Friday, July 8

Cuppa Joe

Photo courtesy of Jeffrey Woldan
 A morning without coffee is sleep.

Ha ha… That’s how I feel, at least. I love me some java. Before work, I shuffle through my morning routine, drive to work with my eyes half open, stumble into my office, and head straight to the coffee pot to get my brew on. Soon the aroma of freshly brewed coffee fills the air, and as the first hot sip touches my lips, I start to feel more human than zombie. Ahhh…

And heaven help me (and anyone within a 5 mile radius of me) if, for some reason, I do not get my coffee. I’m tired. Unmotivated. Grouchy. I NEED my morning coffee to get through the day.

My church is currently reading through the book of Proverbs together and then commenting/discussing it on Bruce’s blog. Reading a chapter a day has become part of my morning routine now too (once I have my coffee cup in hand, of course). And I have to say, that I’m actually starting to CRAVE my daily dose of Proverbs.

This is exciting to me because, like most people, while I know I need to be spending time in my Bible every day, doing so has always been a bit of a struggle for me. That’s right. I said it. I am a pastor’s wife, and I struggle to read my Bible every day. But I know a lot of other people do too. Why is it so difficult to get into that habit?

The Proverbs study, while teaching me lots of wise tidbits about living the Christian life, has helped me realize just how necessary reading God’s word DAILY is. His word is becoming my new “coffee,” my daily craving that opens my eyes and lifts my spirits.

I want to drink Him in. 

Hope God speaks to each of you today too….

Monday, April 25

10 Things I’d Rather Be Doing Right Now

It’s a beautiful day today, and that of course has me longing to be out of the office. So many folks are still on Easter break, and I just can’t seem to wrap my head around the little work I do have. Here’s a list of 10 things I’d rather be doing right now.
  1. Walking on a beach – I went to school in Pensacola, FL, where the beach equals white sand and aqua water. Oh, so many sunburns (brought on by a thick slathering of baby oil, of course)! There’s something about the sounds and smells of the beach that just feels like heaven to me.
  2. Watching a scary movie – Horror movies are a guilty pleasure of mine. Especially vampire flicks. But sometimes, they get the better of me.
  3. Painting my fingernails – The last time I went to Ulta, I found my new favorite nail polish. It’s basically clear with multi-colored glitter. I feel like it’s a little party on my fingers.
  4. Baking something – My friend Jocelyn is ALWAYS baking it seems, and her amazing recipes make my mouth water. But my waistline needs to be shrinking, so I shall refrain.
  5. Hanging with Bruce – No matter what I do, even if I’m not doing anything, life is better with him around. I am really thankful to have such an amazing husband.
  6. Exploring a new town – I’ve always enjoyed going new places and seeing new things. Bruce is doing a wedding in Charleston at the end of May, and since we’ve never been there before, we are taking a few days just to explore. Can’t wait!
  7. Drinking a cup of coffee with a friend – Me loves the java. I have since college. And the only thing that makes it better is sharing it with a friend. Maybe one night this week….
  8. Sitting in a hot tub – ‘Nuff said.
  9. Creating art – Today I’d probably paint a little. I’m feeling pretty antsy, and I find that slathering paint on a canvas is quite soothing!
  10. Tickling a penguin - Watch this video, and I dare you to tell me that you don't want to as well.....

Monday, April 18

Thank You, My Friend

My friend Gerry passed away this morning.

A few years ago, she was going through a very tough time, and, in a bout of inspiration, I wrote her the following piece.  I thought it was fitting to share now.   

Musings on Grass

From the front porch of my house, I have watched the grass in the horse field experience life within this great big world in its own unique way. I have seen it stand tall and strong and golden in the warmth of the sun. I have seen it provide strength and nourishment for birds and deer and other creatures needing sustenance. I have seen it shiver in the chill of rain. I have seen it bow down low and humble in the face of a strong wind, only to stand back up again when the wind has passed. I have seen the grass fade into shades of beige and rust in the autumn and then die off in the winter, only to return, more lush and full, in the spring. I have even seen it sway and dance to the music of the songbirds in the coolness of a gentle breeze. Such amazing beauty in just a simple field of grass….

