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31 December 2009
30 December 2009
29 December 2009
28 December 2009
27 December 2009
My father is not big on Christmas. He has his reasons for this, but the only years that he actually seemed to enjoy Christmas were the years when he had preschool children in his house.
It's not too well-known that the Grinch has a brother, generally known as the Grunch. Rather than settling near Hooville with his brother (who he couldn't stand, anyway), the Grunch decided to live a life of relative obscurity in Greenfield, Indiana, and raise a family. He tried, he really did, to get into Christmas and indeed all holidays, but alas, when there were no small children to bring him amusement any longer, his Grunch-like ways resumed.
He didn't want to get a Christmas tree. He didn't like singing Christmas carols. He really didn't like having to go to school Christmas programmes. All the normal television was messed up for Christmas. What's more, he didn't always get to take his vacation time during Christmas, and when he did, it was usually too cold to do any projects around the house that he wanted to do, so he was stuck inside playing board games with the Grunch children. Boring board games. He did enjoy watching A Christmas Carol so he could "humbug" right along with Mr. Scrooge, and certainly enjoyed Christmas Vacation, just so he could have a laugh.
So, after being raised by such a Grunch, what's a Grunch child to do? I've tried going overboard for Christmas. I've tried going underboard for Christmas. But we've pretty much settled on this easygoing, lighthearted celebration that Chad & I now enjoy.
But beware; one never knows when I might go Griswold all over my house. Or Grunchy.
26 December 2009
25 December 2009
1. Tone down the gift-giving.
I'm not a parent, but I used to be a kid. And most of my friends are parents. And I have read one article after another in one magazine after another about "How do I keep my kid from being so selfish around Christmas?" And heard my aforementioned friends moaning about the same thing. And hey, I remember making my own Christmas list every year as a kid, too.
Call me crazy, but I'd say the way to keep your kid (and yourself) from a) acting selfish b) focusing entirely on Santa or c) completely forgetting about Jesus is: Don't encourage the opposite. I know a handful of families who have managed to do this. I'm looking forward to trying it myself.
Besides, it hardly adds to our reputation among the world for Christians to go to the store, buy hundreds of dollars' worth of stuff that the kids will play with a few times, then berate the clerk for saying "Happy Holidays".
On the other hand, a "Merry Christmas!" or "God bless you!" in reply, given with a cheery smile and sincerely meant, and certainly accompanied by a "Thank you!", might just go a long way.
2. Bar Santa from the house.
Yep, here's the unpopular one. And I admit if you have children between 3 and 10-ish who have always had Santa, this is probably not a route you will be able/willing to take. But you know the families I mentioned in idea #1? Yeah, they do this, too.
Seriously, I get so annoyed at people who lament a) the condition our country is in b) how sad it is that we don't acknowledge Jesus at Christmas any longer and/or c) how materialistic the U.S. has become, then follow it all up by showing me pics of their kids with Santa. I smile and nod, but inside I'm screaming: You can't have it both ways!!! And I really believe that you can't.
And this one does have some personal experience attached: I was so devastated when I found out about Santa. I held on to believing for a long time-- much longer than kids normally do-- because I didn't think my parents would tell me something that wasn't true. I was really upset when I found out that Oh, yes, they would. I just don't see how I can expect my children to accept that Santa is a story but Jesus is real, when I spend the first few years of their life presenting both as the truth. It works for some, apparently, but I'm not one of them.
3. Really celebrate Jesus.
See? An easy one! Celebrate Advent in your house. Take your kids shopping for needy families, instead of for themselves. Give them money to put in the Salvation Army boxes. Put a nativity scene in your yard (or better yet, your living room). Talk about Hanukkah when it comes around, and what it means for both Jews and Christians. Read Luke 2 & The Gift of the Magi on Christmas Eve. Go to a Christmas Eve service. And so on, and on, and on...
Jesus is not the reason for the season, for the Christian; Jesus is The Reason. For everything. We don't have to put Christ in Christmas if he is already a year-round part of our lives.
May the Lord bless and keep you as you celebrate today and every day.
24 December 2009
18 December 2009
16 December 2009
15 December 2009
So! After energetically tweeting my enthusiasm for all the world to read all day long on Thursday, we saw the real, live Trans-Siberian Orchestra on Thursday night. Sort of. We were a looooooong way from the stage. But no matter; the sound & light systems worked just fine.
