Thursday, December 26, 2013

Another Christmas Gone

I love Christmas and no matter how weary I get with working in retail during the holiday, I'm always a little sad when it's over. There is so much time and energy spent on the day and then it races past like a locomotive. The good thing is, it will come back, a whole year, but it will return.
 Still, I miss it, maybe that;s why I don't mind when friends and I exchange gifts late, or Dad and I wait a bit to take down the tree. I like to make it last, to enjoy it to the last possible second before saying goodbye.

Sunday, December 22, 2013

Striking the Set

Well, my church's play "Light of the World" opened and closed already. It went very, very well, thanks to everyone who acted, painted sets, ran the lights, and of course to our writer and director, and to our wonderful audience! I hope it brightened everyone's Christmastime, I know it did mine.
True, it made things a bit hectic for me, but it was completely worth it.
After church today, we cleared away all of the props and costumes. It was a bit sad, yes, I don't have to rush straight from church to work anymore, but I enjoyed it, not just the acting, but getting to know people in my church better, which is part of Christmas, being with people and helping them enjoy the holiday even more. 




Monday, December 16, 2013

Holiday Concert

I attended my six year old nephew's school holiday concert. It was the first school even I've been to since I saw my best friend in seventh grade perform with her orchestra for her middle school.  I'd forgotten how cute they can be! They sang songs about polka dancing penguins, read poems about decorating Christmas trees and finished with "We Wish You a Merry Christmas." 
With everything that distracts us adults at Christmas, it's nice to remember that it all began with a Child, and the giving of toys, and the singing of songs, and even Santa, all point back to the real meaning of the holiday,  the Christ Child's love for all humanity. 

Monday, December 9, 2013

Light of the World



On Saturday, December 21st, at 7:00pm High Point Baptist Church in Larksville, invites you to step back in time to 1940’s Holland to see how two different families celebrate both Christmas and Hanukah during the German occupation of World War Two.  Written and directed by church member and drama team member since 2006, Aimee Novak , the one act play entitled, "Light of the World  displays how the two families, one Christina and the other Jewish react to the increasingly difficult times in which they live. When asked how she chose the time period of the play, she explained that has been inspired by the book, "Diary of Anne Frank" ever since her mother gave it to her as a child. “It really struck me in a very personal way.  At the time I first read it, Anne was just a little older than I was, and she and her family had endured so much.”
Novak also incorporated the theme of friends willing to endanger themselves for the sake of others into her play. “The Franks were very lucky in that they had friends on the outside who helped them.  Many individuals risked their lives helping Jews hide from the Nazis, bringing them food, cutting into their own rationed supplies.  They risked so much to do the right thing.  They drew a line and said, "We will do what is right, no matter the cost."  This concept is displayed throughout “Light of the World”.
While the play and it’s inspiration are set in the 1940’s, Novak feels the theme of love, and selflessness are timeless. “I think it causes you to look at things in a fresh way.  The clothes and environment may seem different so it catches your attention.  But despite the differences, fundamentally, it causes people to realize that people and the struggles they face, and the emotions they feel are the same.  Whether it's 2013 in America, 1943 Holland, or 30 AD Jerusalem, we all share the same feelings.  There are struggles and triumphs, fears and doubts, joy and hope.  These things transcend time.”
These common threads that run through history have the potential to bring mankind together despite their differences, and that is just what Novak and the cast hope to accomplish. “I would like for it to be a bridge, a way to open a dialog, in particular between Jews and Gentiles (non-Jews), to let our Jewish brothers and sisters know that they are loved,” she explains. “I hope it makes people think.  First, that we should never forget the Holocaust and the horrors of the past.  But I also hope that we can use it to look to the future, to build connections, to ignore trivial differences and love others unconditionally.  Most importantly, I hope that it will be a light in the darkness, to show the way to the true Light of the World, Jesus Christ, the long awaited Messiah who came to earth in human form, suffered and died on a cross, to take away sin and offer the free gift of salvation to anyone who is willing to look toward the light instead of turning from it.”
High Point Baptist Church’s drama team has been performing mainly Easter dramas since it began sixteen years ago. “Drama transforms written words on a page into a tangible experience by giving it form, texture, color, and faces, and brings truth to light,” Novak says. The play will be performed at the church at 919 Mountain Road, Larksville, on Saturday, December 21st at 7:00pm; admission is free. More information about the church and the play can be found at http://www.highpointchurch.info/  or by calling 570-371-4404.


