Thursday, March 29, 2012

Out of clutter, find simplicity.
From discord, find harmony.
In the middle of difficulty lies opportunity.
-Albert Einstein

Wednesday, March 28, 2012

Fighting Against It

I've come to a bold realization today.
I don't want to be the person I've always fought to be.
Every single day of my life has been spent training myself to hide.
Hide all anger, hide any sadness, hide confusion, hide struggles, hide myself with a smile and a laugh.
I've practiced this for far too long, it's almost second nature.
All of a sudden, it just hit me today.
I don't want to be that person anymore.
That person that skips over the emotions. "Stoic" as I was told yesterday.
I think it's a coping mechanism. But I don't want to cope anymore, I just want to let it be, and know that it's ok to not be so hard. When the main character in the movie dies, it's ok to feel the loss. And if my dog died last week, it's expected to be sad. If my campers at camp tell me a gut-wrenching story, I can cry with them.
Being "tough" isn't always necessary, but I feel it's the easiest way out of the chaos. Just not letting yourself feel anymore than possible, so no more heartbreak can touch you.
It's hard to feel. The hardest thing in the world to me.
This is my new challenge.
To embrace the emotions given in each new day. To allow and grant myself the power to feel and absorb them. I think this is part of living life to the fullest in every sense.

Sunday, March 25, 2012

Naïve Karalee

I was walking along the streets searching. My eyes quickly scanning the tables, the blankets spread out on the grass covered with items. Only 15 minutes. I had so much left over money. Too much (a rare occurrence)! I had hardly bought anything at all since the beginning of my time in Africa. Time to get down to business. I started with the first buyer’s small section. The lady was nice enough, educating me on all her “rare” and “exquisite” objects. Earrings for my sister. All such beautiful earrings… I settled on nice turquoise earrings made from some important rock, she informed me in broken English. I moved on down the line to the next sellers “shop.” Nothing. Then to the next. Bow and arrows. My brother already had a drum from Africa, I didn’t know what else to buy. “How much?” I asked the lady in charge. She said some outrageous price, so I brought it down to something much lower than what I'd expect to pay for it. That’s how you’re supposed to do it, right? And then come to a reasonable compromise?
“No. I give you good price.”
I told her the price was too high, and I only wanted the price I had offered.
“Ok, fine. I will lower it 5 Namibia dollars. Take.”
“No. I can find it for much cheaper somewhere else. That’s ridiculous.” I started to walk away with high hopes that she would change her mind. It worked for everyone else, why couldn’t I do it?
“Fine, fine.”
Ahhh! Good! She changed her mind! I turned back around to face her.
“Go, but you won’t find it for better price.”
“TWO MINUTES! TWO MINUTES BEFORE WE LOAD THE VANS!” Someone ran shouting down the road.
Uhhgg! How am I going to find something AND barter for it in two minutes! Shoot. I looked at the next shop, and wandered down the street searching for bows and arrows. Running out of time, and having no luck, I returned to the original “shop” that wanted too high of a price.
“Look, I have to go, so I’ll just take it.”
“No. Price goes up to original price.”
“WHAT?! No! That’s ridiculous!”
“You leave and did not take my good price. Price goes up.”
GAH!! Everyone was walking towards the vans. I paused, mad this women was playing me, and really upset that she was going to get her way and I was going to look like the American idiot. But I had so much extra money, this was our last stop to buy anything, and I had nothing for my brother yet, so I… “Ok. Fine. Here!” I shoved the money into her hands, grabbed the bow and arrows and quickly marched away. I didn’t stop to turn around and see the woman’s proud snicker of delight. She had won. I felt like such a loser. I'm horrible at this. I hate bartering. You're so naïve Karalee.
And it’s true. I am naïve. Sometimes you never know how much you really have until it’s gone. Those things you so easily let slip through your fingers. It’s those things that are usually so hard to get back.

Saturday, March 24, 2012

Itching Stitches

Healing- process of curing or becoming well: curative, remedial, therapeutic, medicinal, curing.

Sometimes healing takes a few minutes, days, a week, a month, a year, 10 years…

A rather obnoxious girl in my 3rd and 4th grade classroom struggles for attention every waking minute of every day. She’s going through a phase where she steals things from her classmates. One of the boys in 4th grade was searching for his skittles, and asking the others if they’d seen any sign of them. The teacher walked over to the questionable girl and asked in a “don’t mess with me” sort of tone, “Krista, did you take Sean’s skittles?”

Krista looked away and said rather adamantly, “No.”

