living. loving. laughing.

living.  loving.  laughing.

Monday, December 26, 2005

i'm a proud auntie

I knew this post would come someday. I've become an aunt. And I am proud. His name is Frank and he's hot. You can easily see the resemblance upon looking at his hair color....I'm hoping that Brandon and Melissa ask me to be the dogmother, but they haven't gotten that far yet. You can all send them a message requesting those skills here: cara wants to be a dogmother.

Sunday, December 25, 2005

cutting people off in the christmas season

On Friday the 9-hour road trip to Nevada City, CA started with Dan and Noel (aka: moms and pops) in their car. Book in hand and cell phone to the side, I was excited when Dad actually let me take over driving for a couple of hours. I had the southern Oregon through Shasta stretch, and as any good holiday driver would do, I was mindful of trying to get down to grandpa's in time for a little beet soup dinner. So I'm kindof weaving in and out of traffic, in a nice "staying with the speed of traffic" kind of the slow lane, I realize that the semi in front of me isn't going to speed up, so I quick look to the left, and decide to chance it, even though the upcoming Suburban is rather fast approaching. Okay, so apparently I should have waited, with his grill on my rear, but I gave a friendly little wave and proceeded to avoid eye contact for the next hundred miles or so, while we back and forth passed each other.

Wellllllllllllll, there's nothing like gassing up on a road trip, so into the Shell station we arrive in Redding. As I'm pulling up to the pump, my dad's like, look who you're was Mr. Suburban. Of all the frickin holiday luck. So it's the spilt second decision making time: do I (continue) to avoid eye contact, thus running into the gas station to use the little ladies' room, or do I risk a chew-out by this man that I CLEARLY cut off by apologizing? I choose the latter of the two, but I choose it with a Cara twist, of course. (The Cara twist is simply trying to win the world over with a's my downfall...I think everyone likes me, and that a smile will break down any barrier that exists between us. You should see me with cops).

"So, I think I cut you off a few hundred miles back..."

"Yeah, you did." (This is going really well).

"Well, sorry about never know with these road trips and all...."

And before we knew it we were talking about our where-to travels and exchanging Christmas greetings. So. Good times.

I'm now with family in the greater Tahoe area....tomorrow I take one of grandpa's cars and head for a Bay Area donor/friend trip...can't wait to see many of you!!!

Many Christmas blessings...fam time calls. :)

Monday, December 19, 2005

being got and climbing mountains

First, I was got: MFCB. Check it out. All domestication points to this.

So on Friday my friend Katie from Illuminate calls and invites me on a Saturday snowshoeing adventure. Now I had heard from our mutual friend Danny "d-lish" Lund that Katie was rather hardcore, but if Danny can do it, so can I! So on Saturday morning, I met her and three other buddies (Jay, Jason and Claudia) up in Bellevue. Katie, nicest person in America, had rented me snowshoes the night before, and also had the hookups of hiking boots and in the midst of a fun getting-to-know-you drive on the I-90, we finally arrived at our little snowshoe destination unknown. We saddle up...we start "shoeing" along the trail, hoping to say "HAPPY SHOE" to some lucky passerby. Now to paint a picture, 3 minutes have gone by, and I'm ALREADY huffing and puffing. Already my butt is en process of kickage, if you know what I mean....I could blame it on having been sick and therefore not working out, or a plethora of other excuses, but the bottom line was that I was getting WORKED minutes into our day! Another 30 seconds pass by, and Katie looks to her right: there's a mountain. Well, since we want to get to the top of that mountain, why don't we just climb up its side? SO UP THE SIDE OF THE MOUNTAIN WE START TRAVERSING. In backpacking, I'm not a huge fan of switchbacks...and here we are making our way through dense forest, scattering snowshoe tracks here and there. 3 hours later we make it to summit and devour granola bars (that's the funny thing about work so hard, and then simply reward yourself with a little taste of nutty/grainy/horsefood goodness).

But the best part was yet to come: we took the trail part of the way down, but poles and all, on the way down you just FLY! Katie reminded me of the fine balance between toes and heels (think snowboarding...dear god, that's a whole nother story), when much to my chagrin, I ended up faceplanting one too many times. But it's rad: pretty soon you realize that you're just LEAPING down the side of the mountain - working the quads, the calves, the shoulders - hoping to not step too close to a tree or else the ground gives way and hole-age sets in. So good.

That night (and perhaps THIS is the best part), I got home around 5, took a shower, and sat down on the couch...I proceeded to not LEAVE that couch for another 5 hours. Granted, the social life was disgraced, but there was NO WAY I was leaving that position. All plans were canceled for the night, and instead I watched "The Mighty" (so good!), and got some reading done. In a way it's freeing being able to simply "be" and rest, even when the back of your mind screams LOSER!!! for the mere mention of a particular socially-dignified day.

Home Alone II is on in the backgound. Sometimes, once every 10 years or so, you just need to watch our favorite little screamer again. I just ate some Carrie corn and drank some red wine. I'm in process of addressing the Christmas newsletter....comment me if you want me to send you one.

Christmas cheer! cara:)

Friday, December 16, 2005

a story of domestication...a story of a little tweener

So the saga continues: I don't know if it's a bad domestication attitude, but two days in a row now, it's been the thorn in my side. Yesterday afternoon I had a high school girl over to hang out; as I poured Christal a hot bevvie, I suddenly had the GREAT idea to bake some cookies as well. (I've learned that having cookie dough on hand is an excellent addition to the fridge). Well, I pop four cute cookies on the bottom rack (mind you, who needs a baking sheet for a toaster oven anyway?), and 10 minutes later head to MFTO (my-first-toaster-oven) to check on the little buggers. Smoke, steam, and burned-on-the-bottom but mushy-on-top cookies awaited me. So I put the pan outside in the cold, and loved when, half an hour later, Christy (friend upstairs) saw the delectable treats, ate (the top) of one and thought they were the best things she'd tasted in awhile. So she took all four. :)

Still a little sick, this morning I decided to save money and make my own coffee...I put the coffee grinds in and a bit of water, too... I come by a few minutes later and the coffee's still not ready yet. I do a load of laundry, and find that even five minutes later, the coffee's still barely drip-drip-dripping out of its little spout. Finally, risking all, I open up the top, and find that I've poured the water into the same place as the grounds! What the?! Who am I? Now it's not the toaster oven that's steaming, but the coffee pot is hissing and whoozing all over the place. Needless to say, I probably ruined my coffee pot, and ended up just stopping by one of the five drive-thru coffee stands in five blocks on my way to work for a white chocolate americano with room instead. Hey, I tried. :)

Finally, there's something to be said about 6th graders - god bless their SUCH awkward spot in life...yesterday was a rather chill day in reading class. Corrie, the teacher I work with two days a week, is a kick in the her, love her show (Jessimoobyera, that's for you). The kids are working on spelling, and she asks them what they'd like for their party on Monday. "Ooooooooh, I want that cinnamon white choc-o-late mocha that she [point to me] brought in one day!!!" (Corrie was sick the day I brought her her drink, so I found dixie cups and divided it up among the 15 kids in the maybe coffee addiction is wrong to start at age 11, but they loved it!) Here's where the story gets good: "Well, Tony," Corrie says, "don't you know that drinking coffee stunts your growth? You don't want to start drinking coffee now - you won't get any taller. How tall are you now? 5'5"?" "No man, I'm 5'3", but that's a good height. I DRINK COFFEE BECAUSE BEING SHORT IS SEXY." Hello, little 6th grade friend, that was NOT what I was expecting to hear! Nonetheless, 15 minutes later, we're still quasi-picking on little Tony guy: "Tony, you know we're just picking on you." "I know - it's just because I'm sexy." Since when do you tell your teacher (and her cute assistant!) that you're sexy?! Does this new guy (straight from Thailand, mind you) even know what "sexy" means, as five minutes before the sexy-saga he's doing the dance from a Disney flik?

Finally, I end it on this kid quote as well. In filling out the spelling words, little Mariana needed to fill in the word "PROUD," so Corrie came up with this sentence: "I'm ______________ to be an American?" (as we both start jamming to the song...) "ABOUT?" Mariana says. Not quite. Love it.

Saturday, December 10, 2005

Miller-man's top ten chia teeth!!!

Man, this has been quite the comment-producing blog post....and to celebrate, ya'll have to read my friend Josh's new top ten, in honor of my cold and its coinciding chia teeth. (ps: if you haven't already, read the previous post and you'll understand). Letterman, here we come...

Top 10 Best Things About Having Chia Teeth

10) It’s like having a pet with you all the time

9) No need to go to the store for antibiotics! You can grow a pharmacy in your mouth.

8) Great outreach to Junior High Boys! I mean who brushes their teeth anyways?

7) It’s a national trend… braces – out, retainers – out, fur coats for your mouth – in!

6) Nintendo is thinking of adding it to their line of virtual pet games… Nintendogs: Morning Breath

5) When traveling the English treat you like a local

4) Bush gave you a tax break after declaring your mouth a protected green belt

3) The color of your teeth change each season

2) The dentist it too busy swearing to ask you stupid questions

1) Walmart called and wants to start stocking their shelves with Macdonalds Chia Teeth!

I love it. This is why life is good. This right here is why I snort.

