Waiting for Testimony #2

Just before Christmas, God blessed us with a new work vehicle for JP. He had outgrown the GMC Safari he had been working out of and needed something with more room for his tools, etc. Here begins the story of testimony #1, and later I'll explain why we're waiting for testimony #2.
Anybody who knows JP knows that before he buys ANYTHING, he researches the heck out of it. This new truck was no exception! He had been looking into all sorts of different makes and models, high-top vs low-top, prices, reviews, etc. for months and months. We kept on putting off the purchase because of the financial pressure of the baby being almost here, but it finally got to the point where the new vehicle was such a need, we just stepped out in faith to buy one.
When JP stepped onto the lot at Denny Hecker, he wasn't looking for anything like we ended up with. But after looking at more than a few vehicles, he was shown one van that was particularly nice for a really good price. It was a 2003 GMC Savanah Starcraft - a full-sized high-top conversion van. (He had decided to go with a conversion van so that if needed we could pop the seats back inside for a road trip or whatever other need may arise.) At first glance, you would never want to put a dirty tool inside of it because it's so nice and shiny! But it had all the space he needed, plus all sorts of added bonuses (like a 20-inch LCD flat-screen TV, DVD player, bench seat that lays out into a bed, heated seats...) AND it had been dealer owned its entire life, so it was in fabulous shape and had very low miles. JP was also able to talk them WAY down in their price, and we ended up getting the van of our dreams for the price of our wildest dreams. :) PRAISE THE LORD!
That is testimony #1.
Right now we are waiting for testimony #2. That is because last night, somebody stole the flat-screen TV out of the van, as well as JP's iPod. JP has been working on a job site in Uptown Minneapolis, just a couple blocks off of Lake & Lyndale. Not the best neighborhood. He keeps his truck locked almost all of the time AND had a high-end security system installed (because of all of the tools he keeps inside, etc), but last night he slipped up and left the doors unlocked for all of maybe 20 minutes. In that time, the thieves were able to break in.
JP was so upset when he called me - I thought he was going to blow a gasket. After hanging up the phone, I prayed that he would be able to calm down and assess the situation. Minutes later he called me back in a much calmer mood.
I guess the first part of the testimony is that only the TV and iPod were taken - not any of JP's tools which are FAR more valuable than either of the electronics. The foolish thieves could have taken JP's level out of his van and it would have been just as valuable. Right now we're waiting to hear back from our insurance company as to whether the TV & iPod are valuable enough to surpass our deductable.
JP thinks he knows who broke into the van - some dudes who live nearby who were checking it out a day or two before. Being excited about his new van, JP had showed them the inside, the TV, etc. Not a wise move. The cops have been around the job site on sting operations trying to tag these guys for drug dealing. They're shady folks. Of course, we can't accuse them flat out because we didn't see who broke in, but he's pretty sure it's them.
Now we're waiting to see what the rest of the testimony is. Maybe it's that we get some insurance money out of it. Maybe its that the thieves get caught. Maybe whoever stole the iPod will listen to the Christian music on it, be convicted, and turn their life around. Maybe it's just a lesson learned. Who knows. But I know that God doesn't allow stuff like this to happen to His children for no reason. So for now, we'll wait for the testimony and praise Him for His protection.

Tag, I'm it.

Lori tagged me - here it goes!

A - Available or Taken - Happily taken
B - Best Friend - JP
C - Cake or Pie - Strawberry cake
D - Drink of Choice - Almost any juice, Coke w/ grenadine, Sweet tea (the REAL stuff)
E - Essential Item you use everyday - Contact
F - Favorite Color - Green
G - Gummy Bears or Worms - Worms, but not the sour kind
H - Hometown - Minneapolis
I - Indulgence - White Chocolate truffles or cheesecake
J - January or February - January, assuming our baby comes by her due date!!!
K - Kids and Names - One daughter, Israel Hope
L - Life is incomplete without - Jesus, my family
M - Marriage Date - August 19, 2005
N - Number of Siblings: 1 sister, 3 brothers, 2 sisters-in-law, 2 brothers-in-law
O - Oranges or Apples - Honeycrisp apples
P - Phobias or Fears - Centipedes, failure
Q - Favorite Quote - Too many to pick just one
R - Reason to Smile - she's kicking me right now
S - Season - Fall
T - Tag 3 or 4 people - Bethany, Deb, Erin
U - Unknown fact about me - I shoot pool left-handed
V - Vegetable you don't like - mushrooms (but are they a vegetable or just a fungus?)
W - Worst Habit - spending time on the computer. :)
X - X-rays? - None, unless you count the dentist
Y - Your favorite food - Italian or Chinese
Z - Zodiac - no thanks


Happy Birthday, Dad

Today is my dad's 62nd birthday. I can't imagine my life without you, Dad. I love you more than I could ever let you know in words. I'm so thankful that God picked you to be my dad and my daughter's grandpa. Happy Birthday.

