Monday, December 28, 2009

I indeed had a merry Christmas

Hope you all had a wonderful Christmas! I got to spend 4 lovely days with my family (both immediate and extended). Here were some highlights:

* I ate. A LOT.

* Christmas morning is always fun chaos. As I've grown older, I have realized I enjoy watching other people open their gifts more than I like opening mine. I love watching their faces.

* We saw Sherlock Holmes. It was ok, but I was hoping it would be better. If you're going to see any movie this holiday season, go see Avatar in 3D! Best movie of the year!

* singing Christmas carols

* playing the Name Game (thanks Amy and David for introducing that to us - I have the image of Aunt Susie pretending to be Donny Osmond in my brain forever). Most popular names of the game were: Michael Buble, Michael Jackson, Fabio ("Buttah"), Mr. T! ("Foo!"), and Philip of Macedonia.

* Christmas treats - chocolate chip bread, fudge, Christmas cookies, banana bread, almond rochas, even cake to celebrate Jesus' birthday.

* singing karaoke with my cousin on the Wii

* Speaking of singing, spending time with the cutest baby in the world (my nephew) was a HUGE highlight:

Wednesday, December 23, 2009

Advent Conspiracy

This video was made last year (2008) and completely changed the way I view Christmas. (BTW, I think it is amazing that a VIDEO can change ones mindset about something)

It was made by an organization called Advent Conspiracy. This is from their website:

"The story of Christ's birth is a story of promise, hope, and a revolutionary love.

So, what happened? What was once a time to celebrate the birth of a savior has somehow turned into a season of stress, traffic jams, and shopping lists.

And when it's all over, many of us are left with presents to return, looming debt that will take months to pay off, and this empty feeling of missed purpose. Is this what we really want out of Christmas?

What if Christmas became a world-changing event again?

Welcome to Advent Conspiracy."


I am so blessed. I have everything I need. A place to live. Food. Clothing. A job. Income. Health insurance. A car. I even have many things I don't need, but want. This video reminds me that there are so many people in the world who don't have things I take for granted - like clean water. What if I spent less on Christmas and spent more on showing God's love to others? What if for Christmas, instead of gifts, I asked for money to be donated to Compassion International or World Vision? And instead of stressing about gifts and shopping, I focused more on spending TIME with the ones I love? And spent the most time focusing on the ONE for whom we celebrate this holiday?

What a conspiracy.

Monday, December 21, 2009

back to life

What a perfect vacation. Just what I needed; exactly when I need it.

I did everything on my vacay list. Went to Disneyland, slept a lot, the 3 of us got massages one day, we went and saw The Princess and the Frog one night (super cute - yeah for classic animation!), we drove around Orange County and looked at Christmas lights, I read alot, sometimes I just did NOTHING. I felt like I could finally Breathe. Think. Process. Pray. Just BE.

I came home Saturday night and then Sunday my parents, youngest sister, and some of my parents' friends drove over to my church so we could watch the Christmas concert. For those of you who remember my blog posts about the drumline, they did FABULOUS. It was the finale and what a way to end!!

And now I'm back at work for a few days and then it's CHRISTMAS! Wow, this month has flown by.

Sunday, December 13, 2009

Christmas break

Ya know how in school, you always got "Christmas Break"? But then you grow up and enter the real world and suddenly you don't get Christmas break anymore? Well suck it, "Real World"...I'm taking it anyway!! I leave today for a week vacation. Yup. A whole WEEK. I am flying down to So. Cal to spend time with my BFF and her hubby. Their place is like a second home to me and a great escape from life. My plans are always the same: sleep, eat, read, go to Disneyland, go shopping, go to the movies, sit in the hot tub, go on walks, and SLEEP more. Oh bliss. This could not have come at a better time.

Off to pack!

Friday, December 11, 2009

college students make me happy

It has been a very hard, tiring week. However, two days ago I woke up feeling a bit better. A bit more hopeful. I had a bit more spring in my step. Praise the Lord! It was a scary time for me, stressing at work and realizing my dad is not immortal. But I've been praying a lot and I feel the Lord bringing me peace in the midst of chaos. Which is so funny, because that's exactly what we talked about two weeks ago at our advent night. The second candle was "Peace". Peace in the mist of chaos.

Wednesday night was our last college group meeting for the year. We always end the fall with a Christmas Banquet. Everyone gets all dolled up, we have dinner, play games, and end the night with a white elephant gift exchange. Even though things have been stressful at work, these students remind me why I love what I do. I love them and enjoy them so much. Here are my highlights from the gift exchange:

Sunday, December 06, 2009

um, this is not ok

Last week my dad told my sisters and I that he had been talking to some friends and suddenly felt "thick-tongued". He was having trouble saying words and putting his thoughts into sentences. Other times he said he was slurring his words and sounded drunk. My mom took him to the emergency room where they took a bunch of tests. They made an appointment for an MRI to see what was going on in his brain. He got the results late last week and called and told us.

My dad had a mild stroke.

Needless to say, I am a bit of a wreck.

