Friday, November 13, 2009

My blog is Moving!

I am so excited to tell you that I have been invited to join a wonderful group of ladies at

To find my blog, go to the left hand column on the home page for Ladies By Design (under the shoe picture).  And you can read more about the inspiring ladies I am priveleged to join: Betty, Jo Ann, and Marilyn.

See you on the journey!

Rebekah Benimoff

Monday, September 28, 2009


Ahhh, fall is here! With it comes cooler days (well, cooler mornings and and evenings; I live TEXAS after all). Falls holds wonderful breezy afternoons that make me want to lie on the porch and sip lemonade. Then there are the earlier sunsets, which, for many of us, mean less time to get things accomplished while the kids play outdoors. Sigh.

Summer seemed to have undending hours that were sometimes challenging to fill for this stay at home Mom (although we did do something different at least once a week), so when fall arrives I breathe a sigh of relief as the boys go back to school, only to find, a month or so later,  that it is very easy to get ovewhelmed with all the extra things to do:  homework challenges, dinner routines, and the endless housework. Not to mention evening Bible studies and church events. (Our family has yet to get involved in sports, due to health issues, although we are considering Boy Scouts.)

At a recent bible study group, one mom of three young children (five and under) lamented, "I used to be such a fun person! I don't know where that happy girl is anymore."

"Hidden under the laundry and the dishes, " sighed another. (Me.)

Today is Monday, one of our busier days. There are the dishes from the weekend (I try to rest on Sundays and not do housework). There are the work hours and doctor appointments I squeeze in. There are Homework Challenges, which I've mentioned before. On Mondays, this includes a bit of extra studying for the Tuesday Math test, and then the boys and I must all three be fed, dressed (again) and ready in time for evening Bible study. (Those of you whose kids strip when they get home from school are nodding your heads vehemently at the moment!)

With all the obligations that pull me in various directions all at once, I truly appreciated a little bit of perspective in my morning Bible study. The Lord drew my notice to Hebrews 6:10-12 (New International Version) which says,

    "God is not unjust; He will not forget your work and the love you have shown Him as you have helped his people" (your children and your family members and any others you work with) "and continue to help them."
Moms help by tying shoes and mashing peas, and wiping little bottoms. We help with bandaids, and cleaning wounds, and "customer appreciation" and zeroxing. (At home, at school, and at work!) We help with phone calls and helpful hints. Or with the cleaning of toilets... not to mention the dishes and the laundry. (And, for some of us, all of the special needs cooking!) With taking a moment to encourage someone who is down, or simply BE with someone who needs companionship. We help by teaching life lessons and showing our kids we don't have to be perfect, or always get things "right" to be loved.

The Lord sees every little (and big) task we undertake, and, as a mentor once reminded me, the menial or repetitive chores are one of the ways we show love to our families. I know my husband deeply appreciates the nights when I have a warm meal ready for him, when he comes home, exhausted from ministering all day to cancer patients and their families.

My boys do appreciate that I make sure they each have clean socks for the next morning. (Though they may not always say so.) Tyler knows that I make him check his blood glucose even when he does not want to slow down and take the time to do it, because I love him. And Blaine appreciates when I pick the shrimp out of his shrimp fried rice (we had take out this weekend because I was exhausted). While I do get weary of doing the same monotonous chores over and over, I must not lose sight of why I am doing them. Not "because they are there," as the saying goes. Not because they must be done, or they'll be hanging over my head. But the attitude I most want to connect with is that I do these tasks because I love my family and this is part of how I care for thier needs. This is ministry, indeed. We Moms are all ministers. We women are all ministers,whether in the workplace or at home. Each of us have a special ministry in the places God has chosen to put us.

Occasionally I am am given moments where I really see how much my family appreciates what I do. Recently I was sick with a tummy bug, and Roger took over with the boys for me. (What a sweet husband I have!) When dinnertime came Blaine had a meltdown because he wanted "Mommmmmmmy!!!!!"  Sob!

I asked Roger to send Blaine in to my room, so I could talk with him. What he said struck a chord. "I need YOU to do it Mommy." He said. "You love me so much when you cook my food!" Oh, the insight of a  seven year old. "Love Languages" aside, his wisdom was touching. Yes, my family does appreciate what I do. I need to hear that sometimes. We all do! Know that even if those around you do not seem to appreciate all that you do, the Lord does. He sees, He knows, He understands. And He really does care.

