Today is one of my favorite days of the year. I’m by nature, a reflector—not the bicycle kind—someone who tries to relate past to present to future. I really try to learn from my mistakes and like to think about the journey that’s been traveled and how it will affect where I’m going and where I’m standing today. In the midst of all that pondering, I am very thankful for God’s grace and his plan for this world, because if everything was only about my life and choices, God helps us all.

Last year, I made a big long list of resolutions, which I plan on doing today, and I fulfilled a lot of them. I ran a 5K, read ½ the Bible (I was going for the whole Bible, but I’m showing myself some grace), I ate more fruits and veggies, exercised more, and did many more fabulous things.

I could very easily become a very legalistic person, and sometimes in a sick way, it’s fun to be legalistic. That way, I can chart my abilities and activities in a way where I could almost turn myself into a baseball card with all my personal statistics on the back. I can picture the card having my very best photoshopped picture on front with my caloric intact average, my number of Facebook friends, frequent flyer points, and my church attendance stats on the back. Thank you, Jesus, that those things are not what life is about. It’s kind of like what 1 Corinthians 13says (paraphrased immensely from my brain), if I had abs of steel and have fulfilled all my resolutions from last year, but I have not love, I am nothing.

This year, I want to do fabulous things like visit faraway friends and swim a mile, but I also want more than anything to focus on my heart being his. The crazy thing about the status of my heart, is that none of my resolutions have too much of a part in it. They might help influence the patterns of my life, but the heart is something that only the Holy Spirit can mold and break and heal. I can read the Bible three times through in a month, and I might get better at Bible trivia, but unless I’m letting my heart be changed, what’s the point?

I’m not married yet, so the best I can do to assimilate what that would be like would be to think about my relationship with God. This year, I want to keep the romance alive with my relationship with God. We’re past our golden anniversary together, and I love him more each day, but sometimes I neglect him by getting so caught up with the process—or all the other things that swim in wavepool of my head. I want to spend more purposeful time with him. And sometimes be still so I can soak in his love for me. He loves silly, top-spinning, forgetful, impulsive, freaked-out, little old me.

And he loves you, too.

Blessings for the New Year to you!

I’m bringing out my strongest defense to fight this cold. I’m using Airborne, Zicam, drinking lots of fluids, eating protein, going to bed on time, and everything else that comes my way in CVS.

The goal is to be sniffle-free by New Year’s Eve for the big New Year’s Party. Prince Charming could be there, so I must be ready. The gown could be perfect, the glass slippers shined, but if the nose is runny, there goes my honey!

On the second day after Christmas, my mother gave to me:

One Christmas cold, and a Starbucks gift card for a hot tea.

Merry Late Christmas!

Today I heard a family asking a man in a med center hospital for directions to a fast-food chicken place. He was trying to explain to the family how to weave and maneuver to get there. I kind of stopped and waved to get his attention and said in a whisper, "That place has closed."

The family walked off disappointed, and the man looked at me puzzled, "Did it close down for a few days or something?"

"No. It wasn't good," I said.

"Huh," said the man. "Is it gonna reopen soon?"

Apparently, he wasn't getting it. So I did something instictive as I described what happened. I said, "No, it was..." and made the best rat face making the "pht-pht-pht" noise simultaneously moving two fingers on each hand as if making quotes, but this time I was mimicking a scratching rat. It must have been a good performance, because he said, "OH!"

And I left with a feeling of fear that perhaps surveillance cameras monitored my performance. And also I started to wonder where in the world that rat face impression came from.

Somedays we make better first impressions than others.

This past weekend, I dove into the Christmas season with full force. I shopped ‘til my bank account dropped.

I hit Harwin’s Trendy Jewelry store pretty hard. Once you’ve shopped there, it’s hard to go to Macy’s and pay $20 for the earrings you get at Harwin for $2.70.

One highlight was that I got a $20 video game for $1.24! It was entered into the scanning system wrong, but Target still honored it. My nephews must be praying very hard over their gifts.

I ran into an old friend Saturday night, and wound up staying at Pappadeux’s until 11p.m. visiting with her. That’s what Christmas is about—telling stories from the year over gumbo and French bread.

I stuck to my rule of not buying anything for myself. It’s pretty hard not to buy myself anything, because there are so many good deals and things that would be perfect for me to give myself.

I did break down and buy a charger for my new dysfunctional Treo. One of my superiors was getting rid of it, and I asked if I could possibly have it if I could get it to work. The QWERTY board is messed up, but the touch screen keyboard works fine. I’ve been playing with it all weekend. It’s a huge phone upgrade for me—even if it is dysfunctional.

I honestly think I am more attractive to men with the Treo. When you pull out the Treo, apparently you are saying to the world that you could be a Sugarmama. I saw a glimmer in man’s eyes, and it was almost a bit scary. Just think if I had the iphone. I’d have to buy a tazer accessory for it to keep the suitors away.

