It's been so long since I last shared a Carson-isms post, that I feel like I should explain, again, what they are...

Children, in my opinion, are the best comedians out there. Their humor is honest and innocent, untainted by the crude jokes and innuendos that so strongly influence our culture.

There are a few bloggers I follow who regularly post about the funny things their children say and do. Some of the stories literally have me crying from laughter, they are so hilarious. But even before blogs existed my mom was documenting these moments to pass on to me and my siblings ... Like the time my dad scolded me for being naughty by using my full name. Without hesitation, I retorted, "My name is not Sarah LeAnn Weaver, Daddy LeAnn Weaver." And when I found out that I was going to be a big sister, that there was a baby in my mom's belly, I was quick to let everyone know there were cookies in mine.

I am so thankful my mom made an effort to record those moments, and I want to do the same for my children.

Carson is adding new words to his vocabulary every day, and the things he comes up with are just the best. I know that there will be many moments I will want to remember.

So, this is a blog series about the darndest things kids say, and for now I'll call it Carson-isms.


Mom, mom! Carson tugged impatiently at my sweater, trying hard to get my attention. I looked down. In his right hand he held a purple jump rope, tangled in knots and with plastic handles. It's for the baby! I grinned, his love for this child growing inside me melts my heart. Sweetie, I don't think the baby will want that... As I spoke he pulled me down to his level and lifted up my sweater. Placing one of the plastic purple handles against my protruding stomach, he moved it around a bit and found what he was looking for. Swish, swish, swish. He made the sound of a beating heart, the sound he hears every time we meet with my midwife for a prenatal checkup. Hi baby! I wuve you. Throughout the rest of the week there were numerous times I was pulled into his room and asked to lay on his bed. Each time he lifted my sweater, pressed the purple jump-rope-handle-turned-Doppler against my stomach, moved it around a bit, found the beating heart, and proceeded to talk to his sibling, telling the baby about his cars or his day or simply pressing his face against my belly waiting for a small kick hello in return.

This morning, after Herm had already left work, Carson and I snuggled in my bed under the warm down comforter, chatting about our plans for the rest of the morning.We talked excitedly about what we would make for breakfast and about the scones with chocolate chips I was going to whisk up for a coffee date with the Breakfast Club. We talked about Lightening McQueen and finally about the baby. And it was in the midst of our conversation about the baby that we heard it, the loud, low grumble of the garbage truck making its way up our drive. In a sleepy-eyed hurried shuffle, Carson tried to crawl over me so he could run to the dining room window to watch the truck pick up the dumpster and dump the contents into its bin. But before he completed this feat, Carson stopped, patted my belly, and in the sweetest voice said, Baby, I'm going to see the garbage truck. I wuve you. Bye.

Last week one day I had a few appointments mid-morning. So after a hot breakfast, a few loads of laundry started and a quick workout, I headed for the shower. Usually I let Carson watch a short video while I get ready to go out, but this morning in particular he was playing nicely by himself and I wasn't going to ruin that moment. I should have known something was up, I should have known the house was far too quiet for anything good to be happening. But instead I was basking in the silence and thoroughly enjoying every bit of this uninterrupted alone time. When I got out of the shower I was greeted by an eager little artist with a bright blue crayon in his hand and a twinkle in his eye. Mom! I colored the house! He stood there expecting me to be so proud of him. He had given my once all neutral walls a bright blue stripe about two feet up from the floor. It started in the kitchen, covering the stove door, several cabinets, the fridge, and worked its way into the entry and hall closet doors, with a grand finale of bright blue exploding across the front door like fireworks against the dark sky on Independence Day. It pretty, mom? He asked. And to a question like that, how could I say no?


I Have a Dream

Image owned by Samantha Bender, Noonday Ambassador

You're one of them, aren't you? You're Amish. 

