Wednesday, December 26, 2007

So THAT'S What Christmas Is About...

I just finished watching "The Nativity Story" and yes, I cried. I think it touched me more deeply than "The Passion of the Christ." It struck me how hard it must have been for Joseph and Mary... two ordinary people chosen by God for an extraordinary - perhaps the most extraordinary thing - to raise His Son, the Son who would grow up to be our Saviour. What a dangerous time it was, people just trying to survive... pay their taxes, feed their families, honour God in their everyday lives. How ostracized first Mary, then Joseph as well, must have felt for something that wasn't their choice, that was thrust upon them by God and misconstrued by people who didn't know or understand the truth. How afraid and overwhelmed they must have felt, how many tears they must have cried. How amazing it was that the angels appeared to lowly shepherds, nobodies, outcasts... that they were invited to celebrate this extraordinary event... the birth of the Messiah, promised for centuries. The horror and injustice of all those baby boys killed by Herod, the grief of their mothers, the sacrifice they made, so that Jesus could live and grow up and sacrifice Himself. The wonderment of Mary and Joseph as the three wise men, regal and wealthy and superior in social status, bowed down and worshiped their son, who was born in a stable surrounded by animals. Oh, the humility of our Almighty God... using the lowly things of this world to shame the wise, the weak to shame the strong... oh, that we would learn from Him! It is all too amazing for words... I can't even begin to grasp it all with my mind or heart... oh God, all I can say is, Thank You. And please keep on opening my heart and mind to Your wonders and mysteries, that I may know You and Your ways more each day of my life.

Tis the Season

I'm sitting here at my brother's computer while he's working hard to bring home the bread and the bacon for my breakfast (haha!) and I finally have time all to myself, in complete peace and quiet, without anything I HAVE to do. Wow.

I suppose I should back up to my birthday, which was a wonderful day. Last year was my big 30, so I invited a bunch of friends from church to have breakfast at White Spot with me. It was so much fun and everyone told me I should do it again this year, so I did, and even more people showed up! I think there were 22 of us total. We were so rowdy, that a member of the SWAT team had to come over and threaten us for disturbing the peace - actually a few of my friends arranged that, so I got my picture taken with a cute cop on my birthday :) Thanks guys, for picking the cute one to come over, hee hee! Everyone spoiled me with cards and gifts, which was lots of fun (thanks everyone!), but more than that it was overwhelming to be surrounded by all these people that I love and that love me too. God has brought me so far and blessed me so much. Thank You, Jesus!

Afterwards, I went on a dollar store shopping extravaganza with two of my friends. Is it sad that it brought me so much joy? I had so much fun, picking up last minute Christmas things and some card-making supplies... and everything was only a dollar!

That night, we had our family birthday party. Jolie cooked up a delicious turkey dinner in our broken oven (God bless her!), we had ice cream cake and opened presents. I got a massaging shower head from Marty, a really cool new tote bag from Jolie, clothes from the kids, bath stuff from my brother, and 2 seasons of Gilmore Girls from my mom and dad. It's so nice to be spoiled sometimes!

The girls had their Christmas concert the day before my birthday. Lysa had been good all through rehearsals, but the day of the show, decided she'd rather sit with Mommy and enjoy just listening. (And thanks to Lysa, we had front row seats reserved for us... that kid comes in handy sometimes!) At first, Layni was very upset that she was picked to be the elf ("It's because I'm the smallest kid in my class! I hate being the smallest!"), but I stayed up until 2:00 AM sewing ribbons and bells on to make her costume, which was a hit. (And considering how much I HATE sewing, that makes me the best mom ever, haha!) All the kids did a great job, but as Jolie said, it's SO not the same as when we were kids. But perhaps I'll rant about that another time :)

I flew into Calgary Christmas Eve day and met my brother's girlfriend, who's a lovely person (what's she doing with my brother? haha!). We went out for lunch and saw "National Treasure: Book of Secrets" which was great fun to watch... I LOVE the sidekick... he's hilarious. That night I had a couple shots with Kev's friends and we went to see the Christmas lights at the Calgary zoo. The reason I don't usually drink is the same reason I don't eat vegetables... I don't like the taste and I don't have the desire to "acquire" it. It's probably a good thing in terms of alcohol though... I'm not very good at moderation with things I like :) When we got home, I was exposed to my yearly dose of wrestling, courtesy of my brother, and we watched The Trailer Park Boys Christmas special... classic :)

Christmas Day we slept in until 9:00, then opened presents. Once again, I was so spoiled with gift certificates, DVDs, cozy fleece pj's, candy, card-making supplies and the big one... a digital camera from my brothers. I've finally joined the 21st century! Kev took me to a beautiful place called Elbow Falls (which he told me he uses to impress all the ladies, haha!), then we went to our uncle's for a delicious Christmas dinner, then came home and watched my brother's new Family Guy DVD.

Today we went to the Strathmore Walmart (my brother lives about 45 minutes outside of Calgary) to spend our gift cards. We got to the till with all our stuff and were told they weren't accepting gift cards today. (The lady behind me who had stood in line for half an hour was NOT impressed... well, I don't think most people were!) Kev still got his year's supply of DVDs to watch, and I got a few things too.

