Married to the Empire

Tuesday, December 21, 2010

A Christmas Gift

I shared a while back about my love of Page CXVI, who puts out albums of hymns that are done in a more modern fashion, yet keep the integrity of the original music.  I adore hymns and hate that they are fading into obscurity.  While I don't dislike modern praise-and-worship music, I don't think it's terribly meaningful in its message.  Some songs are, of course, but most aren't.  In general, they just seem repetitious and light on gospel truth. 

Interestingly, I'd noticed that on the rare occasions we sang hymns in church, our students really responded to them.  You just can't ignore the powerful lyrics in a good hymn!  When one of our boys stated that "It Is Well with My Soul" is the best hymn ever, I was moved.  And I didn't forget it. 

I saw on Page CXVI's blog that they have a Hymns for Youth program, so I emailed them to find out what that is exactly.  Basically, they make their hymn CDs available for $2 each when you're buying for a youth group.  After checking with my hubby the youth minister, I ordered 30 CDs.  Usually, we buy a few gift cards to use as prizes at our annual Christmas party, but this year we opted not to do that and gave each student a hymn CD instead.  I made sure to give a copy of Hymns I to the boy who loves "It Is Well with My Soul," as the song "Joy" on that album ends with that hymn. 

I explained to the students before I passed them out what they were and why I was doing this.  I mostly got blank looks back.  They really didn't seem all that interested until my husband mentioned that I'd given copies to our music minister, and he hadn't taken them out of his CD player ever since.  If he loves this group, then it must be cool.  Humph.  Some of the older ones hugged me and thanked me.  The younger ones still seemed disinterested, which was made more clear by the fact that a couple of CDs were left behind at the end of the night. 

I'll admit, that hurt my feelings.  I gave them a gift, and a few chose to reject it, or at least toss it aside and forget to pick it back up.  When I take great care in selecting and giving a gift with meaning, it hurts to have it treated so callously. 

Naturally, that got me thinking.  If I get hurt that a couple of kids treated the CDs I gave them like they didn't matter, how greatly it must hurt God when people reject the greatest gift ever given to the entirety of humanity: his Son.  When the Creator of the Universe gives the gift that can save people from their sins and allow them to live in glorious eternity with him, how deeply he must grieve when his gift is rejected. 

This is one lesson I never really expected to learn at Christmas time, to be honest.  But what a profound one it is! 

To give this a happy ending, the boy who sparked the idea for the giving of the CDs sent me a message on Facebook.  He said, "Anne Marie, thank you so much for the CD!  Has to be the best CD I've gotten! :-)  I love you, Anne Marie!" 

That one person made it all worth it. 

Tuesday, December 14, 2010

Sweet Reunion

My sister's family flew in on Saturday for a six-month stay in Texas.  I am beyond ecstatic!  Naturally, I met them at the airport. 

Oh, how I've missed those sweet nieces of mine!

Friday, December 10, 2010

Ornament Wreath

This particular project has been on my list for a year.  I saw it on someone's blog last year(except now I can't figure out which blog--oops) and wanted to make it.  It's pretty basic, as it simply requires shatterproof Christmas balls and a wire hanger.  I bought a bunch of ornaments last year after Christmas for something like $1/box.  I figured it would be enough, but I wound up making an emergency run to Walmart one night this week to pick up a $5 box of coordinating ornaments.  Still, I'm pretty sure I spent a mere $9-10 on this. 

The general instructions:
  1. Remove the tops from the ornaments and put them back on with glue.  Be sure to do this.  I didn't, and my ornaments keep popping off. 
  2. Take apart a wire hanger and bend it into a circle. 
  3. Start stringing ornaments onto the wire.  It helps to have some small ornaments to mix in to help fill some of the spaces.
  4. Twist the wire closed.  (I had to have my husband do this, as I just didn't have the strength for it.  This is also where the ornaments started popping off their hangers, so seriously, follow step 1.)
  5. Add a ribbon, if you want.  (I'll probably go buy something more Christmasy, but that's what I had on hand.)

Friday, December 3, 2010

Early Christmas Gift

My 10-year-old dishwasher had a major problem: the racks were all rusted.  I looked into replacing the racks, but the cost was going to be approximately $350, which is kind of ridiculous.  I was willing to wait a while, but when I caught my sleeve on a tine on the rack, and that bit of rack came off, I was done.  My sweet husband offered to forgo much a Christmas for himself in order to give me a new dishwasher.  That, my friends, is love.

With all the stores desperate for sales, I found an amazing deal on a new dishwasher at one of those early Black Friday sales.  We bought it, and it was installed last week. 

When the man came to install the dishwasher, Doogie was interested in what he was doing.  However, Doogie is our little 'fraidy-cat, so he supervised from a very safe distance.  He stood in the foyer to watch the installation on the opposite side of the kitchen. 

Installation Supervisor

Boxes are fun!  Christmas came early for kitties, too!

Um, Mom?  Could you make Calvin get out of the box.  I want a turn!

My Christmas present

Wednesday, December 1, 2010

Neiman Marcus City Lights

The stormtroopers were invited to City Lights, which was the Christmas tree lighting at the Neiman Marcus in downtown Dallas.  A few of the highlights:

This was seriously one of the cutest-ever stormtrooper moments

He can't help but be silly, even in his tough-guy costume

My stormtrooper and me

Santa doesn't need reindeer when he has rappelling equipment

Neiman Marcus all lit up