Thursday, December 21, 2006

Tim Hill's Engaged!

My brother "popped the question" Tuesday night and Kristen said yes! For those of you who don't know, Tim is going to Central Baptist Seminary East in Virginia Beach, VA and has been dating a great girl that I was able to meet this summer.
Here's the story straight from him:
"After a long four months of papers, presentations, reading, and projects, Kristen and I planned to go out to dinner to celebrate the end of the school semester. It was to be her treat as a "congratulations" for finishing up. I still had one more paper left to complete, but since she was leaving to go home to Michigan on Thursday, we planned on Tuesday night as our "date night." Tuesday night also marked the eve of 13 months of dating. I had been doing some planning, however, and knew that tonight would be more than simply an "end of the semester" celebration.

You see last week, which was actually one the busiest times of the semester, I made time to do a little bit of—shopping. A friend had given me a phone number for the "ring lady," so on Tuesday I met with her to pick out something nice. I found something I liked. I went back on Wednesday (in between school reading) to confirm the setting and to see it looked like with the rock in it. However, at the end of the meeting, I wasn't quite sure that what I had picked out fit Kristen's personality. And I was worried the band might be too bulky. I had already told the lady "yes" and left to go home, but my mind was not settled. Well, I kept thinking about it and wondering about it. That evening I went over to give a get-well card to my girlfriend who had come home early from school that day because of sickness. As I sat with her, I looked at her hand and pictured what the ring might look like on it. I wasn't sold.

Instead of paying for the ring that night as scheduled, I called the lady back and asked to see more bands. Thursday afternoon I was back over looking at more options, praying for God's wisdom. She showed me a few more that she had in stock, one already looked much more like Kristen. We were on the right track. After a few more minutes of looking, she kind of gave an "Oh," and pulled out another ring. It was beautiful. Amazing! It was a white gold setting that was just perfect—it was delicate, feminine—everything that fit Kristen. And it was a little bit different—which fit me! J I was sold. She could have it to me by Monday.

Hmm…still needed to call her dad. I had previously swiped her parents' cell and home number—figured it might come in handy some time. But after trying the cell and getting a lady's voice, I realized I didn't have her Dad's cell number. Kristen's roommate, who was helpful as far as a ring size goes, proved to be helpful yet again in procuring her dad's cell number. Called him, Thursday. Got the OK. Things were rolling.

As I had previously said, we had already made plans to celebrate the end of the semester. Perfect! She wouldn't even see it coming! And I got to pick the location. So, on what seemed like a whim, we were headed over Tuesday night to Regent University Campus and the Swan Terrace Restaurant. Also at this time of year, they have a section on campus behind the restaurant all lit up for the holidays: A nice, romantic place to walk around after dinner. (Funny—on the way over, Kristen saw the lights and said, "Oh Tim, could we walk around there after dinner?" Could she make this any easier?)

Dinner was excellent. We had a fireplace table for two—thoroughly enjoying the atmosphere and each other's company. I had previously placed the box in my inside coat pocket. Minor point: the ring box had a light inside of it that shone when the box was opened. Pretty cool. So, after dinner while in the restroom, I made the switch from my inside coat pocket to my outside coat pocket—more accessible. And we headed over to see the lights.

They were beautiful and right next to the lake on campus. Trees and bushes were all lit up in a myriad of white lights as Christmas music floated through the evening air. (Funny: a thought went through Kristen's mind which she immediately brushed aside—"This would be the perfect place to get engaged.") After walking around and through the lights we sat down on a park bench. As we sat together and enjoyed the sounds and scenery, I wondered if now was the time. A few people lingered in the area, and others would occasionally come and go. I thought it would be best away from other people—so we could enjoy the moment together. As we sat there, Kristen looked over to a covered walkway and asked if those were more lights she saw over there. So we got up and walked that direction. (Like I said before, could she make it any easier?) Once under the walkway, we turned back to look at the lights and just stood there to admire the sight before us. I knew it was the time. I pulled out the box and opened it. Kristen was shocked. I dropped to one knee—and well…

she said Yes.

Then came the phone calls, and text messages, and showing everyone. What an exciting evening!

So everyone…we're engaged!"


Wednesday, December 20, 2006

Christmas Letter 2006

(This is my 2006 Christmas letter, for those of you unfortunate souls who will not receive a hard copy, if you are interested...)

Friday, December 15, 2006

Dear Family & Friends,

Whew. Now that this week is nearly over I feel I can finally sit down to write that Christmas letter I’ve been meaning to get to all month.

I will try to give you a synopsis of what I’ve been up to this year by first telling you how the last month has gone.

The last couple weeks have flown by as I’ve been going from one thing to the next—mostly from rehearsals and more rehearsals to programs and more programs! This week we had a K5-3rd grade program on Tuesday night and a 4th-6th grade program on Thursday night. Monday the Jr. High and high school choirs sang at the mall. Sunday afternoon I had a small piano recital between cantata practices for church. Last week was our first-ever Preschool only Christmas program on Thursday night. So I have been working on helping to get these programs together (thankfully I’m not really “in charge” of any of them except for my own recitals) and making PowerPoints for the big nights. That’s probably why this Christmas letter will be late…Oh yes, I finally got my Christmas tree up at home too.

