Wednesday, December 30, 2009


I went to Clairettes with some old friends today. I was in the middle of eating my potato pancakes when I glanced over to a booth that was a couple tables away and to the left. It was there that a woman sat facing me, across from a man in a green scarf and an old mans hat. They were eating and talking in quiet voices. I sat and stared at this woman's face for awhile, probably longer than socially appropriate.

She was maybe in her 50s, but if you looked at her face you could tell that those 50 years or so were not generous. It looked like the weight of a life of hardship had seeped into the skin on her face and dragged everything downward. Her face, just sitting still, was in a permanent frown. Lines. There were so many lines. I imagined looking at the side of her face and seeing a tear track running from the corner of her eye to the side of her jaw, where thousands of tears had run down and left their mark. She laughed once when I was looking at her, and her face lit up, seemingly transforming her into an entirely different person. But then it just went back, her face resuming its position that it had been trained to take for years and years.

I want smile wrinkles when I'm old. No. Laughing wrinkles. Deep ones that reach all the way up into my cheeks. When people look at my face I want them to see a life filled with laughter and joy. I want them to see a woman who embraced life, and took the best from what she was given. When they read the lines on my face I want them to read "lived it, loved it, and laughed all the way through it."

Life can get pretty sucky and messy, and frown wrinkles probably aren't hard to come by. But goodness... I want laughter. Laughter forever.

Sunday, December 27, 2009



Saturday, December 26, 2009

the bar.

I ate a little mandarin orange yesterday. It wasn't very good. I had been craving it for awhile, so when I finally had the chance to eat it I was excited. It looked so nice on the outside, and smelled of citrus goodness. But when I peeled away the layers it wasn't anything like I thought it would be. It was flavorless. Maybe if my expectations had been lower...

Saturday, December 19, 2009

addison rae

(photo by: Janice Northrup)

I held her today, my baby niece. She's beautiful. She's got big blue eyes and thick black hair that doesn't ever lay down. She makes noises that could never be spelled out and can only be defined as "baby noises". She's got ten fingers and ten toes, but they're so small that you wonder how the bones fit in there. She's "mushy", I've decided. Real mushy. Sometimes when I'm holding her and she's real wiggly I have horrible visions of her head snapping back and off. Morbid, I know. Real? Yes, in my brain. So I handle her with care, bouncing up and down and making noises that I don't usually make....because, well, she's a baby, she gets it.

She fell asleep in my arms this afternoon, and I fell asleep too, with a smile on my face and an extra fullness in my heart.

My brother has a "daddy" way about him now. And Vanessa has definitely become a "mama". It's strange, they're different. It's this maturity that I think only comes from being a parent. The world is different, all of a sudden. Things that didn't matter do now, and things that did, just don't. I love it. I love seeing them in parent mode. My brother makes me wash my hands regularly. His are getting cracked because he washes them like 30 times a day. New parents. New parents are preciously careful and loving. They're gonna do good. She's gonna be good. Maybe I can get her first words to be "Auntie Tara."

Sunday, December 13, 2009

blessed beyond reason

15 friends, log(ish?) cabin, sleep over, fireworks, fireplace, elf, christmas carols, crocheting, laughing, a full living room from floor to couches, big breakfasts, record player, christmas cookies, star trek, catch phrase, laughing, praise singing, dancing, futilism, hot drinks, warm socks, how the grinch stole christmas, deep conversations, laughing, silly conversations, bs, backrubs, hair playing, late nights, sleepy mornings, memories, laughing, comfort, acceptance, contentedness, and love.

It was a magical Christmas weekend.

Magical I tell you.

(insert: more awesome people like krista, beth, chris m., zach, kevin, melissa, janessa, alli, nick, tiffany, dustin, jerrod)

Friday, December 11, 2009

make it or break it. but don't make it if you're gonna break it.

go go go go go go go.

This is the beat in my head. And it's not a slow beat either. It's a rapid beat, one of those ones that stresses you out when you hear it in music or when a child is pounding keys on the piano.

How is it possible to live a balanced life in college? Is it possible? Have I just been doing it wrong for the past 4 years? Our best years? Are these our best years? Or do we make each year our best year? Yeah. That's what we do. That's what we do...? Do we do?

I've read two blogs recently with this quote, "God bless the history that doesn't repeat" -david bazan.

There's some wisdom there Mr. Bazan.

ps. Nick is coming to spend Christmas with me and the cool Northwesterners. I'm pretty stoked about that.

