About Me

Sunday, December 25, 2011

Merry Christmas!

Merry Christmas, everyone! You're probably visiting family and have already opened your presents. I hope ya'll have an enjoyable day, as I've had so far :D
I got a royal blue sweater, a cross necklace, candy, and an Amazon gift card. I think I already know some of the books I'll be buying with the gift card :)
So, since today is Christmas, I thought, I'd share some of my favorite Christmas-sy things.
1. Of course, first of all is the Christmas story. Obviously, if Jesus hadn't been born, then this whole celebration wouldn't have been thought of! And, even though it sounds cliched, Jesus really is the Reason for the Season.

And, lo, the angel of the Lord came upon them, and the glory of the Lord shone round about them: and they were sore afraid. 10 And the angel said unto them, Fear not: for, behold, I bring you good tidings of great joy, which shall be to all people. 11 For unto you is born this day in the city of David a Saviour, which is Christ the Lord. -- Luke 2:9-11

2. Second is 'A Christmas Carol' by Charles Dickens. In my opinion, it's one of the classics, and not only that, but an all around really good story. Shortened versions don't do it's wittiness and depth justice; and, though the movie version I've seen of it was good, it also doesn't do the book justice.

Oh! But he was a tight-fisted hand at the grindstone, Scrooge! a squeezing, wrenching, grasping, scraping, clutching, covetous, old sinner! Hard and sharp as flint, from which no steel had ever struck out generous fire; secret, and self-contained, and solitary as an oyster.
External heat and cold had little influence on Scrooge. No warmth could warm, no wintry weather chill him. No wind that blew was bitterer than he, no falling snow was more intent upon its purpose, no pelting rain less open to entreaty. Foul weather didn’t know where to have him. The heaviest rain, and snow, and hail, and sleet, could boast of the advantage over him in only one respect. They often ‘came down’ handsomely, and Scrooge never did.

3. C. S. Lewis' essay on the difference between the commercialized and religious observations of Christmas; it's really funny, written as a lost chapter from Herodotus on the island of Niatirb (Britain backwards).
 First of all, every citizen is obliged to send to each of his friends and relations a square piece of hard paper stamped with a picture, which in their speech is called an Exmas-card . But the pictures represent birds sitting on branches, or trees with a dark green prickly leaf, or else men in such garments as the Niatirbians believe that their ancestors wore two hundred years ago riding in coaches such as their ancestors used, or houses with snow on their roofs. And the Niatirbians are unwilling to say what these pictures have to do with the festival, guarding (as I suppose) some sacred mystery. (Click the excerpted text to go to the essay)

4. The Gift of the Magi is a well known short story by O. Henry; a sweet story of a young husband and wife who have very little money but still resolve to buy each other a Christmas gift. The results are humorous.

One dollar and eighty-seven cents. That was all. And sixty cents of it was in pennies. Pennies saved one and two at a time by bulldozing the grocer and the vegetable man and the butcher until one's cheeks burned with the silent imputation of parsimony that such close dealing implied. Three times Della counted it. One dollar and eighty- seven cents. And the next day would be Christmas.
There was clearly nothing to do but flop down on the shabby little couch and howl. So Della did it. Which instigates the moral reflection that life is made up of sobs, sniffles, and smiles, with sniffles predominating.
(Click the excerpted text to go to the story)

What are your favorite Christmas stories and movies? I'd love to hear about them!
Have a very merry Christmas and a happy New Year!

Saturday, December 24, 2011

Christmas Post--Winter Wonderland, Once In Royal David's City, & Silent Night

So, I forgot to post the day before yesterday, which is strange because I know I thought about it once or twice. And yesterday was really busy, so this will be three posts in one.
It's strange because I think this will be our first winter here without snow. We had a whole lot of snow in November, but then somehow it all melted by last week. On Wednesday, we had a light sprinkling, but it's almost gone now, with just little patches of white here and there.
First up is 'Walking in a Winter Wonderland' sung by the Carpenters:

Second is a lovely carol sung by Kings College Choir of Cambridge, England

Thirdly, Silent Night on violin. *sigh* If only I could play like this :)

The interchange of presents was a very small ingredient in the older English festivity. Mr. Pickwick took a cod with him to Dingley Dell; the reformed Scrooge ordered a turkey for his clerk; lovers sent love gifts; toys and fruit were given to children. But the idea that not only all friends but even all acquaintances should give one another presents, or at least send one another cards, is quite modern and has been forced upon us by the shopkeepers.-- C. S. Lewis (Go here to read the rest of Lewis' article on the commercial racket of Christmas)

Wednesday, December 21, 2011

Christmas Post-For Unto Us a Child is Born/And the Glory of the Lord

I absolutely love Handel's Messiah; every one of the songs is beautiful, and of course the best part is that it's all pure Scripture, taken straight from the Bible and set to heart-stirring music. Enjoy!

And Mary said, My soul doth magnify the Lord, And my spirit hath rejoiced in God my Saviour. For he hath regarded the low estate of his handmaiden: for, behold, from henceforth all generations shall call me blessed. For he that is mighty hath done to me great things; and holy is his name. And his mercy is on them that fear him from generation to generation. He hath shewed strength with his arm; he hath scattered the proud in the imagination of their hearts. He hath put down the mighty from their seats, and exalted them of low degree. He hath filled the hungry with good things; and the rich he hath sent empty away. He hath holpen his servant Israel, in remembrance of his mercy; As he spake to our fathers, to Abraham, and to his seed for ever. 
Luke 1:46-55

Tuesday, December 20, 2011

Christmas Post--O Holy Night, The Christmas Song & a BONUS!

