living. loving. laughing.

living.  loving.  laughing.

Wednesday, September 29, 2010

a tv couple.

we started tutoring up again yesterday again, and i was immediately paired up with this cute little latina girl, a sophomore that we'll call gloria. we spent the afternoon working on her _of mice and men_ essay, and then agreed to meet up this afternoon with mango fro yo in hand. (yes, i bribe for educational purposes).

well of course, what tutor would make a child who'd already sat in school for 7 hours that day not take a break and eat her drippy frozen yogurt on a wednesday afternoon?

so we sat. and then she broke the ice.

[note: i'm not used to kids asking ME questions until we've hung out for months. that's my job ...isn't it?]

"so do you like being married?" she asked me.

"absolutely!" how do you explain to a 15-year-old girl how wonderful it is to have your biggest fan there at the end of the day, cheering you on, your best friend to hang out and just do life with?

but still, I told her just that, and let her in on what a wednesday evening at our house would look like: i'll cook dinner, then we'll eat together and he'll clean up. we'll watch glee from last night and just hang out!

it sounded completely normal to me.

gloria: "you mean, you're like one of those families on TV? you're going to eat at the same table and cuddle together and stuff?"

Um. er. no. uh..... but to this young girl, the only picture of stability, of a loving family, of eating dinner together, of sharing responsibilities, of cuddling together, is only a faraway Disney picture she's seen on television.

My heart broke at that moment. i wanted to tell her - in the middle of the public high school's library, mind you - that she CAN have this, that this IS an option. There is something so much greater that God has for her, and for her future....

Yet my words rightfully are guised by respecting the boundaries of church and state. Still my heart breaks, and secretly i want and desire for her to stay in the group home so she can keep going to this high school, and i can keep seeing her afterschool for tutoring times and eventually be able to tell her such truth over jamba juice one afternoon.

but i have to trust that even if the courts do allow her to move back in with her family (and yes, please...) that this nugget of truth that she saw and experienced these two afternoons will stay with her. it's not up to me, but sometimes I wish i could rescue these young friends who have seen no such hope except that which the boob tube transmits over the air waves.

gratefully, cm.

Saturday, September 18, 2010

cake shoving and such.

Once upon a Sunday afternoon, we re-enacted our wedding, young life-style. note the jeweled bling-bling crown, and the hand raised mid-air for a group sing-a-long.

they even got us a cake, and ooh wee ooh, we were so excited. scratch that: I was so excited because I'd finally be able to shove a big, mushy piece of sweetness in love's face! you can see it in both of our eyes: he's like, "...honey, you're not really going to shove cake in my face, right?" And i'm just like, "it's all downhill from here, buster!"

The form, oh the perfect form! I really should think about going into cake-shoving professionally.

Finally we have the payback picture - smiles abound, and james succumbs to peer pressure that since it's a young life wedding, he has to take one for the team. "this is for the kids, right?" "right." SUCKA! mwah ah ah ah.

it's good getting married twice. or even once, for that matter. I highly recommend it. :)

Thursday, September 16, 2010


For about 8 years of my life, I had the upper hand in my relationship with Brandon, my little brother, and was able to dominate him physically. I had a mean headlock and wasn't afraid to use it, except of course when mom came around the corner, and then I'd pretend like I was gently petting his head. "Here here brother, sweet brother..." I knew I was in trouble when he started to outgrow me, and those big sister headlocks were suddenly a thing of the past. I ran for my life.

I knew I was in trouble the first day of high school, and with school map in hand that I tried so desperately to hide, all of the sudden, MEN were before me: real, grown-up senior boys with hair on their faces. We freshmen girls gawked and knew them all by name - not that they ever had a clue who we were, but man oh man, walking to my locker would never be the same.

I knew I was in trouble when I couldn't hide that I WASN'T passionately in love with teaching English and the education system as a whole. I couldn't put on the act anymore, and though I loved being with kids, I fervently wanted out of the classroom, out of the box that was suffocating me alive. So I joined Young Life staff. More trouble.

There are moments in our lives when we know that we're in trouble; we know that ain't nothin' gonna stop me now, it's alllll downhill from here.

I knew I was in trouble last Thanksgiving break, when I found myself over the border in Mexico speaking to a group of high school friends; we had no internet or cell phone reception, or flushable toilets for that matter. Here I was on Thanksgiving day, officially done speaking, with no talks to plan and organize, and not a soul around me; I sat on the bunk in the musty storage room and began thinking about all that I was thankful for. And James kept coming to mind.

We had been officially dating for less than two months at that point when it hit me: I'm in. Oh heart is in it to win it, and I'm in. I'm in trouble now.

Three days later, upon arrival back in the bay area, James and I had had an impossibly perfect day when this positively trouble-filled conversation ensued:

"James, if you're going to back out, you'd better do it quickly."


"I mean, if you're going to leave, if you're not IN this, then break up with me now. Fast! Stat! Do it!" (How do I tell him that my heart is in it, that I really, really, really like him? Every other man leaves - but my heart is in it, and I don't want another lonely night of bon bons, vino and a chick flick ... really now).

"What makes you think I'm going to break up with you? Have I given you any indication of such thing?"

"I'm just sayin' - let me off easy if you're out!" (I ... like ... you ... can't you hear me?)

"Cara, I don't know how else to tell you this, but I'm in. I'm in, I'm in, I'm in, I'm in. I'm not leaving. I'm in."

"You're in?"


"Yes, I'm in."

Pause. Tears.

"[insert James' full name here], you're planning on marrying me, aren't you?"

