Wednesday, December 30, 2009

a productive day, 525,600 minutes and a speech

today i went to
3 Targets
2 Ross'
80% of the stores at the mall
2 random boutiques

where i wore a ballgown. it was pretty legit.

so, im pretty stoked for 2010. it just seems so new and awesome and has so much to look forward to and im just kind of over this decade.
i mean, like every significant thing that has ever happened in my life happened in the last decade, but its also been pretty hard in some aspects.

tonight was my friend Max's 30th birthday and after we sang happy birthday everyone started chanting
for him to give a speech, so he did. it was more of a thank you, yada yada yada kind of thing, but what do you even give a speech on?
"how do you measure a year in the life?" (name that musical)
okay, so i was thinking about life speeches and whatnot and heres what i would say to all of my people if i had to give a speech:
"hi, ladies and gentlemen of my life. its new years and we have lived another year of life. and thats really cool because there are alot of people who havent lived another year of life. some people died, but we lived! and thats so awesome and totally out of our control, but good job! this year some people were born, and some were married, and some loved and some fought and there were wars and peace and joy and i brushed my teeth more than 600 times. okay, probably like 400, because i always forget to brush at night. anyway, im really glad that we got to live this whole life thing together, lets keep doing it! its so great! and im having so much fun! i hope you are too. i love you. thank you for being my friend."
and then i would bow and omar would cheer the loudest because hes the best fan ever. and then i would go home and think about how really really really grateful i am to get to be a part of this life with all of you people. youre the best people in the history of ever.

Saturday, December 26, 2009

You probably had pimples.

"It is much easier to keep the humanity out of the incarnation. Clean the manure from around the manger. Wipe the sweat out of his eyes. Pretend he never snored or blew his nose or hit his thumb with a hammer. He's easier to stomach that way. There is something about keeping him divine that keeps him distant, packaged, predictable. But don't do it. For heaven's sake, don't. Let him be as human as he intended to be. Let him into the mire and muck of our world. For only if we let him in can he pull us out”
-Max Lucado

 Jesus, You came in to all of this. In the midst of the ugliest places of my soul, you sought out beauty. You called me precious, beloved, wanted, as You were born in my heart. You haven't given up on me, even when i've given up on You. You have fought for me and with me, pushing me to seek redemption, to understand, to want You and want the things you want. You are holy and yet You have made me whole. Your physical presence on this earth has taught me how to love, how to learn, how to be okay with being broken and how to love the brokenness in others, and yet without your holy spirit given strength, I wouldn't know how to face any of that. You saw me from a long way off and you waited patiently for me with open arms. You are my Father, my rock, my strongest anchor, my freedom, my hope, my vision, my savior.
Happy Birthday from your prodigal daughter.

Friday, December 25, 2009

the way some people in our house celebrate christmas

Merry Christmas from those of us at the Garcia house who wear peacoats (me too), reindeer pajama pants (me too), and shirts that say, "Go Jesus, it's your birthday!" (not me too, so he totally wins) to see A Christmas Carol at the movies on Christmas morning, give our wives pretty pearls for Christmas, let our wives call us "SNOW-MAR,"  and are currently mashing potatoes to take to our in laws house.

Monday, December 21, 2009

137 days

I realize that Christmas is only 3 days away,
but  we are even more excited for what happens in 137 days...

We both (finally) graduate college!!!!

 {focused on the future}

Sunday, December 20, 2009

an ode to our "other" family

both of our families are somewhat eccentric. they just are. the foundations of our families are peculiar, broken at their core, and filled with unbridled love when its needed the most. i would not trade my family or my in laws for anything in the entire world.
however, throughout my entire life i have longed for consistency, the sense of a "normal" family (as if that exists anywhere) and really, ive just always wanted a group of people who ate dinner together and played board games and were there in the joyful moments and the not-quite-so joyful moments. just a pretty standard longing for normalcy and community in a group of people outside our bloodlines.
and i realized that we are blessed enough to have that in its entirety in this group of people:

(plus their parents)

in their different forms, each one of them have been:
our neighbors
our childhood playmates
our best friends
our parents
our warm home and safe zone

jack and jae jae have stood up as omar's parents more times than he can count. taking him in as a little boy, teaching him how to cross stitch, bailing him out of jail at 2 a.m., feeding and disciplining and encouraging and standing by him day in and day out for at least 18 years.

tracy and i have walked through life together supporting eachother, interceding in prayer, encouraging eachother and putting up with moods (avocado days) and trials, and have had more joyful experiences than i can count. tracy and jose went far out of their way to literally break into the house that contains our wedding slideshow dvd on our wedding day, just because they loved us.

jon has been my best friend (and one time boyfriend), knowing me better than almost anybody. we have committed to taking one another at face value, accepting and loving eachother for exactly who we are. we have gone on wild, beautiful, adventures and gone together to smog checks, banks, grocery stores, and indiana.

together, our families (theirs large and extended and open armed, and our little two person loveboat) have experienced life and death firsthand. i held baby madi in the first hours of her life, prayed over her and tracy as she struggled through child birth, delighted with them when she discovered what it means to be a mother (as i know that she will someday do for me). we watched jack and jae jae as they renewed their vows and recommitted their lives to eachother, threw a going away party for jon when he moved to california, rejoiced together when he came home, traveled to at least five different states and have celebrated countless birthday parties, anniversaries, weddings, and milestones together.

in the carmichael clan , we have found our family away from family, a group of people who enter in when everyone else bails out, the people that we know will never bail when life becomes difficult and never miss an opportunity to celebrate life with us.

i have never thanked them for this, never gone out of my way to let them know how significant their presence is in our lives, and how grateful we are to have them as family.
jack, jae jae, jon, tracy, jose, madi, jeff and gina, THANK YOU. we love you.

