o come, o come, Emmanuel
and ransom captive israel
that mourns in lonely exile here
until the Son of God appear
rejoice! rejoice! Emmanuel
shall come to thee, o israel.
"22 we know that the whole creation has been groaning as in the pains of childbirth right up to the present time. 23 not only so, but we ourselves, who have the firstfruits of the Spirit, groan inwardly as we wait eagerly for our adoption to sonship, the redemption of our bodies. 24 for in this hope we were saved. but hope that is seen is no hope at all. who hopes for what they already have? 25 but if we hope for what we do not yet have, we wait for it patiently."
i hope your weekend has been and continues to be beautiful. the day after thanksgiving every year has always been one of my favorite days, but for some reason this year, yesterday wasn't the most wonderful. not for any big reason really or because of anyone, just an off day for me. but that's life, huh? even on christmas-tree-decorating day!
i still really enjoyed picking out a tree with my fam, and here are some pics from the day. taking pictures and documenting moments is so life-giving to me.
and i can officially start saying, MERRY CHRISTMAS! what good news. happy christmas season!
^^ this cute family was singing hand in hand around their christmas tree! haha!
ohhh dahh paaaige! wish the lil nug was always around.
...haha, also may or may not have tried to wrestle her into the snow while we were out there because she was bugging me. #stillmyfavnug
^^ there was a GRINCH! way better than santa claus, if you ask me. thought of holland and ariel the whole time!
cute tree farm!
^^ momma doin what she does best! she makes everything beautiful.
^ and the tree that she made a few years ago. i'm so proud of and inspired by the creativity of my parents that fills the whole house! haha, even right now as i type this my parents are creating giant ornaments out of colorful bouncy balls and tin cans to hang on the outside of the house. i hope i can be as cool as them when i grow up.
man, i love creativity!
praise Jesus for every good thing this season represents and brings.
(our christmas decorating last year HERE, 2014 HERE, and 2013 HERE! always fun to look back.)
happy thanksgiving, buddies!
this year more than others i've been so crazy about thanksgiving. i don't think it gets enough credit. a lot of times it's something people try to get past so we can really start celebrating christmas. but i just can't get over how beautiful the idea of taking a whole day aside to reflect on every gift with people you cherish is. and there are so many. ugh, so many.
here are some pictures from our day. i wanted to make sure to document a few moments because i always appreciate looking back on them. we spent the day at grandma & grandpa speich's and for the first time in a few years (we're usually at our other grandparents' for thanksgiving), everyone from that side of the family was there! not one missin! isn't that neat?
^^ we speichs do food reaaaallll well. appetizers, main dish, desserts... just kill it. PTL.
^ we speichs chill real well too. mm. my kinda fam.
^^^ little gracie diva. jumped right up on uncle jim's lap. little ham. also, don't they look alike??
^^ the dinner had us like...
^ cute mom! the most thankful person i know.
^^ guess which one is me and who's sid?! haha.
^ grandma's pumpkin pie... outta the park! i love pumpkin pie but usually it's so sweet, but her's is just right! the best gram.
^ haha. fam group pics for the win!
^^ snapped a little pic of grandma & grandpa as we were leaving, cuz i love them so much and there's no one like them and i know i'll miss moments like this.
hope you guys got to rest & reflect & spend the day with dearly loved ones and maybe some dearly loved food (ha).
oh thank you, Jesus.
thank You, Jesus.
thank You, Jesus.
thank You, Jesus.
(last thanksgiving HERE, 2014 HERE and 2013 HERE!)
(PSA: currently, i'm sitting in my fam's living room watching elf by the fireplace. it's a good day to be alexi speich.)
"Jesus is King. God is over all. He is bigger and stronger than this election cycle, than this season of congress, than this moment in our nation's story and we are a part of an ancient people that stretch back thousands of years, long before america and democracy were even a thing, and stretch forward to the return of Jesus to make all things new. and we care about our country, we feel an acute pain right now for the turmoil in it, but we at the same time belong to another King and to another Kingdom. and our hope is not grounded in the candidate or a political party or an ideology of right or left or even in democracy as a form of government. our hope is grounded in Jesus and His inbreaking kingdom now and not yet. Jesus is King over all.
as followers of Jesus we are called to be people of peace, not of fear and anxiety and paranoia, not that that isn't legitimate for some people who are right now are waking up scared, but we are called to be people of peace. our city so badly needs people of peace. your office, your classroom, your neighborhood, your coffee shop, your gym needs people of peace. be the people of peace.
we have to stand up as the multiracial people of God on the side of justice and advocate and not stop until we see healing in that area. now is a time to listen to people of color. sit down for a cup of coffee with a black or brown brother or sister in our church or an immigrant in our church and just say "will you tell me your felt experience" and just listen. shut up and just listen. and don't argue, don't debate, don't agree or disagree, just listen. and be there as a brother or sister when people are ready to talk about it.
