Tag Archives: Christmas

Just Some Holiday Banter

Every year my parents ask my brother and me what we want for Christmas. My brother is still in school and I’m working on my novel, so we both still live at home. I feel like it would be weird if we had our own places, but as it is, it’s nice. Every year, my Christmas list gets a little more eccentric, and generally, a little shorter. This year, there are three things on my list.

1: A day of sleep. I want a day in which no one comes into my room, tells me what time it is, or asks me if I want to get up. I want to stay in bed all day, or at least until I’m starving or really have to pee.

2: 1 month of violin lessons. I bought a violin in July, expecting to be able to teach myself. That didn’t happen. Admittedly it’s because I was feeling musically lazy for a while, but it’s also partly because it’s a freaking hard instrument to learn. I really do love my violin. It’s pretty, its’ sound is unique, and I want to learn to play it. I just need some help.

3: A wireless plug-in thing (whatever it’s called) for my guitar. I run over guitar cables, and thus, wreck them. It’s just one of the little annoyances of being a musician who uses a wheelchair.

I don’t know why I felt like sharing this. It’s actually been a pretty laid back Christmas season for my family and friends and me this year, and it’s been nice. I like it that way. Even our decorations are much simpler than usual. I usually only exchange gifts with one of my friends, and sometimes I’m at a loss for what to get her, but it wasn’t a problem this year, so that’s done. I’ve really liked how simple it’s been. It’s allowed me to focus more on the spiritual aspect of it, which is obviously the most important. Of course I’ve also been freaking out about Star Wars. I’m going to see it with my friends tomorrow night, and with my brother and cousin the following night because I’m a dork. I absolutely love movies, and I love my peeps. I love the crap out of my peeps. Maybe it’s just sentimentality, but I really do feel like part of the spiritual aspect is related to the time I spend with my family (chums included). I don’t see some of them for months at a time, but it changes nothing. In fact, it makes the time we do spend that much more memorable and that much more important. It doesn’t really matter what we do, whether we’re watching movies or playing D&D ’till sunrise (which I’m sure will inevitably happen as it always does). I guess that’s all I really have to say at the moment. I’ll probably write again next week or even earlier, but if I don’t I’d like to wish you all a very happy Christmas.

Because in my world guinea pigs can fly!

Advertisements

Insomnia Induced Idea

I went to bed uncharacteristically early last night because my epilepsy wasn’t behaving, which of course meant I woke up at some unreasonable hour. I wanted to get up and read, but that would have been a pain for my parents, so I decided to invent a story instead. Somehow that got me thinking about the story line I’ve been following in Oblivion, which turned out to be entirely unhelpful since I’m presently stuck in that game (I’ve been playing Minecraft instead).

Eventually, because my mind is a tangential lunatic, and because insomnia is particularly conducive to intellectual meandering, I got to thinking about Christmas. Christmas is about celebrating how God came among us as a human, and I realized something interesting. The Gospel is not the only story in which a god becomes human, but it is unique in that, as far as I know, it’s the only story in which a god becoming human has a good outcome for humanity in general. It is also the only story in which, again, as far as I know, a god comes among humans as someone vulnerable and helpless. Lastly, it is the only story in which his humanity is permanent, and has a permanent outcome.

We hear all the time how amazing it is that God came among us in human form, but compare it to other stories. Last fall I took a class about ancient literature–namely Greek and Roman mythology. It was a ton of fun because those stories are absolutely insane. I love the insanity, and I realized that a lot of what those gods did made no sense, but a lot the things the Christian God does don’t seem to make a ton of sense either (to me at least). The difference is that God does everything out of love, while in most other stories involving deities, the gods are largely self-serving. Furthermore, those stories are episodic, and while some of the stories in the Bible are episodic, it is professed that God has an overarching plan for humanity.

This is what happens when you study literature and theology together.