Hebrews 6:11 continues,
 "We want each of you to show this same diligence to the very end, in order to make your hope sure. 12We do not want you to become lazy, but to imitate those who through faith and patience inherit what has been promised." 

Now this does not mean to turn into work-a-holic who doesn't know when it is time to go to the back porch and sip some lemonade. But it does mean that we should find the balance between "not growing weary in doing good" (i.e. an attitude of ministry) and self-care. This scripture speaks of diligence, holding to the task when we want to give up. Inheriting what was promised- i.e. eternity in the presence of the Lord. Which you can enjoy now, if you'll seek Him.

Now, most of the women I know have trouble allowing themselves the time to go to that place of rest. But the Lord never intended us to work our spiritual knuckes to the bone. And He did not create us for fellowship with Him so that we would work and serve so incessantly that we lose our joy.

There is a time to step back and renew. Jesus Himself understood the power of rest, and seeking the quiet places to draw into the presence of His Father. And when we see Him in scripture seeking out moments of stillnes before God, Jesus is settting the precedent for going somewhere quiet, and even scenic. A well outside a city, a  garden, a mountaintop. A place where nature speaks to us the very presence of the Lord. A place where we can tune our hearts to His.

Even Jesus made a point to have His times of getting away and being refreshed.

Now, not all of us live next to a mountain that we can climb to get away and find God's presence. But there are places of beauty all around; a neighborhood park, even a porch with pretty flowers will do.
It strikes me that I must take TIME to find that "Happy girl", to re-fill, and re-capture joy. And I am beginning to think she's not under the pile of laundry. I think she's under the trees in my morning walks, waiting to be discovered.

Autumn is a time of harvesting, a time of gathering, of enjoying the fruits of our labor. It should also be a time of restoration. Oh, I do love fall. Something about trees brings to life a joy deep within that I will miss if I do not take time out to connect with my creator... with the fruits of  HIS labor, and my own joyful spirit.

Whether early in the morning or in the evening when the sun is going down, I love to get out and walk, and enjoy the beauty that surrounds me. I love to listen to the wind blowing through the trees. I love the changing leaves, the myriad of colors that are beginning to show on some of the neighborhood trees. And I absolutely revel in walking under the branches that line the streets, especially in the quietness as I take my daily walk. Here the trees have grown tall, and branches from both sides arch over the pavement, meeting each other,  forming a complete arc, connecting.

Sometimes, early in the morning, I walk down the middle of street, taking time to look up at the leafy arches which reach across the street and meet above. Seeing the trees on either side of the divide, reaching towards each other, reminds me of how the Lord reaches out to me. He too, seeks to connect. I raise my arms up above my head and praise the Lord for His beautiful creation. I allow the coolness of His breath of life to lift my spritits, fill me, complete me.

There is a peace that comes when I get out in nature and breathe deeply of the Lord's handiwork. It is true that when we drink in His spirit, we find refreshment, renewal, and wholeness.

So I encourage each of you to MAKE time to take a walk, this week.  Find a time that you can step away from the chores that beckon, and take some time to enjoy the beauty of the Lord. Maybe even walk down the middle of a street and raise your arms to praise Him.

If you won't tell the kids you were out in the middle in the street, I won't either! It is my prayer that you will seek the Lord with all your heart, and find rest, renewal, and joy in Him today.

Wednesday, September 16, 2009


As a stay at home Mom of two boys with medical needs, it is easy to feel isolated. I work from home, and some days I talk to a lot of people. Other days it seems like it's just me and the answering machines.

There are the days that are discouraging, and moments that are exhausting. I have a need to  re-charge through times where I can draw apart and find quiet, yet I always found a great deal of fulfillment in ministry. And being a chaplain's wife, I was used to continually being involved in some sort of program-- or running one (or two... or three). The Lord called me into the ministry at a young age and has blessed me immensely through being a part of various children's and women's ministries over the years.

