Friday, December 31, 2010

our lives are made in these small hours.

the firsts for week 19? my first time making peanut butter fudge and first attempt at a zumba class which turned out to be a lot o' fun.
the firsts for this week, week 20? my first try at stenciling. on a wall in my room. and my first craft failure. i've covered the stencil-age up now with 20 different squares of colored paper and a quote that reads, "a sea of flowers won't bloom without the rain." i feel like 2011 will be full of crafts.

here's the second half of my 100 favorite songs of the year. i wanted to post it before the end of the year, so i guess it's now or never :)

51. “Airplanes” B.o.B. and Hayley Williams (It's just a catchy song)
52. “Two” Ryan Adams (One of those songs i literally couldn't stop listening to)
53. “White Horse” Taylor Swift
54. “Brick By Brick” Train
55. “Marry Me” Train (Beautiful one)
56. “Liar (It Takes One to Know One)” Taking Back Sunday (Another new band for me this year)
57. “Summer, Man” Taking Back Sunday
58. “I’m Amazed” My Morning Jacket
59. "Radioactive" (So happy for new Kings of Leon)
60. “Pyro” Kings of Leon
61. "Gravity" John Mayer (A favorite of mom's)

62. "Three” Britney Spears (Don't laugh. I heard it a lot this year at the gym)
63. "Back Down South” Kings of Leon (Love this one)
64. “Mockingbird” Rob Thomas

65. "Ever the Same” Rob Thomas (A favorite of dad's)

66. "Anna Begins” Counting Crows (My all-time favorite of theirs. Oddly enough, I heard it today, and I have a feeling it will be a part of my life for many years to come)

67. "Heartbreak Warfare” John Mayer (Reminds me of the concert earlier this year)

68. “Say Hey (I Love You)” Michael Franti (The opening act at the Mayer concert. Interesting fella)

69. “Dogs Day are Over” Florence and the Machine (Thanks to the previews of "Eat, Pray, Love," I found this song)

70. "Oh!" Eric Hutchinson

71. "I Could Not Ask for More” Edwin McCain

72. "Please Don’t Leave Me” Pink (Another find thanks to our gym classes)

73. “Little Wonders” Rob Thomas ("Let it slide. Let your troubles fall behind you. Let it shine until you feel it all around you")

74. "Who Knew” Pink

75. "High Life” Counting Crows ("A sea of flowers won't bloom without the rain")

76. "Haven’t Met You Yet” Michael Buble (This song always makes me smile)

77. "Gonna Get Over You” Sara Bareilles (Her newest album is.. well.. amazing. Beautiful lyrics, too)

78. “The Light” Sara Bareilles

79. "Basket Case” Sara Bareilles (My favorite off the new album)

80. “Not Alone” Sara Bareilles

81. “Breathe Again” Sara Bareilles

82. “3 AM” Matchbox 20 (Reminds me of watching Soundstage with the family)

83. “Real World” Matchbox 20 (Heard a very neat version of this during the Soundstage special)

84. "Last Christmas" Glee

85. "We Three Kings” (My favorite Christmas song)

86. “Have Yourself a Merry Little Christmas”

87. “The Trouble With Love Is” Kelly Clarkson

88. “Raise Your Glass” Pink ("Don't be fancy, just get dancey." Classic)

89. "Marry You” Bruno Mars (Also featured on Glee one week)

90. "Unwell” Matchbox 20

91. "If You’re Gone” Matchbox 20 (My all-time favorite of theirs)

92. “St. Patrick’s Day” John Mayer (Even more beautiful to listen to when it's cold outside)

93. “Stuck Like Glue” Sugarland

94. “Seasons of Love” Rent (Loved watching it again during the holidays)

95. "Another Day" Rent ("Forget regret or life is yours to miss")

96. “Out Tonight” Rent

97. “I Should Tell You” Rent

98. “All I Want for Christmas is You “Mariah Carey (Dad and I worked out a little choreography for this one while getting things ready for Christmas)

99. "Shake it Up" Train (A fun little Christmas song)

100. “The Difference” Matchbox 20 ("Feel the sun warming up your second-hand heart")

and, finally, i've been thinking about resolutions lately. i have a bucket list i've started, and i'm always eager to check things off that list. but resolutions are a little different. so far, this is what i've got.. run at least three times a week, drink more water (ha.. this one never lasts), do more crafts (i swear.. it's on the list), volunteer (starting in february with the alzheimer's association. so excited for that), read a new book every month, try to make at least one new recipe a month, and begin reading the bible regularly.

get a tattoo, make my own pie crust, make a mosaic, finish writing my book. these are a few things i picked off my bucket list that i'd like to do in and throughout 2011.

"I rang in the New Year, 2010, without you for the second year in a row, surrounded by mostly strangers and no one to kiss at midnight. With my friend Melissa beside me, I clinked glasses once the ball had dropped and we blew our noisemakers and exclaimed, “Happy New Year!” along with the rest of the crowd. The new year I was waiting for was finally here, just like that, and for the first time in my life, I could actually feel a new start beginning.."

i wrote that at the beginning of 2010, and at that point, i was more than ready to put 2009 behind me and start anew. something told me it would be different, it would be better, but i never imagined 2010 would be so full. 2010 was a new beginning, a year for trying new things, meeting new people, building upon the relationships i've had for years and putting the pieces of me back together again; 2011, is a time to breathe into it all, letting the peace and fullness i feel at the end of this year carry me through the next ("let it shine until you feel it all around you").

