• appreciate + need •

Hey, you!

Christmas is a week away (what). Cue the shopping hysteria + “great” deals. You can find me at my kitchen table within the walls of my house and avoiding the chaos.

The other day (night?), I spent the night on a boat (a boat). It was a blast! Boats are just really neat okay. They’re created to maximize and utilize every space which is the bomb diggity. I’m all about keeping it neat, clean, and efficient.

Anyway, while we were there, my friends and I played a game called Therapy. We basically got every question right simply because we’ve known each other for longer than we can remember. But one came up that I didn’t think too much of at the time, but, after mulling it over, realized it was more than just a question to help get to know your friends.

My friends had to guess how materialistic I thought I was. They guessed somewhere around a 6 (on a rating scale of 1 – 10).

But after a bit of discussion, we realized that, more than needing the things I had, I appreciated the things I own. I have to earn my money, save 45% of it, and give 10% to church. So it takes me a long time to get the amount of money I need for whatever I want to spend it on; and it also makes me think really hard about what it is I’m buying before I even take out my wallet. As a result, I appreciate the things I have more than most and I take care of the things I have.

My friends and I, at first thought, misunderstood the question + my attitude toward things.

This can be applied to the Christmas season, to gift-giving, to gift-getting.

So much of my dislike for the Christmas season comes from people confusing feeling entitled and being blessed to have the things they already own. It’s a stressful time because people feel that, without a gift, Christmas is left meaningless + considered a failed holiday.

But, really, this is a huge holiday. Do we want to drag it down to such a low degree that we make it nothing without stuff, stress, and drama? What does that say about us? How shallow are we?

• appreciate + need •

Christmas is a time for reflection; it’s not a time for freaking out because you can’t get your mom some more stuff. That’s not love. Prove your love through your actions like Christ did; like He does. And don’t limit it to once a year; that only makes it a chore.

Merry Christmas.

Rana || xoxo

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• holidays irk me + here’s why •

Hello, my darlings!

Finals season is here, stress cakes are the main diet, sleep deprivation is the lifestyle… Oh, and Merry Christmas! Here’s a smile which I only deign to grace my features once per year; and while I’m smiling, let me be financially generous as well. Here’s a dime. Go buy yourself something nice.

Wow! Aren’t you just overwhelmed with the holiday spirit?

The holidays are the most depressing time of year for me because:

  • it’s not about family
  • it’s not about friends
  • it’s not about giving
  • it’s not about being thankful
  • it’s not about being joyful
  • it’s not about smiling at strangers
  • it’s not about singing obnoxious songs about jingling bells
  • oh and don’t say Merry Christmas – you might offend someone

The entire year is about these things. Okay, so the holidays give you an excuse to get together with friends and family. Great. But it’s not about them.

Holidays give you an excuse to give, be thankful, laugh a little more. Wonderful. But we should do these anyway. Every day ought to be a day of thanksgiving. To limit it to once a year is ridiculous and yet this is what people do. Giving, laughter, and being happy for no reason shouldn’t be limited to the 12 days of Christmas. Oh. Excuse me. “12 Days of the Snow + Fuzzy Socks Holiday” or whatever people call it nowadays.

I can’t say “Merry Christmas”? Is that really so offensive? That is a joyful phrase and it’s offensive but calling your girlfriend a b—- is not? I should get angry with you for saying the former but laugh at the latter?

That’s messed up.

Merry Christmas.

Merry flipping Christmas,
you filthy animal.

Q. So, Rana, now that you’ve depressed + offended us all, what is the holiday season about?’

A. Reflection.

In my humble opinion, the holiday season is about reflection. It’s about reflecting upon our Savior’s birth – the time He became one of us so He could free + love us for eternity.

It’s about reflecting on how we spent our year; did we make the right decisions? Did we love? Did we forgive? What should we work on to make ourselves a better person next year? Who do we want to be + what changes ought we to make to become that person?

But this makes us uncomfortable. We often fall short of who we want to be. We disappoint ourselves. We make mistakes. And we don’t want to think about or face that reality.

