Monday, May 7, 2018

UP : The Queen of Multi-tasking

A couple of weeks ago at one of our church's LAFs (Lighthouse After-church fellowship), one of our ladies called me the "queen of multi-tasking".  I took that as a compliment.  One of the gifts of being a woman is being able to do many things at once.  I believe girls are born with this God-given ability for many reasons.  Men, on the other hand, do not frequently posses this gift. 

This was illustrated most vividly to me at clean-up time in my classroom during my brief time as a Christian School teacher.  I had a class of Kindergartners and first graders.  Free time was over and cleanup time had begun.  I stood by and watched as the girls grabbed piles of blocks and dumped them at once.  The boys grabbed one block at a time and tossed it into the bucket. The girls grabbed 3 or 4 books to put away. The boys grabbed them one by one and shoved them onto the book shelf.

Another example that comes to mind is that of the typical fast food eatery.  Most of the time when you go through the drive through a woman is taking your order, getting drinks, filling orders,  and taking money.  If, by chance, a man does help you...he may get drinks also, or take money; but I have never seen him do more than that simultaneously.
From Pajamas to uniform almost everyday.  Raymond D. is a lover
of Justice and fast cars...think corvette

So what's the challenge? For me, it is to not multi-task so much; but rather to stop and focus on my loved ones.  I already practice this with my husband some (...wink); but I can get away with it more with my children.  Sometimes I just need to stop all the busyness and focus on them individually.  Look them in the eye, listen to their dreams, play a game with them, jump on the trampoline, etc.  I have been told by seasoned mothers to let the housework wait and focus on what matters; but that is somewhat hard to do at times.  Laundry does matter. A clean house does matter.  Contrary to what my kids think, Mama taking a shower/bath does matter! It is so true, however, that in a few years, My family won't remember whether the house was dusted weekly or not.  They will remember the time we build a puzzle together, or that Mama did a flip on the trampoline (wishful thinking here), or played bad guys and cops (I am always the bad guy, and he is always the police officer).

Us attempting to save a baby opossum that Raymond D. brought to me one morning.  The dogs found the mama and babies earlier that morning, I guess.  Mama and one baby survived...for a while.  Aaliyah wants to be a vet someday and was thrilled to "help" this one.

Until Next Time,

Tuesday, May 1, 2018

Brayden's Story

 April 8th, 2018 was my due date for Brayden's birth.  What was supposed to be a day of joy, turned out to be a tough one emotionally.  Brayden was born on March 11th, a Sunday.  I won't go into detail here about that because I have copied our prayer letter and pasted it below for those interested in reading his birth story in a nutshell.  The whole experience was really....awkward.  I have a photo of us holding Brayden after he was born.  The nurse took the picture of us smiling and holding our newborn baby.  Looking back, I have no idea why we were smiling...its just a natural reflex to smile for the camera I guess.  What else were we supposed to do?  Please understand that I am not writing this in a spirit of grief or bitterness.  The Lord promised to comfort and give grace in time of need. Believe me when I tell you that He has not broken that promise.  I can truly say that we have peace that passes human understanding.  Lying in the hospital bed that night I turned on the television out of boredom and curiosity.  We don't have cable or anything at our home by choice; so I was not sure what I would find.  I settled on a Christian television channel and heard a preacher preach a message entitled, "Get out of Gethsemane".  I listened to hear what he meant by the title.  He went on to say that Jesus stayed in the garden of Gethsemane and pleaded with God the Father about HIS will for Him (Jesus).  Jesus even cried tears mingled with blood; but once the enemy showed up to arrest him, he was ready to move on and carry his cross with boldness.  What did that mean for me?  I thought I was handling the whole situation pretty well.  I was complimented by many people, including my doctors, about how well I was handling everything.  I didn't think I needed to hear that message; but I was wrong.  The Bible says in John somewhere (chapter 15, I think) that God's sheep hear His voice.  He was speaking to me through that message from a pastor I would never have otherwise heard. 

We pleaded with God to give us a healthy baby boy.  He said no. I am to accept it and continue on with grace and boldness.  This is what the Holy Spirit said to me.  On days when I am hurting, but life goes on...I am to go on as well.  I cannot expect my family and the church to stop having needs just because I do.  I am to get up early. Allow God to fill my cup, including comfort when needed, and pour into others whether I feel up to it or not. I have experienced some really special times with the Lord over these last 2 months...really, even before these last two months as we waited for God to work on Brayden's behalf.  The Lord has been good to us.  I am sure He has been good to you as well.  I hope this little letter will encourage you, as  you experience uncomfortable things in your life.  If so, let me know.  

Below is our church prayer letter.  As I said, it goes into more detail about Brayden's birth. Thank you for sharing this time with me. 


