Nov 28, 2010

Emmanuel

I love Christmas music. I love that I can type "I Heard the Bells on Christmas Day" into my iTunes library and then listen to 30 different versions of the classic song. I love when my favorite artists release a Christmas album with a mix of the classics and new song or two that I can add to my Christmas favorites.
I have a small addiction when it comes to buying Christmas music, although I have 43 albums on iTunes and another 20+ in my old CD case.... I want more. I peruse iTunes listening to samples and have to hold myself back from buying every last song that makes me smile.
Instead of spending a small fortune on 99 cent singles, I decided to review some of the songs I already have in my library. As a result of this being my blog and therefore having the freedom to write whatever I want, I have decided to force my reader(s) to enjoy a few of my favorite tunes.
And by the way, I found my pants.

Emmanuel by Chris Tomlin

What hope we hold this starlit night

A King is born in Bethlehem
Our journey long, we seek the light
That leads to the hallowed manger ground

What fear we felt in the silent age
Four hundred years can He be found
But broken by a baby's cry
Rejoice in the hallowed manger ground

Emmanuel, Emmanuel
God incarnate here to dwell
Emmanuel, Emmanuel
Praise His name Emmanuel

The son of God, here, born to bleed
A crown of thorns would pierce His brow
And we beheld this offering
Exalted now the King of kings
Praise God for the hallowed manger ground

Emmanuel, Emmanuel
God incarnate here to dwell
Emmanuel, Emmanuel
Praise His name Emmanuel
Praise His name Emmanuel

Oh, praise His name Emmanuel

Listen and Watch Chris Tomlin perform Emmanuel

Nov 27, 2010

The Season

"He had no beauty or majesty to attract us to him, nothing in his appearance that we should desire him. He was despised and rejected by mankind, a man of suffering, and familiar with pain. Like one from whom people hide their faces he was despised, and we held him in low esteem. Surely he took up our pain and bore our suffering, yet we considered him punished by God, stricken by him, and afflicted. But he was pierced for our transgressions, he was crushed for our iniquities the punishment that brought us peace was on him, and by his wounds we are healed." Isaiah 53:2-4
This king was not born in a palace or dressed in fine linens, he wasn't treated any different than other kids running around town. Nothing about his appearance would make people desire him, and yet what he did for this world makes him the most desirable man in history. His birth provided the world a Savior, by his wounds we are healed and through his punishment peace is available to us. No other man or woman can make that claim.
Today is the first day of Advent, the season to celebrate the arrival of the Messiah in that manger a few thousand years ago and the promise that he will come again. This season is a time to remember the long period that the Hebrew people waited for their Messiah, and to remind ourselves that He is indeed coming back again.
As I finish up decorating the house, searching for Christmas gifts, and getting ready for Matt's mom's arrival, I'm trying to take time to remember all that Christmas is about. Not just the birth, the star, the shepherds, and the wisemen - but the Cross, the empty tomb, and the gift of salvation. Not just shipping, shopping, and cooking - but the joy of giving, celebrating, and eating! It is a whole giant package rolled up into one season. This is an exciting time of year!
At his birth, and in his life, he had no beauty or majesty to attract us to him, but one day every knee will bow and every tongue confess that Jesus Christ is indeed Lord.