Tomorrow, I'm going out with my aunt while my brother works, to a local used bookstore that always has a huge after-Christmas sale... does life get any better? It's been more of a short holiday with my brother than usual, as he has to work two of the four days I'm here (we only got one movie in this year... unheard of!), but it's still been great to hang out with him.

Now I have several hours to myself to read, watch movies or do whatever I like. Complete freedom, complete quiet... wow. It's so nice. Hope everyone was blessed with a Christmas as good as mine.

Thursday, December 20, 2007

Happy Birthday to Me!

It's almost midnight, my brain is fried due to not getting 8 hours sleep in I can't remember how long, but I had such a wonderful day thanks to friends and family. Thank you, everyone, for making me feel so special and loved. I will tell you about my birthday adventures tomorrow (including the cop who crashed my party!), but I just wanted to say thanks before I go get some MUCH needed sleep. I love you and thank God for all of you!

Monday, December 17, 2007

Holiday Specials

I love them! Layni watched "Mickey's Christmas Carol" and the cartoon "The Grinch Who Stole Christmas" tonight, while I watched the Mr. Bean Christmas special (he cracks me up! I loved the presents for his lady friend!) and the Little Mosque on the Prairie Christmas special. I've never seen the show before, but I think they've got a new fan! I'm not a big fan of Canadian drama, but we do funny very, very well. Love Corner Gas too, Air Farce, Rick Mercer, This Hour Has 22 Minutes... yes, we Canadians are funny people!

Foiled Again!

I was so excited to see "It's a Wonderful Life" on the Granville Island stage last Tuesday (and find out the rest of the story!)... unfortunately, I discovered they were all sold out when I called to check (we were going to use a 2 for 1 coupon from the Entertainment book so we couldn't get tickets in advance). So disappointing. But we decided to go to Canada Place and see "The Polar Express" in 3D Imax... let me tell you, all movies should be in 3D Imax! It was like you were right there in the movie. We walked around Canada Place, admiring the theme trees and the Christmas displays from the old Woodwards store... it was a lovely, Christmasy evening... and we even got our picture taken with Santa Claus (though we refused to sit on his lap and elected for the arms of his chair instead). I told him I wanted lots of books and he gave me a candy cane and told me not to wait twenty-five years before talking to him again. It was fun to get downtown and do something - well, if not exactly grown-up, at least WITH another grown-up! As for "It's a Wonderful Life", I probably won't have time before Christmas, but after Christmas, I'm going to watch that movie and finally find out exactly what happens! That's my new year's resolution anyway :)

Innocence Lost

Yesterday, Layni and I went to see "Enchanted" with our friends Shelley and her daughter Lenore. I LOVED IT! It was so sweet and funny and I just had a big smile on my face the entire movie... delightful! There are very few movies anymore that capture that sense of innocence and wonder and remind us of how we used to be. Even though I've had a relatively sheltered life and haven't endured the hardships many other people have suffered (though I've had enough for my liking, thank you very much!), I realize how jaded and cynical I often am. Movies like "Elf" or "13 Going on 30" or "Big" remind us of what it's like to see the world through the eyes of a child. It makes me think of Jesus saying, "Unless you change and become like little children, you will never enter the kingdom of heaven." (Matthew 18:3) How much we miss out on as we "grow up" - joy, trust, unconditional love, a sense of wonder and awe, exuberance, unself-consciousness... oh God, teach me to be like a little child again.

I LOVE THIS TIME OF YEAR!!!

I got five Christmas cards today with letters and pictures of family, as well as a funny birthday card and McDonalds gift card from my dad... and a magazine. You know how I love getting mail, so this is the BEST time of the year! YAY!!! Thank you everybody!

Monday, December 10, 2007

The Most Wonderful Time of the Year... and the Busiest!

Okay, Krista, you've guilted me into posting! It's been super-busy around here. Last week Jolie went to Edmonton to set up some of her jewelry in her sister's store and today, she went downtown to set up her stuff in a shop called "Eklectica"... her pieces are beautiful (not that I'm biased!) and we're hoping she makes tons of money so she can quit the bar. You can check out her artistry at her sister's store on facebook - QTSI D Inc.

We set up our Christmas tree this weekend and it looks beautiful... I LOVE sitting at night by the lights of the tree... so peaceful and lovely. I tackled my room today, which was not only the repository of all MY junk, but all the Christmas presents, wrapping paper etc. It's far from perfect, but at least I can see major portions of my floor now :) I got a few Christmas cards done today... I really can't spend 45 minutes creating one-of-a-kind cards and expect to get them all sent out! (Krista, you should be honoured you're so special!) But it's so much fun creating with all the tools and embellishments.

Do any of you have a book or a movie that you've gotten part way through but were repeatedly thwarted in finishing? For the longest time, that movie was "Annie" - I'd get to the part on the railroad tracks, but time and again never get to see the ending. Another movie is "A Wonderful Life" - a Christmas classic, but I've only ever made it up to the part where he saves the day when the medicine gets mixed up... well, tomorrow night, I'll find out the ending of the story! My friend and I are going to see the play on the Granville Island Stage... last year we saw "A Christmas Story" and it was wonderful... funny and sweet and the set was AMAZING! And then maybe, sometime this Christmas season, I will watch the movie once and for all!