Thursday, December 08, 2005

chia teeth

You know it's a good cold when you wake up in the morning, face down on the bed, with your mouth wide open and a pool of drool all around. Your ears crackle and pop as they adjust to the first sounds of morning; you touch your nose and it's just CRUSTY and snot-filled all at the same time. Finally, after a few minutes of indecisive "should I just call in sick today?" thoughts, headache-in-tote, you walk to the look in the mirror, and appalled at your own sicky-bacteria filled breath, try to smile at yourself in that half-sleepy, half dear-god-I'm-scary-in-the-morning sort of way. Upon adjusting the eyes to that morning smile you look at your cavity-free are appalled to see that they've apparently grown a little bit of red fuzz on them. That's right...what color are your sheets? Red. Sick. Indeed - I know it's a good cold when I get chia teeth.
Hope you liked the visual. :)

So I'm a little icky-sicky right now, much like the rest of the world, I'm sure. But in a weird sort of way, I'm glad for a cold every now and then because it forces me to stop...and relax...and sit...and a little bit of pity is good every once in awhile. :)

I've been housesitting at a mansion for the past week, and well, LOVING it. It's been good having random peeps over for dinner and fun sleepovers with Young Life girls and the like. This morning I went out there and laid in front of the fire place and had Jesus time; unfortunately, I haven't seen one of the cats since yesterday, so let's just hope that the next time I post I'm not minus a housesitting cat still. Don't think that would go over so well with this fam...

Okay, I've still got chia teeth on my mind - it's a good sign that it's time to go.
chia hugs- cara:)

Wednesday, November 30, 2005


Books read/finished over vacation: 5! (1st and 2nd Chronicles of Narnia, Basic Christianity, The Spirituality of Fundraising, and Growing Up Too Fast...).

EPIC days at the beach: 4

Sunburns: 0!

Days I got to sleep in: 4

Times I laughed at my brother's subtle side comments: at least 92

Phase 10 games: 2

Coconut bubble teas: 4, 5?

Times Melissa made an icky face at my nasty bubble tea pearls: 4, 5?

Pieces of pumpkin pie, during and after Thanksgiving: 2, 3...

Hot bevvies consumed: mmm, at least 2 a day

Times I pretended to be a dolphin in the warm ocean water: at least 30

Pieces of tofu eaten at dinner with Tyler and Christen: hmmm...probably around 23

Pages read in "Prince Caspian" while illegally scooping sand into a baggie: 8

Times I checked myself out in the hot new moccasins and/or fabulous new fake chanel sunglasses: around 32 "mirror mirror on the wall" times

Times I squealed with glee because I was in HAWAII: 1,095+++

Key conversations with Brandon and Melissa about growing up, differences and similarities, Young Life, Jesus, religion vs. relationships and everything in between: PRICELESS. I am blessed.

I know that I'll probably be written off your list of friends if I continue to gush over the trip, but it truly was a vacation, a rest, a smile, and a filling heart-time. I am glad to be back. In between reading "The Voyage of the Dawn Treader" and watching "Must Love Dogs" on the plane yesterday, I met a really cool couple from Magnolia in Seattle. We clicked quickly, probably because their son was flirting with me. Though he's only 14 months, I'm really thinking that I might pursue this relationship....with his mum and pop, of course. Dirty little minds.

Hope your Thanksgiving was a BLESSING.

Saturday, November 26, 2005

spread the aloha

Things I love about the right now: brandon (mi brother-o)...melissa (mi sister-in-law-a)...coconut pearl tea...the chronicles of narnia on the beach...the lion, the witch and the wardrobe while lying in the grass with the sun shining down and the ocean in baby brother married - hee hee...the card game Phase 10 on Thanksgiving...Melissa and her first and dad in HI too until and the city, season three (god bless AIDEN!)...hawaiian craft fair with silverware earrings...the downpour this afternoon...hopes of the beach, sunshine and water tomorrow...fake christmas fake chanel sunglasses: big, fat and almost as cool as the fake chanels that Zeke stepped on:)...getting to see some old friends in the next couple of days...the fact that this truly is VACATION, mmm...sitting at the "family of the night" kitchen table at Buca de Bepo's last night and just being real with each other.

I'm feeling truly blessed. Truly. Blessed. Lucky. Loved. Relaxed. And looking forward to the sun shining a little bit more than it did today. ALOHA. cara:)

Monday, November 21, 2005

so apparently...

Sometimes I forget that a blog is supposed to be a "web log," aka: online journal. Now I'm not going to bore ya'll with the details, but tonite in the midst of burnt cookies, hot bevvies and apples dipped in caramel, we had Campaigners. We've been slowly walking through Matthew 6 with the girls, which, whether you like Jesus or not, talks about NOT WORRYING...and how by worrying we add single hours to our lives, when really, isn't LIFE more important than fashion and primping and shopping? (although true to form, I'm a big fan of my In Style subscription....oh cara the hypocrite...).

So Christy (my student leader) and I tried something a little different: we read through the five verses (matthew 6:27-32), and then gave the girls 20 minutes to go and write a letter to Jesus....and when it came time for me to do the same, I instead did the opposite and felt like Jesus had some things to say to me. Here's a small nugget of that:

"Cara: ...relax. Be okay with gray. Let yourself simply focus on loving me and loving others as we figure out this journey together.

Pour yourself into these girls. Learn to listen. Choose to call. Put yourself out there. Love deeply and expect nothing in return. Serve. Be amazed. Smile. Sing. Hum. Stop and smell the roses. Be a woman of the word, and meditate on it day and night.

Love those I've purposefully placed in your path. Be thankful for much as you learn to live with little. Act on your instincts because that's my spirit speaking to you. Do think before you speak, though. I love you. Cara. My daughter. -GOD-."

So apparently God speaks to me in short, abrupt sentences...but I think he says just what I need to hear. I'm a big fan of this journey of life because more and more I'm figuring out that -frankly!- I have nothing to do with it. And some days are good days and some days are hard good days, but I'd say overall, it just makes sense. That's it. Your thoughts?

Tuesday, November 15, 2005

some things never change

Today I went walking with my new buddy Melissa, who's on Young Life staff in Central City (aka: the hood!) Tacoma. While walking the streets of downtown Auburn, I was reminded of a dream/goal/talked about thing for awhile now...and I'm so not kidding when I say this, but I want to be an aerobics instructor! Somehow we started talking about walking -mmm, good times- which led to "have you ever taken a step class?" from Melissa, which turned into a "Heck yes, I love step!" from me, which turned into LET'S GET CERTIFIED! I find great fun in stepping over fake kick-boxing the air, Billy Blanks-style...and in working out and just having fun with the ladies - and gentlemen! - who co-conspire in group workouts with me.


Need to check on those Y classes...and the good news: Melissa could get her Yoga certification, and then we'd just be all workout savvy leading together!

This may be the most ridiculous blog post yet...
But there is a point.

I think there are those things in our lives that we talk about doing FOREVER, but we make these LAME excuses as to why not. For me, prime example happened in January 2004. I'm teaching an American Lit (11th grade English) class at Monte Vista in Watsonville; we're in the height of our Dickinson/Whitman poetry unit (I hear the chorus groans already), and at one point we read Whitman's poem, "I Hear America Singing." In it he talks about the VOICES of America...and he speaks as to the uniqueness of each the end, the speaker gives a little carpe diem shout out to his do I to my students at the time. Just do it. Tonite. Whatever you've been holding back on.

So as I'm trekking home from MV that day, I think to myself, what's my carpe diem "must"? And I realized that I'd been wanting another tattoo - the trinity symbol specifically - for ages, but that I'd kept making excuses. Oh, I'll wait until I lose 10 pounds...oh, I'll wait until I finish grading this stack of papers...oh, I'll wait until I REALLY deserve it - at the end of a semester. But I never made it. So I got home a few minutes later, called True Art, grabbed roomies Marshie and Lola, and got the tattoo. (And then of course reaped the wrath by "encouraging" my students to sieze the not-so-conservative Christian day...).

So the bottom line:

Sieze it.
Carpe diem it.
Aerobics certification it.
Tattoo it.
Live it.

Friday, November 11, 2005

the wedding adventure

Alissa, me, Re and Amy K. in the brand-spankin new LIMO on the way from "gloss and shine" time to the church....

Re and Tom after just seeing each other for the first time...a magical moment for any couple!

The Frontier Ranch crew (minus "rerun") back in action: Copey (Junebug), me (KUJO...did you know that was my camp name?), Brian (Whistler), Karly (Shenanigan), and Alayna (Random). Love it. Love them. Love table 16.

And finally, me with Team Szarwarski...I hope I'm spelling it right...they're celebrating LIFE in Kauai right now. Wahoo!

Things are was my "saturday," as tomorrow I'll be in a training class all day...the good news is that my buddy, lovingly nicknamed "jessimoobyera" will be there to celebrate the 9 to 6 action with me. I'm blessed and encouraged by my Young Life intern peeps...I know you hear me talk about them, but my heart is simply so tender towards them. I really don't get it, but I do get that sometimes Jesus brings people into our lives right when we need them the most. Driving back with them in the hoopty blue van the other day, I could help but just soak up my community right then and there. In the midst of passionate and BS conversations both, freedom was found. I'm reading Anthony Demello's book, The Way to Love, and am just EATING it up...I highly recommend it, and if I could I'd buy a copy for everyone to chew on. Regardless, he was saying today that FREEDOM is another word for LOVE. Sometimes I make apologies for myself, but to find and feel and experience the freedom to simply BE, no questions asked, no apologies made, is incredible. And though I've only know them for a little over a month, that's how I feel with these other Puget Sound Young Life newbies. Yay. Yay. Yay.

