Wednesday, September 19, 2012

HANDS UP FEAR!

Fear is winning.
For the past three days straight I've had this horrible feeling in the pit of my stomach. Like I'm nervous, afraid,  anxious, maybe even a little excited too --like I'm going to throw up. Sort of like the beginning of a rollercoaster when you're headed up, up, up, and when you reach the top --you know it's coming --you DROP. The feeling you get right before you hit it. The feeling of wishing you could "just stop this thing!" That you could get off, jump off, run back... where it's safe. But no such luck, you're stuck. And I'm stuck too. Right in that spot, with that feeling, wishing for a safe place. Wishing to run away. Run backward, 100 mph. RUN RUN RUN. AWAY!
The past few days I've laid in bed unable to sleep --that darn fear is hogging my bed-- so I just lay there. I breathe in the scent. I feel the soft mattress underneath and pull the puffy blankets close to my chin... comfortable. When I do fall asleep, it's filled with a lot of tossing and turning. I feel fear is winning. When I awake in the morning, I lay motionless in my big bed. I soak it all in. The royal red curtains hanging loosely across the windows, the desk next to them cluttered and messy with music, books, pictures, loose paper full of lists and names and numbers, and lots of colorful sticky notes pinned here and there. Then there's the floor... there's clothes on the floor, a giant stack of books, a camera, a laptop, an open suitcase, a backpack, and more clothes... in the midst of all being packed. I look around the room and see the mirror with ribbon and bows around it (and more sticky notes reminding me to do who knows what) and pictures on the walls, and above me, reads my name made of styrofoam wrapped in colorful fabric and ribbons, letting everyone who enters know I've claimed this territory. I grab my blankets closer and just breathe. Comfortable.
Rollercoasters, most definitely not comfortable --especially in the very back (my favorite place to be), because it jostles (more like throws) you around more than if you were closer to the front, pretty reckless and rough --but they sure are fun! I love the butterfly flip feeling in my stomach, and the wind in my hair when we take off and fly down a drop. I love putting my hands up, like I'm wild and free.
My bed is pretty nice. There's no doubt, it's nice to be comfortable. But what about the rest of life? The stuff we'd miss out on if we stayed in bed. You can't lay in bed forever!
It's cold when I pull off the covers this morning, but I'm ready. I'm nervous. SO nervous. I still feel like puking, but it's a choice I've made in my mind a long time ago, and those choices stick. I'm getting dressed and heading out. Today my plane leaves at 1:25. I'll be in L.A. by dinner time. I'll have a chance to spend time with one of my best friends! We're going to do crazy fun things! At midnight Saturday night, I'll board my next plane --headed for a drop off --all the way to Costa Rica. There's no turning back now. I'm out the door, rainboots on and all. Watch out fear, HANDS UP! I'm ready to rechannel you into an energy and excitement so wild and free that nothing can stop it. I'm ready for take off!

P.S.
I'm putting this blog to rest until I return from my adventures. If you want to keep up with my experiences, follow my new blog for the year, Stretching Limits at www.karaleeincostarica.blogspot.com. And if you feel REALLY ambitious, maybe like sending a package my way, my new address will be:
Centro Educativo Adventista de Monteverde
Monteverde 5655
Puntarenas, Costa Rica

Thursday, September 13, 2012

Taking a dive, a step, a leap, a risk, and following my heart.


I have phenomenal friends. But one is exceptionally good. She's smart. She's talented. She's funny. She was my roommate at camp this summer. My partner in crime. We confided in each other through all our counseling stresses, and all other issues that arise in our lives. We’ve seen each other at our worst. I can tell her anything and she doesn’t think differently of me. I can tell her some of the most shameful secrets, and instead of her respect for me plummeting, it skyrockets. She inspires me. She surprises me. She’s teaching  me. I am SO thankful for our friendship. We have dips and curves like every relationship, but one of us is always willing to bend and take the blame, or fess up and apologize. We laugh together –every time we’re together. We "cry" together. She is an encourager, a deep thinker, and a loyal, trustworthy friend. She continues to teach me so much every day. In all honesty, I think she might be the hardest to leave this year.
My last night in Walla Walla this week, Tuesday night, she came over to my Grandma’s to hot tub. We laughed and chatted about lots of things, just catching up on life apart. Somewhere in our mix of jokes and seriousness, I asked her for an honest opinion about all the set backs that have come with planning for this trip to Costa Rica. 
1.       1. The SDA School in Monteverde, Costa Rica told me they would not accept me, because I was not baptized (but being the stubborn person that I am, I did not like this, and I would not take “no” for an answer).
2.       2. The principal speaks only a little English, and there had been some confusion. Before confirming my ticket a few weeks ago, we checked with her to make sure she was ready and expecting me, and she thought I was coming NEXT year.
3.      3. There was an earthquake last week, on the day I was planning on buying my ticket.
4.      4.  After  immediately confirming that no detrimental harm had been done during the earthquake and I could still come, the date I had picked, the 15th, this coming Sunday, was apparently a horrible day to come. No one would be able to pick me up at the airport, everyone in the school would be gone for a field trip they had been planning for quite a while.
5.       5.Flying in on the next day, the 16th would not work because it was Costa Rica’s independence day, and the roads would be blocked. The principal recommended that I come at the end of the month… and I wondered if I should even come at all.
6.       6.The days I asked Lianne if I could come and stay with her in L.A. before taking off to Costa Rica, were the EXACT days her friend from Singapore would be coming to stay at her house for a visit.
7.       7.This morning I found out that all 8 reference forms that Jeanne sent to the principal, Rachel, and Bianca had not gone through, and no one had received them –not one. The principal needed the reference before I came so she could give them to the board to “officially hire” me.
Nothing was working out, and I told Elise all of this. I shared with her my concerns, doubts, fears and frustrations. Is this all just coincidence? What if this is a big sign? What if I’m not suppose to go? What if God is telling me “no” and I’m just too stubborn to listen?  But Elise calmed my raging nerves.
She looked at me and said with sincerity, “Karalee, I can’t tell you what to do. I can’t tell you if this is God trying to keep you from going. I think leaving has been on your heart for a long time, and you know you need to go somewhere. Yeah, a lot of things have been going wrong, and it’s a little weird. I don’t know if it’s just coincidence, but you can choose to look at all the bad things that have been happening, or you can choose to look at the good things. Think about it, there are good things! They’re expecting you at the school, they have a place for you to stay. You just heard from them today, and they have lots of things for you to do, there IS a big need for you. You have so many options once you get there, so many places you can go and help. So maybe it’s not God trying to keep you from going at all. Maybe it’s completely the opposite. Maybe Satan knows something really awesome is going to happen for you. Follow your heart.”
I felt like I could breathe again after she said that. Maybe I am doing the right thing. Maybe she’s right. I hope she’s right. I had never thought about it from that perspective before. How could that have slipped my mind? I really needed that. But how do you distinguish between the two? The “right” and the “wrong” of the supernatural world. That’s the real question. “Follow your heart” so many people have been telling me that lately…
So I bought my ticket today. I’m headed to Costa Rica in a week. I’ve got high expectations but none at all –all at the same time. I’ve got excitement, and anxiety, and uncertainty about it all –all at the same time.  I don’t want to go, but I really do. I’m not sure where I’ll end up, or what’s “right” and what’s “wrong”. My clarity is a blur. But I’m heading out into the unknown quickly –taking a dive into deep waters that I hope will be refreshing and revive me back to life. But risks are what life is all about, and I guess this is one big risk I’ve decided to take. So one foot in front of the other, and I'm off, taking one giant step into the unknown. I’m going out on a limb, because after all, that’s where the fruit is produced.

Replace your Fear of the unknown with Curiosity.

