get carey-ed away

Sunday, May 29, 2011

...reason 101 i'm thankful i don't have a 9-5

friday morning i headed to target to pick up a few items for a ladies get together i was having later that evening and as i cruised through the parking lot i noticed an adorable pregnant woman only to realize a half a second later that it was my sister :) i parked my car and and walked to their van where she was unloading her "village" into the shopping cart. hey guys... look who it is...auntie carey! what a wonderful spontaneous encounter in the target parking lot.  kaylan quickly proceeded to show me her bucket of many girly things, necklaces, bracelets and of course a tiara hair clip.  it was obvious that she had taken the clip in and out numerous times because her hair was in disarray. jaron stood in the cart with his bright blues shining and of course had a smile that stretched from ear to ear...and teagan with pigtails in full effect looked as if she were already making plans to escape the cart. i scanned this scene in amazement thinking about how my sister had become nothing less than supermom, standing there 7 months pregnant looking completely put together, her kids all fully clothed...all looking ready to participate in one of the great olympic sports of in target. 

we parted ways briefly so that i could go get the items i needed, but i quickly made my way to the kids section knowing they were looking for shoes.  kaylan was relieved that i had returned, finding it quite necessary to show me the new, sparkly shoes she had found for her duties as flower girl.  we perused the clearance racks (you ask... how is perusing possible with 3 kids under the age of's called snacks)  and kaylan followed me...not her mom, knowing she had a better shot at landing another purchase.  in no time flat she found a pair of dora was if they had been calling out to her.  up on her tippy toes she pulled the pair of pink pj's off the rack and promptly came to show me what she had found.  our conversation went something like this...

kaylan: auntie carey...look at these beautiful pj's, they are dora and i love them!

auntie carey: they are cute!

kaylan: can you take the tags off so i can put it on?

auntie carey: well then you would have to buy them and no one said we were going to be them.

kaylan: can we buy them?

auntie carey: no, then we would have to buy something for jaron & teagan too.

kaylan: no you don't.  they would look soooo good on me.
(wow, is she really only 3 1/2?)

this is where i don't say anything...i almost ignore her...trying to stay strong.  believe me i've done my fair share of buying things for me nieces and nephews...honestly it's one of my favorite things to do. 

i will give her some serious props...she knew what she wanted and she did not relent.  she held onto them and continued to walk around the store, making sure not to pout...cause that would surely put an end to the possibility of a pj purchase, but she did keep a melancholy demeanor with hopes that it would be a face i couldn't resist.  and just as i was feeling very confident in my ability to say "no" and resist the "kaylan factor"  she pulled the ultimate heartstring.  out of no where she says, "auntie carey, you have a baby in your belly and it's a girl."  now please read this this very second as i'm blogging this story there are no signs that i am pregnant...but because this is a longing in my heart the minute that little tyke spoke those words, whether they were prophetic or not, my heart melted and i knew right then and there she had won the battle.  i was buying her the dora pj's.  my sister came around the corner after hearing kaylan share her little tidbit and told me that she had told her the same thing the other night.  she had told her, "auntie carey has a baby in her belly, and her belly is going to get big like yours and it's a girl and (here's the best part)...her name is purple."  i was sure she was going to suggest the name sparkle...that seems to be her name of choice for everything from her my little ponies to her imaginary chicks.  as you can imagine purple would not be my first name pick...but the crazy part is reagan and i really do like a girl's name that starts with a "P".  so whether this was a little girls desperate attempt at winning over her auntie or were prophetic words that came by way of a 3 year heart was encouraged and kaylan quickly became the proud owner of some new pajamas. 

