happy to the birthday

Tuesday, December 31, 2013

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i interrupt my regularly scheduled postings to bring you this.

today is my mom's birthday and she deserves her own post. she is the most genuine person i know, and i love her for all that she is and all that she inspires me to be. she loves her husband, her kids, and her friends fiercely. she's always happy, always silly, always creative. if she weren't my mom, she'd probably be my competition. she's just good at everything.

i love you, mom. have the most wonderful of birthdays!

nine horses

Monday, December 30, 2013

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book one of my christmas books.

nine horses: poems by billy collins.

mr. collins is my favorite. i was introduced to him in college by a boy i had a fleeting crush on, and, unlike this particular boy, billy caught and captured my full attention, reeling me in. he writes mostly about simple things, everyday occurrences, but the words he uses are so magical and vivid. he turns something like forgetting a book and walking back into the house to retrieve one into a philosophical quandary.

"i go back to the house for a book"

i turn around on the gravel 
and go back to the house for a book, 
something to read at the doctor’s office, 
and while i am inside, running the finger 
of inquisition along a shelf, 
another me that did not bother 
to go back to the house for a book 
heads out on his own, 
rolls down the driveway, 
and swings left toward town, 
a ghost in his ghost car, 
another knot in the string of time, 
a good three minutes ahead of me— 
a spacing that will now continue 
for the rest of my life. 
sometimes i think i see him 
a few people in front of me on a line 
or getting up from a table 
to leave the restaurant just before i do, 
slipping into his coat on the way out the door. 
but there is no catching him, 
no way to slow him down 
and put us back in synch, 
unless one day he decides to go back 
to the house for something, 
but i cannot imagine 
for the life of me what that might be. 
he is out there always before me, 
blazing my trail, invisible scout, 
hound that pulls me along, 
shade i am doomed to follow, 
my perfect double, 
only bumped an inch into the future, 
and not nearly as well-versed as i 
in the love poems of ovid— 
i who went back to the house 
that fateful winter morning and got the book.

see what i mean? wicked sweet. billy was the poet laureate of the US from 2001-2003 for good reason.  i hate to say his poetry is "accessible" because it makes me sound like a poetry snob or some polished highbrow, and i am far from it (you're not surprised). so, instead, i will say his poetry can be enjoyed without the use of a poetry concordance. this is something i appreciate. it's how i prefer to write poetry (when i do), and i think when you can write about something simple such as a rainy day or the shape of an orange, and keep your readers' attention, it is quite a talent.

check him out and read a few of his poems if you care to. i'm already more then halfway through nine horses, but i'll definitely be going back through and taking in a few of the poems more slowly.

do you have a favorite poet or poem? do you know of any poet whose style matches billy's? i'd love to know!

the books of christmas

Friday, December 27, 2013

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hope everyone had a wonderful christmas! i've been home since tuesday and pretty much all i've been doing is getting fed by my dynamic duo parents. they're both good cooks which is bad news for me since i hardly meet a food i don't like. dale bakes bread for breakfast. he hands the baton off to my mom who puts out a spread for lunch. they work in tandem for dinner creating bbq pork and parmesan noodles. i thought i escaped the freshman 15 in college, but it turns out it just shows up later in life and goes by a slightly different name. the christmas 20. 

christmas morning was really wonderful spending time with the regulars-the parents and two brothers-and, this year, the lovely addition of my older brother's girlfriend. she put up with us and joined in on the shenanigans and made us the most potent and delicious bourbon balls. hashtag keeper.

i got a lot of fun pressies including a mini pie baker. did not know that existed in the world, but it's got me up late at night thinking of all of the different pies i want to try. in my half-sleepy state, things like dill and caramel sound good together when, in reality, they are not. i need to concoct recipes when i am awake and have at least two cups of coffee in my body/brain.

one of my favorite gifts this year was a big pile of books. my mom is a huge reader, and i try to follow in her footsteps. she has books lying around all over our house. sometimes i find them stashed under couch cushions because she runs out of room and has nowhere else to put them.

