5 Reasons New Year’s is the Best Holiday

1. Obsessing about yourself

We obsess about ourselves all year long, of course, but suddenly our list of things we want to be and do becomes socially acceptable. Oh look! Tallulah wants to lose ten pounds and finish her novel! We hit “like” instead of rolling our eyes and scrolling our screen. Because New Year’s!

2. No religious obligation

With New Year’s, there’s no wondering if you’ve spent too much on gifts to still be able to say it’s about the baby Jesus. There’s no wondering whether someone’s going to bite your head off for saying “Happy Holidays.” It’s Happy Freaking New Year for people of all ages, genders, races, and religions.

3. Staying up until midnight

As adults, we stay up until midnight all the time, but don’t you remember the thrill of getting to stay up that late when you were a kid? And the great thing for us insomniacs is that we know our friends will be up until midnight tonight, too, so we don’t have to watch TV by ourselves wondering who else is up. We come alive at a New Year’s Eve party and our friends wonder if we’re on drugs, but no. This is our time. They’re on our turf now. The night turf.

4. Sparkly stuff

Outside of music videos, when else do grown men wear giant pink sparkly glasses with the year emblazoned on them? We should have this much freedom all year, I say. And what’s with all the friends on social media saying “call me if you are too drunk to drive” this one night of the year? Why can’t I have the freedom to get blasted on Valentine’s Day? Can’t I call you then?

5. End of the holiday season

The holidays were magical, weren’t they? And exhausting. Some people love New Year’s because 2016’s going to be EPIC. Some of us are just glad the holidays are over, and come to think of it, that a whole sucky year is over. It’s a holiday that works for optimists and pessimists alike!

Happy Freaking New Year Everybody!

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Bible Verses for Insomniacs

I have a favorite verse for when I can’t sleep, so today I was toying with the idea of writing another devotional, this one based on verses for insomniacs. However, at this point, I only have enough verses to get you through about week of sleepless nights, so I’m just going to make it one blog entry. Because there’s a chance (a small chance if you’re an insomniac) that you’ll fall asleep mid blog, I’m using my favorite insomniac verse first instead of saving it for last.

The fear of the Lord leads to life, so that one may sleep satisfied, untouched by evil. (Proverbs 19:23) 

If you fear the Lord, you will confess your sins and be forgiven, which will eliminate one reason for sleeplessness. Nagging guilt. You know the phrase “How can you sleep at night?” Well, no offense, but if you can’t sleep, you might want to take a moment before reading the rest of this and ask for forgiveness for a few things. I’ll wait.

(whistles Amazing Grace)

Okay. Another reason fearing the Lord might help you sleep is that if you understand how vastly powerful God is compared to men, you won’t be afraid of anything on earth. Fearing anything other than God is definitely NOT good for sleep. Trust me. Every night I pray for protection from fire, earthquakes, intruders, and war. This list was perfected over time by adding everything that’s ever kept me up at night. I add “accidents” to cover any other bases, like planes crashing into the house. If I recognize the fearsome power of God to protect me, I banish all other fear from my mind. Take THAT, bump in the night! Psalm 4:8 says In peace I will both lie down and sleep, for Thou alone, O Lord, dost make me to dwell in safety.

I mean, Jesus slept in a boat during a storm that covered the boat with waves. The disciples came and woke Him, all crybaby “We’re gonna die! Save us!” Then Jesus said “Why are you timid, you men of little faith?” and, like a boss, He arose, and rebuked the winds and the sea; and it became perfectly calm. (from Matthew 8:26) Who am I to fear an earthquake that may or may not happen, when these guys weren’t even supposed to fear a storm THAT WAS ACTUALLY HAPPENING?

Anyway, enough about fear.

Proverbs 3:19-26 is about keeping God’s wisdom close to you so that when you lie down, you will not be afraid, and your sleep will be sweet. (I would whistle “The Perfect Wisdom of Our God” while you thought about wisdom, but I don’t know it. I just found it when I Googled “songs about God’s wisdom.” The lyrics look good though. Check it out. It’s by Stuart Townend, a fave, and Keith Getty.)

Maybe you’re awake because you subconsciously think sleep to be a waste of time. After all, Proverbs 6:10 and 20:13 make it sound like we’re lazy if we sleep. But I’m sure these verses only refer to people who sleep when they should be working. Psalm 127:2 says It is vain for you to rise up early, to retire late, to eat the bread of painful labors; for He gives to His beloved even in his sleep. God doesn’t need sleep. Let him work for you while you take a nice little rest. He loves you!

