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The Wedding

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Without further ado, a glance at the biggest day of my life:

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Mrs.

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Our whirlwind romance flourished into a new, exciting engagement in just 5 months – an engagement which dragged on for a painful 14 months. And then, on the most perfect day this May, McDreamy and I tied the knot.

The wedding day passed so quickly, I don’t think I truly appreciated the day until I sat and looked through the pictures for the first time.  We floated through the day, buzzed on surreality, overwhelmed with emotions. At the end of the day, after we had climbed into our getaway car, it hit me that I would never go home alone again.  Goodnight no longer meant a long, lonely drive or hesitant moments before finally hanging up the phone.  I would start and end every day with my McDreamy.

I don’t think anything truly prepares you for what it means to be a Mrs.  You can read every book, attend counseling sessions, get advice from well-intentioned friends and family.  But every marriage is made up of two completely unique people that have never walked the earth before. It’s a new adventure – a book that is yet to be written.  I’m glad that we unplugged from society and spent two glorious weeks basking in the Mexican sun, learning what it meant to share space with each other.  Still, no matter how lovely the vacation, it doesn’t prepare you for the routine, daily grind you must navigate together.

As Mrs. McDreamy, I’m still learning which vegetables my picky husband will actually eat.  I’ve almost weaned him off potatoes, but I don’t have a prayer of makings our home a pasta-free zone.  I drive him nuts by separating the laundry by color – instead of two loads of darks and everything else.  I try to stay up late with McDreamy.  He kills himself trying to get up when I do.  We’re still trying to figure out what “normal” is for us. Still, I sneak spinach into the lasagna, he turns off the TV earlier than he used to, and we’re loving every moment of it.

 

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Gym – day 3

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Never actually made it to the gym. After having an entirely wasted day at work this week, I wound up super behind and I have spent the whole day running around like a mad woman. I’m annoyed because I slept so well after yesterday’s work out and I’m feeling that great burn in my gluts that tells me I did something right…

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Gym – Day 2

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Guess who got a gym membership.

My awesome new office is in a health club. We have a separate area, complete with doors and locks and a kitchenette to keep us from the gym bunnies, but we’re nestled between the tennis courts, pool, and ping pong area all the same. Our landlords, the gym owners, gave me a great deal, which made my tippy tennis club membership affordable. So here I am.

Literally.

I’m blogging from the stationary bike at the gym. Because I’m so bored.

Growing up, I never had a problem eating my vegetables. With exception to a brief period in my tweens, Brussels sprouts have been a well-loved food. On the other hand, my better half still approaches veggies with hesitation. Couldn’t we have a side of bacon with our steak. Whenever we talk about getting healthier, he argues it’s better to be more active, rather than depriving yourself of delicious things. I would simply swap to a fish and greens diet than sweat. Especially in public.

And still, here I am at the gym. I definitely don’t enjoy it. I know it’s good for me. And I know it’s important to create good habits in this season of life. And I know it will get me into great shape for my bikini season and out honeymoon to Cancun. Still – no enjoyment. I’m told that will come later… Something about endorphin highs and improved self image…

Thus far, the stationary bike is my favorite. I get to sit and check Facebook. That’s a win-win. Next time, I’m going to start going weights. I actually really love weights, so I’m looking forward to switching it up now that I’ve found a couple of do-able cardio options.

64 more sleeps until I wow my guy in a gorgeous white dress.

65 before we hit Cancun.

Excuse me while I go tone up my butt on the stair master…

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You’re growing on me…

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I’m so thankful to work with incredible children. They teach me more than I could ever teach them.

On Sunday, one of my Grade One kids initiated a group discussion about bullying, friendship, and hard choices. With no prompting from me, he began to talk about the importance of making solid choices, even when it makes you lose friends. Because “you just gots to say ‘we can’t be friends’ if your friend calls you a c-word a-word f-word. You can’t make bad choices like that. And I miss my best friend, but I used the a-word and it felt icky, so now I want a new best friend.”

“You have to love and respect everyone. Even if you don’t like them. Even if you don’t want to be friends. That’s hard,” said a slightly-older and very-awesome girl.

“I pray for him with my mom. But I run away from him on the playground,” the boy explained.

