Friday, December 30, 2011

2011 No Shredding Zone

I was listening to KLOVE while beginning my loooong drive home from central KY-eastern NC (with a short detour in SC) Wednesday morning, and I heard one of their DJs, Amanda, talking about "shredding" things from 2011.  The things to be "shredded" could be things like bad situations, wrongful attitudes, poor habits, bad relationships, etc.  She was talking about how we should get rid of those negative things from 2011 and "shred" them so that they wouldn't be around to bother us in 2012. 

If I hadn't been driving down the interstate at 70(ish) miles an hour, I probably would have called in.  It's a good thing I didn't, because I'm pretty sure I wouldn't have come across very clearly.  KLOVE is a "positive and encouraging" radio station, so I'm pretty sure the lack of clearness in my communication would have sounded pretty discouraging and negative, even though that would not have been my intention.  I know what she was doing was a good thing.  Some people really need to get rid of bad habits, abusive relationships, negativity, etc.  It's just that I have a little different perspective.

I'm not one of those people who goes around saying, "No regrets."  Of course I have regrets.  I'm human.  I mess up all the time and screw up my own life as well as the lives of others.  Even when it's not my fault, this world is tainted with sin; situations arise that just don't go the way I want them to go.  Sometimes that's for my good; sometimes I just don't see why in the world things can't be different.  Sometimes there seems to be no reason for pain.  So, yes.  I have regrets.  I have a lot of them. 

But just because I've collected some regrets over 2011 doesn't mean I'm ready to go "shred" them.  The main thing the Lord has been teaching me over the past year is that HIS GRACE covers everything.  That means that every situation that arises in my life is something that He has allowed to happen.  Does that mean He's caused every bad situation?  No.  As I said before, sometimes bad stuff is the result of my own bad behavior or my own poor choices.  Other times, though, bad stuff just happens.  We live in a sinful world, and we have to deal with the results of sin.  God doesn't necessarily cause bad stuff to happen.  But I know that if I'm going through a situation, it's something that has already been filtered through God's grace.  He's allowed it, and sometimes for reasons I'll never understand. 

And if God has allowed something to happen, then it's something He wants me to walk through.  That doesn't mean it's going to be easy, but it leaves me with two amazing opportunities, opportunities that are only provided through His amazing grace.  I'm offered the opportunity to show love to others.  If someone sins against me, causing me pain, I have the opportunity to love them.  If someone does something to inconvenience me, I have the opportunity to show them grace--the same grace that I've been freely given. 

I also have the opportunity to trust God.  Sometimes the reason I have to hurt is clear; other times, it's not.  And I can sit and wallow in self-pity, or I can sit and allow myself to get bitter, or I can put on some kind of facade that makes everyone think I'm somehow strong enough to deal--when I'm really not.  Or, I can surrender the situation over to the Lord, trusting Him and His sufficient grace to be my perfect power in my weaknesses.

Everything that has happened in 2011 is something the Lord allowed me to walk through.  Everything before 2011 was something the Lord allowed me to walk through.  I can't "shred" my past; it's part of me, part of the person that the Lord is creating and recreating.  I learn from mistakes, I grow through my struggles.  The things that have happened to me, good and bad, are things that helped to shape me.  They don't define me, but then again, neither do my successes.  They're all just part of what the Lord has given me to help me know Him more. 

What does define me?  Grace.  Just grace.  That's why I can look towards 2012 as a year of Hope.

Saturday, December 24, 2011

Merry Christmas!

With all my Christmas preparations, work, and traveling, I was not able to get out a Friday post.  Since I will be traveling through Wednesday, I probably won't be updating again until next Friday...if I even get that one out.

So, Merry Christmas, and in case I don't get a blog out before Jan 1, Happy New Year!

Wednesday, December 21, 2011

Thoughts on 2011

As Christmas and New Years get closer, I am thinking a lot about this past year.  I enjoy reading all those Christmas letters that people send, which talk about the accomplishments and events in the lives of their families.  I don't have a family--at least not one that doesn't live over 500 miles away--and somehow it seems lame to just write a Christmas letter about myself.  I did that last year--via facebook, because I'm too lazy to actually send out letters on actual paper.  This year, I'm a little too busy for a Christmas letter, but I do feel the need to write a little about 2011.  Here seems like a good place.

