On the Verge

Listen to your life.

See it for the fathomless mystery that it is

In the boredom and pain of it

no less than in the excitement and gladness:

touch, taste, smell your way to the holy and hidden heart of it

because in the last analysis all moments are key moments,

and life itself is grace.

                                                    Frederic Buechner


My soul has been demanding that I write. Oh, I’ve been ignoring it for a good while, choosing instead to regain what I felt I lost as I was finishing my Master’s degree: time in my garden, time to exercise, time to read, time to clean, time with my family, time experiencing the present. I did that this summer, truly attempting to rest in the present moments. And although my closet still needs cleaned out – oh my gosh, the clothing pile has morphed into a mountain. (I’m not kidding, I’m pretty sure I saw a snowcap on it the last time I dared go in there.); and although my main garden is still a jungle (I’m pretty sure I lost my youngest child in there for a few days in August.); and although I didn’t clean every window in my house, I am proud to say that I did a decent job of staying present and finding joy in the simple moments.


Yet still my soul demanded…


…because in my attempt to stay present and connect with what had been put “on hold,” I was also avoiding a fear – what if I can no longer write? What if I am just repeating the same story? The same words? The same old me? People read my blog; people like my blog. I want to inspire, feel, create, gift, speak truth…not disappoint. I don’t know exactly where this fear came from, but I do know that I will not let it steal my voice anymore.


My friend Gina introduced me to a song yesterday called, “The Verge,” by Owl City and through some gentle nudging by the Spirit, I recognized that this is how I’m feeling these days – on the verge: of crying, of creating, of singing, of laughing, of fear, of joy. It’s rare that we are on the mountaintop or in the valley; we are most often on the verge of either.


And so…on the verge of something, and with a humble spirit, I write.


The other day I was driving Syd to work. I’ve been taking a different route over to Kings Island, where my beautiful girl is a singing, dancing cartoon character with a giant head, who delights many a young towhead like she once was. On this day, I had my two youngest – Colt and Ian – along for the ride, and on the way home, I decided to stop by the cemetery where Kate is buried. I’d driven this way a few times, and Ian had even asked me recently if we could “visit Kate,” but I had put it off.


A moment after I had decided to go to the cemetery, I stopped at a traffic light and waited to turn right. Glancing over to my left, I noticed a young, blonde child strapped into a carseat in the back of the car next to me. As I made eye contact, the child – pacifier in mouth – smiled at me. My breath caught in my throat and a sharp pain lanced my chest. I had seen this smile before from my Kate, and it was often behind the beloved paci. As the light turned green, and the cars shifted forward, the child smiled even bigger at me, and then waved.


Tears came to my eyes as I felt myself longing to follow that car and that smile. And I remembered another time when maybe a few weeks or months after Kate died (time was painfully irrelevant after the death of my child) and I was in the local Walmart. I had been behind a mother carrying a child in a black and white coat very similar to one I’d had Kate in that previous fall. I willed myself to look away and continue my shopping. But as I turned down the cosmetics aisle (an aisle I very rarely frequent), I had an irrational urge to follow that child and see its face. I turned back around and sought out the duo, walking around with my cart in an almost panicked state of mind, but I never found them.


I remember berating myself for such stupid behavior, but looking back I was just so desperate for a piece of her, for the smell of her hair, for the dimples on her hands…for the smile behind the paci. Those are the sacred pieces of the puzzle for me. It’s not the soccer trophy my 8 year old holds, it’s the oh-my-gosh-when-will-this-kid’s-teeth-grow-in grin right above it. It’s not the diploma still in its well-protected cardboard envelope on a dusty desk in my bedroom; it’s the conversations with classmates and professors that expanded and renewed a mind ready to be challenged once again. It’s not a perfect, inspirational blog; it’s the writing about simple, hallowed moments of ordinary life, which I have recorded before, and which I will continue to share.

On the Verge

On the Verge


Life is about being on the verge. It’s two little boys’ attempt to understand who this sister was and why she died and why they want to come visit her in this odd place none of their other friends understand. It’s about my 6 year old asking me if I was ok, and my 8 year old saying, “I’m sorry that happened to you, Mommy.” They are always on the verge of redefining Kate’s life and death as they mature. And I am always on the verge of the same damn thing.