Because in my world guinea pigs can fly

Today I’m A Pirate (With A Tiny Parrot)

Tonight I will be dressing up as a pirate and celebrating Halloween. Halloween has always been fun for me. When I was a little kid I loved to dress up and get a ton of candy, which I inevitably never ate. When I was in high school I liked it because I was interested in the occult. Now I like it because it’s an excuse to hang out with my friends, eat fried chicken and watch scary movies. I also enjoy coming up with cute or creative costume ideas. My best ever was when I dressed up as a soldier, and my dad made a cardboard tank to go around my wheelchair. I realized I could have requested a pirate ship be made for tonight, but we ran out of time.

Of course it’s Halloween season, but somehow my dad and I got on the subject of Christmas a few nights ago. I think we were talking about politics and somehow ended up there. Last night I realized something, however. I like Halloween more than I like Christmas. I don’t mean I dislike the essence of Christmas or the reason we celebrate it. I dislike what Christmas has become. Our culture has turned a religious holiday of great importance into not much more than reason to go shopping. Our Jewish neighbors celebrate it, and my friends, a Hindu, Atheist, and Agnostic, all celebrate it. It is no longer a Christian holiday, but I still feel like I should celebrate it as a Christian, and that can be a headache sometimes.

Halloween has also abandoned its origins, and maybe this bothers someone, but I just don’t know. For me Halloween has always been a completely secular, and completely innocent holiday. It’s just fun, and that’s all it will ever be. The point I’m trying to make is that I don’t feel like I have to fight anything when it comes to Halloween. I don’t have to defend its roots. I don’t have to work so hard to re-make it spiritual. Honestly, Christmas, like Halloween has been very secular since before I was born, so I don’t really even have a place to start. I’ve just had to wing it when it comes to making it spiritual.

This is also why I like Easter so much better. While things like the Easter Bunny are weird additions, it’s still a very Christian holiday. At Christmas time, my family throws big parties. We eat a ton of junk food, stay up late, and revel in gift-giving and silliness. We don’t do that at Easter. We go to church, and our parents still give my brother and me Easter baskets, but that’s about it. I usually do some writing and praying and celebrate in my own quiet way, but there’s nothing else to it. No lights, no decorations, no parties. It’s a lot more subdued, but it feels so much more genuine. From what I just described, you might be thinking we’re not happy on Easter, which would be missing the point. Actually, I always feel very happy on Easter, and I’m in a celebratory mood. I’m just not celebrating with so much stuff and so many people. Part of the reason for that is that we don’t have many super spiritual people among our family or friends, but part of it, I think, is that the “stuff” distracts from the purpose of it.

My mom has a cousin whose immediate family doesn’t celebrate Christmas at all because it has become something so vastly different from what it originally was meant to be. I think not celebrating at all still misses the point. While it’s hard to ignore the commercialism of it, I think it’s necessary. Maybe it’s because there’s a part of me that’s still a fighter. I just don’t want its original purpose to disappear completely.

Last night I had a very timely dream. In the dream I found some kind of magical document that opened a doorway to another world, and I spent the remainder of the dream scurrying around my house trying not to get killed by weird magical creatures. It was dark and creepy, and I woke up thankful that it was just a dream. At the same time, it was fun because, well, it’s Halloween. The truth is that Halloween is a perfectly good day to celebrate what Jesus did for us. In fact, considering what this day still represents for some, it’s probably an even better day than most. It is what you make it, and for me it’s a day to celebrate silliness, It’s a day to celebrate being alive, and yes, it’s a day to celebrate my salvation.

Because in my world guinea pigs can fly!

Falling In Love Again

Well, hello again. I’ve taken a bit of a break from blogging for a few reasons. I’ve mostly just been doing other things. I’ve spent a lot of time with my cousins and friends since I got out of school. Yesterday we went to our cousins’ house for Amber’s 22nd birthday party, and to visit the animals. They have three cats and a small dog. One of their cats was mine for a couple years until we figured out that my brother was very allergic to him. We had named him Hercules, but they renamed him Elvis. In my opinion Hercules was a better name, but that’s beside the point. That cat is 16 or 17 years old now, and much less of a jerk. I think he knew my brother was allergic because when he was a kitten, he would perch himself on the back of a couch, wait until my brother walked by, and then pounce. He wasn’t playful about it, either. He was aiming to kill. Now he mostly just sleeps in boxes that are obviously too small to be sleeping in.

