I've never been good at changes.  I prefer routine, I like knowing what's going to happen, and I expect immediate results.  Type A?  I think so.

Anyway, lots of changes are happening in the Beckereleg household, and I'm slowly learning that variety really IS the spice of life.

First, and most important, Murray turned six (SIX!!!!) last week.  I'm proud, yet sad.  Cliche, I know, but time really does go fast.  Our little one went from dumping a box of Cheerios on the floor to building a Lego ambulance by himself in a flash.


As I type this, our nephew (my sister's son) is in the process of entering the world. We absolutely cannot wait to meet him.  In the meantime, we're taking care of his not-so-big sister, Brooklyn, who is just 17 months.  We love her to pieces, and we know we'll love her little brother, too.

Work is fabulous.  I love The Flag Family ( and my co-workers very much.  It's such a blessing to walk in the door each morning and work side-by-side with people who have the same passion for the values and morals that Craig and I embrace.  Yesterday, I began part-time hours, which will give me more time to spend with Murray - what a blessing!  By the way, tune in to AM 1100, or for you Western ND folks, try AM 1090.  Shameless plug.  I am so proud to be a member of The Flag Family.  Believe it or not, we really are an extended family; we check in on each other after hours and on weekends, we pray for each other, and we care about each other.  

As you know, we foster dogs for Retrieve A Golden of Minnesota (RAGOM).  Several weeks ago, the transport team brought us Bella, 13-337.  She is a puppy mill rescue who came to us terrified and sick.  She has 2 massive hernias, has birthed many litters of puppies in her short life (she's four), her teeth are broken and some are missing, she had a serious bladder infection, and is suffering from hip displaysia and arthritis. She's also terrified of humans, although recently, she has decided that she likes my lap.  Did I mention she's only four?  We are nursing her back to health and all around well-being, but it's slow and steady.  Please, never, ever, ever, buy a puppy from a pet store or large facility breeder.  Puppy mills torture and neglect these poor dogs.  I'd like to get on my soap box here, but that's another post.

Speaking of Golden Retrievers, our puppy was born three weeks ago (this picture isn't necessarily her, but one of the litter.  We are third in line to pick). We'll get to meet her tomorrow, and pictures will follow.  We are very excited.  We should have her around Christmas.

So there you go.  While I've never been great at changes, it feels as though the most recent changes are all good.  I'm not sure what will happen next, but I'm ready!

I'm Back and Inspired

I know, I know, I've been extremely lazy about posting.  Not that I wanted to be, but sometimes, life just takes over.  I'm here to tell you that I'm back.  Really.  I promise this time, that is, if you're interested.

I tend to get a bit blue when the cold weather sets in, so I've decided to embrace each day by reminding myself how blessed I am.  Following are just a few of the reasons that I love life (in no particular order):

Murray's sweet little hand, tucked in my pocket in my own hand, when we walk to school. 

The sweet and happy tail-wagging greeting of Rudy (and our latest foster, Bella), when we come home after being away.  There is nothing better than a joyous welcome home from our sweet, four-legged K-9 ('s). 

Teaching a sick and scared puppy mill rescue how to live a "Golden Life", and watching his/her personality emerge daily.

Weekly (sometimes more) conversations with my beloved Grandma and Grandpa.  Spending time with them in person is even better (we're overdue).

Love and hugs from our nieces and nephews.  I had no idea how much I would love them, until the instant I met them.

My in-laws.  Pretty fabulous.

My job.  Faith, Family, Freedom, and Free Enterprise.  What a blessing.

My awesome sister.  She's teaching me how to be strong, and I'm so proud of her.

Our friends.  This is all of you.  We love you.

Craig.  My absolute best friend.  I love that we're best friends beyond all else.  Our relationship is number one, and you, my dear, are amazing. To steal a quote I recently read, "I love you like a squirrel loves acorns". 

So bring it on, winter, I'm ready.  I'm counting my blessings, and even you can't ruin them.


Summer in Review

Sigh.  It's that time of year.  I always shed a tear or two (I've also been known to sob) at the end of summer.  I dread the endless winter that lies ahead.  I detest the thought of snow removal, freezing temps, and icy roads.  So to cheer me up, I went through some of the hundreds of videos and pictures that I took during the last three months, and I'm posting a few of my favorites:

 Memorial Day Weekend - It was chilly, but that didn't stop our little fisherman.

