staying real : things my parents say


When we arrive at a restaurant for dinner at 4:30pm:

“There’s nobody here! I can’t believe it!”


During the Masters:

“What do the different colored shirts mean?”

“What do they do if they have to go to the bathroom?”

“It’s really cool that he won it in overtime!”

(Again…football family. It’s all we know.)

Oh, they make me so happy. So, so happy. I loved being home.

beka stays real : two stories that made me laugh out loud

Story 1:

The family I nanny for had the sad task of deciding to put their dog to sleep last week after her valiant battle with cancer. When explaining to their four year old that their dog had died, she replied, “But that’s ok, because in 3 days they’ll roll the stone away and she’ll rise from the dead!”

Apparently we’ve been hitting the Easter stories a little too hard.

Story 2:

During a Skype conversation with my parents over the weekend my dad mentioned that someone he knew was looking for advice about going into full-time ministry. Having spent over 20 years in full-time ministry, my dad had a few thoughts to share, one of them being a precautionary tale about the financial toll on a family. Then my mom chimed in:

“Yeah but it’d be harder for them because they have kids.”

My dad looked at her, paused, looked at me and then asked, “…who do you think we’re talking to right now?”

To which my mom replied, “Oh, well it’s just Beka.”

Which either means I’m extraordinarily low-maintenance as offspring or extraordinarily forgettable as offspring. One way or the other, I think this can definitely be used as blackmail for the future.

(I love these stories. And these people. And my life.)

beka stays real : just call me phoebe

via google images

Remember that episode of Friends with Phoebe and the fire alarm? Yeah, I’ve basically been reenacting that for the past week.

Let’s rewind to the fall when I thought I had a gas leak but actually had an unlit pilot light (Gas Stove Rookie, Party of One) and the gas company sent the fire department out, sirens blaring, to my rescue. While the firemen were here for nothing they figured they might as well check my smoke detector. They deemed it acceptable for use.

Fast forward to a week ago during a pre-check for an upcoming fire inspection. Come to find out that the smoke detector deemed acceptable for use had no batteries. So apparently it was acceptable for hypothetical use. Which would have been a great comfort during a non-hypothetical fire, I’m sure.

So new batteries were installed. You’d think that would be the end of this story.

And wouldn’t that make for a scintillating blog post.

No worries, there’s more!

Later that night I was boiling water. Boiling. Water. And suddenly to my great dismay, a foreign beeping noise was coming from the hallway. Since the sound of smoke detectors blaring during mealtimes is not necessarily foreign to me (sorry, Mom), I did what I’d done for years: stood underneath it for a few seconds while fanning a large object to clear the air. And the beeping ended.

Until it began again two minutes later.

This cycle was repeated FOUR MORE TIMES before I finally pulled a Phoebe and took the alarm down from the ceiling.

But it continued to beep.

So I removed the batteries.

But it continued to beep.

So I removed the wiring.

And all was (finally, for the love of imminent hearing loss) quiet on the western front.

Fast forward a few days. Fire inspections are now over. I come home for the night, park my car down the street, and start walking toward my apartment. In the distance, I hear a faint noise. I bet someone’s car alarm is going off. But as I get closer, I recognize the noise. Someone’s fire alarm is going off.

“Must be one of the new ones put in for the fire inspections,” I think.

(You already know where this is going. You guys are swifter than I am.)

But then I arrive at my front door.

The beeping is louder.

I walk up the stairs.

The beeping is louder.

I open my apartment door.

The beeping is louder…and directly in front of me.

Coming from the alarm I had previously murdered.

Apparently it had been fixed and reinstalled for the inspections and was now gracing me with it’s welcoming intonations once again.

Feel free to assume that it is neither fixed nor reinstalled anymore.

All of this to say: Previous Tenant, I understand why the alarm was battery-barren to begin with. And thank you.

(Disclaimer for all of you kindly concerned citizens out there (Hi, Dad!): I also have a new fully functioning alarm in a less temperamental location. Both my sanity and my neighbors are thrilled with this development.)

beka stays relational: coffee lessons from my mom

Happy Leap Day, everyone!

I think an extra day deserves an extra gift. Which means it’s time for a good Mom story.

My mom is a hard worker. She works as a bus aide and in the middle school cafeteria. She leaves the house every morning around 6am, goes on her first bus run, and then has a short break before heading to the cafeteria. During that break she likes to have some coffee.

If only it were that simple.

The problem is that she prefers her food and beverages to be hot. And by hot, I mean volcanic. So putting coffee in a travel mug and saving it for her break just isn’t an option because it won’t stay hot enough. I’ve tried to help the situation by giving her super-insulated mugs and mugs that plug into the car lighter to self-heat. Neither of those options complied with her temperature preferences.