“Krista…” the teacher repeated.

“Ok, fine! I took them!” the girl blurted out. She began to cry, feeling the guilt, shame and regret building.

“Krista, you need to return the skittles to Sean,” said the teacher.

“Yes ma’am…” Krista grabbed the skittles from the confinement of her backpack pocket and walked to Sean, who was still madly searching every inch of the classroom. “Here’s your skittles Sean.” She said rather timidly as she held them out.

“OH! THANKS KRISTA!” Sean shouted with an astonishing smile, lighting up his face. “Where’d you find them?!”

“I took them.” Krista said shamefully.

“You TOOK them?” Sean paused, a bit puzzled. “But why would you TAKE them?” The smile slid from his face, and a look of hurt and confusion fell in its place.

“I just wanted some. I’m sorry.”

“OH KRISTA! If you wanted some, why didn’t you just say so!? HERE! HAVE SOME!” Sean beamed with delight as he poured a handful of skittles into Krista’s palm.

I remember the first time I felt anger towards a friend this school year. We got in a small argument and their words and actions hurt me. It brought tears to my eyes to even think about the person. Two days later I sat around the table with him eating Sabbath lunch and laughing and talking like old times, totally oblivious to our previous conversation. Forgive and forget. Move on and heal.

But sometimes healing takes a little longer than an explanation or two days to forget.

An old friend and I were catching up last night. I told her all about the stitches I got this week, and she told me about the time she had to get staples in the temple of her head. Ouch. We both agreed the constant urge to itch is HORRIBLE! It’s hard to fight the temptation to itch them, but that’s what means the wound is healing. If we fall in the struggle to resist, we’ll pull up the stitches and ruin the healing process. Not only does healing take time, it takes discipline. The need to overcome the constant urge to interfere is huge. Our concentration has to be focused on standing by, with hope for healing to come quickly, and letting go of the force that drives us to meddle, and ultimately hinder the process. With healing comes peace, a sort of renewal and a clean plate, and what a wonderful peace that will be!

Sunday, March 18, 2012


my heart beats
in a steady rhythm
constantly surging blood
through my veins
i listen
i feel
my pulse
it's in me
a part of me
and it won't quit yet

Give me CAMP!

Contracts for camp have all been sent out and I’m starting to receive exciting texts and calls from friends that got a summer job working out at Mivoden. And unfortunately there are the horribly heartbreaking texts that say “I didn’t get hired…” and replying to that is always tough.
All I can think about is SUMMER! I am EXTATIC! This summer is bound to be even better than my first! I really know what I’m getting myself into, I’ve already established relationships with the campers, and staff, my favorite 3rd and 4th graders are coming, I’m going to get my lifeguarding and my best friend got hired too! I can hardly stand to wait!
Talking for hours to Shannon on the phone about what to expect, and how much fun it is, gets us both pumped and brings back a flood of fond memories.
I remember lying out under the stars on warm nights with my feet hanging off the side of the dock into the cool water. The creaky sound of the dock as the waves shifted underneath it, rocking us back and forth, luring Elise and I to sleep. We’d see at least 1 shooting star every 10
minutes. It was incredible.
Leaving my girls with my sister at lunch and rushing to the kitchen to steal a watermelon and eat it on the dock with Syd every now and then.
Sleeping under the clear sky out on the deck with the girls or in the grass almost every night and waking up to the sun creeping over the hillside.
Midnight adventures with my campers and Jon, running around camp on a “secret mission” to discover secret treasure (AKA ice cream).
Worship on the dock.
Deep conversations in the hot tub.
Girl crying on the bathroom floor –with a heart wrenching story that changed my life.
Friday nights around the fire.
Staff parties, awards and surprises.
Raising the pants, woops I mean flag, before firebowl.
Hawaiian Haystacks and grasshopper pie on a Sabbath afternoon.
Eating disgusting food competitions with Timmy.
A little kids face after the sprayer in the the dish rooms hose popped off and water spewed everywhere.
4 mile runs everyday and a dip in the lake afterwards.
Coffee at morning camp council.
P90X with Alex and Caressa at 6.
Zip-lining, swimming, the giant swing, ultimate Frisbee, archery, praise group, special music, tanning, picnics, banquets, pranks, surfing, flash mob, medic, volleyball, ice cream, and THE KIDS.

Saturday, March 17, 2012

Not Fair but Fortunate.