Wednesday, December 16, 2009


Looking back at the last seven years of journaling my life, I wrote alot about feelings and ideas, but not so much about what is actually going on. Here it is:

God carried me kicking and screaming through the first half of this semester, until I finally "got it" and stopped trying to run my own life, which i totally suck at. Anyway, I ended up with straight A's, thanks to my classmates who heelyed with me through campus and didn't give up on me in the midst of my procrastinations. 

I have the best job in the world as a nanny, getting to spend each day with smiling little angels in polka dot rain boots and piggy pajamas and wondering how I get paid to have so much fun. I'm going to miss them so much next semester.

The Roof is growing and wonderful. It is so much fun to be a part of such a dynamic ministry. It feels so good to know that we are doing exactly what we were made to do with our friends with special needs. We win.

My best friend, Whitney, lives with us and its awesome. She totally unexpectedly got engaged a couple days ago, and we are planning the most legit wedding there ever was. The best part is that six months ago, I was so bummed that my closest friends weren't married or having babies anytime soon. I started to freak out about raising my kids on my own, while they were both galivating around in single-ness. Now, they are both getting married at the beginning of next year. Score!

I have a thought on that, by the way, even though i'm not writing about feelings or ideas. Getting married young is the most illogical thing you can do. But it is so much fun growing up together!

Omar's band, Summit Grove, is really awesome. They went from five members, to two members, to five members and God is bringing them out of the desert.

This month is going to be filled with ugly sweater parties, cookie exchanges, magical forest excursions, and absolute christmas awesomeness which i hope involves this skirt:

the end.

growing down take 2- still true.

repost from Sunday, December 28, 2008

growing down

i am sitting in my kitchen eating Jesus' birthday cake which is three days old and probably the best cake ive ever had. cake and milk is still a good snack, even when youre not six.

and on that note, im officially convinced that i grew up too fast. the girl who was named "most likely to never grow up," i am always, always, a contradiction. a cigar-smokin (well, once) bible readin spaghettios eatin 21 year old bride, who has never made any sense. i think ive found my identity in this. this, and the many years ive spent building all of this up.
living, and being quite reckless with other peoples hearts, while carefully guarding my own. sometimes i feel cheated by my choices, because i dont have stories of late night clubbing or drunken bar hopping. i dont own stilletos and ive never smoked a cigarette or tasted whiskey.
the closest memories i have resembling all of that are made up of running through war-torn spanish cities late at night in my underwear with people whos names i dont remember, walking five miles barefoot to see the eiffel tower, sleeping in airports and traveling the australian coast with one of the kindest strangers ive ever known. ive had my motives questions and have spent many a night explaining to people why my choices are not the most ridiculous and naive thing theyve ever heard. ive lied and prayed my way out of situations that had no way out. one time, i didnt shower for more than a week. i lived on a whim, and prayed that i wasnt killing myself in the process, experiencing in two years what takes most people late into their twenties to accomplish.

and then he showed up.

the man who would one day tame my wild heart, the person who i sometimes resentfully, but mostly affectionately, refer to as my anchor. the one who loved me without knowing me, but had a burning question on his heart, "is this what life with you is like?"
and how do you respond to that, knowing that he is the greatest gift that God has given you in this life, but wanting him to know all of you, to know what he was getting himself into?
"this is what life with me is like right now. im all over the place. but when im 25 ill have a steady job and a family. and when im 45 ill enjoy baking and traveling all over the world with you, or not, its your call. and when im 75 you and i will sit on rocking chairs on our porch and talk about the sky or the weather and the wonderful things that weve experienced together. but for now? this is what life with me is like."

and now, it is more like being 23 and staying at home studying the IEP process in special education with the faint sounds of my husbands voice echoing from his recording studio, trying to get from 20 to 25, wondering whether this transition is even possible... but it has to be, because people somehow make it through this awkward place of being a kid and being a wife.

i was standing in line at a store the other day when a middle-aged hispanic man standing behind me in a cowboy hat tried to stike up a conversation about second-hand furniture and politicians from illinois. i brought up my political science major husband, and was quickly interrupted by the statement that i've heard at least 342342374982375 times,
"YOURE MARRIED??? but youre so young!"
and then,
"How old are you? I can tell you your future right now." (smirk, smirk)

being married is, by far, the hardest thing i've ever done, it has stretched me and made me feel like im in over my head many times, i've decided over and over again that i grew up too fast and i am unprepared for all of this. married women envy single women and single women envy marrried women, and i am 23 and dont even consider myself a woman yet and i envy everyone, including myself, which should be added to my list of resolutions.

but as long as im unprepared and in over my head and growing up too fast with him, ill be okay. because what ive discovered in the last few weeks is that nobody has any idea how to do this, this human thing, and even fewer people know how to be under thirty and married (or under 120 and married), so ive realized ive either got to own it or abandon it, and abandon is not an option.

Thursday, December 10, 2009

a grand discovery

so once upon a time i began researching a certain music artist and listening to every. single. song shes ever written. and i may or may not have watched all of her music videos and read her biography and looked at every picture that she has on google images and then facebooked about my new discovery and how much i love her. and then all of my friends, including middle aged men, were like, "umm, she came out like three years ago and you just now noticed?" and, well yeah.
im thinking about standing outside her window and begging her to get matching BFF bracelets with me, but apparently thats considered stalking?