Even Paul, sort of a demanding guy if you ask me, lists sleeplessness among such difficulties as beatings, imprisonments and hunger. (2 Corinthians 6:5) It is okay to need sleep. Let yourself sleep.

Really, almost any Bible verse could be recommended for insomniacs. 1. You might as well be learning about God since you can’t sleep, and 2. Reading the Word of God brings peace, which might bring sleep.

Well, if this unedited blog hastily written at 1 A.M. hasn’t already bored you into sleep (I’ll stop whistling now as not to keep you awake) I have one more passage to recommend. Joshua chapter 12. Good night!

 

 

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Top 10 Reasons You Should Hire Me

10. I only steal gluten free lunches.

9. Perfect face for phone and email communication.

8. Office party designated driver.

7. Internet IQ tests going around Facebook tell me I’m anywhere between “above average” and “genius.”

6. I taught 4th – 8th grade band for ten years. Could your job possibly throw anything more challenging at me?

5. (Your business name here) is my favorite business.

4. I need a new washing machine.

3. I hate travel, so I’m always around.

2. My faith dictates that I love you even if you’re a horrible boss.

1. I finish projects even if I think they’re stupid.*

 

*I finished this list, didn’t I?

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This Generation Missing Out on Poison Oak and Skin Cancer

Right as there’s a trending video (actually an advertisement) showing some perfectly happy kids who say their favorite thing to do is play video games (the horror), my husband comes home from a hiking trip with a tick bite and some very tenacious poison oak. The parents in the advertisement talk about the good old days climbing trees and then look devastated when they hear that their kids prefer video games. All I know is that our trips to the ER with our daughter have always begun with the good old outdoors and that we’ve had a blast playing safe and triumphant Mario Kart races.

I remember growing up outdoors. I remember bee stings and bullies. I remember stepping in dog poop with my bare feet and sun exposure that I’ll likely pay for soon.

So folks, I’m not advertising anything, unlike the video with the despondent parents of gamers. I’m just saying (as my husband reapplies his Calamine lotion) that this generation of kids might not have a childhood like we had, but new is not bad. My daughter and her friends are smart, social, generous, and for the most part, poison oak free. And they’re happy.

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Interview Tips for the Rest of Us

I had my first real interview the other day. I’d read the tips — dress well, research the company, have questions — but here are some extra tips I came up with after my interview.

1. Pretend you’re not crazy.

My interview took place on the third floor. When I walked in, I immediately looked for the stairs because I have this “fear of entrapment” thing. (Different than claustrophobia, I learned from my friend Lance after telling him about the time I tried to pry open some elevator doors after being “stuck” for about 12 seconds.) The place I had my interview wasn’t a large building, so I was perplexed when I couldn’t find the staircase. I decided to ask one of the ground floor people.

Me: Hi, where are the stairs?

Lady: Hmm, I don’t know. Joe, do you know where the stairs are?

Joe: I don’t know.

Me (Incredulous): What are you guys going to do in an earthquake?

Joe: I never go on the other floors.

Lady to a man behind me: Hey Aaron, do you know where the stairs are?

Aaron: No.

Me: Hey, are you the Aaron I’m meeting at eleven?

Aaron (Looking scared of the crazy lady who asked what everyone was going to do in the event of an earthquake): Yes.

I should have just sucked it up and taken the freaking elevator in the first place. Which leads me to my second tip.

2. Your interview starts the second you enter the building.

That was one awkward elevator ride with Aaron. I should have had my game face on the moment I entered the building. Plus, I didn’t get to do my Wonder Woman pose in the stairwell. (See the TED Talk on this subject.)

3. Pretend you like yourself.

Aaron and Abby interviewed me. At least let’s pretend those are their names. Let’s also pretend that they work for a local radio station.

Aaron: And your creative writing skills?

Me: I think they’re good.

Abby (Trying to help me out): Your resume says you’ve won two writing contests?

Me: Oh. Yeah.

Crickets: Chirp.

Really. I said “Oh. Yeah.” And then nothing else. Did I even want this job? Also, when they asked what I knew about their station, I actually said “Not much.” Not much?! I had read every word on every page of their website. I knew more about “radio stations” in general than probably 99% of the population. Do I hate myself? Well, maybe a little, but this was the day to pretend otherwise.

4. Pretend you like other people.

After many short answers like the above, which always came after five seconds of my searching my brain for an answer that wouldn’t make me look stupid, I was asked, “What’s your biggest pet peeve related to other people?” And this is the question I answer almost before she’s done asking it?