I’m teaching the story of Joseph to my freshmen. At the end of the story, Joseph tells his brothers who plotted to kill him and who sold him into slavery that they had planned all of it for evil, but God had used it for good, for in a crazy series of events, Joseph had become second in command of Egypt and had been able, then, to feed his family during the famine. Talk about forgiveness and grace and humility and REDEMPTION; this has become one of my favorite passages in the bible.


I know God has Kate. And I know God is still redeeming her death in ways that I don’t even understand yet. When I can’t hold her hand, THAT is the hope that I cling to. But, oh my goodness, am I thankful for that smile behind the paci. Because, you see, I’m always on the verge of seeing my girl once again.



Posted on October 21st, 2016 by LilBS  |  No Comments »

Being in the moment

being in the moment

being in the moment

This has been a ridiculously, stupendously busy year.  I am full time teaching after being off for 14 years; I’m enrolled full time in graduate school, pursuing a master’s degree in Religious Studies; and I’m still running this crazy household.  When friends ask me how I’m doing, how my life is going, all I can say is this line,”It’s really good.  I love everything I’m doing while I’m doing it.”  While this is absolutely true, it’s been bothering me that this is all I can think to say.  So I did a little intentional thinking about this the other day.  How am I really doing?

First, I am filled with joy.  Oh, I am stressed out –  a lot.  Organizing 5 kids on 4+ sports teams:  carpools, snacks, meals, all on a budget, and trying not to forget anyone at any given time or field… it’s a lot to manage.  Finding time to plan and grade for 140 freshman students whom I dearly love and desire to provide great, meaningful education…it’s a lot to manage.  Squeezing in chunks of quiet time in which to read fabulously deep books on theology and writing the necessary papers and assignments that accompany quality grad. classes…it’s a lot to manage.  But there is much joy to be found in all of these activities.  It shows up in the conversations I get to have with my kids when we’re in the car, driving to yet another practice.  It shows up when those students are genuinely shocked that I sent out a quick email letting them know I’m thankful for them.  It shows up as I’m using parts of my brain that have been dormant for so very long.  I am truly joy-filled.

being in the moment

being in the moment

I have such amazing support.  My husband and kids love me in the midst of my insanity.  My family and Rob’s family – especially those Grandmas – have made themselves available in so many ways – caring for these 5 lucky kids,  caring for me in practical, loving ways.  Friends who listen to me whine, treat me with suprise doughnuts, jump out of running cars for much-needed hugs, reach out through quick emails and texts…I am loved in all the ways I need to be, and much more.  And I know that I am lifted up in prayer.  That, along with spirit-provided comfort and inspiration, is the only way I am walking through this and am still fairly upright, and mostly-remembering to breathe.

As I contemplate my joy and my aforementioned response to my current life, I think the way I’m feeling is HOME.  I am home in my body, in my spirit, in my soul.  I’m not complete, and am still pretty much a mess (my house reflects this), but I am more perfectly me than I have ever been before in these 42 years.  THIS is the biggest blessing of my life right now.  I’ve always been a performer.  I put on “Becky-shows” for whatever needs I anticipated my audience may have.  And I’ve been really good at this, if I do say so myself – which I do.  And it’s not all been a lie, a piece of my true-Becky is included in every performance for the low, low price of free!  But at the heart of every performance now is… me.  This is where my life thus far has brought me – home to me.  So when I’m performing now, it’s rooted in authenticity and (I almost wrote maturity – which is hilarious, and would be much-debated!) this giant store of love I’ve received.

being in the moment

being in the moment

And how does one put all of that into a simple response to, “How are you?”  I guess, just the way I’ve been answering will have to do.  No, I don’t watch much tv and I don’t sit down much, I don’t exercise as much as I’d like to, and right now I don’t have time to read or write much for pleasure (although I”ve gifted myself this time today for my birthday).  My garden will probably be a mess again this year, and I’ve sent more than one kid to soccer practice in a semi-clean (who am I kidding – dirty) jersey… But I am loving everything I’m doing while I’m doing it.  Even in the most stressful moments or the painful ones that are prevalent in this broken world, I am acutely aware of the ways I am held…and blessed.  There’s a lot of ugly amidst the beautiful…but I choose to focus on the beautiful.

