Saturday, December 31, 2005


For now, we're still in the 12 days of Christmas, but we also celebrate another beginning. Christmas was a time to celebrate the beginning of Christ's life and all that He did to save us, and this new year is a time when most people will make resolutions to make their lives better.

A lot of resolutions are just ideal situations that people would like to see become reality. The problem with most resolutions, though, is that a lot of people don't do what it takes in order to make good on those resolutions, so they end up collecting dust along with unwanted Christmas gifts. In order to make the most out of personal resolutions, certain objectives must be met, goals set and plans made in order to achieve those resolutions.

For instance, one of my resolutions is a very common one among adults: lose weight. Now, that's a pretty general resolution. In order to make good on it, I have established an achievable goal weight, determined what I'm going to do in order to achieve that goal, and will have to make room in my schedule to allow for the exercise it will take in order to meet my ideal weight, along with a date by which I mean to have that goal met.

My second resolution will take a bit of grace from God in order to become reality: find and maintain a good job that I will be happy with and can earn a decent income. I recently realized that one of my problems may be my resume, so I have to make some adjustments. I also was told that maybe I'm not utilizing as many resources as I could, something I thought I had been doing well at, but there's always room for improvement.

Those are the only resolutions I'm going to set for myself. If I set too many, there's a greater chance of not following through. It's also going to take changing myself, something that is difficult no matter what habit you're trying to break or establish. But it's necessary in order to make a real change.

For Christmas, my hubby and I went to my parents' house. We had dinner, some drinks and exchanged a few gifts. (The rest of our celebration will be next weekend at my grandma's house in western Kansas.) My sister and I got a bunch of silicone bakeware and a new cookbook from our mom. We've already put some of it to use! Great gift! My husband and my brother-in-law got "flying saucers" made of styrofoam that are controlled by remotes. My brother-in-law smashed his up within about 10 minutes, taped it up, glued it up, and went back at it! I can't believe it still flies!

My grandma (the one whose house we're going to this next weekend) gave my sister, my brother-in-law, my hubby and me each a gift card worth $50 for Kohl's department store! My husband told me I could take his and use it with mine to get whatever I thought we needed. Fortunately, they were having their After-Christmas sale, so most things in the store were 50-60% off! I saved a bundle!

I got new rugs for the bathroom, a flannel sheet set and a comforter set, all for just under $100 before tax. Wow! And, wouldn't you know it, the sheets I got don't have flowers or animals or anything like that on them: they've got phrases on them like "love and laughter," "all bundled up," "cozy fires," etc. It's just like a journalist to get sheets with words on them, right! :D I made sure to call my grandma and thank her. She said she was really proud of me for getting all that I did at the prices I got them for. I can't wait to see her.

Anyway, I feel bad that we can't really get much for anyone else, but maybe when my hubby and I get better jobs, we can do that more easily.

My prayer for 2006 is that it's better for everyone than this year was. May we live our lives in prayer, depending on God instead of trying to accomplish everything on our own without asking for His help.

God bless us, everyone!

Monday, December 26, 2005

The TRUE Meaning of the 12 Days of Christmas

So you know the words to "The 12 Days of Christmas," right? But what do you suppose all those nonsensical phrases mean? I've found a site that tells all about the symbols mentioned in that song and what each means. It also tells about the reasons why that song was invented in the first place. Of course, the explanation is about the urban legend of how the song began, so take it with a grain of salt. It is a good reflection tool, if nothing else, though.

Here, in this post, I'll share with you the symbols and their meanings, but I also encourage you to check out this site which tells about the reasons for those meanings and why those phrases were put to rhythm and rhyme.

