living. loving. laughing.

living.  loving.  laughing.

Sunday, July 31, 2005

a cockroach and a wedding


Not that the two go together, but here's a recap of the past 48 hours:

*Friday night I said good-bye to life at the Oak...at the start of my talk that night, I look up to the back row and see two of the staffers violently swatting the air, pointing near my feet. Indeed, a cockroach the size of a small country had landed on Bree's chest and was now resting at my feet. With hoards (all 23 of them...) of bug-excited junior highers crowding 'round the creature, we picked him (her?) up on my bible and dumped him in the bushes. Nothing like a good ole cockroach to start off the night. :)

*I just got back from a 24 hour and 45 minute jaunt up to Portland for Mindy and Jonathan's wedding. It was fabulous, chill, endearing, special, sunny, croquet-y and rad meeting all the people in her life that I've heard about for ages but haven't ever really been around. Mindy and I have a different-duck kind of friendship: we met 9 years ago while on work crew at Malibu and didn't really start becoming good friends until our freshman year of college when we discovered email...then she started getting free phone calls as a campus operator...then we discovered night-time minutes on Sprint! With that said, we've never lived in the same place, but she is a soul sister. Love her. Love Jonathan. Love team Haidle.

*This is the last week of Scotts Valley, CA 95066! I speak at Frontier Ranch tonite through Friday night, then on Saturday it's to WA we go! love to all!

Friday, July 29, 2005

a night uniquely wild oak's

Ahh...the days are long and the nights are short. Camp. You gotta love it. I can't believe that the week is almost over; it honestly has been such a highlight of the summer. I love, love, love that my job this week is simply to hang out with kids. The fun part is that, though they don't have a choice, they seem to not mind hanging out with me as well. :) Although I'm rather out of touch with the rest of the world, it has been a week of extreme relationships at the Oak and I feel entirely blessed.

Tonite was gospel night, and to be honest, a range of emotions were going through my head. Stemming from a rad conversation with one such S. Gullick this morning, I continued to question and wonder my role in tonite as a whole. "Gospel night" is always hard for me to swallow; having been around camps so much, the last thing I want is for my own heart to be stale, reciting rote information of Christ's death and resurrection, while kids respond to a mere emotional, once-a-year "serious night" appeal.

Today at Lulu's, I felt like I knew what the Lord had put on my heart to speak about....and good time talking to my Jesus was had...and I was feeling prepared.... We had a phenomenal Q & A time beforehand, and then it was time for the night as a whole. And it was weird because my talk came and went, and I remember just feeling like I didn't "have" the kids...I felt like it just wasn't working on my end, like I was stumbling over my words...then Clippy came on to give his testimony, and in complete Wild Oak style, it was a package deal. It made sense. Every word that came out of his mouth was exactly what needed to be said to complete and fill in the gaps that hadn't happened five minutes prior...right afterwards the kids just sat in silence for awhile, some on the field and some in the campfire pit. B played a bit, then I spoke a little more and felt like I finally CAME ALIVE....we read part of Romans 8, and I then saw that it was a beautiful night, even though it didn't turn out or end up looking like I thought it would.

I want to be so attentive to what's supposed to happen with Jesus and these kids...I know that it's easy for my own confidence and insecurities to be attacked...I own it's easy for me to get caught up in simply being liked and wanting to hear, "you're such a good speaker!" I don't want these talks, these relationships, this LIFE to be about ME....I want it to be about Jesus, but I sure have a hard time getting there.

Tomorrow is sleep in morning, then we go to hang out at the beach all day...really, life doesn't get much better...or more unpredictable...or more laid-back and hang out than this...

Monday, July 25, 2005

camp, camp, camp, Part II

I'm at camp again....man, I love it. As usual. :) This week I'll be hanging out at Wild Oak (which is part of Mission Springs: www.missionsprings.com ) speaking to a fabulously small and intensely personal group of 23 junior highers. There are 18 guys and 5 girls...LOVE IT! Because WO is so relational, much of the week's emphasis is simply hanging out and building relationships with kids. Some quick highlights:

*synchronized swimming in the pool today with the ladies
*quasi baseball with real human moving bases, a noodle bat and a beachball-ball...in el water.
*a FABULOUS staff.
*Bianca Jane, the director and my dear friend.
*Coffee Cat coconut americanos with room in the morning. Some things never change. :)
*skinboarding-falling contests. Whoever biffs it the best wins. (Side note: I've apparently entered the "I'm not cool anymore" group. "Biffing it" is so 1980's. :)
*Campfire tonite at the beach; we talked about how God is our father and our creator...and reading Psalm 139 by the light of the campfire was magical with the waves crashing in the background.

Thanks for reading up...if you pray, pray for kids' hearts this week! Thanks!