 I am struck by how similar to grass we as humans are. We stand tall and strong when life is easy. We sway and dance to life’s song with a big smile on our faces, and we share this intoxicating joy with all of those around us, feeding them, so that they can dance with us. Sometimes though, life brings us heartache. We bend in discomfort and pain. Sometimes, we even break. We are small – so small – in this great big world, and in our weariness, we sometimes bow in surrender to our problems. Because of the cold and the hurt and the pain we feel, sometimes we must die. These are our winter moments.

But this is not the end of our lives – it is only the death of the part of our selves that was afraid of the wind all along. And when we welcome the cold and the hurt and the pain, it becomes part of the wind that carries us forward, spreading our spirit of renewed self, until we realize that we have nothing to fear – that, all along, we have been deep-rooted in our own inner strength. We can – and we do - fight against the cold.  

Soon our spring returns, and when our troubles have begun to fade, we return, more lush and full. We are able to stand back up again, to stand tall and strong and golden in the warmth of the sun. And we feel the gentle breeze, and we hear the music of the songbirds.

And we, again, begin to dance….

I will miss you, my friend.  Thank you for the many ways you have inspired me.

Friday, April 8

Take Two of These...

I went to the doctor yesterday.  Just a check-up - or a "check-in," as I like to say. It's kinda weird how someone I avoid like the plague can make me feel like I am one of her good friends.  She remembers my name, my issues, etc.  So either she likes me, or she is AMAZING at faking it.... 

But I mean, what's not to love?  :)

I have to say that, aside from the poking and prodding and nosy questions, the reason I avoid the doctor so much is that I feel like when I step into the office, I am stepping into a whole other world. 

It smells weird. Not gross or dirty. Not patchouli-weird.
Just weird.

And speaking of weird - the other patients!  Thankfully, yesterday there was only one other woman in the waiting room.  But she was -ahem- interesting.  Apparently she was quite restless, and she decided to wander around and around and around the room, until I was quite dizzy for her. Now and then I could hear her either speaking or singing under her breath.  I tried to bury my face in National Geographic...

The receptionist is apparently bipolar.  There have been days when she is the most sugary sweet lady I have ever met.  But other days - like yesterday - she is scary and mean and apparently hates me.  Or maybe she hated the lady making like Magellan in the waiting room. I sat in a chair far away from her desk, just in case she started having an episode.

The nurses can be the same way.  Sometimes it seems like it's all they can bear just to walk me to the scale to get my weight  (right, like that's not stressful on ME?).  But then to have to take my blood pressure and ask me questions - I mean, I guess we are asking too much of them.  Yesterday's nurse was awesome though - friendly enough and very thorough.  She perked up a good deal when she saw my butterfly tattoo, so we chatted about that a bit. I always enjoy talking tattoo-talk.

But then there's that awkward time in between when the nurse leaves and the doctor comes in, and I am left to look around the tiny room and let my thoughts wander.

Do I have osteoporosis?
Do I need botox?
Why is there an ad for botox next to the poster about osteoporosis?
How did they get a model for the poster of the cross-section of a pregnant woman without hurting the baby?
Would anyone know if I took some of those huge tongue depressers?  They would be awesome art tools....
Those long q-tips too.
Why is there a syringe on the counter?

And then my doctor comes in.  Half smile.  Questions. Answers.  Nodding.  Typing (she has a laptop). Cold hands.  COLD stethoscope.  Inhale. Exhale. Inhale. Exhale. Awkwardness.  But she was comforting and helpful, and I felt confident in her assessments. So I guess really, in spite of the weirdness, yesterday's visit was a successful one.

But don't make me go back anytime soon.

Because I won't.    

Saturday, March 26

Remember the Tulips

Red Tulips

"No, my little friends," I said to my tulips when I saw their little green heads poking from the ground in early March. "You are not finished sleeping. Winter is not over just yet. Spring is not here. The cold air will inhibit your growth, and a sudden frost will hurt you. Just be still and wait. Your time is coming. Soon the sun will warm the earth, and you will be able to spring forth, blooming radiantly. And you will bring me such joy. Soon, my friends. Soon."