Monday, September 10, 2012

Thursday, September 6, 2012

Needing Directions

The mountain I was SUPPOSE to be on in a week and a half, had a 7.6 earthquake yesterday morning. Fortunately everyone is safe and sound at the school in Monteverde. In San Jose, which is about an hour away from my destination, an entire hospital had to be evacuated. There was thought to be two deaths caused by the earthquake, but later it was found that  there was only one death, a lady that had died from a heart attack. The shock of the quake was felt as far away as Nicaragua and Panama. It was the largest earthquake to hit Costa Rica, since 1991 with a 7.6 magnitude quake that left 47 dead. I'm bummed I missed it. What a story Rachel and Bianca will have when they return to Walla Walla. Last night I found out about this incident and my plans to buy a ticket went skyrocketing down hill. For the past 2 weeks I've called Jeanne everyday to ask when she can book my ticket. I want to leave. NOW! I finally raised the remaining amount of money, $1000 in a week. I'm all set to go! My bags are packed. I wanted to leave on the 12th! Now the principal of the school wants me to wait until the 26th! My dad wants me to get back before May, and I want to stay until the middle of May to get my full 8 months in! Now it'll only be about 7 months... and if things continue, who knows maybe I won't even get to go at all. I don't know what I'm suppose to do.

Earlier today I was laying out by the pool with Shannon, and I wondered aloud if Costa Rica is the place I'm suppose to be. Maybe Thailand? Maybe not... what about Indonesia! Just get me on a plane out of here! Immediatly after I'd said this, my phone vibrated indicating a new text message. Janet Wilkinson, my mentor and friend. Her text asked me what I thought about Costa Rica with all of this going on. Maybe this wasn't the place for me? There had been so many road blocks getting here. I told her I really didn't know... she recommended "an hour alone to still all the chatter and confusion and listen to your heart." Good advice. I need that.

And now I'm in Yakima, sitting on a bed, in a messy room with my best friend, wondering what in the world I'm going to do now. Where am I going to go? What am I going to do? Do I stay in Yakima a bit longer to be with my friend for the little time we have left in the States, or do I leave for Walla Walla to be with my sister? Do I go to Costa Rica? Or do I find somewhere else? What do I do? When do I go?! I'm tired of not knowing. All my perfect plans have POOF! vanished, just like that, into thin air.

I don't like this. Not one bit. I hope I'm not setting myself up for a disaster. I thought I was stressed before, now it's 10 times worse. Maybe I just won't go at all. Maybe I'll just take a year off from school and be a hermit, and bike across America... homeless, and without any money. But at least I'd know where I was going and what I was doing. My direction in life would be clear... at least for a while, until I hit my destination. But then I would do it all over again and come back home. And maybe I wouldn't get out and see the world, but boy, I'd see America!

Friday, August 31, 2012

Bubble Trouble

 Today was spent out on the lake with this awesome girl. After some coffee and catch up time, we walked the shops downtown, to my favorite store "Lucky Monkey." We hit up the rest of the town till 2 in the afternoon, and then headed to the dock to catch some rays. We didn't get much peace and quiet... you can't really expect that at a Threadgills house. It wasn't long before Will, Joseph, Jarrin, Lauren, Madison, and Abby (the cousins) were jumping all over us, and squirting us with water from their water guns and the hose... not to mention pushing us off the dock. Later, we tubed, and our bodies flew over massive waves (high enough to remind us that we're getting old, and our backs can't take the wild rides anymore). We ate watermelon, and slack-lined over the water, from our dock to our neighbors'. And THEN, we ran inside as the sun flew down, shivering in our wet suits, and sat in the big tubb to warm us. We watched as our little ripple of soap grew into a massive clump of BUBBLES! We had bubbles coming out the waazoo! So many bubbles we didn't know what to do! We sat there reminiscing over the years we've been friends. So many things that spark so many great memories from past years. 9 years to be exact. Best friends for 9 years. I informed Shayla we'd have to have an anniversary next year to celebrate the 10th! The entire summer we've gone without seeing each other, and today, the minute we saw each other, we picked up right where we left off. Now those are the type of friends that remind me to count my blessings.

Thursday, August 30, 2012

i'm young

I want to dye the tips of my hair purple with some wisps of green, blue, and pink streaks for the 2 weeks I have left in the states.
I want to wear necklaces around my neck and bangles on my wrist that jingle when I raise my arm.

I want long feathered earrings, bright and alarming.
I want to wear funky clothing that turn people's heads as I walk past.
I want to stop being stiff, and let the beat move my joints, and call it dance.
I want to turn up the volume, and roll down the windows, and bang my head, and laugh as the people next to me look with wide eyes.
You're only young once.
I've done henna on my back, I have a bright wrap in my hair, I'm working on my bracelet collection.
Don't judge me if I come back from a year abroad with a dread or a nose ring.
You might think I've changed, but maybe you've never really known who I am from the beginning.
Maybe I'm still trying to figure it out myself.
So, let me live, and let me learn the way I do best.
I'll be just fine on my own.
And maybe when I return, I won't have to be.

Sunday, August 26, 2012

It's OVER!

Girl counselors! Love them all!
Twinsie dresses!
Teen week! Always my favorite!
Counselors ready to perform our African zumba dance for the kids.
One of my best friends! Really going to miss her!
Today is the day. Camp is over... and it's weird, but it feels really good to breath.

Friday, August 10, 2012

Falling Dots

I went out on the dock tonight and pondered the bright dots hanging in the sky. They said it was going to be a meteor shower --the most falling stars you'll ever see in your lifetime (of course that's what they said last time). I went to the corner of the dock with all the seagull poop, thinking no one would disturb me there. Thoughts flashed through my brain like the stars falling out of the sky. I pondered my life. Two weeks left of camp and then I'm free --but free from what exactly? That's what I thought the last time, with school --camp was my outlet, my resting haven, a place to hope for, but what's next? And what am I hoping to find there, because each time I think it'll be just around the corner, it's not, and I end up disappointed, each time more than the previous.
I pondered my life deeper. I have no picture in mind --no point, no purpose, ambition, intent, motivation-- no reason to even exist.

I thought about God. So high and mighty up in that big bright sky. I thought about his still small voice, and why I'd never heard it before.

I thought about the person that I am. Always wishing, searching for more --there's got to be more. I don't like it. Who I've become, that is.
Maybe that's reason enough to believe in God. I liked the person that I was not who I am. There's got to be more. More answers. More logic. More sense. Less feeling, less hope for something we'll never find.
I just want to know, when does the searching end? When does the world make sense? When does my life fit in to the puzzle? I just want to know --where do I go from here? All I find myself doing is hoping the answers will be found in the year ahead. Maybe the unfamiliarity and unknown of another country will shine a light on this? I hope. What else can I do?

Tuesday, August 7, 2012

Sailing

A smooth sea never made a skillful sailor.

Monday, August 6, 2012

Inspired

Photo by Logan Carter
I have an awesome friend, and he takes awesome pictures, and this inspires me today.

Tuesday, July 24, 2012

Shadows

We drove through Montana today. It was just a normal drive, nothing special. I sat in the back and played taptap on my brothers iphone, until I'd had enough of skrillex and set all the new records. I watched "Pretty Woman," and afterwards read my book with earphones in to drown out the silence. I would look up out my window every once in a while to watch the mountains pass, and to let the thoughts on the page sink in, when all of a sudden, this random thought just hit me.
There are shadows behind those trees.
I had never noticed the darkness behind each tree. Yep, sure enough... not one tree was missing a shadow! I double checked, and rechecked. How could I have never noticed the black color on all the mountains? The sun is shining down! That means there's got to be a shadow, duh! I was sure that if I hiked up that mountain, and I stumbled onto that black ground, I would fall a million miles straight down into a pit of darkness deep in the earth. That's what it looked like as we passed. And then I began to wonder why I had never seen the mountains this way before. I had always noticed the front of the trees, and there color, height and fullness. Like scoping out a Christmas tree after Thanksgiving...
Every tree has a shadow, something black and dark behind them. A whole that looks so dangerous it could suck you right in... I'm sure most people, like me, don't notice the shadow. Everyone's caught up with the beauty the tree possesses in itself. Everyone just wants to see the front of the tree, the side lit up by the sun, no one wants to shiver in the shade. The shadow is cold, and dark, and well.. just not beautiful, and who would want to see that? The trees do a pretty good job of hiding there shadow, I'd say. I almost never caught it. But, it's got to be exhausting trying to keep the shadow hidden, probably a full time job.
I just wonder how long you can run from your shadow, and pretend life is perfect and everything is beautiful. Because life is beautiful, but sometime's it can get real messy, and I'm tired.