Nov 22, 2010

Starting Over

1997 was our first Christmas as a married couple.
That December Matt and I were invited to an ornament exchange. On the way home from work one day I stopped by the store and picked up an ornament. Unbeknownst to me, Matt also picked up an ornament on his way home from work. This was before we had cell phones. We had no communication with each other once we left the house!
Matt chose an Operation Santa ornament by Carlton Cards. It was a little bear inside a k-pot and it was dated 1997. I quickly nixed this as an exchange ornament because I didn't think anyone at the party would want an Army themed ornament. I decided to save it for our tree, it was an infantry guy and Matt was infantry so it made sense.
1998. Second Christmas. Matt is in school to become a Blackhawk Crew Chief. I found an ornament at the PX from the same Operation Santa series and decided to pick it up. This one was a Huey decorated with Christmas lights with Santa in the back. How fitting is that? Matt is working on helicopters and I found a helicopter ornament.
1999. For the third year in a row I picked up an ornament from Operation Santa. It is now declared a tradition. Every year from 1998 until 2009 I bought a helicopter ornament from the series. It was always fun to see which helicopter would be given the honor of ornament status. It was always the first ornament on our tree.
There were two years that I found another ornament to add to the collection. (I think it represents the signal corps.) In 2003, I found a reindeer dressed in BDUs on the phone. I bought the ornament and sent it to Matt in Iraq for his tree there. At the time, we thought the only Christmas greetings we would be able to give each other would be over the phone. Again in 2005 when Matt was in Korea, I found a reindeer on the phone.
This year as soon as I noticed Christmas cards and wrapping paper at the PX, I rushed over to snatch up my helicopter but there were none. There are no Operation Santa ornaments at any of the PX's within driving distance in Germany. In the place where my beloved ornaments were usually displayed, American Greetings has produced as sad attempt at honoring the troops with a series called "Proud to Serve" and quite frankly they are not cool.
We figured this day would come, the day where we must start over with a new family ornament, but I wasn't ready for it to be today. Now we are on the hunt for the new traditional ornament.

Nov 19, 2010

Are you kidding me?

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This is the Lego Star Wars Death Star. It is made up of 3,803 lego pieces. It costs $399.99. And it is the number one item on Eli's Christmas list this year.

The thing that came to mind when I searched Amazon for "lego death star" was "ARE YOU KIDDING ME?" Legos are still plastic right?

I noticed Eli doing something with his Christmas list today, and asked what was going on. He replied "Scratching off things that are not as important to me because I really, really, really, really, (it went on a long time) want a death star and it costs $399." I guess he was doing me a favor by eliminating all the other items on his list so that I wouldn't have to decide which items to get him.

When I first saw his list and noticed the excessively priced Lego items, I figured he just circled the items he wanted and didn't know how much they cost. But today, when I realized he knew the death star was nearly $400, I was shocked. How much does he think we spend on him for Christmas?

I took a calm cleansing breathe and sweetly said (you know me, I'm not actually sweet) "Eli, I guarantee you nobody in this world is getting you death star for Christmas so I think it is a good idea to go be upset now, so that you are not sad on Christmas morning." He cried.

I then explained that a bike, round trip airfare for four to just about anywhere in Europe, most appliances, an Ipad, a nice chair, 3 days of skiing, a camera, many computers.... all cost LESS than a pile of Legos and even if for some reason I had $400 to spend on him for Christmas I would surely buy one of many other things before even considering the death star.

His response "but mom, on Amazon it is $339.99".

"Sigh"

No sense of beating around the bush. "Eli, nobody is spending more than $100 on you."



Nov 17, 2010

Where are my pants?

I lost my pants. Not the ones I was wearing, but my very favorite, most comfortable, cute lounge pants. I'm not happy about this.
Sometimes I find an item that I love so much I just can't imagine any other brand or style coming close to how wonderful it is. Such is true with my pants. Also true of my very favorite ever in the whole world slippers. I wear slippers 95% of the time I'm at home, and since I am a stay at home mom, that amounts to a whole lot of time. I have a lot of requirements for slippers. I want them to be warm enough to keep my feet warm in the winter but cool enough that I can wear them in the summer. They have to have some sort of tread on the bottom because I have wood floors and death stairs. I also want them to be thin on the bottom, I don't want to feel like I'm walking on a pillow. And lastly, it would be nice if they were at least slightly cute because as mentioned before I wear them all the time. I found such slippers over a year ago. They are excessively priced but absolutely perfect. They are cute Mary Jane style wool slippers with a nice little arch support yet lightweight sole. They look like comfy granola shoes not like little satiny grandma slippers (sorry grandma) I love them. I love them so much that after I bought my first pair, I bought a pair as a gift to Rachael, my fellow slipper lovin' friend, and bought myself a backup pair in case something horrific happened and they were no longer available to me. Good thing I bought that back up because turns out 9 months into pair one, they got a hole and I had to break out the second pair. Much to my horror, my second pair now has a hole in them. I checked out Amazon to replace them and they are no longer available. I looked high and low all over internet-land and had no luck. I'm mending these bad boys, I can't imagine life without them.
Such is the case with my lost pants. Not only did I lose my pants, but I can't get them anymore because they are no longer sold in stores. I hate that. They were purple, with an elastic/drawstring waist, capri length, and had a little "cute factor" added with a cinched band just below my knee. So comfy, so cute, so gone. I think I left them in Garmisch. It is the only practical explanation for their disappearance. It doesn't make the loss any easier, but now that I've determined the last time I wore them, I can justify calling off the search party of all my drawers, closets and laundry baskets.