But my tulips didn’t listen. They pushed through the hard ground and into the frigid air. And while they are still lovely, they are not as beautiful and as glorious as they could have been.

Poor, confused, impatient tulips.

“No, my friend,” God said to me when He saw me struggling to figure out His will.  “You are not finished learning. This period of your life is not over just yet. The time is not here. Your impatience will inhibit your growth, and your lack of knowledge will hurt you. Just be still and wait. Your time is coming. Soon I will show you what I have planned for you, and you will be able to spring forth, living radiantly. And you will bring Me such joy. Soon, my friend. Soon.”

And so I wait.

A man’s heart plans his way, but the Lord directs his steps. ~Proverbs 16:9

Thursday, March 17

Some Days and Baby Steps

I was speaking to a lady in my office recently about "some days" - you know, the things you want to do some day.  Sometimes they are serious things.  Sometimes they're more on the silly side.  Regardless, there's a bit of our heart in each of our "some days." 

Here are some of mine:
Some day, I would like to...
Be in better shape
Be published in an art magazine
Go to the San Diego Zoo
Throw a really big party
Plan my own funeral
Do a 365 project
Be an expert of something
Own a house with a bright red door

In discussing this, I came back to my desk thinking about my friend Gerry.  She's the one who - I've shared in earlier posts - has thyroid cancer.  This past Monday, I got an email from her explaining that her cancer is no longer treatable, and the doctors are giving her less than 5 months to live.  I wonder how many of her "some days" will have been completed when all is said and done.  Hopefully all of them.

I am learning that I waste way too much time thinking about my "some days."  There's always a reason not to do something.   Not enough time.  Not the right time.  Not enough money. Too many excuses.  Or as it is in my case more often than I'd like, there's too much fear getting in the way.  Maybe it's time to say, enough is enough!  Time to subscribe to Dr. Leo's radical new therapy "BABY STEPS."  (Anybody seen the movie What About Bob?)

What am I putting off until "some day" that could be done today?  What am I missing today because I'm scared to try or because I feel like it's not the right time?  What could I be doing now that would make the world a better place?  What could I be doing now that would bring joy and love to my husband?  What could I be doing now that would bring honor and glory to my Jesus?  Or that would bring SOMEONE to my Jesus!

I think it's time for a change of heart and a change of action.  In other words, I need to get off my butt and start DOING!  Just a tiny little step gets me on my way...

Baby steps leave the office.  Baby steps out the door.  Baby steps to the hall.  Baby steps into the elevator.  Baby steps...

Wednesday, March 9

Why Do I Even Pick Up That Paintbrush?

Photo by Geoffrey Sokol
Many of you might remember from my post All Things New that 2011 is the year that I become more serious about my art.  Currently, I am in the second week of the She Art Workshop by Christie Tomlinson (which is awesome btw). For this workshop, I spend a lot of time creating mixed media backgrounds. Doing this basically involves a blank canvas, assorted papers and paints, various "texture makers" and lots and lots of Mod Podge. All of these things get layered upon each other in different ways until the background is satisfactory. The challenge for me has been to let go of my perfectionism and just "go with it." One thing I am especially learning is that if I’ve done to the canvas that I don't like, I can do other things to lessen the negative effect or to cover it up altogether so that no one knows it's there but me.

Last night I got a little too rambunctious with some wide swipes of dark purple paint on one of my canvases. I freaked. I wrinkled my nose and shook my head, feeling certain that it was ruined, and considered putting that canvas in the trash and starting over with a fresh one. But, fighting that urge with everything in me, I began covering up some of the purple with lilac, pink, and aqua. And I must say that the effect was amazing. The purple is still there - I can see it - but now it is a much more pleasing part of the background. And the aesthetic of the background overall is quite attractive (at least to me, it is). I was still marveling over the transformation this morning as I checked on the canvas once more before heading to work.