There is much that is sacred in my ordinary life.  And I’m so very thankful for every moment.

Posted on March 28th, 2015 by LilBS  |  No Comments »



I haven’t been reading much for pleasure this summer.  (Although I HAVE been finding much pleasure in the books I’ve been reading for grad. school!)  But I snuck in the excellent novel, Orphan Train a few weeks ago.  There was a concept that was key to the story, something I have heard about before but struck me with new significance at this different place I’m at right now in my life.  This concept was called portaging.  Imagine you are on a canoe trip where the river dries up or becomes so low that it’s necessary to carry your canoe along the bank until the next river begins, or the current river reaches a level you can once again properly navigate your canoe. You would need to pack light, carrying only the essentials, otherwise the canoe would be too loaded down and you would be unable to move along to the next point of your journey.

2014 has been a year of portage for me.  This year of transition has been a time where I am sifting through my collection of thoughts, lessons, and experiences from the last 14 years, deciding what the essentials are that I’m going to carry with me as I prepare for the next leg of my journey.  I’m sure as I paddle into this new adventure, I will continue to realize essential items I will need to hold close, but here is the list as it stands right now.

1.  Creativity.  I didn’t realize how fundamental a need this is for me – and I would say, for all of us.  This looks different for me every single day, but it’s such a soul-engaging NEED that it makes the top of this list.  I need to do something creative nearly every single day.  Painting a bookshelf, baking brownies, weeding my garden, moving furniture, writing a blog, etc.  It is a discipline to allow myself to be creative.  It is a way to connect with who I am created to be.  It fulfills a need within me that then allows me to be a better wife and mother ~ and person.

2.  Bittersweetness.  I stand rooted in hope and grief.  Like a flower that emerges stronger because of those creatures who gave their lives to feed the soil I’m planted within, I carry with me the yin and yang of this life.  As I proudly watch my children mature, I weep with the loss of their childhood.  Though I mourn my sweet girl, I am thankful for lessons learned in the wake of that tragedy.  Like the seasons that change, I too am evolving and learning to recognize these changes as opportunities for growth or rest.

Kate's Lily

Kate’s Lily

3.  Honoring the moment.  Not typically one to plan, I usually live for the moment.  Learning to HONOR the moment, however, is a different, crucial element.  When I can let go of expectations and rest in the present moment, I fully engage and experience the sacredness within that moment.  Whether I’m teaching my boys how to brush their teeth (again), listening to my girls complain about one another (again), folding laundry (again), or laughing during a family dinner, if I am concentrating on those people in that moment instead of the thousand other things that may need to be addressed, then I am honoring that moment ~ that relationship.

4.  “I’m tired” can be translated in a variety of ways.  I say this a lot.  Too much.  It is usually true, but there’s often an undercurrent that lies just beneath this surface, beckoning me deeper.  Sometimes “I’m tired” means “I need to talk.”  Sometimes it means “I’m feeling sad.”  Sometimes it means “I just need some time to myself.”  I have learned that I am so quick to dismiss my feelings that I often fail to even recognize or name them.  When I hear myself saying, “I’m tired,” I’m learning to pay attention.

5.  Coffee.  Goodness gracious, however did I live without this beverage?  I started drinking coconut frappachinos and now drink it black, although I appreciate its multitude of subtleties and uses.  Though coffee is indeed important, it also serves as a metaphor to me that sometimes I need help making it through my day.  My first inclination is to muscle through any situation by myself, but in reality I am better served (and a better servant to others!) when I admit that I need help.

Just one more cup...

Just one more cup…

6.  Less of me leaves more room for Him.  Perspective is powerful.  When I enter into a situation with my own prejudices, my own preconceived notions, I influence and manipulate that situation often without even realizing it.  If my goal is to be a vessel for divine love to be shared with others, I need to ask for help to make it not about me, but about using my life and experiences to serve a greater good.  This is something I need to ask not just daily, but in every waking moment, so that it becomes as natural as breathing.

It is too difficult to sum up 14 years of stay-at-home-motherhood in one blog post.  But as I portage to this next stage, I carry with me essential, valuable components that will help guide me through this next passage.  It’s an interesting question, isn’t it?  What essentials are you carrying with you throughout your travels?