So she came up with her own solution instead. And when she started telling the story of how she prepares her coffee every morning I knew I had to write it down because it’s the best thing I’ve heard…basically ever. And then I knew I had to share it with you guys, because I love you that much.

Here’s our coffee conversation, as told by my mom, with select input from my dad and me. Good luck.

Mom: (Said in about 3 seconds) Okay, fill a coffee cup with hot water and put it in the microwave…

Me: Wait wait wait how fast do you think I can type this?

Mom: Oh…(laughs uncontrollably) sorry. I’ll have to send you a picture of –

Dad: Yeah there’s an idea!

Me: Of the mug?

Mom and Dad: Yeah!

Mom: Ok so anyway fill a coffee CUP with hot water and put it in the microwave until it boils, or you know, whatever, comes to a boil. Then I put the boiling water in my coffee MUG and I seal it up. I wrap the bottom part in foil –

Me: Bottom part of what?

Mom: My mug!

Me: Why the bottom?

Mom: SHHHH. And then, before I leave – I figure it’s like 10-15 minutes since I put the boiling water in, whatever – when I leave I pour the coffee from the machine into the CUP and put it in the microwave.

Dad: Now you know why she has to get up at 5am…

Mom: And put it in there –

Me: Wait, in where?

Mom: In the MICROWAVE. Just shy of 2 minutes and 45 seconds, just shy of coming to a boil. Then I empty the hot water from the insulated mug and pour the hot coffee into the mug…put the lid on…hahahaha!…And then I put the foil on.

Me: What happened to the foil on the bottom?

Mom: It’s still there!

Me: So where are you putting the new foil?

Mom: On top! And then I put the plastic bag on top of everything.

Dad: You have to see this…

Mom: And then I put a rubber band over everything (starts to break into another fit of laughter). But it works because you can see the steam inside of the bag once I’m done with my bus run!!!

Dad: Gee, I wonder why…

Mom: And then I put it in the car and I have a big beach towel and then a regular towel and then I wrap it around with all the towels –

Me: Ok wait, towels?

Mom: Well I have the beach towel which I wrap around the “mug” and then, like I said, I have the other towel and I wrap that all around the other towel…it’s like a cocoon around my mug!

(Pauses momentarily.)

But if I DON’T do that…well even if I don’t do the foil! Or the microwave! I mean it’s just not the same. This stays HOT for 2 hours! And sometimes, just as extra, I put a bag on top.

Me: On top of…the towels?

Mom: Yeah!

Me: So you leave at what time in the morning?

Mom: No later than 6:15.

Me: And when are you drinking this?

Mom: About 8:45 or 9.

Me: And your coffee stays hot?

Mom: Oh, absolutely, absolutely!

Dad: It wouldn’t dare get cold.

Mom: It’s just as hot as if it’s being served in a restaurant!

Me: How…did this happen? How did you start doing this?

Mom: I don’t know how I started doing it. But I’ll tell you what: it WORKS!

End Scene.

And just in case you thought it was too good to be true, here’s the visual:

One towel:

Two towels:

The bag:

And the mastermind behind this whole process:

Mom…I love you more than you’ll ever know. Thanks for making life so much fun.

good things : kids


pinned here via here

I didn’t think there was anything better than having a 2 year old tell you he loves you and has missed you after a week long vacation.

Until his 4 year old sister hit me with this:

“Beka, when you get married, I’ll be the nanny for my brother.”

“Oh, that’s so nice of you! But who will take care of you?”

“Well, Beka, don’t be silly. I’ll be in college when you get married so I won’t need a nanny.”

Good to know the world is on the same page about my marital status.

But seriously…LOVE IT. Love them. Kids are the best.


inspired : 1.15.12

Let’s just talk about this and get it out of the way:

Packers lose their only game of the season in Week 15. Packers lose a winnable divisional playoff game on January 15th.

The curse lives on.

Although this time, it wasn’t so much the curse as it was just a straight up awful performance. As Coach McCarthy said in his postgame interview, “We did not play very well today. I think I’m stating the obvious.”

But despite the gruesome loss tonight to the stupid Giants whom I hate, a 15-1 (note how there are only 15 wins…again: cursed) season for a team coming off an improbable Super Bowl victory is quite an accomplishment in it’s own right. I’m still so proud of this team and can’t wait to see what they can do next season.

Until then I’ll just continue crying into my cheesehead.

Moving on.