And today I've been thinking about how I am like that canvas. I’ve gotten a little too rambunctious with the dark purple paint (and the red and the blue and the orange), and it’s time to just throw me in the trash and start over with a fresh canvas. But thankfully, man’s ways are not God’s ways. He sees me with all my mistakes and ugliness and unworthiness. Maybe sometimes He wrinkles His holy nose and shakes His holy head when he looks at me. But instead of giving up and tossing me aside, He picks up the brush and goes to work yet again. He dabs on some mercy. He dribbles on some forgiveness. He doodles on some grace. And He seals it for eternity with His love.

And the effect is amazing.

All of my screw ups are still there, layer upon layer, part of me. But the overall aesthetic – my humanity covered by His holiness – is absolutely beautiful. And in spite of where I began, or where I screwed up, He marvels over me again and again and again.

Ephesians 2:4-5
But because of his great love for us, God, who is rich in mercy, made us alive with Christ even when we were dead in transgressions—it is by grace you have been saved.

Romans 8:28
And we know that in all things God works for the good of those who love him, who have been called according to his purpose.

Monday, March 7


I got a phone call this morning regarding my friend who recently discovered she has cancer, and she is not doing as well as she had been. The tumor that had been removed has already returned, and the cancer has now been found in her lungs. She had to go back for more surgery last week, and the doctors are trying to determine the next phase of her treatment.

And I hate it.
I hate that someone I love is going through this.
I hate that the road ahead of her is going to be a tough one.
And I hate the thought of possibly losing her.

I have experienced a decent amount of loss in my 37 years, and each passing has affected me in vastly different ways. And I have learned that the effect is not based on the amount of time I knew the person, or even how I knew them. The effect is based on what footprints they left on my heart.

Today I am thinking about the footprints my friend has left – her artistic inspiration, her encouragement of my own art, her courage to try new things and go new places, her desire for adventure… I can hear her footsteps through the halls of my heart, and I treasure each and every one.

But I also wonder what footprints I have left behind.
Do people know I love them?
Have I encouraged them?
Have I challenged them?
Made them think?
Made them laugh?
Helped them love?
Shown them God?
Loved them?

I hope so.

Friday, March 4

I think I've seen too many scary movies...

Ahhh....  It's Friday.  And that means tonight is FRIDAY NIGHT, my favorite night of the whole week because I have 2 whole days before I go to work again.  :)  Today is also the start of spring break which means there will be a mass exodus of college students from the area for anywhere-but-here hooliganism.  Oh to be young again!

Bruce is doing a ride-along with a police officer friend of ours - he is quite excited, I must say. I'm excited for him - kind of.  I am happy he gets to go re-live some of his policeman days and have good convo with a friend, I am not relishing the thought of being alone in the house all night long. 

See, our house is cute and charming and wonderful, but then night comes and all that changes. 

At night, it quickly becomes something out of The Strangers, where very, very bad things could happen, and no one would hear you scream.  Creatures roam around outside, just out of view.  I hear rustling under the house.  The dogs bark for no reason - or at least I tell myself there's no reason as they go tearing off into the darkness....  There are no blinds on the windows, so all I see is darkness. 

My heart pounds. My imagination runs wild.
I sit on the couch under the safety of the down comforter.     

So yeah, I'm really happy for Bruce. :)

(OK, maybe it's not THAT bad.  But it is creepy.) 

Friday, February 25

My Art Blog

Well, I've done it.  I have officially launched my new art blog:! It's where I'll be detailing my creative pursuits - things I've made, things I'm learning, etc.  Hope you'll check it out some time.

To celebrate this new venture, I am offering a 25% discount in my current etsy shop.  Just enter NEWBLOG upon checkout to get the discount. 

Stay tuned...  :)  

Thursday, February 17

How you doin'?

OH MY GOSH! I haven't blogged in forever! And by "forever" I mean "a month," which is eons in the blog world.

And now I'm sitting here trying to determine what in the world has been keeping me so busy. And I can't think of a thing. Though I feel sure that there have been many "things."

And I'm certain there's lots of news, though, at first blush, I can't recall anything really mind-blowing... (And that makes me sad in a way. I hope there's nothing that I am forgetting - I did turn 37 this year after all.)