There are two things that stand out in my mind as I think about 2011.  I started running in February.  Part of me still can't believe that I'm a runner now, and that I actually enjoy it, and part of me can't believe there was ever a time that I didn't identify myself as a runner.  And really, by running, I mean jogging/waddling, but after living 30 years as a "I'll stick to power-walking, thank you" person, I'll take what I can get.  It's interesting that a few months after I began running, a running/swimming/bicycling group was started by a man at my church.  I don't think it's at all coincidence; the Lord prepared me at just the right time for this, and I think it's hilarious that I'm actually part of a sports ministry.  I never would have thought that.  It's definitely something the Lord has done in my life.  I ran two 5Ks and a 10K in 2011, and I'm just itching to do a half marathon.  I think that's probably going to happen in 2012.  I kinda sorta really want a 13.1 sticker on the back of my car. 

The second thing that really stands out to me about 2011 is the overwhelming grace and generosity shown to me by both God and other people.  There were so many times that people gave me significant financial gifts to help me through somewhat major financial crises, to help me travel to visit my family, or just to help me in general.  Beyond that, I have had people help me out by looking at my car when it was being a jerkface, or doing things for me when I was too busy to get them done, or just treating me to coffee when I was stressed out.  I've been overwhelmed by the amount of generosity shown by others, and the grace of the Lord who loves me far more than I deserve.

I know the Lord has been working in my heart to actually ask for help when I need it.  I've had to ask for financial help, but I've also been stretched to ask for help in other areas.  I've had to ask people to look at my writing when it wasn't exactly comfortable for me to do so.  I've asked someone to help me start a website.  I'm in the process of asking for some help in recording some music.  These seem like little things, but I'm a pretty independent person who doesn't like to bother people.  But sometimes I need help, and if I'm going to get that help, I have to ask for it.  Sometimes that's nothing more than an act of obedient faith.  I'm working on that one--and fortunately God is patient!

I've become aware that while there is nothing wrong with asking for help when you need it, I do need to do some major work towards being able to fully support myself financially.  I can't keep expecting others to get me out of trouble when it comes--and it always seems to come.  I might have to look for new work, which will mean even more changes in a 2012 that is promising a lot of change.  And I don't like change.

But, if you've read this blog recently, then you know that this season is all about hope for me.  I'm feeling very hopeful about what God has in store for me.  I know I can't do things on my own, and I'm still learning to ask for the help that I need--both from God and from other people.  Even though I'm definitely a little anxious, perhaps even scared about the change that's definitely coming, I'm looking forward to 2012 and what's going to come. 

Sunday, December 18, 2011

Sunday Sum-Up: Oh, Grace!

I survived a very stressful past few days.  I think I do this to myself every Christmas season.  I get some kind of awesome idea, but it's too grandiose to actually carry out, and then I get myself all worked up and stressed out and start missing out on the joy and peace of the season.

I'm convicted about my behavior this week--the stress I've allowed myself to get into, but overshadowing all of that is this overwhelming sense of grace.  The Lord has provided for me in so many ways this week.  He's sent little reminders of what this time of year is all about.  He's allowed me to remain calm (most of the time) in the midst of some difficult situations.  He's given me help in the form of my amazing roommate who saved my sanity in more ways than one this week.  And though I haven't really had time to sit down and pray as I've needed to, He's provided me with His presence, calming me, calling me to accept the grace He's giving me.

I tried to do too much.  I became a Martha, wanting to work hard to get everything done.  God reminded me that I need to be a Mary, one who sits and His feet, accepting the grace He gives. 

In a way, I'm kind of glad I got this past week out of my system.  I still have a LOT to do, but there's more room to breathe now.  I've gotten through the most difficult parts.  So now, while I still have some things to do before Christmas (one week away!!!), I'm in a better frame of mind to rest, to enjoy and remember what this season has to offer.

The Christmas season comes with busyness and stress, and in a way, I kind of enjoy it (in moderation).  But it's nice to just sit and listen to Christmas songs and look at all the lights, and remember that there's no work we can do that can earn us the grace that God's already freely giving to us.  I'm learning that Christmas really is more about receiving than giving, because there's nothing that any of us really have to give.  The most important thing about Christmas is the gift of God with us--Emmanuel.  In the midst of everything that's going on, accepting His grace is the most important thing we can do at Christmas, at any time. 