It’s not really fair.
My best friend is in Mexico right now. My sister is in India. Two of my friends are on a cruise from Florida down to the Bahamas. One is leaving for Missouri in a few days, another to Seattle. Some are road tripping to Colorado. One is in Washington D.C., another to some exotic country far away, and it feels like a handful went down to California to rock climb, and visit family. A few are in Honduras on a mission trip and I’m sure some are probably in Guam or some island vacation like Hawaii. They’re ALL on vacation, and when they all get back I’m going to look even whiter than I feel.
What do I get to do, while they’re all having the time of their lives? Sit in a house without internet, and die of boredom. L-A-M-E. It's not even sunny here in Couer d'Alene, and sitting in coffee shops writing is sort of gloomy. Some consider the option of doing nothing, “relaxing” but it’s totally not. Relaxing is when you sit in the hot tub with good friends, or go on a coffee date, or walk and talk on the phone, or sit in the sun and lick a popsicle, or run during the sunrise, or sleep under the stars. Sitting at home contemplating if you should take another nap, or try to work up an appetite to WANT to bake something sweet is not relaxing, it’s BORING, and I for one, would rather be on a beach soaking in the sun and dancing to hula music. Or even back under the stormy skies of Africa, dripping from rain with arms outstretched to pure love in the form of an innocent child. And with those kids in mind, I'm thankful for my "average" lifestyle today.

Friday, March 16, 2012

Did Someone Say Swimming?!

I went swimming THREE time this week! That’s impressive! To actually go do something by myself where I’m very out of my element, unsure of myself and pretty self-conscious… I’ve always LOVED swimming. Just something about being surrounded in water. It’s just FUN! I took a few swim lessons as a kid, but not enough to really know what I was doing. I told my Grandma about my swimming accomplishments this week and how I’m practicing to get better because I’ve never really known how to swim. She basically told me I was full of bologna. She said I’ve always loved swimming, and anytime there was a pool anywhere I’d be in it! She told me I knew how to swim better than all the other kids in my swimming class. And it is true, I was always a little ahead, but never confident about it.
Friday I went to the pool before I left for my drive back home. 3 laps and I had to take a break. SO OUT OF SHAPE! I could feel the guy standing next to me staring. Uhhhgg, I wanted to hold my breath and sink to the bottom of the pool to hide. He came closer and I looked over. He was an old man with gray hair, “Are you taking a swimming class?” He asked.
“No… just practicing! I wanted to, but they didn’t have intro to swimming this quarter. I’ve never really swam much, and I’ve just decided I want to get better.” I said with a smile.
“I was watching you and you’re putting way too much energy into it.” He sort of smiled and said, “You’re keeping your legs straight when you kick, and that’s working against your arms propelling you forward. You need to loosen up, and relax. It’s all in the ankles and the feet. Like this,” He moved his arms up and down in the water showing his technique. “It’s all in the feet. Like flippers.” He said with a smile. “What’s your name?”
“Nice to meet you Karalee. I’m Al. Al Wec.”
Wec... why does that sound so familiar? I thought.
“I started this facility in 1966 (or maybe it was 1967 I can’t remember). Yeah I know, I’m old. I use to teach swimming lessons here. It was fun.”
Whoa. Sheesh, this guy really knows what he’s talking about!
He asked me where I was from, and about school, and if I knew these people, and all about that… Then we got down to business. He told me about the timing of breathing. We practicing blowing bubbles in the water, apparently you breath out your mouth and this whole time I’d been breathing out my nose (shows how much I know). He told me once I got my breathing down it
would be a lot easier, more rhythmic and I wouldn’t be struggling for air so much. We practiced our kicking up against the wall. Then he watched me swim a lap. “You have a great stroke form, and your legs are looking better! You know, if you were to practice swimming the way you have been, you’d eventually get it down, and it would become easier once you new the right technique, but now you know, so learning will be easier. You’re well on your way to being an EXCELLENT swimmer!” He said with a grin. “Well Karalee, you might have to remind me of your name again in the future, but I’ll see you around. It was nice to meet you. Good luck, and enjoy your weekend!”
What a nice man! I hope I see him again when I go back to practice! I’m SO excited about swimming now. I actually really enjoy it. I’m going to get good. I am. I’m sticking to it this quarter. I’m going to get my lifeguarding for camp. I’m going to swim 3 times every week. Already I see improvement and that keeps me motivated! I’m so excited to go SWIM!

Thursday, March 15, 2012


In honor of my dessert/caffine fast put to an end after 2 & 1/2 months:
All I can say is, I LOVE chocolate!

