Thursday, December 22, 2011
Let's be frank here. Christians hijacked a pagan holiday and turned it into a religious holiday. Why are we so surprised that the pagans are taking it back? Relax. But still... I understand. I want Christmas in my home to be about the birth of Christ, too. That's what we choose to focus on.
What I'd like to say to all those Christians fighting the War on Christmas... START IN YOUR OWN HEARTS. In your own homes.
Start simple. Attend church every week. Replace your cute Santa cards with cards proclaiming peace and joy and the coming of the Prince of Peace. Cut back on presents to family and friends, and up your giving to charities.
Read the gospel stories of the birth of Jesus. Marvel at how Jesus came into this world in humble surroundings. Realize that the angels announced His birth to dirty, smelly shepherds, not the leaders of the temple. Understand that foreign sages came to find Him because He came to be the savior to ALL people. Mourn over the death of the innocents who were killed as Herod tried to eliminate any threat to his power. Know that God came to earth in the midst of our suffering and pain, and proclaimed peace and joy even still.
Step it up a notch. Honor Advent, a time to prepare our hearts for the coming of Christ. Not just Christ as a cute baby, but the return of Christ. We are told to watch and wait. How do we watch and wait? How should we be prepared? We wait not by sitting and watching the sky or guessing when the end of the world will come or looking for signs of impending doom. We wait actively, living the life that Jesus told us to live. Loving one another. Feeding the hungry. Caring for the sick. Forgiving each other. Visiting the imprisoned. Sharing the good news of peace and love. Advent is a time to step back and take stock. We were given an amazing gift in Jesus, God incarnate. The best way to respond to that gift of love is to behave the way he told us to behave. What do you need to do, not just at Christmas but all the time, to be prepared?
You want to keep Christ in Christmas? Then kick Santa to the curb. Sure, Santa has some religious history. But St. Nicholas didn't give gifts to his children who already have over stuffed toy chests. He didn't give obligatory gifts to his sister in law and his son's teacher and the well to do neighbors. He secretly gave gifts to people in his community who needed HELP. His giving was not compulsory. It was from the heart. It was following the commands of Jesus. He didn't keep track, he didn't expect a gift in return. Imagine if parents took all that energy they put into keeping up the farce of Santa Claus and put it into teaching their children to love the way Jesus loved. How different our world would be with that one small change.
We do a lot in our house to try to keep the Christ in our Christmas. The May Queen has known from the start that Santa is fiction. Every night we light the Advent wreath and read from a book that tells the story of Christ's birth. Instead of giving gifts to our parents we give to a family in need in their honor. I've cut back on compulsory gift giving. The cards I send share the Christmas message of joy, peace and love that Christ brings.
But we still give gifts to each other. We give gifts to our daughter, who certainly doesn't need a thing. I feel guilty about not baking more, and stress about shopping and decorating and holiday parties and all the trappings that come with Christmas. We live in this world, in this time, and we get caught up in the Christmas that we are told we should have: a Christmas with presents under the tree and holiday goodies and gatherings and lights hanging from our eaves.
It's not up to stores or our government or Fox news to put the Christ back in Christmas. It's up to me. It's up to you. And putting the Christ back in Christmas has nothing to do with whether you say Merry Christmas or Happy Holidays, and everything to do with honoring why Christ was born. Christ came because God so LOVED the world. Put the Christ back into Christmas by LOVING the world. Do what you can to shine His light in your corner of the world this holiday season, not by fighting a war but by loving everyone. Even those who don't celebrate the holidays the way you think they should.
Jim Wallis of Sojourners has written a great article on the war on Christmas:
The Real War on Christmas... by Fox News
Monday, December 19, 2011
Tuesday, November 29, 2011
MQ is lobbying for Maisy or Midnight. I was actually willing to give in, but my husband, bless his heart, wants to stick with a theme. And I love nothing more than a good theme.