of course she wanted to come home with me (i feel so blessed that my siblings have allowed their kids to be such a big part of our lives) and because i was just headed home and not at a 9-5 that day i happily said "yes" and before long we were yanking her car seat out of the astro van and throwing it in my car.  she had her bag of goodies, which now included a dora dvd that she found at the checkout (it was only $5.00 seemed like cheap entertainment)  and away we went.  i had one more stop, the grocery store and on our ride there kaylan introduced me to her imaginary chick, named sparkle, who was very tired and was sleeping in her hand.  it's amazing how much a child, let alone multiple children, slow your entire world down. i would have been in and out of the grocery store in about 5 minutes flat, but walking hand in hand with kaylan through the weis parking lot reminded me how important it is to "stop to smell the roses" as they say.  i found the items i needed and while waiting at the deli counter to purchase some colby longhorn cheese that she had picked, kaylan announced that she had to pee.  i've had to pee and time or two while at weis, but of course i had no idea where the bathroom was located because i typically "hold my pee" until i get to my house that's about 100 yards down the road.  but she insisted it was "urgent " (that truly was her word choice) and i figured that finding the bathroom would be way less time consuming the cleaning up a puddle of pee in the deli section.  after "peeing" and admiring the lovely yellow tiles in the bathroom, and the yummy scent of the hand soap we were ready to check out. 

once we got home and took the groceries inside kaylan insisted we walk down to the river to throw a few sticks, which we did...but it didn't last too long because that dora dvd was burning a hole in her had to be opened and viewed.  but before popping in the dvd she told me she had to go to the bathroom AGAIN.  i said, "again? you just went."  she looked up at me with her brown eyes, as big as saucers, and sighed..."this time it's poop".  so i put her on the "potty" and told her to yell when she was finished.  it didn't take long until i heard her yell, "auntie carey, i'm finished".  it took me back...felt like it was just yesterday that i was yelling for my mom. isn't it crazy to think that at one time someone else wiped your butt for you?  as i approached the bathroom she yells, "it's a long poop, want to see it?"  it was going to be inevitable considering i had to wipe her little bum and while i grabbed some toilet paper she peered in the toilet and with a little giggle she says, "looks like a brown snake".  i lost it.  you can't help but laugh. 

minutes later kaylan was curled up on the couch watching dora, shouting out things like "map" and "buenos dias"...again i had to chuckle at how different the day sounds when there are kids around.  but i loved it.  i was so glad she was here.  i cut up some apples and some of the marbled cheese she requested, pulled up a little chair to my pottery barn coffee table, that they all love because it's low and makes the perfect movie watching perch...and all was perfect in kaylan's world.  there she sat in her dora pajamas, eating her favorite snacks, watching a dvd...totally content and so was i. 

as adults we can get so caught up in the agenda, what's next on the list, or what tomorrow, next month or even  next year holds...but children they live in the here and now.  i was reminded that we can get so locked into tomorrow that we forget about the fullness of today.  i felt grateful. i felt grateful for my day that had taken such a different turn because of my spur-of-the moment meeting in the target parking lot. 

we must never stop contending for the future...but we must be grateful for today. she is...with a snack in hand, modeling her new pj's before heading home :)

"i bless the LORD every chance i get; my lungs expand with HIS praise. " psalm 34:1 msg

Tuesday, May 24, 2011

...summer lovin'

so i could...or should be folding laundry, or putting my kitchen back together (it looks like a bomb went off after the plumber was here to fix a pipe and replace the garbage disposal)... but Reagan assured him that i would want to put things back like i had them...really?  but the sun is out and so instead i'm sitting on my deck blogging :)  this post will be a little more like a journal entry, outlining the events of this past weekend.

my birthday was a few weeks ago, and now that we are thirty somethings we don't typically have parties or even do gifts.  we travel a lot and we buy things that we need here and there so much that we truly feel like we live as if every day were a special occasion...which it is, right? none of us are guaranteed another day.  so i'm not sure if it was the impulse of a man with a serious gift giving love language (if you haven't read the book The 5 Love's great), the warm spring weather, or my poetic descriptions of scooting around town...our hair blowing in the wind with the top down...nonetheless my husband decided that this birthday he would surprise me with an Audi TT convertible. the most impressive part was the surprise...because i'm never surprised, not because it hasn't been attempted, but my curious or discerning intuition just tends to get in the way and have this uncanny ability to just "figure out" these types of things.  reagan knows this as well as anyone.  the first surprise he got involved with was my 16th birthday party...a surprise that i tried to go along with but had some strong inklings about, or our proposal which i was kind of surprised about but knew of the leather jacket he bought to store the ring in because i had accidentally found the receipt for it. but this time he did it...he 100% surprised me.

