Monday, October 31, 2011

The Peaceful Woman

A peaceful woman seeks wisdom.
She loves to grow, explore, and change.
She remains authentic, yet glows with elegance.
She stops seeking perfection, and takes time to be.
She loves life and lives fully.
She draws you near to her soul.

Sunday, October 30, 2011


Growing apart doesn't change the fact that
for a long time we grew side by side;
our roots will always be tangled.
I'm glad for that.

Thursday, October 27, 2011

Fall Festivity!

I walked past a pile of racked leaves in front of the music building today and secretly I wanted to run and jump in them, but everyone was switching classes and I thought it might be kind of awkward. I would've done it if someone was with me... I hate that hesitancy inside of me. Half of me doesn't care what other people think, and then there's this whole other half that holds me back from really living. It's an on going battle.
I went to Starbucks this morning with a group of friends, and that was a whole other adventure in itself. We had really great conversations though. It just reminded me of how much I love my friends, and how much I love learning more about people.
I made TWO apple pies this afternoon with my grandma. It was SO fun. A nice break inbetween class and work. And tonight for dinner a bunch of relatives in Walla Walla came over to stuff themselves with enchiladas, homemade salsa and guacamole, and my apple pie. Lucky me, my grandma had vanilla ice cream AND caramel sauce! Woohooo!
I went to a corn maze tonight. The stars were SO bright and gorgeous! The air was a little chilly, but not bad at all. Part of the time, these two little boys were in front of us, kind of leading us through. Randomly, one little boy shouted out, "MICHAEL JACKSON." I had to laugh. Here we were in the middle of a "haunted maze" and these little boys were going off on some random tangent. Ha! I don't know why it's so funny to me, but it makes me laugh. I wish I was more random. A bit more spontaneous, "out of the blue!"
Crunchy leaves, hot drink, apple pie, break, family, feast, corn maze, a night under the stars... how much more festive can we get? Guess I can cross 8 off my list. Gotta keep it goin'!

Wednesday, October 26, 2011

Ready for Thanksgiving!

I want to make a pie. An apple pie.
With warm caramel drizzled on top to make it look fancy.
I want it hot, with "ice cream a la mode." I want crunchy leaves, and a corn maze. Pumpkin pie and a party.Hot tubb and a hot drink.Pumpkin carving and pumpkin bread.
A blanket and a break.
Falling leaves and a fireplace.
A feast and family.
And just one last night under the brisk, clear, stars
without a blizzard of white encircling me and my house.

Sunday, October 23, 2011

Autumn Absurdity

"I cannot endure to waste anything as precious as autumn sunshine by staying in the house. So I spend almost all the daylight hours in the open air."

-Nathaniel Hawthorne "Autumn is the eternal corrective. It is ripeness and color and a time of maturity; but it is also breadth, and depth, and distance. What man can stand with autumn on a hilltop and fail to see the span of his world and the meaning of the rolling hills that reach to the far horizon?"
-Hal Borland
"How beautifully leaves grow old. How full of light and color are their last days.”
-John Burroughs
"Just before the death of flowers,
And before they are buried in snow,
There comes a festival season
When nature is all aglow."-Author Unknown

"A few days ago I walked along the edge of the lake and was treated to the crunch and rustle of leaves with each step I made. The acoustics of this season are different and all sounds, no matter how hushed, are as crisp as autumn air."-Eric Sloane
"Winter is an etching, spring a watercolor, summer an oil painting and autumn a mosaic of them all."-Stanley Horowitz
"The winds will blow their own freshness into you,
and the storms their energy,
while cares will drop away from you
like the leaves of Autumn."-John Muir

"The Sussex lanes were very lovely in the autumn ... spendthrift goldand glory of the year-end ... earth scents and the sky winds and all themagic of the countryside which is ordained for the healing of the soul."-Monica Baldwin
"Listen ...With faint dry sound,Like steps of passing ghosts,
The leaves, frost-crisp'd, break free from the trees
And fall."-Adelaide Crapsey
"Change is a measure of time and, in the autumn, time seems speeded up. What was is not and never again will be; what is is change."- Edwin Teale

