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Training Tuesday: The name on the bib

I did it!  I took the first step to a new level plunge.  I signed up for the Philly Half Marathon in November.

Back in the spring, I debated signing up for the Broad Street 10 mile and I hesitated and came up with reasons why not to and I missed it.  Then I was going to sign up for the Philly Rock n Roll Half back in September.  I hesitated and came up with reasons why not to and I missed it.  Each time, on race day, my Facebook page would be covered with pics and status updates about my friends completing the race.  And I would be wishing I did it too.

So I took the plunge, forked out the money that usually makes me hesitate, and signed up.  Funny thing, you know what made me actually sign up last night?  I got an email that said yesterday was the last day to sign up and have your name on your race bib.

Your name on your race bib.

Such a little thing, but also such a huge thing.  Last year, my friend Emily and I ran the Rothman 8k that is a part of the Philly Marathon Weekend.  We were so excited when we picked up our bibs and noticed our names on it.  We never had our names on a bib before.  It felt like we were in the big time now.

My name on the Rothman 8k race bib.
My name on the Rothman 8k bib.

But the best part about having your name on the bib?  We were at about the 4 mile mark in the race.  And someone in the crowd yelled, “Go Emily!”  We looked around to see who knew us and realized the person was simply yelling her name because it was on the bib.  But still, hearing her name definitely made us kick it into high gear for the last mile.

And so, as I was debating and hesitating and coming up with all sorts of reasons not to sign up for the half, one little email, with one seemingly silly message was the encouragement I needed.

Yesterday, I happened to meet my friend Emily for a run.  She told me she was debating signing up for the half.  I told her about the email and the names on the bib.  She had read the same email and was thinking the exact same thing.  So then last night at 11 pm I texted her that I just signed up for it … and she texted back that she had too!

Emily and I getting ready to start the Rothman 8k
Emily and I getting ready to start the Rothman 8k

So, Emily, I can’t wait for November 17th … to proudly wear our bibs with our names on them … and graduate from the 8k to run our first Half Marathon together!

And if you, dear reader, are debating doing something that you’ve never done before, I’m praying that you will stop debating and coming up with excuses (like I have), and that you will see the silly little signs of encouragement and go for it!

Pressing on together,


Wednesday’s Wisdom from the Word: Crown of thorns (again)

This week as we remember the crucifixion, the burial, and the resurrection of Christ, I’m resurrecting an old post.  Well, I guess reusing is a better word, but I liked tying it into the resurrection.  Anyway, this is a post that I wrote on January 4th.  I think it ties in perfectly with this week so I thought I’d share it again (well that and I haven’t been inspired with a new topic yet)…

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 (remember this was typed back in January) 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, 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.

Thursday’s Thoughts on Home: Top 10

We’ve been in our home for almost 7+ years and we are outgrowing it.  Things are breaking.  Trees need to be trimmed.  And instead of loving my home like I used to, I find myself seeing everything wrong with it.  So, in an effort to remind myself what I like about it, I’ve created a top 10 list.  This is mostly therapeutic for me, so if you don’t feel like reading, I get it… but perhaps if you find yourself complaining about your home, you should do a top 10 list too…

Top 10 Things I Like About My House

10.  The roof – my husband, brother-in-law and a friend worked really hard tearing off our old roof and putting on a new one.  It was a hot, hot week 2 summers ago and Jeff carried all the roofing materials up and down the ladder.  I was so proud of my artistic husband stepping out of his comfort zone and being a handyman.   And now, on days like yesterday, when the rain is pouring down, I no longer worry that the roof will start leaking.

9.  The color of my bedroom walls – White on the bottom, white chair rail, light blue on the top, and an even paler blue ceiling.  It always feels peaceful, especially when the room is clean (which I’ll admit is rare), but I love it… so much better than the mauve color it was when we moved in.

8.  The location – I love where we live.  We have a sidewalk lined street that I feel comfortable letting the kids play outside without me.  We can walk to the Kindergarten Center where my youngest goes to school, to the library, to a strip mall with an Acme, Hog Island (which has the best cheese steaks that I’m not eating right now), a True Value, a Chinese place, a nail salon, to the town park where there is a fair in May with carnival rides, to downtown where there are restaurants, ice cream places, parades, street festivals, and most importantly to friends’ homes.  And if we get in the car, within an hour we can get to the city and the Phillies, within 2 hours we can get to the beach and the mountains.

