get carey-ed away

Thursday, December 20, 2012

The Most Wonderful Time of the Year...

Christmas is 4 days away.  I have not baked a single cookie and I still have presents to wrap. I've been to the Post Office and Target every day this week (photo debacle at Target).  And so why now, after months of not posting on my blog, did I decide to fall into my office chair with an over sized bowl of lasagna (so much better the next day) and write.  Well because I only write when I have something to say. Something to record if you will.  And to be quite honest after running around this morning like a wild woman, zipping in the driveway just in the nick of time to get Haven down for her nap before a meltdown, I decided I would escape for a few minutes at my computer.

This "story" took place yesterday and it has taken me 24 hours to decide if I really wanted to put it in hard copy form...haha!  I've come to find that life with one lil' tyke isn't so bad. Or maybe I've adapted or have come into the super powers of a mom of one.  So I continue to take opportunities with my nieces to explore the super powers of a woman that goes out in public with multiple children. Yesterday we went to the mall. I had it all planned out...Auntie's are aloud to serve soft pretzels for lunch, so that would be first on the agenda and although our family isn't huge into Santa, a picture with him could prove to produce an epic heirloom. As we were driving there we chatted about how some kids don't get gifts for Christmas and I asked them if they would like to pick out a gift that we could donate to one of those kiddos...a good giving lesson to make up for the junk food lunch, right? Needless to say, we were one jolly bunch cruising down Rt. 30 in my sister-in-law's mini van jamming out to some Beiber Christmas tunes. 

The real adventure started when we had to park 5 miles away because the mall was an absolute zoo and when I decided to make the unwise decision of bringing the "big girl" stroller for Haven.  Why I didn't just stick with the handy, dandy key fit caddy in all its lightweight, easy to maneuver glory I'll never know.  I suppose because Haven is 9 months old and I was feeling the need to let her "spread her wings" and sit in the upright position and absorb the over stimulating mall atmosphere.  Now don't fear, I did know how to open the stroller, but the straps to hold her in...well that was another story.  So in she went, unstrapped and covered with a blanket because I had forgotten to put her coat on when we left. Typically she stays in her carseat so she's an snug as a bug, but now in the advanced super stroller she was an exposed little bug in the open arctic breezes. Malia grabbed one side of the stroller and Noa grabbed the other. I felt like I was pulling a sled rather than pushing a stroller, but we made it inside. No random runners, frozen babies or forgotten items in the van.

We were all hungry at this point so it only made sense to make our first stop Auntie Anne's.  We ordered our pretzels, dips, and lemonade and actually found a table. I was feeling successful already.  I opened the cheese dips, pulled apart the pretzels and  made Haven's day by cracking the jar of applesauce.  The girls were eating, I was feeding Haven, and even sneaking a bite of pretzel myself here and there...nailed it.  Or so I thought.  And this is where I prepare you and myself to speak of one of my top 5 most embarrassing moments of my lifetime.  I'm doing this for you...for the laugh, for the people out there that may think I have it ALL together and yet are gravely mistaken. I was still feeling a little uneasy about Haven not being strapped in so I started messing with the straps. I either had a severe case of "butterfingers"... or those straps literally require a strap engineer. It didn't help that she was already sitting in the seat and was constricting my grip and angle.  Well as I continued to "fiddle" with the straps I wasn't realizing that my butt was slipping further and further to the front of the wrought iron chair...until literally it slipped right OUT from underneath me...oh yes, chair and butt both hitting the tiled floor.  HUMILIATION! Yes, in the middle of Park City mall at the height of the Christmas shopping season I fell off my chair. I never jumped up so quickly. Malia and Noa's eyes were as big as saucers...far bigger than when they met Santa a few hours later.  Like any human being would I played it off. Acted like it never happened even though my nieces with their merciful little hearts begged to know if I was OK and the old man who had the best view of all came hobbling over. He made the classic old man statement that makes you unsure of whether to kiss him or deck him.  He says, "Are you OK? You're too pretty to be falling off your chair."  Well thank you sir. Thank you very much, but apparently not.  LOL!

