80 degrees outside today, and I had my AC in the car on full blast this afternoon. Texas December is now in full force!
Also, I have not blogged in a month. The hiatus was completely unintentional, and every day without a blog post has brought a little more tension in my little write-to-be-free heart. There are a few staple things in my life I do to keep me sane. Painted fingernails, for example. I joke that “the state of my mind is the state of my nails.” Except it’s not really a joke. Chipped nail polish = Chelsea has not had even twenty minutes free this week. We all have our quirks.
But I digress.
Thanksgiving was suddenly two weeks ago, and though I did not write anything about it this year, November 2011 was filled to the brim over here with lessons in thankfulness. Missed it in November? Take the challenge any thirty days you choose, and cultivate some much needed contentment. You might be surprised.
Our Thanksgiving traditions include camping with the family and some old family friends, then driving down to College Station to (usually) watch the Aggies btho Texas. We’re not too bummed we missed playing the Longhorns this year though, because hey, we have a Heisman candidate. ((grins))
The weather was fabulous for camping; we were in shorts during the day and a light fleece at night. The sun was shining, and the cousins were exploring.
The rest of the Fall has, admittedly, been hectic. I know everyone has busy lives, but when you stop and think things like, “What’s it like not to be tired?” you know it’s been a rough one. So fun, but exhausting. We wrapped up recruiting for Pine Cove summer staffers just before Thanksgiving, and we have been in the process of reading (thousands of) applications, making phone calls, and locking in staff for summer 2013!
On that note, I would like to proudly announce my sister will be counseling at Pine Cove Timbers this summer!!
December! Bring on the Christmas movies (the roommates and I have been all over town scoping out the best deals), excessive Christmas lights (is there such a thing?), valid excuses at last for all the sparkly things, and deep hope-filled celebrations.
Tis the season indeed!
When talking Christmas, I have discovered the music can be polarizing. Some are anti non-hymn Christmas music. Some choose to grinch it up and mute the music of the season. Some (like me) start listening, at least while alone, as soon as it’s cold enough to wear a scarf. (By those qualifications, today would not be a Christmas music day.)
Because some songs shine brighter than others, here are a few of my favorites to add to your Christmas playlist:
- Best All-Around: The entire Dave Barns Very Merry Christmas album. It is the best. If you have to pick just one song, go with Christmas Tonight.
- Best for Advent: Andrew Peterson’s Behold the Lamb of God. (If you have a chance to see the BTLOG tour, do it. You’ll be overwhelmed with talent and worship.)
- Best in beauty & worship: Phil Whickam’s Songs for Christmas Choosing just one? I’m obsessed with Evermore.
- Best hauntingly beautiful rendition of a classic: O Come O Come Emmanuel by the Civil Wars. (ugh just typing their name gets me sad all over again. We did not get enough good music out of those two.)
- Best not-your-typical Christmas song: Christmas Lights by Coldplay. Brilliant.
- Best for fun song: Snowglobe by Matt Wertz. Impossible to listen without smiling! (The whole album is good, but this is my top pick out of the bunch)
- Best album to make you feel musically cool and Christmasy all at the same time: Comfort & Joy by Folk Angel. They also released a new album in 2012, Glad Tidings, but the 2011 one was better. Except for their version of Joy to the World. It is unmatched!
- Best version of Jingle Bells: Ben Rector. Leave it to him to make a childish classic sound awesome.
Obviously there are thousands of other brilliant Christmas songs out there. But these, these are the ones I keep consistently on repeat this time of year. If only Taylor Swift would come out with some holiday tunes…
Did I just lose the crowd?
Last year I wrote a post about Advent, and my re-discovery of the true beauty in this time. I still stand by the Advent Narrative, Behold the Lamb of God by Russ Ramsey (inspired by Andrew Peterson). I’ve also heard a lot of good things about this Jesus Storybook Bible Advent Reading Plan. I’m a huge fan of the Jesus Storybook Bible, and recommend it as a gift idea, for, well, anyone.
Happy December, friends! Enjoy the festivities and the celebrations! (Oh and go buy the double feature of White Christmas with It’s a Wonderful Life from Walmart for $14.96)