the shriveled plant and hoped she hadn’t noticed it too!  If she did she probably thought that I didn’t appreciate her gift.  I did, but I didn’t take care of it.  (Stephanie, if you’re reading this, thank you and I’m sorry!)

That got me to thinking about my relationships with friends and family.  I have so many people in my life that give me so much (not just material things).  Do I take care of these gifts?  Do I take care of the relationships?  Do I make sure they get the attention they need to allow those relationships to vibrantly bloom or do I neglect them and let them shrivel away.  Many names quickly come to mind of relationships that I’ve neglected… now to start watering them.

By the way… after I started picking away the dead flowers and leaves on that flower, I noticed some buds offering hope that it will bloom again.