This was a sure sign that we needed to move on, and needless to say Haven was still not strapped in.  But we were off to Kohl's to pick out a toy...bellies full and ego's in check.  As you can imagine we spent a great deal of time in the toy section...the girls scoping out every shelf and changing their minds each at least 5 times before making the difficult final decision.  I had explained before we left that we weren't getting gifts for them because they would be getting lots of presents next week and although Noa grabbed and held tightly to the ugliest little stuffed turtle the entire time we wandered the store I had decided to stay strong.  But as we turned the final corner of the toy section, Malia's entire world went into slow motion. She had laid her eyes on the Cinderella Wedding Carriage set.  She first gasped, then ran, hair blowing behind her, slid onto the floor and with both hands clutched the box.  Her big green eyes sparkling as she looked back at me and shouted, "I love this Auntie Carey".  My mother's mind kicked in with explanations about how today we were shopping for other less fortunate children but before I knew it "Auntie mode" kicked into high gear and I was searching for a good excuse to buy it for her and make her entire day when all of a sudden I remembered I had never gotten her a birthday gift. I'm usually pretty good with that, but they had been away, I had been busy and just had never gotten anything for her and in that moment I knew why.  She had found her perfect birthday gift from Auntie. She was practically in disbelief when I told her she could get it for her birthday and bless her heart she thought she was going to have to wait until next her next birthday,a special type of niece lay-away program I presume, so when I told her she could open it when we got home she practically fell to the ground.  Noa lucked out and scored the bugged eyed turtle and Haven was just relieved that mama caught her as she was dangling out of the front of the stroller ( I knew those straps were a good idea) while waiting in the check out line.

Our last stop was to get a picture with Santa.  Unfortunately, when we got to his Park City Residence he was on a Cinnabon break.  Figured he needed to keep jolly.  So we waited in line.  Waiting in lines is not fun with a baby that needs a nap.  Antsy is not even the right word, but it will have to do.  She was antsy...still happy as Haven usually is, but antsy.  We were not giving up.  We had made it this far and she was wearing her overpriced reindeer shirt that I had found at a boutique in Washington, D.C. Mama was getting her picture.  There were about 5 other kids ahead of us.  You know the unhappy boy in his Christmas tie and patent leather shoes, the newborn that doesn't even fit into "real" clothes yet who was adorned with every ruffle, bow and sequin possible, and the teenagers that had skipped school that day and were getting a picture with Santa to post on FB.  It was finally our turn and as I sat Haven on the big guy's lap I almost couldn't help but whisper..."You smell like beef and cheese. You don't smell like Santa".  I think I had been mistaken. While on break I believe he was at the Thai BBQ joint rather than Cinnabon. Yuck. The girls were all in place and Haven couldn't do anything but stare at Santa. She didn't cry she just stared. The minimum wage "Santa's Helper" shook a few jingle bells but I knew that wasn't going to cut since I had already made a fool of myself in the middle of Park City earlier, I decided to be pegged as a full on head case. I grabbed the puppet from Santa's other "helper" and started jumping up and down like a wild person.  Haven would look at me but only for a second and do you think that photographer could hit the button when she looked? Nope. Only about 10 times did he hit the shutter about a second after I had her attention. I'm now sweating and close to asking Ryan the elf if I can take the picture.  Oh but the flash isn't working and the elves can't figure out how to fix Santa must get up and become the camera repair man while my gang is fading, including me. At that point I didn't really care if Haven was looking, if Noa pulled Santa's beard or if Malia decided to wander out of the picture...I just urged them to "snap".  Of the 5 shots they took I found an acceptable one.  Malia looked like such a big girl, Noa was making one of her classic crooked smiles (her black eye only added to the charm) and Haven well it wasn't her award winning photo moment...she was rocking her reindeer shirt and I knew there would plenty more holiday photos taking place in the next few days ;)

And that was my day...and if you could see me sitting here typing you would catch a huge smile on my face.  And to keep in the tradition of Buddy the Elf, you might ask, "Why are you smiling like that?" and I would say, "Because smiling is my favorite."  How true. If you never did anything you would never run the risk of being clumsy, embarrassing yourself or leaving with a lighter wallet...but when you get out there and take on the world you mound up memories, light up the eyes of little girls and learn to laugh at your self.

Wednesday, June 13, 2012

Run Anyway...

Friday marks a milestone...Haven is 3 months old and I can take her with me to the gym!  Woohoo...I've been back at it for months now but squeezing it in just here and there.  Personally I love exercising.  I feel like a better person after exercising, not in physical appearance, but in every way.  I'm nicer.  A way of getting aggression out possibly? Haha, who knows...but a good sweat (which isn't hard for me to work up...embarrassingly my sweatiness could rival that of a man)...well it's just therapeutic.  A few days ago I was biking and a previous encounter I had came to mind and I started THINKING...and here's what it lead me to.

