Saturday, December 3, 2011

Savor the Moments

Today, I walked into the hospital to see my grandma and teared up, not because I was sad about my grandma, but because I was caught in an unexpected memory. A year ago I was two months from giving birth. Kevin and I were signed up for birthing classes. We arrived at night with Christmas lights up, a beautiful wreath, and carolers singing out front. That same wreath looked me in the face tonight and I remembered it all, awaiting my sweet boy! Life is so precious and passes so quickly even when you make special attention to savor every moment! I live in horror of Caleb's 18th birthday and feeling like it was just yesterday. It's amazing what one wreath can do.

Wednesday, November 16, 2011

What does Revelation 3:16 really mean?

Recently, I had an interesting lesson from my dad, our church pastor and Bible scholar, about a passage in scripture that many have heard and many could recite the lesson that has been preached about this passage from pulpits across the nation. The funny thing was the lesson I've been taught, after chatting with my dad, seems to miss the mark. You see its the letter to the church at Laodicea in Revelation 3. The hallmark verse is verse sixteen which says, "So, because you are lukewarm - neighter hot nor cold - I am about to spit you out of my mouth."

The lesson on this often heard is that God would prefer you be on fire for him or not be into him at all instead of being "lukewarm." That God is more pleased with you not picking him than strattling the fence in the middle, but a map of the area of Laodicea and knowledge of the area's natural resources presents a very different message.

You see the city just above Laodicea, Hierapolis, is known for its hot springs and the area just below Laodicea, Colosse, is known for its cold water. The hot water was relaxing and the cold water was refreshing, but by the time they made it to Laodicea they were lukewarm, offering neither relaxation or refreshment. In fact, the travel down from Hierapolis amongst an array of earthen minerals left the water with a unsavory smell and taste. This geographical knowledge would lend me to draw the conclusion that God is instead saying its better to be useful to the Kingdom and serve a purpose than to be useless, lukewarm and stinky.

We all know that context guides toward meaning and in this case we see that truth emerge amongst the theories. Its important to seek out the contextual and background information in order to fully get the point. If you ask me, the geographical explanation sounds more like the God I know, than the one preached from pastoral perches everywhere.

Saturday, November 12, 2011

Dinner at the Guy Home

So I am pretty excited about this, but over the last 6 weeks I have been planning meals to help with grocery shopping and money saving and have not duplicated a meal in the entire time!!! I have had so much fun with favorite recipes, and new recipe finds. It seemed to come at a good time as I reviewed all of my recipes as part of a gift I made for my sister, Catie, on her birthday this year. I created a book that included my favorite recipes and so it got those tastebud memories going. I also started some homemade experimenting. Now, don't think I'm having some Julie/Julia moment or anything, but its a sense of accomplishment to have things in Ball jars in your fridge that you made from scratch. I now make homemade tomato sauce, salsa (not new), pesto, applesauce, & babyfood. I thought I would share some pics of some of my favorites with you. Check them out.

This one is Baked Tortellini with homemade tomato sauce, the recipe is from Giada De Laurentiis and can be found on the Food Network website.

This was a recipe I got from my grandma. Its panko breaded chicken tenders. I cut up boneless, skinless chicken breasts then remember FEB (February) Flour, Egg, Bread crumbs (in this case Panko) before frying in oil. Yum with some honey mustard.

This recipe was a new one but one I loved. Its from the show, Five Ingredient Fix. Made the Grown-Up Farmhouse Grilled Cheese with Wedge Salad with homemade ranch, and homemade sweet potato fries.

This shows my homemade pesto, yum, yum!

I forgot to "click" the bowl before eating it all. So I've only got a picture of the recipe which I got from Bonappetit Magazine. This is my new favorite! I love it and can't get enough.

I Just Love Him

I remember this time last year. I was fat. Yes, I said it, fat. Well maybe that's not the best description but I was pregnant and closing in on my due date. The last 2 months of my pregnancy just flew by with the hectic holiday schedule. I waddled to the beat of a slow drum trying to keep up with the pace. I was preparing for baby, a baby I had prayed for - let's be honest, I'd begged God for this baby. I was gun shy after a previous miscarriage and was anxious to know this human inside crushing my ribs.

