Archive for December, 2009

Jackson Browne

December 30, 2009

Almost two years ago during my internship in Sacramento I had the opportunity to catch Jackson Browne’s solo acoustic tour stop in Stockton with my friend Jamie. My dad has a great love for J.Browne {second only to the Eagles I believe} and initially he was going to join us at the concert but things didn’t work out. I went anyways and it was quite bittersweet; I absolutely LOVED the event and had a great time but I couldn’t help wishing that I had my dad there to share the moment with.

Then a few months ago I randomly saw an ad on Facebook for tickets to see Jackson in Austin of all places. For the past few years he’s toured exclusively in CA at benefit concerts and his solo acoustic tour hadn’t broken into the south yet so I was quite surprised to see he was coming to Texas. So Mark and I grabbed four tickets and broke the news to my dad on his birthday in October. I was so happy that we had another chance to see him live together.

Jackson Browne is such an amazing artist, his lyrics have so much meaning and hearing it all acoustic is quite a treat. All that is present on the stage is a large, antique-looking rug, a keyboard, one solitary chair and a rack holding his 15+ guitars. Throughout the concert people from the audience shouted out requests while Jackson would talk in between songs; when I witnessed this in CA I first thought it was pretty disrespectful but turns out that’s how his whole tour is. Somehow he manages to make that huge concert hall feel like a tiny room of 20 people, talking to us as if to a friend…very casual and real. Some of my favorite lyrics of his are from his song For a Dancer:

Keep a fire for the human race
Let your prayers go drifting into space
You never know what will be coming down
Perhaps a better world is drawing near
And just as easily it could all disappear
Along with whatever meaning you might have found
Don’t let the uncertainty turn you around
Go on and make a joyful sound
Into a dancer you have grown
From a seed somebody else has thrown
Go on ahead and throw some seeds of your own
And somewhere between the time you arrive
And the time you go
May lie a reason you were alive
But you’ll never know

I love those last few lines…we’ll never know what our purpose is, all we can do is give what we have and find meaning through it all.

Here’s an amateur video of For a Dancer from his acoustic tour {notice all the guitars}.

Here’s another video of a song called Going Down to Cuba.

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Gotta Love Them Aggies

December 29, 2009

I have an interesting love/hate relationship with the Texas A&M football team. I love everything about that university; the traditions, the campus, the yells and most of all the football. I want so badly to believe in our team and be a good supporter but it’s like getting back behind the wheel after a bad car accident…I keep expecting the worst. When I start watching a game I’m very skeptical, then I get all excited that we might win only to be let down in the end. Here’s how so many important, heart-wrenching games have gone:

– we play decent in the first quarter, keeping up in points and stats {making me believe it’s going to be a good game}

– second quarter the opposing team pulls ahead by a few points but the momentum hasn’t fully shifted against us {leading me to believe that we still have a great chance in the second half as long as we don’t completely screw up}

– third quarter we dominate on yardage and march down the field with a few 20+ yard catches only to come up short and settle for a field goal attempt {getting my hopes up and then killing them over and over and over}

– fourth quarter is all the other team, we start turning the ball over and getting sloppy and we end up losing by at least two touchdowns

I’m not saying that I’m embarrassed to be an Aggie nor will I ever stop being their biggest fan when it comes to sports…there’s just one thing I have to say: please stop toying with my feelings A&M…looking forward to next season!

Merry Christmas

December 28, 2009

Christmas; it’s not the giving, it’s not the getting, it’s the loving.

– A Garfield Christmas

Well, another successful Christmas has come and gone and I feel completely rejuvenated thanks to some great quality time spent with family. It’s amazing how time flies, this year seems to have slipped by faster than ever. So many wonderful events have taken place in 2009: college graduation, getting married, moving to Austin, starting a new job and one other exciting piece of news {which I’ll get to later}.

