Tuesday, February 28, 2012

15 years

Fifteen years ago today on a rainy Friday night while watching 20/20 with me, Paul asked me, "Beck, would you be my girlfriend?" I reply, "Mmmmmhhhhmmmm." I was 16 he was 17 we had no idea all the life we would live together or that we would create life. We were just kids watching TV. The journey hasn't always been heart and butterflies. There are challenges and joys but they are ours together. We are older now, we might be slightly wiser but I am still not sure we know what life will bring. Here is to another 15 years of living life together. Gulp... that would be 30 years something my mind can't get around this early in the morning as it is just about a life time for me.

Today I am grateful for all the moments together over 15 years, good and bad for they created the us we are today.

Monday, February 27, 2012


Today I am grateful for finally getting all of our routine's back in order. It makes me more productive and leaves more space in my life for things like church on Sunday mornings. It also allows for me to spend time at the playground on amazing February days. I still have a lot to get done tonight but I feel like life has more space with the structure. The structure helps me get things done.

Routines delicately balanced with a flare for the spontaneous for you I am grateful.

Sunday, February 26, 2012

The Stars

Tonight is the Oscars which I will surely be watching, a night full of stars but those aren't the kind of stars I am talking about. I wonder how they even came to have the same name. I am talking about the kind you see in the sky, especially on cold winter nights. This Friday evening I found myself doing laundry after dark, something I don't normally do. As I was walking to the end of our building I looked up at the moon and the stars. I saw Orion. I had a thought, there's Orion one of the few constellations I can pick out on my own. In New Jersey at the house I grew up in and lived on and off at until moving here last summer, when I stand in the driveway looking at the stars I can always see Orion. Suddenly I knew what direction I was facing. I had for that moment my footing in the world I knew where I came from and where I was standing and not so much where I was going but that where ever it is I end up I should be able to find Orion and know where I have been. The stars are the same everywhere we go, consistent like the moon and the sun.
I remembered as a little girl wrapped in warm blankets laying on our cement patio with my dad just looking in wonder at the stars. I often think about my dad when looking at the stars, when I was a little girl and he was first in a nursing home, I missed him terribly. I sang the song from "Fivel" Somewhere Out There. The lyrics go like this:

Somewhere out there beneath the pale moonlight
Someone's thinking of me and loving me tonight

Somewhere out there someone's saying a prayer
That we'll find one another in that big somewhere out there

And even though I know how very far apart we are
It helps to think we might be wishing on the same bright star

And when the night wind starts to sing a lonesome lullaby
It helps to think we're sleeping underneath the same big sky

Somewhere out there if love can see us through
Then we'll be together somewhere out there
Out where dreams come true

And even though I know how very far apart we are
It helps to think we might be wishing on the same bright star

And when the night wind starts to sing a lonesome lullaby
It helps to think we're sleeping underneath the same big sky

Somewhere out there if love can see us through
Then we'll be together somewhere out there
Out where dreams come true

It helped me to feel connected to him even though I couldn't be with him. All through my life when I have had to be far apart from someone whom I am close to and miss I have told them at night look up we, see the moon, the stars, we are looking at the same ones. I do the same, when I miss someone I look at the stars or the moon and think about how the one I miss and love can see them too and some how through this shared glance across space and time and sky and night we are connected, maybe even seen. I realized this morning while thinking about the stars and how much it excited me to find Orion standing strong in the night sky I listened to a sermon about how we are on a journey, a journey that at times takes us into the wilderness. Well I was flooded with thoughts I had to take out my notebook and start writing.

Writing that has brought me here, first I must tell you that I realized I am in the wilderness; a place of disorientation, unknowing, desolation, an in between place, sparseness, loneliness, brokenness and in my case just struggling to survive. Oh yes I am in the wilderness and I didn't even realize it because I am so distracted by what it is I must accomplish while I am in this in between place called Seminary. I was on a journey, life, messy ugly beautiful and lovely life. In this life I had a place called home in the state of New Jersey. I had friends and family surrounding me and we were living life together. We were getting married, having babies, buying houses, living life. Then into my life once again broke in the voice of God, saying, "Oh Becca I am not done with you yet." Not that this means I think God will ever be done with me, but there was a time where I thought I misheard something or maybe I wanted to be used in a way God didn't want to use me. There I was a mom to one, settling into my role as mother, when God said nice try and I began to feel restless thinking there just has got to be something more than this. I was happy, I had my little answered prayer but I longed for there to be more to life. I had to find the more. That's how I ended up here at my kitchen table in my dormpartment in a land they call Kentucky far away from what was home (New Jersey) and not knowing where home will be next.

