Tag Archives: christianity

Snapshots in My Mind

A few weeks ago, as I sat in the choir loft at church, I looked down at the two children who were listening to the children’s sermon.  It was my eight year old daughter and her 18 month old cousin.  They were sitting on the front pew and little Ella was listening as intently as I have ever seen her.  Even the Pastor mentioned how she appeared to be taking it all in.  When it was time for the prayer, my daughter put her arms around Ella and took her hands in her own to show her how to fold her hands in prayer.  They were both dressed in black and white and it looked like they were posing for a picture to be used as an advertisement for a church or something.  It was a perfect scene and I so wished I had had my camera to take a picture.   I took a moment for prayer myself.  I prayed that God would allow me to take a snapshot with my mind of that very moment so that I could always remember these two little girls, their innocence, their sincerity.  I looked at them with intent and clicked a button in my mind.

This wasn’t the first snapshot that I’ve taken without a camera in my hand.  I remember another occasion where my older daughters were playing in the sandbox.  They were probably 5 and 3 and they were just chattering and playing nicely.  I remember looking at them through my kitchen window while doing lunch dishes and wanting to remember that moment forever.  When would it ever be like this again?  They were both wearing pink and they were smiling and giggling as they dug.  I took the picture for my memory.  Years later, when my oldest daughter returned from college for a weekend, I looked out the kitchen window and saw them sitting in the sand box.  The sun was shining and their long, lanky legs were bent, they really didn’t fit in the box, but were seated on the edge.  They weren’t giggling, they were talking very seriously while they watched sand trickle out of their hands.  Again, click, Lord let me remember this moment.  My daughters, still friends, still in the sandbox.

Today I drove to the end of the lane to get my youngest on the school bus.  With a cup of tea in hand, I sit in the car and watch her board Bus #13 every day.  Our routine.  I watch her greet the driver, walk back the aisle to the 4th seat on the right, she slides in and she looks out the dirty window and waves as the bus pulls away.  Click.  Lord, let me remember this moment.

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Filed under Big Kids, Inspirational, Life, Little Kids, Parenting

The Lord Spoke To Me

I wanted to share an “ah-ha” moment with Paul.  We were sitting at the dinner table sharing about our day and I said, “Today while I was doing laundry, the Lord spoke to me.  He said in a loud, deep, booming voice, ‘ Lii…inn……da….”  No. No He didn’t, but I did get Paul’s attention and I do believe I had a “moment.”  Maybe it was God speaking to me though I’m not one of those people who says the Lord speaks to them in an audible voice.  I have never had that experience, but yesterday, my “moment” felt like it was God sent.

My family has been battling illness for 17 days (but who’s counting?)  In an attempt to keep from sharing germs I have been diligent with changing hand towels, sanitizing door knobs, and doing mountains of laundry!  Piles of sheets, throw pillows, and afghans have been a laundry room floor covering. Laundry has been non-stop.  Yesterday, I had my head inside my front loading washing machine to get that last dingy white tube sock that was stuck to the top of the drum, when I recognized how blessed I was.  (The “moment.”) I was doing laundry.  I was well enough to complete this job.  I was doing a mundane task that I typically dread, but I was aware…very aware of what I wasn’t doing.  I wasn’t frustrated with my husband’s choices like a friend of mine was.  I wasn’t struggling with how to support an unemployed child.  I wasn’t choosing a casket for my parent or spouse.  I wasn’t rushing to the emergency room.  I wasn’t in crisis yet many people I know were.  I was not & I was grateful.  As aware as I was of the fact that I wasn’t doing any of those things, I also recognized that some day I will probably have to.  Today my prayers are with those who are not doing laundry.  I wish you strength during this time and I pray that someday, you, too, will be doing laundry again.

A Time for Everything

Ecclesiastes 3:1-8 New International Version (NIV)

There is a time for everything,
    and a season for every activity under the heavens:

    a time to be born and a time to die,
    a time to plant and a time to uproot,
    a time to kill and a time to heal,
    a time to tear down and a time to build,
    a time to weep and a time to laugh,
    a time to mourn and a time to dance,
    a time to scatter stones and a time to gather them,
    a time to embrace and a time to refrain from embracing,
    a time to search and a time to give up,
    a time to keep and a time to throw away,
    a time to tear and a time to mend,
    a time to be silent and a time to speak,
    a time to love and a time to hate,
    a time for war and a time for peace.