Tuesday, December 3, 2013

Santa Hat

I know the Christmas spirit has hit when I take out my Santa hat to wear at work. Little kids at the store always seem to get so excited when they see me in the hat, they smile, laugh, and tug on their parent's sleeves.  I've never really got that to be honest, especially when some kids call me "Santa". I look nothing like Santa, save for the hat. Then today it hit me, maybe their not that confused as to think a short woman is the jolly , chubby man, maybe it's the symbol they recognize, the symbol of charity, love, and generosity that most of us adult forget in the midst of Black Friday lines and T.V.adds. Maybe, as the old cartoon says, "Christmas doesn't come in a store, maybe, just maybe, it's a little bit more."

Friday, November 22, 2013

Doctor Who?

In honor of Doctor Who's 50th anniversary I hosted a little get together for my friends .  Being a relatively new fan I didn't have the action figures, the TARIS, the sonic screwdrivers I noticed other parties having online, so I stuck with the simple space theme. I found some neat starry spinners at Wal-Mart and a blue cake mix at Target! I was a bit apprehensive about playing around with food coloring so the mix seemed like a good idea.  The cake mix was Chef  Duff from the Ace of Cakes show and was very moist and yummy. I highly recommend it!

















 My good friend Nicole made bow tie pasta, because bow ties are cool.  It was a great evening, sitting around, talking, watching Doctor Who.  The party made me think about how great stories, whether in books or on screens big or small should bring people together. Some people claim TV distracts people from other people, well then, you're not experiencing it properly. Watch your shows, enjoy them, talk others who enjoy them, and be inspired by them to live and enjoy a better life. I know Doctor Who has done that for me, because it's a wonderful story and I cannot wait for the next chapter to share with my good friends.
  

Wednesday, November 13, 2013

Movie Time!

Today I saw the new Thor movie, Darkworld with a a very good friend! I wont's say too much for fear of spoilers, but while I love Thor it increased my love for Loki. I just have a thing for fictional bad boys, and he did not disappoint, though as usual his motives are left to speculation, is he all bad, a little good, but playing his own game? What? Well, I don't know if we'll ever be let in on that, but the ambiguity is what makes him such an amazing character, and yet he isn't wishy washy like some bad boys. I'm bad now, wait I might be good, oh never mind. He's bits and pieces of both, or least pretends to be. 
Now, I know  from interviews with the actor that Loki will not be in the next Avengers movies, but that doesn't mean he can't be in the hidden end credit scene, right, or on Agents of Shield or in the rumored Thor 3?  One can only hope.

Saturday, November 2, 2013

Hershey Park in the Dark

My fun filled Halloween weekend did not end with the Renaissance Faire! After saying goodbye to my three friends I drove to my other good friend's house for more adventures! That night we watched the season premier of  Dracula, but the next day we headed to Hershey Park!
Now, I haven't been to Hershey in about about sixteen years so I was pretty excited to be going back, particularity since the park and zoo were going to open till 9:00!
First , we visited Chocolate World, a fun little ride that takes you through the chocolate making process.  I have many fond memories of this place; for several years as kids, my family would make a yearly trip to Hershey for my mom to the muscular dystrophy doctor at the medical center. If my brother and I were good during mom's doctor visit, then we'd get to go to Chocolate World!


While some parts of the ride were new, it was amazing how much came back to me and at the end, they still give out free chocolate! After Chocolate World we headed to Hershey Park.   

After being greeted by the man behind the candy, thanks Milton, it was time to ride the rides, which were renamed in honor of Halloween. 
The Kissing Tower, Bats in the Belfry gave an excellent view of the park!

By day









and by night!


After riding some more rides, we headed to the park's zoo, Zoo America, which was open at night as well, so we made a second visit at night to see the wolves and other nocturnal creatures up and about. Including Big Foot! Really, he was running around the zoo, but sadly, it was at night so my pictures did not turn out.  
