Friday, December 4, 2009

hairy green donut

so, i just finished three weeks in a first grade class with the sweetest teacher ever and the most fun 6 year olds in the world. i fell in love with one of them, named Ramon. he is the smallest kid in the class and looks like a little tiny Omar. so cute. when he talks he gets all up in your face and his eyes become super wide and he talks with a lisp/ slight spanish accent and he says the most random things. for example:
"i drew a worm. do you think its the cutest worm ever?"
"i like oreos because im so good at eating them!"
"i worked SO SO SOOOOO hard today!"
"do you think im stronger than my dad?"
(after playing Scrabble Slam together) "this is the best day of school ever! of my whole entire life!"
"we celebrate christmas because its santas birthday!"
but my verrry favorite was Thursday when i had them write in their journals about a family holiday tradition, and he wrote
"my favorite family holiday tradishun is when we always hang a big green donut on are door. and its hairy!"

get it? a big, green, hairy, donut??? i will never call it a wreath again.

oh, and once upon a time (aka last year) we werent too sick to go to our annual Magical Forest trip. like, we werent stuck at home while all of our friends enjoyed a tradition that we've had for FIVE years. whatever. eff you, flu.

Friday, November 27, 2009

Escape tactics

at least 4 times a day, i think about running away. i get the wandering blues, and off my heart goes trying to rescue itself from whatever it thinks is trying to cage it. i panic, i feel like my wings are being clipped and tagged and im going to be stationary forever, and i feel myself losing control, saying things i dont mean, hoping for things i dont want, and trying my best to just BE. but just being is really really hard for me, the thorn in my flesh, the thing that suffocates my joy because i cant just be content and present, my soul is always elsewhere and i scream for freedom and forget that ive already been given that. i am already free to love and heal and forgive and trust and desire all the right things. the chains of my human nature have already been cut, and if i could just remember that in the moments where i picture myself running through fields in places that dont exist and with people who ive built up to the point that they are imaginary, if i could just bask in the freedom that comes with knowing christ and not listen to the voices that tell me to abandon everything He has given me, if i could just find a middle ground in the discrepancy between the capacity of this life and the tangible goodness right in front of me, then i would have no reason to escape from the things that arent even holding me back in the first place. some people are birds and some people are trees, and there are some people that are birds who try to be trees but really are not trees, they are really made to be birds and to figure out that there is a time to fly and a time to find a tree and rest. im just really bad at the resting part.

Saturday, November 21, 2009

National "I love Omar day"

When the song "Apologize" by One Republic first came out, Omar bought the c.d. and we sat in our bathtub and listened to it 4,857 times (give or take, but probably give). Then, randomly, I came across free tickets to their concert at the Palms hotel. Score! Thus was born, national "I love Omar day." You can't have a holiday like that without presents, so I went to the 85% off rack at Kohls and bought him a pretty legit Ironman shirt and some pajama pants, and a card that promised my whole life away to him, which is kind of redundant, but I hope that by now he gets that I want to be with him forever and ever and ever and, heres some pictures from a camera we "stole" from our friends:

 Also, listen to Omar's new song at

Sunday, November 15, 2009

To our (way in the) future children,

were sorry that you have the most embarrassing parents ever.
were sorry that your mom pees in the ocean and that we pick our noses at parties.
were sorry in advance for adding you on facebook, or myspace, or mypodonian, or whatever social network telepathy bo-jangled invention plagues your generation, but im sure we will take it as an opportunity to tell the entire internet how cute your little tushies are.

we love you, and hope you eat all your vegetables.

Wednesday, November 11, 2009

pregnant as usual, except not. as usual.

every month I think i'm pregnant.
so far, its been 27 months since we got married,
and every single one, for at least a couple days, i convince myself im pregnant. thankfully i only took pregnancy tests twice, and both were in the beginning. i've since learned that the $10 and awkward feeling of being so disappointed and so relieved is not worth the extra couple of days of wondering.
you would think that by month 23 i would realize that im probably not pregnant and i shouldnt let the thought cross my mind. except that month 23 marked the month i stopped taking birth control (forever and ever no matter what) and started natural family planning.
do you know what happens when you tell someone youre doing natural family planning? they laugh in your face. everytime. or they say that they think its cute, and then they laugh in your face. they laugh because they expect you to look like this in a few months:

except not a gangster probably.
anyway, im probably not pregnant, even though im nauseous at the same time everyday, my lower back hurts, and i feel hot and cold all the time and im moody. see? now you think i am too.

anyway, were on a five year plan. which is not really a five year plan, because if you want to know how my ten year plan from five years ago worked out, here it is:
fall 2006- graduate college with a degree in elementary education ---FAIL
spring 2007- move to mexico and open a school for orphans---FAIL
2009- meet my husband, but dont date yet because brains arent fully developed until age 25 ----FAIL
2010- date my husband ---FAIL
2011- marry my husband ----FAIL
2014- have our first baby ----- totally still possible, but i wont count on it.

heres the thing about babies and husbands and living in orphanages in mexico: i decided not to be in charge of my life almost exactly 7 years ago. good thing, too.
i wouldnt trade right now for anything.
but, if a fetus happens to develop in my womb in less than five years?
i wouldnt trade that for anything either.

Sunday, November 8, 2009

Dear Katie, Thanks.

This girl's blog is changing my life, and will change yours too, if you let it.

