Thursday, December 21, 2006

Yeah, it's like that.

I waited twenty minutes in a mob at Starbucks this morning for a Grande Nonfat Chai Tea Latte. Crazy? Yes. But I didn't know it would be twenty minutes, it's Starbucks, you learn to expect it to be crowded. And besides, it made for some great people watching time. Like the girl who ordered two Venti Skim Upside Down Carmel Macchiatos. I don't know what the heck an Upside-Down Caramel Macchiato is but I may order one next time just for the fun of saying it. Two half-caff coffees, three hot chocolates, a peppermint mocha and an eggnog latte later they called my name. When I realized that I had to nudge my way through throngs of people to claim my cup of warm liquidy goodness (*ahhh!*) I had a quick vision of the barista calling out names and following them with "Come on Down! You're the next contestant on The Price Is Right!" I thought about suggesting he add the phrase to his rapport of coffee call outs but decided instead on a smile and "Happy Holidays!" Yeah, it's like that.

Tuesday, December 19, 2006


I fell asleep last night pondering the word "more". It seems rather appropriate with the holidays so close. Kids recite Santa lists that to parents sound like, "Buy me more!!" Meanwhile, parents look at wallets and checkbooks only to think, "Wish I had more". Calendars crammed with parties, gatherings and end of the year work reports tick off minutes, hours, days and leave the flustered to need more time. To do lists piled with cleaning, baking, and writing require more help. Chaotic malls, post offices, and parking lots increase the desire for more space. It seems everywhere I look I find examples of wanting more.

"I want much more than this provincial life!I want adventure in the great wide somewhere, I want it more than I can tell. And for once it might be grand to have someone understand I want so much more than they've got planned" ~ Belle, Beauty & The Beast

Except in myself, there's not so much a desire to want more as a desire to be more. Lately life's been kinda crazy and I can't help but feeling like I'm not measuring up. When work is crazy-busy I feel like I need to be more organized, more efficient. When someone gives me a Christmas gift and I have nothing in return I feel that I should be more thoughtful, more caring. When I look at wrapping paper scraps scattered on my living room floor or the dishes piled in my sink I feel that I should be more tidy, more domestic. When I think about risks that I didn't take this year I feel that I should be more bold, more adventuresome.

"I can’t stand to fly, I’m not that naive. I’m just out to find the better part of me. I’m more than a bird, I’m more than a plane, more than some pretty face beside a train. And it’s not easy to be me." ~Five For Fighting, "Superman"

And as I write up this mental laundry list of my own shortcomings, I think about how this time of year personal faults can shine brighter than Rudolph's nose. Follow my mental train of thought here: in Christmas we celebrate Christ's birth and the miracle of God becoming human. With that incarnation, it's understood that in every second of his life Jesus was perfect. In two millenia not one other human has acheived even a miniscule fraction of that. Grasping that, a sense of humility - and let's face it unworthiness - can easily ensue. We want to be more because we want to be more like God. We want to earn His sacrifice and say that if the tiny baby in the manger was born with the purpose of dying for us, we're worth dying for because we're more than just average everyday humans. But here's the kicker, we're not. God came to us not because we're capable of being good enough for Him, but because He loves us just as we are.

"I love you more than the sun and the stars that I taught how to shine, you are mine, and you shine for me too. I love you yesterday and today and tomorrow, I'll say it again, I love you more." ~Matthew West, "More"

No matter how organized, thoughtful, tidy, and bold I am - there will always be room for improvement. In fact, I could have three months advanced work itineraries; gifts for friends at the drop of a hat; a house that Martha Stewart would envy; and be living every moment of my life to its fullest - and still I would want to be more. But God loves me when I'm inefficient. He cares for me when I'm not caring. He still likes me when I'm not into cleaning. And he's gentle with me when I don't feel very adventuresome. It's these gaps in my life, and many more shortcomings, that allow me be in need of His son, His sacrifice. If I knew all the answers of how to live my life to be the best lisa I can be, I wouldn't need a leader in my life. If I were perfect, I wouldn't need a forgiver. I guess it all comes down to needing more of God in my life and what better time than Christmas to seek it out and accept it.

"...What You had in mind, through my weakness shine, show me grace, a little more than I can give, a little more than I deserve. Unearth this holiness I can't earn...With all this motivation, I still find a hesitation deep in my soul. Despite all my demanding I still find You understanding. Show me grace, show me grace I know is a little more than I can give, a little more than I deserve. Unearth this holiness I can't earn. It's a little more than I can give, a little more than I deserve." ~ Jennifer Knapp, "A Little More"

Thursday, December 14, 2006

I need a Friday.

I haven't mailed a single Christmas card.
I still need to go buy stamps.
None of my presents are wrapped.
And far too many aren't even bought yet.
I need to do about three weeks worth of work in the six work days left before break.
Tony got into a car accident yesterday.
Aside from whiplash, he's okay but we can't say the same about the car.
Trying not to ponder what happens if insurance doesn't cover our $1000 deductible.
I'm skipping my company Christmas party tonight to go to my friend's brother's funeral.

I saw a sign at the train station this morning that said "Merry Stressmas". At first I laughed because it mirrored my feelings exactly. But then it hit me that it's accurate not because I'm frazzled with everything going on right now but that it's true that stress is what happens when you take Christ out of Christmas. Things are rough right now. Perhaps the craziest pre-holiday time I can remember, but God is in the sad times as well as the celebrations. People have been telling me all day how tired I look (and truthfully I haven't slept more than 6 hours a night since Saturday) and I just laugh and tell them "Yeah, I think I need a Friday" but I need much more than that. I need to stand on God.

Thursday, December 07, 2006

Wii Have a Problem

Perhaps the most innovative video game system of the past few decades, and by far the cheapest marketed for this Christmas season, one would think that the Nintedo Wii - with it's motion activated controller! - would be at the top of most Santa lists; but sadly, the reports from Wii users are not all positive. See, there's this little fact of video gaming that people often overlook: the user needs to be smarter than the system. This may have been the key behind the sucess of Pong, but as video gaming systems and programs have become more advanced, one wonders if the video game players have paced the machines in continuous elevation of intelligence levels. To argue my point, I present to you this article on Reuters today that talks about the increasing problem of people breaking their Wii remotes (or worse, their television sets) by excessive swinging of the controller. To the general public I must say, as realistic as the game may seem, you are not actually bowling/playing tennis/swordfighting/etc.

In case this isn't bad enough (or, in all honesty, hilarious enough) I came across another article citing an incident in which a player smacked both his fiancee and his dog while playing a game (I'll let you decide which angered her more). Other users report various afflictions to themselves caused by playing Wii games - including the newly coined injury "Wii Elbow". I realize that it's rather mean spirited of me to laugh at the pains of others, but I stand by my assertion that these things would not happen if the users were smarter - or at least as smart - as the machines they use. Really people, did Tron teach us nothing? For those still hoping for a MerrWii Christmas, I urge you all to excercise caution this gaming season and if you decide that you can't quite handle the Wii, 36 hours in line and three times the cost just might send you home with a PS3.