Call it competitiveness, drive, a go get-um spirit, any of them will do...but when I step onto a treadmill beside some innocent gym member just trying to get a little workout in, I feel this need to jump on, crank up the speed at least one MPH more and resolve within myself to stay on at least a minute longer.  It's not a race or competition with that person.  Remember they have no idea of my motive, rather it's a way to push myself further and faster to the "finish line" of ending the workout than if it had been just me against the treadmill.  It's a way for me, all by myself, to call forth the winner.  You should try it sometime.

So with my ear buds in place, lungs heaving oxygen in and out, I assumed this little "race" I was running was going unnoticed. But on this particular Tuesday morning a little old man in his New Balance sneaks tapped my sweaty shoulder. As I glanced over I noticed his lips moving but rather than hearing the old man's voice...I heard Ne-Yo. Oh that's right I had music blaring in my ears to keep my pace. I quickly pulled out my left ear bud and suddenly the voice matched up to his moving lips.

All I could muster up through the inhale and exhale was, "Hi".

"I don't know how you do it." he murmured.

"Do what?" I panted.

"Run like that."

I kind of chuckled.

"You run really funny. It looks uncomfortable."

Now leave it to an elderly man to notice and COMMENT on the fact that I'm severely pigeon toed and that my stride is less like a gazelle and more like a giraffe.  I'm sure it did look uncomfortable to him. When I see myself in a mirror walking or running it looks uncomfortable to me.  But I answered his question with the only honest answer I knew to give.

"Sir, I don't know any other way of doing it."

He starred back, looking quite perplexed. He thought for a moment.

"That makes sense." he smiled.  I suppose he was satisfied with this answer because with the last swipe of his forehead, he stepped off the treadmill and walked away.

It's not untypical for my mind to wander when I run because it's just me, the road or the moving belt, and my thoughts.  After this brief conversation from one treadmill to the next I knew the Lord had something to speak to me.

Let's face it we are all keenly aware of our imperfections whether they be something most people can't see or something as apparent as my crooked legs.  Robert, a kid in my 8th grade section made sure I knew about mine.  I remember him asking me why I walked the way I did and as a mean hearted middle school boy might do he proceeded to imitate me as we walked the crowded halls of our middle school.  So what was I going to do?  Stop walking?  Stop running? Not a real good option.  No, of course not. Instead I was going to be thankful I had 2 legs, 2 feet, pigeon toed or not and realize this was all I knew.  I only knew how to walk and run this way.  This was me and it was OK.  There are things that we can work on in ourselves and change, but then there are those things that are unique to us, that have to be realized rather than rejected; those things that have to be embraced rather than eliminated.

Like I mentioned maybe it's a physical attribute. Don't let that stop you- run anyway. Be confident anyway. Sing anyway. Dance anyway. Love yourself anyway. Maybe it's your past, your history. It's one of failure, remorse or regret. Succeed anyway and in spite of.  It's the only way you know how to do it because it's something you can't change...but remember your past, while you can't change it, does NOT determine your future.  Maybe it's your family. It's one of dysfunction, pain or rejection. Move forward in life anyway. Start a new legacy...choose love anyway.

Just as the old man was perplexed by my stride, there will be those that notice your imperfections, your past, your struggle and they'll question you...but remember Christ used some very ordinary, misfits if you will to do the extraordinary.  I researched a few.  Remember Rahab, the prostitute that decided to believe God and hide His spies?  Or Sarah who was barren, but despite her old age and barrenness believed and gave birth to Isaac.  How about Joseph, just a regular teenager sold into slavery, hated by his brother later to become in charge of all of Egypt.  I'm sure you remember Moses, a Hebrew baby floating in a basket, pulled from the river to eventually deliver his people from the tyranny of Pharaoh.  The list could go on and on.

Christ himself was born in a manger to a simple carpenter and his teenage bride. So why in the world would we expect him to only use "special" people that are completely rid of any faults, history or imperfection. He doesn't!

1 Corinthians 1:27 says, "But God has chosen the foolish things of the world to put to shame the wise, and God has chosen the weak things of the world to put to shame the things which are mighty."  His very own disciples, whom HE CHOSE were a few stinky fisherman and a crooked tax collector.

So if you are writing yourself out of the line up because of your "long list" of faults...think again.  You're exactly who He wants to use. He loves to use the imperfect because that's when He shines through most clearly.  When it seems impossible that anything amazing could come from someone so dysfunctional, physically, emotionally or mentally that's when our Father in Heaven shows up, the curtain open and the world gasps in awe of His love, mercy and grace. They are astonished by His ability to use anyone, anytime, anywhere.  We must choose to do the impossible or uncomfortble through faith in Him because it's the only way we know how to do it!

