Thursday, December 20, 2007

Christmas Blessings...

One of my favorite Christmases was the year our Ashley was born. This redheaded little baby girl was invited to be baby Jesus in the Christmas pageant at church. I’m sure it wasn’t her acting ability, as she was only about five weeks old, so it was probably the fact that she was the only baby about the right size whose parents would let her participate. So I got to be Mary, and Duane got to be Joseph and I’ll never forget the moment I picked her up out of the manger and they saw that it was a real baby …an audible gasp arose from the congregation. A little hand stuck out of the blanket and wiggled…A real baby…
Or maybe it was the song that followed that brought it home.

That night.

“That night, in all of heaven, there wasn’t a sound

As God and the angels watched the earth.

For there in a stable, the Father’s only Son

Came to give Himself through human birth.

And when the cry of a baby pierced the universe

Once for all man was shown his worth.

And the heavens EXPLODED
with music everywhere

and the angels spilled over heavens edge

And filled the air!

And the Father rejoiced

For He did not lose His Son,

But He gained to Himself forever

Those who’d come.”
A real baby.
Christmas blessings to you and your house, from me and mine!

Wednesday, December 12, 2007

Christmas thoughts

So this little girl , all of two-and-a-half years old, walks into the preschool area at church the Sunday we put up the Nativity scene, runs up to it, throws her arms into the air and points to the star and screams with all due drama... "the STAR! the STAR!!!"

This is the Nativity scene from last year, with my crazy family doing the biblical role-playing.

Friday, December 07, 2007

Titus and Granny

I don't take good pictures. But here's a keeper.

It's my favorite Titus and Granny picture to date, taken on his first birthday. Yes, he's one, now. My daughter said something profound the other day..."long days, short years." Wish i would have thought of it first!


We're decorating for Christmas, but folks are still asking me if i had a good Thanksgiving. Hence, this post. I love Christmas, but Thanksgiving has got to be the very best holiday in the world. Thanksgiving....You can’t even say the word without being grateful.

Very early in our marriage, Duane and I adopted a principle for living on the planet: “Everything I have, I have because God has given me.” Sometimes the “everything” didn’t seem like very much. Sometimes it has seemed bountiful beyond our imaginations. More often than not, tears well up in our eyes because we are so astounded at His Providence. And we’ve always found ourselves with enough….Maybe not as the world counts it, but we’ve always had what we needed. The kids might have not thought so growing up, but we never sent them to bed hungry, we never sent them to school naked, and they’ve never been homeless. Maybe our house wasn’t as fancy as someone else’s, but their friends were always welcome there, and I usually set an extra plate for dinner just in case one of them stopped by. Maybe our yard didn’t get yard of the month one single time, but it was the “gathering place” and the neighborhood kids still hang out on in our porch swing that dangles from the big live oak in the side yard. Maybe having things isn’t what it’s really all about after all. Because it’s not ours to begin with.

“Be ye glad” is an old Acapella song that keeps flickering around in my brain this "Thanksgiving". The words say something like this

Oh be ye glad, Oh, be glad.
Every debt that you ever had
Has been paid up in full
By the grace of the Lord
Be ye glad,
Be ye glad,
Be ye glad.

(I knew there was more to Thanksgiving than just turkey.)

Everything I have, I have because God has given me. (Contentment.) All I have needed Thy hand hath provided. (Providence.) Great is Thy faithfulness, Lord, unto me. (Thanksgiving.)

Wednesday, November 21, 2007

my favorite thanksgiving poem

i stretch
soul - length
secure and confident
that naught of hate, disgust, contempt, or unconcern
can taint His love.

how good to be
in Him
forever free.

Monday, October 29, 2007

ash and nick

My daughter just got engaged!

(Ash, as i tend to remember her)

(Ashley and Nick now)

We've been praying for Nick for 27 years ...ever since i was pregnant with Ashley-- we just didn't know his name. Needless to say, we feel so blessed that the Lord has finally crossed their paths and brought them to each other.

Thursday, October 04, 2007

Gloria and Mark

We sit by these people at Astros games. We both have a 27 game mini-season ticket plan that has seated us down the row from each other by a throw of the dice. He has a long bleached blond ponytail and yells at all the players as if they could really hear him. (We sit right behind home plate, four decks up.) She dances inappropriately after great defensive plays and homeruns. They are right out of the seventies. Their youngest son is maybe in middle school, and he joins in their antics. Their oldest son is in high school… and he just mostly tries not to be embarrassed. These people have a great time at games. They just didn’t fall off the same watermelon truck as everyone else.