Monday, November 07, 2005

the mini vinnies

The miniature vinettes of the weekend in LA and the past couple o' days:

Southwest superstar: That is what you are. So yesterday I'm flying on SW from Burbank to Seattle....long story short, Mr. cute-in-an-LA-sort-of-way is sitting kitty corner from me, reading a wood book. We exchange the "hey, how are you's" and his famous last words: "do you know what time this plane lands?" Well, indeed, in between finishing my Anne Lamott book, I'd sneak a peek at this wood book: bookshelves and coffee tables and other tables and wood, wood, wood, and he's studying it like there's no tomorrow. Of course I don't ask him why he's so obsessed with wood because then he'd know I was illegally looking at HIS airplane material (highly illegal in the travel world, although a Mormon struck up a decent conversation with me once about it...). Anyways, I see him outside in the baggage claim area, and he's wearing an EXTREME HOME MAKEOVER jacket! Was I sitting next to a wood-savvy architect of a moviestar and all I said was "uh, I think it lands at 3:40"?! Oh life. :)

Mechanical pencils and pumpkin pie: So the highlight of my day at MBMS today happened when I was testing Connor, a 6th grader, in reading. In between all their little vocabulary tests, I give them a breather by asking fun, not-so-intelligent questions. Well, apparently I asked Connor the RIGHT questions (and not that I remember the questions right now), and found out that 11 year old had PASSION for a) mechanical pencils..."You never have to sharpen them! They're the greatest invention ever! [and he continues on with exclamation point sentences!]" Then b) pumpkin pie..."Man, I LOVE pumpkin pie. It's the greatest man! With loads and loads of whip cream! I love whip cream! And I love pumpkin pie! oh! Pie!" He was an excited little guy.

High G: I went upstairs a little bit ago to play piano with Christy, my high school buddy who, well, lives upstairs. She had the Christmas music out, so I'm playing a tune or two...I'm kindof singing along, hoping the world joins in my's time for "O Holy Night," and man, I'm tiredly screeching through those high notes at the end, though still spirited all the same. It hits the high G at the end, and I'm like, "come on, Christy!", and dude, she just parrots out this like B above the highest octave wrong note EVER. I was dying. It was hilarious. And the best part - she's like, oh, my mom and I do that all the time. I love the family I live with. :)

Frontier Ranch, revisited: this moment of epic, "Wow! I'm lucky!" came when I was singing at the wedding...I couldn't look at Re and Tom very much because I knew I'd either bust up or burst out, but I did finally look and was overcome with this moment of realization and memories. The summer of 2001 was my golden summer, and it'd be an incomplete book without that chapter there, and without Re being a central character in (and beyond) that chapter. I then looked out and saw the 8th or 9th row back...there Brian (Whistler), Karly (shenanni), Alayna (Random) and Copey/Jen Cope (Junebug). And even though I've moved on from that "chapter," from that summer, it was a foundational building block. Through Re I gained a best friend...Brian not only gained a wife but found that in working with Re that you really could have a TEAM...Karly and Alayna found mentors for life...(with Re specifically), Copey put a new spin on a friendship that had been around for YEARS.

So this fall has continued to be a whirlwind, but I continue to choose JOY. I leave in the morning for training down in Portland, so right now me and Mr. Bubble are going to hang out. Word to the bubster. PS: pictures to come soon....

Saturday, November 05, 2005

word up...from the sunshine!

I'm in LA right now...Simi Valley, CA to be about an hour and 20 minutes I'll start the girly "fluff and shine" time for the wedding this afternoon at 5. In the meantime, I'm going to walk down to my favorite coffee shop EVER - Coffee, Bean and Tea Leaf - for some morning love and Jesus time and time with Anne Lamott's book, Plan B: Further Thoughts on Faith. Love Anne Lamott. Lots. Yesterday Re (the bride) and I had good times just running errand after errand, including one to the BEACH! Wahoooooooooooooo - warm sand...cold, beautiful ocean water....sunshine...all I wanted to do, and all I did, was lay on the beach in the sun, in this idyllic waves-crashing-in-the-background interspursed with guitar-playings and convos from all the east coasters out here for the big day. Then we had more girl-bonding time getting manicures and pedicures....and then we had the rehearsal dinner at this BEAUTIFUL home up in the hills. Among the highlights: Tom's friend Dave wrote a song for Re and Tom, which he sang at the beach yesterday. He knew I was singing at the wedding, so he asked me if I knew how to harmonize...I said we snuck outside and created some cool little rifts with the vocal chords, and then sang and played for everyone. My secret rockstar-self was complete for a night. :) (And all of you getting amped out there, thinking this turned quickly into true-love-always, it was true-he's-already-engaged-always time). Last night I headed back to Bruce and Alyssa's house and we watched SNL's The Best of Molly Shannon. I forgot how many good lines I've stolen from her the Molly Shannon. Okay, off to the 'bean. c.

Sunday, October 30, 2005

mi casa es su casa

All some of you have been asking to see what WELCOME TO SUBURBIA looks here's my little basement-apartment, complete with the virtual tour. :)

First: the living room...otherwise known as the dining room, too. Thanks to those stellar individuals who basically hooked this room up; you know who you are and I love you! So there's also a TV...who knew!?...which Jake Miller (Josh's brother) hooked up to cable yesterday.

Then we have the start of domestication: help me, God. But indeed....there's a mini-sink and a mini-dish drying rack and a fabulous calendar courtesy of Salty and a beachy "I love SC" painting.

And here we have the other end of the kitchen counter, complete with my single-stove burner (ie: hot plate) where I make, cook and distribute meth. Kidding...give hugs, not drugs! As well, we've got some hot flowers from Christy, who lives upstairs, and then some cute pics in the background.

Wow! What a huge kitchen! Here we have the fridge-turned-wall-of-people-I-love, and the "music room." And I cleaned out the Henry Weinhardt's rootbeer and Sierra Nevada Pale Ale boxes and forgot them on the floor. I feel like it's creative artwork...either that, or a tribute to Fletch and Zig. :)

And here we have the piano in action last night: Josh P. and me stretching the hammies before some "heart and soul" song action. (He says he's rhythmically challenged, but no way man! We were jammin'...just like the BBC-squared...good times...:)

Bedroom: really, it's just one big room from the living room.... Please note the bedstand in the middle. Guess who put that together?! Yes! Miss Nail, Hammer, Phillips, Flat Head and other such handy toolbox items herself, me! I must give mad props to Aaron and Josh who yesterday put up the IKEA shelf, though... (And yes, you can see that I don't have a box spring yet, so I kindof sleep in a crib...I do sleep, though...I loved the air mattress, but thrive in a big girl bed!). :)

And here's that shelf that Aaron and Josh put up: they said I wouldn't hit my head on it, but when I'm having national "wear your bridesmaid shoes so you can break them in for this Saturday" day, I do hit it. I did hit it. Present tense. I'm alive though. :)

Finally, the last pic of your tour: THE MILLERS! Love them! This is the famous Josh and Brenda, of Team Miller from Woodinville, WA. Last night they came down with Aaron and Jake from up north, and then Josh, Jessica, and Josiah and Belle came up from the south. It was another glimpse of heaven seeing my worlds collide. Best part of the evening? Teaching Washington TELEPHONE PICTIONARY! I LOVE that game. Love it. Lovette.

Wednesday, October 26, 2005

the good news...

The good news: I've met a lot of Mt. Baker parents lately.

The bad news: I've been asked twice in the past two days if I'm the parent of one of the kids. Hello! Now I know I haven't been carded lately, but do I look like I had a baby of my own at age 13? I suppose the parents are just wondering what the heck I'm doing hanging out at middle school soccer and fastpitch games, but a parent? Me? Laughable.

The good news: I made it to the last 23 minutes of BREAKFAST CLUB this morning with North Tapps MS. Team leader (and co-worker) Ginger did a great job speaking...I love her subtle sarcasm that middle schoolers don't really get yet...I loved the slipper contest and cereal bar. And it's an ingenious idea for late-start mornings.

The bad news: club was an hour and a half long. I still don't know my way around here and get lost everywhere I go (this time for almost an hour...I ended up down in Buckley if any of you know where that is...but I did have a rad chat with Joanna J from SC!).

The good news: my old YL girls, Jenn and Tina, who have now graduated from PLU (go Lutes!) came over for dinner last night. Soooo good seeing them.

The bad news: Tina said I have less food in my fridge than her bachelor brother. I need to work on being a better hostess. With the mostess.

The good news: I ate dinner with Heather and Kelly, who live upstairs. They made spaghetti and caesar salad and bread.

The bad news: I felt like tofu. All you meat-lovers out there are starting scream in bold disbelief.

The good news: for a day or two this summer I contemplated eating hamburgers again, and I did: I had two, for the first time in 8 years!

The bad news: I'm reading Fast Food Nation, and have officially given up that contemplation.

Life is good. Starbucks is fun. I love my new buddies up here, especially the intern peeps, who have become a part of my life every week or two now. I'm all about it. Friday I'm taking a half-day of solitude at this MANSION on Skagg (Snagg?) Island, which is about 20 minutes away from here. I'm amped for five hour of time with just me and JC and maybe a hot bevie too. :) Campaigners is tomorrow AM at 6:30...I'd better hit the hay. Word to your pillow.

Sunday, October 23, 2005

re and to trot!

I just rolled in from NYC a couple hours ago. My eyes can't decide if they want to stay open or quickly close. My ears are still faintly ringing from the dancing-queen music last night. My stomach continues to not want to eat for the next 48 hours because it tasted so much best-food-in-America goodness this past weekend. And my heart. O heart! It SMILES because it was one of those soul-filling weekends.

