Tuesday, December 27, 2011
Sunday, December 25, 2011
#1. Classic Christmas Movies.
#3. Nostalgic Decorations
This is a sight that may not be seen for many more Christmases at my mother's house.
#4. Giving Gifts
I love to give. There is nothing quite as exciting on Christmas as watching the face of someone you love as they open a gift you know they are going to love. I'll tell you one thing I have grown to hate though. The dreaded Christmas list. I can't stand buying off a dull list. I try my best to find gifts that aren't of the ordinary. Gifts that really are the person I'm giving to, but aren't something they expected.
#6. Revisiting Old Talents
Another tradition of Christmas Eve that I love is shared with my younger brother, Joel. Usually last minute, we throw together a fun variety show to perform for my family on Christmas Eve (before we open our presents). It's just feel good fun that makes Christmas more than just eating and opening gifts. This year, we sang a Frank and Nancy Sinatra song as part of our program. This entailed me picking up my guitar, which I haven't played in ten years, and making it work as our accompaniment.
My finger tips were yelling at me before the night was over.
#9. My Kissing Ball.
Saturday, November 26, 2011
Wednesday, November 23, 2011
My original answer always sounded something like this: I love Thanksgiving because, it is the start of the holiday season, and because, you know, the parade, the excitement, the turkey, all the other food, getting together with family, being thankful for things, and so on.
Deep down I knew what I was trying to say in my jumble of stereotypical holiday lingo, however, I never really knew how to phrase it.
I have been brought up in very fortunate surroundings. For many, the holidays mean more pressure, more work, fights, spoiled brats, and little or no appreciation. These people have to go into the holidays with a penciled-in-smile on their face and come out of the holidays saying how wonderful everything was when in reality they spent most of the day at odds with those they love.
For others, the holidays are all about one person, ME. All this person cares about is the bottom line—What is in it for ME? What gifts will I be getting? The rest doesn’t matter, they could walk by dozens of manger scenes and hear continuous carols played but the bottom line of the holidays for them is always of selfish concerns.
As I reflect on my life, I remember that the holidays hold many of my treasured memories, and perhaps this is why I hold them so dear.
I used to always claim Christmas as my favorite holiday because, of course---it’s Christmas! But when I really thought about it, I found Thanksgiving to truly be my favorite holiday. It’s like preparing for a wedding. The wedding day isn’t the only exciting thing about a wedding. The engagement, the preparation, the bridal shower, the rehearsal, these things added together brings about the excitement for a wedding.
The ultimate excitement does come to a climax on Christmas day, but the events surrounding Christmas, to me, are full of the most holiday cheer.
If someone were to swipe away all my Thanksgiving traditions and leave me merely with the ability to celebrate with a turkey dinner, but nothing else, the day would be ruined. You see, the day isn’t built around just some meal. My love and excitement for the day goes to times shared and memories made. Sometimes these memories are traditions like eating a breakfast composed of all desserts, or watching the Macy’s parade snuggled up on the couch, or “helping” dad carve the turkey by picking at juicy pieces hanging loose. And then, sometimes these memories are impromptu surprises, like going to the movies after the meal with my older brother, or going out with my dad to look at a Corvette that I desperately wanted to buy. (And I did!) The day is full of excitement and anticipation, and best of all everyone is home and together. And once the day ends, we all know the excitement won’t go away because it has only just begun.
Thanksgiving marks the start of more traditions, more family times, more coziness and comfort. So often we view these holidays as just what they are: Thanksgiving equals turkey, Christmas equals presents. But they are so much more. The holidays are memories waiting to be made. They are times to put this crazy life on hold, times to give rather than to receive, times to snuggle up with ones you love while gazing at a beautifully lit tree with or without presents under it.
So simple, yet, so often we get it all wrong. We allow the holidays to take our spirit rather than to give it to us. We allow the holidays to become an excuse to be ungrateful rather than content. We complain that we have children to shop for, meals to cook, and family to visit.
But what if we didn't? Every complaint we make could become a statement of grief if the things we complain about so often weren't there to complain about.
Think about it.
So here is to starting this holiday season with excitement and hope. Here is to sharing traditions, both old and new, with those you love. And most importantly, here is to holidays that are rich and full of childlike emotions that are hard to express but wonderful to experience and take part in.
For all the things we have, may the Lord make us truly grateful.
Monday, October 31, 2011
Sunday, October 2, 2011
Tuesday, September 27, 2011
It has finally happened. I celebrated my very last birthday ever. Last year, I was clueless, blinded by the joy that reaching a memorable age like 25 brings.
Tuesday, September 6, 2011
Monday, August 22, 2011
Wednesday, August 17, 2011
- I Read.
