living. loving. laughing.

living.  loving.  laughing.

Monday, September 25, 2006

the musings of me...

Yesterday: I went over to a dear friend's house for lunch with her and her grandparents, whom she lives with. Her grandma is in the late stages of Alzheimers...and after lunch my friend asked me to sit down at the piano to play through the hymnals for grandma. I can't really explain the many emotions that went through each of our heads.

First, I saw my she is, a woman in her late twenties, selflessly living with and taking care of her grandparents. She prepared lunch for all of us, walked her grandmother to the table, fed her the meal between her own bites, and continued to give of herself as she sang along wholeheartedly with the music. For her, to then see her grandma, who seldem utters more than a few words, to sing entire phrases and stanzas of ancient spiritual lyrics, she was BLESSED. She was fed.

Then I saw the grandma, and having seen my own grandmother battle the mind and body-killing disease as well, she's "gone" according to societal standards. But I can't help but think that the spirit, the SOUL of a person continues to live on past that which the mental and physical can express. I believe that Jesus heard her songs yesterday, as she expressed the deepest part of her heart in the only way she - literally - could.

And as I sat there myself, I didn't really know what to do with the situation. There's the part of me that acknowledges that I've been given a gift of music, and knowing that it's okay to admit that, I'm led to believe that those gifts should be used for a greater good. But as I sat there at the (beautiful!) baby grand yesterday, it more importantly a moment of SOUL for me. My eyes filled with tears as I heard her hum and sing along at times, and then utter a lilting "ohhh!" at the end of a songg. There's also that part of me that's brought back to the good-bye with my own grandmother, five years ago. My sister and I drove to Nevada City at the end of a summer at Frontier Ranch to see Grandma Mac one last time. She couldn't talk. She couldn't communicate. She couldn't feed herself...and she didn't know who we were, at all. I remember sitting in front of her, afraid to talk or communicate myself, because I knew I'd cry if I opened my mouth. So I didn't say anything. I never said good-bye outloud, yet only in my heart. ... Yesterday was a day of healing for me; yesterday in playing for this grandma, I was saying good-bye to my own.

It was a powerful afternoon.

Today: It starts with myspace a month ago. I got a message from "C" who simply said this: "You don't know who I am, but I just wanted to say that I'm sorry for always being so mean to you when you tried to be my friend during lunches last year at Mt. Baker. I just wanted you to know that." Wow! So here we were a month later, having coffee together at Starbucks. As I listened to the story of the here and now in "C's" life, it was pretty cool hearing how she's been given an entirely new start and is CHOOSING to live as such. Crap happens in each of our lives...and we can choose to hang on to it, bitter to the sucky curveballs we've been thrown, or we can choose to do something about it. So here she is, a freshman in high school, starting over...and for her that meant starting over by being nice to people. (She's almost like My Name is Earl in the real life 14-year old female sense...)

But here's what AGAIN got me about our conversation: "So Cara," she asked, "why did you keep coming to Mt. Baker [her middle school] even when everyone was so mean to you? I mean, I was mean to you, but there were people who were even worse!" What do you say to that? ... And I realize that it's not my job to be's not my job to make them want to be my job is to try and be this fleshy Jesus-like person to them who loves them regardless of what they think of me. (Later, she had a rather hard time dropping that "everyone hated you" part of the conversation, and according to her lunchtime conversations with her peers, I'm too happy, preppy and nice for them...).

And I tell you, I don't always get this thing called ministry. I don't get why I'm in the thick of it...but when something like this happens, I begin to get a twinge of thankfulness and a bit of understanding why I do what I do. As we left Starbucks, I didn't know whether to be encouraged by the encounter or mystified at my own complete lack of coolness with the under-15 crowd. (The self-esteem reminder, "It doesn't matter what a 14-year-old thinks of me" comes to mind...). But I know that it's where I'm supposed to be for the time being. And I know that I'm encouraged and supported by people who DO believe that this is where I'm supposed to be, even if I don't always see it (and that something like a Starbucks' date with "C" wouldn't have happened had it not been for financial donors!).

yes. Many musings. That's all.

Saturday, September 23, 2006

a sad day in this neighborhood...

I knew it was bound to happen someday...

I knew I'd have to get a new winner for "I've never..."

I knew I wouldn't be a part of the CLEAN TEETH OF AMERICA CLUB forever.