It was a hot, humid afternoon, not at all uncommon for the West Indies, and it was my day off. The morning had found me at the beach, basking in the glow of the eastern sun, on the pier with a few of my roommates. But caught in the midst of a quick passing tropical storm, we decided to pack up our bags and drive downtown to our favorite fabric warehouse. A warehouse with walls lined in bolts of fabric boasting radiant Caribbean hues, and bins crammed with already cut, majorly reduced knits and cottons. 

And it was there, as I was sorting through the knits, searching for a yard and a half of the perfect cloth for a new skirt, that she attacked me. 

Now before we get too far into this story, I want you to know that this wasn't at all unusual. Growing up Mennonite, but especially as a girl, means that you look different and dress different than the majority of folks around you. So being approached by a stranger who questions the thing on your head or why you are wearing a dress or whether you are Mormon isn't exactly a cause for alarm. Most people are genuinely curious and mean no disrespect. Her character, however, I cannot vouch for.

Before I even had a chance to respond, she continued. 

Oh, I know all about you! I've seen the shows on TV. It's a cult, that is what it is! How can you even live with yourself? Folks like you disgust me. Trying to live plain and simple lives. You're ignorant and stupid. How can you blindly follow a group like that? How can you dress that way? You're ugly, all of you!

Her eyes were steely and cold. Her verbal assault caused everyone around me to stare. Without a chance to defend myself she was gone, glancing back, and probably spitting on the ground I would walk on. I was the most horrible human, scum of the earth, and for what? Something I had done? No, it was simply because of the religion I was born into.  

As we sat around the table that night, a mixture of skin tones and backgrounds and genders, we laughed as I retold the days events, mimicking the inflection in her voice and scowl in her facial expression... How can you dress that way? You're ugly, all of you! Her words didn't cut deep, we all knew we weren't the ones ignorant -- after all, everyone knows reality TV isn't really real.

I easily moved on, but I never forgot.

Over that past few months, as stories keep popping up over the Internet, stories about the refugee crisis and the war in Syria, this scene has replayed in my mind on repeat. 

We group people by race and religion and region, and we judge so harshly, without knowing them or their heart.

There are no easy answers, I get that! But I've seen so many people, Christians in fact, sharing things on social media, meme's that say "Until there are no homeless people in America, we have no room for refugees." or commenting about Muslim's with the same disdain that Jamaican lady hissed in my face, saying how Syrian mother's blow up their children, as if that is the norm and not the rare exception, and so we should never allow them in our country. 

2015 showed us that racism is still so strong, even here, especially here, in the United States. But it has also shown prejudices in other forms, against religions and people groups who many of us know little about leaving us feeling intimidated and scared.

As I hear stories over and over again, stories of Ferguson, Baltimore, Syria, I can't help but remember what it feels like to be hated not for what I have done, but for who I am. 

As odd as it may sound, I am thankful for that lady. She gave me a taste of what it feels like to be discriminated against, small as it was, and she left me more aware than I was before I met her. Aware that how I treat others through word and deed reflects so much more on me as a person, then on them. 

Friends, before we judge harshly about people we know little about, let us remember this:

"Darkness cannot drive out darkness; only light can do that. Hate cannot drive out hate; only love can do that." -Martin Luther King



I think I've waded through the messiest parts of the blog move. There are still a lot of little details to fix, much like repairing drywall in an old house or painting over nail holes from a photo collage you no longer have in your entryway... I'll get there. And in the mean time this blog is livable again, and should be used. 

I recently upgraded my computer too, so no longer does the laptop screen need to be propped up just so, stationed against a wall, never moving. This means that I am now free to write from the comfort of a cozy chair or my dining room table or the Starbucks coming in down the street. (I'm not going to lie to you, having a Starbucks just a mile away in going to be like a dream! I am already planning on tucking the kids into bed at 7:30 every Thursday night so I can slip away for two hours of uninterrupted writing. Hallelujah!) 

All of this also means any excuses I am using as to why my blog isn't updated regularly will hold no weight. I am putting this out there to hold myself accountable to you all -- because if I ever hope to become a writer I need to write. Anne Lamott told me (okay, so I read it in Bird by Bird) that I should be writing daily and I've got a month of Sunday's I need to work on making up for.

