Sunday, July 29, 2012

My Top Ten Favorite Maternity Pictures

My sister Mel did an amazing job with our maternity pictures! I had nearly 300 to choose from and the process of picking my top ten was not only very time consuming, but aslo extremely difficult. She is very talented. Her love for capturing "moments" on camera was obvious as I reflect back on this picture taking experience. I highly recommend her to anyone who is looking for a photographer who is detail oriented, enthusiastic, and is just naturally talented.

Wednesday, July 25, 2012

My Stupid Excuses

I had an "ah-ha!" moment while reading 1 Chronicles with my husband the other day. The story of Uzzah and the Ark in chapter 13, verses 5-14, made me mad when I read it! It's the story of David bringing the Ark from Kiriath-jearim to Jerusalem and Uzzah reached out to keep the Ark from falling when an ox stumbled. God struck him dead!

I asked Kyle, "What?! Why?"
Kyle, "Well, Becky, God said, 'Do NOT touch the ark!'"
"But, Uzzah was just trying to keep it from falling-!"

Then I had my "ah-ha!" moment. God's word does not change. He says it and He means it. So I began thinking of all the things in my own life where I try to make excuses...

"But God, she talked about me behind my back...!" But I told you to love your enemies as yourself.
"But God, Dad wouldn't listen..." But I told you to Honor Your Father and Mother.
"But God, she started it..." But I told you to live in harmony with one another.
"But God, he deserved..." But I told you vegence is mine.

I would've done the exact same thing as Uzzah and I do feel bad for him! But God said, Do not touch the Ark. And if you read on in 15:15, "And the Levites carried the ark of God on their shoulders with the poles, as Moses had commanded according to the word of the Lord." So not only were they going against God's word by having ox carry the ark, but Uzzah touched it. So if God's word stands true here, I really don't think God cares about my stupid excuses either. If he says it, I'd better do my best to do it! Boy do I ever owe my poor dad an apology for my stupid, irrational, selfish behavior. And I really need to apologize to some people for the way I treated them!

Will I continue to screw up? Um, yes. I'm human. Thankfully, I live in the day and age where I am not bound by the law. The law died with Christ on the cross! Should I continue to live by righteousness? YES! Am I doomed to die, like Uzzah, because I screw up? NO!

"God shows his love for us in that while we were still sinners, Christ died for us." (Romans 5:8) So even when God knew I was a sinner, and would continue to sin, He died once and for all for my sins! "There is therefore now no condemnation for those who are in Christ Jesus." (Romans 8:1) Hallelujah! 

Friday, July 20, 2012

My God Wink

I found this book at Dollar General, of all places, called "God Winks" by SQuire Rushnell and I was impressed with the stories of God's sovereignty. A "God Wink" is those little things that happen in our life that we consider coincidences, but are actually signs of God working in our life. I love how Rushnell described why God Winks help us,
"In times of UNCERTAINTY what we desire more than anything else is CERTAINTY. Certainty that our families are safe. Certainty that we won't get downsized or that we'll have enough in the checkbook to make it through the month. We crave certainty when we get a scary medical report. And we long for certainty in our relationships.
It's during times of uncertainty that we especially need to get connected to our faith. We need to believe that our lives are not random like twigs floating on a stream to destinations unknown. Instead, we need to know that we all have a greater purpose; that someone really is up there watching over us and we're always on an incredible GPS...what I call God's Positioning System™...never alone. To me, the best thing about godwinks is that they are TANGIBLE SIGNPOSTS along our way, giving us hope, replacing uncertainty with a genuine feeling of CERTAINTY that everything is going to be okay!"
That's so true! You can submit your own God Winks to SQuire Rushnell through his website: but I thought I'd share one of our "God Winks" through our blog. I truly believe that God is in control and I have faith that God is working in Kyle and I's life in miraculous ways. I'm about to tell you a God Wink story from our lives, but before I do, this book in and of itself is a God Wink, because a few Christmas' ago one of Kyle's stocking gifts was this book. He laughed as he rummaged through his gifts, because he had given me the exact book! (We took it as a sign we were meant to read it!)