"A tangerine and russet cascade
Of kaleidoscopic leaves
Creates a tapestry of autumn magic
Upon the emerald carpet of fading summer."-Judith A. Lindberg
"Ah! the year is slowly dying,
And the wind in tree-top sighing,
Chant his requiem.
Thick and fast the leaves are falling,
High in air wild birds are calling,
Nature's solemn hymn."-Mary Weston Fordham

seeks the center
of every tree and rock,
that thing we hold closest-
the end of songs"- Michael McClintock

"You can't hide your true colours as you approach the autumn of your life." -Unknown
"How innocent were these Trees, that in Mist-green May, blown by a prospering breeze, Stood garlanded and gay; Who now in sundown glowOf serious colour clad confront me with their showAs though resigned and sad,Trees, who unwhispering stand umber, bronze, gold; Pavilioning the land for one grown tired and old; Elm, chestnut, aspen and pine, I am merged in you, Who tell once more in tones of time, Your foliaged farewell."- Siegfried Sassoon
"It is autumn; not without But within me is the cold. Youth and spring are all about; It is I that have grown old."- Henry Wadsworth Longfellow

"After the leaves have fallen, we return
To a plain sense of things. It is as if
We had come to an end of the imagination,
Inanimate in an inert savoir." -Wallace Stevens
"October gave a party;
The leaves by hundreds came-
The Chestnuts, Oaks, and Maples,
And leaves of every name.
The Sunshine spread a carpet,
And everything was grand,
Miss Weather led the dancing,
Professor Wind the band."- George Cooper
"Art is long, and Time is fleeting,
And our hearts, though stout and brave,
Still, like muffled dreams, are beating
Funeral marches to the grave."-Henry Wadsworth Longfellow

"The leaves are falling, falling as from way off,
as though far gardens withered in the skies;
they are falling with denying gestures.
And in the nights the heavy earth is falling
from all the stars down into loneliness.
We all are falling. This hand falls.
And look at others: it is in them all.
And yet there is one who holds this falling
endlessly gently in his hands."- Ralph Waldo Emerson


"...Suppose one of you goes to a friend in the middle of the night and says, 'Let me borrow three loaves of bread. A friend of mine has dropped in, and I don't have a thing for him to eat.' And suppose your friend answers, 'Don't bother me! The door is bolted, and my children and I are in bed. I cannot get up to give you something.' He may not get up and give you the bread, just because you are his friend. But he will get up and give you as much as you need, simply because you are not ashamed to keep on asking.
So I tell you to ask and you will receive, search and you will find, knock and the door will be opened for you. Everyone who asks will receive, everyone who searches will find, and the door will be opened for everyone who knocks. Which one of you fathers would give your hungry child a snake if the child asked for a fish? Which one of you would give your child a scorpion if the child asked for an egg? As bad as you are, you still know how to give good gifts to your children. But your heavenly Father is even more ready to give the Holy Spirit to anyone who asks."
-Luke 11:5-13

Friday, October 21, 2011

Self Defense

This wall is built up over a period of time. By now, it's tall, and thick. Very solid. You can try to break it down, but it's not moving anytime soon, I can tell you that much. It's grown over a span of 18 years, there's no way you're tearing this sucker down.
And when that name pops up on my phone, or that face comes into view, or that voice is heard, I can't help it. It's like a 180 degree difference. This totally new person takes over. Tough as a rock. Nothing is going to hurt this. I can take anything. Yell, scream, hit, punch me in the face, for all I care, I can take it, I'm tough. Nothing's knocking ME down! Nothing!
And when that phone rings, and I answer, and it's you, and I get all defensive and tough, and you tell me you support what I want to do and you're open to new possibilites, you want to go to lunch and you want to help me out, and you say, "Love you. Bye." I hang up and I'M THE ONE who feels like a jerk.
And I'm sorry, I REALLY AM SORRY, because I am. I am a jerk. But that's only because I've been taught how to be.

This Morning

I don't want to leave the comfort of my bed. My sheets are warm and soft and I feel as though I could lye here all day and be satisfied. I don't have the energy to conquer the world today. All I need is tea and jazz.