yes, we had talked about convertibles and how much fun one would be in the summertime, but i really didn't think one would find it's home in our garage anytime soon because what we had talked about more was trading in my Lexus 330 for a Lexus SUV in preparation for the Bender Family expansion project (this is not an announcement...believe me you'll know as soon as i do :)  i didn't suspect a thing because an impractical, seasonal, 2 seater convertible just didn't seem likely...and i was convinced that my birthday present was some patio furniture that i had wanted...all just waiting until my dad could come help set it up.  i pleaded and begged for him to tell me where he got it, what it looked like (truth be told i was kind of concerned it might not match the stuff i already had) so why so secretive?  i even tried to convince him of my handiness, offering to put the blasted patio furniture together myself.  he typically caved so easily...but not this time, because there never was patio furniture...but there was an Audi TT convertible being looked for all over the east coast!

as most of you know we own a business and work with a business team here locally.  his plan was to "unveil" the gift at the team meeting that we had saturday night and so after much scurrying around his plans were coming together.  the meeting went longer than expected, but reagan was the wrap up speaker and of course was amazing as usual...casting vision for our team, lifting people up, and than began to take a significant amount of time to edify me (which i appreciated, and sat there thinking about how i needed to go live up to those expectations:) and all of a sudden he was ordering people to go down to the lobby because he had a birthday present that he wanted to give to me.  people bolted out of the room and i just sat there in a dream where everything is a little fuzzy because you're not exactly sure what's happening.  my mind started running a trillion times a minute (it usually paces at about a million miles a minute) trying to conjure up what this surprise gift might be. a patio set was great and everything but i was pretty sure that he wouldn't go so hokie as to bring it to a 4 star hotel on the back of a pick up.  and then all of a sudden i thought...what if it's an animal? crap.  as some of you know i'm not a huge animal lover and our lovely little Tag is enough cat in the house for me.  plus he had to remember the "bad experience" we had the last time he gave me an animal...a rodent is more like it...a gerbil on my 15th birthday that he could tell i was less than excited about but tried to graciously accept only to have it drown in the sub pump weeks later and be found looking 3 times it's normal length.yuck. so a car did cross my mind, because i figured it had to be something rather significant if he was willing to make this big of a deal about it...but NAH...he wouldn't really get a car.

so with my eyes closed and a friend guiding me out to the front lobby doors i gingerly walked towards my gift. i could sense the anticipation in the crowd without even seeing their faces.  1,2 3...surprise...i opened my eyes to discover a silver Audi TT convertible. What?! This was Barbie's car and now it was mine!  I stood there saying shock, but then let out a little yelp and turned to reagan in disbelief.  I couldn't believe it...there sat the little TT convertible in all it's glory, silver paint glistening in the flash of the cameras just waiting for me to hop in.  but that's when the gift became bittersweet.  reagan proudly announced that this summer i would be learning how to drive a manual transmission on none other than a convertible sports car.  what?  i had been quite content with park, reverse and drive and really did not think i had any desire to learn how to drive a stick shift.  now i knew why he had given me the topic of a positive mental attitude at our meeting.  i had just passionately shared with people the importace of being grateful, positive and expecting the best...there was no way now i could go rogue, flip out and stress out in front of this same crowd about my  apprehensions on becoming a stick shift driver.  so instead i asked for a ride and in seconds we were wiping around the block...reagan describing all the tense moments of making this surprise a reality. 