Friday, November 11, 2011
Monday, October 24, 2011
1% of the population can walk successfully in 6 inch platform heels. The other 99% look clumsy/ scared /ridiculous. If you are in the 1%, and can ROCK those heels, more power to you. But if you cannot walk with confidence and attitude in those shoes, then please, stick to more reasonable shoes. Perhaps with lots of practice and the thumbs up from a trusted friend, you can move up to the elite 1%. But until then just accept that…WE ARE THE 99%
Wednesday, October 5, 2011
These mice seem to have moved to our basement, and are doing something in the dollhouse that Potter never mentions in her book:
My grandfather made this dollhouse for me, and now the mice seem to be using it for a toilet. Hunca Munca is definitely not sweeping out THIS house.
Another thing Potter doesn't mention is what happens when the household cat gets ahold of the mischievious mice. Hunca Munca was found dead at the bottom of the basement stairs.
(no picture, sorry)
Unfortunately, I'm fairly certain her criminal partner, Tom Thumb, is still on the loose.
Tuesday, October 4, 2011
I'm grateful you still sit in my lap. Occasionally you'll hold my hand walking home from the bus stop or crossing a street. Briefly, so briefly, and I remember how much I've always loved the feel of your soft hand in mine.
You're a Daddy's girl through and through. He's clearly your favorite person in the world, and you miss him when he's gone and rejoice in his returning. He tickles you and calls you his weasel and you squeal in protest, loving every minute of it.
You lost your grandfather this year, and handled his last days with so much love and grace. You spent endless hours over several months at his bedside, and it's no secret you were his favorite visitor. On his last night you shared a meal of macaroni and cheese and ice cream. The next morning you sat in the the living room with his lifeless body before the funeral home came to take him away. In the weeks that followed we talked about life and death and God and heaven and your late Uncle Greg. I explained cremation and tried to talk with you about soul.
It's been a hard year for me, and I wonder how much that has effected you. I know my patience and creativity and energy have been lagging, and I'm sorry for the times that I snapped at you and wasn't up to playing.
You're on the edge of childhood and the tween years. You still play with Barbies and Zoobles and Littlest Pet Shop. You're starting to take some flack for that. A girl in your class made fun of you for taking home the empty tissue box to make a home for your LPS. You were hurt by that, but I was proud to see you bring home another empty box a few days later. Stuffed animals trail behind you wherever you go, and you rotate your favorites. You love real animals, too, of all ilk. Foxes are your latest favorite. I'm not quite sure yet how I'll help you be a fox for Halloween.
As you get older I feel more pressure to pass on the things I want you to learn, most importantly to be KIND first. I'm also trying to figure out how to help you see things from a different point of view and to not take everything so personally. As an only child there are experiences you've lacked that might have helped you learn these things. I'm trying to help you navigate the waters of interacting with others.
You have some great friends, friends who love to play and laugh and be silly. I hope these friends become lifelong rocks for you.
9 years. Thank you for sharing your life with us for 9 years. You're halfway to adulthood. Halfway to college. I wish sometimes I could make time stand still, or reverse it. But we are here, now. Let's enjoy every minute.
Tuesday, August 2, 2011
Chrissy feeds her husband and three gorgeous kids.
But all of you, please, go buy Emily's book, either in print or in digital version.
And thanks, Emily, for letting me do a giveaway of your book. I'm honored.
Tuesday, July 26, 2011
Emily is passionate about feeding her family REAL food. As in food you would recognize as actual food (vegetables and fruit that are fresh, real hunks of meat, no chemicals you can't pronounce, etc) I have to admit I was a bit nervous about reading the book, because while I really like the idea of real food, and truly believe in the importance of family meals, sometimes (OK, at least a few times a week) my family dinners consist of things like frozen lasagna (I do heat it up in the oven, but you get the idea). I shop at the grocery store, not the farmer's market, and am positive the bananas on my kitchen counter were not grown anywhere near within 100 miles of my home. I was worried that the book would fill me with guilt for all the things I'm NOT doing.
