get carey-ed away

Tuesday, December 27, 2011

Stupid Rock

It's December 27th, two days have passed since Christmas.  There are still cookies lurking in the kitchen, a box I just noticed peeking from beneath the sofa, and of course the tree is still shining bright.  But it's rainy and gray, Reagan left early this morning and will be gone for the night, and while the to-do-list exist, it wasn't overwhelming lengthy and so I laid in bed all morning.  A simple luxury that will last only a few more weeks, considering my little bundle, that was kicking away while I snuggled in bed, will actually be in my arms in just a few weeks.

It's now 2 in the afternoon and after eating some cereal, reading a few books to my peanut and diving into a new book of my own while curled up under the new Steelers blanket, answering a few e-mails and carrying a load of laundry to the basement...I sit here in my pj's (which I rarely do, I'm usually an up and at em' let's look ready for the day kinda girl) with a blank computer screen staring at me.  The book I found myself diving into this morning wasn't one of those feel good books, a Christmas novel, or even a biography.  It was one of those that cut you open, make you think, challenge and maybe even cause a tear or two.  It got me thinking about a lot of things...thoughts I hope to be able to share through a story. But first let me share with you 2 excerpts I loved from this book.

"The beautiful thing about opting for God is that you are opting for everything He brings. Because He is infinite, you will never reach the end of all He offers of Himself. Nothing on earth is like fully engaging with God. Nothing. Once you taste it, nothing in the physical realm can touch it, yet everything in the physical realm takes on brilliant color because of it.  God's love is better than life. No one compares."

"God wants everything you've got. Uncontested priority. Every egg in one basket. All your weight on one limb. This very moment he has His fingers gripped on your chin, saying, "Right here, Child. Look right here. Don't look right or left. Stare straight into my face. I am your Deliverer. There is no one like Me." God will be your complete Deliverer or nothing at all.

-Beth Moore: Get Out of that Pit

Now before I begin the story, let me give you a frame of reference as when this happened, it was 2 years ago in January :)

I was sure someone had shoved a dagger in the right side of my back. That's what it felt like, not that I had ever been stabbed before. There was severe pain in my right side that was not subsiding no matter which way I laid or sat or bent over.  Between the violent vomiting, shaking and light headiness the stabbing pain persisted. I slowly reached for my cell phone, trying not to move, and simply texted...please come home now. He knew when I talked to him earlier that I wasn't feeling the best, but minutes after hanging up the phone the pain escalated.

Reagan, came home right away and while he wasn't exactly sure what was happening he suspected I had  a kidney stone...so that meant a trip to the ER.  He knew I was in serious pain because when he said, "Let's go", I didn't respond like I normally would with, "Ok, give me a minute I need to put on different shoes", or "let me brush my teeth quick and grab my lip gloss." Nope...I started right out the door with disheveled hair, and a bare face while wearing sweats and pink slippers.  This was serious.  I sat in the front of our little white Volvo with my head between my legs, grasping my side, never looking up once to see where were were in our travels.  We didn't talk. He just needed to get me to the ER.

Well in attempts to make a long story shorter, after a couple test it was confirmed that I was severely dehydrated, which after vomiting everything that was in the pits of me, I wasn't surprised and that yes, indeed, I had a kidney stone.  How did this happen?  My only reference to kidney stones was that drinking excessive amounts of tea could cause them. I drank sweet tea on occasion, but I wasn't a raging tea addict. Not like the kids I went to high school with that drank so much iced tea their noses would bleed. Those were the kidney stone candidates. Not me.  But for whatever reason I had developed a kidney stone, which is simply a small granule of matter that escapes your kidney and moves into your ureter, which is not a tube like you may think, but is more like a thin ribbon. That tiny "stone" becomes a major irritant, and irritant is putting it mildly.  I had never felt pain like that before, now mind you I haven't experienced child birth yet, I'll get back to you on that in a few weeks :)

While laying in the hospital bed feeling like a bloated toad because of the EIGHT IV's of fluid they pumped into me I started a conversation with the Lord.  Or maybe the Lord started the conversation with me.  Either way, when you are in the pursuit of Him, and are looking for opportunities to hear His voice and be a student of His wisdom, He will speak.  And I've found as easy as it is to listen, it's just as easy to turn the volume down too. I've done both. Anyway, I started thinking about that morning when the pain set in how I could not think about anything or anyone but myself. I wanted to go meet my friend Mary for lunch that day, I wanted to take care of business I had set aside to do...but I couldn't.  I was consumed by the physical pain. The physical pain caused by this little 1/2 millimeter rock that was in my ureter. Stupid rock.

I started to ponder over what other stupid rocks I had in my life.  Did I have any other irritants, maybe not physical ones, but what about mental or emotional irritants that whether I had realized it or not would turn me inward, becoming selfish, rather than thinking about others, would keep me searching for my own answers rather than the Lord's.  We've all probably had them.  The irritants of doubt, poor self-image, fear, jealousy, bitterness, comparison, lust, anger...the list could go on and on.  These are all  irritants, maybe they even start out small, but once they move from your head into your heart, a place where those irritants are not meant to exist they cause pain, so much pain that we find ourselves living for no one other than ourselves and that pain.

So for the next few days I had to pea in a strainer, interesting to say the least.  Every time I went to the bathroom they looked for that little stone.  Now you must know I did have a night time nurse that "accidentally" threw out a few urine samples, so who knows if I passed that little rock, if it broke up into smaller pieces that you wouldn't be able to see with the naked eye, or maybe they injected me with so much fluid it was overtaken and dissolved...who knows?  But either way the irritant was removed. No more pain. I could go on living. I could think about other things and other people. I could reschedule that lunch and get back to business, while taking it easy over the next few days.

A hospital visit may not be the answer to the passing of your little stone, your irritant if you will...in fact, it's probably not the necessary remedy, but it may require forgiveness of yourself or someone else, a conversation with that person you've rejected, severing a tie to temptation, confessing your weakness, getting uncomfortable, facing the reality of decisions, or taking a stand rather than a seat to your irritant. It will REQUIRE ingesting God's truth and choosing faith over fear, and looking in the mirror and believing that He made you, loves you and wants all of you.

I didn't feel like myself for the next few days, my side felt bruised and sore...so let me warn you bruising and soreness may be side effects to the passing of your "irritant" too. It's not always easy, but it's necessary. It's worth it.  Sometimes you can even become so familiar with the pain of your irritant, that you choose to live with it...but it will always steal away.  "Passing" it is not easy, but when you do it allows you to really love your life and the people in it...and in turn life and those people will love you back.  Most importantly God's love that had never failed, even while your irritant was "flaring" up, has taken it's place and is bigger, bolder and brighter. And now our irritant, our sin.. is no longer just behind our backs, but its behind God's. That stupid rock is behind His back...

