Christmas Past

For the first seventeen years of my life I lived in another country. I celebrated Christmas differently. The weather was rarely frightful, and if there were fires it was outside in the fireside where they cooked large meals in big pots. Snow was seen only when the television stations decided to go off air.

December was always a busy month, from parties to service, Christmas to Old Years Night (as we called it), it was a never ending bustle of activity. A Christmas concert, caroling, a dinner for folks in the neighbourhood, services, practices, performances…

I don’t really have a favourite memory because everything was always delightful. I just remember being very glad that it was December, that Christmas was coming, that school was out for the term, that I would get to stay up until midnight on Old Years Night to greet the new year.

As I look back on those days, the memories that stand out the brightest – playing games in the “bottom house” or watching the sun rise over the Atlantic, or hitting a triangle as we moved from house to house, belting out Christmas songs – always had one thing in common, one set of people, my family.

I’m happy for Decembers – past and present – because it’s always the time we do things together. For me it’s always the most wonderful time of the year. For family and Decembers, I am thankful.

On Time

I grow older.

The year changes old to new.

Months fly by in seconds, minutes, hours and days.

Time marches forward, leaving memories of moments in the past.

Sometimes I wish I had more.

Or sometimes that it would end.

Most times it creeps by unnoticed,

Until one day, without warning, time is spent.

This Year in Books

To date I’ve read about 38 books, some were ok, others were great, most were enjoyable. I love receiving books as presents – or gift cards to buy books, or used books, or just take me to a book store on a shopping spree!

I thought I’d share a few books I’ve loved this year.

The Day the Crayons Quit by Drew Daywalt and Oliver Jeffers – I know you’re an adult and you’re probably thinking, children’s books? Really? But listen, do me a favour and go to a bookstore, pick up this book, read it, and then judge me.

Love and other Foreign Words by Erin McCahan – I really enjoyed the writing style and the protagonists’s mind. I also liked that it dealt more with family relationships.

We Were Liars by E. Lockhart – Another brilliant E. Lockhart story. A bit of a mystery and a bit of a suspenseful read, with a lovely little twist in the end.

Conversion by Katherine Howe – Present day and past storied intertwine as Katherine Howe writes about the Salem Witch Trials and a case of – what seems to be – mass hysteria at a girl’s boarding school.

God in my Everything by Ken Shigematsu – This was a good read for me, it’s about building a rule of life in our busy lives and I felt I needed to read some of the things in this book. It’s a super easy read too, and features an adorable story of a chipmunk as an illustration on giving.

What If? by Randall Munroe – You don’t have to love science to read this, or even know much science. This was a super fun and interesting read, and I definitely learnt a thing of two. By the way, it has the bonus of being the book you should probably be reading if you want nerdy guys to talk to you.

I’m in the middle of reading a few more books which I hope to finish by the next month. If so, I’m sure I’ll be adding a few more books to the above list.

 

Year in Music: Spotify

If you’re like me and haven’t received that Spotify email that tells you about your Year in Music, you can check it out here: www.spotify-yearinmusic.com

This is actually great because I was wondering what my most listened to tracks were this year. According to Spotify I listened to Pop and Contemporary Christian Music mostly, which makes sense as I didn’t start using Spotify to find new music until recently.

It also said that the top artist was Lorde – though, if Ms. Swift didn’t pull her tracks from Spotify it might have been her. Blank Space anyone?

The top track played was Coming Home – Part II by Skylar Grey followed by Love is On the Radio – Mr. & Mrs. F mix by McFly. I was surprised to see Tessa Violet on the list, but I suppose I listened to Just Right a bunch of times when it came out.

They then have a Play it Forward playlist which is a selection of songs for you based on your tastes this year. I think they did a great job curating the list for me, I started listening to it and I think it suits my tastes.

What’s your year in music like?

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On repeat: Jesus, Born on This Day by Mariah Carey

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Well that’s interesting…

arousing curiosity or interest; holding or catching the attention

One of the most overused words in my vocabulary is the word interesting. I know this because I use it many times a day to describe things that might (or might not) be interesting to me. So I’ve decided, time to shake my vocabulary up a little, here are some other words that I promise to use in the place of interesting.

engrossing | fascinating | riveting | gripping

appealing | enlightening | absorbing | compelling

intriguing | engaging | astounding | immersing

enthralling | entertaining | diverting | stimulating

And if I find something that isn’t interesting, or only mildly so, here are some words to use for that.

dull | tedious | insipid | pedestrian

ponderous | monotonous | drab | flat

laden | stodgy | jading | jejune

——

On repeat: Baby Boy by for King and Country

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Love’s Philosophy

I thought about skipping today, after all, I got forgot to schedule a post for this morning, then I came home late and then I was busy doing other things and now it’s 11:38pm and I thought to myself, “self, why are you doing this?” but, I’ve given myself this challenge so it must be seen through!

So, here, without further ado, another thing I love. One of my most recent poem finds…

Love’s Philosophy by Percy Shelley

The fountains mingle with the river,
And the rivers with the ocean;
The winds of heaven mix forever
With a sweet emotion;
Nothing in the world is single;
All things by a law divine
In another’s being mingle–
Why not I with thine?

See, the mountains kiss high heaven,
And the waves clasp one another;
No sister flower could be forgiven
If it disdained its brother;
And the sunlight clasps the earth,
And the moonbeams kiss the sea;–
What are all these kissings worth,
If thou kiss not me?

——

On repeat: When Love Came Down by Point of Grace

 

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Thoughts from Places: Baltimore

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It’s very hard to visit another city and not compare it to the one I know. I try to, but when I look at the stats I feel admiration towards the city I spend my life in and appreciate what I have here. Baltimore is three times the size of Manhattan but has 1/10th of the population. The city is sprawling with tons of space and large sidewalks. It’s extremely well kept and from the little I’ve seen this past weekend, very family friendly.

I did quite a bit of sightseeing while I was there. Museums had dollar days that weekend and they were packed with families looking for something to do with their children. I visited the Maryland Science Center which had a lot of cool facts for kids – and where I learned to identify male and female blue crabs. Then took a walk to the Walters Art Museum, which is free all year around.

Walters Art Museum was one of my favourites, and I really appreciated the Walters family for donating their extensive collection for the world to see. I also visited the American Visionary Art Museum – and left a message there – which was very strange, but also fascinating. Some of the pieces there were magnificent.

I love a city with access to good museums, whether science, history, art, I love the curation of information displayed visually, and I love that I can always find something new or learn something different even if I’m visiting the same museum multiple times.

The main purpose of the trip was to see the Newsies, the show was excellent – though I thought the Broadway run had better singing, this isn’t to say that the singing wasn’t great.

It was a fun weekend and a great destination, I will definitely be visiting again.