My God Wink story may not seem miraculous to you, but to me it was the CERTAINTY I needed that there really is someone up there who knows best, giving me hope in things to come - especially those little "God Winks" that I know will continue to pop up in my life - forcing me to believe that there's no such thing in coincidences.


During our marriage counseling sessions with our pastor Doug, one of the first pieces of advice he gave us was to find a Bible teaching church, where we would grow in our relationship with Christ. We are not to become stagnant Christians! God calls us to grow in Him through His word. Kyle took this seriously, I however, was struggling with the idea of going back to church.

Growing up, I had associated church with drama, unfaithful Christians, backstabbers, and hypocrisy. My family had many bad experiences at church and as a pastor's daughter, I watched my dad endure these times with his head down on the couch, on his knees, in deep prayer. It ate him alive. Every single time my dad stood up for what I had grown up knowing was godly and good, it made people mad! So there would be an instant uproar, people would leave, drama would incur, people we had thought were friends would suddenly disappear from our lives, and we would move. I hated moving, because that meant leaving my friends, starting over in a new school, and making new friends. That was pretty scary to me. I've lived in five different states and the reason we moved from three of them was because we experienced some sort of drama within the church my dad pastored.

I remember one particular incident where a married woman of our church was in an adulterous relationship. The elders and my father made a decision that she would no longer lead the church in worship until this situation was resolved. That was the information given to me as a child. One morning, she had the audacity to try and play the piano during a special and my father took the tough position and quietly asked her to step down. Half the church got up and left with her! As a ten year old, that particular incident was etched in my brain and I had associated church with these kind of people. As time went on the mother of this woman, who lived across the street, would spy on us through her window throughout her day. I remember my sister and I making a rather large production one time on our driveway, playing loud music, yelling along, and dancing crazily on our roller blades, just to give her something to watch and probably talk about. "Those crazy pastor's kids!" The sad thing is, I have story after story about "Christians" in church and I had zero desire to attend another one.

So when Kyle said, "Becky, let's try to find a church to attend." My guard was immediately up. I didn't want to try, "I know what goes on behind the scenes in those places." Kyle is ever the patient type, "I really feel this is something we need to do, will you at least pray about it?" I had at least agreed do that. At first, I was angered with Kyle. He knew my stories of "church" and how it destroyed my family! How could he ask me to do this?!

Well... God works in miraculous ways. Kyle and I had bought his and her's devotion sets and decided to read them daily. It was a great start to the day. That very morning, after Kyle had asked me to pray about attending church, the topic on my devotional was titled, "CHURCH". The date was September 2 and the subtitle was Do I really need to go to church? Wow, that was the exact question I had rolling around in my tiny brain! Here's what my devotional said,
God's Response: "Let us not neglect our meeting together, as some people do, but encourage and warn each other." (Hebrews 10:25)
Just after reading that verse, I felt myself shrink a little, but after I read what the author had to say, I knew this was a sign that I needed to to listen to my husband!
All believers together form God's family, and only by meeting together can we bond. The church exists in part to equip God's people to do God's work by encouraging them in their faith. At church, Christians learn to work together in unity and to practice reconciliation between different people in a way that is only possible by Christ's spirit. When we meet together, we can build each other up and help each other.
I conceded, "OK, God! I'll go!" (I think I actually said it out loud!) and I felt like a weight had been lifted from my heart. When we finally found a church that taught directly from God's word, I began changing in ways that are truly miraculous and would not have been possible had I not had this God Wink moment in my life. God's sovereignty continues to amaze me. If I look around I can see His hand at work in all aspects of our lives! I want to glorify God for this moment because I'm not Who I Once Was, thanks to Him and the powerful way He has worked in my life and in my marriage.

