Wednesday, December 24, 2014

Christmas is..

The meaning of Christmas is not family. (Nope, it really isn't.)

The meaning of Christmas is not Santa Claus and gifts.

The meaning of Christmas is, in the (paraphrased) words of the Grinch, "something a bit more".

So while you gather round the tree to open those gifts (from Santa or others) tomorrow morning, remember that this simply wouldn't be, if it weren't for the plan that God set in motion at the beginning of Time when we Fell from grace.

Christmas wouldn't exist, and we would still be a "people crying out in darkness" and waiting desperately for God's promise of a Savior to be fulfilled.

Yes, Christmas is a season of joy for most, but even amongst all those cups of eggnog and all those roasted chestnuts and every single scrap of paper and ribbon, never forget the reason for which that blessed baby boy was born as one of us.

We cannot have Christmas without Good Friday and Easter, because without the cross and the empty tomb, Christ's birth means nothing.

For God so loved the world that he gave his one and only Son, that whoever believes in him shall not perish but have eternal life. (John 3:16)

Christmas is God for us, forever. It is one of the central moments in all of human history, and so it is fitting that we celebrate the birth of our most precious Savior with festivities and gift giving and lots of twinkling lights. But let us remember why He became man, and as we gather around Word and Sacrament tonight and tomorrow morning in our brightly light churches, that we receive Him, God with us, Immanuel.

Tuesday, December 2, 2014

Christmas traditions


Growing up, my family had a tradition of getting out the Christmas decorations on or around my birthday, November 29th, as that was near enough to Advent and also I have a history of being obsessed with Christmas, so it worked out well. There were certain things I did literally every year, such as dragging out the really old artificial tree and setting it up on the freezing cold front porch, lights, ornaments, and tinsel included. It was a closed porch, so there was no wind, but it was still super cold!

In my own house now, the decorating still begins around my birthday, but we our main tree is a real tree, from one of the places nearby, since that's what Nate's family has always done. With our wedding anniversary being on the 3rd, we try to structure going to pick out our tree around then. And then it's home to wrestle with the lights, which is my father's job back home but I definitely do it now because dear hubby doesn't want to deal with it, heehee. I do not mind, since Dad taught me how to get lights on nearly every inch of evergreen. Our tree positively glows with multi-colored Christmas cheer.

Christmas traditions can be fun, sentimental, or downright obnoxious, depending on you and your family. Over the month of December, I will share with you the history behind various Christmas traditions, such as the evergreen tree, the poinsettia, Santa Claus/Father Christmas, and others.


Monday, December 1, 2014

You're most likely not "keeping Christ in Christmas".

Happy December and blessed Advent to everyone! To kick off the month of December, I am calling attention to a meme that has been viral for many years now, even before memes were memes and the internet was prominent. I'm talking about the phrase" Keep Christ in Christmas" that everyone shares around this time of year. Sounds harmless enough, but there are many reasons why it is not.

  • When you say things like "keep Christ in Christmas" you are actually turning the sentiment back upon yourself, (there's an understood "you/I" at the beginning of that phrase; grammar FTW) turning it into a work. We cannot by any means "keep Christ" in anything, because we are poor, miserable sinners who will find every little detour to keep Him out.

  • If you profess to be a child of God through Jesus Christ, then why does family trump Christ? I'm serious about this one. I have known far too many churches to cancel their services if Christmas falls on a Sunday, in the name of family. Sorry, but that's not right. Christmas Eve and Christmas Day are not about family, or parties, or alcohol and food, or gifts. They are about the birth of our precious Savior, the greatest gift we will ever receive. So please don't tell me you are keeping Christ in Christmas or that "Jesus is the reason for the season" if you do not go to church and gather around the Word and Sacrament on these Holy Days.

  • The absolute most important thing you can even do during this, the reflective season of Advent, is to attend a church that focuses on Christ and how He was long foretold. Truly confessional churches structure their services around the coming of Christ, all leading up to His humble birth.

That being said, I am not a scrooge. (See my most recent post!) Of course spend time with family, go to Christmas parties, and enjoy the food, drink, and gifts. But I challenge my readers to remember why we even celebrate during this festive season. Gather the family on Christmas Eve and find a traditional candelight church service nearby. If you truly want Jesus Christ to remain the center of our celebration, as you are implying with the sharing of that meme, then remember the reason He was even brought down to earth to be born and live as one of us.

This one is MUCH better.