I’ve felt pretty detached from the blogging world lately, I wish I had the time to post every day but with all the craziness that the season brings I’ve lost track. So while Mark is in Houston this week {while I stay here and work, ugh} I’ve got plenty of time to catch up…

Disclaimer: this post is going to be all over the place

It’s finally gotten “cold” enough around here to merit drinking hot chocolate; and by cold I mean below 45 degrees. I was so happy that I was able to wear pajama pants on Christmas morning!

Mark and I decorated a little around our apartment, my favorite of which was our little tree. We were originally going to have a real tree but opted to fill a little artificial one with all of our ornaments. I think it turned out quite nicely. Let’s see…we’ve got a couple of A&M ornaments, a few crosses, the heart on the bottom right that I made at U Paint it in 2006, a kitty and my favorite, the Bambi ornament with Thumper and his girl bunny smooching, haha.

Every year around Christmas time I like to make sugar cookies, rarely do I put forth the effort of rolling and cutting and rolling again at any other time of the year but the holiday season always makes it worth my trouble. Problem is, I don’t yet have any cookie cutters…so the creative mind begins to think and out popped this idea: sugar cookies without the rolling!

I just rolled the dough into logs before refrigerating it, covered the logs with sprinkles, stuck ’em in the freezer for a few minutes, cut the logs into slices and baked away…simple!

I think these are the best sugar cookies I have ever made because 1: I always roll the dough too thin, these I cut nice and thick, 2: I actually took the time to sift my flour, and 3: they are so Christmasy and pretty and EASY!

Anyways, enough with the sweets, {speaking of sugar, have you had candy cane Kisses? soooo good} though we only got to spend one full day in Rogers for Christmas it was really great. Mark, my mom and I went to our church’s Christmas Eve barn service; we huddled together on hay bales singing carols and sharing communion as Pastor Terry gave a great message about how Jesus came into the world under completely ordinary circumstances to one completely ordinary couple…God works through us in our every day lives, all we have to do is let Him shine through. Which reminds me of something that I heard at church last Sunday:

If God really is the center of one’s being, JOY is inevitable.

Isn’t that so simply beautiful? If God is truly present in your life and you accept Him fully, you will radiate His love…definitely something to strive for right? {mental note}

Anywho…

Christmas Eve night we all watched A Garfield Christmas together…so many memories there, I’ve got the whole thing memorized {apple, peach, pumpkin, blueberry, cherry or banana cream?}

The next morning we had Green’s kolaches for breakfast and then Ben and I sorted out all the presents, something that we do every year, except we let Mark help us this time. Everyone received great gifts…my favorites were a tennis skirt from Mark and a subscription to Martha Stewart from my parents. I think the funniest gifts were either my dad and Papa’s tennis racket/bug zappers or the giant foam airplane I got for Mark…we all had fun throwing it around in the yard afterwards. Then we had a wonderful Christmas Day lunch complete with turkey, dressing and deviled eggs {YUM}. Afterwards ensued a lovely, full-bellied nap with my favorite kitty sleeping by my side.

We definitely have A LOT to be thankful for, that’s for sure! Speaking of being thankful, the greatest gift of all this year came to Mark looking something like this:

Yes, that is the beautifully crafted cover page of none other than an offer letter for an amazing opportunity to work for APPLE! Mark has been chasing this job for two years now and it has finally paid off; he’ll be selling Apple products to schools in Arizona and Las Vegas all while wearing shorts, a t-shirt and flip-flops in the Austin office {yes, that’s how they dress…he wore a polo to an interview and they considered him dressed up!}. We’re both completely ecstatic about this opportunity and to top it off, on his first day he will be flying out to Cupertino, CA for four days for a conference with other Apple nerds employees. I’m so proud of my hubby :)

{the rest of the offer packet was so graphically pleasing we’ll probably keep it forever, I want to frame it or something}

One last thing…

Please pray for my brother, he just left yesterday for a 10 day mission trip in Nicaragua. He’ll be backpacking through a foreign country with a spanish/english dictionary spreading the word of God…I wish him the best and a safe journey home; I know that this experience will give him a great opportunity to share his love of God with others who need hope.

