Thursday, December 30, 2010

Christmas Pics

Here are a few pictures I took during the Christmas season so far.

Friday, December 24, 2010

Christmas Eve

I am writing this from the corner of a condo. Around me are four little girls scrambling for the rest of the glitter for their craft projects, and giggeling in a way that only those excited for Christmas could. There's jazz music playing through the tv, Christmas tunes of course. There's a very tiny Christmas tree behind me, piled precariously on top of the pile of gifts, that have somehow survived the four hour drive up here.

Some people have been telling me over the past few days about all the wonderful traditions that they enjoy with their families. Our family has our own traditions, that vary every year, because we are always in a different place. I honestly had to rack my brains for something I could share. Now, sitting here with all the crazyness surrounding me, I remember.

Every year my mom does stockings. Now I know that most people do stockings, and that might not be a unique tradition, but it's something we all appreciate so much. She wraps every indiviual gift, and finds room for them in the stockings that my grandma hand sewed. Each of us has our own stocking, with our name and a picture cross stitched onto it. Mom and I have spent many evenings together trying to come up with ways to wrap toothbrushes, chocolates, and socks. One year, I wrapped everything in the shape of a cow.....I even drew faces on them. Don't ask me how, I honestly don't know....all I know is that every year that gets brought up.

Every year there is one present wrapped completely in duct tape. I'm not entirely sure where this started, but I have a feeling it was a result of one of my Boessenkool uncles. There has been an ongoing feud to see who can make the present the most difficult to unwrap. One year, as revenge for a paricularily difficult wrapping job, my father presented my uncle with his present. Completely surrounded, with a happy face taunting him to just try to get at the insides. I don't think that cement block ever did get opened.

What are some of your Christmas traditions?

ps. If you are reading this Christmas Day, get off your computer and sing a carol. At the top of your lungs. It's fun.

Wednesday, December 15, 2010

Imaginations and Dinosaurs

Have you ever had one moment that changed the whole mood of your day? Something that made you smile, not only with your mouth, but with every fiber in your body?

I had something like this yesterday while in the mall finishing up my Christmas shopping.

There was a small boy with his mother and grandmother in the same store I was. Both mom and grandma looked exhausted, and I can hardly blame them, the mall was swarming with people desperate to find the perfect gift that might put them on any person's good side.

At first I noticed that he seemed to be looking at me quite a lot, and he even waved a few times as though we had somehow met before. Then he gave me the most serious look a four year old boy could muster and said
" I am looking for dinosaurs!"
I gave him the biggest grin I could come up with and told him that was an awesome idea.
He smiled at me, and then his mother pushed him away in his red car cart, and I continued looking for my gifts.
I happened to be behind them again in the line and he looked at me, recognized me as the person he had talked to before.
He looked up at me with those big, curious eyes and told me again of his quest for dinosaurs.
I smiled at him again, and then my heart melted with his next words.
" Do you want one? I think they'd like you"

Of course, I was all for that!! So I told him he could find me one.
He bunched up his little fingers into binoculars and began to look around for one of his friends.
He turned to me, and said, all business:
" I've found you one, she's up by the roof. She's a little shy, but I'll call her down, and tell her you're a friend"
I watched as he cupped his hands around his mouth and began to whisper with all the urgency he could muster. Then he pointed at the ground by my feet and said very quietly
" There, she came. She's by your feet, please don't forget to feed her"

By this time his mother had realized what was going on, and apologized again and again, telling me how frustrating it was that he just talked to everyone. I assured her that it was completely fine. She began yelling at her son about talking to strangers, and the dangers that could hold, then immediately left the store with his grandmother sending me glares the whole way out. I didn't notice this too much, because as they were leaving, their imaginative little boy looked right at me, grinned as though we shared a special secret, and waved.

Have you ever had something like that happen? Leave a commment and share your story!

Wednesday, December 8, 2010

It's The Most Wonderful Time

Christmastime has always been my busiest time of the year, and this year all my busyness has been multiplied by three.

Usually I play for one choir for one, maybe two songs, have practice once a week, and somehow that makes me busy.

This year I am playing for three choirs. This is something I have never attempted before, and sometimes I wonder what I have gotten myself into.

This is not a post to complain about how busy I am, and how much I wish my life was quieter....This is a post for me to try and explain why I am so ridiculously happy.

There's something about sitting in the background behind that ancient, out of tune piano that I find almost magical. Listening to kids from kindergarten right up to grade 11 sing their hearts out in anticipation for the big performance. There's something about the way the youngest of them reflect that true joy and excitement that comes with this season that is irreplaceable. It's the quiet moments, when they're reciting their lines and I can fill in the blank spaces with simple melodies, that make this season bright.

I love every minutes of it. It's my happy place, somewhere where I know that things are ok. Small moments of time where I don't worry, moments where I can simply communicate the joys of this season through small squares of black and white.

It's so easy to get caught up in the big things during this time of year. What to get for gifts, what sort of things you are going to prepare for Christmas dinner, the sorts of decorations you feel like putting up. It's the time of year that we look forward to the most, and all too often we forget to stop and simply enjoy small moments. Seeing family members again, spending time with those you love, making dinner while singing Christmas carols at the top of your lungs, those are the moments that we need to hold on to.

I wish you and yours a blessed holiday season.

God bless, and Merry Christmas.