there are three in particular i am really excited to start, and i want to tell you about them! for the next three posts, i'm going to brief each book and explain why i'm excited to dig in. i started this out as one post, but the words just kept coming and the post was getting way too long. i mean, i appreciate a succinct post as much as (i assume) the next person does. so, stay tuned and maybe you'll discover a new book or author that you'd like to further investigate.

what was your favorite christmas memory from this year? your favorite gift given and received?

the day before

Tuesday, December 24, 2013

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merry christmas eve. i am sitting in bed drinking coffee and having some time with Jesus, and it hits the spot. later today, after i pack my car with way too much stuff for a just few days at home, i'll be driving down to the land of the pines. i'm excited to go somewhere where i know i will be greeted with squeals from my mom, a huge smile and hearty hello from my stepdad, and a surprisingly big hug from my much-cooler-than-i little brother. 

we will catch up over coffee (or wine depending on the time of day i arrive). we will drive around town with my stepdad dressed up as santa and shout "merry christmas!" to anyone and everyone we see. we will get dressed for christmas eve service at my parents' church and light candles and sing beautiful songs. we will come home and eat irish stew and be allowed to open one present only. we will lay out our stockings on the couch. and even though i am 28, i will definitely have a hard time falling asleep tonight. 

hope each of you has a very merry and joyful day today. even if you are still scurrying around making last minute purchases and preparations, take some moments to breathe and relax and focus on the joys of the season. friends, family, love, giving and receiving. take it all in. 

on a related note, my good friend chelsea is an amazing writer and has recently published an article about this beautiful season we are in. take a few minutes and read; it's really wonderful. 

england recap

Friday, December 20, 2013

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it's taken me so long to tell you guys about my trip to england because i'm still in deep denial that it's over. i wish really hard that when i wake up in the mornings, i'll be back in the land of british accents. coming off a vacation high is no joke. i need a vacation from my vacation. 

in a nutshell, the trip was wonderful. we had funnnn. we stayed in cambridge for the majority of our time with one day of sight-seeing in london at the end of the trip. 

cambridge is beautiful. it is so picturesque, and i'm jealous of our friends who live there. i literally saw literal thatched roofs. and on those thatched roofs there was moss. growing. 

we stayed with my roommate's boyfriend who is stationed there, and his apartment was within easy walking distance to most everywhere we wanted to go. we walked to markets and out for drinks and to evening church service and to restaurants and to our friends' house across the river. one afternoon i walked to a great coffee shop all by myself. proud moment for me. i get lost driving to work.

some of my favorite parts of the trip where the few times we went out running through the city and along the river. what a great way to see the sights! there were so many people out walking and jogging and a ton of crew teams rowing along the river. we ran through neighborhood streets, and i admired all of the cute apartments and houses that looked like something straight out of a storybook.

one morning our friends took us out punting along the river cam. punting in england does not mean the same thing it means here. my thought process: "we're going to the river to kick footballs around? i didn't bring a football. or any ball. how is this fun?" silly american. punting is basically like riding in a gondola. everyone piles into a boat with a lead person guiding the craft along the river using a long pole to push off the bottom. similar to a lazy river but without inner tubes and bad tan lines. 

on our last day, my friend liz and i took the tube into london. we only had one afternoon to do as much as we could so after we checked into our hotel, we got to walking. we saw a lot of the "big deal" sights. buckingham palace, st. james park, the london eye, big ben, parliament, westminster abbey, and a trip at harrod's for lunch and (window) shopping.

i honestly have barely touched on all of the things we did and the fun we had, but the post already feels too long. i know my own attention span is waning so yours must be completely shot. there is only so much interest you can feign in somebody else's vacation. i get it.

can we hear it for england? it showed us a really great time, and i hope we didn't overstay our welcome because my piggy bank is already jingle jangling with a few pennies i've saved up for our next trip.


cue inordinate amount of vacation photos.