"It is my 16th Birthday and I am eating sushi at my favorite restaurant with my parents when I tell them that I would like to explore the possibility of taking a year in between high school and college to do mission work. This is unheard of in my family and they say they are not sure and will think about it. I am nervous, but somehow I know it is right. He changes their hearts.

I have just turned 18 and find an orphanage online. I beg my parents to let me visit over break, just three weeks. A month later I am on a plane. I am so excited. I am so scared of being, but I know He is going with me. I fall in love.

I graduate high school having made the commitment to teach Kindergarten for a year at a school in The Middle of Nowhere, Uganda. In August I get on the plane. I’m apprehensive and I cry most of the way because I miss my Mommy and my boyfriend. I am eager, but so uncertain. I trust Him. I teach 138 children how to speak English and to love Jesus.

It is October and I am just not sure I can do it anymore. I live in the smallest room I have ever seen in the back of a pastor’s house. I am more uncomfortable than I had bargained for. No one understands, not people here, not people at home. I am tired. But I am prideful and I am not going to quit. I don’t like this. But I know He has a plan. I learn, I grow, He is there.

It is December and God has spoken very clearly about opening a ministry that sponsors 40 of the orphaned children in the village where I am working. This involves moving into a different house, ALONE. It is big and I cannot imagine how God will fill it up. I am lonely and I am anxious. But I am still trusting. He fills the house, and we now have 400 children sponsored.

It is January and I am looking at a little girl, crushed under a brick wall with no one to care for her or her younger siblings. I offer to take the three home with me until we find them a better placement. I am not really sure what to do with them, but I know they are God’s children. They stay.

It is three days later and the littlest looks at me and calls me mommy. My heart might break in two. Something clicks. I am even more scared than I was the day I stepped on that plane, but I KNOW. Today I have 13.

I have to deliver a baby, give a boy stitches, pull a tooth, give and injection. I am petrified. But no one will do it if I do not. He is present, He holds my hand, they are all fine.

It is August and I must get on a plane back to America to go to college, as I have promised my father. I do not remember how to be a teenager or what it is to be normal Brentwood, Tennessee. I will have to leave my babies. I will have to make new friends. I am sad and I am terrified. He wraps His arms around me. He puts just the right people in just the right places, and they help me and they make me feel at home.

First semester is over and He speaks clearly to me that I cannot serve two masters. “Go HOME,” He says, “and stay.” I am uncertain, but I want to be obedient. He squeezes tighter. I am thankful.

I have to look at my loving parents who have given me everything and tell them that I will not go to college right now, because I feel God wants me to be in Uganda. I know how disappointed and how angry they will be. I am more scared than I was when I got on the plane and more scared than I was when I took my first children. But I know that this IS the Plan. They love me anyway.

It is February and my daughter’s biological father comes to take her away. My heart breaks in half, and I am not sure I will ever be able to get out of my bed again, let alone foster another child. I am more than devastated, but I want what is best for her, what He wants for her. She comes back and her biological father learns about Jesus.

It is March and a lame little girl is brought to my gate. She is undoubtedly mine, but I am still anxious. What if I can’t do it? I don’t know what to do with a special needs child, especially as my 13th child. I am criticized and ridiculed. I wonder. I trust and praise God for her sweet little life. She starts to walk.

I find myself in a village full of starving people that for some reason seem to want to kill me. God says to serve them anyway. I am not sure how it is going to work, or if it is safe. I can’t figure it out, but I know He can. 1,200 Karamajongs, the poorest of Uganda’s poor, are now served hot meals daily.

We keep taking in more children until there are 400 in our program. There is no way we will raise enough funds, but by now I have stopped worrying. He has always provided. Blessings rain from the sky, and all 400 children go to school.

I am 20 years old and have 13 children and 400 more who all depend on me for their care. Who are all learning to love Jesus and be responsible adults and looking up to me. The reality of it all can be a bit overwhelming at times. However, it is always pure joy. There is a common misconception that I am courageous. I will be the first to tell you that this is not actually true. Most of the time, I am not brave. I just believe in a God who will use me even though I am not. Most mornings, before I even get out of bed I am overwhelmed with His goodness, with His plan for my life; I stand in awe of the fact that He could entrust me with so much. Most days, I don’t have much of a plan. I don’t always know where this is going. I can’t see the end of the road, but here is the great part: Courage is not about knowing the path. It is about taking the first step. It is about Peter, getting out of the boat. I do not know my five year plan; even tomorrow will probably not go as I have planned. I am thrilled and I am terrified, in a good way. So some call it courage, some call it foolish, I call it Faith. I choose to get out of the boat. To take the next step. Sometimes I walk straight into His arms. More often, I get scared and look down and stumble. Sometimes I almost completely drown. And through it all, He never lets go of my hand."

Saturday, November 7, 2009

Dear Anne Frank, Thanks.

"And finally I twist my heart round again, so that the bad is on the outside and the good is on the inside, and keep on trying to find a way of becoming what I would so like to be, and could be, if there weren't any other people living in the world."