Posted on July 21st, 2014 by LilBS  |  No Comments »

Joy is a Choice

When I lost Kate, I was 5 months pregnant with our first son, Ty. Of course, this precipitated extra concern for his welfare, as he was being housed by a grieving mother.  But without much conscious thought, my instincts kicked in and I was able to feed my body (seriously, when have I EVER failed to feed this body?!) and this new baby in the way that he needed to be nourished.

4 months later our serious, thoughtful, sensitive baby boy entered our world. I won’t lie and say I felt the same kind of joy as during the births of our girls, but there was something even more powerful born that day – the promise of joy. And for a mother who was still reeling from the shock and suffering that accompanies losing a child, that promise was something beautiful and tangent. In Ty’s birth, more than perhaps any event in my life, I was reminded (or maybe it was then that I first truly learned) that joy can be a choice.

Joy is a Choice

Joy is a Choice

Joy is a choice.

One of my favorite authors, Ann Voskamp, says “Gratitude precedes the miracle.”  This is so much more than a quote to me – it is the air I breathe. For it is in being thankful for the time I had with Kate that I am able to continue living without her. It was in being thankful for this baby boy, that I was able to choose and feel joy again.

It was a miracle.

Joy is a Choice

Joy is a Choice

That serious, joy-reminding baby how now become a rambunctious, intelligent, athletic, 8 year old. I cannot fathom how that happened so very quickly, but here we are. He is still so very sensitive – I often wonder if it’s because of what he endured in the womb as we were connected in my physical and emotional grief. It is one of the many mysteries held deep within this mother’s heart. And he continues to teach me how to choose joy, only now it’s in the form of smelly, tousled, soccer-practiced hair and perennially dirty fingernails messy from prying up carefully-placed rocks from my flower garden.

He teaches me to choose joy when he says no to my embrace and yes to Dad’s. He teaches me to choose joy when there is roller skating AND basketball-playing AND Skylander-tossing AND Keith Urban-singing ALL at the same time. He teaches me to choose joy even as I stumble and flail about, entering this new boy-mom territory that involves so much more more than the boy manuals teach.

Joy is a Choice

Joy is a Choice

I am so thankful for my Ty-Ty. And in that, the miracle abounds wrapped in grace and hope and love.  I choose joy. Thank you, buddy.





Posted on April 10th, 2014 by LilBS  |  3 Comments »

“Yes” to 41

I turned 41 today. And if I had to describe this day in one word, it would be “Yes.”

Yes to 5 kids and 1 husband singing an outrageously racous version of Happy Birthday complete with Cha-Cha-Cha’s and whoops and hollers.

Yes to handmade cards that said, “I love you Becky” (from the 6 yr. old) and an original song performed which included the lyrics, “You teach me that I’m special just the way I am.”

Yes to the newly-turned 4 year old remembering to wish me a Happy Birthday before he asked for his strawberry milk.

Yes to specialty cake eaten with coffee – for breakfast.

Yes to a shower that wasn’t rushed.

Yes to the necklace that physically reminds me of her presence when her body cannot.

Yes to a BMV where people are smiling and to (FINALLY) replacing that 9 months-pregnant picture from 4 years ago.

Yes to a (DOUBLE) fish filet meal and permission to eat the whole, entire thing by myself – ’cause GIMME THAT FISH.

Yes to candles in fudgery and the true fire of the Holy Spirit resplendant in 4 lovely women.

Yes to casual conversation with 2 of the most important forces in my life – my mom and my husband.

Yes to guilt-free Candy Crush.

Yes to starting the week’s laundry because that’s just what I do to serve this family I love.

Yes to ignoring the sink full of dishes because sometimes time is better spent throwing headers to the soccer girl.

Yes to an IPA with fudge, and altogether too many calories for one day, and just being okay with it because you only turn this age one time.

Yes to run-on sentences just for the sake of run-on sentences that follow this crazy, blessed stream of consciousness.

Yes to Facebook for connecting me with old and new and temporary and permanent friends who took a few seconds out of their day to bless mine.

And Yes to 2014 and 41 for all the days I’ve had and the days yet to come – the struggle and the light and the change and the love.



Posted on March 28th, 2014 by LilBS  |  No Comments »

A Pinhole in the Pail

“I need you.”

