Sometimes I bake.

I decorated Christmas cookies tonight. Again. Actually, for the third time this month. I have decorated dozens of cookies–some were beautiful, some were strange, others just messy. I’ve done this three times, with three different sets of friends. Each time the same thing happened. We had so much fun that we got silly and messy and laughed and had a grand time.

I think I love it because it reminds me of when I was a little girl, and I looked forward to making cookies with my mom. There’s something comforting about cooking with loved ones in your kitchen. I’m so thankful that I got to do that this year with some of the people closest to me.

Enough being sentimental. I need to get to bed, because tomorrow is the LAST day I will work in 2006! Yipee!

Some information about me.

We probably don’t know each other very well yet. Maybe this will help. I took it from one of those cheesy MySpace surveys.

Q. What is your favorite fast food restaurant?
A. Hands down, Chick-fil-A. I order the #3 with a diet coke.

Q. What is your favorite sit-down restaurant?
A. Blue Mesa or Reata (only on special occasions).

Q. What food could you eat every day for two weeks and not get sick of?
A. Spaghetti with meatballs. Cinnamon sticks from Double Dave’s pizza. Slice & bake reeses pieces & chocolate chip cookies, right out of the oven. Sonic strawbery milkshakes.

Q. What is your wallpaper on your computer?
A. A photo I took at the San Diego Zoo

Q. What is the last heavy item you lifted?
A. I’m always moving heavy boxes of brochures or newsletters up at work. One time I carried my entire dresser all the way from my bedroom to my garage so I could refinish it. I was too impatient to wait for someone to come over and help me. It’s amazing what you can do when you’re stubborn and determined.

Q. Have you ever been knocked unconscious?
A. Almost. When I was a teenager I slid into a girl’s knee trying to beat the tag in softball. I hit my head and got a concussion–I couldn’t remember where I was or what position I played. But, I stayed in the game!

Q. What color looks good on you?
A. Yellow, black, pink (no reds or oranges with these freckles!)

Q. Have you ever saved someone’s life?
A. Sort of. I had a friend who had an allergic reaction to some fire ant bites, and he broke out in hives and his throat started to close. He called me because I live nearby, and I took him to the E.R. Later I found out that I should have called an ambulance. Luckily he lived, and luckily, I work at a hospital.

Q. What are you scared of?
A. I am afraid of plugging in my Christmas lights when it’s raining. All of my neighbors do, but I still think combining electricity and water is a bad, bad idea.

Q: How many pairs of flip flops do you own?
A: Probably around 6. I have to wear pantihose and close-toed shoes every day at work, so during the summer, as soon as I get home, the nice shoes come off and the flip flops come on.

Q: Last time you had a run-in with the cops
A. I got a ticket in the mail from one of those red light cameras last month. I was ready to fight it until I logged in and watched the video of me running it. (please note–I turned right on red… I didn’t blow through an intersection or anything like that) It cost me $75.

Q: What is something silly that you love?
A: I absolutely love stationary. I love picking out the perfect birthday card for somebody, or beautiful thank-you notes. I also love the smell of old books–for some reason that smell is comforting to me.

Q: What’s your favorite show? And what are you watching now?
A: My favorite show is The Office. I laugh out loud every time I watch it. I think it’s the best show since Seinfeld.

Q: What can you not wait to do?
A: Give everyone their Christmas gifts.

Sometimes forgiveness is hard.

Matthew 6:14-15:
For if you forgive men when they sin against you, your heavenly Father will also forgive you. But if you do not forgive men their sins, your Father will not forgive your sins.

I sold my convertible to a really nice couple back in October. I got a bad vibe from the husband, but the wife was so nice (and so happy to get my convertible) that I pushed those thoughts aside. Besides, I had been trying to sell that car for three months, and was tired of paying insurance on two cars, plus paying for ads in the newspaper. It’s ironic that I work in advertising, and yet, I couldn’t figure out a way to get rid of that car.

They paid me in cash… all but $100. It’s a long story, but I took a check for the last $100 (against my better judgment… a little voice kept telling me to say no, but I was desperate to get rid of that car). When I went to deposit that check, the husband had put a “stop payment” on the check. So I’m out $100, and worse yet, I feel like I was taken advantage of.

I called and talked to him, and he promised to send me a new check. That was on Nov. 21, so it has been a month, and still no check. I called him 2-3 more times, and then my dad called him, and still no answer. I’m so angry about that silly $100! It’s not about the money, it’s about the principle. I feel duped, and I hate that.

