Thursday, December 21, 2006

Random Thoughts on the last day of work.

  1. Ack! We fly out on Saturday and I have so little done. I need to be finishing all my stuff here at work before we leave but I'm a little hung up by the massive lists right now, so I'm blogging instead!
  2. Like the new look?
  3. I hate writing annual reports. Blech!
  4. Ooooo, it is snowing finally! I'm glad to see that the weather decided to act like Minnesota and snow rather than the rain. The rain was really icky this morning.
  5. Chris is done with his finals! He is now officially half way through law school! I'm so proud of him. He works so hard and I think he'll be really good at this law thing.
  6. Packing for 2 weeks and 2 climates. I wonder how that will work. I should do laundry tonight.
  7. DID YOU HEAR? JK Rowling announced the title of Harry Potter book 7....(fanfares please)....Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows. Oooooh, doesn't it just sound fabulous. I cannot WAIT! Of course, I also don't want it to come because then I will be sad that we have no more books to wait for.
  8. The Eragon movie was pretty good, but not as good as the book, and the book isn't as good as Harry Potter!
  9. I am really looking forward to seeing the whole family but am feeling a bit uneasy of my seeming role as peacemaker in the family. Amazingly since I don't hold grudges and like everyone, it falls to me to keep certain people happy or to help avoid some fights between folks. Now, this is not an actual role, but it does seem like I do this to an extent at every major family gathering. Hmmm. I wonder what this year will bring.
  10. Sat I'm leaving MN and won't be back til 2007!
  11. I'm going on a cruise! WOOHOO! I'm super excited. I hope we all stay healthy so we can enjoy it all. Key West, Cozumel, Grand Caymen, and Bahamas. Pictures in a few weeks.
  12. Hmmm, what books should I bring to read on the beach!
  13. Apparently, China announced that it will not adopt babies to the obese, disfigured, or those with mental illness....yeah, because you've got a great history of caring for your children over there. Not that I'm considering adoption at the moment, but it is outrageous for the many people who may be who could be a loving and supportive home for children who need one. Thanks China. Way to go.
  14. I hope the Packers beat the Vikings tonight!
  15. So I still haven't done my Christmas Cards. They won't happen before we go either. So everyone I know - Merry Christmas, Happy Holidays, I love you, and look for our epiphany letter in Jan!
  16. I'm signing off of blogger until we get back now. (unless something truly hilarious happens)...I hope you all have a safe, healthy and happy holidays!

Wednesday, December 13, 2006

Christmas Tales

I want so badly to write an awe inspiring post about the majesty of the season and the dreams of a small child being fulfilled, ala Miracle on 34th Street or Charlie Brown or some other schmalzy Christmas movie/song/episode. I want to be overtly perky and thoughtful and literary and manage to create a meaningful Christmas montage.

But instead, all that I can seem to manage is a healthy dose of Scrooge and the ghosts of Christmas. Only my ghosts are the Ghost of Christmas shopping, the Ghost of Christmas cookies, and the Ghost of Christmas parties.

Only in my own Scroogy version of the Christmas Carol the Ghosts don't seek to show me the true meaning of Christmas, but they go out of there way to make my Christmas as miserable and gloomy as possible.

The scene opens....

Marshall Fields was dead...to begin with.

Liz/Scrooge: I'm so glad it is Christmas. It is such a wonderful time of year. I can't wait to see everyone and send out Christmas cards and revel in the glorious season. I should start my Christmas shopping.

Marshall Fields: Wooohoooo. I am the ghost of working at Marshall Fields over Christmas. I have come to haunt your Christmas season. Over the next three weeks you will be visited by three ghosts. They will rob you of Christmas spirit.

Liz/Scrooge: Oh No! But you are dead. This can't be real. Besides you can't take my Christmas spirit...

Marshall Fields: That's what you think! Hehehe.

Liz/Scrooge: Alright, time to start shopping...