1 Partridge in a pear tree = The One true God revealed in the person of Jesus Christ
2 Turtle Doves = The Old and New Testaments
3 French Hens = Faith, Hope and Charity
4 Calling Birds = the Four Gospels and/or the Four Evangelists
5 Golden Rings = The first Five Books of the Old Testament, the "Pentateuch" which contain the law condemning us of our sins.
6 Geese A-laying = the six days of creation
7 Swans A-swimming = the seven gifts of the Holy Spirit, the seven sacraments of the Catholic faith
8 Maids A-milking = the eight beatitudes
9 Ladies Dancing = the nine Fruits of the Spirit
10 Lords A-leaping = the ten commandments
11 Pipers Piping = the eleven faithful apostles
12 Drummers Drumming = the twelve points of doctrine in the Apostle's Creed

I would appreciate commentary on these symbols and their meanings from clergy and laypeople alike. These symbols were used to remind children of their catechism lessons when the teaching and learning of these things were unlawful. At least that's what the urban legend says. If anyone has a better explanation or source as to how the song was developed and what the words meant when it was written, I would love to see that in my comments stream, too.

Thursday, December 22, 2005

Rules for Holiday Guests

As all of us get ready to celebrate Christmas with family, whether we're the hosts or the guests, it's important to keep some things in mind so the hosts and the guests don't end up killing each other! I've come up with a list of tips for houseguests and those who host them.

1. When visiting another person's home, don't go snooping through drawers, cabinets and rooms in which you have not been invited. It's rude, an invasion of privacy, and will really make those who live there very upset.

2. Don't overstay your welcome. Hosts, set a time limit for your guests. Before they arrive, discuss when they will arrive and when they will depart, and then stick to it. Guests, pay attention to the verbal and nonverbal cues from the hosts. If you get the feeling it's time to leave, it probably is.

3. Guests should help with dishes and meals whenever possible, and should offer to help pay for meals spent outside the home. Assuming the hosts will take care of all of the housework and pay for everything you do together is treading into dangerous territory, and will only lead to resentment.

4. Don't bring up controversial issues that you know will cause great disagreement. Unless everyone in the house enjoys arguments (including little children and elderly adults), you don't want to discuss things that will cause distress. If you do, you probably won't be invited back.

5. If you're planning a stay of more than just a day or two, make sure to allow time for everyone to break out and spend time by themselves or with their immediate family (those living in their own household). This will create the little bit of space that everyone needs in order to keep relations on the up-and-up.

6. Include everyone in all of the activities that are enjoyed by the whole group. Leaving one or two people out of family activities is just wrong, no matter how different they may be.

7. Make sure you do things together that make you and everyone else happy and laugh.

8. Girls need girl time and guys need guy time. Deal with it. You may not understand it, but that's the way things are. And we girls are probably going to talk about you guys at one point or another. Don't ask, though, because we won't say.

9. Make sure you have things to occupy your time in case things get boring or the rest of the clan decides to take a nap and you're not tired. Bring a book or a quiet game or both.

10. Remember the reason for the holiday you're celebrating. Christmas is about remembering the birth of our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ, and that He was given so He could become sin for us and bring us salvation and everlasting life.

Most of all, enjoy the time you have together, because no matter the age of anyone who's there, it could be their last Christmas. Make sure they know how much you care about them. Don't ever take for granted the time you spend with those you care about. Keep them in your prayers and ask for theirs.

Love and Peace

Monday, December 19, 2005

Christmas Carolling

"Tidbit" about Martin Luther from

"When Luther was in school, he and his classmates roamed the streets in the children's choir. The children weren't doing this for fun, however. This was the accepted way for students to acquire food in those days. Thus originated the modern practice of singing Christmas carols. "

Last night, about 15 people from my church, including myself, went Christmas carolling. Our pastor had a list of the shut-in members he visits. He divided the list up into east and west, and two car-loads went in either direction.

I was with the group that went east. (I went west last year.) We visited a few nursing homes, an independent living facility and a couple houses. At one of the nursing homes, we sang in the cafeteria on a mocked stage area. The residents applauded after each song, with smiles on their faces. One of the residents had been a music teacher for nearly 30 years. He complimented us on a job well done.

One of the families we visited was at the house of a lady who just turned 102 years old. She and her family were gathering for a funeral which is to be held this afternoon. They are all very emotional right now, as could be expected. I think they really needed to hear those carols last night.

