Jolly Old Saint Nicholas

lent his ear this way. This afternoon Santa Claus came to the bank to do some business! It was such a delight. He was happy and endearing. My face must have lit up when I saw him. I greeted him with a very happy "Hi, Santa!" He grinned and called me a nice young lady. I think that means no coal for me. I was so flustered by his sudden appearance, that I messed up his transaction. Oh, well. He knew that I was excited to see him.

We purchased our yearly Christmas book last night. After searching through many magical books full of Christmas wonder, we decided on "Christmas Day in the Morning." It is a sweet little story by the very accomplished Pearl Buck. I am very pleased to add it to our collection.

I'll be spending the next few days at home baking, wrapping, and being joyful. I hope everyone has a lovely and happy Christmas!


Feeling Sentimental

Maybe it's the lights on the tree. Maybe it's all the Hallmark movies. All I know is that it's been an emotional couple weeks for me. This time of year is a roller coaster for a lot of people. I'm unsure why that's so for me. For the three years Kyle and I were dating, I was always utterly devastated at the idea of leaving him for a month while we were on break from school. As of last year, my sadness was replaced with the pure joy of not having to part ways. I am so thankful for him and for the love God has given us to share. I get to share my life with this wonderful man!

I've been wrapping Christmas presents all day. I feel so grateful for all that we've been given and all that we can give. I am glad that we have a church and friends that remind us to keep a holy perspective this time of year.


O Christmas Tree!

Tonight we put up the Christmas tree. I am completely distracted by it. I love the lights and the ornaments that sparkle. I'll be right in the middle of a thought, take one glance at the Christmas tree and "Ooh, shiny..." All thoughts gone.
Speaking of distractions, Kyle and I also found a Wii! We've been playing it all weekend with our family. I can't wait for people to come over and play with us some more!
What do you want for Christmas?


Così fan tutte anyone?

This coming February, at the Tryon Festival Theatre in the Krannert Center for the Performance Arts, Mozart's opera Così fan tutte will be performed. I am looking forward to it very much. Anyone want to join us?

I do miss KCPA. It is a spectacular place. There's nothing quite like that here in Carbondale. I suspect there's hardly anything like it anywhere. I've had the privilege of performing in the Great Hall when I was in high school. I'm unsure if this statistic still stands, but at the time we were told that the Great Hall was considered the seventh most acoustically perfect room in the world.
Here's to culture in the Midwest!


On the Hunt

Most of you are quite aware that this is deer hunting season. While I've never hunted a deer, I have recently been hunting. We have searched everywhere for a Nintendo Wii. Every store from here to Springfield is sold out. No one has any idea when they'll get more. Hopefully we'll find one soon. I am psyched!

My family likes to play games on Thanksgiving. I was hoping we could find a Wii before that, but it does not look promising. I suppose we'll just stick to the usual games- poker, pin ball, darts, Cranium, Whoonu...
Does your family have any fun traditions?


The Name of God is Not a Comma

I have a pet peeve. I hear people pray, and it goes like this "Dear heavenly Father God, please help us, God, to worship you, Lord. And, God, we just thank you, God, for all that you've given us, Father... And, God, we just ask you to to show yourself, God..." Alright, you get the picture. Why do we do this? We don't speak like this to one another. Shouldn't we use the name of the Lord with a little more respect and careful, thoughtful consideration? Using it like a comma, like a filler for our lack of words, like a meaningless word to replace our own nervousness, is awfully flippant and disrespectful. I think using it like this certainly falls into the definition of using it in vain.

"You shall not take the name of the LORD your God in vain, for the LORD will not hold him guiltless who takes his name in vain." - Exodus 20:7

"Vain-adjective- without real significance, value, or importance; baseless or worthless"

I'm not saying that it should never be used in prayer, just used more carefully. Perhaps I am completely wrong. Perhaps I am simply hung up on something that isn't an issue as I perceive it to be.


Deep-thinking and Lazy

A couple times a week, I have great ideas for thoughtful posts. As it turns out, I am just too lazy to write them. Lately, I prefer to write about simple things. I think deeply all day. When I am here, I just want fun. Maybe that's wrong. Maybe this should serve a greater purpose...
Until I figure that out, I'll continue to talk about my favorite things, Martha Stewart style.