Wednesday, December 2, 2009

she's here.

My brother called at 6:41am yesterday. It was the call I've been eagerly waiting to receive for a little over 9 months. "We're in the hospital," he said. I couldn't scream or anything because my roommate was just below me, sleeping away... so I quickly and awkwardly crawled down from the top of our bunk bed and rushed to the living room so I could talk more animatedly.

I got updated texts throughout the day about what was going on... in terms of how many cm she was and things like that. Labor is gross, by the way. Throughout these months I've had some crash course tutorials about the whole pregnancy process...there are a lot of weird terms with the words "mucus" and "sack" in them...and other gross things like that.

BUT something beautiful is forming throughout all of that's nice.

At 8:45pm I got the text... "She's here!"

My heart exploded. And my eyes got full of liquidy love.

She's here.

There's a new life in the world. My brother tells me that she has big bulging blue eyes "like us" he says. Sorry Addi. Hope you grow into those.

Yesterday... was a beautiful day. In one day my brother and sister-in-law became parents, our parents became grandparents, and I became an aunt.

Emily told me she was going to call me auntie Tara all week long. That's ok by me.

I am an aunt.


Saturday, November 28, 2009

stop. motion. what?

Here is the sweet video that goes with those sweet pictures.

we formed a band from Nicholas Livanos on Vimeo.

Friday, November 27, 2009

make some music

We did a photo shoot for a project Jessi is working on. It's a cd cover... with the best band out there.

We play great music. Our own special sound. There's a beautiful melody that comes out when we all get together. It's a melody filled with love, laughter, and community... and then the harmony comes in and makes the music whole, makes it real. The harmony fills out the sound with compassion, understanding, and depth... and beautiful songs are played, every day. Some make you get up and dance, and others make you want to grab a tissue... but they're all worth listening to... cause the band is worth listening to.

I'm a lucky girl, to be in such a band.


"Thanksgiving is never going to be the same for their family."

One of my friends said this as we talked about the Wolcott family and what they must be experiencing this holiday season.

Grief. Pain. Sleepless nights. Burning eyes. Waking up every morning, realizing it's not a dream. Questions. No answers. No comforting ones anyway.

Thank GOD that we know that this isn't it. That this isn't all we've got to look forward to. How do people who don't believe in God bear this place?

Everything rides on hope now
everything rides on faith somehow
and when the world has broken me down
Your love sets me free

-Addison Road

Thursday, November 12, 2009

heart matters.

"I hope he eats so much sugar that he goes into a diabetic coma"

I've never had a good experience with salesclerks at Plato's Closet. Ever. They've got great clothes, for good prices... but that's about all they've got going for them. The other day while browsing through the jeans I pictured the manager interviewing possible employees and saying, "Now, can you be really really snobby and have awful customer service?.... Yes? Great, when can you start?"

My interaction the other day probably takes the cake though. After many dressing room visits and tough decisions I brought my three articles of clothing to the register, and was greeted with a scalp. I say a scalp because the girl was looking down, texting.

I sniffed loudly.

"Oh, are you ready?"

Nope, just standin here, with my purse out and my clothes on the counter


She started scanning my clothes, but then her phone vibrated.

"He's going to Red Robyn for lunch, what an idiot," she said to another girl sitting behind the counter and folding clothes.

Dialogue. Girl talk. Analyzing. Convincing. Benefit of the doubting. Girl talk.

Me standing. Waiting. Another woman gets in line behind me.

She texts back.

"He can't just keep eating whatever he wants, he's going to die someday, and I'm not even going to care. He brought it on himself."

There it is, I thought.

The masked pain.

She cares. She cares so much it hurts. And this is not to say that there isn't a healthy amount of dysfunction sifting through this pain... but it was just interesting to me. It was like with those words she was saying, "More plaster, more bricks please. I've got to build this wall high, so he can't take another swat at my heart."

We're good at that you know. Masking. Building. Pretending. It's because of pain, obviously.

It's easier to not care. Your heart gets to sit on the couch for awhile, prop its feet up, get real comfy. You don't have to get out the bandages and the ice again and again.

It's horrible to give your heart to something or someone, and then want it back. It's like peeling off a sticker, there's always going to be that sticky residue that stays. Forever.


I hope when it's my turn again, I'm wise. Yes. Wisdom is what I wish for.

Thursday, November 5, 2009

practice makes perfect

I saw a man sitting alone on a bench outside the elementary school on my way home yesterday. He was staring blankly at the ground, back hunched over as if the weight of the world was pressing down on him and posture was out of the question.

