Monday, December 28, 2009

Christmas 2009

Christmas Christmas Christmas. It's one of my favorite times of the year. This year, I was able to spend lots of time at home. I almost felt like I was a student again! Just another perk of my job. :)

There are lots of little traditions that we have, but some of my occur on Christmas Eve. My church has a Christmas Eve service...I LOVE candlelight services...and afterwards, my family always invites a group of people over for dinner . There's nothing super fancy about it. Just people, food, laughter--lots of laughter, and if you're lucky a good game or two.

When I found out that I was going to be an aunt, I started making a list of things that I wanted to do with my niece or nephew. One of those things was accomplished this Christmas...making a gingerbread house. Emma Kate and I had a great time putting our little house together. We liked it so much that we made a manger too. Things were going great until she wanted to put Mary, Joseph and Jesus in the manger. Yes, I know, I should have thought about that before, but I hadn't. We had to do a little improvising with the candy we had leftover. Mary and Joseph were a little rough, but I was pretty impressed with our Baby Jesus...that's the most important anyway, right? :)

After Christmas Eve comes Christmas Day. You're just going to have to trust me that we followed with tradition and took a picture sitting on the stairs. They are way too bad to post for the public to see!

Children at Christmas...there's really nothing like it! EK got lots of fun gifts. Her favorite was the baby that does all kinds of things. Way to go, Santa!

I didn't have much to want this year...but since I haven't been buying clothes, I was quite thankful that Mom and Dad came through with lots of them. It was especially nice when I was packing a few days later and had some new things to wear! Then, when I thought all the unwrapping was done, Mom and Dad surprised me with something that I can use to wash and dry all my new clothes!! I had planned on purchasing a washer and dryer, but was so excited to not have to do that. They are both SUPER nice!! Woohoo for clothes..and being able to keep them clean and dry!

The next few days were spent lounging around the house, watching football games, getting work stuff organized and preparing myself to chaperone a youth ski trip to North Carolina. It's a hard life, but someone has to do it. :)

Friday, December 11, 2009

Coffee Shop Thoughts

I love coffee shops. Just typing that statement makes me giggle inside because if you told me two years ago that I would one day love them, I would have laughed in your face.

Coffee is not something essential to my day. Yes, it is true that I have it a few times a week, but I much prefer tea---of the green variety to be exact.

But the coffee shop. It is so much more than coffee.

It is people. It is comfort. To take a line from is my third place.

Tonight, I find myself sitting at a coffee shop. Green tea in hand. Bells ringing as customers enter and exit. Some ordering their usual. Some looking at the menu of options for what seems an eternity before deciding on the house coffee.

iTunes is pulled up. Praise and Worship Genius mix is making it's way from the computer to my ears. My journal is open and my pen is moving. Well, not really moving, I'm blogging...but, you get the picture.

Lots of reflecting is going on right about now. This time last year I was finishing up my time at Chick-fil-A. The job that had been my stability from the moment I graduated college was drawing to a close. I had no clue what life beyond July would have in store. When I think about where I am now, I still can't believe the way God has orchestrated the details. Life is 100 times better than I could have ever imagined.

The job. Whoa. It is me in a job description.

The families. Goodness gracious. Love them. They treat me as if I'm their own daughter.

The teenagers. Blessing after blessing. I know I'm supposed to be leading them, but I have yet to leave a meeting that they haven't taught me something.

God is so good. I am so thankful. I know without a shadow of a doubt that I am right in the middle of His plan for my life and it feels so good. I am reminded of that as I sit here in this coffee shop. I pray that I will never forget it.

Tuesday, December 1, 2009

Birthday Blessings

It’s practically the end of the day. In fact, it’s way past the end of my day. I prefer to be in bed by 9:30…but I just can’t let the day finish without taking the time to wish someone a very happy birthday.

Today is my older sister’s birthday. On this day, 29 years ago, my Mom was 24 years old. My Dad was 28. Up until that day, they had lived lives of singleness and coupleness, but when 9:00AM rolled around, my sister gave them the opportunity to live the life of parents. Obviously, I wasn’t there that day, but I can imagine it was a day of much happiness and celebration.

My sister changed the world for my parents that December day, and she has continued to change the world throughout the past 29 years.

With each passing day, I am more and more thankful for her.

She has weathered a lot in her 29 years. She has gone through things that I wouldn’t wish on my worst enemy. Yet, through each and every storm, she has taught me so much. She's shown me what it looks like to walk the narrow road. She's demonstrated the importance of truly forgiving. She's modeled the concepts of God's unconditional love and His overwhelming grace better than any I know.

Confidential to the Birthday Girl: Happy Happy Birthday to you, my dear sister. Sure, I may have complained once or twice about being the middle sister...but I take it all back if it means that I wouldn't have you for an older sister. I'm so thankful for the road that you paved and continue to pave for me. With each passing year, I find people associate me with different people and things, but I am so thankful that one of those associations is one that I have had for my entire life...Cile's younger sister. I don’t know what God has in store for you this next year, but I know that no matter the circumstance one thing will be certain. You will use the year to continue to inspire and encourage those around you. I love you so so much!