Belt it out Christmas!

Okay, if you have been checking out my post for the last few days, you know by now that I am participating in a link-up called 12 Days of Christmas.

linkup13001_zpsd63590aa

The topic for today is…. bum ba bum!!!  Music.  It’s the holidays and if you’ve been listening to the radio, surely you have heard a Christmas tune or two.  I’ve actually been listening since before Thanksgiving, as one of the local stations started way back then.  There are a few that I don’t really care for. Another problem was when I realized that after a week of listening I was hearing the same songs over and over again.  Thankfully they keep tossing in a few new ones to keep things fresh.

So, there are two songs I really like.  The first is Breath of Heaven (Mary’s Song) by Amy Grant.  I found an acoustic version by a group called Hip Kitty.  I like the sound of the guitar.  Most times you hear someone singing this song, you get a lot of symphonic sounds.  The guitar sound, for me, is a bit cleaner.

The other song I really enjoy is White Christmas.  Not the slow, melodic version, but the do wop version by the Drifters that was in the movie “Home Alone”.  I heard a version this year, same style done by Michael Bublé with Shania Twain.

I could easily add a few more, but I’ll keep things short and sweet.  Hope you have some great tunes to jam to this Christmas.

How pretty it all looks

Need a bit of Christmas cheer?  When I do, I find an area lit by glowing lights, garland, stars and bells.  Even better when there is snow falling around me, but that only rarely happens.

So, Day 3 of 12 days of Christmas want to see my decorations.  I have sad news:  there are none.  Whaa??  You don’t like Christmas?  You hate decorations?  You are allergic to trees?

No, it’s none of the above.  I just am not a decorator.  If you were to walk into my room you would find a few pictures and some knick knacks but nothing that officially states, “yes I am a decoration.”  My house is very much in this regard with Christmas decorations.  We did talk about putting up the tree last Saturday, but we were all tired from cleaning the house, so it didn’t happen.

I think part of this lack of decoration comes from all the years of not being in our house for Christmas.  When we would go down to my grandma’s house, just a few days before Christmas, we would help her decorate her tree.  In our house we had nothing.  We weren’t there so why put up a tree.  I think I was about 11 when my sister convinced my parents to get a real tree.  Oh that smelled amazing.  We did start using a tree in the house when we moved to Virginia, but again it never really went up until a few days before Christmas.

So all I have pictures of is the anticipatory spots and the boxes holding the goods.

Image

The corner where the tree will stand

Image

The bag that holds the tree

Image

The box of decorations

 

Maybe this weekend we will have an appearance of Christmas cheer.

 

linkup13001_zpsd63590aa

Tastes like Christmas

Welcome back to day two of the 12 Days of Christmas.  Don’t know what that is?  Check it out here.

So what is the topic of today?  My favorite holiday dessert.

This, folks, is a tough one.  My family isn’t a huge one of bakers or creative cooking.  We have our standard weekly dinners and holiday dinners but those center around main dishes.  My sister gets pretty creative with her family.  They will be in town for Christmas and I have requested that we make Pumpkin Chocolate Chip cookies.  I’ll let you know how that goes.

As far as a favorite… there has been one thing that I really enjoyed eating when I was back in my high school days.  We were in Virginia when I was in high school and one of the families in our church would make a white chocolate peppermint bark to give to Sunday School teachers.  There were just a few years that my parents received this gift and boy it was a good one.

I’ve never made the treat myself, but if you like white chocolate and peppermint, how can you go wrong?  I wish I had the actually recipe, but here is one I found online.  One of many – you can pick from a multitude of recipes.  :0)

 

Tasty treat!  Outside of this, I am pretty welcome to most Christmas dessert and treats.  In fact, tomorrow I will be baking 800 servings of Jello Christmas cake.  It’s part of the Christmas dinner we are serving at the schools on Thursday.  Yes, you read that right – me, baking 800 servings.  Also plating 800 servings…. should be an interesting day – in a good way.  After all, it’s a tasty Christmas treat.

 

linkup13001_zpsd63590aa

 

“Christmas Time is Here…”

Does that bring up the Charlie Brown Christmas song for you?  It does for me, but I really love that movie so I have a fondness for the song.

I mentioned briefly that I would be participating in a 12 Days of Christmas Link up.  My good friend Bekah writes on her blog re·solve and has created a 12 day celebration along with her friend Aleshea who writes at glitz & grits.

So the Day 1 prompt is:  What does Christmas mean to me?