 we drove it sunday to the phillies game and already created quite the memory (that will be another post on another day) but now i have a week off.  a week off? yes, a week to mentally prepare for the adventure of learning to drive a stick shift. the car had to return to the shop to get a few last touch ups...just enough time for me to "gear" myself up for the thrill of a 6 speed, time to recite my postive confessions of being an incredibly quick learner, time to pray for perpetual green lights, and to scope out every flat route to all my most visited locations. but learning new things is what life's all about i suppose and so for my 33rd birthday i was given the gift of not just a car, but the opportunity to get out of my comfort zone and learning something new :)

wow...i was truly surprised.  i am the receiver of a truly generous gift.  we have a sign up in our home that says, " the most important things in life are not things"...which is truly a way we believe. this car is not the end all be's by far not the most important thing, it is just a token of love...a way to say "i love you" and a by product of consistent effort that has afforded us these choices. 

 so if you see a silver TT stalled at a gracious and refrain from honking. if you catch a glimpse of blonde hair whizzing by...please wave...and also consider getting on the rental schedule for your next date...the entreprenuer in me is considering starting a rental service ;)

...cheers to some summer lovin'.

i'm taking plate leave your comments below :)

Saturday, May 21, 2011

Leftover Lasagna

i'm not a big fan of leftovers.  Here's my problem with cooking in the first place...after making the meal i barely feel like eating it.  i'm "over it" by the time the recipe has been read, the ingredients have been rounded up and i've managed to put something on the table.  and if it includes raw meat...just forget it. my appetite is nada.  i want to like to cook...i'll occasionally turn on rachael ray and pray for divine osmosis to happen through the television...turning me into the perky chef that can whip up a 30 minute meal that is "yummo".  it's never happened. maybe one day when i have the perfect custom kitchen, and have said my good-byes to big bertha (that's what i affectionately call my gas stove circa 1970) i'll flourish into a chef de cuisine. despite my deficiencies in the kitchen i did prevail once this week when the lasagna i made was so tasty that we literally late every last piece.  we devoured all the was even more delicious the second and third time.  as i stood there today staring at the empty glass dish i was in awe.  i don't like throwing food out...but the truth of the matter is after one helping most of my cooking ends up in the trash.  i think we better stick with green vegetables this weekend after polishing off an entire 9x11 pan of carbohydrates this week.  i'm sure you all have lasagna seems like it would be a family meal time staple. but just in case my lasagna happens to be really "special" :) i thought i would share my recipe.  and actually my recipe is really no recipe at's just how i remember my mom making it.  so here's to a meal that turns into meals... (that sounded so rachael ray)

Leftover Lasagna (name derived from the fact that it's so good you'll eat the leftovers)
* cook lasagna noodles
* brown ground beef and add to spaghetti sauce (i just use sauce in a jar...surprise, surprise)
* LOTS OF cheese (cottage cheese, shredded mozzarella & parmesan)
* Now just layer- noodles, sauce, cheese and REPEAT
* Bake at 350 until it looks done :)

Delizioso ('deh-lee-tsee-OH-soh')

Friday, May 20, 2011 you smell?

...while at the grocery store the cutest OLD man, had to be in his 80's, taps me on the shoulder & says, "miss, i just have to tell you, the perfume you're reminds me of my wife that i lost years ago." his eyes were full of tears, which in turn meant mine were & instead of being offended that i had just been told that i smelled like an old lady...i smiled back & said, "i'm sure she was a special lady".

have you ever known someone that has a scent? i'm not talking about body odor...i'm talking about a signature scent.  it's the way they always smell. my Grammy smells like Grammy, which is actually Estee Lauder, Youth Dew, the coffee colored perfume that comes in a curvy glass bottle with a tiny gold ribbon.  her scent lingers.  when she holds a baby and then hands them back to you, it's inevitable that the baby has gone from Johnson & Johnson to Estee Lauder.  my old roommate Lauretta was Lancome Tresor...that was her signature scent 10 years ago and i'm almost certain it's still that today.  i smell her every time i walk past the Lancome counter at the local department store. i vividly remember the scent of a woman that i used to do some work for. i'm not sure what it was, but her scent was a perfume that "smelled like money". she smelled rich and she was.  and then of course there were the days when i was 13 and deeply inhaled the aroma of the men's cologne sample in Seventeen magazine...only dreaming of having a boyfriend or even better a husband someday that would...breath in deep...smell of Preferred Stock.  don't laugh you know you did it too.