Saturday, July 21, 2012

Back on the Ranch

We pulled into Steamboat Springs, Colorado around 2:30 CO time, and took off to the river around 4:00. It was in the 90’s, and we were all hot. We climbed up two fallen trees, laying one on top of the other across the river, and jumped off into the fairly shallow water, only to get swept away by the small current. Sometimes I wonder why I never spent a summer here. I wish I had.
We got back to the ranch, and I found a horse saddled up and ready to ride waiting for me. Missy is her name. She’s an old horse, but I took her out to the field, and we found our rhythm trotting, cantering, and looping. 8 years!  It felt so good to be back in the saddle, which may sound funny coming from me. On first glance, I’m sure no one would’ve guessed that horses were my cup of tea. And I thought I didn’t care one way or another about them, since I’ve grown up, and become “too mature” for those childish things… but being back here, makes me miss the 3 hour drive from Denver. I miss running into the house to get greeted with hugs and ice cream cones. I miss immediately after our greetings and snack, running out to the fence to set up camp and stand on the wooden railing to pet the horses and tell them about my day. I miss the morning rides out through the field to the river, and galloping with my trusty horse Gambler and my sister right on my tail. I miss the speed, the wind in my hair, and the risk that came with it all. I miss it, and I like it, and I want to come back, because this place is only full of the best memories!

Friday, July 20, 2012

Every Crossing

I found myself out paddle boarding for the first time last week. First, I started out with lots of friends all horse-playing around on our boards. Boys tipping over and rocking the girls tanning on their boards, girls stealing the boys’ paddles and the like, all fun and games. When I finally got the board to myself, I wasted no time and took a paddle in hand, stood tall, and started a trek across the bay. I spotted a small green dock cover off in the distance and set my mind to reach it. At first, I really felt like I was flying. I was already almost to staff beach, which is quite a ways from camp. But, taking a look back at camp, it didn’t look too small… not like the green dock cover in the distance. THAT was much smaller.

And that’s how stories go. You start a story, and it just takes off, ZOOM, like that. But once you get to the middle, it kind of slows up, and you feel like after paddling and paddling your arms out, nothing is getting further away and nothing is getting closer, you’re just kind of stuck in the middle. You think you can feel the resolution coming, the feeling of getting off your board and walking on the beach on the other side. You think it’s going to happen fast, and you’ll be there in time for a good rest and lunch. But the truth in fact, is that, lunch will never happen, and the paddling won’t be over soon.
But see, the thing about stories is that, it’s never about the ending. It’s about the character, and how they are changed and molded by all the hard work in the middle. At some point the shore behind you stops getting smaller, and you paddle and wonder why the same strokes that used to really move you, now only rock the board. There are only two options when you get to this point: 
1)      stop
or
2)      keep paddling.
Every character in every story faces it. The conflict in the middle is what makes up the story… let me rephrase that, it’s not the conflict that makes the story, it’s the way in which the character changes from the conflict. What does the character learn? How do they grow? Does it make them into a better person?
It’s like this with every crossing and every story. You paddle until you think you can no longer bear it, and then suddenly, the green dock cover off in the distance begins to grow, and it grows fast. The trees get taller and you can make out the large rocks along the land. The shore sort of reaches out to you, to welcome you home, almost pulling your board up onto the sand.

Wednesday, July 18, 2012

Resistance in My Story

I'm reading a book by Donald Miller called, A Million Miles in a Thousand Years. In it, he constantly compares our lives to a story. Every story has a protagonist and antagonist, negative and positive turns, a beginning and end, things that pass right through, and characters that make a difference and know how to really live. All these things help make an interesting story. He talked about a book he had read about writing called, The War of Art, by Steven Pressfield. In this book, Pressfield says that it is critical to sit down and write everyday regardless of how you're feeling, because if you wait for inspiration to come, you may never finish your book. He says that every creative person, and probably anyone else, faces resistance when trying to create something good. He says, resistance, a kind of feeling that comes against you when you point toward a distant horizon, is a sure sign that you are supposed to do the thing in the first place. The harder the resistance, the more important the task must be. His thoughts reminded me of the resistance I'm feeling toward going to Costa Rica. When I think long and hard about leaving in two months, I really don't want to go. Why, right? It's a chance of a lifetime! I'm going to learn Spanish and help children learn English! I tell myself that I'll learn so much about myself and it'll be character building. I can come back and be whoever I want to be. I can take the time to change the things about myself that I don't like. I can learn, and grow, and experience life differently, and maybe that will help me live more fully. I will learn to appreciate all the good things I have in my life! All of this is great, yes, but the closer the date gets to leaving in September, the more resistance I feel. I just know it's really going to be a struggle. I can feel the panic of being alone, shaking my bones. It's going to suck for a while, I just know it. But maybe the good will outweigh the bad... it's hard to say. I'm really getting scared. All I can do is hop into the adventure, try to make the most of it, and hope for the best! But really, who has the pen here? Who's writing this story? I'm picking up the pen, and I'm going to make this experience count. Some people argue that God is the author of our stories, and maybe he ultimately is... but God gives us options, he let's us choose our direction --walk with Him, or walk away from Him. So, right now, I'm picking up the pen and writing.

Wednesday, July 11, 2012

Surrounded

Sometimes loneliness finds a way to creep right on in, even in the midst of being surrounded.

Wednesday, July 4, 2012

Toy Box Concerts, Music Video's and Talk Show Guests

Often at night, I'll lay awake in my bed trying to grasp a picture of where my life is headed, or what I want the future to look like. I imagine myself a teacher, running around and playing with 3rd and 4th graders. Then I think about secondary education, and I see myself lecturing up front, but having deep meaningful conversations outside of class, and having youth groups over to my house on Friday nights. Then I picture myself running a business, decorating my own small bakery in a little town, baking away everyday. Then I picture myself traveling the world as a successful business woman, knowing multiple languages and selling medical drugs or something. Then I think, what if I became a physical therapist here in Coeur d'Alene and I owned a  house and boat on Hayden Lake. Then I picture myself living in a small house, and teaching Zumba classes everyday as a side job from being a mom. And then I think, maybe when I'm out of college, and I'm still young and single, I'll go find an apartment in Seattle and work at a fancy restaurant. But after all of these options run through my head I always go back to remembering my secret dream as a child.
I remember being a tiny tike growing up and playing library in my room with my brother, and school in the playroom by myself, and house in the small playhouse in the backyard with my sister. There was one thing that I loved more than pretending to be a librarian, a teacher, or a mom, it was being a famous musician. All the way up to when I was about 5 or 6 I would sing songs all day, just making up words that maybe didn't make sense, but it wouldn't matter, I just sang all day long. I would go down to the basement with my sister and we'd stand on our toy box in the middle of the room and sing Shania Twain's "Man I Feel Like a Woman" over and over with hairbrushes as our microphones, at a "sold out concert." When we got a little older we'd record ourselves, using our tape recorder, being "broadcasted on radio talk shows" as special guests. We'd make country music video's with the old video camera, and watch the top 25 greatest hits every morning in the summer. When people asked me what I wanted to be when I grew up, I would tell them with enthusiasm, "I want to be a singer!!!" But as I got older I began to notice that the more people I told about my dream, the more I got shut down. People would laugh at me and say things like, "Well honey, you better start thinking of another dream, that's just not realistic." And at first, I didn't believe them, but eventually I stopped telling people what I wanted to be, instead my answer changed to something like, "Ummm... I don't know, I've never really thought about it." I've never told people I wanted to be a doctor, or a firefighter, or a teacher, I've always just sort of known my passion, and tucked it away, because it's "unrealistic."
And I'm not saying that now, at this age, I still want to become famous. I realize what fame can do to a person. I've believed what I've been told, that I'm not good enough, that I'd never make it, and it's just unrealistic. But I wish people's opinions had never had an effect on me in the first place, because I've been changed by them, and I'm not the same energetic, passionate little girl I once was. 
I wish I never listened to peer pressure, and I never had to battle with society's demands, but I think at some point, we all do. We all fall short of what we're meant to become. If only we knew how much we were capable of. If I could only see myself as I did when I was a kid, without the put downs and the doubts blinding me from potential, maybe then I would know what I wanted, and I would push for it until I made it become my reality.

