living. loving. laughing.

living.  loving.  laughing.

Wednesday, April 27, 2011

a neighborhood easter.

This year's Easter celebration was birthed over the Chuck-it. You see, most every morning is marked by our neighborhood's own version of a dog park: Mark and Ruckus, Erin and Lilly, Kara and her girls, Cara and Mr. Darcy, Mona and Simba, & Loren and Mochi might be out on the green throwing and catching the balls. Our eclectic little neighborhood has been brought together by our canine friends.

Our mornings together are real and messy and encouraging and perplexing all at the same time. Yet conversations happen in the midst of it, and neighbors have turned into acquaintances, and then to friends and might I say ... dear friends. But it's a pretty cool picture of real life, because we're not all alike - for instance, each couple seems to have been dubbed some sort of label. Though individually James is "the hot one," and I'm "the good one" [oh, how I've vied for the label of "the hot one!"], collectively we've been labeled "The Christians."

It was over a canine conversation that we began talking about doing a neighborhood Easter celebration, and happen it did. Together, 18 Christians and non-Christians and Jews and gays and lesbians and straights and friends of friends gathered for a potluck Easter "slupper" (supper + lunch, of course), complete with an Elton John and Sound of Music sing-a-long at the end of the afternoon.

It was altogether lovely. And, quite frankly, I think the way it's supposed to be.

Jeannie and Mark, chatting it up.

Time for dessert! Cinnamon rolls by James, carrot cake by Jeannie, Fruit tart by Kara (upstairs neighbor and namesake), and an apple turnover. Yummy!

Upstairs neighbors Earl and Kara - the former of whom I think must be Jude Law's brother.

Conversations over books, starring the former English teacher, the man who reads a lot, and the English professor and author - what great neighbors for this girl to have!



And finally, the Elton John and Sound of Music jam session - if only you could have seen Mr. Meredith singing along!

The Easter celebration continues, all year long... He is risen - he is risen, indeed!

Monday, April 18, 2011

today was a big day...

Today was a big day:
I bought a coupon organizer.

Today was a big day:
I reorganized clipped coupons into my own little sections instead of the boring old
alphabetization and/or month's expiration. So instead we have some of the following
categories: "carbs," "dog," "toiletries," and of course, good old "random."

Today was a big day:
I read four chapters for an upcoming Fuller class - do violence and hospitality go together
when talking about Jesus' death on the cross? that is the question.

Today was a big day:
I didn't pick up book 3 of teenage vampire smut, not even once.

Today was a big day:
I baked 4 dozen triple chocolate cranberry oatmeal cookies, and only ate ONE of them (okay,
and some dough. And then some more).

Today was a big day:
Mr. Darcy had two really good sweaty workouts, and I had two really good sweaty workouts.

Today was a big day:
I told a girl at Young Life that if she could get seven of her friends who'd never been to
YL to camp this summer that she'd go for free. I might bite our area's campership
resources in the butt, but I think it's a good incentive for this future marketing major.

So really, was today a big day? Not really - it was actually altogether quite normal - but I suppose that if we're to live each day to the fullest, then we're going to look for those "big" things in the midst of the little.

What was big about your day?

Friday, April 15, 2011

the up-to's

What have we been up to lately?

...speaking at two different Young Life banquets in our region and loving it. I've also worn the same outfit both times - shhh, don't tell.

...then not sleeping super well because my mind is racing from speaking at said banquets so I then attempt to remember to take my melatonin and have a cup of camomile every night before bed.

but what happens is that my mind turns on super-speed, and I can't slow it down. I'm excited and exhausted and replaying and reviewing my words and motions and actions all at the time, and it's RIDICULOUS that sleep suffers as a result of it! And yet I feel so ALIVE in the midst of it...do any of you have this problem? What do you do? How do you calm down and go to beddy-by?

Because otherwise what happens is that I find myself waking up at 2 in the morning, making another cup of camomile and reading smutty brainless "literature" like this:

I mean, really people, this has to stop! There are SO many better books to be reading in the wee hours of the night than those about Sookie Stackhouse (which I can't even call real literature, so much so that I have to put it in quotes).

So, we are hopin' and a prayin' for some SLEEP for this sleep-deprived lady so that she can at least come up with better blogposts than that of insomnia.

xoxo, cara "I love vampires at 2:12 in the morning" meredith

Thursday, April 07, 2011

i'll admit...

I'm pretty excited for these to come in the mail:


I'll admit...

I've been listening to CIRCUS MUSIC lately, and am stoked for this coming Monday's circus-themed YL banquet. Who knew?

I'll admit...

I've actually been having a whole lotta fun in the kitchen lately.

I'll admit...

It's hard when the hubs works long hours.

I'll admit...

I wish I only required five hours of sleep - but the but of it is that I really, really like my bed.

I'll admit...

I'm excited to get into being a life coach for high school kids. Eventually. (But I am starting a certification program in the coming months).

I'll admit...

I desire to see life half-full, even when it seems like there's nothing but rain POURING all around you, if you know what I mean.

I'll admit...

Even though the waiting process is hard, there's fruit in the midst of it, and fruit to come.

Waiting, waiting.

Monday, April 04, 2011

once upon a mississippi...

Once upon a Mississippi there was an Uncle James and an Aunt Cara who flew back to the man-boy's homeland to see the relations. And see the relations they did, namely in the four "j's": Janae, Jaylah, Jameria and little baby James. [Okay, let's be honest, there were three more "j's" to add to the mix: James senior, Judy and Jessica. I feel like my name should be Aunt Jara.]

The deep south ain't NOTHIN' without the great state of Mississippi. And imagine to our great surprise, the delight of getting to spend a birthday evening at Chuck E. Cheese. I don't think the Salem, Oregon Chuck E. ever kicked it this hard:


joy.


love.


togetherness (in one "car" ride, no less).


pure bliss.


But Alas, the fun with Chuck E. and the boys could only last for so long, before the fun could begin across the freeway at the Red Lobster. On a Friday night. Need I mention that the entire town of Jackson seemed to be convening there for Lobsterfest as well, resulting in a 2.5 hour wait? [It was then that we decided to ask some patrons who just happened to be lounging and not eating or drinking at the bar to let us have their seats. What would you do? We claim west coast ignorance of southern rules of hospitality, but some have advised that that's a universal "no-can-do" rule no matter where one resides...]

Indeed, together the three of us shared two Lobsterfest plates and stuffed ourselves silly (thus only adding to the deep south weight gain that is inevitable regardless of visits to the Lob). We were especially excited that Cousin Gordie decided to make the trek down and back, just for dinner, from Arkansas merely to see his cousin James - now that's love!


And on to more family time it was: on Saturday morning we attended the Blacks in Government brunch at a local hotel. Yes, I was the only white woman there if you're wondering (and yes, that seems to be a normal occurance having married a black man from the south. We're used to it, the family's used to it, but the culture itself - need I say, but they aren't necessarily "used" to it yet).

Here resides some of the ladies of the family: cousin Charlotte, mama Judy and little ol' me.


JHM and JHM - I love their father-son smiles.


Let James and I never be too old to dance to live music.


Though SO much more happened while we were in the deep south, the pictures appropriately end here with some swingin' time in front of the Cracker Barrel. Might I get a couple of those for our settin' ...deck?

Till next time, Jackson...