It's weird to be someplace knowing you are only there for a short while, seminary after all is three years of that in between space, because you can fall in love with your surroundings and peers but come three years you will be moving on, called by God to serve God's people. Sometimes I still find things that surprise me about being here, like nothing ever starts on time. It is when my East Coast hustle shows, church starts late and runs late, even Catholic, even Presbyterian. Things like that are more laid back and to my Jersey girl it's foreign and weird and disorienting. This would never happen at home, home is a funny word isn't it. Where is home? That's a good question because it's not NJ anymore and KY doesn't quite feel like it yet all while knowing another 2.5 years and I will have a new home yet again. Then there are these complex feelings about life and family. How do you maintain the friendships 700 miles away? What of my desire to give Lilia a sibling? Does this new path of service allow for old dreams to come to fruition?

So here I am in this in between place, that feels foreign and is the wilderness with nothing but the stars to guide me. Lately, we have been watching The Lion King a lot. Simba encounters his late father in the stars and I can't help but wonder if that holds some truth. I wonder what my own late father would think sometimes or what message he would send me from the stars or anywhere else. The thing is I know where I have been, where I have come from and what has shaped me. My New Jersey home, friends, family, church family, actual house, they were all stops along the way. The journey continues if I dig my heals in or not. I am hesitant to put down strong roots here because I know the journey will move me forward. I may never be back to my old life, I take with me relationships for life, memories. It's time to get more connected here because there are new stops on the journey waiting to teach me something.

I thought the sense of security I got from the stars was silly at first but maybe it is just plain normal. Think about it, the stars have been guiding people on journeys for a long time. Ship captains used them, astronomers study them as do astrologers and then there were those guys in a desert (wilderness) about 2000 years ago who followed... a star... to something extraordinary.

 Today I am grateful for the stars, the wilderness and the beautiful gift
 of being able to find the words. 


Saturday, February 25, 2012


Today I am pretty much caught up with everything that needs to be done, except school work. I do not feel as rushed as I have the past two weeks. I feel like I actually have time to get my work done. It is still a ton of work to get done but at least I don't have 10 other projects calling my name this morning.

I am grateful to not have a sense of urgency today. 

I am blessed by the opportunity to acquire education.

Friday, February 24, 2012


Today I am filled with gratitude for a nap. I came home from class with a long list of things I needed to get done today. I opted to ignore that list and take a nap with my baby girl. We cuddled up and slept for a few hours and both woke up much happier. I actually finished more of my list than I would have if I hadn't napped. I was so refreshed.

I am grateful for my energizing and refreshing nap that allowed for me to crack out a good chunk of my to do list.

Thursday, February 23, 2012


It's only February but I have been hearing birds chirping in the mornings for some time. I really enjoy hearing that for a few minutes as I lay in bed praying for more sleep. Today we are supposed to get near 70 in temperature. I hear this isn't typical weather here but I will take it today. Sounds like a good day for the playground which is a mommy's library study desk on nice days.

Today I am grateful for the birds chirping and the unseasonably warm temperatures. (Even if they make my allergies do things that I didn't know possible in February.)

May you be blessed by being outdoors in God's creation and knowing you are loved.

Wednesday, February 22, 2012

Learning so much and yet feeling so inceredibly inept...

This semester is about half way through it's second full week and flying by already. I am kind of grateful for that in and of itself because I long for a good stretch of break where I can find my wits again, think summer. This semester is a lot of work spread out over the semester unlike last semester where it was all bunched up in places like the middle and the end. I am learning so much already and I think that is the change I am noticing, I see that I am learning and I LOVE the LEARNING part. I had to read the entire Directory for Worship from the Book of Order. It's dry reading but I did learn a ton from doing it.

Here's the thing though, I feel stupid frequently just when I think I am starting to grasp something my classmates will come out with something and I am like dam I have so much catching up to do. Those moments aren't constant thank God. Then there was tonights mach polity exam. Well if I wasn't feeling behind everyone else, I am now. That thing was a bear and it leaves me feeling like I am not ready, may never be ready and lots of other random not so nice things.

This is interesting because I wrote down the blog theme for today long before I took that exam. I guess that's the thing, the "smarter"I get the smarter everyone else seems around me.

Today I am grateful for the chance to learn and to recognize the growth and learning in myself.

Tuesday, February 21, 2012

Not Easy

It's not always easy to find the gratitude. This morning I am more annoyed, angry and maybe sad because I am awake for an hour already working on school work that I should have gotten done yesterday. School work that is not done because of circumstances beyond my control. That's a really nice way to put it. I am feeling a whole lot this morning but gratitude is scarce and that's the raw and honest truth some days its hard to find the gratitude, especially on ordinary days.