These words make me cringe.  I think, “just love me, help me, and hug me… The End.”  – It’s all I want in a tidy little package. But NEED? From my husband? I already have five little people who need me. They need breakfast, lunch, and dinner. They need that soccer uniform washed, the lost knee pad found, the refrigerator fixed, the three dollars for lunch, the permission to walk to Frisch’s after school with friends, the discipline that follows hitting a younger brother, the birthday party RSVP’d, the homework assistance, the reading practice, the chauffeur to everything and everywhere,




And what about my own needs? I need to buy new toothbrushes for everybody; I need to wash the kitchen floor; I need to finish the book I started; I need to sleep. Oh, how I need to sleep.

So why do you have to NEED me, husband? Daggonit. Can’t you see I’m busy over here?

But that’s really the question for me to answer, isn’t it? Why am I “OVER HERE?” Why is this my go-to perspective – that it’s me against the world? It’s one of the things I’ve learned about myself: that it’s a built-in defense mechanism or survival skill to go into “survival mode.” It’s not pretty. I wear righteous anger and frustrated martyrdom like the mythological Cerberus.  Impenetrable walls lock in place with a single snap and I’m ready to go. Bring on the most complicated schedules, details, and NEEDS – I’ve got this.

But then Ann reminds me (Ann Voskamp who penned and LIVES One Thousand Gifts):

“The best use of time is to freely love.

The best way to love is to spend time.

The best time to love is always right now.”


“A pail with a pinhole loses as much as the pail pushed right over. A whole life can be lost in minutes wasted, small moments missed.”

It’s challenging enough to remember this with the 5 little people who paw me, claw me, and wrap their bear-hug-arms around me while clambering into my lap every chance they (and I) get. It’s harder yet to remember this with the 1 big person sitting across the room, trying to wait patiently for the mama to remember that she was first a friend and a wife.

So after they’re tucked into their beds, soft slow breaths…tousled hair…adorned with dancing puppies, smiling Broby, fuzzy hearts, adorable abominable snowmen, and yesterday’s soccer clothes…

I ignore the laundry basket and the overflowing sink and the strange smell coming out of the basement…

and I go sit by the one who needs me. And we don’t have stimulating conversation or figure out our finances or really do anything except sit and rest in the presence of one another. Because I need him too.

“And this, this is the only way to slow time: When I fully enter time’s swift current, enter into the current moment with the weight of all my attention, I slow the torrent with the weight of me all here. I can slow the torrent by being all here. I only live the full life when I live fully in the moment. Weigh down this moment in time with attention full, and the whole of time’s river slows, slows, slows.“  ~ One Thousand Gifts


Posted on March 25th, 2014 by LilBS  |  No Comments »

“Again, Again.”

It’s rare when I get a moment to relax with my husband. At all hours of the day there are things that separate us physically – stress, paperwork, laptops, frustration, and a myriad of children’s legs, arms, mopheads of hair…

But there are some evenings when the stars align and bedtimes work and if Benadryl is involved I’m not saying, when we have a moment together to breathe.  We had one of these moments two nights ago and we were chatting and enjoying some evening television when a commercial came on (I can’t even remember what it was advertising) and a toddler voice said, “Again, again.”

And it was like Kate, speaking to me. I was immediately transported to our old house on Tuscarora where I was sitting cross-legged on that bed where Sydney now sleeps, pajama’ed Kate on my lap reading:

“The sun has set not long ago/now everybody goes below/to take a bath in one big tub/with soap all over scrub, scrub, scrub/they hang their towels on the wall/and find pajamas, big and small/with some on top and some beneath/they brush and brush and brush their teeth.”

(from The Going to Bed Book by Sandra Boynton)

I could feel her wispy hair brushing my chin and see her chubby cheeks as she turned her head and with paci squeezed between teeth said, “Again, again.” And I would begin again – because with that request, how couldn’t I? It’s one of my most cherished memories of my girl. That book shares the sacred space with her earthly body because that’s how I remember her best, curled up in my lap cheerfully demanding, “Again, again!”

And it makes me happy, and of course sad.

And I shared that memory with my husband and we just sat with it. And held each other. And I just knew in my gut that there was something more to hearing that little toddler voice again. So I tucked it away in my heart, ready for when that “more” would unfold.

