God, give me the courage...

"God grant me the serenity to accept the things I cannot change and the courage to change the things I can."

Courage is one of those virtues that everyone lists... and it's many times number 1. If you think about it, all the other virtues (kindness, honesty, generosity, humility, tolerance, forgiveness etc) require courage to be put into practice.

How can I change myself?
God says, "You are yourself, you can no more change yourself than you can walk away from your own feet."

So it's a lost cause? There's nothing I can do?
God says, " You can understand and accept this truth."

But how will I change if I accept myself?
and God replies, "How will you change if you don't?"

"Healing and beauty can come from the most destructive forces our world has ever faced."


"Whether you turn to the right or to the left, your ears will hear a voice behind you, saying, 'This is the way; walk in it'."

"The Spirit of the LORD is on me, because the LORD has anointed me to preach the good news to the poor. He has sent me to bind up the brokenhearted, to proclaim freedom for the captives and release from the darkness for the prisoners, to proclaim the year of the LORD's favor and the day of vengeance of our God, to comfort all who mourn, and provide for those who grieve in Zion- to bestow on them a crown of beauty instead of ashes, the oil of gladness instead of mourning, and a garment of praise instead of despair."
Isaiah 61:1-3

That really fires me up. Every time I read those verses I hear God speaking a calling over my life.
I know what he is calling me to.
At the same time, I have no idea what that will look like, but I know that whatever it is, it is good. Those ancient words resonate deep within my soul in a way that is utterly unexplainable.
All I know is that a calling doesn't happen over night. I must walk that path today, and tomorrow, and every day that follows.



I have been reading "Broken" - a novel about the life of a recovering alcoholic and drug addict. It's very interesting and is really helping me understand more what the women I work with at Serenity Shelter are going through. So, on that note, I love anything that has to do with sobriety and hope.. for example... the following quote...

"I would fain keep sober always... I believe that water is the only drink for a wise man; wine is not so noble a liquor... Of all ebriosity, who does not prefer to be intoxicated by the air he breathes?" - Henry David Thoreau


The current wrestling match

I have been thinking a lot for the past two days about vision.
About calling.
About the Will of God.

I have noticed that I seem to get highly frustrated with the people in my life who are Christians and don't seem to be walking down the road into the destiny that God wants for them.
On one hand, who am I to know what God has called them to?
On the other hand, what kind of friend am I if I kick back and keep my mouth shut.
I have a really hard time with the concept of judgement. In the Bible it talks about not judging non-Christians because they are not held to the same values as Christians are. I feel like I have no problem accepting the people who don't claim Jesus as a way of life.

Our world is screaming 'DON'T judge me'! and for the world as a secular entity, I feel like I do a good job of not judging those that don't claim grace. If you don't claim to follow Christ then I understand why your life may look very different than mine... you would have no reason to follow a bunch of "rules" that you don't even believe in.

However, Jesus calls us to hold our brothers and sisters accountable. A friend pointed out today that accountability is a form of judgement that is righteous- God wants us to do that as long as we first hold our selves to the same measure and as long as our motives are rooted in love.
Let me just tell you... I am not a fan of confrontation. I don't like stepping on toes. I don't like hurting feelings. I am a people pleaser to the MAX.
But God tells us to call each other out in love.
I have a lot to learn about how to lovingly call out.
My past (for all of my long lasting friends who have seen my tainted humanity take over) reflects many good motives, a few not so good motives, and generally- terrible attempts to lovingly call people out.
I am still learning.. and will be for the rest of my life.
But here is the thing.... for so long I told myself, "Caroline, don't judge, don't judge" and it became a very bad thought process.
I saw myself turn into a passive and overly accepting person. I was tolerating things that were clearly not what God had in mind.
I'm still wrestling with the fact that I feel God pulling my heart strings telling me to be bold in love and out of love to call things out.

I know for the most part my motives are in line. I have been given a heart that mourns for other people. I have taken it as a burden for so long and I am realizing that God wants to use it for good. I look at some of the people I know and see gifts that I envy, potential that I crave to see used for the Kingdom, etc... and when it goes unused, I mourn, I GRIEVE! It would probably destroy me if I let it. I don't want to carry around all this baggage and stress myself out over what people are or aren't doing because it really is not up to me to fix anything or anyone. It just gets ever so complicated when I feel God pushing me to encourage people.

