Merry Münster

Processed with VSCO with m5 presetThe Christmas markets are here! This is easily one of my favorite times in Germany. They make the cold, dark weather more bearable– dare I say fun, even. I walked around a few different markets yesterday with my fellow students, sipping Glühwein (hot mauled wine) and eating no small amount of unhealthy treats. Below are a few photos. Hope your Christmas celebrations are off to a great start!Processed with VSCO with g3 presetI love the little old grannies in the right corner. They always dress so classy here. Inspiration.Processed with VSCO with a6 presetA beautiful tree in front of Lamberti church. Processed with VSCO with a6 presetThese wreathes hanging from shop archways are probably my favorite decorations in town. Germany does it right, folks.Processed with VSCO with c1 presetProcessed with VSCO with a6 presetSo many adorable trinkets, so little money! What’s a girl to do? ;pProcessed with VSCO with a6 presetThe main street in town. How gorgeous?!Processed with VSCO with a6 presetThis stuff is addictive, let me tell you. I will be sad when Christmas is over…might have to look up a recipe so I can drink it in January! Also, why am I the only one wearing gloves?!!!!Processed with VSCO with a4 presetPlease note I am wearing two pairs of pants and two hats…yes, I am a wuss when it comes to cold.Processed with VSCO with m5 presetI always find myself wearing all black in winter. How very European of me.IMG_1242

A little Christmas film

I am the family member who is constantly carrying around a camera, getting in people’s faces and generally slowing everything down. But hey, once they see this little Christmas film I made, I think they will agree it was well worth it! There’s nothing quite like a video to capture moments that photos simply can’t do justice. In fact, I took way more video footage than photos this break. My little cousins are so adorable, I am glad I can go back and watch their tiny faces whenever I want now, no matter how old they get. Christmas 2016 lives on in perpetuity! Enjoy friends.

Merry Christmas

Cabin.jpgMerry Christmas friends! Do you know one of the stories behind the date of Christmas? Many historians agree that one reason we celebrate Christmas then is because that’s when the ancient pagans celebrated the Winter Solstice. The Winter Solstice is the shortest, darkest, coldest day of the year. And on this day the people would light a candle to remind themselves that Spring is coming, and that there is joy and warmth to be found amidst the darkness.

I celebrate Christmas mainly as Christ’s birth, but I also find this story to be particularly poignant this Christmas season. 2016 has been an intense time. It’s been a difficult year for many in a myriad of ways. Our world has endured unthinkable violence, cut throat elections, unending wars, natural disasters and so much more over the course of the last twelve months. Personally, this year has been difficult for me in certain regards, and I’ve had my fair share of dark days. But it has also been a year of positive growth and change.

So although Christmas is typically thought of as a happy-go-lucky, light hearted time, it can still be hard to muster those feelings. It’s okay, even healthy to reflect on those times in their reality. But the pagans still understood one key truth: they knew that no matter how hard things may get in life, you can always find hope, whether it be in a single flickering candle’s flame or a raging fire.

I am sending Christmas joy and perseverance your way today friends. It’s been a long year, but we made it. Next year will have its ups and downs, but never forget you can find a tiny glimmer of light if you only look. Now I’m off to see what Santa brought me…;p

hey Fort Worth, you’re a lot colder than I remember

unnamed-2Oh hey Fort Worth, you’re a lot colder than I remember! Last time I visited was in November when it felt like SoCal weather, but this trip is a different story. Still, I love the feelings winter brings, that sense of encouraged hibernation and coziness. I’ve had such a relaxing few days already, and it’s just the start of break. Below are a few photos from around town if you’d like to see!img_2328img_2303img_2268img_2266img_2253img_2252unnamedimg_2364img_2346img_2323img_2270img_2457img_2456img_2447img_2428img_2433img_2434img_2390

The Last Bookstore

img_2096Yesterday my friend Jessica and I spent some time exploring Downtown L.A. Honestly, I don’t think people give this city enough credit– it has its moments! Sometimes I find myself wishing I lived in a bigger, more traditionally structured city like New York or Berlin, but then L.A. pleasantly surprises me with something cool. We spent a large portion of the afternoon in The Last Bookstore, an incredible bookstore in the heart of DTLA where you can buy and sell books. There is a coffee shop inside, couches and chairs to relax, and even a few art vendors. I bought “This Side of Paradise” by F. Scott Fitzgerald to read over Christmas break. Below are a few photos if you’d like to see!img_2099img_2100img_2106img_2107^I feel lucky to have made even one friend like Jessica in this lifetime. I can’t express how much she means to me!img_2108img_2110img_2112img_2114img_2115img_2117img_2122img_2123img_2125img_2126img_2129img_2130img_2131img_2132img_2136img_2138^Christmas is in full swing inside the store!img_2140img_2145img_2146^”The Catcher in the Rye” is one of my all time favorites.img_2148img_2150img_2152img_2154img_2155img_2164^Trying to look intellectual…is it working?img_2165img_2166img_2167img_2168^A tunnel of books…casualimg_2170img_2174img_2177^I’ve been listening to Vince Guaraldi’s Christmas album non-stop, particularly the songs from “A Charlie Brown Christmas.”img_2185img_2188img_2197After this we headed to The Grove, an outdoor shopping area with lots of lights and festivity. What are your plans for the upcoming break? Be sure to get out an explore your own city one of these days friends!