“PEOPLE WHO SOUND LIKE THEY’RE A HUNDRED PERCENT SURE ABOUT SOMETHING AND THEN YOU FIND OUT THEY WERE WRONG! I MEAN, WHY CAN’T THEY JUST SAY, ‘I’M NOT SURE, BUT I THINK IT’S…”

Smooth. Great time to come alive. All my talk about how easy I was to work with was negated by my pet peeve fervor. How were they to know that I have my pet peeves listed, and that’s why my answer came to me so quickly? I could have at least told them that this was only third on my pet peeve list, the first two being gory commercials during family friendly TV shows, and leaf blowers.

**********************************************************************************************************************************************

On the way out, I found the stairs. I took them down, and I came out an ugly little door not in the lobby, but outside. When the door closed, I tried to open it, just out of curiosity. It was locked. I guess the stairs are for emergencies only. No offense to those who work there, but I still think it’s kind of funny that I discovered all this about the stairwell my first time in the building and no one else had ever been curious about whether a building in California had stairs.

I didn’t get the job. I had a good resume and great references. I read the interview tips. I had my pants pressed. I had a question prepared. My only desire now is that my lameness could maybe benefit you when you have an interview. Hide the phobias, pretend you like yourself and others, and for heaven’s sake, be ready to meet your interviewer on the first floor — even in the parking lot. I’m not going to lie. It was kind of my dream job. But at least I won’t have to take an elevator every day.

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I Hate Christmas Shopping

I hate Christmas shopping. Don’t get me wrong – I love Christmas. I love the lights, the carols, the family, and who could forget that whole baby Jesus thing? I only hate the shopping.

I hate those little gifty books by the cash register that will sell thousands more copies than great works of literature. I hate that the employees look overworked, and that I’m partly to blame. I hate that I’m not crafty. If I were, I could avoid the stores altogether and spend five dollars on crap I found at a garage sale and make the freaking Mona Lisa like my sister.* I hate trying to spend about the same amount on each person, not to mention wondering how much they’re spending on me. I hate wondering if the receiver will like her gift, or whether I’ll be categorized as the well-meaning but lame aunt. I hate not being able to find the exact thing I want. Yes, you can usually find exactly what you want on the internet, but I gave up internet Christmas shopping after the SECOND time a gift never arrived. That reminds me, I hate that company (I won’t name them so they don’t sue me) that never sent me my dad’s window clings even though I ordered with time to spare and called them repeatedly, and I hate that one other company that delivered my Joshua Cripps calendar the following March, slightly crumpled. (Sorry I accused you of not sending it, Josh.)

I hate Christmas shopping so much that my favorite part about it is driving through the extra traffic and squeezing my big sedan into a compact spot and walking through the rain from the far reaches of the parking lot to get to the store. Say a prayer for me, Salvation Army bell-ringer, I’m goin in.

I hate Christmas shopping so much that it’s December 16th, and I haven’t started yet.

I hate Christmas shopping so much that I’m writing about how much I hate it instead of finishing a very important writing project.

I hate Christmas shopping so much that I’m considering putting a bow on my cat and giving her as a gift. (Actually, that would be a win-win.)

I hate Christmas shopping so much that if I’ve forgotten to hate something about it, I hope you will remind me so that I can hate it, too.

Merry Christmas!

* To be clear, my sister spends more than five dollars on my Christmas presents. I’m just saying, she is a genius with the crafts.

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What Men Miss at the Holidays

At first glance, the men might look lazy, sitting around the living room while the women cook in the kitchen. Legs crossed in the “I don’t have anywhere to go until the turkey’s ready” position, they’re watching football but talking about baseball, (have we learned to clone men yet? because the Giants could be amazing in twenty years with a field full of Buster Poseys.) But in the men’s defense, they’ve usually asked if they could help, and they’ve been shooed out of the kitchen, because the women have it under control.

Let’s face it. If the women wanted, they could poison a dish that they knew the kids would never touch and they knew themselves not to touch. They could take down all the men with one cooking “accident.” Okay, that might be too risky, but the women at least know whether the best part of the creamed vegetables will be on the edge of the dish or in the center, and which side dish will give you heartburn later if you eat too much.

So there’s the control, but mostly what I think the men are missing out on is the warmth of the kitchen, the laughter, the Christmas music, the satisfaction of working together to make the party happen. The sweet and garlicky smells mingling, the reminiscing, the throwing scraps to the dog, the unexpected pleasure of washing the dust off glasses that haven’t been used since this time last year. The tasting desserts “to make sure they’re just right,” the updates on everyone’s kids, neighbors, old flames, houseplants.

That’s where the real holiday happens. In the kitchen.

At least I think so. I’m the youngest grown-up daughter, but I’m out with the men.

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