Friday, July 22, 2005

for the love of sweat, dirt, friendships and sulfer



I love backpacking. I love the forest. I love rainforests called Big Sur when it rains and we've forgotten to check the weather forecast. Hollie, Jenny and I just got back from our quick 2-day (plans changed...), 10 miles in, 10 miles out excursion in the Ventana Wilderness. It was AWESOME. It started drizzling when we were about 5 miles in yesterday, but we thought, oh, no big deal...by the time we arrived at Sykes Hot Springs it was FULLY raining, though the overhang of trees caught most of the droplets. We were real-life playing the Oregon Trail game (anyone??!!...4th grade:), forging across the river to our campsite. We quickly set up, then trekked to the HOT SPRINGS. Insert sulfer smell, naked friends and rock-slippery slopes and you've got an ideal picture of our encounter. Luckily there was more than one spring to sit in, so the three of us had an epic couple of hours in our own little 100-degree pool. My favorite feeling was simply sitting back on the sand bags (ahhh...), as water droplets fell on our faces.

Dinner last night was DELICIOUS: chili, bisquits and tang. I think I'm still feeling the effects, but you've got to admit that EVERYTHING tastes better when you're camping. Good convos were had, then we played gin rummy and got our butts kicked by J-doan and were asleep by 9:30. :) Finally, this morning we again ate (key theme while camping), and it was gourmet dining to be sure: eggs in a carton, "meat-free, cholesterol-free, soy-protein sausage GIMME SOMEs!", potatoes, Emergen-C and hot chocolate! The hike out today was hard, being that we had just hiked in less than 24 hours before. It was hot, the blisters abound on my feets as do the bruises on my hips from the backpack, but it was WELL WORTH IT and I'm proud of us. :)

That's about it; Sarahpowell and I are having a campout in her backyard tonite, so I must get ready one more time for camp-fest 2005! Backyard campout, anyone else? Sign me up!

Tuesday, July 19, 2005

The 4-ingredient cookbook

I've been stationed in front of my laptop for two days now (trying) to work on my talks for camp the next two weeks. Around and in front of me are various items: a (now empty...yum!) popcorn bowl, Yancey's Soul Survivor, three decks of cards scattered about, today's paper, Shelley's wedding invitation, Sunday's paper, Searching for God Knows What, The Good Earth, receipts to be put in the checkbook, speaking schedules, pens, a Tinkerbell frame missing Tink's head, Tink's head, superglue and four cookbooks. It's organized chaos at its finest, that's for certain. :)

In college there were a couple Christmas' in a row in which my mom decided to "encourage" me in my cooking endeavors. First there was America: the Vegetarian Table (this was the really nice, go big or go home veggie-eaters cookbook); then came Almost Vegetarian (follow my eating life through college...we now started eating fish and chicken); finally, after she realized that I still wasn't cracking any of the books open, came THE 4-INGREDIENT COOKBOOK. We're talking back to the basics, folks. For instance: dirty rice. White rice, margarine, onion soup and beef bouillon. Tada! DIRTY RICE! (You gotta love that that's the page I just turned to...:).

With that said, these cookbooks sit in front of me to remind me of simplicity. I yearn to be reminded to get back to the basics. Following Miller's prompting in his book, I'm trying to remind myself that my relationship with Jesus is about just that: a relationship with Jesus. It's not about a method, formula, recipe, assignment, check-off list or anything else I start to make spiritual or religious. So as I sit here for what seems to be the longest laptop session in America, I'm reminded that I am simply to BE. It doesn't even take four steps to get there.

PS: Tomorrow favorites Hollie W and J-doan and I are going backpacking for three days down in Big Sur. Big Sur is Big Beautiful...check it out: http://www.bigsurcalifornia.org/camping.html.

Sunday, July 17, 2005

I'd choose willy wonka, mom....


Last night a fun group of us went and saw CHARLIE AND THE CHOCOLATE FACTORY. Now, despite critics' warnings as one of the darkest films of the year (and so on), I loved it! Yes, it was slightly dark, slightly twisted and definitely Tim Burton-esque, but it brought me back to my childhood, making me giggle and snort and dream of playing in the land of edible flowers, rivers and grass. I yearned to be good little Charlie, who's one day sitting there eating his cabbage soup with his four grandparents (all crippled in bed) and his ma and his pa, dreaming of what it's like on "the inside," who three Willy Wonka chocolate bars later is ushered into the secret empire of the unknown.

