Spicy isn't so bad

I recently read this post. Well, skimmed it. In the bathroom.  While avoiding laundry, a cluttered basement and dirty floors.  (Just wanting to keep things real around here.)

In three days my baby girl #1 starts preschool.  Until a few days ago I was totally freaking out. Things were escalating as follows:  Am I less of a mom because I'm not homeschooling her?  Have I given her enough tools to handle the nitty gritty of a 4 year old social life? Does she know how to "just say no"?!  Oh Lord, please don't let her be the mean kid!  As you can see I was in a full blown spin out.

Man, this mom gig is hard.  I spent so much time wanting and waiting for it, I don't think I gave time to truly thinking about all motherhood entailed. I knew it would be hard, but I don't think I anticipated the constant mental ticker tape running around in my brain.  It's this strange combination of keeping track of basic survival, emotional well being, and spiritual leading while wondering if you're doing it all wrong.

On top of this there is this new(ish) level of expectation of perfect consistency and patience flying around that honestly pushes me over the edge.  I blame Pinterest, Facebook, Mommy Blogs and  Mrs. Duggar.  I mean, 19 kids and she's still all smiles and quiet voices?! C'mon!  It's just frustrating.  

Then I read this.  The wind of fresh perspective blew over me and a breathed it in as if I had been suffocating.  We are just a spicy family.  There's no way around it.  

My big girl has an opinion (or a 1023 of them) about everything and my baby girl's personality holds consistent with the statement "all or nothing" .  There is no way a can shove either of them into a "sit still and crochet" category.  Believe me, I've tried.  Somehow, I thought this meant I wasn't doing something right.  I thought perhaps I wasn't patient enough (well, is anyone, really?) or consistent enough or soft enough, basically,  just not enough.

Where did this come from? When did it start?  When did I start thinking we weren't "right"?  I grew up in a so called spicy family and loved it.   The result was three sisters, three strong personalities, three woman that fiercely love God and their families.  When did that become not enough?

It's time to walk back under the umbrella of grace.  It's time to remind myself that God is the one forming my motherhood and He knows what He's doing.  It's time to look those other preschool moms in the eye and not compare my ability to brush hair-in-motion against theirs.  I was made to raise my kids.  I was chosen for them and they for me.    

Together we knock off each other's rough edges and fill each other with big, bold, shmooshy love.  We forgive constantly, we talk truth and we grow exponentially.  I think we're doing OK.  

Thanks, Jen Hatmaker.  Thanks for reminding me that spice isn't so bad.  In fact, it's pretty great.  After all, how boring would life be if not a little spicy?


To Her

It's been years since are friendship began to crumble to its demise.  I'm not sure when the chipping away first began.  I'm not sure who first decided walking away was easier then hanging on.  It doesn't matter.  We are here now; a few city miles and a million silences apart.

It's been years, yet I still think about you almost daily.  Sometimes it's a wafting thought that comes and goes.  Other times its a nagging, stabbing pain that I can't believe is still there.  You were such a big part of my life.  Now you're not.  Do you think this way? At all?

I see your precious babies.  Once we marveled over them together all fresh and new.  Now I see them tall and beautiful and they have no idea that we spent hours and hours together, keeping them up late and crazy. It felt like family, joined by friendship and faith.

I know your life has taken all kinds of twists and turns that we never talked about and I never saw coming. I know I failed you.  I know I stopped seeing.   I know where I left behind compassion and picked up judgement.  I know where I started staring inward instead of outward.  Few things grieve me more.  

If you were on the other end of the couch right now with a mug of coffee and creamer I would tell you I'm sorry.  My perspectives have changed so much.  My life has changed so much.  How I love has changed so much.

Today I read this blog post and all I could do was cry.  Tears flowed because with all my heart I thought you were this person. My person.  My forever friend.  

Perhaps it wasn't the same for you.  I may wonder that the most.  How else could this have happened?  Did you think we were too different?  My world too small and restrictive?  Did I just not hear you or see you fully? Did you think there would be no room in my heart for the truth? 

Regardless of your answers, on this end of things you were the best kind of friend.  Crazy and cracked in places, but full of something contagious and brave. I miss what you carried with you.   Its strange how I still feel like you are supposed to be the one around.  I don't know when that will leave.  Maybe never.  

You have walked through so much over the past few years.  New voices at your side.  New faces in your home. New milestones. A new life.  Often I wonder what it's like, what you are like.  It's strange not knowing.

There are days I have the audacity to hope that somehow, someday we could repair the chasm created by life moving on.  There are other days I tell myself to move on and just let you be a sweet decade of memories.  

I don't know if you'll ever read this.  If you do, you may find flaws or reasons for further distance.  My hope is that you will read it and only find love and gratitude.

I want your life to always be full of goodness, hope, joy and love.  I want you to know rest and peace.  You need to know you are missed and loved.

Although I never thought I'd see you go, I'm  thankful to have lived life with you for over 10 years.  You walked with me through the most painful decade of my life. Together we shared laughter, hope, pain, empathy and faith.  No one else could have spoken bravery into my scared heart the way you did.  All I can inadequately say is thank you. 

With so much love, thank you.


Sunday Night Confessions

I'm tired.

I took a bless-ed (you have to say it like that) two hour Sunday afternoon nap.  It's been far too long since I've done that.

I'm still tired.

