Tis the Season: A Holiday Story by Corina Carrasco

Today’s Tis the Season post is a short story by Corina Carrasco from at Wasted Days And Wasted Nights.


She was working late on Christmas Eve and again all day on Christmas Day. It was the third year that she had no family to keep her away from work and so she had volunteered to take the shifts that no one wanted so that others could be with their families. She considered it a gift to both her co-workers and herself. Her co-workers could stay home and celebrate their traditions with their families. She could spend the time at work and be distracted from the fact that she had nowhere else to be.

In previous years, she would not have missed family Christmas. She would not have given up the spirit of family being together, laughing and loving, even teasing and rolling their eyes at the words coming from the black sheep. She loved being with everyone else, in a house too full for stretching out one’s elbows but full enough to lock the warmth, both outer and inner, inside each person.

Christmas Eve wasn’t bad. A lot of people came into the coffee shop to relax after getting the last of their errands finished. Feeling accomplished, they would sit and enjoy that venti hot drink before moving on. There were smiles and holiday wishes. Other people would pop in to get that last minute Christmas gift that they had forgotten, or the one they would have on hand in case they needed one more gift. She sold a lot of gift cards that night and by closing time, she had all but forgotten that she was closing up alone and that she’d go back to her empty house to put on Christmas carols and have a cup of hot chocolate so she could sleep well and pop back into work at seven o’clock the next morning. It would be busy even though it was a holiday. She wouldn’t let her mind wander to the past. That was all over. Continue reading

Tis the Season: A Thailand Christmas and a New Holiday Perspective

Today’s Tis the Season post comes from Britta of  It’s a Britta Bottle!


A Thailand Christmas and a New Holiday Perspective

One of my absolute favorite Christmas memories is a relatively recent one, in what some might see as a most unconventional location.

The Setting: A shopping mall, Bangkok, Thailand

The Event: Christmas Ice Skating

The Players: A group of Western English teachers

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A visual image of the scenario

Christmas in Thailand! Say what! Continue reading

Weekend Coffee Share: Let’s Catch Up

If we were having coffee, I’d begin by telling you how much I’ve missed you.  The past couple of weeks have been busy and and blogging has been the last thing on my mind.  For the past few days, I my body has been fighting off a cold.  I’ve been storing away post ideas, but haven’t had the energy to write them yet.

If we were having coffee, I’d tell you that I got to see a fantastic production of Sense & Sensibility at the Guthrie Theater in Minneapolis a few weeks ago.  Although I’ve read all her works multiple times, seen all the adaptations, and even visited Jane Austen’s house in England, S&S is the only one of her works that I had the opportunity to actually study while in college.  Because of what I gleaned in class, Elinor Dashwood has become one of my favorite Austen heroines. Continue reading

Weekend Coffee Share: Another Summer Wedding

If we were having coffee, we’d be sitting in my house looking out at the sunlit world groggily making conversation.  I’ve been extremely lazy and apathetic this week, so most of the things on my To-Do list have gone undone.  In fact, I almost didn’t join the coffee share this week out of pure laziness.  But I made it and am glad to see you.

If we were having coffee, I’d tell you all about the wedding I went to this weekend!  I’ve known the bride for four years.  We met when I stayed at her house while on day camp assignment during my first year as a camp counselor.  While there, I learned that she was going to be a freshman at my college.  A month later, my roommate and I started a Bible study and I invited her to come.  She did and, over the next few years, we became friends. We even co-lead the group during my final year of school. Continue reading

Weekend Coffee Share: I’M EMPLOYED!!

If we were having coffee, we’d be sitting on a blanket in the grass soaking in the sunshine.  Even though it’s August now, it’s not unbearably hot and I am loving it.  The air is fresh, the sky is blue, and the company is good!  What is better?

If we were having coffee, I’d tell you that I GOT A JOB!  The hunt has ended and my first foray into post-college employment is beginning.   Continue reading

Weekend Coffee Share: Let’s Make This Fast

If we were having coffee, I’d say we better make this fast.  I just got my copy of Harry Potter and the Curse Child and will consider my day wasted if I don’t spend the rest of it reading.  (It’s not that I don’t want to spend time with you… It’s just… Harry Potter…)

If we were having coffee, I’d tell you that my week started off pretty bad–as described in my Emergency Dance Party post.  Long story short, I got poison ivy so bad that my entire legs were covered in panful blisters and then got icky sick one night.  It was rough. Continue reading

Weekend Coffee Share: Transitions & Exiting Hermit-Mode

If we were having coffee, we’d be out on the back deck soaking in the sunshine.  Although Northern Minnesota has been hit with enormous rainfalls over the past week resulting in record flooding, we’ve managed to evade all the severe weather.