Thursday, July 12, 2012

30 Weeks Down, 10 Weeks To Go!

My little girl is 30 weeks old today!
My big belly has been on display,
But now she's starting to show off in a whole new way.
She used to be camera shy.
When I'd point out her movements, she'd quickly say good-bye.
Nowadays, she's moving more than before.
Her movements are nothing to ignore.
I feel like I eat more than ever.
Have I ever missed a meal? Um, no, never!
I eat when I wake up, around 10, then again at noon, 3, 5 and then supper time.
You'd think I'd be at my weight prime.
I've only gained about 14 pounds.
That's mostly baby, it sounds.
I can't see my feet.
The popping out of my bellybutton is now complete.
I still love pickles.
And we're trying to save our dimes and nickles.
The taste of coffee is starting to make a comeback.
Peanut Butter and Jelly Sandwiches have always been a staple snack.
I'm starting a countdown so here we go...
64 days until September 14, which is a lot of days to grow.
Daddy continues to talk to her every day.
So I have no doubt that she'll be a Daddy's Girl in every way.
When we went to the doctor it was obvious she IS a girl.
In fact the doctor said, "I'm 99% sure you don't have a little Earl."
We can't wait to meet her and finally announce her beautiful name.
From this point on, it's now a waiting game.
How big will I get?
Let's see if I ever really, truly admit...
64 days until my due date.
Let's see if she's early, on time, or a little late.
I'm sure you'll see me again in the next few weeks.
And you'll notice an ever bigger change in my physique!

Poor Marley Tried to Bite a Fan...

... and it didn't turn out so well.

The video is obviously dark because we're getting ready to go to bed, sorry about the quality, but hopefully you catch enough of it to know what happens and why I'm still giggling hysterically. I was turning this little Coleman's fan off and on because Marley was obsessed with checking it out. At first he hated it because if you read my original blog about him: My Little Marley Man, you'd know that he HATES wind. So he began barking at it every time I turned it on. This was funny, so I decided to try and record it. Well... I turned my camera on in the nick of time, because this time, he decided to go on the attack.

If you read my blog about My Little Marley Man you'll also know that he is a momma's boy who insists on being comforted by mommy when something bad happens to him. Well... not this time. He only wanted DADDY! LOL. I'm sorry! I'M NOT THE ONE WHO TRIED TO BITE A FAN.

Ok, those responsible readers out there, "Well you shouldn't have been teasing him with the fan!" (Ahem, my husband Kyle.) YOU'RE RIGHT! Okay! I admit it, you're right. I'm glad the fan is a AA powered wimp and it didn't hurt him beyond his pride and a little sting, otherwise I'd have felt really, really bad. But you have to admit, it's pretty darn funny.

Sunday, July 8, 2012

Poor Marley and the Dreaded Red Ant Attack

Poooooooor Marley. What started out as an adventure turned into a not-so-fun experience. Oddly enough Nebraska does have something to offer as far as outdoor beauty and Kyle and I try to explore every possible outdoor setting that will allow us to simply get away and enjoy God's beauty for a few hours. Today was one such day, and typically, Marley loves these adventures. His nose is always leading him this way and that, he fearlessly climbs and jumps through trees, rocks, and plants twice his size, and he struts around claiming everything (even the poor wild flowers) as his own.

It was the perfect temperature and it was sprinkling, which was a wonderful experience considering our 100 degree weather recently. We were taking it all in, following random game trails and even running across a couple of deer! As you can see it started out a beautiful afternoon....


As we headed away from an obvious skunk spray, we began to notice that Marley was incessANTly licking his back paw. Usually this is an indication of a sticker so I picked him up to check it out. What I found was that a red ant had burrowed itself into his paw and would not let go! When I finally got the ant off, I put Marley back down and he would not stop crying! It was pathetically cute. So of course, being the concerned mommy that I am, I picked him up to discover a very red, hot paw.

