Wednesday, May 30, 2012

Wisdom from Abe...

The other day my wonderful husband brought me home Abraham Lincoln: Vampire Hunter which I have been wanting to read for a very long time.  Just for the record, I'm not quite half way through and I LOVE it.  It's quite enjoyable.  Last night I was reading and came upon this jewel: "Judge us not equally." Now in the book this quote is referencing Vampires and slaves, but how relevant is it to us normal folk?

Yesterday I read a blog written by my cousin who told the story about an experience he had on a recent flight.  I won't link you there because I haven't asked for his permission, but to sum up it was about a young man of middle eastern decent who was shown disdain and prejudice by an older woman based solely on his appearance.  My cousin shared how even after the young man jumped up to offer this woman assistance with her luggage, she still glared at him with judgment.  Now, there was more to the story but I was struck by the thought of how often we judge something or someone based on something else entirely.

For instance it seems that in our society Christianity has become somewhat taboo.  I've become even more aware of this now that I've moved out of the Bible Belt.  Christians are judged as being judgemental, hypocritical, and ultra-conservative.  We are being judged that way based on the actions of a few.

Judge us not equally.

It is unfortunate that there are "Christians" who are quite vocal about their lack of love for their brothers.  Can we not make it our mission to change this image being touted about this nation? 

I know that lately I have been blogging a lot about love.  I feel transformed.  There's no other way to say it.  It's a hard thing to love, really hard, but lately I find it just a little bit easier.  What was once a struggle to see the good in every situation has become closer to being a part of my nature.  There are certain parts of my life that I still hold a prejudice for, certainly, but those things are few.  I am a different person.  I love more, I judge less, and I feel a need to be a difference in our world.

Join me on this mission won't you please?

Blessings to you this day.

Thursday, May 24, 2012

Whatcha Gonna Do?

Hello all!  Did you guys get the memo? It's summer time!! Yesterday was Zoe's last day of preschool.  It was a day of fun in the sun and wind for water day!

Ready to go! 

Noah hops in for the photo op.

Noah's last day was the day before.  I love these kids.  I can't believe how much they have grown and learned over these months.

Last night after the kids were put to bed Zach and I went to our room and watched some Baseball Tonight.  After a while I went to check on the kids and found Noah awake and very happy about it.  I picked him up and took him to our room and Zach and I spent a while just enjoying our son.  It was blissful.  We had tickle wars, we laid together and watched "b-ball", and we laughed a lot.  I have a great family.

This late night experience reminds me that enjoying time together as a family doesn't have to be some grand gesture.  As we are getting geared up for the summer and I am wondering how to keep my sanity with trying to keep the kids entertained until school starts up, it's good to remember that we can have fun and not spend any money or plan huge activities.

On that note, I would love to hear any ideas or tips for summer activities.  What are your plans for the vacation months?

May you all see your blessings in everything you do.

Tuesday, May 22, 2012

Sometimes Life is hard...

This is Zoe's last week of preschool.  Wednesday is her last day and she is very ready to begin Kindergarten.  She is having a problem dealing with the fact that she will no longer be going to Bright Beginnings.   She came home from school today already in trouble from her father.  Apparently she didn't want to leave school and shared this feeling quite forcefully with Zach.  He did not appreciate that so much and punished her to her room as soon as they got home.

Knowing she was upset and guessing at the reason, I went in to talk to her.  I pulled her in my lap and she immediately began crying.  "I'm going to miss my friends so much! I'm never going to see them again!" she wailed.  I know her pain.  I sympathize with her.  Smoothing her sweaty hair back and wiping away her tears I told her,"People enter our lives for a reason.  If people are supposed to be in our lives we must trust in God that He will find a way to make it happen."

People have entered my life and left my life.  I have moved miles away from the people I care about.  I have to have faith that God has a plan for me and knows what people are meant for that plan.  Regardless of where I am I must believe that He has a way to ensure the right people are in my life.

As I stated in my previous post I have been giving a lot of thought to my ministry.  Anyone can have a ministry in my opinion, you don't have to have a job at a church or be a Minister.  People think that if they have a desire to serve God then they must go to seminary.  That's simply not true and if more people realized this then I think the state of our churches would be better.  We would have less ineffective pastors and more involved congregants, but I digress.  

We never know when we will depart this world, when today will be our last.  Can you feel comfortable with saying,"If I die tomorrow, I know that I leave this world a better place for having been in it."

St. Francis of Assisi is quoted as saying: "Remember that when you leave this earth, you can take with you nothing that have received--only what you have given."

I hope and pray that when I leave this place at least one person can say I had a positive impact on them.  Shouldn't that be what we all strive for? 

I will not be on Facebook much for a while.  If you need to contact me please message me or send me a text.  Peace be to you.

Thursday, May 17, 2012

Post so random...

To say I am exhausted would be a huge understatement.  I am beyond tired, so much so that my body aches with fatigue.  The weekend we had in Plainview celebrating Mother's Day and Zoe's birthday really took it's toll on us.  We are all still trying to recover which has resulted in more than a few melt-downs in this house.