After the sun went down, the lights came out! Though while on one caster, they shut the lights off which was really awesome!  It gave the illusion that we'd snuck in after closing.













It was a wonderful time, riding the rides, eating fresh kettle corn popcorn, drinking hot chocolate, seeing wolves and otters, and spending time with one of my best friends!  

Wednesday, October 30, 2013

Halloween Daze and Spooky Knights!

This past weekend I went to the second to last closing day of the Pennsylvania Renaissance Faire.  The late autumn weather was perfect, a touch chilly with warm sunshine and of course the lovely leaves dropping from the trees to carpet the ground. The Halloween decorations made a great touch as well.

















While, I love the faire all season long, the Halloween themed weekends are my favorite time to attend.There's just something extra special about it.  Maybe it's because I love fall and Halloween or maybe because it's the end of the faire season and you look back at the wonderful times and are hopeful for even more wonderful times to come.





Another great thing about this fall visit was we had a new person in our group! Corrie had never been to any type of Renaissance Faire, so we were eager to show her around. We followed the story line shows and wandered around the shops. We also go to interact a lot with the cast, which is always great.
Sir Richard harrasing a pyrate.

Corrie and a loveable crazy cat lady.
The Lords of Adventure teaching a crowd how to defend a ladies honor.











































It's always a pleasure to take a new person to the faire, to see their eyes widen when they realize how big the place is, to hear their nervous laugh when a street performer calls out to them. It was also pretty awesome to see how Mary and Chris, who have only been once before were just as wager as I was to show the "newbie" around.    Yes, it was a special day, but I teared up a bit a finale, knowing we'd all have to wait till next August to visit once more, to create new memories, make new friends, and have new adventures.


Thursday, October 24, 2013

Harvest Party

I wanted to do a simpler party this October in light of already planning for my Doctor Who party next month. To be honest, I almost forgot about having a party, but I decided to go ahead and have one. I mean who doesn't like a party?
I decided on a harvest theme, since it's both fun and simple. I reused some of my decorations from last year's Enchanted Forrest party, like the glitter pumpkins. The food was butternut squash soup, from a box, I worked before the party so I didn't have too much time, pizza bites, not harvest,  but the kids liked them, me too actually. Desert was the best part, however. My friend Aimee, made delicious mini apple bunt cakes with a yummy caramel glaze. My friend, Robin brought pumpkin cake, and Charity brought cookies! Add some apples, apple cider and tea, and it was perfect!





Friday, October 18, 2013

Fall Wonderings

Today, I drove to Francis Slocum State Park to do some writing, reading, as well as just enjoying the fall scenery before it fades into winter.  Fall is such a special time of year.  Even in the death of spring's plants, God creates one last burst of color before the pale winter sets in. I really do wish fall lasted longer than it did. It's my most favorite time of the year.
A bagel, coffee, notebook, and Halloween themed murder mystery; I was all set!
Viewing the lake from my secluded writing spot.

Lovely fall leaves
After writing, I took a walk along the lake.















I love how the sky and trees are reflected in the water.
I neared the dock and was looking for a good place to read.
I decided somewhere right by this part of the lake looked inviting.
but first I took some pictures from the dock; again I love the reflection.
Finally, I found my reading spot! You can't see it, but there was a heron on the tiny island.
My book finished and the light fading, I called it a day!

Thursday, October 17, 2013

Soupfest!

Every year in October my church hosts a dinner, but not the usual kind inside the church building. No, this one is outside in the pavilion.  Isn't that chilly? You might ask, Well, yes, it is but that's why we have crock pot after crock pot of hot and tasty soup! From New England clam chowder, to vegan harvest root, to tortellini, to good old fashioned chicken noodle. If that doesn't warn you up there's coffee and hot apple cider, not to mention the enormous bonfire.
There's something about a bonfire that just draws me and it's simply the warmth, though that does help. It's the smell, the sound, the memories of S'mores, ghost stories, praise songs, Bible lessons, and just sitting in silence. Yes, a fire, camp or bon is something special. It creates memories, evokes comfort and excitement. 
 

