Merry Christmas ♥

So, once again, I'm sharing some beautiful words of wisdom from Pastor Matt, from my job. He sent out this email to the congregation. I thought it was beautiful and decided to share it with my friends.

Early in my ministry, I led a Christmas Pageant that featured an actual newborn infant in the starring role. When the two thirteen year old children playing Mary and Joseph walked onto the stage, holding her I heard a voice behind me say, with such joy, “Look! It's not a doll. It's a real baby!” A real baby. 

If anyone doubted that fact, a few moments later the real baby started to cry. And then holler and bellow. And everyone in the sanctuary sat up a bit more straight and leaned toward the infant, as if to soothe her.

Real babies make their presence felt. They alter lives. Their dependence, Rowan Williams writes, “is a matter of fingers clutching at ours when we'd like to be getting on with something; broken nights, hungry mouths. If God is with us as an infant – a real infant – He is not tidily gift wrapped or altogether functional. If God is with us as a child, God is certainly with us as one who calls out our tenderness and compassion, not with passivity, but with insistence, without shame or restraint." It is almost Christmas! God is coming to us! Let's all lean in, ready to care and eager to love. 

Merry Christmas, friends.

Roll Out the Red Carpet: Oscar Predictions

I wouldn't consider myself to be a "movie buff" per se, but I do LOVE movies. I enjoy following box office results, reviews, etc. So, here, I'm going to list the movies I believe will be nominated for Oscars. Now, I doubt that all of these will be nominated for Best Picture, but they should make it somehow on the list once all is said is done. These aren't in any particular order, btw, and I've included a "maybe" list. Also, just for my own pleasure, I'm gonna add some of my personal favorites and disappointments of the year. Enjoy!

Predictions for the 85th Annual Academy Awards:
Zero Dark Thirty
Rust and Bone
Life of Pi*
Django Unchained*
Les Misérables*
The Master
Cloud Atlas*

Silver Linings Playbook
Beasts of the Southern Wild
Moonrise Kingdom
The Sessions
The Impossible
The Deep Blue Sea
Rise of the Guardians*

My Personal Favorites of 2012:
THE AVENGERS (yes, in all caps)
The Dark Knight Rises
Hotel Transylvania (this movie brought me such surprising joy and laughter on a day when I just wanted to feel like a kid again. I had gummy bears, my 3D glasses, and lots of happiness)
Abraham Lincoln Vampire Hunter
Men in Black 3 (seriously, Josh Brolin as Tommy Lee Jones? Amazing.)
Think Like a Man (Dude, this movie made me laugh so much. Plus, DJ and I got to re-visit Plato's Allegory of the Cave after watching it lol)
Safe House
21 Jump Street
The Words (this movie moved me in such an amazing way. I'll admit that at times, Bradley Cooper did not wow me...but man, Zoe Sandana, Dennis Quaid, Jeremy Irons, Ben Barnes, and Nora Arnezeder were just mind-blowing! And the music, oh my gosh! It brought me to tears. I hope that this movie wins things in the awards seasons, but it doesn't appear to be on the radar.)

Disappointments of 2012:
Wrath of the Titans
Dark Shadows
Snow White and the Huntsman
Total Recall
Red Tails
Ghost Rider: Spirit of Vengeance
Good Deeds
Alex Cross
Won't Back Down
The Man with the Iron Fists

 *denotes one of my personal favorites that are on my Oscar list, rather than my favorites list

The Semester is Over!

I survived my first semester of grad school, hoo-ray! This semester was particularly challenging for me. Being out of school for a few years, you don't realize how easy it is to lose your touch. I had to re-learn study habits, un-fog my brain from years of television and leisure novels, and figure out how to properly discuss my thoughts on our readings for class.

Including work for my research papers, I read a total of 73 books over the last 4 months, plus articles and other sources. In addition to that, I also was going back through my old Early America and Modern Europe notes (thanks Dr. Foote & Dr. Jones) to remember what the heck was happening for each time period. I did all of this while balancing (or attempting to balance) house work, church, and my 2 jobs...when I look back on it, I think to my the heck did I survive?

Really, it's quite simple. You make time for what you care about. Cleaning my house actually is very relaxing to me. I put my hair up, jam out to some great music, and run around like a mad-woman for a few hours. The end result can't be beat: a clean house, Christmas lights, pecan pie scented candles, and a happy Pam. And, finally, my two jobs are incredibly enjoyable. I love my work (and colleagues) at St. Pauls and the students I work with on campus at Loyola are so inspiring and awesome. Plus, I actually really enjoyed my studies this semester. So, at the end of the day, why should I complain?

So, the end result is that I'm smiling and happy. Life's good. And the break is much needed. However, I must say that since my creativity has been sparked with all the reading and writing I've done, it's difficult to turn it off...with that being said, be prepared to be flooded with blog posts and photos. In advance, you're welcome :)

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