Thinking of Ecuador

As many of you know, last June Roger and I went to Ecuador on a mission trip with my home church Wilmer UMC. You can read all about the trip on our Ecuador page.

Some of our VBS kids in Ecuador

I knew then the trip was changing my life, and it’s an odd feeling to be aware of such a change as it’s happening to you. But what I didn’t expect is the lasting impact it’s having on me. I find myself often thinking of Ecuador: the kids dancing at Colinas del Norte, Pastora Ruth singing to us after VBS, school kids racing to hug us.

I’ve struggled lately with being happy with all that I have when I know the people in Ecuador have so little. I nearly had a nervous break down Christmas shopping, because I felt like I was slapping God in the face by buying stuff that makes me happy but doesn’t feed or clothe me. Why should I have all these wonderful things (and that’s what they are – just things) when people in Ecuador face poverty with potentially no way out of it?

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My 2009 Reads

Happy New Year! I hope your Christmas and other holidays were great.

I managed to catch a nasty cold just in time for New Years Eve, and it was one of those that forces you to rest all day, even though you don’t really want to. But ironically, I think the rest helped me over all, because I woke up on fire this morning! I’m NEVER “on fire” at 6:00 on a Monday morning (OK, at 6:00 on any morning). Especially this particular morning since it was only 18 degrees outside!

New Years is a time to reflect, and in that spirit I’m reviewing the books I read in 2009. Not all of these were stellar choices, but I stopped feeling guilty about unfinished books a long time ago. If I’m not hooked by page 100, I’m done! Actually, I start getting skeptical around page 50. I’m too busy to waste time on a boring book, even if it is a “classic.”

Here’s a quick run down for my 2009 reads:

  • Favorite book: Water for Elephants
  • Least favorite: The Shack (don’t get me started)
  • The movie didn’t live up to the book: The Time Traveler’s Wife
  • The movie was better! Confessions of a Shopaholic

You can also click each book cover to see my rating and a quick review of it.

My 2009 Reads

The Electric Kool-Aid Acid Test
The Secret Life of Bees
Water for Elephants
Five Practices of Fruitful Congregations
The Shack
Confessions of a Shopaholic
Life of Pi
Clean And Simple Scrapbooking: Ideas for Design, Photography, Journaling & Typography
The Time Traveler's Wife
Jitterbug Perfume
Designing Interfaces
Dead Until Dark
Living Dead in Dallas
Club Dead
Dead to the World
The Birth Order Book: Why You Are the Way You Are
Content Strategy for the Web

Rachel’s favorite books »

I cheated on Thanksgiving

I have a rule – I don’t listen to Christmas music or put up decorations until after Thanksgiving. But that Friday it’s on. I listen to the 24/7 Christmas music station with total glee. And if I’m lucky I’ll talk Roger into getting the Christmas tree.

Normally this rule is easy to follow (despite my love for Christmas music), because I’m in the church choir. Around September we start practicing music for the Christmas cantata, and by November we are having extra rehearsals devoted to only the cantata music. It’s Heaven!

However, this morning I don’t know what happened. I cranked my car and 104.7 The Fish greeted me as usual. I can always count on them, because they wait until the Friday after Thanksgiving to start playing Christmas music. So I was confused when I heard the DJ say, “It’s The Fish Holiday season…” and proceeded to play “It Came Upon a Midnight Clear.”

Well that was all it took. I’m like a junkie – a Christmas music junkie – and I needed a fix. But I was maintaining. I was OK. I was going to make it to Thanksgiving dang it! Mind over matter!

But here’s the thing. I love Christmas music. No I mean, I LOVE it. I have Christmas music on my iPhone all the time. I never know when I’ll need to hear “O Come, O Come Emanuel” or “O Holy Night.” Usually in the sweltering sauna we call August around here, I can listen to one song and I’m good.

But in November? With the leaves falling and the wind blowing? With my excitement that my parents will be here in less than 24 hours? With pumpkin pie waiting for me? How could I resist? It was the perfect storm. So I gave in. I sang along with the radio and then switched to my own music. It was a holiday hoedown in my car all the way to work this morning!

I’ve managed to regain control of myself, so I won’t be singing “Frosty the Snowman” while I cook the ham. Baby steps. I can do this.

What I think about

blog posts word cloud

The picture above is a word cloud of all the posts on this blog (click the image for a larger version). I used Wordle to make it. The size of the word is proportional to how often it’s used. So I think about Roger, Amelia, and Christmas the most. Makes sense – they’re 3 of my favorite things.