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The Stories

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The annual family Christmas party is over and once again, if we are rating adventures, I feel like our “crazies” have won first place.  When this party was held in 2013, our exchange student from Russia was being introduced, Lori had graduated from college and Nicole had moved out of state in the previous 3 weeks and Kevin had just returned from a 9 week stint of teaching surfing in South Africa.  What would 2014 bring?  What stories would we have to tell at the annual Beck Cousin Christmas party in 2014?  Well, not to disappoint, the kids continued to be adventurous.  Kevin traveled to Israel, Lori moved to Pittsburgh, Victor, the exchange student, returned home to Russia, Nicole enjoyed living on Park Avenue in NYC, & Paul shot his thumb with a 9mm,  But I think the story that wins top prize is Kevin biking across the United States on his bicycle.  Thirty-Four Hundred Miles…Alone…Staying with strangers he met…on the internet!  The part I like best about the story is the gasp that comes out of the mouths of mothers when I say those words.  I almost wait for it and I’m excited when it comes because it gives me the opportunity to share one of the best things that happened to ME in 2014!  I discovered how to trust and rely on God more deeply.

When Kevin decided to do this trip, I once again hit him with, “I don’t think this is a good idea.”  That was soon followed by “I don’t have peace about this.”  To that, he wisely replied, “You won’t have peace about this until you realize you have no control over it.”  How true he was.  How true he is.  We don’t have peace when we are trying to control situations and/or others.  We have peace when we trust and rely on God to be in control.  When we let God be God, we can rest in that.

Though Kevin attempted to check in by text daily, there were times when I had no idea where he was or how he was doing, yet I had peace.  I did not lose a night’s sleep, I did not worry, I did not fret.  So unlike what I expected.  It was hard to explain.  I was just okay with it.  When I’d run into someone at the store and they’d ask about Kevin’s whereabouts, I would have to admit that I wasn’t sure where he was that day.  They would respond with alarm, but I was comforted knowing that God knew where he was even if I didn’t.

I had a visual in my mind that I kept to comfort me.  It was an image of the United States map, my family standing on one side and Kevin on his bike pedaling across the map.  The important part was that there was a string on Kevin’s bike going up to God.  So, on any given day, even though, I didn’t know where Kevin was, God had him tethered to Him.  He was safe & God knew where he was.  I joked that the only problem with my image was that since I’m a left to right thinker, in my vision, Kevin was always pedaling left to right, which is actually, from California to the Atlantic Ocean when in reality, he was headed the other direction.

I shared this story with Lori’s boyfriend one evening at dinner.  He blessed me the next day with an original painting of what I had shared.  I was so excited to have my thoughts on canvas in addition to in my mind.

Kevin’s trip was a huge success and also a huge success for my mothering journey.  I didn’t think it was a good idea.  I didn’t have peace, but when I decided I had to give control to someone else, I gained peace and get the incredible opportunity to share the story with cousins, friends and now you!  I wonder what my family will bring to the story board next year!  Here’s to PEACE and adventure in 2015!

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Filed under Big Kids, family, Inspirational, Parenting, Trauma-mama, Travels

Ten Days Til Christmas

Soon, Kaylee will come downstairs and run to the chalkboard and change the number to say “10 days ’til Christmas.”  Every year these countdown Santas, Snowmen & Candles have been a part of our season of Christmas traditions.  Only this year have I recognized that counting down to December 25 isn’t doing the season justice.

We have already celebrated Christmas in many ways.  We’ve decorated our house with twinkle lights, we have sung songs at the Senior Center.  I have spent a day with girlfriends shopping for others.  We attended a tree-trimming party.  In 10 days we will wake early, open presents, lunch with family & go to bed tired.  It will be an incredible blessed day….it always is.  BUT, the advent season is the fun part.  I’ve decided to change the countdowns in my  mind.  Not to just countdown to the 25th, but count down to the events leading up to it.