Today I read on Ann Voskamp’s website aholyexperience.com the word “Radaph” or pursued. And how God is pursuing and even chasing us. And it struck a chord in me.  When I am blessed with specific memories about my time with Kate, though always (always) tinged with bittersweetness, I feel as if I’ve received a gift. I admit that I am often weak and pray specifically to “know” that Kate is okay, or that I can get (another) affirmation that she is safe in his arms. These instances such as this random commercial provide this affirmation and remind me of not only how much God loves me, but how much he still pursues me with that love.

“God is so bent on blessing – he chases.  And God’s blessings don’t pursue temporarily – but relentlessly. It’s right there in his Word: His goodness and mercy pursue me not just some days – but all the days of my life. No shadow of death can overshadow the goodness and mercy that shadows the child of God.” (A. Voskamp)

One of my greatest fears following Kate’s death was that I would never see the way God would redeem that loss. But he pursues me with his love and that redemption, maybe not in the large impactful ways I demanded, but in the small voice of a toddler reminding me of great love and patience and connection.

Posted on March 14th, 2014 by LilBS  |  No Comments »

The Pioneer Woman Rocks

It was my turn to host book club this month, and I was looking for some new, fabulous, fun recipes to try on some of my best girlfriends. One of my favorite websites to peruse for entertainment as well as great baking ideas is The Pioneer Woman.  thepioneerwoman.com

These were so well-received and enjoyed that my book club friends wanted the recipes and I thought I’d share them with anyone else looking for a new recipe to try!

I’ll start with the dessert, as it was the favorite of the night.

The Pioneer Woman’s Chocolate Nutella Strawberry Cake


  • Chocolate Strawberry Nutella Cake
  • Prep Time: 20 Minutes Cook Time: 18 Minutes Difficulty: Easy Servings: 12
  • Print Recipe
  • Ingredients
  • 2 sticks Butter
  • 4 Tablespoons (heaping) Cocoa Powder
  • 1 cup Boiling Water
  • 2 cups Flour
  • 2 cups Sugar
  • 1/4 teaspoon Salt
  • 1/2 cup Buttermilk
  • 2 whole Eggs
  • 1 teaspoon Baking Soda
  • 1 teaspoon Vanilla
  • 1-1/2 cup Nutella
  • 2 pints Strawberries, Hulled And Sliced
  • 1/4 cup Sugar
  • 1 teaspoon Vanilla
  • 2 cups Heavy Cream
  • 1/2 cup Powdered Sugar


  1. Preparation Instructions
  2. Preheat the oven to 350 degrees. Line 2 round baking pans with parchment, then spray the parchment with baking spray.
  3. In a medium saucepan, melt the butter. Add the cocoa and stir it until smooth. Pour in the boiling water, let the mixture bubble up for 20 seconds or so, then turn it off and set it aside.
  4. In a measuring pitcher or bowl, mix together the buttermilk, baking soda, eggs, and vanilla. Set aside.
  5. In a large mixing bowl, mix together the sugar, flour, and salt. Stir in the hot chocolate mixture, stirring gently until it’s halfway combined and less hot. Pour in the buttermilk mixture and continue stirring gently until the batter is all combined.
  6. Pour the batter into the pans and bake them for 17-20 minute, until they’re just set. Remove them from the pans and set them aside to cool completely.
  7. Meanwhile, prepare the strawberries by stirring them with the sugar and the vanilla. Let them macerate for 15 minutes, then drain off the excess juice.
  8. Whip the cream with the powdered sugar.
  9. To assemble, turn one layer upside down on a serving platter. Spread half the Nutella all over the surface. Spread on half the whipped cream and top with half the strawberries Place the other layer upside down on top and repeat with the rest of the Nutella, whipped cream, and strawberries. Keep chilled until serving. Cut with a serrated knife!
  10. Note: Don’t assemble more than an hour before serving.

This next one was good and had some “kick.”