Now, I am approaching the holidays with a baby that will be 10 months by Thanksgiving and it just seems so surrial. Time has just flown by and, with anticipation of this reality, I've tried to savor every moment and it still just flies by. I'm amazed as my 8 lb 10 oz boy tries to walk by palming walls and doors, moving his 27 lb chubby body around the house. He's no longer in tiny baby clothes but is now venturing into toddler zone with his 2T pants on account of his massive, chunky thighs.

I rock him at night and stare at his precious face and I am overwhelmed by this gift that God chose to give me! He is the most beautiful thing I have ever beheld and the wonder of it never wears off. I love so many people so much and yet not with the awe in which I carry for my little boy. So blessed and so happy to have this baby boy in my life. Thank you God!

Friends Don't Shake Hands, Friends Gotta Hug

I don't know what it is about certain people, but there people that for no particular reason just seem to make it into a special place in my heart. There is this man at my church that I want to squeeze and hug and never let go every time I see him. He just makes my heart smile. Its not a romantic, "I've got a crush" sort of thing, instead its a "this is my favorite teddy bear that I never wanna let go" sort of thing. He is a man with an extraordinary past and a huge heart and yet he just lives this normal life as if he's just average. I just look at him and see this amazing heart full of love for people and God and it just puts me into hug mode. I rarely meet people like him but when I do it just makes me glad be alive. Is this just something I experience, or does anyone else know what I am talking about?

Monday, September 26, 2011


When life gets me down, I just remember this day - having a baby can teach you so much about life. The best things in life hurt like hell but are worth it when its all said and done!

It goes by fast so take in each moment and let the to do list go from time to time, its gonna end up in the trash when the list is done anyway and a good memory lasts a lifetime.

Today is my lil guy's 8 month birthday...only 4 more months til he's a year. It feels like yesterday that I brought him home. Life is precious!

Monday, September 19, 2011

Remake Inspired by Dresscue Me

This past year I discovered the show, "Dresscue Me" on Green Planet. The show follows Shareen Mitchell as she reworks Vintage dresses for her clients both famous and every day folk from her LA and NY store. A few birthdays ago I got a sewing machine that never got used as I got pregnant soon after and was busy with my new life role.

Fast forward to this past spring. I was looking into the future at my cousin's summer wedding. I wanted a new dress, but didn't have the funds. I went down to Rescued Treasures, a local thrift store, and started looking for some real finds. I brought home several things to include a dress that cost me $5. It was a long sleeve, high neck dress with three flapper inspired, pleated skirts. I made a mistake and forgot to take a before picture. But I worked with my friend, Sabrina, and when we were done, I had spent $3 more to a total of $8 for a new dress. We took off the top and made it a strapless dress, then cut off the last skirt so we were left with 2 skirts. See the result in the pictures below. Not only had I saved money, but I felt proud of my accomplishment. I have a few other dresses that I have plans for, so keep an eye out for those in the future. From now on I will take some before pictures.

Note: I am the one on the left in both pictures.

Thursday, August 11, 2011

Adventures in Mothering - Dropping the Ball, or in my Case, the Baby

I had a heart wrenching moment just a week ago. Its taken me this long to write it down because I've been in shock. A week ago I was walking in the house with baby in car seat. I had undone the belt and was walking across the kitchen, when a little rock happened with the car seat just as Caleb jerked, and you guessed it, Caleb came tumbling out - Ahhh!!! My heart fell out of my chest and grabbed for my now crying child. I pulled him to me and ran to the chair to nurse him and hopefully bring comfort. I called the doctor to be sure he was okay, and of course he was. He did have a mark on his cheek for a few days, but the mark in my heart was much worse. I know with kids, especially boys, wounds will be inevitable, but the first time for me was traumatic. A song comes to mind - "The first cut is the deepest, baby I know..." - Cat Stevens and Sheryl Crow would be so proud.

We will be okay and hopefully it will be a long time before he incurs any other injuries, like 18 years, and hopefully it won't be because of me. A mom can dream!

Get Over It

Have you ever noticed how we tend to focus on the negative? I was once told when we fall down on walking down the sidewalk we don't lay there and cry that we were so stupid to fall, but we get up and keep walking, yet in life too many times we find ourselves stopped crying over a fall. I too am guilty of this, but I see too many people focused on the fall instead of the road ahead.

