living. loving. laughing.

living.  loving.  laughing.

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.