When grace is shown

I recently had a lengthy discussion with a close friend about grace.

The kind of grace you show when someone has wronged you so deeply and you forgive them anyway.

My friend told me she messed up and her husband showed her grace by forgiving her.

I sat there and dwelled on that for a while.

When I’ve thought about grace in the past I’ve always thought about grace I’VE shown to OTHER people. I could make an instant list right now of all the people who have wronged me and not only that I’ve shown them grace to forgive them but how fabulous I am FOR showing that grace. And yet, I can maybe count on one hand the times I’ve done wrong to someone and I was grateful for the grace they’ve shown me.

This isn’t because the instances are that few and far between. It’s because I’m guilty of focusing on how I’ve been wronged and yet have moved on without even considering how I probably wouldn’t be so quick to attempt to forgive and move on if these things hadn’t been afforded to me as well.

The Man and I have been married for 12 years and have been together for 15. It’s easy for me to think about things he’s done to upset me and how great I am for forgiving him and moving on from those things. When my friend told me she was grateful for the grace her husband showed her it was a little bit of a punch to the gut because I can’t remember the last time I was grateful for The Man’s grace to me in our marriage.

Marriage is a two way street. It’s ebb and flow. It’s ups and downs. It’s compromise. And for us? It’s for life. We were only 20 and 22 when we got married but we knew at those young ages what we were vowing to each other and to God. And it’s because of grace that we are where we are today.

Our marriage is definitely not perfect. However, the days we want to kiss each other outweigh the days we want to stab each other, so I figure that’s considered winning as far as the marriage world is concerned. We have both hurt each other. We have had to work through things with lots of prayer, patience, and just good ol’ time. But in old wounds that became scars comes something better…scars make you stronger…and you learn from the things that hurt you…the scar serving as a reminder that you’ve been there but yes, you healed and came out stronger than before.

I don’t know why I was moved to say this all except I guess for encouragement. Value your marriage. Treasure it. Love each other through the mistakes and hard times. I know that is easier said than done…believe me, I know. But take my word for it…if you do, and you come out from whatever you’re going through together…one day you’ll look back and see how your marriage and whole life are better because of it.

“It’s not the love that sustains the promise, but the promise that sustains the love.” – Jefferson Bethke

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No pics this time.

 

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A better place

It once again has been a long time since I’ve updated this blog. I sometimes wonder how many people actually read it but then again, if there is even 1 person out there reading this then that is reason enough for me to continue to add to this space as often or as little as I can.

The last time I blogged I was upset because my aunt got terrible news that her time here with us was very limited. With great sadness wrapped in relief I have to say that she’s gone to be with Jesus. I say that with such strong conviction because no matter how many times I miss the boat with my walk with God one thing holds so very true- God is real and He is important to me. I mentioned how my aunt’s faith inspired me and while I probably will never be as good as a woman as she was, or as Godly as a woman as she was, her example is something I’ll cherish forever.

Back in September I went to Ohio for one of my oldest and best friend’s wedding but I made sure I planned enough days there to be able to spend plenty of time with my family. By the time I got there, just a month after my aunt got her news, she had already gotten so much sicker. The first day I saw her she was in a hospice facility and within a few days of that I saw her again at her house where she decided to be to spend her last days. Seeing her those days was one of the hardest things I’ve ever done. She didn’t look like herself. She barely spoke and was barely awake but she made sure she did tell me a few more things. She told me she loved me. She asked how my girls were. She also told me she was ready to see Jesus and be healed. Here I was healthy, young, so alive sitting on my aunt’s literal death bed and her voice, a whisper at best, filled my soul with so much warmth and admiration and just pure, raw love. This woman was a second mother to my sisters and me growing up- especially when my mom got her MS diagnosis and was in and out of the hospital so much. She was my mom’s only sibling and best friend. We shed many tears but through those tears we laughed about a few memories and I promised her I would paint her nails. The last day I was in town I saw her, she was awake and spoke even less but I painted her nails, kissed her, told her I loved her, and left knowing that was the last time I would see her alive. I have never had an experience like that in my life. I’ve never been afforded the opportunity to say last words and hold hands one last time…so bittersweet. Her death is bittersweet. We miss her but she is in such a better place.

My faith isn’t something I talk about all the time yet lately, it’s been something I’ve had to wrestle with and accept some days, or embrace and cling to on others (more wrestling than embracing lately). I feel like my aunt was making sure she was giving me a very clear message and an even better paved path to follow her along on.

I should be so lucky.

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A post from me wouldn’t be the same without photos. I’m still majorly slacking on my using my DSLR (the holidays are here so HOPEFULLY I abandon the break soon) so these are phone photos BUT? They’re important because they hold my memories the same as my DSLR would. If you don’t already, follow me on instagram @TheBecksB. Quick link on the sidebar will get you there too.