So Rebecca's her name. Otherwise known as Re, Rerun, Rere, (Return, Rebarb, and every other "re" name in the book), we met the summer of 2001 at Frontier Ranch. She and Whistler were the LIT coordinators, and Woofy and I were the program team. Somehow we just clicked, were roomies for two months, sang "Sunshine, lollipops and rainbows..." together and developed this REdiculous bond that summer that has continued on for the past four years. For me, the summer of 2001 was my "golden summer"; the leadership girls - Re, Copey, Nystrom, Kristen and I - gelled, and I haven't laughed so hard or partially-peed my pants as many times with Kurt as that summer allowed....anyways, Santa Cruz and Simi Valley visits happened, a trip to NYC for Thanksgiving two years ago happened, lots of snail mail/email and phone calls happened, and then a little over a year and a half ago she met this guy named TOM.

Vote for Tom. He's the bomb. No doubt, it's one of the coolest things to see your friends cheesily "completed" (ie: Jerry Maguire), but when it happens, it's GOOD. You see sides to them come out that were there before but hadn't really been tapped see them bring out the best in each other, as that other person makes them want to be a better person. And even if you weren't able to picture who that "one" would be, you finally see it, and it's just like, oh...yeah...that's right. So I finally got to meet Tom this weekend, and that guy is QUALITY. I love how he ADORES Re, yet gives her the complete freedom to simply SOAR in who she is. They're getting married in two weeks, so down to CA I'll trek. Can't wait.

In the meantime, the bridesmaids all flew to NYC for the bachelorette party! Hello! A bachelorette party in NYC - are you kidding me? Yeah, it was pretty epic. Without giving away the "what happens in NYC stays in NYC" secret bachelorette party rituals, here are some fan favorites: the combo sushi/latin flair dinner at CITRUS with Tom and Re the first night; SHOPPING, especially at H & M; getting to know the other bridesmaids - Rachel, Jill, Amy K, Amy S, and Alyssa; just being around my friend...hee hee; hmmm...what am I allowed to say? Finally, last night we had dinner at this AMAZING apartment on the Upper West Side and then went dancing until 3 this morning....I love going dancing with the ladies and just dancing. Just girls with cute shoes that hurt after half an hour who just want to dance and guard each other from the slimy boys in suit jackets. God bless Madonna and what she did to Saturday night dance parties, that's all I have to say.

So I left for La Guardia (airport) this morning at 5, slept off and on, and had good times playing gin rummy and golf on the plane with Mike, a proud father and grandfather from Federal Way. Presh. I thought he was going to run off with my bag at one point, but he was just being nice and carrying it off the plane for me. Love it. (one more side note: Josh P and Mel...if you're reading this, you're going to need to explain the rules to me one more time...if you pick up a card from the deck, you can't look at the one you're switching with, right? Hmmm).

Besides that, I am excited to just have down time, right now at 3:31 in my lil' basement-apartment. One more thought: WOW. Love the Mary. Mary, from team Brian and Mary, was up here last week doing some training at World was good just BEING with another soul-friend Monday, Tuesday and Wednesday nights...LOVED dinner with Mel on Monday...loved back-to-high school Red Robin fun with go-interns-friend Jessica on Tuesday....LOVED down time with her, looking at wedding magazines and just getting excited for what she and Brian have in store...altogether, it was just GOOD.

PS: so you want to meet Tom the Bomb now? Of course you do....just wait for pics from the wedding, though. :)

Tuesday, October 18, 2005

dear god, help the domestication

I am ANTI, against, not for the domestication of (my own) self. Now I'm not really sure why I loathe the thought of kitchens and cooking and playing that role, but this past weekend I went down to Keizer, normal as can be, to visit Dan and Noel (moms and pops!), and came back domesticated. I tell you, it started with the bed, and it's been downhill ever since. Saturday Mom and I went to Target, and I don't think I've seen her so excited in YEARS; I'm pushing the cart as slow as it might go, weary of stepping foot into the spatula aisle and she's bouncing ahead, three aisles in front of me, gleefully envisioning my future muffin trays and silverware sets. Part of me doesn't want to embrace OWNING stuff....part of me doesn't want to embrace COOKING meals...part of me just doesn't want to embrace GROWING UP, which to my parents is the funniest part. According to birth certificate records and such I'm the oldest, but it doesn't necessarily mean that I play the role accordingly.

So I went to Keizer a free woman and left Keizer with the trunk full: a toaster oven, pots and pans, MFM (my first mop!), a matching towel set...the list goes on. Who am I? What is this place called Washington doing to my so-called (former) life? Okay, so maybe it's kindof fun....but that's just a little bit of a kindof....give me another five years and maybe I'll cook you a meal. For now I'm holding on to slipping ground...but laughing about it nonetheless. If you have thoughts on how I might better embrace this new lifestyle - dear God, help a sista out.

With hugs and hot pads, cara:)

Thursday, October 13, 2005

the three L's

So my blog is called LIVE. LOVE. LAUGH. As I sit here in my cute new living room, I must reflect on the 3 L's so that I'm true to my mantra. (Mantra - is that the right word?)

LIVE. Campaigners this morning at 6:30. 8th grade lunch and meeting the following kids: Kara and Klara. Kelly and Krista. Kady and Cassie. Yaneli. Alex. Jerrance. Trying to get to the girls' fastpitch game at a nearby middle school, and ending up at the boat dock in Sumner. Oops. Intern training Tuesday and Wednesday. Car time with Josh the Parn-star. Asking questions and not being afraid to open up. Confidence of self in Jesus. Incredible one hour Jesus time the past three days. Mmm.

LOVE. Talking with Miss Davis on the phone. Talking with Jessica, my new intern friend who calls me C-Ra, princess of power, on the phone. Sitting here in the living room tonite with my 14 year old buddy, Nicole, just BEING together, reading, writing and pedicure-ing. :) Shawn, my boss and friend, who stops what he's doing to put me first. Sending out an email to the Mt. Baker staff, and receiving a reply within three minutes from a Christian teacher. Epic emails from Shelley, Hannah and Re. Intern training...MEAT. Good people.

LAUGH. One word answers from middle schoolers who really don't know what to make of a girl like me. The superstar teacher, Corrie, whose class I'm helping out with; a snort finally came out today in the midst of our "secret teacher talk." I was reminded how quickly rapport goes out the window. :) Game time with the interns. Josh in the car: down with his bad "black" self, singing the gospel music...the gargling olympics, while driving the Silver Bullet. Tessa, one of my girls, who when she answered the phone yesterday, sounded like a man. "Why's your voice so low?" "I'm cold." "And being cold makes your voice drop two octaves?" "Yes." (even lower).

I love it. I want my heart to be bursting with joy, so much so that laughter flows freely. I want to be purposeful in how I live, and in what I choose to do. Maybe I am right where I'm supposed to be...

Monday, October 10, 2005


It was a weekend of excitement....the two biggies: Brian and Mary got engaged, (!!!!), and I moved down to A-town. Wa-hoo to both.

First, Brian and Mary: these two cats are two of my favorites. I met Brian a few years ago at Mission Springs' Endless Summer fall camp when I was the speaker. A special relationship then developed with his church, Hillside Covenant, and through different speaking and hang out/relational gigs, they became a second church family to me in CA. I remember the first time Brian and I hung out in Santa Cruz: we ended up at the Gordon Girls' casa, and feeling hungry, decided it was time for lunch. Out of the fridge I pulled moldy bread, questionable turkey and cheese with white spots (we're not talking Colby here). Brian's naturally a, well, how shall we say it....he just likes certain foods, and old bread, cheese and turkey aren't three of them. Sitting in the hot sun on the porch, he made it through lunch, but refused anything else. I don't blame him. Regardless, he still saw it to being my friend, and last Thanksgiving I had the AMAZING opportunity to head down to Mexico with Hillside Covenant for the high school group's annual mission trip. I wasn't the speaker but the "chaplain" for the week, and my job was simply to come alongside, encourage, love and get to know their RAD students; each night I'd share my heart, and it was a monumental week for me personally because it's when I finally said "YES" to Young Life. As well, even though I had met her a month or two prior, MARY came into the picture that week...I admire the way she works alongside and loves high school girls. She has one of those rare listening ears that just encourage you to keep going in your thoughts, without her saying a word. She just nods and looks at you with these penetrating eyes that silently say "you're not done yet..." I love that girl. She and I bonded over our favorite authors, and together with both Brian and Mary we share a rare humor and a love for Scrabble gone bad. When I think of the two of them, I think LIFE. No matter where we're at, the to-be Team Gleason will always be a part of it. I am so FOR them and look forward to wedding ala Walnut Creek.

As well, this weekend I moved into my new place! On the way to town, I stopped by IKEA and purchased a mattress. They said delivery would take place sometime between 2 and 10...and at 7 pm that night, delivery happened. I tell you, sleeping has never been BETTER!!! It was great unpacking stuff for the first time since CA, and really putting together my new casa. I feel blessed and loved by all the help I the hook-ups from team Miller to better my living room...and by the fact that I'm living underneath a family that chooses to LOVE. Even though I have my own space, and could get away with never seeing them, I want to choose to see them and not take this time for granted. Last night we watched "Grey's Anatomy" together, and then Heather (the mom) helped me put my bed together. I've made my Target and IKEA lists, and in the meantime am drinking my hot bevvies and new coffee pot from Anna and Joe.