10 Days til Christmas

BUT

9 Days til the Candlelight Service at Church;

6 Days til the Children’s Christmas Pageant and Tureen Dinner

4 Days til the Elementary School’s Christmas Concert

3 Days til the Girl Scouts go caroling at the Nursing Home

1 Day til the Dance Class Christmas Party

12 hours til the Big Brother Big Sister Christmas Party

3 hours til I get to go shopping with Lori and have a festive lunch out.

And, 45 minutes until I get the joy of seeing Kaylee run down the stairs and change the chalkboard.

This is what it’s all about!  I intend to celebrate Jesus’s birthday at each of these events and thank Him for the opportunity!

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A Son, A Gun & A Hidden Blessing

I actually started blogging so that I could share this story with others yet it’s taken me weeks to have the courage to do so. It is my prayer that I can do it justice.

A typical day in my household full of chaos.  My husband was working out of town, so pizza was on the menu for dinner.  My oldest girls had launched recently and every day I tend to have to remember which of my children are in my house that day.  My oldest son was texting from a NYC airport as he prepared to fly to Israel to see friends.  Can you feel the Mom anxiety level rise?  On paper I can see it too, but with God as my strength this afternoon is almost typical.  Victor, our 17 year old Russian exchange student needs help purchasing airline tickets online and Paul’s therapist is to arrive at 7:30.  Kaylee (my 8 year old daughter) is spending the afternoon of “No Homework” twirling a baton and watching TV.  Other than the butterflies in my stomach regarding Kevin’s trip that I prayed away each time they came, it was a quiet afternoon.

Paul decided to go out hunting and I was pleased.  Paul, an anxious kid with a bunch of behavior problem, prefers to stay indoors and plugged in to screens most of the time so I am pleased that he wants to go outside.  I say a quick prayer, grateful for the beautiful day & Paul wanting to walk in nature.

Paul’s “hunting” consists of a BB gun, an air gun or a sling shot and never a kill.  Hunting = a walk in the woods.  In my opinion great for a kid like him.

The doorbell rings and I assume it is Paul just wanting to make me greet him but it was a neighbor.  We visit our neighbors when we see them outside but we never ring the doorbell to see them.  This is not a good thing.  The neighbor tells me Paul’s been hurt while hunting.  Though I kick it in to Mom- Emergency gear, I’m not overly concerned.  It was a BB gun, how bad could it be?  When I get to Paul and see the blood soaked towel and hear the sirens, I know it’s bad.

Wanting to get him ready to go to the hospital, I ask him where the gun is.  It is in his pocket.  I have him stand and I reach into his pocket and feel heavy, cold steel.  This I not an air gun, this is a real gun.  My stomach lurches as I pull it out and reach my arm as far back as I can.  I don’t handle guns and this one scares me to death.  My neighbor takes it from me and unloads it.  I later learn that it is a 9 mm pistol owned by my husband.  Paul got the unloaded pistol out of the box that was in the gun cabinet that is in my husband’s closet.  He shot his thumb.  He was hunting behind our house but went to 4 neighbors’ houses before he found one home because he didn’t want to come home and get in trouble.

My support team of family, friends and community members came out in full force.  They went into the woods to look for any missing pieces to the thumb, they cared for Kaylee and Victor and gave me love and encouragement.

Paul and I rode the ambulance to a location where the medical helicopter could land.  As Paul was being loaded onto the helicopter, I was able to give him his comfort stuffed animal that I threw into my bag as I rushed out of the house.  Not knowing what exactly I was facing, I grabbed a bag and threw in my phone charger, my iPad (My Bible app is in there), deodorant, a sweater, Paul’s stuffed animal and my journal.

Paul lifts off and my sister in law drives me to the hospital an hour away.

Praise God!  The injury wasn’t as bad as we thought and certainly not as bad as it could’ve been.  Paul lost the top of this thumb.  It will be a journey as it heals, but all things considered, this is great news.

As I sit in the ER waiting for Paul to be discharged, I share with my sister-in-law that I just read James 1:2-9 that morning.  Then I got out my journal and re-read my words, the words of others and my own words.  Words the Lord had me write down that very morning to speak to me that night.