O Lord Jesus Christ, King of glory, King of kings, and Lord of lords, the Son of the living God and Son of David, come. Come now to Your Church that you have purchased with Your blood. Come with Your gracious presence, that we may rejoice in You. Come and rule over us, that we may serve and follow You. Come with Your love, humility, and perfect obedience, and let Your lowliness become our glory. Come into the midst of Your people and bless us, for we are Your heritage. Forgive us our sin, and do not angrily cast away Your servants, for You are meek and gracious. Clothe us with the garment of Your righteousness, for You are the only righteous one and our helper. Satisfy us with the abundance of Your mercy, for You did become poor for our sakes, that by Your poverty we might be made rich. Hear us, Lord Jesus, for the sake of Your holy name. Amen.
~prayer for Advent, Lutheran Book of Prayer (CPH), page 120

Monday, November 24, 2014

The holidays are upon us.

It's the final week in November. There is lots of rain, soon to become snow. Yesterday was the Sunday of the Fulfillment, which is the last Sunday in the church year. What this means is that Advent is upon us, along with many other celebrations. Thursday is Thanksgiving, Saturday is my birthday, and next Wednesday is our 3rd wedding anniversary. Time flies.

Always be thankful. It is fitting that Thanksgiving takes place so close to the beginning of Advent, because we reflect on our blessings around the family table, overloaded with food and laughter, and then begin the all too short journey of reflection towards the celebration one of the greatest events in the history of the universe: Christmas Day.

Never mind that the world begins to celebrate Christmas as soon as All Hallow's Eve comes to a close and All Saints' Day dawns; we Christians have a blessed freedom in Christ to enjoy the secular merriment and reflect during Advent. Plus, we know that the season of Christmas doesn't end on December 25th! The Christmas season in the church year culminates with Epiphany, the celebration of the visit of the Magi, on January 6th.

Life is short, and it's silly to get all grouchy when the Christmas music begins playing in mid-November. In fact, I welcome it, because within all the fun (and strange, yes) secular holiday music playing, the message of Jesus' birth will come through. It's there, my friends. Rejoice in that. Don't refuse to listen to Christmas music. At least don't refuse to listen to it once December rolls around. Enjoy this season of family, merriment, and fun, which also remembering that Jesus came for us and why He came.

The holidays are upon us, and my family in particular has a few extra special days between Thanksgiving and Epiphany, some I did not specifically name. I am sure other families have special days in this time too.

Enjoy it, my friends. The freedom we have in Christ does not equal being a scrooge about all things secular.

With that being said, I'm going to dig out my stash of construction paper, put on some Christmas music, and craft some snowflakes and maybe a paper chain or two. And figure out where the heck our Christmas tree is going to go.

Tuesday, September 23, 2014

I feel like my Star Wars fan status should be revoked.

At least, it should have been revoked for the last five years or so. Granted, I was busy with life, going through college and getting married and moving and such. But I've lately been inundated with Star Wars news because of the movie being in production, and I realized there's a lot of Star Wars stuff that I have missed. Star Wars has long been my favourite movie saga, though the prequels do leave a lot to be desired. I loved them as a kid/teen and I'm not going to throw that love entirely out the window, but I digress.

I used to be an avid reader of the Star Wars Expanded Universe (EU) novels. My father handed me a copy of Heir to the Empire by Timothy Zahn when I was eleven and I didn't look back. The Thrawn trilogy remains at the top of my book list, and I discovered a character who would quickly become my favourite character in any book/movie/game universe ever. Her name? Mara Jade. She never appears in the films, but she is honestly the best. I have cosplayed as her more times than I can count. And the last Star Wars book that I read was the one in which she was brutally killed. That was shortly after I started college, and I was so devastated that I basically quit Star Wars for a time. I just couldn't continue the Legacy of the Force series. I was literally heartbroken, and possibly more heartbroken than I've been in my life. Probably not but whatever.  I was so angry with the author, Karen Traviss, even though I know it wasn't really her decision completely. And I think Timothy Zahn was angry at his character being killed, so that makes me feel a tiny bit better. The fact remains that couldn't handle her death and it's taken me a long time to get back into the EU and various aspects of Star Wars.

But I'm back in now. I've played a few games, I've read a few novels, Scoundrels by Timothy Zahn being the one I'm currently reading, and I've been getting into the online world of fellow Star Wars fans. My favourite thing right now is a new podcast called Jedi Alliance. It began in August, and I'm in love with it. It has its really weird moments, but it's a solid 45 minutes of Star Wars nerdiness. I can't argue with it. They've got everything from random trivia to fan stuff to obscure parts of the universe to news on Episode VII. Ken Napzok and Maude Garret are hilarious, and the obvious dedication they have to such an incredible saga is fantastic. You can find it on iTunes and on YouTube.