A final thought: I had an EPIC conversation with an old and dear friend, Karly, earlier today. In telling her that I can't believe how much I LOVE middle schoolers, here's what she had to say: "Cara, of course you love middle schoolers. You were MADE for middle schoolers. There was no doubt in my mind when you just DIED from those kids doing the Gargling Olympics, that that's who you're supposed to be with...." FYI: the Gargling Olympics might be one of my favorite memories from doing program at FR. She went on to pump up my heart (thanks, Kar!), but it's just GOOD seeing the pieces of the puzzle fit together. YES.

Thursday, October 06, 2005

i'm getting voted off the island

We just rolled in a little while ago from our regional Young Life retreat over on the Kitsap Peninsula in Poulsbo, WA. I loved turning off my cell phone and not having access to la Internet for three makes coming back into "reality" that much more fun. (How I love seeing the Inbox! Checking up on friends' blogs! Listening to voicemail! Ahh, it's the little things I love). But the retreat itself was INCREDIBLE; much of the time I'd sit there thinking, "this is my job?!" Are you kidding me? I've been SET UP to SUCCEED!

So we're sitting at dinner last night, at this cutesy Italian restaurant in the downtown area; about to burst from the brick of 5-cheese lasagna in my stomach, I'm trying to decide whether I should stake out a spot in my favorite public restroom, or continue being social. The social butterfly in me wins out, only soon to be told that I'm going to be one of the first voted off the Young Life Survivor Island! Indeed, while the 27 of us on full-time (mission) staff in the Puget Sound region sat in our Restaurante Italiano, a new game of YL Survivor was hatched. I had high hopes of getting by on my charming personality and loads of witty banter to the final four, but NO! I was told that my snort, instead, got me voted off the island right away! Dreams of being on Survivor ceased....apparently I won't be able to go under the radar, so to speak, in order to win the million dollars. Hopelessly, I have no chance in hell of even winning it among peeps who "get" me because I'd be too hot to handle, too cold to hold. Or so I tell myself. Secretly, I always dreamed of being on Survivor, and imagined (in my frequent bouts of day- dreaming) indeed, letting go of that thing we call "personality," and just flying under the radar...plugging my nose when I felt a snort coming on...walking around with a frown on sometimes to disguise the otherwise "Heck yes I'm glad we haven't taken a shower in 36 days" positive mentality. But apparently it's not going to work.

In all seriousness, the time away was exactly what I needed: I felt encouraged, supported and "ME." I laughed more than I've laughed in a long time and felt understood. I had excellent conversations with all kinds of folks, and - this is random - SO appreciated being in friendship with husbands. I appreciate that I can call many of these male (and married) area directors up here my friends, and that we can have a healthy conversation without the rules and regulations that are sometimes presumed when you talk to someone of the opposite sex who's married. I think it's totally healthy - because I know it was "safe" on both sides - and I appreciated it. (Does that make sense?). Even though I'm not technically an intern, I'm receiving YL Intern training for the next two years, and I'm stoked about learning and growing and getting equipped in this ministry. Josh, Jessica, Josiah and Melissa are already my favorites, and ranging geographically from Olympia up to me, I can't wait to do dinners, making relationships with them a priority this year. We had excellent teaching on the Holy Spirit on Tuesday, and then did a lot of business stuff yesterday....we played card games and games 'round the outdoor fire pit....we ate well and slept little. I went running one morning and saw the TV show, "The Office", thinking it's quite possibly the funniest thing I've seen in awhile (I'm a big fan of the "mock"umentaries, and this one had me rolling). There were intense personal and corporate times with Jesus, and my heart was glad.

I move in two days. Whew. Tonite is back to school night at Mt. Baker Middle School, so Young Life will have a little table there; this will be my first BTSN not as a teacher. I'm heading over to (area director) Shawn and Anna's house right now for a nap, and then it'll be roll time tonite. Hugs.

Saturday, October 01, 2005

MFB is official

All right, a few thoughts. First, I'm a judgmental fool. I know that some Washingtonians wear socks with their sandals...I know I slightly have issues with that, though I'm ignorant to seeing my own "socks with sandals" plank in the eye. Hmm.

Today was another blessing of a day; first, after a fun sleepover with Anna-friend (whose husband Joe was out of town), I drove out to Woodinville to Josh and Brenda's for an MFB adventure. To World Market Josh and I drove, and picked up this: my first bed! I continued to be amazed by the situation as a whole: first, I've been BLESSED with extremely low rent in the new housing sitch down in Auburn, so I'm able to start purchasing some of those "firsts" that I've never had before, like a BED! Then, it continues to amaze me just that the Lord would place in my path and in my life the people that I need right here, right now. It was good talking to Josh about LIFE in's good talking about faith vs. fear. What's the balance between the two? How can I be real about my faith without overdoing it to others who don't believe the same that I do? What's the balance between respecting one's beliefs and desiring to spend ETERNITY with them? Why does FEAR drive me so much sometimes? Why is it so much easier for me to talk to a 13 year old about Jesus than one of my own peers, especially those ones that I have deeply established relationships with? I loved having the convo with Josh and then reading Rob's blog which centered much around that subject...maybe not with as many questions as statements persay, but still good in thinking about faith and fear.

My last thought on this subject is simply this: once I was helping lead and simultaneously speak at a backpacking trip through Kidder Creek. The whole week we talked about 1 we are children of we have nothing to fear...on the way out of the Klamath forest, one young high school girl said that she had had an epiphany of sorts in her beliefs. She came into the week sick of "religion," sick of doing what she was supposed to do and believing what she was supposed to believe. "Fear is not a factor in faith," she finally said. I couldn't get over her profoundly simple statement, yet I can't quite grasp it as much as I'd like to. I'd like to be fearLESS here in Washington, as I step out in this Young Life adventure, yet fear plagues me so much sometimes that I just yearn for the comfort of California. It's a weird balance between the two. Is this what transition's all about?

Finally, many of you have been asking about the upcoming living sitch, so here it is: I'll be moving to Auburn next Saturday, the 8th. (Seattle friends: wanna take a half hour road trip?). I'll be living in the basement apartment of the Koontz family, who are "friends of Young Life." They have three girls, two of which are in college, and then Christy, their youngest, is a senior who's going to help me with Campaigners this year. They have been absolute CHEERLEADERS in this new adventure, and they're actually the family I stayed with when I came up to interview in April. The house itself is in the middle of suburbia, which isn't my personal FAVE, but it's more than perfect for where I'm at right now: all of my Campaigner girls live right there, along with half the 14 and under population of Auburn. (aka: my new peeps). The place has a separate entrance and its own bathroom and kitchen....they're cutting me a deal and I'm going to be able to put some extra money down on school and car loans and other such spending "necessities." This will be the first time to live on my own (though the family is upstairs), so I'm both excited and'll be a good "growing" experience, or so I keep telling myself. :)

There are going to be a lot of "my first's" this year...sometimes I don't really know what to think of it all because the last thing I want (or so I think...) is to be tied down and domesticated. And then I talk about wanting a dog....there's that plank again. Again. Again.

Wednesday, September 28, 2005

the quickest one yet

Quote of the day: "What's life without a latte?" said by this cutie old lady in the Borders' cafe.

Second quick thought: why do Washingtonians wear SOCKS with their SANDALS? I'm talking like Tevas with thick old athletic socks...plastic K-mart specials with tan dress socks. I think the guy in the next chair over thinks I'm checking him out, but really I'm staring at his feet in utter amazement and horror. Gotta love it. I'll let ya'll know when I start wearing the same.

PS: I finally posted the hat night pic and the "we swear we're just friends" pic. Hee hee.

Monday, September 26, 2005

fan favorites...

Let me set the scene: CSI is on in the background. They just chopped off a finger, a dead man's finger, of course. The plot is thickening...the roommates think I'm utterly obsessed with the show, but I think I just like playing it up a little bit. Me, dramatic? Nooooo. I got back from a few minutes with Anna and Joe tonite, to celebrate hat night with the roommates. Here follows a picture of Cara-I-want-sunshine-Mac, Jen-this-hat-just-matches-my-outfit-Baumie, and my Shanoni, aka: God-this-house-is-freezing, the fan favorite. Then there's a pic of Amy and Ryan; hmmm....they're cute and just friends (no comment), though he doubles as our 5th roomie. :) I'll soon be moving down to Auburn, and will dearly miss these girls (and boy), but am excited for the relationships to continue even in welcome-to-suburbia land.

Okay, so I know that my posts generally revolve around the following subjects: middle schoolers, Young Life, missing California, TRB and other such enlightening objects of my affection. True to form, today was my first day at Mt. Baker MS, where I'm starting up/leading work is one of those scary endeavors, no matter how many times you've been out to a school to meet and (hopefully) connect with kids, no matter how old - or young - you are, no matter how "cool" or uncool you perceive yourself to be. Going where kids are at is a fundamental part of this ministry, and as I made my way out to the school today I felt like the biggest geek, loser, nerd, etc., under the sun. I walked into 8th grade lunch, hoping to connect with the staff, ie: LUNCHROOM MONITORS, while I secretly surveyed the scene. What a JOY, a relief to spot my Campaigner girls, and for them to actually ACKNOWLEDGE me in the big, scary lunchroom! Suddenly it wasn't so big and scary anymore, with the girls running up to me, grabbing me to go and meet their friends...I was reminded how much it matters to a kid to simply be be remembered and called by be asked questions because someone actually thinks they're cool. I don't think I've ever been that excited to have set foot in a cafeteria - but what a good place it is.

