Tuesday, February 4, 2014

A year in review

I came across a journal I bought at the end of 2012. (HA, one of my 2013 intentions was to journal more. Or something like that.) I was thumbing through it and realized I stopped "journaling" back in July. (Let's be clear, I maybe used 20 pages of this thing.) I think I very foolishly rely too much on my brain to remember all the things and the feelings and the details of the day(s). I am not yet disciplined in the ways of writing down the things that happen.

That led me back to my blog where I saw that I only wrote 9 blogs in 2013. (Sounds about right after uncovering my success in journaling.) Apparently I used to blog. (What?!) And semi-often. When did I have time for that? I very rudely promised lots of stories (mostly about a boy) and then never delivered. For the very few few few of you that actually read this to keep up with my life, I'm so very sorry that I have been absent. I will make no promises for the future, but I'd like to at least cover the  happenings of 2013 if for no other reason than I may not remember otherwise.

---THE BEGINNING---
January:
-I turned 28 and had probably the best birthday and celebration of my birthday ever. I had so many birthday meals that I think my birthday lasted nearly a month. I got mail and surprise gifts and even flowers from a boy. I felt very loved and significant.
-I finished my last weekly class for my Masters and got ready to transition to weekend classes. At this point I had a 4.0 which I've never had in my life. I was over the moon about it.
-I quit my full-time job to accommodate my graduate internship. Probably the riskiest thing I've ever done.
- I had my first client EVER and no one threw up or walked out. Success!

February: 
-I interviewed for several jobs and didn't get any of them. I started to panic that I was going to have to move home and live with my mom and eat ramen noodles.
-I listened to a poem read by my beau on headphones I happened to have in my purse during the intro of Mary Poppins at The Civic Center with my mom. Happy Valentines Day to me, indeed.
-A quick trip to DC to see some of my favorite people. I got to meet Emily's new baby,  have a 3-hour dinner with Jessy, and watch black-and-white TV shows on YouTube with Stuart and Hannah. I also played long-distance Oscar bingo with the Farmer.
-Weekend classes started. UGH.

March:
-More interviews. No calls. Sadness. Panic.
-Lots of homemade dinners and long talks with my boy.
-Kite flying on the farm with H.
-A weekend of keeping Nora all by myself! (The. Best.)
-Trip to Arkie to see my sister and the kiddies.

April:
-The Easter that I wore black. Oops.
-Nora turned 1 (AH!).
-My boyfriend started spending lots of time with my friends.
-Many sunny dinners on the porch at the farm.
-Weekend trip to Kansas City to see Bobby McFerrin with my boy and his girl.

May:
-Another friend had a baby and I became an auntie for the 29340823094832 time. (Hi Sloane!)
-An afternoon picnic in the park with M & H eating sushi and drawing with sidewalk chalk.
-A trip to The House on the Hill to celebrate Grammy's birthday and eat homemade ice cream. (I love traditions.)
-Got a roommate after living alone for 2 years. 
-REALIZING I ONLY HAVE 6 MORE MONTHS OF CLASS. 

June: 
-GOT A JOB!!! (Part-time. Still counts.)
-Watched "The Sandlot" on the outfield of the Redhawks stadium with the Logans.  
-Watched Drewbie play baseball. (Also a tradition.) 
-First weekend away with just me and my farm boy! We went to Denver and ate tons of great food and rode bicycles and got sunburns and laughed a lot.
-Saw Shakey Graves in concert. (GOOD.)
-celebrated the best 6 months in a long long long time.
-Summer Solstice party. 

July: 
-Headed to Carmel, California to spend 4 days with friends by the ocean with M & H. This was our first long trip together and we all had a blast.
-Saw "The King & I" at Lyric with my mom, M & H. Fun night to be fancy.
-Shakespeare in the Park!
-Started game night with the Patricks.   (The. Best.)

August: 
-Moustache Bash with friends downtown.
-Quick trip to Dallas to visit Ikea and American Girl.
-H's first day of 2nd grade!
-M's mom entered her rooster in the county fair. So great.
-My former spouse finished his last responsibility of our divorce decree. The final end of the end. 

September:
-Kim's wedding and wearing red lipstick.
-Shakespeare in the Park again followed by a walk to the Skybridge and rolling down hills with M & H.
-Fairy ball in the Paseo. Cutest fairy = H. Duh.
-Lake weekend with M & H and a bunch of our friends. Lots of laughs and games and time outside.

October: 
-Shovels & Rope at Cain's Ballroom. OH MY.
-The Lumineers at the Downtown Airpark. Meh.
-M went to ACL and I spent some time with H. Fun weekend together.
-CCI DONE!!! (Only the biggest project of my graduate school career which ended up being 29 single spaced pages. HARRUMPH. DONE.) Dear Self: YOU PASSED WITH NO RE-WRITES!
-Celebratory fancy hotel stay due to passing said biggest graduate school project in the history of time.
-7th annual pumpkin carving with McCullocks & Snows out at the farm. 
-Neewollah in KS with my family and M & H. So many fun memories and traditions that all came together this weekend. Loved it.

November: 
-MANDY VISIT!!!
-Hip Hop yoga class. I may have cried through part of it due to exhaustion, missing yoga, and Mandy's return.
-H learned to flip on the trampoline.
-Exhaustion set in. Considered dropping out of school.
-T:Give with my brother and M's family. 
-Friendsgivingmas at the farm!

December: 
-HOLY MOLY MACARONI I FINISHED GRADUATE SCHOOL. SUMMA CUM LAUDE.
-Family brunch at the farm!
-Celebratory trip to Seattle with M to see Noah Gunderson and family! So worth it.
-Still exhausted from school.
-5th annual Xmas cookie decorating with Shenold!
-Christmas #1 with M's family.
-Christmas #2 with just M & H.
-Christmas #3 with my family.
-swearing off Christmas forever.
-Celebrate ONE YEAR of laughter, happiness, support, encouragement, appreciation, projects, love notes, bike rides, sunsets, walks, patio dining, cuddles, snuggles, cooking, cocktails & wine, and LOVE with my favorite person of all the people---my boocoupe*. (*beyonce nickname)
-Spent NYE with McCullocks and Patricks eating, playing games, and hanging out. 

---THE END---


2013 was a great year. It brought challenges and delights, beginnings and endings. More wonderful than finishing school and getting the chance to actually practice this counseling thing was the chance to give my heart away. There's no way I could've found a better man than my Farm Boy. He is the absolute best and I'm incredibly grateful that he chose me and chooses me. It has been a great adventure to trust someone again; to love someone again. I could write a lot about him, but what you need to know is that he hears me and he sees me. And I feel the luckiest to even know him, let alone be his girl. I am happy. That's what 2013 was: happy.










Wednesday, January 29, 2014

That time I realized what happiness was...

I found this in my drafts from 2013 and decided it's time to start writing again. 2013: A year in review is to come. But first, this.


------

Oh my. I have only written 8 times in 6 months. That may or may not have something to do with grad school.

Or a boy. #SorryI'mNotSorry.

I am way out of practice. Writing has become mostly academic in 2013. I have missed it beaucoups as it has been one of my main forms of processing, coping, healing, venting, etc. It's also something that brings me joy and life and happiness. It does something for my soul. It's cathartic.

So gosh, where do I even start?!

This year has been so many things. It's been full of so many good things. So many hard things.

Tears.
Belly laughs.
Friends.
Bike rides.
Star gazing.
Porch time.
Poems.
Bocce ball.
Conversations.
Fear.
Risk.
Change.
Uncertainty.
Happiness.
Love.