Ghost of Christmas Shopping: Let's go on a journey. Let's go too the MALL!!! (Wee Wee Wee - psycho music) Can you find a parking spot? Quick there is one. Oops, too slow, we got cut off. Quick you are wasting time. Alright start the list. Do you have enough money? Can you find the perfect present? Don't forget you need to get stuff shipped in time. Don't you love the endless holiday music. Let's sing along to Santa Baby. Everyone now! Santa Baby...

Liz/Scrooge: Aaaargh. Stop it ghost. I can't take it.

Ghost of Christmas Shopping: Did you find presents for everyone? And gift receipts, did you remember them? Oops you forgot to get wrapping paper? Back to the store. Quick get the parking space. Ooh, they are playing Jingle Bell Rock. Jingle Bell, Jingle Bell, Jingle Bell Rock...

Liz/Scrooge: Aaaargh. Stop it ghost. Whew. I finished Christmas shopping. Christmas spirit, still intact.

Ghost of Christmas Cookies: Look cookies, cookies everywhere. At work, at concerts, at parties. Make some cookies. Eat some cookies. C is for Cookie. Come on, it is Christmas. Are you going to insult Jesus and not eat his cookies? Yummy, cookies. Have another cookie. And another.

Liz/Scrooge: Aaaargh. Stop it ghost. Must. Resist. Cookies.

Ghost of Christmas Cookies: Eat some cookies. Yummy, cookies. Have another cookie. And another. Watch that tummy grow. And your thighs. Don't forget them. They needs a cookie too. Yummy, another cookie for your thighs. You've eaten so many already what is one more. Yum. Cookies, Cookies everywhere.

Liz/Scrooge: Aaaargh. Stop it ghost. I can't take it, besides I'm late for my various Christmas parties.

Ghost of Christmas Parties: Jingle Bell, Jingle Bell, Jingle Bell Rock...

Liz/Scrooge: Aaaargh.

Ghost of Christmas Parties: Eat some cookies. Yummy, cookies.

Liz/Scrooge: Aaaargh.

Ghost of Christmas Parties: Oh. Let's mingle. But wait no one seems to notice you. They don't want to talk to YOU. Go sit in the corner. Quick you have a funny story about this. Tell it. Oops, way to bomb the punch line. No one is laughing they are just staring at you piteously. Go back to your corner. Have a cookie while you are at it. Want to try one more time. Oops, still no one wants to talk to you. Better start on the buffet. Is it time to go home yet? hehehe. Jingle Bell, Jingle Bell, Jingle Bell Rock... Back to your corner.

Liz/Scrooge: Aaaargh. I can't take it anymore. You were right Marshall Fields. Goodbye Christmas Spirit. Aaargh. Is it January yet.

(Liz/Scrooge retreats to bed determined not to surface until the new year. Strangely she seems to be talking to herself...)

The end.

Monday, December 11, 2006

Gifting beyond my means

This weekend was spent in preparation of Christmas. I have all but a few of my presents purchased and wrapped but once again I was reminded why I shouldn't be allowed shopping during Christmastime. For whatever reason, I become obssessed with the perfect Christmas gifts for all people, but not only the perfect gifts, but a sense of fairness between gifts as well.

So, for example, between the 5 siblings and sibling-in-laws, not only do I have to find a great gift for each one of them, but I also strive to have the amount spent to be between $5 of all the others as well. So some people may get like 4 smaller things while another may get one larger thing. This is partly a question of fairness, but I'm also paranoid that someone will be mad because the great gift for someone else out shadows their own gift. I realize that none of my friends or family are probably this selfish, but I still feel the need to be as equal as possible. The last thing that I want is hard feelings over Christmas.

Yes, it is probably stupid, but these two thoughts drive my Christmas giving and each and every year I end up spending more than I should because I love to give cool and perfect gifts. Maybe this would be better if I were a craft expert and could master the art of the thoughtful hand-crafted gift, but I'm just not. So I'm stuck with the idea of DVDs, games, books, knick-knacks and other thingamabobs for gift giving. So enjoy your gifts this year. We'll be eating mac and cheese for most of Jan - hehehe.

Luckily, I didn't actually break the bank this year...but it did get a bit dented.

Thursday, December 07, 2006

Returning to real life.

