Saturday, December 31, 2011

So long 2011

2011, you interesting year.

You were a year of ups and downs. Successes and failures. American milestones and world milestones. It's time to look back at what's happened the past 12 months.

What happened in the world in 2011:

* Japan experienced a horrific 9.0 earthquake and tsunami.
* Egyptian president Mubarak resigned and fled Cairo. The people rejoiced. "I'm 21 years old and this is the first time in my life I feel free." -young Egyptian in Tahrir Square
* Osama bin Laden was killed.
* Prince William and Kate Middleton got married.
* North Korean leader Kim Jong-Il died of a heart attack.
* And a million other things I am either ignorant of or don't know enough about to post.

What happened in America in 2011:

* We were introduced to Rebecca Black. Fridays will never be the same.
* The "man with the golden voice", Ted Williams, was homeless one day and then offered housing and a job the next.
* The Green Bay Packers won the Superbowl.
* Charlie Sheen went crazy.
* Netflix made some bad choices and annoyed a lot of customers.
* Harold Camping predicted the rapture would come in April. Oh just kidding, October.
* The iphone4s was unveiled. We met Siri and enjoyed her sassy answers to our dumb questions.
* The 8th and final Harry Potter movie came out in July.
* We watched the final launch of the space shuttle program.
* We fell in love with Adele's voice and songs.
* R.I.P. Steve Jobs, Amy Winehouse, and Elizabeth Taylor.
* It was the 10th anniversary of 9/11.
* The St. Louis Cardinals won the World Series
* Occupy Wall Street. And LA. And NY. And Dallas, Boulder, Chattanooga, etc.
* Tim Tebow became the "mile high messiah".
* Soldiers started returning home from Iraq.

Let's raise a glass and celebrate a new year coming. 2012, what you got for us?!

Wednesday, December 28, 2011

family, food, and fun

Hello friends! I hope you all had a wonderful Christmas. I just got home from 4 lovely days at my parents' house. My highlights:

* My nephews. Judah who is 3 and baby Samuel who is 6 and a half months old.

* On Christmas Day after opening gifts, my dad brought out all of his remote controlled cars for people to play with. It was so fun!

* Food food and more food.

* Singing carols at the nearby assisted living residence on Christmas Eve.

* Seeing Judah play with the toy violin I got him for Christmas.

* Getting not one but two SF Giants blankets! (Is it April yet?)

* Seeing the musical "Bring It On" with my sisters. Yes, they have made the cheerleading movie Bring It On into a musical. BUT it has two things going for it: 1) they do ah-MAY-zing flips and stunts in the air! 2) Lin-Manuel Miranda (who my sisters and I love because he wrote all the songs and lyrics for In The Heights) co-wrote all the songs and lyrics for this one. And we'll pretty much see whatever he has done. That man is so talented.

* Good talks and hang-out time with my family

* Mission Impossible 4 - go see it. It was very entertaining. (I love Simon Pegg!)

* Um, and have I mentioned my nephews?

Friday, December 23, 2011

sand art

Tonight I went to the Christmas Eve (Eve) service at my church. I will be with my family on the real Christmas Eve but I still wanted to celebrate Christmas with my church. Luckily they have a service two nights before Christmas.

Between the songs we sang and the message our pastor shared, a man named Mike Conley got up and did sand art. Have you guys seen this before? Imagine a big hollow wooden box. They top of it is plastic and inside the box is a light that shines out the top. The artist uses sand to make pictures, people, scenes, etc. on the surface. It was mesmerizing. I could not take my eyes off it.

This video is not Mike's, but it is similar to what he did.

Monday, December 19, 2011

what Christmas means to me

For me, Christmas can be summed up in three simple words.

God with us.

700 years before Jesus was born, the prophet Isaiah said, "The Lord himself will give you a sign: the virgin will conceive and give birth to a son, and will call him Immanuel." (Isaiah 7:14)

What does "Immanuel" mean?

God with us.

God, the creator of the cosmos, wrapped himself in human flesh and came to the earth he created.

He wasn't born to a wealthy married couple in a mansion. He was born to a young girl and her financially poor fiancée in a cave, because there were no rooms available for them in the town of Bethlehem.

Instead of being wrapped in gold blankets and put in a comfortable crib, he was wrapped in strips of cloth and placed in a manger. Basically a feeding trough for dirty outdoor animals.

And who were the first people to see Jesus, besides Mary and Joseph? Shepherds. Smelly shepherds who hung out with sheep all day and were the lowest of the low in social circles.

What humble beginnings for the King of Kings.

Why did he do that? Why did the God of the universe come to earth?

Because he loves us.

He loves me.

And he loves you.

We are his children. His creation. The work of his majestic hands.

And he knew we needed a Savior.

So the Father sent his one and only son to this crazy, dark, messed up world.

To save us.

From sin.

From death.

Through the Son, we can have a relationship with the Father. And if we believe in Jesus, nothing can separate us from him.

That is what Christmas means to me.

I celebrate Jesus' birth. The birth of my Savior who left heaven and humbly came to earth so we could know him. And find grace, love, and forgiveness through him. And be saved from what we deserve.


God is with us.

Sunday, December 18, 2011

weekend o' fun

What a fun weekend.

To start off, our house had our annual white elephant gift exchange par-tay. You never know what you'll end up with at these things. In previous years, I've received a bag of cement, an old nasty chair, "Masters of the Universe" (a live action He-Man movie) on DVD, an N'Sync calendar, and more.

This year I ended up with old-school records that teach multiplication tables. What a great gift! If I was a 4th grade teacher. In the 1970's.