I was talking to Marshie earlier tonite, and it's rad simply realizing that this is where I'm supposed to be right now...after lunch I went to help in a 6th grade reading class, to again, meet more kids. It was the first time I've been in a classroom since June, when I was the teacher...I wondered if there'd be a power struggle in my own heart. I wondered if I'd yearn to be in that spot again, with a stack full of papers to grade and a classroom of kids looking to me as THE ONE. And even though the kids were cute, and even though I miss the everyday interaction with students, I don't miss the role. This past weekend we had our leader retreat, and I saw how my time in the classroom served to prepare me for such a time as this. I taught two seminars: the developmental stages of middle schoolers, and the theological "why's" of Young Life, how it's not the healthy but the sick who need a doctor. And what an adrenaline rush to teach something I'm passionate about! I'm not ruling out teaching, but I do know that I'm where I'm supposed to be at right now, and that's good. :)

CSI continues. Life continues. TRB, even though I still haven't found many true takers, still continues on this side of the California border.

Thursday, September 22, 2005

i'm lovin' it.

My alarm went off at 5:21 am this morning (I don't believe in setting it at regular, even numbers...if you're going to have to get out of bed, you might as well try and make it fun. 5:21. ooh!). I threw on my quasi J-lo like velour jumpsuit from Old Navs and drove down to Auburn for Campaigners. There at the handicapped table at Starbucks sat leaders Christy, Emily and myself, and then the cutest 8th graders EVER: T, M, N and S, we'll call them. In having them do the "highs" and "lows" of the week with sugar packets (holding the Sweet n LOW...what was your low of the week? Holding the EQUAL, what was your EQUALly amazing high of the week?), I loved M's response: " week was pretty good. I mean, it was good. Yeah, I mean PE is just hard. But it's good. Hey look! (punch) Slug bug orange! So I mean I just didn't have a partner and I was going to have to be with the teacher...but yeah, well, now we're playing football so you don't have to be partners! And I'm really good at it! So yeah, I like PE now. I like football. But yeah. Yeah....." I LOVE IT.

Mr. Sanchez, my counselor in middle school, once told me that the decisions kids make in middle school will affect them the rest of their lives. I'm seeing the truth in that statement. I look at these girls and my heart is tender towards them; they wear their hearts on their sleeves. (It was AWESOME meeting "S" for the first time this morning and then watching her cry as I asked her to tell us all her favorite verse out of the passage we read. Super. Sarcasm there. I MADE HER CRY IN THE MIDDLE OF STARBUCKS! Who am I?!) Middle schoolers are all about identity....they just want to know WHO THEY ARE. They're equally egocentric. They think the grass is ALWAYS greener on the other side. I was reading in a book the other day that toddlers and 12 year olds are quite comparable: they want to be babied, but they desire independence. They're defiant. They fight back. But not too many people write books on the "terrible twelves." They're changing at SUCH a rapid rate, that it can actually HURT for them to sit still for more than 15 minutes. The stuff I'm reading is amazing....of course (and I'm sure my parents can attest to this:), I never went through that stage. They're (mom and dad) the ones who got meaner and more strict and were all of the sudden "so different." Not me. :)

It's good to know that I'm right where I'm supposed to be. After Campaigners (which is like a small group for kids who just want to dig a little deeper...), I drove the girls to school, and indeed, with finger puppets on hands and the pig-snout hat I "borrowed" from Frontier Ranch, we drove to school, dancing in the car. It was awesome. I still felt bad that I made "S" cry, but she gave me a hug when we parted, and I assume that's a good sign. Good times. I'm lovin' it.

Monday, September 19, 2005

2 quick shots of LUV

First, CONGRATS to Josh and Brenda who tied the knot on was a beautiful, intimate wedding of friends, and I was stoked to be quite possibly the first female usher in North America. Mmm. Good times. The wedding was held at the Arboretum in was small and personable, and best man Aaron delivered an EPIC toast to the new bride and groom. They're now married in Maui for the week...and speaking of, "mauied in Maui" is one of those stupid phrases that never gets old. I hope they buy the shirt.

And, just to prove my princess worthiness, this picture needs to be posted as an addendum to last week's "I'm a princess" blog. It's noteworthy, for sure. Thanks new roommies.

It's work at home day, so I'm off to read my fun book about middle schoolers, "Not Much, Just Chillin'" at a coffee shop, then I'll be scouting a bocce ball tournament at the Redhook Brewery in Woodinville for YL this afternoon. It's a hard knock life for me....

Friday, September 16, 2005

proud mary keep on burning...and other such ramblings

Oh the joys of looking for a place to live...this afternoon I picked up YL girl Christy and took her with me to look at a place on Tapps Island for rent. Eccentric near-70 year old Mary met us in the driveway, dressed completely in go-big-blue Friday teacher attire. The place itself is B-E-A-utiful...and it'd be another lake location, which continues to up the "epic-ness" of Washington. The water sits 30 feet in front of me, and I'd have the whole basement to myself. Still a basement, this would differ from the current Hobbit Hole location in that it a) doesn't smell like basement, b) doesn't have little creatures running around in the night, and c) doesn't have cute roommates (sad...) but a loveable Mary instead. But the question remains: is the Mare-dog going to be too much to handle? Is she too much Mary? I'm looking at a couple more places next week, but if I did join this place, I'd have the instant three "b's" added to my social life: Bingo, Bunko and Book Club. No joke. :)

More fun: last night Mt. Hermon turned-WA-transplant friends Patrick and Vander (and Liz and Phil) and I got to DO THE PUYALLUP, aka: the Western Washington State Fair. "You can do it with a trot, you can do it with a can do it till your heart just palpitates...just don't be late...DO THE PUYALLUP!" Indeed, Patrick and I got to work the Young Life teriyaki booth last night, ringing up the meal-of-a-deal with our new Central City (ie: inner-city Tacoma) friends. Granted, we chose to "do the Puyallup" by working at a food booth and thus get in free and score the forementioned meal, but I was amazed even by the number of LOCALS who chose to pay a 10 dollar entrance fee, buy a 10 dollar meal, all to come in and spend more money on ugly oversized stuffed frogs and the like in fair memorabilia. Maybe I just still have some getting used to do of the Northwest again, but is this always what the fair's been like? Is it THE place to be seen in the Pacific Northwest? (Don't get me wrong...we had fun...I enjoyed watching Patrick put up with my stupid comments toward complete well, I loved the free chocolate milk samples and "pick your favorite carnie" game...).

So finally, tomorrow is dear ones Josh and Brenda's wedding; as I sat across the table from the two of them tonite, I was overcome by a combination of amazement, joy, gratitude and warmth. It's rare to have buddies who have walked through many different life stages and still chosen to, well, walk alongside you. It was fun remembering back to our 8th grade days, and then to think that tomorrow Josh is going to be a husband and someday a DAD....and what a JOY it's going to continue to be to walk alongside the two of them! You know when you just SO believe in a person that it simply OOZES out of you? So good, so so good.

It's good to choose to see the's good to choose to live in the's good to run with what's in front of us instead of dwelling on what we left behind or what the unknown has yet to present. Good. Good.

Monday, September 12, 2005

i'm a princess

"Princess" was always my dad's nickname for me...yes, though I swear I'm not that high-maitenance. Well, to make a long story short, I headed down to Santa Cruz for Scott and Shelley's wedding. Wow. It (the wedding) was beautiful, amazing...and beautiful, amazing were dear ones Mr. and Mrs. Pimental, especially his Michael Jackson-like skills on the dance floor. Excellent conversations were had with "date" Laurel on the drive to and from Monterey, and then at the wedding itself. I got to play catch-up with a hot group of table dates that included the Kimball's, the Nell's, Kristin and Justin, Susie M, and Laurel (and also the Cabanillas', the McWilliams' and the Glovers' at another table). Among a highlight was talking with Dan about the church; I admire his intellectual pursuit and passionate depth of and for Jesus. It spurs me on and excites my heart. And I call him my friend and that makes my heart happy. In talking about different denominations, women in ministry and the "viz" of post-modern churches (Vintage included), I continued to be encouraged that the Lord knows my heart and he knows exactly what I need, right now and 10 years down the road. As well, I was like OH...I'm home...but that's where an even bigger ellipses comes in because I'm not home - I'm just visiting.

So after seeing such fine folks as Amy and Kaylin, the beautiful roommates, Angela, SEP and Robbie, Carrie and Jerry, Brian and Mary (and Hillside Cov!), Josh and Danielle, BIANCA, COPEY, Holly Ann again, some Mission Springers' and some OSSers' (and am I forgetting anyone ?!), my heart felt FILLED. It wasn't until Copey and I started driving over 17 that I felt it coming on again...and my heart continued to continued to NOT understand why I can't be there when that's the community and the people whom I love. I don't understand how or why I've become an "emotional being" since finding my heart in the last 6 months, but I'm glad I've found the freedom to just let my heart FEEL, even if I'm not able to portray this happy Cara that I think I should be being all the time. Mmm.

The princess part: I got back to my house...back to the Hobbit Hole. :) After another hard sad bout with Anna, she and I headed over to Brenda's to eat Thai food, watch CRASH (wow!), and put together programs for their wedding weekend. Upon getting lost twice on the way home, roommate Jen finally called at 10:40 to see where I was. Lost, of course. Well, I get home and the roommates (and quasi roommate, Ryan), are all sitting in the front room waiting for me. Seated in the place of honor, I experienced pure WARMTH as they handed me a bag filled with "we love're home...feel better" goodies. I pulled out a fabulous thick pink boa...a PRINCESS crown...a stuffed dog that comes in its own carrying purse (think: Legally Blonde meets your new Middle School area director in Auburn:)...boa pens...candles...and knitting sticks for each one of us, with yarn. I was blessed. I knew at that moment that that was exactly where I was supposed to be.