It is a strange thing to read words I wrote nearly two years ago. To hear myself talk about hope and my heart being whole again. To speak the dream of sharing life with someone again. Reading them now, it almost makes me laugh. I don't remember if I really believed the things I said or not. I think I was trying to bring myself comfort; trying to reassure myself that I would be wanted again. I do remember thinking it felt unfair to get a second chance when so many people haven't had their first. I'm pretty sure there was a lot of doubt that anyone would be on that shore thinking I was an alright gal. At least anytime soon. I think I was more concerned with just surviving that hurricane of divorce than with my heart sitting in someone's hands again. I think I thought me, myself, and I were going to just live our life and that would be that. Divorce kind of does that to you. It feels like everything you ever dreamed is ruined. And so you stop dreaming. And you just kind of live your life with a smile but an emptiness.

But life is a sneaky sneak. And just when you've made your plans, it nails you with a curve ball.

Nothing in 2013 has gone as planned. I had to quit my job. I had to live off savings. I had to be in class every-other-weekend. I had to listen to some criticism and show up the next day. I had to change my attitude. I had to sit face-to-face with adaptability and flexibility and learn how to live un-anchored.

But that curve ball kept coming: complete with a Boy and his daughter. They just kinda showed up in my life and then we made salsa on Christmas and haven't stopped spending time together since. Sneaky sneak, I tell you. Plans = out the window. And the result has been so beautiful.

I am swimming in grace.
I am steeping in kindness.
I am marinating in love.
I am sharing the practice of life with another.

 And it's my favorite.



Sunday, July 14, 2013

You can't always get what you want

Dear Everyone In My Life Who Gets Zero of My Time Right Now,

I know you know I'm in school.
I know you know I'm working.
I know you know I'm interning.
I know you know I'm dating a wonderful boy. (If you didn't know that, AHEM: I'm dating a great man that I'm crazy about and we may say the love words and he might make me dinner a lot of the time. I may have hearts in my eyes for him. More on that someday soon.)

Please also know that I haven't forgotten you! When I say I want to do lunch/dinner, talk on the phone, hang out and/or generally "catch up": I really mean it. I want to be at your wedding shower, baby shower, birthday party, etc. I want to be at your cookout, your pool time, your backyard hangout with your kids. I want to help you move and paint your walls and finish your nursery. I want to meet you on a patio for drinks and a sunset. I want to come hold your baby while you shower or you clean your kitchen or you go on a date with your husband. I want to listen to you vent. I want to stay up til 2am laughing and crying and watching Bridesmaids while we quote every word and try to be Kristen Wiig. I want to cook dinner and have you over to my house.

I want all these things.


Some days, I want them desperately. I want them more than I want to graduate. More than I want my "low tire pressure" light to stay off on my dashboard. More than I want sleep. *Today is that day.

Here's the thing: You can't always get what you want. (UGH.)

The truth is that I want to be able to do everything well and I hate missing out on important moments in the lives of those I love and call friend/family. However, I'm having to accept the reality that a lot of what I want will have to wait until December. Please give me your grace and understanding in the meantime and know that while it may seem like you've gone off my radar; you haven't.

[Insert cheesy Phil Collins "You'll be in my Heart" lyrics]

I love you, my people. 5 months & counting...

Tuesday, April 2, 2013

Quote (s)

I've been reading for class this weekend and these passages all struck me as wonderful.

"A sukkah is a ceremonial replica of the nomadic huts the biblical Israelites used during their wandering through the desert. It took them forty years...to shift the horizon so that a new way of being, a new terrain of communal identity, moral commitment, and political freedom, could 'show up' for them. During the days and nights of celebrating Sukkot, Jews are encouraged to build and actually live in a sukkah. The tradition says that a sukkah should be built so that one can look up through the palm leaves of the roof, into the night sky, and see the stars. By sleeping under the stars, the rabbis hoped to emphasize the wandering, impermanent, and fleeting moment that is a human life, to confront the dangers and material deprivations involved in revolution, and to acknowledge the ultimate values of human relationship...and freedom."

"Living is a passage untamed by our yearnings for certainty and permanence."

"Ours is an uncertain and impermanent fate, but one that allows us room to struggle, fight, imagine, dream, wish - to build, ever anew, the cultural bridge that keeps us aloft. We must build and rebuild it, even as we walk upon it, depending upon it for support. Our limitation, then, is also our strength: we live in an interdependent, interpenetrating world of tradition and change, communalism and individuality, confidence and confusion, authority and uncertainty. The source of our confusion and fear is also the source of our significance."

"We give ourselves over to building that which must be continually resculpted and reconfigured. We must build bridges, not idols. Life is in the wandering."

---Philip Cushman
(Constructing the Self, Constructing America: a Cultural History of Pscyhotherapy.  Pg 330-331)

Monday, April 1, 2013

2013 Intentions: First Quarter Grades



No phone whilst driving.  Um yea. No. I haven't done much improvement here at all so far. Sticking to mostly stoplights but still. Not good enough. F

No honking. I have only honked in the friendly "beep beep" way and it was after the light had been green for a whiiiiiiiile. A

No gift cards. I've only given 1 gift card and it was for a co-worker's baby shower. I found it hard to give a personal gift when I didn't really know her that well. B+

Get back to paper and pen. I have written some some things but I haven't been diligent at all. I was reading through some old journals last night and found myself wishing I had done a better job of documenting my life...especially the last 2 years. D-

Finish Strong. I'm trying. I've still got a 4.0 next to my name, but that's not an accurate reflection of my best efforts. It's just a nice bonus. B-

Surrender. After some brief moments of freaking out, I have cannon-balled into some major risks. I quit my job. I am dating a wonderful boy. I am seeing clients and preparing for my future career. I am letting the future unfold with as little control as possible. It is freeing. A

Take care of yourself. This has been tricky. It's already April and there is no consistent rhythm in my life. There is nothing anchoring me right now. I'm doing my best to squeeze in walks, yoga, healthy eating and rest. I'm doing alright-ish. B-

No Taco Bueno. AHEM: No TB since November. And I'm really proud that my fast-food experiences have been limited to Chik-Fil-A salads and 1 unavoidable trip to Taco Mayo. BAM. A-

Spend more time being present in your life than a presence on social media. This has been a super interesting intention. There have been many moments where I've caught myself reaching for my phone to take a picture to show off later or tweet something that makes me feel good about myself. Instead, I've tried to put my phone back down and soak in the sunset instead of take a picture of it. Soak in the moment I'm experiencing instead of tweet about it. Send a card on a birthday instead of type on a FB timeline. I won't pretend that it's been easy. But when that little voice pops up and asks why I want to take a picture or tweet, it makes following through a choice instead of a mindless act. I like that. B+

That's all I've got.

Sunday, February 24, 2013

job identity

It's been almost a month since I had to quit my job and it's been an interesting process of waiting, hoping, searching, and processing what it's like to sit in this space between jobs.

I've had the conversation many times about hating when people ask, "What do you do?" It feels like a loaded question. I'd rather people be interested in who I am than what I do. I know I lean that way because to this point in my life, work has been work. A means to an end. I've had a job I enjoyed despite the stress. I've had a job I didn't enjoy but that afforded me lots of opportunities and experiences that made it worth it. I've had a job that allowed me to get on my feet, provide for myself, and go back to school. All of these have been things I've done, but not really a big part of who I am.

With all this time I've had with no job to fill my time, I've realized how much of my identity has simply been rooted in the fact that I have a job. It's made me feel like an adult, a contributing member of society, and in a strange way I've felt "whole." I guess because I've survived the D-word and I've been able to take care of myself, on my own, independently, and that has been empowering.