Fortunately, Emily writes with such humor and grace, and an acknowledgement that being a true Real Foodie takes passion and commitment, that I finished the book laughing and thinking about what small steps I could take to incorporate more Real Food into my family meal planning. (Plus, she makes a True Confession that will quickly let all her readers know that she's not perfect. Which is good. Because if I start striving for perfection I'm toast. Toast made from Wonderbread. White Wonderbread. Full of unpronounceable stuff)
More than just a collection of recipes, Emily has filled the book with stories about how and why she developed the recipes. The stories give ideas of how to plan ahead, how to include your children in the process, how cook beans one day to use in several recipes over the coming week. The stories help to show the big picture... beyond the creation of the food to eat, the WHY of the way it's prepared. The WHY of the ingredients. The reasons WHY Emily is teetering on the edge of insanity, and the good things it has led her to create.
The first recipe I plan to try is her Bakeless Peanut Butter Cookies. First, because they have my absolute favorite food in them. Peanut butter. Yum.... Also, because Emily thinks they are healthy enough for breakfast. And if I can get my child to eat them for breakfast, I think our whole lives would be so much easier. And how hard can it be to get my child to eat COOKIES for breakfast? (Please, don't answer that)
I'm also going to try to use more fresh fruits and vegetables. To soak my beans instead of opening a can. To plan ahead so I'm not stuck pulling out the frozen pizza at the last minute.To cut down on the amount of chemicals in my kitchen (I suppose I should start in the most obvious place, by kicking - once again - my diet soda habit. Shhh... don't tell Emily)
Emily has agreed to give away a copy of her book to one of my readers. So PLEASE, leave me a comment about your thoughts on eating more Real Food, and I'll pick a winner at random on August 1st (and if you already have Emily's book, feel free to leave a comment... IF you promise to give your winning copy away as a gift. Or just tell me to leave you out of the drawing). I plan to purchase a book to give to a friend of mine, a single mom feeding her own voracious little boy as much real food as she can find and afford in NYC.
Monday, May 9, 2011
Then I thought... Hmm... we have all these random boards they left lying around the backyard, what if I used some of these old paints to slather them in bold colors, then painted fun signs to hang from the fence around our pool/yard/garden.
So I did. Paint them bold colors.
Monday, May 2, 2011
I didn't celebrate it this year. I still have the maypole. It's in my garage. My father even commented on it just last week.
I just couldn't summon up the energy and the joy it takes to put something like that together. It was a grey day, and I ended up scrambling to get ready for a last minute audition anyway, so in a way it's good I didn't plan something. Imagine the stress.
But I did miss it.
(MQ did note that it was May Day by asking if Angry Birds Seasons put out a new level for May Day. Sadly, no)
Tuesday, April 26, 2011
Read about the project here.
I'm interested in seeing how this will work.
Plus, it's timely, considering my recent desire to see a "Shakespeare" language option for FB.
Thursday, April 21, 2011
I did have a good audition a few days ago and today the sun is shining through the clouds, at least. I cling to the hope that some day the clouds will dissipate and a warm breeze will blow; that sorrow will turn to dancing; that joy comes with morning.
Monday, April 18, 2011
This, of course, got my brain whirling. The banner across the top would read "All the world's a stage," the status box would ask "what news on the rialto?" The "like" button would be replaced with "marry." You would click the "what say you?" link, rather than "comment." Your friends would be your "Dramatis Personae" and you would be invited to find friends with the phrase "seek new friends and stranger companies." You would be informed if someone blocked you with a message that "_____, who, like a block, hath denied my access to thee." Chat will be renamed "idle talk."
What changes would YOU make to Shakespearean Facebook? And what other "languages" should Facebook offer? What would they look like?
Tuesday, April 12, 2011
Thursday, April 7, 2011
I move across the country because my husband has the call.
I move into a temporary house, and I weather the storm.