So we buy things, smile, sing songs, drink hot chocolate, wear fuzzy socks, and pretend it’s all good.

We need to stop ignoring the obvious. I think, then, we will actually be as joyful as we like to think we are during this time.

Peace + blessings,

Rana || xoxo

Merry Christmas Message

Hello, darling and Merry Christmas!

I just want to say thank you. You are truly amazing and a wonderful gift to me. I have not much to give in return except my thoughts (for now). Thank you for listening. Thank you for encouraging me, loving me, supporting me.

I realize that this is not the most interesting blog to follow as I cannot respond to most comments; therefore, it’s not as interactive as the plethora of other blogs out there. But those of you who “like” and “follow” mean so much more. Your gift of time, I realize, is not merely a “you’re a friend, so I have to read what you write” sort of thing. The fact that you freely and willingly take the time to read what I have to say and then decide that it’s worthy of waiting to see what else I come up with means the world.

So, thank you, love. Thank you and Merry Christmas.

Bilbo

EPSON MFP image

kaleidoscope

Thrandykins

Can you tell I made it to The Hobbit: The Battle of Five Armies? 😉 If you haven’t, I highly recommend it!

 

God bless!

Rana

P.S.

Writers, stay tuned! I have a late Christmas gift for you coming (hopefully) early next year.

A Pessimist’s Take On The Holidays

Hello, lovely!

I have a question: What does Christmas mean to you and how do you feel during the holiday season?

While you’re thinking about that, let me go off on a little tangent and answer that myself.

What does Christmas mean to you?

We’d all like to say that the meaning of Christmas is about:

  • the birth of Jesus (if you’re Christian)
  • being with family
  • giving
  • being kinder to people

But none of that is really true to the fullest extent, is it? Nah. No. A more honest answer would be:

  • trying to get through the anxiety of finding stuff for people at the last minute
  • struggling through the already-obnoxious Christmas music
  • impatiently waiting to figure out what people got us
  • wondering why the heck we signed up to help with all those Christmas-themed happenings

The mentality, of course, should be more along the lines of the first list, but if we look at it through the lenses of reality, that’s not really what the holiday season is about as we celebrate it.

  • Thanksgiving is about the food. Without the foot, we probably wouldn’t look forward to Thanksgiving.holidays
  • Christmas is about the gifts. Without the presents, we probably wouldn’t look forward to Christmas.

New Years is about getting dressed up, partying ’till the morning, and setting unrealistic expectations for ourselves. Without the traditions, we probably wouldn’t celebrate anything.

Thanksgiving should be about reminding ourselves of where we came from and remembering what the kindness (of people who were not like us) did. Without them, many of us probably wouldn’t be alive today.

Christmas is about Jesus; remembering what He did for us – humbling Himself to be like us in everything but sin to save our pathetic lives. He cried, He got hungry, He felt pain, He knew heartache on a more massive scale than we can imagine. Christmas is when we remember what He did for us and we should humble ourselves.

I heard from a mom that her daughter’s school play was going over every other religion’s meaning for Christmas except the Christian one. Like, what? You afraid to offend someone by including the reason for the season? Well, I’m offended by your not doing so. I’m totally cool with you including other religious traditions, but can we stop with the anti-Christ “Christ”mases? I’m sick of it.

I’m sick of this materialistic, superficial tradition that’s shoving the real reason why we do anything this time of the year out of the picture.

The New Year is supposed to give us a fresh start or something. But what’s the difference if we’re not going to follow through with our resolutions. Key word: resolution. We’re resolving some aspect of our lives. If you’re not totally committed, don’t even say you’re going to do something. Seriously. You’re setting yourself up for failure.

What do you feel during the holiday season?

To be honest, I feel quite lonely, tense, self-conscious (more so than usual), irritable. Everyone else seems to be really anxious or really happy. Obnoxiously so in either case. I’m already sick of Christmas music. So help me if I hear another “kissing under the mistletoe” line. I’m having a hard time not mentally murdering the people I like.

