living. loving. laughing.

living.  loving.  laughing.

Monday, November 27, 2006

yesterday...

I ran 13.1 miles....MFHM. My first half marathon. I was excited to actually LIKE running that far, and felt great up until about mile 10 when I realized that hurt was setting in... The best part was looking down at my shirt, and thinking to myself, man, did a bird crap on me? Am I all of the sudden sprouting dandruff? Nope. It was snowing...and just like the mail must go through, as my old Sesame Street tunes sang, we kept running through rain and snow and fabulous Seattle weather.

Sometimes we have to be proud of ourselves, and right now, I smile knowing that I did something I never thought I could or would do...and am actually excited about another (SUNNY!) one in the future.

Peace out! chm.

Wednesday, November 22, 2006

i like nuns.

here posts some pics of my time with the nuns yesterday and monday....

The nuns raise rare animal breeds, including "hairy coos", aka: Scottish Highland Cows. This is Liam, whom we affectionately named EWOK, who's about 4 weeks old...

Christmas card '06 preview! Mr. Darcy and I at the edge of Shaw Islands in the San Juans....

We met a lady! ...er, a Baronness in the British Parliament. This is Janet, a regular at the monastery, who also fell in love with Mr. Darcy. I really don't think I'd have friends if it weren't for this pup. But in all seriousness, Janet is the equivolent of a US Senator in England; she's been in politics for ages (running and serving in what we'd call the House), but is now appointed for LIFE to her current position. I loved discussing British and US politics over tea with her!

After picking carrots, Lizzy nearly got attacked by the herd of llamas. Fight for your life, lizard!

And now for my favorite picture of them all...

When (one of the) Mothers introduced herself to me, I responded with telling her my name: Cara. "Really?" she asked. "Yes....." "Oh, okay then." Here I begin feeling a little worried...if a nun doesn't approve of my name, how am I going to do with Jesus? "Is that bad?" "Well, no - it's just that we have a cow named Cara. Her full name is Cara Mia, but we call her Cara for short." What the COW!?!!! So here I am with Cara the cow...maybe THIS should be the Christmas card. :)

So did we get solitude time? Yes. Was it different than we expected? Yes. These are Benedictine nuns, so they follow a sect (order?) of work and prayer. These ladies have dedicated - consecrated! - their lives to God, so in between praying 8 times a day, they also run and work on their farm. We "paid" part of our stay by working as well, bailing hay, picking vegetables, feeding cows named Cara...yet what a joy it was! We also attended a Vespers (evening) service and Mass in the morning, and then got "down time" and were fed meals by the ladies as well.

Will I be joining the ladies any time soon in full-time nun-ship? No way, Jose....but I will be visiting my friend Cara again.

happy thanksgiving....

Sunday, November 19, 2006

the uploading of the camera presents....

God bless Macs. The computers, not my family....though we are one to be blessed, I suppose. :) I kept holding off on uploading my pics from the camera to the computer, having not fished for the installation software. Who knew that you don't even NEED that software to connect the two? So, though a bit tardy, here are a bunch of pics from the past couple of months...

At a YL staff retreat in Poulsbo, a continued theme of (my) being WHOLE in Him came to me...






Dear buddy Pam, from Illuminate, has become a feeder to my soul. She's one of those people who gives with every ounce of her being simply because it's who she is and not because she has to be...


This is a picture of Katie, also from Illuminate, at Mr. Darcy's TEA PARTY here at the casa...Katie and I are excited for future puppy play dates when she gets a pup of her own.












Sometimes Mr. Darcy gets all tired out and becomes a little snuggle bug. Please note the "sometimes" of that sentence.












And then sometimes it's time for Mr. Darcy to say his evening prayers! Can I get an AMEN, Mr. D?







Last weekend I had the pleasure of attending the FALL CUPCAKE FESTIVAL with cupcake-lover, Aaron, from Illuminate. Once upon a time I told him that my favorite part of New York City was the cupcake shops! In disbelief, he just about renounced our friendship because I chose cupcakes over the nightlife or renowned steakhouses. Well, the history behind Saturday's adventure made the day even better. God bless cupcakes.


Aleah (my sister!) was in town last week! Here we are on our way to the Ray Lamontagne concert at the Paramount...wow.



Have you ever bought a pumpkin Odwalla at your local Safeway, taken it to your car, started driving, had your sister shake it and then leave the lid sitting lightly on top, all for you to NOT realize the "lid lightly on top" part of the sentence, grab the drink two minutes later, shake it profusely, and then proceed to have PUMPKIN PROTEIN SHAKE all over the inside of your car? Well, I have...






And, then, upon pulling over at the gas station to clean up the Odwalla juice, have you ever gotten out of your car only to find your right rear tire completely flat? Have you then filled it up with air, driven to the naval base, gone to your sister's appointment with her, and then come back to find the tire flat again? Has that ever led you to have the Navy boys fix your flat? Note to self: Learn to change a flat tire!






Ahh, there's nothing like a mashed potato sculpture contest at Wyldlife to celebrate Thanksgiving club!






that's it friends...thanks for tuning in for all the picture updates!

Sunday, November 12, 2006

parkalicious

A must-read: Parker Palmer's Let Your Life Speak. Wow. Here follows the chapter excerpts from a recent assignment I had...er, got... to do. It'll take you a little bit of time to sift through, but his thoughts are INSPIRING...

“My life is not only about my strengths and virtues; it is also about my liabilities and my limits, my trespasses and my shadow” (6). It’s easy for me to think that calling (within a vocation) is simply about the good strengths of my character and personality, but here I was reminded that in ministry we come face to face with the positives and the negatives. If life is lived out in reflection of the calling one receives, then I must face reality in those activities that give me energy, and those that ultimately provide frustration and death (to self).