I want chocolate.  Specifically, this.  Nothing tops it.  Except maybe something from here.

I also want ice cream.  Crazy ice cream.

I'm in desperate need for the kind of novel that swallows you up and spits you out wanting more.  Vacation is in 5 days, people.  I'm getting a little panicky!  Help me!

My patience was pretty darn thin yesterday and today. (Note top of list)

Elli still declared me her "greatest bestest mom" after being tucked in for the 53rd time.

Kids give far more grace than we deserve.

I could learn a lot from my cute and short housemates.

I have about 1287 things to do before Friday.

Since returning from out of town my house smells weird and I cannot figure out why.  (Grossed out? Me too.  Add it to the list.)

I bought a gorgeous old mirror for $10 from a neighbor.  It weighs 42 tons.  I guess that's a good thing?  I'll show it to you soon.

I have eaten more bread today than I have in the last two months-combined.

Last night I painted my nails "midnight magic" in the middle of summer.  In bed.  I felt like living on the edge.  Wild-I know.

I think I'm really funny.  If only everyone else would realize how funny I actually am.

I want to think of more things to  confess, but I just lost focus.

If you don't hear from me much this week it's because I'm scrambling like a headless chicken to prep for vacation.  Then again, you may hear from me a lot as a procrastinate down to the wire!

Until next time!


Smoothie Master

I am the master smoothie maker.  Well, in my 4 year old's eyes I am.  Daddy's smoothies aren't quite the same (or so I have heard) so smoothie creation has been delegated to me.

While we are far from perfect on the whole and healthy food front, I do work really hard on keeping us free from all the icky chemicals, hormones, sugars and who-knows-what that is in the current U.S. food supply.  This means our smoothies are choc full of greens, fruit, healthy fat and zero sugar or dairy (I'll write about being dairy free some other time).

Our basic smoothie formula is probably pretty similar to a lot of yours, but my bedheaded assistant thought it would be fun to share ours with the world wide web.  Here's a typical Becker smoothie:

Full fat coconut milk (a third to a half of a can)

Lots and lots of fresh organic spinach (its worth the few extra cents to get organic greens since they are on the dirty dozen list). We use anywhere from 3 to 6 cups depending on how much we want to drink.  Spinach is what we use for volume rather than fruit.

Something frozen (in our house that's usually the fruit).  Right now we buy a tropical fruit blend from Costco that is already chopped and frozen.  I don't buy organic because most of the fruits in it were thick skinned (meaning less grody stuff gets to the fruit).  We also often have a bag of broken up frozen bananas in the freezer.  I pick these up from the damaged section at the grocery store for super cheap. We usually use 1-2 cups of fruit.  I try to keep it reigned in so we're not starting out with a ton of sweetness in the morning.

I then finish it off with a quarter or half of avocado, a half cup or so of water and once and a while a splash of vanilla.

Then it's time to blend! This is the Elli's favorite part because she's all about controlling the buttons.  

Once you start blending you'll know whether or not you'll need to add something.

If it's pulling away toward the sides, it's too thick and you'll need to add water.

If it's too runny add more spinach or frozen fruit or a fresh banana.  If its too small add more spinach.

The next step is to have your fuzzy-haired-sleepy-eyed officials do a taste check.  They'll let you know if its hitting the mark. 
 Today our smoothie lacked some flavor and sweetness so we added a banana and viola perfection!  Other days we might add a spoonful of almond butter or fresh berries.

This particular combo isn't the prettiest color, but it is definitely yummy!  This batch makes about 4 and 1/2 decent sized servings.  Plate it with a few boiled eggs and breakfast is done!


We are we.

Undone.  That's how I feel today.  I simply woke up undone.  Tears are falling freely and frequently, uninvited.  

I should have known.  When you ask for something like this, He always answers with a yes. Hearts are meant to be pliable, flexible under the weight of what life offers.  They are not meant to be numb, hard or dull.  So I asked, with trembling, I asked.

I know what it's like to be broken.  With the whisper of a memory I can feel the shattered earth under my feet.  I remember what is was like to have questions as your constant companions. I didn't know it then, but true beauty thrived in that life of hurt.

Things turned around, miracles happening daily as my heart healed.  Somehow, along the way, lack of desperation led to lack of connection.  Then I find myself wanting what I had, but dreading the possibility to having to endure the depths of difficulty.

Can I be close, be aware of God's richness without the pain?  Do I have to be stripped down in order to feel again?  For so long couldn't bring myself to find out.  

Then, I simply couldn't bear the absence.  Sure, we had talked and had moments, but nothing like when He and I were the only ones carrying the secrets of my ruined heart.    So I asked; A heart that senses Emmanuel, responds in humility, and endures whatever it requires to be just Him and I again.  I asked for a heart that would once again hear His secrets and would reveal my own in return.

It hasn't happened right away.  I've been living bated breath, waiting for a shoe to drop, fearing rather than expecting.  Now I feel broken, hungry and ready and I realize THIS is our language.  

Desperation and uncertainty have been given such an ugly color of disdain.  What if they were meant to be beautiful,  rich with the patina of life fought for and life found?  What if my awareness of my own fear and lack of understanding is all He needs to meet me?

Today I  am undone.  The truth slowly seeping through song, word and babies with blue eyes.  He is here.  I am here.  We are we. Life should be no other way.