Now on to what's currently happening in my life:

Reading: Hands Free Life, by Rachel Stafford

I picked up this book on a Saturday evening because I had nothing else to read at the time. By Sunday night I had read the last chapter, and as I set the book down I felt inspired and in need of change in my own life. Rachel is the author of Hands Free Mama, A Guide to Putting Down the Phone, Burning the To-Do List, and Letting Go of Perfection to Grasp What Really Matters! This book, Hands Free Life: Nine Habits for Overcoming Distraction, Living Better and Loving More, follows up with some practical steps on how to live a less distracted, more joy filled life.

This book encouraged me to be more mindful of living in the present moment; to put down my phone to look at my husband and children in the eye and hold meaningful conversations with them; to stop viewing every moment as an Instagram moment, and to instead soak in the colors and smells and sounds, and capture more of life's memories that way. I am all for technologies and social media, I think it can be a great encouragement and useful tool. But I also know from personal experience that it can be a time-filler, where I no longer allow myself to simply enjoy the stillness of life, or to get bored, because any lull is filled with newsfeeds and captions. Many of these are areas that I, and many others I'm sure, could grow and improve in. I truly enjoyed this book, and now intend to read the first book as well.

Note: this book was given to me by Booklookblogger.com in exchange for an honest review.

Loving: The wit and humor that shines through Carson's personality more and more with each passing day. This week one night Carson bumped his head while playing in the basement with Mia, our dog. He came upstairs crying and asking to go to bed. It was earlier than he typically goes down for the night, but after brushing his teeth and getting his Lightening McQueen pajamas on, he was ready. That is until he heard the clank of a spoon against a bowl. Herm was out in the living room enjoying a late night snack of granola. Going to bed was quickly forgotten as he raced out to join Herm, eager to slurp the last of the milk that might be remaining. I sat down on the couch next to them. Carson's eager hands were too quick, and with a sudden jerk the milk splashed over the edge of the bowl and landed on my protruding stomach. Carson patted my belly as he said "Dat's for da baby!" and went on, as though nothing out of the ordinary had happened.

Dreaming: About sleep. Am I allowed to dream about something as shallow as that? Between late night trips to the restroom because baby gets a kick out of jumping on my bladder and trips to Carson's room because he still doesn't appreciate the value of a solid night of sleep, I haven't been getting much myself. This too shall pass, right?

Wishing: For a good blizzard that would keep me housebound for two days straight so I could get caught up on that stack of books from the library, and wishing for sunny weather that is above freezing so going out for walks and jogs wouldn't feel like such a chore.

Thinking About: Baby names. At our house this is how it works: I come up with a list of names and Herm crosses all of them off immediately. I'm thinking about holding a contest where blog readers can submit their suggestions in the comments below. Winner will get, um... I'm not sure what yet. But something. :)

Listening: To the Happy Hour podcast with Jamie Ivey.

I am slightly obsessed with podcasts, and I think the reason why is simply this... As a stay at home mom of a toddler, I don't get a lot of adult conversations in my life throughout the week. And while Carson is very chatty, our typical conversation might go something like this, "Mom! mom! MOM! Diss tractor is red, diss one blue. Do you wike tractors? I wike tractors. Papa has tractors. Mom. mom. MOM! Can I go to Papa's house. Pweese." I adore these moments, but sometimes I really like to hear what is going on in other peoples lives. Listening to the Happy Hour feels as if I'm actually out with my girlfriends, sipping on drinks and talking about whatever it is girlfriends talk about, and all while I'm doing the menial tasks of laundry and housekeeping.

If you haven't already listened to the Happy Hour, I'd recommend you start with episodes #67 with Sarah Bessey and #44 with Tasha Morrison.

What are you currently up to?


I Think I Have a Migraine

If you've stopped by my blog in the past day or two, you may have noticed something fishy going on.