I also spent 10 hours playing Portal over Christmas week. There’s not a whole lot to say about that except that it was very relaxing and very fun. GLaDOS is officially my favorite villain of all time. She’s hilarious. My brother had been trying to get me to play that game literally for years. Spoiler alert; the cake is a lie.

I’ve been open mic hopping, as well. Last week I did one on Monday and one on Tuesday, which was great fun. I’m featuring at my favorite open mic on the 14th. I’m actually missing my first 6:00-9:00 class to do so. I screwed that up, planning-wise, but it was the first slot they had open, so I took it. I keep falling in love with music over and over again. I’m in the honeymoon phase right now (again). I’ve written two new songs fairly recently. One I wrote right before my break started, and one I wrote just this past week. Falling in love with music again is great, because when I’m in love with music, I’m perfectly okay–actually better than okay–with being single. In all seriousness, though, I have to do music. Ideally, I would have it be a full-time job, but it’s gratifying singing to four people in a tiny bar for free. If I have to get a “real job” for a while to allow me to do that, so be it.

In other news, Christmas was great. Christmas mass was actually really nice, despite the fact that our priest’s homily was obnoxious. We’re ignoring that. The point is, I got to sing about Jesus with my family and my best friend who is agnostic. It was really nice of her to come anyway. After church (midnight mass) we exchanged gifts. I got her the first two Hunger Games books, and she got me How To Train Your Dragon 2, and a Toothless plushie, which just makes me so happy. I actually got kind of a weird array of gifts this year. I got a new headset for my computer and a bunch of Guitar Center monies, which were the only things I asked for, but my parents also got me a couple old video games, and a book of Seamus Heaney poems. I also got a few little things like guitar picks and such (I tend to lose them, accidentally give them away, or leave them places). Overall, it was an awesome Christmas. New Year’s was good, too. My little cousin who lives nearby came over, as well as a couple of my friends, and we hung around, watched movies and played video games.

So I’m in a much better mood than the last time I blogged. Happy New Year, everyone!

Because in my world guinea pigs can fly!

Merry Christmas. Sorry For The Whining.

I don’t want to be bitter, and I’m sorry that I have been lately. Ironically, Christmas does that to me a little bit. I think it has that effect on a lot of people. It was simpler when I was a little kid and didn’t really know about Jesus. I just knew that a guy named Santa was going to sneak into my house late at night and give me stuff.

Lately I’ve been liking Santa Clause less and less, but today I looked up the history behind the myth because, honestly, I didn’t really know much about where it came from. I knew Saint Nicholas was a real, historical person, but I didn’t really know anything about him other than, presumably, he was generous. What I found were two details about his life that made me like him quite a bit more. I found out that Saint Nick was actually a bishop in the Church. At one point he found out that a poor nobleman had three daughters who were getting married, but he didn’t have a dowry for each of them. Nick wanted to help, but he wanted to do it anonymously, so he threw three bags of gold through the nobleman’s window. Eventually people did find out who did it, which started the tradition of associating charitable giving with Saint Nick. I also found out that at one time, he was imprisoned for his faith, but while he was there, he spread the Gospel to the other prisoners. In fact, he was super generous because the Gospel says we are supposed to help the poor.

So I like the guy. I have a cousin who doesn’t celebrate Christmas at all because it has essentially become a secular holiday. I know plenty of people, including my friends, who celebrate Christmas even though they’re not Christian. While the consumerism of it does get on my nerves, I still love it. I love Christmas. I love going bananas with the decorations. I love hanging out with my relatives. I love going to midnight mass on Christmas eve and then coming home at 1:00 in the morning and opening presents then. I love driving around with hot chocolate to go look at people’s insane decorations. I love that there’s tons of junk food.

I love that Christmas is kind of like starting over. It’s a reminder that our savior came as a tiny human baby, born to a family who couldn’t even get a room in the inn. It’s where his story, and therefore, really, our story begins.