It seems that my tiny humans have a better handle on dealing with difficult people than I do. They understand that sometimes you need to put down boundaries and run away from some people on the playground. Still, they aren’t tarnished by bitterness; they don’t approach life with the same harshness as grown-ups. They still miss the distanced friend and long for the restoration of the relationship.

And they thought that *I* was teaching a lesson on Paul…

Dear WayKidz, you have weaseled your way into my heart. I hope you can always stay so inquisitive, thought-provoking, free-thinking, sweet, challenging, playful, and wonderful as I find you to be now.

Also, please continue to draw me incredible artwork.

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Playing Pollyanna

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In just 2 weeks I’ve filled 6 volunteer positions in Waykidz.

I’ve found a great new curriculum set that will justify me wearing a flight attendant uniform.

eBay has some quality replica PanAm costumes.

I made it through a whole day gluten and bad carb free!

I almost have my video ads for Sunday complete.

iTunes had a ringtone of “one thing remains.” This will soften the blow when my alarm goes off at 5:30.

I get special snuggle time with baby T tomorrow.

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Shirking Narcissism: Almost-Confessions of a Lazy Blogger

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I wish I could tell you that I haven’t blogged because I’ve finally squashed the narcissistic streak within me.

I wish I could tell you that I’d been off having a grand adventure that kept me from updating frequently.

I wish I could tell you that the three months of cyber-absence were spent making the real world a much better place.

Nope.

If anything, I’ve been hiding from the blogosphere because I didn’t have much to say.  At the very least, what I did have to say was neither  warm and fuzzy, nor humorous, nor pleasant, nor entertaining. I went through a dark period, wrestling with some pretty big issues, and my blog felt very claustrophobic whenever I logged in to delete the zillions of spam comments I receive each week. I even visited my old myspace blog and fantasized about a simpler time in my life when I really did have the freedom to say whatever was on my mind.  Since then, the bumps in the road have been more jarring.  I’ve learned that, even when people try to destroy your life and your family, it doesn’t give you license to open your mouth and destroy theirs.  I’ve learned that most times, the kind of people that act out destructively eventually destroy themselves.  Most of all, I’ve learned that when you are completely vindicated, there is absolutely no satisfaction in knowing you were right.

I hit one of my lowest lows.

The amazing thing about hitting rock bottom is that the realization that things really cannot get worse.  It would have been impossible for me to find a job I hated more; it would have also been impossible for me to find a job that paid less.  The people that had royally screwed with my family, my career, and my belief in human decency were no longer in my life.  And the choice to remain completely bitter and twisted was mine.  I had to decide whether or not to stay  in my deep, dark, and twisty pit, or whether or not I was going to climb out and get on with my life.

One day, I was driving to work – my old job, the job that sucked the life out of me, the job I fantasized about quitting every single day – when I got sent around a ridiculous detour route because of a water main improvement project.  I was frantically speeding through suburbia, trying to find my way to work, terrified that my miniscule income would dry up if I got canned for being late.  Eventually, I found my way to work, parked, and headbutted the steering wheel of the car.  Repeatedly.  I’m not sure if my following exclamation was a prayer or blasphemy, but it came out something along the lines of: “God, you win. If I give up being angry will you please get me out of this hell hole. Please?”

When I checked my email after work, I found that I had received an email from a family friend whose church needed an office administrator.  Within two weeks, I started my new job; since then my hours have almost doubled.  I’ve bought a new-to-me car – a gorgeous Nissan Altima named Lucy.  I’ve met some incredible people.  And I’ve looked back across the past 6 months with joy and Thanksgiving.  Without any doubt I know I’m exactly where I am supposed to be, doing exactly what I’m supposed to be doing.  I don’t think I’ve ever felt so energized and passionate ever, even on my longer, harder days.  And I’d gladly go through hell again to get where I am now.

Someone once told me that unforgiveness is like drinking poison and hoping it kills the person who hurt you.  I was poisoning myself for months and living in misery, holding on so tightly to what might have been.