Wednesday, October 19, 2011

Mysterious Coincidence

On the journey to discover myself this evening, I took off to the park down the street. I walked by a lady struggling to tie a rope around what looked like a stack of branches, reminding me of a Christmas tree. I walked by her driveway watching, but trying not to acknowledge that she was stuck fighting these limbs by herself. So I walked by, but it just wasn't right. Something told me in my gut to turn around.
"Hi, do you need help?" I found myself asking.
The lady was so startled she kind of just mumbled some words under her breath, as I walked closer and bent down to pick up the string on the other side of the clump of sticks. I pulled tight and gave it to her. She tied the two strings together around the massive bundle and stood to look me in the eye.
"You know, I don't mind doing this sort of thing. Working outside. It's nice, relaxing, like a hobby, but don't tell anyone, who knows what they'd think..." She looked down at her scratched, hands covered in dirt.
I smiled and looked around the yard, "Well, it looks nice."
"Well, I sure do enjoy it. I like this work. What about you? Do you work? Do you go to school?"
We started talking about WWU and how she has a son who graduated from there. He was a firm Adventist believer, but after the honors program (which teaches evolution), he now believes in the Pope. She told me this was a "strong burden on [her] heart", and she wanted me to share it with everyone I knew going to that school, and especially those in the honors program. "Don't mold your beliefs into what you're taught or told, figure things out on your own, really think about it before you just believe in it." She told me about her younger son, who's a Senior at Wa-hi and how she wants him to work at Mivoden. So then we talked about my summer job at Mivoden, and I told her how her son could get a job there if he would just volunteer for at least a week. She got really excited and she said she was going to mention it to him. Before we parted ways she told me her name was Nancy, and in all her 6 years of living in that house and working in the yard, no one once had stopped to see if she needed help. And many people walk by her house on their way to the park everyday.
"I don't know what it is about people these days... they think they always need to mind their own business, and they forget about everyone else in the world... Well Karalee, I assume you'll be at WWU for 4 years? Stop by when you've decided what you want to be and let me know, I might not remember your name, but I'll remember your hair."
Ha! This made me laugh. How strangely coincidental it was that I left my house on a mission to find the "gift" God sewed into my being, in order to discover my purpose, to uncover who I am and all I'm made to be, to help me decide what I want to spend the rest of my life doing. And here was this lady in the midst of my confusion, wondering what I'd decide and telling me to figure things out on my own, which is EXACTLY what I was going to go try to do. Where is my life headed? Who am I? What do I want? And every time I tell someone my major is "Undecided" they say, "Oh, that's ok! You have PLENTY of time to figure it out." But really! They don't get it! Time goes by faster than we all expect it to. I don't have time! I'm running out of time, and I don't know where I'm going! It's scary being lost in the dark! I would know!
I found a bench at the park overlooking color turning, fall leaves, and ducks flying back and forth from the pond to the grass, and I read a book and took a test that's supposed to help me figure all this stuff out. I feel like I haven't gotten anything accomplished, but at the same time, I know every experience is just a tiny piece of the puzzle. And time is the only thing that will put it all together.

Sunday, October 16, 2011

between heartbeats

i like the attention,
showing affection.
wondering and dreaming
wishing and scheming.
painting pictures on an imaginary canvas
showered in vast colors
full of life.
like a silhouette in sunsets
where vibrant streaks flow into rivers
wider, deeper, colder, shiver,
stretching to the end of the sky
coursing deep rich blood out into the open
pumping consistently, reaching high
reaching to the very heart in my being,
i can't help but seeing
a dark cloud behind the sun
it's not something i believe in
nor a reality i wish to be in.
so i hope and wish it's not over
not time to move on
to uncover a life on my own.
i ignore the cloud and pretend it's not there
cause no one cares if i lie and pretend everything’s alright
when its not.
the lipstick stain across earths sky
slowly starts to die.
the color begins to fade
as i wish it all away.
to be free from earths down falls
to live in sunsets and rainbows.
to dream to the ends of the earth
in a longing defense to save the world
from excruciating pain that only happens to those who don't know
how to draw such an extravagant picture
of perfectness and happiness.
without expectations or any exaggerations
of a place too good to be true,
with the kiss of morning dew on the grass between my toes
leaving my bareness fully exposed.
and i might be happy for a while
until the rain clouds tumble forth
shooting across the sky, spitting down remorse
for miles and miles.
shaking the ground
clattering pounds of excess weight on my head
till it rings with the sound gone unsaid
in a throbbing heartbeat.
cold and alone screaming through the pitter-patter
lye the emptiness found in shatters
between heartbeats.