As the movie came to a close, Charlie is given the option to either go and live with Willy Wonka by himself in the big ole' factory, or stay with his family. As we see Charlie (quickly) ponder his options and deliver the heartfelt family-first monologue, a loud whisper from cute little Henry VP is heard behind me: sitting on Kristi's lap, he says, "I'd choose Willy Wonka, mom." We're all slightly appalled, yet laughing at his comical boldness. Did he not get the message? Does he not understand that all the chocolate in the world is nothing in comparison to having a family whom he loves and who loves him in return? You see the family who thrives on competitiveness....the family who lets their child run wild, without boundaries....there's the family who spoils the child incessantly: "but I want my own squirrel, Daddy!"...and the family who lets the child thrive on the excessive, only to be sucked up the tube to have the Oompa Loompas sing a song about him. And then there's Charlie and his fam: they have nothing, yet they have everything. And that means more to him than all the chocolate in the world.

"...but I'd take the family along too." In the midst of my ramblings, Henry spoke up again, and he chose the best of both worlds: Willy AND his family. Of course he's got his priorities straight, and of course he can choose both! So can we have both? Can we have everything our heart desires and choose our family too? I think it's a hard balance, and I think for a long time I chose "Willy" over my family. It was much easier to involve myself with every activity under the sun than stay at home on a (god forbid) Friday night and hang out with the fam. My younger brother and sister said they always learned from my mistakes, so they learned to -for instance- communicate with our parents, taking the time to have a conversation every now and then. Now here I am, moving back to the Northwest in less than 3 weeks, 9 hours closer to my parents than I have been in SC (though brother Brandon and Melissa are in Hawaii for the next two years, and sis Aleah's in ITALY for the next three...). Who am I going to choose, Mom?

PS: Johnny Depp, once again, delivered the bacon. (Can one deliver the bacon? What's the phrase?) Regardless, he butchered the fakin-bacon and brought it on home...to his family, no less. :)

Wednesday, July 13, 2005

I used to like Ebay...two days ago.

Ebay is the devil. The background: I'm moving to WA in 3 1/2 weeks and I need to buy a bike rack for my saucy garage sale beach cruiser (because I'll definitely need that in Auburn!), and my GI Joe's 1997 mountain bike special. I check out REI. Oh, way too expensive. Bennett-friend emails me some ebay bike rack specials; well that seems like a good idea, I think to myself. So I join Ebay....and it goes downhill from there. Instead of using my noggin to realize that by bidding on two bike racks I might just WIN two bike racks, I don't. I get so excited about this new-found bidding passion. $31. Congrats, you're the highest bidder! Then the discouraging email comes: YOU'VE BEEN OUTBID. So I bid again...and again...and again...and I get home from working out today to realize that I've got LESS THAN FIVE MINUTES on bid #1, and I'm losing! Be the highest bidder, Cara. Come on, you can do it! So what do I do? $46 later, I bid again, and I win! But then I remember: I'm already winning another $36 bike rack.

Help, help me Rhonda, help, help me Rhonda! I don't want or need two bike racks, yet according to the world of Ebay, I'm in a binding contract! Is anyone out there Ebay-licious? Can you unbid from an Ebay bid? I just might not be able to show my face on Ebay again...how do I get out of this? I have less than 12 hours! (PS: I think I changed the settings so that ANYONE can comment; you don't have to be a blogger member...tell me if that's true, kids).

Tuesday, July 12, 2005

the fake chanels and the 101 (according to yesterday's post)


Why I'm NOT jesus...some thoughts on a road trip

This past weekend my trusty Jetta sidekick, Raul, and I traveled down the 101 to LA together. Thinking that I'd make perfect time if I left Santa Cruz around 10:30, off I went...and promptly hit LA traffic in Santa Barbara around 3:30. Ouch. I finally arrived in Long Beach at Cheyanne's place around 7:30 that night. Oops. Ouch. Despite LA traffic, the smog, the busyness of it all, and did I mention LA traffic (?), it was awesome seeing Chey and Emy. They are faves and definitely worth it. With that, I had ample thinking/processing/alone/"me" time in the 15 1/2 hours to and from SC. In the midst of traffic (key theme?) and life, here are some reasons why I'm so NOT Jesus:

*Jesus would have patience in LA traffic. Cara doesn't. Didn't.
*Jesus, though he can be a little racey sometimes (har har), wouldn't speed in traffic. Cara, on the other hand, liked that feeling the accelerator pedal gave her; simultaneously her heart would start pounding really fast, and she would start thinking, WOW (!), I'm almost an LA driver!
*Jesus would at least spend a FEW minutes talking to his dad during his 15 1/2 hours of solitude time. Wouldn't he? Don'tcha think? Ouch...
*Jesus wouldn't look at his reflection in the mirror every two minutes, admiring his cool new flea market sunglasses. Cara apparently can't help but check herself out. Who IS that girl in those fake Chanels?
*Jesus wouldn't have double standards. Cara would. She'd not let Chey's roommate keep the new pink sparkle pen she was grading papers with, but she'd (in front of the girl, no doubt!) offer to let Cheyanne keep her new Princess Bride DVD forever, if she'd like. Realization would hit in the elevator. Denial would soon step in: but the girl didn't even ask to borrow it! She probably wouldn't have even given it back if I hadn't not-so-slyly asked her! But she's wasting all the sparkles! It's a PEN, people! Why, why, why the double standard?