That man looks so sad, I thought. I wonder if he's doing alright.

As I began passing I said "hello" and a heart felt, REAL "how are you doing?"

A somber, "Fine" was what I got.

Brain turmoil. Tug o' war in the brain.

I've been trying this thing where I don't ask "how's it goin?" unless I really have time to listen, and I really honestly want to hear the answer.

I took a couple steps.

That's it? You're just gonna walk by? What if he needs someone to care... just turn around and ask if he's really alright, what's the worst that could happen? ....Ummm...he could hear me.

I literally paused mid step, studder stepped, almost turned around, but pressed on. All this stuff flashed through my brain about what's wrong with the world today, and how we forget to support each other and find value in what TRULY matters. Then I thought these words, and I knew I was gonna turn around....

CARE Tara. Choose to care.

I was already like 15 feet away, but I turned around and started bridging the distance, somewhat awkwardly.

"Are you sure you're doing alright?" I said when I'd come close enough.

"Yeah, I'm just waiting for my daughter to pick her up." Smile/I was spacing out for a bit but I really am ok, look.

"Alright, just checking."

"Thanks for asking."

"No problem"

I turned around and continued to walk home, so glad for the mildly awkward encounter. Glad because I let love drive me, not fear or pride.

Imagine what this world would look like if this is what we practiced EVERY DAY. If we forgot about the social walls and the acceptance scale and our stupid schedules. If we were the musketeer Christians shouting "All for One and One for all!", recognizing that we are all broken, and all in need of support. Seeking to be people who think about self LESS and LOVE more.

Selfless. More love.

Even though I'm sure I didn't do anything for that man, and to you it may seem completely unnecessary, it was necessary for me. Because the more I make decisions like that, the easier they'll be. And that's what I want my life to be. I want my life to be driven by love and acceptance, not fear, pride, and insecurities. I want to practice loving. All the time. And someday maybe practice will make me closer to Christ, closer to perfect.

Friday, October 23, 2009


This morning...was magical.

I woke up listening to the rain beat down on the roof, and my roommate's steady sleepy breathes right next to me. I opened my eyes and immediately smiled.

Magic, I thought.

It's not every day that you get to wake up in a fort, next to a dear friend, listening to nature doing its nature thing.

Life is good my friends. Magic happens, every day. We just need to train our eyes to see it.

Documented magic moments:

the fort.

the adventurers.

the pals for life.

the fabricated magic that will forever me a magical memory.

the old high school crew. still bonded after 4 years.

the wedding partiers that the wedding planner wasn't too stoked about.

the wedding. rika and aaron's. magic. friends come together. magic.

the lasting friendship, though separated for years. magic.

the new ones. that became like old ones fast. magic.

There are more. More pictures. More undocumented magical moments. Infinitely more.

Thank you my God, for bringing on the magic.

Sunday, October 11, 2009

the best.

This is Kati Winkle. Also known as Kates.

She's in India right now, doing God's work. But REALLY doing God's work.

This girl knows how to LIVE and how to LOVE. She knows what's important and seeks to live her life around that knowledge.

I just got a letter from her. From India. On the envelope it says "AIR MAIL", which might be one of my favorite things about it. One swift plane ride broke down barriers of distance and time, sending a message of love and support from half a world away.

This girl is a TRUE BLUE friend.

Thanks Kates. For the letter and the shirt. The love. The support. The example. And inspiring me every day to be a better person.

Miss you friend, you're the best.

Thursday, October 8, 2009


I'm irresponsible.


I said it.

I put off this paper that was due TUESDAY until TODAY right before class started at two. I gave myself an hour. An hour Tara? Seriously?

So there I am, frantically trying to get this thing finished, getting more and more frustrated with the assignment/myself. But mostly just myself. I wanted to do this on Sunday. Then Monday. Then Tuesday. Then Wednesday. And...hey look at that...I just ran out of days.

I finished it at 1:53. A shameful piece of work that will be returned to me sporting a nice crimson color all over its pages. After printing it off in the Journalism Department I hastily started walking towards the stairwell to get to my class. A guy who had printed something off just after me was walking in my same direction, with an extra persistence in his step.

We were both late.

We were both stressed.

We were both having a sub-optimal day.

We made some joke about wishing the day was over and being late for class. "You know what?" I said. "Ultimately this doesn't matter. School doesn't matter in the long run. It will all be ok." I pounded the railing for emphasis as we dashed up the stairs.