And I went to bed happy that indeed, as people have prayed for me for, that I would continue to see those little glimpses of Jesus' grace even in the midst of not understanding all the how's and why's of transition. I'm learning out to take baby steps. I'm not looking at this with years ahead but simply with days and months, and in the mean time, I'm a princess, wearing the pink boa as we speak. :)

Thursday, September 08, 2005


With this post's title, I know it has the possibilities to be just that: a SUPER FLY, super duper hip hop happening post. But no, it's not. Yesterday was attack of the killer fly day. Last night, as I sat on the loveseat in my hobbit hole, minding my own business, reading a book, I hear the annoying pesky buzzing of a fly. I look up and I don't see a little fruit fly...I don't even see a regular house, I see a fly the size of a small country. And this thing buzzed around like he owned the place. Well, I may be eco-savvy, but not enough so that I'm going to let him rule the mountain; with book in hand, I approached the little (big!) bugger and swatted (is that a word?) my heart out. Instead of the Lord of the Flies falling to his death, crusty chunks of the hobbit hole ceiling come down upon my make-shift pile-o-blankets bed. I watch his every move, and again he lands, and again I swat...and again, though I can't see him, the buzzing continues, then it dies down. Oh, he chose to die in peace, in the opposite corner of the room, I think to myself. Suddenly the buzzing starts up again, and as I look out of the corner of my right eye, I see him approaching, going straight towards my face! It was no turning back: he flew RIGHT into me, and I'm just like DEATH BY SICK NASTY FLY DISEASE! No, I can't die like this! I swat the air violently, knocking off my glasses, hoping that he's not getting tangled in the rat's nest ponytail of hair.

And that was the end of it; I know, rather anti-climatic, but I wonder if that was his last battle. He fought the good fight. He ran the race. And in the end he wasn't going down without a fight. My face suffered the wrath of Superfly. So the question remains: like the biscotti worms that now infest my digestive track, will the fly puke/guts/poop/EGGS now infest my face? It makes me shiver just to think about it....advice?

Monday, September 05, 2005

a quick shout out

My little sis, Aleah, is now stationed with the Navy in Italy for the next three years. I thought everyone might enjoy a pic of her and her new boyfriend; as she said, "he's a little skinny, but he's sweet..." (Might we be from the same family?). hugs o-le-o.

Sunday, September 04, 2005

i am blessed

Let me paint a picture for you: Dirty Dancing is currently playing on TV. Holly Ann is sitting to my left on the comfiest couch in America. I am still crazy for Swayze. This morning I woke up to the text message ringer with a most fabulous Bubblemint text...without fully understanding the WHY of the whole situation, as I lay there in bed, I started thinking about who the text was from, and it got my heart all giddy in an I AM BLESSED sort of way. Immediately recent pictures of BLESSINGS started popping into mind...immediately I started hearing Ben Harper's "I am blessed..." over and over again in my mind.

Later, Holly and I went to church at Illuminate, where Danny works. Though late from a coffee run and a lost episode in Kirkland, our attention was soon grabbed by Mike, the pastor of Illuminate. First he asked the epic question, "who's calling the shots in your life?" It made me think. "Prudence, wisdom and comfort all say that YOU call the shots..." So, where are you? Where am I? Later on, in talking through Genesis, he spoke of chapter 12 with Abraham when he is told that he will be made into a blessing to others... Yet "no blessing is so great that I can't find something to complain about." (Again, from Mike).

What a day of hearing Jesus speak to my heart, right where it needed to be spoken wasn't until sipping a vanilla tea at Zoka's with Amanda and Holly that the I AM BLESSED morning came together. Wow. What a picture of His glimpses of grace towards just a little me. So, to follow: part of Harper's song and a couple of those pictures of blessings to my heart.

I am blessed
I am blessed
I am blessed
I am blessed
I am blessed
I am blessed
I am blessed to be a witness

So much sorrow and pain
Still I will not live in vain
Like good questions never asked
Is wisdom wasted on the past
Only by the grace of God go I

An I AM BLESSED picture of grace through the years (Josh and Aaron).

An I AM BLESSED picture of Hannah Grace's world in Greece.

Thursday, September 01, 2005

random musings

Random musing #1: I've been found out. Indeed, you can't teach an old dog new tricks. Now I don't know if that's the particular phrase I'm looking for, but I can't pull any tried and true tricks on my old friends! Josh just called me on it last night...there's nothing like knowing someone for almost 15 years to realize that they know you (and you know them!) better than you'd like to admit. So to Josh and Aaron: admittantly, I've got to find some new trickster moves. And question #1, what are these TRICKS I pull on you, my friends?

Random musing #2: TRB for one. It just doesn't sound right, and that's right, folks, it's not right! TRB (quick review: tofu, rice, broccoli and a silent-"S" for spinach) should not be eaten alone. Last night I thought I'd surprise the roomies and make it for them, but alas, the roomies decided to surprise me and not be home. (I suppose I should check with them first...). BUT, looking at life with the glass half FULL, I ate TRB and saw that it was good. :) Question #2: when are you coming over for TRB, friends?

Random musing #3: Orbitz Bubblemint gum helps you make friends. Props to Anna HA who turned me on to the delectable chewer. Yesterday, while stocking up on TRB essentials, I also made a new friend at the grocery store. The checker said he hadn't seen a bubble blown that big in years. "How many pieces do you have in your mouth?" "Oh, just one." "Wow." "Yeah." "So that's pretty good gum?" (Okay, we take the hint here...). "Why yes: Orbitz Bubblemint is the best! Want a piece?" (And I hold up the Bubblemint like Vanna). He popped it in his mouth and chewed his little heart out. Go Bubblemint.

Random musing #4: "Patty Whale." So Mel and I joined Bally's the other day; much to the chagrin of our own fit-savvy selves (???), we took up the offer for two free personal trainer sessions. In walks "Patty Whale"; names have been changed to protect the innocent, but "Patty's" first name was rather effeminate, which resulted in confused embarrassment as I stepped onto the scale for the first time in a couple of years and repeated to him my weight. His last name was rather fish-like, and really when you put the two of them together, it sounded more like a secret Trekkie, Star Wars or porn-star name. (Have you ever gotten one of those figure-out-your-name emails?). But as Patty Whale was quick to inform me, I'll soon become a crippled old woman if I don't up the flexibility. In walks the 20-minute Pilates video this morning. :)

Random musing #5: Jesus and Green Lake. As I've been reading lately, Seattle is the largest city with the ratio of checking "NONE" on religion in the country. But man, I'm just having some great convos and journaling with JC in front of the lake. I'm loving the current sunshine once again, my new pink and green journal (love the Angela!), my red sittie chair, the book IF YOU WILL ASK by Oswald Chambers (EPIC on prayer!!!), and the view of the greens and blues. Amazing.

Finally, random musing #6: oh please, please, please can I get a dog? This is where I need insight. I need advice. I need help. And I need a dog. Upon moving down to Auburn in a couple of months, I'm SERIOUSLY toying with the idea of getting a dog. I'll be by myself in the little grandma cottage. Dogs are the cutest. But I can't even keep a plant alive, so will I be able to take care of another BEING? It might require me to stay home on the that possible? Will this ruin the future social life, or will it open up doors of possibilities like Bubblemint gum? Before you say yes or no on this final question, just look at the fabulous pics of ZEKE, Brenda and Josh's dog, and me, and then make your final answer...

Sunday, August 28, 2005

I feel like a (sad) seattle-ite.

When will the transition be over? That's my first question. This weekend was filled with so many "greats": a BBQ at Josh and Brenda's, white chocolate americanos at Zoka's, email time, a rad concert last night, church for the first time since I left SC, Sunday night potluck at Nick and Carina's tonite, runs around Greenlake, getting lost in the city, a Target and grocery store run, a fab convo over green tea with Mel...and in the midst of all those, I felt like a true Seattle-ite for the first time last night and then again tonite. First, the SHIM concert last night was AWESOME...I felt like I was back in the garage band days of Keizer, OR 97303, with the best of in northwest alternative at my listening fingertips. Held at the Liquid Lounge in Seattle's EMP, it was an epic location...and I was like, ooh, I'm in the grunge capital of the world. I'm back to my roots. I love it. Then tonite, upon chilling at Nick and Carina's, catching up with old friends and making connections with new, the rain first Seattle rain. My first thought? Dear's August, and it's raining. But it was beautiful. And I (again) felt like a Seattle-ite.

But that's where the "but" comes in: I still have a hard time being a Seattle-ite. I love it...and I hate it. It was the best of times and it was the worst of times. I don't want to have to put myself out there...I want to be where I'm comfortable and I walk into the Cheers' bar and everybody knows my name. I don't want to get lost three times in one day, just to have to get to know the streets. I want to be on top of it...I want to know my job...I want to have a plethora of kids and leaders to just love on and meet with so can fulfill my relational "duties"...I want to feel important and useful...but in the midst of all these "wants," I realize that unless I'm forced out of my comfort zone and stripped of all these secondary things I deem necessary, I'm going to stay stagnant and complacent. I'm not going to grow...and I need to grow.

So the biggest lesson I'm learning is simply that I need to BE instead of DO. And my life in Santa Cruz, though significant to my heart and growth, was a lot about doing. So that's why Seattle is a good thing because it's forcing me to least that's what I'm trying to tell myself. That's all I've got right now...but it's's good...I'm letting myself feel and be given grace...

