keeping it real as a parent

I've been keeping up fairly well with my Bible reading goal and I'm a little more than half way through Leviticus at this point.  I try not to think of it as "trudging through" - mainly because I know Numbers is a-comin' and those names can be trudgery at it's finest! ;)

I love how every time you read the Bible - whether the parts you've read a million times, or the things that seem brand new (or are new-to-you) - the Spirit enables a fresh thought or message for life.  Today as I was reading Leviticus 8 in the New Living Translation, a particular phrase jumped out at me as it was repeated over and over.
"...just as the LORD had commanded him."

Moses has heard all the Lord's instructions for the Tabernacle and the procedure for the offerings and priestly behaviour, and now his job is to anoint and ordinate Aaron and his sons for duty.  As he fulfills each requirement he is careful and meticulous in his obedience.

I started to think about my life and it was as though the Holy Spirit bold-printed the phrase
"...just as the LORD had commanded him."
in my Bible.  How often am I that meticulously obedient?  How often would the phrase more likely read:
"...pretty close to what the LORD commanded her."
"...kind of like what the LORD commanded her."

Have you begun to wonder if I put the wrong title to this post?

Something that has been rattling around in the parenting compartment of my brain - yes, even my brain is categorized and labelled - is about expectations.  I have noticed in myself a tendency to expect more from my kids that I do of myself.  Please don't be horrified, it's rather well-meaning if you think about it for a moment.  I want my kids to avoid making mistakes they'll one day regret or having attitudes they will later have to fix.  I want them to skip the part of life where they're unsure and doubting about their faith and move straight to the whole-hearted devotion part.

But as I realized again how far I've yet to grow in my obedience to the Lord, I was reminded again about the importance of the process.  Perfection is not what makes Grace sweet - it's acknowledging the inability to be perfect that makes Grace such a precious commodity.  The rules and laws of the Old Testament were put in place to remind God's people that they simply can't be good enough! ("for what the law was powerless to do in that it was weakened by the sinful nature, God did by sending his own Son in the likeness of sinful man to be a sin offering..." Rom 8: 3)

So even though my 3 little blessings are unlikely to be able to do "just as Mom commanded them" all the time, I can show them grace - by lovingly correcting and guiding them - just as the Lord does with me.

In my mind, that's keeping it real as a parent.


judge not

My bathroom is a mess.
Please don't judge me.

The unkind judge says I'm lazy, or dirty, or need to get my priorities in order.

The too-kind judge says I must be busy baking and reading to my children,
volunteering and giving my best self to others, not my toilet.

It's just not clean today.
That is all.


My bathroom is clean.
Please don't judge me.

The unkind judge says I'm neglecting my family, have some sort of OCD, or need to get my priorities in order.

The too-kind judge says I'm super mom, getting it all done, even shining the mirrors and taps. (I bet she caught her own fish for an omega-3 boost for the family's dinner, too...)

It just got cleaned today.
That is all.

I am not my bathroom.
My bathroom says nothing about me except that I prefer it clean.

That is all.


my identity

working today....
prepping for a Ministry Leaders Forum tonight
where the topic is 
the importance of faithfulness:
why we should never, ever, give up.

found a great study from 1 Kings 19:4-16 -
Elijah: discouraged, depressed, dejected.

took time to reveal Himself;
to remind Elijah whose he was.

Then I found this song
from two of my favorite worship leaders
Israel Houghton (yes, again)
and Chris Tomlin.
I know who I am.


call it what you will

We started a great discussion yesterday, and I've responded to some of the comments on yesterday's post in the comment section.  Today is part II - written at the same time as yesterday's post (but I didn't want to break any records for the World's Longest Blog Post!).