Isaiah 38:17
"Surely it was for my benefit that I suffered such anguish.
In your LOVE you kept me from the pit of destruction;
you have put all my sins behind YOUR back."

Wednesday, December 7, 2011

The Original Mrs. Bender...

I haven't had morning sickness, no food aversions, tons of energy, would barely know I'm pregnant...besides the obvious growing belly...but today I had my first pregnancy symptom..."out of the blue" overwhelming emotion with lots of tears and mascara drips.

Well maybe they weren't so "out of the blue".  Earlier this morning I pulled out my mother-in-law's recipe for her infamous Napanee School cookies. I had Christmas music radiating through the house, poured myself a piping hot cup of coffee and carefully studied the recipe to make sure I was mixing the delicious dough perfectly.  I packed up my car with the dough and other ingredients and was off to my mom's for our Christmas Cookie Bake.  I think a lot while I drive and a few miles down the road I suddenly became overwhelmed with emotion as I thought about my mother-in-law, who went to heaven almost 8 years ago.  While I may be Mrs. Bender today, she truly is the Original Mrs. Bender...always will be.

A school picture from High School

Vi, Bob & Valonda

















Viola Bender, better known as Vi, truly fits the description of "small but mighty".  She stood only 5 feet tall...a perfect height for being used as a "measuring stick" when putting up a volleyball net. If Vi could walk under the net...it was set to perfect standards.  She was one of 9 children and knew domestic duties very well...because with a family that size they fully staffed the housekeeping department of the hotel her parents owned and operated in Indiana. She was the only one in her family to attend college and good thing she did... because that's where she met my father-in-law.

Vi became a teacher and later a Middle School Counselor/Administrator, whose years of service to kids made an immense impact...which was evident that night in March 2004 when hundreds of adults, but even more kids filled every single seat at Lancaster Mennonite's Fine Arst Center for her memorial.  Vi wore many hats well. While loving her career she loved her family twice as much.  Of course dating and then being married to her pride and joy...her son, Reagan, gave me a very special perspective into her love.  Here's an excerpt from a letter she wrote me while I was in college, that will give you a little glimpse into all that...
Dear Carey,
Thank you so much for your cards. It's so sweet of you to write. I know you miss Reagan like we do...and in different ways. Today I went to do laundry-it was hardly worth the bother! I never thought I'd miss folding all those "soccer" T-shirts, but 5 or 6 of them would have been most welcome.  I didn't realize how many people called for him or how may calls revolved around his soccer life. Now we're left with a salesmen, and a few business calls. I always look forward to 9:00 pm in case he calls. I don't always sleep the best...I guess I'm up waiting for the little white Escort to scoot in the driveway and for  Reagan to come in and kiss us goodnight.

Hope you have a great weekend at Pitt. Be careful at the bus station. ACT LIKE YOU KNOW WHAT YOU ARE DOING!!

Love,
Vi
Reagan and his biggest fan the day before our wedding.


 Yep...it's pretty much a miracle that she let another woman into his life...haha. Not really, but I knew that she really loved me when I got the "Vi Bender" stamp of approval...because not just anyone was going to do for her "little boy".  I knew I had a lot to live up to.  How does that saying go? That men look for someone like their mom. I'm not sure that's always the case, but we definitely had a few things in common. 

She was a total clothes horse...so many clothes, particularly dresses, suits and scarves that she wore everyday to school.  I remember she loved Dress Barn and Petite Sophisticate (when that was still around). Can't say they are typically my shopping destinations...but we both can fill up a closet . And knowing she loved clothes so much my father-in-law had a tradition of buying her a new dress every Valentine's Day. As I mentioned she was a teacher, which was also the career path I chose...and I remember her being such an encouragement to me while many were telling me "you'll never find a job". Here's an excerpt from another card she sent...

...you have one trasfer sememster behind you. Don't let people tell you the teaching market is tight. With your G.P.A. you will be very marketable. I love the field of education. It is always changing and there are always new and creative ways to help students learn. It is an awesome way to pass on faith (one generation to the next) not in only what you say but in how you live your life."

Vi was definitely a driver. While I was completing my undergrad degree she was getting her Master's in Education, both of us at Millersville.  She was never shy about comparing G.P.A's...I'll never forget humbly bowing my 3.8 to her 4.0 one semester...haha!    One thing we didn't have in common was her love for the news and current events.  She watched the OJ trial like it was her second job and could have told you every known detail about Monica Lewinsky.  60 Minutes on Sunday evening was definitely her idea of a good time.  Vi also loved games and was a fierce competitor.  She was ruthless when it came to Rook or Dutch Blitz.  Typically she was what you would consider a prim and proper lady, but once the suit came off, the slippers got put on, the popcorn was popped she would kick back and be hysterically sarcastic at times and was even known to tell a dirty joke or two.  Getting dirty in her flower beds was also a past time and Vi always managed to grow what could have been Better Homes & Gardens award winning impatients. And while she was quite domesticated in some ways...she wasn't afraid to bake Pillsbury cinnamon rolls in her own pans, add some of her own icing and pawn them off as her own homemade specialty. Makes me laugh just thinking about it.  That was surely a tip I could use. But of course her favorite past time was watching Reagan play soccer.  He was certainly her favorite player. She never thought he got enough playing time, even if he played the entire game and in her eye's David Beckham had nothing on her kid.  We traveled to and sat through hundreds of high school, college and professional soccer games. In high school we typically left happy, in college we typically left disappointed and when she saw him take the field as a Hershey Wildcat...well, in her mind all the days prior had been worth it.  She was truly his biggest fan...and we have his jersey to prove it.  When they team folded and they auctioned off all the jerseys she bought it, had him sign it and of course had it framed...something only a mother would do, right?
Proud parents, 1996


Proud parents again...Valonda graduating from college. Shannon was such a lil' guy!
There's so much more I could say or reminisce about when it comes to Vi...she was, like all of us, one of the Lord's masterpieces.  But as we come into another Christmas season and I bustle about tending to all of the traditions, I'm reminded like I was today, of Christmas 2003...our last Christmas with my dear mother-in-law.  Being diagnosed with Non-Hodgskins Lymphoma only 6 months prior all the treatments, medications and hospital stays left her laying on her white love seat, that she loved, under a red blanket... frail and weak.  We gatherered around the love seat to open gifts and did our best to carry on with Christmas as usual...and although we were all full of faith believeing that healing was her destiny we also had great peace in the fact that we've been given the promise of eternal life.  Vi kept a brave face, a fighting spirit and a joyful heart every day of her battle.  We never spoke of death and this letter that she handed to me that Christmas describes her determination to live...