The Pioneer Woman’s Hot Crab Dip


  • Ingredients
  • 2 packages 8 Ounce Cream Cheese
  • 2 Tablespoons Mayonnaise
  • 2 cans (7-ounce Each) Crabmeat (or Use Fresh Or Frozen)
  • 4 whole Green Onions, Sliced
  • 2 Tablespoons Whole Milk
  • 2 Tablespoons Horseradish (more To Taste)
  • 1/2 teaspoon Salt
  • Freshly Ground Black Pepper
  • 5 dashes Tabasco (more Or Less To Taste)


  1. Preparation Instructions
  2. Place cream cheese and mayonnaise in a mixer fitted with a paddle attachment. Beat to combine. Add remaining ingredients except almonds and beat gently until just combined. Spoon into a heatproof baking dish. Sprinkle with slivered almonds, then bake at 375 degrees for 20 to 25 minutes or until golden and bubbly on top. Serve with corn chips or crackers.

And finally, the one that was my favorite (and that I’m eating for lunch today!).

The Pioneer Woman’s Cheddar Puffs


  • 1 loaf Crusty French Bread, Cut Into 1-inch Cubes
  • 1/2 stick Butter
  • 3 cloves Garlic, Minced
  • 1 whole Shallot, Minced *(I used Green Onion instead)
  • 1-1/2 teaspoon Dijon Mustard
  • 8 ounces, weight Cream Cheese, Sliced
  • 1-1/2 cup Grated Cheddar Cheese
  • Salt And Freshly Ground Black Pepper, To Taste
  • 2 whole Egg Whites, Beaten


  1. Preparation Instructions
  2. Heat butter in a skillet over medium heat. Add garlic and shallots and saute for 1 minute. Add Dijon and stir to combine. Reduce heat to low.
  3. Add cream cheese and stir until melted. Add grated cheddar and stir until melted. Turn off heat. Add salt and pepper to taste. Fold in egg whites.
  4. Dunk bread cubes in cheese, coating thoroughly. Place on a nonstick baking mat or sheet of waxed paper and freeze for 20 minutes, uncovered. Remove frozen chunks from tray and place into a Ziploc bag. Store in the freezer.
  5. When ready to bake, preheat oven to 375 degrees. Place frozen cheese puffs on a baking sheet with a nonstick baking mat or parchment paper, and bake for 10 minutes or until golden brown. Serve immediately or at room temperature.

All credit (and glory) goes to The Pioneer Woman and her creative, deliciously-talented brain.  Enjoy!

Posted on March 12th, 2014 by LilBS  |  No Comments »

Walking by Faith

Right at this moment I’m staring at a room full of high school juniors clad in green and white and gray and black with a goofy grin on my face.  Some of them are looking back at me, slightly confused at this strange blonde woman giving them such a ridiculously happy look. Some of them are slightly annoyed at my joyous mood, and who can blame them? After all, I’m not the one sitting in the classroom desk, facing a long day of lectures and assignments and homework.  And some of them – many, actually – smile back.  And even though I don’t really know them, I love them all.

One year ago, almost to the day, I was sitting at my surprise 40th birthday party telling my sister how I had experienced an “A-ha” moment where I felt the world opening up to me once again.  After 13 years of child-rearing, I had 3 in full-time school, and 2 in half-day school.  There was a little light at the end of the tunnel, a new transition about to occur. I told her that I wasn’t sure I wanted to go back into teaching. I know this is a common thing many female teachers do, but after being out of the classroom for 13 years, I wasn’t sure it was my calling any longer.  I didn’t know what this new path might be, but it just felt good to be able to consider some options.

Just months later, my husband and I found ourselves in a situation where we needed to fill a financial “gap” of sorts and out of this necessity, I called my friends at my former place of employment to see if they might need a substitute teacher. I was back in front of a classroom within the week.  Within a month, I was talking to my good friend Gina about possibly coming back next year as a substitute or some other part-time position. And now, 5 months later, I am applying to my college alma mater’s graduate program in order to not only garner enough credits to renew my teaching certificate, but eventually obtain a Master’s degree.

Oh my, how the tides have turned.

But while I chuckle at my newly-turned 40 year old self enjoying the thought of not teaching again, I know that moment was a turning point for me. I feel like I was opening a door – not one to a specific destination, but a door open to a new path. Now, don’t get me wrong – I struggle with change. And while the idea of a new phase of my journey sounded plausible – good, even – I was in no hurry to begin it. But now I have…

And it’s led me to being back in front of a group of kids – and I feel


I felt this way when I gave birth to Kate. God touched my heart and gave me such an experience of joy that it affirmed everything about being a mother to my children. And I feel this way today.  It’s hard to explain.