Monday, November 2, 2009

Living with a bum wife who doesnt listen

poor omar. im really a pain in the ass.
like, really.
like, last night for instance, when he wanted food and i demanded that we go to panda express even though i dont like chinese food at all, but just because there was a jamba juice inside the same place where there is a panda, and then the jamba juice was closed but i demanded that the guy make me a smoothie anyway because i used to make smoothies and really? they arent that hard to make. he made me one. it was strawberry and tasted way too foamy.
anyway, back to the reason im a pain in the ass, he cleaned his side of the room like 3 days ago and mine is still all piled up and im laying in bed and hes at school getting an education and actually contributing to society. im so glad we know Christ. seriously though, without Him we would be a pair of drunken pot-heads with no jobs or money or education and we would probably live off of our parents for the rest of our lives. with Christ, only a third of that is true, and thats great. we dont suck at life entirely.
oh ya, and i dont listen. like, omar will tell me something and then ill be like "umm...thats a really dumb idea" and then five minutes later i'll be like "oh, ya, we should totally do this and that" and he'll be like "umm... i said that like five minutes ago."
sorry if this is completely incoherent.
i've been bringing this up alot lately, but when i was in high school i had a boyfriend who cleaned my room multiple times a week. and then bought me flowers. and made me peanutbutter and jelly sandwiches cut diagonally. and wrote me poems that he typed up in cool fonts and put on my mirror. and brought me breakfast everyday when he picked me up for school. and not just breakfast, like all of my favorite foods and hot chocolate and mix cds too. and carried me everywhere.
and hes dead now (which i put pretty bluntly, but it actually makes me want to throw up everytime i think about it.)
anyway, i have been loved well. abundantly. and i think that he taught me how to be loved, but in ways that were much more tangible than any other person could ever offer, and so now i have this totally rad husband who does everything for me but i dont appreciate it because it seems mediocre? so lame of me. sorry if i sound like a spoiled brat, im really not. but kind of am.
but around here, you dont gotta lie to kick it. moral of the story: omar rocks at life and husbandry. 

Dear Jesus, Thanks.

It happened. 25 people. Leaders, Parents, High school girls who gave up their Saturday night to hang out with us, and kids who laughed and danced and sang and played games and ate pizza and were loved and valued and thats all that matters.

{And to you I lift my voice
And to you I lift my hands
And to you I give my heart...}

Monday, October 26, 2009

Dear Teddy, Thanks.

{Somebody should have made me listen to this song when I was sixteen, I heard it for the first time recently, and it totally moves my heart and jacks me up inside and makes me sit down and chill the bleep out, which is such a good thing.}
love to run
into the arms of anyone
take off your shoes and socks and stay a while

you like the adrenaline rush
just a little too much
you go from day to day, hand to mouth
and wonder why you're unsatisfied

cause love is a marathon
that's why you get tired so fast of everyone
slow down and pace yourself
cause when it's good
it's a long open road

you think still
you find a soul behind a thrill
you're just a cat chasing your tail round and round
but if you relax
something might last

cause love is a marathon
that's why you get tired so fast of everyone
slow down and pace yourself
cause when it's good
it's a long open road

you're exausted
always coming down
trying to come up for air
trying to try to act like you just dont care

la da dum dee da da

{chorus }
cause love is a marathon
that's why you get tired so fast of everyone
slow down and pace yourself
cause when it's good
it's a long open road

it's a long long road yeah

-Teddy Geiger

Listen here:

Thursday, October 22, 2009

Now that I have seen

Once upon a time, I had no idea about people with disabilities, only that they existed in the cracks of life, and that I didn't want to stare at them too long because it would be rude. I had no idea about the power of the love of God, and how His love compels people to do remarkable, world-changing things.

And then I knew. The two collided, and I knew everything I had ever wondered about my purpose and vision for my life and for our world. And, yet I still know nothing. I have no idea what im doing, but im doing it for Him and I think that's all that matters.

Three years ago, I went to Younglife camp for the first time. I was already a Younglife leader, and was excited about being a part of such a dynamic, authentic ministry. I was stoked about meeting high school kids in the midst of their craziness, and providing them with the opportunity to have fullness of life by sharing life with them and telling them how much God loves them and wants a relationship with them.
My Younglife girl, Katie and I hiked up the side of a mountain carrying a rope and a tether that would enable us to fly over the lake on the longest zipline in the country. We raced up the mountain, gasping for breath, excited to step off the edge of a rock and fly through the air into the unknown. And then we stopped in our tracks. At the rock was a man who couldn't have been much older than I was, and a highschool aged boy who couldn't have been much younger than Katie. It was evident that the boy had down syndrome, and was terrified to go down the zipline. The line at the bottom got longer, as the man, the boy's leader, encouraged and prayed for the boy with more passion than I had ever encountered in my 20 year old life. I have no recollection of what was said or how much time passed(at least an hour) and there are not enough words in my vocabulary to describe what took place in my heart on top of that mountain that day, but it changed everything.

When a person has an encounter with the divine, it is a blessing and a curse. The blessing lies in the experience itself, witnessing such a beautiful, God-ordained moment. The curse, though, is an incredible burden wrapped up in a question: now that I have seen this, what do I do?

I didn't know how to answer that question, but I came home and changed my college major to Special Education. My best friend and I met with people and went to trainings and wrote prayer letters, and did everything in our power to start Younglife's ministry for high school kids with disabilities in our area. And nothing happened. We got wrapped up in life, and ministry, oh, and I married my soulmate somewhere along the line, and three years passed and there I was with a wonderful life and marriage and almost finished with my Special Education degree but still wondering what God wanted from my life. And all I could think about was how much I want to use my life to love people with disabilities, people who are often only considered in the cracks of life, but who have immeasurable worth and deserve fullness of life and the love of God in the same way that everyone else does, maybe more.