And it happened yesterday: MFC. My first cavity. Oh the pain! The drama! What's a girl to do?!! Here I am, at age 27.5 (can we please bring back the half ages? "I'm not 7....I'm 7 and a HALF..."), and I've successfully just said no to cavities. But on Tuesday I'll walk the gauntlet of shame as I receive my first filling.

I'd even told the dentist the day before at our YL golf tourney that he had NOTHING to worry about because I was cavity-free...PRIDE! It's been our downfall since the beginning of time...but maybe there's a conspiracy in it all. MAYBE I don't really have a cavity, and Dr. Matsen just wanted to take a stab at my teethy pride. I'm beginning to see the truth in it all...

But I'm still buying the flouride and heading into the bathroom right now to floss...

Tuesday, September 19, 2006

checkin' off the list...

Today I accomplished the first of the 30 before 30: try out for a reality TV show... Today, with 9,000 of my closest friends, my buddy Heather/Sammsonsite and I tried out for AMERICAN IDOL. I now stand in the American Idol rejects pile, but hey, it was an awesome 12-hour experience! :) Among the highlights: realizing that we weren't the best...or the worst. Arriving at the Key Arena at 5:14 am this morning (see morning pic), and then not leaving until 4:14 pm this afternoon. Do the math. Yelling and screaming for William Hung, guest star (look at his bodyguard!). She bangs! She bangs! Rolling our eyes at Ryan Seacrest - oh, the drama! And just DOING IT...I think that's what the "30 things to do before I turn 30..." is all about - just doing it.

Among other news: I'm on the search, big time for boxer baby dogs...of the smaller, female we'll see what happens. I had a fabulous lead today, but the guy ended up being a jacka#%. Bleep bleep bleep, Mr. Craig's List!

Finally, CONGRATS AARON AND ANNIE who just got ENGAGED this past Saturday! Aaron wins quite the award for the engagement story; between her day-long spa treatment, then hydroplane flight up to the San Juan Islands, complete with homemade appetizers, between him and my brother, I don't think boys get more generous than that! Aaron's been one of my dearest friends since middle school, and Annie (who's obviously amazing) and I are excited for our first "one-on-one" oh-so-soon! It's rather surreal right now...and I'm not even the one getting married!

Mwah! signing off...bleep, bleep, surreal,'s your auburn idol, cara:)

Thursday, September 14, 2006

some mornings...

Some mornings I wake up and decide that I want tea instead of coffee...

One morning I woke up and decided to go for a run at 6:06 am - just because.

One morning (long, long ago in a galaxy far, far away) I decided to trade in Marty the Tacoma for Raul the Jetta...

And this morning I woke up and thought to myself, "self...your hair grows like a weed. You should cut it!" And so here, with my quasi-Kiera Knightly lips pose, I am with the new, 6 inches shorter hair cut.

that's all.

Tuesday, September 12, 2006

5 years ago...

5 years ago...

I was in my first week of teaching at Monte Vista Christian School.

I was trying to fake my way through teaching Hamlet (which I hadn't read...the only book I didn't read and tried to teach - yes, true confessions) to my seniors.

The juniors were less than interested in Arthur Miller's The Crucible.

And here, 148 juniors and seniors and their 22 year old teacher (who tried to spread rumors that she was actually 26...), were trying to sift through the morning's events.

We prayed that morning - something I hadn't planned on doing, even in a Christian school classroom.

We dropped the lessons that day.

And forever it'll remain engrained in each one of our minds where we were on that tragic morning. As morning passed and turned into afternoon, I remember going home and just staring at the television until it was bedtime, watching raw and returning footage of the day's events.

It's the Kennedy assination of our generation - we'll always remember where we were, what we were doing, and how every "important" plan of that day ended ill in comparison to the bigger picture.

Sunday, September 10, 2006

popcorn and moonboppers

This weekend was FULL, but in an exhaustingly good way. Once a month I get to help lead worship, playing and singing at my church, ILLUMINATE. It's magical. I sit there...and play...and sing...and there are those moments when you're leading (and when you're participating) that you just let go of the chord changes and need to "pound" correctly and the absolute moment of the present is there.

BUT, back to the title: this afternoon, I got to rest at the Howerton's house before the last 7 pm service. Mike Howerton is the pastor, and I'm becoming more and more impressed with him as the days go on. (Dan, can I have a shared allegiance to my favorite pastor in America title?). They've got an ugly pug, Bilbo, whom I played with on the grass - and I now smell like stinky pug. Mike's wife, Jodie, had a copy of Traveling Mercies (by Anne Lamott) on the coffee table; she's read it eight times, and it happens to be one of my top two favorite books in America. [in case you're wondering, Pilgrim at Tinker Creek by Annie Dillard is the other]. Last but not least, they love Danny, and Danny loves them.