I really did enjoy our visit back in Plainview.  Though we no longer consider Plainview our "home" we still enjoy getting to see our family, especially when we have the time to visit everyone and not be rushed.

Zach and I took advantage of the six hours with little radio reception to talk to one another, really talk, which isn't something we are able to do very often.  We talked about a lot of things - our future, our visions for our ministry, the paths that led us to where we are now, and where we see God working in our lives.  What a great relief to know that we are both on the same page on most of these issues.  I really have found my soul mate.

Another great moment was when we got to share some of these revelations with our dear "sister" (not by blood but brought together by God) Erin.  I can not wait to see what God has in store for her and her future husband.

Keeping on with the randomness of this post I would encourage you all to read Blue Like Jazz by Donald Miller.  I have only made it through about half of this book but I think about it often.  It's not the type of book I would usually read but I am glad I picked it up.

Zoe had a great birthday.  She got to have a sleepover with her cousins, something which she has been asking for for a long time, and eat lots of cake.  So much so that she was turning down ice cream.  I think she is struggling with the idea of being five and therefore, a "really big girl."  The other night she was watching as I went to check on Noah after he fell asleep for the night (at 5:30 - I told you we had a rough weekend).  She noted how I arranged his pillows and moved somethings around and then tucked his blanket around him.  Later that night as I was putting her to bed she asked,"Mom, will you do with my blanket and pillows what you did with Noah?"  I complied, though it wasn't necessary, and she was pacified.  Last night when we told her to go to bed she asked again,"Mom, will you do to me what you do to Noah when you check on him?"  Again I complied. 

This got me thinking, though we grow older and less dependent on others sometimes we need to know that if we need it, someone will be there to take care of us.  Sometimes we need to know that even when we don't need it, someone is there to let us know we are loved and cared for.

My heart is full and here's hoping yours is too.

My "really big girl."

Friday, May 11, 2012

Zoe Noel

Today is Zoe's birthday.  Just like I did with Noah I thought I would take this time to document her birth story.

Being pregnant with Zoe was a trial.  I had morning sickness before I knew I was pregnant and the intense nausea lasted the entire pregnancy.  I couldn't even think about food without getting sick.  I tried everything to make it better.  Finally, my mom found biobands online and ordered me some.  Though it didn't eliminate my sickness I did find relief enough to eat.

I remember with clarity the day we found out Zoe was a girl.  Zach was certain we would have a boy.  He was counting on having a boy.  When we went in for the ultrasound I was looking at my husband instead of the screen when the doctor made that announcement.  The look of horror on Zach's face was so clear.  We got in the car after the appointment and sat in silence.  I was secretly ecstatic but I could tell Zach wasn't so much.  It took a while but finally he got over some of his fears.

The morning of the day Zoe made her arrival Zach got up early and left for work.  I was a week before my due date.  I was awoken by a phone call from my former boss asking if I would come back to work for him after the baby was born if he allowed me to work part-time.  Still laying in bed I called my mom to tell her that news.  I was feeling good, energetic, ready to take on the world and get cracking on that to-do list I wanted to complete before baby arrived.  I got out of bed to hop in the shower and my water broke.  Immediately I called Zach and couldn't reach him.  Then I called my mom.  "Mom, I think my water just broke."  Mom: "What do you mean you think?! Call the doctor!" 

I called my doctor and was told to get to the hospital and then tried calling Zach again.  Finally I tracked him down and told him that today we were having a baby.  While waiting for him to get here I checked my bag, gathered my toiletries and was thinking about taking a shower when Zach arrived.  Zach came home: "What are you doing? We have to get going!" Me: "I want to shower first." Zach: "Are you crazy? We are having a baby! We have to get going!!"

Yeah, we lived about 1 minute from the hospital.  I was having no contractions.  I didn't get my shower...

Once in the hospital they started me on pitocin since I was not dilated or having any other labor symptoms.  Holy Cow, when those contractions started!  Labor was hard and I had problems delivering Zoe.  My last push was going to be my last regardless if she came or not. Zoe Noel Bechtold was born that evening at around 6:30. Her little head was blistered from the vacuum and I was completely exhausted.  I had to stay in the delivery room much longer than usual because I kept losing consciousness and I didn't get to hold my daughter until the next day.  I also didn't get to have my shower until the next evening.

The first two weeks of precious Zoe's life was (I hate to admit) the hardest days of my life.  I was having a difficult recovery, I wasn't producing enough milk to satisfy Zoe, and she never stopped crying.  I went days without any sleep and I truly experienced post-partum depression before we got her feedings figured out and things levelled out. 

Those two weeks of misery now seem trivial when I look into my love's face.  She was a very good baby.  Very happy, always smiling.  I can't imagine what my life would be life without her in it.

Five years later I can see the young woman my daughter is going to grow into be.  She is so compassionate, empathizing with everyone she encounters.  She is dramatic, feeling things so intensely.  She is stubborn, refusing to budge on what she thinks.  She is so much like her mother.