I think the biggest reason why I feel the way I do during the holiday seasons is because, everywhere I look, people are smiling and being kind, and I feel next to nothing. That’s not necessarily a bad thing, but it’s not fun. It’s like watching all your friends get into relationships and you’re just not even interested in people in general. It’s like being at a birthday party for someone everyone likes, but you don’t. Know what I mean?

Everywhere, people are feeling things and I’m not. It’s like I’m missing out on some bigger picture thing.

Another factor, I think, that contributes to this problem o’ mine is the fact that maybe I am seeing the bigger picture, and I’m constantly remembering why we’re celebrating and it just seems like no one else is. They’re all caught up in the moment, in the gifts, in the pretty paper, and ribbons.

The fact that people are kinder during this season is also pet peeve of mine. Why only around Christmas time are you a good person? Please be consistent. If you’re usually a kind person, stick with it! You’re awesome! If you’re usually a jerk, acknowledge the fact. We can work with that. But don’t put on a mask during the holiday season.

You can fake a smile, but people remember the way you made them feel throughout the rest of the year. Don’t be a faker. This is life, not a masquerade party.

I also detest the fact that no one says “Merry Christmas” anymore. It’s all “happy holidays.” Can we not?

I suppose if we got back to the real, raw meaning of our celebrations and made that the first reason we do anything, then the rest would follow more easily. Our decisions would be based, not on what is expected of us, but what we should be doing instead.

Now it’s your turn, darling. What does Christmas really mean to you and how do you feel during the holiday season?

Love,

Rana

Christmas Day

Well, the Christmas music is now not on the radio.

That bugs me.

I mean, the 12 days of Christmas begin on Christmas and end on January 6. These people have it backwards. They start early and end on Christmas, when, in fact, they should start on Christmas and end later. *shrugs* Oh well.

Anyway, here’s what my Christmas looked like. 🙂

1) I woke up.

2) I got out of bed.

3) I walked down the stairs.

Okay, we’ll not do it that way. It’s monotonous.

Anyway, we got up a little late, so I popped some pre-made cinnamon rolls into the oven per Mom’s request and we all got dressed for church. After that, we opened up the gifts, went to Mass, came back home, relaxed, and then set off to see The Hobbit in 3D. ^_^ It was my second time seeing it, and it was still fantastic.

I just loved Thranduil. He was a wee bit creepy.

And beautiful. All the elves are so beautiful and I just wanted to pet their hair.

Especially that one elf’s hair. You know, the one who closed the first door to the jail cell when they caught the dwarves. Yeah.

And Smaug. I JUST WANT TO CURL UP UNDER ONE OF HIS WINGS AND SLEEP ON HIS GOLD. CAN I DO THAT WITHOUT BEING TURNED INTO A HUMAN MARSHMALLOW PLEASE?

Okay, so what did I get for Christmas? A lot, actually. O_O I wasn’t expecting this much and it’s crazy. But hey, I’m not complaining. 😛

  • An iPod (nano, I think)
  • A seven-year pen (seriously, how cool is that?!)
  • A huge, fun pen!
  • Navy blue Converse sneaks from my grandma! 😀
  • Socks and underwear (you can never have too much of these)
  • A Sherlock magnet ^_^
  • Gum
  • M&M’s
  • Lindt Chocolate
  • TEA – I GOT LOTS AND LOTS OF TEA (Gypsy Rose, Peach Ginger, Coconut Chai, Raspberry Chai, Apple Pie, Chai Iced Tea!!!!!)
  • A beautiful mug that has black leaves on the outside that changes color when you put hot liquid inside! Also, an infuser!
  • THE HOBBIT: THE DESOLATION OF SMAUG SOUNDTRACK
  • Keys (the kind you get at a craft store that are sort of like the charm-bracelet type)
  • Corked Vials (I need to fill ’em up with stuff!)
  • Earrings

I’d say it was a beautiful Christmas. No tears, minimal bickering between the siblings, a lovely Mass… Yep. Wonderful.

How was your Christmas? I hope it was as enjoyable as mine. ❤

God bless!

Rana

A Merry Christmas to You

“Seasons greetings!”

“Happy holidays!”