This was a hard post to write. Roll your eyes all you want, but I had to write it. This is my personal blog, and these are my thoughts. Star Wars has been central in my fangirl life and I'm finally admitting that I can move on. Though I'm still not *that* excited about Episode VII.

Monday, September 22, 2014

Fall television roundup

I watch more television now than I ever did, which is both annoying and fun. It's annoying only because I feel like I could be doing something better with my time. But it's also fun because there are so many good shows out there to pick from. I've learned that it's possible for a tv show to be as well written and full of depth as a book. (I know, that's not a difficult thing to learn...) So now with fall tv premieres happening, I suppose I'll blog about the various shows I intend to watch, and ones I've already been watching, in no particular order.


Network channel shows

Gotham (begins at 9/8c tonight on FOX)
I am so excited for this show. There's been too much hype, though. I'm so afraid it won't live up to my expectations. This is less about Batman than it is about a certain young James Gordon, which is honestly why I'm so excited.

The Big Bang Theory (9/8c tonight on CBS)
Sadly, this is on at the same time as Gotham, but I'll just have to watch it on-demand at a later time. But the antics and interactions of this gang never fail to amuse me.

New Girl (began last week; 9/8c Tuesdays on FOX)
Honestly, this is not the kind of show I normally watch. I started watching because of Zooey Deschanel and became hooked. She's so hilariously awkward, and her guy roommates are no better. Unfortunately, so much of the show revolves around sex, and basically how they aren't getting any...which seems to be getting worse, so I'm not sure if I will continue to watch it. :/

Bones (NEW NIGHT, begins this week; 8/7c Thursdays on FOX)
Good heavens, I love this show. FBI forensic drama with an emphasis on the drama. My sister and I have been watching this show from the start and I'm so invested in Booth and Brennan (and everyone else in the lab, for that matter) that when the tenth season begins, you can bet I'll be watching.

The Flash (begins October 7th; 8/7c Tuesdays on CW)
I know I should catch up on Arrow (that's what Netflix is for!) before I start this, but I love The Flash. This should be fun to watch.

Red Band Society (began September 17th; 9/8c Wednesdays on FOX)
This show about a group of teens with terminal illnesses living in a hospital had me hooked within the first few minutes. Again, not normally my kind of show, but my hubby and I ended up watching it and we both enjoyed in immensely. Let's hope it can keep up the magic.

Supernatural (begins October 7th; Tuesdays 9/8c on CW)
I shouldn't even include this in this list because I'm only in season three on Netflix, but...I'm slightly obsessed with it. I'm way too invested in the Winchesters and their hellish fate. My youngest sister directed me to it (I know, I know, I should have been watching this a long time ago already) and it's so easy to see why it's about to begin its tenth season.

There are other shows that I want to watch, like Sleepy Hollow, Once Upon a Time (I missed season three and need to catch up), Arrow, Grimm (which I've watched a bit on Netflix), Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D. (I'm ashamed that I haven't watched this yet), and at some point even Castle. I'm so far behind on that one, though. And someone please explain to me why we can't have Downton Abbey at the same time as the UK??????? Sigh.


Cable shows

Doctor Who (began August 23rd; Saturdays 9/8c on BBC AMERICA)
Okay, I don't even need to include this because it's fairly obvious that I watch this already. It's my favourite show, hands down. And Peter Capaldi as the Doctor has completely blown me away. The only reason I haven't written any episode reviews is because my youngest sister hasn't gotten to watch the season yet and I refuse to spoil it for her!

Okay, I guess there's just not much on cable I'm interested in watching. We watch Top Gear religiously, but I don't know when the new season of that is going to air yet. I missed season two of Orphan Black, which I need to catch up on. I don't watch Game of Thrones and I've not yet seen any of The Walking Dead, which I will rectify at some point.


I'm not a fan of any of the Netflix-only shows, and I don't have Hulu Plus, so I can't pull anything from those sources. I'm certain there will be a few more PBS series that I want to watch, because Masterpiece Theatre is always good.

There's honestly too much crap on tv these days, but I'm hoping that a few new choices turn out to be decent enough. At any rate, if they actually have a plot and at least a few deep characters, I will be happy. Meanwhile, I'll continue on with Supernatural on Netflix.

Do you have a show you're looking forward to this fall? Any you're certain you would hate on my list?

Wednesday, August 6, 2014

sci-fi pies

This post is a little later in being written than I intended, but here goes.

