Friday, October 10, 2008

is anyone out there...

...well if so, i apologize for the much-overdue-ness of this post. the past couple months have flown as i have gotten "back on my feet" ... literally and figuratively. i am very near to finally walking without a limp, which is huge. i could never have imagined how long and hard this road would be. but it's been good for me... humbling, quiet, sobering.

i can't explain how much i love autumn... the past few years it has been a painful time of life, where the Lord would strip away thing near to my heart just as the leaves are stripped from the trees. but this year is quite the opposite, and i am just reveling in it. i am overwhelmed daily by the awesome intimacy my Jesus offers to me... He calls out to me in mercy each morning, and reminds me through the day of how He is carrying me... and sits with me at night until i sleep. i never, ever have to earn His love and affection... i don't have to do anything to prove myself, i don't have to bolster up my pride and have it all together... in my most broken and exposed moments He just loves. perfectly loves.

He is giving me some great opportunities with music... i have had some fun sessions recently, and i get to go on a Christmas tour with Cindy Morgan, Travis Cottrell and Shaun Groves in december. i can't wait! my life is just filled with blessings right now...

so what else can i say? my prayer right now is that the truths that i see and experience in this time of plenty, will be remembered and held onto when He chooses again to take me to the desert. even in desert times He woos us...

Saturday, August 16, 2008

Jesus in unexpected places...

it's been a week since i got home from Ethiopia... and i've spent the whole week simply wishing i could still be there. my team and i spent 10 days on the ground there, mostly spending time with orphaned children.

i can't explain the mysterious connection that i experienced with those kids... breaking through the language barrier, cultural differences, and age gap; there is something deep in their eyes that breaks my heart, yet fills it with hope in the same moment. they live a reality that i could never imagine, or - even if i tried - experience. they have no mother, no father, very few earthly possessions... only Jesus. and because of that, they radiate His love in a way i don't witness in americans. they know what it means to love Jesus regardless of social status, possessions and image... it is true, sober, unashamed love. i want that.

there is a lot i could say about my time in ethiopia, but this is the prevalent thought that has run through my mind all week as i have tried to process it all. i wonder what it would be like to be completely undistracted... nothing else to claim my affections, nothing lying to me, telling me that i must have it to be complete... only Christ. i'm afraid that i've been so steeped in a worldview that doesn't view Christ aside from wealth that i may never begin to understand it. but i really do long for it.

i can't wait to get back there... i could see myself living there, at least for a while. for now, i have to get those pesky loans paid off... but may i not forget where i met Jesus, in the eyes of children with nothing... and may i not forget what matters.

Monday, July 7, 2008

didn't learn the first time...

so i find it slightly ironic that my last post was called "time to think"... and it was written before i broke my foot.

i was up in ohio, enjoying a little college reunion with 8 of my best girlfriends, and i fell while attempting to go down some stairs (actually missed the stairs altogether) and badly broke my right foot. to make a long story short, i made it back to tennessee by the amazing kindness of my roommate, where i have spent 2 of my doctor's-ordered 6 weeks off my foot at home doing a whole lot of nothing. i have discovered a lot of things that i'm capable of on crutches during this time. today i even swept the floor! people keep telling me that i get a six-week vacation... but if this is "vacation" i don't want it.

when i threw my back out a couple weeks before this happened and spent a couple days at home, someone told me then that God has a way of making us rest in Him when we haven't been... and she encouraged me to spend that time with the Lord, seeking Him and resting in Him. well it is evident now that i didn't take that time... so He decided to knock me off my feet, literally... and say "no seriously, cara, rest." even though most days i literally have nothing to do, it is still a discipline to make myself sit and meet with Him. but when i have, wow it is sweet... He speaks so clearly in the silence, when everything else is absent.

i see this as a time to re-evaluate. i have lived in nashville for almost a year, and the Lord has showered some serious blessings in this year... serious hardships, and serious blessings. this is a great time for me to reflect, look ahead, and re-focus on what was on my heart when i first came here. when my undying passion was to proclaim the name of Jesus Christ through all i do here. pray that when i am basically stranded and doing very little of what i really would like to be doing, that i won't miss the point... the point being, Christ. He has made me be still, to see Him, know Him, and then proclaim Him.