So go forth...cling to and believe His words in John 15:16 that say, "God has chosen me."

Monday, April 9, 2012

An Epic Fail...

So I am approaching 4 successful weeks of motherhood.  I qualify these weeks as successful due to the fact that she is alive and happy. She is nourished, Booby Tuesdays (my very witty brother came up with this terminology :) has been open round the clock. She poops, I change the diapers. She occasionally cries, and I comfort. She sleeps, and I just stare in amazement, most times because I am so in love and on occasion because my eyes are making sure they are not playing tricks on me. Could it be? She's really sleeping? :)

I've already experienced a few "mommy moments" know those temporary lapses in memory and competence...could be otherwise known as sleep deprivation...haha.  One morning after my "wiggle worm" had literally shimmed out of her pajama bottoms and diaper, leaving an explosive dose of poop in her crib, I of course needed to change the crib sheet (what a pain).  I was feeling quite accomplished due to the fact that while she cozily slept I managed to get a shower, scarf a bowl of cereal and start a load of laundry. But minutes later my washer, that has seen it's better days, got off balance and was causing earthquake like tremors through the house.  I rushed down to the basement, opened the washer and started rearranging the laundry and what did I discover? A DIRTY DIAPER!  And trust me, I'm not using cloth diapers...this was a dirty disposable, one of about a thousand that were laying in the hallway waiting to be put in the trash, but that got scooped up with the sheets.  I had to laugh. Nothing like adding a little extra poo to really see what the laundry detergent could do :)

Later while scurrying to a doctor appointment, with intentions of being on time and walking into the waiting room looking like the put-together AND got-it-together NEW mom, Haven's pacifier fell out of her mouth and she was NOT happy about it.  I didn't want my child to see the doctor (especially one that is George Clooney Esq, and those are MY HUSBANDS words) for only the second time with a purple face and bulging veins in her head. So while attempting to keep safety first,  I whipped it into Turkey Hill to reinsert the Nuk. But promptness was a key factor in pulling off the got-it-together mom look and so when pulling out of Turkey Hill, I gave it a little PUNCH if you know what I mean.  Unfortunately I punched it right out in front of a cop.  I couldn't believe it.  My tires even screeched.  Horrible.  I went into intercessory prayer for about 5 seconds and was relieved when the light immediately turned green and I turned right and well...he DIDN'T.

So while I am considered a stay-at-home mom now, I don't really prefer to stay at home, although it is necessary from time to time with a newborn. But neither Haven or myself has been shy about getting out over the last 3 weeks. A few days ago we got home from the mall and I noticed that my side office door was hanging wide open. Hmmm?  At first I was a little concerned and then I quickly realized it was ME.  I had remembered everything except that little task you typically do, especially when you live along a VERY busy road, and that is to CLOSE and LOCK the door.  I was relieved when I came inside to find my computer, camera, flat screen TV, and well food for that matter, all still belonged to me and had not found their way out my gaping door, that shouted, "come steal from me."

But my greatest epic fail to date happened on Friday. Numerous moms had informed me that they found it simpler to just put their wallet in their diaper bag rather than carrying a diaper bag and purse.  I remember thinking to myself..."oh, not me...I can't imagine not carrying my purse."  But they were right.  It's too much to lug around.  So I've been using my diaper bag, except for Thursday night when I had to go to a business meeting and figured my black purse would look a tad more professional than my very cutesy Petunia Pickle Bottom diaper bag.  You are probably beginning to figure out what happened. Yep, I forgot to stick my wallet back into the diaper bag.  I had to travel to Mechanicsburg to meet a friend to pick something up from her and 60 miles of gas doesn't suffice when you have a 100 miles to drive round trip.  I noticed as I was on my way down 283 that I had about 60 miles of gas left. No biggie. I figured I would stop on my way back for gas, not even realizing at this point that I had forgotten my wallet.   So I met Destiny at Panera, and it's there that I  realize....NO WALLET, but alas...I had $30.00 of cash in an envelope.  That's what you call FAVOR, and it was unless you are brain dead and forget in the moment that you need gas on the way home!  Oh so what did I do?  I enjoyed a cup of soup and paid Destiny the $25.00 that I owed her and was on my merry way. But things didn't stay so merry when I was down to 9 miles of gas, about to exit  and realized I HAVE NO WALLET and that I had used my $30.00 of cash...brilliant.  I convinced myself not to panic, barely avoided crying, but am pleased to say that breaking into an instant sweat was really the only side effect.