People make mistakes and as I look at the lessons I want to teach my son, this is an important one. If I spend time hiding mistakes or focusing on my failures I am teaching him that there is fault in falling, but really the fault is in not picking yourself and continuing on. We need to take responsibility for our wrong actions, when applicable, but we need to learn from it and move on. Dwelling does no one any good. I want Caleb to know that mistakes and failures are just a part of life. Finishing something means something when you've learned from mistakes along the way.

Saturday, July 23, 2011

Encouragement for the Journey

It can be hard to see straight sometimes when we look directly into our lives. The wreckage to our dreams that comes with the territory of being a human being on planet earth can many times be too much.

Lately, I have seen friends stand amongst the ruins of their lives in bewilderment and as I too face challenges, I think we all need a little encouragement. Take it from me, you are amazing. Don't let the stuff around you tell you any differently.

Look around you and see the faces that come and go past you on a Sunday through Saturday. Let them know they are special. Give out hugs (guess what they are free). The thing is you may need some encouragement but most likely someone else needs it too and the great thing about smiling and hugging is that two people can benefit. :)

Don't give up! I'm here with you in the thick of it myself and while I can't see down the road too far in the distance, I can tell you we will make it! This dream may have crashed and burned but there is another one down the pike. We can do this! Find your wings and fly from the mess you stand in, into the light. Circumstances don't always change, but I am tired of being a victim of all thats around me. So I'm ready to walk out with my joy and spirit still intact. Anyone want to join me?

Let's Go!!!

Tuesday, July 12, 2011

Mountains in the Road

Its no secret life is hard, and if you don't know that you are either delusional or incredibly lucky. The thing is no matter what each day brings, and how hard it can get, I see how God has a plan. He shows me that he hears me and takes care of the things that are really important to me.

As a girl, I dreamed of growing up and having an easy life. I dreamed of everything going exactly perfectly with few hiccups, if any at all. Unfortunately, that just isn't reality. Just as I get past one mountain, I only walk a short way before I come up to another seemingly insurmountable hurtle in the road. The truth is they will keep coming on this side of heaven. Its not trusting God to keep them from coming, but trusting him to take care of me in the midst of them. I can rest in him to carry me through. I don't know what tomorrow brings, but God does and he will direct my path.

The fact is, he already has. As I approach another difficulty, I see God's hand. I see situations in my recent past that let me know he was preparing me and giving me his best at just the right time. That gives me hope and encourages me through the journey. God cares about my deepest desires and he is at work in each part of my life. That's pretty cool if you ask me.

Wednesday, July 6, 2011

Falling in Love

Nothing monumental happened today, and yet it happened. I fell even more in love with my little boy. I am just mesmerized by his actual being. It's official he has me wrapped around his little finger (and usually shoving it in his mouth).

Saturday, July 2, 2011

Adventures in Mothering - Poopy No Diaper

Today, I found myself again in a precarious situation. My sister and I went to Target to get a few things that I needed. We were concluding our trip and Caleb got increasingly fussy, I bent down to pick him up out of the carseat and noticed a smell. As I grabbed him I saw wet spots revealing a poop explosion. I grabbed him and the diaper bag and made my way to the restroom. I left my wallet and items with Alexandra and stated a meeting place.

I got to the bathroom took off the dirty diaper, reached for the wipes and diaper to notice, I was diaperless. I had back up in the car, but those would do me no good now with a bear bottom baby. Luckily, one of the things on my list was diapers, but I had didn't have my cell phone. There was another mother in the bathroom waiting to use the changing table so I asked her to borrow her phone.

My sister answered and she brought the unpurchased bag of diapers to my aid. My next issue soon revealed itself - Caleb has grown so fast that the extra clothes in my bag no longer fit (note: they fit just a week before). So here I am with an open bag of diapers and a naked baby. Not one of my finest moments. But we survived.

Adventures in Mothering - Pumping in the Dark

Getting off of maternity leave came at interesting time with my job as a youth pastor. It was just before Spring Break and we had two trips planned. The first trip was to The Revolve Tour, a teen girl conference, and the second a week in the Tenderloin District of San Francisco on a mission trip with YWAM and Project Sixty-One. It was a first step out into life with a newborn baby, a task that looked all to daunting.

Here's a spoiler, but thanks to a great group of teens and a husband that took off work to help make it happen, both trips were a success. However, I didn't go through it without a few stories to tell. Here is the first (I know of many) adventures in mothering.

