last post of the year.

It’s December 30. I probably won’t have time to post tomorrow, so here it is.

No book list this year. It got eaten in the blog move and I haven’t kept track of it since. Something like sixty-five or seventy, which is even more ridiculous than last year, but I read short books, so I don’t know if it really counts. So, yeah, Dave, I guess you win this year. 🙂 Next year I’m going to go through 100 just to spite you. (Yeah, right!)

* * * *

It’s been a really weird year. Not good weird or bad weird, necessarily, just weird. Ever felt like God’s playing Jenga with your life? Taking out pieces just to watch you crumble–except He builds you back up again, just to start the process over. Well, it’s been like that for me, I suppose. Quite a few moments of falling down, a mess, after He’s been pulling away people and things and my own pride and ideas from my life. And this is not a bad thing. That’s what I’ve been trying to learn.

The beautiful thing is that for everything He’s taken away, He’s given me a lot more. Some people fade out; some people come in. I lost people I thought I could trust, people I thought I’d stay in touch with forever, people who just sort of parted ways with me (those categories don’t overlap, by the way); I lost my own sense of pretention, my pride, my sense of self-satisfaction; I gained so many new friends and experiences and good memories this year that it more than makes up for it. I just don’t always recognize the gift when it’s given, or the Giver of the gift.

2007 should be a good year. Let’s hope.

T13 (late edition)

This week: 13 good memories from 2006.

1. My Women Writers class.

2. Screenwriting class.

3. Hanging out with Pastor Bill when I first started coming to Kaleo–that was a good way to get me introduced to the church, I think.

4. Chinese jump rope in the hallway spring semester.

5. Movie nights at our apartment!

6. Studying with Tim and Karen for finals in the conference room.

7. Going to see Hamlet with the roommates.

8. The Christmas concert at Redeemer.

9. Getting to meet my niece.

10. This one time Steph came over, and we watched High Fidelity…

11. Hanging out with the Brute Squad (and Emma) this summer.

12. Tax-Free Weekend at work–it was absolute chaos, but it was still kind of fun. Much better than the year before, at any rate, and I think it’s because of the people.

13. A very good conversation I had with one of my professors in his office one day. I mean, that seems minor, but it was good.

*cluck cluck cluck*

1. Happy third day of Christmas (hence the title).

2.  Random observation: Ever notice that in Jesus movies, the other two guys being crucified with Him are never, ever as bloody as He is? What is it, does He just get a bigger flogging because He’s Jesus? Historically, wouldn’t they have been just as beaten up? I don’t know. If I ever make a Jesus movie (which is unlikely, but still), those other two guys are going to be bloody as heck.

3. Other interesting observation: Preachers say stuff all the time about “Why is it we can sit through a two-hour movie, but not an hour-long worship service?” Here’s the thing: Both can be passive; one is just a lot more entertaining than the other. And so, how people react is to try to make church entertaining, which I think is a mistake. There’s always the other option of making church an active experience–i.e., using liturgy, which requires you to participate by standing up, sitting down, reading things out loud, grabbing your hymnal and singing, confessing your sin, taking Communion, etc., instead of sitting and watching other people try to make you interested. (The funny thing is, I’ve never heard any preacher in a liturgical church ask the aforementioned question. Wonder why?)

4. Then again, most people that ask that question are also anti-liturgical, so I guess we’re at a standstill there, huh? Also, there are churches out there that aren’t liturgical that are also really participatory (really charismatic churches, for example) and their services go on forever. I don’t know.

5.  Oh, yeah: I got a digital camera for Christmas. Expect pictures (sorry, any dial-up people out there).

6. That’s it. Have a good one, boys and girls.

posting at 3 a.m. is always a good idea.

(starting music: Baylor Concert Choir – Estampie Natalis)

1. ^ That’s a surprisingly good song, especially considering I have no idea what they’re saying.

2. So, I was working the register at work tonight, and I checked out a guy who, upon my asking how he was, answered, “I’m blessed,” and then continued to gush about how he never really has a bad day because He knows Jesus. He even asked me if I was a Christian, and when I said yes, he called me his sister.

People like that make me unsettled for some reason–and it likely has something to do with me more than them. I want to be all hip and relational and, well, dignified about my faith; super-outspokenness gives me bad memories of all the “GET FIRED UP FOR JESUS!” hype I got in high school that, quite frankly, bothers me today. But…at the same time, He says come to Him as a child. Never be lacking in zeal. Sometimes I wonder if I scorn my brothers and sisters in Christ just because they’re less embarrassed about being a Christian than I am. Their theology may not all be straight, but at least they declare what they do know in public: Jesus is Lord.

3. On a completely unrelated note, the new Decemberists CD = freaking amazing. (Thanks again, Steph.)

4. I should go to bed–but not before I tell you that Over the Rhine has a new CD out called Snow Angels, and there are downloadables from it on their website. 😀 Okay, that’s it, good night.