Dear Carey,
As the Lord allows me time, I hope to become the kind of mother-in-law to you that:
-Supports you in prayer as you serve in your significant role as Reagan's wife.
-That does not interfere with your decisions, but is supportive gentle and kind.
-Is there for you when you have children, again to be supportive and helpful, and the kind of "nana" that they love to visit.
My prayers is that God will give me many years to do this! I love you! You are the best daughter-in-law.
Vi (Mom Bender)
Christmas, 2003

I'll never forget her saying in those last days that she knew she "won either way".  She won if the Lord healed her and she won if she went to be with Him in heaven.  What a perspective.  And that she did. She won. She won that day in early March 2004 when she went to be with Jesus.  Ironically, or maybe not,  the grandchild that she will never get to be a nana to will be born sometime in early March...the Lord truly redeems ALL things.  While we lost a great gift in her...the legacy continues as another gift, a child will be recieved into our family in March.  As I feel my baby stirring inside me, and yet don't know if the child is a boy or a girl, what they look like or who they will be...I think Vi does.  I'm sure the Lord has filled her in on all the details...Vi liked details. Who knows, while so much about life is a mystery, maybe she met our baby before him or her was ever sent from heaven.  I think she did.   And so while she won't be on this earth to love them or have them visit...she probably at this point knows this child better than any of us...how special.
At the Harrisburg Marathon, that Bob ran the year he turned 50.

 Some of our last days with her were by her bedside in Hospice.  In those final days and hours I was convinced her spirit was already in heaven because in so many ways it wasn't Vi laying in that bed...she looked more like a prisoner of war...the cancer having destroyed her body...but her fighting spirit and strong heart just wanted to beat one more time. But death in the physical eventually set in as her heart stopped and her breathing shortened...but after one last breath... in that instant her eternal life began.  I prayed as I left there that day that the memories of her beyond that bed would be extravagantly more vivid then the memories of those last 8 months...and our good God has granted that request.  In my mind's eye I can see her cheering at soccer games, making her garlic mashed potatoes, and tanning her short little legs on the beach. 

Psalm 23 was one of her favorite scriptures...so let me share with you those verses from the MESSAGE translation...because while in our humanness the loss of someone you love will always sting...this Christmas as we celebrate in each of our HOMES Christ birth which made a way for His life, death and resurrection that in turn gave us each the choice of loving Him and spending eternity with Him...my heart leaps for joy because I know that she is "back HOME in the house of God."

God, my shepherd!
I don't need a thing. You have bedded me down in lush meadows, you
find me quiet pools to drink from.
True to your word, you let me catch my breath and send me in the
right direction.
Even when the way goes through Death Valley,
I'm not afraid, when you walk at my side.
 Your trusty shepherd's crook makes me feel secure.
You serve me a six-course dinner right
in front of my enemies.
You revive my drooping head; my cup brims with blessing.
Your BEAUTY and LOVE chase after me EVERY day of my LIFE.
I'm BACK HOME IN THE HOUSE OF GOD FOR THE REST OF MY LIFE.
Psalm 23 msg

...so with each Napanee School Cookie that we eat this Christmas...Vi, may your life and legacy be remembered and celebrated. I love you.

Monday, November 14, 2011

I Believe...

I enjoy collecting quotes.  I have a notebook with pages full of quotes.  This one by Audrey Hepburn inspired me to make my own "I believe..." list.



"I believe in pink. I believe that laughing is the best calorie burner. I believe in kissing. I believe in being strong when everything seems to be going wrong. I believe that happy girls are the prettiest girls. I believe that tomorrow is another day and I believe in miracles."
                                                          -Audrey Hepburn


I believe in...
unconditional love,
being friends forever,
connections,
divine appointments and that
listening is better than talking.
I believe in...
prayers,
in a Heavenly Father,
callings & commitments.
I believe in...
being self-disciplined,
serving others,
and family dinners.
I believe in...
goals, responsibility, and
taking the high road.
I believe in...
having a purpose, laughing,
and that smiling is contagious.
I believe in...
lending a hand,
taking risks,
and that things happen for a reason.
I believe in...
being honest, slowing down to speed up,
in hard work and holding doors.
I believe in...
change, creating a legacy,
and putting others before yourself.
I believe in...
LIFE, and being thankful,
in going the extra mile and
expecting the best.
I believe in...
seeing age as a gift not a curse, and that
you can't forget where you came from.
I believe in...
holding doors, being silly and serious,
in being confident, and knowing
GOD is in control.
I believe in...
in being a part of the solution, and
that giving is better than receiving.
I believe in...
heaven and in hell,
in forgiveness and new beginnings.
I believe in...
bringing out the best in people,
and giving yourself room to grow.
I believe in...
freedom, being an entreprenuer,
and never giving up.
I believe in...
getting your hopes up, dreaming,
and seeing the silver lining.
I believe in...
beauty that comes from within,
getting fresh air, and crying to
get it all out.
I believe in...
living, letting go, and
letting GOD.
I believe in...
kindred spirits, caring more than you should,
and stopping to appreciate the little things.
I believe in...
saying what you need to say,
never taking things for granted,
and in thin threads.
I believe in...
possibilities, destiny, and
that it's the "hard" that makes some things great.
I believe in...
God's voice,
His presence,
His perfect plan.  

Sunday, October 30, 2011

How To Series...Creating a Cozy Bedroom

So...I'm taking a quick break from blogging an actual story and writing another post in the "How to Series"...and what better room to "cozy" up going into the cold winter months than your bedroom. Of course everyone has a different budget, space, and style to work with and all of those must be taken into consideration. So while I use my personal space as an example...my intent is for you to use the tips to "cozy up" and reinvent your bedroom.
the pictures are a little dark, they were all taken late night...when I had time to do it :)
As I've mentioned before I am not living in my dream house, yet...but I'm a firm believer that you can make any house a home by using your own personal touch to make it a comfortable place to live.  At the moment our bedroom is on the third floor in a finished attic, a space that definitely has some
built in character, again not all character I would build into my dream space, but some details that I could work with. Some spaces require you being creative in adding character, and then some have so much you have to figure out how to make it all work.
...and excuse the plastic on the windows...those windows are cute but drafty :)

I am not an expert...I would say "projects" are a hobby that I enjoy when I have time to pursue them. I enjoy browsing websites, magazines and watching the occasional late night HGTV show, mostly to collect ideas for that eventual dream house, but after taking a peek I've noticed a few key elements that seem to be a common thread in creating a cozy bedroom. So here it goes...

1. EMBRACE MINIMALISM- this may seem hypocritical when you see some of my pictures...because my bedroom is quite full. But in general, free it of clutter, not just the floor, but the walls too. Choose one or two pieces of art and apply a "less" is more approach to furnishing also. Bigger rooms can handle larger scale furniture, but if you have a small space, scaling down the size and pieces of furniture will make the room seem larger.
the space under your bed can be great for storage. in  this case
with this bed frame the area is exposed, so i used
cute boxes, etc.


