Wednesday, November 26, 2008

Feels Like Home

I didn't blog much about the dating, engagement, wedding, excitement, etc. I didn't want to overshare on personal stuff - especially on a place like the internet. But on the other side of it all, I am starting to realize how incredibly blessed I am to be here.

I have a home. And I don't just mean a house. I have a place where I'm safe - where I'm known - and where I can (hopefully) bless others. I don't ever want to take it for granted.

It's been a crazy few months. We had lots of stuff to sort through (since both of us have had our own places for several years), lots of new stuff to find a home for (because people were very generous with us), and have been trying to settle into a routine.

We had 2 peach trees in our backyard that resulted in a LOT of work for Josh. They also resulted in homemade peach, not all bad.

We've established which sides of the couch we sit on in the evenings (with our laptops) and have learned more about each others' TV preferences.

More recently, we brought the biggest upright piano I've ever seen into our dining room. There was a minor incident with the wood floors in the entryway, but now we have a piano for Josh to play (which he LOVES).

And now we're decorating for our first Christmas together. It's a sentimental time for us - our dating milestones and then engagement all happened in December.

But more than anything, I think it's unbelievably amazing that at the end of any given day - I get to go home to my best friend.

Tuesday, November 18, 2008

I'm not a movie person...

But one of my favorite bloggers tagged me this past summer - and I wanted to follow-through on the challenge. Plus I've been a blog-slacker.

So the challenge:
1. List your top ten favorite films in no particular order.
2. If you’re tagged, post your list and tag 3-5 other people.
3. Link back to the person who tagged you.
4. Give a hat tip (HT) to Dan.

I appreciate good movies - but I don't get into them as much as some people. I always feel pressure when someone asks me what my favorite movie is. I wonder if they'll judge me for some of my more shallow choices (I'm talking to you, Jim Halpert). I do like good, thought-provoking art - but I also like light entertainment. I suspect my list will reflect that.

  • The Princess Bride - This is my standard answer to the favorite movie question. It's one that my family (especially my dad) has always loved. The humor - and the grandfather/grandson commentary on the love story - are classic.
  • Ratatouille - This is a more recent favorite, and I think I blogged about why it moved me so deeply. I don't know that it works all that well as a kids movie strangely enough - I think it's a movie about being an artist. The animation itself is gorgeous. But the parts where Remy is enjoying combining flavors (and how they illustrate that), where the critic character is reminded of his "first love" of food, and his reflections on criticism are really great. So many people who love art are prone to the critical spirit - but this movie reminded me about all of the great things about art.
  • Indiana Jones and the Last Crusade - This is another favorite of my parents - so it's one that I have good childhood memories of watching and laughing together. Which is appropriate since this is the movie with the father/son dynamic. "He chose....poorly."
  • Tommy Boy - This movie cracks me up. I have a hard time passing it by when it's on TV. There are other movies in the stupid humor category that I could include on this list - but this ranks as one of my very favorites. The duo of Farley/Spade is great - and my favorite scene is when they're listening to the radio in the car. The cheesy song comes on the radio, but no one wants to change it. Cut to them both singing it at the top of their lungs, bawling. LOVE IT.
  • In Good Company - I rented this with my roommate expecting it to be a predictable romantic comedy (guy falls in love with his older employee's daughter/awkwardness ensues). Instead, it's this movie that really honestly portrays the weird dynamic that happens in the workplace between generations. The relationship between Dennis Quaid's character and Topher Grace's character is just so real - and the transformation over the course of the story is great.
  • Luther - This is undoubtedly a nerdy pick. I understand it's not a totally historically accurate movie, but it did give me a deeper appreciation for a really important person in church history who was a real person who really loved God, Scripture, and the church.
  • Singin in the Rain - It's a classic. It's totally more about the dancing/showmanship than the story - but the title scene alone is enough to put this one my list. Good stuff. And I'm surprised at how often I have to defend this choice as a favorite movie - it frequently appears on critics' top lists as well.
  • The Wedding Singer - I like standard "chick flicks" - and there are lots that could go here (While You Were Sleeping, Miss Congeniality, Legally Blonde). This is my favorite Adam Sandler. It's awesomely 80's - and in the end is a sweet love story.
  • The Sound of Music - This movie is my childhood favorite. I watched it every time I was sick. I wanted to grow up to be Julie Andrews (and Amy Grant, but that's neither here nor there). It is also part of where my strong desire to visit Europe comes from.
  • National Lampoon's Christmas Vacation - I almost put Elf here instead, but this one is a favorite of Josh's - and has become as close to a Christmas classic as I can think of. It's better on TV - or I also enjoy hearing my husband quote the entire thing word-for word.

Okay, that was actually difficult to come up with 10! I should watch more movies...

I will tag Brandy, Chris, and Kara.

Christmas is coming - the goose is getting fat

I know many people frown upon premature Christmasy activities - but here's the thing. I love Christmas music. It's too good to put limitations on. Also - I am vocationally required to plan services far enough in advance that I can't follow the "wait til after Thanksgiving" rule. (Not that I mind breaking it...)

I've been checking out new Christmas music releases and listening to old mixes and albums. I had considered an official review of the ones I've listened to so far - but I generally agree with ChristianityToday's 2008 Christmas album reviews.
Here's my short version:
  • Sixpence None the Richer - The Dawn of Grace is my favorite whole album. Great song choices, good arrangements, and cohesive feel. Favorite songs: "Riu, Riu, Chiu" and "The Last Christmas" (which makes me think of Baby Sandel)
  • DO NOT LIKE Casting Crowns' Peace on Earth. They're not my favorite anyways - but I bought it b/c they tend to have a few gems on each album that connect well with people (and are usable in services). But I can't find any on this album. Meh.
  • I also found Shane & Shane's Glory in the Highest rather disappointing. It's too mellow and unthoughtful - and I don't mean good mellow.
  • There are 2 albums that I'd say are pretty good - but I really wanted them to be amazing: Sara Groves' O Holy Night and Fernando Ortega's Christmas Songs. Both albums have some GREAT songs on them (which will definitely be making my 2008 Xmas mix) - but I had maybe unrealistic expectations on them as whole albums. Sara Groves does too many new, unmemorable tunes to familiar carol texts. But I LOVE "It's True" - which I first heard her do live at an Andrew Peterson concert last year. And the Fernando one is a little too straightforward and really too short for my liking. I'd like to hear some lesser known carols from him since he's such a good arranger.
I am working on my 2008 Christmas mix - should finish it soon (and I'll definitely post a track list).

And finally - I just saw that my friend Chris designed some gift certificates for projects through CMF in the slums of Nairobi, Kenya. This was a BIG part of our church's Christmas celebration last year; it's amazing what an impact small amounts of money can have in other parts of the world.