Thursday, October 13, 2011

Rediscovering 3rd & 4th Grade

I was walking by the ad building this morning on my way to my next class, when I noticed flower pots on a small deck on the side of the building. They were long and skinny, and they connected to the top of the railing. This is silly, but instantly I thought of my Barbie houses I use to play with as a kid. I immediately got flashbacks of setting up for hours to play Barbie with my sister and then watching her leave just as we got set up. I could sit and play there alone for hours. I started thinking of all the days I spent locked up in my room playing "House" or "School" or "Library" those were the BEST! I wonder if I ever REALLY wanted to be a teacher. Deep down. I LOVED helping Teddy (with lipstick stains), D.W. (from Arthur), and Brittany (my cowgirl doll) learn how to read and color. Maybe I should teach? I never even considered that an option as a kid, I already knew EXACTLY what I wanted to do, and no one was going to change that. I never thought I would loose that extra umph to carry me through everyone's discouraging comments. I had done so well...
This afternoon, at work I took my 3rd and 4th graders out for recess and came across a few girls I had been a counselor for at camp. They sat on the side walk pulling stings out of their pockets and tying them in knots. They informed me that " [they] were a club and no one else [could] join, but would [I] like a headband?" Silly girls.
I watched the boys play dodgeball. How harsh they were to those poor girls. Peyton always stands next to me during recess telling me jokes to make me laugh, and I asked her today if she ever plays with them. "Nope, the boys are mean. If you're a girl they always try to get you out first, and they throw SO hard!" Wow. Nothing changes. 3rd grade is the same as ever. I wondered what all those boys would be like in about 10 years, all grown up and polite to those girls. I can't wait to see.
Back in the classroom I was grading the math papers for the day, and all the kids were sharing how they could make the world a better place by doing kind things. Emma, one of my favorites, said this: "We should stop recylcing and start picking up liter to save the trees and plants 'cause that's really nice and it will save their lives and make the world a good place to live and..." She rattled on and on and it made no sense at all, but it made me want to laugh. And then she ended it like this. "So, we should just recycle."
These kids are SO PASSIONATE about life. They know what they stand for and no one is going to change their minds. They have EVERYTHING figured out, it's all so simple! I go to this school everyday to take kids out to recess, grade papers, play with them, tell them "yes you can go the bathroom", answer questions on homework, hand them back to their parents in one piece. I feel like a teacher for a couple hours a day. But really, I learn something new every hour I'm there. These kids are MY teachers. They're teaching me how to become "like a child." They're teaching me to rediscover these gifts in life. These passions we're all designed to possess. They're teaching me to find myself and give myself. Free myself and be myself. I leave everyday with arms stretched wide thinking, What's next world? Throw it at me fast. I'm hard-boiled and ready.

Monday, October 10, 2011

Mending it Back

"Hurry! Come quick! Look!" My sister called out, as I shoved my foot through the hole in my pajama pants. I hadn't realized I was steping on the ends of my pants when I quickly yanked them up. Rrrriiiiipp... shoot. So, for the last couple days I've been walking around with holey pajama pants, my sisters friends coming to our house and all. Cute Karalee... So yesterday in the moments I couldn't focus on homework (which was almost all day), I fixed things. Tidied the kitchen counter, put dishes away, cleaned the bathroom, made my bed, picked up random things around the house and found a new spot for them, and sewed my clothes back together. The week before, I had washed a new shirt and the washing machine ate the lace right off and left a mess of strings. So not only did I have my holey pants, but my stringy shirt as well.
I got out my needle and thread, and sat down to get to work. As I sat sewing, I watched my sister mope around the house. If only fixing things were as simple as needle and thread. Unfortunately there's bigger problems in the world than a few tears and rips.

