Wednesday, December 27, 2006

Here We Come A-Caroling

With all the struggles and drama that has been going on in our lives recently, I’ve had a hard time getting into the Christmas spirit; so much so that I’ve re-named myself “Lady Scrooge.” Several times, I had logged in to write a new post for this blog, but everything that came out of the keyboard was bitter or negative or angry or depressing. And I just couldn’t subject my loyal readers (all two of you) to that kind of reading material. However, things have gotten a “little” bit better and I’ve finally mustered up the courage (and restraint) to write a nice little Christmas post.

Ever since I was a little girl, I have always enjoyed going Christmas caroling. Sometimes we would go more than once within the season – through a couple neighborhoods, the nursing home, and the hospital. I have always loved music and always loved the beauty and celebratory nature of Christmas hymns. Plus, caroling always seemed like a way to be transported back into time, when streets and town squares were filled with music and when there was more of a sense of community and goodwill. Not to mention it was the one time of the year where you could share the good news of Jesus without someone accusing you of not being politically correct or saying that you were offending them. There’s just something about a Christmas carol that makes people smile, regardless of their background or beliefs.

When I got older, our church stopped caroling (a long story) and I really missed it. But then came high school and I made a friend whose family had a big caroling party. Every year, all his friends, and all his siblings and their friends, would carol around the neighborhood, then we’d all pack into their big warm house for tasty homemade baked goods: gingersnaps, pumpkin bread, banana bread, sugar cookies, fudge and hot chocolate – as well as more singing to the accompaniment of their piano. When they moved away, and Christmas rolled around, I really missed those parties. I hadn’t gone caroling since then.

So, suffice it to say, last year when our new church announced there would be a caroling party, I was ecstatic. We went again this year and it was truly the only time this holiday season, where my heart felt light and I truly felt in the spirit of the season. It’s one thing to just wish someone a merry Christmas. It’s an even stronger sentiment when you sing it to them.

The ironic part of this whole story is – I can’t sing well at all. I couldn’t carry a note in a bucket if my life depended on it. So I make sure to stand in the back and not sing too loud. But I enjoy it all the same, talent or not.

What’s your favorite caroling song? Let me know in the Comments section. (I like O Come All Ye Faithful, Carol of the Bells and We Wish You a Merry Christmas.)

Thursday, December 07, 2006

Happy Birthday to my Husband!

Excuse my sugary-sweet moment, but I just had to give a "happy birthday" shout-out to my sweet, loving, patient, funny, intelligent, talented husband! I'm looking forward to celebrating many more happy years with you! Hey everyone - if you have a free minute and are so inclined, hop on over to his blog and wish him a happy birthday!

Monday, December 04, 2006

'Tis the Season

In light of our recent home burglary, this comic strip was especially funny to me. Enjoy!

Friday, December 01, 2006

A Little Perspective...

"Pleasures are but for a moment.
Suffering is but for a moment.
All that matters is that which is eternal."

So, we were victims of a home burglary over the holiday weekend. For a more detailed description of what happened, jump on over to Shawn's website.

I opened my blog earlier this week, thinking I would write a new post, to take my mind off things. When I saw my previous, thanksgiving post, it certainly was prophetic. None of the items that were stolen, were on my list of things I was thankful for. Interesting...and true, I can live without the things that were taken. They were just things. (That doesn't mean I don't feel violated, angry and scared, by the way.)

Everything we have is on loan from God, even the air we breathe. Does he want us to enjoy the things He's blessed us with? Yes, definitely. Does he want us to set our hearts on those things? No. This whole experience has been an interesting journey for me and has just reinforced the things that I already knew. When I feel up to it, I may write more about it. But for now, I'm just trying to focus on the fact that I'm safe, Shawn's safe and God's in control. That's all that matters.

Monday, November 20, 2006

An Attitude of Gratitude

“Feeling gratitude and not expressing it is like wrapping a present and not giving it.” - William Arthur Ward

With thanksgiving just around the corner, I thought I would put down in words just a few of the many things I’m grateful for. Be they big or little, funny or serious, I thank you Lord for every one.

First, the serious ones, in no particular order…

I’m thankful for my dear, supportive, funny, talented, smart, loving husband and best friend. I don’t know what I did to deserve someone as amazing as you.