Friday, December 16, 2011

Feliz Navidad! Friday: Christmas Decorations

One of my favorite things about Christmas is getting my Christmas ornaments and decorations out of storage.  This usually happens pretty soon after Thanksgiving (or sometimes even a little bit before).  I like opening the box, which has contained and concentrated the smells of the Christmas candles from years gone by.  A delightful smell greets me, reminding me of Christmas seasons from my childhood, as well as more recent Christmases.  I love opening little boxes where I've placed random decorations, getting that surprise when I find an ornament I'd forgotten I'd even had.  It's like Christmas morning, only the presents I receive are ones that I had packed away the previous January (or February...).  And each decoration has a memory--whether I received it as a gift from someone I love, or whether I bought it for myself because it somehow caught my attention.

Last year, I bought myself a decoration.  It's a blue glittery wooden word: "Peace."  I bought this because last year, starting near Christmas, "Peace" was a concept God was showing me, both through the Christmas story, and through Scripture and life in general.  God, through His goodness, came down to earth in the form of man in order to offer peace to rebellious mankind.  I wanted a reminder of that, and of the things the Lord has been teaching me (and is still teaching me). 

This year, I was tempted to look for an ornament or other decoration that says, "Hope," since that is the theme the Lord has been showing me for this Christmas (and the following year).  But when I took out my Christmas decorations, I found an ornament that I'd been given the year before.  I got this for teaching MOPS last year, and it's just perfect.  I have it hanging along side my "peace sign."

I have a few treasured childhood ornaments, as well as several newer ornaments from kids and families and friends whom I love.  Some of my favorite newer pieces are my nutcracker (that was given to me by a little boy who insisted that I needed a nutcracker--apparently everyone needs at least one of those), my nativity scene advent wreath, and my Santa hats for my lamp kitties.  That's right.  Lamp kitties.  With Santa hats. 

...this is probably why I'm single...

Of course, the centerpiece of all my Christmas decorating is my Christmas Beam.  You see, in my current apartment, I haven't bothered with an actual tree.  No, this 100+ year old apartment with 12 foot ceilings has come equipped with a large wooden beam in the middle of the living room.  Well, what better to do with a large wooden beam in the middle of the living room than to cover it in ghetto garland, mini taped-on ornaments, and lights?

What are some of your favorite Christmas decorations?  Do they remind you of anything or anyone special?

Wednesday, December 14, 2011


(I wrote this a couple of Christmases ago.  I think it's evident why I'm not a poet.)


Four years old.

First one awake.

Lying abed, saying,

"Happy Birthday, Jesus."

Can't wait anymore.

Run to den.

Christmas tree glowing.

"Santa" has come.

I already know--

It's not Santa--

Mom and dad!

There's still presents!

Strawberry Shortcake and

Tupperware play set.

Lite Brite and

Other random things.

Sister and parents.

(No brother yet.)

Playing with toys.

Eat Christmas brunch--

Maybe, or not--

I don't remember.

Was there a

Cake for Jesus?

(We used to

Do that every

Year at Christmas.

But not anymore.)

Go to Grandma's.

Family and food.

More presents there.

Aunt Barby wrapped

Hers in paper

From Sunday comics.

I liked that.

Smells all around.

Perfume and tobacco

Dogs and cats

Other random smells

That were normal

For Christmas, like

Cinnamon and Peppermint.

Maybe there's snow,

I can't remember.

Mom says something.

I do remember.

She told me,

"The older you

Get, you'll want

To give more

Than you receive."

I was four

And I looked

At her like

She was crazy.

Who would ever

Want to give

Better than getting?

Mom was smart.

Mom was right.

Mom's often are.

Right, that is.

It is better

To give than

To get stuff.

This Christmas is

Different from others.

Christmases will never

Be like they

Were before, but

They've been changing

For a while.

Grandma's not here.

There's more family.

Young cousins, nieces

And nephew get

To experience their

Own childhood Christmases,

While I spectate.