Forgiveness is a daily choice.  Yes, I lost my job, my wedding venue, my church, and my friends because people I loved like family betrayed us. Nothing is going to change what happened to my family.  And that’s alright. I’ve been given immeasurably more than what I had. But I couldn’t receive what God had for me until I gave up looking into the past. Ultimately, we all have the choice to forgive.  When God sets us free from captivity – even if we’re chased into the wilderness by an army – we can look back at Egypt like the Israelites, moaning about how much better things were when we lived in slavery. Or, we can trust that the Promised Land is just ahead and that He will lead us there.  The former leads to a long, painful trek through the wilderness. The latter leads us to peace and joy in the most unexpected ways.

This entry was posted in Life.

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The Best Christmas Movies of All Time

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As I’ve previously mentioned, I could spend hours watching Christmas movies.  I even love the made-for-TV classics that feature washed up 80’s TV stars and schmaltzy plots – with exception to The Christmas Shoes, of course.  (That said, Christmas Shoes doesn’t meet all of my requirements; it features Kimberly Williams of Father of the Bride (1991) fame and it lacks a schmaltzy plot: Kim dies at the end, from what Wikipedia suggests. The point is thusly moot!  But I digress…)

In the midst of  the deluge of Christmas crap that will take over our televisions this month, several films will stand out time and time again. I never grow tired of these films, and they never cease to fill me with Christmas joy throughout the season.  Without, further ado…

 

5. A Charlie Brown Christmas

 

Charlie Brown and his gang warm hearts in this television special, which is one of the first animated features to use child voice actors.  This gives a sense of sweetness to the entire production.  The music is delightful and whimsical (it’s what McDreamy and I listened to whilst decking our halls this year).  The pathetic Christmas tree almost makes me feel guilty for having an artificial tree at the expense of rescuing a similar, dying tree. And Linus’s impassioned speech always helps me to remember what we’re celebrating each year.

4. Die Hard 2: Die Harder

It would not be Christmas without Bruce Willis shooting people.  At least that’s how we see it at my house.  This is why we likely failed at integrating into Mennonite subculture..  Die Harder follows John McLean as he attempts to purge the airport of terrorists on Christmas Eve.  The stakes are high because McLean’s wife is on a flight due to land at the airport and her plane is running out of fuel.  In order to bring his wife home safely, he must risk life and limb to take out every last terrorist. They are reunited on the runway as snow falls around them. Yippe Ki-yay!

3. White Christmas

This holiday classic means almost as much to me as a good Turkey dinner.  Bing Crosby and Danny Kay make me laugh time and time again as they attempt to bring business into a Vermont inn owned by their former US Army general.  The General has fallen on hard times, as it has failed to snow.  Bing and Danny move their stage production to Vermont to “practice” while secretly plotting to flood the inn with their Army friends to celebrate the life and accomplishments of the man they admire.  The film has romance, comedy, drama, tension, and great music.  Perhaps most importantly, the film features the song “White Christmas” by Irving Berlin, who had relegated the song to the bottom of a drawer or trunk, believing it to be one of his lackluster works (or so one story goes).  No matter who sings “White Christmas,” my favorite will always be Bing’s version, as performed at the end of the film.

2. Home Alone

At one point or another, we’ve all been forced to spend the holidays with family that we’d rather not see.  Sometimes the thought of holing up at home, completely alone, seems better than family drama that seems to pop up when everyone is forced to sit together around the table for a holiday meal.  That’s why this movie is so great.  It appeals to the part within each of us that would love to withdraw and do Christmas our own way. When eight-year-old Kevin McCallister angrily wishes he could spend Christmas alone instead of traveling with his extended family, the Christmas magic makes his dream a reality. Kevin is left behind after the entire family over sleeps and rushes to the airport, failing to realize he hasn’t made it to the airport, let alone their destination.  Oops.  Kevin then falls victim to Marv and Harry, the Wet Bandits, who have planned to rob his house on Christmas Eve.  As Kevin proudly exclaims, it is his house and he is going to defend it.  Using all the tools in his arsenal – Kevin builds traps with toys, kitchen torches, irons, rusty nails, you name – it to stop Marv and Harry from invading his Christmas.

This film captured my imagination as a child, and for years my poor father had to dodge the traps I set for him.  It wasn’t uncommon for me to build a spider web or leave trip wires around the house.  I was quite possibly the most obnoxious five-year-old of all time.  Still, one of my favorite moments is when Kevin and his mom are reunited just in time to spend Christmas together.