And that is the thing... encouragement is actually a form of loving accountability.
I want to speak life into people. I want to utter words of the Spirit that urge people to turn around and run hard and fast after the things God has placed in front of them.
I'm studying to be a social worker for crying out loud... I am wired in a way that makes me want to empower people.

that is what I am wrestling with at the moment.. encouragement that breeds change for the better. I want to see my Christian friends walk into everything that God has for them... it literally makes me sick to watch people walk around blind to half of their potential.
I feel like I sound bitter and that really isn't the case at all.. It's just a hard concept to grasp... loving people enough to say things that might hurt.


good moods make me incurably appreciative of the little things

This is a sad little cupcake... dropping a cup cake has got to be incredibly depressing.
Today... I indulged. And I didn't drop my cupcake :)
Thank you God for cupcakes and sprinkles and the ability to eat a cupcake without dropping it.


Today you are you, that is truer than true. There is no one alive who is youer than you.

Someone once told me never to dilute myself... never to hide a single part of who I am.
I feel like that is so much easier said than done.

I don't want to be a diluted, watered down version of myself at all.. unfortunately I am pretty good at hiding behind a comfortable version of myself when I am around people I don't know well.

I was talking with the same friend a few days ago about how important it is that the person you marry naturally just fuels you to be more freely yourself and vice versa.
I hope I am the type of girl that makes people feel completely comfortable in their own skin.
On the same note- I definitely do not mean that you should depend on the person you marry to make you comfortable with yourself.. I don't think it would be healthy to even consider marriage if you weren't at peace with who you are on your own.



"when that man comes along
& tells you that you are like poetry
that in your eyes are all the things he ever imagined
ever wanted
ever needed
never/never mind what you're gonna wear
just dance with him into forever"


my new favorite instrument is the triangle

I just have so much to say tonight...

I went to the Vetiver concert tonight. EXCELLENT!
They are one of those groups that really embodies what live music should be like. The kind of folks who could easily sing you to sleep (and I mean that in a good way) but the type that would totally wake you up the moment they stopped playing. Make sense?
Anyway, I love them 1. because their vocals are good enough to listen to without music, 2. Their music is good enough to listen to without the vocals... therefore the combination of the two is just blissful.
I really really love guy/girl harmony... there is something so lovable about it.. when I was in a performance group in high school, it was always hard not to fall in love (okay not literally)with whoever the guy was that I happened to be singing with. There's something just great about two voices combined well.
on to my next point.
[again I apologize for the structure of this entry, I have lots on the brain and no patience to write well]

I walked out of the square room and ran smack into my long lost friend Vernon. I honestly don't think I have been that excited to see anyone.. maybe ever.
(He is one of my homeless friends) But I hadn't seen him since before I had left for Christmas break and I had been asking people if they had seen him and no one had and I was just so worried about him and there was nothing I could do and no way to find him. Anyway, after I hugged him about 20 million times I asked him how he had been and we talked for a little bit and then I had to go but GOSH that really really was the cherry to my -sundae of a night.

Last thing.
here's a funny.. but oh so typical Caroline story
So I was at Nama a few nights ago with a friend and was reaching for my chopsticks.. and only looking at them out of the corner of my eye.. and ended up grabbing a handful of soy sauce... apparently I over compensated the distance to my sticks.. anyway, I lifted my hand out of the saucer and stared at my dripping fingers... shook my head.. mmm just another day in the neighborhood.

k its past my bed time.


Slab City

This summer I want to go to Slab city and go talk to the man that built Salvation mountain.
I bet he has a story or two.
Anyone want to come with me?

"I'm going to paraphrase Thoreau here... rather than love, than money, than faith, than fame, than fairness... give me truth."



Found poem: is a type of poetry created by taking words, phrases, and sometimes whole passages from other sources and reframing them as poetry by making changes in spacing and/or lines (and consequently meaning), or by altering the text by additions and/or deletions.

[All italicized lines are borrowed]

And he sir had a touch of class
with his pocket watch made out of brass
and I loved the way he smelled like clean clothes left on the shelf.