When I finished, I had to laugh. I was lucky, my shirt looked great. You could hardly tell anything had ever happened. My pants on the other hand... well, at least I don't wear those to school, ha!

The more I thought about it, the more I could see that sometimes, when we try to fix things, it just doesn't work. Sometimes we can't fix it at all. And sometimes we can try, and it might look better, but it's still not perfect, because it's been changed. Something happened there. It WAS torn at one time, and we can't change the past. But sometimes, if you're lucky, you can fix things to look as good as new, but it's still different thread, NEW thread, and the old scars are still there. Even if we patch our scars and try to hide them, it doesn't change the fact that they're still there, apart of us. That patch can make things seem perfect for a while, but what happens when it falls off? It's not APART of the clothing, it's not the same material, it clashes with the real fabric. Take it off, and let yourself just be. Free of hiding. Why can't everything be mended as easily as my shirt? Or at least kept together for a while -- even just hanging by a thread. If sewing doesn't work, will buttons fix my sisters broken heart?

Sunday, October 9, 2011

When I Leave

Am I too busy chasing a temporary fortune
That my priorities get lost along the road
The seasons bring their moments
They linger for an instant
They never wait for you to pay the debts you owe

When I leave I want to leave a memory filled with love
The kind you don't forget
When I go I want to be known
As one who lived with no regrets

If life is like a flower
Am I doing all that's in my power
To leave a fragrance behind
It's time to count my blessings
Forget about my savings account for a while

I want them to say
What a glorious day
She had so much to gain
But she gave it away
And I want them to see something different in me
And that I'm going to be free

Some glad morning when this life is over
I'll fly away
To a home on God's celestial shore
I'll fly away
When I leave I want to leave a memory...

-JJ Heller

Saturday, October 8, 2011

Intriguing Humanity

"The total history of almost anyone would shock almost everyone." -Mignon McLaughlin

The ICantori retreat this afternoon and evening was fantastic. I have to admit, ever since yesterday I've been plagued with awful fatigue, and the thought of making new friends sounds like it requires more energy than I have at the moment. But, I forced myself to do the best I could at getting to know people, because that's really the only way ICantori is going to be fun. I don't know how many times I got asked today what my major was, and the question that followed my "Undecided..." was, "Well, what are your hobbies?" Or, "What do you like to do?!"
BAH! I don' t know! That's the problem! I couldn't think of anything to tell them... so I told them what I DON'T like.
I hate math.
I despise science.
I detest anything in the medical field.
History is boring.
English is fairly neutral, it has it's good days and bad.
So then they would ask, "Well, do you like people?"
"YES!" That is the one thing I am sure about.
Their response... "social worker."
People are one thing that will never become boring. There's so much to discover. Just when you think you're figuring someone out, you realize there's so much more you can't see. It's hard enough to know yourself, but unlocking the mysteries and pouring into the wide open books set right in front of you is what makes life interesting. Facinating really, the stories, the personalities, the looks, everything is so gravitating. I wish my far-fetched dream of knowing everyone in the world personally wasn't so berserk. Maybe someday...

"Why are there men and women that while they are nigh the sunlight expands my blood? Why when they leave me do my pennants of joy sink flat and lank?" -Walt Whitman

