Friday, December 24, 2010

The ABC's we love about Christmas

This is a co-authored effort by Jamie and me. We're bringing you the best of Christmas all wrapped up in a tidy little alphabet package. Here are our favorites from this season and seasons past:

Abundance of food (office treats are my fave)

Baby boy ("So much joy over this baby boy" is a song lyric from our church's Christmas album that has been newly realized in my heart this season)


Decorations. Except Jamie's family opted out of the decorating this year, on accident.


Finishing finals! really is better than receiving.

Home, being there.

Inspiring advent sermons

Jingle bells! Levi loves to shake 'em.

Kind-hearted strangers.

Looking at lights with special "peeps"

Mistletoe above my door.

Noel ("I love that song", says Jae)

Opening gifts and hearing the story behind them ("I was at the store and I..." "You'll never guess how I thought of this one...")

Pandora Christmas stations. Some favorites this year: Bing Crosby Christmas, Casting Crowns Christmas, Sufjan Stevens Christmas

Quirky Christmas parties, especially at school. No one has quite enough money to throw a dazzling event, but the tacky/funky get-togethers always satisfy.

Reverence: there is a lasting sense of it, even in the songs that get played at malls...people make an effort to go to church.

Scents: cinnamon, Christmas tree, apple cider, coffee with seasonal creamers


Unity. People gather and there is a sense of generous unity in the air.

Virgin conception and birth (Maybe it's a little graphic, but think about it!).

Watching movies while Wrapping presents.

X-mas, it actually doesn't cross out the Christ, it MEANS Christ.

Yulelog on DVD! Makes a great alternative to a real fire any day.

Zeal for a new year.

Merry Christmas, readers. Enjoy the special day with your loved ones, keeping Jesus as your center. Christ is born!

Saturday, December 18, 2010

Tributary Time

School's done; you'd think I would not want a thing to do with it. Wrong! For one, I spent 9 (k, maybe a wee bit less) hours in the rain yesterday working graduation... my mantra for the night was, "This too shall pass AND Christmas is coming". I spent a good amount of time singing (loudly) as I drove my little cart around the bare "overflow" lots. Well, thank you Lord for employment.

On a happier note, I'd like to dedicate this post to the great professors I've had this semester. Wow, for such a tough and roller-coaster like season, the Lord sure blessed me with adept teachers from which I learned huge amounts of information. More significant than this, these men portrayed Christ's love by learning our names and teaching their classes relevantly.

Dr. Morton of Intro to Islam. What a perspective rocking class! Dr. M, you did bring out the rebel in me at times, especially with the "women in Islam" lecture. But I so grooved on this! I learned a lot about deciding what I believe and why that's so vital in cross-cultural ministry. Best of all, you got me hooked up with ESL for Muslims which has been a fascinating experience.

Dr. Davis, oh Dr. Davis! For a first semester prof, this man knew his stuff. Abnormal Psych was something I was a little nervous about... thinking about crazy people all the time, you know? Quite honestly though, I was so grateful for your ability to read the class, be patient with us, and communicate good stories from your own experiences. Your sensitivity to the subject matter was necessary and totally appreciated. Thanks, too, for bringing a little bit of the real South here to the south of cal with you!

Dr. Thoennes, Theo I with you was such a ride. From the first "HELLO" (people, there's a reason that's all caps), you had us! I am thankful for your simple and sure love for God. It's contagious, 'cause I think I love God more now than I did before. Your expectations for attention in class were refreshing and challenging, while your words about the Lord were soaked in love and truth. This class left me asking good questions like, "Do my positive attributes from the Lord add to my ontological value, or is ontological value assumed without notice of character?" Oh, and by the way, my new favorite Christmas song is "Hark! The Herald Angels Sing".

Dr. Waller, I really like your vocabulary. In fact, I made a list of all the cool (dandy/marvelous/sensational/swell) words you used during our final class session. Ready?
Ardent (Ooo! Good one.)
Oh, plus you taught us a lot about philosophy too! It's possible that I never said it outright, but maybe you could tell throughout the semester that philosophy is just not my thing. However, I looked forward to your class because you made these crazy concepts much more approachable for us. Thanks for taking on an extra long day at work to make this class happen, too.

So to professors who should now be sipping a warm beverage and wearing embarrassingly ugly wool "home" socks, I say THANK YOU! Thank you for getting to know me as a person and a student. And thanks for stopping by myHandH.

Y'all, 9 more posts and I've reached #100! I need good ideas for what I'll dub "the centennial post".