2. PLUSHNESS PLUNGE- plush bedding is key. There is nothing better than sinking into a cozy, comfortable bed. Spring and summer are great times to purchase down comforters and feather beds on sale. I personally like to mix and match bedding as well and am a big fan of pillows, even if you do have to move them at night (I know most guys don't understand this, but they'll get over it). If you purchase a comforter that you can cover with a duvet, you can change the duvet to give it a different look very easily.

3. NOTEWORTHY NIGHT STAND- having a place to rest your glass of water or favorite book is key to your overall comfort and relaxation. There's a plethora of items you could actually use to create a night stand...actual nightstands (could refurbish one with a coat of paint), stools, old chest, vintage suitcases stacked, small chest of drawers, etc.

4. LET THERE BE LIGHT- natural sunlight is amazing during the day, but dimmed mood lighting is essential at night. You could replace your switch with a dimmer, or using lamps is also a great way to add subtle light at night.
this lamp was cute...but by adding a few buttons
now it's "me" :)


5. SCENT-SATIONAL- candles add a warm glow and pleasant scent. You could also use linen sprays (lavender is a great choice) to keep sheets fresh.


6. TAKE A SEAT- if you have the space, having a small side chair, a bench or ottoman is convenient when putting on socks and shoes etc. If there is room, creating a sitting area for reading, relaxing (downside...a place to throw clothes) can be a nice addition to a bedroom.

7. USE ACCESSORIES THAT TELL A STORY- personalize your space with "baubles", but not junk (in my mind there is a difference :), that personalize the room to you and your personality. Look for lamps, vases, books, pictures frames etc. that add some fun.

8. WARM UP THE HARDWOOD- if you have hardwood floors, rugs are essential in a bedroom. As you can see I've used a variety of different rugs and carpets, which help to divide the room considering it is used as a "closet" as well, plus it keeps your toes from freezing especially in the winter months :)
china closet turned armoire

sewing storage turned into accessory storage!
9. TID-BITS- you can totally change and update the look of a dresser by painting it or by simply changing the hardware. Get creative with how you use your furniture. I have a china closet that was given to me that was meant to hold dishes, but instead for now it hold clothes and jewelry :) I also found an old piece that I believe was used for storing sewing supplies, but I "reinvented" it and now use it to store jewelry and clutches.

10. ENJOY- whether you like the more matchy- match approach or the random eclectic style...there are truly simple fixes/touches you can add to your space to make it cozy and a place to actually relax and enjoy.
i love perfume...and i equally love the bottles!

Sunday, October 16, 2011

"The Adventures of Dot & Hazel"

To be honest, this summer was kind of a blur.  I didn't write or record some of my "stories" when I should have, while they were fresh in my memory, but now onto shorter nights and cooler days I figured I would try to "catch up" while sitting at my desk by the crackling fire.

On August 4th, my day began with the "Adventures of Dot & Hazel"...no it's not a book or reality series, it probably could be...but it was the chance to chauffeur my Grammy and her bff around town through all the "traffic", considering the bustling metropolis that Lancaster is,  to do some shopping.

Dorothy Louise, or as most know her...Dot, is my Grammy.  She's quite the lady, and well because she's my Grammy I've had the privilege of knowing her my entire life :) When I was born we only lived about 500 yards down the street, and today her and Pappy live with my parents in the "North Wing" as we like to call it.  So she's always been close by, and not just in physical proximity, but in my heart too. She is what every kid would want in a "Grammy".  She put in a swimming pool...just for us, gave us piles of Christmas presents every year, brought M&M's in little containers to church for us every Sunday, always took us school shopping, had the best attic in the world to sleep in and most importantly always loved us and supported us from the minute we started breathing to well...here today 33 years later. Grammy is an entrepreneur at heart, and cutting edge in every way. YEARS ago she started a workout facility in her basement. Let me assure you  that was WAY before working out was even common, especially among women, and today in 2011 she has a Facebook profile...hello!  She keeps everything, including receipts from 1960 and has a list of every expense from my mother's wedding. And let's not forget that when she bought a farm, subdivided it into lots, and was required to put two roads in...the first road was named none other than, CAREY DRIVE, after her firstborn granddaughter, me :) In my opinion, she is a living legend.

And then there is Hazel...who is Grammy's best friend.  I, of course, don't know Hazel as well because she's not my Grammy...but anyone that is Grammy's friend is my friend.  Considering that Grammy and Hazel met over 40 years ago...Hazel has been a part of my life as long as I can remember as well. I do have fond memories of visiting her at the A&P grocery store, where she worked in the deli for YEARS, and was mighty good at handing out samples to hungry children :) But as far as their history... they met while selling Tupperware and told me that although there were a bunch of ladies that they worked with they seemed to just "click" and have been "besties" every since :)  And they weren't just your average, run of mill, Tupperware saleswomen that happened to become best friends...they were butt-kicking, hardworking, sales skyrocketing Tupperware divas that both earned 2-3 complimentary station wagons, while working with Tupperware based on their excellent sales performance.  And if you met them, you wouldn't be surprised. They still have that spark in their eye, a smile on their face, and a spirit that speaks, "I can get things done".  Let me prove my point...



My adventure with them was on a hot summer day during a week that Hazel and her husband Johnny came from North Carolina for a visit.  The day after our little shopping hiatus, Grammy and Hazel participated in "CORN DAY" (a day where you husk, desilk, and prepare hundreds of ears of corn to be frozen) from dawn till dusk. But back to our shopping day... they arrived at my house around 10 am. Grammy was willing to drive that far because she could take all back roads, but driving on Route 30? Oh, just forget it.  In her world, it's practically the Audubon.  As they rolled out of the Buick, I sensed right away they were ready for action.  When you are dressed in capris and sneakers...watch out...the shopping is going to get down right crazy. And while I didn't participate in the sneaker wearing, I did put on a pair of flats in preparation to keep up with my older, more wiser, shopping buddies and made sure to have the trunk completely emptied. 

We hopped in my car and cruised a few miles down the road.  Today's shopping tour was headed to the Christmas Tree Shop, Bed, Bath & Beyond, and of course Costco. Much to my surprise Kohl's was not on the destination list, but that was only because there weren't any 30%off  coupons to be used and plus they both agreed that they were too old to buy more clothes.  Now that didn't stop them the day before...haha...but today's shopping list did not include any new attire. 

We made out well at Christmas Tree Shop...I mean you could be looking for absolutely NOTHING and still find a minimum of $75.00 worth of merchandise to buy. Why do I say $75.00? Oh, totally from first hand experience. I don't know that I've ever left that store spending less.  Of course Grammy bought a pillow chair that Hazel scolded her for immediately upon putting it in her cart, because she had one just like it that she had just given to Goodwill.  Goodness gracious, she could have saved herself a whole $12.00 if she would have known she would have used it.  