1. Home Alone II

 

I’m shocked to find that there is any argument about which Home Alone film is better.  In this fabulous sequel, Kevin angrily wishes that he could dodge the family trip to Florida and take his own Christmas vacation, avoiding the hypocrisy of pretending to be a big, happy family.  Again, the Christmas magic works and Kevin gets on the wrong flight and ends up enjoying Christmas in New York at the Plaza Hotel.  Kevin must dodge a nosy concierge who suspects him of credit card fraud, befriend a crazy bird lady, and defeat Marv and Harry, who have escaped from prison.  I find this film far more compelling than the first because Kevin is shown as a considerate person who fights against Marv and Harry to prevent them from stealing money that is intended to go to a children’s hospital. He is no longer in a defensive position; he deliberately goes after Marv and Harry to foil their plans, luring them to his unoccupied Uncle’s house, where he unleashes another set of sophisticated traps.  I think this is why I love the film just the tiniest bit more than the first.

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The Worst Christmas Songs of All Time

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I really love Christmas. More than most people.  My decorations are always up before December 1st. My Christmas music creeps through the house before [American] Thanksgiving.  And I could spend hours watching Lifetime Christmas movies.  There is one thing that I just cannot tolerate, however: a bad Christmas song.

The following are the worst Christmas songs of all time.

5. The Christmas Shoes

This is very possibly the most depressing Christmas song. Ever.  If you have been living under a rock during the past decade and have missed the Christmas Shoes phenomenon, I ought to explain that the song tells the story is about a boy with a dying mother who wishes to buy her fancy shoes so that she’ll look pretty for Jesus when she dies.  I find this song so ineffably infuriating that I will neither waste my time (or yours) by pointing out the logical and theological flaws in the song, nor point to the idiocy of a father that would encourage his child to follow through on a plan such as this. Amazingly, this dreadful song was thought so inspiring that a TV movie was made; it follows the plot of the song.  Joy to the world?

 

4. Carol of the Bells

As a small child, this song terrified me. I always equated this song with the scoring of Home Alone, which played with the main theme whenever the roguish Kevin McCallister was dangerously close to villains Harry and Marv.  Growing up, the song would always put a sinking feeling in my stomach. Now that I’m older, I still find it entirely contrary to the spirit of Christmas. It just feels dark.   And the Trans-Siberian Orchestra version still sort of creeps me out.

 

3. My Favorite Things

I am annoyed by this song for the following reason:

  1. It isn’t a Christmas song at all.
  2. It feels melancholy to me.
  3. The Julie Andrews version is never played. It is the only good version.
  4. More cover versions = more air time on the radio.
  5. And this time of year, this song is played over, and over, and over again.

The band Pomplamoose recorded a cover and I think it caricatures everything I hate about this song:

Also, how creepy is her face while she sings?

 

2. The Little Drummer Boy

This year, my dearly beloved Justin Bieber did the unthinkable. He made “The Little Drummer Boy” even more intolerable. The track, which features Busta Rhymes, includes the addition of rap interludes between the annoyingly repetitive traditional lyrics.  And the rap interludes are annoyingly cheesy:

Rum pa pa pum, rum pa pum pum pum pum.
Yeah I’m on the drum, yeah I’m on the snare drum.
Yeah I’m on the beat cause the beat goes dumb.
And I only spit heat cause I’m playin’ for the Son.
Playin’ for the King, playin for the Title,
I’m surprised you didn’t hear this in the Bible.
I’m so tight, I might go psycho.
Christmas time so here’s a recital.
I’m so bad like Michael, I know I’m still young but I go I go.
Stupid stupid love like cupid,
I’m the drummer boy so do it, do it.

If you dare, listen:

1. I Saw Mommy Kissing Santa Clause

The song features the lyrics “Oh what a laugh it would have been / If daddy had only seen / Mommy kissing Santa Claus last night.”  While I’m sure this song was intended for adults who would fill in the blanks and assume that Santa was, in fact, daddy, I feel it is entirely too ambiguous.  There is no real allusion to the father’s presence. Instead, mommy is kissing Santa Claus while her child looks on and laughs.  Mommy is kissing an old, fat man with a big, bushy beard and Jr. is amused.  Who wrote this?  A 7-year-old Maury Povich?  I’m not sure, but I’ve never been a fan.

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