Sunday, December 28, 2008

ode to midnight

i apologize for the lengthy delay since my last post. i've been trying to focus my writing energies on my grad school essays. and then the holidays hit and i was off to Arkansas amidst a flurry of baked goods and multiple Target gift runs.

i hope your Christmas was as blessed as mine was. despite the debilitating, all-day car ride, i was so thankful to spend the holidays at my grandparents' house. they are some of the most kind, welcoming, loving, thoughtful people i have the privilege of knowing--what a joy to spend a whole week in their presence. and it was neat to have so much time around my immediate family. when we weren't driving each other crazy, we were getting along superbly well. stripping everything else away--tv shows, outings with friends, texting (well, mostly)--left only us, and that was good. plus, i finally got my blow-out, full-family holiday celebration. we had over 20 people around the tree on Christmas eve.

now comes the aftermath. i've just started my first load of laundry--though i almost hated to do it! my clothes from this past week smell distinctly of Grandma's house. this is the only time you'll find me deeply sniffing dirty clothes, inhaling that sense memory. it makes me wonder what i smell like to other people--what would your clothes reek of if you spent a week in my room? hopefully something vaguely pleasant. maybe chapstick and book pages and febreeze. as long as it's not my brother's musty old spice scent. i got more than enough of that in the car for 14 hours. boys just smell.

a task far less pleasant than dirty laundry greeted us upon our return home. my sweet cat has gone missing. our two live mostly outside, and never roam far from our back porch, especially at mealtimes. but my Midnight hasn't been seen for several days, according to our pet-sitter. this can't mean anything good. my mom is encouraging a search around the bushes and under the deck--where she thinks he would go to die. i can't imagine anything more horrible than stumbling across my cat's lifeless body. do you remember those Ramona series books? in one of those, the sisters came home to find their cat cold & curled up in his favorite nest. i've been terrified of stumbling upon a similar scene ever since i read that. but at the same time, i want to find him just so we know. so we could bury him.

excuse me for waxing poetic over my four-legged feline, but he was my first real pet. he came to live with us the summer between my fourth and fifth grade years. Midnight was immediately his name--with that black fur coat, a grade-schooler can't be expected to come up with much more. one of his first acts as a member of our family was to eat my hamster. not long after, he had to have emergency surgery after eating a packing peanut. his scar ran across his stomach from his neck to his tail. lest you doubt that he was something of a nuisance, he spent many years peeing on much of our furniture and linens (never on my things, of course). but we sure loved him. i'll spare you many of my silly "pet" names for him (pun very much so intended), but suffice it to say that i'll miss him. my mom had promised that he'd be my companion whenever i strike out on my own. i'll be sad not to have him there next year.

i don't know how to pray for him either. all i could ask was that he was spared pain and fear. otherwise, i was left pondering that movie All Dogs go to Heaven. hmm.

thanks for reading all that, if you did. in happier news, i'm currently enjoying my comfy new pj pants while listening to relient k on my new iPod home stereo. the Panthers won this afternoon! i'm going to visit 4 of my very dearest friends tomorrow, and my 2 former roommates on New Year's. hopefully next weekend i'll be hitting the ski slopes.

here's to the end of a wild and rocky 2008, and the promise of what's to come in '09!

Friday, December 12, 2008

hitting home

the good news: i can now say with confidence that i will be able to visit with all of you who are returning to NC for the holidays, should you so desire my company.

the bad news: i'll have all that time for visiting because i got laid off from my retail job today

the good news: it wasn't due to my work performance or any personality conflicts. sales are down

the bad news: the economy sucks. let's continue to pray for those who have families to support and are out of work. i'll pull through ;)

Wednesday, December 10, 2008

who's that baby?

there's been a lot of talk lately in the blog-o-sphere about recapturing the meaning of Christmas. I think this is a yearly task for most of us as each holiday season rolls around. but i have to admit, i've been in a bit of a spiritual funk over the last couple of weeks. now i can blame it on the tree rehearsals, blame it on my Bible study which is stuck in the OT (nothing wrong with that, I love it actually, but I count that reading as my quiet time and don't have enough Jesus in my life), blame it on the style of worship at my current church (as opposed to the loud, boisterous, youthful worship at UNC to which I had grown accustomed)--but it's really just that cycle, isn't it? that cycle of abundance and drought. and that's self-imposed drought, mind you.