Last week Wednesday I decided I needed to bake a pie to use up the many cherries I had purchased on sale. So I found a guideline online for cherry pie filling from scratch, and whipped up a pie crust using this recipe from Clearly Delicious. The pie filling was actually based off one of hers, too. Then that morning a friend shared a photo of a pie from some Facebook page that had the top pie crust cut to be the Hydra logo...and I knew that's what I was going to do.

Those cherries though...mmm.
I threw in some fresh basil for added flavour.

Before baking.

Of course, I also had purchased a few pints of blueberries on sale to make a blueberry pie for my husband's birthday the next day, because cherries aren't his thing. (We each had a pie to ourselves, see how nice I am?) So after a discussion with my friend Jaimie (who blogs over at, I knew that the top crust for the blueberry pie was going to be the Imperial logo.

These blueberries were perfect...
Blueberry pie filling goodness.

I cut this freehand.
It didn't transfer very well.
My husband knew about the Hydra pie, but he didn't know that I was going to make the blueberry one for that was a fun little surprise! Thinking back now, I should have done something Harry Potter related because he shares his birthday with him, but there's always next year. ;)

Hail Hydra!

A bit broken, but (as a friend pointed out) so is the Empire!

Tuesday, July 15, 2014

cobbling things together

This is just a quick post to let everyone know I'm still alive, and to give a shoutout to the lovely page Texasdaisey Creations that has a fantastic tutorial on combining your blogs on Blogger.

I'm here, my blogs are all in one place (albeit probably disorganized now), and hopefully I'll be back to posting about things. I do have a few book reviews I ought to write...

Tuesday, March 25, 2014

winter to spring: a Resurrection reflection

dear pretty white stuff on the ground,
your time is over and winter is done.
please go away till Christmas cheer,
we seriously need some warmth this year!

I awoke from a glorious dream about returning to England (beautiful, summery England), to find a cover of white upon the ground. Normally I would jump for joy that it had snowed during the night. But this morning my heart grew sad. Warmth will come, I am certain of it...the sunshine speaks of warmer days in its golden touch. (Also, Mom, if you read this, I am still thinking of Frederick!)

It is only March; there is much time left in this transition the northern hemisphere makes between winter and spring. I have never wished for summer like I am wishing right now. Winter is my favourite season, but that's only if there is lots of snow. Now, here at the season crossroads, all of my being longs for warm sunshine, fresh breezes, and the scent of flowering trees. With all the snow melted (well, most of it since it snowed again), one can truly see how barren the earth is beneath the cover of white.

This transition time is so perfect for the season of Lent, because it is during this time that we remember the transformation we have gone through as God's children and will go through when He takes us home. The cold winter strips away anything living and reveals the barrenness that mirrors our human souls, but the snow comes to cover the earth and make it white. Jesus came and took all our sins upon Him, covering us and making us white. We are still upon this earth, still broken sinners, but He has taken them from us. And then in the springtime all things begin to grow again, being fed by the warmth of the sun and water from the melting snow. Suddenly, sometimes overnight, the brown and gone and has been replaced and enhanced with riotous greenery. Spring has sprung! We are like the springtime in the Resurrection, because we too will be made new, having been washed by the blood of Christ. When we enter His kingdom, spring has sprung. And celebrating Easter, Resurrection Sunday, in the springtime is perfect.

A poor analogy for what will truly be the most glorious moment, but one that makes me smile. Being able to visualize (in a sense) our salvation is incredible. God created this world, so why shouldn't it reflect Him and His plan?

Wednesday, February 26, 2014

think spring!

Here in the upper Midwest, spring feels like it will be a long time arriving. Those of you who know me are well aware of how much I love winter and snow. But we have reached the end of February and the two warm days last week completely ruined me for the cold weather. I am ready for open windows and fresh breezes.

Spring is not my favourite season, I will admit. But my green thumb is itching and I decided on this frigid morning to write a list of things that I like about the green season. :)

  • Early spring brings crisp breezes and a hint of warmer air.
  • The house at last can be opened up and fresh air washes away the feel of being closed-up.
  • Spring rains smell of sweet new life.
  • The cold ice-melt running in the creeks and rivers.
  • Sunshine before 7 A.M.
  • Baseball season!
  • Did I mention open windows?
  • Taking early morning walks before the world is fully awake.
  • Taking evening walks with my hubby when the sun is setting.
  • Sitting outside with my coffee and a book as the sunshine reaches the deck in the morning.
  • Practicing yoga outside on the deck instead of inside where my cats attempt to sleep on top of me while I am posing. :P
  • The feeling of being able to eat lighter fare and be satisfied.
  • Wearing just a hoodie and being warm.
  • Oh yeah, open windows.