We took him to a pump and filled his little dish up with cold water and stuck his paw in it. He usually fights any kind of contact with water, but he didn't this time, in fact he relaxed! It was pretty obvious that felt pretty good.
We thought that might have calmed it down a tad, so we began our trek around the lake once again. However, he refused to let that paw make contact with the ground and his obsession with licking starting right back up again. At first we thought it was kinda funny, so we kept snapping pictures! I mean he was acting a little crazier than his "normal" self (whatever that might be).

But he refused to do anything but lick, so Kyle carried him.
We know that Marley is a baby and that yes, we baby him, but he was so darn cuddly and would not stop crying that you couldn't help but have sympathy for him! We decided to head home and on our way he sat in the back and continued to lick, lick, lick.
At this point I was getting a tad worried. I googled "red ant bites" and found that they actually clamp down with their front fangs and inject venom into their victim from their abdomen, which totally made sense when I thought back to how the ant was literally wrapped around the fleshy part of his paw. Remedies such as lime juice, a baking soda and water paste, aloe jell, worchestire sauce, and vinegar were some suggestions. Obviously these were human remedies, but what the heck, we gave the lime juice a shot, vigorously massaging it into his paw (as was recommended) and Marley LOVED that, then we iced it. After a while that didn't work so we tried the paste, still didn't work. So I rubbed aloe into his paw and blew on it and that's what did the trick. Or perhaps it was a combination of the remedies? We came home around 3 and around 4:30 he finally relaxed enough to fall asleep. When he woke up he was back to his good 'ole self.

I'm sure he milked the attention for all it was worth, but dog-gone-it, it had to hurt, poor thing!

If you want to read more about Marley and his weird little quirks check out my first blog about him: My Little Marley Man

Monday, July 2, 2012


My (almost) 3 year old nephew Gary is full of hilarious quotes. I hang out with him for one weekend and I can't help but post what he says.

Garyism #1
During church Gary's little brother Hunter, who is 10 1/2 months, was cooing and ahhing over a toy, rather loudly. Gary was told to sit and play quietly, so I guess he found it necessary to relay that message to his baby brother.
Gary: Hunter, BE QUIET! (x3)
Those of us sitting around him, laughed hysterically (quietly, I might add).

Garyism #2 (Conversation between him and Kyle)
Gary: I'm Hungry
Kyle: I'm making dinner on the grill!
Gary: I don't want dinner, I want lunch.
Kyle: Ok, I'm making lunch on the grill.
Gary: That would make me very happy.

Garyism #3
Gary: Becky, which car do you want?
Me: I don't care, which car do you want?
Gary: You choose.
Me: Ok, I want this one.
Gary: No, you want this one (points to the other car). It's your choice!
(I guess he doesn't really understand the concept of letting someone choose... haha.)

Garyism #4
As I'm texting someone on my phone:
Gary: Becky, do you have birds?
Me: Uh, Do I have what?
Gary: Do you have birds?
Me: OH, Angry Birds?
Gary: Yes, do you have birds?

Garyism #5
We had promised Gary we'd go to the pool and because of minor lightning (we're assuming) the pool was closed, so we gathered up our ammunition for a water fight. In the middle of the "fight" Gary hit Mommy at full swing about three times!
Melissa (aka Mommy): What are you doing?
Gary: Don't you hear the fireworks?!
Needless to say, the fight stalled as we all doubled over....

Garyism #6
Gary and I took water guns outside this morning and decided we needed to shoot the bugs off the house and surrounding areas. As Gary was shooting a poor bug off the garage he thought one landed on his foot, panicked, and said, "Where is that stupid bug go?"

Garyism #7
(Still shooting bugs with our water ammo.)
"I'm shooting bugs with my dangerous waters!"

