Friday, December 31, 2010

it's 4 am on new year's eve

as i write this it's 4 am on new year's eve. the ball hasn't dropped yet, that's about 20 hours away.

i woke up from a dream of a monsoon rain in an open house with many windows in the midst of a lushly green jungle, a shadowed man who loved me and laughing, joyous children. it was delicious. the rain was amazing and clean. the love from that man felt warm and real, and the laughter of the those children dancing in the rain on the verandah was heart filling. at some point in the dream, i was going around the house locking doors in obscure places, because there was sa need to protect and hold onto the fleeting feelings of deliciouness and love. and then i woke up.

hmmmmmm. interesting dream to have at approximately 4 am on new year's eve morning.

so now i'm awake an hour or so before my alarm was due to go off , so that i could get up on time to meet my running group and end the old year doing what i said was going to in one of my resolutions for 2010. as i look back on this past year and remember my goals, i am quite pleased with some things, and looking for ways to improve in the ways i didn't do so well. if you'll recall with me, strengthen was my resolution this year. lots and lots of growing pains this year. amazingly, i do feel stronger in so many ways: taller, experienced, happy, tired and pleased. what a ride this year was.

goodbye 2010. hello 2011.

i promise to
be open to adventures in rain, love, family and life
keep on getting stronger
be more childlike
move more
do new stuff (even, and especially, if it's scary)
plan and carry out the first ever boyer family reunion (it's written down now, so. it. will. happen)
connect my family
spend more time being quiet - scripture study, prayer and meditation
turn off the tv more
finish those unfinished projects
make room for Him and him
save money and travel

here's to a good, somewhat painful at times, amazing year.
and here's hoping this next one is even better.

Thursday, December 30, 2010

new year's resolution no. 2

i resolve to move more.

run often with these guys

go swimming with one from five

more walking, less driving

learn how to balance and focus on muscles like a rock hard dancer
(at least in my mind)

go on bike rides - dc has the nation's first & largest european style bike sharing program - awesome!

Wednesday, December 29, 2010

new year's resolution no. 1

I will have a more childlike imagination this year.
I will purposely choose to live life as joyfully and carefree as a child.
not every day or every moment, but I will choose to do this.

In other words, I will

play more

laugh more

act silly

learn something new

watch sesame street often :)

sing out loud even when people can hear me
(yes, someone will think i'm crazy, but that's not new)

make a mess and clean it up
(i need to work on clean up)

skip down the sidewalk

cry when I want to and always use bandaids

love unfailingly

forgive immediately

give hugs


twirl for absolutely no reason whatsoever in the middle of the park.

Monday, December 27, 2010

christmas recap

I was in heaven this weekend playing with my nephew, Ghent, who has the best imagine ever (see previous post). My niece, Lily, is a little sweet heart and loves to play with toys and watch her brother act out his adventures. Here's a few more highlights:

At the airport--
Dad (Rob): Ghent, look there's Aunt Christine.
Ghent: Is that really Christine?
Me on my knees giving him a hug: Hi, Ghent. It's me Christine.
Ghent while hugging me: Dad, is it really Aunt Christine?
Dad: Yes, it's your Aunt Christine.
His face, when he realized it was me, was so precious.

And no I didn't wear the Iron Mask at the airport!


Ghent, who LOVES cookies asked me if he could have a cookie. I sat down on the floor to go through my bag and pulled out the tin of homemade cookies I had brought with me. He looked through the clear plastic top at all the homemade cookies and his eyes got really big and excited. As I tried to open the tin, I realized that with the altitude changes from my earlier travels a vacuume had been created. We had to let the tin warm up a bit and then Dad (Rob) had to help get things open, spilling most of the cookies on the floor (10-second rule!) after the lid unexpectedly popped off. Ghent was a little disappointed by the ineptitude of the adults in his life at that moment.


Each Christmas Eve, my dad reads the Christmas story from Luke and expounds upon Christmas, while reclining in his chair. This year he was in southern Utah at my brother Jon's house. So, my brother, Rob, having previously decided that I needed to experience a Paradise Christmas, came out dressed in bib-overalls with a pillow stuffed in for his belly, walked over to his recliner, popped the foot stand out and got ready to read the Christmas story. After we all stopped laughing, it was a pretty special moment, because he kept stoppping to ask my nephew questions and explain parts of the story. Ghent knew everything about the story and elaborated on some of the details. "Was there room in the inn?" "No, everyone was busy." "Why did Mary need a room?" "Oh, she was tired."


Nickolee and I were sitting in the living room after Ghent had gone to bed. We were laughing and talking, but not being very quiet. From the bedroom, we hear in a very authoritative young voice... "You guys are being too loud. Santa will hear you. Santa Claus can't come until you're all asleep. So be quiet!"