Thursday, August 25, 2005


It's not everyday that in a girl's life she gets offered 6 free tickets to a John Fogerty and John Mellencamp concert...
it's not everyday that she gets to hang out with five new Washington friends: the roomies - Jen, Shannon and Amy - Vander and Ryan (okay fine, minus the Baum, whom I've loved since I scared her day 1 at PLU...)...
it's not everyday that we get to sing along to Creedance Clearwater hits while doing motions like we're live at a Young Life club...
it's not everyday that we get to ride in Vander's hoopty-fun minivan and watch his pro "it's okay...I back up ambulances" skills into a spot fit for a miniCOOP...
it's not everyday that we get to watch Fogerty do the old man dance and Mellencamp gyrate his pelvis while he yanks his pants up every 25 seconds...
it's not everyday that we get to hang out at the BEST OF in Auburn, WA...I mean, don't get me wrong, Auburn is slowly becoming my turf, but the White River Amphitheater was one to remember....
finally, it's not everyday that you get to sniff the air and then simultaneously hear "the coug," aka: Mellencamp say, "what's that smell? Ammonia? No that's more than ammonia, that's anmonia and chicken shit. I know that smell - I used to live on a farm. Couldn't they have waited a couple of days?" Oh Coug...

Indeed, it was a night to remember, so thanks anonymous Annie for the free hook-ups...though I don't think it was the point, I haven't laughed so hard in quite a while. :)

Tuesday, August 23, 2005

two words

Friends, I have two words for you: THE COUG. Courtesy of my favorite area director in America, we just scored 6 free tickets to the John (no longer "Cougar") Mellancamp concert at White River Amphitheater tomorrow night. The new roomies and I are going to practice our Jack and Diane skills all day to come. Stories to be had, for sure. Go Coug.

Monday, August 22, 2005


It's 3:03 pm....yesterday at this time dear buddy Aaron and I were starting our near 8 hour jaunt back from Keizer to Seattle. While in the car, quite a bit of good thinking time was had...and in thinking about what TODAY would bring, I thought about what I was most excited about in this land called Washington, and what I missed the most about the land called California.

MFD. My First Date!....with a Young Life kid. :) Ha ha, I know some of you just got SO excited that I may have actually gone on a real live date with a real live boy over the age of....well, eligible. :) Nope. There's nothing like this heartfelt glee feeling when a kid calls you for the first time and wants to hang out on their time, and on their turf. I love it. So my 13 year old buddy Nicole and I just went to Starbucks for some frappuccino fun, and then went to her house to see her lime-green room and talk about Napoleon Dynamite. My first date. 13 going on 30?

TRB. Tofu, Rice and Broccoli (and spinach in parenthesis). Roommates of America, I am TRYING my hardest to convert the masses of the west coast to the delightful experience of TRB, but so far, few and far between are the takers. Now for those of you who have never experienced the Monday night fun, not only is the grub de-lish, but it's a whole body experience. (Scotty G, would you attest to this?). So friends, I desire for the whole world to delight in TRB...but like every other lesson I'm learning right now, it takes time...patience is a virtue, etc etc.

Tell me your favorite acronym of the day. love CHM.

Thursday, August 18, 2005

down with biscotti

This morning, upon getting to the YL office, I thought it'd be a brilliant idea to try and figure out how to work the espresso took me awhile, but as a former Starbucks barista, I wasn't completely ignorant of the task at hand. Despite an explosion, smoke, and a shot that looked like dirty polluted water, the second shot was a success; I rummage through the cupboards and even find a box of biscotti to go with my coffee!

While manning the desk for a little bit, I coffee and biscotti it up. As I'm about halfway through the biscotti, dip, eat, drink, dip, eat, drink, I notice that there's still some coffee left on the biscotti. It looks almost like cream got clumped biggie, that happens to biscotti. Yes, biggie, it was a little WORM!!!!!! EWWW!!! I spit it out as fast as I could and threw the biscotti across the room. I ran into the bathroom and started spitting and rinsing out my mouth as fast as humanly possible. Are you kidding me?! Mini worms in biscotti?! SICK! Or as my friend Hannah would say, STUPID.... (I love you, Hannah).

I don't know if I'll ever a) eat again, or b) (and more importantly) have coffee and biscotti ever again. I shudder just thinking about it. How many worms now crawl inside my body? Why is it that whenever anything slightly touches or brushes up against me, I jump and almost wet myself wondering if it's one of those disgusting little worms. I may have worked at camp where little smokies and mini tacos were a staple item but worms? Worms are altogether too much.

PS: Live. Love. Laugh. :)

Monday, August 15, 2005

adventures in shaniko, ho ho

Shaniko: population 19 peeps. Shaniko: where their very own mayor was murdered a year ago. Awesome. Shaniko: used to be home to 3000 Oregonians in which WOOL was their export item of choice, but the town burned down one too many times. Shaniko: where bus #3 with 48 YL kids and leaders from Auburn, WA hung out for 3 hours yesterday afternoon while we waited for a new bus to arrive. YEE HAW!!

After a FANTASTIC five days at Wildhorse Canyon, precious old man Bob the bus driver arrived at camp with his hoopty bus. In obvious comparison to the two other Auburn buses, it was a little older, a little more "loved," but hey, maybe it was Bob's baby. You never know. Less than 10 minutes after leaving camp, the bus overheats and we pull to the side of the road. Bob is sad. We get started again, and it overheats again. Bob gets mad. We start up again (are you seeing the pattern?), and now Bob starts cussing. After putting more water in to hopefully cool it down, five overheating times later, it overheats for good and the starter dies. We pull to the side of the road in high desert Oregon...taking up one of the two lanes, kids shuffle off the bus and try to smoosh in the shade of the sick mobile. Bob hangs his head in shame. He really is a precious old man. Finally, with Bus #1 out of site, out of orbit, bus #2 drops their kids off in Shaniko, comes back and picks up our kids, drops us off in Shaniko and takes its original passengers to Auburn. We are left in Shaniko (insert again, population: 19 peeps) to chill while the bus company sends another NEW bus down from Yakima.

Among the highlights: the icecream and hotdog parlor (ewww...lethal combination!) that threatened to close as they saw hoards of junior high kids coming their way. The Texaco gas station. All the fake western storefronts that Shaniko uses for their festival days in early August every year. The seasonal antique stores [there were at least 3 of them!] selling $1 off back-to-school t-shirts! And finally: Dan the man.

Dan was one of the shop owners who sat in front of his store in his wheelchair. Quickly he caught the kids' attention with his witty stories and "funny" jokes. Slowly Dan wheels out to the middle of the street and then BAM!!!, he pulls out his pistol with blanks and fires into the air. ARE YOU KIDDING ME? Kids are screaming and running wild and giggling nervously and BEGGING him to shoot again; the other leaders and I are just thinking, dear god, this is the end of our ministry, of our lives, as we know it. So Dan became Mr. Popular and I take a picture of every kid posing with him and his pistol. Can't you just hear the stories the kids will tell their parents upon getting home? "Yeah, we went to this old ghost town...we ate hotdogs and icecream for lunch....then this guy went and shot at us..." "HE SHOT AT YOU?!" "Well yeah mom, but it was COOL! Look, he even let me keep the blank as a souvenir!"

So, it was a great week...some kids came to Jesus...I hung out with my 13 year old friends and got to know some super cool leaders...I went on a 1/4 mile long zipline, swam and played in the pool, had amazing one-on-ones, and didn't even wet my pants jumping off the pamper pull. Dan the man got to show off his Shaniko Days' firing skills and Bob got to drive us home. Bob was happy. What a day. What a week. What an adventure. :)

Tuesday, August 09, 2005

the new "schedule"

Well, I just finished day two of my new job...I can't believe this is my job, that I'm blessed and believed in enough to simply DO young life full time. For starters, here was today's "schedule":

*7:07: wake up, take shower to meet ANNA HALL ANDERSON!
*7:45: coffee at Zoka's in Seattle with Anna...get coffee and scones, walk around Greenlake.
*8:30ish: drive to work
*9:15ish: arrive at work and set up more pics and books in office
*9:30ish-10:30ish: have a meeting with new boss Shawn, admin Ginger and parttimer Kim, discuss CAMP
10:30ish-11:45ish: play on Internet looking for books on middle school kids and reading up on the YL website for resources
noon: meet HS girl Christy for Starbucks...we're leading a cabin together at Wildhorse tomorrow.
1ish: go to Fred Meyer's, Walmart and the dollar store with Christy to find stuff for kids at camp. We bought kids' goggles and water wings; we're going to look hot.
2ish: head back to the office...write thank you cards and chat with Anna, Shawn's wife. Cool girl.

And then I went home....ran around Greenlake...ate white cheddar shells...watched There's Something About Mary...laughed...chatted with fabulous roomie Jen. It's hard not to want my schedule all laid out, like I was so used to with teaching, but it's GOOD. Upon meeting almost 140 kids and leaders tomorrow AM at 6:30, that's when the real fun is going to start. We head to YL's Wildhorse Canyon down in Oregon and will be back on Sunday. Until then, all hail the green and white, everyday. (Green and's).

Finally, here are some pics from last night. We had SUCH a fun dessert time pretending like we were our very own MIX/Coldstone....Danny, Aaron, Josh and Brenda and Jen and I hung out. It's epic to me because all my different worlds come together in community (ie: high school, PLU, Santa Cruz...all in Seattle now). It's a glimpse of heaven. The hot dog - that's Zeke, Brenda and Josh's 4 month old mastiff puppy. Hot stuff.