"Ok well good luck," he said. And went through the second floor door.

I bustled into my PR class. Late. Frazzled. I got all my stuff out. Situated my desk and my papers. I glanced at the board to see if I was supposed to be doing anything.

"Be still and know that I am God." Ps. 46:10

I stopped. Right there, above the agenda for the day were the words I was aching to hear. I read them again.

"Be STILL and know that I am God."

I sat back and sighed.

Point taken, thanks God.

It's Thursday. Tomorrow is Friday. Then...the day that I can actually be still. Yessss.

Wednesday, October 7, 2009

let it rain.

I've never been able to juggle.

I've tried. Believe me, I've tried. There's just something about that third ball that makes me all discombobulated. And there's no way I could do 5 balls, or knives, or flaming batons, or whatever other ridiculousness people choose to juggle.

This is unfortunate because I juggle every day. On a unicycle, while jumping through hoops. I'm a clown, basically. A clown of life.

Juggling school. car problems. school. relationships. school. finances. school. family. school. fun. school. intramurals. school. growing in Christ. school. sleeping. school. following my passions. school. making future plans. school.

All up in the air. All falling down. With me running around trying to catch them and tuck them under my arm or in the crook of my neck until I can throw some back in the air again to make room for the others.

College is crazy friends. But I love it...most of the time. I hope my life is always exciting and full. But if it is I'm going to have to learn how to juggle better.

But seriously, can someone teach me how to juggle?

Thursday, October 1, 2009

the track.

This semester I have the privilege of waking up at 6:30am every Tuesday and Thursday to go to my Fitness for Life class. Tiffany Billington insisted that this was the best time to take the class, so like the good friend that I am, I agreed. Tiffany thinks I come into class every morning and glare at her. I haven't noticed, but maybe it's subconscious.

Thursday mornings are exercise days. We put this heart monitor strip around our chest and wear a watch that tells us how fast our heart is beating. Then, we set our range. We're told to stay in this range as we exercise. This basically means that you run a little to speed your heart up, and then when your heart starts beating at the top of your range, you start walking until your heart slows to the bottom of your range, and then you start running to get your heart to the top, then you start walking to get it to the bottom. So there we all are. running. walking. running. walking. There are people all over the track, but no one is exercising together because you have to stop and go by where your heart is at.

"This is the most tedious thing I've ever done," I told one of my classmates that happened to be walking at the same time.

"I know," he said. "It's like, just once you start to get going you have to stop again."

Then his watch beeped. And he ran off.


I have this friend who's been hanging out with this boy. They are "friends." They're in that stage when there's no title. He's not ready to date yet. But they're dating. Emotionally.


I have this other friend who was recently "casually dated." The only problem is that to her, it wasn't casual.


Another friend. She put all of her heart into a relationship, he couldn't quite get to where she was. Her heart breaks. His heart breaks.


Another friend. She is loved by this man. She can't bring herself to love him back. It sucks. For both parties.


Another friend. There are two of them. She can't decide. Her heart tears in two.

Run? Walk?

Another friend. He likes this girl. She likes his friend. He just got "the talk."


Another friend. She was in a relationship for a long time. But she couldn't fall in love. Now it's over. But it still hurts. Oh, how it hurts.


Another friend. She liked this boy for a long time. He decides to date her. But then decides that it's not right. Heart break.


Another friend.

Another friend.

Another friend.





So there we all are, on this track I like to call life. Everyone is running and walking at different paces, only in each others company in passing. Sometimes someone comes and walks with you, and then runs with you, and you keep that pace together for awhile, maybe forever. But then, there are those of us still running solo, trying to figure out when to walk, and when it's ok to run. Worrying that their heart is going to reach the top of its range, and they'll start to walk...leaving us still running.

I had someone say tonight with tears in her eyes, "I don't want love. I don't want it."

How could something so beautiful be so painful at the same time? When will it just, line up? How does one understand matters of the heart? Heart matters.



My dad told me once, " Just start on your journey Tara, and someday you'll look over and see someone right beside you, headed in the same direction, at the same pace."

My dad is really wise. But sometimes I wonder if he remembers being my age.

Thursday, September 24, 2009


"I'm a simple girl."

I've uttered these words several times, just last week, actually. Sometimes I've said them in defense, sometimes when venting about complicated boys, sometimes when talking about my lifestyle, and always with pride.

I want down to earth.

I want real.

