Tuesday, December 27, 2005

Hiller's roaring dinosaur gear. Thanks auntie Jo!

The Christmas that nearly wasn't

Since I’m leaving for the Congo in a month, people had a little bit of difficulty figuring out what they could give me this Christmas. My sister-in-law Nancy knew she could fall back on a CD or a DVD but she was hoping for something more inspired. One night it suddenly came to her—what about French translations of some of my favorite books, like Jane Austen’s Pride and Prejudice? It was sheer gifting genius! An hour later she still hadn’t happened upon such a translation on the Internet, but she suddenly discovered the “international” tab on Amazon and went to the France site. Surely the books would be there! This proved a bit tricky, however, seeing as how the site is all in French. But with a bit of guess work and a free-translation tool, she found the books!

With a just a week until Christmas she tried to pick a shipping option that would get the treasure from Europe to her house in time. My brother asked, “How much does it cost?” “I don’t know—it’s in euros!” was the reply. She didn’t care anyways; it was going to be the perfect present. The next day she checked online and the order had already shipped—it was going to arrive before Christmas!

A few days later, the package was there on the doorstep, plastered with foreign stickers and a little worn from its long journey. With glee Nancy rushed inside and tore open the box. There they were, all the books, just the ones she wanted…in English! Oh the devastation and disappointment! Not only that, but they were those Dover thrift additions that cost about 2 bucks. Not these ones—they were sent express from France! :o) It’s almost too painful to mention that the DVD she fell back on was already given to me by my sister. But I did get a great Celine Dion CD. Merci Nancy!

Our own chainsaw massacre of sorts.

He must have been good this year...maybe

After asking Santa for two whole years to bring him a toy chainsaw, my nephew Hiller’s joy was finally made complete this Christmas. Even the adults marveled at the tool, with its turning silver chain and smooth black finish. Savoring my Swedish pancakes and baked grapefruit, I mumbled “Uh-huh, sure,” to my nephew’s statement that he was going to go chainsaw the bows off the packages. Never underestimate the power of a toy chainsaw in the hands of a 4-year-old! But the massacre of the packages was actually quite funny and we enjoyed unwrapping our bow-less gifts anyway.

Tuesday, December 20, 2005

And here it is! The Christmas Tree! And my new haircut I got today! And my nephew Hiller! And a monkey! If you look really close, you might notice I got my teeth cleaned this morning. Well, you probably can't, but just take my word for it. The dentist said "If everyone had teeth like her's I'd be out of a job." Yay for clean teeth!

It snowed yesterday! Didn't amount to anything, but it was still beautiful to watch the flakes floating down.

Sunday, December 18, 2005

Here's me picking out a xmas tree. This one was ugly, but just wait until you see the one we actually got! It's all decorated but I don't have a photo yet. It's nice to be home for the holiday traditions.

Check it out! We bought a raclette grill! Now I can pretend like I'm in Switzerland. Except check out that yummy thick-sliced bacon--not how the Swiss do a raclette. But it was delicious. We can even buy real raclette cheese at Trader Joe's. Yay! Oh, and ours is non-stick so there's no cheesy mess afterwards.

For my foreign readers and friends overseas, here's some quality American Christmas lights.

I've been trying to take some pics of Oregon-ish things. Here's one of the many hazelnut orchards near where I went to university.

Funny Stuff

Here's a few funny things people have said lately:

While I was helping my sister with her dreads the other day my 4 year old nephew was bouncing around and he said, "Hey guys! How 'bout some back-combing?! B is for back-combing."

Last week my mom was questioning our Nicaraguan guest about what kind of milk he'd like her to buy. Skim? 1%? 2%? He asked, "Is there anywhere we can just get 100% of milk?"

The other night my mom was searching for something in her purse. Besides the usual assortment of receipts and wadded up kleenixes, she pulled out a persimmon and set it on the table. A persimmon! Her explanation? "I picked it up off the ground because I wanted to know what it tasted like." Mmmmm...

My mom keeps telling me that country music isn't depressing like some people say but is actually hysterically funny. So I tuned my car radio in the other night and sure enough a song came on called "She thinks my tractor's sexy." The lyrics include lines like "Well she ain't into cars or pick up trucks, but if it runs like a Deere man her eyes light up." Yeah, mine too.

Sunday, December 11, 2005

Not So Patiently Waiting

So here’s an interesting incident for you. I was perusing the books at a local Christian bookstore and I happened to take a look at the section about singles and dating (by “happened to” I mean that I made a nose dive for it, of course, desperately seeking the magic key to unlock the man of my dreams). The first book I picked up had some suspicious title basically about 10 something-or-others for getting a boyfriend and keeping him. Disapproving, yet curious to know if I was missing out on anything, I opened it up…to a page giving advice about plastic surgery!! What in the world? To be in a Christian bookstore hoping for a little wisdom from above and to instead be advised that I might want to surgically alter my body if I want to see some action, well, I had some very unchristian words under my breath as I begrudgingly placed that piece of trash back on the shelf for the next unsuspecting victim to read.

The other books I looked at were a bit more conventional, but none had anything I needed. Either they were only going to tell me what I already know, or they were going to give me advice that goes against what I know I need to do. I don’t see that I have need of a book to tell me not to waste my life waiting for Mr. Right. Duh, got that one down. And many of the others are just full of ideas for how to manipulate people, as if girls need lessons. Then there’s the ones that tell me what I don’t want to hear, but what is true: the only magic formula is patience—patience for God to bring the right person into my life, patience for the right timing, patience to allow the man to be the one to pursue.

I find that we (as single girls, as humans in various circumstances in general) don’t do patience very well. We’d rather do anything than wait for God to deliver us or have to depend on someone else. We’ll maybe have patience in the face of discomfort for like a day, but then it’s time to take matters into our own hands.

“This is what the Sovereign Lord, the Holy One of Israel, says: ‘In repentance and rest is your salvation, in quietness and trust is your strength, but you would have none of it. You said, “No, we will flee on horses.” Therefore you will flee! You said, “We will ride off on swift horses.” Therefore your pursuers will be swift! Yet the Lord longs to be gracious to you; he rises to show you compassion. For the Lord is a God of justice. Blessed are all who wait for him!’” Isaiah 30:15-18

“But we also rejoice in our sufferings, because we know that suffering produces perseverance; perseverance, character; and character, hope.” Romans 5:3, 4