Friday, October 7, 2011


Entangled. Strangled. Tied down. Tugged. Pushed & pulled, pushed & pulled. Ripped. Cracked. When do I get a voice? And yes, it's nice to be "wanted", to be busy, to have options. But it's also brought me to the point of exhaustion, almost defeat. I am no superwoman. Someone pointed out perfection in my character this week. Me?! Look at me!
Today was a constant buzz, a blurr that I don't care to remember. I wished for the comfort of my home, a nap, soft piano music, coffee, a good book, and hot tubbing rather than the common familiarity of socializing.
When am I ever going to grow up? My sister is gone this weekend and I have the house all to myself. I am an adult. I am alone. Sometimes I have to remind myself, that I am "one of those" people now--"big cool kids" who look like they have it all figured out. I think it's time I have a say in what I want, right? I finally get to choose my frienships, where I go, the food I eat, and my bedtime. So what about this life discourages me to choose what I WANT.
I have a hard time saying "no" and when I get boggled down with 5 different requests in one night to come over for dinner, I get an overwhelming vibe. I WANT to do all of it, or really I WANT to do NONE of it, but I shoot for them all anyways. This week I actually had dinner twice in a row, one after the other, just so I could visit with friends. What do I WANT?
I DON'T want to dissapoint. I DON'T want to be alone, I want to be in on the action. That wasn't the case tonight, but I still didn't have a say in what I do, where I go, who I go with. It just happens. I'm setting myself up for disaster in the long run. The longer I go without a break, the harder I'm going to hit rock bottom.
Rock bottom sounds pretty rough, like you have to be pretty tough to hit it without scratches. So I keep reminding myself that I am an adult. I have a say in what I do, and where I go, and who I go with. It is my choice. Risk the dissapointment. Say "no". Stay strong. It's the only way to stay on top of the rock--bold existance.

Wednesday, October 5, 2011

Date Night Gone Bad

Brownies on Broil. Bad idea.

Monday, October 3, 2011


Tonight a friend of mine who just got back from Omatako, Namibia (the exact same site I went to in March) finally got the chance to sit down and catch me up on her African adventure. She had only been there for a month, since things hadn't worked out as planned. Originally she was planning on staying for the entire year to teach English at the school we built. She only taught for about a week. We were in the middle of talking about teaching, when all of a sudden she burst out, "OH MY GOODNESS KARALEE! Did I tell you? The kids asked for you! When I first got there, they actually asked for YOU! They remembered your name! They were like, 'Is Geoff, Rachel and Karalee coming?' Isn't that SO cool!" I about flipped!
Can you even imagine?! They remember me! We had THAT MUCH of an impact on their lives! They even remember MY NAME! I made a difference in someone's life! HALF-WAY ACROSS THE WORLD! Oh Sylma, Maria, Tome', Jacob, Yohannes, and Marta! YOU bring so much JOY to those of US HALF-WAY ACROSS THE WORLD!

You have no idea how incredible that feels.

Sunday, October 2, 2011


"...Thank you God... for the pavement that I walk. It goes on and on and it hurts, but you're always there with me. I talk to you all day long. Thank you for these feet that force me to keep going... The prayer of abandonment... is the appropriate natural response to the fertile soil of interminable human brokenness. It looks and sounds different from person to person, but at its heart, the prayer is a brutal acceptance of one's inability to control Life and an invitation for God to work in hiddenness... if you find yourself unable to fix the world and its suffering overwhelms you --you may also need to say a prayer of abandonment... let us abandon ourselves and our expectations to the God of warm meals, soft beds and kind words. A famous line oft repeated by Mother Teresa says, 'We can do no great things, but only small things with great love.' "
-Vitalia Tee (a pseudonym)


count on, bet on, rely on, build upon, confide in, lean on, trust in, turn to...
i think i've finally found my problem. i hate the word depend. depending involves too much risk. i don't want to count or bet or rely or build or confide or lean or trust or turn to another human being. i'm tired of it and i wish i never had to do it again. if only life were that simple and i could do everything for myself.
except then it really wouldn't be simple at all. i'd be depending on myself and that would be worse off than depending on others. i can't imagine growing a garden and saving food for winter, or teaching myself things you go to school for without any resources. no professors profound thoughts, no internet, no textbooks. just depending on my own ideas and trying to fit the world together. it wouldn't go over well. i'd have no friends, i'd have no job, that would leave me without money, without a house, without clothes, without a garden, without food, without life. so you see, depending is just a part of life. we all do it without realizing just how much we depend on others. and as much as i hate it, i have to get over the dissapointment it brings and look at the good things that outway the bad. that's the only way this life and i are ever going to get along.