I want genuine.

But, the reality is, I'm not simple at all. I'm human. And therefore extremely complicated. I want to serve, but I'm naturally selfish. I want to accept, but I'm so good at judging. I want to be liked, but I act like I don't care if I'm not. I want close friendships, but OH how complicated those can get.

And there lies the irony. I love simplicity, but you know what else I love?


I love relationships
. I love connecting, that feeling of knowing and being known is absolutely irreplaceable. I'll drop almost anything to connect with the people that I care about. Because, in my mind, that's what this place is about.

But relationships are COMPLICATED. The closer you get, the more complicated things become. What a privilege it is to care so much about someone that they actually affect your emotions. But, on the flip side, what a lame thing it is to misplace that closeness and trade it in for unwanted/unneeded complication.

I love simplicity.

I love relationships.

Sometimes this does not add up.

Tuesday, September 15, 2009

put up the walls

This is where it all went down for cabin G3. It was within these drafty walls that we would meet up after a long day and talk about boys, friends, fears, and God. Throw a couples sheets over some polls, add pillows and blankets, and you've got yourself a magical haven.

I want to build a fort in our apartment this week.

I'm in need of some magic.

Tuesday, September 8, 2009

high temp higher spirits.

"Will you be sick with me tonight?" I pathetically asked my friends when they finally came home for lunch. I've been running a fever for about a day and a half now, and I'm sick of being sick all by myself. There's only so much you can do when you feel crummy, and even less when you're all by yourself. So my blessed girlfriends all agreed to watch a girly movie with me tonight.

We chose...The Holiday. Classic.

There's something really beautiful and exciting about watching chic flicks with only girls. We get really giggly, and mushy. There's lots of sighing, and personal commentary. We say lots of things like..."I love this part!" "look how cute they are!" "It just doesn't work that way in real life" and " They just don't make them like that in the Adventist world."

Tyler Morgan came over half way through the movie. Getting the privilege of seeing what a true girls night looks like. It was...a good night.

My body aches, but my soul feels full. This year looks so promising, filled with opportunities to grow, learn, and love. Filled with friends who make me laugh, but have depth that reaches all the way to the bone.

God never ceases to amaze me with the love He surrounds me with year after year. May I never take it for granted. Ever.

auntie tara

November. The month of comfort food, fall colors, family, and giving thanks is going to be the greatest month of the year. May was great, because I got out of school, August was good, because I came back to school and good friends. December will be exciting because it holds my birthday and Christmas, but November, that's the month. There's going to be extra laughter, lots of tears (probably mostly by my dad), and just this overwhelming sense of love. This is the month that I become an aunt. The month that my brother and sister-in-law become parents for life. And the month that my parents become GRANDparents.

Oh my soul, I can't even wait.

Addison Rae Becker, you are going to change my world.

Friday, August 21, 2009

keep on keepin' on

I'm on my way!

Tyler Morgan (recent transfer to Southern and fellow MiVodenite) and I left at 9:00 this morning and are in the middle of Wyoming right now. Last time I came through Wyoming Emily and I hated it so much that we wrote a poem about it. I should post it sometime. Anyway, Tyler drove THE WHOLE WAY today. The man is a beast. I offered, but he never got I crocheted, watched a movie, and was in control of the ipod.

Right now I'm sitting in good ol' Motel 6 enjoying a nice bed and wireless internet. Tyler's parents insisted we get a hotel room. The clerk tonight said to the other clerk, "Let's get a room for the young couple." That was weird. Tyler just winked at me.

We have themes for each day of the road trip. And they are as follows...

Friday: Have to say "Meow" or add a question mark on the end of every phrase when interacting with anyone beside each other.

Saturday: Tyler has to get a girls number, I have to give mine. (I don't even know how I would go about doing this....)

Sunday: Make as many memories as possible. This may include getting in a big fight at a gas station and getting proposed to, quite possibly at the same one.

Let me just say, I am absolutely STOKED to see every one of you that are going to be in Tennessee. And for those of you who aren't, come visit. Seriously.

Much Love!

P.S. This goes out to my soccer loving friends

Monday, August 17, 2009

oh camp...

Sammy, this nerdy character adored by all, is all about safety. All week long he makes up X-treme challenges for staff and campers to do, while being sure that all participants are taking the necessary safety precautions. Because, as he always says, "Sammy loves Safety."

One week Ben Foote was sitting with Nick and said, "What if there was an actual character named Safety that came onto the show." Genius.