"I am."

"Well, all righty then..."

We were so in trouble that Sunday in November, we didn't even know it.

Happy almost one-month anniversary, love.

Monday, September 13, 2010

my peeps.

there was this girl, jenny, whom I used to teach with, and i remember getting into one of those lunchtime conversations: she'd boasted in a delightfully i've-got-a-secret-that-you-want-to-know sort of way that she'd married the same man three times. the table was transfixed and slightly ill-at-ease all at the same time, as you hear those stories of love and marriage and divorce and remarriage when the identical twins reunite at summer camp and then switch places, forcing their parents to meet up again and fall in love .... starring Haley Mills and Haley Mills. But somehow Jenny had managed to meet and marry the same man three times in real wedding and civic wedding and fake wedding sort of way.

I was always jealous of that - i mean, i hadn't even had one wedding, and here she was able to stump all of us with three weddings under her belt. so my competitive self is glad that i'm catching up to jenny with two weddings under my belt, as of yesterday.

we had a young life wedding, and the one word I've used to describe it is endearing. it was endearing to have our family of parents and kids, leaders and committee, and other friends of young life surround james and me with just as much enthusiasm and heart as august 21st. tears were shed, snorts were had, christ was present and we felt renewed and believed in and fully supported, both in ministry and personally. i loved it when alan, our friend and 63-ish year old leader, asked who gives this woman to this man. All the young life kids were standing up front with james and me - the guys on james' side, and the ladies on mine - and those young men looked at each other and bellowed, WE DO! with all the gusto they could manage.

it was delightful and utterly heartwarming all at the same time.

it's funny, because as we were talking about what this day would be like, it's almost like we felt like we were chalking up a mark on the chalkboard of good deeds. the wedding on the 21st was about us, but this, this day was for everyone else - for those friends whom you associate with in all things of the heart ministry-wise, but they don't really know you. they're not really "your people."

I was wrong.

they are my people.

they do know me.

this day was for them, but it was for us as well. these are my everyday people. i may not be pouring out my guts to the teenage boys proudly standing up there next to james, but week in, week out, we're seeing the ups and downs in each other's lives. we're seeing when we're tired and when we're celebratory; we're seeing each other when we've had a hard day, and when we can't seem to get out of the sludge our feet are stuck in.

these are my people.

and I embrace that which is before me.

Thursday, September 09, 2010

I nabbed myself a hot guy.

As per what often happens with dogs, if you're (ie: the human) a social creature, then interactions with other humans and their canines ensue. We've begun to get into the dog-walking rhythms of the day, doing the loop around Brisbane morning and evening with Mr. Darcy (plus a run with his dad if he's lucky). Whilst beginning the walk last night, we happened upon a favorite friendly neighbor and his dog.

"Hey!" (me)

"So, how's it going?" (him)

"Good, good, just walkin'" (as you can see, the conversation was well on its way towards greatness).

"So, when's the wedding?"

"Oh, we actually got married a couple of weeks ago!"

"Well, congratulations!"


Pause...awkward silence...does he know who I am?

"I'm Cara - I married James; we live at the end of the street."

"Oh yes, yes - he's the .... " Another pause.

My thoughts: oh...the white male doesn't know how to say "black man." That's okay. I'll break the silence and the racial barriers, and put the words in his mouth for him.

" guy?"

"Well yes, but I was going to say HOT GUY!"

Dying, dying. I was dying.

"Yup, I think he's pretty hot too."

Matt* then proceeded to tell me about how he and his partner and the other gay men on our street were so excited to learn that a hot, single man had moved in - but bummer that he's heterosexual!

I'm excited to do dinner with these new friends. Welcome to the neighborhood, welcome to the neighborhood.

Sunday, September 05, 2010

lessons learned in 15 days

James and I have successfully been married for 15 days now. Whew! Here then are 15 things I've learned thus far:

1. When rearranging every cupboard and drawer in (his) house, be sure to tell him where you've organized said things.

2. Remember where you organized such said items, so maybe tie a little string around your finger or something.

3. He will always be cold when he sleeps; you will always be sauna-hot. Sleep in a tank top and don't worry if he steals the covers because you'll still be sweating bullets.

4. Even if you - naturally - wake up before him, he will always get out of bed before you. You like to lay in bed, awake, he likes to spring out of bed, chirping.

5. Just because you're lying in bed awake doesn't mean you want to be alert to the outside world.

6. You'll compromise. A lot. We went out to dinner with a couple from the prayer breakfast (February) who's been married almost 40 years. Dave and Marty's one word of advice? Compromise.

7. For every one picture you take, he'll take 30.

8. For every five books you read, he'll read 1.5. And this isn't a bad thing, he just chews slower, and you digest quickly. (Honeymoon books read: Bittersweet, The Blue Parakeet, The Art of Racing in the Rain, Saving Fish From Drowning and Change of Heart. Currently finishing The Girl Who Play With Fire).

9. This also applies to food. No matter what, you'll finish your meal before him every time.

10. it annoys James when you don't break the label of the wine bottle before opening. You think, why waste time?

11. It annoys you when James doesn't smoosh every item in your kitchen into the dishwasher in order to be more energy-efficicent and green when using the appliance.

12. Say I love you - and mean it - a lot.

13. He wears more sunblock than I do. And he's black. And I'm not. Hmmm.

14. As long as you introduce the word "practical" into your sentence, he'll buy it. This especially works for clothes. Mwah ah ah ah.

15. I really - really, really, really, really - am loving life together.

Bring it.