Thursday, June 30, 2011

Five More Things

Ok, so I just wrote the world's longest and most random introduction to this blog, and then deleted it.

Welcome to my world.

Today for your reading enjoyment, I thought it was time to get to know each other a little better. You're already aware that I mess up dinner sometimes. And my kids are occasionally forced to wear my socks. But you may not have known that...

5) I'm absolutely, positively unreasonably afraid of bugs. I hate them! (And yes, hate is a strong word.)

Seriously, I won't label it a "phobia," (mainly because I'm afraid of that word), but I can't stand insects. Several years ago my house was invaded by ladybugs. Prior to that invasion, ladybugs and I were on good terms. Really, how could you hate ladybugs? They're so cute!

Until they invade your house.

By the thousands!

I remember the day I squashed one in my foyer, its neon insides staining the linoleum. Little Man frowned and said:

"But Mommy, I thought we liked ladybugs!"

And I said, "Not anymore."

That's how I feel about bugs.

4) I have strong opinions about dental floss. We won't go into detail here, but let it be known that store-brand floss doesn't cut it for me.

Last year I saved $.25 and bought the store brand, only to have it get stuck in my teeth that night. Will someone please tell me what you're supposed to do when floss gets stuck in your teeth?

That's right: Go back to the store, and spend the quarter!

3) I'm a writing tutor for graduate students. Hence, I know how to write full sentences, and I understand the meaning of "fragment." Also, I know that writers should avoid beginning sentences with conjunctions. It don't sound proper.

But here on my blog, I write like a crazy person. That's just the way it is. (Thanks for understanding.)

2) When I feel stressed out, I either crash and burn, or clean like a maniac. Today we had something of a family emergency. While we were waiting to hear news from the hospital, I made beds, vacuumed, and did three loads of laundry.

The Preacher's wondering how to manufacture a pseudo-emergency every day.

1) The summer before kindergarten, my best friend was a little boy in the neighborhood named Jason. We built dragons out of Legos, dug holes in our back yards, and generally drove our moms crazy.

One day, I told Jason I wanted to be a boy. And he, an expert on all things boy, said, "If you eat grass, you'll turn into a boy."

You know what happened next, right?

But what you don't know is this: When I told Little Man that story, he didn't laugh. He said, "Did it work?"

(I'm letting the Preacher handle that one.)

0) I've missed you all, and neglected you heartlessly. I'm thankful you're so gracious about my absences. Because as it turns out...

Life goes on,

Friday, June 24, 2011


Little Man is an artist. I know, it comes as a shock, but look at this:

He painted our friend Gecko at The Pottery Place, choosing an inspired assortment of colors. Personally, I like the look on this guy's face. Friendly, right?

Every so often, Gecko motions me over, says: "Hey! What's new?" So I tell him a little about my day, how I've tripped and fallen, how I've gotten up and brushed off the dirt. Gecko listens patiently.
"Yeah, I get it. Totally understand. Tell me more about that." 
So I spill to him about Royal Princess -- how she asks for food and doesn't eat it. How she scrapes dinner off her plate, sploshing it onto the floor. How she's learned when Mommy says no, to just ask The Preacher; he usually gives a better answer.

"I don't buy it." 
Gecko doesn't like hearing this kind of talk. He has a soft place in his heart for Royal Princess.

Is it just me, or does he have a serious attitude all of a sudden?

Watch it, Gecko. I'm having a yard sale pretty soon, and I'm not afraid to sell. Your. Smartie. Face.


With much love and affection,
Your Very Own Becki~

Thursday, June 16, 2011

Hands Up!

Hello, friend! Today, we're going to have a little. . . activity. Be honest, now. Nobody's watching!

First, raise your hand if you had planned a free-movie outing with your kiddos for Thursday morning. Keep it raised if you got your kidlets super excited about watching Despicable Me on the big screen, promising to share a big tub of greasy popcorn. . .

Only to realize free movies only play on Tuesday and Wednesday.

(Did you all put your hands down? Thought so.)

Ok, let's try again. Raise your hand if your hubby bought the family an iPad for Mother's Day, Father's Day, and all combined birthdays for the next five years.

Now keep your hand up if you took that costly tablet out to your porch swing yesterday morning.

. . . And let it slip through the wooden slats, onto the concrete below.

Raise your hand again if you sang the Hallelujah Chorus when it didn't crack. (I might be the reason God created reinforced glass.)