Lilly (at about three in the morning): waaagh. waaagh. waaagh.
Me (on the couch, listening for several minutes): I wonder if Rob and Nickolee will hear her... I wonder what time it is... Oh, come on you guys, it's been like 15 minutes... Do you just let your kids cry...? How can you sleep through that...?

Finally, I move from the couch and get Lilly out of bed. She latches on my neck with her mouth and starts sucking, but stops after realizing there's nothing there. I wake up the parents and hand her over to Mom, who has to go to the bathroom. Left alone with Dad and realizing her food source is gone, she expresses her sharp displeasure.


Ghent: Why are you an ant?
Me: Oh, you mean why am I called Aunt Christine?
Ghent: nods with a confused look on his face.
Me: Well, do you remember Uncle Jon? Well, he's your daddy's brother, so we call him Uncle Jon. I'm your daddy's sister, so I am Aunt Christine.
Ghent: ????? (looking even more confused now)
A few minutes later:
Ghent: Christine, you're a talking ant.
Me: Oh, and what are you?
Ghent: I'm a talking bee.
Me (laughing so hard and trying not show it): Okay, I'm a talking ant. What is Lily?
Ghent: She's a talking butterfly.
Me: What are mom and dad?
Ghent: They're ladybugs!


Lily loves attention and absolutely adores her brother. I've never seen her smile so big as when Ghent and Dad sing to her:
    Lilly-pop, Lilly-pop, oh, Lily-lolly-pop!
    Lilly-pop, Lilly-pop, oh, Lily-lolly-pop!
    Come and be my Lily-pop, and tell you why
    Kisses sweeter than apple pie
Ghent even replaces the words "apple pie" with other things he likes that are sweet. So cute!


Oh, what a grand Christmas weekend! It's so fun to be with family for the holidays. Christmas is just that much sweeter and fun with little children who believe in the magic of Christmas. It's even better when adults get pulled into the magic like I did as I played with Ghent. His imagination is so much fun and the way he puts the world together is fascinating. I hope I always remember the magic of Christmas, especially through the eyes of a child.

megatron kidnaps thomas the tank engine and other christmas adventures

--Iowa, USA - Boyer Press Assoc.

On Saturday afternoon just hours after opening all the Christmas presents, the infamous Decepticon, Megatron, kidnapped Thomas the Tank Engine, who was dramatically rescued within minutes by the fearless Autobot leader, Optimus Prime.

"I'm so amazed that Megatron would come after me, after all I'm just a wooden toy train," said Thomas, his smokestack still puffing black smoke after his daring rescue. "Thanks to Optimus Prime and his Autobots for intercepting the evil plans of Megatron. I hope this didn't mess up Christmas too badly."

Optimus Prime looked a little chagrined when pressed for more details about the rescue feat, and admitted that "most of the credit goes to Ghent (his three-year old owner), who masterminded the whole rescue plan." Witnesses confirm that Megatron was not alone in the surprise kidnapping of Thomas, and that the whole thing was planned and carried out by Aunt Christine.

In other news, on Friday afternoon, Christmas Eve day, the Justice League of America arrived at a small, green house in the suburbs of central Iowa just seconds after receiving word that a kidnapping had occurred. The father of the family had gone to the grocery store for a last minute purchase of cheese ball, when word came out that he had been kidnapped by evil doers. Super Man and Wonder Girl interrogated all the toys using the Lasso of Truth which forced everyone to "tell the whole truth and nothing but the truth..." They then led a dramatic rescue and saved Dad from the villainous clutches of those who oppose Christmas. After all the drama subsided, Dad arrived back at the house safe and sound with the cheese ball in perfection condition, and with no recollection of the events (of course!). He spent the weekend under observation for further memory lapses.

Also, in quieter news, Sunday morning Optimus Prime announced that he and his crime fighting partner, Ghent, were opening a new restaurant together. Early customers complained about the mixed drink Spinzah, an imaginary concoction of ginger ale and milk. Dad didn't like it very much and spit it out. Other customers commented that the bread soup was quite good as well as the side of butter sandwich. Megatron was nowhere to be seen, it's assumed he was recuperating after losing his arms and having them be replaced during the Thomas the Tank Engine kidnapping.

All in all a succesful crime fighting weekend.

Thursday, December 23, 2010

true christmas

Christmas is here. It feels as though it snuck up on me this year. Only a few weeks ago the days were longer, and I was planting pansies, and enjoying walks around the neighborhood without freezing. Now the days are shorter, the sun's warmth doesn't break the chill, and my carefully planted pansies are frozen with a crust of snow covering them. And Christmas is here.