Thursday 13.

This week: 13 jobs you would love to try.

1. Film director.

2. Screenwriter/TV writer/playwright.

3. Pastry chef (even though I’d probably gain 10 pounds my first week there).

4. Librarian.

5. Travel writer.

6. Photojournalist.

7. Rock band frontwoman.

8. Literary agent.

9. Construction or carpentry (you think I’m kidding).

10. Counselor.

11. Astronomer (this would only happen, of course, in an alternate universe in which I was actually good at math and science).

12. Book editor.

13. Yarn store proprietress.

(Yes, I realize these are mostly geeky jobs. So sue me.)

it’s too late for me to be blogging

1. …and yet here I am. Good evening, readers. Or should I say good mornin’? (We’ve talked the whole night through…)

2. Actual conversation:

thelivingroom76: i have the oddest combination of songs stuck in my head.
cynderella2004: indeed>
cynderella2004: *?
thelivingroom76: bob’s “boots of spanish leather” (lovely, lovely song)
thelivingroom76: and…
thelivingroom76: (wait for it)
thelivingroom76: “sexyback”
cynderella2004: ohhhhhhh dear.
thelivingroom76: take me to the chorus, indeed.
cynderella2004: i’m not holding out for a “boots of spanish leather (timbaland remix)” anytime soon.  anytime at all, actually.
thelivingroom76: someone probably has, somewhere.
thelivingroom76: it might be kind of difficult
thelivingroom76: “BoSL” not having a chorus and all
thelivingroom76: does that mean bob won’t be taking timbaland anywhere?
thelivingroom76: probably.
cynderella2004: most likely. 🙂
thelivingroom76: heh.
thelivingroom76: “i’m bringin’ leather back…”
thelivingroom76: (that almost sounds wrong, doesn’t it)
cynderella2004: AHHHHH
cynderella2004: i smell a hit…
cynderella2004: oh man, uncontrollable giggles
cynderella2004: worst.remix.EVER
thelivingroom76: take me to the non-existent chorus!

3. So, in a weird twist of fortune (due to my own stupidity, per the usual–long story ;)), I’m working at Target, not The Container Store. It’s not so bad. At least I actually get to be awake during the day, I know what I’m doing, I know a lot of the people…not so bad at all.  Or something. 🙂

4.  Shout-out to the inimitable Rachel E.–my break is pretty good, relatively slow. Hope yours is good, too.

5.  I can’t believe Christmas is on Monday–I feel like I’m not really prepared for it, in any sense of the word. Mentally, emotionally, materially (I still don’t have all my shopping done…), or spiritually, for that matter. I don’t feel like I’m dwelling on the Incarnation as much as I should be. I mean, it’s all grace, anyway, but much of the time it just doesn’t feel real. But thank God, it’s not contingent about how I feel. And that’s fine. He’s near to me even if I don’t feel like it.

6. Umm. Reader survey:

a)  What’s the best Christmas memory you have?

b) What’s the oddest Christmas present you’ve ever received?

c)  What’s your least favorite Christmas song?

d) Mulled apple cider, hot chocolate, or eggnog?

Third Sunday of Advent.

Advent is a time when the church traditionally celebrates the coming of Christ–His past coming (in the Incarnation) and His future coming (as the reigning King), and also His present coming, His drawing near to us in the here and now. We remember that He comes to redeem us, to make us His, to make us better. And the funny thing is that He often comes to us when we’re at our lowest, right? When it feels like He’s been playing Jenga with our lives, and everything falls apart, and then He comes to build us back up again. It’s amazing.

He came to live the perfect life and die the perfect death for you. He comes near to you to love and sanctify you. He will come again to redeem our fallen bodies and earth.

Rejoice.

Comfort, comfort ye My people,
Speak ye peace, thus saith our God;
Comfort those who sit in darkness,
Mourning ’neath their sorrow’s load;
Speak ye to Jerusalem
Of the peace that waits for them;
Tell her that her sins I cover,
And her warfare now is over.

For the herald’s voice is crying
In the desert far and near,
Bidding all men to repentance,
Since the kingdom now is here.
O that warning cry obey!
Now prepare for God a way!
Let the valleys rise to meet Him,
And the hills bow down to greet Him.

Yea, her sins our God will pardon,
Blotting out each dark misdeed;
All that well deserved His anger
He will no more see nor heed.
She has suffered many a day,
Now her griefs have passed away,
God will change her pining sadness
Into ever springing gladness.

Make ye straight what long was crooked,
Make the rougher places plain:
Let your hearts be true and humble,
As befits His holy reign,
For the glory of the Lord
Now o’er the earth is shed abroad,
And all flesh shall see the token
That His Word is never broken.