I am terribly sorry that I didn't post anything yesterday. I don't know how on earth I forgot, but... anyways. So now I have three videos for you. The first is O Holy Night, sung by Celtic Woman; the second is The Christmas Song, sung by Nat King Cole. And then a bonus video, which isn't a song, and doesn't have anything to do with this year's Christmas, but I had to include it. Scroll down to see what it is :D


I hope you enjoyed it all :)
And, two quotes. One for Christmas, the other from The Hobbit:

“He was created of a mother whom He created. He was carried by hands that He formed. He cried in the manger in wordless infancy. He, the Word, without whom all human eloquence is mute.” ~Augustine 

Old Took's great-grand-uncle Bullroarer...was so huge (for a hobbit) that he could ride a horse. He charged the ranks of the goblins of Mount Gram in the Battle of The Green Fields, and knocked their king Golfimbul's head clean off with a wooden club. It sailed a hundred yards through the air and went down a rabbit hole, and in this way the battle was won, and the game of Golf invented at the same moment.

Sunday, December 18, 2011

Christmas Post--Sleigh Ride

This is a very cheerful Christmas song. I first heard it sung by the Carpenters, and thought ya'll might enjoy it played by the Boston Pops Orchestra.

The Son of God became a man to
enable men to become the sons of God.

Saturday, December 17, 2011

Christmas Post--Blue Christmas

Well, I couldn't resist. Here is Elvis singing 'Blue Christmas' :)

In the old days, it was not called the Holiday Season; the Christians called it 'Christmas' and went to church; the Jews called it 'Hanukka' and went to synagogue; the atheists went to parties and drank. People passing each other on the street would say 'Merry Christmas!' or 'Happy Hanukka!' or (to the atheists) 'Look out for the wall!'--Dave Barry

Friday, December 16, 2011

Christmas Post--Hark! the Herald Angels Sing

Anna, from Barefoot Arrow Song, said that this is one of her favorite Christmas carols. I love it, and think it is simply beautiful; and it's full of real, solid theology, which is always a plus :) So, without further ado,

A little child
a shining star
a stable rude,
the door ajar.
Yet in that place
so crude, forlorn,
The Hope of all
the world was born.

Wednesday, December 14, 2011

Christmas Post--Carol of the Bells

Carol of the Bells is a beautiful Christmas song, and the Celtic Woman version of it is my favorite that I've heard to date. It's very joyous and lighthearted. Enjoy!

"The best Christmas of all is the presence of a happy family all wrapped up with one another."

Tuesday, December 13, 2011

Christmas Post--A Christmas Village and a Song

Well, apparently I didn't realize that the twelve days of Christmas actually begins on Christmas day, but I'm still going to do it as I had planned. First off, a picture of our Christmas village:

There is more to it, but we couldn't get many good pictures of it; that was the best one. My mom has always wanted a little village to set up at Christmas, and last year she started buying pieces that were on sale. Of course it's way prettier than in the picture, but I thought ya'll might like to see it :)
Next is a hilarious version of White Christmas. It's my favorite rendition. Someone sent it in an email to my dad, and we love it.


Monday, December 12, 2011

Some Quick Updates

Well, I've been gone for a while! At least, it seems that way. My computer was out of commission for a week, needing new cords. On Tuesday, my dad and I took James to the hospital in Iowa City, which is three and a half  hours away. On Wednesday he had corrective jaw surgery, and when he woke up from the anesthesia, he was just so pitiful. His cheeks were really swollen, and he was miserable for the rest of that day and the next. He went home Thursday afternoon, and since Saturday the swelling has been going down, and he's happy and cheerful for the most part. He now has what are called 'distractors' in his jaw, and a screw on each side of his face, just below and behind his ears. 
I tried taking a picture of the screws, but it came out blurry. Anyways, each morning an each evening, we have to give both screws one full turn with a special screwdriver. This slowly lengthens his jaw. We will do this for 14-20 days, after which we will let the jaw solidify for about three months. Then, the distractors will be removed, and not long after that (hopefully) his trach will be able to come out, and they will do his cleft palate surgery. So please be praying for him that there will be no infections or complications. ```  
As you can see, his cheeks are pretty swollen, which you can see if you compare this to an earlier picture: 

In other news, I'm thinking I may have to completely re-write and restructure Red Sea Rising. I've been realizing more and more that it basically has no plot. I mean, I can't even write a summary of it because, unfortunately, there's no real point. The main characters (all four of them) don't really even have a goal until 40,000 words have gone by. Before that they are either avoiding the villain (and sometimes escaping from him), one of them is drafted into a foreign military and has no hope of getting back to his own country, and... there's really no real point. This is going to be a hard one to figure out, so I doubt I'll be able to enter it into the 2012 Amazon Breakthrough Novel Award contest as I was hoping to do, but... maybe next year? I think the characters and a lot of the ideas are great, I just need a structure.
Mary, over at the Writer's Lair is going to be hosting a Writer's Exposition. Submit your Christmas-themed story and she will post all the qualifying entries on a brand new page in her blog! I am definitely entering, and I already have the idea for a story in my mind, a sort of reverse-Christmas celebration for one of the countries in my world. What do I mean by reverse? Well, you'll have to wait and read it to find out!
Oh, yes! And I'm writing a Narnia fan fiction. For all of you Narnia lovers out there, it's right here.
Also, I've noticed that ApricotPie has been kind of slow lately. Probably because of NaNoWriMo. Well, I'm working on a humorous fantasy story called The Dagger Maiden, which hopefully I can get back into and finish soon, then start posting.
Well, this turned out to be a bit longer than I had intended, but those are the updates on my life at the moment. Starting tomorrow, I will begin doing Christmas posts, for the twelve days of Christmas, with a favorite Christmas song embedded and maybe other things as well :)
I hope you all have a wonderful December, and a Merry Christmas!