So you can see that I really want to open the windows and get the fresh air into my house. I feel so much more invigorated when I am in the fresh air, but when the temperature is hovering somewhere around zero or below....that just plain hurts.

I have some great ideas for the blog, but a few of them involve the great outdoors, per the weather here in beautiful Wisconsin, they will have to wait. In the meantime, I found a fantastic sewing shop in downtown Plymouth that has pretty much only cotton fabrics for quilting but that would make some fantastic dresses and skirts! So stay tuned...once I dig out my sewing machine...

Monday, February 24, 2014

snapshots into my life

 Since getting my iPhone, I have taken more pictures than I had previously. I just love the camera and the apps available. So, since I can't seem to find anything to write about, here is an update-ish on my pictures!
fashionable cooking!

Victoria being my baby

Wilhelmina has an obsession with bubbles

favourite thing to do with my hubby

look, I have purple hair!!

it's seriously awesome

I love it
this is what I do on Friday nights sometimes. Victoria clearly wants my lollipop

Sunday, January 12, 2014

geekery and not limiting oneself

As I post on Facebook about a Hayao Miyazaki tribute on the latest episode of The Simpsons, listen to the soundtrack for The Little Mermaid, watch PBS all night (Downton Abbey and Unlocking Sherlock), complain about various oddities in Doctor Who, and read William Shakespeare's Star Wars, I have come to the realisation that my life is mostly geekery. Not that I wasn't aware of this fact before. But I think for a short while I lost sight of my identity. It was clear in my various blogging attempts that I couldn't figure out what direction I was going. This could easily have everything to do with so much in my life changing since going to university, but that's no excuse. I have to remember who I am and not try to be someone I am not.

Yes, I wanted to start a homemaking/marriage/cooking/etc. blog. I even did for a short while (the link is on my page). But though my heart is firmly rooted in all those things, that's not my passion when it comes to writing and blogging. Well, except for that last one. Sharing recipes I intend to try and ones I have already tried is just plain fun. It was all too difficult to attempt to write about aspects of homemaking and marriage when I mostly want to keep things like that private or between close friends and family. Don't take this the wrong way. I find nothing wrong with homemaking bloggers or marriage bloggers. That just isn't me.

I refuse to label and limit myself in blogging simply because I felt that is what I should do as a young married Christian woman. All my life I have longed to write a sci-fi or fantasy novel. And that's never going to happen if I don't let myself revel in my geekery and remember that this is who I am. Somehow I feel as if I were pushing away that part of myself. And this is all hard to write, actually. But it's a sort of affirmation, too. God made me exactly how He was supposed to, and that is a blessed fact. So basically I am here to declare that this blog does not have one particular purpose, but that it will finally fully reflect me.

Book reviews, film reviews, music reviews, various sundry items from around the internet, personal writings, poetry, cooking, natural living/homesteading (because I'm rather a geek in that way, too, haha), amateur photography, etc. will all have their place here. I'm sure it'll end up being mostly book reviews for a time. I know I am good at those. Then again, like my chaotic and creative mind, I don't know what may come up. But, as I've said recently, I'm sticking with it!

Saturday, January 11, 2014

my 2014 reading list

First on my goals for 2014 is to read more again. I used to read all the time, but unfortunately life does get in the way. Anywho, with a few changes, I'm using my list from last year. I decided to take off A Song of Ice and Fire by George R.R. Martin, because quite frankly those books suck your soul and don't have much good in fascinating as the story is...I sort of wonder why so many Christians extol Martin's doesn't take skill to write about sex and violence and dysfunctional families and use lots of foul language. But I digress.

The first book I am going to read is one that a friend gave me that was written by her friend. It's a fantasy novel entitled The Towers. I'm excited to dive in. I'm also reading William Shakespeare's Star Wars by Ian Doescher. It's incredible. Not even kidding. I hope this guy writes at least the rest of the original trilogy. I also do have a few YA books sitting on my headboard (which doubles as a bookshelf -- seriously, it was made that way) that will most likely get read but are not on this list.


Along with my reading list, I have a few specific goals in mind for my 2014 reading journey. Here they are, in no particular order, except the top one:

  • Read the Bible more.
  • Read at least one novel aloud with Nate. (Harry Potter is a good place to start!)
  • Read 10 non-fiction books.
  • Read at least 3 books on my Kindle.
  • Actually blog about every book I read.

Do you have a list or any reading goals for 2014?