I can't believe how December is zipping along... two weeks from now, I will be at my brother's place in Calgary, and Christmas will be almost over! But I've got a few things to do first... shopping, wrapping presents, sending Christmas cards (better late than never, right?!), my scrapbooking class, my birthday... yay! I love this wonderful time of the year!

Monday, December 03, 2007

FRUSTRATION!!!

You have to understand... I love my teeth. I am so grateful for my teeth. My parents shelled out a lot of money to take care of my teeth, including years of braces and retainers. I have nightmares about losing my teeth... literally, nightmares about them falling out. Psychologically, that's supposed to mean a fear of change, but I'm pretty sure I am actually just really, really scared of losing my teeth. I don't have health insurance, so I pay at least a couple hundred a year to keep them clean, cavity-free and healthy. I love my smile; I love my teeth. So a couple years ago, when the dentist told me I was grinding them away in my sleep and I saw the evidence of them chipping off, I paid the almost $400 on my limited budget to get the mouth guard to protect them. My teeth are worth the investment... have I mentioned that I value, treasure, and cherish my teeth? Of course, I thought problem solved. I never thought to ask if there was some sort of warranty on mouth guards, how long they might last etc. There is no warranty. They usually last five years and then you have to shell out another $400... evidently, I am a really stressed out person because mine lasted just over a year... how ironic - I'm probably grinding my teeth because I'm worried about losing my teeth and how much I have to pay to keep my teeth. So evidently I'm now going to have shell out another $500 (I also need a cleaning and check-up) to ensure the health and well-being of my teeth. And I'd better get it done ASAP because if I'm this frustrated and upset when I'm completely awake, I'm sure my teeth will be ground down to nothing in just a few nights. GRRRRRR!!!!!

Sunday, December 02, 2007

Random Thoughts

I don't know how this happened, but one Sunday night a few weeks ago, Jolie and I landed on Wisteria Lane and now, I look forward to Desperate Housewives... so much drama... I resisted for three seasons... what happened?

The Children's Choir concert at church today was delightful (except for trying to keep "my" kids quiet!) and lunch afterwards with friends was fun too (except for, again, trying to keep "my" kids in line... boy, was I glad to get home and give them back to their parents!)

I LOVE this snow... except for trying to get around in it... getting soaking wet or worrying about a car accident... but curling up inside and watching the snow fall down in huge flakes and listening to Christmas carols... so peaceful and lovely. I just need a barley toy to suck on while I read a book (my East Coast suppliers are having some difficulty tracking the product down this year).

Jolie's birthday was fun. Layni, Mattias and I took Jolie to see A Bee Movie (we were going to see Enchanted, but it was sold out), which she loved (for the second time!) Okay, seriously, what is wrong with me that I can't say no to that greasy movie popcorn? I'm fine not buying it, but if it's THERE, I can't stop eating it... my stomach regretted it later that night. Maybe coupled with the chocolate birthday cake, it was too much! We played Dora Headbandz, which us girls really sucked at, but Mattias seemed to have ESP... "Am I alive? No. Am I something you eat? No. Am I a car? Yes, you freak, how did you guess that?!" So much for drinking and wild parties... hello, thirty! Not that she's ever really been a drinking/wild parties kind of girl ;) And she got her birthday wish... SNOW... she was thrilled.

Mel B (Scary Spice) was totally cheated out of the Dancing with the Stars disco ball trophy... what is with Helio and that creepy grin? Sure, Julianne's a great dancer, but HE's not that great. Yes, I'm bitter. But thank God, Marie didn't win! Okay, I will let go of the Dancing with the Stars obsession... until it comes back in March. Hee hee.

I finished "A Breath of Snow and Ashes" last night. I feel bereft without a 900 page book to lug around. I do have three Lord John Grey novels to read now, but it's not the same. I'll miss Jamie, Claire, Roger, Brianna, Ian and everybody else until the next book is published (probably two years away at least, boo hoo!)

I can't believe December is here... I've got to clean my room... it's even more of a disaster than usual... wrap presents, write Christmas cards... watch Christmas shows... Shrek the Halls and the Corner Gas Christmas special are on tomorrow night... yay! I love Christmas time! The girls and I are reading a really cool book called "The Christmas Mystery"... set in Norway, a little boy finds a magic Advent calendar and behind each door is not only a picture, but part of a story, which we hear as we read along each day with him, until the mystery is revealed on Christmas Eve.

I've got to go slather my cracked, dry hands with lotion. It's so peaceful here. The kids are sleeping, Marty's at work, Jolie's working on her jewelery, we're listening to Christmas music. A beautiful night.

Saturday, December 01, 2007

2:08 AM

I'm just heading to bed now... it looks like a streamer and balloon factory exploded inside our house, the gifts are wrapped, the cake is decorated and the house is (mostly) clean... Happy 30th, Jolie! Hope you have a fantastic day!