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advent song

Sunday, December 15, 2013

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this season of advent, this time that i wait in eager anticipation of the celebration of the coming of Christ, is a time to remember my faith and the wonderful gift i have been given. but it is not an idle waiting; it is an expectant one.  

i just found this advent song on noisetrade, and it is a beautiful reminder of what this holiday holds. plus, free music never hurt anyone. (if you're not into this particular song, browse the rest of noisetrade! there is tons of good music to be discovered, and i guarantee you will not be disappointed). 

happy advent season! 

tis the season

Wednesday, December 11, 2013

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it’s the christmas season! we have our apartment decorated with tiny tinsel trees, pink vintage bulb ornaments, and on our coffee table is a picture book called christmastime in new york city. i have not been to nyc during the holiday season, but based soley on the illustrated pictures in this book, i think i would like it very much.

christmas is one of my favorite times of the year. my faith plays a big part of why i love it so much. i think the lyrics to "o holy night" capture it perfectly. “a thrill of hope, the weary world rejoices!” Christ is that thrill of hope. in a world that is filled with hatred, war, crime, depression, and inequality, there is hope. it stands strong against my darkest days and my longest nights. it buoys me when i feel like i am sinking. it is the reason that i sing JOY to the world. 

i also enjoy this season because of how it seems to transform daily life into something a bit more magical. twinkle lights strung on front porches lend a soft glow to the passerby on the street. packages big and small are stacked in piles under the branches of the evergreen. community members come together to help those who might need an extra hand during this time of the year. family members and friends fly across the country and across the world to be with the ones they love. 

this holiday holds special memories from seasons past. there was the year my brother surprised us and came home early from where he was stationed in the air force to spend christmas with us. there was the year my dad built an entire toboggan run down the hill in our backyard. he carved the route for hours, scraping and smoothing the snow down to a slick track. we spent the rest of the day riding down the hill, screaming at the top of our lungs as the cold air stung our red faces. one year, when i was probably six or seven, the only thing i wanted was a new kids on the block wallet. i opened all my gifts in eager anticipation of finding this coveted status symbol and was dismayed when i didn’t find it under the tree. but santa is a tricky fellow. there was one last gift hiding with my name on it, and when i opened it, the baby faced boy band was smiling up at me in the form of a plastic, velcro-secured wallet. my belief in santa was firmly secured. 

this year, christmas day will be celebrated a little different as my dad is in idaho and will not be here to celebrate with us. we will wish each other “merry christmas!” across telephone wires. my older brother is dating someone special, and i’m sure the length of his visit with us will be cut short as he will be juggling the holiday between two families. but it doesn’t matter. the point of christmas is not that every tradition stays the same year after year after year. the point of christmas is joy, hope, thankfulness, celebration, love, family. 

what are your plans for the holidays? is it a special time for you? do you have any favorite holiday memories?

december mix

Wednesday, December 4, 2013

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what to do the day after your european vacation:

1. wake up at 4:30 am because you're still on england time 
2. catch up on theskimm and nextdraft
3. roll out of bed at 6:30 to make coffee
4. put together the best mix of the year

kids! it's december. you know what this means, right? this is the month for eating obscene amounts of food and candy and eggnog and nobody can say anything to you because christmas. there is logic in there somewhere. let me know if you find it before i do. 

i just got home from a lovely week of vacation in cambridge, england. my friends and i had an absolute blast, but now i am in a deep depression because north carolina doesn't seem nearly as exciting in comparison to cambridge's lovely walking streets and gorgeous views and beautiful architecture. (durham, i love you. i'm just going through the seven stages of coping).  

let's turn this frown upside down with some festive holiday tunes, shall we?

joy to the world, the Lord is come!

* december mix *

joy to the world : david archuleta

jinglebell rock : arcade fire

merry christmas baby : otis redding

marshmallow world : darlene love

o come all ye faithful : casting crowns

it's christmas! let's be glad! : sufjan stevens

let it snow! let it snow! let it snow! : ella fitzgerald

christmas lights : coldplay

baby, it's cold outside : louis armstrong

snow : sleeping at last

here comes santa claus : elvis presley

come thou long expected jesus : fernando ortega

angels we have heard on high : seabird

please come home for christmas : the eagles

have yourself a merry little christmas : andrew belle

christmas (baby please come home) : the oceanauts

silent night, holy night : faith hill

let us rejoice this christmas season! 

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