Sunday, December 31, 2006

delightful little five

-People watching in the airport under the guise of knitting.

-Shopping with my friend Jen who is in town visiting. We shopped all afternoon in Little Five Points, the most funky and diverse part of Atlanta.

-Watching a little girl in the coffee shop eat the whipped cream off of her cake with the most enthusiastic look of delight on her face.

Friday, December 29, 2006

serenity now

-Telling stories and laughing around the campfire last night with my family. We went to our family hunting ranch in South Texas that my Great-Great-Grandfather bought in 1912. It's a serene and pristine place, that still has no electricity or running water. It's perfect for contemplation, reading and recharging.

-When arrowhead hunting with my parents (our land has a ton of Native American arrowheads on it), my Dad picked up a beautiful piece of petrified wood and said, "This would make a great paperweight...on a desk in South Africa." I've applied to study abroad next fall, either in South Africa or Cambridge, England. If I'm selected, my "paperweight" is coming with me.

-Eating venison stew cooked in a big pot over hot coals with fried potatoes and onions for lunch today. It's the traditional lunch at our hunting place, one that my Granddaddy always made. It was delicious.

Wednesday, December 27, 2006

walking and dancing

-Hearing my Nana's laugh again.

-Taking a quick walk with my family along my Grandparents' oak tree lined street. We could see the tropical-looking landscape of South Texas, filled with different varieties of palm trees and bright flowers.

-The way the tree-filtered light from my window danced around my bedroom.

Monday, December 25, 2006

a blessed Christmas

-Listening to my Grandmother tell a hilariously animated Christmas story last night.

-Falling asleep to the cracking and popping of the fire, and waking up to the conversation of all of my family gathered around the coffee pot this morning. It's so fun to have a full house in the morning and all drink coffee together.

-Upon pulling my cell phone out of my purse, I discovered 4 "Merry Christmas" messages from friends. Many more have trickled in as the day's gone on. What a blessed Christmas.

Sunday, December 24, 2006

...and warm woolen mittens.

-Watching "The Sound of Music," and enjoying all 3+ hours of it.

-A lazy, rainy Saturday. I got a bit of work done, and then just baked, read and knitted.

-A cold front that makes it feel more like Christmas. It's cold enough for a fire in the fireplace, and it feels so nice.

Friday, December 22, 2006

my day in the sun

-Catching up with two old friends over breakfast and lunch.

-Reading outside in the hammock in the Texas sun until I fell asleep.

-A fun conversation on the art of tattooing, Wilbur Smith novels and finding great clothes at resale shops.

Thursday, December 21, 2006

there and back again

-Singing Paul Simon songs at the top of my lungs with Rob and Karen on our 14-hour drive across four states to get to Texas. It was actually a really fun drive, made better with great music, snacks galore, knitting and conversation.

-Relaxing with my sister after finally getting here by having a glass of wine, watching t.v. and chatting.

-Drinking coffee in bed this morning after sleeping in. My great book and my sister's great dog, Hayden, kept me company.

Tuesday, December 19, 2006

starry and serene nights

-Creating a perfect relaxing evening by renting a movie, ordering my favorite thai food (when I called in my usual order, the man taking my order said "Whitney?"), having a glass of wine and delicious orange and chocolate-dotted biscotti Elizabeth gave me for dessert.

-The way the light brought out the gold flecks in my starry-nightish painted dresser. I painted it in college, and still love it.

-The relief of having my bags packed and ready to go for our massive (17 hours-in-1-day) drive to Texas tomorrow. I'm riding with Rob and Karen, and they're promising coffee and donuts waiting for me when they pick me up before dawn. What fabulous friends.

Monday, December 18, 2006

balance and bags

-Watching the men who were cleaning the gutters on campus rappell each other across the rooftop while using a leaf blower to blow all the leaves away. It was quite a feat.

-When I popped into a coffee shop for some iced tea (it's been in the mid 70's today), I noticed a sign on the door announcing they were closing early so the employees could celebrate Christmas all together. The baristas were more smiley and cheery than usual. I could tell they were excited about closing early.

-After finishing my Christmas shopping, I spent a leisurely afternoon going resale shop hopping. I found a great Harrod's bag that is big enough for a few large books and a notepad. It's shiny and a great deep blue color that turns purple in the sun.

Sunday, December 17, 2006

a not-so-dismal day

-Hearing haunting Appalachian and Celtic music at a concert last night. A friend was kind enough to give me a complimentary ticket (she was one of the choreographers). Rising Appalachia were especially fantastic.