So.... I'm figuring out how to live in this space temporarily. I'm figuring out how to feel like a contributing member of society while not working. I'm figuring out new places to gather value from. It is a strange place to be. But honestly, I'm looking forward to the day I get a piece of my identity back.

Thursday, February 14, 2013

Quote

"It doesn't interest me what you do for a living,
I want to know what you ache for. 
It doesn't interest me how old you are,
I want to know if you are willing to risk looking like a fool for love,
for your dreams,
for the adventure of being alive.
I want to know if you can live with failure,
yours and mine. 
It doesn't interest me where you live or how rich you are,
I want to know if you can get up after a night of grief and despair,
weary and bruised to the bone,
and be sweet to the ones you love.
I want to know if you can be alone with yourself and truly like the company you keep 
in the empty moments of your life."

-Jon Blais

Tuesday, February 5, 2013

confronting happiness

Sometimes therapy blows my mind. And it's not because of anything crazy special. It's because someone sits across from me and says words I've said to myself or wondered or thought...but they just fall differently on me.

That happened today. My therapist pointed out all these good and happy things I've been talking about. She reflected back to me the light that's coming out of my face. And then she asked me if I'm allowed to be happy.

I'm being confronted with so much good and happiness from all sides in my life right now...and it's overwhelming in the best and most confusing way at the same time.

I'm being forced to sit with the fact that I am allowed to be happy. And just because I don't remember what this has felt like for a long time, doesn't mean I'm not allowed to experience it fully. Doesn't mean it's not authentic. Doesn't mean it's not real. I can't express how crazy huge it feels to sit face-to-face with that. You would think that after all the **** of the last few years that I would be running full-tilt into happiness. That I would feel like I deserved it. That I would dive in head first and swim around until I couldn't breathe anymore.

I'm working on it. I am staring it right in the face and I'm trying to let it conquer me. I'm allowed to be happy. It is possible for me to be happy. Just because it feels like new territory, and it's terrifying, and it's overwhelming, doesn't mean that it's not authentic.

So that's it. I'm confronting happiness. I'm confronting all the fear and control and experiences I bring to the table and I'm working on letting happiness win. Because I deserve it. And I'm allowed to be happy. And until I believe that 100%, I will believe the percentage that I discovered today and I will work on owning more and more until I've reached the full 100. 


Sunday, January 27, 2013

beauty

There are days when it's easy to see the life, light, and beauty in the things and people who are a part of your journey. Today was one of those days and it was right on time.

It started with rest. I went to bed last night and didn't set an alarm. I decided to sleep until I woke up. (I love that phrase.) I have not been getting a lot of good sleep recently. The 8.5 hours of blissful, heavy, dream-laden sleep felt glorious. So glorious that I stayed in bed another hour to just bask it in.

I was so enjoying a restful start to my Sabbath that the thought of going to church made me cranky. I did not feel up for sitting alone, exchanging pleasantries, or singing songs. I was not interested in a sermon or announcements or The Lord's Prayer. Full Disclosure: I wanted a day to just be.

But I'm a good Nazarene which means I have guilt/shame about missing church if I'm not throwing up or in the hospital. So I went. And I sat by myself. And I sang some songs. And I listened to the sermon. And I struggled. I disagreed. I held tension for a space in me that's vibing with several different beliefs and practices. A space that is happily co-existing. A space I really like. But this space was not really honored today inside the walls of the church. And that's okay. Because my community extends beyond those walls anyway. And because we took the Eucharist which always redeems even my most cynical of days. And it turns out I really do love that Lord's Prayer.

I enjoyed a nice lunch with my mom. She's been MIA for most of January and it was nice to catch up with her and reconnect. I'm so proud of the work my mom is doing in her own life. She's working on herself and challenging herself in ways I never thought she would. It makes my heart sing to see it. I saw beauty in the words she shared with me over a meal.

Later this afternoon I got to go to a super special 4 year old boy's birthday party. It was a simple party made up of friends and family and a Spiderman bouncy-house. (Awesome. Duh.) I got to catch up with several friends I haven't seen in a while. I got to play. I got to do somersaults in a Spiderman bouncy house. I even got some baby snuggles complete with baby snores. I heard beauty in the laughter of little kids and the conversations of my friends. I saw beauty in their smiles and the light in their eyes that told me they remembered what it was like to be a kid.

To finish it off, I got to take my beloved friend Mandy out for dinner and drinks. Mandy is responsible for introducing me to yoga. She's responsible for teaching me how to "live the practice." She's given me the language of intention and mindfulness. She's also traveled through my darkest days and carried the light on my behalf. We connect on a soul-level. I love her guts. Tonight we got to catch up and look back at our friendship and just be together. It was beautiful. It reached a tipping point when she was sharing about an act of kindness that a friend is doing for her as she prepares to move to Holland in March. I became completely overwhelmed. Mandy exudes goodness and kindness and mindfulness. She has given me so much and she is worthy of every good thing that is coming her way. We sat and cried together about the faithfulness and love of the community that has supported her on her journey the last 3.5 years. It was a ridiculously beautiful moment for both of us. One that's made me cry several more times tonight as I reflect on her presence in my life and am excited about her future. I witnessed beauty through the vulnerability and brokenness in another human being.

So that's it. My heart is overflowing with gratitude as I sit with all the beauty I got to be a part of today. From rest to mothers to bouncy houses to soulmates: beauty is everywhere. Namaste.

Friday, January 18, 2013

2013 Intentions

A bit late, but these still count. Duh, I make the rules around here.

No phone whilst driving.  Like I did with soda, I needed this intention to be tied to someone so I would actually do it. This is a shout-out to you, Jason Smith! You have my permission to hold me accountable. I've gotten too good at justifying using my phone while driving.

No honking. Chill out. Unless you're trying to avoid an accident, be patient with your fellow drivers.

No gift cards. It doesn't take that much more effort to choose a gift that shows someone you really know them. No cop-outs.

Get back to paper and pen. I haven't used a journal since around D-word time. That doesn't mean I haven't written anything, I just haven't been steady about journaling. A couple of weeks ago, after finding a stack of 20 sticky notes with quotes and reminders of books to read or songs to download or articles to check out, I went and bought a small journal. I want to get back to using my hands to write and not type.

Finish Strong. I graduate in 330 days. (10 months and 26 days. BOOM.) I want to be proud of my graduate school career. It's a little easier to remain focused this time around since I'm pretty close with Sallie Mae and we're going to get even closer after I'm done. I want to look back at this investment in my future and know that I took it seriously and my efforts reflect that.

Surrender. I'm at an interesting place in my journey. It's a good place. A place I've worked really hard to reach. And now I'm being faced with some pretty huge things.  I think the most challenging thing for me is to lean into the future and its possibilities. To give myself over to some of the risks I've taken and trust that things will either work out or they won't. And either way, I will still be Cara.

Take care of yourself. I can already tell this year is going to go fast and it's going to be a challenge to make sure I still take time for myself to work-out, to breathe, and to celebrate life with my friends.

No Taco Bueno. If you didn't know, dear blogosphere, I love Taco Bueno. And I have ordered the Mexi Dips and Chips on every visit except 5. Ever. Since I can remember. I'm making an effort to do no fast food, but wanted to start with something specific. Fast food would be defined as anything with a drive-through and/or serves anything fried. Working towards that!

Spend more time being present in your life than a presence on social media. Yea. Get over yourself. 

That's all I've got. Cheers to 2013 and mindfulness!






