Friday, December 31, 2010

Helloooo Resolutions

Well, it's that time of year again. Time for new year's resolutions. 2011. The year to make a change. It IS a new decade. The BEST decade of our lives...?  Sure, why not?

So "resolutions" of 2011... here they are:
Expect God to do something DAILY.
Divine appointments
         They'll happen. I just need the vision to see them.
Constant "aliveness." Be attentive in every moment. What I value deserves my full attention.
Do everything. This is pretty much the only time in my life when I can do all the random, fun things I want to. So I'm going to do them. Live.
Love life... As I'm living it. Be in the moment.
Love. More than possible. Everyone. The lovable. The unlovable.
Be grateful. Really grateful. For everything I have. Don't let the THINGS I don't have overshadow the things I do.
Care less about the things. Care more about people.
I won't worry about the "tomorrow" because I'll be loving the "today".

I should probably add "get in shape" and "study more" etc. to the list, but these things seem to have so much more value...

I got this phrase on a sign for a Christmas gift. Man, do I love it! It might be my 2011 motto:

The purpose of life is to be useful, to be responsible, to be compassionate. It is, above all, to matter, to count, to stand for something, to have made some difference.

Here's to making 2011 the best year/decade ever.

Tomorrow=1/1/11 Startin' off great already!

2010: At the end

I love the news. Seriously. Love it. I watch it on TV (anytime I can- noon, Live at Five at Four, the five o'clock news, ten, eleven- love it all), read it online, follow it on twitter, and talk about it with anyone who pays attention to it too. (Which is pretty hard to find sometimes- a lot of times being in college is like being in a bubble where the outside world doesn't really exist). Anyway, in honor of twentyten ending the day after tomorrow, I thought I'd reflect back on the big news stories of the year. Because who doesn't love the news?! Plus, it's crazy to remember everything that has happened in just a year. And I think it will be cool to look back later. So, in no particular order here we go.

Earthquake in Haiti
Sea World employee got drowned by the whale. What a way to go.
Bama won Championship (gag) and so did Duke (gag again)
But UT men basketball made it to the Elite 8!- and we went to St. Louis to watch
New Orleans won Super Bowl- Yay for Drew, but I was cheering for our boy Peyton
iPad invented- A giant iPhone that doesn't make calls- just kidding, I love Apple
The Olympics!- big time distraction from studying! And remember the bobsledder that died... And USA vs Canada hockey. So close.
The World Cup- good thing that was during summer. The summer I re-fell in love with soccer players. Gooooooooal!
Tiger Woods... I guess really this was the end of '09, but most of the confession/ apologizing was during 2010
LOST ended :( Forever. Good thing they make all the seasons of DVD. Maybe I'll finally figure it out this time.
Full body scans in airports. So much for privacy, but who really cares?
Lane Kiffin leaves UT. Can you say riots?
Volcano erupts in Iceland- Eyjafjallajokull... clearly someone just closed their eyes and banged on the keyboard to come up with this name. Clearly.
Bill is elected govenor! Yayyyyy!
Oil spill...
Bruce Pearl cheated... and lied. 
Longest tennis match EVER. Literally. Side note: I know someone who knows someone who knows the winner. Or something like that :)
Teacher shot principal and assistant principal at Inskip
Toy Story 3. The end. I've literally grown up with Andy. We've been the same age through it all. I was five when it all started. Now it's overrrrrrr.
Chilean miners trapped... And rescued!
And the Vols became the only team to have won two games and have them taken away, ending in losses. Good gravy.

Twenty ten. Thanks for being a great year.
Here's to hoping twenty eleven is equally as memorable!

Wednesday, December 29, 2010

Merry Christmas and Happy Holidays

Thanking N'Sync for the throwback title of the day.

Christmas was wonderful. We went to "Simple Christmas" on Christmas eve at NorthStar. The longer I go to that church, the more I love it. I loved having my whole family there. We're rarely all together, just the six of us. Now that I think about it, we weren't really with just the six of us, but at least we were all there sitting together. (Even if it was the very back row. Although, they did have to pull up lots more chairs because apparently they underestimated how many people were going to show up, definitely a good thing though!) After church we went to Grandmom's with the Baines and Rymers. As always. I love traditions. Love them. Drew, Court, Charlie, and me got put in the basement to eat dinner. We're too old to sit with the baby cousins, but too young to have the honor of sitting at the "adult" table. We always contemplate when we'll make the jump into the fancy dining room. I can picture the four of us years from now, all sitting at the poker table in the basement with our husbands and wives. That'll be a sight. We had steak for dinner. Keep buying those Topsy Turvy plants folks :) It really was delicious. The "babies" seperate the presents out into piles for everyone. The tradition has been past down from the four of us to the babies. And they're rockin' at it. The night was so fun. I laughed a lot. My family is so dysfunctional. The first significant other any of us brings to Christmas Eve has gotta be the one. We're dysfunctional in a completely lovable, hilarious way.