 Brooklyn having a snack in our back yard.

 We bought Murray a swing set.  Here he is, enjoying it with friends.

 Beautiful day on the dock.

 Not to be outdone by Murray, Rudy fishes for rocks.

 They look a little cranky, don't they?  Cheer up!  It's summer!

 Serious fishing on a calm morning.

 Murray is a very good in the neighbor's kayak.  Next year, he'll get his own.

 Big bass that Murray caught all by  himself.

Murray graduated to an open face fishing reel this year, and he's done fabulously.

Mags and Brooklyn enjoying a tandem kayak ride.

So even though summer is coming to an end, we still have a few beautiful weekends left.  Besides, I'm ever so thankful that we made a lifetime of memories in just a few short months.  Until next year, summer.  You will be missed.
Dear Family,

It is with a heavy heart that I inform you of my resignation as head dishwasher.  I have been quite satisfied with my position for several years, but unfortunately, my time has come to an end.  Recent events have forced me to make this difficult choice.

Our contract clearly states that members of the family are to carry dirty dishes to the kitchen and clear the table.  Line 589, point F, (contract 07302007) notes that "if parties refuse to cooperate with the head dishwasher, the party has the right to terminate the agreement."

This matter could quickly be solved by the defendant purchasing a mechanical dishwasher or a new home. 

If you have any questions, please contact my attorney, Margaret A. Burlingame.
P.S.  Put your underwear in the hamper.  Both of you!

He's Driving Us Bat**** Crazy (in a good way)

Children are a blessing.  Truly, what a beautiful gift from God. 

But sometimes, said child(ren) can drive you batty (or batsh** crazy, as I like to say, but this is a family friendly blog so...).   

For example:

"Mom, MOM, MOOOOMMMMY!   WHERE is my car?  I can't find my car!  No, not THAT blue car, I mean the OTHER blue car.  NO, that car is not light blue enough and I want the blue car that has wings with the black on it.

Guess who has to find it?  Not us.

"Dad, I'm SO hungry.  I really need a snack.  No thanks, I don't want a Go-Gurt.  No thanks, I don't want a peanut butter sandwich. DAD, NO!  I do not want an ice cream treat.   Could I please just have a fruit snack?  Sheesh!"
Guess who will not be getting a snack?
Not the boy.

And then there's the bargaining tactic:

"Mom, if I pick up my toys, can I can have a treat?"
But, I want a treat!  I won't pick up my toys, and I don't CARE about money.  YOU ARE SO MEAN!
Guess who won't be receiving his allowance and is grounded from television?


The shaving of my legs saga continues (via my Facebook page):

Murray: Mama, I'm not trying to make fun of you, but do you really want these pokey things on your legs?
Me: No, that's why I shave them.
Murray: You should just shave them every day.
Me: I do shave them every day.
Murray: Well, then I think you should buy a new shaver.

And this:

Murray: Mom, when can I ask Sophia to marry me?
Me: When you are 25. Why do you want to marry her
Me: It's just that she is the most "beautifulist!". But Mom, when can I ask her to marry me?
Me:  What happens when you get married?
Murray: You live with your wife.

Me: Why?
Murray: Because it would be sad if you didn't live with your wife. I really love Sophia and want her to marry me.
And we can't forget this classic (our niece is a mixed baby):
My dad: I spy with my little eye, something brown.
Murray: Is it Brooklyn's skin
One more for you:
Us: What's the matter, Murray? Are you okay?
Murray (sniffling):
So, to all of you that love children, take heart.  When they drive you bat-sh** crazy, don't feel bad.  For every one annoying moment, there are at least 49,000 precious and hilarious moments.  Happy parenting.
P.S.  Stay tuned.  My blogging hiatus is over, and I have a ton to share.


Love has many facets.

From Corintians 13:4-8

Love is patient, love is kind. It does not envy, it does not boast, it is not proud. It does not dishonor others, it is not self-seeking, it is not easily angered, it keeps no record of wrongs. Love does not delight in evil but rejoices with the truth.  It always protects, always trusts, always hopes, always perseveres.

 Love never fails. But where there are prophecies, they will cease; where there are tongues, they will be stilled; where there is knowledge, it will pass away.

From me:

Love is giving everything you can for your loved ones.  