One of the songs we sang was "O How a Rose," which is in the blue hymnal. I'm not sure where because I can't find our copy. There is another version of the same song in old English that our church choir has sung before, too, that I think is just gorgeous. Because several people who went with our group are members of the choir, myself included, we were able to harmonize and sing parts. It was beautiful!

Seeing the smiles and hearing those we sang to sing with us made it worth it to go out in the snow, braving icy streets. Well... that and going over to the choir director's house for supper and dessert, that is!

If you get the chance to carol to others, please do. It's worth it just to see how happy it makes people. Some people don't get many visitors at all, and to have you at their home singing to them and wishing them a Merry Christmas is a wonderful gift.

Saturday, December 17, 2005

Interview Update

Sorry I haven't given an update before now, but I've been busy with other things. Mostly Christmas related.

Anyway, I think my interview went fairly well. I did a lot of praying before and after my interview, so I hope that I appeared more calm than I otherwise would have. I know I felt more calm than in previous interviews. The bad thing, I'm afraid, is that I think they're looking for someone with more management experience than what I have, which is pretty much none.

My question is this: How can you get management experience if no one gives you a job that involves managing anything or anyone? And if everyone wants all their applicants to have previous experience, where is the initial experience supposed to come from? There has to be someone out there who's willing to take a chance with a new employee who doesn't have the previous experience, but is willing to learn!

One of the questions I was asked was if I'd ever done script writing for a film or television commercial. With a degree in print journalism, what do you think? I just told the guy that since I got my degree in print journalism, I never really got the chance to work with broadcast-style media.

I know that I could do this job, given the chance to do so. The gentleman who interviewed me said that those they think are best fit for the job will be asked back for a second interview before they make their final decision. Seems that I was right about them not starting anyone before the beginning of the year. In the meantime, I was given a writing exercise to complete and e-mail back so they can see if my style of writing is what they're looking for. I have to send it back by Monday, so I guess I have my work cut out for me tomorrow.

I still need your prayers, people. The competition for this job has not ended yet, but I think that if this guy wasn't truly interested in me, he wouldn't have given me a first interview. That's assuring. I just pray that I get the second interview. Please continue your prayers for me. Thank you, again!

Thursday, December 15, 2005

Please pray for me today and tomorrow!

I got a call a little over an hour ago from someone at the United Way of the Plains who wants to interview me for a Marketing Manager position. He asked me to come in at 8:15 tomorrow morning, and to bring my whole portfolio so he can see everything I've done! I already turned in several (about 6 or 7) writing and layout samples for him, along with my resume, and he apparently liked what he saw!

So, please, please pray for me. May God's will be done, whether that means He wants me to have this job or not. I am honestly praying, though, that it is His will that I do get this job.

Thank you, in advance, for your prayers!

Finals Finally Finished!

In case you were wondering (oh, come on, I know you were!), I finished my finals on Monday and Tuesday, and Ron is supposed to have his last one today.

Monday was my Interpreting I final. It was difficult because I had to interpret for a deaf man who uses strictly ASL. Now, you have to understand that pure ASL is completely different from spoken English. For example, if you wanted to say, "I've already baked the cookies," you would have to sign something to the effect of, "I cook cookies finish." If you wanted to say, "If you do that, you'll be fired," you would have to sign "Happen you do, you fired." Or something like that. I still have to try to learn more of the ASL sentence structure and how to form pure ASL sentences correctly.

Right now, my signing is more like Pidgin Signed English, which means I use ASL signs in English word order. That is completely different from Signing Exact English, which is not really a language. SEE is a form of signing in which you sign every single word that is spoken or would be spoken, adding the appropriate prefixes, suffixes and tenses to each word. For example, if you wanted to say, "I graduated with a degree in management," you would have to sign, "I graduate+(past tense) with a degree in (literally "in") manage+ment," wheras in ASL, you would sign, "I finish graduate with degree management."