Due to the surplus (and then some) of Tim Tebow coverage this week, he gets his own Inspired section. Just because he’s so darn inspiring.

everything you see is true

what makes tebow different (by nathan whitaker, who cowrote his biography)

jason gay is one of my favorite sportswriters. loved his take on tebow this week.

giving up on giving up on tim

what’s more important than football (an answer, not a question)

and for something a little more lighthearted, here’s this

And then there’s the rest of us. Here are some other inspiring things!

the chance of a lifetime

i literally laughed out loud multiple times while reading this post…and wished my mom had an iPhone because oh, what fun we’d have…

a big bad (but good) book list

the last picture in this wedding post…OH MY WORD. gets me every time.

pin of the week

(which, by the way, was hard to come by since i barely pinned at all this week! apparently i was too busy frolicking in the snow and killing mice and changing diapers and stretching my defunct IT band and eating chocolate banana granola)

(please enjoy the variety of images in that sentence, btw.)

Pinned Image

pinned here via here

inspired : 1.8.12

It’s FINALLY back! Inspired Posts, I’ve missed you. Here’s a month’s worth of backlogged inspiration:

this online magazine is one of my new favorite things : foodie crush

speaking of favorite things, @OprahReadsNews makes me laugh so hard i cry

this also made me laugh so hard i cried

these cookies are 800 calories. and look like they’re worth every. single. one.

declutter your life one day at a time

hysterical map to the super bowl

also hysterical…apparently i’m all about the laughter this week

admirable resolutions

making this asap : peanut butter banana chocolate chip bread

beautiful watercolor wedding

this wise quote from billy graham : “heaven is full of answers to prayers for which no one ever bothered to ask.”

i love running, but man, i miss crossfit! (and isn’t bob harper the best?)

oh my goodness…this cover of jj heller’s where i land…just amazing

and the weekly tim tebow link…this time a really beautifully shot documentary on

AND now another one…BELIEVE IT! couldn’t be happier for any player not in a packers jersey.

pin of the week:

Pinned Image

pinned here via here

(how much do you wish computer screens could instantly deliver food? OH MY WORD.)

and that’s when the cops pulled into our driveway.

Last year’s Christmas story featured some classic Mom antics. Trust me, she had her moments this Christmas as well. (At church: Me – “Who’s that?” Mom – “Yes, I’m excited about the rolls, too!”) But this year, it was all about the police and marijuana.

Don’t worry, the two are not related. This story doesn’t end in prison.

First, we’ll start with how we all awoke this morning. It was kind of like a poem. But kind of not.

We set our alarms for 7am. I was up at 5am because I’m ridiculous and still get just as excited for Christmas morning as I did when I was 5 years old. But shortly after 7 we all heard the sound of silver bells…or security alarm bells. My dad tripped the alarm on his way downstairs which caused my mom and I to spring from our beds to see what was the matter. We didn’t spring too quickly because accidentally tripping the alarm is something that happens on a daily basis often around here.

After the alarm goes off the security center calls the house to make sure there isn’t an actual perpetrator on the premises. They usually call immediately afterwards, but since we are so good at setting the alarm off they probably run a few errands, grab a cup of coffee, maybe send out some belated emails before calling our house.

Except for this morning, they called back while we were in the middle of setting the alarm off for a second time so we weren’t quite able to get to the phone in time.

So they just sent the police over.

Merry Christmas! There’s a cop in the driveway!

We gave him a plate of cookies and brownies and our condolences.

About 30 minutes later we were opening Christmas presents. At which time my dad, who is 77 and does full-time prison ministry, felt compelled to utter, “It makes you wonder: how many people are opening Christmas presents this morning, and there’s marijuana inside?”

At which time my mom, who wouldn’t know marijuana from marigolds, felt compelled to sniff the envelope to her card and utter, “Mmmmm, pot.”

And that’s how my senior citizen parents and I started Christmas morning.

Here’s hoping that all of your mornings were equally joy-filled. And less filled with cops and hash.

the dailies : 11.7.11

daily word: This one has to go to Annie. Today, in her just-turned-4 logic, she explained Thanksgiving as follows: “There are lots of turkeys. And you know, turkeys taste great when they’re dead!”

daily sweat: An hour on the arc trainer this morning, which was a deviation of my original plan to do a long run, but there was literally not one square inch of my body that felt like running 6 miles was a good idea. It was totally different than “I don’t feel like running today.” It was more like, “PLEASE…for the love of all that is sanity…DO NOT GET ON THE TREADMILL.” So, I didn’t! And the hour on the arc trainer felt great! A good lesson in working out wisely.

daily dish: I don’t know why but this lunch thrilled me to pieces.

Carrot sticks in hummus, red grapes, and butternut quinoa stew.

daily mile:

Day 64: pummeled by faithfulness

(this is still true)