Love is kindness, respect, trust and support.

Love is not judgemental and is given unconditionally, no matter what.

Love is your husband sewing the strap on your favorite bra that the foster puppy chewed.

Love is simple, love is kind.

I pray that my loved sister will read this.

You Warm My Heart

Dear Murray,

When you giggle at something funny, or just plain gross (you are a boy after all), you warm my heart.

When I witness your kindness to other people, you warm my heart.

When you fall asleep in my lap, holding your Pooh Bear close, you warm my heart.

When your creativity shines, you warm my heart.

When you get excited about anything and your eyes light up, you warm my heart.

When you look at me and tell me how much you love me, you warm my heart.

When I watch you playing and laughing, you warm my heart.

When you have good manners, you warm my heart.

When you want me to read to you, play a game with you, or just snuggle you, you warm my heart.

When I see a look of determined concentration on your face, you warm my heart.

When you tell me about your passions (i.e. Transformers and Power Rangers), you warm my heart.

When you talk about your love for Jesus, you warm my heart.

"Dear God, will you please tell Grandma Kathy to talk to us to tell us what it's like in heaven? I'm worried about her and I don't know if I can bring my bear and blanket. How do I know what it's like there? Do you have the same things up in heaven, God, and can she talk to us? Can I walk on the clouds? Thank you, God, love, Murray and Amen."

When you pet Rudy and tell him how wonderful he is, you warm my heart.

When you see me sad, and try to make me happy by singing "Twinkle, Twinkle", you warm my heart.

When you are growing up, you warm my heart.

When you are sad and have tears, my heart breaks.

And for the million other things you do to warm my heart, I have you to thank.  You are my boy. Here's to a lifetime of happiness, little one.

A Tribute to "Bluey"

It is with great sadness that I announce the passing of "Bluey", Murray's beloved blue Beta fish.  He was found deceased this morning at approximately 10:34 by his five year old owner.

Bluey was a good fish.  He was kind and never complained.  His passions included floating around in his bowl and eating. 

Bluey's funeral arrangements are pending.  Murray needs time to grieve, and he just can't bear to send him to the big lake in the toilet sky.  We said a prayer over him; Murray asked God to let Bluey play with him someday, and he plans to honor him by naming all subsequent fish "Bluey".

Rest in peace, dear Bluey.  You were loved.

Okay, insert hysterical laughter here.  Here's how it all went down:

Murray asked me to come with him to look at something.  I did, and he led me to Bluey's bowl.  He pointed and matter of factly asked, "Mom, is Bluey dead?"  I callously replied, "Yep!"  not expecting sobbing to ensue.  I honestly didn't think he would care.

Well, sobbing did ensue, and I had to excuse myself from the room because I was laughing.  When I calmed down, we said a nice prayer over Bluey's bowl and discussed about what we would do with his body.  Murray is not ready to see him go, so his remains will stay in place until he is ready to make a decision (unless he starts to smell).  For now, we're having an open casket.

The following Facebook thread is hysterical (posted with permission).  We are feeling so grateful for the kind sentiments about Bluey.

The Obit:
It is with great sadness that I announce that Bluey, Murray's beloved blue beta fish has passed away. He was a good fish. We said a prayer for him, and now, he is in fish heaven. Murray is very sad about Bluey's passing, but Bluey will live in our hearts forever. Lots of Murray's tears around here today. He plans to honor Bluey by naming every single fish after him.

Am I a horrible mother for having to leave the room because I had to hide my hysterical laughter? My son's sadness is never funny, but it's a .99 fish for goodness sake. Poor kid. Life's lessons can be so hard.

From R.S.:
Oh my heavens, you've got me laughing hysterically too. No, you're not a bad mom. You would have been if you'd stayed in the room and laughed out loud. Politely excusing you to have a natural and normal reaction is permitted. By the way, when my puppy...
From J.R:

I can't believe Bluey was still alive! i thought he was done for when I was there! RIP Bluey.... Thank you for being a good fishy for Murray.
Marie Beckerleg Thanks, Rox! Murray is not ready to lay Bluey to rest, so we're giving him time to grieve. Lol!

From J.R.:
Are we going to bury him or convince him that the toilet will flush him to a big lake in Heaven??

Marie Beckerleg Funeral arrangements are pending.