About a year ago I had decided to make the move from Blogger to a self-hosted WordPress site. Most people I talked to recommend it, they said that if I was planning to stick at this blogging gig it would be worth while. I hesitated for quite some time, mainly because of the cost. I am a true penny-pinching German Mennonite, and I simply could not justify spending that much money on a hobby that doesn't bring much revenue in. That is, until my sister told me she found a promo where the first year of web hosting + a domain name would only cost $12. (This is typically around $144, so the saving was huge!) You never know if you like something until you try it, and at $12, it was worth the risk.

I was pleased, for the most part, with WordPress, but I certainly did not make use of most of the extra features. So when I got a renewal notice from my hosting company, and the total for another year was a fat $144, I decided it's not worth it. I packed up my bags, and left town.

And now I have a migraine.

I wasn't able to simply transfer all of the content from one blog to another. I Googled for hours, trying to find some way to easily move the blog, photos, comments, etc. But I got nowhere.

For the past few nights I stayed up far too late, hitting copy + paste, and moving each post one by one. It appeared as though everything transfer well, except the comments. (I would forever love you if you would go back to each post you may have commented on, and rewrite your thoughts. :))

Today I forever closed down my WordPress site, and my migraine got worse. All of the pictures are gone! But it's just a blog, and the words are still there. It's not the end of the world... I'll just keep preaching this to myself for a while.

All of this to say, if there are a lot of broken links, missing photos, etc. I'm sorry, and I'm working on it.

Thanks for still following along, regardless of the mess.


To Truly Seize Life

As the days on the calendar neared the close of December and 2014 gave way to 2015, I was still reeling, deep in grief, after the tragic death of my childhood friend, Ev. 
When the life of someone young, someone filled with so much passion and exuberance, is taken away suddenly, and your fervent prayers seem unheard, useless, it's so easy to question everything you thought you knew. And it was in that state, shaken and angry, broken-hearted and unstable, that I began a new year. 
But in the deepest part of my being, I still believed — I still believed that He is good and merciful and loving and sovereign.
So, in spite of my head and my heart not aligning, one screaming 'Meaningless, totally meaningless' and the other gently whispering 'Be still and Know', the phrase Seize Life! was born to embody the coming year.
Ev left a legacy that valued relationships above all. At such a young age he had already figured out that success isn't based on title or position or financial gain, but rather on how well you love God and love others. I wanted my life to carry on his legacy  
Had I know what lay in store for 2015 I would have scoffed at the phrase.  I was unaware that the hard work of grief was only just beginning, that in a year where I so desperately wanted to Seize Life! I would be faced, yet again, with death. My beautiful cousin, Cheryl, and her perfect newborn son, our beloved dog, Rambo, a dear Jamaican lady I befriend during my year in the West Indies, all gone from this earth — leaving my heart shattered and soul crushed.
To know how it feels to grieve deeply, one must also know what is it like to experience great joy. And there were, tangled within this year of sorrow and grief, many, many moments of joy so strong I thought my heart would burst.
2015 — I am so grateful for those moments; for the numerous road trips and flights where we got to experience new destinations and revisit old ones; for the miracle of life growing at a rapid pace before our eyes in the form of a toddler with energy unending, and that of new life growing deep within me; for the sure and steady love of a man who cherishes my heart. I am grateful for slow mornings at home and evenings on our deck as the sun sets beyond the horizon; for health and strength and a puppy who is chewing her way into our home and hearts, one shoe at a time. And I'm grateful for challenges that stretch me; opportunies that overwhelm me; for old friendships that, like cheese and wine, are getting better with age, and new friendships, still tender and budding.
Yes, tangled into this year of bitter was so much sweetness, and I am truly grateful. 
But as for resolutions and words and phrases to build the coming year around, I have only one: To keep a journal. I want a safe place where the joy and heartache that was and is to come will be recorded — And the rest on which this fresh slate of a New Year will be built upon? I'll be leaving that up to the Good Father and the year, 2016.
Happy New Year!