(Raise your hand if this is the first time your Preacher Husband is hearing about the. . . accident. Sorry, Preacher!)

So how are we doing so far, friend? You're a little better off than I am today, aren't you? And we're not finished yet.

Raise your hand if you exercised yesterday for the first time in about twenty years. Keep your hand up if you rolled out of bed this morning feeling like a beat dog.

Raise that hand even higher if you fought through the pain today -- warring against aging, aching cells -- and exercised all over again.

If that's you, too, then I guess we're all going to bed nice and tired tonight.

So raise your hand if you're proud of yourself  today, even with all the bumps in the road. (Me too!)

Hope your arms are raised all day long tomorrow.


Photo credits: Despicable Me
Porch Swing
Hands Raised

Wednesday, June 15, 2011

Ya Win Some. . .

Once upon a time, there lived a well-rested Princess. Each night, she slept peacefully within the bounds of her Royal Crib, dreaming sweet baby dreams.*

Overnight that Royal Princess grew into a toddler. Suddenly, she became a Royal Escape Artist, clambering out of her crib with ease.

And so the Princess's mommy and Preacher made a difficult decision. . .

Transforming the Royal Crib into the Royal Toddler Bed. Princess was so excited!

Maybe too excited.

Night after night, she slept in her bed. . .

Until she woke up. Every hour. Every night. Again. . .

And again. . .

And again. Until finally, Royal Princess resorted to sleeping in all manner of un-Royal places. . .

Every. Night.

After weeks of this battle, her parents -- overcome with exhaustion and concern -- did what any intelligent ShoeFitz reader would have done long before:

They reverted back to the Royal Crib.

And they all lived happily ever after.


*Honesty-in-Blogging Disclaimer: Newborn Royal Princess didn't sleep through the night in her crib, wrapped in blankets. She was born in July, for heaven's sake! But it was a sweet little photo op, wasn't it?

Monday, June 13, 2011

Imperfect Thanks

Lately I've been busy. (You can relate.) It used to be that summer was three months of relaxation, late nights, later mornings, and ice cream. Nowadays, it's more like stress, late nights, early mornings, and fat-free, sugar-free yogurt. (Fun, right?)

In all the busyness, my gratitude journal has been sorely neglected. It might even have gathered dust. Which, y'know. . . is just a total surprise in this house. Dust? Here? Psha.


Today I thought I'd get back on track with small summer thanks. (Or late-spring thanks, for you persnickety folks.) Giving big thanks for small things today:

1) Little Man, who begs to go outside. Little does he know, he doesn't have to plead! I love that he's outdoorsy and imaginative. (And a little fierce in sometimes...)

2) Time with family.

Time with family.

Time with family.

Is there a better way to say that? I don't think so.

I love that as I've gotten older, my family has expanded. Not that I haven't lost loved ones -- but I'm thankful today for those we've gained.

(And really, is family ever lost? Don't I see my Nenaw in the spunk of this Princess Girl?)

3) Petting zoos. And...

Little Man, who thinks llama slobber is hilarious.
Small summer thanks is a big thing. Finally thinking about it now, I'm so full I could write a book.

How about you, friend? Have you been so busy lately you've forgotten to look around?

Waiting for perfection makes us blind to these gifts.

So instead of demanding perfect, how about if we're just --

Imperfectly thankful?

Tuesday, June 7, 2011

Grace for You

As I mentioned Sunday, I'm away from home this week. No Preacher, no kidlets, and no dishes for six days. (Wanna guess which one I'm not missing right now?)

At lunch today, a classmate friend mentioned grace - that is, our ability to give others room to grow, to be authentic, even to hurt in front of us and still be embraced. It's the capacity to love rather than coach, remembering that we're all human.

And I told her, as I'm telling you now - I struggle with being gracious. My nature is to critique and assess, formulating right and wrong. It's not something I aim for or even like, yet it comes automatically.

Contrary to popular opinion, judgment isn't unique to faith; instead, it's a human tendency, something that serves a purpose. Being quick to critique, criticize, and even advise does something for us. Maybe it maintains the black-and-white lines of our world. Maybe it conceals our own struggles.

I don't know exactly what it does for me. But I do know this:

It doesn't help me connect with people, love better, or reflect Christ. (He did things like this, you remember.) No, gracelessness doesn't honor Him. And last time I checked, it didn't exactly meet that whole fruit-of-the-Spirit standard, either.