Friday, June 29, 2012

Dust

Sometimes we forget that dust is something beautiful.
A symbol of time.
A symbol of us.



...the LORD God formed the man from the dust of the ground and breathed into his nostrils the breath of life, and the man became a living being. Genesis 2:7

Thursday, June 28, 2012

Today was not the same.

Today was the definition of what a day at camp is suppose to look like.
This week I've been blessed with probably one of the best cabins I'll ever have, but everything in me so far this week, has tried to hide my utter exhaustion. My campers have all noticed. One camper, the quietest and most polite of them all, actually made the comment at lunch yesterday, "We know something's bothering you... we can just tell." What? How? I asked her if it was just because I was staring off at nothing again, because, I informed her, I do that a lot. But she said I've been out of wack all week... man, what a bummer. She must have really had her hopes up for a spectacular counselor... she must have heard some really awesome things, and I feel like I'm not living up to it... and I know I've been a little less like me this week... but it's just because I'm exhausted right? That's a pretty good excuse I'd say. The quote on my dove dark chocolate from this week said, "Renew your sense of discovery" and I just wished more than anything that I could!
Today was not the same.
Today we had a water fight up on the road, and of course, being the brilliant girls that we are, none of us wore our swimsuits... we just thought we'd get a little splashed, little did we know the boys were planning a hose and trash can soaking attack. After we were all thoroughly drenched from head to toe time and time again, we all ran to the hot tub and slid right on in with all our clothes on. As we sat in the sandy, dirty brown bubbles, we giggled, and splashed and chatted... all 18 of us. It was gross, but it was fun.
The girls swam on the water toys after that, and then we headed up to enjoy a lunch full of discussing our next biggest prank... Unfortunately it was the biggest fail we've had all week, and to make up for it, we ended up just tossing pitchers of water on my cabins new favorite adopted staff member out playing volleyball. We did come up with great pranks though, that will soon be taking place, just as soon as I get back to camp.
Freezing the boys' swim trunks.
Dumping water and throwing flour.
Peanut butter and jelly FACE sandwich.
Silly string and water guns.
Toilet paper wrapping.
This week is going to be SO fun!
And sleeping under the stars on the ballfield tomorrow night! I just can't wait! I love my job! And to top it all off, in the two hours that I get for free time each day, I get to swim and tan, and play volleyball, and take naps and write letters, and e-mail people about Thailand and Costa Rica- finishing SM stuff up, and do ZUMBA! Can it get much better? Oh! I forgot! It can! Because I live on the third floor, and the hike is worth the view, because I never miss a sunset, and they're always gorgeous on the lake, with the sun setting over the mountain and the moon coming up on the other side. Camp has got to be a little piece of heaven on earth... and we wonder what keeps everyone coming back year after year... It is what it is. AWESOME.

Tuesday, June 19, 2012

Camps Beginning!

Camp is just beginning! Watch out world! Here we come!

Sunday, June 10, 2012

The Secret Ingredient

There's nothin' better than my mother's pumpkin bread.
It's been my favorite food since peanut butter and jelly outgrew it's welcome in the 3rd grade.
It's my favorite midnight snack. Ask anyone in the house and they'll tell you a sneaky mouse came through the kitchen in the middle of the night... every night it's there!
Living away from home this year at college, I've tried to make it on my own thinking, if I could just relive the goodness in my mouth...it'll be like a sweet taste of home.
It's just not the same.
I even use the SAME recipe! Our recipe is a secret family recipe, passed down from my grandmother, to my mother, to my sister and I, and anyone who try's my mom's pumpkin bread asks for the recipe, but this is one thing we never hand out.
I've tried to make it over and over! My sister has made it over and over (uh... it's not bad sis, just not the same...ha!)!
It's just NOT the same!
There's just something missing...
I've got the allspice, the nutmeg, the cinnamon... the flour, the sugar --the base and the core. We even use pumpkin my mom carved out herself (ssshhh!! that's one of the secrets)!
It's always moist --never under or over baked.
Soft and spongy.
Always the perfect amount of chocolate chips.
Consistently pure bliss --always, without fail.
Maybe it's a mom thing. Maybe I'm just missing all that extra love she pours in with it. My whole life she's just been serving us, pleasing us... loving us.
Maybe that's the step I've skipped.
I don't know what it's like to love my own child, but maybe that fragile, raw, selfless love that makes us pour out more of ourselves than we could ever get back... maybe THAT'S the secret ingredient that draws me in, and always keeps me coming back for more.

Saturday, June 9, 2012

All Fall Down

Step out the door and it feels like rain
That's the sound (that's the sound) on your window pane
Take to the streets but you can't ignore
That's the sound (that's the sound) you're waiting for

If ever your world starts crashing down
Whenever your world starts crashing down
Whenever your world starts crashing down
That's where you'll find me

Yeah God love your soul and your aching bones
Take a breath, take a step, meet me down below
Everyone's the same
our fingers to our toes
We just can't get it right
But we're on the road

If ever your world starts crashing down
Whenever your world starts crashing down
Whenever your world starts crashing down
That's when you'll find me.

(Yeah) Lost till you're found
Swim till you drown

Know that we all fall down
Love till you hate
Strong till you break
Know that we all fall down
-One Republic

Thursday, June 7, 2012

Magical Wishing

I love this song! It's my new favorite! Just listen, the mood is just perfect.

Today reminds me a lot of Christmas. I remember, and it makes me miss the magical moments. Today is REALLY good, don't get me wrong, I have two feet, two arms, two eyes, two hands, all in pretty good working condition. Today is great.
I remember at Christmas being home alone during the beginning of break and going downtown one night to sit at this cute little coffee shop, with the veranda all lit up in white lights. I sat inside with my hot "White Christmas" drink and wrote a letter for three hours. Then I walked along Main street and soaked in the air. There's something about the trees all lit up that makes it really magical here. I'm going to miss this place next year.
I'm sitting at the same coffee shop today. This time I'm in the same place I sat the last time I came here, which was right after I went to see the Nutcracker with a friend. It was only a few days after I came and wrote my letter... still Christmasy, still magical. And today, with the rain pouring, and the hippie music in my ears, it's still got the same feel. I'm really missing Christmas. The whole first quarter of college was pretty incredible, I wouldn't change a thing... but I miss it now. I'm glad the years over, I must just remember that I have a new chapter of adventure ahead of me now.
Keep vigilant watch over your heart;
that's where life starts...
Keep your eyes straight ahead;
ignore all sideshow distractions.
Watch your step,
and the road will stretch out smooth before you.
Proverbs 4:23-27

Tuesday, June 5, 2012

peace in an odd form.

Rain trickles down the windows leaving a pattern of droplets
-legacy.
Gray and dreary with the sound and smell bringing reassurance
-hope.
Sprinkles fall to the ground with a SPLAT and soak into the soil with ambition
-purpose.

Sunday, June 3, 2012

Cracking Down

Studying for finals is kicking my butt. Last night I checked on my syllabus for a class and found out that the test for this class is actually on Monday, rather than Wednesday, which is what I had thought. So I have 3 finals on Monday, one of which I just started studying for 2 hours ago, and I've answered 4 questions so far on the review sheet... out of 22. Ay caramba! I have another final on Wednesday, but it should be fairly easy (hope I didn't just jinx myself), and so after Monday, life should look pretty good. I get SO bored studying, and all the people in Starbucks are SO distracting. I need more energy! That caramel macchiato didn't have enought caffine! What I really need is to go for a run, but I physically can't, so I think I might go for a swim later if time allows for it. I have 3 more hours here until friends are meeting me to do MORE studying on the same subject. Yuck. I need to take a break and do something creative. Every once in a while I'll think about camp, and my heart speeds up a bit. I just can't wait! It's so hard to focus when all I want to do is run around with my campers and swim, and lay out on the beach. I feel like so many of the staff are such good friends this year, and the counseling group is going to be a blast! It's weird to think I won't be in school next year. After this, no more studying for me for a LONG while! Sheesh! It's exciting! Get me outta here! Yes please!