So how am I supposed to forgive this man? This man, who obviously doesn’t deserve my forgiveness? This man, who probably knew all along he could take advantage of me and I wouldn’t have any options for response? This man, who made me feel stupid?

Surely Jesus didn’t mean that I have to forgive EVERYBODY. I mean, some people just don’t deserve it. I think I’m justified in being angry, maybe even hating this man who basically stole money from me. He’s wrong. I’m right. He deserves to be punished. And definitely NOT forgiven.

Oh wait… my Jesus forgave the very people who crucified him on the cross (Luke 23:34). So why would I think that I’m an exception?

Starting.

Starting a new book conjures up many emotions for me. I haven’t been able to read for pleasure very much because of grad school. I have read plenty, but lately it’s only been books about advertising theories or consumer behavior. Nothing that I would classify as pleasurable.

But now that I’m on “vacation” (at least, from school… although not yet from work) I have time to read. I have a stack of books next to my bed that I’ve been looking forward to devouring as soon as I have a free minute. The first one is Fortune’s Rocks by Anita Shreve. I loved another one of her books, The Pilot’s Wife, which is a gripping tale about a woman who discovers her husband’s secret life after his untimely death. I highly recommend it.

Starting a book is a big commitment. It will require much of my attention over the next few days. It will be one of my dearest friends, an escape from my reality, but also something requiring time and energy from me. Once I start it, if it’s as good as critics say it is, I won’t be able to put it down. It’s both exciting and daunting.

And now it’s time to begin… page one…

Sometimes Life Stinks

Sometimes I start to think that I’m cool, sophisticated, have my act together.

And then I drop my cell phone in the toilet.

I did this Saturday night. My beautiful pink razor phone. I’m no techno-geek, but I did love that pink phone. I had only owned it for a few months, and I had finally figured out all the bells and whistles. Plus, I could always spot the pink right away in that big purse I carry.

But alas, the pink phone wasn’t meant to be. And I’m the only goober who didn’t realize you’re supposed to buy the insurance with your phone. I mean, who really buys insurance? Apparently everybody but me.

Survived.

Saturday night was our church Christmas party, and I think we had about 75 people packed into my little house. It was a wonderful night! This is the whole reason I wanted to have my own house, so that I could use it to bless other people. And somehow, by the grace of God, there wasn’t a single spill, stain, or spot on anything. Now that’s a miracle!

My next party will be a wedding shower for a good friend in January. I ordered the invitations tonight–I can’t wait!

Time to party

Tomorrow I’m hosting my church Christmas party at my house. I can’t wait. I’ve been looking forward to this all month. My Christmas lights are up (and working… hopefully), my house is fully decorated, and I have dozens of freshly decorated Christmas cookies waiting to be served.

I was planning to get my piano tuned so we could do a Christmas carol sing-along, but I got busy, and someone told me that might be cheesy. I love it when they do that in movies–when they sing around a piano, usually wearing turtle necks and drinking cocoa and smiling knowingly at each other.

I really should go to bed. It’s 1:00 a.m. and I have to get up in six hours to hear one of our doctors get interviewed on a local radio show. I really wish he could have been on around 10, because tomorrow would have been a good day to sleep in.

Like a tree planted by the water

This has been a strange and stressful week. I find this encouraging.

Blessed is the man who trusts in the Lord,
Whose confidence is in him.
He will be like a tree planted by the water
that sends its roots by the stream…
It has no worries in a year of drought
and never fails to bear fruit.
–Jeremiah 17:7-8

I want to be like the tree, strategically placed, with deep roots, who can weather a temporary storm. I want to be strong enough to survive a year-long drought without losing my spirit and my joy.

Christmas Lights

Yesterday I decorated my new house with Christmas lights. I feel a special connection to Clark Griswald, because they look GREAT when they’re not on. When they’re on, half of them look great, and half don’t work. But I’m working on that…

Sometimes I love the quiet

Most of the time I exist in a constant state of noise. I’m either talking, or listening, or doing. My life is lived to a soundtrack of the radio, phone ringing, dog barking. I even sleep with the TV on.

But tonight was different. I came home to a house that was warm. And quiet. And comforting. It may be the Christmas tree filling my front window with light. Or maybe it’s because I’m curled up on the couch, hiding under a blanket, while my dog sleeps beside me. Whatever it was…

It was nice.