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    Sunday, November 29, 2009

    Attack of the 12 Foot Christmas Tree

    I’d like to report that once again we’ve survived our annual “Man vs. Artificial Nature” encounter. It was touch-and-go there for a bit. My husband was very nearly eaten by our 12 foot monstrosity of a Christmas tree.

    Three years ago, we bought this mountain of synthetic greenery at Sam’s four days before Christmas. A steal at $150. That spring we started looking for a new house. One of the features on our list of requirements was vaulted ceilings for the tree. The other day, Monkey asked why we moved. Chunky quickly responded, “We needed room for our Christmas tree.”

    Every year the thing seems to grow. I have to wonder what it’s snacking on in our garage during its twelve-month hibernation. Every year Kory and I take longer to recover from battling the Spruce Brute.

    But all’s well that ends well.

    How about you? Did you run into any carnivorous evergreens this weekend? Do you have any funny, or maybe scary, Christmas decorating stories to share? I’d love to hear them.

    Monday, November 23, 2009

    Thoughts on Love Stories

    So, like the rest of the non-bedridden population, I went to see New Moon this weekend. A couple people have asked me what I thought. My official response is, “It was better than Twilight. I liked it.”

    This time I went in fully grasping that universal key to happiness: lowered expectations. I highly recommend you employ this technique in all areas of your life except, perhaps, personal hygiene. Let’s not lower those standards any more folks.

    Relax, I’m not going to defend or tear apart The Twilight Saga. I think, maybe, it’s been done already. Suffice it to say, I think the books are so wildly popular because they touch on that universal truth that we were meant for something more. Translated into Hollywood speak, this truth becomes, “Look at me. I’m pretty.”


    Ok, on to the purpose of this blog. Ha ha. Like I have some sort of plan, some thesis to my ramblings. Yeah, right.

    Anyway, if you’ve read New Moon you know there’s a kind of Romeo and Juliet theme. A few lines of the play are quoted in the movie. *Insert quiet cheer for culture, classic literature, and English geeks like me.*

    When Edward rattles off a few lines in a classroom scene—instead of thinking about his general awesomeness—I started thinking about one of my favorite movies, Baz Luhrmann’s adaptation of Romeo and Juliet. Here’s the trailer:

    William Shakespeare's Romeo and Juliet

    I was 18 when this movie came out, and it changed the way I thought about Shakespeare, tragic love stories, and gaudy shirts. No, it’s not perfect. And if you decide to watch it for the first time because of my recommendation, you’re going to think I’m crazy. That is, until Leonardo DiCaprio and Claire Danes spy each other through a fish tank. Then I promise you will be spellbound by performances that take a pair of tired old lovers and turn them into living, breathing, gloriously star-crossed teenagers in love.

    The potential for this blazing display of human experience exists in The Twilight Saga because, like Romeo and Juliet, Twilight taps The Love Story. You know, the one on which we build our every understanding and expression of love.

    “Once upon a time, there was a love that conquered death.”

    I find it funny, ironic, and awe-inspiring that we spend our lives retelling this story over and over again. It will never get old.

    So if you find yourself embarrassed to admit your Twilight fanaticism or devotion to the romance genre in general, RELAX. No matter how we may botch the delivery, the message remains imprinted in our DNA.

    Ecclesiastes 3:11 “He has planted eternity in the human heart.”


    “Once upon a time, there was a love that conquered death."

    By the way, for more on this concept, I recommend John Eldredge's Epic.

    Saturday, November 14, 2009


    So for my birthday, Kory and I went to Denver and saw Wicked—a play about the Wicked Witch of the West, in case you’re not familiar. Every time we go to the theater, I wonder why we don’t go more often. I wonder this because I have not just bought the tickets. In fact, I’ve had several months to forget how much they cost.

    I loved Wicked! I confess I secretly wish I could get up on stage in costume and belt out emotionally-charged ballads. Please no one tell my mother because I tease her about having the same dream.

    Sadly, I have a mousey voice, no coordination whatsoever, and the acting chops of a shy first grader. I’m not even qualified to play the Cowardly Lion. But that’s ok. Someone needs to sit in the audience and wonder how it feels to have the power to affect other’s emotions.

    Of course that’s what I try to do with the written word. I’m in awe of authors who manage to move me, not to mention artists, musicians, actors, and the inspired folks at Godiva.

    A friend of mine applies the term “singing” to a piece of writing that really showcases an author’s voice and talent. Makes sense, doesn’t it? The first time she wrote “La la la” on my chapter I thought she meant I’d taken a trip to La La Land.

    There’s nothing like the rush of knowing that you’re part of something beautiful. That in a miniscule way, you’ve emulated your Creator and produced something that wasn’t there before. And maybe it’s hard to explain to non-artistic people. You know, the ones who actually keep our world running? It’s not that they lack imagination. Their dreams and fantasies produce things like suspension bridges, satellites, vaccine, and stomach-slimming undergarments. They’re artists in their own sense.

    Every once in awhile, I wish I had a practical skill—like adding, growing tomatoes, or programming the DVR—but I wouldn’t trade my form of “singing” for all the useful skills in the world. I’m guessing those fabulous folks on stage know—in the midst of their biggest number, when their voices are pure magic, and they have the audience holding their breath—that they are doing exactly what they were meant to do. I have no doubt we were all designed to recognize that moment for ourselves.