Hazel & Dot (Grammy)



I could have predicted exactly how this lunch would go...and sure enough it went just as I thought.  They both ordered Pepsi...they could be the "poster children" for Pepsi and the game of Dominoes. Surely both would be more popular after their endorsement.  Grammy asked Hazel what she was ordering, and Hazel asked Grammy what she had decided on.  In the end they did what best friends, especially ones that were raised by parents who were products of the "Great Depression" do, and that's each order a bowl of soup and split a sandwich. We chatted and laughed and I got a refresher course on how they met and became the best of friends.  As I sat there and thought about each of them, their lives and their friendship I realized that true friends absolutely know the value of simple memories. Their friendship had never been based on extravagant experiences, but those of real life...where you need real friends. It was based not on one BIG thing, but on a million little things.  Of course they fought over the bill, I knew there was definitely NO POINT in me even offering to chip in...and to tell you the truth I kind of forget who won that battle...I think it was Hazel, but only because Grammy had paid for yesterdays lunch :)

Our last stop was Costco...the superstore phenomenon. The place that is constantly busy, sells everything from sausage to stereos, locks up their diapers and formula, makes you show ID to purchase, and sells the cheapest, tastiest frozen yogurt on earth.  Oh, and don't let me forget a special feature at our Lancaster Costco location...private horse and buggy tie-up post for our Amish Costco customers.  It's amazing how they fit those 2 ton bags of...well anything, in those buggies.  Grammy and Hazel love shopping for food, it's a hobby, it's an art form to them.  They figure out the best deals, the price per ounce, and know secrets like how to pick the pasta salad from the very back of the refrigerated case because THAT would be the freshest. Makes sense...but who had time to think about these things? Not I...not until my brief tutorial from the grocery connoisseurs. Upon arrival they decided only one cart was necessary, but about half way through our Costco journey they decided they both needed something to lean on while walking, so naturally they shared.  Hazel on the left side of the cart handle and Grammy on the right.  It was the perfect picture of friendship...if it had been used in one of those inspirational pictures series, the quote would have read, "Friends that push a cart, will never part".

...and that about wrapped up the shopping adventure. But I was left with more than a few purchases from the Christmas Tree Shop and a belly full of potato soup...I was reminded that when you find a friend that you "click" with...keep things "clicking" no matter how old, how many miles separate you, or how much life may try to get in the way.  Because as Robert Brault says, "Most of us don't need a psychiatric therapist as much as a friend to be silly with." 

Oh, how true...oh, how sweet...oh, what a gift a friend really is.  Thank you Grammy and Hazel for living out true friendship. I love you both.

Wednesday, October 12, 2011

Natural Highs & Simple Pleasures...

Years ago in my parents basement I set up a study space. The walls were unfinished, the floors were bare, but I spent hours in that little cave, studying, writing papers, and believe it or not composing some of my first e-mails...isn't that crazy? Dial- up...what a nightmare. I covered the walls with pictures, quotes, cards, and I distinctly remember having a list posted that I made called "Natural Highs". I wish I still had that list, because I wonder if many of the things listed would be the same today. As I was driving today, pondering on "life" I remembered making that list...and decided to sit down and sketch out a new one. This time on a blog, not handwritten on a piece of paper :) I assume many of the "Natural Highs", or maybe you prefer the term "Simple Pleasures", will mirror those of yesteryear, but some will be new additions...considering they didn't exist in my world years ago, and of course some will be from first hand experience, and some will be in anticipation of the those things that are yet to come.
I know this won't be all inclusive...that's impossible, because truly life is the gift that keeps on giving, and of course I would love to hear some of yours too :)
Sunrises. Sunsets. The ocean. A kiss on the top of your head. Christmas, and it's true meaning. Candles. Sweet Tea. A toasty fire. Tubing downstream. Driving with the windows down. Hoodies. Snowfall. Looking at old pictures. Being silly. Laughing. Crying because you're so happy. Watching someone sleep. Waterfalls. Having your hair washed. Heated seats. Pizza. An unexpected card. Warm towels from the dryer. New sneakers. Running in the rain. Songs that bring back memories. Smiling at a stranger. A child's enthusiastic greeting. Costco. Reading a good book. Sitting out under the stars. Beach cottages. Coffee. Crossing things off your list. The perfect pair of jeans. Hot showers. Winks. Coming home. Down comforters. Random acts of kindness. Laughing. Unconditional love. Handwritten letters. Thunderstorms. Forgiveness. Clean sheets. Being told your beautiful. The Fray. A good sweat. Traveling. Jumping in puddles. Convertibles. Cookies right out of the oven. Family. Old friends. New friends. A perfect parking spot. Fine dining. Quaint shops. Hitting snooze. An unexpected visit. English muffins with lots of butter. Singing in the shower. Car washes. Accomplishing. Fresh flowers. A gentle stroke on your face. Seeing new places. Chocolate. Strawberries. Chocolate covered strawberries. Babies. Picnics. Reruns. Boating. A little black dress. To know you are not alone. A suntan. Waking up with a smile on your face. Bubble baths. "Heart to hearts". Being organized. Driving fast. Jumping in leaves. Candlelight. A chilly breeze. Eating a spoon of peanut butter. Fresh mulch. That "look" in someone's eyes. Family dinner. Farmers markets. Soft pajamas. Finding money in your pocket. Going to bed knowing you don't have to get up at any certain time. Long walks. Learning something new. Long hugs where you can feel something more than just the hug. Going to dad and mom's. Knowing God is in control. People watching. Celebrating the success of others. Good memories. Giving anonymously. Old journals. Cuddling up. Christmas Eve. Finding the perfect gift. Going out for breakfast. Making something "old", "new". New York City. Music that makes you tear up. Snow angels. iphone. Random "bump-ins". A bowl of your favorite cereal. Grammy's mashed potatoes and homemade noodles. A familiar voice. Being a big sister. Keeping your promises. Being real. Having no regrets. Dry cleaning. Disney World. Going harder than you thought you could. Men's cologne. Flower gardens. Inside jokes. Picnics. Hot Air Balloons. Decorating. The smell of leather. A good deal. Baseball hats. Compliments. Afternoon naps. Broadway shows. A slow kiss. The smell of a baby. Blueberry pancakes with hot syrrup. Chandeliers. Fresh highlights. Uggs. Fresh squeezed orange juice. Children laughing. Birthday parties. Having a friend that when together silence isn't awkward. Dimples. The perfect outfit. Roses. Loving people more than they thought possible. Costume jewelry. Slippers. Windowboxes. Cashmere. Porch swings...
and I could go on, and on, and on...

Saturday, October 1, 2011

Ode to the Fair...

It's fall...you know how I know?  The Lampeter Fair was held this week.  Honestly,  I have not visited the fair for years, but now living just a few miles down the road on "the" Lampeter Road itself, I thought it was only appropriate as a full fledged Lampeter "local" to support the cause and take a trip down memory lane all at the same time. 