I put in an offer on a short sale, and wait... and wait... and wait... for it to close.
We move in, and work hard to surmount all that Murphy and his damned law throw our way.
I pray and pray and pray that our home in Louisiana will sell.
We finally get and accept an offer. This week.
A geiser. In the master bathroom. Flooding through the ceiling down to the living room below.
A new ceiling. New hardwood? New carpet? New plumbing.
Calls to the insurance company. Trying to answer questions about the catastrophe 1000 miles away.
No idea what's going to happen to the offer... the SIGNED offer PENDING INSPECTION... scheduled to close the end of this month.
I realize that there are people facing worse things. Earthquakes and tsunamis and nuclear disaster, for instance.
I am waving the white flag.
I am crying uncle.
Saturday, March 26, 2011
we closed on the new house well over a month ago (Valentine's Day, to be precise) and after over 2 weeks of really hard labor and some whopping good examples of Murphy's Law we moved our stuff here, only to discover that all sorts of our furniture literally DID NOT FIT (like, it would fit in the room, but couldn't get in the door, or down the stairs, or turn the corner in the hallway). The day of the move my husband andI were recounting all the things that had gone wrong and laughing hysterically. The May Queen asked why we were laughing, and I told her that it was either that or cry. And she joined in the laughter.
I am exhausted and not fully unpacked and not yet completely out of the temporary house. Projects I had hoped to have completed before we moved our stuff in still aren't done (since our old friend Murphy made sure we had enough other stuff to keep us busy, thank you very much). Our computer died and we had to get a new one.
It's been a hell of a month.
But we've had our first houseguests. And today we hung some pictures on the wall. And i LOVE my red living room and enormous kitchen sink. So it's getting there.
So that's why I haven't been around much. Or part of why. It turns out that even though I'm an extrovert (with a BLOG, for heaven's sake) I'm really not all that good about talking about myself when the going gets tough. But I'm getting there.
Friday, February 4, 2011
-Just how much television DO you watch?
-How can you be stupid enough to believe that rumor? Have you never fact checked anything in your life?
-Do you realize that every picture you post of your toddler shows him watching TV?
-If you're going to put your political opinions out there for all of your friends to read, don't be so darn upset when someone disagrees with you. Sure, it's your wall and you can say what you want. But once you've put it out there you've opened yourself up for someone to disagree with you.
-If you don't care to hear from anyone who disagrees with you just unfriend all of your friends of a different political persuasion and tune solely in to your biased news programs that will never challenge your long held understanding of how the world works.
-Another "witty" status shuffle post? Yawn.
-It's really not cool to talk badly about "some people" whom you leave unnamed via a status update. Talk to them if you have an issue. Don't make it an issue on Facebook.
-You "like" THAT? Really??? Why????
What about you? What comments have you held back?
Monday, January 31, 2011
In other news... we're looking to have a foot of snow drop on us in the next few days. The May Queen is beside herself with excitement. I'm making sure we have enough chocolate and wine to last me until I can get to the store again. Priorities, you know.
Monday, January 17, 2011
1. What did you do in 2010 that you’d never done before?
I moved back to Michigan. I grew up here, but I've never lived here as an adult.
2. Did you keep your new year’s resolutions, and will you make more for next year?
I didn't make any resolutions last year, although I did mention in the answer to this question last year that I would like to exercise more and tone up. I would still like to do that. My resolve, however, is clearly not very strong.
3. Did anyone close to you give birth?
Yes. A friend gave birth this summer, and I have enjoyed several visits with her beautiful baby girl (and her fun, Shark-loving big brother... and their mama, of course!).
4. Did anyone close to you die?
My grandfather died in October. He was the last of my grandparents to go, and I feel his loss immensely. The May Queen has been struggling with this, too. Just before Christmas she saw an ad for a local hospital, and said to her daddy that if Great Grandpa had gone there maybe he wouldn't have died. He used it to talk to her more about cancer, death, and Grandpa's choice not to treat his terminal illness.