If we were having coffee, I would tell you that I turned down a job this week.  After multiple interviews, a site visit, and several weeks of intense thought, I decided that being an Assistant Manager at a resort just wasn’t the right route for me.  There were so many factors against it personally and professionally.  When it came down to it, I just wasn’t willing to make a two year commitment to a job that wouldn’t pay enough to save for grad school in an area with little to no housing options.  I think I’ve made the right decision. Continue reading

Weekend Coffee Share: Neighborhood Wedding

If we were having coffee, we’d be meeting in my living room.  We’d be meeting in the morning and I’d be bleary-eyed, mussy-haired, and still in my pajamas.  I’d sit in the big chair in the corner with a steaming cup of tea.  Despite just waking up, I would do my best to make you feel welcome.  Is there anything I can get you?  Tea?  Coffee?  Maybe some toast? Continue reading

Hiking in the Alps

I’ve spent the past few days staying with friends in the city of Innsbruck, Austria.  It’s a stunning city, located in a wide valley in the middle of the Tirol Provence.  Unfortunately… my first couple of days were rainy.  Most of yesterday was spent enjoying the city center–sitting in cafes and wandering into beautiful Baroque churches.  I knew there were mountains (after all, I’ve been here before!), but couldn’t actually see anything.  That is… until today.

This morning, I had the opportunity to go hiking with my friend Anna and her mother.  Thankfully, I’ve been traveling in a pair of heavy-duty boots and was well prepared for the climb. Continue reading

November in Review

Because I was a bad blogger and skipped out on October… here is my November Month in Review!

Month in Review blog heading

I. Blogging

November has been a good month.  Although I haven’t been writing like a maniac like my NaNoWriMo and NaNoBloPoMo friends, I definitely have been hanging out with my words.  The past few weeks have been filled with meaningful posts that I’m really proud of.  Be sure to read my comparison between apple farming and writing, my frustration at American responses to the refugee crisis, and musings from the shore of Lake Superior.  I also posted a poem that’s been sitting in my archives for over two years.  Be sure to check it out and let me know if I should put on my poet hat more often.

Looking ahead, I have an exciting December planned!  I hope to start posting book reviews again.  I also have a fun holiday-themed series coming up that I am going to need your help for!  Stay tuned for more details.

II. Books

This month, I was a literary fiend, tearing through books at an alarming rate.  I keep track of how many books I read each year on Goodreads.  In the past week, my count has exceeded 100–a personal record!

I’ve spent a LOT of time over the past two weeks binge-reading fluffy YA novels.  Rainbow Rowell is SO GOOD.  Marissa Meyer’s conclusion to her Lunar Chronicles series was incredibly satisfying (review coming soon!).  And, despite my love/hate relationship with Stephanie Perkins, I managed to eat up one of her novels in less than 24 hours.  (Oh, the beauty of Thanksgiving Break.)

Here’s a list of some of my reads:

  • Symphony of Ages trilogy by Elizabeth Haydon
  • Fangirl/Eleanor & Park by Rainbow Rowell
  • Seven Words of Power by James Maxwell
  • Winter by Marissa Meyer
  • Isla and the Happily Ever After by Stephanie Perkins
  • Pastrix by Nadia Bolz-Weber
  • Forgotten God by Francis Chan
  • Yes Please by Amy Pohler

III. Life

November was filled with unexpected twists and turns.

Things at work went from awful to not-so-bad.  Of course, once I finally get a firm grip on the job, it’s time to hand it off to someone else.  We managed to find a stellar candidate for the Executive Director position.  The hiring decision isn’t official yet, but will be in a week or so.  This means that my brief stint into Chamber of Commerce life is nearly over.  No tears are being shed over this.

Orchard season also came to a close.  We’ve been going strong since August, but finally reached the end.  It was a season for the record books–biggest crowds, biggest crops, biggest sales.  It was an exhausting, rewarding ride and I am happy to be done.  I do miss the physical work.  Hauling around 40 lb crates of fruit helped me stay in shape and I liked the monotony.  Still, having actual weekends is an absolute dream!

This month, I celebrated my twenty third birthday by enjoying a shopping spree with my mom at the Mall of America.  I spent WAY too much money, but have worn my purchases (a sweater, new pants, some scarves) enough times to make it more than worthwhile.

I hung out with friends quite a bit.  My high school buddies and I had a movie night, where they introduced me to The Sandlot.  Now whenever my mom exasperates me, I can knowingly retort, “You’re killin’ me, Smalls!”  My friend, Kassandra, and I had a delightful brunch at a cafe in St. Paul a few weeks back and I was reunited with my long-time friend, Holly, who made the trip from Washington D.C. to spend Thanksgiving with her family.  My study abroad friend, Maddie, came up from her now-home Minneapolis and we spent a memorable afternoon closing up the orchard, wandering around Taylors Falls, and discussing music, politics, and spirituality.

I managed to escape home for a night by accompanying my mom and brother to Duluth, where they had work meetings.  While there, I had some quality me-time strolling along the lakeshore.  That afternoon, we went to a press conference and I got to shake hands with a U.S. Congressman, which was pretty cool.

Finally, the most unexpected thing of all happened in the form of an opening to live and study at a ministry in England.  If you had told me a month ago that I’d be returning to the U.K., I would have laughed in your face.  It’s amazing what a few short weeks can do!  I’m not really sure what to expect from this adventure, but I’m having a lot of fun dreaming about it.  Who knows if I’ll ever come home?

That wraps up my Month in Review!  As always, thanks for reading.