but what about people who are learning about Christmas for the very first time--the ones who are first capturing it instead of having to recapture once its flitted away? whether they're new believers, unreached people groups, or, in my case, young children, it's amazing to witness the confusion mixed with wonder over the birth story, the dawning comprehension, the growing recognition.

we're almost through our second week of Christmas with the preschoolers. some of them are finally remembering that the name of the baby is Jesus. when we first asked what Christmas was about, they answered Santa. when we amended the question to ask whose birthday it was on Christmas, they all said, "mine." but now, after multiple encounters with the Christmas story, countless renditions of "ten little angels," and two artistic renderings of the nativity scene, we can point to their scribbled baby Jesus lying in the hay, asking "who's that baby?" and they know the answer.

"baby Jesus"

plus, i get to use a felt board with manger pieces. and what good church kid doesn't love a felt board?

but oh, to recapture that joyful innocence, before all the junk seeps in, the fears, the hurts, the doubts, the misgivings, the theological banter and denominational divisions. before any of that, there was just a baby lying in some hay. a very special baby. my kids are starting to get that--do we?

Tuesday, December 9, 2008

non sequitur

i did it! my first singing christmas tree was an absolute blast! the show went super well--i made some great friends, got to ham it up dancing on stage for the first time in three years, and i sang my little heart out :) but, shocker--on Sunday morning at church, after a week of full-time rehearsals for the show, i actually didn't feel like singing. i reached my capacity--never thought i would see the day. now everything is back to normal though and i went right back to humming christmas songs with my kids and singing along with david crowder at the top of my lungs while washing dishes in the empty house.

but speaking of Sunday morning, i just have to tell you what a joy my little Sunday schoolers were this week. i had all girls--4th and 5th grade. 3 out of 5 of them introduced themselves by saying, "my name is so-and-so, and I'm in love with Joe Jonas." the other two responded with, "I'm so-and-so" and I hate the Jonas brothers." ahh, to be young and in love ;) all joking aside though, these kids absolutely blow me away with their depth of understanding and their sincerity. one second they're drawing hearts on their arms around the name 'Joe' and rambling on with some non sequitur story, and the next they're asking questions like, "why do we get presents on Christmas if it's Jesus's birthday?" and "sometimes I just don't know if I can believe everything about God, is that okay?" aren't they awesome? these kids haven't been just coming to Sunday school & doodling on their ditto sheets of Jesus each week, they're actually absorbing some of it, wrestling with it, starting to believe it. isn't it beautiful to see the fruits of ministry?

on a lighter note, my list of pop cultural things to catch up on lengthens: Dora the Explorer for my preschoolers and now the Jonas Brothers for my Sunday schoolers. neither group really talks about much else...

i am caught up on one thing, however. confession: if it were possible to scarf down a novel, i just did it this week with Twilight. I told myself I wouldn't read that book, but I finally got too curious and man, it sucked me in. even better, my sister is going to further indulge me by accompanying me to the movie. so be warned before you open it: it will cost you a few hours of sleep time, $10 for the movie ticket, and God knows how much emotional scarring. As if we weren't having enough trouble finding the perfect man beforehand, now he has to be a vampire... ;)

Monday, December 1, 2008

christmas cheer

well, it's officially that time. advent started yesterday, the christmas tree is up, decorations adorn every flat surface of our home. and my kids are singing christmas music! talk about cute. earlier today i was in the potty, no less, helping one of newly-trained ones finish up, and she launched into the chorus of glorias from "angels we have heard on high." (earlier in the day she had serenaded me with "i have decided to follow Jesus", which went a little more smoothly owing to the lack of Latin text.) once the glorias concluded, she followed smartly with "indian shells and deh-bulls." upon singing back to her the proper pronunciation, I was promptly corrected. if a three-year-old making an attempt at singing Latin isn't giving glory to God in the highest, I'm not sure what it :D

in excelsis Deo!