Monday, December 27, 2010


I could start this off by mentioning that we went through December faster than my family can go through a bag of Fritos... but decided you probably experienced your own holiday blitz/bliss.
This year was a fabulous mixture of new traditions and old. The weekend before Christmas we celebrated with D's family. It was two straight days of games, food, and gifts. I am so blessed to now have TWO families to celebrate with! We had a fabulous time and would all highly recommend the game "Buzz Word" to anyone searching for a new game. I joined in on the family attire and received my first piece of Ohio State gear. I'm proudly rocking it today.
I did make cookies with a friend who is also new to her neighborhood. We made our deliveries and both found success with project "meet the neighbors." I met people in 6 of the 8 houses on my street and ended up receiving return gifts of banana cookies, homemade salsa, and brownie bites. D informed me that this was the first year he has ever received something from his neighbors of two years. I think we've only cracked the ice on this "knowing your neighbors" thing and I am VERY excited about it.
At the advice of several friends, D and I made sure to take a day to try and establish our "own" Christmas. We had great intentions for December 22nd. We made an altered version of our waffle recipe (flour is the same as Bisquick, right?), read from an Advent devotion book, spent a few hours trying to return our yard to the green-less rock pile intended by the builders (I think I pulled a weed that was a foot tall), packed for Texas, payed bills, went out to eat Italian food, watched some Friday Night Lights, exchanged gifts with each other, and read "Voyage of the Dawn Treader" aloud. It was a special first Christmas with our little tree, weeding, Luke 2, the Dillon Panthers, and Aslan.
We flew to Texas on the 23rd and had a whirlwind weekend with my family. Highlights included:
-The Nutcracker at the Houston Ballet
-Playing: Scattergories, Pit, Racko, Buzz Word, Funglish, and What's Yours' Like?
-Watching Home Movies (Husband of the Year goes to...)
-Time with Cousins and Grandparents
-Honey Baked Ham, Peppermint Cheesecake, Ribs, Egg Casserole, Brie En Croute, Fancy Grilled Cheese :)
-Showing D A Christmas Story for the FIRST TIME!
-Watching Clay view the Cardinals/Cowboys game (as he pulled out his hair.)
-Watching Val receive her present from my folks...

-Having someone to fly with (I don't think this will ever get old.)
-Reading "Imperfect Birds" by Anne Lamott
-Singing "Silent Night" by candlelight with my husband and family in church and feeling as if my heart would burst.

I am so thankful for the many gifts of this season and for the King who has come!

Tuesday, December 21, 2010

A Very Raffi Christmas

I don't think anything can compare to the Christmas memories we formed as children. For my siblings and I, that includes our Disney Christmas VHS tape, Sunday school Christmas programs, Advent devotions around the Christmas table with the whole family, special Christmas tree ornaments, helping Dad hang the lights on the house outside, and of course, Raffi.

We have a very worn cassette tape that got a lot of play in our minivan, and you only need to say "Old toy trains" and any of us will chime in with "little toy tracks, little toy drums, coming from a sack carried by a man dressed in white and red..."

This one goes out to the Morbys:

"...little one, don't you think it's time you were in bed?"

Oh, and also this one!

Can't forget this song!

Okay, that's it- I promise. :)

What are some of your favorite Christmas memories and traditions? Do you remember Raffi?

Tuesday, December 14, 2010

Something had to go.

Where did December go? 11 days until Christmas, 9 days until we fly to Texas, 4 days until Christmas celebrating with my wonderful in-laws...

I took a vote, and Christmas cards lost this year. So if you are checking your mail for something ridiculous from me - you won't find it. I made a list of priorities and sending cards didn't make it. (I'm really excited that meeting my neighbors under the ruse of delivering cookies is GOING TO HAPPEN! With recipes thanks to Food Loves Writing!)

So, instead - I've decided to go with the green version and post one here.

Repeat the Sounding Joy!
"The Lord has done great things for us and we are filled with joy." Psalm 126:3

What a year filled with adventure, hope, and love. This Christmas our prayer is that your homes and your hearts may be filled with good tidings of the greatest joy!

photo by Jane Zarzynski.

Wednesday, December 8, 2010

Stray Thoughts

Person with a motorcycle in my apartment complex who constantly fakes me out and makes me think there’s an open spot by the front! Stop that! Or I am really going to… shake my fist at you!!!
2011 is shaping up to be the year of the musical- it’s still December and I already have tickets to see TWO shows, and the possibility of a third on the horizon! First up is the touring company of West Side Story in Houston with my parents in January. When Dad called to see if I’d want to go with them, I paused and said, “Is this a trick question??” I’ve been listening to this version of “America” on repeat ever since. It’s going to be good.

