Saturday, November 26, 2011

Merry Advent!

Hooray, Christmastide has arrived. I hope you had a yummy and thankful Thanksgiving. As yesterday (for me, and for the traditional world) marked the beginning of the official Christmas season, I got to thinking about how Advent is a lot like Lent. Both seasons help prepare our hearts for Jesus. During lent, we usually sacrifice a luxury to prepare our hearts for the gravity of Jesus' death and resurrection. And during Advent, we prepare our hearts for the celebration of his birth. With that thought, I'm also reminded that celebration is indeed a spiritual discipline, just as fasting is. My spirit is tuned in to what the Lord might have me practice during this season of Advent in order to prepare well for this year's celebration.

I absolutely love this time of year. I'm even beginning to love that confusing couple of weeks in November when radio stations start playing Christmas music, but Thanksgiving has not yet passed and leaves are still colorful. It's a combination of all my seasonal favorites. This looong weekend, I've enjoyed sitting around with the family, eating Thanksgiving leftovers (mental note: I must share the "recipe" for the Pink Cloud Thanksgiving Leftover Sandwich), and buying and decorating our short, fat Christmas tree... my very first independent Christmas tree purchase!

On the Merriment schedule this year, I've got:

-The second annual Sleighbell Sisters' Soiree next Sunday
-A Christmas tree lighting at school
-A hula performance at our Christmas work banquet
-A Christmas choir performance at church
-The arrival of Marianna (from England!) and Jamie... back home for the holidays, finally!
-A very light load in lieu of final exams (Thank you, Lord!)
-More Amazon shopping... the way. to. go.
-Trying to sell the end of my products from last weekend's craft boutique
-...and some sort of Advent discipline.

From now 'til Christmas, I'd like to share lesser-known verses from Christmas hymns of old. Such good stuff!

Today, I've got verse three from Good Christian Men, Rejoice Agen:
Then hither throng with festal song;
Come, old or young, come saint, or sin-beladen:
Before him fall, in oxen-stall,
That blissful Babe of Mary, mother-maiden.

Enjoy this weekend!

Friday, November 18, 2011

Apples Oh'11

I started and {am finishing} a FAT research paper today. I don't know why I'm here writing... I have not much to say, but these few things I will share:

Thanksgiving is this week and I am beyond excited to be the self-designated baker for the meal. Apple pie, chocolate pecan pie, whole wheat dinner rolls...

I feel like I blog about apples all the time. Is this true? I don't know, but I did go to Oak Glen again this past week to take graduation {ahh!} pictures with my friend, Mackenzie. I don't think these are the ones I'll be sending the grandparents, but they do capture my more organic side to life.

The rain today has been perfect. I bought myself a container of Chai from Trader's and vowed that it would last me until the end of 2011. Ok?

Thanks for accepting me as I am today.

Tuesday, November 8, 2011

TV Junkie

My lovely roommate always comments on the fact that our generation is addicted to TV (both her and I included), and I always respond: "Well I guess every generation was addicted to something. At least it's not LSD!"
True confessions: I'm addicted to three things. TV, caffeine, and sugar... as if you didn't know that, psh. In every season, I'm dealing with one of these three. I periodically give up coffee to remind myself that I am not dependent upon a substance, but rather my creator. I've been cutting back (or desperately trying, anyway) on my sugar intake for the past few months... to little avail. And TV comes and goes with good shows and busy levels in my life. Right now, there are a ton of good shows on and I'm not so overly busy that I can't take an hour or so a day to watch something great. But what am I doing justifying myself to you? Let's get on to the good stuff.

These are the shows I'm currently loving:

The Amazing Race-
It's still running strong. I like this season's contestants and though I'm a little irked that they didn't get out of Asia 'til the middle of the season, the challenges are still very inventive and culture rich. I, of course, would love to run this race some day...!

Pan Am-
Ah, Pan Am. Such a good time travel show. With it's accurate time-period setting (not to mention great outfits for the ladies), it's a show that has you both attaching yourself to the sweet characters like Laura and checking your quickening pulse as Kate accomplishes secret missions. Plus the whole world travel thing is pretty cool to witness, minus a few decades. Everyone was so excited about flight!