He a complexion of gold, curious smile and a quick wit
carried on the conversations of kings.
I sat- picked at my fingernails
and wondered if he liked his coffee dark.
He opened his mouth and the words that poured out turned heads and emptied pockets.
I stood in the corner, jaw dropped and moved to tears.
He, a gentle soul with the talent of the famous
made me smile to myself while I stirred condensed soup on my old stove top.
Oh I am a dreamer but I'll deny it til' the day I die.
I cast hopes on stars, never told my birthday wishes-
pretended my brain read like a text book.
He, an orchestrated Italian Aria encompassed the ups and downs of a full symphony.
I liked to think that my mind ran clockwise,
but watched my soul jump from noon to sunrise.
He said, beat on the walls and on the ground- to hear the floor and feel the sound.
I tasted the wind and ate the rain
found that the body breaks and the body bends.
He seemed to see me with a fresh pair of eyes
right to the core and past my handsome disguise.
I will ask for the things I lack in heart
learn to love the boy with the calloused fingers and the love of art.


on my mind lately

"My biggest regret was working too hard and thinking too much about my work to go on long walks, or learn to grow roses, or watch the sun set, or spend time with good friends. There are some things the loss of which success doesn't compensate for, and one of them is just the accumulating joy of being with someone you love and in awe of life itself."
[Broken by William Cope Moyers]

"I wanna live life and never be cruel.
I wanna live life and be good to you.

I wanna live life and always be true.
I wanna live life and be good to you.

So I wanna live in a wooden house,
where making more friends would be easy.

Oh, and I don´t have a soul to save.
Yes, and I sin every single day.

We never change, do we?
We never learn, do we?

I wanna live where the sun comes out ..."
[we never change excerpts]



"The Uses of Sorrow"
Mary Oliver

(In my sleep I dreamed this poem)

Someone I loved once gave me
a box full of darkness.

It took me years to understand
that this, too, was a gift."

There are some things in life that come at you fast.
Others, that come so slowly, that you can't even see the progression.
It appears that I am in a slow moving time, which usually would make me anxious, frustrated, and highly antsy.
However, my attitude is remarkably different this time around.
I have always been really good at manipulating and controlling situations. Consequently, all of the things that I have tried to or even successfully controlled, have not worked out.
Not to say that I didn't learn anything or grow from those times, but inevitably they ended....and all for the better. I am in a place now of waiting. And I am coming to find that waiting is a form of action. And because I am such a hands on, always wanting to DO something kind of person, this realization, of "waiting as an action" has in a way, revolutionized for me, the idea of patience in general.
When I step back and see that I don't have to make things happen, "be in the right place at the right time", or make myself super available, I am able to rest assured that God has it taken care of. In all honesty, we can live....and that's about it. Outcomes are not our perogative, they belong to the Lord. After having spent many years thinking I had to "make things work" and finally realizing that the burden isn't mine to carry, I have stepped into a freedom and a peace that I didn't even know existed or was available to me on this earth.
So with that being said,
Thank you God for allowing me to see past my "I want it now" mindset and helping me begin to learn how to let go of my plans and my timing.


Ode to Childhood

I was babysitting tonight and started thinking about the fact that I may very well be married and might even have children in the next 5 years.
That blows my mind.

I was reading a book to the little girl before she went to sleep. We were reading "Goodnight moon" which was one of my favorite's when I was little.
There is one line that is repeated in the book that says, "And a little old lady was saying, 'hush'."
The little girl is probably one years old and is just learning to talk and didn't say a word the entire time until we came to that line.. and when I would read it, she would whisper "hush".
There was something so great about it.
So after I turned her light out and prayed for her, I went and read with her brother and tucked him in and went to the living room.
I was sitting there thinking about my own mom and dad and how life was when I was that age and got all emotional out of no where.
So I started making a list of all my favorite memories of growing up, funny things that happened, random things I remember my parents saying, things that they might not even remember but were for some reason important to me.
I wrote three pages of things and I can still think of a million more.. but to refrain from boring you with things you won't understand without a story, I will only list my absolute favorites.