Wednesday, December 15, 2010

A Big Fat Sigh of Relief

This is my mood. Quiet, thoughtful, canny, at peace, real tired, kinda wacky. My mood is:

PRAISE THE LORD that finals are over. I had four yesterday; what a day! It was the kind of day where I felt like I would be drinking coffee all day to keep going, but was so busy studying, running around, turning things in, having my "shining moments" of knowledge-display...I didn't even have time for coffee, which was probably advantageous.

And no, today was not exactly the inaugural Christmas break day. I spent my morning and afternoon teaching English, running around (hmm, a theme), and seeing Jae. Yes! The dear girl is home and she was wearing shorts in celebration of the "warm" weather, ha!

At English, we had a white elephant gift exchange. Firstly, I had to make up a story for what the white elephant gift exchange was. Yeah, I made up a story because who knows where this tacky (ahem, may I say WHITE) tradition came from? Well, post ESL class, I did a little research. Read on, all who are curious:
(...and someone tell me how to make blogspot linkable!)

Anyways, after I made up a story that had nothing to do with the real deal, we opened junk. The prized gift? My Gramma's old, broken umbrella. I'm actually quite impressed with myself for letting 'ol Mr. Tumnus go... he was my faithful rainy day companion for years after Gramma passed away. But he's really, super broken. Enough showing affection to my inanimate objects. Long story short, I introduced a bunch of ESL students to the crazy of this American tradition today. Success!

Thank you for allowing me to ramble on... so go the thoughts of a post-finals girl.

Sunday, December 12, 2010

Think on This:

Friends, this Christmas hymn has recently been brought into new light for me. Allow me to pass the gift on to you!

Christ by highest heav'n adored
Christ the everlasting Lord!
Late in time behold Him come
Offspring of a Virgin's womb
Veiled in flesh the Godhead see
Hail the incarnate Deity
Pleased as man with man to dwell
Jesus, our Emmanuel
Hark! The herald angels sing,
"Glory to the newborn King!"

Happy Sabbath.

Wednesday, December 8, 2010

These Days...

I am in the CRAZY DAYS of finals. And yet, I've found time to post this. What can I say? I just find writing de-stressing (not distressing). These days, life looks like this:

A little Christmas, a lot of studying, a bit of crying, a good amount of coffee, great anticipationg for weanining myself off caffeine, exercising again, and eating well (I'm just not worrying too much about it right now; no more items on the to-do list!). Far-off thoughts of gifts, singing engagements this weekend (yay!), waiting for Jamie to come home, dreading next Tuesday: five finals! Thinking on good advent lyrics...

And hey, the Sleigh bell Sisters' Soiree was a success! What a good idea to put aside a Sunday for everyone to just celebrate the season together. I think I'll have to have a "second anual" next year...

There's us. (Don't you love the cross-stitch nativity scene on the coffee table? Levi loves it too.)

Thursday, December 2, 2010

What would life be like...

if we had less technology. Well, I certainly wouldn't be here musing, would I? My computer crashed over Thanksgiving weekend and... it's kind of nice. At first, I was pretty panicked because I have a good amount of files that aren't backed up, namely music, photos, and my "receipt" to Mom and Dad (it's a log list of the thousands of dollars I owe them...). But once I realized I could call iTunes to get a back up of my purchased music, I have all the pictures that are really important to me in scrapbooks or online somewhere, and my important documents can more or less be reproduced by memory, I felt ok. No, let me correct myself. I felt ok after saying, "Thank you" to the Lord for my computer crashing. Odd as it seemed to turn toward thanks, it was a good move.

Anyways, back to my thought. I've finished up the semester once before without a computer (when it crashed before). And I am so super impressed by the few people who still don't have a cell phone... maybe it's not technology, but just being constantly connected.

Don't get me wrong. I love being a blogger, I love coming up with fun Facebook statuses (I'm doing a thought-provoking Christmas song lyric series right now!), I love Pandora and iTunes, and I so appreciate our capabilities with the internet. But I also like those rare days when I wear a watch and don't have to check my phone for the time. There have even been a few days in the recent past where I didn't look at my phone for a whole day and NOTHING HAPPENED! No one called, no texts, just a day of quiet and it was OK!

So I think I'll ask for a watch for Christmas... and I'll put off going to I.T. 'cause I like the temporary "old-fashioned"ness of not having a laptop. And maybe I'll even send a few snail mail letters this Christmas season. Here's to going back... to the '90s. Yes, I liked that amount of technology.

(Hey, maybe I'll get a pager!)