I know a person who always seems to see the bright side of things.  Who always seems happy to see you - and everyone else, who loves kids - even the annoying ones - and loves to bring fun into any and every situation.  People sometimes think this person is goofy or oblivious or a pie-in-the-sky Pollyanna.  I have thought it must be exhausting to feel compelled to be so positive and optimistic.  People - Christians - I know have openly mocked this happy-go-lucky attitude and I have rolled my eyes (to my shame) at this person's unending enthusiasm.

Are some people naturally like this?

could be.

I am not naturally positive and optimistic - does that mean I'm destined to a life of negativism, of being a life-sucker rather than a life giver?

maybe not....

In chapter 11 of Gretchen Rubin's book, The Happiness Project, in discussing keeping a contented heart, she comes around to idea of choosing to "give positive reviews."  By her definition this means to be more enthusiastic and to become one of the "joyous ones."  She quickly realizes how very difficult it is to abandon a lifestyle of  enjoying the "delicious satisfaction" of criticizing.  She readily identifies how being critical made her "feel more sophisticated and intelligent" and how studies have shown that "people who are critical are often perceived as more discerning."[p. 268]  As she seeks to keep her resolution to "Give positive reviews," she attempts an intensive approach - no negative comments for one week. 

Could you do that?  I'm not sure I could (certainly not without the Lord's help!)....

Here's what she learned:

"Once I started trying to give positive reviews, though, I began to understand how much happiness I took from the joyous ones in my life - and how much effort it must take for them to be consistently good-tempered and positive. It is easy to be heavy; hard to be light. We non-joyous types suck energy and cheer from the joyous ones; we rely on them to buoy us with their good spirit and to cushion our agitation and anxiety.  At the same time, because of a dark element in human nature, we're sometimes provoked to try to shake the enthusiastic, cheery folk out of their fog of illusion....instead of shielding their joy, we blast it." [p.270]

And I thought of the person I know who is consistently good-tempered, who is one of the joyous ones.  And it occurred to me that this person might not "naturally" be like that.  Perhaps a lifetime of choosing to be positive and enthusiastic has led to the seemingly effortless fun and delight that defines them.  As I continued reading, I was convicted by the realization that it takes a great deal of humility to lay aside the desire and impulse to use "sarcasm, ironic asides and cynical comments" to make myself appear smart and discerning. "A willingness to be pleased," Rubin says, "requires modesty and even innocence - easy to deride as mawkish and sentimental."

Having "ready laughter" is something that I've valued in others and have desired to bless others with.  For me this often means delighting with someone in the "obvious" joke, rather than just smiling out of courtesy.  To be there for those around me, laying aside my personal preferences in humour or entertainment styles.

I've never preferred the word "happy."  Something in me has always considered it unspiritual.  JOY - yes that is good and godly, but it isn't something that is necessarily reflected on the outside.  It's a deep sense of peace and satisfaction that comes from the security of a relationship with the Lord - but doesn't mean you'll be happy.  Happy is fluffy.  Happy is circumstantial.  Happy is for morning people.  Happy isn't necessary for Christians....

found it here
notice the vacancy sign??
I'm thankful for this book because through Rubin's writing, the Lord gave me peace with this little word.  Happy is ok.  Happy is not a feeling in and of itself, it's an external view of my heart.  (Be joyful in hope... Rom 12:12)  For me, happy is the outward display of being joyful.  Happy will draw people in instead of pushing them away.  Happy will reflect the character of a loving God as it reflects that deep sense of joy that comes from a meaningful relationship with Jesus. Happy will enable me to speak joy into the lives of my family, friends and community.  And maybe I'll never achieve the kind of happiness displayed by "the person I know" but I am sure that every time I lay down my pride to show more of what God can do in a person like me, I will make Him happy (pleased, joy-filled, delighted, glad - call it what you will) too.

May the righteous be glad and rejoice before God;
may they be happy and joyful.
Psalm 68:3



It's been a while since I've posted and I'm not entirely sure what's been stopping me...
ok, as soon as I finished typing that line, I realized that I do know, I'm just not going to talk about it.

