I haven't even thought about my resolutions yet, but I always make them, so I will make them again this year. Sometimes they aren't really resolutions, but goals. --Kind of like a yearly bucket-list evaluation.

Here's my list for 2010 (and geez! Shouldn't our cars be flying by now?):

1) This year's main workout goal will be to be able to run a loop around Rice University again.

2) Do some laps in the pool at least once a month.

3) Adjust the amount of weight I use on my assisted pull-up by ten pounds.

1) Take a day of solitude once a month, complete with random trips to Austin.

2) Keep a better prayer list.

Cleanliness (I keep this list next to the Godliness one)
1) Do a Saturday morning cleaning check every week.

2) Consider getting a maid.

3) Paint my fingernails once a month, then remove the polish within the next week.

4) Get a haircut every 8 weeks, instead of 12 weeks.

1) Pay off all my credit card debt.

2) Have enough money in my Christmas savings to buy all my gifts.

3) Spend less money on food and waste less food.

I need to check back on last year's list, and see how I did.

Hope you have a very blessed and Happy New Year! Can you believe it's 2010?! Crazy times!

If my sister were a superhero, she would be Gadget Girl. She loves gadgets. And she's always inventing new ones, but then discovers that someone else had the same idea after a trip to Wal-Mart.

For Christmas, she got me the Jupiter Jack which turns your car radio into a speakerphone. I haven't tried it yet, but it should be pretty interesing to have my phone calls in stereo. It might feel like God is talking to me or something. But I believe that God also talks in whispers, so maybe that isn't a good analogy.

She sent my cousin some cool Christmas 3-D glasses. I took some pictures of myself in the glasses, and hope you can see pictures of the effect seen through the fabulous lens of my trusty iPhone.

I had a very nice Christmas.

Sometimes Christmas can be difficult because so many emotions and memories are rolling during the holiday. Christmas past, Christmas present, and Christmas future keep a constant stirring going on.

This Christmas, I had a very good time visiting with family and the few friends I got to see. I was able to finally take the focus off of me or who wasn't there with us anymore, and just enjoy what was going on in the Christmas present.

In addition to Christmas present, I was touched through the first couple of chapters of Luke with the Christmas past. I can read the story a million times, and each time a different part of my heart awakens (if I let it).

I also prayed for Christmas future. I told my almost-20 year old niece that next year, we might not be at the big family Christmas because each of us will be at our boyfriends' families. Right now, those boyfriends don't exist with those titles, but there's always next year!

I know there has to be somebody's present out there that I forgot. My memory sometimes fails more than it passes. I don't have Santa's knack for keeping my list in order.

Sometimes I buy stand-by gifts that are generic to throw in just in case. But is that really the Christmas spirit just to have a gift to pass off?

I don't really have anything on my Christmas list this year for myself. I usually ask for socks, because somehow I always lose one of every pair of socks I have. I am really hoping that this year I give more than I receive. I want to be a cheerful giver.

Sometimes in the past (starting with about age two), I wasn't a very cheerful receiver. I've tried to accept gifts without thinking about what else could have been bought with the same amount of money that I would like better. I need to remember a gift is something that someone took the time and effort to give you (unless of course it's the stand-by gift mentioned above).

I want to be grateful for the gifts I get. And I want to be give gifts cheerfully. Perhaps I do have a Christmas wish!

This picture makes me laugh because we are all kind of making weird faces. We needed someone to say, "Look this way!"

Tom is pointing like an Uncle Sam poster which is pretty funny. But the best part besides all the pointing and various direction darting eyes, is the fact that we are surrounding our friend, Susan, who graduated from HBU.

Congratulations, Susan!

And another amazing thing is that two of her sisters, her brother-in-law, and her precious father are here visiting from Kenya!

Her family is very special to me (and to everyone who meets them!). Her sister, Dee, is a breast cancer survivor and is now working to help other women in Africa have funds to pay for their treatment. The whole family is amazing. I got to meet them all for the first time three years ago while visiting Kenya, and my heart was never the same.

This morning after having a phone conversation with my sister about how Mickey went crazy in her kitchen eating flour (we think she might be gluten intolerant), I heard a disturbing sound.

The noise was high pitched bleeps followed by what sounded like, "Come out!" coming from a speaker system. My eyes widened, and I turned off my white noise making fan to listen a little bit more closely. I live very close to a fire station, so I thought maybe the guys were playing on the PA or something.

Then I heard it again more clearly: "4023 Beth's Street! (name changed to protect the innocent) Come out!!"

I live at 4020 Beth's Street. Scary.

Then, I panicked, I called my office manager to tell her that if I died in gun fire, that's why I wouldn't make it in to work. Then, I tried to tread very closely in the house in case anybody was on the run and heard me moving around and decided to join me.

I can't see out onto the street from my place. I only see the townhomes across from me and my back patio, so I just had to pray that the suspect had left the building before I left my building, and I wasn't caught in possible crossfire.