Wednesday, May 30, 2012

Growing Pains

My bone is broken, and my best friends heart is broken, and we joke that our brokeness is the tie that keeps us so strongly connected right now, but in a way, it really is.
Tonight she let go and said goodbye to a loved one, and I could tell it hurt her tremendously. She really cared. She loved.
She told me through tears that she knew what she had to do. She had to start building her bridge. Right now, things just look impossible to deal with, but once she builds her bridge, she can stand on top and look down at the river and be at peace with it. All the fun times they shared would turn from pain to a good memory.
She told me that all growing experiences involve some sort of pain, and love is one of the most beautiful experiences, but also the most detrimental of them all. To love sets yourself up to feel pain. But looking back on it, will reveal so much you'd never seen before. It's a learning process. It's a character growth builder.
Pain. My heart felt pain when I lost a friend at the beginning of the year. I felt pain when my plans for next school year came shattering to the ground last week. My leg feels pain every step I try to take. My heart feels pain as I struggle to rebuild a relationship lost from anger and words that cut deeply.
I've learned so much this year. I've grown so much this year. This school year has been one of the hardest of my life, but also one of the best. I have grown in so many ways. My bridge is slowly being built.
I am proud of myself, for enduring the pain. For standing on two feet as solid as I can, and holding my own.
My friend and I are going to stand on the bridge together one day, look down at the cool water and give thanks with peaceful hearts. Who knows, maybe we'll even leap in with laughter and shout full of joy.

Friday, May 25, 2012

Locks of Love

Best part of the day:
Cutting and "styling" Jon Gasikills long, dark and thick, wavy hair.
Also, I got my FIRST REAL pair of earrings today.

Thursday, May 24, 2012

Feelin' the Love

Yesterday was a horrible day, but everyday I continue to be blessed by tremendous friends! I couldn't be more thankful, I honestly don't know what I would do without them... I guess we'll find out next year when I'm out on my own. Two of my best of friends tracked me down last night, surprised me with my favorite peanut butter smoothie, and made me giggle striaght silly. Then we watched the finale of our new favorite show. It's just one of those moments you don't forget, you know? You just know their hearts are so full of love. I really am going to miss these moments next year. Probably more than anything else.
Today I came home and found these flowers, with an incredibly encouraging note. What a friend! How inspiring! How kind! How thoughtful! It's moments like this that help pull back the mask blinding me from seeing the good in life, and help pour back lost love to replenish and nourish my burdened soul. Thank you!

The Secret Behind Job's Missiles.

Bad things happen to good people. It's a fact. And sometimes, bad things just keep happening. And sometimes people shake their heads and say, "Ok, this is the end.. this is all I can take. God wouldn't give me more than I can handle. God wouldn't send anything else." But it just keeps coming, and they begin to wonder when these missiles will stop firing.
And when they don't, stop that is, they try to look for the good in each shot. "This will help me learn patience... this will help me appreciate the little things in life... this shows me who my real friends are... this will only make me stronger in the long run (like muscles, hard things tear us down, but eventually build us up)..."
It reminds me of Job.
Job was a strong man. But he also had a strong faith.
What happens to those people who, are strong like Job, but lack faith?
I talked to a pastor yesterday who said some people don't actually NEED God, they're strong enough to do it on their own.
Whoa. That's a first. Never heard that out of a pastor's mouth. Interesting perspective... So what then, drives us to really NEED God if we're "fine" and we can do it on our own?
What was it about Job that pushed him to depend on God, when his whole world came crumbling? Why couldn't he do it on his own? Or why did he CHOOSE to keep believing in God? That secret could unlock so many doors...

Wednesday, May 23, 2012

Yesterday

Traditional breakfast with Cassie -muffins, omlet, and smoothie.
And my favorite thing was learning a new Canadian tradition. A group of us went to Starbucks last night and drank coffee through these chocolate cookies called Tim Tams. BEST THING EVER! TIM TAM SLAM JAM!

Monday, May 21, 2012

Highlights:

Friday: SM Vespers. I might not have been able to carry a flag, but that didn't stop me from participating!
Sabbath: It was all SO good! Taught Sabbath school at the city church and sang special music with Justin and my sister. I was going to be late to sing for ICantori at the University Church, so I decided to skip out on it, and Shannon and I grabbed raspberry lemonade from out of the fridge, and went on a wheelchair run to the park and over to my grandma's for lunch. Lunch was excellent --many friends gathered. Then I had the spring concert to go to --new most embarrasing story of the year happened! And after, Elise, Shayla, and Alexa came over and made pumpkin bread (which turned out to be a mess!), and then we went and watched a girl movie at Shay's. It was an excellent day!
Sunday: Late night talk with Elise in the hot tubb.
Today: I'm sitting outside on my grandma's patio and it's absolutely gorgeous. It's rainy, cloudy, and a little chilly, but I can hear the rain pouring, and the creek gurgle as the water drifts past, and it's peaceful. I know I need to do homework, but I think I might grab a blanket and curl up on her long lawn chair to just listen to the earth, and maybe close my eyes... This is different than most days, but it's needed.

Thursday, May 17, 2012

Good News!

Yesterday I went to the orthopedist. He said what happened to me was a freak accident and he'd never seen anything like this happen before. A fractured fibula from running, no twist, no fall, just a simple run... pounding my feet on the pavement... he couldn't explain it. Apparently it's the tibia that's the weight bearing bone, which explains why I could run everyday for a week on it after the break, and then run Bloomsday. To say I ran 7.46 miles on a broken leg sounds pretty hardcore, not gonna lie, but it does make me sound pretty stupid as well... The fibula basically just supports the ankle so he told me I could technically walk out of his office without crutches if I really wanted to. He told me that probably in a week or two my foot won't hurt to walk on, and I won't have to use crutches, but I should really only stop using them whenever it doesn't hurt my ankle. That's GREAT news! I was worried it was going to be six weeks with those things! Only a month probably, and I'm half way done! He said by camp I should be able to wakeboard, and if my ankle's sore, I should just use my brace! Hooraaahh!
Last night I talked to Shannon from 10:30PM-1:00AM. It was long, but it was needed. It was good too! Right up there with my good news from the doctor!
Today was pretty uneventful, but it was still excellent. I really liked talking with Janet this morning. She brought me the most beautiful, bright pink flowers! But tonight's been nice as well. I've had almost an hour to myself, just to relax. I can't remember what homework I have so I'm not going to worry about it. I'll blame it on my memory loss, and worry about it later. For now, a good nights sleep sounds wonderful.

Tuesday, May 15, 2012

Awesome friends!

My friends are AWESOME! My small group came and made dinner at my house today. Shannon bought me a tank top today just for fun, and then she brought me Starbucks and came to my house to do my overflowing sink full of dishes and study with me for the night. That girl never ceases to blow my mind with kindness. How can a human being be that generous? She is my inspiration!

Monday, May 14, 2012

Fighting, Reviving, & Blooming

Today was sort of tough... I have spring fever and I just want to get out of my hot stuffy house and run. We have soccer and volleyball games this week. Jogging class! I'm suppose to go swimming tomorrow! Now I can't get my lifeguarding. I can't finish my "run 20 miles a week till camp" goal. I was starting to ride my bike to school to save on gas and get more exercise. All I want to do is just WALK. It's just dissapointing. I feel like all I do is eat and sleep, and lay with my foot up in the air, and do homework (which I can hardly focus on), and then wobble around awkwardly on my crutches from class to class. So lazy! Uhhhhggg, I'm already tired of it.
But I guess today wasn't all bad. I went to Blue Palm with Shannon... I know, just what I need in my sedentary state. I had greek salad outside with my sister, which was nice to. 1 because I've really been craving greek salad, and 2 because I feel like, although my sister and I live in the same house, we never see each other, and to eat dinner together is a rare occasion. We only have a month left of our lives to live together, and then we're on our seperate ways... So today was another day worth living. My life is great!
And the poor wilted flower from outside my house yesterday, is revived and back to life, like I will be SOON! What a great hope and inspiration! What a fighter, that flower! It's pot is planted right next to my door, so every time I come home I check on it, and it reminds me that I'm a fighter also, and I'll be blooming again soon too!