The Sing Off-
I don't watch it so regularly, but whenever I go home for the weekend, I find my parents have saved an episode for me on DVR. I loved the Dartmouth Aires singing Queen! Nick Lachey still needs to loosen up a bit... and Sarah Bereilles? Wonderful edition.

Of course. This season has been pretty great so far, even though The Morning After says it's in danger of not progressing much further after season 3. Whatever. I am still in love with the characters, namely Jabar and his little friend Jensen, Drew, and Joel and Julia's prego birth mom Zoe. I'll admit that there are a few too many subplots to include all in one episode, leaving me bummed out when a story I expect to progress is not touched on a given week... but what I really, really love about Parenthood is the acting. Seriously, this is the best, most genuine, off-the-cuff acting I've seen in a while. It makes me feel awkward all the time, which I think is exactly the point. Brilliant.

The New Girl-
Oh, I laugh just writing the title. I can not explain to you how funny The New Girl is... Zooey Deschanel is to die for in this new role. Jess, the new, quirky, eccentric roommate to three "grown" men, stars her way through each episode. A little worldly at points, I try to focus on the character development, which I think has great potential. Last week, we really grew in appreciation for Nick as a man with feelings... hehe, not to mention a growing endearment toward Jess. I laughed and laughed and laughed and I realize I am not doing a good job at describing this show at all. You just have to check it out.

Season 3... we've been waiting. The thing is, I will always watch Glee performances even if one day I decide the show itself is too much for me. The singing and dancing is unbeatable and it simply takes me back to my high school show choir days. Pizazz! The more-than-statistical gay agenda bothers me and so does this second glee club... what's with that? But I do love Kurt Hummel and Rachel Barry so, so. What I've really been waiting for is the debut of Samuel and Damien from this summer's Glee Project. I haven't watched the new episode with Damien yet, but I'm expecting good things.

So there you have it. My little TV world in one post. Please don't suggest any good shows to me until one of these airs its season finale... I'll be looking for something good come spring time!

Thursday, November 3, 2011

Another Big November

I love doing this (arrow pointing left)...

I love a new month, new weather, more freedom to start celebrating Christmas early...

But I'm tired. And I'm apparently lamenting. In a class the other day, we were asked to sit and write a lament. I didn't think it was in me; all that sadness... but I somehow found lament and penned it quite accurately. It was satisfying in the strangest of ways. Here's an excerpt:

"There is nothing left to ponder.
It is over.
And you're still in God's hands.
But will those very same hands accept my poor, wretched gift of fear?
Because fear is all I have to offer.
I am afraid and totally unwilling to ever experience something like that ever again.
And He should know!
For He is the one who allowed my black past to sit still in my heart for so long.
Ah, there is not closure.
There is so much wrestling ahead.
Mercy, I plead, more mercy."

I find my words weird because it's not like I go around feeling like this every day. {And if you know me, don't over-analyze the above excerpt because it's not about any one event and I can't even put it all together myself... just some good, solid heart leakage.} But lamenting is important; I think I'm getting that.

Like I said, I'm very tired. Feeling lame about my state and wondering if I really needed to take it so slow, I laid down yesterday for my daily nap, telling myself, "You don't need this today", and ended up sleeping for an hour. So I guess I did. My body is hungry for health... it's hungry to be free of medication, yet it knows it needs it. This is all a complex way of saying yeah, I'm going off of some meds and am experiencing withdrawals. It's a lot more taxing than I wanted it to be. It's very, very hard, but I'm so glad I'm taking this journey.

Tired or satisfied; lamenting or not, it's something that needs to be done. I'm just praising the Lord that I can see what his hand has done over the past couple years of my life. Physically, emotionally, and spiritually... November is a big month for me. This isn't a desolate place; not even necessarily a dry place. It's just a weary, focused, quiet place. And it's a place that knows the deeply established joy of the Lord as strength.