Harpel Christmas

Later on Christmas Eve we went to my parents' house for our annual Christmas Eve Memphis BBQ dinner (we have friends from TN who send us really yummy BBQ each year). We stayed the night over there and spent Christmas Day with the Harpel clan. Malachi and Elijah stole the show again! Special thanks to Mama who prepared three giant meals (for 10+ people each) with virtually no help from us lazy bums.
Here are the pics:

Micah made this for dad to house his tabernacle model that he has in his office.

This was actually Elijah's gift from Grandpa Bruce, but Malachi was able to appreciate it a bit more for now!

Tune in Tokyo:

They're so cute it almost makes you sick:

Hyster Christmas

On Christmas Eve, JP's mom's side of the family came over to our house for all sorts of excitement. The highlight of the day may have been when I blew up Gail & Larry's 9x13 pyrex pan. I had set it on the stove, not realizing that the burner was still on. Lisa noticed it smoking, and I went over to push the pan off the burner. When it hit the cool surface, the whole thing exploded into tiny bits, sending glass flying everywhere. Thankfully, nobody was hurt. But we did throw away all of the left-over food just in case glass had gotten into any of it. Unfortunately, we were so busy cleaning up that I didn't get any pictures of the catastrophe!
Here are the far too few pictures I DID get from the day. Thanks for a fun Christmas Eve, family!


Last Day at WCCO

My dear Bill Carlson - I will miss you more than anything, Bill!

Me, Bill & Meteorologist Chris Shaffer

My director, Larry, and myself in the control room

Sweet Karla Hult - my hard-working reporter

Toby and I graduated from college together and were fortunate enough to work at 'CCO together, too!

End of an Era

Technically, tomorrow is my last day at WCCO-TV, but today is harder for me because it's my last day producing my own show with the people I've worked with every day for so long. I've only been here at the station for a little over an hour today, and I've had to fight back tears a few times.
I am absolutely thrilled to have the opportunity to be a stay-at-home mom. I know there are a ton of women (even here at the station) who would love to be able to stay home with their kids and can't. I know I am blessed to be able to do this, and I'm excited, excited, EXCITED!
At the same time, It's very sad for me to leave this place. I have loved my job and the people that I work with. I've been working at 'CCO for nearly five years, minus a few months spent at Target Corp. across the street. (Side note: I'll never forget the day I was sitting in my Target cublicle three days before my wedding and got a call from WCCO asking if I would be interested in coming back. I was so excited! I interviewed on my honeymoon and started a month later.)
WCCO-TV is a great place, and I am proud to have been able to work there. I just wish goodbyes weren't so hard!


Charlebois Christmas

We spent Saturday night celebrating Christmas early with JP's dad's side of the family. It was wonderful fun! Thanks, fam!
Here are some pics from the weekend:


Happy Howlidays...

...from our little Santa Paws, Caleb & Sadie. :)


Preliminary Nursery Pictures

Finally! The nursery is just about done! All that is left is a decorative shelf to go on the wall with picture frames on it. We need to paint and hang it.
Notice the decorative trim JP spent so much time on for his baby girl. The decorative "squiggles" above the windows and closet are especially sentimental...since those ornaments are identical to the ones he used on the bed he made me for our wedding.
I apologize that my camera didn't do a very good lighting job for the photos. Perhaps I'll try to re-take them when there is natural light coming in the windows. If you can't really tell, the colors on the bedding are yellow, green and brown. The room is also very small, so it was hard to get a good wide-angle shot.
There is also a 3-drawer dresser that doubles as a changing table on the wall to the left of the crib.
Also - take a look at my growing tummy! I swear it has popped out extra far in the past week, and I'm pretty sure she has changed positions in my stomach to be "head down." I'm starting to get those wonderful kicks in my ribs!


Japanese Wii Safety Manuel

This is hilarious.
Check out the pictures from the Japanese Safety Manual that comes along with the new Nintendo Wii.
My favorite is the clover one.
Click here for the pictures.

U of M Expansion Plan

I care about this because I grew up on the U of M, Graduated from the U of M, attend church at the U of M, and my family's ministry is based at the U of M.
A new Gopher stadium is not the only thing going up on the east end of Campus. The U is taking this opportunity to embark on the biggest campus expansion since the West Bank - 75 acres. It's part of an effort to become one of the biggest research facilities in the nation.
The entrance to the new stadium will be on University Avenue. The grain elevators will be replaced with biomedical research facilities. The current transit center near Williams Arena will change to a light rail station when the line comes through. If the legislature approves the campus expansion funding, the project could be complete in 10 years.
Here's a picture of what it will all look like. Click on it to see it larger.


Good Stuff from Oswald Chambers

From My Utmost for His Highest:

It is the will of God that human beings should get into a right-standing relationship with Him, and His covenants are designed for this purpose. Why doesn’t God save me? He has accomplished and provided for my salvation, but I have not yet entered into a relationship with Him. Why doesn’t God do everything we ask? He has done it. The point is— will I step into that covenant relationship? All the great blessings of God are finished and complete, but they are not mine until I enter into a relationship with Him on the basis of His covenant.