(Yet even as I'm writing this, the temptation to delete my confession is fierce. Maybe because I'm afraid of being judged, too?)

Timothy Keller lays it out this way:

"The gospel does not say, 'the good are in and the bad are out,' nor 'the open-minded are in and the judgmental are out.' The gospel says the humble are in and the proud are out. The gospel says the people who know they're not better, nor more open-minded, nor more moral than anyone else, are in, and the people who think they are on the right side of the divide are most in danger."

And where, my friends, are you? Where am I? Could we be brave today, courageous enough to look closely at our own deep hearts?

We each need grace, me most of all (I promise you, I promise you). Do you know how "most" my pride has been, grieving the One who loves me anyway? When I should have loved, I've run away in fear. This is the stain of pride, my greatest guilt.

I forget He didn't choose me because I was already straight. And He doesn't choose me today because I'm fixed.

Yet even here, He meets me. Stooped low, He breathes grace onto me. And just as I can breathe it in, so I can breathe it out onto others, day by day by day.

And what about you, my friend? Grace for you, too?

Praying for grace with this long post,

Photo credit:

Sunday, June 5, 2011

Fighting Gladys

When was the last time you tried something new? I'm doing lots of new things this week -- traveling by myself, staying solo in a hotel, taking a week-long class all by my lonesome. Well, just me and a hundred other students, anyway.

Today when I checked into my hotel, I was relieved to be there, but a little flustered after my long trip. A five-hour drive took about six hours, partly because...

I set the GPS to avoid toll roads (a very bad idea when the entire route was a toll road),
I stopped for coffee. Fourbucks. Twice.
Thinking that I was at the second coffee exit, I turned onto the wrong road,
Where my GPS got confused, and I finally came to my senses and found my way back.

Then the GPS took me through the mountains of Virginia - a lovely view, but not really what I was expecting. For  45 minutes, I shared the road with crazy buses hauling rafters to the river. By the end, I was arguing with the GPS girl. "No, I'm not going that way. Shut your face! I'm not turning left onto River Road, Gladys!"

Yes, I call her "Gladys."

Anyway, I was flustered when I finally got here. Exhausted, I decided to switch rooms because my original room wasn't ready yet. Then I changed my mind again because I found gnats in the new room. Freaking out, I changed rooms yet again, back to the original, only to find a bug that worried me.

The saintly woman working at the front desk showed me three other rooms, finally introducing me to her favorite -- a secluded, exposed-brick room with a lovely bathtub.

And so, of course, I settled in.

I may never take a shower again.

Tonight - clean, relaxed, and rested - all I can think about is that girl at the front desk. Poor thing! She asked me about my field of study, and I told her counseling.

Tonight, she's probably home blogging about the counseling student who could use some counseling herself.

Just thinking about it makes me want another bath.

Compulsive about bubbles,

Thursday, June 2, 2011


Last week, we went home to visit family for the first time since February. *bliss!*

But I realized while we were there that I might've become the Kooky Camera Aunt. You know, the one terrorizing relatives at holiday, birthday, and even (*gasp*) funeral gatherings? Suddenly, that's me! (Well, except the whole funeral thing. That's not really my speed.)

Lately, the instant I see my nieces and nephews - and of course my own kidlets - doing something adorable, two thoughts fill my mind:

1) Oh my word, I have to capture that for posterity! And
2) Oh my word, I have to post that on my blog! (Which pretty much also makes me the Kooky Blogger Lady, but you already knew that.)

The sad thing, dear reader, is that I think there's something wrong with my beloved new camera! Just last week, here was Little Man before the Evil Camera did its tricks:

Yes, he had a huge wad of gum hanging out of his mouth. (Doesn't everybody?) But the point is, he was happy!

Yet here's the after photo:

Is it just me, or did something disappear? Like, y'know, his smile?

I didn't think much about it at the time, but then one afternoon. . .

The Mean Camera did this to Little Brother, my sweet baby nephew:

In the interests of full disclosure, Little Brother actually got much worse after I tried to console him.

And he may or may not have felt that way before I pulled out the Terrible Camera. He might have been fussing and crying since the moment I first squealed, "Hey, baby!" Or maybe not.

Maybe it's just the camera. A simple malfunction. It certainly couldn't be the auntie behind the camera, right?



Your Crazy Camera Lady,