living. loving. laughing.

living.  loving.  laughing.

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.