For now, though, the Lord has called me to a sort of "sabbatical", where my ministry focus has shifted to caring for the many needs of my family.  My oldest son has type one diabetes and Celiac disease, my husband has a brain injury commonly known as PTSD, and my younger son was diagnosed with neurological disorder  over the summer. (You can read about our family's journey at )

While I miss being in ministry outside of my home, I know that I am continually making an impact on the lives of others, even if it is simply in the ten minutes I spent chatting with another PTA mom after dropping off my boys (and "checking off the boxes" with the school nurse.) Sometimes this ministry comes in the form of listening as someone shares a difficult transition, sometimes it is giving them the blessing of praying for me and the challenges I face daily. Sometimes-- and I am finding this more and more-- the ministry comes through simply "being" rather than doing. A lesson I learned years ago, but still need a reminder of now and then!

A pastor's wife recently wrote, "The act of obedience through patience can be overwhelming." Obedience through patience seems to be my life story-- at least the past few years. But I will say that walking in obedience and waiting for the Lord, while incredibly difficult at times, has brought me to a level of intimacy with Him that I had not ever known before. This is significant because I have been walking with the Lord since I was five years old, and I have known Him, and known Him well, in fact, during most of the seasons of my life. But there are moments when He lets me see a little more of Him than usual...perhaps because in those moments I need him more desperately than usual.

I can tell you without a shadow of a doubt that He has never, ever left me. In fact, I am finding that He draws ever closer during the hardest places in the journey. I am learning to let His presence embrace me in those moments when I feel I just cannot handle one more thing. Some people say the Lord never gives us more than we can handle. My story has been that at times He does allow more than I can handle-- MUCH more than I can handle, in fact, because I am an independent sort of person, and sometimes I need to let go of my illusion of control, and simply wait in Him. And it is only when I come to the end of my rope that I can truly cling to Him and nothing else.

A lesson I was reminded of just this past Sunday morning when my ten year old son, Tyler,  had a low BG episode and was "out of his head"... not unconscious, but not coherent either. It took about an hour for him to finally stabilize. My husband was gone and as I held my son down and forced the fast sugar into his mouth I felt very, very alone. While I held Tyler still on the couch the Lord drew my eyes to my cell phone on the coffee table.
I was restraining Tyler because he kept wanting to get up and wander around the room, and I was overwhelmed with the emotion of the moment- most particularly, fear. "Please pray for us!" I began to text some prayer warriors (one of which has diabetes herself, and knows intimately the challenges I face with my son). Suffice it to say that I was desperate. Terrified. The enemy would have had me believing I was alone, despite the fact that my younger son (Blaine, age 7) was bringing me what I needed for Tyler so I did not have to leave him unrestrained on the couch.  Text messages and prayers came streaming in; comforting words of life, of hope... and my anxiety melted away as I was covered with peace. I was NOT alone. My Heavenly Father was with me. Holding me, and quite importantly, holding Tyler, too.

Sometimes life comes along and knocks me on my rear-- or on my face--but the Lord is always right there. Most stay at home moms say that they deal with feelings of loneliness and being overwhelmed. But the Lord continually reminds me that while I may at times feel lonely, I am never, never alone. Overwhelmed, but never overlooked.

Psalm 55:22 says, "Cast your cares on the Lord, and He will sustain you; he will never let the righteous fall."
He knows every care that would crowd into my heart... oh, yes, He knows! And what I know without a shadow of a doubt is that He is right there holding out His arms to me. Some days He holds me in His hands... and then there are the days when He holds me in His lap. Cradled by the King. Covered by His love. What better place to be?

It is my prayer that you will find rest, hope, and significance in Him this week!

Monday, August 31, 2009

Life is A Bucket

It's not quite fall, but no longer seems like summer. It is the second week of school. Much calmer for me than the first. Having two kids with "special issues" means I run like a slightly crazed chicken from one thing to the next. Meetings, groceries, special diet needs. Phone calls from the nurse, visits to the nurse's office. Daily. Hourly, even. Off to whole foods for gluten free school friendly snacks. Back to the nurse's office. Log a teeny bit of time at work (I work from home), and then back to the nurse's office. Stop in the hall to chat with the school counselor. Go into her office for an hour to plan for 504 meetings and ARDs. Have I mentioned the school nurse? The first week of school is always a whirlwind for me, despite the realization this year that all does not need to be perfect on day one. A little bit of perspective in the madness.

This week I have had time to just breathe.