I read an essay recently where the writer said that Christmas is summer  for the soul in the midst of winter. I believe it. The warmest I've felt this season has been when my thoughts and activities have been focused on preparing for the big day.  Whether I'm baking yummy treats and listening to Christmas carols, carefully wrapping gifts and packaging them for mailing, writing out cards with wishes for joy, peace and light, reading stories of the first Christmas, or listening to a Christmas concert with friends, I have felt the warmth of God's love for me and others.

This is the warmth that pierces through the cold and reaches the far corners of the heart. The warmth that causes hearts to soften and people to look beyond themselves. The warmth and light that opens hearts and minds, and outpourings of generosity towards neighbors everywhere. I have been extremely blessed this year to know many people who carry this warmth with them no matter the time of year. People who understand that everyone no matter the circumstance, all people are valuable and deserving of help and love. This has helped me to remember the warmth and spirit of Christmas all year and then to pass it on to others.

The story of Ebeneezer Scrooge underscores the very essence of the original Christmas story--that love is truly the agent that causes men's hearts to change for the better. I think the essence of Scrooge's change is love.  The ghost of Christmas past showed Scrooge just how much love he had ignored and given up in his life, and he finally experienced regret for this. The ghost of Christmas present opened his eyes to all the love currently in his life and his own capacities for experiencing that love. When he saw this, he grasped onto that love and allowed his heart to change and experience love again. Scrooge knew what awaited him, because the ghost of Christmas to come had shown him the bleak outcomes of his current path. Scrooge also learned that it is never to late to let this love in and be changed by it.

We all have the same choice in our life. We can grasp onto the warmth that is God's love for us or ignore it. We can choose to let this love and light work in our life to make us better and then bless others, or we can walk away into a dim world empty of hope and possibility. We can let this love change us.  I'm a firm believer that an old dog can be taught new tricks, it just takes longer for them to be learned.

For me, Christmas is a well-timed and necessary reminder during the cold, dark days of winter that light and warmth can be held within me and shared at all times. It helps me remember that I don't always need a new star hung in the sky to remember the true meaning of life, or for that matter the true meaning of Christmas.

So, Merry Christmas and may the love and light of God's gift to us warm your heart this season and always.

I am the light of the world:
he that followeth me shall not walk in darkness,
but shall have the light of life. -John 8:12

a muppet christmas carol

Michael Caine as Scrooge and the Muppets filling in for all the rest of the characters.  I smile just thinking of this movie, A Muppet Christmas Carol. Gonzo is fabulous as the narrator Charles Dickens. In spite of the fact that this is a musical, it's one of the more faithful version to the original written by Charles Dickens.

This story shows some of the greatest truths ever.  It's never too late to change for the better. And each person has the capacity for kindness and love.

Thank you KC for introducing me to this little gem of a movie.

Watch it here.

Wednesday, December 22, 2010

white christmas

I'm dreaming of a White Christmas.

It's Bing Crosby, Danny Kaye, Vera Allen and Rosemary Clooney with music and songs by Irving Berlin... Need I say more?  For the perfect evening all you need is a fire, falling snow and a cup of hot cocoa with a melting candy cane and Irving Berlin's White Christmas.

A brief preview here.

Tuesday, December 21, 2010

c is for cookie

I've been busy baking up a storm this week.  Here's the list of what I've been baking up.

"This is what chocolate should taste like in my mouth," said a co-worker the first time I made these Chocolate Drop Cookies. The sour cream really makes these moist and yummy. TIPS: I add white chocolate chips and cranberries, which adds a whole other yum factor. I used Hershey's Special Dark Cocoa and it's simply divine.

The Pioneer Woman has some of the best recipes in the country... (pun intended). If I'm looking for a special recipe that's within my skill level and for which I won't have to buy a bunch of special, expensive ingredients, I know her site will have it. PW recently featured Cleta Bailey's Toffee Squares and these are super simple and super yummy. Everyone at work liked these bites of goodness. TIPS: I used dark brown sugar instead of light brown sugar and it deepened the toffee effect of the crunchy cookie underneath the chocolate-pecan topping. I also softened the chocolate chips in the microwave and then spread them over the cookie. PW's tip to cut these cookies with a pizza cutter works great.

Nutella--smooth and creamy hazelnut chocolate spread, thou art my one weakness.  These Hazelnut-Nutella Sandwich Cookies are soooo good. I didn't want just another chocolate cookie, which is why I chose to make these. The cookie is like a pecan sandie but with hazelnuts and Nutella glues two of them together. TIPS: Only mix half the flour with all the nuts, and after adding the mixture and mixing it in, then add flour a little at a time until the dough is the right consistency for rolling out. I used all the flour and ended up having to add more butter to dough (darn!). The dough really does need to be chilled before rolling out, and it also helps to chill the counter top with water and ice in a large ziplock bag.