I’m thankful that we have a roof over our head (a nice blue one – newly installed this week), clothes on our backs and food on our table to eat. I just went to a conference where they showed a video for the World Vision charity. We have no idea just how much a “land of plenty” America really is.

I’m thankful I have a job (even though I have to drive practically across the state to get there) and I’m thankful my husband found a new job this week.

I’m thankful for a loving God and the gift of His Son.

I’m thankful for my friends and the laughter, support and encouragement they give me. Be it long-distance thru e-mails and chat windows, or right here in my church or in my neighborhood, I can always count on you to lift me up when I’m sad, pray for me all the time, call me out on my faults when they get out of hand, endure my times of worrisome fretfulness and I can always always count on you to make me laugh. I hope I give back just as much as you give to me.

I’m thankful that I had a wonderful dad, who taught me how to find beauty in everything and everyone.

I’m thankful for music and the ability to hear it.

I’m thankful for Dr. McGee, who managed to keep me out of the hospital when I was 12 years old, by trying out that last-resort drug on me.

I’m thankful for answered prayers.

I’m thankful for unanswered prayers too.

I’m thankful for all the wonderful, talented teachers I had throughout my education.

I’m thankful I have a car that runs.

I’m thankful for the bad times (as well as the good) because they’ve made me who I am.

And now for the not-so-serious ones…

I’m thankful for chocolate. (No explanation needed, right?)

I’m thankful that new episodes of Season 3 of LOST start in February.

I’m thankful for online banking.

I’m thankful for the snooze button.

I’m thankful for Tivo. (I notice a technology pattern developing here…)

I’m thankful no one can hear me when I sing along with the radio in the car.

Did that sound like a really bad awards acceptance speech? (I’d like to thank my tour manager…) I hope not. I invite you to post a comment and let me know some of the things you’re thankful for…

Monday, November 13, 2006

Motivational Mondays

“Be conscious of your thoughts; they become your words.
Contemplate your words; they become your actions.
Take care of your actions; they become your habits.
Guard your habits, for they become your character.
Be aware of your character; it becomes your destiny.” – Frank Outlaw

Wednesday, November 08, 2006

You know you're a fan of LOST if...

Tonight is the season finale for the Season 3, Fall section of LOST. (New episodes start up again in February for the Spring section of Season 3). So in honor of my favorite show, I thought I'd give it some blog time.

I've seen lists like this before for other TV shows, but have yet to see one for LOST. So I thought I'd go ahead and make one. Please feel free to add to it by posting your own observations about obsessive LOST fan behavior in the Comments section!



-- if you say “dude” a lot

-- if you’ve burned out your tivo by pausing, rewinding, slow-advancing, etc. scenes from the show to pick up on clues.

-- if, instead of saying “goodbye,” you say “catch you in anotha life, brotha”.

-- if the last time there was a large lottery jackpot in your area, you played the numbers 4 8 15 16 23 42. (guilty)

-- if you know the meaning behind the following words: losties, tailies, the numbers, the hatch, the fuselage, turniphead, freckles, the Others, Benry, Hanso foundation, Dharma initiative.

-- if you purchased the book “Bad Twin”. (guilty)

-- if your favorite rock band is Driveshaft.

-- if you quote Locke and Mr. Eko about coincidences and fate in your Monday night Bible study class. (ahem…Miss Laura…)

-- if you are constantly in fear of being attacked by a polar bear, regardless of the fact you live nowhere near the Arctic.

-- if you thought Oceanic was a real airlines.

-- if you suddenly have a desire to learn Korean.

-- if you named your pet dog Vincent.

-- if you know the punch line to the joke “What did one snowman say to the other snowman?”

-- if you checked your toothpaste tube to see if it was manufactured by the Widmore Corporation.

-- if you meet someone named Walter and have a sudden urge to scream “Waaaaalt” at the top of your lungs.

-- if you drive 28 miles out of town each Wednesday, just to watch the show in HD on your friends’ flat screen TV. (guilty)

-- if every 108 minutes you have a sudden and unexplainable urge to push a button on your keyboard.

-- if you find yourself wondering if the chicken from Mr. Cluck’s Chicken Shack is better than KFC.

-- if you have planned your next vacation to Australia.

-- if you write a post about LOST on your blog. (guilty)

Monday, November 06, 2006

Motivational Mondays

I really like collecting quotes; be they inspirational, funny, or just a statement that really sums up in a few words how I feel about a particular issue. So I've decided that every Monday, I will share one of these little golden nuggets with you. Enjoy!