And that brings us to today. Two days away from having our first Younglife Capernaum Club (ours is called The Roof). I have tears in my eyes as I write that. This is my heart, to spend my life loving, serving, and celebrating life with high school kids with disabilities through the ministry of Younglife. I've gotten to know so many wonderful kids in the last few years through teaching, and my heart is exploding with joy and anxiety and appreciation and hope as God moves through this new adventure.

(Kevin, who eventually went down the zipline/ changed my life)

If you'd like to help us "Raise the Roof" (haha), you can pray for:
-Leaders with serving hearts
-Highschool kids that want to hang out with and love their peers with disabilities
-Kids with disabilities to come and have the time of their lives!
-Parents of kids with disabilities to come alongside us, want their kids involved, experience God's love through their kids' involvement in Capernaum
-Funds to pay for The Roof club details (food, prizes, etc.) and for scholarships for kids to go to camp
-And that our ministry would open the floodgates for all people, especially Christians, to recognize the value and worth in people with disabilities

Monday, October 12, 2009

Dear Miley, Thanks.

I can almost see it
That dream I am dreaming
But there's a voice inside my head saying
"You'll never reach it"

Every step I'm taking
Every move I make feels
Lost with no direction
My faith is shaking

But I gotta keep trying
Gotta keep my head held high

There's always gonna be another mountain
I'm always gonna wanna make it move
Always gonna be a uphill battle
Sometimes I'm gonna have to lose

Ain't about how fast I get there
Ain't about what's waiting on the other side
It's the climb

The struggles I'm facing
The chances I'm taking
Sometimes might knock me down
But no, I'm not breaking

I may not know it
But these are the moments that
I'm gonna remember most, yeah
Just gotta keep going

And I, I got to be strong
Just keep pushing on

'Cause there's always gonna be another mountain
I'm always gonna wanna make it move
Always gonna be a uphill battle
Sometimes I'm gonna have to lose

Ain't about how fast I get there
Ain't about what's waiting on the other side
It's the climb, yeah!

There's always gonna be another mountain
I'm always gonna wanna make it move
Always gonna be an uphill battle
Somebody's gonna have to lose

Ain't about how fast I get there
Ain't about what's waiting on the other side
It's the climb, yeah!

Keep on moving, keep climbing
Keep the faith, baby
It's all about, it's all about the climb
Keep the faith, keep your faith, whoa

Saturday, October 10, 2009

a knot and a battle.

i finally tied my hair in a knot on the top of my head! just hair! no pins! ive been wanting to do this since i saw it in a book when i was six. and i look like a fish in the picture! today is such an epic day!

in other news, i need to get my priorities straight. and then take those priorities and shuffle them up again so i can make sure that im not wasting my life. im failing beautifully at being a star student at school right now, and its not because i dont care. i just really enjoy procrastinating and have so much on my plate,
exhibit a:

and im trying to find purpose in being present, but how can i be everywhere at once? and how much will the things i spend my time on matter when im dead? i know thats a little grave, but i find myself literally obsessing over little details of life and missing all the big stuff. just been doing a lot of heart searching and asking myself why i do the things i do, and if i come up with any answer but LOVE then i have to find a way to cut it out of my life. period. which is about as much fun as... umm... something that really sucks.

For whoever wants to save his life will lose it, but whoever loses his life for me and for the gospel will save it.
What good is it for a man to gain the whole world, yet forfeit his soul?
Mark 8:35-36

everythings amazing and nobodys happy

Monday, October 5, 2009

fullness of perfection

“He is half blessed man left to be finished by such as she and she is fair divided excellence whose fullness of perfection lies in him”
-William Shakesphere


 august 26, 2008
i have a list with 26 names on it. it should really only have 3. only 3 have changed me, shaped me, amazed me.
one still does, and will always.
the other 23 were there to fill the gaps, the gaps between who i am and who im supposed to be, to teach me how not to do things.
one broke me quickly and carefully ordered my steps, my legs wobbling, my heart still bleeding from the pain of healing, one so patient, so revolutionary, that more than 500 would later show up to honor him- a man who lived beyond the limits of this life, and whose selflessness captivated people all over the world, and yet was somehow used in my small, broken, life to piece me together, to make me whole. the mouth that God used to call me His own.
the second wandered awkwardly into my life from a door accidentally left open. this one approached too soon, but without warrant, rewrote truth across everything i had miswritten. i was falling, fast, fast, fast, and he was the speedbump- the reason to reexamine. the way i had treated others, but mostly the way i treated myself. this one taught me the value of not handing my heart out like candy on halloween, that there is more to all of this than what is in front of me. this one, and only this one, gave me vision and clarity for everything that would come. this one taught me that there was something so genuine, so real, that to experience it elsewhere would be to pass it by, that there was something out there worth waiting for.
lastly- the one. the one in the next chair over, the one that appeared many times right under my nose, the answer to everything i had ever asked or hoped for. the knight in metallic blue armor that would envelop me in his affections, would completely captivate my heart before i could pause to realize what was happening. the knowing. the way things were supposed to be and couldve been had Eve stayed away from the tree. the one that required the very thing that i knew nothing about, but am quickly learning. the patient, patient, one whose soul has been matched with mine.

it seems that completion always comes in three. that entities are somewhat incomplete unless they coexist with two other parts, at least in this case.

my tribute to the people that have changed my life would ideally be chronological, but it does not seem to be unfolding as such. it seems that oftentimes people can be very far away before you realize their value, but when you do- you do.