So to date, this is what I’ve discovered about Gloria and Mark.

Before the after-game fireworks on July 3, that long patriotic song came over the loudspeaker where servicemen stand up during the playing of the theme song for the branch of the armed services they served in. You know the song I’m talking about because they play it in church all the time on patriotic days. Well, to my surprise, during “From the Halls of Montezuma”, Mr. Ponytail jumped to his feet and stood perfectly at attention without blinking or flinching the entire song. A proud Marine.

Mrs. Inappropriate Dancer works downtown and meets the family at games. Mr. Ponytail got a masters degree in physics at Rice. They always bring their sons. They never drink beer. They offered to walk me to my car one night after the game, when I was there by myself. And they always offer me one of the free “give-aways” you get for being one of the first 10,000 fans in attendance at the game. (Because they get four of them, and I’m never early enough to get anything.)

Maybe if Duane buys me a mini-season ticket plan again next year, I’ll get to pick up where we left off, with Gloria and Mark. I’ve decided that you can’t judge a book by its cover.

Saturday, September 15, 2007

Temporarily Out of Here

Duane and i are going on our first fall vacation in twenty-five years. We are going to Montana on the bike. I'll post some pics as soon as i can!

Friday, September 14, 2007

The Difference Between Boys and Girls

When my girls were little, like-toddlers-in-the-high-chair-little, they would do things like pick up a piece of spaghetti off of their plate and rock it between their fingers and hum, “Rock a Bye Baby”. When my boy was little, even littler , like-a-just-sitting-up-baby-in-a-high-chair-little, he would move cheerios around on the high chair tray making blubbering boy “putting “ noises with his mouth like they were cars. Yes, before he could even talk.

I didn’t teach them that.

They are no longer little. Now they are 20, 26, and 28. So last Friday I found a mouse head on my nice flagstone patio. My daughter Ashley’s very unique long haired black cat, Edgar, sat nearby looking very full and contented. (My son, Jeff, says Edgar is just biding his time until he can take over the world.) So I texted the kids a message about the mouse head, and got these replies:

Daughters: Eewwww.
Son: Take a picture!
And upon receiving the picture: That’s AWESOME!

…the difference between boys and girls…

Friday, September 07, 2007


I'm so bad at birthdays. Not the remembering them part, just the celebrating them part. I always remember them, like the day before. Then i don't have time to mail a card or buy a thoughtful gift or really plan a fitting celebration. Or sometimes i buy a card weeks early, with all the good intentions in the world, but never look up the address or buy the stamp to put it in the mail timely.

I think my birthday dilemma began way back. All of the significant birthdays in my life are too close to other holidays, so everything runs together...especially when i have to get finished with one thing before i can concentrate on another. My CPA husband, Duane -- his birthday is during tax season. My kids --Kari's is right before Valentine's Day, Ashley's is the day after Halloween, and Jeff's is Christmas Eve. My Mom's is Columbus Day, grandbaby Titus' is the day after Ashley's, and so on. And mine...December 23. Sigh. My apologies to all of you. I think i just prefer Christmas. (Maybe because it's always a set date, and i have a month to work on it.)

So i have an idea. I've been having some good ones, lately. Like, for instance, renaming the fall festival at church "Pumpkin Palooza". My birthday idea is extraordinary, though. I've decided to buy and send birthday cards whenever i see one that reminds me of someone. Whether it's their birthday or not. Yes, maybe it's a little weird, but on the other hand... i'll never be late with a birthday card, again. Kari said that was just fine with her, as long as i remembered to include the money!

Monday, July 09, 2007


I've decided i want a night funeral so i can have fireworks. At the funeral. Or at the burial. Doesn't really matter to me. My daughters both said they'd do sparklers in place of roses on the casket, but that's not big enough. I want real fourth of July fireworks.

My husband will have to die first, because he thinks i'm crazy. He doesn't share my fascination with fireworks in the least. I could watch them every fact the last time we went to DisneyWorld, that was my goal. I watched them on the beach, I watched them from the theme parks, I watched them from a boat on the water. I looked for the best spot to watch them, and by golly ... i watched them. I love fireworks, but i love it even more when they are put to music.

