Saturday, December 29

Holiday Link Fun

It's a little late for this link, but it might still be fun. Mix your own holiday music tracks here.

My sister's house is just down the street from a yard that is famous for the inflatable holiday yard decorations (for every holiday, not just Christmas). So, I got a kick out of looking at the photos I saw on this link on blogger's blogs of note yesterday.

I'm excited that My Dear Aquaintance (A Happy New Year) by Regina Spektor is a free single on itunes this week.

One of my Christmas gifts, inspired by Advent Conspiracy was from this catalog. I have become the hard-to-buy-for person because I can't carry a lot of stuff around with me. I don't mind being difficult in this way and would be happy if we could turn all of our Christmas giving into giving to others instead of to each other because we have so much!

This isn't actually a holiday link, but check out this fun origami done with money.

Tuesday, December 18

Gingerbread House Party

Last weekend I went to a gingerbread house making party. I wanted to try my hand at rolling my own kimbap, so I did and took it, with kimchi in the middle. It was yummy. I had been craving some Korean food and this hit the spot. It mostly went over well. Everybody called it sushi (it's not, but most people don't have another word to call it) and most people tried it, but I did have some left to take back to my cousin who was glad to have it.

We had four groups competing to build the best gingerbread house (they were really graham crakers instead of gingerbread).

We were lucky to have a guy who built our house to California earthquake standards.

We also had a guy who put a firepit and bench in the backyard. He said he'd like to "take a lady out there."

Our main competition was this pueblo style house that they said was SANTA Fe style. We watched Shrek the Halls afterwards and had a fun time.

Friday, December 14

a little crying, a lot of waiting

My cousin told me I can blame it on it being the holidays. I don't think that's the reason, but I've recently cried while watching Paul Potts on Youtube last week, today while finishing A Thousand Splendid Suns, and when I watched Into the Wild and Bella a few weeks ago.

No common thread really. A really normal guy who gets recognition for doing what he loves, realizing a dream. A story of hurt lives and a father's love that was shown too late. A guy with such potential to bring something meaningful to the world but ended up missing it. A wonderful movie about life and the potential to give it.

When I lived in Korea, I went to watch the movie Tae Guk Gi in a theater with some friends and ended up bawling at the end of the movie. I'm normally pretty successful at holding it in (today I didn't let myself really cry because I didn't want my Grandma to get worried!), but that movie really hit me somehow. Two of my friends even rode part of the way back with me on the subway instead of hanging out with the others after the movie that night because they were worried about me. I still have one friend who brings it up sometimes when others ask about my interest in Korea. But I haven't known much of that same passion to well up again until recently.

I am starting to feel like my time in the States should be drawing to a close, but I still have to wait a little longer. At the same time, I know that time here has been good in many ways. I've been able to soak in time alone, think, struggle with my purpose, allow some of the dryness I was feeling to be replaced with living water. Maybe that's where the tears are coming from. Maybe, even though I'm ready to go, I'm supposed to wait a little longer. Not too long, I hope. I really do think if I have to pick a theme for my life, it's waiting. Maybe that's the theme for many of us if we'll allow ourselves to realize it. There's a lot to learn in waiting.

Wednesday, December 12

e-mail from my Chinese tutor

I got an e-mail from my Chinese tutor today and I love it.

Long time no see,i miss you so much.
How are you going? and what about your sister's baby?
when will you come back to china? want to see you as soon as possible.
now i am looking for a job,but it is difficult, i want to Shanghai,but my spoken english isn't well, and i also not pass the CET-6. in shanghai, it is important, now i am not-confident, some campany come to my school to recruit the students, i attent the application. at the interview,the manager said that :you are excellent, you are better than any other students,but we only need some people who know korean, and you know only a little, so i am sorry, i can't recruit you ,even you are so excellent. at the moment, i am not sure whether i am excellent. most of people say i am so good, but it is difficult to find a job which i want .
some time is going, and i am well now, i will still go to find the job i like, i am sure i will find it, because i am qingmei, i am so confident,
i will come back this school at next May, hope to see you at that time.
hope you are hapy at vacation.

Tuesday, December 11

Christmas is coming...

I spent a lot of the weekend with a family from my home fellowship. We saw the walking trail of lights in Marble Falls. This peace on earth picture tells a lot by showing only one part of the earth. Maybe we should wish peace for the other side too!

My friend Caleb and I made a tree from magazines, inspired by the ones Starbucks is using to decorate this year.

He showed me how to make one from a whole magazine by keeping the pages on the binding and just folding them. I love it!

And I started my Christmas cards last night while listening to my Christmas playlist. With the weather actually being cool and rainy in Austin right now, I'm almost in the Christmas spirit!

Thursday, December 6


Our fellowship created a set apart space where I've spent some good, centering times alone. Somewhere we know that without a lonely place our lives are in danger. Somewhere we know that without silence words lose their meaning, that without listening speaking no longer heals, without distance closeness cannot cure. Somewhere we know that without a lonely place our actions quickly become empty gestures. The careful balance between silence and words, withdrawal and involvement, distance and closeness, solitude and community forms the basis of the Christian life and should therefore be the subjects of our most person attention. Let us therefore look somewhat closer, first at our life in action and at our life in solitude.
-Henri Nouwen, Out of Solitude

(Back in the Austin area for a while. Enjoying warm weather and the festiveness of the season with that special Austin flare.)