My "big present" was a new phone. A pleasant surprise. Hello world, I'm finally caught up with the rest of y'all with this "smart phone." But really, I like it a lot. It's more than a couple steps up from the third hand-me-down phone I had. The food we eat on Christmas day is delicious. I l-o-v-e breakfast food. So much. And I love that we put in a movie after we eat, lay down on all over the couches and chairs, and fall asleep. Another great tradition.
Maybe the most special treat about Christmas, it was a WHITE Christmas. It snowed all day, but didn't really accumulate that much until later that night. In my opinion it still most definitely counts as a white Christmas. We've gotten way more snow this year than we ever do. It makes me super pumped for the rest of winter (Since it has to be winter, I might as well embrace it).

Natalie and Addie aka mini Courtney and me

I'll go ahead and speak for Drew and say we're his favorite girls

We loveeeee the Tar Heels (should make the bowl game interesting)

The King sisters in their matching P.J.s. There's about fifty more of these. But I'll spare you :)

Sam. Matching pajamas with Add. No words.

All the cousins.

"Sleeping" on the couch, waiting for Santa.

Hope everyone had an equally Merry Christmas!

Friday, December 24, 2010

The Greatest Story Ever Told

Isn't it amazing that this story, the one that Christmastime revolves around, literally IS the greatest story ever told?!

Talk about the things we do for love.
What about what GOD does for love? Wow.

I'm not sure, but I think maybe this is the first year I might actually get it. Really, I pray I don't miss it all... again. Maybe it's because this is the first year I haven't had a big dream for a Christmas gift... for myself. I DO have a dream (but I'm not sharing it on here... yet. My biggest fear is that it'll become about me. And that is not at all what I want. Plus, I'm still gathering my thoughts. The vision is not clear in my head yet. It's still just an idea. A thought really. One that's growing.) Anyway, it might be because I realize my parents can't really afford it. Four kids with two in college empties bank accounts quickly. Either way, it's really REALLY not about the gifts anyway. Even if I had someone who could buy me every single thing I wanted, it wouldn't satisfy. Really. EveryTHING leaves you feeling empty again. 

So, this season, today, tomorrow, don't miss it, friends.

Jesus's birthday. The beginning of his life. The life that changed everything. Forever.
There are so many parts of the Christmas story I absolutely love. Mary saying "yes," Joseph's commitment to her, Zechariah and Elizabeth and baby John, the inn, the manger, the shepherds, the star....
The earth had a Divine longing, God provided Divine fulfillment. And now we have eternal security. What a blessing brought in a tiny baby.

Happy birthday to the baby boy who saved our lives.

I have loved hanging out with my family the past few days. They have made me laugh out loud so much. Especially my seester. When did she get so funny?! I want to type out all the funny things she's done, but I feel like they'd all end with "you had to be there." I love being with the fab four (and the 'rents too of course). And my family treats me like the rest of the world does- makes LIES up out of the blue to tell me (which of course I ALWAYS believe), and confesses later with, "Gosh, Chelcie, you're SO gullible." They think it's hilarious. Especially when they're all in on it. Welcome to my life. 

I'm dreaming of a white Christmas, by the way. Snow is in the forecast for Knox! If it snows tomorrow I do believe it will be the first ever white Christmas I can remember. It will be magical, I'm 100% sure.

The Fab Four on Christmas Eve

Have a VERY merry Christmas everyone!

6 For to us a child is born,
   to us a son is given,
   and the government will be on his shoulders.
And he will be called
   Wonderful Counselor, Mighty God,
   Everlasting Father, Prince of Peace. 
Isaiah 9:6

Wednesday, December 22, 2010

We're gonna have a Merry Christmas, Baby

This break has been crazy. Crazy good. That kind of crazy. Full of lots (and I mean LOTS) of movies, friends, games, food, music, lights, and Christmas everything. I've been staying up too late and getting up too early. I guess maybe I've been too busy "going" to sit down and blog. So I think I might just let some pictures do the talking for today.
Food pic number one. Pizza making. Complete with aprons, of course.

These pictures are of our "go" faces. Definitely not explaining it on the blog, but everyone can thank Jessie for these.

Christmas tree decorating time at Red Saile. We're finally fully in the spirit.
I wonder what our landlord would think of this.

Either way, lovin' these retro lights. Lovin' her too.

Our faces while watching a boy sit on the edge of the roof. Clearly we're concerned.

Beautiful, classy Christmas decorations

Game night:

Some of the boys (and a special appearance)

Team domination aka The girls

Pie Party Night:

We like each other. And we like pie.