Regardless, I need to return The Happiness Project to the friend who let me borrow it but before I do, there are a couple of things I feel compelled to process a little further - and have on "paper" for me to refer back to. 

If you've taken a peek at my "new gadget/widget/whatev" you have seen that I really identified with the author (Gretchen Rubin) of this book, but there was one chapter in particular that actually made me stop reading and think.  This was followed by re-reading, more thinking, reading aloud to my husband and discussing in small chunks for several days (with 3 kids, that's how you discuss just about everything!).

Each of the chapters in this book is a month dedicated to a specific goal - of course, this I love!  In my world goals = gooood! (but more on that in another post).  The November chapter was called: Keep a Contented Heart.  As a Christ-follower, this is not a new concept - who hasn't memorized Philippians 4:11-13 at some point or another?  But one of the things that really struck me as Rubin unfolded what keeping content was going to look like in her life, was how far off the mark I really can be!  I mean, I'm content with my home and possessions, my appearance (most days of the month), my lot in life, my ministry and spiritual gifts - so that's it, right?  Well, look at this....

She breaks down her monthly goals into sub-goals (and of course, this I love!): i) laugh out loud, ii) use good manners, iii) give positive reviews, iv) find an area of refuge.  The first has been something I've been working on for quite a while.  If you have kids, watch their faces when they are able to make you really laugh, with complete abandon - you've never seen such delight!  Choosing to find the fun/funny in things is a gift you give to others.  Here's a quote that will take you right to the point:

found it here
"Responding with laughter meant that I had to give up my pride, my defensiveness, my self-centeredness."
 (page 264)

This is one I had to chew on for quite a while. This doesn't just mean being able to laugh at yourself, though that's part of it.  It means making the choice to let go and just enjoy instead of seeing the down-side of things, or thinking that this world is all about me. 

Yesterday after school, my kids were talking about how they'd spent their indoor recesses, and the younger two were demonstrating their "mad skillz" in dance having played Just Dance 2 on the Wii in the gym.  Please believe me when I say I'm not usually so indulgent, but I actually went out and got the game, just so I could see them dance.  As we broke out some moves (myself included, I'll have you know!) my oldest kept choosing a game and then refusing to dance to it.  This poor sweetie - first born, potential perfectionist - could not let go.  She heard us all laughing together and assuming we were making fun of her.  My heart broke, because I know what that feels like.  It can be so hard to let yourself just be silly for the sake of fun.
As I quoted a while ago (and Rubin quotes often in the book):

It is easy to be heavy; hard to be light

Do you think it requires giving up pride, defensiveness and self-centeredness to be more fun and laugh out loud?

Do you think making this choice would help you feel more content in life?

I've always thought it was a personality-related thing - that there are just certain types of people that do this naturally and easily.  But is that really the case?

More on that next time....

dun, dun, duuunnnn.....
(cliff hanger music!)


new gadget

what's the difference between a gadget and a widget?

it's not a joke, i literally don't know.....

Either way, I added a new "something" to my side panel to keep track of the books I'm reading.  Last year I resolved to read more (and better) books.  I think I did pretty well with that resolution.  I discovered a new fiction writer that I LOVE named Lisa Samson.  
Quaker Summer was so inspiring and Embrace Me was very moving.
I finally got around to reading some Donald Miller 
better late than never?
I read two of his books backwards 
(which isn't say from back to front, but in the opposite order to when they were published...)
A Million Miles in a Thousand Years made me think about my story
and Blue Like Jazz made me think about my faith.
I read some biographies and more memoirs - these are my favorite books to read.
A Year of Living Biblically was a fun read that convicted me of how little I know of levitical law and how much discipline it really takes to live as a faithful follower of Jesus.
I read a little book that was on our shelf called Churched about a guy growing up in a fundamentalist church and how's he reconciled it with how he understands his faith now.
I read some really great parenting books, the best being
Probably the best book I read all year.
I hope that book has made me a more gracious mom - with the Lord's help!
I read some books on worship and even a marriage book that I didn't think I'd ever read.
{and of course, I read alot more fluffy fiction}
Books make me feel smarter....
or a least more well read - go figure.
They give me things to think about and help me in my endless pursuit at improving my small-talk skills.