That's where I came in. On Thursday morning Sammy and Safety quickly fall in love while "Can You Feel the Love Tonight" plays over the speakers and they start awkwardly walking towards each other, lost in each others eyes. The first time Nick and I acted it, we walked off the stage after we were done and almost fell down the stairs cause we were laughing so hard.

I love laughing like that. There's something really freeing about being on stage and having the capability to act as ridiculous as possible. Anything nerdy, awkward, or embarrassing that you do...just makes things that much better. Ah camp, It's the one time a year that I can really just be as silly as I want and let go of all that craziness that gets cooped up while I'm in school. I love camp. Love it. It was a good summer. Real good.

Thursday, August 13, 2009


I hate it.

I hate reading about it, thinking about it, trying to comprehend it. I read some stories about sex trafficking tonight. When I read stories about these children, these children who are taken from their homes and sold into sex slavery my eyes start to sting, and my hands start to clench into fists. Why? Why is this happening? I don't understand how someone could look at an innocent child with lust, dehumanize them, and then leave without feeling any remorse for what they've just done. For what they've just taken. My heart hurts, my head spins, and yet my body stays...frozen...

I hate this.

Oh God, please come soon.

Thursday, August 6, 2009


"The potter takes the clay and molds it according to his will. He kneads it and works it. He tears it apart and presses it together. He wets it and then dries it. He lets it lie for a while without touching it. When it is perfectly pliable, he continues the work of making of it a vessel. He forms it into shape and on the wheel trims and polishes it. He dries it in the sun and bakes it in the oven. Thus it becomes a vessel fit for use. So the great Master Worker desires to mold and fashion us. And as the clay is in the hands of the potter, so are we to be in His hands. We are not to try to do the work of the potter. Our part is to yield ourselves to be molded by the Master Worker."
-Ellen G. White

*Sigh* I'm thinkin that that day when I become a "vessel fit for use" isn't gonna be for a long time. Amanda Durham and I were observing that there's not a whole lot of fun stuff in there for the clay, it's mostly painful. But, hey, I'm no potter. So...bring on the molding?

Wednesday, July 15, 2009

"G3!" "That's what's up!"

"G3 we're here to be
the very best
beeetter than the rest
so look to your left and look to your right
our counselor is out of sight"

Tara (from the other side of the caf): "A little bit louder now!"

"What what turn it up?
ta ta ta ta tara ta ta ta tara
Ta Ta Ta Ta Tara Ta Ta Ta Tara

"Now that we're complete"
Tara: "Say what!?"
"Listen to us stomp our feet"
(insert awesome stomp routine)

The first day of teen week was a little sketch. I had 4 girls that I knew from previous years, 3 that had been in the cabin across from me last year, and one who was staying for her 2nd week. 8 girls, all different, all reluctant to bend, all expecting an amazing week. But by day were a family. I came back from my day off and they had already made up that cheer, learned it, practiced it, and were ready for when we were announced for kitchen duty the next morning. And, the most beautiful thing about it was that they had done it together. I watched all week as time after time they uplifted and supported each other, regardless of how different they were. And trust me, they were different. To be honest, there were times when I actually had a hard time connecting with every one, but not my girls. If one person wasn't playing around in the lake, everyone would yell their name until finally they'd throw all care of their hair to the wind, and dive in. I know that I'm supposed to be showing an example of Christ to my kids, but...this week...I feel like it may have been the other way around. Ah camp, what an amazing opportunity to reach kids...and be reached.

Thursday, July 2, 2009

MiVoden Update

It's been awhile since I posted...I feel a bit ashamed about that. It seems like everyone has found a bit of time to post during their busy camp schedule...accept for me...and maybe Nate?

I'm on my day off right now...and currently taking a break from my online driving school that I'm taking as a result of my speeding ticket this summer. Lame sauce. LAME SAUCE.