But since I don't want to share any of my mind-numbing news, here's just some of the normal, average news:

I found out recently that a good friend of mine has thyroid cancer - anaplastic carcinoma, to be exact, which is the worst type to have. Only 9% of those who are diagnosed with it live 5 more years. And that stinks a lot. But as big of an inspiration she’s been to me thus far, she is BLOWING MY MIND in how she is dealing with her cancer. She’s determined to beat it, and I really think she can. I am praying that she does.

I have been living up to my resolution to get more serious about my art. I've been creating. I'm branching out to brooches and - gasp - pendants of the fiber variety that are a bit more abstract. Different color wools, embroidery, beads, designs, etc. I'm pretty excited about them. I am also branching out to working with clay to sculpt pendants and beads and even little figures. My dining room table is just about covered in little clay things and paint bottles and brushes and things to add texture. I even used nail polish on one of my little creations! It's been fun using this new medium - kind of addictive actually. I'm hoping to have all of these things in my etsy shop by the end of the month.

Speaking of etsy... I have been researching ways to be better successful as a seller and artist, and I have learned that folks need to be able to find me easily. So, in keeping with my "artsy seriousness" I have created a sort of "brand" for myself. It's still in the works (I'm trying to doodle some type of logo), but it's cute and catchy. And it will alleviate some of the issue of my last name being easily misspelled and folks not being able to find me. I have created a new etsy shop, which I will switch over to completely at some point, and also a new blog, which will be strictly for art-related posts. So things are coming along.

Bruce quit his job - his carpet job, that is, and THAT is mind-blowing for us! He's just felt like he wasn't able to do everything that his pastoral role requires being bi-vocational, and after praying and thinking about it a good while, we decided it was time. What's really weird is that, while we know money will be tight, neither one of us are really worried about it. That's especially strange for me - the worrier about oh-so-many things. God really worked me over regarding my lack of faith in His provision this past summer during the Faith Jars experiment at our church. I know better now. Bruce and I both do. So we're just putting our faith in God and in what he has called us to do. And we know that He'll provide for us one way or the other. We’ve already noticed ways that God is reminding us, “Hey, I’ve got your backs!”

I won't pretend that things have been all hunky-dorey these last few weeks that Bruce has been home - it's been an odd adjustment. A challenge, I would even dare say. We've even "bickered" (gasp!) at times. I'll admit that, even though I am really happy for him, in a way I'm jealous of his new situation. He's doing what he wants to be doing, and I want that too. I know it will come - some day. But I want it now. Sigh. So apparently now God will be teaching me about patience. Oh joy. I thought I had that one learned already… But in the mornings, when I go into the bedroom to kiss Bruce goodbye, and he is still snoozing comfortably, and I occasionally fantasize about dumping a pitcher of ice cold water over his head, it is blazingly obvious that I still have things to learn... many things. many, many, many things.

So how 'bout you? How you doin'? What are you learning?

Monday, January 17

Always Have, Always Will

Once upon a time,
a silly, red-haired boy
met a freckly, blonde-haired girl.

And they fell in love.

They spoke in whispers.

They giggled.
They made plans.
They dreamed dreams.
And one day,
they got married.

And it's been 13 wonderful years since then.
And still...
They speak in whispers.
They giggle.
They make plans.
They dream dreams.

But more than anything else, they still love.  

Happy anniversary, Bruce! I love you with all of my heart.  Always have, always will.  XO

Thursday, January 6

Bad Dog

I need to show you something…

This is my dog Daisy. Guilty as sin. She knows she’s been bad. She knows it upsets me.

She knows she’ll do it again.

For whatever reason, Daisy has begun throwing tantrums whenever we leave the house, and we will come home to find some sort of mess – ripped up toys, chewed up papers, trash from the bathroom in the bedroom, etc. You might say, “Becky, you have two dogs, so how do you know that it was Daisy?”

Have you seen the picture? Look at the ears. Look at the slumped body. LOOK AT THE TONGUE LICKING HER GUILTY LIPS.