Things are starting to slow down now as there are only a few days left in school before Christmas vacation. Our church musical is this Sunday, so there’s only one more practice for that. And next week I am having one more piano recital for the rest of my students. Then I am looking forward to traveling and seeing my family!

I am still enjoying my job at Faith Christian School ( teaching piano and accompanying. I also enjoy being on the Worship Team for church and playing the piano on Sundays. It seems there always a special event going on too that I am involved in.

I think since my last letter came out the main thing I have to share with you is my new puppy—Juju (Jubal Lee), whom I took home at 9 weeks old in June. She weighed about 9 pounds then, and is up to close to 50 pounds now at 8 months old—complete with puppy energy to go with it. She is a German shepherd mix—supposed to have lab, chow, retriever, and who knows what else. She loves everybody and everything and is a very happy dog when she can be around people—or chewing on something (hopefully not my shoes or socks or dirty clothes or towels—some of her favorites).

My summer project (other than training a puppy and reading all the dog books from the library) was getting my youngest sister Sarah’s room ready for her to move into. I painted it red and helped her decorate (well, I helped her find what she was looking for) when she moved in in August.

I have been having fun this year with all the “new toys” I got this summer. I am more set up to spend time at home, as now I have my MacBook to work on projects at home (it was nice this week to be able to search for clip art in my leisure time at home instead of at school). I have a piano now at home so I don’t HAVE to go to church to practice (although I don’t use it all that much—but it’s nice that it’s there). And having a dog to come home to and a sister around helps to enjoy my house…and remind me to keep it clean, as Juju is great for making lots of messes (ripping up stuffed animals, getting in the trash) and reminding me to vacuum. Having Sarah around as a housemate helps me remember to do the dishes (as there are more of them now) and take out the trash (as that seems to multiply) too.

This year has been a transitioning year as I have had to make changes to my “single, carefree” lifestyle by adopting more responsibilities with a puppy and a roommate. So now I have a little “family” in my house—that takes more work and more communicating, but I guess that’s all part of life. Sometimes I wonder what I was thinking by wanting to have these things to care for…but in the long run I know it is helping me to actually become more like Christ by working on new areas of growth in my own life and stretching me a little more.

I think the biggest concept God has been reminding me of this past year is not to think too highly of “my” things—now that I have to share them. I have been used to being the only person that touches “my stuff.” So it’s been good for me to realize that it’s okay if your sister loads things onto YOUR computer, or if the carpet gets a spot on it (the house is meant to be lived in, not as a showpiece). It’s all right if your sister invites people over to the house, even if it means more work for you. Whatever happens to “stuff” is okay—if your sister dents your garage door or burns your stove covers, if you leave your dog out and she chews lip gloss on the carpet, knocks a homemade cheesecake on the floor, digs holes in the yard, or spills orange juice on your laptop—I want to respond to these things in such a way that I can give a good account to God. (And not leave these things in her reach ever again!) I want to be a good steward of what God has entrusted me with—we are only here on earth for a short time anyway, and our material goods are only given to us to maintain for a short time. But we will be held accountable for the way we interact with people in our speech, thoughts, and actions.

So Merry Christmas to all, and may we all be seeking to progress in our sanctification as we grow closer to God than we have ever been before.

I look forward to hearing from all of you as well.

Love in Christ, the Greatest Gift of all,
Beth Hill
& Juju

Post #100

This is post #100. Sounds like a milestone. Congratulations to me!

Monday, December 18, 2006

O Christmas Tree

Whew. I have survived the Christmas programs!! Everything went mostly fine...the PowerPoint didn't work for the first half of the preschool program, and we had one kid throw up in the grand finale of the K5-3rd program, but otherwise they mostly went off without a hitch. Singing at the mall, 4th-6th grade program, and the church musical yesterday went very well.

Now I am finally able to get some things done, like cleaning off my desk, getting my Christmas lists in order, writing a Christmas letter, planning for Christmas shopping, etc. I have an appointment to get my hair cut tomorrow, and I am also enjoying reading the book "House" by Frank Peretti & Ted Dekker.

Saturday December 9 I was able to put up my Christmas tree! G-Knee and I went out to her landlord's tree farm and she cut down my tree for me. Go G-KNEE!! I got a 7' balsam that is just gorgeous. After I brought it inside and set it up I discovered there was actually a bird's nest inside it, too! Is that supposed to mean anything?

Monday, December 11, 2006

Congratulations AR 10 Winners!

For the second time in a row, the team I actually wanted to win the Amazing Race has done it successfully!! (See my blog post on October 9.) Congratulations, Tyler & James, for not getting lost on the way to the final pit stop!

Wednesday, December 06, 2006

This Isn't My House...

...but it'd be cool if it was! (although a lot of work and very expensive, probably)

I love Christmas lights, and I saw a video once of someone who had set their Christmas lights to music so that different ones went off and on as you listened to a festive tune...some sort of gizmo run by a computer and with music broadcast over a radio channel and whatnot.

Last week I saw a news story that there was an actual house about a half-hour away (in Battle Ground) that had done this and was hoping to visit it sometime this season. Well, come to find out, this house just a few blocks away that I walk Juju by almost every night (depending on my route) did the same thing! So just a few blocks away we can enjoy this wonderful phenomenon of dancing Christmas lights. It's pretty cool. Last night Sarah and I drove by, parked, and watched all 3 songs. It was pretty cool!