Friday, May 31, 2013


Yesterday, my friend Sammy had her baby!!  Her name is Charlotte Renee, and she's gorgeous.

Little clothes, little feet...future attender of Girlfriend Getaway?

We were very excited to meet baby Charlotte - especially Levi.  Upon news of her birth, he sang her happy birthday.  Before her birth, he lovingly referred to her as "Baby Dump Truck," or "Charlie Dump Truck," which is ironic because Charlie wasn't all that far off from her (at the time) undecided name!  When I told Levi today that Baby Dump Truck is actually named Charlotte, he said,

"Charlotte...that's just like Shark!"

And so for the rest of the day he's been calling her "Shark" and "Scarlett."

Today we visited 24 hour old Charlotte, and Levi was a perfect gentleman, "Mommy, can I hold the baby?"

Then, situated in a sturdy chair with a boppy pillow and my hands very close by, Levi gave her some special snuggles.

"Hi baby.  You're so cute."  Belly rubs and kisses on the cheek and in the eye.

I'm so excited for these two to be friends!

Tonight, Herb was on bedtime duty, and after prayers, Levi said,

"Daddy, why is baby Charlotte in the hopsital?" (Yes, hop- sit -al.)
"Because she was just born," said Herb.
"I want to be born," Levi replied.
"You already were born, Levi."
"Daddy, I....I...I want to be born again."

I know it's not exactly what he meant, but Herb and I had a good chuckle over Levi asking to be "born again." So we're going to start taking chances like this to tell him what it really means to be born again, and hope that one day God will grab his heart and Levi will run after him with reckless abandon. Or, at least that's what I'm praying for.

And, baby Charlotte, too.  Fittingly enough, Renee means "reborn."  How perfect is that?

Thursday, May 16, 2013

Twenty Minutes

"That was the most frustrating experience of my life!"  I complained to Lauren on Friday.

I was driving from Harrisonburg, VA to Manheim, PA, and had to stop in Hagerstown, MD for gas. I was chatting on the phone with Lauren, and as I pulled off the exit, I saw the sign for Sheetz, and said, "Hey, I'm pulling up now, I'll call you right back."

And then I couldn't find Sheetz.  The traffic was awful and all the gas stations were on the wrong side of the four lane road.  I pulled into the Giant parking lot, but then there were lines 2 cars deep at each gas pump.  Down the road and across the street I finally found an open gas station, got my gas, made my way back to the highway, and called Lauren back.  But I was annoyed!

So imagine my disgust when, an hour later, I found myself gridlocked on Rt 81 - a major highway!  All I wanted was to get home!  I should have known better than to travel through the state capital during Friday rush hour.

As I sat in my car, fuming over the gas station and traffic situations, scanning the radio to figure out why in the world traffic was not moving, I saw something rise above the cars in front of me, higher over the bridge, and in to the sky.

The life line helicopter.

It was an accident, it was a bad one, it was only a few hundred feet in front of me, and someone died.

With an overwhelming wash of emotions and sense gratitude, I couldn't stop thinking about what would have happened if I had a perfectly normal gas-getting experience earlier.  What if I had arrived to the intersection of 81 and 114 just 15 or 20 minutes sooner?

Some call it the butterfly effect, I call it divine intervention.

Thank you, God, for protection.  Please ruin my plans as often as you need to.

Wednesday, May 15, 2013

They Prayed Him Home

I wrote yesterday about my time with my Aunt Pam and Uncle Dwight.  Well, before I left for home, I stopped by Pam's work.  I like seeing where people work.  It helps me picture their day to day lives and then when we catch up at Thanksgiving or Reunions, I feel like I understand things better.

Pam met me in the lobby of the credit union and then took me upstairs to her office.

(Sidenote - an upstairs office at a bank?  You better believe she's important, but so humble!!)

After the quick office tour, she said, "I want to introduce you to two other ladies.  They prayed Levi home to you!"

What?!  No big surprise here - but tears quickly stung my eyes.

These ladies meet every Friday morning to pray for each other, and, unbeknownst to me, for several months lifted Herb and I up in prayer.  They prayed us through waiting, and broken hearts, and cried happy tears when Pam shared the news of our spontaneous parenthood.

It was awesome to meet to women of God who had prayed for me without ever meeting me, and I hope it touched them to get to see Levi in person, too!

I remember thanking people for all the prayers during the dark times, knowing that we were being covered by people who I didn't know.  But to put even two faces with those prayers was such an incredible feeling.  I love the Church.

Tuesday, May 14, 2013

Der Herr Hat Groszes An Uns Getan.... (the Lord has done great things...)

Last week I visited some family in Virginia.  My uncle Dwight, his wife Pam, and their two daughters, Dara and Rachelle, live about 4 hours south of here.  I have only been to their house one other time in my adult life, and every time I visit I wonder why I don't go more often!   Herb and Dwight have the same affinity for all things music (especially the words electric and guitar) and are both worship leaders, and pretty much soul mates.

I always associated Dwight and Pam with being my parents' age because Dwight is my mom's younger brother.  But now that we are both in the child rearing stage of life, the 15-20 year age difference feels totally different.  The girls, my cousins, are both under 10, and awesome helpers/babysitters for Levi.  But I love how parenting kind of levels many a playing field!

Dara, their oldest daughter is my twin.  Blond hair, light eyes, and an affinity for grabbing attention.  I love this kid.  Growing up, all of my cousins (and my own sister) had dark eyes and hair and complexions - Dara was the first one who looked like me!  And I gotta say, my niece Joelle isn't too far off, either.  Blonds really do have more fun.