The Revolve Tour took place in an arena and was a Friday evening and all-day Saturday event. Kevin, my husband, took Caleb during the conference to visit family in the area. I had called ahead of time to be sure I could take in my pump, as I am a breast-feeding mother. I was assured I would have no problem. I was informed that there would be a place for myself and other mothers to pump.

I arrived Friday evening and went to the information desk and asked where I was supposed to pump. The woman looked at me as if I had asked a question in another language and then she got on her intercom and asked the same question. Guess what, there was no place for me to go. They directed me to a meeting room on the opposite side of the arena from where my seats were located. In that meeting area, there was a bathroom. I was told I could use that room.

That night I had not brought my nursing apron so I walked in the bathroom and went to the back stall. I began to pump. A few short minutes into the pumping process, I discovered the bathroom was equipped with motion sensor lights. I was in the dark, literally. However, there were no sensors in the stalls, but by the sinks. So I had to run out exposed, getting wet with milk, flailing my arms, praying no one would walk in so I could be in the light. I knew at that moment this would be an interesting weekend.

Needless to say, I brought my apron the next day and found a place by the sinks so the light would stay on in future pumping sessions.

Wednesday, June 29, 2011

The Mocker Becomes the Mocked

I used to silently mock those moms who seemed to be all about their kids. I thought to myself, "Don't you have a life or any interests outside of your kids?" Then I had my lil man 5 months ago.

If you were to read my facebook status or see the pictures I post, you would notice they are all about him. Sure I still go to work (almost) everyday, and I still talk to my friends, but my life is now all about him. I love what each new second brings. I love seeing what he's doing different today than what he did yesterday.

I don't seem to notice that I haven't shaved my legs in a week or that I have spit up on my shirt. Yes, I do need a break now and then and thank my sweet husband and fabulous friends and family for coming to the rescue when I need them, but the things that used to matter just don't anymore or at least not to the level they once did.

So label me the obsessed mommy because that is what I am.

Thursday, May 26, 2011

Oprah's last day

Even though I was never an avid Oprah watcher, it was sad for me to see something that has been around most of my life, come to its completion. Its just something that's been there - and as other areas in life, change is always hard. The reason I bring all of this up is not to discuss change, but to discuss deception. Why you may ask? Well yesterday Oprah brought up God and as she discussed God she hit some points of truth but also spoke of a God who isn't my God. It sounded quite universalist and it got me thinking. I talked with God about it at length in the shower (or at least the as at length as you can get in a shower when you have a baby) and in that discussion admitted that these times scare me. I can come against outright deception pretty easily but a chunk of truth with a dash of deception is much harder to speak up against because it sounds good. There have been a lot out there lately that seems to be redefining the Christian faith and I wonder, are people even noticing? The truth is we do not all serve the same God and to lump them all together is lunacy. The Islamic God is our Satan so how can I worship Christ my Savior and Satan in the same sentence - its not possible. All roads don't lead to the same place. Oprah said yesterday (I'm paraphrasing) that God is light and all of us need to find that light in us. But if we aren't serving Jesus Christ we don't have the light in us - how are you gonna find it before finding him. We need to be wise as serpents and innocent as doves as we face our cultural future where revered leaders and cultural icons are speaking close truths (otherwise known as lies). We need to be careful not to jump on band wagons of spiritual misconceptions. Are you taking everything to the light of scripture before deciding if its truth? Just because it sounds good, doesn't mean its true.

Wednesday, May 4, 2011

Dear Young Girl,

Below is a letter from Carrie today to Carrie of the past:

I want you to know you are beautiful inside and out! You are valuable just because you exist. Our world may devalue you, but please don't join in. God created you with purpose. He has plans for you that go beyond anything you could imagine. Don't allow fear keep you from thinking big and going for God's limitless life of fulfillment. Don't allow people to treat you with disrespect. Don't assume because people treat you badly that you deserve such treatment. Dare to dream and push yourself toward goals even in the face of failure. Failure isn't a bad thing, its a sign that you are going for it all. Set boundaries and dare to say no to things that aren't good for you. Face fears and enjoy life to the fullest. Spend time with your friends and live life to the fullest. Don't let disappointments and heartaches take you down and or say anything about your value. Rejection is a fact of life and happens to everyone. Don't take everything to heart or personal. You will get past this time and much more. So hang on and enjoy the ride.

