Monday, December 24, 2012

Christmas Memories

My first Christmas spent without my family. It is quite odd, to be honest. I've stayed with Amy so that neither of us are lonely. Today we wrapped presents and watched Christmas Vacation. I've been thinking a lot about some of my favorite Christmas memories from years past.

- Making dough ornaments with my mom
- Decorating the tree as a family, while listening to Mannheim Steamroller's Christmas albums
- Having three Christmases with all of our family on both sides!
- Watching Saved By the Bell Christmas Special with my brother
- Watching It's a Wonderful Life with family
- Christmas Eve services
- The Living Christmas Tree at Calvary
- White Elephant gift exchange with my youth group
- driving around Savannah and Jacksonville and Rome looking at Christmas lights
- the live nativity in Rome
- A Christmas Story on Christmas Eve
- My dad reading us the Christmas Story before Christmas dinner
- my grandmother reading me 'Twas the Night Before Christmas
- playing with my grandmother's nativity set
- being with my family

Merry Christmas from Germany!

Friday, December 14, 2012

Pause

My heart hurts for them. For their parents. For their families. These little children - 20 of them at least - didn't get to see their parents ever again after they left for school. It was just a regular Friday. Maybe it was the last Friday before Christmas break and the kids were excited for class parties and school letting out at the end of the day.

The pictures I've seen from the horrific events of today only remind me of the depravity we live in. My heart breaks for the families who will never see their children again. For the season of joy and festivity that will never again be the same for them.

I pray that I will never take my family for granted.

Prayers tonight for those in Connecticut.

Wednesday, December 12, 2012

From the Heart Tonight

My parents have been traveling around parts of Austria and Germany with my dad's choir from FPC Jax. It's been a little sad for me this week knowing they are on the same continent, in the same time zone, but I won't get to see them. I knew in the back of my mind how hard it would be to be away from them on Christmas for the first time in my 34 years, but I don't think I realized just how much. Tonight I was able to FaceTime with them for about 20 minutes while they were on their cruise ship and docked in Nurnberg. They were having fun, but while talking, it really hit me hard that I wouldn't be back at their house. That this year I would begin traditions of my own with my "family" here.

I think you realize the differences in being a single on the mission field as opposed to being a family or a couple on the mission field especially around the holidays. It is not easy. This isn't a cry or a plea for a husband, because I know that God is weaving an intricate quilt for me filled with different patterns and pictures and that one day I will meet that person who will share life with me (hopefully here). It's just a fact. Being single right now tugs at my heartstrings. A lot.

Yet, in His way, in his perfect and always pleasing way, He brings me friends that are like family. He reminds me that I am not alone and has given me more than enough invitations for Christmas dinner, plans with friends throughout the next three weeks of break, and an evening of fun on New Years Eve. I am blessed beyond measure and as much as I am really, really missing my family, there is comfort in knowing He gives me family wherever I go.

So I close tonight, a few tears in my eyes, but knowing I am loved.

Tuesday, December 11, 2012

A Christmas Concert

After months of preparation, my kiddos pulled off their best performance yet. The Christmas Concert was on Sunday and the Choir, Bands, and Orchestras all participated. It was the moment we'd all been anticipating since the beginning of the semester. I was so proud of the effort that went into it and even more proud of my kiddos for how well they did!!

Middle School Choir singing their hearts out!

My High School kiddos about to sing some Les Mis!

Saturday, December 8, 2012

Blumenplatz & Basketball

In the midst of auditions, the High School and Middle School Choir were invited to sing at the annual Weihnachtsfest in Kandern at the Blumenplatz, which is where all the action happens in this town ;) We sang a few Christmas carols and in the middle of one of our songs, it started snowing! Afterwards, we walked around trying to get warm. There were little fire pits here and there where you could roast dough and then eat the delicious bread. It was good, but I'm too impatient to do it again. By the end of the festivities, I couldn't feel my feet and by the time I got home, it was so cold I couldn't feel my legs! Nonetheless, it was a fun and eventful way to end Thursday.

Choir caroling

Some friends and a student roasting bread!

On Friday, the first BFA home games were played and what an intense game the Varsity girls played! We lost by 1 in overtime, but it was a great time for all of the BFA community to come together and cheer on our kiddos! It also made me feel right at home because my brother is a High School basketball coach and since I won't be able to see any of his games for a while, I can get my b-ball fix with the students :)

The students lining up to cheer on the Varsity girls

...and later on, the boys

It's B-Ball time!

Friday, December 7, 2012

He Knows Better

Yesterday, I held auditions for the Middle School play that will be put on in March. I have two student directors and together with the Stage Manager and three Middle School teachers, we got to work on casting. In college, I sometimes thought I would go onto be a casting director. I really love and hate that part of theatre. I love it because it's fun to see the character in the play come alive and the script becomes more than just a story on paper. I hate it because I do have a sensitive spirit and I know the heartache that is caused when you don't get the role you want or that you had your heart set on. I remember all too well the anticipation of waiting for that cast list to be put up on the bulletin board and then the sinking feeling in the pit of your stomach when your name doesn't appear.

Yet, just like when I didn't make cheerleading in 9th grade and just like when so many other disappointments came and still come, God always, ALWAYS has a plan. I'm praying that those Middle Schoolers who didn't make it, will come to that realization in due time. I'm still coming into that when things don't go as planned, when God decides to take me down a path I wasn't expecting. And even still, I'm reminding myself that His ways are always higher and better than anything else.

Monday, December 3, 2012

A Weekend in Switzerland

Going to Switzerland is really like crossing into a nearby state or even just getting out of the suburbs into the big city! This past weekend I got to go "home" to Ramlinsburg, the village where I au paired 10 years ago - yes, it has been 10 years! The snow had covered the ground and it was a beautiful sight. 

Lucia, the youngest, is now 12 and she got home Friday evening. We made chicken and broccoli casserole for dinner and then watched A Muppet's Christmas Carol. She'd never seen it before and really liked it! SCORE! How can you not like that one, though ;)






Saturday was a lazy day with the oldest, Coleton, coming back from a friend's house and all three of us just hanging out in our pjs and doing homework (yes, teacher homework for me!). We made lunch and dinner and Lucia and I tried our hand at a sugar cookie recipe online which was an epic fail. Oh well, we still had fun!


Sunday morning I said good-bye and headed back into Basel for church. It was the first Sunday of Advent and a beautiful service followed. Afterwards, Amy, Rachel, & I wandered around the Basel Christmas Market for a few hours before heading back to a snow covered Kandern.









Saturday, December 1, 2012

Advent

Today is the first day of December (HURRAY!!!), which means it's the season of Advent yet again. I love Advent and am so grateful to have grown up in a family that celebrated it! I follow Scotty Smith's blog online -pastor at Christ Community Presbyterian in Tennessee- and he is doing Advent devotionals on it. I'm giving you the link incase you would like to do them as well :)

Scotty Smith's Advent Devotionals

Happy Advent Season :)