Wednesday, December 29, 2010

New

The cold that arrived in Georgia on Christmas totally whitewashed my little town with its snowy presence.

I loved it.  Granted, I only enjoyed it for about an hour or two (I'm a summer girl, you see), but I loved it nonetheless.

I love that the snow somehow represents newness.  And at the juncture of a new year, there's something becoming about the end of old things in fall and winter, and the birth of new things that seep into winter's cold, harsh months.  The snow seemed to wash everything clean - and I think anyone can identify with a need to sate, renew, and clean parts of one's life.

I guess that's what makes New Year's Day so interesting and bittersweet.

I have a few New Year's resolutions.  They're pretty basic - echoed by many - and not really worth mentioning.  It's the same old stuff - be nicer, be more active, be this --- do that.

But more than good intentions, I always cling to spring's promise in the midst of bitter cold.  I'm so thankful I serve a God who chose to recycle and renew me - and that He continues to do so in spite of my failures.  I'm failure on my own.

I'm so thankful for new. So thankful for its presence, its promise, and its hope.

Here's to 2011, my friends...

Sunday, December 26, 2010

White Christmas in Georgia

We had a great Christmas.

Amelia's favorite gift was from God.  She loved the snow.


Our house in the snow.
My new favorite picture of Jerm and Amelia.
Amelia got way too much for Christmas - most of it was from her grandparents.  I think she enjoyed being around her family, getting her toys, and eating lots of unhealthy food.  She's having trouble with her top molars and hasn't slept well lately, but this Christmas night she slept for 12 straight hours without a peep.  She was exhausted!

She was a lot of fun this Christmas.  She's such a little blessing.

Thursday, December 23, 2010

Worst Christmas Songs....EVER

Over the holiday season, Americans are bombarded by an endless barrage of Christmas music.

Some of the Christmas music is good.  Some of it is great.  Some of it...well, some of it is terrible.

Here is my personal list of the worst Christmas songs (ever), as well as my reasoning for why they belong on this list.

1)  "Merry Christmas, Darling."  The Carpenters sing this little ditty.  The previous sentence alone should warrant the sheer atrociousness of this song, but it's the lyrics, simply oozing with smut and sappiness, that make this one a stinker.  The line, "logs on the fire/fill me with desire" is enough to make me want to go to the Macy's Great Tree...and jump off of the top of it.  It's a horrific song.  Simply appalling.  Here's the YouTube link ...listen if you dare....http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=RSHevB1QZOM

2)  "The Christmas Shoes" has got to be one of the most depressing Christmas songs ever.  For some reason, middle-school age children love "The Christmas Shoes."  I wish they didn't - I hate listening to this song.  The story of a little boy too poor to buy shoes for his dying mother is sad, but more than that, it's cloyingly sad, like the writers of the song want to make you cry.  It's almost an artificial sad - I know there is no boy who went through this.  I know this isn't real. I know this was made up to make the world cry.  And yet, I find myself listening to this song and tearing up - they get to me, dang it!  They get to me!

3) "Baby, It's Cold Outside."  Yes, you read that correctly.  Have you ever listened to the words to this song?  I used to think it was just about a man who persuaded his date to stay in because it was so cold.  But ohhhhh, no.  Listen a little closer.  There's a lyric in there where he offers his date a drink, and the date accepts the drink.  A few stanzas later, she says, "Say, what's in this drink?"  I mean, maybe I've just been through Rape Response too many times, but this song sure does sound like it's about date rape.  I think he slipped her a Rufie.  Okay, maybe not.  But it's still a creepy song about a man getting his date drunk so she'll stay with him.  And that, my friends, has nothing to do with Christmas.
 
4) "Dominic the Donkey."  Have you ever heard this little gem?  No?  Be glad.  XM Radio's Christmas stations this year have been absolutely terrible.  The "Holiday Traditions" station constantly plays this song.  Apparently, someone paid XM to play this song every thirty minutes.  The song is about Dominic, the Italian Christmas donkey.  Throughout the song, you hear Dominic go "hee-haw, hee-haw!"  I mean, it's bad.  It might be the worst Christmas song ever.  http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Ok5rOO2v2dU.

5) Madonna's version of "Santa Baby" is simply evil.  Have you heard this?  Is she trying to sound like Betty Boop?  I like how Madonna constantly turns herself into other people.  Right now, she's British (snicker), but for this song, she sounds like a Jersey Girl gone horribly wrong.  It doesn't even sound like her.  Terrible.  Just terrible.  http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=5ycWObpi73Y&feature=player_embedded#!


6)  Nothing says "Christmas" quite like Run-DMC.  Right?  Ugh.  Their "Christmas in Hollis" is another song that XM Radio plays all of the time.  I always change the channel every time this song comes on.  I don't have a problem with Run-DMC necessarily, and I don't have a problem with hip-hop, but this song is just all sorts of wrong, filled with bad rhymes (It's Christmas time in Hollis, Queens/Mom's cookin' chicken and collard greens") and an odd, not-so-catchy beat.

7) I loathe "Where Are You, Christmas?" from the Grinch soundtrack.  The Jim Carrey version of the Grinch Who Stole Christmas just doesn't hold its weight next to the old, animated classic.  Not only that, but Faith Hill delivers us a stink-bomb of a song about Christmas - talking about it like it's a person.  I have no value for a song that equates Christmas to a persona and a feeling - and not to any kind of religious celebration.  This song literally makes me angry.  It's a song that just takes the over-commercialization and sappiness of Christmas way, way too far.