Sunday, May 13, 2012

Strolling Today

Awesome day! Favorite part:
A stroll with Shay! And a smoothie to end the day!

Wilting

Man, the sun really takes it out of you. Yesterday, this poor flower was beautiful! This is a prime example of what dehydration and a beating sun does to you... I'm still feeling the effects today. My memory is sparse, and it's really frustrating. I'm drinking lots of water, and hopefully within a month, the doctor says it should be pretty much back to normal. Let's hope!

Saturday, May 12, 2012

Tanning

Favorite part of the day:
Tanning in my lawn.
Foot elevated -check
Water -check
I guess that's all I need to live today.
Oh, and by the way, red heads CAN tan...
but today I got sunburned because I fell asleep :)

Friday, May 11, 2012

Fractured Fibula

Today was great! No classes, because of my awesome toe problems. I woke up early, finished homework due at 9, got in the hot tubb, showered, went to my doctors appointment, found out I had to go back to the hospital to re-take my X-ray because they X-rayed my foot rather than my ankle, and I think the highlight of my day was a salad and smoothie with Elise at The Garden, and then a jaunt over to goodwill to look for some sick earrings. The rest of my day was pretty good as well though. Jon took me to get my foot X-rayed, and then we went to Starbucks. We came home and Shannon came over and we made cupcakes (we meaning Shannon put everything in a bowl and I stirred it from on the couch, with my ankle up of course). Jon did my stack of dishes in the sink, overtaking the whole kitchen counters, which made me ubber happy because my house is SUCH a mess but I can't really clean it. Then the doctor called me and told me I fRaCtUrEd my fIbUlA which, honestly didn't surprise me. And of course Jon shoved an overly frosted cupcake all over my face while I was talking to my brother on the phone... Then we made stir fry for dinner (so good) and we headed to vespers! And after vespers, Melissa, Shannon, Laura and Michael came over for tea, hot chocolate (both of which we never actually had), and cupcakes. Michael did the remaining dishes from baking, wiped down my counters, took out the trash, and pulled the dead leaves off my plant in the window. What a pal! I don't know what's up with these boys, but they're keepers! Their mother's taught them well! Thank you mom's in the world! And now I'm off to bed. My toes are looking better, I have Sabbath School in the morning but nothing planned after that. No food in my house, but we'll figure something out... The sun should be shining, and maybe I can tan. Tomorrow's looking like another great day!

Thursday, May 10, 2012

Charcoaled Toes and a Beaming Grams

When my toes aren't elevated, they're black. I got an X-ray today and I'll know tomorrow if my ankle is broken. I went to the Dr. again today and he wasn't concerned hardly at all about my ankle, but more worried about my freezing, dark, toes. He said if the swelling doesn't go down in the next few days, I might have to get rid of some toes next week. So I have to keep them elevated, basically at all times possible. So... that get's me out of classes tomorrow. Terrific.

Things in my life just seem to keep getting worse and worse, it's like there's no end. I wonder when things will start going right? But I consciously decided this morning I am going to be on top of the situation rather than beneath it, if that makes sense. I dictate my response, the situation does not control me. I can choose to enjoy the experience, even if it's a difficult one. There's always something to be learned, and more story to be added. Since I can't do much of anything on my bucketlist for this Spring quarter anymore, I've decided from now until the end of the year, everyday I am going to list my favorite thing that happened in the day.
So here it is for today:
Grandmabrought me a salad for lunch, took me to get my foot X-rayed, and then took me out to Blue Palm afterwards. I love my grandma more than she knows, and today (like everyday but especially today) I am SO SO thankful for her inspiring and beautiful character.

Tuesday, May 8, 2012

SLOW DOWN!!!!!


This evening I was driving through my grandma's neighborhood, and a young girl, probably about 5, on a tricycle yelled at me to "SLOW DOWN!" as I passed her. She must have gotten that from her father, I thought. It reminded me of when I was young, living in Thornton, Colorado in a big brown house. My dad would be outside working on something and he'd yell at the top of his lungs, "SLOW DOWN!" as a racing car would speed by. Everytime he said it like he meant it. The look on his face was meant to scare the driver, but it sure scared me. Sometimes it would just be me and my siblings outside rollerblading or biking down the streets and whenever a car went speeding by one of us would yell, "SLOW DOWN!" in our weak, fragile voices.
This quarter has just been TOO busy. Exhausting. I hate it. These crutches suck. I can't put it any other way. And I've only been on them for 2 days. Just today I tripped and landed on my bad foot THREE stinkin' times! It hurt SOOOOOO bad! I tripped twice on stairs and once a few minutes ago as I was walking in my house. Tripped right over the rug, almost put me to tears. I wonder if it's because I'm moving too fast. I'm not careful enough... well obviously I'm not very careful with my body if I ran bloomsday on a swollen ankle (dumbest thing I've ever done). Maybe this is supposed to help slow me down. It's FORCING me to slow down. It cut out jogging at 7 a.m. It cut out soccer and volleyball almost every night. It cut out swimming on Sunday's and Tuesday's. I can't do much anymore at my teachers aide job so they let me out early... I feel useless. I can't do anything and I have to depend on other people to open the door for me or grab my folder for me in choir and put it away. I hate it. I need exersice to keep me happy and give me energy. I hope it's not broken. I'll know better by Thursday. They can't tell now because it's too swollen. My whole foot is a balloon.
Maybe I did need to slow down. But I don't like this lesson. It's a pain to learn... literally, ha!
What I really want to know is, when am I gonna hit rock bottom, because after that, things can only get better right?

Sunday, May 6, 2012

Dying

I remember being just a little less than a mile out from the finish line. I saw this tall building and remembered from last year that the finish line was just down this road straight to the building and then a right turn, and a sprint away. I could do this. My ankle hurt like it never had before, but I was almost there. Other than that, I was just a little tired, but I felt fine.
Then I woke up. All these medical people in red vests around me. I was lying down on some sort of cot thing. A man was trying to force me to drink water, but I felt nauseous and I couldn't drink it because I was fighting the urge to throw up. I gave in and threw up, all over myself. But it didn't matter because I was just stuggling to get air into my lungs. People were asking me questions but I couldn't hear. I couldn't feel my body. They wiped the sweat and puke from my face.
How long had I been here?
What happened?
Did I finish?
Where was Shannon?
How was I suppose to get a hold of her?
What time was it?
How serious was this?
Was I going to die?