Thursday, December 03, 2009


Last night at the college group, we celebrated advent. We had a wreath with four candles inside. Here are some things we talked about:

* Advent comes from the Latin word "adventus" which means "coming". The expectation and preparation is growing as it gets closer to December 25th. The celebration of Christ's birth is coming!

* Some people celebrate advent with a wreath and candles. Starting the fourth Sunday before Christmas, one candle was lit. The following Sunday, two candles were lit. The next Sunday, three candles and so on. The candles represent the growing anticipation of the birth of Jesus, the "light of the world".

* The wreath's circle shape symbolizes the eternity and unity of God and the evergreens and lighted candles signify the persistence of life in the midst of winter.

We had a student leader get up and share about each candle (I copied and pasted below what they said). Then they would light it and we'd have a few minutes of quiet reflection time.


Isaiah 7:14 “Therefore the Lord himself will give you a sign: The virgin will be with child and will give birth to a son, and will call him Immanuel.”

Isaiah was a prophet in 8th century BC. He prophesied that 700 years in the future, God would come to this world in human form. He will be called Immanuel, which means “God with us”. This candle represents HOPE. At a time when things seemed helpless or hopeless, a savior was coming. Do you believe in this hope?


Luke 2:1-5 “In those days Caesar Augustus issued a decree that a census should be taken of the entire Roman world. (This was the first census that took place while Quirinius was governor of Syria.) And everyone went to his own town to register. So Joseph also went up from the town of Nazareth in Galilee to Judea, to Bethlehem the town of David, because he belonged to the house and line of David. He went there to register with Mary, who was pledged to be married to him and was expecting a child.”

Chaos. Absolute chaos. Caesar had ordered everyone to go back to their hometowns and register there so they could figure out how many people lived in the Roman world for taxation purposes. Mary had to leave her hometown of Nazareth to go with her husband Joseph to his hometown – Bethlehem. Mary left her family, her friends, her support system and she was about to give birth. That must have been scary for her. Bethlehem was crowded and chaotic, with everyone coming back to their hometown. And yet, this second candle represents PEACE. Peace in the midst of chaos. In the middle of a city, country, WORLD that is chaotic, Jesus brings peace.


Luke 2:6-7 “While they were there, the time came for the baby to be born, and she gave birth to her firstborn, a son. She wrapped him in cloths and placed him in a manger, because there was no room for them in the inn.”

We know Bethlehem was crowded – there were no rooms available at any inns. So Mary and Joseph had to take the only place available to them. Maybe it was a stable or maybe it was a cave. But it was probably cold and dark and unfamiliar. And Jesus was born. Mary wrapped him in cloths and put him in a trough used to hold food for animals. God humbled himself and came to this earth for us. This third candle represents LOVE. This is the ultimate show of God’s love for his children. He sent His one and only son who would grow up and one day die for all of our sins.


Luke 2: 8-20 “And there were shepherds living out in the fields nearby, keeping watch over their flocks at night. An angel of the Lord appeared to them, and the glory of the Lord shone around them, and they were terrified. But the angel said to them, "Do not be afraid. I bring you good news of great joy that will be for all the people. Today in the town of David a Savior has been born to you; he is Christ the Lord. This will be a sign to you: You will find a baby wrapped in cloths and lying in a manger."

Suddenly a great company of the heavenly host appeared with the angel, praising God and saying, ‘Glory to God in the highest, and on earth peace to men on whom his favor rests.’

When the angels had left them and gone into heaven, the shepherds said to one another, ‘Let's go to Bethlehem and see this thing that has happened, which the Lord has told us about.’

So they hurried off and found Mary and Joseph, and the baby, who was lying in the manger. When they had seen him, they spread the word concerning what had been told them about this child, and all who heard it were amazed at what the shepherds said to them. But Mary treasured up all these things and pondered them in her heart. The shepherds returned, glorifying and praising God for all the things they had heard and seen, which were just as they had been told.”

A bunch of shepherds were nearby, protecting their sheep at night from wild animals or thieves. And BAM! Suddenly an angel appears with God’s glory surrounding them and they understandably freak out. But the angel tells them about great joy – a Savior has been born! Christ the Lord! A bunch of other angels join the first one and they all begin praising God. The shepherds go off and find Jesus and then they start praising God too! The fourth candle represents JOY. Both the shepherds and the angels express JOY at the birth of their savior. What is your response when you think of Jesus’ birth, which is what we celebrate at Christmas? Does it bring you JOY?

Tuesday, December 01, 2009

world record!

Can you find me in the picture? ------>

A little over a month ago, I had the fun opportunity to dress up as a zombie and dance to Michael Jackson's Thriller downtown with tons of other people. All around the world, people were doing the dance at the exact same time. We were trying to beat a world record.

Last year's results: 4,179 people from 10 countries simultaneously performed The Thriller Dance as part of the Thrill The World event.

This year's results: 22,923 people danced in 32 countries and broke the Record Holders Republic!

WOOOOOOO!!! Who's joining me next year??