Warmed German mull wine, Christmas tunes on Pandora, and all three of my furry critters curled up around me on the bed....can life get much better in this moment?
On my bedside table is my half-read copy of Love Does by Bob Goff, which is amazing to say the least and an incredibly easy read. Bob does a great job of explaining and showing what the love of God is supposed to be about and he's hilarious as well...
One of the big items I'm working on lately has to do with getting my spiritual house in order a bit more and the local Christian book store hooked me up with five pretty awesome reads for a great deal. I'm also starting to yearn for a group of spiritual women to be connected too, so that actually might become a goal for this next year...is to truly embed myself in a church somewhere where I'm willing to truly invest and be committed.
There are assignments to grade and a homework assignment to complete, but really I've been focusing on just allowing the last two days to flow without stressing about everything else that "needs" to be done. It will all get done in time....and the last two days have just reminded me of how awesome it will be to have Christmas break arrive. I'm down to two more weeks of my teaching term and three more weeks of being a student...woohoo. :) (Somehow I did agree to teach five sections of the same course next term with one of the sections also being a Saturday class....but we'll worry about prepping for those in a few weeks...)
Yesterday was a really wonderful Thanksgiving. This year it was hosted at a different aunt's house and 21 of us were able to be together. We had a great time chit chatting with each other, stuffing ourselves with some incredible eats (my cousin makes the most amazing gluten-free pumpkin bars, the sweet potatoes are so delish, and my brother's pumpkin bread was out of this world too....LOVE left overs!), and just relaxing together in my aunt's newly remodeled kitchen. It was truly a great time together. I had gone for an easy jog with the dogs mid-morning before baking an apple pie using Granny's recipe and fixing a pear, yellow tomato, and feta green salad. After getting home from my aunt's I finally fixed a few things around the house I'd been putting off, took care of all of my laundry, and finally also cleaned out my "work" closet in the hallway. Sometimes it just feels so good to take care of a host of things, purge, and organize. Stuff is back to hanging where it should, life feels less cluttered, the sheets are clean, etc etc. Ironically I ended up suffering a bout of stomach flu about the time I wanted to go to bed, but still, all things considered Thanksgiving was a pretty awesome day.
This morning I let myself sleep in and then I was pleasantly surprised that my skin looked the best it's looked in a week. If it takes stomach flu to make my skin look perky and cleared up, then I'll take it...jk...I won't...really. :) But I was pretty stoked to feel fine this morning! A cup of coffee and after throwing on my favorite go-to outfit of late (long tunic/sweatershirt, long sweater, leggings, tall boots), I headed out to do the dreaded thing I usually swear I'll never do....yep, I (the usual anti-consumer queen) went out to shop on Black Friday. And truthfully it was...well, worth it. The main reason included a drive downtown to the Columbia Sportswear store. I'd researched a couple options for a new winter coat and wanted to try them on. I was pleasantly surprised again when there was no traffic on the highway and the store had more employees than shoppers--it was great! Parking was a breeze, shopping was a breeze, and I walked out with an awesome new 3in1 winter coat AND a good deal on their waterproof pants. (My last three hikes have literally left me without an inch of dry skin on my body due to monumental rains...so a new winter outdoor coat was a must as we head into snowshoe and winter hiking season...) The one I got is this one. and it should be good for all conditions. If I don't want to wear the down coat liner, then I can use a black fleece I have instead. From there I stopped by Freddies to pick up a couple Christmas gifts and to hit the sock sale before it ended (four new pairs of wool socks for less than $20...I'll take them!). I ended the 2.5 hour shopping excursion with the true opening of the holiday season: a stop by Burgerville to pick up a peppermint milkshake. Altogether I felt like I'd taken myself on the most amazing date--it was a great morning and early afternoon.
I spent the rest of the day delivering bags of kiwis to the various neighbors--meeting some of them for the first time in the almost four years that I've lived here! It was really nice to finally get to say hello to some of them and they were all so glad to receive the kiwis. :) I talked to my sister, my brother, and my mom on the phone today...even though I just saw all of them yesterday :) I replaced and rigged the outside faucet covers since we're heading toward another cold spell (the chickens apparently think they are the coolest things to peck at...so we needed two new ones and a way to block them so the chickens can't get to them). I chatted with my housemate and her fiance, loved on the dogs, finally caught up on blogs, and really just appreciated the downtime that the holiday has granted.
I have all the rest of my Christmas gifts mapped out in my mind so I only need to pick up a couple of more items...everything pretty simple and low key for my various family members. I'm thinking this year I'm going to get a small tree and keep decorations around the house to a minimum, especially since I'm thinking I'll be spending most of Christmas week down at my parents. Other plans for the break include hopefully getting down to Ashland to visit a buddy of mine who will be home for the holidays and then relaxing, snowshoeing, and hiking as my heart generally pleases...and helping my parents finish their interior home changes too.
Tomorrow holds lunch at my cousin's to get to see her apartment and then a 10-12 miler with my gal for our pre-half training. On Sunday three acquaintances and I are running in the Ugly Sweater Run in downtown and I just picked up the sweaters today from my aunt. I'm pretty excited and hope it will be an enjoyable event! Sunday afternoon I'm meeting up with another one of my favorite gals for lunch or coffee. So altogether it will have been a great weekend....and a nice respite as we head into the final haul of the last bit of dual term. Three more weeks and dual term will be no more! ;)
Hope everyone had a wonderful and relaxing Thanksgiving! I love this holiday and I hope you had a great one too :)