7.  The attic – We have pull down stairs which lead to an open attic over the whole house – tons of storage with easy access!

6.  The colors in the living room and hallway – When we moved in the walls were all white and so I decided to go bold.  The living room is a deep reddish-orange color and the hall is a beige-ish green.  It’s a small space and everyone said painting it dark would make it seem smaller.  I don’t think it does.  I’ll admit it’s difficult to make it feel bright and cheery with the lighting, but it always feels warm and comfy to me.

5.  The Kids’ “Cubbies” – I wrote about this before (click here to go to it).  I love the system I came up with for my boys’ coats, shoes, and back packs since my home has no foyer and a very small hall closet.  It also serves as an area to seasonally decorate.

4.  The Porch – We don’t have a basement, garage, dining room, or second family room and the porch serves as all of these.  It becomes a dumping ground for bikes, balls, shoes, winter stuff, beach stuff, toys… but it also serves as our dining area when we have too many guests for our kitchen.  The kids store most of their toys there and when it’s warm enough will play out there.

3.  Our Backyard – Although it’s not huge, it’s a perfect size for the 4 boys (which includes my husband) to go out back and play soccer, baseball or football.  Or to set-up a slip and slide or small pool… the kids have spent many, many hours out there.

2.  The heat is working – Several weeks ago I wrote about when the heating guy was here. He was able to get the heat working again for less than $200.   Praise the Lord.  We will need to switch over the heating system which will cost mucho bucks!  But we can take our time, and research and do it wisely instead of doing it out of desperation.

1.  It’s where my family is – It’s where we snuggle up on the couch together to watch a movie, it’s where we eat our family dinners, it’s where my boys do their homework, it’s where my husband comes home each day after work, it’s where we’ve celebrated births, birthdays and many, many firsts, it’s where we laugh, it’s where we cry, it’s where we feel safe and loved.  It’s home.


Mothering Monday: The praying mom

As moms, we all have really good intentions and lots of visions of how we’d like our mothering to look.  Maybe you’d like to be a June Cleaver keeping the perfect home, raising well-behaved kids, and having dinner ready for your hard-working husband when he arrives home from work, all while sporting heels and pearls.  Maybe you’d like to be a Mrs. Brady keeping the perfect home with the help of a housekeeper, raising well-behaved kids perfectly meshed together in a blended family.  Maybe you’d like to be a Claire Huxtable keeping the perfect home, raising well-behaved kids while successfully maintaining a successful law career.  Whatever your personal vision is, most likely your reality falls short of it.

As I’ve said over and over again, I am extremely aware of my imperfections.  Some I’m willing to concede to as just who I am.  Others I’m willing to accept as who I am today, but desire to press on in those areas to grow into the woman God has created me to be.  As a mom, I have many, many, many, many imperfections.  But lately one has been standing out above the others to me.  I haven’t been praying for my boys as faithfully as I should.  At night I pray with them.  But I haven’t been petitioning God on their behalf through the days.  I haven’t been praying for their safety at school.  When I’ve been frustrated about a behavior, I’ve talked to my husband and friends about it, but I haven’t been talking to their Creator about it.   I haven’t been praying for the friendships they are establishing.  I haven’t been praying for the decisions that they are making everyday.  I haven’t been praying about the decisions they will make in the future – decisions about sex, about drugs, about careers, about relationships.  I used to be better at this, but I’ve gotten busy and lazy and things with them have been going pretty well and the praying has been neglected.  But this is an imperfection on my part that I cannot allow to continue.

So as I’ve thought about how I want to be more intentional about praying, yesterday I was reminded of a prayer card I received years ago.  It is 31 Biblical Virtues to Pray For Your Kids.  My intention is to each day, pray one of the virtues for my boys.  For example #1 is Salvation.  So today I looked up the verses noted on the card.  “You heavens above, rain down my righteousness; let the clouds shower it down. Let the earth open wide, let salvation spring up, let righteousness flourish with it;  I, the LORD, have created it.” (Isaiah 45:8)  “Therefore I endure everything for the sake of the elect, that they too may obtain the salvation that is in Christ Jesus, with eternal glory.” (2Timothy 2:10)  I then prayed what was written on the card, “Lord, let salvation spring up within my children, that they may obtain the salvation that is in Christ Jesus, with eternal Glory.”  I then continued on my own praying, “God, thank you that (Son 1) and ( Son 2) have both asked you to be their savior.  I pray that as they grow they will not walk away from you.  I pray that when they do mess up, they will know the fullness of your forgiveness.   God, I pray for (Son 3).  I pray that he too will ask you to be his savior.  I pray that he will know that he will never be good enough, but that it is only through your death on the cross.”