“…vocation, or calling, comes from a voice external to ourselves, a voice of moral demand that asks us to become someone we are not yet – someone different, someone better, someone just beyond our reach” (10). Who is that external voice? Is it God? Is it man? Is the “voice” really a voice giving us hope and inspiration, or is it simply a call to the greater good, that as we sift through the garbage and muck of the present-day life, eventually we’re going to find the valley of green goodness on the other side of the landfill? I'm chewing on this one...

“…the God I know is the source of reality rather than morality, the source of what is rather than what ought to be” (50). How often Christians, in their pursuit for what becomes legalistic morality, forget that the essence of our faith is authenticity and reality. Likewise, in thinking about calling, I have to examine my own heart in the matter: am I being who I was created to be, or am I “being” what I think I ought to be in the good Christian scheme of life?

“To embrace weakness, liability, and darkness as part of who I am gives that part less sway over me, because all it ever wanted was to be acknowledged as part of my whole self” (71). To put it simply, I wrote “October 2006” next to this quote. Last month I embraced the reality of brokenness; I admitted the hardships of loneliness, and though it was a dark night or two of the soul, I’ve come to acknowledging my whole self, which I hadn’t done before.

“Those of us who readily embrace leadership, especially public leadership, tend towards extroversion, which often means ignoring what is happening inside ourselves” (79). Ditto to the previous paragraph. Many times I wear the extroverted mask that because I’m always around people (in ministry…), I’m not in need of the need inside of me. That need gets ignored and pushed to the side and masked in a number of different ways, until a brutal, unstoppable explosion of the heart occurs.

“If we want to save our lives, we cannot cling to them but must spend them with abandon” (105). My work crew motto 10 years ago was be here now; how true that mantra rings today. I cannot cling to the recognitions of yesteryear or hope for the fulfillment that the future might bring. In order for my life to be salvaged and made whole, I must run with wild abandon the here and now…

Yes. Your thoughts?

Wednesday, November 08, 2006

Mr. Darcy seems to have quite the aversion to the rain....granted, he's only been in our lives since last Monday, but on the two biggest rainy days (today and Monday), he's busting out the pee in the house like there's no tomorrow! I'm thinking we have quite the fair-weather pup....

On another note, what do 'hairy coos', llamas, Jesus, nuns and the San Juan islands have in common? THIS: www.rockisland.com/~mhildegard/. And I'm excited to take a solitude retreat out there in a couple of weeks... And the sixth best thing about it (besides the five previously listed items?), I get to check off TWO on my '30 before 30' list! Go to the San Juan Islands...soon to be check... Stay at a convent or monastery...hey check-arana...

The whole idea reminds me of Kathleen Norris' The Cloister Walk; it's a poignant book about her off and on again experiences at a convent in the midwest....she's rather Anne Lamott and Annie Dillard-like, in the sense that she writes to a secular audience, but easily includes faith and spirituality in a non-threatening sort of way.

Okay, I'm delaying the homework inevitable and must go, but friends, make a list - it's soooooo healthy!

Sunday, November 05, 2006

is mr. darcy still cute? yes.......

.....to an extent. :) For the record, he's only peed in the house ONCE today. ...though previous days boast quite higher numbers (like last night, for example: who needs to pee three times inside in LESS than a two hour period?! My puppy! Hey, it was better than the present(s) he left early that morning...wow, now that was a looker. Ring around the rosy...and around, and around and around). We've started going on walks now every morning, and I'm trying to become a not-so-fair weather walker! He's certainly teaching me the art of routine...

On another note, the other day my friend Lizzy, Mr. Darcy and I were driving through CLATSKANIE, Oregon; I laughed and giggled at three coffee shop names along the "main drag":

*Some Like It Hot - Coffee AND Tanning!

*Latte-da....

*HUMP'S Restaurant and Coffee Shop. (come on people, it says HUMPS!....and I work with 12 year olds...)

So if YOU were to drive through Clatskanie, which coffee shop would you want to frequent?

Wednesday, November 01, 2006

REACH.......


I used to be in this drug-free club in middle school called REACH: Responsible Educated Adolescents Can Help! (We were always sure to include the exclamation point). Our highlight of the year involved taking a field trip up to Portland for a drug-free march around the city. We walked around the city chanting our acronym and its power while encouraging our newfound homeless friends to just say no to drugs. The day ended at down at the waterfront where our keynote speaker and drug-free peer, RUDY from The Cosby Show, exhorted us to keep up the clean lifestyle; then she soared off in a hot-air balloon, while all of us reached out our little REACH hands for her.

I kid you not. Rudy in a hot air balloon.

But that's not why I wrote this post; I am now Cara, a REAWCBTCOAP: Responsible Educated Adult Who Can Barely Take Care Of A Puppy. I don't want to say that Mr. Darcy is kicking my butt, but man, can't a girl get 8 hours of sleep in a row? I said I wanted and needed to be "needed," and yup, he's need-a-ble... As I told my friend Anna, some people get married, some people have kids, and whelp, some people get a dog! And all three of those things teach responsibility to say the least...and three days into it, truly, I'm loving the little bugger.

Tonite we had a party: a tea party with Mr. Darcy! For those of you who aren't familar with his name, go and read or rent PRIDE AND PREJUDICE. Not only will you understand the psyche of a woman, but you'll have a greater appreciation for my buddy and his effeminate name. One of these days I'll send him over for some manly boy football-watching time, but in the mean time, we'll settle for tea parties.

Crumpet anyone?