But I was more excited about the gift I gave this year. I was at Goodwill and heard someone/something singing "Living La Vida Loca". It turned out to be a Santa on a reindeer stuffed animal. When you press his hand, the Santa sways from side to side during "Upside, inside out" and then the reindeer turns to you and sings "Living La Vida Loca!!". They sing the whole chorus together and then stop. It was both horrible and amazing. Our friend Colin got it. He was less than pleased.

The best gift of the night was actually a re-gift from last year. It's a painting of a Tootsie-looking woman wearing a Star of David necklace. Her eye holes are cut out which makes her freaky-looking. When our friend Holly opened it, she burst out laughing. Someone grabbed it and put it on our mantle with white lights coming through the eye holes.

And THEN Holly's husband Andrew opened a gift and it was a picture of Brad Pitt from Legends of the Fall. He went on the mantle as well - slyly looking at the creepy Jewish Tootsie. So wonderful.

Saturday I drove to my older sister's house to spend some time with her and my two nephews. Judah is 3 and we had a great time playing together. Samuel is 6 months old and so cute, I want to die.

From there I drove to see my sister Liz in her winter musical "13 Days of Christmas". She played Bernie, a truck drivin' tomboy with a crush on the town mechanic. She stole the show. I'm not just saying that because she's my sister. She legitimately was the best singer, dancer, and actress. She KILLED her solo. I always love seeing her perform on stage.

Today (Sunday) I went to my church's Christmas concerts. Every year our church puts on these amazing concerts that people come see from all over the county. They do 10 concerts in 4 days. And they are a-may-zing! I went to the 11 a.m. concert with my college students and the 5:30 pm concert with my aunt, uncle, and cousin who drove into town to see it.

What a wonderful weekend. I am feeling very thankful and blessed tonight.

Wednesday, December 14, 2011

lovely ladies

The other evening, a dear friend (and previous roomate) was visiting from out of town so we had a Ladies Night.

I look at this picture and my heart swells with joy.

I love these ladies so much.

I have known many of them for 11 years, ever since I moved here.

We have many memories together.

They have taught me a lot.

They are precious in my life.

I know Thanksgiving is over, but it doesn't matter. I am thankful for them today and every day.

Sunday, December 11, 2011

Advent Conspiracy

I will be blogging soon about what Christmas means to me. Until then, I will share my favorite Christmas video. There is a movement going on called "Advent Conspiracy". They are trying to get the focus OFF shopping, materialism, and consumerism at Christmas-time. Instead the focus should be on worshiping Jesus. Spending time with loved ones. Giving to others.

You are free to Conspire.

Friday, December 09, 2011

Christmas Banquet

College group is done for the semester! Wooooo!

We had our annual Christmas Banquet to end out the year. And I can honestly say this was the best one we've ever had. Everything went well and was fun.

I loved seeing all the college students dressed up. My friends Jenn and Steve made a delicious meal for us (3 different types of pasta, 3 different sauces - marinara, alfredo, and pesto, and 3 meats to choose from - meatballs, chicken, or shrimp). Intern Scott sat in a grandfather-type chair and read a re-telling of "Twas the Night Before Christmas" while wearing fake glasses and holding a pipe. We played games (wrap up someone at your table and a gingerbread house competition). We had a white elephant gift exchange. And to top it off, DANCE PARTY!

Here are some pictures to showcase the evening.

Tuesday, December 06, 2011

I have readers in the Philippines?

I don't know if you've noticed, but there are three new "counters" at the bottom of my blog. The first tells you how many people have viewed your blog. The second goes into more detail: how many visits you've had today, this month, etc. The third is my new favorite: WHERE your readers live.

I LOVE seeing that I have readers not only from all over the US, but in countries like Ireland, Brazil, India, Portugal, Ukraine, Scotland, Canada, Japan, Poland, Italy, Finland, Philippines, Mexico, England, Vietnam, Denmark, Australia, Pakistan, Chile, and the Netherlands.

To my international friends, welcome. Did you come upon this blog on accident? I apologize if my random ramblings don't make sense. To my readers across the U.S., welcome as well. Did you come upon this blog on accident? I apologize if my random ramblings don't make sense.

Just kidding. For whatever reason, I'm glad you're here. Please feel free to comment so I can read your blog, too.

And you should put the "visit counters" on your blog page. You'll be surprised to see how far your blog reaches.

"It's a small world after all..."

Sunday, December 04, 2011

Christmas tree time

Today was such a wonderful day. Some friends and I went to a nearby Christmas tree farm to cut down trees for our respective houses. I especially love this farm because I used to work there at Christmas-time when I first moved to this area.

This really made it start to feel like Christmas. The smell of all the douglas fir trees, Christmas music playing, families all dressed in red and green and reindeer antlers, sitting by the fireplace, drinking hot chocolate, enjoying the crisp, cold air. Ahhhhhh. On top of that, the farm also has a barn, a cute general store, animals (chickens, goats, bunnies) you can feed, and hay rides.


Friday, December 02, 2011


*a text I sent my sister today*

"Who has two thumbs and just got a steroid shot in her bottom?


Yes, my friends. I have steroids running through my veins right now.

I feel powerful.

Not really.

Basically my allergies have been worse than usual the past couple months. So I finally decided to go visit my doctor. We talked awhile and then she prescribed me a new medicine and a new nasal spray.

"Sarah, I'm also going to give you a shot of steroids," my doctor said.

"Huh?" I said.

"We give them to patients if they have bad reactions to poison oak or allergies. It helps calm your body down," said my doctor.

"Oh okay," I said and started removing my sweatshirt so she could have a good shot at my arm.

"It's going in your toosh," said my doctor.

Nothing, said me.

I looked at her in silence for a couple seconds. Um, I've heard about bum shots but don't they just give those to babies?

So yes, I can now officially say I've been shot in my bottom (bucket list?) but the best part is that at any moment I could turn into the She-Hulk.