Monday, December 20, 2010

and hearts will be glowing when loved ones are near.

my first for week 18? using my trusty stand mixer to make christmas cookies this year - instead of mixing them by hand. i'm not sure what i was thinking the last few years not using the mixer. anyway. the white chocolate-cranberry-walnut cookies came out very well. they just need a name. i also managed to keep up the running-one-mile-three-times-a-week and writing-a-little-every-day goals this week. and below you'll find my first first for week 19 - the first time i've shared a part of my book on the blog. crazy, right? i'm pretty excited to share, so here goes -

Snow fell on a cloudy Sunday afternoon in early December of 2010, the lit-before-dark lights of the season twinkling through the falling snow, coloring each flake in blues and greens and reds. I spent the afternoon writing, our newly decorated Christmas tree at my side, and helping make dinner for my family and grandparents. Sunday’s snow had left its mark until early in the week, the perfect backdrop for a home beginning to fill with the holiday spirit.

It felt like Christmas coming in. Something I hadn’t felt in a couple years. It found its way back in again, thanks to my surrounding family and friends and the faith that had carried me through it all. Something about cooking - cooking butter- and cream-filled dishes - and sitting around a table full of my family, as holiday cards began to inundate the mantel, made it feel, actually feel, like Christmas.

I don’t know where the feeling went the last two Christmases. A hint of it still lingered from December to December. But being out of place in 2008, and then still feeling out of place a year later, seemed to keep Christmas farther away than usual, just out of my reach. I wanted to feel it, and I tried. But it never quite sunk in. And, for whatever reason, trying to feel it and not being able to felt almost more sad that never feeling it at all. I wanted Christmas back, and I blamed my losing it, in part, on him. Mostly, though, I blamed myself for letting him take it away.

This year, though, with no hint of him around, I knew I’d get my Christmas. I had no desire to call him, either, which seemed unusual to me. Every other holiday that passed, I felt the need to get in touch, to wish him a Happy Birthday or a Happy Thanksgiving, and catch up for a while. Now, though, nearing Christmas, that want, that need, was no longer there. I knew I could wish him well in my heart, and that was enough for me now. “I hate to break it to you, babe, but I’m not drowning,” I heard the Sara Bareilles' lyric stream through my head. I knew his absence was the main reason the Christmas feeling had found its way back to me - that and the progress I felt I had made the past year. 2010 had been a full year, the fullest yet, and I knew, I felt, Christmas would be just as satiated.

Every year, we add several new ornaments to our tree, my family and I do. Some that are musical, some that talk, some that sparkle thanks to the glow of encouraging white Christmas lights. There are those classic ornaments also featured on the tree that seem to have their own place, their own branch, and their own spot in our hearts. And then, there are some older, weathered ornaments kept in the box, as we save room for the newer and more special embellishments. But the tree is always, always full. I suppose in a way that’s how 2010 was for me. I had met and made new friends who seemed to now be a part of my everyday; I had chosen to keep others in shoeboxes and in memory, knowing they were better left behind; and my family and friends who I had known and shared with for years, well, they were there through it all, as always, with their own special places in my life and heart and in the sound of my laughter - just as those classic ornaments that are an essential part of our Christmas tree each year.

Sunday, December 12, 2010

something in the way that blue lights on a black night can make you feel more.

well, it has been a while since my last entry, so i guess i have some catching up to do.

a look back at the last six weeks, and the firsts of weeks 12 through 17.

week 12.. my first time making a cheesy, beefy skillet dinner.

week 13.. subbing for the first time at my dad's school in seventh grade. i was a little nervous about sub-age in middle school. but, as it turns out, those "big kids" aren't so scary, and i've really been enjoying it. also, conan premiered this week :)

week 14.. the first? a new macaroni and cheese recipe that seems to be a big hit. it's full of butter, sour cream and five different cheeses. perfect for this time of year.

week 15.. while celebrating mom and dad's birthdays with mom, dad and my brother, i had my first dumpling and first fried banana dessert. both very.. interesting. then, my first hard cider, which was a tasty seasonal treat.

week 16.. subbing for the first time in elementary school. two-digit addition, spelling words, math bingo. it was a fun couple days. yes, second graders can be a little whack, but honestly, they aren't much different than seventh graders. the only difference? second graders make you very sweet christmas cards.

week 17.. my goal? run three times this week, a mile each time. i did it, and i noticed something.. my hate of running seems to be fading (finally). my other goal this particular week? write a little in the "book" every day. i did that as well. i find, the more i write, the easier it gets and the more i have to write. i'm planning to continue these goals in the weeks to come.

["i was doing something i had never done before. and what will i be able to do tomorrow that i cannot yet do today?" - eat, pray, love]

and here we are, at the beginning of week 18. the christmas tree is up and decorated (i love writing by the christmas tree).. the jets are made.. and my family and i have started watching our favorite christmas and holiday movies ("the family stone," "love actually" and "rent"). "elf," "the preacher's wife," "christmas vacation," "the holiday," and "the santa claus" still to come.

though this time of year has always been special and has always just felt like christmas, this is the first year that it has really felt like christmas again in a couple years. it's a very good feeling, and i have my family, friends and faith to thank for it.

["we should live in this time now and have every minute of it" - a moveable feast]

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