I finished off Little Women which I say with red cheeks that I started in December '10. I read through The Giver in two days to remind myself of the story. I have always moaned that I wish I lived in a society that gave out careers as they are given in The Giver, and my husband always points out the lack of freedom that such a society would have. This I know, but feel life would be so much simpler if we all grew up knowing what career was destined for each of us.
- I Wrote.
- I Cleaned.
- I Cooked.
- I Exercised.
- I Played.
- There are only two things I could ever do and be 100% passionate about. Writing (about things I want to write about) and music.Marriage, a new home, yearly job changes, and just about any other excuse I can think of kept me from keeping that passion occurring in my daily routine. By the middle of summer, I dusted off my violin and began chugging away at exercises that eventually made my wrist sore as a subtle reminder that yes, I had indeed been away too too long. By the third or fourth day of practice, I was close to my usual strength and intend to keep at it hoping to eventually audition for a chair in a local orchestra.
- I Day-tripped.
Friday, August 5, 2011
While writing and later reflecting on my post of the continuous transformation of character I face with my hunger demon, I couldn't help feeling how absurd it truly was. I feel I may have presented it as an affliction, and by affliction I mean something that pains me, something I suffer from. And while it may be true that this may be a psychotic issue I have that I cannot resolve (after all, someone's mood being affected to a point where they go from Dr. Jekyll to Mr. Hyde can perhaps only be labeled as psychotic, or chemically unbalanced at the least), please know for sure I suffer from nothing. I have no pain in my life.
A few years ago I wrote this as a reminder to myself of a true lesson of pain and perseverance. Enjoy!
Having your wisdom teeth pulled is not usually a time in a person’s life when they are given a great epiphany. Yet, for me, that whole horrible experience provided a new outlook on appreciating the simple capabilities that we possess.
By my second day of recovery, I began to realize how easily the ability to chew food is taken for granted. I soon grew frustrated with the fact my stomach was never full, aggravated with the limited selection of food: ice cream, yogurt, and mashed potatoes, and restless with each inconsistent night’s sleep. It didn’t take long for me to begin feeling a lot of pity on myself and start singing that all too familiar tune, “Whoa is me!” Yet, while my flesh was aching and screaming out how unfair this pain was, I could not completely meditate on these feelings without the thought of my Aunt Linda, who endured cancer of the tongue and throat. Within a year of being diagnosed, she was unable to speak or eat. She had to be fed through a tube and had to write down anything she wanted to say.
During my oral recovery, I was on the couch more than 75 percent of the day. I skipped Sunday morning church, avoided two dinners at my parent’s house due to not wanting to smell food I could not eat, and cooked one pathetic meal for my husband. This may seem normal and acceptable. Most people do not expect someone in pain to be serving others, or to give of themselves in the least. Yet when I reflect on this time, I am surrounded with constant shame of my self-pity and drama over my short loss of the ability to chew food, sleep through an entire night, and have a face that is not in constant pain.
Even while my aunt was experiencing the worst of her cancer, even days before she passed away, she was constantly moving, constantly serving her husband and those around her. She had to be rushed to the hospital many times because of blood loss, yet days later she’d be home baking cookies or home-made bread for her husband to take to work. She died right before Easter of 2008, yet had plans to cook a feast for her husband and children. She felt much more pain than I ever experienced, yet did not let it get her down. It did not change her character. She did not allow self-pity into her mind.
She had to endure smelling food she could not eat and writing down words she could not say, but she never complained. It would have been so easy for her to tell her husband that she couldn’t cook for him and didn’t want him to eat anywhere near her. No one would have looked down on her either if she had chosen to lie around on the couch all day.
It is so easy to fall into the trap of taking the easy way out, of making your problems bigger than they are. Think about the healthy wife who refuses to cook for her husband because she, ‘just doesn’t feel like it’, or the healthy husband who uses a sick day to lie around the house and milk a mild cold. Think about when we complain because it is left-over night and old spaghetti is on the menu, or when we avoid talking on the phone with someone we can’t stand. If all our abilities were taken away, we’d give anything just to be able to serve our husband and cook him a meal, just to be able to work one more day at our job, just to be able to eat a left-over meal or just to talk to someone we can’t stand.Aunt Linda was a true inspiration of what it means to persevere and endure. Although I am far from being like her, I aim to have half the strength that she possessed. I want to look at every hard circumstance I am faced with and see the good I can bring from it. Each day I want to recognize the simple abilities I have been given such as my health, the ability to talk, the ability to eat, the fact that I have two arms and two legs; and never take them for granted. I want to see pain as an obstacle for me to overcome, not something that I will allow to overcome me. I want to greet each day thanking God for another chance at life, another chance to make a difference in the world and try my best to be an imprint of Aunt Linda for all to see.