my itty bitty that was in the back seat. She had been so good...was snoozing away, but was way overdue to eat. I had to get home so I could feed my child that doesn't weigh much more than a bag of sugar, plus to be honest I was beginning to feel like Dolly Parton in a training bra. This combination of pressures, some being quite literal, were not facilitating in the got-it-together new mom image...haha :)

I dashed off the Swatara exit and pulled into Sunoco counting on finding some loose change.  But I'm one of those weird people that use their loose change to go through the car wash or to buy a water at the gym.  I rummaged through the diaper bag and almost shed a tear when I found a dollar. A whole dollar, which was critical considering I only found $1.25 in change through out my vehicle.  So I had $2.25, that would get me a gallon right?  Wrong...I had NO idea how much gas cost.  I never look. I just get gas.  I mean when you need it you're going to have to buy it at whatever price it is.  I gingerly handed the Indian man standing behind the counter my dollar and then my handful of change. I smiled and with a little quirk in my voice lightheartedly said, "forgot my wallet".  He didn't smile back. He literally laid the change on the counter and proceeded to count it, penny by penny. He then had the nerve to hand me back a Canadian penny, which I promise had innocently made its way into the mix, and with his large dark eyes decided to give me the stare down. I knew what this meant.  He wanted another penny. I gave him the stare right back and without breaking eye contact I  grabbed the lone penny I saw in my peripheral vision in the "give a penny" jar and handed it to him. Take that Mr. Meany cashier guy.

I've never been more thankful that my sister Heather lived in Mount Joy. I was going to need those 7 miles to turn into about 17. When I hopped in my car and started down the road my gas mileage didn't budge. It stayed stubbornly at 7 miles. That's when I realized that gas must be a little more than I thought :)  I called my sister, and after ranting for a few minutes about how bone headed I was, I asked her to be on standby and informed her that I was going to ride the fumes and a few prayers to her house. And that's exactly what happened.  Haven stayed sleeping, I made it to my sister's house where she graciously gave me $20.00 and my mission was complete when I pulled into Turkey Hill. I had escaped the total embarrassment and inconvenience of being a flustered mom with a crying, starving baby stranded along 283 with an empty gas tank...all because I forgot my wallet.

An epic fail. Not my first, and not my last.  These are the days when you're thankful you eventually stop sweating and can laugh at yourself, for a child that loves to sleep in the car, a generous sister, and a God that didn't stop his miracle of multiplication with the loaves and fishes. That day I was thankful he obviously turns fumes into fuel and always sees us home.

Tuesday, March 27, 2012

My Mom...a Heaven mover and Earth shaker

My mom had 4 full-time jobs. I know it's hard to believe one woman could manage 4 jobs at one time, but it's true.  Her place of employment was called HOME and her full-time job had 4 different names...Carey, Heather, Holly & Corey. She was and will always be the best mom for so many reasons. Of course the number one obvious being she birthed us ( I have new appreciation for this act of service, since giving birth to my daughter Haven almost 2 weeks ago) but then she did things like let us roller skate in the kitchen, cleaned up every fort we ever made, and cooked dinner every single night...sometimes making something out of nothing; those dishes being called "Judy Martin Specials".  She drove us to friend's houses, soccer games in Tim-Buck-Too, washed all our clothes, sat at the bar in our kitchen countless hours to listen and absolutely made whichever house we were living in a home.

As I have gotten older she has become a firend, but most importatnly she has stayed my mom.  She will always be my mom. I can find lots of friends, but I will only ever have 1 mom and I want her to stay that role model, guide and sounding board in my life.  Even growing up while I know she worried from time to time, like when I drove with 3 girlfriends the entire way to Florida for Spring Break...geesh, what was I thinking...she gave us this incredible amount of freedom to make our own choices.  My parents led with the notion that they would  commit to putting so much truth into us that truth would be our first reference in the face of every temptation, pressure or decision.  My mom's tireless efffort to invest what would add up to millions if it could be calculated in dollars, stirred this deep desire in me to not disappoint.  I wanted to please my parents.  their nod of approval, their endorsement or prasie was as if heaven was applauding.