-Having a youth group member come down to my office after my sermon to excitedly tell me that they found my challenge word and all looked at each other and smiled. I had them give me a challenge word to fit into my sermon (they were kind, it was "dismal" and not "crunk" or something). It's sneaky way of getting them to feel like they have a part in the sermon and to keep them listening the whole way through.

-Spending a lazy Sunday afternoon glued to my couch.

Friday, December 15, 2006

delicious rest

-Receiving a wonderful care package from my parents today. It came complete with yummy hot chocolate, African tea and garlic-rosemary crackers. Delicious!

-Collapsing into a two-hour nap after finally finishing all of my schoolwork for the semester. What a relief.

-The anticipation of a fun night of live music and conversation with a few of the other youth advisors from church.

Thursday, December 14, 2006

lovely feminist enunciations

-While chatting with an older woman at church last night, she mentioned that she applauds women in the ministry, because she graduated with an M.Div. from Union Presbyterian Seminary in 1956, the same year women were first allowed to be ordained in the P.C. (U.S.A.). She asked if I was "attached" or "floating" (i.e. single) and I said that I guess I was "floating." I said that, of course, I would love to meet someone, but as my call is getting more and more defined, I would need to find someone that could complement my call to reconciliation mission work. She said that she was thrilled that I felt that way, because in her day women had to put their lives on hold for their husband's career.

-Hearing a single seagull singing in the sky, and thinking that it must miss the ocean as much as I do.

-The way the Indian woman at the Farmer's Market pronounced "cho-co-la-te" as she asked if I had chocolate cheesecake in my bakery box. It was such a beautiful accent. This is a double glimpse of grace, because my fabulous neighbor Sandra is cooking dinner tonight for Robin and me, and I'm bringing chocolate cheesecakes for dessert.

Wednesday, December 13, 2006

lessons in the ludicrous

-The most random of road trips with Rob and Karen last night. Karen found out that she needed to drive 100 miles for her car computer to register its emission before she could get it read. So, we logically drove 45 miles one way to see a movie in Cumming, Georgia. It was an evening of the obligatory Christmas chick flick, a tub of popcorn so large it was called "the monster" and continuous laughter over just how ludicrous the whole event was.

-Watching a Grandfather teach his Grandson to skip stones across the lake below my window.

-The exhilarating feeling of having a sermon that's been buzzing around my head for a week materialize in a rapid stream-of-consciousness frenzy of writing.

Tuesday, December 12, 2006

generous silence

-A serene moment of utter silence and grey light as I walked beside vine-engulfed trees.

-Watching children laugh and play in a massive pile of leaves.

-Seeing a man give money to someone in need.

Monday, December 11, 2006

sister act

-When I was feeling stressed about all the work I have to do this week, I received a hilarious email from my sister of a clip from "Sister Act" (see Dec. 8). It made me laugh and relax.

-The tiny red and black dotted ladybugs that crawled around the outside door to my building.

-An unseasonably warm afternoon that allowed me to do my theology studying outside in the sunlight.

Sunday, December 10, 2006

wine and strawberries

-Watching Brian blow strawberries on his daughter Britney's stomach at tonight's Christmas party.

-Being presented with a custom-built pulpit box for my sermon next Sunday at the session meeting tonight. I'm about a foot shorter than the pulpit's used to, so the box is a must. It was something I never actually thought of, but clearly Arch and Rick did.

-"Borrowing" a glass of wine from my generous neighbor Sandra to unwind after a long day.

Saturday, December 09, 2006

stranger than fiction

(I came across a great pic Sarah had of me dancing with Zoe and Shirley, and had to add it.)

-Dancing the "grocery cart" through the middle of a dance circle with Zoe last night at the banquet (and then laughing about how nerdy we were).

-A random two-hour conversation at Java Monkey with the man that sat next to me on the red couch. He's a children's book author and professor, and we chatted about books, travelling, school, politics, religion and writing. It was a refreshing and affirming conversation, where I renewed his faith in young adults and he renewed mine in the power of talking to strangers.

-The 7-month-old baby who sat atop a table at Eddie's tonight during a bluegrass concert. She had these huge earmuffs on so she wouldn't be deafened by the sound, but the constant dancing of her feet proved some music was getting through.

Friday, December 08, 2006

in my opinion...

-Not being afraid to assert some strong opinions about Christology in the Old Testament in my theology class today (and having people thank me for them later).