Tuesday, January 1, 2013

Quote

“Be at war with your vices, 
at peace with your neighbors, 
and let every new year find you a better man.” 
— Benjamin Franklin

Saturday, December 29, 2012

New Year Intentions 2012: Final Grade

Well, there's only 2 days left of 2012 so it's time for a final round up! I'm looking forward to setting new intentions for 2013 in the next week. I tried to be honest and objective as I reviewed the last 12 months and my intentions to change a lot of small things.

PEACE: The intention was to let more things go and to practice peace. This has been a wonderful challenge for me. I have a tendency to be quick to react, defensive, and hold on to things that don't matter. I honestly feel like I've managed to turn a huge corner where this is all concerned. A

QUIET: This intention revolved around shutting up, being still, and listening. Sometimes this was in regard to friendships or individuals, sometimes it was with my environment, and other times it was just to be present in the darkness or the light and not fight it. In a weird way I've enjoyed the tension and struggle of embracing quiet. B+

PLAY: This intention was to get me to participate in my own life and stop waiting for people to come to me. This unintentionally most often took the form of seeing a lot of live music. And I'm not sorry about it. A

FOLLOW THRU: This has been huge for me. Saying "No" as a complete sentence has been a big part of this intention. I have followed through on commitments, I have kept promises, I have met deadlines, and I have quit things that needed quitting. A-

RISK: This was really important for me to have on the list. I needed to force myself out of the mindset I had in 2011 which was survival and protection. I took several risks this year which include (but are not limited to) going on dates, going back to school, investing in new friendships, etc. I'm proud of myself. I have no regrets when it comes to the risks I took this year. B+

CHALLENGE: Grad School alone has been a huge challenge, but one that I have loved. I've challenged myself in friendships, in yoga (I can do a real handstand and a fully-extended tri-pod!); I've explored more new food than ever before and I've had more brutally challenging conversations this year than any time that I can remember. I feel happy about this intention. B+

MOVE: I feel confident that I've continued to move forward, continued to work on myself and be better, and continued to heal. A-

RESPOND: This will always be hard. But I'm learning to acknowledge my initial reactions, sit on them, breathe, and respond when I feel clear about things. There's always room for improvement. B-

CONSISTENCY: I've ended in a good place and I'm happy with that. It's taken a long time for me to be myself at work. It's a very weird environment for me and my personality. And it's safe to say that working on my driving will be on the list for next year, yet again. I need more patience in that area. C

HONESTY: #realtalk B+

INVEST: I've landed somewhere in the middle here. I can do better and I want to do better. C

GIVE: I've tried to do the best I can with what I have. But I know I've gotten in my own way on many occasions. And I know I am capable of doing more. C-

PRESENT: I am so glad this was on my list for the last year. It's been a great personal challenge. It started as something I wanted from others and so I challenged myself to do exactly what I was wanting. It's hard at first, but once you get the hang of it, it's worth it. Nothing can beat physical presence. Nothing beats having someone's full attention. And the same goes when you're the one giving. There is something special that happens when you can give someone your full attention; when you give presence. It's vulnerable, it's intimate, and it connects/bonds you to that other person on another level. I will continue to work on this one for sure! B+

REMEMBER: This intention has been so enjoyable. It's been all about sharing stories, reminiscing, laughing, crying, writing, reading, and just marinating in memories and special moments. It is so easy to forget to remember. I've enjoyed combating that amnesia. A-

DANCE: Easiest intention ever. A+ (Best public dancing moment of 2012: working it at a Thunder Playoffs game with Shenold where we made it on the jumbo-tron and national television. Also, completely embarrassing my little brother and sister while dancing to the Cupid Shuffle while waiting in line to ice skate.)


PS: As of January 3rd, I will have gone an entire year without soda. 1985-2010 Cara would not believe this.


See you in the New Year!


Monday, December 24, 2012

I kissed (online) dating goodbye: Part 4

Closing Thoughts

While many of you have enjoyed these last few posts and have tried to get me to keep putting myself through such torturous situations to allow for more funny stories, I'm afraid our time here is done. But, in my admitedly short adventure into online dating, I was able to learn a few things.

1) People are going to lie. And they will choose to lie about really stupid stuff that can easily be witnessed when you meet them. They will lie about things that shouldn't matter, but that will make you question what else they might be lying about. So you chose to check the box that says "athletic and toned" and you're more like "a few extra pounds." Not a huge deal, right? But if you can't be honest with yourself and own what you are...that reads as insecurity. Or dishonesty. Or something. I think there are more people than we realize roaming around out there, not happy in their skin and too afraid to admit it. And that's why they check the boxes or write the paragraphs about the person they'd like to be, or hope to be instead of who they actually are.

2) You can learn a lot about someone if you are willing to show up and listen. I know both of the situations I wrote about were very different from each other, but there was a quality that came out on both dates. Both Gary and Hank completely gave themselves away in different expressions of desperation. I know about their families, where they work, who their friends are, where they hang out, etc. My total experience culminates to something less than 5 hours!

3) I am not interested in investments with low-return. My youth pastor told me in high-school, "You are built for long-term relationships." And it couldn't be more true. The majority of the people I'm close to, with a few exceptions, have been in my life for a good, long while. If I'm going to invest in someone, I want to know they're going to be around for the long haul. Otherwise, I don't want to bother. I take relating to people very seriously. That's why I hate chit-chat. I hate mingling. I hate going to a party where I only know 1 person. I'm not interested in fake conversation with someone I won't see again. That's why I don't think the online dating thing will work for me. I think the majority of people interested in online dating want to water ski. I'm not interested in playing around on the surface of the water. I want a few days on the dock to study the water and then I'm going to run off the end doing a cannonball. I'm all in.

4) If you have no expectations, you will never be disappointed. This is really hard to do, but pays off. (And is useful in, oh....all areas of life.)

Thanks for laughing with me through this experience. I'm glad I did it, I'm glad it's over, and all the best to Hank and Gary. Cheers.

Sunday, December 9, 2012

I kissed (online) dating goodbye: Part 3

Second First Date
Name: Hank (named changed to something that makes me laugh)
Info: 32, Electrical Engineer, likes Thunder basketball, indie music, podcasts, stand-up comedy, and his Nigerian family. 
Date: Thursday night drinks at a pub in Midtown
Background: We had emailed a few times, texted mainly about where to meet and when.
Time elapsed from first contact to meeting up: 5 days

Disclaimer: I am not a super affectionate person until we have established a solid friendship/relationship. I can give a firm handshake or a Christian side-hug, but I typically maintain a fairly awkward stance until a certain point.

I'm there a little early because I was coming from a meeting downtown. I'm standing in the lobby reading a Gazette and in comes Hank.

Cara: *puts down paper* Hi, I'm Cara *extends hand*
Hank: I'm Hank *overwhelming full-frontal hug* (Please ask for a demo next time you see me.)
Cara: (inner dialogue) un...com...fortable....
---we are seated---

We have easy conversation...talking about the Thunder and podcasts we enjoy...this goes on for about an hour.

At this point I notice that Hank has never taken off his jacket. This is where I should tell you that Hank may have embellished a few things about himself on his profile...superficially speaking. After meeting him, it seemed that the majority of his pictures were a few years old. Not a big deal. But as the night went on, it became apparent through Hank's body language that he wasn't very comfortable in his skin. Or his clothes. As superficial as it may sound, those are both things that are important to me.

So, we talk for about 2 hours total. He pays for my drink and we thank each other for the conversation. He gives me another no-way-out full-frontal hug. I give the double-back-pat-tap-out escape. It works.