we need right now to be the people of Jesus more than ever in our cities. we have to step up. not that we're the answer to the problem, we're part of the problem, but we need to step up in a time of toxic anger, blame-shifting, refusal to even listen to the other side of the conversation, racism, bigotry, greed, fear, paranoia, anxiety, violence, rioting in the streets... in that time, we need to embody the fruit of the Spirit: love, joy, peace, forbearance, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness, and self-control... man, do we need that right now. we are bound together not by political ideology. we are bound together by the death and the burial and the resurrection of Jesus of nazareth. so we need to be a family, we need to be a safe place, and in this cultural climate of fear we need to put on display peace, of hate- we need to put on display love, of racism- we need to work the multiracial family of God, of bigotry- toward a humility and a care and concern for the poor, in a fear of the stranger, of the immigrant- we need to welcome the stranger regardless of skin color or religion in the name of Jesus of nazareth. we need more than ever to be the people of Jesus."
john mark comer
(see also: my friend sam's desperately needed words HERE)
i'm kind of annoyed with myself for even using the words "social media" because i think we've all been trained to know at this point that whatever comes next won't be praise. but i did, and here it is... it's nothing new, but i wanted to say it.
social media is not community.
that sounds like a "duhhh," but that kind of thinking can sneak up on ya! it's weird, we can convince ourselves that we're connected with everyone, just from knowing things about them and watching little pieces of their lives unfold. but social media is highlights, curated moments, little glimpses, often filtered. i'm not saying we all need to go delete our accounts, i actually love sharing highlights and trying to be creative in what i see! that kind of thing is my favorite! i'm saying we need to be careful and not confuse the people we follow on instagram to having community.
i don't know about you, but i don't post pictures of myself crying about hard things, or losing my patience with my sister. i didn't make a blog post about how yesterday i didn't even recognize my own heart in the way i was acting. about how i knew i wasn't being who God created me to be in heart postures of entitlement, arrogance, annoyance, impatience... (which all unveiled their ugly faces yesterday, by the way, ugh). i didn't snap a picture of the person i work with who is really mean without reason and the hard time i have responding well to her.
john mark comer (my favorite teaching pastor) said when you get married, every ugly thing inside you is magnified. not because it wasn't there before you got married, but because you are suddenly made aware of it through your mate, like you were given a mirror to see into yourself. that, i think, is so good and so necessary. that is community. that is accountability and sharpening. the other day, i made a mistake in a friendship without even knowing i had hurt the other person and she called me out on it. that's what community is and that's what friendship is. i need more of that. we all need more of that. especially because following the way of Jesus and purposing to become more like Him is not a single-person endeavor. following Jesus on our own "just me & God" is not an option. we need each other greatly.
what social media magnifies (though i think this tendency is already in us without social media) is an ugly beast which is romanticizing other people, other relationships, other traits, other situations, without knowing the whole person, and yet thinking we're connected to them. it's a doozy.
kind of funny how i don't actually romanticize the people i know the best & am closest to. i'm not saying humans are incapable of amazement and wonder and respect, absolutely not! the opposite. i admire my dad to the point of tears, but i also have seen his less admirable moments. the difference is i have seen a full picture of him because i'm in relationship with him. things change when you bring people up close.
this is probably ending abruptly, but i think i've said what i wanted to. ha. these thoughts have helped me, so maybe they can help you, too, next time you're looking at someone's profile. remember followers or friends or likes are not community.
remember we're all human. we're just like you, man.
my life's not always sunshine and best friends and thanksgiving meals and cozy happy lalala. the pictures below are just highlights, moments of much goodness, that i want to remember for a long time.
"and when i give thanks for the seemingly microscopic, i make a place for God to grow within me."
^^ on wednesday night at church, we had a special thanksgiving night with our high school small groups. every week i genuinely look forward to seeing these women, but there's just somethin about sharing a meal around a table that knits hearts together even more, huh? i don't know, maybe that's too sappy. also i might be convinced that warm, homemade bread is a love language... just sayin. also, the nametag.
^ someone else's memory. explored in the grooviest treasure trove in the cities with my cousin & sister last friday night, called hunt & gather. could've spent a day there. ^
^ then me and sid sat across from each other at a little table against the wall in one of our favorite little eateries, the copper hen. i'll remember that meal with fondness for a long time. a lot of love and a lot of warmth all around.
^ me & sid also stopped at the MIA that night (it's free, and we're city explorers on a budget, lol). another adventure with sid at the MIA here. we really know how to go on cheap adventures. i'm pretty proud of us.
^^ ugh. i don't even want to try to tell you what that weekend meant to me or what these individuals mean to me.
^ justin was there, too. in case you were wondering. diva divs.
i'm really not trying to be corny, but that sunday morning put so many pictures in my mind of shalom. of right relationships. of human living as it should be. of Jesus at the center of friends. it was beautiful and i'm so thankful.