-Having a two-minute conversation with my sister that involved singing a song from Sister Act (in a key I'm pretty sure we invented) to each other and laughing histerically.

-Getting to wear a fun party dress for our Christmas banquet tonight.

Thursday, December 07, 2006

jaffa the wise

-The final post-greek class, pre-theology class Chick-fil-a breakfast run with friends. We've made a routine of going between classes on Tuesdays or Thursdays, and it's a much-needed relaxing (and delicious) break.

-Last night at Jr. High Bible study, I was telling the young people that we can't say for sure that we know who's going to heaven and who's not, because it's ultimately up to God. I said that we can see salvation in our lives while we're still living, though. I asked them to give some examples of seeing God's salvation in our everyday lives, and one girl said, "You know when you're down, and your friend makes you laugh really hard? I think that's God's salvation." What wisdom.

-A present of Jaffa Cakes from Shirley's children. She's from England, and knew I loved them from when I lived in Belfast, and she had them bring me some when they came to visit. I had a great chat with them when I picked up my Jaffa Cakes about everything from politics to race issues to tomorrow night's dance. The dark chocolate and orangey treats topped it off. Jaffa Cakes are so good that there's a hotline on the box for "Jaffaholics Anonymous."

Wednesday, December 06, 2006

sunrises, songs and sneaks

-Waking up in time to see the first pinkish colors of a sunrise hit the sky. The moon was still full and bright behind the wintery trees.

-Singing "All I Want For Christmas Is You" at the top of my lungs with the radio as I drove to work, and not caring a bit who saw me.

-Sneaking out of work (which won't be so sneaky once my colleagues read this) to do my sermon prep at Starbucks, overlooking Lake Lucerne. Watching the rippling water as I gathered my thoughts was cathartic.

Tuesday, December 05, 2006

smells and shadows

-The strong, pungent smell of the Farmer's Market as I enter. It smells like a combination of coffee and spices. It's a wonderful place where I find the most obscure fruit, wines and vegetables. I always hear at least three different languages being spoken around me.

-Receiving my first Christmas card from my parents' minister. She even included a little gift.

-Tree shadows painted onto the wall outside my apartment. When I first moved in, I loved the wall, with its red Georgia clay staining that makes it whisper of Tuscany.

Monday, December 04, 2006

thin places

-Taking the youth group to Our Lady of the Holy Spirit Trappist Monastery in Conyers. It was their compline (evening) service, and the sanctuary was in complete darkness other than the cross and Bible lit up in the front. We didn't even know anyone else was there until the monks began to sing. It was the most transcendent combination of deep throaty hums and tonal variations I've ever heard. It felt holy, sacred, other...a "thin" place like Iona.

-Being greeted by name at the coffee shop I go to. Once, when I was shopping at a resale shop around the corner, I met Joey who works at Mocha Match. It began to pour, so I gave her a lift back to work, and she's remembered me ever since.

-The little scrawny tree outside the coffee shop that was decorated with Christmas ornaments. Charlie Brown would love it.

Sunday, December 03, 2006

...forest for the trees

-Today at church I sat by an older woman named Minnie, who is a matriarch of the church. She isn't able to come very often because she's in her nineties, but she came today. As the choir processed past us, a member reached down and squeezed her hand.

-The invigorating smell of pine trees as I walked out to my car.

-The cars that carried Christmas trees on their roofs. There were two in a row, and they turned different directions, so they weren't together. I noticed one had children in it. Picking out and tying up their Christmas tree must have been so exciting for them.

Saturday, December 02, 2006

gracefully indulgent

-Indulging in a chocolate martini to celebrate Erin's birthday last night. It was the most fantastic thing I've ever had. To top it off, the waiter had lived in Ireland for 10 years, and we had a lovely chat about that lovely place.

-Turning on the tv this morning and seeing that the Nutcracker Ballet was on PBS. I used to dance in the Nutcracker as a child, and it is still probably my favorite ballet. This one was beautifully graceful.

-Getting a quick visit from Sandra and Chuck. He's in town for the weekend, and we all enjoyed a few minutes of sarcastic, humorous conversation.

Friday, December 01, 2006

laughing gas

-Trying hard not to laugh during class when something funny happened. It's the wierdest feeling having laughter rise up inside and trying to quell it.

-Elizabeth bringing strawberries with caramel and pralined pecans to us in the bookstore. We all shared it, and it was delicious.

-After letting a friend borrow my car, I walked out to it thinking I really needed to get gas. Then I saw that she had put a little in when she borrowed it.