B’more Merry

hampden

Merry Belated Christmas and Happy New Year! I’m not usually the most merry person around Christmas time. I am so prone to let the stress of family, singleness, presents, traffic, etc. get the best of me. I usually come to peace with things this season by realizing that those things I struggle with are exactly why I need Jesus and He came into this world to be near to my brokenness.  And this year, I was able to find a little Christmas magic just in time.

I started to feel it when I decided to take the advice of my new Royal Farms friend and just “be.” I’m a big quality time person so the best thing about Christmas this year was the people I got to spend time with.

My favorite Christmas song is Have Yourself a Merry Little Christmas. It shows what I like Christmas to be about, the people (other than Jesus being born of course).

Have yourself a Merry Little Christmas Let your heart be  light

From now on our troubles will be out of sight

Here we are as in olden days happy golden days of yore

Faithful friends who are dear to us gather near to us once more

Through the years we all will be together if the fates  allow

Hang a shining star upon the highest bough
And have yourself a Merry Little  Christmas now..

I always think of my siblings and cousins with this song. Over the years, our family has been through a lot, but now we love the time we have together so much more and it’s just like the old days but better.

cousins
Shipley-Dembeck girls!

candyland

Candyland

cousins in candyland

All the girl cousins and nan

We made our annual stop at “candyland” aka a random house that we frolic through every year after the lights in Hampden. It’s so magical and I’m convinced one of us need to get married there one day 🙂 What are some of your holiday traditions?

layla christmas

Get this girl an agent! She has to be the cutest baby in charm city!!

Merrily yours,

Cara

Mother Like Mine

Mom

Happy Belated Birthday Mom! 10/13/13

I like to think that gift giving is one of my “love languages,”  but I usually only make time for really thoughtful, planned gifts around Christmas time. And working for free as an intern last year definitely taught me how to get creative with gift giving on a budget. The busyness of my internship last year also taught me that sometimes time can be a gift in itself just my making time to be there for someone. My mom always insists she doesn’t need anything so I figured a blog post would be a good gift this year.

I saw Lady Antebellum in concert this year just before Mother’s Day and the lyrics to their song, Mother Like Mine stuck with me and served as the basis for the card I made my mom. The message is beautiful, basically that the world would be a better place if everyone had a mother like their own. The root of a lot of problems in this world stems from a lack of love, and how people choose to fill that void. My mom and I had our share of fights over the years, but at the end of the day, I always knew I was loved and that she believed in me.

dreamIf the world had a mother like mine:

Everyone would follow their dreams.

My mom always saw something in me that she knew would change the world one day. She did not know what it would look like, but she saw my stubbornness as a defiant child as something that could be channeled into something good. My dreams evolved over the years as I considered the possibility of becoming  a veterinarian, lawyer, nurse, and finally a dietitian. I have her to thank actually. She was the one who first told me that there is such a thing as a dietitian. Over the years, she watched me as I read food labels, asked her to buy salads to go with dinner, and read articles online about current nutrition trends and she knew I was onto something. She set me up to shadow her friend who works at Hopkins as an RD. I found a profession that resonated so much with me internally and I have never looked back.

Everyone would be themselves and love it.

I don’t know anyone else that would have put up with and embraced my goofiness the way she did. She said I was one of a kind. I have my own set of weaknesses and quirks, but my mom always loved them because they were a part of who I was. She liked that I was completely myself and didn’t care if people didn’t like it. Just a side-note, embarrassing stories from my childhood is a post for another time.

Everyone would have their own personal cheerleader.

My mom was always there for me when I was facing major life challenges whether it was a tough class, getting cut from a team, surviving my dietetic internship (those of you who know me or have gone through this process know that it is one of worst years of your life) or going through my first heartache.  They seem small now, but at the time, it was a crisis and it was earth shattering. She always reminded me there was something better right around the corner and that my time will come. There were times when I didn’t believe in myself, but she did and that is what got me through. She always told me she was proud of me, even when I felt I had failed. We need people like that in our life because we are human and weak and there are times when we have self-doubt and need to hear from others that we can do it. I can thank her for the perseverance I have today and the ability to see obstacles and discouragement and as motivation. When someone doesn’t think I’m capable of doing something, I love proving them wrong.

Everyone would have fresh food, and appreciate where it comes from.

Pop

I have my mom’s dad to really thanks for this. He gave my mom her green thumb. I always looked forward to the days when we got to go over to Nan and Pop’s and pick strawberries, lima beans, plums or green beans. My mom loves gardening today and has been so supportive in my desire to fight hunger and food insecurity. She was always the one during college sending me articles about new urban farms in popping up in Baltimore or health food stores replacing old corner stores. She was lovingly nudging me to move home I’m sure, but was actually cultivating an interest in me that would grow into an unstoppable, fiery passion. Honestly, I never thought I would move back here or fall completely in love with Baltimore for that matter. But because of the amazing things happening around Baltimore right now, I can’t help but stay and get involved. As my sister Colleen likes to say, “it’s in my blood.”

We would all have faith that could move mountains.

Most importantly, I can thank my mom for the faith and trust I have in the Lord today. She and my dad were pretty radical back in the day and decided to leave the Catholic Church to begin searching for something deeper.  Although I still have very different views than my parents on some matters of faith, I can thank both of them for wanting more for our family. They introduced me to church as a way of living through faith instead of just going somewhere once a week to be a good person and check it off your list.

Hebrews 11:1

“Now faith is the assurance of things hoped for, the conviction of things not seen.”

So that’s it. Happy Birthday Mom! I love you so much 🙂

Your daughter,

Cara

P.S. There is a story behind the picture at the top. First of all, Colleen loves to point out the fact that I was crying in all the pictures from my childhood. It was always something. I hated the feeling of sand on my feet. (I have some sort of weird tactile disorder because I used to hate when my socks had”lumps” in them.) I was quite a “spirited child” back in the day, which is th politically correct term for difficult. See definition below:

“The spirited child–often called ‘difficult’ or ‘strong-willed’–possesses traits we value in adults yet find challenging in children.  Research shows that spirited kids are wired to be ‘more’–by temperament, they are more intense, sensitive, perceptive, persistent, and uncomfortable with change than the average child.”

–from Raising Your Spirited Child by Mary Sheedy Kurcinka

Anyways, my mom would hold me for the entire duration of our vacations to keep me from having a meltdown. That’s true love ❤