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“Our challenges may be new. The instruments with which we meet them may be new. But those values upon which our success depends — hard work and honesty, courage and fair play, tolerance and curiosity, loyalty and patriotism– these things are old. These things are true. They have been the quiet force of progress throughout our history. What is demanded then is a return to these truths.”— Obama

The strange looking animals pictured above are Highland Cattle, also know as Hairy Coos. Don’t ask me why, I have no idea. But they’re kinda cute. I don’t know how they see where they’re going.

I wanted to write something after the inauguration. Something about how real it felt to me and how good. And about how I love Michelle’s comfortable glamor and Barack’s humble wait in the hallway. I’m excited to see what will happen and hopeful because I might actually have the chance/inclination to become involved this time around.

My parents gave me a subscription to Newsweek for Christmas, and this week I’ve read the issue nearly cover-to-cover, which has been a real treat. I’m for staying connected and informed without being pulled down into international pessimism. I’m hoping that reading well-written news will do better for this than too much TV or even radio.

Which all kinda leads me (in a very weird, indirect way) to what I am considering to be my New Years Resolution. Yea, yea… I know it’s been a month already so I’m a little late, but these things need to be considered. And in my defense I did come up with this at the beginning of the month. I’m just getting to posting it now, which you will come to see is the slightest bit ironic.

The word of the year is “intentional.” I want to live with my with more intention. Do what I say I am going to do, in a way that encourages curiosity and productivity. It’s not that I want to get more done, I want to do more with the full awareness of what and how I am doing.

So there. That is the big picture for 2009. A little late, maybe a little hairy. But hopefully a lot curious.

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Shine On

Into a new year, a new job, and a new home. Quite the quiet NYE this year, but maybe that’s best. It was a crazy holiday, with everyone together and things changing and such. But maybe that’s all for the best too, in the long run.

What I have realized more than anything else in the coming weeks is the importance of my friends. Not just how great it is to know people, but how much those special few really mean, and how much I am like them. Even when they are far away, real friends are always able to make you feel at home, to make you feel like one of them, to make you feel loved.

Of course it’s wonderful to feel loved by your family and those people who are closest to you, and I would never want to give that up for anything. But that special call after midnight on New Year’s Eve, or the strange similarities between hopes and dreams and life discussion, I would give that up either.

The bulk of my NY Resolutions appeared in a post a while ago. But for now I just want to say how thankful I am for my friends.

Happy New Year, and more about the new life later. Peace.

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Peace and Warmth

I didn’t have a title in mind for this post, until I found the photo. The title is taken from it. And I think it best describes what I’m looking for right now, and what the waiting of Advent is about.

Life is crazy, with good news and bad news, with frustrations and new adventures. But it’s somehow always crazier at this time of the year. I just got a job, a real-life, grown-up job, at Montreat. And I’m thrilled, and so excited to be learning new things and going out there and getting things done. It brings up its own set of questions and stresses, but it’s still good. (I apologize for being vague here… sometimes typing “out loud” even in vague terms can be useful.)

On a more concrete note, I was watching Mary Poppins last night on ABC Family (their 25 Days of Christmas ranks high on my marathon list, up there with the Bond one that Spike usually runs around New Years), and it occurred to me how much of that movie was stamped into my memory. The songs, the words, the tone of voice, the images especially. (Which also makes me a little frightened to wonder what we are stamping into children’s minds these days.) But I remembered all of it, and also recognized that I had never fully understood much of it before. Even though I am no longer a child, this story holds a certain magical quality, and was a perfect thing to watch before bedtime.

A few of my friends are carrying on quite wonderful blogs these days, and I am inspired by their insight. Check out Kara’s blog and Bruce’s blog (he’s not a real friend yet, but he is the moderator of the PCUSA and quite an awesome presence on the Web).

Peace. And warmth. And please send some my way, too, if you will.

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Smoked Out

Have you ever had a smoke alarm go off in the middle of the night for no apparent reason? If you have, you’ll know about the adrenaline rush, the terror of the noise and the unknown of the cause behind it. It’s awful. And that’s how my night went last night. I did, however, manage to complete Monday’s USA Today crossword in less than 15 minutes, at 3:00 a.m. Fun? Not so much.

So it was pretty easy to convince myself that I deserved to sleep in this morning, making Operation Rise and Shine a no-go.

In other news, my morning job will be serving lunch for the next two weeks, taking a lot of stress off of me, and tonight is the second installation of our Young Adult Intentional Community Advent Dinner. I’m bringing lentil soup, which I’m pretty excited about. Yay hearty winter bowl food. Peace.

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On the Sunny Side

This morning was better still. Day 3 of Operation Rise and Shine, and I have decided there is really no harm to the snooze button. Getting up the moment the alarm goes off is great and admirable, but if I find comfort in snoozing, then why shouldn’t I allow myself 5 or 10 minutes of it? The important thing is to break the hold it has held on me for the past few years. This morning I succeeded in getting up after two snoozes. Good number.

First alarm: 7:04 a.m.
Got up: 7:15 a.m.
Extra activity: Cooking
Breakfast: Omelet of mushroom, green onion and feta, with skim milk and a multivitamin

For tomorrow: Make coffee. Beginning on Monday I will set the alarm a little earlier so I can still hit 7ish, accounting for my two-snooze time.

I also remembered that I hadn’t posted my slideshow of engagement photos. They’re pretty awesome, and Regina did a great job. Peace.

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Paper Eccentricities

Why are blank journals so much more appealing to me than filled ones, or even the potential of a filled one?

I love lists, and I love my own handwriting, but I hate making these lists or writing down notes on the go. If I’m going to write something down to keep for perpetuity, I like to take the time to sit down at a clean desk, stretch out with plenty of elbow room and write slowly and intentionally. Writing like this is one of the most intentional actions I perform, I think, and yet I hold such high expectations of it that I rarely actually do it.

I’m still looking for a good way to keep track of things, like books I want to read or crafts I want to make or movies I want to see. And it seems like there exists a fairly good mechanism for each of these things (GoodReads, Ravelry, Netflix) but that as soon as I start listing, I get bogged down in the generics, when I really wanted to list only the special. I know I need to read To Kill a Mockingbird (I know, I’m weird), but that book is not the reason I want the list.

I want to make scrapbooks of ephemera, which I feel might express my experiences even better than photogrpahs. Peace.

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