At this point. I wasn't sure what to do. I felt like either I had really high standards, was being really picky or was setting everyone up to fail. I wondered if my expectations of what it would be like to start over with a new person and start from scratch were too overwhelming. So even though I didn't  feel a connection with Hank, I didn't have a bad time...and we had a lot in common...so I agreed to meet him again.

Second date: Kaisers on a Saturday night for some ice cream. 
*Note to self and everyone: if you don't feel like doing something, don't do it.

I meet Hank for some ice cream after doing homework all day. I'm exhausted and want to go bed early. Hank is completely jazzed about getting to hang out again. We hang out for about an hour and a half and I do the, "Well I think I'm going to call it a night." And Hank is not interested in calling it a night. He wants to hang out more. We compromise on a movie if there's one that starts in the next 30 minutes. (I'm hoping/praying there won't be one so I can go home.) I'm reading through the list of showtimes and get to Wreck It Ralph. Hank exclaims: "I WANT TO SEE THAT!" I give him a "Whoa, Nelly" face and ask, "Are you a gamer, Hank?" Hank answers: "Uhhhhhhhh. Not really. I mean, I did buy the new Halo 4 this week but I've only played it like....30 minutes." (Yea right, Hank.) Hank later confesses to playing online against 10 year olds and yelling at them in his XBOX headset. See ya later, Hank.

We go to the movie. I sit with my arms folded and legs crossed away from Hank. It's at this point I realize that I've made a mistake. I'm obviously not interested in this guy and instead of cutting the cord over ice cream, I'm now stuck sitting through a children's movie next to someone who won't take off his jacket, who stays up til 3am playing video games, and who is 32 years old and absolutely loving Wreck It Ralph. And I'm using all the mental energy I have left to stay awake and send vibes to Hank to not even think about making a move on me in this movie theatre.

Oh the awkwardness. It's finally over and we're walking to our cars and it happens.

Hank: "Look. I know you're busy with school and you're stressed about your paper, but I really want to see you again. Soon."
Cara: "Uhhhhhhhhhhhhh. Look. How about we just keep playin' it like we've been playin' it?" (WHO SAYS THAT?! AND WHAT DOES THAT EVEN MEAN?!)
Hank: Cool! Cool. Awesome. *Not 1, but 2 full frontal hugs.*

I get in my car and leave as fast as possible. I feel so awkward. I bailed. I choked. I didn't have the guts to be honest and say, "I'm sorry Hank. I'm just not interested."

This goes on for 3 more days...Hank is jazzed and excited about hanging out again and I try to let him down easy. Finally, I just told him the truth and apologized. And he did not respond for 5 days. Then at 2am on a Sunday morning he sends me a drunken/sorrow filled text about how he's been really bummed out and hopes this doesn't mean goodbye forever.

And I don't respond.







Sunday, December 2, 2012

I kissed (online) dating goodbye: Part 2

So I set you up pretty well in Part I to understand how online dating works and you got to see some quality communication words from some gentlemen dudes. So, what is left to tell you besides a play-by-play of my first date? NOTHING.

Wait. First I have to tell you my game plan and how I tried to approach this whole thing. First, I wanted to have minimal email communication leading up to a face-to-face meeting. I feel like the longer you communicate with someone before meeting them, 1) the more awkward it is, 2) the more expectations you have, 3) the more the story you've made up about them in your head starts to take over. So, I tried to keep things to a general topic of conversation like the World Series or Thunder basketball. (Guys love it when you can speak in their native language: Sports.) Okay, so the plan was: keep convo general and be honest (as in, if you're not interested, say you're not interested).

Name: Gary (named changed to something that makes me laugh)
Info: 33, self-employed, likes Thunder basketball, traveling, his family and friends, has his Masters in business, is in the Air-Force Reserves, originally from Alaska.
Date: Starbucks on a Sunday afternoon
Background: We had emailed a few times (mostly talking about the Harden trade), texted mainly about where to meet and when.
Time elapsed from first contact to meeting up: 1 week

G=Gary C=Cara.... What follows is the play-by-play of our date. Important to note: we were supposed to meet at 2:30pm. Disclaimer: THIS IS ALL TRUE.

(2:25pm) - I am stuck in traffic, 1/2 mile from where we're meeting.
G: (text) Hey where are you?
C: (text) I'm at ______. Should be there in just a minute.
G: (text) Ok, call me when you get here.
C: (inner dialogue) Why?

(2:30pm) - I park and call as I'm walking up to the door.
G: (call) Hey I see you...*hangs up*
C: (inner dialogue) O..k.....

(2:31pm) - I walk in to Starbucks and come over to the table Gary's sitting at. He does not wave, get up, shake my hand, etc.
G: You're late. *Holds up iPhone to show a time of 2:31pm.*
C: (*Pauses; gives an "Are you serious?" face.) One minute? You're getting on me for 1 minute? Come on man.... (*Trying to break the ice and be jokey)
G: (*No facial affect. Turns and looks out the window. STILL SITTING DOWN.)
**This is the time where people say, "Do you think he was joking?" Answer: I HAVE NO CLUE.**
C: (*Awkwardly sits down at the table.)
G: I'm going to grab a drink. (*Stands up, walks over to the register to order.)
C: (*confused) (inner dialogue: I guess I should go stand in line too?) *I get back up (I HAD JUST SAT DOWN) and go stand behind Gary. He stands with his back to me. Does not talk to me.
G: *orders drink*, barista sees me, asks, "Will that be all?", Gary nods and pays. (HE HAS NOT OFFERED TO SPRING FOR MY $2.05 TEA I'M ABOUT TO ORDER.) Gary walks back to the table and sits down.
**This is where everyone (and I mean every single person who's heard this: all 4 of them) says: WHY DIDN'T YOU TURN AROUND AND WALK OUT? Answer: It did occur to me. I think I was so surprised at how it was going that I just felt like I had to play it out. And honestly, I was concerned with looking rude. (I know you're already telling me I'm not the rude one in this situation, but let's just move on...)**
C: (*To barista who is now feeling really uncomfortable on my behalf) Hiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiii. I'm gonna buy my OWN drink! (insert Zooey Deschanel awkward arm swing and winky face) *walks back to table to sit down.
G: *Gets up, goes to pick up his drink. My name is called, I stand up, he turns around...
C: Would you mind getting my drink? (*points to bar where my drink is sitting) (*inner dialogue: SERIOUSLY?)
G: (sits back down at the table, looks out the window.)
C: Sooooooooooooo. You're from Alaska? Tell me about that.
G: I grew up there. My parents still live there. (still looking out the window.)
C: Nice. What area are you from?
G: *names some area about an hour outside Anchorage
C: Cool. I've always wanted to visit Alaska. It seems like a really beautiful place.
G: I hated it. I like it better here.
C: What brought you to Oklahoma?
G: I joined the Air Force and was stationed at Tinker. Then I went into the reserves and got my Masters at OU. It's nice. It's cheap to live here. I make a lot of money here.
C: I have a friend in the Marines who's stationed out in North Carolina. He's a JAG. What kind of work do you do for the Air Force?
G: I'm just in the reserves. I did stuff with computers. I only joined so they would pay for grad school.
C: Cool. (*head nodding...) (At this point I notice he's already finished his drink.)
C: So what kind of work do you do?
G: Where did you go to school?
**Did you catch that?**
C: *confused* I'm sorry?
G: Where did you go to college?
C: (I tell him)
G: So you didn't have fraternity or sororities?
C: *laugh* Nope.
G: Well I own my own business and we supply Greek products to frats and sororities around the country. We're the #2 retailer.
C: So like, sweatshirts? That kind of stuff?
G: Oh we have everything. (*lists off an ungodly amount of crap)
C: I gotcha.
G: Yea, I have 4 employees. I only work about 3 hours a day. But I'm constantly checking stock prices. It's all about making money, you know? (*record scratch)
C: Well, maybe for some people.
G: How much money do you make?
**Did you catch that?**
C: What?
G: How much money do you make?
C: I'm not comfortable with that kind of question. I don't feel like that's any of your business.
G: What kind of car do you drive?
C: Why?
G: I drive a Range Rover.
C: *looks at Gary blankly*
G: Yea, I'm going to pick up my friend for the Thunder game tonight. I just got my car back from its 30,000 mile maintenance. I love my car. Did you know I have season tickets to the Thunder?
C: I think I saw that on your...
G: Yea, at club level. With the buffet. I go to every home game. It's awesome.
C: Sounds nice.
G: Yea one of my friends went to college with Kevin Durant. She lived 3 doors down from him his freshman year.
C: Well he was only at UT for one year, so it would've had to have been his freshman year.
G: It was.
C: Cool. So what do you do in your free time if you're working all the time? (*I'm annoyed. I don't know why I'm still talking to Gary at this point.)
G: I go to Vegas. I was actually just in Vegas last weekend and I'm going again this Friday. I hope in a year when I have a couple more employees that I can be in Vegas even more often. I love it there.
C: What do you do in Vegas?
G: Have you ever been there?
C: No
G: I gamble. I eat. They have the greatest buffets in the world. I go out.
C: Even better than the buffet at the Thunder games?
G: (*doesn't get it.) Um, yea, like, way better.