Second will be Legally Blonde, which is coming to TYLER in April! Tickets to that one come courtesy of my fantastic sister and dashing brother-in-law, who know me OH SO WELL. I can hardly wait. Finally, my friends have been talking for ages about getting out to Dallas for their summer musical series, so I have a feeling this will be the year we will actually DO IT. Bring it on, Broadway.
If there wasn’t enough evidence that Ginger and I are both turning into our Dad, lately I have been listening to more and more classical and pops music on my satellite radio. A lot of other music that’s currently playing ad nauseum on the radio just drives me crazy! Classical just tends to consistantly be a better option.
This week in movie club we watched “Treasure Planet,” an animated film that has grown on me more and more since watching it when it first came out. Amazing score, incredible visuals, and an outstanding voice cast- what more could you want?? Read more of my thoughts here.
Don’t forget to check out Ginger’s friend Carey’s blog. I subscribe through Google Reader and am always blown away by her creative craftiness. I am way too intimidated to try out most of this stuff (my Mom is the first to admit she didn’t have a crafty gene to pass on to us!), but I know several of you reading would get a kick out of her fun ideas like Christmas crayons and ornament wreaths. Click here to check out her holiday giveaway!
And finally, apropos of nothing but Christmas, enjoy a little winter fairytale that my siblings and I have enjoyed every year in December for as long as I can remember!

Give Joy

Quick post to alert you to some absolutely free giveaways! One of my dear friends is hosting a blog drawing for three separate Christmas goodies this week. Head to her blog, check out the details, leave a comment and win yourself some Holiday cheer!

Monday, December 6, 2010

Love is.

I have a confession. I have a bit of an anger problem... and a worry problem... and a fear issue... and a sensitivity button...

And it all seems to come out when I least expect it.

When one would expect frustration: driving, in lines of stores, forgetting to pull something that should not have gone in the dryer, walking away from the oven and having your food burn.

When one would expect worry: sick family members, someone being an hour late, thinking a bill payment didn't go through.

When I should worry: Never.

Darn you, Sermon on the Mount.

"Therefore I tell you, do not worry about your life, what you will eat or drink; or about your body, what you will wear. Is not life more important than food, and the body more important than clothes? Look at the birds of the air; they do not sow or reap or store away in barns, and yet your heavenly Father feeds them. Are you not much more valuable than they? Who of you by worrying can add a single hour to his life?" Matthew 6:25-27

Our church is walking through the prophecy of the Messiah in Isaiah 9:6 - exploring what it means for Jesus to be: Wonderful Counselor, Mighty God, Everlasting Father, and the Prince of Peace. I left service yesterday meditating on our Mighty God.

"Jesus' mighty power should radically shape my day-to-day life." - Scott Brown

Meaning - either Jesus is more powerful than my worries, fears, or frustrations... or He isn't. The way I live my day proves what I believe about his power.

I talked through this aloud with David in the car on the way to finish up some shopping. I was frustrated... frustrated that I spend time in the Word, read my Advent book, pray for friends... and still end up so royally screwing this up.

D was quick to remind me that God desires my heart more than anything else and that I can't tackle each day with the hope of perfection... only the hope of dependence.

So here's the game plan... I'm focusing on 1 Corinthians 13 this Advent. (D asked when the wedding was taking place.) One word per day. Yesterday the focus was love is PATIENT. How perfect for spending the afternoon at a crowded mall. I was amazed at my response to the long lines and ordinary scenarios that would have ordinarily left me completely frustrated.

Living and believing I have a Mighty God just by being patient sounds like a really small thing - but can I tell you that I made friends with the cashier at Bed, Bath & Beyond? A cashier we have interacted with for the past months as we worked with our registry... who ordinarily tests my patience...

Today the word is KIND. I'm working in a coffee shop and am trying to remember to give smiles readily and open doors for others as I prepare my heart for the coming of the King.

"Lo this is our God; we have waited for him, so that he might save us. This is the Lord for whom we have waited; let us be glad and rejoice in his salvation." Isaiah 25:9

(*For the record, love is not sending me a clipping from the cartoon "Love Is...")
(*And also - that ornament... circa 3 year-old preschool. I've always been really good with glitter.)

Thursday, December 2, 2010

You're a Mean One

I absolutely love Christmas music. It takes everything in me to wait until after Thanksgiving so I can start playing my hundreds of collected Christmas songs. But certain ones that cross my path on the radio or in department stores have no right to call themselves Christmas music- they are just that terrible.

These songs are somehow all the worse because they portend to be full of Christmas cheer, when in reality they really just make you want to stuff gingerbread in your ears so you never have to hear those songs (or really any sound at all) ever again. Quite the opposite of the Christmas spirit.

These songs are different for everyone. For me, the non-negotiable songs that I will not subject myself to at any time are as follows.

The Christmas Shoes: Just when you think this song can’t get any more sappy and insufferable, the children’s choir starts in. Shudder.

Wonderful Christmastime: The chorus tends to endlessly reverberate in my ear drums after I've heard this song… “Simply having a wonderful Christmastime! Simply having a wonderful Christmastime!” GAH!

Little Drummer Boy: Whenever I hear some pop star singing “pa rum pa pum pum” in a faux-sincere voice, my hand can’t hit the “off” button fast enough.

My Grown-Up Christmas List: "What is this illusion called the innocence of youth / Maybe only in our blind belief can we ever find the truth" Can’t… stop… gagging….

Where are You, Christmas?: You want to know where Christmas is? It's hiding from this terrible song.

Call me Grinch if you want to, but you know there's at least a few Christmas songs you absolutely can't stand. Let me know in the comments!