I mean, I am raising 5 children and tending to many of their needs – including dinner, bathing, homework, soccer practice, volleyball practice, girl scout meetings, art classes, etc, etc. And I am in charge of the building that houses us all and the labor that is required to keep it functioning and clean (ish).  And I am working many days out of the week currently in my role as substitute teacher.  And I still need to find time to communicate with my husband – not just about the details of our overly scheduled days – but about heart stuff, and life stuff, and just stuff.  And now I’m going to add school? And possibly full-time teaching? And who knows what else?

I should be stressed out of my mind, but instead I have a stupid grin on my face and my heart is singing.  And guess why?

I didn’t open that door. God did. He knows my heart and my strengths and my weaknesses and my hesitations and my stresses and my needs.  His Spirit was in that hospital room with me when I was holding my Kate – the daughter whose life would alter mine more substantially than I would ever realize in that moment.  And His Spirit was in that “A-ha” moment, readying me for this new journey. And His Spirit is with me now, providing the peace and joy I’m feeling as I take these new steps into what seems like certain chaos and struggle.

But I feel like I’m just walking simple steps of faith. I’m trying to stay open – a daily choice – to where He is guiding me.  I know it will be difficult and there will times I question it all.  But he doesn’t promise me that it will be easy…

Just that I will not be alone.

And it feels like





Posted on March 11th, 2014 by LilBS  |  2 Comments »

A Prayer for a Weary Mom on (yet another) Snow Day

I was looking up patron saints or prayers for moms who are struggling with having all their kids home day after day after day after day…sorry, you get the idea. This winter we have had extended snow days that have happened to occur after holiday breaks and long weekends, making for – well – LONG days. (ohmygoshsoveryverylong) I couldn’t find quite what I was looking for so I decided to write my own:

  • Please have mercy on me, your unwashed, unbrushed, flannel pant-wearing, smelly pink fluffy slipper-wearing, wreck of a mom just barely hanging onto her sanity with bitten fingernails.
  • Please help me to find a quiet place where they – won’t – find – me: to whine, complain, argue, and scream.
  • When they find me, please help me to remember to breathe inward only to gently release the breath instead of expelling it with the force of a large dragon that spews mighty fire after being awakened from gentle slumber where he finally eats the dainty delicious princess.
  • When they tell me no, and you’re mean, and I hate you, and you’re the worst mom ever…please whisk me away to fields of daffodils where I am 10 pounds lighter wearing a white dress with handmade eyelet trim on which no one will ever spill or wipe or pull.
  • When I tell them no you can’t bounce that basketball on my dining room table, and no you may not bite your brother’s butt, and no you may not roller skate on the stairs…please help me to stand firm in the nasty pile of dog poop left by the sweet puppy who won’t go in the snow.
  • At the moment I feel as though I might explode like the great volcano that devastated Pompeii, and reduce their little witty-bitty self-esteems into piles of withering ash, please remind me of their infant fingers curled around mine back before they could talk, or walk, or blow nasty raspberries directly into my stern face.
  • Please have mercy on me when I bake oatmeal raisin cookies because I know my kids won’t eat them – and eat them all myself – in one sitting – while re-watching Downton Abbey.
  • Please have mercy on me when I take 2 showers – one because I needed it, and one because the water drowns out their never-ending noise.
  • Please help me to remain lighthearted when I mock their whining because I haven’t made tacos yet, oh when are you going to make tacos, I’m going to starve, what can I eat.
  • Help me to speak their names in love and kindness instead of the bitter, biting fury of the negative windchills trapping us all in this house together in the first place.
  • Please grant me speed and gazelle-like grace instead of the oatmeal raisin-cooking-eating butt when rescuing the entire loaf of bread from scattering across the kitchen floor before the dog gobbles it up like she hasn’t been fed a steady diet of who-knows-what-is-really-in-that-dogfood.
  • Please – oh please – fill my mouth with words of love and encouragement when my wayward husband texts about his oh-so-rough day.
  • Please…
  • Help…
  • Me…
  • finish these tacos before this child spills another loaf of bread.


St. Jude, pray for us. (Patron Saint of hopeless causes)

St. Monica, pray for us. (Patron Saint of mothers, married women, and alcoholics)



Posted on January 21st, 2014 by LilBS  |  1 Comment »