in no order...
1. Sunday Lunches, reading the paper and laughing
2. My sister, mom, and I singing at the top of our lungs at the dinner table and my dad getting so annoyed (God seriously blessed my dad with a tremendous amount of patience :)
3. Family rounds of "Sardines" if you don't know how to play, please learn!!
4. Hopping the fence and going exploring with my dad
5. Going to the peanut shop downtown with daddy
6. Having tea parties with mom
7. THE POOL!!!! the 2 best things about the pool were 1. the cook out night- Dad would come!!! and 2. When mom would agree to .....GET HER HAIR WET!!! (this was such a big deal!) and have under water tea parties
8. Making massive tents/forts with dad and leaving them up for weeks, much to mom's disapproval.
9. Sneaking into Jane's room in the middle of the night to listen to (Y107... for all you Nashvillians that remember that station from back in the day... I can remember the first time I ever heard of Madonna.... SCANDALOUS!) and to jump on the beds pretending to be famous gymnasts.
10. Practicing saying the Greek alphabet with dad (He just thought it was hilarious for a 5 year old to know that)
11. Putting rocks in mom's pockets when she wasn't paying attention and thinking it was the most hilarious prank ever.
12. Going to Sonic with dad on Saturday's and listening to the oldies station ("big girls don't cry")
13. Convincing Jane to dress like a clown, ring everyone on the streets doorbell, and preform a dance for them (while I hid in the bushes laughing hysterically).


[Call Me Crazy]

It's an interesting thing; perception.
I was noticing today how differently, different people think.
One person may see a deranged man and think it's devastating and terrible.
I tend to look at him and see unconscious bliss...constant worship and praise. Yes, pure craziness, but not necessarily in a bad sense.
I think God communicates in a really special way with the mentally disabled.
Sometimes I think people who seem "crazy" have a better understanding of God and of humanity than I do.. and I'm supposedly in my right mind.
I wonder if it is even possible to be completely unaware of what anyone thinks of you if you are sane?

In a twisted way, I long to be some crazy old woman who sits in the middle of Market Square dancing to music that only I can hear, singing songs that only make sense to me, and feeling like it's just Me and God when in actuality there are hundreds of people walking past me muttering annoyances about my behavior.

Sometimes I wonder what would happen if in the middle of a dancing trance, a crazy person suddenly snapped out of it and realized what they were doing...they were suddenly conscious of the so called "indecency" of their behavior. When you know you have already been seen and labeled as a "crazy" do you just keep going at that point?? Or do you suddenly turn bright red and run away in embarrassment? ...But honestly... why is that even embarrassing in the first place?


Spring Cleaning

I might not be the most creative person to grace the earth
but I like to create.
I may never win a beauty contest
but I think my freckles are pretty darn cute.
It's possible that I will never be a straight A student
But I crave knowledge.
Half the battle of life is learning to like yourself but not priding yourself in it.

I was realizing today how different I act around certain people. It's really strange but it's the people that seem to really be able to read me that make me the most nervous. Sometimes people I have only hung out with a few times make me feel embarrassingly vulnerable. And as a result I tend to shut down really quickly and revert to this awkward, vague, barely talking disposition. I wonder why I do that. I would really love to figure out how to change that. I was also noticing that I have this huge problem with admitting that things hurt me. When I think about my past I just remember feeling like I couldn't be visibly upset about things people said or did to me or it showed that I was weak. I have no idea how I came to believe that. And when I really think about it, I know that it's ludicrous. What is strange about it is that I have no problem talking about my personal struggles, when I am having a terrible day, feel really alone, or am frustrated.. because they are all things that don't necessarily involve other people. I think maybe it's just this fear of admitting that my emotions are indeed swayed by others, that I'm not as in control as I would like to be...which I hate admitting. I would love to think that I don't care what people think about me at all.. but the reality of it is that I have to unlearn some really prideful habits and accept a large dose of humility.

"I guess I'm slave to the spirit
Of needing to create and give birth"
-Brooke Waggoner

These Precious Things

Things like feeling the sheets covering your entire body... really feeling them.
Things like hearing a song that was written to your soul.
Things like smiling at a stranger and feeling as though you know and love them.
Things like dancing in the street without giving a second thought to how you may be perceived.
Things like finally being honest enough to cry.
Things like loving the brutality of the cold.
Things like being alone in a literal sense but feeling more complete than ever before.
Things like feeling raw emotions.
Things like being okay with the fact that you just simply don't mesh with some people well.
Things like forgiving yourself for being human.
Things like reading words that are put together in ways that make you tremble.
Things like learning to just Be.