Christmas means a lot of things.  When I was young and it meant going to Church, singing “Come on Ring Those Bells” and celebrating Jesus’ birth, going to Grandma’s house, getting time off of school, watching cheesy movies about Santa Claus, and receiving an orange and underwear in my stocking (thank you Grandma).

Now that I am older, I carry a much deeper sense on Christmas.  Things changed when I was no longer with family to celebrate.  I can remember when I was in Germany my first Christmas, and I stepped outside just at midnight after being with friends on Christmas Eve.  Right at midnight, the bells started ringing.  It was dark and the stars were shining and the bells ringing in celebration.  Christmas now is being in different places and with different people and still having that deep sense of Jesus’ presence.  Of knowing celebrating his birth will lead to celebrating his death and resurrection.  Christmas also means long distance phone calls, family, and new traditions as life ebbs and flows.

I still have my cheesy movies and new adult favorites (While you Were Sleeping – anyone?), hopes of receiving things I never expected and the desire to have a full house with close family.  Sometimes these things happen and sometimes they don’t.  Never the less, “Christmas Time is Here…”

linkup13001_zpsd63590aa

The aftermath: NaBloPoMo and Versatile Blogger Award

The last post was published, the imaginary crowd roared and silence fell on me.

With a margin of error measuring an hour or so, I finished NaBloPoMo.  30 days, 30 posts, and where does that leave me?  A bit exhausted.  Not from blogging.  Most days I was creatively inspired but on a few…. it was mere words to achieve a daily blogging schedule.  I spent more time exploring what people wrote daily and tried to think about what I wanted to share – thought or ideas – even planning some posts in advance.

I’m exhausted from tech week.  Fellow theater people will know how that last week of rehearsals before an opening can do you in.  This one has been nothing but the norm.  Coming home from a 12 hour road trip (yea vacation!) started the sequence of not posting so far in December.  Adding a later rehearsal time has meant I have slept less and in my free hours I have no ambition to write.  No fear the show opens tomorrow and soon my evenings will be free.

In addition to not being able to write, I was nominated for the Versatile Blogger Award.  Say what???

versatileblogger111

A fellow blogger thought I was pretty spiffy and let me know by that nomination.  Thank you Priceless Joy!  You can see her stuff at http://pricelessjoy.co/.  I personally think they are fun entries and her drawings are great.

So according to the rules of the Versatile Blogger Award ( http://versatilebloggeraward.wordpress.com/ ) I am to nominate 15 bloggers and then share 7 things about myself.  Well, here’s the problem.  I have only been actively looking at the blogging community since I started NaBloPoMo.  I originally started this blog to help share things I was experiencing while I lived overseas.  Seeing that I like it, I have continued writing and have only recently started following other writers.  So I don’t have a full 15 to nominate, but here are a few that I really enjoy:

vivace con brio http://vivaceconbrio.wordpress.com/ – Lindsey writes about her life

These Are the Days http://kimcourtblog.wordpress.com/ – Kim is a big advocate of adoption

Mouthfuls & Mutterings http://mouthfulsandmutterings.wordpress.com/ – Valerie, a friend of 10 years, sharing recipes and life journeys

Jezbr http://jezbr.wordpress.com/ – Jeremy, a friend from Australia, share his thoughts, adventures, and life in missions

 

I know…. that’s only four blogs, but they are four really good blogs and I hope you enjoy reading them as I do.

Here are 7 bits about me:

1.  I am a bi-coastal kid and self imposed third culture dweller having spent numerous years in California, Virginia, Germany and Australia.

2.  If I was able to pick a place to live where I’ve lived before, I would pick Germany in a heart beat.

3.  I was the type of kid who never wanted to talk to the neighbors – ever!  If our ball went over the fence, I was more than happy to leave it there.

4.  Want to make me happy?  Give me a diet Pepsi.  I know there are lots of unhealthy things in them that could kill me at an early age but it seriously puts me in a happy place.

5.  My favorite animal is the cat, but closely second is the zebra.  If I could touch a Zebra some day… glory!

6.  I would like to visit South America and Africa by the time I’m 35, and Antarctica before I die.

7.  I have willing eaten chicken’s blood and organs in Thai soup, while I was in Thailand.  Gotta gel with the culture!

 

One final bit of information – upcoming next week I will be participating in a 12 blogs of Christmas link up.  What to meet some more fun and interesting people, then check it out:

http://bekahsresolve.blogspot.com/2013/11/get-ready-for-12-days-of-christmas-link.html

Oh joy!  That means more future entries from me.  It’s a good thing, I promise.

