Sunday, December 11, 2005

It's Beginning to Look a Lot Like Christmas

Before we get to our regularly scheduled program, I have a brief announcement to make. Infuze Magazine is running a contest on their site for the best short stories of 2005. Not sure how much longer the poll is going to be up, but go on over and vote if you haven’t already. There are a lot of good short stories there. I think I’ve read nearly all of them. Of course I voted for Michael Snyder’s “My Name is Russell Fink.” Not just because he’s an awesome crit partner, but because it truly was the best story. So, spend an afternoon reading some really great short fiction, or, if you don’t have time, just take my word for which one’s the best ;)

Okay, the title of this post could be a slight exaggeration. Arizona doesn’t look a whole lot different around Christmas than it does in say, July. Just more lights on people’s houses. But because Dineen requested it, and I aim to please, here are some pictures of Arizona. And really, since this blog is called Sonoran Saga, y’all might want more of the Sonoran than the saga anyway.

This is Sedona, about two hours north of us. It's known for its red rocks and vortexes. Not sure what vortexes are, but New Agers seem to love them. If you can get past all the weird New Age stuff up there, it's a beautiful place and there are a lot of great hiking trails. These pictures were taken last January. Some friends of ours couldn't use their timeshare up there and kindly donated a night to us.

There had just been a huge rainstorm with a lot of flooding, so was darker, damper and colder than usual. Still, a lot of fun. And I discovered hiking is a great way to wear out my son. Sorry the pictures aren't better quality but I didn't want them to take forever to load.

This one I took about half an hour from our house. It's the backside of the Superstition Mountains, which I can see from my backyard. The Apache Trail is a really cool drive that goes behind the Superstition Mountains, meets up with the Salt River, and eventually ends up at the Roosevelt Dam. Parts of the scenery on the drive look like a miniature Grand Canyon.

Our house is looking more Christmas-y. We put up our tree this week. It’s fake but it’s the only kind we can have with our allergies and asthma. It’s a pre-lit one, and I have to say I really like not messing with the lights every year.

This is the first year my son is actually delighted with all the tiny ornaments instead of constantly undecorating them. Of course he also finds it’s a perfect cover for covert operations. I caught him low-crawling under it. “I gotta shoot the bad guys,” he says, firing away with the camel from the nativity scene as the gun.

“There’s no bad guys in the Christmas tree,” I tell him. “They’re not allowed. It’s against the rules.”

He seems to buy this, and he and his deadly camel head upstairs to the playroom. A few minutes later, he’s back downstairs and two of the wise men are engaged in mortal combat.

I’m glad this is the PlayMobile version of the nativity instead of the porcelain one on the mantel. And somehow, I’m thinking the Advent readings we’ve been doing aren’t quite hitting home with my four year old.

Did I mention I’m DONE with all my Christmas shopping? I still need to wrap presents, and I’m waiting for a shipment from Amazon, and have a few finishing touches on a couple of things, but all the crowd fighting is done. I can now relax and enjoy Christmas.

AND, I can tackle my to-be-read stack that’s threatening to topple over.


michael snyder said...

Wow, thanks for the plug. You're just way too nice (but I'll take it!). And for those of you who haven't read Witness yet...well, neener, neener, neener...I have, it's great, and you're missing out.(That was mature, huh?)

Man, I love Arizona. Have only been there 4 or 5 times, but it's beautiful and the climate suits me fine. I can't believe the view from your backyard.

And I wish I had some advice for protecting your nativity scene from the imaginations of preschoolers, but alas...ours have been everything from super heroes to vegetables to cousins. We call it "hands on" Christianity.

And did I say 'thanks' yet?

Jennifer Tiszai said...

I don't know why I didn't think of posting the thing about Infuze earlier in the week. I don't about you, but I find myself checking it multiple times a day to see how you're doing. It's nice to have someone to root for.

You and the family have a standing invitation to come visit us anytime you want a change of scenery. Though I have to admit, I was drooling over the amount of trees there were when I flew into Nashville.

If anyone cares, you can read the first chapter of Witness on my website. Mike, you can be as immature as you want if you're complimenting my book. :)

And I think Jesus likes "hands on" Christianity, too.

Jenny said...

Hands on Christianity--with kids that has to be the way to go. With adults, too, but perhaps not quite the same "hands on". lol

I'm glad you mentioned it was the Playmobile version and not your porcelian one. Won't tell you the image floating through my brain.

But I have to say this is the main reason I love Arizona. When it is too hot here, just drive a few miles north and cool off. When it is cooler here and you are in the mood for a white Christmas, just drive a few miles north and play in the snow. Then drive back and go swimming or sun bathing. I love this place!
Abundant blessings!

Paula said...

Beautiful pictures. My son just played in a hockey tournament in Az. It's the first trip he's taken without family. *sigh* I'm sure he is fine, but I'm ready to see that carload of boys arrive home! I'm sure I missed him more than he missed me, LOL. Unfortunately, his team lost the championship in the last 3 seconds of the game! They played against their old goalie who moved there from here in CO.

Robin Caroll said...

Gorgeous pix! Can you REALLY read your TBR pile before it crushes? LOL I can't, and I admit it! LOL

Dineen A. Miller said...

Hey Jennifer,
Thanks for the pictures. Just gorgeous. Umm, can you come do my shopping for me now that you have all this free time? LOL! Enjoy!

Jennifer Tiszai said...

Paula, that must have been hard to let your son go so far away. My daughter talked about staying with Grandma this summer but it never happened and I'm kind of glad.

Robin, the TBR has morphed into at least 3 piles. I keep saying I'm not going to buy any more until I get them down, but then I find something I just can't resist or have to read. Let's not even start with the books I have reserved at the library.

Dineen, I still have one small birthday party to throw. Oops, kinda forgot about that :) At least I resisted the sleep-over! But hey, shopping... California... yeah, I could work that into my schedule :)