I think i got it from my Dad. Dad loved fireworks and I'm sure he introduced us to them at an early age. I guess i just never got over it. He loved every thing about summer..lightning bugs, falling stars, whipporwills, heat lightning, the sound of locusts buzzing in the nearby trees, sitting outside on the patio at night telling Paul Bunyan stories until we got sleepy, and of course...fireworks. In the old timey days when you got to light your own, and it was still legal, we bought more than we could afford and sat up shop in my grandmothers front yard. From the safety of Mama Jo's front porch (or not) we and all the cousins, popped firecrackers, lit roman candles, watched our first "fountains", and explored the fascinating world of pyrotechnics and pyromaniacs.

So this fourth of July, Duane and i went to a great fireworks display. We sat on a pallet waiting for dusk and for the fireworks to start. About half way through the program, this little kid in the group next to us couldn't contain himself any longer and shouted out, "THIS IS THE BEST DAY OF MY LIFE!"

Remember that, if someone comes through for me and has fireworks at my funeral!

Wednesday, June 13, 2007

Observation: The Body of Christ

I intended to write about our busy month of May, which included a visit by baby Titus to Texas to meet his sweet great-granny and the wonder of their instant "bond", as if he knew they belonged together.

I know i said i would write more later about our Branson trip, but i never got around to it. I meant to write the interestingly miraculous story of the gigantic old live oak tree that fell on the house, but i didn't do that either.

And now it's VBS week. (For those who don't know the code, that means Vacation Bible School -- the best week of the year for children!)

I love Vacation Bible School. I guess I'm a hopeless old die-hard preschool minister at heart. I think, even after over 75+ years of evangelical churches having VBS's, that it's still one of our best chances in the world to reach kids for Christ.

And besides that, I love it because i love watching the Body of Christ in action. I love how we are knitted together and perform as ONE. I love watching the Craniums teaching the Bible stories and thinking of better ways to communicate Truths, the Hands designing their room decorations, the Larynx’s hollering their class cheers as they move from rotation to rotation and the Shoulders with tired little ones nuzzling up against them. I love seeing those passionate about missions, teaching missions... those gifted in music, teaching music... those who love 2nd graders, teaching 2nd graders... and those who are in heaven blowing bubbles for one year olds, blowing bubbles for one year olds. I love knowing that some folks actually took vacation to teach VBS, not because someone twisted their arm…but because they love the Body, love kids, love the kingdom, and love Vacation Bible School. I love knowing that some folks have been members of our church for years, and some have been members for only days. I love that men can teach Vacation Bible School, too.

How blessed we are! Can it get much better than this?

"For the body is not one member, but many. And God has placed the members , each one of them, in the body, just as He desired." 1 Corinthians 12: 14, 18

Sunday, May 20, 2007

People Unclear on the Concept

Duane and i took a road trip on the bike last week (more about that later). Riding through a small town in northern Arkansas we saw this unbelievable sign in front of a house:


Saturday, April 07, 2007


I'm not a big fan of popes (nothing against them, its only because I like Jesus a lot better), but I saved the religion page of the April 2, 2005 Houston Chronicle simply because of this great quote by Pope John Paul II. It is regarding suffering and is in an article about faith, life, and death. Pope John Paul II made a point of showing the world the suffering that comes at the end of life, as he lived frail and bent in the spotlight in his last days. So here's the quote. "Suffering is part of God's wonderful plan."

Can't help but thinking about it during Easter.

To all my friends who are struggling, whether with cancer or broken hearts over broken children, broken dreams, or broken Marion, Sharon, Kelly,Fayrene, Cindy, Terri, and others. I whisper to you what i whispered to my sweet Dad when he still understood, but could no longer speak and no longer answer back, "Thank you for choosing to honor God even in your pain. Finish strong!" Dad was the best example ever at overcoming, and rose above his circumstances and suffering to finish strong when it would have been so much easier to give up, to be overwhelmed, to make everyone else suffer with him.

Can't help but thinking about it during Easter.

Good reading: Romans 5:3, Romans 8:17-18, Philippians 3:10, 1 Peter 2:19, 1 Peter 4:12-13

Friday, April 06, 2007

Backroads, Bluebonnets, and Blessings

An annual rite of spring for city-dwellers in this part of Texas is to head out of town for a breath of fresh air and explore the backroads in search of bluebonnets. Too many years to number, we packed two giggly girls and their little brother in a maroon '79 Astro van and headed to the country ourselves. (And I have the pictures to prove it.) Though we now have our route mapped out, I imagine in the past twenty years we, at one time or another, have traveled every little country road in Washington County.