So, my resolve remains and I will track my reading with my new gadget.

do you judge me if this is fun for me?
or maybe you're inspired to track your reading too?



There's not much that tops hearing what is sometimes called "a timely word." - at least not in my books! :)  That message that speaks directly to the part of your heart you've been trying to ignore or avoid, that word of Truth that affirms God's presence not only in the world, but in your own small life.

This morning our pastor started a series on the Gospel of Mark that he's calling "the Cost of Discipleship."  I thought I knew the book of Mark pretty well, but here I was listening to just the introduction of what we'll be looking at in the weeks to come and realizing how much I don't know....  (never a bad thing to be reminded...)

He pointed out that both the beginning and the end of the book are kind of abrupt - the beginning not starting with Jesus in the manger and the end (the truest end at 16:8) without Jesus ascending into heaven.  He explained that this likely reflects the way the disciples experienced the story - kind of confusing, sometimes scary (see 16:8).

He also explained that Mark makes a point of contrasting "the crowd" that followed Jesus and His chosen disciples.  The description of the crowd - interested and curious about Jesus, even liking being around Him, but not willing to commit to living like Him; happy to be ministered to, but not willing to extend ministry - in contrast to the picture of the disciples - not perfect, but willing to serve;  obedient in perseverance even though they often couldn't make sense of the why's and how's.

In passing, the topic of the feeding of the 4000+ and 5000+ came up and Brian pointed out that there's no mention of the disciples getting fed amongst the crowd.  That while they likely didn't go hungry, the bigger point was that they were the ones passing out the food.

This is something I've struggled with for many years, but even more so since I've officially taken a  ministry position.  It can hard to be on the team of "paid" feeders.  (and now I'm picturing myself like my new bird feeder!)

Sometimes I feel my heart rumbling with hunger - wanting to be fed - and I long to be a feed-ee instead of passing out the food.

But here is what the Lord is telling me today:

"Jesus declared: 'I am the bread of life. Whoever comes to me will never go hungry,
and whoever believes in me will never be thirsty.' "
John 6:35

{Do you love seeing our Saviour remind us who He is by saying, "I AM." I do!!}

What the Lord has done for me is enough to supply everything I need to pursue the life He is calling me to.....

hey, am I reminding myself to Be Becky? :)

If being one who passes out the food means I have to be more careful about getting fed by the Lord through prayer and through the Word, that can't be a bad thing!   And even though not everyone is called to a "job" in ministry, ALL disciples of Jesus are to called to step out of the crowd and serve.  Every one doing their part, using their unique gifts for the extension of the Kingdom of God.  The now and not yet - a taste of what heaven will be. 



for myself

for the one with many hopes
who feels hopeless....

for the one who longs to have peace
but feels burdened....

for the one who wants be good-natured and fun
but sees what is dark and what is wrong...

"It is easy to be heavy; hard to be light."
G.K. Chesterson

"Take my yoke upon and learn from me,
for I am gentle and humble in heart,
and you will find rest for your souls.
For my yoke is easy and my burden is light."
Matthew 11:29-30

for those who want to believe
and are plagued with unbelief...

"I do believe, help me overcome my unbelief!"
Mark 9:24

for the one who needs the reassurance,
again and again and again...