I leave you with this which I have seen posted twice this week. I don't have the words today but here are some words of gratitude that resonate with me on most days.

Monday, February 20, 2012

A List

I do not have a story to tell you today more a list of things for which I find myself grateful.

1. I am grateful for the opportunity to be a part of the Vagina Monologues. It taught me much about being the other as I played a transwoman. It put in me a sense of gratitude that I could help women who have been victims of violence and grateful that in my life violence hasn't harmed me. I am glad to let my voice sound for the voiceless.

2. In the past week two very dear friends have lost loved ones. I have longed to be with the respective families and while the longing hurts and I wish they weren't experiencing grief I am grateful for having friends with whom I long to share in all of life with.

3. I am grateful for the opportunity to be a student and a mother. It is stressful most of the time. Sometimes I hate it but I realize that I live a life of privilege.

4. I am grateful for my beautiful little girl.

5. I am grateful for the growth I see in myself. I can see how I am learning to become "pastor" and how that role is different from all the others I know already. I am grateful to have a deep faith even when I can't see how God is working in such terrible circumstances at times.

6. I am grateful for new friendships even when I find them hard to navigate at times.

7. I am grateful for a chance to enter into conscious eating this Lent as I take on a vegan diet. (Although you might find me writing a series of blogs about foods I miss, like cheese.)

8. I am grateful for all the women who have come before me and broke down the doors of sexism. Doors that would have kept me out of this place and the pulpit.

9. I am grateful for patience for all the things in my heart for which I have no answer yet.

10. I am grateful for love.

Today I am filled with gratitude for all my blessings, for serving and honoring a God who loves and forgives.

May you be blessed by blessings.

Wednesday, February 15, 2012

Friendship, Love & Loss

Yesterday for the first time I felt a sense of really feeling terrible I couldn't be with my friends at home. They lost someone who was dear to them and I am here hundreds of miles away and we aren't sharing life together. That's when I got to thinking about friendship. Friendship is wanting to share life with someone, the good, the bad and the down right ugly. In that moment of their hurt I wanted so badly to be with them. We have shared years of life together, the good and the bad. Since moving our relationships from home have been weird, it's hard to navigate friendships from this far away. Yesterday I knew this friendship ran deep because I was sad I wasn't there to share life with them even if it wasn't a good time that was being had. Sharing life together, that is what we do.

Yesterday someone lost the love of their life far too soon and if that wasn't bad enough it was on Valentine's Day. That is just super shitty. For the rest of their life they are going to have love shoved in their face every February. That's not going to be easy.

I realized Paul and I we are the lucky ones, we are getting to live our lives together, to raise our daughter, to share in so much good and bad. We are friends, we are lovers. We are privileged to just be. I know that at any moment of any day that can be snatched away from us by this thing we call fate, the universe or God. Sometimes this marriage business is really hard work, sometimes its frustrating but this morning I can say it's worth it. We are the lucky ones who get to hold each other.

Today I am grateful for friendship and the gift of the time I have with my family. 

May you be blessed by the ones you love, the ones you share life with.

Sunday, February 12, 2012

Lil' Babe Needs a Family

This morning my friend from Uganda posted a picture of a little girl who needs a safe loving home. I want so badly to drop everything fund raise, fly to Uganda and just pick her up in my arms and love her and bring her home to be a part of our family. It breaks my heart when I see a child I know I can love and I can't actually go there and make them a part of our family and surround them in love. I can however love from a distance, which sounds incredibly cowardly and safe. I think we are called to get our hands dirty in love, not just love and pray from afar. Alas at times it is all we can do. I can't drop everything to go fight the Ugandan government so that I can bring this lil' babe home with me. I can't afford it and being a seminary student isn't the ideal time for expanding ones family.

I am certain that I have been called to this place in my life for a reason. I know I need to be here now and I know in the future our family will grow through adoption. I know our hearts will grow and swell with joy as we welcome a new child into our family, someday. Today is not the day but how I wish it could be.

It's odd isn't it, when I think about having another biological child my head swirls with how would we afford it, do I have enough love with in me to love another child, where would we all fit, could we give a second child what they need? Then I see a little orphan girl in Uganda and I say I can love her and care for her and easily fit her into my/our lives. It happens like that more often than not, I see a child that needs to be loved and I want to scoop them up and love them. I know it's not that simple that adopting can be traumatic for all parties involved. Hearts can be broken, adjustments are hard.

Today I am grateful for my friend Caleb and what he does for the children of Uganda. I am filled with gratitude because he inspires me to love like God loves. I am grateful for the wisdom to know now is not the time to act, even if it breaks my heart. 