 

 

A November tradition

When I came back to California to attend university, I was located in Orange County.  I’m sure most know that Disneyland is located here, but the lesser known park is Knott’s Berry Farm.  My family would attend Knott’s yearly when I was growing up.  What excited me during university, was the discovery that Knott’s held an appreciation month for veterans.  Veterans could come to the park for free and bring along one free guest plus up to six more for a discounted price.  Free ticket?  I was sold.

Thus started my November tradition.  From 2005 to 2009 I would make my trek in November to Knott’s.  Not only was this a tradition for me, but one of my dearest friends started coming with me in 2006.  We created all sorts of traditions of taking specific pictures on rides and in certain spots.  The blessing of coming out to California this year for Thanksgiving was not only could I see family, but I discovered that Knott’s had extended the time period of veterans appreciation to the beginning of January.  The tradition could continue!!!

Today was a blast, taking in the swings and log ride (tradition!), shows and finding our friend dubbed Pablo.  Some years it took us a while to find Pablo but this year we ran into him straight away.

Thank you Knott’s, Pablo, and dearest friend for keeping on the tradition.

Pablo!

Pablo!

Swings

Swings

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

P.S – Thank you for following me on my NaBloPoMo adventure.

 

 

Inspiration from “Rescue the Captors”

I have been recently reading “Rescue the Captors” by Russell Stendal.  This is an autobiography of Russell’s kidnapping by guerrilla soldier in Columbia and how he responded to his captors.  Also included in the book are lessons that Russell and his ministry partner took from the beatitudes in the book of Matthew.  They used these lessons in their ministry of reconciliation in relationships and families.

One of the lessons is about having the right attitude in our relationships.  In this lesson, he has included a poem on love written by Doris McLaughlin titled “True Love.”  I hope you find this as inspirational as I did (and I recommend reading the book.)

TRUE LOVE

True love is such a rarity.

There is so much disparity, between what is good and kind and pure, and what is really used as a hook and lure

to hunt men’s souls and destroy their hearts to keep them from loving and doing their part

to alleviate suffering, pain, and disgrace to demonstrate true love to the whole human race.

There are those whose affections are based on sex, and pride, and selfishness

whose motive is that their own self be blessed.

And when the one they love doesn’t do what they said or wanted them to,

they say, “That’s fine! OK! We’re through.

Get out! I’ve had enough of you.”

Now, I ask you.  Is that true love or is it just lust?

Do they devour one another and eat up their trust to take what’s given and reject you when through?

So when you’ve been hurt and played for a fool, do you clam up and become very cool towards the one who has done this to you?

Do you walk though life burned and spent?

Do you allow bitterness, anger, hurt, and pain to cause you to stumble and rob you again of life in Jesus and the peace that he gives you?

And when you’re in this spot what do you do?

Who is there to comfort you?

Well, you call upon God when you’ve walked away from the one who has hurt you and done you this way.

“But,” you say, “They have done it before and they will do it again. How can I continue being hurt by them.”

You must give it to God and forgive that sin.

Confess your faults. Ask God to forgive them.

If you choose to love, the healing will begin.

Cleanse yourself of all bitterness and strife.

Cleanse yourself and begin a new life.

Love is not bitter, is not unkind, so put on her heart and renew your mind.

Her thoughts are tender, gentle, and good.

You can’t give love and carry dead wood.

Let go of the old and begin anew.

Today is a new day made just for you.

Put their needs first, pay no attention to wrongs, just go on loving all day long.

If not, you’ll suffer for what you do.

You will suffer and they will, too.

Give up envy, jealousy, and spite– just love your spouse with all your might.

Don’t seek a reward for the things that you do, and keep no record of the wrongs suffered you.

Don’t be proud or seek your own glory– just let love tell her own story.

Don’t be boastful, haughty, or loud and don’t show off in front of a crowd.

Promote the others, be gentle and meek and tell your old self to take a back seat.

To be lowly and humble is not being weak.

Praise and appreciate others, and speak of the good, kind things that they do.

Think of the others and take not thought for you.

This is His love which will flow though you.

Give up all rights which you have for yourself — set them aside. Put them on the shelf

Resist the temptation to think evil in your heart, for this day, God has given you a new start.

True love endures and bears all things, so let love develop and let your heart spread wings,

as joy overflows from God’s heavenly springs.

Let God’s peace umpire you, as you go on loving in the things you do.

Tear down those walls that were built like Jericho.  Look to Him and expect your miracle.

Doris McLaughlin