I google mapped the address and figured out that the address in question is a house that I watch quite often. I would always try to walk slowly with Mickey around the house, because three very attractive young men live there. It's a rental house, and the three of them all appear to have jobs since they leave the house in suits, and apparently are making ample money, since one of them drives a BMW.

The ironic part is how safe that I think my neighborhood is at times. I know most of my neighbors (or at least their faces and routines) so it seems like a place where I don't need to pack heat.
I won't start packing heat, but I definitely will leave those little guys off the Christmas Neighborhood Appreciation party that I'm planning on having. I'm scared they might try to hide snow in my house, if you know what I mean. (and yes, perhaps I've watched a few too many episodes of Law & Order.)

Alternate Title: Post Office Trips Leads to Healthcare Leads to The Blind Side
Yesterday I had a scary vision. I was in line at the post office with the rest of the 50 plus person Christmas crew, and scanned ahead to see how many postal workers were at the six stations: one.

This is the scene about 100 percent of the time in the Houston post office. I don't know if they all have lunch breaks at the same time, or what is happening. Most of the time, workers will be standing there, but won't help you because I guess it's a break or something.

Suddenly, a government-run healthcare system vision appeared in my head. What if, instead of wearing the postal uniforms, those workers were wearing scrubs?! And instead of needing stamps, we all needed prescriptions or to have surgery! I could only come up with one conclusion: Lord, help us!

Just like in small towns, how the postal service is usually run better, I would presume that if we had government healthcare, it might fare better in small populations where there could still be a personal touch behind Big Brother, M.D.

At the end of the day, I found myself waiting for a prescription at CVS. The man in front of me had earned a free Hershey bar with his CVS points, so I had to wait for the pharm tech to go to the front to pick him out a free Hershey bar and take care of his other items. Another lady was being served by a second pharm tech (the one that has the major comb-over). The lady was told that her prescription was going to be $25.

She said, "Isn't it ridiculous that we all have to pay different prices for prescriptions?"

The non-comb-over pharm tech said, "I know. Capitalism!"

I realized that they probably hadn't been to the post office that day. I know something needs to be done about healthcare. It's been a time bomb for years. But I'm frightened of the government running anything.

I like Capitalism. That's why I live in America --and maybe also because I was born here.

It kind of reminds me when the people of Israel demanded a king. God had them set up with governing judges, but they wanted a king, so they got themselves a king. And the rest is a crazy history.

If I'm going to throw the bible on this issue, I also believe that if we, the church, could (and would) take care of our communities' needs, we wouldn't need most of our government programs. (I'm not pointing fingers since they would all point back at me, too) Who knows, maybe the church should even start delivering the mail!

The number one movie at the box office last week was The Blind Side. Those that hear and see the story are enamored by the care and love the Touhy family showed a young boy who was in need of food, clothing, and shelter. I know it was a bit Hollywoodized, but my heart still breaks thinking of the scene where he was gathering the old popcorn at the basketball game to eat later.

We are touched by the movie because we all know that it was what needed to be done. It was that family being Christlike to that boy. And we wonder if we could have done the same thing. Most of us have become too afraid of one other to even reach out when there is a true need.

No government program could have helped that boy. He needed love behind whatever resource he was given. Our country needs a heart change. But I know that the government will keep trying to pad corruption with policy. It's the nature of the biz.

This season (and for the other ones, too), I challenge you (and myself) to have eyes that see others needs, minds that can figure out how to meet those needs, and hearts that can provide the love to go forth with the acts.

note to Aud: Please keep reading my blog even if I did get a tad political. I'll always love your passionate, socialist self. :)

Mickey is living the life of an outdoor dog these days with my sister's family.

Here's some pictures of her discovering leaves. She's a poser, so she took some shots just modeling in the leaves. She loves leaves. So do I!

My niece, Emily (who also likes to pose), took this shot playing with Mickey. They are two peas in a pod.
I bet she will be really excited when it snows!

I had the most bizarre Houston driving experience yesterday--and it was only the perception in my mind, not the normal bizarre driving experiences that occur in Houston.

I drove from Texas to Kentucky for Thanksgiving, and completed the journey back from Kentucky to Texas last night. After miles and miles of two-lane interstate, suddenly the lanes seemed to multiple, and then more and more entry ramps appeared pushing more cars around me. Then out of nowhere, this massive city with dark building shapes and glowing tiny windows took over the skyline. It made me a little bit nervous.

I drive in Houston around those buildings all the time, but for some reason, after being gone for awhile and driving through Kentucky countryside, my brain had forgotten that it had become numb to the site of massive buildings and bright city lights.

Even though it was a bit overwhelming to experience this feeling while clutching a wheel, I was glad that I was refreshed with the city-living experience. I take this city for granted.

Texas, I see you, and yes, everything is bigger in Texas.