The picture at the top I actually took for the
school newspaper, at the New Holland Fair :) and
that's me in the middle...in my high waisted trousers :)

The fair was always a highlight of our return to high school in the fall.  You bundled up in your well planned outfit that you had thought through during 7th period study hall, and as a freshman had your mom drop you off, or as a senior tried to snag a ride with the boy that had your heart a fluttering. You went to see your friends, period. Not the cows, not the tractors, not the fair queens...well and maybe to eat a funnel cake or two (after hockey practice or a cross country race you could handle such a high caloric intake) Sometimes you even ran into a teacher who you only casually acknowledged because you weren't even sure it was them considering they were in jeans a sweatshirt and not standing behind an overhead projector reviewing Geometry quiz answers. 

Remember how I mentioned hockey practice? 
That's me #21...
I chuckled as I thought about how so many things were the same and yet everything was different. 15 years later, I parked my own car, that I drove by myself and over donated for parking because the lady was either lying or brilliant in saying she didn't have change for a twenty.  I hadn't spent more than about 5 minutes deciding what to throw on, and who was I kidding as a gal that's 17 weeks pregnant my main goal was to get my hands on a bowl of chicken corn soup and a chocolate milkshake, and so I  made my way through mushy fields towards the bright lights and the familiar fair smells of funnel cakes and pig stalls.    
My BFF from the past that I ran into...well that's her
and I shaving our legs together :)


I knew the fair would not be without familiar faces, some from the past, some from the present and 5 minutes upon my arrival I ran into the gal I sat beside for both years of homeroom in middle school.  We didn't exchange news about what was happening in sections G-71 or B-74...but I commented on her kids and she asked as everyone does how growing a human was going.  And of course after honestly telling her I had felt perfect since the get go...I got the common response of any woman that has ever experienced perpetual nausea during their pregnancy..."I hate you"...I mean she tagged on "just sayin" afterwards...but we all know that's just code for "I know I shouldn't be saying this right now, but it's how I really feel, but if I say just sayin it makes it seem more kosher".  I understood of course, it hadn't been the first time I had felt the "hate" after sharing my pleasant experience thus far.  The blast from the past continued when I saw my BFF from middle school searching for a place to sit to feed her army of children (4 with one on a way to be exact) You go girl!  It was was one of the first times I did that thing where you try to explain to the "kids" how you knew each other when we were "their age".  Of course they are clueless and could care less...but it just feels as though it's something you must explain. Eventually her parents arrived as well, which only added to the hugs and reminiscing.  Later I bumped into faces from the present, Robin and Ginny...the gals from my hair salon, and then my pastor and his wife who were once students in the same hallways as me back in those high school days.  I never dreamed, and I'm sure they didn't either at the time, that I'd be seeing them on Sunday at church as a member of their congregation...haha! 

 Although the food concessions looked more like a mosh pit than a food line I knew the homemade soup and milkshake would be worth the wait, but it's not an easy task to eat soup and hold a milkshake all while standing so I politely smiled at a very large, unhappy looking older woman that seemed very content to have the bench all to herself, in hopes she would let me squeeze a cheek beside her. And truth be told, one cheek is about all I managed to get on with the space she so kindly made for me. But it was a place to sit and as I proceeded to burn my tongue on the soup I sat back and watched.  Yep, things change, and then in some ways they will always be the same...

Groups of boys gathered while 2 or 3 girls approached just praying they would give them the time of day...this is one of those things that will never change.  Boys that age...they try to act like the are more into their friends...all the while hoping their Justin Beiber do and their Abercrombie gear is looking fly, although it was feathered hair and rolled jeans back about 15 years ago.  Of course then there are the high schoolers who are now officially "going out"...at least until homecoming is over and are sucking face around the corner of the produce tent (true story...I happened upon one of these last night)  And at the fair you of course have the plethora of adults...the mom sportin' the nine west heeled boots that are sinking further every second, her flowered headband and plaid poncho...all while pushing her daughter her all time best "accessory" in a matching outfit... to the other gal also pushing a stroller but wearing a belly shirt, jeans and smoking a cigarette. You then see  the cool dads that are sporting Abercrombie too and looking for their mini-me's and the ones that broke out their old FFA jacket and over sized belt buckle in support of their 3 year old that had entered the tractor racing contest. 
My senior picture, circa 1996

But because I wasn't going to a party later, or spending the night at a friends...I decided by 8:00 to call it a night and head home, not without a flood of good memories, good food, and just a good feeling that every phase of life is precious.  As I exited through the last tent I was approached by a vendor. It topped off the entire night.  She asked, "Do you still live at home...or do you happen to pay an electric bill?"  I started laughing...and she looked a little perplexed. I didn't' bother to explain my chuckles, I just gave her the answer she was looking for, "Yes".  I don't know that I'll use her electric "dealeo"...but I certainly will take her question as a compliment. Nope, I'm not a student living at home. I'm a pregnant 33 year old lady that married one of the boys I followed at the fair 15 years ago and just managed to look a little younger after slathering my $200 face cream on before arriving and wearing a baseball cap that night. 

Only in Lancaster County. Only during fair season...yep, it's officially FALL :)



...and 15 years later...a few more lines...but a lot more wise :)

Tuesday, September 6, 2011

...EXPECTING a blessing.

It's a rainy, cool, September day.  The "cozy potential" is quite high and so I decided to embrace the sweatshirt, indulge in a hot drink, am looking forward to an afternoon nap, and may even start a fire...but first let me return to blogging.  August came and went...although not lacking in adventure. A trip to Cleveland to work our business, my cousin's wedding in Virginia, family vacation at Raystown Lake, and a weekend in Chicago...with a 14 hour drive home after Hurricane Irene decided to rage and cause 5,000 canceled flights.

And all this time I've had a little secret.  A blessing that only a few knew about. A lil' bean in the belly that started it's life in June and now is 13 weeks old and about the size of a lime :)  I broke the silence this week and shared with the world our good news, and without giving every detail of our journey at this point, I felt compelled to to use this post as a reminder that God does still do miracles.  Whether you've ever experienced the heartache of longing for a child yet traveling down the long road of patiently waiting and many times being shoved in the face and kicked in the heart every single month with disappointment, or have suffered loss or just any heartache of any kind...I want to give testimony to God's grace, his favor, and His peace that does pass all understanding.  This means we may never understand...but we can always have peace.


After many years of trying, hoping, believing and praying I am overwhelmed by the goodness the Lord rained down on me and the way He protected my heart and preserved my spirit through it all.  I never once felt discouraged. Disappointed, yes...very. But I believed He was the giver of my desire to be a mother and that someway, somehow...He would fulfill that desire...and He did.  After so many months and years of doing my part and planning things out as perfectly as possible...without any success...I can only think that this was a miracle. Big or small...believe what you want to believe...I am choosing to let this answered prayer, this miracle if you will, permeate my heart and build my faith for the even "greater things that are yet to come".