a few years ago i decided i wanted a signature scent. i wanted to pick a perfume that i loved, that i could stick with, a smell that would be me, my signature left on the world as i waltzed by.  a smell that my future children would always know as their mom, that trace of scent that was left on my pillow reminding my husband i was his.  i like when you can smell someone. although too much of anything can be bad. we've all been in the elevator with the person that marinates in their signature scent and of course for some any fragrance can detonate a headache, trigger an itchy throat or initiate nausea.  so as far as your signature scent goes don't overdo it...or don't do it at all.

whether or not you have a favorite perfume is irrelevant. but did you know that your life has an aroma? 

2 Corinthians 2:15 says, "For we are to God the aroma of Christ among those who are being saved and those who are perishing. to the one we are the smell of death; to the other the fragrance of life."

our lives should give off the aroma of love, kindness, acceptance, and generosity.  we should "smell" different to the world, not because of the fragrance that lingers on our skin, but because we have bathed in the glory of the Holy Spirit. we are encouraged, we are loved and we have a heavenly perspective...all "smells" that lift the spirits of those around us. but just as a fragrance can fade without reapplying daily, so can the aroma of our hearts fade.  it first becomes faint...then can all but disappears- so DAILY soaking is required.  that's why we must pray. that's why we must pour the truth of God's word into our hearts so the signature scent of his love lingers and literally rubs off on those around us.  you don't need to overdo it. there's no need to be obnoxious, our lives should challenge and change the world, not chase it away--or cause a headache :) most importantly we must worship Him because that is our fragrant offering back to Him for the anointing He offers to pour over our lives. (i've attached  a playlist of some of my fave worship tunes)

1 john 2:20 say, " i have been anointed by the Holy one, and i know the truth."

the word anoint means " a rubbing" we must  be close to the Father, so His love and truth can envelope you just like the Estee Lauder Youth Dew swaddles the baby that was held in Grammy's arms. So what's your signature scent? do you smell...i sure hope so :)

Grammy's legendary Youth Dew...i can't remember a Christmas where she didn't receive a bottle :)

I know everyone wants to know what scent smelled like the old man's wife...its was none other than the infamous CoCo Chanel Mademoiselle.

my other favorite :)

Listen to this playlist: careybender's Playlist

Get a playlist! Standalone player Get Ringtones

Thursday, May 19, 2011

...a fascinating woman?

...a few months ago i read a book called Fascinating Womanhood, written in 1963, with some of its excerpts taken from booklets written as long ago as 1920.  the back cover of the book boast, "Fascinating Womanhood offers guidance for a new generation of women-happy, fulfilled, adored, and cherished- who want to rediscover the magic of their own feminine selves." ok, so besides the fact that i don't prefer the word "magic"--but i know what they are getting at...and all of that sounds very cheery...let's face it a lot has changed since 1963 and the days of June Cleaver (although those house dresses she wore are really coming back, i found one at a vintage store...maybe i'll go put that on and vacuum the house in it).  needless to say, i really did gain some helpful insight from this "historic" book that has continued to stay in print because at he core of it all a woman is a woman...with similar desires and challenges, but i began to ask myself amidst all that still applies, what does a lady today in 2011 need to know about leading a fascinating life, about being fulfilled, cherished, adored and feminine.

so as you can imagine...i don't have all the answers, but i have been thinking, praying, reading, and exploring what a fascinating woman may really look like, what her actions might be...what is a fascinating woman?