I'm not four.

I'm grown up.

Christmas is still

Magical to me.

There's still wonder.

I'm still the

First one up.

I still lie

In bed, saying,

"Happy Birthday, Jesus."

And I know

The gift He

Gave to us

Is better than

Anything we could

Ever try giving.

But He doesn't

Ask for much.

Gold, Frankincence, Myrrh.

What are these

Gifts to the

King of Kings,

Lord of Lords?

There's nothing we

Have that He

Could ever need.

The angels said

It was for

His good pleasure

That God gave

Peace to mankind,

Glory to Himself.

And if He

Finds pleasure in

Giving to us--

Becoming a servant

Seeking and saving

All the lost--

Well, He's God.

He can do

Whatever He wants.

When you create

The universe you

Get to make

All the rules.

That's the deal.

Our worth is

Only from Him.

And so I

Must receive more

Than I give.

It's full circle.

Growing up means

For me, anyway,

Learning to give

More than receive,

But also, learning

To receive what

I can't give--

From the Lord

Who has grace

Enough to spare.

And suddenly I'm

A child again.

Sunday, December 11, 2011

Sunday Sum Up: Two Week Warning

Gonna start out by saying that this week was not on my top ten list of the best weeks ever.

-- On Monday, I was irrationally angry.  Also, my thumb started hurting.  The pain was minor; the anger was not.  I had to wrestle with the anger thing for about three days.  After a really good cry and a LOT of grace from both God and other people, I was able to get over the anger.  My thumb, on the other hand, chose to suddenly swell up and get all purple and red on Thursday night.  My first thought was, "Well, at least it's my left thumb (I'm right handed), so if this is gangrene and I have to get it amputated, I can still hold pencils, eating utensils, and I can still play the guitar."  Well, I don't think it's going to have to be amputated (I still get to wear lefty thumb rings! Hooray!).  It's still slightly swollen, but it's definitely healing up.  I just hope it'll finish healing up in time for me to finish my Christmas knitting.

-- I finally finished the book I'm supposed to be reviewing.  But now that I've read it, I find that I want to read it again before reviewing, just to help me order my thoughts.  So, I'm guessing I won't be reviewing this book until some time in January.  I got the book in October, so I guess a January review isn't pushing it too much, hmm?  Hmm.

-- I've been to two Christmas musical programs--one for a kid who comes where I work, and one for the kids at my church.  It just doesn't feel like Christmas until I've seen some kids singing.  I'm going to try to go to another Christmas program this week for one of the girls I watch, and then I'll be singing next Sunday in the adult choir/orchestra program at my church. 

-- It's only two weeks until Christmas.  Just thought you'd like to know.  Are you done with your shopping and baking and wrapping?

Me neither.

Friday, December 9, 2011

Feliz Navidad! Friday: Christmas FOOD!

I just sampled Cinnamon M&Ms.  I didn't even know they existed, but I found them because I was looking for Mint M&Ms, which usually only come out of hiding around Christmas.  Apparently, Mint M&Ms were not enough, and they decided to add another variety to the list of holiday flavors. But Cinnamon M&Ms are brown and red, not Christmasy colored, so that makes me a little sad.  Also, they taste like plain M&Ms (I refuse to call them "Milk Chocolate M&Ms) that might have once brushed up against something that was mildly cinnamonish.  They're redeemable, though, because they're made out of chocolate.

I also have in my fridge Pumpkin Pie Spice and White Chocolate Raspberry flavored coffee creamers in colorful holiday themed bottles.  I'm not sure if they'll complement the Mocha-Mint coffee my roommate purchased, but it's worth a shot. 

Food companies are smart.  They know how to market different flavors of their usual products around the holidays.  And I'm a sucker for them.  That's largely because I'm a huge sucker for Christmas...and Christmas food.

Candy canes.  Gingerbread.  White Chocolate Covered Pretzels.  These foods don't just taste good; they actually make me feel more Christmasy.  I'm not sure why that is, because a candy cane in the middle of summer doesn't remind me of Christmas.  A candy cane in June is just like eating a breath mint in a weird shape--especially since that candy cane has been sitting around since the past December.  But if December passes and I haven't had a candy cane, I feel as though I've missed something.  December candy canes have a minty simplicity that remind me of opening my stocking as a child on Christmas morning.