All these questions were being tossed around in my brain, but my mouth couldn't speak words, so I laid there with a lifeless expression on my face. I raised my head to see if I was really touching my feet together and wiggling my toes. Sure enough, I just couldn't feel it.
Nurses would walk by or come crowd around and smile, and I'd try to smile back, because it's the polite thing to do, but I couldn't tell if it was working. My lips were numb.
They told me later that I had crossed the finish line, but I looked like a drunk, crazy person, so they came out and put me in a wheelchair. Apparently I threw up. They were asking me questions like, where do I live, and what was my name, and I answered. I have no recognition that any of this happened. Someone told my friends looking for me that I didn't look too good at the finish line, and learning what I did, I'm so embarrassed. Who saw me? I was so out of it.
They tried to sit me up, but I was dizzy, so they laid me back down. They stuck IV's in my arm, but I guess it wasn't working on my right side, so they had to use the other arm. I had never had an IV in my arm before, and I wasn't too excited about the idea. But it was fine, because I couldn't feel. While they were poking me, I thought about dying. Nothing really seemed to matter at that point. I honestly didn't care if I died. It was sort of like I already had. I couldn't remember the last hour of my life. And then I just "woke up". And if I had died, I never would've known. I had no idea how serious this was. I had no idea what happened. My body was relaxed, my mind was sort of in a daze, and the thought of dying didn't scare me. In fact, I felt ready. I thought about heaven and hell, and I didn't care where I ended up. I couldn't picture my life an hour away. Nothing really mattered and I just wanted to die. It's sort of silly when I look back on it now, but it was the weirdest feeling I've ever experienced. NO ONE will ever be able to understand unless it happens to them. And it was weird because the nurses really had no idea what I was feeling. They might pretend like they know, but no one really knows until it's happened to them. For a few hours today, I was not Karalee. I was just some human with a dysfunctional brain stuck in a body.
I laid there shivering from the cold fluid running into my veins for a good three hours. They asked me questions, my hearing was slowly improving but I stumbled to put words together that made sense to answer. I didn't have my phone, but I had Shannon's key to her car. So I knew they couldn't get too far, but I wasn't sure how I was going to get a hold of them, or find them when I got out of there. IF I got out of there. The only number I could remember was my house number in Coeur D'Alene, so we called it. No one picked up, so I tried to leave a message but my words still weren't working so I handed the phone back to the nurse to try to explain.
Eventually I could sit without being dizzy, and I could feel my feet enough to hold me up and move when I told them to. I started to respond to things quicker and my brain started working again. My hearing never fully came back until about an hour ago. The nurse walked with me through the line to get my T-shirt, and help me find my friends. She was nice, I really liked her. I wrapped myself in a blanket and hobbled through the massive crowd. My ankle was even more swollen then on Friday and I could hardly stand to put pressure on it. Even now the swelling hasn't gone down much, and I can't walk on it. They thought it might be a small fracture. Somehow we found my friends, or they found us. And driving home was a fight to keep from puking again. We got home around 5, and I still felt nauseous, but much more like Karalee, with real feeling. I slept till about 7:30 and tried to eat something. Now I have a massive test to study for, for tomorrow, and all I really want to do it die. Literally. After today, it just feels so much easier.

Monday, April 30, 2012

Calendars

In the classroom today I was changing the calendar on the bulletin board. It's a new month tomorrow you know? Just a month left of school, and off we go! One of the girls in the classroom was telling me about how she can't sleep at night because she's so excited for camp. She's coming the first week in July and she's going to be in my cabin, she informs me everyday. Two months away, and I can hardly stand the wait as well!
As I hung the numbers of the month up on the wall I recalled the last day of school when I was in 3rd and 4th grade. I feel that crying on the last day of school was just sort of a tradition growing up. The teachers would cry, the students would cry, it was just one big cry fest as the teachers made the final announcement of the day, "...the year has gone by faster than I'd expected, and it's been so much fun having each of you in my class this year! I'm really going to miss you all!" And I wondered what the last day of class would look like in this classroom. Would anyone cry? I can't imagine they would, but I did when I was young. I never wanted to grow up. Moving a grade higher meant I was growing older, losing time in life.
Time has always been my biggest struggle. I want to look back and say that I used my time wisely... Well, maybe wisely isn't the word I want. More that I took advantage of the time I'd been given and lived FULLY, stocking up on memories and living out every opportunity offered.

Sunday, April 29, 2012

Freshman

I'm so busy, in all honesty, most of the time I can't even stand living.
I NEVER get a day to just chill and rejuvenate. On Sabbath I either have to sing in ICantori for church, or teach Sabbath school at the city church, or like this next weekend, go on an SM retreat, which I'm excited for, but it's just another things I HAVE to do, and I never get a break to do my own thing. There's never a full day that I don't have to be somewhere or do something, and if I'm given a few minutes of free time, my friends think I'm mad at them when I don't want to hang out in my hour of free time each week. I'm just so exhausted. I can't do it anymore.
And the stress is building. Today I was suppose to decide where to go SM for next year. I'll be going to talk with Jeanne about it any minute now, and I'm even more torn than I was this morning.
Indonesia was completely out of the picture yesterday, but this morning I found out they want me to come... so does Thailand, and Costa Rica. What do I do?
I was thinking about how all I want right now is to go back to being a freshman at Lake City Jr. Academy. How RELAXING and FUN my life was, and I didn't even realize it! I never even thought about life in the same way as I do now. Life was so EASY.
Go to school.
Laugh and play and hang out.
Come home, no homework or some homework depending on the day.
Go on a run, or play basketball, or "myspace", read a book, jump on the tramp, ride bikes, hike, bake, take any choice of these fun activities.
Eat an already prepared meal for dinner.
Watch some Lifetime or Hallmark channel show or movie.
Go to bed at 8 if I was tired, or at 10 if I wasn't.
Wake up and repeat.
SO STINKIN' EASY.
All I want now is to STOP THE CLOCK. Just STOP living for a little bit. Get re-energized, less stressed, and then press play... maybe even fast forward a bit so I don't have to make this life changing decision. I just need to get out of here. It's too fast. Just get me out.

Saturday, April 28, 2012

Down in the Valley

It's like a mountain and a valley. Everyone wants to be on the mountain, it's bright and beautiful with the sun shining in all it's glory, and the view from on top is phenomenal. The journey consists of each step it takes to get to the top. But sometimes, we fall, we give up, or we turn around and find ourselves back in the valley. The valley is dark, and there's not much beauty to thrive on. It's lonely and desolate. Empty and barren. BUT, it's in the VALLEY that you discover the River, overflowing with the Water of Life. Only there can you REALLY find the water that will carry you through to the top. Only then can you drink and never go thirsty again. Only THEN can you begin truly living.

Friday, April 20, 2012

Move Us

Last week at church was the first week in about 5 months that I didn't have to teach Sabbath school, sing for church, or go on a trip. I sat in the audience during the postlude, and watched one of my friends conduct the band from my old high school. He was smiling and bouncing on his toes to the beat. He brought me so much joy. Just watching him do his thing, and enjoy what he loves. A quote popped into my head just then:
“Don’t ask what the world needs. Ask what makes you come alive, and go do it. Because what the world needs is people who have come alive.”He inspired me to go out and do the things I love! But I lack the time and energy now days. I've lost the passion and zest I once acquired at the beginning of the year, and I feel myself growing to be boring, not by choice --just by life. But that day, I was inspired. I got out and did something I love. I went with an incredible group of people and canoed across a lake, ate a picnic, layed out in the sun, canoed around for fun, came back and ran 5 miles, and slept out under the sparkling stars. It's amazing how inspiration can move you.
We get the word inspired from the word spirit.One of the questions on my Bible test last week was: What is the earth mostly made of? Answer: Spirit.
Now where does this spirit come from? Where is it? Is it really everywhere?Two weeks ago, one of my best friends, who has observed a lot of interesting facts about my personality lately, told me I have a lot of "spirit" whatever that's suppose to mean. Good! I don't want to be boring.
I wonder where this spirit comes from? Is it inside everyone? Maybe only a fortunate few? Is it more than just a spunky personality? Is it maybe, literally a "spirit"? Maybe the Holy Spirit lives in everything? Is everything that's "good" the Holy Spirit? What about the evils in the world? The people that corrupt our world? Is there good in everyone? EVERYONE?
I don't know... I'm just on a mission to figure this out.
Maybe just like inspiration gives boosts of energy to make you move, the spirit also gives energy to move hearts. Maybe, just maybe, they're one in the same. --both leaving us with deep joy, a persistant desire, a burning passion, and a lifetime of satisfaction.