In addition to her incredible gift of time and love into us she remained the most selfless person I know.  While she had 4 "jobs" at home she would get odd jobs to help out when someone needed braces, there was a vacation being planned or there were 3 weddings on the upcoming calendar.  I look back and am not always sure how she did it...but she did, and it not only spoke to her 4 kids it has spoken loudly to the world.  Her love didn't stop within the walls of our house it stretched way into the streets of Columbia to a Cuban immigrant named Hilda, and into a church pew to help a single mother named Sharon. My mom's love leads her to train stations in the pouring rain to clothe the unlovely and she has a gift of finding grace to love those that never intend to love her back.  Her love brings her to her knees in prayer...literally bridging the gap for those that don't know Him or seem to want Him. Her love somehow miraculously enables one pan of lasagna to feed every visitor whether she knew they were coming or not. Her love keeps the phone to her ear, listening, guiding the lost soul at the other end of hte line.  How is this much love possible? It's because her love is really HIS love.  She knows the Father's heart. She knows his love. She seeks it daily and finds it.  She knows her Father in heaven...He is not just a man in a white robe...He is her friend, her strength, her grace, her courage...her LOVE.  He is with her at the train tation, on the streets, in the kitchen, on the phone and loves to meet her while she's on her knees.

Bill Johnson says in his book "When Heaven Invades Earth" that "faith moves heaven, so that heaven can move Earth."  This is my mother. Her faith, her love, moves heaven on a daily basis and in return this Earth is moved, it's loved, it's changed by the power of the Holy Spirit because of one person's faithfulness.  My mom has made loving Him and loving people her full-time job.  And that's something I can aspire to. 

I love you Mom...Happy Birthday, may He continue to shine His face upon you.

My mama still has kisses for her firstborn daughter minutes after becoming a mama myself.
Chief & Grammy meeting Haven, grandchild #10

Monday, March 5, 2012

The Stool Chaser...

Last month was my twin sisters birthday...I got behind on blogging, but I do have a tribute to them, I will just have to post that on a random day. This week my "little" brother Corey turns more year until the big 3-0 :)  So here's to you Corey...completely diesel on the outside and 100% passion on the inside.  It's called real strength.

Holly, Carey, Corey & Heather...blessed.
Question. Who can you loathe and love all at the same time?  Answer. A little brother.  You love him when he's brought home from the hospital, sweet and innocent. You loathe when he's about 10 and shows off for every friend you bring home.  You love him when he sits next to you on the big orange chair in the living room and affectionately lays his head on your shoulder. You loathe when he chases you around the house with a stool!  You love him when he steps onto the basketball court, plays like a champion, and makes you feel proud.  You loathe when you stay up at night worried about him.  Ultimately you love him. You loathed some of the terrorizing, but ultimately you LOVE him.  You love him even when you are away at college, you call home and end your conversation by saying, "I love you Corey", and there is silence at the other end of the phone. And because you love him you say it again, but hang up without an answer because you know he loves you too...his words have just escaped him.

My brother Corey and I are only 5 years apart in age. Today almost being 34 and him being 29...5 years seem so trivial.  But when you are 5 and you have a new baby brother...well that's BIG!  That's show n' tell material. That's a "baby doll" to play with. And I did.

I'm 5, he's 1 :)

28 and 33 :)

Like the day we were all working in the strawberry patch (sounds so Little House on the reality it was the only thing we could grow...haha!)  Mom had the rototiller roaring, was unable to hear a thing, including the announcement I was trying to make that Corey had dropped a serious bomb in his diaper.  So, naturally I decided to take matters into my own hands and haul this kid inside for a diaper change.  It was simple.  Carry him inside, brave the stairs, and lift him onto the counter top and change the STINKY diaper.  But I concluded quickly that I needed better leverage. Being nose level with the atomic bomb was not a good situation.  So thank goodness we were behind on laundry!  I suppose typically any family of 6 usually is. I moved the pile of laundry in front of the vanity, stepped up onto the heaping pile of dirty clothes and now had easy access to his poppy bum.  Bada bing bada boom. Clean diaper, mom uninterrupted, and big sister feeling pretty important.