Rachelle has adorable petite features and that just scream, "Love me!" and, despite her light hair, she reminds me so much of my sister Wendi.  Facial features and personality.  When I look at Dara and Rachelle, I see Michelle and Wendi, just 18 years behind us.  It makes me love my sister even more.

So, anyway, this isn't at all where I was going with this post. But, since I'm here.... Dwight and Pam are amazing followers of Christ, and I think if they lived any closer, I would complete deplete their resources.  There would be many nights of me pouring out my heart on their couch, soaking in their wisdom and their humor and drinking their chai.  Because that's what happened last week, and it was great.

All that to say, the older I get, the more I realize what "untapped resources" my aunts and uncles are.  And there are a lot of them - my mom has 2 sisters, and a brother, my dad has 4 brothers and 5 sisters.  I feel like the more I get to know each of them, I get to know my parents in a new way.  And knowing my parents in a new way helps me know myself in a new way, too.  Is that weird?

I hope it's not too late to start building these relationships with my family.  Not that there's bad blood anywhere - I just want to get to know everyone better.  I think I'm starting to get it.

The verse in my title of this post is from Psalm 126:3 - "The Lord has done great things for us and we are filled with joy."  Written in German/PA Dutch, I painted it on a canvas for my mom for Mother's Day.  To me, it represents the rich heritage that the Lord has blessed me with.  I'm proud of the Mennonite/Amish/conservative family tree from which my branch stems, I just want to get more familiar with it!

So - Karen, Janice, Dwight, Aden, Fannie, Rosie, Ben, Barb, Elsie, Reuben, Marcia, and Jerry (and all your significant others) - I'm coming for you.  Get your the stories about your childhood and my parents and your parents and your kids ready.  I want to know it all.

Wednesday, May 8, 2013

It's Gonna Be May

First of all, this picture of J-Tim  cracks me up every time.

This post is my love letter to the month of May, in the form of terrible poetry. And that's saying a lot because it's only been a week.

Dear May,

I love you so incredibly, let me count the ways.

I love you for your perfect breeze 
while running under gorgeous trees 
which serve as the background 
for moments I want to freeze.  

I love you for the inviting light 
as the day turns into night 
begging us to dine outside- 
as if I'd actually put up a fight.

I love you for the way 
you make us stay all day 
for my house is so much cleaner 
when it's outside that we play.


I love you for all the things to do
Run here, go there, wear good shoes
Spending time with friends, and knowing
I have the best ones, takes away the blues

Run! Duck! Run Faster!

I almost died today.

Okay, that's an exaggeration, but I might have almost lost an ear or an eye or had a heart attack.  And that is TRUTH.

As it turns out, if you are jogging by a pretty pond at a retirement home, and a mother duck with her ducklings crosses your path - watch out!  Or slow down.  For, if you look mama and her ducks, while you're running, she WILL view you as a predator.  And she will chase you.

Now, you're probably thinking, "Big whoop, ducks slowly waddle."

To that I say - DID YOU KNOW THEY ALSO FLY?  They fly a lot faster than they waddle.  Scientifically speaking, this duck could fly precisely the same speed at which I jog, which means I had to run hard and fast with my head over my shoulder to see my impending doom.  Did I mention I was on a hill, going up?

I actually considered kicking the duck, that's how afraid I was.  But then I realize my leg couldn't kick that high - she was flying at my shoulder level.

And squawking.  Oh, the squawking.  This is the material of nightmares.

So, in the end Run Keeper tracked my fastest minute of running (UPHILL even) yet, I did not die, I learned a lesson about mama ducks, and I am going to see if she wants to come with me on all my morning jogs to keep me motivated.

But really, I almost died.

Thursday, May 2, 2013

Inspiration, Pinspiration, and Consulation

Remember my post a few weeks ago when I shared somewhat embarrassing photos of my master bedroom? I have a few things I love, but what I am completely lacking is a direction to go, decorating wise.  And this has ALWAYS been true for our master bedroom.

Then you have Lauren.  She just wrote an entire post about how one photo (from pinterest) is guiding her bedroom decor.  I'm totally jealous.  I wish I could find one photo I love and run with it.  But there's so many problems:

1. I like a ton of photos.
2. I am overwhelmed at the thought of spending money on decorating.
3. I am overwhelmed at the thought of spending money on decorating a room when I'm not even sure what I want.
4.  I don't really know what I want.
5. I'm a renter - so I feel boxed in by a small bedroom, ugly (unchangeable) carpet, and an atrocious ceiling fan.

And then Kim came to the rescue.

Who is Kim?  Why, she's Dustin's wife.... a few months ago at my 10 year class reunion (why I haven't I blogged about that?!), I was introduced to Kim by Dustin, who was one of my classmates.  Kim and I had an instant connection over parenting two year olds, but quickly realized our affinity for blogging, decorating, and all things pinterest.

Then I went home and looked Kim up on facebook and saw that she is LEGIT.  She has a degree in interior design and her own Design Consultation business!

So, you can imagine my excitement, when after posting pictures of our tiny master bedroom, Kim emailed me to offer her services.  In the words of Lauren, it's like God was giving me a great big fuzzy bear hug! And, as if icing on the cake, Kim's specialty is designing on a dime - we'll be freecycling, craigslisting, and using what I have.  I can't wait to see what she comes up with!

Photos via Kimberly Musser Designs

So, stay tuned.  Exciting things happening.  In the mean time, check out Kim's website.  I bet she'd like to create an inspiration for your rooms, too!!