Saturday, December 30, 2006

to home and back again

Christmas in Saskatchewan was kind of meh. On the positive:

  • The weather was a steady and mild -10 the whole time.

  • The cousins are still cute (but they're growing quickly! Nicholas' voice started changing last month and he'll be taller than me next time I see him!).

  • I successfully learned to cast on and started knitting again after a 22 year hiatus... I finished one scarf and a half, but need to learn how to cast off and finish it!

  • The boxing day shopping was good.

  • The trip to see my great grandfather's laundry shop preserved at the Western Museum of development was cool.

What was difficult or weird:

  • My sister was not able to come and join us.

  • My expectations for hibernation and cave holiday time flew out the window early on and let's just say, the quiet didn't happen.

  • While my body rested well and I slept lots, my mind and spirit were restless. I think it's just been such a snowball-down-the-hill paced year that I didn't know how to just be still.

  • My trip ended on a sour note with some relational conflict that took me some recovery time to move on.

After all that and some cramped full flights all the way back, it was really good to come back to Vancouver and realize that this is home now. For the first time since I left my parents' home 12 years ago, I think I'm finally sinking some roots down and not wanting to run away somewhere new. That realization alone is a gift I am thankful for.

Saturday, December 16, 2006

another successful bash

Well, we did it! We survived our Christmas party. Last year we had 40 people, arriving in two major waves of 20-25 people each. This year, we had 40 people again, but this time, they were in our tiny apartment essentially all at the same time. It was a bit of an experiment, as I wasn't sure how many would show up, where they would all fit, and how loud it would get... This isn't the best photo of the night, but it gives an idea of how every inch of our space was used well! :)

This year I really wanted to be present (as some of my more contemplative friends would say), rather than running around all over the place not having a proper visit with any one person. I was determined this year to really catch up with people and listen well (as well as possible with the loud din of 30 some odd people chattering in the background). So we stripped down all the prep work and bought mostly ready-to-serve foods. But the deeper issue in "being present" is having the right heart and attentive spirit in connecting with people. I'm thankful I received a spirit of prayer throughout the week before.

While I know I am biased, there was a great food (appy potluck style), great people and great conversation. It was the best mix of people I've yet seen, from different circles of life in the city. Mingling is a tough thing -- most naturally people stick with the people they know all night. But I was quite pleased that this was the most mingling I've seen at any of our parties. I love it when different spheres of my life collide and integrate and one of those ways is seeing people I know from different circles mingling.

Earlier this year I went to a marketplace conference at Regent that shed some light on the busyness of modern life. Back in earlier days and centuries, you interfaced with a finite number of people who represented different roles and spheres in your life. For example, your siblings would also be your friends and co-workers in the family business perhaps. Another person in your life might be your butcher, friend and fellow church member.

Now, in contrast, we have a far greater number of spheres of people to juggle. In the Christmas season, for example, at typical family might have multiple Christmas parties to attend -- the husband's work party, the wife's company party, the kids' portions of work parties in addition to their own school parties, the church Christmas celebration, family friends' parties, etc. And all these parties would conceivably involve all different people. Logistically it gets busier and more difficult to manage the time to maintain all these relationships and arenas of life.

Since then I've been thinking a little more about wanting to deliberately integrate my life spheres more. Having these mingling parties is a simple start I hope. After all, I've never been one to not want different kinds of food on my plate touch each other and eat only one section on my plate at a time, so why be so firm about keeping my social lines distinct? Hopefully I can grow in integrity in being consistent in who I am, and not put on different faces for different friends as much.