mom and her boy
And when you are 15 and he's 10...well you believe you are from different planets.  You are on the planet of, "I'm too cool for words, don't look at me wrong or I'll cry" and he lives on the planet of, "I'm so annoying and relentless my life's goal is to make you miserable". When people on these two planets collide it can mean full fledged combat.  Remember the chase scene with the stool I mentioned earlier?  It was always on nights when mom and dad went to church and "us kids" stayed home by ourselves.  I insisted that they remind Corey that I was "in charge", but when Heather beat him at Super Mario Brothers for the 15th time, no one cared who was in charge.  Anger set in and somebody was getting chased with a stool.  But amidst the occasional "war" there were so many truces.  Like the nights we promised ourselves we would not watch "Unsolved Mysteries", but did anyway and huddled together on the couch to stay safe.  Or when Corey begged and begged for my Michael W. Smith poster, only for me to give it to him and have him return it the next day because he was SURE Michael's eyes moved at night.  I loved jumping off the school bus, running down the basement steps and grabbing 4 pints Haggan Daaz ice cream we had acquired from Nelson Habecker, a dairy farmer from our church, who sold milk to them and I guess in exchange got all the "Death by Chocolate" pints he wanted.  He kept us supplied.  We would dive into the ice cream while watching Dennis the Menace...a perfect way to defrag from a hard day of elementary school.  And of course I will never forget the summer nights of making home videos and then lining up the sleeping bags in my bedroom because I always managed to get my room cooler than all the rest. 


These moments were priceless and I realized that immediately when I went off to college.  The little brother that I thought I couldn't wait to get away from became the person I missed the most.  Corey continued to remind me from time to time that he was still the "little" brother, like the night he decided to pull a cruel prank and slid into the end of my bed while I was in the bathroom, only to grab my ankle as I crawled in...sending me into a fury of fear.  I shrieked. He laughed.  Proving once again, I was the big sister and he was the little brother.

Truly the stories are endless and they will continue to be because God had a plan when he created families...when he created big sisters and little brothers.  Today we bike at the gym, grab coffee and just "chat it up" as we like to say at Prince Street Cafe, or sing on Sunday mornings together. Over the years this little brother has now become a husband and a father, and an amazing one at that.  A little while back we drove Corey and Malia, his oldest, to the airport to board a plane for California to join Carrie, Noa and the rest of her family for Christmas.  As we pulled away, I glanced back through the cloud of exhaust and saw my little brother standing there on the curb with HIS little girl and I had this happened so quickly?  How had we all grown up so fast? Weren't we just watching Saved By the Bell together last week?  I'm beginning to believe that times does "fly", which reminds you to cherish the past, embrace the future, but live for today.

And growing up isn't all that bad.  As you grow up you realize that all the things you thought you loathed you actually loved.  It's been ALL LOVE...ALL the time for my little brother.

You are an inspiration to me Corey. If someone asked me to describe you in 6 words or less I would without a doubt say..." A man after God's own heart."

I love you. Happy Birthday!

Corey & Noa napping at Raystown Lake
The Martin's
Corey and his beautiful wife Carrie
...another nap, but with Malia :)
now that's one cool dad...he had a pretty good example :)

Thursday, March 1, 2012

For Today...

 I'm usually known to be more of a "woman with many words". Rather than making a "long story short"...I tend to make a "a long story longer"...haha.  My tongue gets tied, I cut myself off, and words refusing to populate my brain fast enough occassionally stand in between what's in my heart and what actually gets said. But when it comes to putting words on paper, well that's usually where I feel like my sincerest, most heart felt words live most clearly.

But sometimes there are so many thoughts racing in this brain of mine I hardly know where to begin. There's still something "magical" about handwritten letters, notes and journals (I am a firm believer in never letting this "art" die)...although being able to tinker away at a keyboard is technology I would hate to live without.

 Last night I found an outline if you will, for simply recording, in just a few words, in just a few minutes...things that define TODAY.  I like it.  It gives this chatterbox, thought overloaded, slightly high strung person a way to make the long story short, and yet still in words encapsulate another beautiful, blessing of a day.  Thought you might like the outline to help you record some of your most precious and most ordinary of days :)
So here it is...

FOR TODAY: February 29, 2012 LEAP YEAR

Outside my window:  it is pouring rain, damp and there is a chill in the air. But...yeah!!! The pansies I just planted are getting watered!

I am thinking: if my child decides to make his/her debut today...they will only have a birthday every 4 years.  good for my wallet, but bad for them...haha :)

I am thankful for: God's forgiveness

From the kitchen: yikes, not a good day for kitchen creations.  Reagan and Shannon went out for dinner...soooo, I ate cereal, fruit, fudge popsicle,, what a mish mosh!

I am wearing: jeans, pink v-neck and my slippers

I am creating: a blog entry :)

I am going: to meet Jess Daly for coffee at the Coffee Company at 10:30 am

I am reading: Baby Wise for the 2nd time (last minute brush up)

I am hoping: my sweet child decides they want to meet me soon!

I am hearing: The Fray station on Pandora

Around the house: I'm not sure there is one more cubby, drawer, closet, knook or cranny that could be cleaned :)

One of my favorite things: daffodils in the spring. just put a few on the dining room table today.