And every time she does this, we go through the same process. Bruce and I both scold her and then give her the silent treatment (so she can think about it, of course). She sits on the loveseat across from us with that guilty, pathetic demeanor for as long as it takes…. Until we call her to us to “make up.” We explain to her that it’s for her own good that she not participate in such behavior, and we remind her that it upsets us. Then we tell her to be “Mom’s good dog” and that “it’s ok,” and she gives us kisses because she knows all is well. Until maybe the next time we leave the house….

And isn’t that how we are with God sometimes? We sin. We know we shouldn’t. We know it’s bad. We know it will upset Him. But we sin anyway. We can’t help ourselves. And there we sit with our ears back and our tails tucked and our guilty lips. And then God calls us to Him - in spite of ourselves - so that we can confess that we’ve been bad, so that He can remind us that He only wants the best for us and that it upsets Him when we don't listen. And then He tells us we are His precious children and showers us with kisses of forgiveness, and we know all is well.

But what happens the next time we leave the house?

Tuesday, January 4

All Things New

I am officially back from my blogcation. I guess technically I could have been back sooner, but a bout with a nasty stomach bug thwarted those efforts for a few more days. But I am here now.

HAPPY NEW YEAR, FRIENDS! (Is it too late to say that? How long before we can’t say it anymore?) How are we doing with the resolutions thus far? I like to think that I am “easing into” mine, so it’s not all in-my-face, cold turkey changes I cannot live up to. Though really, I haven’t made any mind-blowing resolutions – they’re more like realizations of things that need change.

For example:
  • 2011 will be the year of even better time management for me. I’m not bad about managing my time, though up until now, I have allowed myself to get tossed about between whatever my lack-of-schedule requires of me, and I end up exhausted, annoyed and not satisfied because by the time I got a chance to do things I want/need to do, I don’t want to do them anymore. So this year, I am setting aside time each night/week to do certain things that I want to do: like read my Bible, create art, exercise (not so much a “want” as it is a “need”), prepare healthy meals, etc. It’s almost like I am calling meetings with myself.
  • 2011 will be the year that I “eat His word.” I don’t mean “do devotions” in the sense that I will read a book that references a few Bible passages. I mean reading the Bible and STUDYING it, pondering on it so that I can share it. I am also hoping to memorize one passage a week. This week’s is Jeremiah 15:16 – that’s where “eat His word” comes from…
  • 2011 will be the year that I get off my butt. I was recently chatting with a friend of mine, and we were both divulging our extravagant dislike for the current state of our bodies. And we went through all the excuses of why we look this way – lack of time, age, sedentary jobs, family doesn’t care what we look like, never home, etc. Blah, blah, blah… There’s always a reason when you’re looking for one. Ultimately, we decided our problem was that we like food, and we don’t move. So, it’s time to start moving. She has glorious dreams of getting back into running. I’m starting much smaller – walking within my fat burning heartbeat zone (which will basically be at a snail’s pace initially) and working my way up. I will also be making changes to my diet, of course, but I know that the fact that I do not exercise is the bulk of my problem.
  • 2001 will be the year I get serious about my art. I have decided that it’s time for me to move away from being “crafty” to being an actual mixed-media artist. It’s what I want to be when I grow up. (Tee hee!) Obviously TIME is a big part of this (refer to my first bullet point) – practice makes perfect, after all. I also need to start taking more risks, putting myself out there. And that scares the begeezus out of me. But my confidence won’t build unless I get my delicate ego banged-up a bit. So, I’ll be learning new techniques and showing them to folks. Be prepared to see some photos of my artwork now and then. I also signed up for The Sketchbook Challenge, which will get my name and work out there to other artists. I would LOVE to have some of my stuff for sale in a little shop somewhere.…
What about all of you? Any resolutions for the new year? I’d love to hear about them…
Give thanks for what you are now, and keep fighting for what you want to be tomorrow. ~Fernanda Miramontes-Landeros

 All praise to God, the Father of our Lord Jesus Christ. It is by his great mercy that we have been born again, because God raised Jesus Christ from the dead. Now we live with great expectation. ~I Peter 1:3