Saturday, October 3, 2009

"a no-name slob"

the cat i never wanted is curled up at my feet with his tail over his eyes, all four paws wrapped around my leg, and his cold, wet, nose squished between my toes.
he is exactly my kind of cat, except that i never wanted him.
omar and i took several quizzes and compatibility surveys before we got married. the one and only that we agreed on completely, every time: NO PETS. having come from pet-filled households, we both have experienced the hard work that goes into caring for a creature, and weve both felt the pain of losing one we loved dearly. we appreciate people that have pets, grant them kudos, and recognize that we are not pet-people. we like humans. like eachother. or our friends. or babies. or strangers. anything but pets.

we offered to cat-sit our friends blue eyed bundle of baby kitten for a few weeks while she figured out her living situation. she never came back to get him. that was a year and a half ago.

and thus was born our joyful little lover of a cat. that im still allergic to. that we tried to give away on myspace. that is fast asleep with my foot as his pillow. he's a calm cat that doesnt ask for alot besides food once a day, an open toilet to drink from, and cuddles. lots of cuddles.

oh, and he is the prettiest cat that ever lived. and humble too. please don't tell him how good-looking he is, we dont want him to get a big head.

by the way, he doesnt have a name (think Breakfast at Tiffany's). we just call him "kitty."

Tuesday, September 29, 2009

Without you

 Since my birth 8786 days ago,
My heart has beaten more than 910828800 times.

 Since your birth 4555 days ago,
Your heart has beaten more than 472262400 times.

Everything that I always wanted to be but never was.

And somehow still, everything I am.

But mostly, everything you are.

 How in the world did I live 4231 days without you, little sister?

Saturday, September 19, 2009

Opacity and the man i love

The sweetest love is to see right through everything and into his soul. To see past his masks, short-comings, flaws, and mistakes and into the deepest places of his heart, and still be completely enamored with him.
I believe that is why the love of God is so miraculous,
fully known,
and yet;
fully loved.

Tuesday, September 8, 2009

I think you're an awesome girl

Thanks to that sweet girl, Quenchant of the Curious, for this blog award:
which requires 10 useless/interesting facts about me:
1. One time I lived off of just Nutella and bread and box wine for an entire week in Paris.
2. I have a ten inch horizontal scar on the left side of my body.
3. I kissed 25 boys before I met my husband, and I have them written down in chronological order. Eww.
4.  I ran before I walked and I walked before I crawled, which has made me terribly uncoordinated.
5. I like peanut butter, mayonnaise, banana, raisin sandwiches.
6. Recently I developed an addiction to any and all hair products that smell like pumpkin.
7. I know more than half of the Hannukah prayer for lighting the menorah. I also know the preamble to the constitution by heart. 
8. I don't call my husband by his name, nor does he call me by mine. We are both just "Baba," and always have been.
9. This weekend I spent $14 on 4 shirts and 2 pairs of pants, all brand new, all with pricetags of more than $20.
10. I recently stopped taking birth control because it was ruining my life, and now my hub and I are navigating through natural family planning. Birth control was so much easier.
And now, I pass this award onto Roed Book, Chelseaamberrobbins, and Making Memories.


Sunday, August 30, 2009

Thoughts on grace

"He has a single, relentless stance toward us: he loves us. He is the only God man has ever heard of who loves sinners. False gods-the gods of human understanding-despise sinners, but the Father of Jesus loves all, no matter what they do. But of course this is almost too incredible for us to accept. Nevertheless, the central affirmation of the Reformation stands: through no merit of ours, but by his mercy, we have been restored to a right relationship with God through the life, death, and resurrection of his beloved Son. This is the Good News, the gospel of Grace" -Brennan Manning

Thursday, August 27, 2009

beautiful mess

this constant
that creeps into every blessed moment
the discomfort in the
and ongoing slight detachment
from the present
to feel less
looking around
knowing what was
intended to be,
desperately trying
to clean up the mess
that weve made.
that ive made.
its not that im ungrateful
for the way youve transformed my very being
for your word that has held me tightly
for the patient beating heart in the bed next to me
for the strands of friendship that are not quickly broken.
its just that i see a world
for You
and hearts shattered on the floor
and im running around trying to salvage as many as possible,
knowing that its useless
but its worth it.
you made this beautiful mess
and planted in the midst of the misery
a garden of dandelions
and with your breath
you use every seedling from every stem
to scatter your love,
until you return to reclaim your flowers
and set the captives free.
until then, i long for you every moment
and pray that your kingdom come
your will be done
on earth,
as it was intended.

Allie Garcia
January, 2008

Friday, August 21, 2009

the day i got a new mac/how God changed everything in three months

it started off like any other day. i woke up, made out with my hub-a-lub, got a potentially life changing phone call, chose the easy road, struggled and prayed. if you told me three months ago that my life would look the way its going to this semester i would have laughed in your face and told myself that it would never be that good. but, it is that good. He is that good. He has taken my mourning and turned it into dancing, he has taken the prayers i lifted up into the cool air of fall 2006, prayers that i thought evaporated into the night sky, and answered them. not on my timing. not the way i planned. but He is faithful, and all of my wildest dreams are coming true. including, but not at all limited to, my favorite president of all time buying me a mac. maybe it isnt panning out exactly like that, but government funding for poor, young, married kids is not scarce, and neither are student loans, and i'd like to thank my prez for blessing me with a new! working! computer! that doesnt shut off! and actually charges! (Hi, Obama, Hi!)
 in reality though, God is doing big, big, things that are alot more relevant to the transformation of the universe than new computers and He is letting me be a part of it. which makes me cry alot. usually in the shower. it is really a miraculous thing to pray numerous prayers that you thought were going unanswered and then have them all answered at once without any effort of your own. were going to yogurtland now.

soon i will write a post on "how i spent my summer vacation/ life without your own computer for three months"- stay tuned. <3

Wednesday, July 29, 2009

2 years and counting

Some things i've learned from being married to Omar for exactly two years (and dating him for exactly three):

- It's okay to call a timeout in the middle of an argument, cuddle all night, and resume said argument in the morning.

