living. loving. laughing.

living.  loving.  laughing.

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...