The Thursday before Christmas list...

1. The gifts are wrapped, parties have been attended, lights viewed, movies watched, and music played. Laundry is done (as much as it ever is). The suitcases still need to be packed, but there's time for that.

2. I have a bit of a scratchy throat and runny nose situation today. I'm currently blaming it on the wet leaves and pine needles covering our backyard (where I spent an hour or so yesterday afternoon), but whatever it is, that plus too many late nights is making me brain dead today.

3. I've discovered a quite enjoyable new fantasy series through the book reviews that I'm getting paid to do. The first is called In the Darkness Visible, by Ted Niall. I've read the first two and really enjoyed them. They're quick, action-filled reads, with compelling characters. Like I said, I got paid to review them, but I genuinely did like the first two in the series.

4. A podcast I listen to occasionally called The Art of Simple has had a mini series recently called "What's Saving My Life." The co-hosts basically talked about simple, everyday things making life just a little better or more manageable. Things from a great pair of jeans to good t.v. shows during a family illness, to a new haircut to everyday smoothies. It's been a fun reminder that sometimes the simplest pleasures are the sweetest.

5. I recently watched the 2007 BBC adaptation of Jane Austen's Persuasion (thanks to the loan from my pal Stephanie!), and oh my word, it is amazing. Persuasion is my favorite Jane Austen novel and, in my opinion, the most heartbreakingly romantic. This adaptation wasn't very long -- of course, it's the shortest of Austen's work as well -- but I thought they did an excellent job of condensing the story and portraying the heart and soul. And the actors! I was captivated. Like all of Austen's work Persuasion is nuanced and subtle, and it takes skill to bring out passion and life and depth in the story, which the actors did very well.

I hope the next week or so is full of peace and joy and comfort. For some it's a season of fun and happiness, for others this holiday can be kind of intense and tinged with sadness. I pray that your days are full of of exactly what you need.

"Mountains would have bowed down. Seas would have roared. Trees would have clapped their hands. But the earth held its breath. As silent as snow falling, he came in. And when no one was looking, in the darkness, he came."

- from The Jesus Storybook Bible, Sally Loyd-Jones, quote adapted from Luke 1-2