About 8 months ago on a Sunday morning I was making brownies before church to take to a picnic and had music playing in the background.  An old, yet familiar song filled the room and made it's way into my heart that morning.  It's a song by Michael W. Smith...I'm not even sure what it's called, but the line that gripped me was "and every act of love will set you free".  Wow...how true.  No matter what hardship, pain, or discouragement we may be fighting...the way to break free from it's death grip is to LOVE.  Love other people, serve other people, search for ways to ACT in LOVE, cause it ultimately keeps us from looking inward and keeps us looking upward.  Tears just started pouring down my face as I realized how much He loved me, and how good He had been and would continue to be to me. At times unanswered prayers can cause us to build walls between ourselves and the Father, and ourselves and other people...but LOVE will literally be the footstool that will give you the boost to scale the wall and ultimately find yourself on the other side...where His plan is made perfect. Not our plan, but his.

I don't have intentions of sharing every journal entry I am writing to my child, but this first one written in August I will...may it be encouragement, and literally oxygen to the soul of anyone that needs to believe just one more time, or have faith, even that of a mustard seed restored.

August 2, 2011
Wow, I can hardly believe this is the first time I've really taken to journal since finding out you were mine...that you were growing inside of me, that my heart's desire and cry to the Lord was made a reality through you...my firstborn child. You are a miracle.  You are a gift from God, like every child is, but you are long awaited...and just as Hannah in the bible cried out and prayed for her son Samuel, I have cried out for you.  You are 8 weeks and 2 days old today.


At 6 weeks and 3 days I had an early ultrasound and it was the first glimpse i got of you. Your daddy was there too...and while he didn't say much I know his heart was overjoyed.  He texted all of your uncles...that's when I knew he was so excited.  I saw the flutter of your tiny heartbeat.  To be honest, even now it's almost hard to believe you are growing inside me, cause at this point there isn't any real physical indicator...but my heart is already bonding to yours...that's how I know you are really here.  That's how I know you are our Kairos child.  Auntie Holly gave this word the night I called to tell her that you were on your way.  They had been talking about this term in a class they were taking. Kairos means "the long awaited epic". This truly was  a Kairos conception and I believe you are a Kairos child! You have been given to us to love and care for...but you are the Lord's...and ever since looking at that positive pregnancy test, especially after looking at so many negative ones...I've given you back to the Lord.  You are mine here on earth, but you are HIS to do things of epic proportion in your lifetime.

I already feel so privileged to be your mom...I am weak, I am not perfect, I have made many mistakes, even since you've been conceived...but one thing that is PERFECT is my love for you. I love you so much already. You are my miracle...and truly a gfit that the Lord sent from heaven...because while after many test, medicines, diet changes, doctors appointments, blood work and the list could go on and on...the "odds" were against us the month you were conceived. It wasn't a month where i had been able to "arrange" all the right factors in effort to make you a reality...but isn't that just like our GOD?  He truly receives all the glory. It was Him making what seemed impossible a reality...because we know NOTHING is impossible with Him.

Twins have been spoken many times over the last few years, but at this point we suspect that there is only one...but if you end up being 2, my children, instead of just my child...my love is in double portions. We are grateful for the healthy life that is growing inside me. Chief (my dad) gave 2 words years ago in preparation for you. The words were FRAGRANCE & AROMA...you have already filled my life, my heart with a beautiful fragrance of joy. I know your life will be a fragrant offering, it will be so sweet, it will "smell" so different to every person you meet, engage with, and even walk by.  I know that the Lord is going to continue to reveal things to me about your life and these words of Kairos, fragrance and aroma in the following 7 months.

I love you so much. I am so grateful to be your mother. I can't wait to meet you.

Hugs & Kisses,
Mommy

"The Lord watches over his word to perform it."  Jeremiah 1:12
"You have granted me life and favor, and your providence has preserved my spirit." Job 10:12

Tuesday, July 26, 2011

Human Popsicle...a lil' story to help you beat the heat...

Wow, I have slacked. It's been almost a month since I've posted on my blog. I'm not real sure where the month of July went.  It just "evaporated" with the heat I suppose.  I got to thinking today about how fast time does go...and that before we know it, we'll blink and it will be time to put the Christmas tree up again.  That got me thinking about cold weather, which in all honesty, I'll take the heat any day over shoveling myself out of the driveway and wearing coats.  As hot as I've been over the last few weeks, I recently had a flashback to a time when I was just the opposite...and so maybe on this hot, humid July summer day, this little story will help you beat the heat.

I like getting the mail. Well usually. It was New Year's Eve so a few random Christmas cards were still arriving from those procrastinating friends (don't worry if that's you...been there, done that :)  Our mailbox was a little metal black box that was placed to the right of our front door, which meant you could open the door, lean out the door in your pj's, reach into the mailbox, and grab the mail without ever being "exposed".

So this particular late afternoon I realized we had not checked the mailbox for a few days. It was sure to be an armful so rather than doing the Cirque Du Soleil acrobatics routine or launching the "go-go gadget" arm, I walked outside and shut the door behind me.  We all know the latch our doors make when it shuts and then we all know there's a different sound when it latches AND locks.  Well my door made the second sound. It locked.  Shoot. I was sure it was unlocked. I quickly realized I had more immediate, greater concerns, like the fact that it was freezing outside and I was in a hoodie, daisy dukes (you know the ones you ONLY wear around the house) and my infamous pink slippers. I used to be an over reactor, a flipper outer, a quick crier...but I've learned a thing or two and so I chose to stay calm because surely the back door was open. Negative. Locked. Ok, what about a window, it wouldn't be the first time I hoisted myself up on the window ledge only to quickly shimmy through trying to avoid drawing attention to  the homeowner breaking into her own home.  But every single window I could reach was locked.  My cell phone was just inches away, but on the other side of the locked door and I really didn't want to bother any of my neighbors, who were all over 60, in my daisy dukes.

The originator of the Daisy Dukes...hahaha :)

Reagan and my nephew, Shannon were out running errands and so I convinced myself that they had to be home soon. Well soon never came and so in desperation I decided humiliation would be better than amputation from frost bite and I knocked on my neighbor's door.  They weren't home. New Year's Eve is not the best time to lock yourself out.  The only thing that was open was the garage door, and with the wind picking up I could at least avoid some of the elements by sitting inside the unheated garage.  I started rummaging through boxes that had been "cluttering" up the space looking for a coat, a sweatshirt, a hat...anything to add another layer.  And there it was...Reagan's old Kappa soccer coat. I made a mental note to NEVER get on his case about leaving "stuff" in the garage...this was God send.  I put on the coat, pulled up the hood, zipped it, scrunched my legs up under it, pulled my arms out of the sleeves and literally plopped myself down onto a cardboard box, which was better than my bum adhering to the concrete floor.  There were 2 small windows in the garage and with each minute the sun slipped down saying good-bye to the daylight and allowing the darkness to set in.  Minutes went by, hours went by. I listened intently for the engine of the car and the bright beam of the its headlights to pull in the driveway.  It seemed like forever. We had a party to go to in a few hours so...I tried to think about that for awhile.  I tried to think about what I would say to Reagan even though this wasn't his fault.  I tried to think about anything other than how stupid I felt and how cold I was.


