Saturday, June 20, 2015

To you, Pops.

“I believe that what we become depends on what our fathers teach us at odd moments, when they aren't trying to teach us. We are formed by little scraps of wisdom.” - Umberto Eco
I love when people close to me get to meet my dad for the first time. More often than not, a little time spent with the man brings a grin to their face as they flash me the "Oh my gosh, I know where you get it from" look. There is no greater compliment. My dad makes me make sense. When I was a young girl, my dad was my hero. He knew everything, could do anything, and would make everything ok. He was the "best dad in the world". As I grew older, I realized that wasn't true. He didn't know everything. He wasn't the "Jack of all trades". He couldn't make everything ok. He was a human. He had faults. He made mistakes. He was real. That was my favorite discovery. It has been incredible to have a father that has stood by my side my whole life. I know now that it is a rare thing in this broken world. It is not a relationship that everyone gets to experience- at least in a healthy way. I am thankful for mentors, and strong male figures that stand up to fill in those gaps for those who don't have someone to fill that role. I have had my own mentors outside of my relationship with my father, and I am so grateful for their wisdom and support. Of course, no one will ever fill the same shoes. My father is one of a kind. He was the man who loved me first, the one I loved first- and without condition. My siblings and I have spent most of our lives single. We joke all the time that our parents have ruined us. They have raised the bar too high with their solid and yep-we-still-flirt-all-time-in-front-of-you relationship. The reality is, there is more truth in that than perhaps we care to admit. We have grown up with two people who, despite all their flaws, love each other so well. As a young girl, and now a grown woman, I am most amazed at the way my father cares for my mother. He sees her in a way that no one else sees her. He understands her in a way no one else can. My mom always told me that she met my dad when she was feeling like her "worst self". She had just graduated college, she was trying to rid of the "freshman fifteen", and she felt lost as to what the next step was in life. Despite her insecurities, he fell madly in love with her- so much that even her skeptical self believed it. That's a story that I've always held onto. I have had my own share of heartbreaks. I have put up my own walls, and my father has always been my sounding board. His arms were the ones I fell into. He was the one that wiped my tears and reminded me, "He's not worth it Karli. You deserve so much more, and I know you'll get it." I remember one particular occasion where I felt so broken I could hardly breathe. I had been going through a very dark time in my life- depression had it's nasty grip on me and I was falling apart. Once again, I had my heart ripped out of me and I broke down in front of my father. He pulled me into a big "Papa-bear" hug, and explained, "Karli, when I met your mother I didn't understand how anyone like her could love me, but you know what? She never made me feel that way. We both knew, without a doubt, that we loved each other exactly the same. That's the only thing I ever want for you- to love and be loved in return." I've never forgotten that moment. It's branded in my memory forever, and I hold on to that sentiment like a locket around my heart. Perhaps I am still looking for that in a relationship, but the reality is- I have experienced that kind of love. My father loved me from my first breath, and he will until my last. He loved me when I screamed and whined, engaged in some ridiculous pre-teen argument. He loved me when I got my first car, and immediately rear-ended someone not 5 miles from my house. He loved me when I was dealing with eating disorders, and deep depression. He loved me when I couldn't even love myself.
My father taught me that it is ok to not be ok. He taught me patience, and perseverance. He taught me to be vulnerable with others, and to live honestly. He taught me the importance of giving back, and loving boldly. He is an example of someone who lives to love, and loves to live. I understand that he is no super-hero. I understand that there are others who believe their father is the very best person they know, but mine is the best for me. Dad, I love you more than I could ever explain on a blog, or a card, or even in words. You are my person. Thank you for letting me be fully me. Thank you for your support, and your light, and your laughter.
Happy Father's Day- today, and every day. With all my heart- "Little La"