I also love hot chocolate and holiday teas.  Celestial Seasonings makes a couple of Christmas teas that are amazing.  Their Candy Cane Lane decaf green tea isn't just a basic peppermint tea.  It has this subtle hint of vanilla that brings out the mint flavor even more.  And their Sugar Plum Spice herbal tea tastes like magic.  Seriously.  If you want to taste magic, go drink that tea. 

I don't just like eating Christmas food.  I love making it.  I love making biscotti and Christmas-shaped sugar cookies.  I like making gigantic cookie cakes in the shape of a Christmas tree.  I love covering my entire kitchen counter with trays and trays of chocolate covered pretzels.  I just don't know if Christmas would be the same without making ridiculous amounts of fattening food to give away to all my friends and family (and personally sample a little bit here and there, of course).

When I was a kid, I remember going to my grandmother's house every Christmas afternoon/evening.  The parents would talk.  The kids would play.  We'd open presents.  And we'd eat.  We'd eat Christmas turkey and ham, marshmallow fruit salad, the best green beans in the world, and peanut brittle.  I'm pretty sure grandma got the peanut brittle for me, because I loved it, and she was allergic to peanuts.  My grandma loved Christmas, and she loved her family, and she loved making food for her family.  And she was very, very good at making that food.

My cooking skills leave a lot to be desired, but I still enjoy making a few small goodies for the people I care about.  I love smelling the Christmas smells and tasting the Christmas tastes.  These simple things make the most wonderful time of the year even more wonderful.

What are your favorite things to eat and/or make at Christmas time?

Wednesday, December 7, 2011

Idolatrous Anger

What do two ladies on the telephone, a few friends on facebook, and a well-meaning driver have in common?

They are all people whose behavior I cannot control.

Yet, in the past two days, all of these people have made me angry.  Scratch that.  In the past two days, I've allowed myself to become angry after interacting with all of these people. 

I'm not sure why this is, but one of my greatest insecurities is being thought of as stupid.  I know I'm not stupid.  I've got a slightly higher than average I.Q., I made good grades when I was in school, and people have generally led me to believe that my conversational skills are not comparable to that of a brick wall.  But I know I'm insecure about what people think of my intellect because I tend to get REALLY angry when I think that someone's insulting my intelligence, talking down to me, or patronizing me in any way, shape, or form. 

Maybe it's a common human reaction.  Most of us don't like being told things that we already know, as if we don't know them.  Most of us don't like it when people talk to us like we're children who don't really understand what's going on.  Most of us don't like it when people don't respect us as we want to be respected.  Just because it's common doesn't make it okay.

In the past year, the Lord's really been working on my anger.  I still have a short fuse when I get overwhelmed (and sometimes when I'm just plain whelmed), and I am working on this, but that's not really what I'm talking about.  When my short fuse blows, it's usually quick.  I don't have time to think.  There's just an outburst, and it's over.  Life goes on.  But the anger that really goes deep is the kind that is calculated, the kind that I have time to think about and plan a course of action.

Like Monday morning, when I assumed that a handful of friends on facebook were calling me stupid.  They weren't really doing this (the whole thing was not a big deal at all until I made it into one), but my insecurity kicked in.  I made some kind of snarky comment, which I knew I shouldn't post.  The Holy Spirit was working on me, and I ignored Him because I wanted respect.  I demanded respect, even if it was just in the form of an innocent looking snarky comment with a smiley face added to the end.  But God knew my heart, and my heart wasn't right.  And I posted that comment in anger, and then went out the door to go to work, taking my guilt with me.

It's funny how one sin can lead to another.  I was angry, unjustifiably, but I wanted to justify it.  So on my way to work I kept running the scenario over in my head, wanting to make myself out to be the good guy and everyone else out to be wrong.  And then, as I was mulling all of this over in my head, knowing in the back of my mind that I was sinning, this driver did something that ticked me off even more.  It wasn't dangerous.  She wasn't doing anything that could have hurt me or anything else.  In fact, she was trying to be nice, not realizing that she was blocking me from my intended destination.  But since I was already angry, already wanting to be right, already wanting to get my way, I allowed myself to get angry at this other person who was blocking my path to what I wanted, when I wanted it. 