Every photo with my mom is something I treasure because they are few and far between with my being able to travel to Ohio less lately. She’s my rock. She’s THE inspiration. I got to stay with my mom the whole time I was home since I went sans The Man and the girls and the late night talks with her will be something I will treasure for the rest of my life.

blog 407 A better place

blog 406 A better placeMy baby sister is 7 years younger than me so growing up we weren’t very close at all but now? The older we get the closer we become. I truly adore our friendship. Also? I love her babies so very much.

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And? My friend since the 8th grade got married.  I love her and being a part of her day was awesome.

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The girls on Halloween this year:

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Hannah ages a year every month, I swear. I can’t get over how grown up and beautiful she is.

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Livie has become such a personality and everyone she knows makes sure they tell me daily things like “YOUR DAUGHTER! She’s a pistol!” or “YOUR DAUGHTER! She’s so funny!” or “YOUR DAUGHTER! Where does she get that personality from?”

It’s our 12 year wedding anniversary this month icon smile A better place Of course I love him but? I also still REALLY like him too.

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Lastly, after about 3 or 10 different diet starts and failures since having Livie almost 5 years ago I finally stuck to it. I started dieting and walking 3 miles a day back in March and 27 pounds later I have passed my goal weight by 11 pounds. I feel so much better about myself and feel good about finally sticking to this. It will be a life long battle but one I’m going to stick to because I detest having to lose weight and I hate working out even more.

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I don’t usually toot my own horn but I wanted to let anyone who thinks they have too much to lose or it’s too hard or for someone who just needs inspiration to stick to it know it IS feasible…it IS possible because anyone who knows me knows how much I love food and HATE exercising. If I can do it, anyone can.

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The Bible says even nature proclaims His glory. I can’t help but agree.

blog 411 A better place

 

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The Gift

It’s been over 4 months since I’ve written in this space of mine. There was a time when I felt like hitting publish here was something I could do in my sleep and now? Well, it’s become my place to write now and then. I didn’t think I would ever be okay with that but as time as went on, I really truly am. I’m also grateful for those of you who check in and read whenever I do post something.

I’ve been feeling guilty this week. Really, really guilty. For the past few months I’ve been throwing little pity parties for myself over things that other people probably wish were their only problems: family drama…husband working a lot…limited funds for summer activities…etc ETC. Then a couple weeks ago I decided I needed to give it over to God. All of the times in my life where things became clear, or things worked out in the best way for me were times when I leaned on The Lord. The peace and comfort I felt at those times are indescribable and I was mad at myself for even attempting to handle life on my own. It was then, when I surrendered, that things DID become clear as they always have in the past.

What’s ironic about two weeks ago is that I actually looked at this blog and thought man, my last post was about my aunt back in April. My top post is kind of sad on here and now she’s doing so much better and things are looking up in all the areas I spent worrying about all summer. I should post something happy so my top post will be happy because I’m a lot happier now than I was a couple weeks ago.

But I didn’t. I left my top post about my aunt.

Monday afternoon I got a call from my aunt. She’s been given a short time to live. The cancer has taken over in too many ways. She decided to go home and spend the rest of her time with the people she loves in the home she loves. Through both our sobs we talked about the past and I promised her I would see her when I’m back in Ohio in a few weeks. Later that night I remembered this blog and how my last post was about her…and I was sad then. I never updated it to mention how she had beat it just 3 months ago and now it’s back again…for the third time.

I’ve spent this week ridden with guilt…the kind of guilt that literally weighs your chest down. I can’t imagine having to call anyone I love to tell them I’m going to die soon. I can’t imagine knowing that while I knew I was going to be with Jesus, I would be leaving people who needed me behind. I have spent hours and hours consumed with myself and my own problems that are still problems to me because problems are relative but in the grand scheme of things, they are temporary.

My aunt’s peace inspires me. She is so comforted with the thoughts of being in Heaven. I pray I can be that way if I’m ever in her position.

So, through my guilt this week of realizing my priorities needed some serious tending to, I have spent time thinking about the good things I have and reminding myself that I am so very blessed. I pray I remind myself daily to not take things for granted because things can change so fast. Cancer is such a terrible thing and more and more lately good people that I know and/or love are being taken because of it.

My best friend told me this morning that our greatest gift is our health. That is something I needed to hear because she is right. With my mom and my aunt having so many health problems, I need to be even more grateful for my health, The Man’s health, and my girls’ health.

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blog 306 The Gift

blog 303 The Gift

blog 301 The Gift

I don’t know what the future holds for any of us. I’ve learned that time is precious and things can and do change in an instant. The only thing we are guaranteed is right now,  the present, which we’ve all heard is called that because it IS also a gift.