Cherry Winks are a blast from the past. My mom always made these cookies at Christmas. This recipe here, is quite similar to my mom's familiar recipe. This cookie is a nice change from all the chocolate cookies on the plate.

Lemon cookies are sooo good! I made these Lemon Tea Cookies.  They're a nice palate cleanser from all the sweetness. TIPS: I used the glaze from this recipe and instead of buttermilk, I curdled regular milk with lemon juice and zest--oh yum!

Shortbread cookies are insanely delicious and when combined with a fruit preserve, well, watch out. Split Second Cookies are a simple and quick version of a Thumbprint Cookie with your choice of preserves. My brother, Chris, used to make these each Christmas. He would plan all year long which fruit preserves he was going to use. He would even convince my mom to bottle different fruit jams just for Chris's Split Second Cookies.  TIPS: I used homemade apricot and blackberry preserves made by mom and sister. I heat the preserve in the microwave for 10-15 seconds. Madagascar Bourbon Vanilla is seriously good in these cookies.

I love to bake. My brother, Chris, and I took over the cookie baking from my mom for several years. We had so much fun poring through cookbooks to figure out the flavors we wanted, and then making our shopping list. I loved cooking with my brother.

Sorry no photos tonight, it's too late.  I'll post some photos tomorrow.

the fourth wiseman

The Fourth Wise Man is mostly shown at Easter, but its message should be remembered year round, plus this story starts with the first Christmas.

Artaban (Martin Sheen), sees a new star in the sky announcing the arrival of a King.  As agreed, begins his journey to meet his three friends who have also been watching the heavens. He is late in arriving, and spends the rest of his life searching for the King. The message of this beautiful movie is one of living life in the pursuit of becoming Christ-like, and having this be a way of life.

It's posted on YouTube here.

Monday, December 20, 2010

goodwill to men

A haunting scene from Arlington National Cemetary, Dec 2010.

"As we express our gratitude, we must never forget that the highest appreciation is not to utter words, but to live by them." - John Fitzgerald Kennedy

I dream of giving birth to a child who will ask, "Mother, what was war?" - Eve Merriam

Peace on Earth, goodwill to men.

santa claus - the movie

This movie is a Boyer family favorite. It must be watched every year during Christmas.

Santa Claus: The Movie so completely captures the magic and spirit of the story of Santa Claus. I remember watching this as a child and thinking, "If this place really is real, then this is how it looks and feels."

An old Russian couple gets caught out in a brutal snowstorm on Christmas Eve as they drive from village to village delivering handmade toys to children, and find themselves lost. Their reindeer eventually collapse from exhaustion and the couple huddle together on the sleigh, eventually falling asleep.  When they awaken, they are in a beautiful winterscape and a very bright star is pointing to their final destination, where they arrive to take their rightful places as the king and queen of the Northpole. They learn all the duties and responsibilities from the elves and thus begins the story Santa Claus. The sets are beautiful and old fashioned in a German Christmas sort of way.

Even the modern day (at least it was in 1985) twist is fun with Patch, the head elf (Dudley Moore) unwittingly teaming up with B.Z. (John Lithgow) to destroy Christmas as we know it.  David Huddleston is the epitome of Santa and comes into the save the day, of course.  This story is just plain magic.

Start watching it here. The whole is posted on YouTube.

Sunday, December 19, 2010


So when we started decorating cookies, we were excited.

We were creative and willing to put in the work.

By the end we were tired and ready to be done.

o tannenbaum!

I wasn't feeling having a tree this year. Not sure why, just wasn't feelin' it.

Here's my solution...
Evergreen limbs from Safeway $4.99. Perfectly simple.

My mom made this for Grandma O when I was a child.
I remember helping my mom put each little bulb back in place
as she got this ready to give to Grandma O. I love this little tree.

Snowflakes! Gold tinsel and lights. Simple.

I went with simplicity for my Christmas decorations this year.
It's helped me focus more on the True Reason for the season,
and keep things quiet.

the office potluck gift exchange

Which one of these gifts was given at the office potluck this year?

Not a fan of squishy food that doesn't taste good. Buy here.

Oh no, they didn't!

Only if every month featured Taylor Lautner. Here.

Hi. I'm Justin. I'm like only 12 years old and my life is so awesome that
I'm going to like write my own 100% official autobiography about myself,
'cause I'm just so totally awesome. Oh and did I mention that I'm like only 12.
Okay, he's 15.