Thursday, April 19, 2012

Extremist

Today I was called an "extremist" by a close friend. I told her my story of how I cheated four days in a row this week on my vegan diet goal for this month and yesterday I decided to give up and start again in May. So, in honor of giving up, I ate a pint of ice cream at about midnight last night, which was a bad decision because I felt like puking immediatly after. This morning I still felt sick, so I decided to go on a juice diet today, and by 5:00 this evening I had the WORST headache. "Man Karalee, no sugar for 3 month, vegan for a month, a whole PINT of ice cream to end it, and now a juice diet to justify the ice cream. You're the most extreme person I know! Always going ALL THE WAY!" When I think about it, it sort of makes sense.
This girl came and talked for our Psychology class today, and she used the analogy of a faucet. There's a hot handle, and a cold handle, but no inbetween. That's how she is, and in a lot of ways, that's how I seem to be too.
Exercise
Healthful eating
Friends
God
Fun
Homework
Church
School
Work
Clothes
You can take anything really, and in MY life, it's always one extreme or the other, but it just can't be in the middle. No border line. It's strictly YES or NO. HOT or COLD. All for it, or all against it. And trust me, it fluctuates often, in all of these things.
I remember talking to a best friend on the phone a few months ago and telling him about something I just wasn't sure about but I had to make a huge decision on. "I don't know, I'm just right in the middle, hangin' out right on the borderline."
His response to THAT is still with me, and rings in my head clear as crystal every so often. He said, "Oh no Karalee. You've choosen. You've definitely choosen. You've picked your side. Just listen to yourself talk."
Always one extreme or another. Never borderline. Sometimes it may SEEM like it's borderline, and not so obvious, but it totally is. I've always picked a side, even without realizing it. I'm either on fire for it, or completely burnt out and dead with it. One extreme or another. I am an "extremist" even though I struggle with consciously making decisions. Can't figure that one out yet.

College Nights

I feel like today is a prime example of what college is suppose to look like. Jogging in the morning at 7, a smoothie afterwards and class till 2. Work from 2-4, and then a surprise visit from a good friend who came and made me a frappacino at my house while I was doing dishes that have been sitting in the sink for almost a week. Rushing off to play soccer on my intramurals team. SO fun! Racing off to class at 6 to go till 8. Bowling right after until 10:30. Haagen dazs coffee ice cream. Consume the whole pint by myself (only the second time I've ever ate a pint of ice cream in one sitting in my entire life... awesome!). Back to my house at midnight feeling really energized, but really just wanting to puke. Bed time calls my name now, and we'll start the cycle again tomorrow, except next time with a bit more homework in the picture.

Monday, April 16, 2012

Parents

Today, a pastor put it like this:
I have a child who is pretty private. They don't like to talk about their day at school or if it was good or bad, they keep to themselves, and they're pretty reserved. They think they don't need parents anymore, and it's true, they don't really. As a parent I've provided my kids with a roof over their heads, food in their bellies, and an education, but beyond that, they don't need me. I was there all along to get them grounded and growing, but there comes a point when they realize they don't need me in order to survive. They could leave and "be fine". As a parent I only want what's best for my child, and I want to know how their day went, or the frustrations they have, not to be controlling, but because I LOVE them. I want to know them. I want to establish a relationship with them. I've never left my kids. I've been with them all along, providing for them. And if they don't want my help, that saddens me, but I want them to be happy, and if they think getting away is the answer, then they can give it a try. But I will always still be here loving them. That will never change. And they are always welcome to walk back in my house and make a cup of tea. It's like in Acts 14:17, "But He never left them without evidence of Himself and his goodness. For instance, He sends you rain and good crops and gives you food and joyful hearts." The joy that you feel on blissful days, is evidence of God. He provides you with all goodness. See, God has never left, he has been and is providing you with things everyday. And his doors are wide open to welcome you back home.

"Whatever is good and perfect comes down to us from God our Father, who created all the lights in the heavens. He never changes or casts a shifting shadow." -James 1:17

Friday, April 13, 2012

Costa Rica!!!!!!!!

Live with a spanish family, struggling financially.
Work in a school, struggling financially.
100 American dollars a month.
Spanish speaking.
English teacher.
Grades k-6.
15 students.
3-7 mile walk to school (trails in the jungle).
Safe- small community.
Remote.
On a mountain (high elevation).
Rains a LOT.
Not hot, just warm.
Tourists in the city (a ways away).
Butterflies.
Exquisite birds.
Zip lines!!!
Waterfalls!
SOUNDS BEAUTIFUL! I'm so excited I could jump up and down and run around for hours! I haven't made a final and complete decision, but right now, it looks like this is what's happening. The school will except an independent volunteer which is GREAT news!!!! I'm so excited! I just want to sing! I'm still hoping and wishing Indonesia would get back with Jeanne, but WWU has never sent a missionary there before, and it's hard to contact anyone at that school. Either way, I can't wait to see what happens!

Wednesday, April 11, 2012

Untouched Thoughts

Over Spring break, I went with my mom to her regular Sabbath School group, since we're recently lacking a collegiate group at our church. The topic for the week was "giving."
Two things struck me as we were talking:
1.) What is true generosity? And
2.) What does the Bible really say about giving to those in need?

I find myself always "giving back." I'm constantly pushing myself to give, but not for the right reasons. Even the slightest things trigger an impulse, "give back" my mind tells my body, and immediately that person and their gift are ingrained in my head, until I can repay them with my own gift. But then is that really a gift? More like one more thing I need to check off my to-do list.
Gift:
1.)something given voluntarily without payment in return, as to show favor toward someone, honor an occasion, or make a gesture of assistance; present.
2.)something bestowed or acquired without any particular effort by the recipient or without its being earned:
I have this friend who just LOVES giving, and she inspires me everyday. She keeps giving and giving of herself. Time, objects, money, I can hardly keep up! I always feel the need to repay her. Sometimes, I even try to beat her to the punch line and give her something before she can give ME something, because I know she will. It's almost become a game, and I feel that generosity has nothing to do with it. Is this guilt driven action even considered giving? Or is it more a chore? Can it even be considered generosity? It's not from the goodness of my heart, so maybe it doesn't mean anything at all? But I really do love my friend, and I value our friendship more than any gift could say. That is the gift, our raw friendship. But maybe "giving" is the wrong way of showing this.

One of the ladies in the group made the comment that the Bible says, "if you can't work, you can't eat." This really threw me for a loop. What?! The Bible actually SAYS that?! But what about the verse that talks about serving others? What happened to "anything you've done unto the least of these, you've done also to me" and our responsibility to take care of those in need? Why would the Bible say (in other words) "get off your lazy bums and earn your share!" This made me curious. So I looked it up. Sure enough, in 2 Thessalonians 3:10 it says, "If a man will not work, he shall not eat." But reading this verse with a bit more context, verses 10-13:
"Don't you remember the rule we had when we lived with you? 'If you don't work, you don't eat.' And now we're getting reports that a bunch of lazy good-for-nothings are taking advantage of you. This must not be tolerated. We command them to get to work immediately—no excuses, no arguments—and earn their own keep. Friends, don't slack off in doing your duty."
I don't think the Bible is literally saying if you don't work you can't eat. What about those stay at home mom's? What about those beggars on the side of the road in the towns Jesus walked through? He showed compassion for them, and we are to also. I DO think the Bible is encouraging people to be diligent, consistent, energetic, hard workers.
"Lazy hands make a man poor, but diligent hands bring wealth." -Proverbs 10:4
"How long will you lie there, you sluggard? When will you get up from your sleep? A little sleep, a little slumber, a little folding of the hands to rest -- and poverty will come on you like a bandit and scarcity like an armed man." -Proverbs 6:9-11

A man came and talked at our school for Chapel last week about his experience as a homeless man. He took a year out of college and choose to live on the streets and go hungry for the experience. I actually really want to do this, but being a girl, I feel it would be impossible to be safe. He told about how one day he went into this sandwich shop, smelly, dirty, and hungry, and sat in the corner. 3 different Bible study groups walked in the door not long after he'd been there, one after another. These people bought sandwiches and opened their Bibles for discussions. Each group eventually saw the others and their Bibles wide open, and decided to make a joint study group. Not once did these groups of christians even acknowledge the presence of this hungry man. His story broke my heart. How often I find myself doing the same thing. Avoiding eye contact and walking swiftly past the beggars on the street to avoid confrontation. This speaker told us that after his experience of being homeless, every week he would go out on the streets and find homeless people, give them a hug and talk with them. One homeless guy told the speaker that their conversation had been the first he'd had in a week. He was the first guy that gave him the time of day. Sad. Wrong. Selfish. And yet, I am to blame. How do I fix this problem? How do I love those I've grown to deem as "unlovable"??? Where do I start? What can I do NOW? What can I give to make the difference? And how do I give as a gift?