Five Things

Processed with VSCO with g3 preset1. I attended a Christmas party last night with my sweet friends Meredith and Chloe (pictured above) that was thrown by the Dean of our university. I love a good excuse to get dressed up once in a while and eat your weight in finger foods, don’t you?
2. Tomorrow I have plans to spend the afternoon and evening at The Grove, a beautiful outdoor shopping center in LA with a dear friend. What could be better?
3. Three finals stand in between me and Christmas break, that’s all. I fly home to Texas on Wednesday. I can’t wait, it’s been a long time coming!
4. I snapped the picture below on a drive through a nearby canyon today. Southern California can do Fall right once in a while!
5. This video interview of Barack and Michelle Obama was incredibly inspiring. They talk about the last eight years living in the White House and their experience raising two girls while in office. I miss them already!Processed with VSCO with c1 preset

A Christmas Quiz

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Happy “Christmas Eve” Eve! How are things friends? I am writing this from my couch at home while watching a movie marathon. Life is good. One of my favorite blogs Unlocking Kiki posted a little “Christmas Quiz” to give her readers a better idea of how she celebrates the season. I loved hearing about her thoughts and traditions in more detail, so I thought I’d do the same for you! Enjoy:

1. Wrapping paper or gift bags?
Wrapping paper is my preferred medium for gift concealment. I just love ripping it open layer by layer- the suspense adds to the surprise!

2. Real tree or artificial?
Real tree all the way baby. My family has never had an artificial tree, because no matter how practical they are, they just don’t smell the same!

3. When do you put up the tree?
Usually the week after Thanksgiving. I wasn’t able to help put it up this year because I was away at school 😦

4. When do you take the tree down?
Usually the day after Christmas! If we leave it up longer, it just reminds me that it’s not Christmas time anymore.

5. Favorite gift received as a child?
A Barbie dream house when I was eight or nine! I can still remember playing with it for hours on Christmas afternoon.

6. Hardest person to shop for?
My dad. I want his gift to be personal but also useful!

7. Easiest person to shop for?
My little brother. We have many several interests, so it’s not hard to think of something he’d enjoy.

8. Favorite Christmas film?
Elf. Always. Favorite quote: “I’m sorry I ruined your lives and crammed 11 cookies into the VCR.”

9. Favorite Christmas food?
Potato pancakes, or Latkes. We eat them for breakfast on Christmas morning, and they are pure cheesy, fluffy goodness.

10. Colored or clear lights on the tree?
This year colored, last year clear. Just depends on our mood when we decorate!

11. Favorite Christmas song?
“Baby It’s Cold Outside.” Never gets old.

12. Travel at Christmas time or stay home?
Both are great, but I actually love to travel somewhere cold and snowy at Christmas time. Some years we go to Iowa or Nebraska to visit my dad’s extended family, and I always enjoy the cold weather!

13. Favorite Christmas cookie?
Peanut butter blossoms– peanut butter balls covered in sugar with a Hershey’s kiss stuck in the middle. They are holy, I tell you.

14. Favorite Christmas tradition?
Decorating the house, especially setting up the miniature Christmas village!

15. Open the presents Christmas Eve or morning?
Morning, for sure.

16. Most annoying thing about this time of year?
The crazy traffic in the area. I live near the airport, which makes it ten times worse.

17. What do you want for Christmas this year?
A polaroid camera!

Well friends, I hope you learned a little more about me and my Christmas traditions. What are a few of your Christmas traditions? I’d love to hear, and have a happy “Christmas Eve” Eve.

P.s. Photo from here.