Later that day, I answered the phone at the house where I nanny.  When I informed the lady on the phone that I was the nanny, her tone changed and she started talking to me as if I were a child.  I asked for a phone number so the mom could call her back; she blurted it out.  When I asked her to repeat it, she said each number as slowly as humanly possible and added, "Did you get it that time, sweetie?" 

Then yesterday, another lady called the house where I nanny.  When she heard I was the nanny, she told me that she wasn't comfortable leaving a message with me because she didn't think I was responsible enough to deliver it.

And while I tried to be polite to both of these women, inside (and outside once I was off the phone with them), I was livid.  I was outraged at the disrespect, the condescension, the belittlement.  Again, I was feeling as though I was being thought of as stupid, and that was something I couldn't bear....

...only I kind of figure that there's a reason all of this stuff has happened to me in the past couple of days.  In praying for humility, I've been humbled.  In praying for God to make me more gracious, I've been given opportunities to do so, and I've failed.  And I think I've failed because God is still stripping down the layers of anger that I want to hold on to.  I want respect.  I want things my way.  I want people to take me seriously.

Only I'm more worried about what other people think than about what God thinks, and when I defend myself, I'm not trusting Him enough to defend me.  And if He's not defending me, then it's probably an issue that really doesn't matter.  At all.  I just want to glorify myself instead of glorifying Him; that's where the real problem is.

And the thing is, I don't have control over other people.  I can't make a lady on the telephone treat me with respect.  Is she wrong for her behavior?  Maybe.  It doesn't matter--I can't change her behavior at all.  If some of my facebook friends really did assume I was stupid, were they in the wrong?  Maybe.  It doesn't matter--I can't change their behavior.  Just like I can't control the driving of anyone else just by blowing my horn at them. 

When it comes down to it, there's only one person I can control, and that's me.  If I think someone wrongs me, or even if they really do wrong me, I have a choice about whether I can show grace and forgive, or whether I'm going to be angry and sin.  I have a choice about whether I'm going to make my cause most important, or whether I'm going to do what is right in the eyes of God.  I'm apparently still learning this lesson: Everything that comes my way is an opportunity to love others and to trust God. 

I have to say though, I'm thankful for this lesson, as painful as it's been.  I'm thankful for a God who loves me enough to stretch me, enough to humble me, enough to show me grace...and to teach me how to show grace to others.

I might be the only person in the world who was dumb enough to ask for patience twice.  You'd think I'd have learned the first time that God rarely grants patience in an instant--He usually teaches patience by making us wait...and wait...and wait.  And I kinda figure that breaking through my anger is going to be a similar process.  But selfish anger, like a lot of other things, is an idol.  And God loves me too much to allow me to keep it.

Sunday, December 4, 2011

Sunday Sum-Up: Still

This week has been crazy busy, and the weeks to follow will probably be just as crazy and just as busy.  Therefore, the Sunday blogs are probably going to be lists, rather than actual blogs.
--Still working on the website stuff, slowly, but surely.

--Still working a lot--that never changes.

--Still reading a great book that I will hopefully do a review on soon! (Christian fantasy)

--Still addicted to Pysch reruns and knitting, only I don't have time for THAT either right now.

--Still enjoying this season with all it's wonderfulness and craziness!

--With all the things I'm still doing, it's hard to find time to be still.  So reminding myself (and anyone who reads this) to take time to breathe.  Take time to appreciate the wild wonder of this time.  More importantly, take time to think about the reason why we celebrate Christmas--when we were without hope, God came to dwell with us.

Merry Christmas!

Friday, December 2, 2011

Feliz Navidad! Friday: Christmas Movies

I've heard a lot of people (women) tell me lately that they can't watch the Hallmark Channel during this time of year because it makes them cry.  I don't have the Hallmark Channel (or any cable channel), but if I had it, I'm pretty sure I'd only watch it when "Little House on the Prairie" is on.  I like that show.  But most of the other stuff on that channel kind of makes me squeamish, and I have a feeling that most of the stuff they play during this time of year would also make me squeamish. 

I'm not a big fan of sappy Christmas movies.  ...unless I grew up watching them, of course.