Anyway, moving on... I know I probably got an A in that class, and I know for a fact that I got an A in my Deaf Communication Studies class. My teacher let me see my score, pre-final (which was an open-book joke, really), and I had a 99 percent in the class.

Next semester, I'm taking Deaf Culture, and am supposed to audit ASL 2 to try to improve my understanding of ASL sentence structure. I already have the credit from my undergraduate years at Wichita State University, so I don't need the credit again. However, the ASL 2 class is supposed to meet from 4-6:45 p.m., and when (if) I find a job, I won't be able to do that. Good thing I don't need the credit, huh!

Job searching is getting more difficult. I don't think anyone wants to start someone new before the first of the year. Also, I'm not finding too many positions that require degrees, let alone a print journalism one. I've applied for a few management-type communication positions; I'm just waiting on calls for interviews, which I know I'll be able to get. I just hope they're impressed enough to make me an offer I can't refuse. (HT "The Godfather") If they decide they don't want me, I'll fart in their general direction! (HT "Monty Python" series)

Friday, December 09, 2005

5 Facts

My husband and I have been tagged by Pastor Aardvark. I'm supposed to list five random facts about myself, and then tag five other people at the end. Here I go!

  1. I'm only five feet tall. I can literally stand on a 60-inch measuring tape where the "0" mark is, and the other end will stop at the top of my head.
  2. In person, I look really young. I usually get carded if I try to buy movie tickets for a rated R movie standing by myself. (FYI, you have to be 17 to buy tickets to a rated R movie, and I'm 25.) I kind of like that! My younger sister doesn't get carded!
  3. I'm anal when it comes to proper spelling, punctuation and grammar. If I get an e-mail that I'm supposed to forward to other people, I can't send it on unless I edit it first.
  4. I love to sing. I sing to songs on the radio, I sing in our church choir, and I sang in choir three out of four years in high school. Every once in a while, I sing a solo at church. I'm not the best in our choir, but I'm pretty good for never having had voice lessons.
  5. I graduated from high school and college with about the same GPA each, both times with high honors. Not bad for a natural blonde female, huh! That doesn't mean I don't do and say crazy, mixed up things once in a while. Just ask my husband!

Okay. Now it's time for me to tag some other people. And since my husband isn't home from work yet and hasn't had a chance to tag them first, I'm going to tag Dan the Geologist, his girlfriend Intolerant Elle, TK, Minister 2 B, and Bunnie.

Wednesday, December 07, 2005

Higher Things

As of last night and today, I have been given the amazing opportunity to be a volunteer copy editor for Higher Things Reflections, which provides devotional material to Lutheran teens, youth leaders and pastors to help the growth and understanding of the confessional Lutheran faith.

What an honor it is to be given this chance to be involved in the growing of the Lutheran faith, of young Christian minds, and to do all of this to His glory!

A big thanks goes out to Pastor Borghardt for this opportunity, as he is responsible for reviewing the content of these reflections before they go out to the editors.

While on Tabletalk last night (chat room for a conglomeration of Lutherans, not just LCMS), it came up again that Higher Things needed copy editors, and my wonderful husband happened to mention that I was still interested. He gave Pr. Borghardt my e-mail address, and Pr. Borghardt e-mailed me with the invitation to edit for them! So, thank you to my husband, the Terrible Swede, as well.

Pr. Borghardt told me a couple of hours ago that I should be receiving the first of the reflections for editing in the next few days. All of you should sign up to receive these devotions, if you haven't done so already! What are you waiting for? Go to the website I linked to above, and sign up!

Monday, December 05, 2005

Lutheran Carnival XII

The newest installment of the Lutheran Carnival has been posted at Full Throttle and an Empty Gas Tank. It's a shorter carnival than most have been, but I still got a submission in. Please visit, poke around for a bit, and read some of the interesting posts that have been submitted. Then, tease my husband's best friend Dan, Dan's girlfriend, and my husband for not having submitted posts of their own. Dan and his girlfriend are the ones who administer the carnival, in case you didn't know. :D