Here are some fun facts about this summer:

  • I counseled teen week last week. I've had some of those girls for four years. They're my favorite. I loved it.
  • My new job is awesome. It's all about cultivating relationships between staff and campers, and staff and staff. Right up my alley. Love it.
  • Nick peed his pants.
  • I've made some amazing new friends. Two of which are Rob and Amanda Durham. Amanda and I have decided that it's a tragedy that we didn't know each other at Southern. Jerrod worked with Rob all year, and didn't introduce us. Now they're moving to Colorado. Great.
  • Staff beach volleyball warms my soul. I'm a bit rusty...but the serve is coming back.
  • My tan is coming along...*ahem* nate dubs...
  • We had Tiff's "pajama party" (as Richard kept calling it) a couple weekends ago. It was so awesome to see her and Chels. I can't wait till next year!
  • I'm growing a lot, learning tons about myself and the things I need to work on. It's so good for me.
  • Have I mentioned how AMAZING it is to have Ben, Nick, Gimbel, Graves, and Sarah here? It is. It's amazing. It's like a little piece of Southern livin' is with me everywhere I turn. I can't tell you how nice that's been to have this summer.
  • I haven't wakeboarded yet. But I will. I promise.
I wonder what it's going to be like when this is not my home during the summer anymore. 5 years is a long time to invest yourself into one place. I can't imagine having it any other way. God is so good. So SO good.

Miss you friends. Wish you were all here.

Wednesday, June 10, 2009

the countdown

9 days.

9 days until I get to smell those smells. Those smells that will only ever belong to camp.
9 days until I start feeling so tired that I could literally fall asleep anywhere.
9 days until I get to unleash all the excitement/energy/silliness that gets bottled up during the school year.
9 days until I get to wear my silly hats, and my crazy glasses.
9 days until I probably get thrown in the lake.
9 days until I get to eat homemade granola with soy and raisins.
9 days until Sammy asks me about the my love life.
9 days until I get to sit on the dock and watch the sun set over Hayden Lake.
9 days until I move into my room...then immediately start to scrounge for a dresser that has more than one working drawer.
9 days until I'm in a room filled with people striving for the same things, working towards the same goal.
9 days until I get to sing praise music at the top of my lungs, not worrying if people can hear me because everyone is singing at the top of their lungs.
9 days until I become part of a ministry that is bigger than myself.
9 days until camp.
9 days until I'm home for the summer.
9 days.

I can't even wait.

Thursday, June 4, 2009

emily wilkens is a cheat and a coward

Emily and I had a real live slap fight tonight.
You know...the ones you always see happen between girls in the movies....except we were slapping hand print hard. It started because I said her cat looked like a mix between a cat and a muskrat, and I wanted it to get away because it was so ugly.

This comment allowed Emily to think that she could just up and slap me. And that's where it began. The harder we laughed the harder we hit.

So finally I gave a big WHACK to her flat hand cupping perfectly over Emily's bicep(but not really because she doesn't have any). Emily immediately started whining and stuck her hand out for a truce, then JUST when I was sticking my hand out...SHE SLAPPED MY ARM SUPER HARD! (see video below for more evidence of Emily's brutality) This resulted in a whole other stream of slaps...until finally she begged for peace again...for reals...because I was just beating her too bad.

Emily thinks she won. It depends what your definition of winning is. If your definition is being a liar, a wuss, and begging for peace with tears in your eyes...I guess you could say she won.

We're gonna go biking in the dark now. I love this girl. Like a sis.

Thursday, May 28, 2009

10 cents of goodness

beat that alex vercio.

Tuesday, May 26, 2009


His name is Gerald.

He's been a traveler since 1998. Before this he was in Europe for a couple years, livin' the life on the Isle of Man. "Those people sure know how to party, I'll tell you what," he said. The party stopped, however, when Gerald became part of a messy love triangle...and got deported.

His motto is "go with the flow." Which explains why, when we picked him up on the side of the highway and asked him where he was headed, he replied with "oh's all good you know?" And so we went, from Bend Oregon to Walla Walla Washington, with Gerald in our back seat.

Gerald's life has been pretty intense. He's been run over by a truck. Yup. Run over. He was laying in a field...just mindin' his own business...and a TRUCK ran over his body. He spent 8 days in the hospital. They put a pin in his hip, and sent him away to recover. After that he realized that he wanted to make a "claim to fame." So he walked from Florida to Louisiana...bare foot.

He does a lot of walking, actually. He doesn't hitch hike much. In fact, when we picked him up he wasn't even sticking his thumb out (To be honest, I thought he was a woman when we passed by, so I told Alex that we should stop and pick her up. When we turned around and found out that he was not, in fact, a woman...there really wasn't a whole lot else to say other than, "Hop in, my name is Tara." I know this could sound pretty irresponsible...but Alex was there...and he looked pretty harmless). He told us that he had been walking north from California since March. MARCH! It's the end of May now, in case you were wondering.