There are some things I want to do differently in the coming year. I want to read Scripture more, and try to figure out to the best of my ability what is objectively True about some things (as best I can, anyway). I also want to lose a little weight and build up some upper body strength. Skiing is on my bucket list, but because of my disability, I would have to ride a sit-down ski thingy and use my arms to steer. I’m not strong enough to do that yet, so I’m going to work on it. I have to figure out exactly how I’m going to do it, but these are sort of my New Year’s resolutions.

Tomorrow is Christmas Eve, and this makes me happy. Long story short, I want to thank everyone for reading, and I want to wish you all a very merry Christmas.

Because in my world guinea pigs can fly!

Making A List And Changing My Mind

I realize that I’ve been posting a lot of not-so-happy things on here lately. Part of that is the result of working on my literary journal project for school. The subject matter of my journal was activism, so I ended up reading a lot of concerning things.

Yesterday I was in a bad mood. I read an article from a white woman’s perspective about her godson and his family, who were black. The story was about how, as a teenager, her godson was arrested for not giving up his hat at school because he was afraid he wouldn’t get it back, and later, how his father was badly beaten because he wouldn’t get out of his car fast enough when the police targeted him for committing a crime he had nothing to do with.

After reading this, I was angry. I was sad. I had to consciously remind myself that the world is not terrible, so I sang my song, “Good In Things,” to myself. It’s a happy song, and in that moment, it meant a lot. However, it took me all day yesterday to completely snap out of my bad mood. Yesterday afternoon I had to consciously make a list of what the good in the world was.

Here is my list:

Love
Faith
Trust
Hope
Music
Sunshine
Snow
Rain
Sunsets
Family
Cars
Airplanes
Food
Movies
The Internet
Powered Wheelchairs
Hospitals
Medicine
Doctors
Compassion
Engineers
Humor
Video Games
Blogging
Strawberries
Language
Hands
Guitars
Voices
Singing
Eyes
Cell Phones
Trees
The smell of dirt
Forgiveness
Fish tanks/fish
Doing stupid stuff
Water
Fire
The word “Noodle”
Redemption
God’s Plan
Jesus
Christmas
Presents
Guitar amps
The fact that I can be six inside
Penguins
Animals in general
Gravity
Solid things
The laws of physics
Philosophy
Bug spray
Lava lamps
Yellow paint
Paper
Coffee
Stars

All of these things are good.

The first few lines of my song go like this:

Do you remember when we built castle walls
With colored bricks to the ceiling of our skies?
Our friends and brothers came and knocked them down
But we built something better from the wreckage somehow.

I won’t say that everything happens for a reason, but often, bad things bring out the best in people. Often, something that just works has to be broken down to build something that works great. Often, we need a problem to create love; to create art; to create hope. That family’s story got out. Families will continue to face these kinds of problems, but amazing people will continue to tell their stories, and something will change. We just have to stay optimistic and hopeful because there is good in things, and there is good in people.

Christmas is supposed to be happy, and I just wanted to post something a little more optimistic today.

Because in my world guinea pigs can fly!

Please Read And Share This

I just found out about this via another blogger. Honestly, I can’t write much because I’m lost for words at the moment. I would really appreciate it if you all would take the time to read this and sign the petition. The gist of it is that a group of Christians were attacked at a church in India for singing Christmas carols.

Article

Here is the original site where I found the information

Christians Attacked For Singing Christmas Carols In India

A few days ago I was working on a project for school and I read another article that was disturbingly similar to this. Christians all over the place are being attacked and persecuted for their religion. I feel like I can’t do much from so far away, but I can at least share this.

Thanks for taking the time to do this and to pray for these people.

Procrastination Holiday Mash Up

Since high school my Christmas list has gotten shorter and shorter. There’s usually one or two things I want that I’m too cheep to buy, and one or two things I need, and that’s what I ask for. Otherwise I just buy stuff myself whenever I need/want it. It’s partly because I learned how to save money, and partly because I’ve had a mini-job for the past couple years so I can do said saving of money. It’s also because since probably my junior or senior year of high school, I feel weird asking my parents for things that I can afford and don’t necessarily need or that I can wait for.