Well forever finally ended when I heard the car doors slam.  They were home.  I was going to be rescued before turning into a human popsicle.  I pulled myself out of the fetal position and lifted the garage door, needless to say they were a little surprised to see me.  The minute I saw their faces I started to cry.  You know that overwhelming feeling of anger, stupidity, yet happiness all rolled up into one big erupting emotion...that's what I was experiencing.  After explaining what happened and realizing I only had about an hour until we had to leave, I stood in the scalding hot shower for 45 minutes...defrosting.

As I stood in the shower, the hot water pelting down my face I realized I had learned a few valuable lessons that night...
1. Don't ever wear daisy dukes...hahaha!
2. You're going to do stupid things, learn to laugh at yourself.
3. Locking your doors may keep intruders out...but it may keep you out too :)

Ok...that kind of oversimplifies things...

The real, more powerful thought I had was about locking the doors of our lives.  We've all done it, right? We've locked at least one or maybe multiple doors of our lives to our friends, family and maybe even God.  Locking yourself out of the those relationships will only leave you cold, tucked up in frustration and totally "sitting in the dark". Sometimes we don't mean to do it, just like I never intended to lock myself outside in the arctic temperatures that night.  But God is always there...even when we think we've locked Him out.  You can't run from Him, you can't hide from Him, you can't keep Him out, nor would you want to.  He will never disappoint. He loves you unconditionally and His love is a constant warm, safe place to live.  I've found His love to "dethaw" me...from any "cold" thing that has ever tried to consume me. 

As far as people go...I've locked people out before to avoid disappointment, or in attempt to keep my distance so there's no chance for rejection...because people will fail us from time to time, they will let us down, but there is no reward in locking people out.  I come in contact with a lot of people through the business that I run and someone once asked me, "What's the hardest part of doing what you do?" Without hesitation I responded by telling them that the most frustrating thing is also the most rewarding thing and that's...the people.  Frustrating at times or not, people and relationships are truly a great reward in our lives if we see them that way.  It takes courage to see the best in people, see all their potential and maybe even believe in them more than they believe in themselves...because in turn they don't always do all that you know they could, but that should never keep us from believing in them and the things they do choose to do or keep us from believing in the next person that crosses our path.  It's worth sticking out your hand one more time, trusting one more time, loving one more time, and taking the chance of making a new best friend one more time...you know the person that will tell you that your lips are still blue :)

Later that night after finally arriving at the party, I still wasn't quite my usual chipper self.  My core temperature was still too low. No matter how many wool sweaters I piled on, nothing was heating my bones.  I mingled and tried not to say much in fear my teeth would chatter...but my lips wouldn't lie.  They were bright blue, even hours after being rescued from the igloo...I mean garage.  One of my best friends, Tara, sweetly brought this to my attention.  "Carey your lips are bright blue...are you ok?"  For the first time all day I started to laugh and before long I was hysterically reenacting the entire experience. 

So take it from me, don't lock yourself out of your own home, or any home for that matter in the middle of winter...hahaha...and don't lock yourself or your heart away either.  Most important keep the door of your heart open to your Father in heaven and to all those that will come knocking throughout your lifetime.  Just remember...no locking...just lots of LOVING.


When I walk in LOVE God is present.
1 John 4:12

Monday, June 27, 2011

fash·ion·is·ta

fash·ion·is·ta

noun \ˌfa-shə-ˈnēs-tə\

Definition of FASHIONISTA

: a designer, promoter, or follower of the latest fashions
I am a self proclaimed fashionista. I will be completely transparent...I probably shop too much (if that's possible), have way too many clothes, and have piles of InStyle magazines stashed around my house...consequently none of these things necessarily make you a fashionista. So what makes a person a fashionista besides the formal definition above?  A fashionista is someone who ROCKS THEIR OWN STYLE.  But be prepared for some kick back.  I've been questioned a time or two about whether or not that was a necklace I was wearing or Betty Rubble costume jewelry, or if a black dress with a brown scarf really "worked".  When you are a self proclaimed fashionista you have to be prepared for the self proclaimed "Fashion Police" to arrive on occassion.  
You don't have to be a designer for Chanel or a promoter of Gucci to be a fashionista.  Everyday you look into your closet and design with your wardrobe what you will look like that day. This in turn promotes a certain style to the world and maybe, just maybe, grabs someone's attention and you start a new trend...fashionista AND trendsetter...impressive. 
I'm no Rebecca Bloomburg (Confessions of a Shopaholic) or Andy Sachs (The Devil Wears Prada).I haven't joined a Shoppers Anonymous group and I definitely don't work for Miranda Preistly at Runway...but even if you think you might be a fashionista...you should check them out on your next movie night :)
So all definitions aside....here are a few "tips" that I've put together and my next blog post will be a second installment of my "HOW TO" series which outlines how to mix and match...basically making multiple outfits from just a few articles of clothing. This can be especially helpful when you are packing for a summer vacay..so stay posted :)

FASHIONISTA 101
1. Charles Gordy reminds us that, "A smile is an inexpensive way to change your looks." So smile- it looks good and doesn't cost a thing :)
2. Wear heels because they make every pair of legs look longer.
3. Wear flats because they are comfortable and give your bunions a break :)
4. Buy clothes that fit.  Too small is scary and too big means your hiding.
5. Have a "go to" piece of clothing for the days where nothing is working.

6. If you haven't worn it in 6 months get rid of it.


7. It's not necessary to be matchy matchy. You do not need to have your shoes, handbags or belt matching. Matchy-matchy honestly can add at least 20 years to your look.
8. Don't be afraid to buy from a second hand store.  I bought a Nanette Lepore cardigan at a consignment shop the other day. It's not about where it's been, it's about where you can take it :)
9. Don't be afraid to buy from Nordstroms (etc.)...you'll never regret quality...that never goes out of style.
10. Attempt to make your looks effortless, meaning it never looks like you tried too hard. It's you.
11.Share clothes with responsible friends- it could double your wardrobe :)
12. Or if sharing hasn't gone well in the past, hold a clothes swap. One person's trash is another person's treasure!
13. Bad hair can = bad days. Don't skip on the hair...it's worth the money you may loose in the wardrobe budget.
14. Wear a cami under everything...it will change your life.
15. Accessorize- an inexpensive necklace, earrings, scarf or hat can change the outfit in an instant.
16.  Own more tops than bottoms. People will notice your top half more than your bottom half.
17.  Rock your own style. If you like it...WEAR IT!