Tuesday, June 3, 2008

time to think...

so nothing much has been going on recently. the heat has driven me inside... and time inside has driven me to think. having spent the last 8 or so years of my life running from one thing to the next, i often get frustrated with so much free time because i don't know what to do with myself. but i see the Lord using even my free time...

i know there is a lot of discussion among Christians about what it truly means and looks like to be a Christ-follower. i meet more and more people that are developing real passion for issues of "social justice"... as i have been faced with a lot of decisions regarding my finances, living situation, etc. lately, i have had to put my "passions" into action.

for a long time now, i have known that i'm not called to live a comfortable, easy life... i don't necessarily think i will end up across the world, dying as a martyr... but i beg God often that He will keep me from being sucked into the convenient, consumerist life that i see all around me... i fear that i will not truly understand my Humble Savior or live like Him if i "buy into" it all.

i really struggle with what my role is as a Westerner, an American... when i look at the immense poverty of the world... from third world countries to the family just down the street from me (literally). i simply cannot ignore God's words to "learn to do good; seek justice, correct oppression; bring justice to the fatherless, plead the widow's cause." i cannot forget for a second that He is a God consumed with "[letting] the oppressed go free, and [breaking] every yoke."

my spirit, my soul are weighed down as i sit in my wonderful apartment, or as i go buy whatever i need at the store, or as a send a "small" amount to my friend in haiti each month... wondering if i'm really doing what i can to seek justice, relieve oppression. i know God's grace and work in my life are not contingent on what i do, but if i am truly in Christ, how do i neglect what i know the heart of Christ beats and breaks for?

just the thoughts that plague me...

Tuesday, May 6, 2008

just another day in nashvegas...

so this morning i had one of those moments, that seem to come every couple weeks or so... just driving down the road and thinking over the past 8 months... and i was overwhelmed by how crazy and amazing this ride has already been, and how wonderful it is that i have survived. and come out as a stronger person. i am settled here... this is home. and i love it.

things have been pretty chill around here lately... springtime in nashville is absolutely amazing. this is the first time i have seen nashville green, because i moved here at the end of last summer when every living thing was so parched that it was dead and brown and ugly. so springtime is wonderful.

i have all of my money in for my trip to Ethiopia in july, and i am stoked. the last part of my support came in from my home church in kansas city, which was the most amazing thing... God totally provided, and i love that He used the people that have raised me and helped fuel the fire for mission in my heart.

i am enjoying a lot of free time outside of work, as music is moving slowly... but God continues to work in amazing ways in my heart. i am constantly challenged by the people around me and their faith walk, and i am ever dreaming of what big things God may choose to do in and through me... here in nashville and hopefully around the world someday.

so yeah. sorry if anyone was hoping for some big name-dropping here as far as my "music career" goes. i'm just enjoying God in the stillness and sunshine... waiting on Him... in peace and quiet.

Thursday, March 20, 2008

looking up...

i might have said this on here before, but i really believe my life mirrors the seasons. at least that has been the case over the last couple of years. autumn always starts out beautiful, full of changes... but then at some point everything is stripped away and i'm left bare, exposed to the elements... things get cold. but in the midst of the gray, there is a hope of spring... and then it comes. what had died is now revived, renewed, and seems to be more beautiful than ever, simply because we had to wait so much for it. spring has come in nashville, and in my heart.

i got the awesome opportunity to record with nicole c. mullen last week for her new album... i did a small cello part and some background vocals for one song... i got to work with a couple amazing and experienced producers, and i learned so much, just in that one session. they passed on a lot of wisdom about how to get into the industry carefully and with integrity... i will be sure to let you know when the album comes out. watch for it in july. :-D

i'm also gonna be blessed to get three or four of my own songs produced soon... hopefully it won't be too long, and you'll see them up on my myspace.

i have just been sitting in awe lately... i by no means am ready to quit starbucks and do music full-time, but the connections i have made and the way some things have fallen into place blows me away... and takes the credit completely away from me... it has so clearly been the hand of my Lord working these things for me, and i cannot praise Him enough!

Thursday, March 6, 2008

just a kid doing grown-up things...

i woke up this morning and just had one of those moments where i felt 15 again, in a grown-up world. i even told my roommate that i felt like it was weird that i had my own apartment... some days i can't believe how quickly this point in life has come. but i must say i am enjoying it so so much!

i met with the women's director at my church (Strong Tower Bible Church) this morning to talk about how and where i can get plugged in there, and just to get to know her... and it was a good chance to reflect back on my time in nashville so far and how the Lord has orchestrated things. i am overwhelmed when i look at all i have already been through and where i am right now... i never dreamed that i would be this far along after 7 months.

last sunday night i played in a benefit concert for tornado victims... i was there to play with sammy sylvester, a producer i met at my church... and the other artists for the concert were tommy sims, vince gill and amy grant. it was an in-the-round kind of show, and i ended up just playing along with everyone's songs here and there. so i have now played with amy grant... and vince gill... it didn't hit me for a couple of days how exciting that is. :-)

i am going to start playing with sammy as he gets gigs, and i am really excited for it. he is passionate about there being a cause behind the music - raising awareness or money for ministries, people in need, whatever... i am excited for the chance to tie the great passions in my life together - music and ministry... it's too much to put into writing here, but i am so in awe of God's blessing on my life right now. things are really moving. :-)

that's all for now... i couldn't ask to be in a better place right now.