My heart is still very heavy with sadness, but at the same time it is heavy with gratefulness.

Grateful for health. Grateful for the right now. The present. The gift.

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My aunt

It was July 24, 2007…my 26th birthday. It was a Tuesday. I didn’t work that day. I decided I should take the day off to be home with The Man and Hannah. I vividly remember being in the kitchen making egg salad sandwiches for us when my Motorola Razor cell phone rang. The caller ID said it was my mom’s sister, my aunt, on the other line. My aunt and I didn’t talk on the phone often since I moved away from home but every time I visited I made sure we went to see her because I was very close to her growing up. She had 2 boys and my sisters and I were the only daughters she had. She loved us like we were her own and the feeling was mutual for me. I quickly answered the phone and I remember telling The Man that I bet she was calling to tell me happy birthday.

She did tell me happy birthday.

Then she told me that my dad was dead.

I am sure that life is full of so many memories but there are maybe 20 or so that actually stand out that you can describe what you were wearing or doing at that exact moment.

At the moment my aunt called me to tell me my dad died suddenly during a liver transplant I didn’t even know he was having, I was standing in my kitchen making egg salad sandwiches.

I never ate that sandwich.

Many things happened after that moment in time including a last minute 22 hour drive to Ohio. There were a lot of mixed emotions due my dad and I having an on and off relationship and many shed tears. I remember thinking back to the last talks I had with my dad that I actually blogged about here and here. (All of the posts about my dad can be found HERE) One thing I have that is a constant memory that I will never, ever forget- my aunt told me.

She told me in the softest, sweetest voice. Even when my voice trembled and I accused her of being mistaken, she was my constant on the other end of the line.

I’m not sure why my mom wasn’t the one to tell me. I don’t know if it was because she was in the hospital at the time due to her MS and couldn’t call me long distance or if she couldn’t handle telling me…either way, I never asked. I didn’t care. My aunt told me my dad was dead, and I’ll never forget that.

Last year my aunt was diagnosed with cancer. She went through many weeks of chemo and radiation and in February was cleared of all her cancer. She had a party at her church to celebrate. I said a little thank you prayer to God for healing her because she’s my mom’s only sibling and I know my mom had been struggling with the fact that she might lose her.

A few weeks ago my mom called me and told me that doctors had found 3 tumors in my aunt’s brain. Amazingly enough, they were able to operate and remove all 3. She is home today, happy and healthy. Yes, she’s facing more chemo and radiation but she’s on a mission to be declared cancer free again.

When I found out she had those brain tumors after having just been declared cancer free I couldn’t help but think of when she so very sweetly and as best she could told me that my dad was gone. I have to believe now that there was a reason why SHE was the one to tell me.

Cancer is a horrible, tragic, awful thing and yet, out of darkness hope is born. She has new hope. We all do.

I just wanted to share this story because she deserves it and because when my dad was alive I complained too much and didn’t share the good things as much as I should have, even when he and I struggled to see eye to eye. We change and evolve as we grow older and sometimes life’s lessons are learned in hard ways.

I love my aunt and appreciate her…I just had to share.

Happy weekend to all y’all.

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My heart

There’s a saying that goes something like your children are your hearts beating outside of your body.

What a very simple way of saying something so very complex and yet so absolutely true.

I know I’ve been absent from my blog for almost 2 months now. It’s taken me a long time to come to the place I am now regarding social media and blogging…blog/Tweet/Facebook/Instagram when I want and when I don’t? Don’t. It sounds simple and yet it was VERY hard for me to get here because so many of my friendships have been made online. Yes, most of my “online” friendships have been taken offline to meet ups or even vacations together but the fact remained that I wouldn’t have these friends if I hadn’t been online a lot. So, being in the place I’m in now is a huge milestone for me.

I was struck with inspiration to write this post at like 11 pm last night and really, I should have written it then but I waited until today so it’s probably not going to come out as well or as passionately as it would have last night but I’m going to try anyway.

It started much like how I’m sitting now…with a cup of coffee. I made myself coffee late last night after the kids were in bed and The Man was still at work. The TV was on the background but I wasn’t watching it. Instead I was staring across the room at the couch. There were a few toys piled up on it and my usual response would be to make a mental note to nag the kids about it the next day because we have a new rule that the toys have to stay upstairs now. Instead? I smiled. I don’t think I’ve ever smiled at a mess of toys in my 10 years of being a mama.

I smiled.

Why?