From R.S.:
Marie, you have me roaring here! I mentioned a tribute on my wall, too, so others could join in a great heave of sympathy.

Marie Beckerleg I can't stop laughing! Craig is currently searching the Walmart web site for a new tank and new fish. He read our comment threads and your wall post and then he had to excuse himself. I could hear him snorting with laughter!

From R.S.:
I am laughing still and just asked the family to consider a moment of silence for this special intention. Elizabeth looked at me very strangely. I think she thinks I've lost it.

From J.R.:
omg. I am laughing so hard! poor Murray... What a kind heart he has. But... still super funny!!
And then, R.S. posted this on her wall:
Please join me in heartfelt condolences for "Bluey," the precious and beloved beta fish of my friend Marie Beckerleg's 5-year-old son, Murray. Our great loss becomes an eternal gain for the big ocean in heaven! :) (Thanks for the bittersweet smiles today, Marie. :))
God speed, Bluey.  You are missed.  But, we don't miss changing your water.


Get Your Flu Shot

Yesterday was a rough day.  I haven't been feeling well this winter - two weeks ago, I came down with strep, and before that, I caught every other bug that was going around.  And although my throat started to feel better a couple of days after the strep, I couldn't shake the exhaustion and the cough.

Yesterday, I was diagnosed with influenza b.  Yep, that one.  Darn me for not getting my flu shot.  I know better.

And when I get sick, really sick, I'm a big baby.  I want my mom (which obviously isn't possible), I hate myself for being incompetent and stuck in bed, and most especially, I feel incredibly guilty for missing work.  I detest myself when I can't meet my responsibilities.  And then I just turn into a sobbing, sick mess.

And so, once again today, I'm lying on the couch, unable to sleep.  Part of that is worry and anxiety about work and household stuff, but the rest of the sleeplessness is that every time I doze, I wake up in a coughing fit.  Cough medicine with codeine doesn't help, and I've even tried honey (which helps a bit better than the codeine, at least for a short while).

I need to tell my brain to shut off and let my body rest.  I need to kick this for once and for all.  Mostly?  I need spring.

There are worse problems in the world, and tomorrow is another day.  I'll get through it, I always do.

Lunch Lady

Hello Blogland!

I'm back, and I've missed this place.  I don't really know why I've been absent for so long, but I chalk it up to a crazy-busy life.

Months ago, I posted about how I'm finally back in the working world, and how much I love my job.  After the euphoria of being "back at it", reality and the bitter cold winter set in.  Don't get me wrong, I still love my work, it just came with a few challenges that I wasn't expecting.

Did you know, that as the head cook, I have to do a LOT of math? (I'm really not a math person.  At all.  Just ask my math genius husband). When I applied for this job, I stupidly assumed that I would just create nutritious, yummy lunches for a lot of great kids.

Not so much.

For instance, federal school lunch guidelines have me counting calories for each age group.  That means that if I want to include ketchup as a condiment on hot dog  turkey frank day, I have to figure out portion sizes and make sure I'm within the calorie range for each age group.  I have to serve a certain amount of meat/meat alternative each week, and veggies from several different categories.  Not only that, but there's inspection guidelines to follow, figuring out how much food to cook, and ordering from Food Services of America and making sure I'm not over budget.

I'm not complaining.  It's just been a huge learning curve that I have to admit, I wasn't quite prepared for.

The best part about my job?  Seeing the kids learn and grow through Christ.  We have some of the most prayerful, respectful, and kind students that I've ever met.  I love the days when I can leave the kitchen and sit with them while they eat the lunch that I've prepared and get to know them.  Yesterday, for example, four seventh grade girls taught me a "cup" game and serenaded me.  Then, there was the random hug from my kindergarten buddy, Jett, and the sixth grader who told me I was so "nice and cool".  Every day, when the pre-schoolers come for lunch, I get greetings of "Hi, Mrs. B.!" or "Hi, Murray's Mom!"

I've been blessed to get to know parents, teachers and the amazing faculty and staff.  I've made new friends, and feel lucky to be able to visit the St. Joseph's School environment daily.  Tonight we have our annual school fundraiser, the St Joseph Dinner, Dance, and Auction, which I'm a member of two of the committees.  It's sure to be an evening of camaraderie, laughter and making new memories.

I know I've been gone for a while, but I hope you'll keep checking back.  Stay tuned for more from Murray's Momma.