Posing for pictures plus mouths full of food equals the half smile faces Jenn and I are demonstrating.

Winners of pie awards

We're trying to figure out how to photo shop Laura and Soap in for a Red Saile Christmas card.

Oh Christmas tree, oh Christmas tree. Lookin' a little sparse, but still oh so lovely.
Wow. Lots of pictures. Christmas break has been so good to us.

Tuesday, December 14, 2010

I heart snow days

We have a little baby snowman friend in our freezer right now. Wanna know why?? Because it snoweddddd! That's right people. Snow in good ole K-town! It was b-e-a-utiful! Knox County has even been out the past two days. Not saying that it necessarily takes a lot for that to happen, but nonetheless, no school for the kiddies!
It is 18 degrees outside right now. And it has been so cold like this for way to long. While we were running to the basketball game one of my friends yelled out, "It's SO cold! Why the heck would anyone ever want to move to the north?!" And you know what, I have to agree with him. If we didn't have snow I'd be absolutely miserable. Here's a little visual of our snow days. Full of yummy food eating, midnight sledding, snow angel making, good friends hanging, happy snow walking, mistle-toe kissing, Christmas song singing, big blanket snuggling, freezing cold ice skating, cozy hat/scarf/glove wearing, classic movie watching, homemade snow flake making, and smart game playing.
Hello snow day(s) twenty-ten.

Hating finals meets boredom meets Christmas spirit. What do ya get? A room full of old notes turned into snowflakes. Yes.

My favorite mistletoe kiss

Puppy chow? Yes please.

Bananagrams always make me feel really smart. (Especially when playing with these jokesters- kidding... kinda)

Self-timer is my fav. Especially on the mailbox.

These two are two of my favies.

So I'm a smoker, whatcha gonna do?! (Don't worry, Mom, it's just an icicle)
We used every letter in the game to make a giant, victorious board. Everyone wins this way!

Free ice skating- a good thing. An inflatable penguin- a good thing. Below freezing temperatures- DISGUSTING!

My personal sled-pusher.

We l-o-v-e midnight sledding!

It's much more fun when we get to sled together!

Just call me profesh snowboarder.

Snow angel. What a perfect ending to a great snowy day.


Monday, December 13, 2010

Best weekend ever round 2

I fooled everyone into thinking I was gonna blog pronto after finals were over and then waited FOUR days. But, I am back! And goodness I have a lot to catch up on.

Okay, the best weekend ever. Here it is.

My roommate for life
1. Christmas leadership: good food, good people, good speaker, good music (at least it made me and Jenn giggle), good times.

Knoxville YoungLife is such a blessing.

I honestly don't remember the speaker last year, but this year was so great. He was a YoungLife leader's dad, and gave us such an encouraging message. My favorite part was... a lot of it. I kinda wish it was on podcast. Weird? Probably. But I did love that he talked about the passage out of Luke 1 about Zechariah and his wife Elizabeth. Specifically, I loved the part where he told us about Zechariah getting drawn from a lot to get to go into the temple of the Lord and burn incense. He was randomly chosen out of thousands of men.
Claire. Love her. So much.
The chances of him actually getting selected were so so slim... but he was. The speaker of Friday night reminded us not to think that this Christmas season can hold significant life change and new realizations for everyone... but us. Even me, my own life, can be drawn out of the sea of others and be radically transformed during this Christmas season. What a great reminder not to doubt God moving in my own life. So, friends, being encouraged. God is big enough to radically change your life this Christmas season. Watch and wait.
There were so many thing I loved that he said. I really wish I could remember them all. If I do later I'll add 'em in.

#2 super significant highlight of the past weekend was the formal at the 1505. Goodness what an great time it was! Best Christmas formal I've been to. Ever.

They say a picture's worth a thousand words, right? 
Forget the words, here's the pics.

The dress. Has pockets. Love.

Because who DOESN'T go to Gatti's before a formal?!

And here we are, folks. Lookin' good.

The dress. The pockets. Okay, I'm done now. Maybe.

I'm still working on my serious face. Maybe I'll nail it next year...

Helloooo dancing. And snow. Jamie and I like to open our mouths really wide when we see packing peanuts falling from the ceiling

The best date at the formal. Seriously.

These pictures really don't do it justice, but maybe you can get a tiny glimpse of how much fun we all had. Formal at the 1505? Big, wonderful, laughing, dancing, mistletoe kissing (kidding- kinda), so-much-fun-all-night-long check off the list.

I was just thinking, these are the days I'll remember. Live it.
Side note: As I was typing this I originally meant to type "love" it instead "live" it, but live seems to fit pretty well, so it stayed.