is she the real life bombshell that looks like she stepped off the cover of Vogue, the super achiever that is making her own way to the "top", or the self sacrificing martyr...i mean mother, that abandons her own happiness?  i may be taking a bold step here with that last statement, being that i'm not a mother yet...i know it requires sacrifice, much sacrifice...but sacrifices made in joy are way different than sacrifices made in self pity. i've seen both.

while fascinating sounds like a lofty adjective to embody i believe any woman can be fascinating. because being fascinating doesn't mean being perfect...she's a woman that is progressing. she doesn't fall into the trap of looking at the world, at life, through logic but rather looks at it through faith. she chooses faith not fear. she looks at possibilities rather than the past. she has character and high standards. she is giving and submissive, but never allows anyone to trample or abuse her. she loves people, including her husband, children and friends for the people they are, overlooking their frailties but always encouraging the better in them. she is proud to be a woman, embraces her femininity inside and out which truly has a charm that never goes out of style. most importantly in order to be fascinating for the long haul...this woman knows Jesus.  He is her Alpha and Omega...her Abba and her Shepherd...the source of all things fascinating :)

i definitely don't claim to be one...a fascinating woman that is...i am just in the pursuit of becoming one.  who wouldn't want to be...fascinating that is? well maybe the jaded woman- the woman that has chosen fear, chosen selfishness...but it's never to late to get your heart right, to believe again, to see this as a new day.   i read a quote the other day, it was from an ESPN ad that ran a few years ago, it read, "Impossible is just a big word thrown around by small people who find it easier to live in the world they've been given than to explore the power they have to change it.  impossible is not a fact. it's an opinion. impossible is not a declaration. it's a dare.

a fascinating woman doesn't believe in impossible...because nothing is impossible WITH God.  She understands impossible will be the opinion of some, the declaration of others...but it can't be found in her dictionary. it's just the little game of truth or dare that those "small" people would like to play with her, but she knows the truth and she sees their disbelief as the dare that drives her boldly and courageously forward.

i think we all would say we know one...a fascinating woman...or at least someone that's on their journey of becoming one...guess the only question is will you start your journey or if you are already on's it going for you?  it may require feeling embarrassed, scared or even uncomfortable at times...but celebrate because that means you are embarking on the risky, yet ever so rewarding journey of being one of the Lord's fascinating woman...aka world changers and just like the ad above boasts..."it's one wonderful swirl you will live in" :)

..."i am bought with a price; therefore i glorify God in my body, and in my spirit, which are God's." 1 Corinthians 6:20

Wednesday, May 18, 2011

...heaven's watering the flowers for me

it's been raining, and raining, and raining some more over the last few days.  every once in awhile there will be a small break in the clouds and the sun will attempt to make an appearance, proving that the sun is always matter how many clouds have rolled in.  but while the rain is here i'm going to sing in it.
i'm going to sing in the rain and see the Lord's provisions in it. 

where much of my rainy day was my desk.
a few weeks ago i planted literally a truck load of flowers. reagan reminded me that if was going to take the time and spend the money to create Longwood Gardens in my backyard, that i was going to need to faithfully water them...and that i did last week, i watered away everyday...and even employed child labor when i put 2 pitchers in the hands of my nieces and let them have some "fun" watering the flowers. but this week the rain set in and heaven has been watering my flowers for me.  so while the rain has kept us inside, has caused the bottom of my jeans to get sopping wet (one of my pet peeves), and limited the sunshine that my body is craving...when you are looking for the "bright" side you'll find it. and so here's to the bright side of this rainy day...the sheets got washed (love fresh sheets), lasagna got made, cards got written, podcast got listened to, customers were called, blog got created., and as i glance out my office window i'm realizing heaven washed my car too...sorry cloister...thank you jesus. what a lovely, rainy day :)

Ezekiel 34:26-27 And I will make them and the places round about my hill a blessing; and I will cause the shower to come down in his season; there shall be showers of blessing. And the tree of the field shall yield her fruit, and the earth shall yield her increase, and they shall be safe in their land, and shall know that I am the LORD, when I have broken the bands of their yoke, and delivered them out of the hand of those that served themselves of them.