I must say, the pork chop seasoning bags have been the biggest dinner hit in weeks. The pork chops were so wonderfully tender. It had a very short prep time, about 5 minutes, and took only 25 minutes to cook. Thanks to my step-mom for that idea!

For those of you watching Heroes, what did you think of last week's episode, eh?


Study Break

Tomorrow morning (at a painfully early 7:15 am) I will be taking the Illinois Basic Skills Test. I am a little nervous. At the same time, I might be overly confident. I haven't studied much. I've taken one and a half practice tests. The material seems to be about the equivalent of what I learned in eighth grade. There is no "target" score. I merely have to answer 50% of the questions correctly. The first time around I got about 90% correct. This did not inspire me to study much more...
So here I sit, not studying anymore. Is that bad?


What I Learned This Halloween

I really thought more people would have seen the Corpse Bride. As it turns out, not many people knew who Kyle and I were supposed to be. Also, I found out that many people are scared of all Tim Burton movies. That is surprising. Oh, well. We had a lot of fun and I think the party was a hit. Alisha's scavenger hunt was great. That lady is so creative.

Now that our Halloween festivities are over, I am ready for the arrival of the Holiday season!



Come on, can I dream for one day?
There's nothing that can't be done
But how long should it take somebody
Before they can be someone?

Because I know there's got to be another level
Somewhere closer to the other side
And I'm feelin' like it's now or never
Can I break the spell of the typical?



Pumpkin time!

Today, Alisha and I went shopping for our costumes, did some party planning and carved pumpkins. Here's my little witchy gal!

She looks really cute all lit up, but the pictures didn't turn out well in the dark. You'll just have to stop by our house and see her!


Flowers and Favorites

Alright, so I am boring. Again, I want to share my flowers and favorite things from around the house. What can I say? I am a simple girl... yeah, right!

These mums are absolutely gorgeous (if I do say so myself). It is a huge mass of deep red. Even the best photo could scarcely do it justice.

BRIGHT yellow! They almost glow!

My autumn center piece. Got all the gourds came from the Farmer's Market for $3. The tea is also quite good. That is my favorite mug.

If this were a little bit closer, you could see that this is an album by The Dowry. It was given to us by a very good friend. It was already sitting on this little table and looking very pretty. That's right, there's an elephant on the front which makes me like it automatically. You should check out this band.

I have so many little projects and favorite things happening right now. I will try to post again soon!


WAL-MART: The High Cost of Low Price

I watched this documentary today. I've officially quit shopping at Wal-Mart. I wish I knew what else to do.


Kyle got a (better) job!

My husband, being the qualified, intelligent, hard-working man that he is, was offered a new job today at the Sports Blast here in Carbondale. His new boss was impressed with his experience, work ethic and his degree from a high-quality institution. We are praising God for this answered prayer.


Facing the Giants

*Spoilers included*

I've been sick for the last several days which means lots of time on the couch watching movies. Today I chose to watch Facing the Giants. I've been ignoring it for quite some time. It sounded ultra-cheesy, like pretty much every Christian movie I've seen. Despite the bad acting, there were parts that I found to be great. I liked the way the coach sought the scriptures and chose to trust God, even when he could not see God's plan. There were some great Biblical truths spoken and demonstrated. Before you go on thinking that I really liked the movie, though, I should probably tell you that it infuriated me.
I think this movie says that if you're a really good Christian, you'll get everything you ask for. Come, rub the magic Jesus lamp and get everything you want! Okay, probably the point is that God is capable of great things in your life if you trust Him, but the way the tell this story makes me so MAD! What about when God says "no." I would have liked the movie better if they didn't win the state championship, and if the wife never got pregnant, if he never got a raise or a truck. Maybe this is coming from a bitter heart, a heart that's heard the word no a lot lately. Maybe I got the wrong impression about the movie.
Tell me what you think.