There we go, there's my list.  If you notice, "Grandma Got Run Over by a Reindeer" isn't on it.  That's because it is Grammy-worthy next to this list of truly cringe-worthy songs.  And that, quite frankly, should tell you a whole lot about how I feel about the songs on this list.

Friday, December 10, 2010

Letter from a Cynic

Dear Santa,

I don't particularly like you.

It's really not your fault.  My mother equated you with evil when I was a child.  She told me Christmas wasn't about you (and let's be honest, she had a point), that it was about Jesus.

I never sat on your lap, had my picture made with you, or left you cookies. So, I realize that you and I don't really have the kind of relationship that warrants a letter like this.  A friend at school, however, is giving letters to Santa for the Make-A-Wish Foundation (through Macy's), and I would like to help her out.

An 8th grade teacher like me could ask for a lot for Christmas.  I could ask for quieter children, students who are more apt to learn, for immaturity to vanish when students return in January.  This list could be quite long.

Instead, I'd like to ask for something else.

I'd like to ask for people to open their eyes.

I've heard of a blue (blue, blue, blue) Christmas.  But what I'm having is a Green Christmas.  I'm feeling totally jaded this year.

See, Santa, as I get older, I realize that Christmas isn't all cocoa and tinsel - lights and stardust.  Christmas isn't about what you receive.  This Christmas, more than ever, I realize that people are hurting.  People around me lost loved ones, went through the terrible pain of divorce, lost their home and everything they had.  Children at my school made Christmas lists with "mechanical pencils" and "toothbrushes" scrawled on them in their tiny, handwritten letters.

My heart aches for them.

Christmas is so much more than that sweater my grandmother won't wear (that I spent forty dollars on).  Christmas is so much more than that box of useless sausage and cheese.  Christmas is more than the Xboxes, iPads and iPods we desire.  Christmas is supposed to celebrate the birth of Jesus.  And whether you are a Christian or not, Santa, I think you should know that Jesus lived a life focused on helping others.

Helping the sick.  Helping the poor.  Helping the needy.

The over -commercialization and the vapid consumerism of Christmas gets to me.  I watched a video on YouTube called Advent Conspiracy.  Ever heard of it?  Americans spend so much money on Christmas - over 400 billion - that we could pay for the world's water crisis ten times over.  People want to change a picture on Facebook, but they don't want to give money to kids who have been abused.  People feel somewhat empathetic for the poor people, but just walk on by the Salvation Army kettle because they have to save up for their child's iPad.  So many children wake up on Christmas morning to an explosion of gifts, while other children around the planet just want to wake up to clean water.

See what I mean?  This parallel giving isn't the kind of stuff that Christmas is supposed to be made of.  We've gotta be intentional and perpendicular in our giving.

And I'm guilty of it, too.  Did you see my blog post on the camera?  Yeah, put me on your naughty list.

So, my prayer this Christmas is that people will start to open their eyes a little bit to the world around them and give intentionally and relationally to those who need a true gift of compassion.

Santa, I'm thinking maybe you could help spread the word.

Sincerely,

Dana Cain Farr

Wednesday, December 8, 2010

Dear Snuggie, I love You

The Snuggie is, quite possibly, the dumbest invention ever.

Until you put one on.

Then, you realize what a true gift the Snuggie is.  It's more than a blanket with sleeves.  It keeps you warm.

The recent cold snap in Georgia has been and is insane.  Highs in the 30s and lows in the 20s and teens is not the kind of weather that makes a southern girl like me happy.  Monday, the high is supposed to be 27.  Can you believe that forecast?!  TWENTY-SEVEN DEGREES.  In GEOR-GUH.  I'm personally used to a 60-degree Christmas...and that's perfectly fine with me.

Cold weather + dumb, cold Georgia girl = a need for a Snuggie.

Snuggies have their disadvantages.  Sure, they need belts.  Sure, they attract pet hair.  Sure, they are waaaaaaay too long for the vertically challenged.  Sure, they create enough static to set one's house on fire.  Sure, they make you look like a really dumb Jedi-esque reject from DragonCon.


But, other than that, Snuggies are awesome.  You can turn the tv without getting your arm cold.  You can read a book without getting your arm cold (and read a book with that nifty book light that came with the first sets of Snuggies).   You can put a small box of Cheerios in the huge pocket in the front of your Snuggie and snack while on Facebook.  You can walk around the house - all without getting cold!  The Snuggie is a revelation, I tell you!  A revelation!

Not only that, but you can make aesthetically-pleasing choices regarding your Snuggie.  Does red wash you out?  Then try a blue, cloud-filled, designer Snuggie.  Want to talk a walk on the wild side?  Buy a leopard Snuggie.  Want to support your favorite college team?  Buy a Snuggie with your favorite team's logo emblazoned on it! If you just want to keep things simple, Snuggies are available in solid colors as well.  How can you honestly go wrong with a Snuggie?

I think the Fashion Police needs to issue a statement that assures all southerners that it is okay to wear Snuggies in public - just until the cold snap passes.  I mean, this is a temporary Snuggie-induced emergency, people!  I need my Snuggie!

Maybe I can wear one to work and scare all of the kids...?


Oh, wait.  I did that... 

(By the way, Snuggies are on sale at Kroger with your Kroger Plus Card right now - five dollars off!  It's the gift worth giving, I tell ya!)