There really aren't a lot of words for how spectacular this concert really was. "Wow. I tell you what, Wow!" That pretty much sums it up. The light show was so uber-fantastic; it was a bit like being stuck inside one of those lightning ball things. You know, the ones you put your fingers on & get the static electricity all going crazy? Those. Only in a wide variety of colours.
There was also some fire, which we could feel the heat of all the way up in the ceiling where we were sitting. Pretty dang impressive.
The singers? Crazy-amazing. Violinists? Uber-energetic. Guitarists? Super-fantastic. Keyboard? Drums? Light crew? Ditto. I'm surprised smoke didn't come off the keyboarder's fingers, she was playing that thing so fast & furious.
So it was getting kind of late, and the lead singer said something along the lines of, "I know it's a school night, but... Wanna hang out?" Of course, the arena screams. "Whaddya say, a couple of more songs?" More screaming ensues... and TSO crashes into "Wizards In Winter". And the arena goes wild once more. I admit it, I screamed & clapped, too.
Come back soon, TSO!! I miss you already, and your CDs don't quite cut it for me now.
So, my baby sister is 27. Sheesh.
And apparently I'm responsible for all her brain damage, since when she was born I thought she was one of my dolls, and would carry her around until our mother rescued her from having the oxygen to her brain cut off. Sorry, Neesee!
14 December 2009
Yep, that's how long I have until the gun goes off at the Austin Marathon. And all I have to say is: Yikes!!
I'm excited. I am so, so excited. Part of me can hardly wait.
Another part of me (specifically, the parts that are still hurting after yesterday's 18-miler) wishes I still had about six months to go.
Next Sunday, I run my first 20-mile training run. I'm torn between absolutely dreading the pain that goes with that kind of mileage, and exhilaration at the fact that I can actually do it. How did this happen? Seriously, I was the fat & slow girl who ran like a duck in P.E. People quacked behind me in the school hallways for four years. (Okay, I still run like a duck. And Chad brings back fond memories by quacking when he runs behind me.)
I've heard (from other runners) that getting into the hard part of marathon training makes you a complete germaphobe. And oh my goodness, is it ever happening to me. I am very much a "rub some dirt on it" kind of girl, but I'm already planning my all-out assault on all germs in my vicinity for the next two months. If you're sick, I'm very sorry to hear it; please stay back 100 yards. Don't even think the word "sneeze" while reading my blog.
No worries, I'll be back to my germ-tolerating self on February 15th. Until then, watch me become ever more crazy. 1497 hours, 42 minutes.
08 December 2009
This is due in large part to my own desire to create things, of course. New baby? I have just the cross-stitch for you. You need a blanket? I'm on it. You have multi-coloured paper, fun scissors, and stamps? One birthday card, coming up. Your door needs a Christmas wreath? No problem.
You want me to draw you a picture? I hope you like stick figures.
This is, after all, the way I show my affection for people: I make them things. I may think you are the greatest person on the planet, but it's not likely I'll ever say so. No, instead I'll cross-stitch you something cute and write a nice card, and stick it in your car when you're not looking. Yeah, I'm that kind of reserved. Sorry, I'm doing my best to be an extrovert.
And being a person of faith, I know the source of all this creativity. The God who made the sky blue and the trees green and the snow white and the flowers in all colours gave the same zest for making things to me. He made us in his image, but that's doesn't mean we are all alike: my creativity manifests itself in crafts. Other people have paintings or music or basketball or working on cars or programming computers or writing or teaching or cooking or acting or dancing... and the list goes on. And it all springs from a God who loves creativity.
You don't have to agree (and goodness knows there are plenty who don't!). But when I see the spark of the creative in you, I see the Lord. And I hope he is shining through me, too.
04 December 2009
01 December 2009
I took the morning off work, just because I can. And guess what time I woke up? 6:30. Yep, could have slept to 11, but my brain was all spinning again at 6:30 AM. Aaaargh.
So, I have cookbooks to sort through, pics to upload, an apartment to clean, and running to do. I am not in any way going to attempt to do all those things before noon. Also, I keep reading that there is snow outside, but so far it isn't showing its very cold face around here.
So, Happy Tuesday!