***Blah blah blah...I don't remember the rest. The "date" managed to last somewhere around 45 minutes. It shouldn't have gotten that much air time. I'm well aware. ***

C: Well, I've gotta get crackin' on some homework before the game tonight.
G: Yea, I've got to go get my friend so we can get there for the buffet.
C: You can go this early? The game isn't for another 3 1/2 hours.
G: Well you know, I have to go pick him up and then drive downtown and we'll probably go somewhere before the game.
G: (*Outside at this point) Where did you park?
C: I'm over that way
G: Alright. (*turns and walks to his beloved Range Rover.)
C: (*walks into a store next door and wait for Gary to leave....followed by laughter and lots of, "Did that just happen?" and a call to my safety pal to check-in and laugh more. )

Summary: Almost every single thing he listed on his profile as being true was the exact opposite in real-life. (You're probably rolling your eyes at that like I'm an idiot. Forgive me for trusting strangers to tell the truth about themselves!)  He bashed his family and friends the entire time, he talked about himself (I literally didn't say anything other than what is listed above. I just nodded my head) and had minimal eye contact.

Dear Boys: If you don't stand up when you're meeting someone (ANYONE!), shake hands, look them in the eye...if you display that you're only concerned with yourself, your job, your car, your money...there's a very high probability that I think you're not a very noteworthy human being. I probably think you have something(s) to hide and I don't trust any word you say. And if you have the balls to call me out for being 1 MINUTE LATE and proceed to talk about your wealth while not at least offering to pay for my $2 beverage: call me on none-day. 

I hope you're laughing at this nonsense. What's 45 minutes of torture when you can come out with a good story?

Coming Soon:
Part III: Second First Date
Part IV: Closing Thoughts









Tuesday, November 20, 2012

I kissed (online) dating goodbye: Part 1

*That title may not make sense or be funny unless you were homeschooled, are a Duggar, or read anything by Elizabeth Elliot. If it doesn't/isn't, consider yourself blessed and add it to your list of things to be thankful for this week.

Let me set this up for you. It was a lonely Saturday night. I had been doing homework all day and was spending my evening bumming DVR'd episodes of Parenthood while crying into my sweat pants. Let's add some Ray LaMontagne and rainy weather for good measure. And let's also add everyone being busy and occupied and having babies and husbands. I'm sure there was chocolate in there too.

Do you see where this is going? Let's be clear. This is a judgement-free zone. And I'm practicing vulnerability by sharing this with you. So let's agree to laugh at all I'm about to share. No pity parties. No "bless your heart." No "awwwwww!" with puppy-dog sadness in your eyes.

Okay, so we've got a lonely night, some tears over a tv show...it's late...I'm feeling angry and yet motivated. And then I start hearing the voices of several friends who had been encouraging me to give online dating a try. So I give it a Russell Westbrook, "Why Not?" and set up a profile. (This is where I need to tell you that I don't even like the words "online" and "dating" much less the IDEA of it.  I need to tell you that I felt really conflicted about it. I need to tell you that I felt incredibly stupid and desperate and embarrassed.) So, blah blah blah, I set it up and paid the stupid fee, and told myself I would re-evaluate after 30 days. *Let's be clear. I was super safe and had a buddy who always knew when I was meeting someone, where I was going to be, and followed up to make sure I was still alive. I never gave my last name, the company I worked for, or any other type of identifying information.

So if you don't know how this works, you have a profile, you're matched with people and can review their profile, and then you can email them through the website if you're interested. It's basically a bunch of boxes you check and a couple of paragraphs you write about yourself and then photos. It all felt/read/looked very superficial and I hated that.

Here are some actual emails I got in my first 7 days of online dating: 
"How is your day? This is the start just give it a chance."
"I like your profile."
"I saw your profile and you sounded really interesting."
"I am wondering if you play an instrument? Is a music festival something you would enjoy? Do you like Oklahoma? Plan on staying?"
"Hi"
"You seem very interesting."
"Hi, you came up on my matches and I got a good laugh from your description of yourself."
"I like your hair."
"Wow."
"You have nice hair."
"Hi. You sound interesting."


Let me tell you what 9 out of 10 dudes put in their "About Me" section: 
"I'm a laid back/easy going guy...family oriented...I like to have a good time...I enjoy sports...I love going to the lake...I like to go out but I also enjoy staying in and watching a movie...I like traveling...I'm looking for my best friend who shares my interests...I don't do drama...I want someone who is funny and confident..." *Insert mirror pic or arm shot, picture next to dead animal, picture at the lake, picture with a beer in hand, picture grilling some type of meat, picture to prove I have friends, picture of me with my family to prove I'm close with my family, picture next to a girl to prove that girls like me, picture of me in a wedding to show I'm not afraid of commitment, picture of me with my dogs, picture of me on a beach/next to a mountain to prove I'm outdoorsy.

I'm sure you're really impressed at the detailed and not-at-all generic information you can learn about people from their profile. I know you're also shocked at the extremely clear and adult communication I received in that first week. I know for me, personally, I was wondering, "Where have you guys been all my life?!"

That's all for Part 1. I'll spill the beans now and tell you I did go on a few dates, I have deleted my profile, and I am not in a relationship. But there are some good laughs ahead so stay tuned.

Friday, November 9, 2012

Quote

"I still find each day too short for all the thoughts I want to think, all the walks I want to take, all the books I want to read, and all the friends I want to see."
-John Burrough

Friday, November 2, 2012

d-word life: poem

Love Song for the Newly Divorced  by Patricia Jabbeh Wesley (*emphasis added by me.)


One day, you will awake from your covering
and that heart of yours will be totally mended,
and there will be no more burning within.
The owl, calling in the setting of the sun
and the deer path, all erased.
And there will be no more need for love
or lovers or fears of losing lovers
and there will be no more burning timbers
with which to light a new fire,
and there will be no more husbands or people
related to husbands, and there will be no more
tears or reason to shed your tears.
You will be as mended as the bridge
the working crew has just reopened.
The thick air will be vanquished with the tide
and the river that was corrupted by lies
will be cleansed and totally free.
And the rooster will call in the setting sun
and the sun will beckon homeward,
hiding behind your one tree that was not felled.

