Speaking of the holidays, we have hit my favorite time of year which means I am super busy with all the Advent/Christmas activities going on around me. This next few weeks are filled with Christmas parties and special worship services and gift exchanges and free food and caroling. I've already started listening to Christmas music and have been occasionally watching Christmas movies to get myself psyched up for the holiday. I just love the Christmas season and am really excited about this one because I am actually spending it someplace cold. It's hard to get into the Christmas spirit when it is 60 degrees outside but when the highs are in the 20s and the lows are in the teens (as they have been all this week) it makes getting in the Christmas spirit so much easier. I usually go into a bit of a depression right around the holidays for some reason and I admit I was a bit depressed for a few weeks there (which I think is understandable given everything that happened) but I'm feeling much better now. I attended a Blue Christmas service at LakeView the other day and that was a good way to get some of the sadness and misery and depression out and dealt with. Anyway, now I'm back to being the same old happy-go-lucky me that I once was. Now that I've got the holiday blues out of the way, I can focus on all the good things that are happening in my world right now.
On Monday, the six of us in Faith House woke up ridiculously early in the morning to head to the State Capitol in Springfield for People of Faith Rally Day. We got the opportunity to rally the state legislators to abolish the death penalty in the State of Illinois. It was an exciting opportunity and one that the political junkie in me enjoyed thoroughly. Unfortunately, the issue didn't get voted on this session so the House and Senate will reconvene in January to discuss it. On the bright side, however, the House and Senate did pass the civil unions bill meaning that starting next summer it will officially be legal to get a civil union in the state of Illinois!! So, at least some good came out of the legislative session even if the actual issue that we were there to rally on didn't actually get voted on.
Just to clarify, the State of Illinois has the death penalty currently but has not used it in over ten years yet still maintains a death row where the prisoners just sit in limbo filing appeal after appeal and costing the taxpayers thousands of dollars every year on a broken system that doesn't serve any purpose and promotes the myth that killing an individual can bring any sort of peace or closure to someone's life. It doesn't and keeping the death penalty just ends up costing the taxpayers more in the long run and goes against every single Biblical teaching there is. As a Christian, I cannot support such a barbaric and inhumane practice and that is why I was looking forward to the trip to Springfield to rally behind a cause that I believe so strongly in. Plus, I got to see the Capitol Building which is always a plus.
Ok, off my soapbox. This next week consists of a staff Xmas party at work (which includes a white elephant gift exchange), the Young Adult Progressive Dinner, a Lessons and Carols Service and maybe more. All in all, it is going to be a busy but great week!! I've already got my Christmas sweater ready to wear for all the holiday occasions!! I'm staying warm so don't be worried about me freezing to death. I brought plenty of warm clothing with me plus a scarf, hat, gloves and snow pants so I seriously think I am going to be ok. If I can survive winter in Chicago, I'm pretty sure I can survive anything!! I've been in a baking mood lately so I think things are going to prove to be fun around here!! Look at me, I'm turning into a regular ole' chef!! First the cooking, now the baking!! Where could this possibly lead?? I'll keep you posted on that development. I've also made it my goal to have all of my grad school applications done by the first of the year which is a large task but I think I can do it. I am going to have a lot of free time over the holidays so will use it diligently (hopefully!). Anyway, will close this off now as I need to get to bed soon. I hope you all have a great week and remember Jesus loves you (and so do I)!!