The thing is, my parents like buying stuff for my brother and me. We have an obnoxiously huge beanbag chair (it’s not actually a beanbag chair but I don’t exactly know what to call it) in our kitchen in front of the TV. Our kitchen is obnoxiously huge, so it’s basically part kitchen, part dining room, part living room. Anyway, two summers ago it was ridiculously hot, and because of that (or maybe just because of coincidence) I got sick and projectile vomited all over the nest (that’s what we call it). We went 4 or 5 miserable months without a nest, but our parents surprised us with a new one that Christmas.

Maybe it wouldn’t have made sense to get a new one if my brother and I weren’t home all the time. Sam and I are both in college, but I commute, and he comes home every weekend. We’re both about half an hour from home in opposite directions.

Last year my parents surprised me with a 5 gallon fish tank and a beta fish for Christmas. His name is Raskolnikov because Dostoevsky is a genius. I know we have a ten gallon tank lying around somewhere, so I’m thinking about upgrading and getting a few more fish. I don’t think I’d move Raskolnikov because he seems quite content all by his lonesome, but it might be nice to have some more little friends. I’m weird. I talk to my fish.

I do need a new set of headphones for my computer. Last year my aunt got me a wireless set, and they stopped working. I’ve decided to ask for a set of wired ones for Christmas because wireless anything and I have never been friends. In fact, technology and I have never really been friends, but that’s a whole different story. I know it’s the thing you plug into to charge them, and it’s not the charger itself that isn’t working because I’ve tried a different one and it still doesn’t work.

My brother and two of my cousins and I did ask for the new Pokemon game for Christmas. Yes, I’m 21 and I shamelessly admit that I like and play Pokemon. There’s quite a bit of nostalgia involved. When we were kids, Star Wars and Pokemon were our obsession. That and, gosh darn it, they’re fun!

Otherwise, that’s about it. My list is short this year. It drives our parents crazy, and it drives our aunts and grandmothers crazy, too. I could use a new amplifier for my guitars, but that can wait. I suppose I could ask people for Guitar Center gift cards. I’d like to go and try things out for myself. That upgrade probably won’t even happen for a few years anyway, though.

I know it’s not even Thanksgiving yet, but it seems like Christmas and Thanksgiving are really close together this year. Thanksgiving is kind of the start to our Christmas season anyway. The past few years we’ve gone up to Maine and gone out to eat with our family. We used to have it at our house, but my grandfather got really sick, and my grandmother didn’t want to go far. We’ve just gotten used to doing it that way, I guess. We used to stay for one night, but last year we stayed for two because my grandfather died two days before Thanksgiving and we had to stay for the funeral. This year we’re staying for two nights again just so we can have time to see everyone and hang out. We usually go and get our Christmas tree the day after Thanksgiving, but since we’re staying for two nights we’re doing that just before we go home. It’ll be fun just to hang out in Portland and play with our cousins. I think we’re going to bring the Wii so we can play Mario Kart in the hotel room.

Our family is insane. My oldest first cousin is 9 years older than me, and my youngest second(third?) cousin is 16 or 17 years younger than me. My mom has about 50 first cousins, which means I have over 100 cousins of varying degrees. On my dad’s side I have 2 second cousins who have no kids, and 2 fist cousins. One is my age and one is two years younger than me. For Thanksgiving this year we’re meeting up with 27 people. Some people have asked why we go out to eat instead of going to someone’s house. Part of it is that we have too many people, and part of it is because it’s significantly less stressful. It makes it fun.

I’ve seen posts on Facebook about people stressing about Christmas already. There are ways of making it less stressful. It’s not that hard. I’ll admit that there are things about Christmas that bug me. It’s almost like there are two holidays going on at the same time, and a minority of people remember the real reason why we celebrate it. The point isn’t to have the biggest tree in the neighborhood (we have the 2nd biggest only because our neighbor has taller ceilings). The point isn’t to get the biggest and best presents. The point isn’t to give the biggest and best presents. The point isn’t to have the most decorated house (our mom goes nuts anyway, and it’s fun!). The point is to celebrate the birth of our Savior, and that’s WAY less stressful.