So Duane and I did the bluebonnet tour on the bike this year (the bike being an 800 pound Honda Goldwing motorcycle). And at every turn of the road I saw them again, leaping like lambs in the meadows, standing on their heads in patches of bluebonnets, exploring the ramshackled porch of the broken down old house, hanging over fences, posing for pictures by the little white country church, climbing over a barbed wire fence to find a bluer patch... It was true. There was probably nowhere they hadn't touched and everywhere i looked, I saw them again...two giggly girls and their little brother. I have to admit, I missed them all so much I started to cry. Right there on the back of the bike.

And the bluebonnets, they were more beautiful than they've been in years. How blessed we are!
"For lo, the winter is passed. The rains are over and gone. The flowers appear on the earth, and the time of the singing of birds is come! " Song of Solomon 2:12

Saturday, March 24, 2007

i really don't know nuthin' about blogging

The funniest thing about my blog is that I only started it so I could embed and save the photoshow of my grandbaby Titus during his first week. It was a Walgreens photoshow thing and it expired after a month unless you paid an exhorbatant amount of money to upgrade something. Since I thought it was worth keeping, I opened up "beckyzblog" and started this thing.

The next funniest thing about it is that absolutely no one even knows I have a blog except my oldest daughter, Kari (who, by the way is Titus' mother.) Who, by the way, is also the only person who has commented on anything in my blog...except for Titus, who once commented vicariously through his mother. So even though I haven't told anyone else about it, every now and then I open up my blog and see if anyone else has found it and commented on anything. Or I open it up to fiddle around with blog things I mostly can't figure out.

When I was nine years old I had a diary and wrote in it every night, mostly stupid things like, "today I got up, went to school, played outside, read my Bible and went to bed." (Life wasn't very exciting at nine.) I guess blogging is a 21st century techno-diary, with one exception. You can't lock it and hide it in your underwear drawer to keep your brother out. You just don't have to give anyone else the link.

Friday, February 23, 2007

empty nesting

As an early Christmas present for Duane, and just because we wanted to and finally could afford to do something for ourselves, we flew out to California to watch the Texas A & M and UCLA basketball game in early December. Coupled with visits to our long lost relatives (my sweet Uncle Win, and Duane's Uncle Charles and Aunt Twila) we spent the weekend enjoying catching up with family and traveling the California coast from Anaheim to San Diego. There are, afterall, advantages to empty nesting!

Saturday, January 20, 2007

my personal mission statement

It's kind of boring around Houston today-- cloudy, damp, and cold for the umpteenth day running. So i thought i'd try adding something to my blog. I wrote this mission statement around 1999 or 2000. A lot has changed in my life since then-- empty nest, kids are grown, have a grandbaby-- but my goals are steadfast and hopefully in the process of being accomplished! I guess i need to add a grandchildren part...

My Personal Mission Statement
My heart...
"Will you love Jesus more, when we go our different ways? When this moment is a memory, will you remember HIS face? Will you look back and realize you sensed His love more than you did before? I pray for nothing less, than for you to love Jesus more."
My desire is to know Christ and the power of His Resurrection in every role in my life. To walk with Him intimately as He guides me to fulfill His purpose for me in every role of my life, both now and in the future throughout the changing dynamics of these roles.
For my husband: To love, honor and encourage Duane. To have a marriage that represents the wholeness and oneness of Christ to the world. To communicate openly and respect each other unconditionally. To live happily ever after.
For my children: To disciple my children. To raise godly children and prepare them for independent living in a world that is not their home and shares not their values. To stand on the sidelines and cheer enthusiastically whether they win the race or not. To love them each the best and to help develop within them the creative and unique individual God has designed them to be. And to ultimately move from parent to friend.
For my home: To make my home a haven. A place of ministry. To let even my garden reflect the wonderful things He has made!
For my friends/other family: To laugh with those who laugh. To weep with those who weep. To play together. To be held trustworthy. To know and live out this truth-- that i would be the poorer without them...good, dear, life-enriching friends. To live out my important relationships with no regrets.
For my ministry: To share my passion for preschool and family ministry through writing and speaking, nurturing teachers and parents, and people of like passion. To reproduce myself in mentoring and discipleship relationships.