Nov 16, 2010

34

I turned 34.
My birthday was November 1st. That morning I woke up around 8am in a hotel in Garmisch, Germany. Sleeping next to me was my favorite 6 year old, Gabriel. Eli was in a bed across the room and Matt was in London. The boys and I dined at the all-you-can-eat breakfast buffet in the hotel lobby. Eli noticed that I seemed a little too excited for breakfast and made some comment about how giddy I was. He doesn't understand that I LOVE breakfast and what I love more than breakfast, is breakfast that is hot, that I didn't have to cook! I ate hot waffles, bacon, a made to order omelet, other random breakfast items, and drank coffee and orange juice. I loved it. After the morning feast we hopped in the oversized spa outside to relax from the caloric overload then I watched the boys frolic in the indoor pool in the hotel basement. We checked out of the hotel at noon and sauntered through town before finding the perfect spot for lunch....Pizza Hut. What can I say? The boys were choosing and they can't resist good ol' American greasy pizza. After we finished our lunch, we strolled back through town, took a walk in the park and then loaded up for our drive back home. Seems like an uneventful, yet delightful way to spend a 34th birthday.
October 31st is my sister-in-law's birthday but I didn't call her. Instead, I woke up, loaded the boys in the car and headed to Zugspitze. Zugspitze is the highest peak in Germany and it is where I wanted go to celebrate my birthday. We took a cog-wheel train up to a cable car, and then the cable car on up to the top of the world (the German world). All day I was praying for beautiful weather. The problem with the peaks of the Alps is that they are only enjoyable if you can actually see something once you get there. Clouds were threatening to sock in my view, but they stayed parted long enough for me to see what I came to see, the glorious, beautiful Alps from the tippy top. Once the wind started threatening to blow us over the edge and the clouds began to disrupt our view, we headed down the mountain by way of a cable car. We stomped around the lake at the bottom a little, the boys made their best snowballs out of dirty old snow and then we headed to the hotel to check in, get dinner, and go swimming. All I have to say about this day is, I was on top of the world and it was beautiful.
October 28th is not really an important day. I brought snacks to Eli's class for a fall party, worked with my Awana group, and was very glad to be home at 6pm after a long, busy, day. I pulled into the carport and noticed right away that something was up, Madison and Grace were in the playground behind my house. That's odd. When I opened the door to my house, a few friends' heads poked around the corner and I heard a little voice say "Happy Birthday?" It took a few seconds and then it all made sense. Kids in playground belong to parents in house who are here for a surprise birthday celebration a little early because all the guys were leaving for London tomorrow. I got it.
Mika made a delicious meal for Matt and I, her and Tom, and our friends Alton and Katrina. As a bonus, Matt put a movie on upstairs so the kids would be occupied for our adult dinner. After dinner we had cupcakes, the kids sang a beautiful rendition of "Happy Birthday" complete with very excited "cha cha cha" accents, I opened thoughtful gifts, and we ended the night by rockin' out to the Beatles via karaoke/guitar hero. Good times.
So, I turned 34.
(Here is a link to some photos. Password ourphotos )

Nov 15, 2010

Apples and Oranges

My computer developed a long red line on the screen about 4 weeks ago. I turned it off and then back on again hoping that the long line was just a bad dream, but it was real. I instantly got a headache, called Matt whining, and then stewed about how such a thing could happen to a young pup of a computer. My Mac is only 10 months old!
No worries. It is an iMac! It took a few weeks to determine where the closest Apple Service center was, and another week or so to make time to go there, but last Thursday Matt went to the shop in Mannheim, made hand gestures describing the problem and today I have my computer back.
What did it cost for the repair? Nothing.
Headache trying to convince them to do warranty work? No.
Paperwork? None.
This is why we have Apples and not Oranges.