I wanted to plan to shop earlier, but the funds weren't quite cutting it. I prayed for a Christmas miracle so I could buy gifts--and I got it.

Yesterday I looked at my pay stub online, and noticed that I was overpaid by about a hundred bucks. It kind of made me nervous. I called the payroll department and found out that it wasn't a mistake, and it was just an error from several months back that was corrected.

I told the guy, "It my Christmas bonus!!"
He said, "No it was a mistake that was corrected."
I said again, "Yes! It's my Christmas bonus!"
He said again, "No, it was a corrected mistake from earlier in the year."
I said, "Can't I just call it my Christmas bonus? I'm calling it that."

Big corporations.

But I got a Christmas bonus!!

Pics from Young Life Christmas Party:
Me & Josh lipsyncing a Jingle Bell melody.

Flo the Elf giving Eric an old toothbrush for Christmas.

Kids singing the tunes...

--If I eat chocolate for every meal until Christmas will I become a) an elf, b) Santa, or c) diabetic.

--I found this in my bible reading last night. It’s translated a bit differently in other versions. This is the New Century Version. It’s a wee bit ironic and prophetic for kids kickin’ it in the 80s.

1 Chronicles 25:5 All these were sons of Heman, David's seer. God promised to make Heman strong, so Heman had many sons. God gave him fourteen sons and three daughters.

--Put together a group of fun teenagers, a group of kid-at-heart-adults, tamales, and Jesus, and you’ve got a great Young Life Christmas party. Last night, we had so much fun. I’ll show some pics on tomorrow’s blog, if I remember.

--I transformed my $1.76 Target necklace into a wannabe bauble bracelet like in my J.Crew catalog. That’s a smart savings of about $73.24. My co-worker said it was cha-cha. I think the “J” is standing for “jipped” these days, but I still love to look at the catalog and adore the outlet.

--I feel like my father who was an accountant/tax preparer when I use my number pad on my keyboard without looking at my hand. He was the fastest number puncher in the state. Maybe the region. It's a good feeling having his skills.

This is the time of year, when it’s really fun to call friends in cold parts of the country and say, “Oh? It’s 30 there? Well, we’re in shorts, and it’s 81 degrees today!”

But honestly, I kind of miss colder weather. It’s the only time of year when not having a tan is not that noticible. And you can use a big fluffy sweater to cover up some days from the past when you chose M&Ms over vegetables for dinner. All you have to worry about is not having hat head all the time or how to keep the static out of your hair. …And you also have to figure out how not to look like Rudolph after you come in from the cold. …And you also to be careful not to slip on ice when you’re walking on sidewalks, steps, etc. It’s definitely a debate—the whole cold or hot issue.

I had a revelation today at work that the possibilities of me ever getting snowed in here would be nil. It nice to not have to worry about sudden snowstorms, but I also remember the fantastic feeling of peering through the blind right after waking up and finding out the whole world had stopped except for television access.

As a kid, my mom would make us snowcream and we would bundle up with our snowboots, as many layer of socks that we could fit on, longjohns, tights, pants, gloves with mittens over them, hat, and a scarf. My favorite thing to do was to trek my name as big as I could through the snow. Then, I would attempt to make a snowman. The snow can’t be too light, or too icy.

One year, I rolled the snowballs too big, and I couldn’t pick them up, so I had to just push the balls beside one another and make a snowworm. Maybe that’s when the neighbors first realized that I was a prodigy.

I ate at La Griglia today with my office group. It was absolutely delicious. While we waited for everyone to arrive, I got to sneak about 7 thin slices of warm pizza bread smothered with a bit of tomato sauce. Soooooo good!

The meal was wonderful. I love food, and I really love food that is great and free. For my soup, I really wanted to eat the high-caloric, but divine Shrimp Bisque, but instead chose the chicken & barley so I would not be consuming 5,000 fat grams at one sitting. For my main course, I consumed trout with a side of muscle-building spinach. My dessert choice was a chocolate cream cake roll that was quite lovely. They brought the most adorable little cookies to eat with our dessert.

I love days like this. My co-workers and I had a great time together not working. We should not work more often.

One of my sweet friends from home has a sweet little dog named Presley. It's a Chinese Crested. It was so sweet and got in my lap so I could pet him, but it was like petting an old man, so I used it's stuffed animal to pet its fur, I mean, skin... Besides, my hands were cold and it was making him shake. Okay, okay! It was also giving me the heebie-jeebies.

When I was probably 13, my brother gave me a beautiful monogrammed pendant. It was gold with a black face. The letters were really curvy and elegant, and I immediately said, "Oh! How pretty!" Then as I observed the necklace a little more closely, I realized it spelled out my initials in that fancy monagram way where the last initial is in the middle. There is was in its glory. My initials: bRa. A look of horror came over my face because I was embarrassed to wear a real bra at that time, much less emblazen an advertisement of one around my neck.

