November 24, 2011

Thanks Be...

Every year at Thanksgiving, I wonder, for those who don't have a personal relationship with Christ, to whom/what do they give thanks?

And this year I wonder the same.  I don't think anyone anywhere would say they aren't thankful for something.  Thus, the question is begged... can you be truly thankful if there is no recipient for your thanksgiving?  They might be thankful for family, friends, food, shelter, bacon... but it loses their meaning if their thanks simply goes out into the great unknown; spoken words that die the moment they leave their mouths.

For me, when I give thanks both now and throughout the year, my thanksgiving is directed to the Giver of all gifts-- my God and Savior, Jesus Christ.  Without Him, life (including whatever thanks I might give) has no meaning.

So on this Thanksgiving Day, I sit on my parents' couch in my pajamas (still), post-parade, watching Miracle on 34th Street.  I'm browsing online for some Christmas shopping, and I'm counting my blessings.

Thanks be to the Lord.

And now it's time for a picture post!  Enjoy some photos from two of my bridal showers here in Chicago! :)

My cousins and me, minus Carolyn and Emily.
I received so many lovely handmade gifts-- like this afghan (Grandma) and cross-stich (Aunt Marge)
We <3 each other :)
Look at my fun shower surprise: one of my bridesmaids and best friends came in from Texas!!!
And yes, we went to a graveyard.  Whatev.
 A lovely montage by Kelly Johnson at Duna Photography!
 Looks like I'm laughing at my own private joke.  HAHAHA
 Mom made us a Chevron quilt!
 The flower girl and me, with the bow bouquet!
 HTB, whispering something sarcastic, to be sure. (photo by Kelly Johnson)
 My reaction... HAHAHA (photo by Kelly Johnson)
 YAY, we're getting married! :) (photo by Kelly Johnson)
Happy Thanksgiving, everyone!!

November 8, 2011


ANTICIPATION: how I both love and hate this concept.

I love anticipation because of that feeling I get on Christmas Eve.  You know those little exciting flutters in your belly that let you know that something really special/fun/happy is coming?  I think I still love Christmas Eve more than Christmas Day for that very reason.  Each year I stand in my parents' foyer, the multicolored twinkle lights on the towering tree behind me, Bing or Nat crooning around me, and I pull back the lace curtains.  I peek out at the snow (hopefully) falling softly and my brother faithfully lighting the lumenaria in the little paper bags down our driveway.  I smile and feel a sense of warm anticipation about the special day that will come in the morning. 

When I was a small child, my parents couldn't even tell me when exactly Christmas was because I'd keep myself awake every night with that same anticipation.

Call me weird (it's OK, go ahead-- I know you do anyway), but I even get that feeling about walking into bookstores or libraries.  I anticipate all the new information I'll find and the worlds that will be opened up to me, and oh, do those butterflies abound!

But then, I hate anticipation.  I went to my first "Howl-O-Scream" at Busch Gardens with HTB on our one-year dating anniversary (because nothing's more romantic than being chased by zombies through haunted houses, right?).  I wasn't actually scared in any of those haunted houses, no matter how grotesque or gruesome they were.  Sure I screamed when they jumped out at me, because who doesn't scream when that happens?  But what gave me sinking feeling in the pit of my stomach was the anticipation of the unknown.  What would they do to me?  What would it be like?  When will they pop out at me?  Will I actually die in this haunted house?  What if HTB makes me go first?  I hated that anticipation.  It ate at me as we waited in line for the first house, and a creepy "vampire" tried to chit chat with me about the scarf around my neck.  I nervously played along, but really I just wanted to not anticipate the unknown anymore.  Turns out it was all fun, but I didn't know it would be.

This is also why, when playing hide-and-go-seek as a child, I'd walk into a dark room and shout, "Don't jump out at me!" because I hated the anticipation of the unknown-- just knowing I was going to be scared, but not knowing when or how or by whom.

And if one event has ever given me more reason to both love and hate anticipation, it's this engagement time.  I just love anticipating all the fun stuff.  I get that Christmas Eve feeling about my wedding showers, and setting up my little apartment as our tiny "love nest," and thinking about the fun of the actual wedding day itself.  I have those giddy butterflies thinking about being married and being a wife to HTB, and making a life together.  Having children and living our days out together are all things that give me those warm fuzzy anticipatory feelings...

Until I start to anticipate the unknown: the fights, the hard times, the hard work it will take to stay best friends for the rest of our lives, the unknown challenges, the physical ailments, the things that could go wrong on our wedding day, financial worries...

This anticipation thing is so weird.  How can I both love and hate the feeling?  I guess the anticipation I love is when I'm anticipating something familiar, something I know to be good from either personal experience or word-of-mouth.  And I suppose the anticipation I hate is when I'm anticipating something unknown-- something I either fear or have heard negative things about from others.  I guess what I'm getting at is that I need to remember familiar, good things I know will come with the wedding and marriage, and not sweat the unknown, because it's just that: unknown.  Who's to say my experiences will be anything like those around me?  And knowing my God, I do know for sure that it will be good, because God created marriage, and marriage itself is good.

Now in the meantime, I do need to guard myself against a common mistake I made as a child.  I let the anticipation of Christmas Eve grow to such an extent that when Christmas came and went, I was left with the day-after-Christmas-blues.  After such great anticipation, there is nothing left to anticipate and therefore an emptiness where those fun butterflies used to be.  I don't want the let-down of December 26th (for those of us who don't celebrate Boxing Day) on January 13th... or any other day thereafter.  I hope I always anticipate the rest of my life with the best kind of anticipation, and that every new year brings the butterflies that indicate something very special/fun/happy is coming.  Though it may be unknown, it will be good.  Why?  Because I have God's Word on that, and I have HTB by my side.