Saturday, February 9, 2008

new crib

so as of today i have been in my first apartment for a week. my rommie katie and i are having a blast so far. basically every piece of furniture we have is hand-me-down, but it gives the place such character (for now). as i write this, i am paying for laundry for the first time in my life... lame! but part of the growing up process, i guess... or something...

lots going on for me, in addition to the apartment... i am playing cello at my church tomorrow! it is my first time playing there, and i am really excited... as well as a little nervous, because i will be playing with some awesome musicians, and in the hearing of some awesome musicians... but it's definitely something the Lord has opened up for me, and i am so excited to be able to worship Him from the stage again. tuesday i have another gig, playing a couple of songs with an up-and-coming artist in christian music, jonny diaz (pronounced dye-az). you can check out his stuff at he has a good thing going, and i'm excited to meet him and be creative for a couple of his songs! later that day i have a session also! it's funny how things come in waves... i feel overwhelmed a bit, but it is all really good stuff!

the Lord continues to keep me very mindful of His incredible goodness all the time... He orchestrates things so perfectly, and although i still struggle with questions over where i am in life right now, i am always able to look back and remember that my God has NEVER failed... for thousands of years past with my brothers and sisters, all 22 of my years on this earth, and all eternity past. wow. there is still pain i deal with daily, but His face outshines it all... He holds me even when i am so, just... stupid. wow.

Wednesday, January 16, 2008

my heart spins in circles.

all at once your city crumbles like babylon
even the gardens you've been hanging on disappear before your eyes
take time, let the words sink in before you say your mind
heaven knows we all get lost sometimes
you will find your way back

wounded, you let your guard down
you feel stupid
you wish you never would have trusted your heart in someone else's hands
but it's all okay
i think you may have made the best mistake
i think we're made to give ourselves away
cause there's no other way to live

jenny lynn, i wish that i had your thin skin
i wish that i could let the love right in
maybe i'd rather feel the pain
cause freedom is a naked heart that always dares to give
a willingness to let the tenderness be taken as it may

-"jenny lynn" by katie herzig

at certain times in my life, including recently, i have been well aware of my constant emotional fluctuation that makes me a pretty intense and sometimes hard-to-deal-with person. within a matter of minutes my emotions can span the whole gammut... angry to sad to ecstatic, with everything in between.

and while i sometimes wonder if it's a curse to feel so deeply, all the time... i really can't help but be thankful for it... my life would be so much less full, less exciting, if i didn't feel as deeply. when i fall in love, i fall very deeply. and when i'm angry, i'm very angry. when i'm happy, i'm off the walls. i suck at hiding it, and i will always be this way. and i'm thankful. my life is so full.

on another note alltogether... i am excited to be playing with my friends tal and acacia, who just got signed to provident records. they are super talented and have tons of potential, and they are letting me tag along for their next gig... i am getting a chance to be as creative as ever on my cello, and i'm so excited. they are awesome girls, and you should check them out:

Sunday, January 13, 2008

i'm a TV star.

okay not really... but this is the closest i'll ever come.

take a look and see when it's playing in your city... watch for smokie norful's performance. i had fun! :-)

Thursday, January 10, 2008

my heart is so alive...

occassionally someone will tell me that i should update this more... so i am updating now just for the sake of an update. this scares me a lot because i don't want to be boring... in other words, leave me a comment if you're not bored after this post. :-)

my time in nashville since christmas has already started to fly... i am busy trying to get things ready to move into an apartment at the beginning of february with my most wonderful friend here in nashville! i have been trying to sift through a lot of my stuff and simplify my life. i hate having stuff. the more i have, the more i feel tied down... i was talked into getting renter's insurance today, but only because in the long run it actually makes my car insurance cheaper (don't ask). but i've always thought renter's insurance was silly because if all my stuff burned up in a fire, i think i would only feel more free!

i was extremely blessed by a random visit from a dear friend today, and we spent a lot of time just talking about everything that the Lord is working in us, as we always do. i think one of the healthiest things we can do is to look back... not for the sake of remembering past mistakes or hurts, but for the sake of recalling the Lord's incredible faithfulness in every situation we've been through. i pulled out an old journal (i'm an avid journaler) and read where i was a year ago today. i was completely overwhelmed to read of the work that the Lord was doing a year ago... and again overwhelmed when i even think of what He's done for me today. His goodness to me is beyond my comprehension... in pain, in heartache, in victory and great joy - He is always good. it sounds so cliche, but i can't get past it.

every day now comes with new dreams... dreams of what may happen here in nashville, dreams of what will be next, dreams of being a part of the solution to the problems in our broken world that weigh so heavily on my heart each day... and i can't wait for the Lord to further reveal His goodness as He ties my passions and His will together each day...