I've got a few Christmas movies that I have to see every November-December of every year...and sometimes in the summer, too.  Most of them are movies that I did grow up watching, but there are a few that have become favorites just in the past few years.

Elf is one of my newer favorites, which is weird, because I'm not a huge Will Ferrell fan.  In fact, the only movies I like (and, in fact, love) with him are Elf and Megamind.  I think the reason that I love these movies and love Will Ferrell's characters in them is because there's a reason why these characters act the way they do.  In some Will Ferrell movies, he acts like an idiot, and there's no reason for it.  He's a normal guy in a normal life with a normal family, and yet, he's acting like a complete idiot.  I don't like that.  But in Megamind, he's a cartoon extraterrestrial villain with a gigantic blue head.  It makes sense for him to act ridiculously.  In Elf, dude was raised by Bob Newhart wearing bright yellow tights elves.  It makes sense for him to act ridiculously.  And this movie has Ed Asner, James Caan, AND Zooey Deschanel, so it has to be pretty good.  My one issue with this movie is that I really can't help but wonder why Buddy the Elf hasn't developed DIABEETUS.

One of my favorite scenes:

Another movie I have to see every year is the one they play on TBS for 24 hours every Christmas. A Christmas Story. Now, I don't have cable, but that's okay. My mom bought the dvd for me a couple Christmases ago, so I can watch it anytime--even if it's not Christmas Eve. I can relive the tongue stuck to the flagpole, the scary Santa slide, and the Red Ryder BB Gun joy all year long! Last Christmas, my mom gave me a rather remarkable puzzle that is shaped like the leg lamp. It came in a wooden box marked FRAGILE. Fra-gee-lay? Must be Italian.

Now, last week, I think I wrote in my blog that I only liked one version of "Deck the Halls" (the Mannheim Steamroller version). I now realize that there's another version I really like:

I'm not a huge fan of chick flicks, but I don't consider this next movie a chick flick. I guess it technically couldn't be considered a Christmas movie, either, but the plot does take place around Christmas and New Year's. While You Were Sleeping is one of my favorite, favorite movies. I think it has something to do with the fact that I've got a huge celeb crush on mid 1990s Bill Pullman. Or maybe it's just because those mashed potatoes are so creamy...

Now, when I was a kid, I think I could have watched Mickey's Christmas Carol every day and not gotten tired of it. I think the reason that I think this is because I DID watch it every day, and I never got tired of it. I've watched several versions of this classic tale, and I'm ashamed to admit that I didn't read Charles Dickens' book until last year. Really, after seeing so many versions of the story, I pretty much felt as though I had already read it. It's good to know that most adaptations, including Mickey's version, are fairly accurate.  And by the way, the book is totally worth the read.

This is probably my favorite version of the movie, but probably only because Patrick Stewart is my favorite Scrooge:

A few years ago, I found a copy of Mickey's Christmas Carol on dvd along with a Pluto Christmas cartoon, and another cartoon short film entitled The Small One. I got the dvd because I really do like Mickey's Christmas Carol and the Pluto cartoon, but the real movie I wanted was The Small One. No Christmas movie can reduce me to tears quicker than this sweet story about a boy and his elderly "pet" donkey. The boy's father wanted the boy to sell the donkey, but the boy couldn't find a buyer. I don't want to reveal the ending, but the theme of the story is that "There's a place for each Small One, God planned it that way." The fact that Disney (even old school Disney) produced something so clearly Christian is amazing. If you really want a great Christmas story with a good message and fun songs, I suggest you try to get your hands on a copy of Classic Cartoon Favorites Vol. 9: Classic Holiday Stories, which contains The Small One and a couple of other great cartoons.

Okay, so my absolute favorite Christmas movie has to be A Charlie Brown Christmas. I like a lot of things about this. Love the music. Love the characters. I even love the ridiculously simple animation. But the main reason I love this movie is because of this scene right here:

That's what Christmas is all about, Charlie Brown.

I have a lot of other Christmas movies I like, but if I were to blog about them all, this would be a really long blog. So why not leave me a comment and let me know what your favorite Christmas movies are? What are your favorite scenes? Any Christmas movies you hate?