December 24, 2010

Candy Canes

It's Christmas that's exciting.

Currently I'm snuggled into my bed, listening to my mom and grandparents talk downstairs, and trying to decide if I want to brave the cold again today to go running (I don't think I will, yesterday's 27 degrees was a little too much even for me!)

Today is the day when I have to do the whole list of things I haven't gotten around to yet, like wrapping presents and watching Christmas movies. Oh, and maybe even baking some cookies if I decide to go a little crazy. 

But mostly, my plan is to snuggle in a little bit longer, laugh and listen to my family's stories (last night, the crab legs we were eating took us off to the Coast of Africa on a boat sailing to the infamous slave island, where Papa and Grandma were served barrels of fresh seafood as fruit bats flew overhead...oh how I love my family.)

 Then I'll curl up on the couch to watch The Polar Express tonight, as is tradition in our family, before going to bed contemplating a life full of adventure. Christmas in my family is sweet, exciting, full of laughter, and a mixture of memories from one generation and hushed hopes in the next. We're not too big on living ordinary lives around here, and that's more visible to me when we all get together again. 

I love it. I love being together. I love adventure. I love Christmas Eve. 

December 23, 2010

Thanks Tiny Tim

   Last year, by a strange string of coincidences, I must have watched at least ten different versions of A Christmas Carol, and I loved it. Only today did I realize that I haven't watched even one version of that classic at all this year. But when it gets down to it, I still know my favorite part from A Christmas Carol, it's the scene where Bob Cratchit tells his wife that Tiny Tim behaved as good as gold and better, and that on the way home he had said that "he hoped the people in church who saw he was a cripple, would be pleased to remember on Christmas day who it was who made to the lame to walk."

   That line, that scene, makes the whole book/ movie for me. Because it does just what I think Charles Dickens intended it to do, it makes me shift my focus off of the Christmas "season", the lights and food and presents, and look towards Jesus, the author and perfecter of my faith. This year, as Christmas is just 25 hours from slipping into my side of the world, I am being reminded that my life is imperfect. In so many ways, I am blind, I am lame, and I am broken. But I am holding fast to the faith that says, "A day is coming when all things will be made new!" This Christmas, I am being reminded that Jesus came into the world to save it, to save me, to save me from the brokenness that takes a hold of my life so easily. I am shifting my gaze from all the glitter and glamor that so easily entices, and looking towards my Savior. 

   I absolutely love Christmas, I love this time of year, and I love celebrating not only the birth, but the life, the death, and the resurrection of Jesus. All of that celebrating, wrapped up into one big day, it doesn't get much better than that. Merry Christmas, to each and every one!

December 21, 2010

Dear World,

I'm a little scared at how big you've seemed recently. I'm a little terrified at the thought that I'm about to be thrown out into you oh so very quickly and I'm not quite sure if I'm ready or not. World, I hope you understand that even though I've been waiting for this time of my life for quite a while, now that it's here, I'm second guessing myself. Because honestly, I've loved where I've been, I love where I'm at, and I love the moment I'm living jumping headfirst into a new phase in life is completely daunting.

 Don't worry though, I'm going to jump. I'm going to take this chance. I've given up too much to turn back now, I've wanted this for too long to let last minute fears rule the day. I'm going to try and be brave, okay? If you could help me out a little by going easy on me that would be great. But if not, I understand, going easy on me probably won't build courage or character as much as a hard time would. So I guess I'll just wait and see how it all turns out.

That's all for now, World.

Sincerely, Me 

December 7, 2010

I Want A Broken Heart

A heart broken for the hungry.
For the poor.
For the kids who can't speak up for themselves.
For the feet that walk miles just to get a bucket of water.

I want a broken heart.

A heart that beats with the sole purpose of serving God.
A heart that loves until it can't love any more.
A heart that cries when others cry and rejoices when they rejoice.
A heart that abandons everything the world tells it to seek and seeks only Christ.

I want a broken heart. 

A heart that is broken to the ways of the world.
A heart that is broken to the patterns of sin.
A heart that has been transformed.
A heart that once was lost but now is found.

I want a broken heart. 

December 2, 2010

End of Autumn Thoughts

By all rights, autumn is long gone. Today is December 2, in one month, I will be messing up the date in my journal, writing "2010" and forgetting that it has changed to "2011". In one month, I will be so close to February, so close to that day that scares me half to death. So close to leaving home.

My catch phrase when my family moved almost two years ago was, "Life moves forward." On those days when everything felt hard, when leaving hurt so much, and when I didn't feel like dealing with one more day in a new town that wasn't home, I always tended to write in my journal, "Well, life moves forward, eh?" And then I'd move on, I'd face the next day, I'd get through it, and life did move forward, it did get better. Now that oh so familiar phrase is entering my vocabulary again, as I am realizing that not only does "life move forward", it races forward. Races at a break neck speed that fills me with excitement...and a teeny tiny bit of terror. I remember saying shortly after we moved, "Two years and I am out of this town. That's all I can take. I'm going to graduate early and get out of here. Come on Manda, just two years." And then I had a goal, something to work for, and I made it. Except I never even comprehended the thought that at the end of those two years I would have actually made a home here. I would actually like the life that all that hard change brought. And I definitely never thought that those two years would fly by as quickly as they have.

Just like this past autumn, which flew by so quickly. I went to other side of the world and back again. I finished high school. I ran a half marathon. I had some amazing road trips with new friends. I absolutely loved every second of the past few months. December may be here, winter may be about to set in, but after all the amazing memories that have come from this fading away season, autumn needed one last nod of the head from me before I let it slip away until next year.

So here comes Christmas, here comes New Years and a wedding in New Mexico, here comes a few more road trips and ice skating, here comes cookies and Christmas lights and hot comes another amazing season that I am really looking forward to. Here comes a period of two and a half months where I plan on soaking up every single second I can with my friends and family before I head out to Florida. Here comes yet another day when I am again reminded, "Life races forward, eh?"