December 26, 2010

over it

I used to be sad at bedtime on December 25th. I would prolong it as much as possible, and try not to fall asleep. Because once I closed my eyes, Christmas would be over.

It’s 12:45am. By all technicalities, Christmas is finished. And from an outsiders view, I should be glad. The day didn’t exactly go as planned. I spent a good deal of the biggest holiday of the year alone. But it isn’t all that simple.

Sure, I thought about home-cooked turkey and mashed potatoes as I warmed up my frozen lasagna. But it was veggie lasagna from Trader Joe’s- something I haven’t tried before. It was tasty! And last night, we had tamales and rice and beans. And this morning, I enjoyed a delicious pancake breakfast with some of Sophia’s family. So I wasn’t lacking in the food area.

All the places I tried to volunteer were already full. That’s a pretty good problem to have. My goal is to volunteer during the regular year in 2011. And it turned out that I was wiped out from not sleeping last night, so using the afternoon to take a nap was the loveliest gift-to-self…..

Thanks to Verizon, I chatted with various members of my family. And last night, Sophia’s family included me in their Christmas celebration- just like every other year since I moved to California. There was a morning service at WorkChurch, but it didn’t involve any kid activities (tomorrow is another story, haha). I began the day worshipping the Savior who loves us…. so much as to be born in a barn for the ultimate purpose of a cruel death in exchange for our freedom. We miss that when we blaze through the familiar plot points of the nativity story. And taking the long way home meant driving down the coast as the sun sparkled on ocean water.

So yes, it was a quiet day. Yes, I spent a lot of the evening working to prepare for WorkChurch tomorrow. But I also enjoyed a quiet night with Kelly, tasted her mom’s delicious mashed potatoes, and ate a couple of Christmas cookies. And in case you were wondering, we closed the Daily Christmas Film Festival with “National Lampoon’s Christmas Vacation”.

As I close my eyes on December 25th, my heart is full of a variety of complex feelings. But incredibly, at this moment, sadness is not included. Besides, now we can look forward to New Year’s Eve…. and if the excitement of 2010 is any indication, 2011 is going to be quite an adventure.

December 18, 2010

so THIS is Christmas

Wrapping gifts, attempting to bake, decorating the house…. the preparations lead to one single day. As a child, I would marvel at how quickly Christmas day was over and how long it took to return. This year, I am still trying to figure out my plans. After church in the morning, I will likely come home to nap. Christmas Eve with Sophia’s family runs very late, and I’ll be up early to drive to church. So definitely some sleeping will happen. After that…. I’m still looking for a volunteer opportunity. I would love to serve the less fortunate, but most of those needs seem to be filled already. I will likely help another friend with their evening church service. It will be a good day, of this I am certain.

But the point is that, at first, I thought there was a lot of build-up to what is going to be a very low-key day. But that’s silly. It’s not build up, it IS Christmas. The wrapping and the baking, the thinking of others and spending time with friends, the songs and smells…. it’s a month-long holiday, not just a day.

diciembre 004

And what would my holidays be without challenges? Despite begging and pleading on my part, my car refused to wait until January to break down. It’s tempting to stress over the hundreds of dollars in repairs (who am I kidding. I’m stressing), but I’m choosing to focus on the kindness of the auto shop and our flexible payment arrangement. I hate waiting to send Christmas gifts to my family, but somehow I’ll make it work and trust God’s timing.

And now to return to a typical busy Saturday… with holiday flair. This morning was spent at workchurch rehearsing the kids’ Christmas program. Maaaaybe ten kids showed up. It’s still doable, but tomorrow morning’s performance will be a little bit of a zoo as we try to costume these children! After all is said and done, the Masquer Christmas party will be my reward. :)

The rest of my today is earmarked to finish the making and wrapping of gifts, clean the kitchen (it appears a tornado of baking hit), and complete my weekly workchurch tasks, such as writing the family devotional. I’ll probably throw in a mug of hot cider for fun. It seems fitting on a chilly, rainy day. Though worries may linger, this month-long holiday is a celebration to savor.

December 09, 2010

hope peace joy love

Where have I been? If you’ve missed these random updates, check out my theater blog to fill in the blanks. We’re only eight days into December, but I’ve plunged head-first into the pool of Christmas spirit!

Kelly and I decided to watch a Christmas movie each day until the 25th. Of course, the show made this a little tricky, but we doubled up on some days to make it work. So far, we’ve enjoyed Love Actually, Elf, How the Grinch Stole Christmas, The Nativity Story, Home Alone, Home Alone 2, The He-Man and She-Ra Christmas Special, The Polar Express, a Christmas episode of The Office and Will & Grace, & a couple from South Park, and the Jeff Dunham Christmas special. I think a there’s a few more, and of course there is a large pending stack next to the television.

Meanwhile, my friend, Lara, and I began crafting the day after Thanksgiving. Also, my gift shopping is about 93% complete. The house smells like cinnamon, and we will obtain the tree this weekend. We’re only eight days into December, but I think we’re right on track. :)

I don’t feel like I’m giving enough this year, though. Now that my occupation is in a church, my volunteer time has slipped. Perhaps that will be my 2011 New Year’s goal… I no longer have the financial freedom to give monetarily, but that is not an excuse to be selfish with my time and energy. But I have been with my friend-family, and will have plenty of quality time with the precious California people in my life. I’m thinking of others near and dear to my heart with the gift-giving. The important things of the season are not completely lost in the busy.

This year brings another first. Our church holds a service on Christmas morning. I’m actually really excited to honor the birth of our Lord by worshipping Him. However, I am trying to figure out what to do with the rest of my day. I will not be flying back to Ohi-tucky this year, and will spend Christmas Eve with Sophia’s family. Everyone will be with their own families on Christmas day. Perhaps I will find a volunteer opportunity during the day. If anything, I can spend some one-one-one time with the Birthday Boy on the beach. I’m not worried, I know the right thing will work out.

It’s after midnight. My mind is jumbled with half-formed thoughts about the holidays, pending gifts, trying to make sure what i can give are enough (you all deserve so many good things!), thinking about spots I’m working on for the radio station and projects for workchurch, what i need to study for finals, and going over tomorrow’s schedule of laundry, errands, a haircut, and more. So instead of continuing this stream-of-consciousness fiesta, i’m going turn on my bed-warming heating pad and siesta. :)