Thursday, April 7, 2011


Today I was reminded of a song that was one of just a few anthems for me and my roommates junior and senior year in college. The song jettisoned me back to a time I truly loved. My senior year of college was one of the sweetest years in my life. I threw a childlike fit after graduation that it had to end. The memories we shared in that year were some of the silliest things I have done and loved every minute of it. There are memories from every time period in my life or place I've lived that when put together create a beautiful mosaic that makes me who I am - its the moments of great joy that keep me going in hard times. I've been through a lot of difficulty in life and yet I have some of the sweetest memories a person could ask for. We can't live in the past but its great to remember and I am glad we as humans have that ability. What do you need to remember today?

Tuesday, April 5, 2011

Not A Baby Person - Still In Love

Im not much of a baby person. I know that sounds funny coming from a woman who just had a baby, but having worked with teens for over ten years has made me more comfortable around older kids. I was scared to death about having my son. Its been a challenge but we've done well. People told me I'd miss the newborn stage and I didn't believe them because I felt I couldn't wait until the time we could communicate. The first month with a new baby may very well be one of the toughest things I've faced. The humor in it all is that I look at my 21/2 month old and while I love watching him grow, I do miss his brandnewness (I'm well aware that is not a word) not because I'm suddenly a baby person, but because he's my little guy and he's precious to me. I am so excited to watch him grow, but each day brings such change and I can not get it back. The truth is that the state of anything in life; it just is more apparent with babies. So far being a parent to a new life has helped me see what I can do. It has clarified my perspective to see what is most important it has given me a new love that I'm obsessed with. Yippee!

Saturday, April 2, 2011

Curiosity Can Do More than Kill the Cat...

While the phrase “curiosity killed the cat” has its merits, I am afraid that curiosity has gotten a bad rap. Sure, we all yell at the girl in the horror movie not to go after the noise she hears, to run away from danger, and yes curiosity paired with stupidity will surely get anyone into trouble, but curiosity is a good thing. Wise curiosity allows us to know God, the world around us, and ourselves. I love the curiosity in children to get into things, take things apart and to delve into life with a sense of discovery. It’s a beautiful thing to behold and to experience and somewhere in those teen years we become more concerned with how we appear to others and we lose our curiosity at the expense of our reputation. We stifle our inquisitiveness to avoid wandering into a place that might be socially unacceptable. We stumble into curiosities, we never had ourselves, to appear cool to those around us. All that really does is waste precious time. Those years are precious. Curiosity will lead us to purpose and direction. Direction that will get us farther the earlier we find it. Like Austin Gutwein who was curious about those orphaned by HIV/AIDS in Zambia – wondering what it would be like without parents. His questions led him to compassion and to starting up a fundraiser that would change lives – all this at the age of 9. Hoops of Hope, his organization has raised $1 million and counting to build hospitals, schools and provide shelters for the children and people of Zambia. He put his curiosity to good use and allowed himself to seek to answer the question, “What is possible?” The answer was beyond his wildest dreams. The teen years are often seen as the selfish years, but it doesn’t have to be that way. Austin, now 13, is only one example of this principle. There are other examples of teens who have stepped outside of themselves to see what is possible. The great thing is – you could be next? What are you curious about? What could you do to change the world? How are you limiting the possibilities of what you could accomplish? What fears stand in your way? Maybe its time to let the cat out of the bag and seek after what we find curious in God’s word and in his world? What is stifling your curiosity? Ecclesiastes 12:1 says, ”Remember your Creator in the days of your youth, before the days of trouble come and the years approach when you will say, ‘I find no pleasure in them’.” We only get one chance at life and while the going with the flow has its benefits in keeping us from negative emotions, it can also steal an abundant life from our existence. Get out there and live life to its fullest!

The End of Silence

So its been awhile since my last post. In the interim I've had a big life happening. I got pregnant, had a baby and have been adjusting to new life with a baby the past 2 months. I stopped writing after discovering I was pregnant. Last time I got pregnant, I was so excited I shouted the news from the rooftops and then faced a lot of reoccurring pain once I miscarried and had to deliver the news repeatedly. This time I chose to wait until my first appointment to share the news so I laid low but by the time I was ready to share the news I had lost some of my excitement of the moment you first discover the good news. I was honestly nervous the entire pregnancy. While I trusted God I also was worried of repeat. The contrast of both kept me silenced. But I am back and ready to start talking again. I hope to share more of my thoughts with the world. I'd love to have you join me in talking. God bless. - Carrie