Sunday, December 24, 2006

I Wish for You...

Laughter! Wow, tonight we enjoyed the entertainment of a 2 year old! It has been a while since we've loved playing in the wrapping paper and Garrett, my cousin Micky's little guy, brought us back to the simple pleasures of running back and forth through the mess. I'm still smiling...his first gift was a box full of musical instruments. He wasn't too interested as we all tried to show him how to use his new harmonica. After each attempt, he would grab it out of our hands and take it to the table where we couldn't touch it! He just didn't like it until he learned how to use it and that's when the show began. Clothed in a diaper, he held center stage laughing at us laughing at him and giggling til he had us around his little finger! It was perfectly sweet.

On the flip side, this is the first Christmas we've had without grandpa Jack. He's been in the hospital for the last few days and though Garrett had us going, Gramp was missed. I went to see him again today, but didn't stay because he was out with the medication. I left sad. I've had the most wonderful relationship with my grandpa so I'm not sad in that I feel like I've missed out on something, but having not seen him for the last six months he just isn't the same. I knew he would look older, but as I left the hospital today I kept thinking, "That's just not grandpa. That is not the man I remember." Life, that's really all I can reason.

Turning the corner again. We have developed a family tradition of watching "Christmas Vacation" on Christmas Eve. Every year we watch it as if it is the first time we've ever seen it! Cousin Eddie, we can't get over him and Clark, well, "Who is this Chevy Chase anyway?" We laugh. Of course in all of this, I find LOVE. The love of the Savior in celebrating His arrival and the love of family who I've been blessed to walk through time with.

Merry Christmas from me to you.

Tuesday, December 19, 2006

His Coming to Us

A fun picture from our trip to EPCOT Sunday. Billina was in town for a few days and Brayshawna got us into the park for a fun evening traveling around the world!

His coming to us. As I wrote my final emails at work here this evening I found my fingers keying the phrase, "I hope you are enjoying this season celebrating His coming to us." Just talking about celebrating the birth of Jesus doesn't give this time of year the weight it deserves. His coming to us...not just about His being born (and the verses that follow) but about His coming to us. I know I keep saying that, but really when you think about it, doesn't it make your heart flutter that someone would come for you. Someone would lay it all on the line and jump in there after you because He could see you weren't going to make it if He didn't come to get you. After a year like this, my soul overflows! He came to get me and when He did get me, He sent me on this great journey which I feel like I've really had the opportunity to experience in 2006.

One of the great things I love about Powers, life slows down for me there and I have time to reflect. I have a dream of building a little cabin on my parents' property out in the trees overlooking the river...a place where I can hear the river flow. When I came down here to Florida for my "interview" in May, I had to take what's called the Strength Finder's test. Basically, a lot of questions to narrow down your strong areas. Guess what one of my strengths was! INTELLECTION! Yeah, well don't start thinking you have a genius on your hands! It merely means I like to be introspective, hence the time I love to take reflecting, processing, and writing! It is good to learn about yourself! I've had so much fun keeping this blog as it has allowed me to share my life with you this year.

I hope you have a wonderful Christmas as you celebrate His coming to us. Take some time, reflect, forget about New Year's Resolutions of making it to the gym 5 times a week...get to know yourself better next year and enjoy the ride! He's coming for you!

A quick recap...

"My Year"
Bought a ticket, quit my job, rode a plane to Costa Rica, asked, “What have I gotten myself into?!”, studied Spanish, hurt my brain, nearly died on a snorkeling tour, cooked with Ticas, embraced the sunrise, interviewed for a job on Avenida Dos, traveled to Florida, struggled through telling you I was moving cross country, packed the car, drove through lots of states with Leah, learned about humidity, met some more really wonderful people, ate BBQ in Nashville, learned about mold, moved yet again, introduced mom to boiled peanuts, showed Sara and Alisa what white sand looks like, moved…again, shopped with Billina around the world, packed my bags and winter clothes… I’m flying in a plane home for Christmas.

Friday, December 15, 2006

This came across my desk today.

Some time when the river is ice ask me mistakes I have made. Ask me whether what I have done is my life. Others have come in their slow way into my thought, and some have tried to help or to hurt: ask me what difference their strongest love or hate has made.

I will listen to what you say. You and I can turn and look at the silent river and wait. We know the current is there, hidden; and there are comings and goings from miles away that hold the stillness exactly before us. What the river says, that is what I say.

-William Stafford, “Ask Me”

Wednesday, December 13, 2006

It was below freezing here today!

One week and counting...
I just got an email from Sara, "Steph is coming home..." She speaks truth! These past few weeks have been full of activities and I'm trying to get into the Christmas spirit. I decided to try and do my shopping when I get home, I can't imagine trying to haul a bundle along with me, so I haven't been out in the madness of the malls and it's still in the high 70s this week. Kinda difficult to feel like it "'tis the season."

A sweet treat this morning, I walked into my local Starbucks to order my new favorite holiday drink...grande, 3 pumps peppermint, with room, americano (yum) and as I pulled out my wallet to pay, Angel (my barista!!!) said, "No, no. This one is on us." What a treat, I really like my new Starbucks!

Tonight, I just got back from Gaylord Palms' ICE! with Jennifer and Melissa. ICE! = 2 million pounds of ice, 5000 blocks, used to make some really phenominal sculptures and all at a chilly 9 degrees. They keep an 18,000 square foot room blocked off for a sort of tour with an ice slide at the end. Ok, so it's beginning to feel more like Christmas! They even hand out special jackets that fall mid-calf and are equipped with a hood! I pulled out my wool gloves, down vest, stocking cap and felt like a fool leaving my place yet glad I had them once we entered the freezing zone. It was still cold!

With Jennifer and Melissa. Teachers I have met through Phil and Janann. Jennifer is Caden's teacher.

The Nativity Scene

Isn't it nice?

Not as nice as seeing you!

Merry Christmas!

Wednesday, December 06, 2006

I can smell the cold!

I was just looking at my calendar and realized, "Wow! Only 14 days until I am home for Christmas!" Elated, that's me! All these pictures start flooding my memory, I-5 through Portland over the river, the boring stretch from Corvallis to Eugene, the winding turns on the Powers road and suddenly I see the Leatherman's house as the road begins to drop me into the most familiar territory I have known in my life...I've pounded on these roads with my feet, I've ridden horses and 4-wheelers through these trees, I've "cruised" countless miles along the straight stretch...and I can see the river gorging with water from all the rain. As brown as it is it still carries a mighty power. And the cold...I can smell the cold, feel it as it burns my lungs out on my run in which I see a mere 5 cars (mostly trucks) passing me, crossing into the other lane to steer clear of the runner! And there are the cows...for some reason they have become a significant part of my picture of home...only now as I watch them I can see my brothers newly built house surrendered to the hanging bluffs and supplying the backdrop of this simple picture of home. Home, I can't wait for it to hit all 5 senses!