“If you would not be forgotten,
as soon as you are dead and rotten,
either write things worth reading,
or do things worth writing.” – Benjamin Franklin

My goal in life is to actually do BOTH - to write things worth reading and to do things worth writing about. Feel free to post a comment with your favorite quote. I'd love to collect some new ones.

Friday, November 03, 2006

Respect for our Heroes

So…I just got off the phone with my mother, who is currently residing in a very small town in Kansas, as she is helping to take care of my ailing grandmother. She said a local boy, Willsun Mock, passed away recently, serving in the Iraq war. Today, his funeral will be held at a church one town over. Then the procession will drive to the cemetery in their small town. (Click here for an article about Willsun.)

This is all very sad, but why am I telling you this? Well, my mom said they’d made the news and, perplexed, I asked why. (If you knew how little this town is you’d understand why I was asking that.) Prepared to be further saddened…

There is a “religious” group out of Topeka, Kansas called Westboro Baptist Church who is lead by resident nutcase Fred Phelps. Members of this tiny church have been going around the country and picketing at the services of U.S. soldiers they say died as punishment for defending a country that harbors homosexuals. They hold up offensive signs at the funerals saying “Thank God for Dead Soldiers” and “America is Doomed.” Is there nothing sacred or respected in this world anymore, that people actually have the gall to protest at a funeral!? I mean how hateful, hurtful and insensitive could you possibly be? Word is they are planning to be at this boy’s funeral.

Well, here is the uplifting part of this story. There is another group that has formed, specifically to counter this movement called the Patriotic Guard. (Check out their website here.) They are a motorcycle riders group that volunteers to attend military funerals (when invited by the family) to “shield the mourning family and friends from interruptions created by any protestor or group of protestors.” Thankfully, they have been invited and are planning on being there too.

My cousin runs the small hotel in the town, and he donated rooms to the Patriotic Guard, free of charge. The local farmer’s co-op also donated $500 in gas to the Patriotic Guard. When the news crews wanted to interview my cousin for the nightly news, and talk about what he did, he said, “This isn’t about me,” and refused to be filmed.

So, which group is truly exhibiting Christian love: my cousin and the community, or the protesting “church” out of Topeka? It’s an easy answer, right? I don’t remember any story from the Bible where Jesus protested at a funeral, saying that person died because Rome was evil.

It angers me to my core that completely irrational and misguided people like Fred Phelps and his follows do terrible things like this, all under the guise of Christianity. But thank God for the true Christians, who quietly step up and offer support and love in the face of hateful people such as this.

As an aside, a bill has been forwarded to President Bush called the “Respect for America's Fallen Heroes Act”, which will prevent these types of protests. (Read more about it here.)

To Blog or Not to Blog

To blog or not to blog, that is the question... So yeah, I finally decided to relent and give in to the peer pressure and start a blog. My dear husband has been after me for ages to get my own blog. I'm not sure if it's so I'll stop pestering him with my ideas about what he should post on his blog, or if he thinks I really having something interesting to say! (ha ha - just kidding - I know it's the latter.) So here I am.

I haven't really decided yet what the purpose of this blog is going to be. I have a website with a friend of mine (which is currently under massive renovation - otherwise I would post a link here, so that you could visit it). I'm toying with the idea of making this blog an extension of that overall idea/purpose. That website works off an Alice in Wonderland and Mad Tea Party theme, which would give you some hints as to why I chose to use this blog title and quote, and it consists of articles analyzing and discussing the arts (movies, music, art, literature, etc.)

Or should I use this blog, to talk about my daily life and random musings, and keep all my far-away friends updated with my goings-on? Should I write in my real voice (like I am now) or should I write in the voice/character I use for my website? Should this be a place where I can test drive some of my fiction writing? I just can't decide. I think it might be a mix of all of those things.

All I know is, I have professed to be a "writer" from a very young age. It has always been a passion of mine, but I am sorrowed to admit that I have done very little writing lately. (I can hear my husband reading this and saying for the billionth time, "How close are you to finishing your book?") Perhaps this blog will help me dust off some rusty writing gears and get the creative juices flowing again.

Either way, I'm happy to be here! Please post a comment and let me know what aspect of blogs interests you most, or more specifically, let me know which direction I should take mine...