I had a feeling of relief. It came out of nowhere. For some reason I instantly thought of the grief friends of mine have faced in their loved ones dying way too early in life. I pictured moms and dads who would give anything to stare at a mess of toys just one more time. I thought of kids who weren’t blessed with piles of toys because they live in poverty. I thought of parents who were on their death beds and memorized messes of toys because they knew their time was short on Earth and they wanted to remember every little thing. I’m pretty sentimental and emotional and yet most days these things don’t strike me…especially not randomly at 11 at night.

After I thought of those things I thought of my girls upstairs sleeping. Two perfect, beautiful girls lost in dream land lying side by side in the same bed. I was so overcome with love and appreciation right then. I am so glad that my girls get along so well together. I am so grateful that Hannah, 10 years old and 6 years older than Livie, is so good to her and includes her instead of excludes her. I am so grateful that I have two girls with this incredible bond that will surely last a lifetime. I am so grateful that the dreams I had for my family life have come true in some way or another. I thought of The Man and how his latest text said he would be home soon and how grateful I was that he is so dedicated to us…his girls…his 3 women as he says.

Hannah told me that my sister told her she’s glad she’s having a baby boy in June because she’ll be the only girl in the house still. I could tell she was looking for me to say something wise about that considering that none of us were the only girl in this house. I told her “Well, that’s nice for her and I’m sure a lot of moms say that when they aren’t blessed with daughters because they don’t know what it’s like to have a daughter. And that’s okay. I’ve not been blessed with a son so I don’t know any different but you know what? I’m glad I’m not the only girl in the house. I never wanted to be and never will want to be.” She smiled after that and I smiled too.

The days of painting their nails and Hallmark movie marathons are just beginning. The tender side of The Man I see when he fathers his baby girls is something I wouldn’t trade for anything.

God gives us what He wants us to have and He wanted me to have girls just as much as I wanted them.

These girls….

blog 100 My heart

blog 101 My heart

They are my heart beating outside of my body.

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blog 104 My heart

There will still be days of nagging. I will still lose my patience. They will still tell me they’re mad at me and slam their doors. I will still want to run away for a few hours…or days. These girls challenge me and inspire me at the same time.

So the pile of toys that I stared at last night that usually would make me crazy? It’s still there…and I’m still smiling.

blog 102 My heart

blog 103 My heart

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She turned 4

There’s so much to say and then when I go to say it, it just doesn’t sound nearly as perfect as it did in my heart.

So I’ll say this- 4 seems so much older than 3 and even THAT much older than when she was 2. Kids change so much at this age and every year is so different than the last.

We aren’t planning on any more kids so unless God surprises us somehow, this is the last time we’ll have our baby turn 4. It made me sad in a way but happy in others because she’s a healthy, funny, beautiful 4 year old and I am ever so grateful for that.

blog 400 She turned 4She wanted a Brave party this year.

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blog 403 She turned 4

blog 404 She turned 4

Today I woke her up and told her she’s officially 4 and the first sentence back to me was “Can I pick out a guinea pig at Petsmart now?”

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My princess is 4.

 

 

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Parenting is hard

Today Hannah came downstairs with her iPad while Face Timing her friend. With a smile on her face, she said “Mom. Madison wants me to spend the night at her house. She wants you to Face Time with her step dad so y’all can meet and I can go over there.”

This is not the first time she’s bombarded me with a sneak attack Face Time moment except the other times it was just to have me say hi to her friends. I was annoyed those times but I let it go. Today I did not.

I told her I was busy and to hang up. Once she did, I lost it. I yelled at her and told her it’s inappropriate to “meet” parents on Face Time and I sure as heck wouldn’t talk to a parent for 2 minutes on Face Time and just let her spend the night. I also reminded her that it’s rude to just surprise me with Face Timing anyone, parent or a friend. I also told her that it’s rude for her friends to put their parents on the spot as well. I ended it with if she ever did it again, I’d take her iPad.

She was mad. I was mad. And it ended with her stomping up the stairs.

If your kids have Face Time, have this discussion before this happens to you and you’re the one sounding like an asshole while I’m sure the other parent is somewhere close by and can hear you say you’re too busy.

I feel like I suck at this mom thing about 32% of the time. It’s definitely a learning journey and Hannah, God bless her, gets to be the one I figure things out with.

Just sayin’.

And now for some happier moments from the past couple weeks. It rained for like a week straight but then for the past week? Sunshine. 70 degree weather. No humidity. It’s been amazing and we have been outside a lot.

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Patio dancing

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You got it dude

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Coffee on said patio

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Foggy drives on country roads

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Froyo

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Smiles because it’s nice out. And also the only pics I’ve taken on my DSLR in weeks because I suck at New Years goals but also because Instagram is an addicting whore and I take all my pictures on my phone so I can post them there.

May this weekend be filled with smiles and less drama around here.

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