This morning I walked through our neighborhood, enjoying the cool autumn-like breeze blowing through the tree lined neighborhood streets. It is pretty here in an older Dallas neighborhood. Tall trees stretch to the clear mid-morning sky, some higher than the two story homes. I love the trees that have flowers of white and pink blooms, and my favorite are the hot pink blossoms that I can see a block away. I savor the mornings when I can get OUTSIDE and draw near to the Lord through His creation... I get swept up in His beautiful works, even here in suburbia.

I was able to log some hours at work today, uninterrupted for the first time in months. I work for The Coalition to Salute America's Heroes, a non-profit organization that helps wounded warriors in a myriad of life saving, and family saving ways. I work with the partner appreciation program and a great perk of my job (besides being able to work from home and be available for my kids, and the school nurse you keep hearing about) is that I get to call and thank people who have self-lessly given to the organization. Then I get to tell them how this very same organization helped our family after my husband had to get out of the Army because of a brain injury most commonly known as PTSD.
It occasionally tricky to convince the donors I am not calling to ask for MORE money. Then there are the days like today, when more than one caller was so touched they were brought to tears of... Gratefullness... because I simply said Thank You. Two simple little words that we often do not hear much of.
Particularly those of us with the distinctive role of caregiver.

The quietness of the day ends when the school nurse calls me. Tyler's blood glucose level is high-- off the charts. Perhaps the "set" is kinked (that's insulin pump lingo.) We made it almost to the end of the day, so that was a blessing!
The temperature in the mini-van reminds it is still summer, and I contemplate the plan of action as I drive slowly through the school zone, along with the other parents arriving early. I remind myself that Tyler won't die if I do not get to him in the next five minutes. I WILL get to him, all in good time. This is what my husband, the chaplain, calls "self-talk". Powerful tools for a worried mother. A reminder of the TRUTH of the matter.

I gather up my gifts from God and we head home, and for once, the chaos did not start in the car. Tyler, age ten, was stuffing his face with the first food he'd been allowed in a whole two hours (due to slowly climbing BG levels after the post lunch BG check). Since he was on the way home to get new insulin, he could "finally" have a snack.
Blaine, 7, was content to wave at the kids walking home, who were running in and out of the street like college students on Friday night. (Or Thursday if you went to SWTSU.)
The mini van door opened and out tumbled my boys like two wrestling bear cubs. "Put your homework folders on the table!", I called as they headed willy nilly through the door.

Week Two of School-- homework begins. Ahh, the joy. Oh, the weeping and wailing. Earplugs anyone? Homework takes a lot of trouble shooting at our house.

Tyler spent the last 45 minutes of the school day in the nurse's office (20 of which were before she called me, so I must have made reasonable time, despite the "end of the school day" traffic). He rather luckily escaped having homework actually COME HOME, but there are still the weekly requirements of 5th grade, which Mom is now wise to. Like reading for twenty minutes. I still made him read. Despite how very unfair that is.
Blaine, on the other hand, did have homework. And homework is hard for Blaine... he can do the work, I just have to get him focused on DOING it. And finishing it. He was recently diagnosed with Sensory Integration Disorder, and we are learning all the little quirks; what works, what doesn't.

Sitting at the table and writing out the ten spelling words of the week DOESN'T. Sitting on the couch and reading for 20 minutes DOESN'T. After an entire day of sitting at a desk, he wants to wiggle. He NEEDS to wiggle. More than most little boys. Blaine has trouble with sitting upright (and reasonably still) and also with writing legibly. Part of the "sensory issues". Now that the light has come on, the knowledge helps this former Kindergarten teacher undestand why my second grader has a hard time doing things my most of my younger students could do-- by the end of that first year, at least! We have to get creative to help him do his very best work.

So, we did Homework In The Bucket-- otherwise known as "Bucket Therapy". (We call it "Going into the Fort". ) But even after getting the bucket and choosing his blankets, pillows and books/readers, Blaine was not settling INTO to the bucket. I was helping Tyler re-fill the tubes of insulin, and re-insert the insulin pump tubing into his poor little rear (via a rather large needle), and Blaine was trying to give the cat bucket therapy.

After some trauma to his heart and his bottom, Tyler settled into reading his OWN books (which requires wading through fussing and complaining over how NOT FAIR homework is...whether BGs are off or not.)
And I eventually coaxed Blaine into his "Fort". He just would not settle. In, and out of the bucket, in, and out. "I need another snack", "I need another drink", "I need my kitty..." (who did not want to go NEAR that bucket...

The solution? Pictures speak a thousand words.