Lessons in reflexology anyone?

Tickets to this. Seriously.

Gotta love the office potluck gift exchange.

Friday, December 17, 2010


Handel's Messiah is a masterpiece. I think it should be performed both at Christmas and Easter. It captures the sentiments of both holy days so perfectly.

In the late summer of 1741 Handel spent 24 days writing the score for Messiah and said when he emerged, "I did think I did see Heaven before me and the great God Himself!"

"I walked in the bright paths of sound..." -Ralph Waldo Emerson, after a Messiah performance in 1843.

Today Messiah was just what I needed to feel the Christmas spirit, and remember that indeed He is the reason for this season. I miss my brother Chris dreadfully each year at this time. It's hard realizing yet again that time does not stop and life moves on. I am so thankful for my faith in God's plan and it helps to make this time of year a bit easier as I move through the Christmas season and into yet another year. Handel's music today reminded me of the promise of Messiah and of my faith in God's plan. Christmas is here!

I love the Hallelujah Chorus flash mobs that have popped up on YouTube this year. People in malls doing their Christmas shopping stopping to remember the truest reason for the Christmas.

Macy's in Philadelphia sponsored this one with their fantastic organ and highly acoustic space.

This one just brings a smile to my face.

where do babies come from?

Cody Laur, 22, left, of Metamora, Mich., gets some help from Santa while waiting for the hospital to take a photo of him with his wife Alecia and their twins Wyatt and Westley in Hurley Medical Center's Neonatal Intensive Care Unit (NICU) in Flint, Mich. for Hurley's 2nd Annual Baby's 1st Christmas Party, on Dec. 17. Santa was on the scene to take pictures with the babies, and he volunteers to give each family a special scrapbook page, prepared especially for them.

some say, the stork delivers the babies.
i think it might just be this guy... you know, the one on the right in red.

happy christmas!

photo here

Thursday, December 16, 2010

the christmas story from around the world - vii

For unto us a child is born, unto us a son is given: and the government shall be upon his shoulder: and his name shall be called Wonderful, Counsellor, The mighty God, The everlasting Father, The Prince of Peace.

Wednesday, December 15, 2010

it will be christmas when...

Today I feel very far away from my family.

I want to be able to jump in my car and be with there in five minutes to sit around the table eating dinner and watching little faces, to enjoy conversation with my brothers and sister and their spouses, to read books, play games, play dress-up and rough house with the nieces and nephews, and to kneel with them for family prayer.

My brother Rob called today. He's good at checking in with me regularly and it helps me not feel so far away. His boy Ghent is so excited for Christmas. He wants to open every present under the tree, but he's been told that he has to wait until Aunt Christine arrives to open presents. Why? Because it will be Christmas when Aunt Christine arrives!

Yay!  It will be Christmas when Aunt Christine arrives. That makes me happy, and the distance feel a bit shorter. I will get to see these two little munchkins next weekend, when I arrive and it's Christmas.

The whole family dressed up as the Fantastic Mr. Fox family for Halloween.
Mom made their costumes--sooo cute!

the christmas story from around the world - vi

And when they had seen it, they made known abroad the saying which was told them concerning this child. And all they that heard it wondered at those things which were told them by the shepherds. But Mary kept all these things, and pondered them in her heart. And the shepherds returned, glorifying and praising God for all the things that they had heard and seen, as it was told unto them. ~~Luke 2:17-20

Best shepherd face ever.

Tuesday, December 14, 2010

the christmas story from around the world - v

And it came to pass, as the angels were gone away from them into heaven, the shepherds said one to another, Let us now go even unto Bethlehem, and see this thing which is come to pass, which the Lord hath made known unto us. And they came with ahaste, and found Mary, and Joseph, and the babe lying in a manger.  ~~Luke 2:15-16

Monday, December 13, 2010

the christmas story from around the world - iv

And suddenly there was with the angel a multitude of the heavenly host praising God, and saying, Glory to God in the highest, and on earth peace, good will toward men.

~~Luke 2:13-14

more lights

This year I'm determined to see as much of the city in its Christmas finery as I can.

Out and about Union Station the other evening.

A really big fake tree which is a gift from Norway
in gratitude for help received during WWII.

Birds keep warm by lining the arches of the main entrance to the station.
Their song echoes off the arches and is a charming welcome,
just watch your step.
All lit up and nowhere to go...

An office building by the station with garlands of pine and holly.

The only Nativity I've seen that's not at a church.
Thank you Ebenezers.

A clumsy, artitistic photo of Christmas ligts on a fence.
Kind of cool.