A few plans for the rest of the week: HAVE A BABY...haha :) Unfortunately, this can't be "planned"...and that's ok :)

Here is a picture for thought I am sharing...

Thursday, February 2, 2012


Have you ever hitch hiked?  I haven't. I mean can you imagine standing by the side of the road, thumb out with your only chance of moving towards your destination being your own two legs or a vehicle that decides to stop because they've had this sudden surge of generosity...or just might be "off their rocker"?

My dad would probably fall into both categories and would openly admit it himself.  He once bought a salmon colored stripped tank top that's decal read, "Chilly Willy Cool Groove, Funky as it Happens."  It was a blue light special at Kmart that he picked up one summer before leaving for our beach vacation. But his generosity outshines any quirky t-shirt and his love for Jesus and his desire to live like Him is what would often take over the steering wheel guiding him to the side of the road to pick up a hitch hiker.  He never stopped if our family was along and he always made it quite clear that my mom shouldn't partake in any hitch hiker relief efforts herself-- this was strictly "dad's thing".

Typically we only got to hear the stories about the vagabonds he picked up, but one particular night, I think it was spaghetti night (every family has one of those right?) we got to meet the real live hitch hiker, Robin.  My dad had picked him up only to find out that he had quite a long journey ahead.  He was in Pennsylvania but his end destination was much further north in Massachusetts, which I suppose qualified him for a rest stop at the "Martin Motel" for a spaghetti dinner.  I remember him being fairly tall, with dirty blondish hair and a mustache.  He was genuinely very polite and appreciative, and took a seat among the sea of blond heads with wide eyes.  Who knows what he was thinking as he sat at our kitchen table that night sucking up his spaghetti and sipping his sweet tea...maybe it had been his first time in a long time eating a home cooked meal, and I can only assume that his opportunities to share a meal with a family around a dinner table were far and few between.  I don't remember a lot about his story; why he was without a vehicle or what was waiting for him in Massachusetts, but as we wrapped up dinner my dad announced that he promised to drive Robin to the new York border.  Those few extra miles would alleviate his need to find another generous soul and would aid him in getting that much closer to home.  So after some brief good-byes around 7:00 that evening our new friend Robin hopped in the car with my dad to head a few hours north.

My dad never returned that night. He never called that night.  My mom cried that night.  We were snuggled into our beds that night. BUT, what you must quickly know is that my dad DID call that morning.  He came home that morning and my mom still cried that morning, and rightly so :)  So what happened?  Well once he got to the New York border he decided to go a few extra miles and ended up transporting Robin the whole way home.  Was it smart not to call? No, but I will say the term "cell phone" was not in our vocabulary let alone in our vehicles back then, and although my mom probably wanted to rip his head off, the minute my dad walked through the door all anger and worry instantly morphed into sheer happiness.

It was a classic case of his extreme generosity colliding with his "chilly willy cool groove funky as it happens" spirit.  He must have been wearing that tank top under his flannel that day.  Needless to say it will forever be a lesson to me in going the extra mile, which happened to be quite literal on this occasion. But more importantly it was the passion in my dad's heart to not just share Jesus with someone, but to live it in front of them. Matthew 5:41 says, "If anyone forces me to go one mile, i will go with him 2 miles. I will choose the more excellent way even when no one is looking."  

My dad went more than 2 miles that was more like 300 miles, but it wasn't about miles, it was about choosing the most excellent way just like the verse says.  I don't have enough fingers to count how many time that story has flashed through my mind as I've found myself at that crossroad of doing a little or a doing a lot, that crossroad of choosing between giving it my best or giving it everything I got.  That place of passing someone by or reaching out with open arms. It's provoked me to take the path less traveled by like Robert Frost mentions in his famous poem. And indeed I've found that those paths are traveled by people like my parents who love Jesus with all of their heart, soul and mind creating an overflow of love that rushes through sweeping up other "travelers" who are attempting to find their way.  

So I encourage you...go the extra mile in love and in deed may just be the mile that takes that friend, that wife, that son or daughter, OR complete stranger "home".

Part of my desire for this blog is to document stories, pictures, etc. so that my kids will have a recorded "history" of the true legacy they belong too...passed on by my parents.  Here they are standing behind a photo of them on their honeymoon :)
There he is...Mr. Chilly Willy Cool Groove himself...haha, better known now as "Chief" to the grandkids.

  Thanks for always being a tremendous example of being "extra milers" in life mom and dad!