That bRa was worn maybe two times during my teenage years. And when it would catch someone's eye and they would say, "Oh! How pretty!" I would quickly cover it with my hand or turn my shoulder and mumble a thank you. I didn't burn that bRa, but I did mentally try to bury it.

Last night, I was quickly rummaging for something to wear to a holiday cocktail party and then a Christmas show. I wanted to look a little Anthropologie-ish, and somehow as I combed through my jewelry box, I came across my once forgotten little bRa.

I wore that bRa proudly last night for the first time in my life, and received several comments like I did the other two times I wore it many moons ago. I was also told I should wear my bRa more often.

It was an uplifting experience.

Last night, we got to talk to the Young Life kids about salvation. It was pretty neat how everybody was noisy and laughing and making fun of the kid that worked at McDonald’s, and then like the wonder of the first snowflakes of the season falling, the mystery of God spread through the room. Some kids were still fidgeting with uncomfortable looks on their faces. Others had eyes locked on the speaker, and he wasn’t doing any voodoo magic or Jedi mind tricks, he was just telling the story of God and his only son, Jesus, who died to pay the price of our sin. He explained that this huge, undeserved payment was paid, so that we could be with God. Sin separates us from God, and Jesus paid the price of our sin--for us. Not because we did anything, but because he loved us. And God didn’t pick Jesus to pay the price because he did anything wrong, Jesus was perfect—like those first snowflakes.

It’s interesting how people get squirmy when you talk about spiritual matters because it seems easier to focus on the seemingly "real" things in life: gaming systems, clothes, sports, or music. But we don’t like to always think about what is beyond what our little eyes can see. And it’s not much fun to admit that we’re not perfect or that we have times when we realize that there’s a deep need in us to be loved and to know why on earth we’re on this earth.


It’s an amazing feeling to stop being squirmy, to be real (with ourselves, others, and God), and to let our creator, the awesome and glorious and wonderful God love us. Ahhhhh…peace.

When I went home to Kentucky last week, I got to spend lots of time with my nieces and nephews. They are all so funny and lots of fun.

Leslee took some pictures of Christan since she’s a senior this year. Please check out Leslee’s photos on her Virb page. Click on the photos section to view. She’s got some great shots of Christan and many other great things.

I took these pics of the littlest niece, Princess Emily. She’s a tree-climbing princess and about scared me to death when I was led outside by her older sister, Marissa, who wanted me to see what Emily did. All I could picture was a cast on her arm everytime I looked up at her while she sat in the tree smiling like a cheshire cat.

Oh! Had to show this pic, too. This is my friend, Emily's little girl. It's her DARTH AUDREY face. It makes me laugh.

I try to mix things up from time to time—including my music listening at work. If you check out Pandora, you can type in the name of a Christmas song, and then get to listen to holiday songs all day at your desk! My co-workers love it! (Well, I haven’t asked them yet, but I’m sure they do.)

I’m listening to the station I created right now based on the song “Grandma Got Ran Over By a Reindeer.” It’s pretty fabulous.

I’m trying to stick to a commitment to not buy personal items for myself for the month of December. Do you know how hard that is in the midst of all the Christmas sales?! Do you know how many cute things I can find to buy for me?!

My budget is tight this year. I’m really trying not to use my plastic cards that the devil gave me. I’ve been so nervous about my budgeting for Christmas, I haven’t even made out my list yet, much less checked it twice. I’ve got some ideas that I’m toying with, but I haven’t come to any conclusions on what the official shopping list will be.

So, one way to make sure I have some extra dough to buy gifts is to stop buying gifts for myself. Not that I am a shop-a-holic or anything, but I do have the tendency to pick up a shirt or pair of little shoes from Target every now and then. And perhaps I might have a weakness for those little make-up gift sets at the mall.

I will resist the urge.

Last night, I bought some things at Target, and then wound up taking something back two hours later. (Is this a form of shopping bulimia?)

What things are necessary purchases and what things are frivolous? If Santa didn’t bring me one single thing for Christmas, I might mope, but it wouldn’t be a bad thing. I am stuffed with stuff.

No matter how shiny that iphone looks (which I guarantee I would drop), or how cute those heels are, the only thing that will give me true joy has nothing to do with stuff.

I’m not outlawing gifts in my life—so if you’ve already purchased mine, I will accept it. I’m just trying to get my thoughts and heart wrapped around this Christmas gift thing. I want to be a cheerful giver—even when it involves personal sacrifice. And in turn, I will also be a cheerful and thankful receiver (Historically, this has sometimes been a difficult concept for me.). My view of gift-giving during this time, is that it’s a way to show honor and love to people we care about, like the wise men gave to Jesus.

This blog post is mainly me preaching to myself today, and I might need to revisit it often during this season, and remember to pray before shopping and to carry the thankfulness of Thanksgiving into Christmas. Isn’t it kind of funny that we’re thankful first, and then we get gifts? I like that.