^ this looks like home to me! OH.
^ hanging out with sidney so much these days is definitely something i want to remember. she's really important to me. so are those pumpkin smoothies we're sippin on, but you know... in different ways ;)
^ oh yeah, and there was that time when alyssa was coffee and i was a donut and we handed out candy to little bumble bees and monkeys and elsas and darth vaders and gnomes (by far, my favorite costume was this little two-year-old boy with suspenders and a fake beard and big cone hat as a gnome. i died. and then was revived to tell the tale.)
oh, the LORD's been good to me.
in this beautiful season of thanks and giving, you might be looking for new and creative ways to give (financially). there are always lots of beautiful options out in the world for giving, but here's another wonderful one. i strongly believe in compassion international and what they are doing in the world as well as their integrity & trustworthiness. i found out they have a gift catalog filled with one-time donation ideas, with a range of amounts from $10 Bibles or $16 food for a malnourished child, to $1600 computer labs or $7500 surgery, and everything in between! so many beautiful options... dental hygiene kits, water filters, birth attendants, education for new moms, etc.! so as you think through ways you might like to give this season, i'd urge you to consider any of the gifts on their site (and maybe even consider sponsoring a child monthly!) if you're suspicious about where your money is really going (which is valid and wise!) head over to their FAQs to learn more about their financial integrity.
here is the link for their site: GIFT CATALOG
take a stroll! ^^
i'll letchya know here of a few more giving opportunities elsewhere, too!
ugh. i hate to leave this blog sitting like i have. mostly because this space has always been a safe, genuinely joy-giving and artistic outlet for me... a way to take note of how i'm feeling and what i'm noticing at this very time in my life, which i think is an important step back. i love this space and love cultivating it.
so, because i don't necessarily have a cohesive thought put together, here's a few mini ones. that always seems to get the ball rolling.
i love this season. i love this season. i love this season. there's an extra awareness of gratitude, which is so sweet and good, and the bubbling excitement of what is coming so soon (at least for me... i'm crazy about christmas!), and so many intentional gatherings with the most loved ones because of the season. it's unlike any other time of year that way and i really cherish it.
i'm trying to navigate gift-giving this year. i'm really moved by a way of living that is less. less stuff, less buying. pushing back from the ravenous beast that is consumerism and so easy to be swept in because it's so cultural. ugh i'm so snarky towards black friday. and the spirit of obligation or gift comparison. those two things make me want to throw up. ha. i was going to try to get my family to think about maybe skipping gift-giving this year, but i genuinely enjoy and greatly value giving and generosity. basically i want to do gift-giving well this year. to give a little bit more than i think i can, in ways specific and personal to the people, and find creative ways to give as well as different people to give to.
seriously, you guys, if anyone has any tips or anecdotes or ideas, i would be so grateful to hear them! what have you learned or do in this area that you could share with me? ALL ears.
josh garrels has a christmas album coming out and i am SO FREAKING EXCITED i can hardly stand it.
not sure how it was possible, but i managed to outdo myself in my previous cactus-killing records...(remember this?!) a whopping THREE DAYS this time, you guys, and the brand new cactus i bought (even worse, it was supposed to be a gift for someone! *palm to face*) i literally DROPPED IN THE PARKING LOT head-first where it came out of its pot, dirt and all, after leaving it in my car to get very cold for two nights. oh, alexi. come on, girl. (i'm good with kids, I PROMISE!)
i also have outdone myself in previous terrible-phone-etiquette records, and am at an all time low. didn't think that was possible. ugh. WHY AM I SO BAD AT TEXTING BACK?!
i listened to michael buble's new album today and it rocked. sometimes he feels a little too sappy to me, but that man's voice is smooth as buttah! you should listen, too.
i want to be excited about things and yell like phoebe buffay gets excited about things and yells. when i watch friends it's for phoebe.
yesterday, in a church group i'm a part of with really beautiful people, we spent the whole time talking about how God loves us. just soaking in it and letting it sink in and learning about it and meditating on it... how's that for a big ol drink of water for a thirsty heart?!
i had the sweetest night with my sister the other day, eating soup and drinking tea and looking at art and talking about our favorite things. i want to do it all again! IT WAS SO GOOD.
if you're looking for a good and easy read, i really recommend the christian atheist by craig groeschel. my favorite books are ones that give me thoughts that pop up randomly days after, and that one has.
i decided to write down my dreams. like my actual dreams when i sleep. for no reason other than wanting to remember what i dream about and see if there are patterns and see the people who pop up! last night, three people from high school that i haven't thought about in a long time were there! i think this will be fun. it made me excited to go to sleep last night, to see what my imagination might come up with!
wowza, who knew i had so many things to share? psshhh...i did. who am i kidding. i always have random things to share, haha!
sweet dreams, friend! i'm so grateful that you would care about the things i have to say here.
"aslan, aslan. dear aslan,” sobbed lucy. “at last.”
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