Tuesday, March 13, 2012

Bursting With Experiments!

I went to my 3rd and 4th graders science fair tonight. As soon as the girls saw me they raced over to give me a gigantic hug, tugging at my arm to show me their creations. Exploding volcanoes, fizzing soda, blue foaming fountains, turbines at a 22.5 angle generating 100 KW... these kids are geniuses. Sometimes I wonder what they're capable of doing, and looking down the road 10 years from now, I see them changing the world.
Within the last 2 weeks I've been getting these "moments" where I just stop and say, "This is what it feels like to be a teacher. I want this. I love this." But, they're just moments, some longer than others. Some days I leave work thinking, "I want to teach! I want to live this for real!" But then there's other days were I'm just not sure. "Is this for me? Do I have what it takes? This is such a huge commitment! A lifelong decision! I just don't know..." and the doubt creeps in. The longer I'm there, the more it feels like home. It reminds me of my school growing up, and I don't really want to leave it next year. I hope and pray it's waiting for me when I get back from my own experiment in another country. I can't wait to experience the adventure of teaching my own class.
What to do about my lifetime predicament?!
One thing I know for sure, the more time I spend with these kids, the more I grow to love, each and every one of them.

Monday, March 12, 2012

Smiles Speak.

A smile lasts maybe a second,
but a smiles lasting impression, maybe a lifetime.

Saturday, March 10, 2012

Tents in the sand

A memory is what is left when something happens
and does not completely unhappen.
~Edward de Bono

Tuesday, March 6, 2012

Just BE.

Today is one of these days.
I want to get a feather in my hair.
A bright wrap too.
I want to wear a sun dress, fun and bright!
I wish I could wear big, exotic earrings!
I want stylish shoes!
And lots of braclets and rings!
Maybe sit by a pool or ocean in an enticing, beautiful place.
Soak in the sun and just BE.

Monday, March 5, 2012

And The World Turned

Girl stood on the rocks with the water at her feet
the sun on her skin and a tear on her cheek
With her hand on her chest and the wind in her hair
Underneath her breath like a beggar's prayer
she said I miss you, come back to me
I wish you'd come back to me
But nobody heard
And the world turned and the world turned and the world turned
-And The World Turned The Gabe Dixon Band

Sunday, March 4, 2012

Let the SUN shine!

God's glory is on tour in the skies, God-craft on exhibit across the horizon.
Madame Day holds classes every morning,
Professor Night lectures each evening.
Their words aren't heard,
Their voices aren't recorded,
But their silence fills the earth:
unspoken truth is spoken everywhere.
God makes a huge dome
for the sun --a super dome!
The morning sun's a new husband
leaping from his honeymoon bed,
The day breaking sun an athlete
racing to the tape.
That's how God's Word vaults across the skies
from sunrise to sunset,
Melting ice, scorching deserts,
warming hearts to faith.
The revelation of God is whole
and pulls our lives together.
The signposts of God are clear
and point out the right road.
The life-maps of God are right,
showing the way to JOY.
The directions of God are plain
and easy on the eyes.
God's reputation is TWENTY-FOUR CARAT GOLD,
with a lifetime guarantee.
The decisions of God are accurate
down to the nth degree.
God's Word is better than a diamond,
better than a diamond set between EMERALDS.
You'll like it better than strawberries in spring,
better than red, ripe strawberries.
There's more: God's Word warns us of danger
and directs us to hidden treasure.
Otherwise how will we find our way?
Or know when we play the fool?
Clean the slate, God, so we can start the day fresh!
Keep me from stupid sins,
from thinking I can take over your work;
Then I can start this day SUN-WASHED,
scrubbed clean of the grime of sin.
These are the words in my mouth;
these are what I chew on and pray.
Accept them when I place them
on the morning altar,
O God, my Altar-Rock,
God, Priest-of-My-Altar.
-Psalm 19

Thursday, March 1, 2012


Sometimes it's rough because you don't want to turn on the music. You don't want to run down that street, or bike in the Fall. Don't sit at the table by the window, don't want to watch that movie, can't drink that kind of tea. No more rockclimbing or hot tubbing. It's those things that you want to do, but you can't get over the fear of losing the memories, or making new ones in their place. Or it takes you to a place you don't want to be. You'd rather not remember. You can no longer play the piano for fun. No more stress relieving paintings.
So you run from the old and search for the new. Or try to.
And you tell people over and over again, almost to try to make yourself believe it.
"There is relief."
But secretly you're still waiting for it to come.