Wednesday, December 19, 2018

A Wednesday list...

1. This YouTube link isn't the best version of this song, but I am OBSESSED with The Light of the World  off of Lauren Daigle's Christmas album.

2. I can't remember where I heard about the podcast Circle Round. It's a story podcast for children, and each 15-20 minute episode tells a story which is partially narrated and partially acted out radio drama style. Most of the stories are based on folk tales from around the world, and it's really just delightful. We don't listen to it a lot in our day-to-day life, but since it's the season for road trips I've downloaded a few episodes again. I'm not sure how much the littlest pays attention to it, but my four year old enjoys listening to them, and it's a nice little entertainment break for the kids (one I don't mind listening to myself) when we're on a long car ride. One of my favorite stories is the episode "Stella and the Dragon."

3. Jeremy and I finished watching the second season of Amazon's Marvelous Mrs. Maisel this week, and I'm happy to say it was just as funny, smart, and captivating as season one (it also still comes with a foul language warning, so...consider yourself warned). I really enjoyed how they began to flesh out the stories and character arcs of some of the supporting cast, and I thought the show did a great job of moving the story along in an interesting and logical way, keeping the best things about season one but continuing to move forward. And the setting! I am still blown away by the way they have created this sense of time and place that is so vivid and vibrant.

4.I was getting ready to do a short yoga workout this morning (they're all short, but I felt like I needed to qualify the comment so no one out there starts thinking I'm a legit yogi), and I started thinking about one of the best lessons I've learned over the past few years. It's something I've heard from a lot of different places, framed in a lot of different ways, and applicable in a lot of settings; but what it boils down to is this: the best way to do a thing is the way that works best for you. Example: my best week includes two to three days in which I do a 15-25 minute yoga workout. But I have found through trial and error that if I am too precious about that workout it doesn't get done, and surprisingly the number one factor in my success is sometimes doing yoga first thing in the morning in my pajamas. It's a small thing, and it feels a little like a weird thing, but honestly just taking away that one road block (changing clothes) makes all the  difference. Anyway, that's just one example, but it was a good reminder this morning that the best way to do a thing is the way that works best for you. Sometimes that looks like what someone else is doing and sometimes it doesn't.

5. I hardly ever burn candles (I tend to use my essential oil diffuser instead) but for some reason I've been in the mood for one lately-- maybe it's a fall/winter cozy thing. Maybe a longing for a fire in the fireplace, while living someplace where that isn't super practical (and maybe not possible -- I wouldn't bet on the safety of our house's fireplace). Yesterday I bought a candle from Target (the Chip and Joanna line, naturally) and it's divine. Woodsmoke Cedar, a scent that could be overbearing, but instead is just the right amount of outdoorsy, wintery smell. It's exactly what I was in the mood for.

Happy 6 days until Christmas!

Wednesday, December 12, 2018

A Wednesday list...(in memoriam)

December can feel like being on an express train  -- decorating, gift buying, parties, concerts, movies, traditions, travel. We want to simultaneously slow down and sip hot chocolate in front of our fireplace while gazing contemplatively out at gently falling snow, no obligations in sight; and also wring every last drop of fun and memory-making and glittery sequins out of the Holiday season. But some years, a shift in perspective is forced upon us...

Jeremy's grandmother passed away this week. She was 101 years old. Isn't that amazing? To be honest, I find the idea of living that long pretty exhausting, but think about the perspective one would have living that much life. GG (as the great-grandkids called her) was a teenager during the Great Depression. Her husband had polio. She was a young adult during World War II, and saw her son-in-law off to Vietnam. Telephones to cell phones. Typewriters to computers. Washing clothes by hand to having an automatic washing AND drying machine in your home. Television. 

I didn't know GG very well but from what I did know of her  and what I have learned about her through stories and memories, is that she was a picture of steadiness, faithfulness, toughness, joy, generosity, and fierce love. I wonder if living so much life helped give GG the kind of clarity it takes to live a life that isn't necessarily flashy, but one that impacts generations. 

In honor of GG, this week's list of thoughts is four memories I have of this quietly remarkable woman:

1. She was a gardener -- and I mean, she had a big, store-it-up-for-winter kind of garden. Even when she couldn't manage the garden herself and got help from her daughter, she was actively did what she could to be involved.  I even have pictures from this past June of her shelling peas with my kiddos. 

2. She loved the Dallas Cowboys. Every Sunday you could find her parked in front of her t.v. watching "her boys."

3. She made some of the best peanut brittle I've ever had. In fact, Christmas Eve at her house was a snack-lovers feast: millionaires, peanut brittle, pecan brittle, chocolate dipped peanut butter balls, cookies, peanut butter chocolate chex mix, original chex mix. Everyone else brought the savory snacks, but the sweets were GG's specialty.

4. She LOVED her grandkids and great-grandkids. Anytime one of her grandkids or great-grandkids would walk in the door her eyes would light up. 

Thank you GG for leaving such a legacy of love and faithfulness. Your peace and rest are well-deserved, but there is no doubt you will be missed. 

Wednesday, December 5, 2018

A Wednesday list...

1. I am elbow deep in Christmas cards at the moment although funnily enough, not my own. My brother-in-law and his family are living overseas working with Syrian refugees, and I agreed to mail their Christmas cards since it's so much cheaper. Because they are missionaries, their Christmas card list is...long, to say the least. But, I'm looking at it as their Christmas present. My goal is to have their cards mailed next week so I can get our cards in the mail. I know some people get stressed out by the idea of sending Christmas cards, but it's a tradition I love and one of the few that I prioritize.

2. I was in the mood this week for a cheesy Christmas movie (think Hallmark-type) and I tried one out on Netflix, but I really should have just stopped watching it halfway through. So. Boring. And I have a high tolerance for cheesy Christmas romantic comedies, but this one was just too much. (too little?). I need a good palete cleanser. I'm watching my beloved White Christmas with my friend Stephanie this weekend, so I may bust out While You Were Sleeping. And speaking of Christmas movies...I took the kids to see the new Grinch in the theater last week. It was really good! I liked that it really felt like just an expanded version of the book and original movie, not something completely different. All the key elements were there -- rhyming narration, a three-size-too-small-heart, the precariously balanced sleigh full of stolen Christmas that is saved at the last minute, Max the cutest dog.

3. Season 2 of The Marvelous Mrs. Maisel is out today! I'm so pumped! Now I just need to know when the next season of Sneaky Pete is going to be making an appearance.

4. I've been floundering in my reading lately. Part of the problem is that I'm trying to finish knitting a gift hat for a friend, so I'm spending more of my evening hours doing that instead of reading. Part of the problem is I'm dividing my attention between two books (Fellowship: The Literary Lives of the Inklings and Muse of Nightmares, by Laini Taylor). Fellowship is a library book, and I've had it checked out for WAY too long, but it's not...riveting reading. Interesting enough that I haven't given up on it, but not a page turner. And I'm mostly concerned if I get too deep into Muse of Nightmares I won't sleep until it's finished (I'm tempted to save it for our long road trip to Missouri for Christmas).

5. I'm loving Christmas music season. Pandora has some great Christmas stations that are getting heavy use these days at our house.

Happy Wednesday!