Waiting for God to act is fleshly unbelief. It means that I have no faith in Him. I wait for Him to do something in me so I may trust in that. But God won’t do it, because that is not the basis of the God-and-man relationship. Man must go beyond the physical body and feelings in his covenant with God, just as God goes beyond Himself in reaching out with His covenant to man. It is a question of faith in God--a very rare thing. We only have faith in our feelings. I don’t believe God until He puts something tangible in my hand, so that I know I have it. Then I say, "Now I believe." There is no faith exhibited in that. God says, "Look to Me, and be saved . . ." ( Isaiah 45:22 ).

When I have really transacted business with God on the basis of His covenant, letting everything else go, there is no sense of personal achievement— no human ingredient in it at all. Instead, there is a complete overwhelming sense of being brought into union with God, and my life is transformed and radiates peace and joy.

Selflessness 101

Just about every mother I've ever talked to has warned me of the joys and difficulties of learning to "die to self" when your children arrive. When someone's life is completely dependent on you, it doesn't (or shouldn't) take long to realize that it's not about you anymore.
Yesterday, I had an early lesson in selflessness...before our daughter has even arrived.
At eight months pregnant, it's not unusual to start having contractions. Your body tries to ready itself for the real thing with "fake" contractions called Braxton Hicks. I just recently started feeling those. They are not painful at all, just a tightening of the stomach muscles (I wish my abs could be that tight all the time!).
But yesterday, I started feeling something different. I was having strong "cramps" in my lower back, similar to menstrual cramps. They were coming in waves or cycles. I know from all of my reading that "real" contractions start in your back (not your stomach like Braxton Hicks). It didn't take me long to realize I was having pre-term contractions.
Ever since we found out our due date, I have always said that my plan is to "go early." I had no desire to go all 40 weeks till I'm huge and miserable. I knew that going 2-3 weeks early would not put my baby in danger, and that's kind of what I had my heart set on.
But this was WAY too early. I got nervous. I called JP and my mom and had them both pray for the contractions to stop. I started feeling guilty - that I had brought this on myself and my daughter by wishing to go early for so long. I prayed in tears that God would forgive me for being so foolishly selfish and that He would cause the contractions to stop so my baby could go full term.
Later I found out that the contractions were probably a result of a stressful day. I had been busy and stressed all day at work, and hadn't eaten anything all day from breakfast until about 6:30pm (the contractions started around 5:15). I had only had a small amount of water to drink, which I didn't realize was so incredibly vital at this stage of pregnancy. I was able to go home, eat, drink, lay down and within another hour the contractions stopped.
Did I overreact? Probably. But I think God used the situation to show me the error of my desires. There is nothing I want more than for my baby to be healthy and fully developed when she comes into this world. To want her to come early was a foolish thing. And not only was my plan to go early selfish, but my failure to feed and nourish my baby during my busy day was also selfish.
I know I have a lot to learn. It started 8 months ago, and it will continue for the rest of my life. I just thank God that He's faithful enough to show us when our ideas are wrong.


Here are a few more...

These ones are from my mom.

Gotta love this bib:

Yes, there were other people at my shower besides me. :)


Wow, that worked fast...

Moments after posting my last blog, I received these from my sister:

You may not be able to read it on this little picture, but that bunny says "Rae" on the front of it. JP's sister Lisa found it.

Here is the book Alyssa made:

Some of the pretty decorations:

Thanks for the shower and the pictures, Auntie Amber!


I was going to wait until I had pictures to post anything about my first baby shower, but since I forgot my camera and am at the mercy of friends and family for copies (HINT, HINT), I decided to go ahead and post before it lost its timeliness!
First of all, a HUGE thank you and lots of love to my sister, Amber and my friend Alyssa who put the shower together. They did a beautiful job organizing and decorating (can't get enough of that pink), cooking and preparing, hosting and cleaning up afterwards. I WAS AND STILL AM SO BLESSED BY ALL YOU TWO DID - THANK YOU. Alyssa also put together a beautiful personalized scrapbook...that was super special.
To everyone else who came and showered us - thank you all, as well. JP and I are both so overwhelmed by all of the stuff we received! Besides all of the cute little outfits, booties, and necessities (like bath items and blankets), we were blessed with our high chair, strollers, car seat and pack-n-play - four HUGE gifts in my opinion. We could have this baby right now and be just fine - we are not lacking anything. And I can tell you right now - little Rae is going to be one of the best dressed little girls around with all of the gear she got!
It means a lot to us that you all would love on our baby like that, someone you haven't even met yet. And it gets us even more excited about her getting here (getting OUT!) and introducing her to all of these people that love her so much.
Thank you for showering us with so many blessings.