Reflections on 2015

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2015 has been a year of transitions. I feel as though I lived two different lives this year– one in Germany and one in America. Sometimes I can’t even believe my experiences in Heidelberg and Hildesheim happened this year. Everything about my life there was so drastically different than my life now, it’s hard to integrate the two. Change and transitions are good, but hard. It’s been a long readjustment process, with more than a few road bumps along the way. I am still processing my time abroad. Somedays I miss Germany more than I can bear, and other days I can’t imagine being anywhere else in the world but Pepperdine. That’s the thing about change: it’s unpredictable. I’m not sure how my heart will feel in the future. But in the midst of all this transition, I’ve learned some valuable lessons about life and myself that will stick with me forever. Here are a few if you’d like to read:

1. It’s okay to be sad. I used to tell myself, “Don’t be sad because there are people in this world who have it so much worse!” I thought I was being bratty for feeling sad. But sadness is sadness, so matter the reason. There is no gradient, it can’t be compared. It is perfectly normal to miss Germany (or whatever) and mourn the loss of something you once had. It will pass.

2. It only takes a few close friends. For some reason, I grew up thinking I had to a have a large group of friends to feel genuinely happy and loved. I tried to please everyone and get to know a million people. But then I realized that is just not realistic. It only takes a few close friends to feel valued and loved. I would rather invest deeply in a few select people than spread myself too thin and not reap the rewards.

3. You’re not supposed to know the future. Why do I so easily fall into the trap of thinking I have to have the future figured out? It’s supposed to be unknown. Otherwise it wouldn’t be the future! Duh Micah. This year I am trying to embrace the uncertainty and let it excite me instead of terrify or frustrate me!

4. Patience is hard. Waiting is hard. Patience doesn’t come easily to me. I wish my desires were granted right now. But I know everything happens in its time, not a moment before. I am trying to accept that truth!

5. I am enough. No one expects me to be more than I am. Sometimes I think I’m lacking something, but that is not true. I was created perfectly. Earlier this year, I designated the word Gentle as my “Word of the Year.” I have not always been gentle with myself or others this year, but I am trying!

Question of the Day
What are a few lessons you’ve learned or reflections you’ve had about 2015?

Deck the Halls & Happy Weekend

IMG_2540Hello friends! How are you? I am finally home after a long semester, and man does it feel good. Home is always wonderful, but it’s even more so this time of year with all the festive decorations! I helped deck the halls a few weeks ago after Thanksgiving, but wasn’t around to help choose and decorate the tree. It was a fun surprise to walk in and see it twinkling, full to the brim with beautiful (and a few odd) ornaments! Below are a few pictures if you’d like to see:
IMG_2534IMG_2539^I miss playing piano when I’m away at school!IMG_2537^My great grandmothers nativity scene.IMG_2553^I picked this out for my mom at the Heidelberg Christmas market last year!IMG_2555IMG_2554IMG_2559IMG_2542^There she is.IMG_2543IMG_2544IMG_2546^Mine is the red one with the two angels because, you know, I’m an angel :pIMG_2550IMG_2547^Our snowman collection always lives on top of the mantel.IMG_2594IMG_2588IMG_2582IMG_2572IMG_2552IMG_2557^A lovely sunday school ornament featuring my little brother. Wasn’t he cute? What happened? ;pIMG_2567^Presents! Hopefully the big one’s for me.IMG_2608^Even our couch is red! We are always prepared for Christmas.

Tonight I am seeing Star Wars with a friend, so I am avoiding social media in fear of spoilers. What are you up to this weekend? Have a good one.

Life Lately

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If procrastination was a sport, I would win. Every time. Exhibit A: Finals 2015.  I should be studying as I type this, but oh well! Life lately has been a bit of a roller coaster. Some days I am crazy busy and overwhelmed, while other days I am completely free and relaxed. But come Thursday, finals will be over and I will be at home on my couch eating exorbitant amounts of Peppermint bark and watching Modern Family.

What are your plans for this Christmas season? My family and I are road tripping to Zion National Park in Utah for a few days after Christmas. I’ve never been and I’m so excited! It’s gonna be cooooold.

Below are a few photos from life lately, if you’d like to see.

IMG_8818.JPG^My family already bought and decorated our Christmas tree at home without me (Why college? Why?) so I was thrilled when my friend Michaela invited me to help pick out their family’s tree last weekend. It was difficult to find a good tree since most of them are overly dry because of the drought here in California. But I think we found a winner.

IMG_8801.JPGIMG_8802.JPG^She’s a clown, this one. I think its funny how girls can entertain themselves for hours just taking pictures of each other!

IMG_8819.jpg^Doesn’t it look pretty up against the red wall?IMG_8834.jpg^The sunsets around here lately have been out of this world. I still can’t get over how early the sun sets now a days though…

Well friends, that concludes this random rambling post. I hope your life lately has been filled with joy, laughter, and Christmas cookies! Have a good one.