Journal Entry 6-3-14 6:00 a.m.      A new journal, a new day.  Paul slept in and is now in the shower.  I am at such a loss for how to handle him.  Even when he isn’t disobeying, I resent him.  His constant breaking the rules & pushing the envelope.  Constant.  Lord, strengthen me.  Help me formulate a plan and even a thought process that doesn’t make me angry all the time.

Victor (our Russian Exchange Student) said once, “Why you so aggressive? So Angry?”  Lord, I don’t want to be, but maybe I am.  I used to NOT be.  And, I’m definitely not when Paul is not around.  Rescue me Lord.

Devotional – Read James 1:2-9 (The 365 Most Important Bible Passages for Women)

“But God wants us to look through his eyes & see problems as gifts, as opportunities, that allow us to live what we believe and grow our faith.”

From a couple of days ago journal.

 “Jesus can strengthen our faith if we will wait patiently and trust in God’s desire to make us more like himself.” (From Footprints for Women – Margaret Fishback Power)

That’s what it is about.  Not how it appears, not how it appears to others, but about making us more like Him.  To see problems as a gift?  That’s tough.  Lord, help me to mature in you.  To know that these problems keep me on my knees and nearer to you.  That these are blessings, not curses.  That anything that makes me turn to you is a good thing.  That said, Paul is the best thing that has ever happened to me!  He has given me a deep need for you!  He has been the vessel you use to have me examine me.

Thank you Lord, for Paul.

The Lord wrapped his arms around me in that Emergency Room.  James 1:9 says, “the brother in humble circumstances ought to take pride in his high position.”  I was humbled.  I was in the arms of the Lord.  It doesn’t get any higher than that.

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Reason for the Season

photo of bible-ads

One day past Thanksgiving and I am thinking about Christmas.  I am still in my pajamas savoring the sleeping family, a cup of tea and time to reflect.  Thanksgiving was amazing.  I celebrated with my entire family at my Mom’s house on Wednesday.  Thirty Six in All!  Then, I enjoyed a wonderful Thanksgiving day with my in-laws with only one family member missing.  THAT is what I’m thankful for.  The time together and the laughter.  The games and the hilarity of everyone playing them.  THAT is what I’m thankful for.  However, the biggest thing that I’m thankful for is the God who gave me all of these blessings.  A God who knew before I was born who should constitute my family.  Who knows who I need right now.  It’s Him I want to thank and HIM who I want to be thankful for.

So,  today as I prepare to honor Him on His birthday in only 27 days from now, I get scared.  Scared that I’ll get lost.  I may lose the meaning of the whole holiday.  I might get tangled up in a web of tinsel and commercialism.  I might actually believe that a present I buy for one of my children might make them happy.  When, in reality, it’s never about the gift that can be put under the tree.  It’s all about the gift of Jesus that our Savior has given us!  How can I display that this year?  I won’t be able to ice that message on the top of a sugar cookie.  It won’t be evident on the wrapping paper and it won’t necessarily be an ingredient in the caramel corn.   I don’t know how to get the message across, but I sincerely hope to spend the next 27 days trying to come up with ways to remind myself and others about our real celebration.

It’s may appear to be a slight margin, but I think the picture shows that the Bible still has more to say on the subject than all these sales ads.

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Panickly Repinning

A new word.  I’ve penned a new word.  Panickly.  Yep, just used it in a sentence.  “People were panickly repinning my pin.”  I like it.  I used it.  I’ll own it.  I think it is a nice blend between Panicking and Frantically.  We panicked, frantic people don’t have time to use both words, so we need to combine them.  OK, but I think I should share why I used it and why people are panickly repinning my pin.  Because Thanksgiving is in two days and people in the church who work with children recognize that soon….very soon….we have to come up with some sort of Christmas Pageant.

I am excited to say that in my very small church we have a very small cast to consider and we tailor the play to fit the age of the kids.  All 6-7 children will get the part of their choice and there will be no shortage of laughter.  One year, we had a 3 year old angel do the entire show with Continue reading

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