Gary has been such a blessing to our family. He has most definitely hit his terrible, very independent, two's stage and I'm sure Mommy Mel can't wait for that to pass, but he is so cute with his curls, long eyelashes, hilariously smart temperament, and when he says "pwease" you can hardly say no. I love him to pieces. I spent the weekend spoiling him and gave him back. I'm positive Mel can't wait to return the favor. :)

Our Basement Before and After (painting and carpeting)

Kyle and I couldn't wait to get our basement done so that we could:
  1. RELAX.
  2. Get Organized.
This weekend was one step closer to getting those two things accomplished. That's the exciting part, but getting to that point was an especially frustrating one for Kyle. He whacked his head on a nail and has a gash and a bump to prove it. Then as he was cutting carpet with his razor he cut open his thumb pretty good. At first we debated on getting stiches, but after putting pressure on it and elevating it above his heart the bleeding stopped and we could get a good look at it. Thankfully, both of us determined he didn't have to end the day in the emergency room. (Thank you God!) Needless to say after all his injuries I think he enjoyed relaxing that much more.

We still have A LOT of work to do, but the paneling is painted, the office mudded (thanks to my sister), and the carpet laid. Our next projects are to finish the office (complete with book shelves), add a shower to the bathroom, move the vanity from the upstairs bathroom down (we're replacing everything but the toilet up there), replacing the walls (they've had water damage), tiling, and adding a closet to the downstairs bedroom. I will obviously be updating.

Here's the Picture Process (complete with captions):

The first thing we needed to do was paint the wood paneling. In order to stay in budget, we decided not to replace what was already there, just update it. Paint is the cheapest, easiest, most effective way to update! :)
I painted the bedroom first and decided to use the remainder of the green paint I had used in our bedroom. Plus with the decor I decided for this room, well, the color worked so well.
Once I finished painting the wood paneling it was time to lay carpet! The carpet is from Sutherlands and is very easy. It's like a giant rug, because there is no stapeling or glueing. That's exactly what we wanted in the basement. We've had so many water leaks and we  know basements are notorious for standing water, this carpet will be so much easier to clean, remove and cheaper to replace if such an incident should occur.
The bedroom completed.
Next was the family room. Kyle and I had picked a burnt orange color and when I tested it on the walls (BTW I LOVE IT, it's by far my favorite color in the whole house) my clutzy self spilled all down my frontals.
Oh Well... this is my norm.
My gallon of paint from the light brown/tanish color was running out and I was sitting there praying fish and bread, fish and bread (Jesus had fed thousands on 8 loaves and 12 fish - I think that's the correct numbers...) anyhooooo I was praying for a similar miracle. Thank you Jesus cause I barely had enough to complete the job. The painting is done!
Laying the carpet. As you can see from the far wall, the office space has a lot of work to be done yet, and I can't wait to show you the before and after pictures there! :)
Kyle cutting the carpet to lay just so, this was minutes before cutting himself.
Moved the furniture back where it belonged (after thoroughly cleaning it all).
That was it for the day! It took us a full Saturday to complete this work, so it was definitely time to relax and enjoy.

Even Marley was ready to relax!
I didn't realize until too late that I didn't really get great before pictures of the wood paneling and concrete floor. You can see enough of it, however, to see how much work we put into it. (These were pictures we took as we were looking at the house right before putting in an offer.)

Now for the before and after pictures!
Bedroom before...
Same walls, same corner... bedroom after.
Family room before wood paneling and all.

 Family room after (same corner)
 Notice the trim? :)
(My nephew is even enjoying it... okay... so he's enjoying the cartoons he can watch in a comfortable place, which is exactly what we were going for!)
I'll make sure that the next before and after post I publish has better before pictures. :) With the general idea I hope you can see the difference. We now have a comfortable guest room and a cool place to relax and watch movies. It only took us about 3 years to save and decide on what to do. We're even staying below budget! It's so nice to finally see what you had envisioned, and worked so hard to complete, coming together. It's only carpet and paint, with more work to do, but after these last few years of waiting, saving, and working... FINALLY!