Monday, October 29, 2012

this is your song


We're singing this song as part of Overflow on Sunday night and it just pretty much sums up what I'm feeling right now. Lost and Tired. "This is your song...sing along." Words are below.

Shine Your Light On Us by Robbie Seay Band on Grooveshark

--------

Oh, my God
Shine Your light on us
That we might live
Oh, my God
Shine Your light on us
That we might live

I've been holding on
I've been holding on
All that is inside me
Screams to come back home

If you feel lost
If you feel lost
Sing along
If you feel tired
If you feel tired
Sing along

If you feel lost and tired
This is your song


I've been broken down
I've been broken down
I ain't giving up
Love will come back around

If you feel lost
If you feel lost
Sing along
If you feel tired
If you feel tired
Sing along

If you feel lost and tired
This is your song


Oh, my God
Shine Your light on us
That we might live
Oh, my God
Shine Your light on us
That we might live
--------

Thursday, October 18, 2012

article(s)

This is a great article I stumbled upon that a friend linked to earlier today.  Married, single, divorced, engaged, whatever you are...worth a read. He's funny, he's raw, and he displays incredible insight and awareness.

And this is just a great website in general. It's geared towards guys, but I think it's a great guide to just being a decent adult. I read it. I have no shame.

One final article. I fully resonate with it and I am in love with Brene' Brown. 







Tuesday, October 9, 2012

d-word life: the end of the day

Up front, I want you to know I'm not looking for sympathy. I'm processing a lot of things right now and I need to get some thoughts down.

There are seasons with the whole d-word life. They come and go...don't normally stay too terribly long (at least in my experience.) But there will be times where I feel really good and solid and independent. I'm fine with this stage of healing. I'm fine flying solo.

And there are other times where I just want someone to be there when I get home. Where I don't want the bed to be empty. Where I want some burly arms to collapse into. Where I just need to hear that someone is breathing beside me.

These times are always flanked with stress. I'm back in counseling and the next 2 weeks hold a lot of homework and responsibilities. I found myself turning the corner to come home and grab my books for class....reflecting on memories of marriage. Memories of having a partner. Memories of a chest that rises and falls next to me and strong arms that did a good job of catching and carrying me.

I'm going to be okay. I'm going to make it. And I'm going to do it on my own; with the breath and strength of my community sustaining me on days like today.

Namaste. 

Thursday, October 4, 2012

the greatest thing said to me this week:

Ask yourself:

1) does this need to be said?

2) does this need to be said by me?

3) does this need to be said by me right now?

Chalk this up to adventures in holding your tongue. I'm still learning the difference in responding and reacting. And it's still hard.

Monday, October 1, 2012

three things

1) The Mumford&Sons Daytrotter session is wonderful.

2) I'm missing the Pacific Northwest something terrible right now.  I'm considering a solo trip to ring in the New Year. I need to see the beach, the mountains, and I need to ride the train from PDX to SEA.



Friday, September 28, 2012

It's been 5 years

5 years ago today I was sitting by a pool in Houston celebrating with friends who were getting married the next day. Most of us had a friend in common and his name was Spencer. Spencer had been battling cancer on and off for several years. He was full of life despite the fact that his body had taken a beating from surgeries and treatments and cancer just being a real big jerk to him. I only knew Spencer after his first round with cancer. I only knew him as the bald, skinny, older guy who told good jokes and wore Adidas soccer shoes nearly every day with jeans and t-shirt and walked with the slightest limp. We had several meaningful conversations and times together. He started writing songs and playing music and a lot of my memories of him involve music. I wasn’t especially close to Spencer, but I always felt very connected to him in a strange way. I still feel connected to him and it’s especially amplified today on the anniversary of his passing. I want to share some of my favorite memories of him today in an effort to remember him and continue the celebration of his life.

- Numerous “candle nights” in the game room, especially the night he shared a lot about his struggle with cancer and how it had impacted his life and changed him for the better.

- Numerous SGA retreats and events

- I remember one afternoon in the SGA office, he asked if he could play me a song he was working on for a friend. His friend had asked him to write a song and play it for his girlfriend when he proposed. The song is called “My Dear.” We went into his office and he closed the door and played and sang to me. I sat with teary eyes and a smile as he shared words that he longed to be able to say someday to a girl of his own. He asked my opinion and I gave it and we had a good conversation about girls and relationships and marriage. Later that year I asked if he would play in my wedding and if I could use “My Dear” as part of our ceremony. He grinned and agreed. And when the cancer came back with an angry fist that Spring, he sent me “My Dear” and a gift card and said, “Sorry I can’t be there in person, but I’ll be there in spirit. Thank you for believing in me and my music. ”

-His “fake” obsession with Chuck Norris and the karate moves that were displayed on a regular basis with Brack.

-The Living Room tour

-Taking a break from camp and hearing SLG play at the Spider House in Austin, Tx. He spent that summer playing a ton of shows.

-Senior year, the special meeting called where Spencer told us the cancer was back and he would be leaving school. I remember him telling us he had hope and was at peace. He asked me to lead us in his favorite hymn, “It is well with my soul.” That hymn has carried a heavy significance ever since.

-Teaching my “little brother/sister” all the words to his song “Crispitos.” To this day, we still sing it at the top of our lungs when we’re in my car.

-The many voices and characters of Spencer. He had no shame when it came to impersonations and making fun of people.

-His belief. He believed in the power of music and story. He believed in Camp Olympia and the work they were doing with young people. He believed in God and what He was doing in his life….even through his dark journey with cancer and his days of doubt.

-His memorial service. That may sound morbid, but the church was packed with people there to celebrate him. So many wonderful stories and photos and videos were shared. We laughed and smiled and enjoyed ourselves. The most moving part for me was the close of the service. It was a time of reflection and we all had our heads bowed. Through the quiet, we heard the sound of bagpipes start outside. It grew louder and they came inside playing “Amazing Grace.” The player weaved through the sanctuary and the hallways haunting us with the melody and forcing us to recall the words. It was one of the most beautiful things I’ve ever experienced.


I’m overwhelmed today recalling the small percent of the Spencer I knew and his part in the story of my life. I’m reminded of his grateful heart for life and the urgency to live it. I’m reminded of his thankfulness for grace and its abundance in his life. I’m reminded of his strong voice and the restlessness he felt to share his story through music. And I’m reminded to enjoy every sandwich, to lean into the wind, to hear the call of wilder things, and to know who holds tomorrow and that it’s never me.

Rest in peace, my friend.


(For those that read this and knew Spencer, feel free to leave your favorite memories in the comments. I'd love to hear yours.)

Thursday, September 27, 2012

movie

If you have the chance to see this movie, you should take it. At least watch the trailer. You'll laugh. The movie is great and funny and actually very raw and real. All things I appreciate if I'm going to spend my free time in a movie theatre.



If you won't do that, then you should at least listen to Mike Birbiglia on The Moth or This American Life. He's a really funny guy. Some people call those kinds of people comedians. Go figure.

That's all. Happy weekend. After I finish this 12 page paper about psychoanalytic theory, I've got a post for you about social media and technology and conversation. You're going to love it. (Or hate it.)

Bye.

Thursday, September 20, 2012

things i love right now:

these boys' album.
 

these boys' video of their newest single shot live at Red Rocks. (*ps: i want to go to there.)




these podcasts:
On Being
The Splendid Table
Radiolab
The Moth
Freakonomics
Wait Wait...
TAL

weather for these types of clothes:

this book: 

and yearly traditions with friends: 

Bye.