Sometimes I really can't stand Christian books. Though I can be entirely guilty of it myself when I speak at camp, I don't like the persuasive platform of some books. I dislike that an author can choose to lead you in whatever direction he or she wants to take you, with the scripture, 23-easy-to-follow-steps and the fun stories to back it up. But this book I've been reading is different...it's a nugget of truth and of my own heart. The name of the summer book of choice: Searching for God Knows What. I love it. I love that Donald Miller is challenging me to get rid of the boxes of Christianity, the lists and formulas and equations, the "to-do's" and "not-to-do's", and everything that I so easily make my faith out to be, the traps I so easily fall into. It's not about making moral choices because I'm supposed to, because that's what I grew up thinking: Christianity is about being good and moral. But no! One's faith is instead about relationships. It's about Jesus. it's about letting go of everything I think I'm supposed to be and also what and who the world thinks I'm supposed to be.

I'd much rather say I love Jesus and that Jesus loves me and sing a little song about it than say that I'm a Christian. Sometimes it's easy for me to blurt it out (when I'm around people who share the same beliefs), but frankly, I don't like the associations and assumptions that others put on me when they hear that I'm one of "them." I don't want people to assume that I believe the same things politically, environmentally and so on....and yet, none of that matters. It's not about ME. The truth of it is, I do want to be set apart, different. I want people to say wow, there's something different about her, even if we never say a word.

My thoughts at 12:49 am...I told you, I'm a summer snob who can stay up as late as she wants. Today is apparently cara-likes-to-write-in-3rd-person day. Thanks for reading. Your thoughts? Comments? The flea market sunglasses: yay or nay? :)

Thursday, July 07, 2005

the faves of this week so far...


Sometimes it's good to just have a list of the things you love, so here are the "bests" of this here week o' mine:

1. JOSH AND BRENDA ARE ENGAGED! Props to dear one Joshy (from the Keizer, OR 97303 days) who not only gave her the ring but a fabulous bull mastiff puppy! As well, Brenda is one of the coolest and most loveable people ev-ah....I'm stoked to celebrate life with them in WA.

2. I AM A SUMMER SNOB. That's right, folks...I'm living it up with this whole three weeks' vacation before speaking at camp and moving to WA comes. What does being a summer snob involve? It means little to no committments, late nights, sleep in mornings and doing whatever I damn well please!

3. COOL roommates (named Joanna) have COOL customers who catch COOL (ie: freaking huge) amounts of fresh albacore. This is then given to the house for our hungry and empty stomachs...after not much deliberation, Laurel wins the prize for sticking her hands in albacore guts to cut the disgusting thing into slices. Bennett wins at BBQing, and we all win at fish tacos tonite!

4. JOSE' CAN YOU SEE. This should have been #2, but indeed, we CELEBRATED the 4th of July in style, complete with a pledge of allegiance and national anthem to the best flag in the house: Lola's shirt. Granted, to my Navy-loving family this might appear sacreligious, but it was heartfelt, I swear. :)

5. THIS IS LA...no, this is not an ode to Sheryl Crow, but tomorrow I head down the 101 for a road trip with mmm...myself to visit dear friend Cheyanne (PLU and Frontier Ranch), and dear cousin Emy (relation: family, rocket scientists). So in the next 15 hours, if anyone wants to hop into Raul (that'd be my Jetta) with me, do let me know!

COMMENT HERE IF YOU'RE UP FOR A ROAD TRIP OR FISH TACOS TONITE...:)

Sunday, July 03, 2005

ode to a couple flower women



Once upon a time (okay, yesterday...) my bitty baby brother, Brandon, got married to a fabulous girl, Melissa. To Vegas we flew...to the Navy and God Bless America we dedicated the wedding colors - red, white and blue. To childlike FUN sister Aleah and I were the flower WOMEN, and man (!), you should have seen how we threw those rose petals into the 113 degree Vegas wind and heat, all over the laps and faces of the patrons of the (to-be) MacDonald's par-tay. Many laughs and a few snorts were had by all (although the snorts were probably more my own). It was a fantastic time just being with family....

And now, it's not really an ode, but it's a shout out to two beautiful favorites: Danielle and Josh Fox who got married June 25th. They are another one of those couples that I want to be like when I grow up....I need and want to have a little Fox-iness in me to a) up the coolness factor, and b) up the loving Jesus, loving others factor. They are one to watch.