Thursday, April 16, 2015

P O R T L A N D : My Sixthversary

Six Years to the day. Six years ago I packed my belongings and headed South to Portland, Oregon. I didn't have a job, or a clue- just a gut feeling that it was the place I needed to be. I sit here writing this post and a thousand memories flood my mind. Memories I have collected year after year, like sand dollars, in a town that was once so foreign to me. It seems strange that I was once a "newcomer" to a place that is such a home to me now. The years may have gone quickly, but in reflection so much has happened that six years feels like such a small number when I think of all the experiences I have had, and the ways I have grown. These experiences were influenced by the amazing relationships I have had the privilege to build here. I have met so many incredible people- some have come and gone, some have stayed around...but to each soul I have had the opportunity to know in this city, acquaintance or otherwise, THANK YOU. I feel so blessed by your friendship, and I am a better person because of you. I have lived with philosophers, theologians, writers, builders, filmmakers, comedians, teachers, bakers...and candlestick makers (no, really). It wasn't always easy, there were ups and downs, but I learned from every person I shared space with. Every housemate was incredibly unique, and gave my life color. To those people: you will always have a piece of my heart. Thank you for putting up with me. I have worked with such passionate, crazy, loving, rowdy, and thoughtful individuals. The stories are endless. I have made deep friendships, and shared some pretty memorable moments--I mean, I met Ke$ha for crying out loud! She smelled like lavender. That's a treasure for the books. I had no idea what to expect when I arrived in this town. If I would have guessed where I would be, or what I would be doing 6 years into the future I'm sure my projections would've been way off. However, I would not have it any other way. The past 6 years have been nothing short of magical, and I am overwhelmed with gratitude. To Portland and its people: You have changed me. You have challenged me, confused me, awed me, surprised me, and given me life. Moving here was the best decision I have ever made, and no matter where life takes me, I will always take you with me. Keep it weird, and prosper. Yours, Karli.

Thursday, December 12, 2013

And the only thing constant, is change.

It's incredible to think about my transformation when it comes to my faith. There is nothing else in my life in which I've experienced such evolution. Spirituality is such a personal thing. If it is not evolving, than you must not be changing. If you are not changing, than you cannot be a human being. We are constantly experiencing new things. We are forced to deal with the good and the bad in our life. Grief comes to us. Joy comes to us. We will continue to experience both. Our situations change. As we grow older we realize more and more that we do not have the power to control everything that happens. These situational changes impact perspective as well. They mold our worldview. New ideas will form in our minds, contradicting ideas of the past. We have to embrace them, not run from them. We cannot be afraid, but rather, we have to acknowledge them from a sincere place and reevaluate how we feel. This is detrimental to our growth. If we seek wisdom, we must be willing to put ourselves in a place of vulnerability and uncertainty. John and Peter explained, "What we have seen and heard we declare to you so that you, too, can have fellowship with us." (1 John 1:3) I, too, can only speak from my experience. I can only derive understanding from that which I have seen and heard. My story is unique to everyone. I refuse to be placed in a box. I refuse to follow the religious "trends" because they are "trends" rather than "Truth". I refuse to put a religious 'celebrity' on a pedestal, and work to mirror my life and values after him. I may be tempted to do these things, but I hope I will be held accountable by other truth-seekers around me. I hope rather than petty arguments, people will begin to look at their own lives and do some evaluation. If everyone could simply begin to ask the question, "WHY?", this world may be a better place. Why do you believe the things you do? Why do you make the choices you make? Why do you feel the way you feel? Are your thoughts and actions coming from a sincere place, or are you reacting out of stubbornness, and a refusal to question other possibilities? Being open-minded does not mean you are sacrificing your values. An open mind allows you to see the much greater picture outside of yourself. It creates a space for you to ponder, and acknowledge new discoveries-discovery of self, discovery of nature, discovery of God. Right now the easiest way for me to connect to my Creator is through Creation. It is the only thing that makes the most sense to me right now. My mind may be flooded with "what if's" and "how come's", but nature is tangible. It is a spiritual fingerprint that is easily recognizable. It moves, it flows, it changes, and it breathes. I step into it and my own breath joins its rhythm. It doesn't quarrel with me, or push its agenda. It draws me in with a welcoming presence. It reminds me of my smallness, and I feel secure and safe in its tranquility. It is my House of worship. Like nature, I too have the ability to change and adapt. What a beautiful, sacred thing. As I go into this new year, my hope is that I will walk boldly in humility. I hope that I will enter into every conversation with an open mind, and a sincere heart. I hope that I will let some walls down, and live outside of my fear. I hope that I will continue to seek wisdom, without assumption. I suppose these are my only resolutions. Learn. Grow. Live!