Spending that much time by yourself, with only your thoughts to keep you company could make any man go insane. But Gerald keeps himself entertained. Did you know that the next Friday the 13th is in 172 days? And did you know that there will be 3 in the year 2010? Gerald does, and he knows the dates of each. He's really into math right now. He tried to explain this mathematical theory to Alex on the way. That's the point that I stopped listening for a bit...and Alex started saying things like, "uh huh" and "really?" Gerald is really smart. He reads a lot, spends a lot of time in libraries he says.

Oh, he's a college graduate too. Graduated from University of Arizona with an English degree. Creative writing, to be exact. He doesn't write anymore, hasn't for a long time. But believes in its wonderful power to bring people's thoughts to life.

"So how did this become your lifestyle?"

"Oh I just came back from Europe and didn't know what to do, so I just started traveling."

"Do you ever get lonely?"

"Oh sometimes, but I like the solitude. I like being in the open land, able to do what I please."

We asked him if he was ever planning on settling down. He said that if he ever found a better life, he would, but he didn't see that happening. We asked him about his family, he hasn't talked to his parents since 1994. But they're still alive, as far as he knows. He said that there wasn't any conflict, nothing happened to break the family bonds. He believes in treating everybody equally, and the special ties that come with family aren't any more special than the ties you form with people you come into contact with.

I've been thinking a lot about Gerald since we dropped him off and I watched him walk away, off to find somewhere to sleep for the night. Gerald didn't ever ask for anything. We had to convince him to order food at Subway, and he really didn't care where we dropped him off (my parents wouldn't have appreciated a visitor, and Alex lives with his mom). So many things about my experience with Gerald surprised me. He was educated, he was socially pleasant, he was smart, he was so dang chill, and he was content. He broke the mold that my naive little brain had formed about these people that I see on the side of the road.

I wish I knew his story. The whole story. I wish I knew how he became a traveler, and what happened in his life to make him prefer a life of solitude over a life with companionship.

Was there a specific instance? Was it a broken heart? A lack of love? Was it a string of bad choices that made his choice to wander inevitable? Or did he really just choose this lifestyle? Is this really what brings him joy?

I'm not really sure what to think about everything he said. It is so contradictory from what I've ever understood to be a full life. We asked him what he liked about being alone. One of the things he said was, "I like knowing that I could go into the woods and die and nobody would know." Now, in my mind, that would be the absolute worst way to die. Alone. Without anybody knowing or caring that you're missing. But he actually thinks that. This whole thought process rocks my world. And I wish I knew what to do with it. Maybe nothing...

I'm having trouble wrapping this would think that I could find some spiritual application,and then really bring it home with a moving bible verse. But it's not comin', and it's getting late.

So I'll just say this...

Life is so crazy. I hope I meet more people like Gerald in my lifetime. Friends from different walks of life help me understand this world that much better.

Thank you Gerald, wherever you are, for broadening my understanding and giving me the opportunity to love. You are one awesome guy.


This may be it.
I think this is the cause I want to give my life to.
Watching these videos stirs up something in my soul that I've never really felt before.
I think it's passion.
I think I'm really excited.
I think I need to pray a lot more about this.

Sunday, May 24, 2009


Alex and I road tripped to California this weekend. It was a long trip...but really awesome to reconnect and have some adventures. Old friends are awesome, old friends that think a lot like you are even awesomer. You were missed on this trip Emmaline Shine. There's some funny stuff of Alex I gotta show you when we get back....

When Emily and I went on our road trip to Tennessee we each ate a melted candy bar...with no napkins...and no regard for what what was getting all over our face. It was liberating. Alex just so happened to have a melted candy bar on our road I challenged him to do the same.

But the best part about this picture...the very best that Alex looked like this when I got pulled over. You see, Alex's speedometer doesn't work, among many other things in the I wasn't super surprised when I saw flashing lights behind me. What was going on inside the car when this happened was pretty hysterical. Alex and I were rocking out to some Michael W. Smith...Alex was dancing and singing at the top of his lungs...and I was thoroughly entertained...and not really paying attention to my speed.

When we tried to explain this to the cop...after his pressing questions as to why we were speeding...he didn't seem super sympathetic. We even asked him if he knew who Michael W. Smith was...he just looked at us. I'm sure we looked ridiculous...Alex's face was covered in chocolate, and my hair was frizzed to the max because we'd been driving with the windows down the whole time. I laughed a lot at Alex after the cop left...I laughed a little less when the cop came back with my first pricey ticket. Oregon is so stupid. Who goes 55 on a freeway anyway?