Tuesday, November 30, 2010

Romanced by the season...

Winter is here! And with that, the holidays are here in full swing. My favorite time of year. I am the picture of a girl who loves Christmastime. The smells, candles burning, food we cook together, decorating with lights and garland, Christmas movies, Christmas music my Grandpa used to play like the Rat Pack. People tend to be nicer, more generous, we spend more time with family and friends we love, we're reminded of what really matters(not meaning gifts or Santa). If you ask any of my friends, they will say I'm obsessed. That I start listening to the music too soon, decorate too early and leave all the decor up way too long. Well, if the spirit of Christmas makes me feel that happy inside, I figure why limit myself to 1 month? I'm going to draw it out as long as possible. And some lights I consider "decorative", so they just stay up all year long. I feel no need to apologize. I have gone so far as to decorate my car. I have an FJ Cruiser. It has a rack on top that we string lights around, and we have an outlet in the back so we plug it right in, hit the button and the lights are on. You wouldn't believe how it makes people smile when we're driving, the lights go on, and even the grumpiest of men, for about 3 seconds forget they're grumpy and they crack a huge smile and usually even tip their hat to us, or maybe a little wave. I have gone one step further and will admit I have decorated my dogs..ok, well I mean I put antlers and bells on them. Its almost like decorating them. They love every second. Maybe not. But it makes me happy.

Our friends David and Tammy Molnar are photographers and out of the goodness of their hearts they threw a Christmas party/take pics for all their friends' Xmas cards party..it was early so that people could get their cards out if needed. I didnt even attempt this year. No time. Maybe a Christmas picture email will go out if I'm lucky. =) Here are a couple shots of the Baumhardt family. All of us of course. Theyre amazing and it was a hard nights work, and we so appreciate it! It was a great excuse to dress up, see friends, make new friends and get started on the Christmas cheer!!

A friend of mine, Tenley, and I were writing the other day about the wonder of Christmas. She said a friend of hers put it this way...that she was being "romanced by the season." Last Christmas, our pastor, Stan Mitchell, spoke about just that. He talked about seeing the wonder in his kids eyes when they first learned about the real meaning of Christmas. When they still believe in Santa and the Tooth Fairy, when they're willing to just be in awe of things, holding no emotions back. This time of year, I think some of us allow some of that wonder to seep back in. It's such a beautiful thing to allow yourself to talk about memories and things that bring up emotion, and just to let it show. To get caught up in this season by allowing yourself to be captivated and romanced by the idea of this baby in a manger, who's name is Jesus. What a beautiful thing that He came so humbly. No Hilton Inn and Suites, no catering room, no first class seat. So unassuming. Always knowing His purpose, His calling would be to save the ones who would later bring all the prophesies to life.

"And from the weight of mercy's cross. You whispered words that saved us all.
So love could be the only song, you hear.Oh, you hear."--

Lyrics from one of the songs on my worship album. And every time I sing it, or hear it, I get that same feeling inside. Love is what motivated every choice and every sacrifice. It's what saved us. Just four words were all that was needed. "Father, please forgive them." The story feels new to me every year. Love. Grace. And if we could live in the wonder of this all year long, I am convinced this world would be a better place.

We are home for the Holidays. I love to be home, to be at church on Sundays, to be settled in our house for long enough that I really feel settled. For any of you who havent travelled consistently at some point, each trip I get back from, I feel like laundry and cleaning needs to start all over. It gets old after a while, and being home long enough to make the house feel lived in is so refreshing for me. I need those times to refuel for the tours and times my house feels more like a familiar hotel stop...

We are hard at work on my worship album. Deciding title this week. Planning the photo shoot for next month, talking ideas, style, hair and makeup...you know, the fun, girly part of releasing an album! I thought it might be fun to keep you all posted on that process and how its going and how it al works. This is my first shoot not as a whole band and just as a solo artist. It's all almost like the first time because the process has been so different for me.

My family came here for Thanksgiving..they got to visit for the whole week. We had such fun times! Movie nights, dinners at some favorite spots, girl shopping outings, the boys(Nick and Dad)were doing some deer hunting when they could. Decorating my house together, Mom cleaning and organizing things in that way only Moms can, Dad fixing things for us. I guess without getting super mushy I just have to say that I love my parents so much. They are amazing people and have been the example that has made me so excited for the day that I'm a mom too. Memories we make and time together just feels like a blessing after knowing I could've lost my mom to the heart attack last year..we definitely hug longer.

I pray the holidays are a romantic time for you this year. I pray you laugh harder. Let yourself be awed by the moments you're in. And if this Christmas season is a sad or painful time for you, like some have been for me. I pray you surround yourself with people who love you and hug you longer.

Much love----T