I've been reading a lot of Christmas cards/blogs related to the season and I wanted to put in my little shpeel (spelt phonetically of course...) concerning my thoughts of the Christmas season.
(Deep inhale) I love the smell of the Christmas Season. Everything smells like cinnamon - cinnamon and nutmeg. Mmm! It's amazing how powerful and calming a smell can be. Maybe that's why everyone is getting into those Scentsy things now... and I digress.
Christmas has always been amongst my favorite times of the year. I love the positive attitudes that most people possess and even the stressfulness of shopping. I love the priceless look on the faces of family and loved ones as gifts are open and their face lights up with surprise as they open the 'perfect gift.'
Holiday food is nothing short of delightful. Even though in the I regret all the fantastic calories I eat all between November and January, in the moment of indulgence I cherish ever delicious bite. (Just for your gee whiz file my favorites include home-made toffee, soft ginger cookies and hot apple cider. Mmmm!)
Despite all of the lovely things I've listed above, I think one of my favorite things about the Christmas season is the miracles that I'm more prone to see around me. Everything from the not-so-cheerful men and women ringing bells at Walmart entrances for the Salvation Army to the anonymous acts of service and charity bestowed and humbly accepted. What other time of year would it be totally acceptable to take hordes of treats to family, friends and really strangers in the spirit of giving.
Christmas' in the past have all been memorable for one thing or another, but this Christmas will be one I'm sure I'll cherish for years. Not so much because of the gifts (although just for the record I did gets some sweet stuff!) but because of everything that happened. You see, this year it dawned on me... my family is changing - I know you'd think I'd have thought of that 8+ years ago when my oldest sisters got married, but apparently I'm a little slow. So now that we've added three in-laws and a plethora of grandchildren later, and my just-younger brother is shortly leaving on a mission I've come to see that Christmas really isn't what is purchased, given and or received; it's all about family and our Savior Jesus Christ. What a glorious thing to remember. I hope this year to be better able to remember that it's because of Him that all things are possible. :)
2010 has been a year for me to, figuratively speaking, grow up. It's been a year of personal and family trials, however I wouldn't change a one of them for the world. It is because of those trials I've had some AMAZING learning and growing experiences. This year has been an opportunity for me to step back from what everyone else whats and expects of me and come to see what it is that I want and what I want to achieve but more importantly it's been a blessing for me to begin to realize what my Heavenly Father wants for me. It's been awe-inspiring to say the least. I am truly blessed.
Well, I guess since I don't send out a Christmas card I'll provide you a short synopsis of my year.
Spring semester was pretty intense. I had some difficult classes as I progressed in my program (Elementary Education) at Utah Valley University, but I'm pleased to say that with they help of good friends, an amazing family, and a grundle of hours spent at the BYU library I was able to come out on top and got nearly all As. (Yeah me!)
My summer was full of nothing short of amazing experiences!! In June I spent two awe inspiring weeks in Chiapas, Mexico serving with a humanitarian group. (See posts 1, 2, & 3) I'm confident in saying that everything that accumulated prior to and within those two weeks has forever changed my life.
In July Shaun and I had the super cool chance to go to Seoul, South Korea where our Grandfather served our country nearly 50 years ago. (See posts 1 & 2) I've developed a new love and respect for the men and women over the years who have jeopardized their safety to protect and defend that of others. When I now hear our National Anthem I think of my Grandfathers who gave so much so others could have what we do.
The whole family was finally together again at the end of July and beginning of August. We went up Ogden canyon and spent a few days enjoying each others company, swimming and attending our Church meetings. It was delightful to be with everyone once again.
Since starting my program I've found that the semesters more quickly fly by. Fall semester was no different. I've made so many amazing friends as I've moved through my program and hope to keep in touch with them as we part our was after graduation this coming spring. I spent three weeks in the most lovely first grade class. They are angels and I thoroughly enjoy working with them. I'm so lucky to get to go back to them come January when I'll begin my student teaching.
I'm always surprised to see how quickly December comes around. It must be the hustle and bustle of the season; finals, attempting to get more work hours, and wrapping up Christmas shopping, etc. I'm amazed to reflect back and see all I've been blessed with. I'm convinced it's no coincidence and that my Savior has had a hand in my life. I'm grateful for this time and season to take special note of all He's done in my behalf.
I'm sure this upcoming year will behold many more unexpected turns (as new years typically do), and I'm looking forward to the adventures that I'll behold; graduation, hopefully a little more traveling, more good and awful dates, letters to and from my favorite missionaries and about 80 gazillion hours spent teaching or prepping for my classes to be taught. I hope that this year finishes strong and that that New Year brings all the happiness and joy your heart desires.