May you be blessed today by the love you have for a child.

Saturday, February 11, 2012

Approaching the Other

This week on my facebook page I posted a link to a story about Washington (the state) about to approve legislation that would allow same sex couples to marry. In case you didn't know, I fully support marriage equality, actually I support all equality race, gender, sexuality all of it is important. Most people know where I stand on this. What I didn't expect was someone to proof text me on facebook alas it happened there in the comments section was Leviticus. I loathe the practice of proof texting. I knew the writer was looking for an argument. I also know that I am called to love and serve God's people and that sometimes that means loving and serving people I frankly could live with out. I mean rally who wants to love the smelly guy on the bus or the drunk who gets kicked out of a bar. It's hard to do but we are called to it. It is also really hard to love someone with whom you disagree, even if they smell better.

I had to think for awhile about how I would respond, this to me seemed like a pretty typical text to get thrown at me. However, it also called people whom I love and adore an abomination. I had to choose which route I wanted to go. I could have easily spouted out a hundred reasons why I disagreed. Instead I responded in a very thought out way. He replied and at the very least was respectful. We took a few shots back and forth before I called it quits. I said we obviously weren't going to agree but that I believe we believe in the same God, so we should find a way to find common ground and serve that God. There was no response after that.

In this I saw growth in myself. I didn't allow my anger to show. I didn't let my words come out like venom. I couldn't, I wanted to badly, but I couldn't. I am always saying we need to respect each others beliefs. That means I have to respect the belief of someone who doesn't agree with me. If I took away his right to believe as such my own right to believe as I do would be threatened. I am also a little sad that there was no further response on working together. In one way I am glad that it stopped the public and potentially hurtful words but I am sad that our conversation couldn't continue around common ground because I believe there has to be some somewhere.

The whole exercise was good practice for becoming a pastor.

I am grateful for the practice and in someways grateful for diversity of thought.

Wednesday, February 8, 2012

On Friendship

This week I had a rough time taking LG to a meeting with me. I came home and I was pretty much ready to quit. I came home all sorts of flustered at my inability to engage when I have her with me. Feeling like well Seminary is going to be about class only because I seriously can't commit to anything else because taking care of LG comes before all that. Taking her with me often is more work than it's worth because I don't hear a word.

I was here ready to just let things go and move back into the cave, exiting only for class. Then one of my new friends was like, it's a learning process you are both learning how to be in meetings together. LG has to learn and you have to learn to be able to engage, she will be fine. It occurred to me sometime later that since said friend goes to said meetings and she isn't going to let me quit. Actually I can see her showing up at my door and dragging me across campus.

When I told Paul about that conversation, I kind of whined I am not going to be able to quit. He responded with, "You mean she went all Beck on your ass? And you didn't freak out?" Ouch! No I didn't freak out because I appreciate that someone is finally telling me like it is and not dancing around it. I think people are intimidated by my tell it like it is ways at times, either that or people just really don't like to.

This week I have a friend who is like me, who isn't going to let me quit when it gets hard. I rather like having a friend who calls me out on my shit. It's REFRESHING! It might have been her grace in doing so as well because there are others who haven't been shy about it but their word choice always stung a bit. This week no stinging just gratitude for a friend who gets me and calls me out when I want to throw the towel in on meetings and motherhood.

Today I am grateful for new friendships, friends with courage & grace, friends who understand what it means to be a mother and called to serve God. 

May you be blessed with deep and loving friendships that you need in your life.

Tuesday, February 7, 2012


We have started the preschool hunt. It is overwhelming. Not only is our baby going to go to preschool in the Fall, we have to find the school that works for our family. I feel like I am out of sorts being in a different state, having cared for many children I have picked kids up from many a preschool in our previous state. I also worked in one from time to time. Here's the problem I am running into, first is all the schools here go to five days a week for 3 year olds. I am used to 3 days a week for kids of that age. I am not sure how I feel about five days a week. Also all of the classrooms seem really small to me. I am not sure if regulations are just different here but they seem like they are half the size of the classrooms I am used to.

I think I am hung up on the 5 day a week programs because it would make my life so much easier but it would compromise what I want for our daughter. If I send her 5 days a week and my life gets easier, it feels like a cop out. At least all the programs are half days. I kind of feel too like she has the rest of her life to have the 5-day-a-week grind, do I want to rush her into it?

If all goes as planned I will see two more schools today that offer 3 day programs, hopefully I will find something that makes us all super happy and comfortable. Affordable wouldn't be so bad either!

Today I am grateful for the time I have had at home raising my daughter.