Tuesday, September 18, 2012

Quote

"It's when you can feel your opponent's pain that you're beginning the path that leads to reconciliation." -Lord Jonathan Sacks, Chief Rabbi of Great Britain

(Wonderful podcast interview here: I like to listen to the unedited interview first.)

Friday, September 14, 2012

Intentions: September Grades

It's time for a report card on my new year intentions! I know you're on the edge of your seat.

PEACE: Goodness. This has been a wonderful challenge. I guess I didn't realize how many things I hang on to until I challenged myself to let things go. I give myself a B-. I've made major improvements in this area, but there is still plenty of room for more.

QUIET: This has probably been my favorite thing to be intentional about. I've been eating breakfast or dinner on my patio, doing homework out there and allowing the soundtrack to be birds and crickets and traffic and the wind whispering through the trees. The second most popular quiet spot is my car. I've been spending more time with the windows down, more time clearing my brain instead of filling my ears. B+

PLAY: I have tried to really push myself to participate in life regardless of my situation. If I want to go to a movie and can't find someone to go, I go by myself. If I want to eat dinner out and can't find a pal to meet me, I go anyway. If I want to go fly a kite at the lake, I do it. If I want to have a dance party, I do it. If I want to go to a concert, I buy 2 tickets and figure it out later.  A-

FOLLOW THRU: Not to brag, but this has maybe been the most consistent time in my life and I'm really proud that I've managed to not over-commit myself. I've cut my running late down to about 5 minutes and to my knowledge have kept all my promises. A!

RISK: I'm doing it. I've been putting myself out there. That includes making new friends and going on 2 dates with strangers. B+

CHALLENGE: I think there's been plenty of this happening throughout the entire year. I'm listening to podcasts and reading articles that challenge my opinions and beliefs. I'm going to harder yoga classes that force me to try new things. I'm learning new things at my job. I'm in school and making straight A's (HELLO 4.0!) and am constantly challenged with juggling all my responsibilities and friends and leaving time for myself. A-

MOVE: I feel confident that I'm continuing to move forward, continuing to work on myself and be better, and continuing to heal. A-

RESPOND: This will never not be hard. But I'm learning to acknowledge my initial reactions, sit on them, breathe, and respond when I feel clear about things. Currently holding steady with a B.

CONSISTENCY: I'm doing okay. I'm getting there. My driving self still needs to get it together and be nice. I'll give it a good long look and settle on a C.

HONESTY: Is it jerky of me to say I feel like I'm dominating this? In a nice way? A-.

INVEST: I've invested in a lot of new experiences and with new friends. I'm working on investing my time better. Hmmm. B-?

GIVE: Gosh. In the practice of honesty, I kind of wish I hadn't put this on here. Do any of you realize how challenging it can be to be generous? Especially when it comes to grace or forgiveness? Yikes. C-.

PRESENT: This has evolved throughout the year. I've had more and more days in the recent past that haven't included a status update. And I like that. I reached the tipping point with FB and while I haven't deactivated my account, I have deleted the app off my phone and it's been a game-changer. I've hardly looked at it in the last 2 weeks. It feels great. The biggest area I need to improve on is being present, even and especially when I feel bored. It is way too easy to pick up my phone and check Twitter or Instagram or blogs or whatever. I want to stop sending the message, "I wish I wasn't here right now." B-

REMEMBER: I've been struck this year with how easy it is to forget and how hard it is to remember. I've enjoyed jogging my memory, writing, reading old writing, and taking and looking through pictures. B+

DANCE: Easiest intention ever. A+. Happens every day in my cubicle, in my car, in my house, on my deck. Heck, it happens at Target and Whole Foods just as often.



It looks like I'm averaging a solid B right now. I'm happy with that. I hope you're still working on your intentions. There is still time, my friends.

Lyric

"Oh, rain. Come wash me and keep me and take me away."

- Trampled By Turtles, "Widower's Heart."

Wednesday, September 12, 2012

Thanks for the Article, Anne.

I'm going to link to an article you need to read. And I want to say up front that I found this article because someone I follow on twitter that I think is hilarious posted the link earlier today and mentioned Anne Lamott. I clicked on the link because I like Anne Lamott. And I was disappointed that it took me to Oprah's website. I don't love Oprah. I think she's done a lot of good for people, for women, for children in Africa, but I also wonder why she won't marry her long-time live-in boyfriend, and why she wears fake eyelashes, and why she's building her own kingdom of things that don't matter. But whatever. Not the point. She likes Anne Lamott so we've got that in common.

The article is brilliant.  It's called, "How To Find Out Who You Really Are." In case you don't trust me or are too lazy to read the whole thing, here are some excerpts:

"You have to make mistakes to find out who you aren't. You take the action, and the insight follows: You don't think your way into becoming yourself."

"Every single day I try to figure out something I no longer agree to do. You get to change your mind—your parents may have accidentally forgotten to mention this to you."

"You can say no. No is a complete sentence."

"... You are probably going to have to deal with whatever fugitive anger still needs to be examined—it may not look like anger; it may look like compulsive dieting or bingeing or exercising or shopping. But you must find a path and a person to help you deal with that anger. It will not be a Hallmark card. It is not the yellow brick road, with lovely trees on both sides, constant sunshine, birdsong, friends. It is going to be unbelievably hard some days—like the rawness of birth..."

"Wherever the great dilemma exists is where the great growth is, too."

See what I mean?! She gets it. And I needed to be reminded of a lot of what she is saying. 
I've had some great conversations in the last few days with my patio people. My patio people are 3 stellar ladies I get to call my friends and we eat outside once a month and laugh loudly and share deeply and love completely. And they are also very brilliant. Monday night, we had a nice long 3 hour conversation that ended up with us all wanting to be better people. To be really connected to those around us. To stop participating in things that don't matter. To try new things. To reclaim some things and make them sacred again. I'm going to write more about that later. It deserves a whole separate post. 

But I love what Anne is saying. I want to make more mistakes. I want to disagree with myself. I want to say "no" as a complete sentence. And I want to examine my fugitive anger. I want to constantly be redefining who I am and who I'm not. I mean that in the same way that people used to put flour through a sifter to make it better. 
I hope you find some comfort in Anne's words. And I hope you too will work on finding out who you really are.  

Here's to the hard work ahead. Cheers. 



Saturday, September 8, 2012

an open letter to fall

Hey Fall, (to be read with "Hey Girl" inflection)

I just wanted to say thanks for showing up this morning with your 59 degree self and staying a while. As you know it's been another record breaking summer and morale has been low what with all the West Nile and E-coli and Chik-Fil-A scandals. Oh and hurricanes and rising oceans and earthquakes.

I'm not mad at summer, I just think they've taken more than their turn when it comes to the seasons, you know? We all know if somebody hogs more than their time then someone else has to pay for it and let's be honest; it's usually you or Spring. You guys get so shafted. On behalf of the other seasons and Momma Nature, I'm real sorry about that. Just know that I'm always pulling for. If you ever need a place to stay and linger, my house has extra bedrooms and you're welcome to crash anytime.

But seriously. I feel you this morning. That's why I'm out here on the deck, eating cookies and toasting to you, Fall. Thanks for giving us hope that you do exist, that you are coming, and that even though you bring with you lots of annoying football fans, you also bring pumpkin everything and Patty Griffin concerts, and long-awaited new albums, and Thanksgiving.

Love you. Mean it. xoxo,

-C