I am so proud of Zoe.  I can't wait to see her continue to mature and blossom.  Happy birthday, my sweet, loving, silly girl.  I love you!

Zoe one day old.

Happy Zoe at 2 months.

Little diva.

Sunday, May 6, 2012


YOLO. I know most of you are very familiar with this acronym.  It's very popular with the younger generations.  I first saw it popping up in my facebook news feed and, being more unhip than I thought, had no idea what it meant.  I actually had to Google it to find out it means "you only live once."  It's a great life motto, if you use it correctly.  Unfortunately, many people choose to use this saying as a justification of doing anything that they want.  "You only live once so what if I do this incredibly stupid thing?"  "You only live once so what if I do something that hurts another person?"  Yeah, you get the idea.

For me, and I assume many others, this is simply a reminder to not take those things/people/experiences in our lives for granted.  It's trendy, and to certain hipsters it's probably taboo, but, to remind ourselves that we only have this one life to live can encourage us to make better choices.  Something that I came across while teaching Confirmation (in fact it may have been quoted once in some sermon here recently) is that if you leave this place without having made at least one change to make it better then you did not live up to your life's purpose.  We all have a purpose in life, to love as Jesus has taught us to love.  We never know when it's our time to leave this world, or, for that matter, when it's time for someone else to leave this world.  Why should we put off for tomorrow the good we can do today?

There's a news story floating about that I'm sure has many others like me reaching for the tissue.  It's the story of the little baby who's parents were told she didn't have long to live.  They created a bucket list for her short little life which, unfortunately, ended much too soon.  Here's a link to the article if you haven't seen it.  It's a heart breaking story and I can't imagine what her parents must be going through.  I know if it were me I would probably be wallowing in "what-ifs" and regrets over every wasted moment I had with my child.

Disaster can happen at any moment to any one of us.  Each moment we have with someone we care about could be our last.  What regrets would you have if something happened tomorrow to one of your loved ones?

My sweet little girl is going to be five on Friday.  I can't believe how quickly time has gone and I know that before I know it I will be posting pictures of her Senior Prom on Facebook (or it's equivalent in 12 years).  Already I have regrets of time wasted with my little girl.  Weeks go by and I haven't used the time with my family wisely.  We let our lives go by in a blur of business and have nothing to show for it.  We spend our days working, cleaning, running around crazy, and when we have the chance to just "be" with our family we spend it sprawled in front of the tv or snapping at our kids who are vying for our attention.  Opportunities to be with those we care about are wasted.

Tonight after an evening of Zach and I going our different ways for work we were able to meet up at McAllisters for supper.  There we were, sitting outside on the patio, eating as a family, enjoying the perfect weather and watching the sun go down behind the mountains.  It was perfectly peaceful and I fully appreciated that moment with my family.

You Only Live Once.  Are you wasting your life or are you making the most of the gift of time that has generously been given to everyone of us? 

May you always see your blessings for what they are and never take them for granted...

Saturday, May 5, 2012

Just life

Let me start out by saying I love Netflix instant streaming.  This week while I have been taking it easy on my back, Netflix has been a sanity saver.  Lots and lots of Bones, Psych, and the Office. 

This week has been the "home-stretch" for summer.  Zach has been crazy busy for work closing up the semester but tomorrow is his last scheduled event.  Today the Wesley is having its first annual golf tournament.  This event has been very stressful for Zach and I for one am glad to see it behind us. 

Thursday night we had an open house at Zoe's new school for next year.  She is so excited to be starting Kindergarten, very ready to find out who her new teacher is going to be.  The idea of her starting big girl school next year makes me a little weepy so I try not to think of it too much.

Next week my little girl turns five. FIVE!!  How is that possible?  I asked her what she wanted more than anything for her birthday and she said, "Olive Garden."  We plan to go there Thursday night as we are going to Plainview on Friday for her birthday and Mother's day.  We haven't been back to Plainview since Christmas. 

Last night, after a busy day full of a doctors appointment, errands, shopping, rummage-saling at church, and picking Noah up from school, Zach really wanted a nice, quiet evening to rest.  He was exhausted from helping Travis move and watching the Avengers at midnight the day before.  We cooked out on the grill and then treated the kids to watching a movie in the guest room before bed (we don't allow them to watch tv in there often).  After months of waiting for a good time we decided to finally try and watch Money Ball.  It probably took us three hours to watch the movie because of the constant interruptions from our children.  After the tenth time of having to pause the movie because of the kids I could see the vein starting to pulse in Zach's forehead.  He was not enjoying the trappings of parenthood in that moment.  I scooped up Noah and laughing, took him to his room and put him in bed.  Zach, shaking his head at me said, "I'm glad you think its so funny."  My response was, "Sometimes all you can do is laugh." 

I know that is a cliche thing to say but it's so true.  Life gives us so many interruptions, plans get ruined, messes happen, and those moments of quiet and rest we think we desperately need never seem to turn out the way we want.  We can choose to let those moments bring us down or we can laugh, shake it off, and keep on trucking. 

Here's to some calm during the noise of life, but if that doesn't happen, here's to a sense of humor to keep us sane...