“Merry Christmas!” – Wait, what?

No one ever seems to say “Merry Christmas” anymore and that’s a bit disheartening.

I mean, what’s the meaning of the season? Why are we celebrating? What are we celebrating? Take the Christ out of Christmas and you’ve got a shallow holiday that celebrates nothing but being broke and selfish.

We all look forward to “Santa Clause” every year but really, if we take Christ out of Christmas, we shouldn’t have a Santa Clause. Why? It translates to “Saint Nicholas.” Don’t believe we should celebrate Christmas for what it is (Christ’s Mass)? Then find some other excuse to give gifts to each other.

We’re not buffet Christians. A Christian believes in Christ, the Bible, and the dogma of the church. We can’t pick and choose what we want to believe. It’s all or nothing. Being Christian isn’t about being comfortable.

“I didn’t go to religion to make me happy. I always knew a bottle of Port would do that. If you want a religion to make you feel really comfortable, I certainly don’t recommend Christianity.” — C.S. Lewis, God in the Dock

So if you’re Christian, you have to accept it all, whether it makes you uncomfortable or not. If you’re confused on something, ask questions! There’s absolutely nothing wrong with that. 🙂

But what is Christmas really about,  if it’s not about Santa Clause, gifts, food, and family? I think Linus sums it up pretty well.

Good ol’ Charlie Brown.

God bless you and yours during this special season. 🙂

Rana

Cannibalism and Soundtracks

These aren’t my cookies, by the way. Mine could never be that perfect. Besides, I would rather eat the sweets rather than leave ’em out for Santa.

It’s not how you think. I promise.

We bought our Christmas tree a few days ago and decorated it last night. It looks beautiful.

Mom suggested I make Christmas cookies for us to eat while we decorate the tree. I obliged. And ate a lot. Too many, in fact. But I have a theory: you can’t feel guilty if you don’t know how many sweets you eat. So I just don’t count. I feel fine. 🙂 You’re all welcome. Just don’t come complaining to me if you try out my system and get sick or fat. 😛

Anyway, I used those cookie cutter things (hearts, Christmas trees, angels, gingerbread men) and most of them went in looking pretty swell, but when they came out, it was like they went through a mutation machine.

But they tasted good. That’s all that matters.

While I was eating a gingerbread man (I made him look angry with icing), I broke off an arm (because, ya know, I like to cause my cookies as much pain as possible before I end their crumby lives) and made a face at the cookie. Mom started laughing at me and when I asked her what was so funny, she told me I was making faces at my food.

I hadn’t counted on anyone noticing.

But oh well.

Also, while we were decorating, I wanted to cry. I felt so sorry for my poor Cael and for killing his twin, Kody. That’s not weird. It’s a writer thing.

Now onto soundtracks! 😀

I see other writers discussing their novel soundtracks and thought, “Hey! Why not?” So here you go, listening to me inflict my opinions upon the world. 😛

I don’t really have novel soundtracks, per se (mainly because I find an artist I like, obsess over them for a while, and then move on). But I do listen to music while I write. It seems like every novel gets their own artist. While I was writing the second book of Desensitized, I pretty much only listened to Evanescence.

For the third book of the trilogy, my soundtrack was mainly comprised of music by Thousand Foot Krutch (I think).

Here’s what I’ve been listening to lately in no particular order:

I See Fire by Ed Sheeran — The Hobbit: The Desolation of Smaug Soundtrack

Fly on the Wall by Thousand Foot Krutch

Who We Are by RED

Courtesy Call by TFK

We Are by TFK

E for Extinction by TFK

Haunted by Taylor Swift

Shiver by The GazettE

Red by The GazettE

Action by Nu’est

Face by Nu’est

I also listen to EXO, Evanescence, Skillet (but I already mentioned those two), Christina Grimmie, Plumb, Britt Nicole, etc. I listen to almost everything. As long as the lyrics are clean. Even with KPop and JPop. I have to find the lyric translation and make sure it’s fine in the other language before I listen to it.

Yeah, call me weird.

It’s a compliment.

God bless!

Rana