Hello blogland. Did you miss me? Sorry for the absence (especially after I promise cool advent-y goodness), but life was a little crazy at the beginning of the week (actually last weekend too).

Last weekend I ran around crazily but had a great time with a bunch of people. Friday night I met some great friends for dinner and spent the entire day Christmas shopping - with moderate success. Saturday I got up EARLY to go with my parents and Chris to Body Worlds at the Science Museum. I'd seen it once before but my parents wanted to go and it was the last weekend. This let to a late lunch and bridge game with them before all 4 of us going and meeting Chris' whole family for dinner and BIL's Christmas concert. Worlds of family fun from 8am - 11pm. (I actually don't mean that to be saracastic, it was fun!).

Sunday I watched football in a haze and did some odds and ends, and then i went and met my good friend's boyfriend for the first time. (I like him!). That was fun but it was another late night.

Work this week shouldn't have been too bad, except I had a huge intergenerational presentation on Wednesday night on prayer. Now, I don't consider myself an expert on prayer, nor do I think my prayer life is a great example for others, but I was scheduled to talk about our Feeding Faithful Family event this time. We do these every two months and are my brainchild for this year so I needed to knock it out of the park. It starts with 45 min with all the kids, confirmation kids, high schoolers, and parents, and ends with 30 min of just parent time. And it is supposed to be interactive! Throw in two christmas parties for work this week (on Mon night, on Tues night) that had a certain amount of "seen and be seen" too them, it was a crazy week. (Oh, and did I mention that one of my tasks is to write a devotion booklet for each FFF for families to use until the next on. This one needed 6 weeks worth, and though we only do 2 per week, writing devotion books isn't the easiest thing in the world.)

The talk went well last night but I'm mostly just relieved that my threatening sinus infection stayed away (Chris has one poor guy) and that I didn't make a fool of myself. I featured some video clips to help keep people interested (Simpsons, Bruce Almighty, Veggie Tales, etc) and the seemed to be a big hit too.

So, i've been thinking about prayer for a while now, trying to figure out what I can say to the congregation about it and I'm not sure what I've learned, short of the fact that I should pray more. I've seen prayer work and I know it is calming to share the troubles and joys with God, but it can be so hard to remember, especially when stuck in an average busy week. So in an effort to increase my own prayer life, if you have any prayer requests let me know. I can add them to my own prayers and increase my practice!

Also, for those who are inclined....please keep my cousin Rob in your prayers. He had the second of three needed surgeries over Thanksgiving weekend and he was just readmitted to the hospital because he is so sick from the surgery. He can't eat and has lost 20 lbs in the last two weeks. I think things were looking a bit better today but he could still use some prayers. Thanks!

Friday, December 01, 2006

2 year anniversary

Well it is official, as of today I have been at my job for two years. In a way I'm surprised I've lasted this long and I'm amazed by how fast the time has flown by. If two years go so quickly I can only imagine 5 or 10 years here. Amazingly 2 years has not done anything dramatic enough to cement my call either to or away from this church. I love the kids and most of the parents. I have my families that I tolerate for the peace of the congregation. I have those who think they know better than I in all things. I have some who seem to hate me, and others who hate me behind my back, but I also have found allies and support and friends in this congregation.

I would change things but I would do that in any church I was in, and mostly they are outside of my area of expertise or influence. For the most part I think I'm pleased. I've been able to grow and expand what I do and it has been a smoother ride this year than last. And at least 3 brand new programs are going (or scheduled and being planned) this year which is nice. At least they can't yell at me for keeping things the same. Although knowing churches they may yell at me for NOT keeping things the same ;) Oh well, that's not how I roll baby!

In other news, Chris and I went down to the St. Olaf ChristmasFest last night. It was great as always though didn't move me as much as years past. Maybe it was the "thursday night" effect. Since they perform 4 times, the first one can still have a few bugs in it. (or trumpets playing f# instead of f). But it was great and beautiful and set me in the Christmas mood. So much so that I'm contemplating some sort of daily advent blog ...we'll just have to see. Stop by Sunday maybe!