OK, I’ve been working on this post for over two hours now, time to end it.

I hope you all had a wonderful Christmas filled with love and peaceful time with family!

‘Tis the Season

December 3, 2009

It’s finally here; the time of year that I look forward to most. Thanksgiving has come and gone, gift shopping has begun, one by one houses are adorned with lights and I can finally listen to my Christmas music publicly {though I have been in secret for a week now}. There’s just something about the Christmas season that fills my heart with joy; everyone is a little more cheery, a little more loving and a little more giving. Giving is so much fun for me, I’m one of those people that will think of the perfect gift for someone in the middle of July, buy it and save it for Christmas. There’s nothing quite like seeing a smile inspired by a gift given {which is why I am not a gift card giver}.

Yesterday I decorated our apartment with my small collection of Christmas decor; we don’t have much but I’m perfectly content with that, there won’t always be a time when our lives were this simple and uncluttered. Every piece has a memory and that’s how I want to keep it, if I went out and bought a ton of decorations on a whim they would have no meaning. I’ve got my small penguin collection which were all gifts from family and friends, a little ceramic snowman and angel that I made at U Paint It with Jess and two hand-blown ball ornaments that Ben and I actually blew ourselves a few Christmas’ back. When I look at these things I’m reminded of the stories they hold, stories of family, friends and time together; isn’t that what Christmas is all about?

After reading The Five Love Languages book {amazing, everyone should read it} I’ve discovered that my love language is quality time, I feel most loved when I spend time with those that I love. Knowing this, it makes perfect sense that Christmas is my favorite holiday; when else do you use 5+ vacation days to be with those that you love the most?

For me, Christmas holds so many memories of family, love and tradition and now that Mark and I will be beginning some new traditions of our own now that we’re married, I can’t help but reminisce about some of my favorite memories of Christmas’ past.

– Christmas Eve barn service: our church would hold a short service in a barn; we would sit on hay bales in the cold and truly experience the settings in which Jesus was born.

– Delivering gifts: our church would collect gifts for less fortunate families in the area and our family made it a tradition to always help deliver those gifts.

– Always getting tools as gifts: my dad is a very handy person, therefore my brother and I would always get some tool as one of our gifts.

– Christmas of 1995: my parents created a scavenger hunt, the last step being to reel in a key at the end of a fishing pole inĀ our pond which unlocked our shed inside of which was Shadow {our now 14 year old black lab}

– Multi-colored lights: our family is not a white lights kind of family; our tree was always covered with colored lights and home-made ornaments {I was so glad to hear that Mark is also a multi-colored lights person, thank goodness we’ll never have to argue about that one}

– Cookies: Christmas is the one time of year that we would make and decorate cut-out sugar cookies and use my mom’s cookie gun; we would always make plates of cookies for our friends and neighbors.

– Our wood-burning stove: it always made our living room the perfect temperature and gave it a hint of that smoky smell.

– Kitties in my lap: there’s nothing like a warm kitty in your lap on a chilly day.

– Sorting gifts: for as long as I can remember my brother and I would sort out all of the gifts under the tree once a week or so; we would make a pile for every person and count the gifts in each pile, it was just a fun excuse to look at and shake every present.

– Garfield Christmas: sadly, this Christmas cartoon isn’t repeatedly aired every December like a Charlie Brown Christmas but it’s still my favorite…they have it on YouTube here.

– Getting toothbrushes in our stockings

– Finding a tree: we never went to a Christmas tree farm, we would always get our trees from a friend’s property; of course, they were never perfect but nature isn’t about uniformity, they had character!

– Kitties sleeping under the tree: we would always find them sleeping amongst the presents.

– The Carpenters: best Christmas album ever, no question.