I know some people freak out about the “secular” stuff and say it’s creepy or evil and that Jesus was born in April, which may or may not be true. The same people don’t celebrate Easter for the same reason: it’s become too secular. Honestly, I don’t think it really matters. The point is that we remember the real reason why we celebrate. The other stuff just makes it fun. There’s no reason why we shouldn’t have fun. The only thing I might do differently if I had kids is I’d probably skip the whole Santa Claus story. It just seems kind of pointless to me. I’d still get a tree, I’d still eat massive quantities of junk food, and I’d still get together with all the magnificently crazy people.

I think it’s true that people get a little nicer around Christmas, and a little more generous. Maybe the love gets thrown around for some of the “wrong” reasons, but the point is that the love gets thrown around, and I am perfectly okay with that. So have fun. Don’t stress out. Go to church if you want to. Don’t feel bad if you don’t. Just remember why this holiday exists.

Because in my world guinea pigs can fly!

This Christmas

This Christmas was great. We had a bunch of peeps over for Christmas Eve and ate lots of junk food. My immediate family and I went to mass at 11:00, which was nice because we got home at midnight. The church wasn’t very full, but everyone was happy and we all sang loudly anyway. I actually really like Christmas hymns.

One of my dad’s friends and his family were over, and they had four little girls. They were actually fairly well behaved; meaning they left my brother and cousins and me alone for the most part. We played a lot of video games, most of which I was terrible at, but we had a good time anyway. I am laughably bad at Mario Cart Wii. My cousin Nick (Dinkens) and I had a Crash Team Racing Tournament, and we’re pretty evenly matched at that, so there were a lot of close races and a lot of screaming from the basement.

We opened presents from the extended family earlier on Christmas Eve and later on Christmas Day, but my brother and I usually open gifts from our parents after church. My favorite things were definitely from Mom and Dad. We got a new nest (giant bean bag chair) since I projectile vomited on the last one. I also got a new super warm, fuzzy hat, some whatchamacallits (candy bars) a lava lamp, a loom for making hats and my favorite, Raskolnikov (my new beta fish). I haven’t had a fish since high school, but I do like to keep them. My last fish was gold and he was named Napoleon. Raskolnikov is blue/purple with reddish fins. I’ve decided that little fish just need to have good names. I had thought about naming him Iago, but that dude was just too evil, and I’m not sure I’d want an Iago just hanging out in my bedroom. It’s bad karma… or something.

Anyway, my computer is currently broken, so I’m actually blogging from my phone. I’ve started making a fuzzy, blue hat and it’s slow going, so I’m going to get back to that. Happy Christmas everyone!

Because in my world guinea pigs can fly!

Find A Reason To Celebrate

I’ve read a lot of things: blog posts, Facebook posts and stories about Christmas, people’s plans, etc. Tonight my mom took my brother, and cousin and me out to get coffee and drive around to look at Christmas lights. We were listening to Christmas music on the radio and I mentioned that I generally find the secular Christmas songs annoying, but the religious songs I’m alright with. Some of them I’m just indifferent to, but others I really do enjoy. My brother suggested that it was the performance and not the subject matter that effected how much I liked certain songs. I thought about it, and I think he’s right.

Driving around to look at Christmas lights is a tradition for us. Oddly, there weren’t too many decorations this year. There were a few really decorative houses, but most houses were simple or not decorated at all. We had a good time anyway. “The Little Drummer Boy” came on the radio, and my brother said, “I can’t take this song seriously. It sounds like they’re saying ‘rub a bum bum.'” We had a good laugh about that.

A lot of posts I’ve been reading have been rather melancholy. It’s been affecting me a little, to be honest. Christmas should be a happy time. For Christians it is a celebration of the birth of our savior. For most people it is a time to celebrate life and generosity and to get together with family. I believe that Jesus is the savior of all, and I know he would want everyone to be happy at this time of year. I know it can be hard when everyone is dealing with stress and work and school, not to mention any other issues, but I just hope and pray that you would all try to find a reason to be happy this Christmas; to celebrate the Lord’s birth or just to celebrate life and joy and goodness.

Because in my world guinea pigs can fly!