Then I find that when I take those few moments to be more purposeful in praying for my boys, it continues through the day, shooting up prayers for them about anything and everything.  (You can order a prayer card like this one from here.  Or you can search “31 Biblical Virtues to Pray for Your Kids” and find them typed out on various sites.)

Now here’s the cool thing about my deciding yesterday that I need to be more focused on praying for my kids.  Last week I signed up for another blogger’s 31 day “Making Your Home a Haven” Challenge.  Then yesterday after I had gotten out the prayer card, I noticed she posted Week 1’s challenge:


“Go buy an extra large candle and light a candle everyday in your home. I will be starting mine in the morning! But you can start yours at dinner time. Do what makes sense for your family. I will be placing mine in the kitchen – the main hub of my home. Each time the candle catches your eye, say a prayer for peace in your home.”


In the post, she later says about a praying woman, “She knows that she is weak but God is strong and that she cannot fulfil the role of wife, mother, homemaker and sometimes employee, on her own strength. She is completely dependent on God and practices this dependence by daily praying for all of these things.”  (click here to read the whole post)  God is really impressing on me the need to pray, so I’m going to listen!  With the home decorated for fall and the cooler weather here, I love lighting candles.  I have my apple one in the kitchen ready to light once I’m done all my running around for the day.  Each time the candle catches my eye, in addition to praying for peace in my home, I’m going to pray the day’s virtue for my boys as well.

Are you a praying mom?  I’d love to hear the ways you pray.  Do you want to be more of a praying mom?  Join me in praying.  I’d love if you’d leave a comment committing to pray more.  Let’s encourage each other to Pray On as we Press On!

♥Becki, imperfect pray-er

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.

Mothering Monday: The Tattletale

“Mmmmooommmm!  My brother said I’m a tattletale!”  Whined imperfect son #3 as he came into my room.  My husband and I looked at each other while trying to hold back the laughter.  Apparently his brother was right.

When I “signed up” for the role of mother, I didn’t realize that a large part of the job description included being a referee.  Whether I’m refereeing whose turn it is to play with a toy, to go first at something, or who is right and who is wrong, it’s one of the things I like least about being a mom, but I know it is necessary – especially since I have 3 boys.  I try to teach them how to work things out on their own, but often the dispute warrants my intervention.

One of the things that I struggle with the most is how to handle when they tell on each other.  Right now I know their motivation for telling me is purely to get the sibling in trouble.  So I want to correct them for tattling.  But then, there’s a slight check in my spirit that wonders if I really want to do that.

Here’s my dilemma:  when they are older and the things that they might be doing wrong are more dangerous, I want them to tell me about it.  What if, despite all Jeff’s and my work as parents, and all of our prayers over them, one of them gets involved in drinking, drugs, stealing, skipping school, hurting others or something along those lines?  If their siblings know, I’d want them to tell me.  What if their friends started getting involved in these things?  I’d want them to tell me.  What if kids at school were hurting them, stealing from them, or teasing them?  I’d want them to tell me.  So do I really want to train them not to tell me when someone is doing something wrong or hurts them?

To me, the distinction of when it’s tattling and when it’s not is pretty straightforward – it’s based on motivation.  Like I said before, if the motivation is purely to get someone in trouble, than it’s tattling.  If you care about the person and your motivation is that something might get broken or someone might get hurt, than that is being responsible.   But since right now, my imperfect sons really only tell on each other to get the sibling in trouble, how do I train them to learn the difference.  I feel like I can explain it until I’m blue in the face, but they don’t understand.

So then should I just promote the tattling so that they’ll be used to it when a situation comes up that I, or the teacher, really needs to know about?  Any thoughts, suggestions, or advice is welcome… because I really don’t have the answers on this one!

♥Becki, imperfect referee