"The LORD appeared to us in the past, saying,
'I have loved you with and everlasting love;
I have drawn you with unfailing kindness.' "
Jeremiah 31:3

A friend gave me a necklace made by this artist.
Check out her website to understand the meaning behind this wearable art. 
"My heart says of you, 'Seek His face!' Your face, LORD, I will seek."
Psalm 27:8

thank you, Lord. 


long list

find it
 It should come as no surprise that when it comes to my life, I'm always looking for ways to improve.  The very title of this blog is representative of my life: 

"a little bit more"

Verses that speak to my heart often include lists.  Ones like:
  ~2 Peter 1:5-9
~Romans 5:1-4
~Titus 2:4-5
~Zephaniah 3:17
~1 Thessalonians 5:16-18
~Micah 6:8
~Proverbs 2:1-5
~Colossians 3:12-15
~Psalm 143:8-10
~Job 11:13-18
~Deuteronomy 30:11-20

When I make a new year's resolution list, it usually will have categories and sub-headings... I do realize how crazy that sounds, and maybe right about now you're beginning to feel sorry for me, thinking that I'm so burdened by trying to live up to some impossible standard...

Well the thing is, I just don't see it that way.

Resolutions for me, are not something that I keep or break, start and stop.  It's pursuit.  It's reaching. 

Maybe I am worthy of your pity, but I feel perfectly balanced when I can be content with who I am and strive, with the Lord's help, to be more. 

I think that is why I feel really good about having only one item on my list this year.  It comes from a book I've been reading called The Happiness Project by Gretchen Rubin.  Right from the beginning, I could identify with this author.  So when she said that number one on her list of Twelve Personal Commandments was "Be Gretchen," it really struck me.  And so perhaps is comes as no big surprise that my one resolution this year is to

Be Becky.

I recently discovered that someone who, after getting to know me a bit, has (I'm pretty sure) decided they're not that fond of me.  (gasp!)  ...and ouch.  And yet, it's ok.  I'm tired of trying to "fit" with people - I'm not even sure that it's honouring to the Lord.  When I alter my ideas or personality just to play by the rules of others, I'm not being who God has made me to be.

Let me be clear about what I'm not saying.

I'm not saying that in order to keep my resolution, I'm going to "let it all hang out" or be so completely (and offensively) "authentic" that I will be repulsive to be around.  At least I hope not! :)

What I long for in my life is what God wants for me based on His Word alone.  (This is why a sub-heading for my resolution is to a) learn who I am in Christ by reading the Bible from cover to cover.)  I want to grow up in Him, making choices in every area of my life (parenting, home decor, ministry, fashion, marriage, friendships) based on my gifts and His strength channeled through me - NOT based on fitting in or the concern of "rocking the boat."

audience of One.

My friend preached a sermon yesterday from the book of Philippians about "Pressing On."  As I looked into my favorite bible, underlined all over the place, I felt a pull toward learning this little book inside and out.  And so I chose from it my verse for this year:

"And this is my prayer: that your love may abound more and more
in knowledge and depth of insight,
so that you may be able to discern
what is best
and may be pure and blameless
until the day of Christ,
filled with the fruit of righteousness that comes through Jesus Christ-
to the glory and praise of God."
Philippians 1:9-11

What better words to strengthen and encourage me to keep my resolve!

have YOU chosen a verse for 2011?


it's all new

Christmas has come and gone

and truth-be-told, I'm breathing a sigh of relief!

although I never get tired of seeing my kids on stage,

I'm not a huge fan of hustle and bustle, rushing to get everywhere.

These last few days have been the high-light for me...

endless hours in my new jammies,

organizing and purging....

there's nothing more peaceful and cleansing to me!

And so all that's left to say today is:

Happy New Year!

This is by far my favorite day of the year.
I'm all about resolutions and goals.

It has taken me for-ev-ah to remember how to make a new header for the blog, so I don't have much time to post before heading off to spend New Year's Day with my folks.  

I haven't had terribly much to say here lately because there has been far too many things on my mind....

does that make sense??

I'm hoping to have time later today to sit and write and process...

to pray and listen....

I know the Lord has big plans for me this year.

How 'bout you?
Are you a resolution-type person?

let's share!
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