Thursday, October 10, 2013

In the Presence of My Enemies , a book review

In the Presence of My Enemies by
  is the true story of a missionary couple's  year long captivity by terrorists. At first I had a hard time getting into the book as the writing style seemed a bit choppy. I was also distracted by the extended back story chapters that came after the couple's abduction. However, once the story came back to that point, it was quite compelling, made especially so as it is a true story.  The story flowed better, enabling me to pay attention.
It shows that you don't need to be perfect to be used of God even during terrible time. It's very realistic however, it doesn't gloss over the hardships or the times the narrator, Gracia had understandably a difficult time coping, but it still ended with a hopeful attitude, that while things are not always perfect, things are always under God's control and are for the best.  

 

Thursday, October 3, 2013

Walking Away

I know people say this is a selfish, unChrist like view,  but I can't help but think that Christ intends for His children to not just serve others, but for them to be served, after all, if we are surrounded by other Christians who are serving others, won't everyone be served at some point? I also think that God wants us to grow, and that He wants us to be happy. So, if my time is being bogged down by something that no longer serves me, grows me, or makes me happy, then am I serving Christ, growing in Him, and being made happy in Him? I think not. I've let go of some things that were just a burden to me, things that had long ceased to grow me in any way, so I let them go and that's ok

Wednesday, October 2, 2013

Writing

Up until a year a go, I had this wonderful habit of once a week going to a Starbucks, or a park with my notebook, laptop or both and writing. While, I still write whenever I am online or on breaks at work, I have neglected that habit. I thought, it used time and money, because of course I need food or drink to write, so I can just write at home. BIG MISTAKE.
Really, what was I thinking?  Yes, I do have my writing time in the evenings into the early  mornings, but going someplace new to write can be beneficial to the creative process. So, I have slowly begun to get back to that.  My fantasy novel is waiting at another publisher, but I have plenty of of other writing to do and I mean to do it.    

Monday, September 30, 2013

Playtime

Yesterday, my church's drama team held it's first read thorough for the Christmas Drama. This will be my first time acting in about eight or nine years so I'm a bit nervous but incredibly excited about it! It's a great story, but I don't want to give anything away.
Today, my nephew, niece, and I spent some time outdoors, just enjoying the changing leaves and gorgeous weather. A small hawk like bird even perched in a tree by us. I just love this time of year, the sunshine is still warm, but there's still a faint chill in the air, the leaves are changing, giving one last burst of color before the winter comes.

Friday, September 27, 2013

Pyrates Return!

It's rather late in coming, but here is the tale of my  latest adventure at the Pennsylvania Renaissance Faire!    A
few weeks ago, my father and I took my niece and nephew for the second pirate themed weekend at the faire.
Pirate Captain Grace O'Malley. (she and my niece bonded over French Fries)   


First, we visited the  Children's Discovery Garden, where Dad taught, or rather attempted to teach the kids how to play giant checkers.
Then we were off the see the first joust of the day. I had a great time, but the kids got bored. The knights were explaining the rules, and were exchanging a lot of banter and I think it was over their three and five year old heads. 
I wasn't about to distract the people around me or make the kids sit through something they didn't like so we left Bosworth Field and wondered about the Shire. That plan seems to work best with the kids.

We perused the Imaginrium Gallery and Museum. The kids were fascinated by the fluffy dragon puppets. Then we found ourselves at the Maze!

After the finding our way through the maze, we  rode some of  the rides.  It's neat seeing rides operated not by machines but by burly men or in some cases by the rider pulling a rope. 








We also got to ride an elephant! It was a lot of fun, but I was seated over her hind leg so every time she took a step, I felt like I was going to be thrown off.     
                                                   After the elephant ride, I had one of the best foods I have ever eaten in my entire life, fried brownies!  Now, I have been skeptical of fried sweets for years. I always thought they were battered first, yuck! But, oh, was I wrong! The brownie was cut up into little doughnut hole bites, and when fried, the outside was slightly crispy and the inside was warm and gooey perfection! I think I'm in love.

We walked around the shire some more, began the kids' wooden weapon collection,

 Played more games,
learned about bees, my nephew thought they were the greatest thing!  We also saw a human chess match, learned how to sword fight, ate ice cream, and generally made many wonderful memories.


We ended the day with mugs of hot chocolate and the kids asking, when can we come back? I ask the same thing kids and I can never wait to return!