April 23, 2018

Dear Pastor and Praying Friends,

 For whether we live, we live unto the Lord; and whether we die, we die unto the Lord: whether we live therefore, or die, we are the Lord's. – Romans 14:8

     In our previous letter we asked for prayer regarding our son, Brayden.  He was diagnosed with Trisomy 18.  On Thursday, March 7th, we went for his 36 week checkup, and found out that he had passed sometime that morning.  We know it had to have happened that morning because he was such an active little fella and that morning was no different.  Even the ultrasound tech thought he was sound asleep upon first glance because he had not yet begun to show any signs of death. You can imagine how shocked we were when we found no heartbeat.

     The doctors recommended that my wife try and go into labor naturally for the sake of her health, so she did.  March 11, 2018, Spring forward Sunday, she began to have contractions as she was preparing for church.  Once we were sure it was real labor we headed for the hospital just down the street.  He was delivered that afternoon at  just after 1:00.  We had a small memorial service on the following Thursday.  I am thankful for those who attended, two of which raised their hand for salvation.  As was  mentioned in the verse above, Brayden was the Lord’s while he lived in the womb; and Brayden is definitely the Lord’s now.  We are thankful for the opportunity to have been his family for the brief time that he was with us.  Of course, we would have preferred to have him with us now; but we trust our heavenly Father, who loves us more than we could ever imagine, to know what is best for Brayden and us.

Thank you for your continued prayer and support for our family and our church.  May the Lord continue His work in us.

In His Service,
Pastor Raymond Beckles
Lighthouse Baptist church

Newport, Arkansas

Wednesday, April 4, 2018

Laundry, Laundry, Laundry!

A while back I posted on Facebook that every laundry day I contemplate becoming a minimalist.  When you have six people in one house dirtying clothes daily....laundry piles up pretty quickly.  What have I done to maintain peace, order, and cleanliness in our home? As with anything when you have small children in the home, it is a work in progress; but the following are the steps I have taken:

Step 1.)  I downsized everyone's wardrobe.  I am a HUGE fan of goodwill and consignment shopping.  One thing I have discovered about my self is that I have a habit of justifying buying more because I am "saving" so much money by shopping second hand.  Well, I have learned that children grow very quickly!  The item of clothing that is SO ADORABLE will not be as adorable when it is found in the closet  and has never been worn, or only worn once this season. If it is hard to match with anything else I have; or has an incredibly short season for wear...let someone else have it.
To keep myself on track, I printed out the Minimalist Mom's wardrobe list for her children .  I modified it to fit our situation. I went through everyone's wardrobe and removed the unnecessary clothing. I then donated anything worth wearing (If I wouldn't spend money on it, then it belongs in the trash) to Goodwill.  This left our closets and drawers looking and feeling so much more manageable.

Step 2.)  I downsize again at the end of the season .  I get rid of clothes not worth handing down and pack the rest away for the next year/child.

Step 3.)  I repeat this mantra with the children....I have to do this quite frequently with one child in particular..."If It's something I already wore, it doesn't go back in my drawer."  Once a month I check all the children's closets and drawers for things that are unclean or have been shoved back into the corner or dropped behind.  Also, I check for things that they never wear. I have learned to ask them why they don't wear the said item.  My son told me that he didn't like a pair of pants that I bought him because they looked like girl pants.  I thought they were "so adorable"; but I donated them anyway because I wanted to encourage him in noticing the difference between the genders.

Look who I found hiding in the closet.💕
Step 4.)  Last, but not least, I do 2 loads of laundry about 3 to 4 days a week. Usually I start Monday morning just before breakfast.  The kids help me sort the clothes, then I put them in the wash.  My two oldest girls help with putting them in the dryer and getting them out of the dryer.  Everyone except my husband, even little Rayanna (age 2), puts their own clothes away.  If they are too young to fold their own clothes, then they don't get folded.  This has saved my sanity!!! The clothes are dumped on the couch and then I call everyone in to sort the laundry and get their own things.  This process is SO much more efficient for us than me trying to be superwoman and do it all.

I hope this helps someone!

Now on to some pics of the life of the Beckles...

The Beckles
Resurrection Sunday 2018

Week 36ish

Brayden's funeral ceremony at the graveside

Us wearing purple for Trisomy 18 awareness day

Our 2 furry family members

Tablet time

Cassidy's free time activity

Aaliyah's free time activity

The chickens in our side yard

Those of you who know us, know that I was expecting a little one. He was due to arrive April the 8th.  He passed away on March 7th, 2018 due to  Trisomy 18.  I promise to write about this at a later date; but am not comfortable sharing about that at this time.  Thank you for your prayers. Have a wonderful Spring!!!

Until Next Time,


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