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Sunday, December 25, 2005

Christmas Time

Wow, Merry Christmas, eh? Hope the holidays are treating you well and all your Christmas wishes are coming true! Danny and I wished for snow. Guess we should have been more specific and wished for snow here. We have none. The weather's been quite nice actually. Light winds and slightly overcast...

Wait! What am I doing? I have to tell you what I got for Christmas!!!!!

So Thursday, Danny and I took a trip to (drum roll please...) LONDON! It was beautiful to go at Christmas with all the lights and carollers and psycho shoppers! Since it was Christmas, Danny and I decided no to have the usual McDonald's lunch, but to really treat ourselves like royalty. We went to Burger King. Enjoying our Whoppers and fries, Danny asked me, "What would you like to do first?" It didn't really matter to me, we were in London! But that sneaky guy had already made plans. He reached into his pocket and pulled out (drum roll again, please...) TWO TICKETS TO SEE THE LION KING MUSICAL AT THE THEATRE!!!!!!!

Yeah, wow! I don't know what to say about it except that it was AMAZING, INCREDIBLE, SPECTACULAR, MAGICAL, ENTHRALLING! In a word - it was COOL! The puppets, costumes, music, set, stage, everything was unbelievable! It totally inspired us both to revamp all our LifeForce drama stuff. We might need to adjust our bugdet a bit and squeeze in some more fundraising stuff, but it will be all worth it!

I still can't believe we went to the Lion King.

All that tormenting and teasing is finished! For Christmas Danny and I saw the Lion King and it was the best Christmas present!

So yesterday, Danny and I are sitting at home enjoying a quiet Christmas eve, when all of a sudden he says to me, "I have the best birthday present ever for you! Ha ha ha ha ha!"

Unbelievable.

We have enjoyed our Christmas here overall, although to be honest, it hasn't really felt like Christmas to either one of us. The lack of snow is a big factor. And it is an even crazier time of year here than in Canada. We are truly a laid back culture. The English are all or nothing people. They either don't care at all or they are 100% gun-ho! And when it comes to their music, they are crazy! The show "X-Factor" which is like one of those Pop Idol shows, had a third of the country voting on it's contestants. Will a third of Canada vote for a prime-minister in January?

Christmas lights are another thing the English are crazy about. There are no houses with one simple string of icicles hung from the eaves. Oh no. There will be 5 houses in a row with not even a paper snowflake on the window and then BLAM! Some one has decorated their place with enough lights to make Stevie Wonder blink. They put up twinkling lights, strobe lights, flood lights, light-up snow men, Santas, reindeer, stars, angels, nativity scenes, candles, etc., etc. 'What's that? Does it light up? Stick it to my house.' It a totally unrelated story, Scotland and Wales are experiencing rolling blackouts due to power shortages...

Well, I'm sure you all have many Christmas things yet to do today so I won't keep you any longer! May God bless you all this Christmas and all throughout the new year!

Best Wishes,
~Alycia (& Danny) DeLong

Wednesday, December 21, 2005

An Apology

Hey everyone!

I know that I just sent out an email a couple of days ago, but hey, it's the holidays! What else am I going to do?

Really, the purpose of this email is to apologize to everyone for my email "DeLong Reports: UNBELIEVABLE" in which I wrote how Danny found out what I got him for Christmas. I didn't mean to belittle anyone involved in 'letting the little cat out the bag'. Danny and I thought the entire thing was funny, after all, I had bought the gift at a second-hand church sale for about 50 cents. And I didn't throw it out the window. But I was a real jerk when I teased some people about it. I never meant to hurt anyone's feelings or make them feel stupid, but I did. And I am very sorry. It seems my gift is not only to totally stick my foot in my mouth, but to shove the keyboard in there too. I figured, though, since the my offense was made in public I figured the apology should be made in public as well.

Well, then, there it is. If any of you wish to email me and call me a jerk personally, I am open and understanding to that. Otherwise, I just want to say again that I am sorry.

Hope I haven't dampened the holiday cheer for anyone. Take care and God bless!

Best Wishes,
~Alycia DeLong

Tuesday, December 20, 2005

Unbelievable

Seasons Greetings and Christmas Blessings to you all!

I have an absolutely unbelievable story. No, seriously, this one is takes the cake. Now, I realize that this is a huge claim to make after all we've been through (ie the "prostitute/pastor too" incident), but at the end of this you will say, "UNBELIEVABLE!"

Remember my last email where I confessed to my own humanity and weak nature when I almost overheard (okay, eavesdropped on his conversation with his mother) what Danny got me for Christmas. But, as you all know, by the grace of God I was saved from my sin and I still do not know what he got me. Apparently though, most of the rest of the world does because I have been receiving non-stop emails from people (most of whom are in my immediate family) teasing me that they know what it is and I do not. I have graciously accepted this. After all, I deserve it, right? Well perhaps it's time that we bring some balance back to the scales of marital bliss, shall we?

I have been very excited for Christmas, not only to find out what Danny got me, but to give him a great present as well. The church we go to here in Walsall had collected a bunch of stuff from the congregation to have a fundraiser sale for the nursery. At the sale I found a great gift for Danny - a video game controller for the computer. It was still in the box and everything! Just like new! And I bought it for 30p - which is about 60 cents Canadian! As soon as I got it home, I wrapped it and hid it in my closet, and I could hardly wait until Christmas to give it to him! This year I got him something that he will like and use for sure! I was so excited I even emailed a few people, who will remain nameless (but they are all my immediate family) about it. That was my fatal error.

To those persons who shall remain nameless (but are all members of my immediate family): You know when you reply to an email, the original email is attached to your responding email. Hence, anyone who reads that email can also read the original email sent. For example, let's say some one emails you secret information concerning a Christmas gift purchased for their spouse. You reply to the email. The spouse then has access to both your email and the original message.