Tuesday, February 7, 2012

Oh, hello again.

It’s been so long since I’ve put pen to paper, or perhaps more accurately, cursor to screen. I don’t know how I made it through winter without writing. The summer is full of distractions, but the long dark days of winter typically throw me into a 5-month funk. During those months I become a true introvert. I spend most of my free time alone, with my thoughts to keep me company. I am introspective to the point of agony and am forced to journal as a means to process.
Perhaps my lack of hermit-hood is a sign that this winter has been much more manageable. I’m usually swallowed up by depression come November, but I have been surprisingly content this season. One might call it “happiness”.
The part that leaves me scratching my head is the fact that there was no real struggle. I did not have to battle for it. It was right there for the taking. I found myself in the midst of satisfaction.
By no means did I escape loss, loneliness, pain, or frustration. Those feelings simply lost the ability to keep me in a permanent state of angst.

I am slowly coming to the understanding that I will never completely have my shit together. This realization is quite freeing. I still have moments of panic, but for the most part I expect the unexpected. Life moves and morphs and ushers in surprise after surprise.
I am aware, perhaps more than ever, of the lack of control I have in my life.
It is good to make goals. It is good to strive toward something that has meaning to you. However, if you become far too strict with those goals you may miss out on something bigger, something beyond yourself. You may view it as a failure, when in fact it is simply a new direction.

I don’t know what these next few months will bring. I’m overwhelmed with some big decisions I’m trying to make. I don’t even know what tomorrow will bring. So, I shall let tomorrow worry about itself. I will try my very best to take things in stride and recognize little victories along the way.

Good day, friends.

Tuesday, April 5, 2011

I'm a runner?

Today I ran for two hours.

That's 120 minutes.

It's not just the time that means something to me, it's what is stands for. It is a new personal record. It is a symbol of accomplishment. It means that I can still surprise myself. It means I still have the ability to discover new passions and succeed at them.

It means I am powerful.

It means I am strong.

It means I can.

Friday, March 25, 2011

Full Embrace.

I was listening to this song while running this morning, and had to keep it on repeat. It is beautifully in sync with my soul. This is my heart right now. In a song. And sometimes it's nice to have a song. It expresses a part of you that you may not have the words or the energy for. You can just listen. And agree. And breathe.

Embracing The Call- The Glorious Unseen

We expect the best and nothing less from You,
But will we embrace
The suffering too as part of Your plan for us, oh Lord?

You hold my hand and whisper in my ear of how
You're longing to be near
And how, my pain, You feel it too.

Here I stand, securely, resting in Your presence, waiting on Your voice.
Hold my hand as I walk through the valley of the shadow,
Embracing the call again.
You pull me close and hold me in Your arms,
And show me how Your love is strong,
That never leaves when I'm alone (Fancy a listen)

Tuesday, October 5, 2010

No other music expresses the beauty of this season like Aaron Copland's "Appalachian Spring." Every year around this time I stare out my window as the leaves spiral downward; "Moderato-Coda" fills the space around me causing the hair on my arm stand on end, and I am lulled into an euphoric autumn coma. I have no choice but to respond. Great music forces you to be moved; forces you to feel.
To me, music shows the best side of humanity. It is a way I see God's imprint in our lives. Whether or not it is secular or sacred, I can express or experience something holy through it.
It is my constant companion. Even in silence it continues to play inside my head.
My family connects to music in a powerful way. My parents wanted us to learn it, understand it, and appreciate it as much as they did. Thus, it has formed who I am, how I feel, how I see things.
It is this incredible gift from our Creator allowing us, the created, to create something for ourselves that is nothing short of supernatural.

I am filled with awe.

Now do yourself a giant favor and listen to "Appalachian Spring" in its entirety. You will be enlightened.

"So long as the human spirit thrives on this planet, music in some living form will accompany and sustain it and give it expressive meaning." - Aaron Copland.