The Basses are Open for Business

It's that time of year again. Time to break out the bird feeders, that is. Alright, I know it's a little early. They still have plenty of mother nature's provision, but I just couldn't wait anymore! Within five minutes of putting out the black oil sunflower seeds, we had 6 house finches, 3 cardinals, 2 chickadees, and 1 nuthatch. It was a bird extravaganza! I tried to take some pictures, but they're too pitiful to post. There's no good way to take a picture through a window.

On this day in history...
Benedict Arnold committed high treason for what would, today, be about 3.5 million dollars.
The Hobbit was published.
NFL Monday Night Football debuted on TV.
The New York Sun published its famous editorial, "Yes, Virginia, there is a Santa Claus."
The People's Republic of China was proclaimed.
Whoever said it was just another day?

My pick of the day from engrish.com.

Have a good weekend!


A Hobbit at Heart

Today was the most unspeakably beautiful day. Sunny, 76, and no humidity... When I opened the door this morning, the refreshing air literally took my breath away. I immediately called for Kyle to open all the windows and let it in!

If you know me, you probably know that I love to watch things grow. If you don't know that, you should. This year was my first shot at my own yard. It's small and modest, but I did get to plant a few things. Some things failed, like my clematis, my grass, and my petunias. They simply did not get enough sunlight. Other things flourished, like my hanging basket of torenia, my mums, my impatiens, and my coleus.

These are some mums I've had the pleasure of caring for. I wasn't sure if they were actually going to bloom, and sure enough, here they are. They greet me at the door each morning. My other mums are not this far along. I am still uncertain if they will bloom.

This is one of my very large pots of impatiens. I wish I had taken before and after photos of these things. I am so proud...

This is my hanging basket of torenia. It had some rough patches, and some times when it was solid purple with blooms. I wish I had a picture of that!

These are two different coleus plants. They might be my favorite thing I planted this year. Again, they were very tiny before, but did very well in the shade of my backyard.

I've been trying all summer to catch a snapshot of our hummingbird friends. The little buggers move so fast! It's very difficult to get them to come while I'm sitting on the patio, and even more difficult to ready my camera before they fly away. I didn't take this, but I felt the need to pay tribute to our dear little birds. They'll be flying south soon :(

On the up side, we'll be putting our sunflower seed out again soon which is sure to attract a very wide variety of other birds who we haven't seen much this summer. I am looking forward to that.

My love for flowers and birds goes back a very long way. My grandparents on both sides are gardeners. My mom's father is well known in the town where they lived for 40 years as having the most beautiful yard in town. He teaches me a lot about flowers and birds too. He passed it on to my mom, and she to me. My mom could open a business with her landscaping skills. My dad's parents are also outstanding gardeners. They have a beautiful yard, but they're really known for their vegetable garden. It is massive! They grow everything from watermelon to green beans. My grandpa on that side came up with his own blend of sweet corn that is delicious. In the last ten years, my dad started experimenting with different flowers and vegetables. He has turned out to have quite the green thumb.

I had no chance but to love all things green. It brings so much joy to my life! I hope to get a pair of my own binoculars soon. I would really love to join the local Audubon society and go birding with them.

Well, the hummingbird is back, perhaps I shall try to capture it again...


Simple Things

I've been inspired. I came across a blog written by a woman who shares favorite things from her home and her life. So, as an intro to my new blog in a new place, I've decided to share with you a few things from my life right now.

Fall is my favorite season. The weather is turning. Football is in play. School is in full-swing. All of these things make for a happy Chelsea.

These are some delicious Autumn-themed cupcakes. I like the way they taste, and I love the way they look inside my cake platter. Next time I will try to making orange flavored icing instead of just orange colored icing.

This is a little knick-knack my dad got me last year. Everyone in my family knows I love Halloween almost as much as I love Christmas. I get Halloween gifts from them. That makes me makes me smile.

I am beginning a new craft inspired by some clearance books from Barnes & Noble (my new favorite date spot). I am no seamstress, but I believe I can similarly recreate these eclectic creatures.

If all goes well, I may even make some for Christmas gifts. Although, many in my family would not fully appreciate the awesomness that exudes from these beloved friends.

Well, dear friends, I do hope you enjoy the new blog in the new space. I will continue to paste to Xanga for those who read there. Arrivederci.