- It is absolutely vital to pursue what youre about, figure out whats in your guts.

-whip cream is pretty good on any kind of cereal, particularly lucky charms.

- purple curtains are a good accent color for an all beige and black room.

- its okay to be a human being, and not just a human doing.

- its actually really important to just be. not do. just exist.

-like, vital to life.

-for a house to be cute, it doesnt have to have word art all over it.

-there is more value in having several close, healthy, relationships than many many surface ones. 

-sushi is only good with wasabi.

-a person can learn how to do almost anything. 

-marriage is really really hard.

-marriage is also the single most magnificent relationship any person can be a part of.

-beer doesn't always taste like throw-up.

-there is absolutely, positively, no amount of grace that can be considered too much. 

-hobbies are important. whether it be golf or remote-controlled airplanes or plastic cameras, pursue your interests. 

-it is remarkably difficult to overcome habits that you have lived with for years, it is also totally possible. 

-panic at the disco does not suck.

-when mopping the floor, make sure you mop it twice to avoid streaks.

- soy sauce makes everything taste better.

- being married is like having a slumber party with your best friend every single night of your freaking life.

- love is only true love if it is absolutely unconditional. this is not a feeling, but a choice. to choose to love someone unconditionally means to look past absolutely everything they have or dont have to offer and to look into the depths of their soul. this kind of love can overcome arrogance and anger, jealousy and greed, pride, addiction, selfishness, boredom, and self-righteousness. and it has. 

Happy 2 year birthday to our love! Heres to at least another 75 years! 

Thursday, July 23, 2009


Dear blog world, 
Due to the death of my laptop and upcoming/ recent adventures which include, but are not limited to, remodeling our downstairs bathroom (on less than $20, which has quickly become my favorite room in the house), being in  the midst of overcoming an enormous obstacle in our life (something that ive prayed for for years), lack of summer school and subsequent mass amount of quality time with my husband, John Piper's book- Dont Waste Your Life(Drop what youre doing and READ IT), our upcoming two year anniversary camping trip, our beach adventure with our friends, birthdays, weddings, homeless people, and bible studies, I havent successfully existed on the internet for the last few weeks. This will continue to be an issue until Barack Obama buys me a new macbook in August (Thanks, pal!). Until then, I hope that you are enjoying the summer heat and joy that comes with being alive.


side note, heres my camping list, for storage reasons.
camping list:

paper towels
salt, pepper, seasoning, ketchup, etc.
forks,knives, spoons
insect repellent
ipod dock and batteries 
lighter fluid
wood bundle
water (case)
wedding outfits
Rich and Erika's wedding present
tennis shoes
can opener
plates, cups, bowls
ice packs
sleeping bag, blankets
holga and film
first aid kit
garbage bags
grocery bags
maps, directions, confirmation emails

Saturday, July 11, 2009

On the sex of our future children

Him: I want a boy first.
Me: Really?
Him: Yeah, so make that happen. Do whatever you gotta do in there.
Me: Umm, the man's sperm determines the sex of the baby.
Him: Oh. Then I got that. Boom! yah! hah!

Thursday, July 9, 2009

My sweet, plastic, friend.

Remember this post?

Wellll, a few minutes after writing about my discovery of the Holga camera, I researched it fervently and discovered that it is pretty much the best invention since the toaster. Then, I bought the complete set for $60. Free Shipping.
In fact, this is what the first page of my new Holga book says:

"Think your eyes are open? I'm afraid to say that until this very moment they have been closed. The unassuming Holga is here to save you from a future of digital pixels and images shared on small screens on cameras or phones. We have all become numbed with photography, there is no denying it, but a chunky camera made almost entirely of plastic has been put on this Earth to save us. It will reawaken your vision, fill you with joy, make you see beauty when you thought it had disappeared forever, and bring out sunshine on a cloudy day."

I feel like that is alot to expect out of a $30 piece of plastic. So far, it is really cool. It came in the mail yesterday, and I have only taken four pictures with it, one of which had the lens cap on. Tomorrow The Mr and I are going to take her out for a few hours and use up all her film on carousels and sunsets. I'll let you know how that goes.

Wednesday, July 8, 2009

Curly: The Musical

So, Once Upon A Time, my sweet husband (who didn't have long, luscious, curls) worked a 9-5 escrow job and made more money than he knew what to do with and hated it. One day, in a tunnel, I prayed that he would have a different job, one that he loved, and was incredible at, and felt like he was made to do. Several months after we got married, he was laid off.
He was bummed, and I (secretly) rejoiced.
Fast forward (almost) two years. Our living room has been transformed into a music studio. I have seen him perform in several cities, and go from being a beginner pianist to...well, a not at all beginner pianist. The sounds this guy can produce make my toes tingle. He is a very secretive and private kind of guy, so the entire universe has no idea what will hit them when the world becomes his audience.
You'llll seeee.
AND, the very best part is that he has found a career with purpose and meaning, and he is doing exactly what he was made to do.
And the very, very, best part is that when you are a workfromhome musician, you get to have yummy curly hair that gets stuck in my eyelashes when you kiss me.
And we lived happily ever after.