I know what you are all saying: NO!! HE DIDN'T!!! UNBELIEVABLE!!!!

Danny confessed yesterday. He said he didn't mean to find out what I got him for Christmas - it was an accident. Yeah, you're getting a big lump of coal buddy. I threw the game controller out the window of our 4th floor apartment. Sorry, it was an accident.

And as for my immediate family - if I had a will, you would all be removed from it!

Merry Christmas and God bless us everyone!

~Alycia DeLong

Sunday, December 18, 2005

Nautghty or Nice?

Hello, it's me again (I can hear those groans). Remember last email how I mentioned that I had a Christmas story already? If you don't it's probably because you're one of 'those' people who don't actually read my brilliant work in its entirety. I don't take it personally; my own husband doesn't even read the whole thing! That last one was pretty long though.

Anyway, on with the show...

So, Christmas is less than a month away (insert screams and shrieks of panic here) and the hunt for that perfect gift is on. Well, for like 2 weeks now Danny has been bragging about having found the most perfect present ever. Every day I hear him teasing me with his little sing song heckling, "I got you the best present! The best present ever!" He'll sing and prance around non-stop. It makes me want to beat his little secret out of him. But he's just so gosh-darn cute. So I satisfy myself by imagining that I pie him in the face instead.

The other night we were at a friend's house to use their phone. Not only to use their phone, but also so Danny could watch NFL football (the real motive). I'd been on the phone for some time talking with Danny's mom, when he came in for his turn to chat with her. A few minutes into the conversation I was informed I had to leave the room because he wanted to tell his mother what he had bought me for Christmas. Well, I pouted and whined for a moment, but then left the room to join the others watching football in the living room. But as I left, the funniest thing happened. I was passing through the kitchen when all of a sudden a little devil popped up on my shoulder. He was dressed in red and had horns, a pointy tail, and even a tiny triton in his hand.

The little devil said to me, "Hey, you could totally listen in and find out what that great Christmas present is. Danny wouldn't even know and you could just lie about it if he brings it up!"

Yeah, I could! I made a small u-turn in the kitchen and headed back towards the door to the room. I could hear Danny's voice clearly from inside.

Just then a little angel appeared on my other shoulder and said, "No, Alycia, don't do that! You don't want to wreck Danny's surprise for both of you. And you certainly don't want to deceive your wonderful husband!"

Of course not. That is definitely true. What a brat I am! Why, shame on me for...

"Awww, what's the big deal?" the little devil piped up. "Besides, you'll be doing you both a favour by finding out. The suspense is going to drive you crazy! And then you'll drive him crazy!"

Definitely a good point. In fact, it's already driving me crazy! I suppose it's really not that big of a deal if I just hear a bit about it...

"Alycia Rae Stephens!" Uh oh. My full maiden name. This little angel meant business. "You know happy it makes Danny to surprise you! And how he's taken the time, the energy, and the money - going out of his way to do something special for you this Christmas - and you want to take that away from him? Shame on you indeed! Now, you turn yourself around and march straight out of here NOW!"

What was I thinking? Of course I don't want to spoil Danny's fun and I especially don't want to lie to him about it! What am I? Five years old? How ridiculous am I being...

The little devil gave his final argument. "Awwww, come on!"

Sold!

I snuck around the door and crouched down behind the cupboard so I could hear but not be seen. As I huddled there, totally still, ears alert and tuned into every sound I could hear Danny:

"I got Alycia the greatest gift! She's going to love it! I saw it last week but only picked it up the other day..."

Blah blah blah! Get to the point!!!!!

"Oh dear," said the little angel. "Looks like I'm going to have to call in some Divine intervention." Producing a tiny trumpet, the angel lifted it to his lips and gave it a loud blast.

Danny continued. "This Christmas, I got Alycia..."

"DANNY! COME QUICK!" Our friend Matt boomed as he burst through the kitchen doors and ran towards the room my ear was glued to. He had scared the living daylights out of me (to put it politely), but in that split second I jumped to my feet from my suspicsious position by the door.

"Shhhhh!" I hushed him angrily.

"But the football scores are on!" said Matt, defending his overwhelming entrance.

"Not now!" I continued scolding him, "He's talking to his mother!" I was on a mission here! Matt huffed and returned to the TV, and I returned to my espionage...

"Anyway, that's what I got her," Danny finished up. Pause. "I know! It is the perfect present!" End of conversation.

I missed it?!? I MISSED IT!?!?!? Why, of all the unfair, stupid, bad timing... This was all Matt's fault! If he hadn't been so rude and selfish...

Wait a minute. Who's the bad guy here again?

'What's gotten into me?' I thought. I left the kitchen and sat down on the couch in front of the TV with Matt and the others there.

You know, I do not understand what I do. For what I want to do I do not do and what I hate I do. And if I do the wrong thing even though I admit it's wrong and I don't want to do it, I'm still guilty because I do it anyway. As it is it is no longer I myself who does it but it is sin living in me (a.k.a. the little devil). I know that nothing good lives in me that is in my sinful nature. For I have the desire to do what is good but I cannot carry it out.

Know what I mean? I think Paul in the Bible can relate. After all, he wrote about it too in Romans 7.

Thankfully, I was rescued from my fall into temptation by God's divine intervention. I suppose it shouldn't really surprise me. Since Jesus himself suffered when he was being tempted (in Matthew 4) so can he help us when we are being tempted (see Hebrews 2).

Finally to wrap it all up here, I just have to say that looking back at my shameful, pathetic behaviour - it was by grace that I was saved! (Ephesians 2)

With that, take care, God bless and try not to peek under the bed or snoop through the closets!

Sincerely,
~Alycia DeLong