5. Where did you travel?
Orlando; Nuevo Vallerto, Mexico; New York City; Mobile, AL and Ft. Myers, FL. And across the country for a move.
6. What would you like to have in 2011 that you lacked in 2010?
I have felt so unsettled this year. I started off the year with the seed of a possibility of moving, which grew and grew, and we readied our home for sale by painting and boxing up belongings. Then we moved and have been in temporary housing since July. I feel dislodged, without a nest to feather. My home is not my refuge. I would like to get into my new house (looks like we'll close mid February!) and make it my home. I also only did one show in 2010, and the lack of that creative outlet has been really difficult. I hope to have more theatre in my life in 2011. I also want more confidence. I feel shaken after this move... unsure and unsettled and without not only a home, but a PLACE... and my confidence has plummeted.
7. What dates from 2010 will remain etched upon your memory, and why?
Friday July 23rd the moving truck deposited all of my belongings into this house, and that night a storm deposited a bunch of water into the basement. It seems, unfortunately, to have been a pretty accurate harbinger of how I would feel in the months to follow.
However, a week later, on Saturday July 31st I stood in a chapel of St. Bartholomew's in NYC and made promises to love, care for and share the grace of God with a much awaited and loved baby boy, which is a reminder of answered prayers and abundant love.
8. What was your biggest achievement of the year?
I have no idea. Getting out of bed seemed like an achievement many days.
9. What was your biggest failure?
I feel like I am failing at making a new life in a new place. I don't think that this is a permanent failure, I think it is something that can turn around. There are small successes within the larger failure, of course, and I am trying to build on those.
10. What was the best thing you bought?
John Boutte's live at Jazz Fest 2010 CD. And a new winter coat.
11. What song will always remind you of 2010?
Hallelujah. Specifically ,John Boutte's version of Leonard Cohen's tune. It's been a year of trying to sing Hallelujah, no matter what.
I did my best, it wasn't much
I couldn't feel, so I tried to touch
I've told the truth, I didn't come to fool you
And even though it all went wrong
I'll stand before the Lord of Song
With nothing on my tongue but Hallelujah
12. What do you wish you’d done more of?
13. What do you wish you’d done less of?
Staring at screens.
14. What was your favorite TV program?
Glee and Treme.
15. What was your favorite movie?
I can't think of one. (The King's Speech was excellent, and by far the best movie I've seen in ages, but I saw that in 2011)
16. What was the best book you read?
Oh, I do have a resolution this year, and it's to keep a list of the books I've read so that I'll remember these things! I finished The Help just before the end of the year, and it was a wonderful book.
17. What one thing would have made your year measurably more satisfying?
Honestly? Not moving. But honestly? Not moving would have presented it's own set of challenges, and who can truly say they wouldn't have been worse?
18. How would you describe your personal fashion concept in 2010?
haha. The idea of me having a fashion concept is laughable. This winter's concept, though, is: LAYERS . aka "Baby, it's cold outside."
19. What kept you sane?
20. Who did you miss?
I moved, so the list is long, long, long. Topping the list are my next door neighbors, a friend who really supported me in my last days there, and the praise team at my old church.
21. Who was the best new person you met?
I have a new friend here who has been wonderful. She invited me to join with her and another friend for a weekly lunch date. We've gotten together with our families, we've gone to movies, plays, restaurants. She has gone out of her way to make me feel included. When we settle in our new home she will live a few blocks away. And I am so grateful for her.
22. Tell us a valuable lesson you learned in 2010.
I think that I haven't finished learning the lessons of 2010 yet.
Monday, January 10, 2011
I've been posting pictures over on my project365 blog. I'm starting two part time jobs at my church.
Oh. And we used It's Not the Stork, at Magpie's suggestion, to start a birds and bees conversation with The May Queen. That went well (totally "eeewwww..." free).
So see, I'm still here. Plugging away. Just not posting.