So they have this trampoline, and the kids, Alex (girl) and Caleb, decided to show it to me: "do you want to see our trampoline?!!!?" (What do you do but say yes and jump wholeheartedly?). One doesn't then know what mad trampoline-ing skills you have until you're up next to a 4 and 6 year old, and the ability to bounce is thus heightened by the sheer fact of strength and domination. (Hey, you got to give yourself those titles sometimes...). We played this game on the trampoline called "POPCORN," in which they were the kernals, and I was the popcorn MASTER. They'd sit, curled up in the fetal popcorn position, on the floor of the trampoline, and I'd start the dialogue of the popcorn popping process. (God bless strong alliteration. Amen). Though they're used to popcorn in the microwave, I decided to spice things up, and "make" popcorn on the stove. "First you put the oil in the pan..." (and they look up at me like "we're not the oil; why do you have to say that?"). Then I dump the popcorn kernals in (and they start wiggling around). Then the pan starts getting hotter and hotter (and I start bouncing around the outside - genius!), and even hotter, and then POP!!!! The popcorn starts popping! yes!!!

I think they liked the microwave version better ("but you didn't say 3.5 minutes on high")...or their dad's popcorn styling skills, for that matter. :)

It reminds me of this game, Brandon, Aleah and I used to play as kids: MOONBOPPERS. And I'm not really sure how or where we came up with it, but give us any discarded balloon, and moonboppers was on. It was a mix of volleyball, but with a balloon - and then I suppose at some point you were supposed to try and "bop" it to the moon for extra crazy points! We just stopped playing it last Christmas, so I'm sure it could easily be resurrected. :)

Today I was talking to a lady at church, Betsy, who's probably in her late 50's/early 60's. As we sat prior to one of the services, we surveyed the room, and I said (something to the effect of), "I love that the church is just not all twenty-somethings..." She then said, "You're right; even if there is a push towards a younger, "Gen X" crowd, it's not limited to age. It's for the Gen X AT HEART." I loved that thought...

So. How can I keep playing popcorn on the trampoline and moonboppers in the living room, and live that "kid at heart" lifestyle? That today is the question...

Monday, September 04, 2006

this is how...

I landed in the Sea-Tac airport this morning at 5:21 am, much to the dismay of my spirited, Aloha-ed, wish-I-was-tied-to-a-palm-tree self. The GOOD news is that I finally got a much needed vacation, and feel ready and rested to jump into this next school year with Young Life, LIFE in general and my own heart as well. This then is how I LIVED, LOVED and LAUGHED the past 8 days...

LIVED: bought a ticket to Oahu and then to the Big Island (although it wasn't until the day before my departure to see Lily, Michael and company that I realized I'd booked it a WEEK I bought it to fly over there while I was still, whelp, on the mainland. Note to self: never book a ticket immediately after camp, and always double-check the calendar instead of thinking that the one in your head is really good and always right...). Went to the beach almost every day. Swam in water though there was a tiger shark warning...hey, you only live once, right? Jammed with Lily. Chatted with Lily, Melissa, Michael and Andy about Jesus. Swam and snorkled in Hanauma Bay. Read. A lot (which indeed, to me, is living...). Had Jesus mansions and on beaches.

LOVED: Melissa (my BEAUTIFUL sister...let's drop the "in-law" part finally...); Lily (on staff in Hilo, HI); Michael (a leader from "Wai-kafornia", HI); Andy, Lars, Shannon, Tyler and Christen, Tiffany and Nick, and of course FRANK, my god-dog!!!

LAUGHED: Good convos. Snorkeling adventures. Phase 10. Friends, and Sex and the City reruns. Getting to know my sister better, minus the brother who's underwater... Watching Melissa try the "T" in TRB for the first time; hey, you've got to spread the tofu love!

It was good times, great oldies, gangsta jams, as my friend Jessica would say. And since my AUGUST tabs are now expired in this 9th month, I stayed in today, but for a slight jaunt to the nearby lake with cutie roomie. My 30 BEFORE 30 list is almost complete, though I'm apprehensive to publish it here for fear that ya'll might actually hold me accountable to it. Oh life. Yes. Life.