It’s that time again…for my annual Christmas Letter. Maybe next year I will actually get one typed, cards purchased, and then place them in the mail. Since nursing school, when I didn’t know if I would see the light of day and I was to stressed to consider anything outside of my text books and school work, I have FAILED at snail mail communication and reaching out to loved ones and friends through the annual tradition of Christmas cards that are tangible and can be held and placed on a mantel or fridge…to later be thrown away or burned. <morbid but true>
This year has seen a lot of changes. It was this time a year ago that I arrived at Christmas dinner with the family and asked my dad if he was serious about possibly purchasing my house that I was living in at that time…because I had interviewed at Missouri Baptist Hospital and was possibly moving to St Louis. Little did I know that a week later I would have a job offer and be making plans to move. They attempted to have me by January 9, but needing to find a place to live, move, and stay sane we opted for a February 19, start date. I cannot believe it has been almost a year!!
With the move to the “city” I have had the opportunity to explore the different neighborhoods and eat my way through a list of ‘must see’ restaurants and have loved finding the ‘hole in the wall’ places that are privately owned. I love food…I’m a carb addict and have had to make changes with all the ‘opportunity’ waiting outside my door. The first month I was in “vacation” mode, thinking I could just eat, eat, eat. After spending all my Dave Ramsey ‘dinning out’ money within the first week of the month I had to have a stern talking to myself and realized that this was ‘life’ now and I would have to make changes and actually cook at home and only eat out occasionally. In the past I would escape to St Louis as mini-vacations, so in my head I was ‘vacationing’ but in reality I was ‘home’. On the opportunities I take, I enjoy sharing with others (usually through social media) to give ideas of places to go and what I find good – hopefully people find it helpful and not annoying (of course there is always the ‘unfollow’ option or the ‘unfriend’ option) LOL. Some of my favorite places I tend to go back to are Rooster and Missouri Baking Company (both of which I have had the opportunity and privilege of meeting the owners of).
In July I had the opportunity to take a quick trip to Scotland to visit my niece, Peyton, and attend her graduation ceremonies from Harvest Bible College. I FINALLY got a stamp in my new passport. Scotland was amazing, though it was difficult to understand some of the natives and their brogue. Next to food, traveling is another great love. It gives opportunity to explore cultures outside of my own and to live what others only read about. Traveling (even if it is in your own state) is a must…get out and LIVE!!! #LIVELOVELAUGH #EXPLOREMYWORLD are my hash tag motto’s.
In August, I decided to take my ‘changes’ to a new level and hired a personal trainer and joined a gym. BLEH! I thought he was going to kill me, he thought he was making me into a fast runner body builder. We had a love/hate relationship. I thought I was doing my best (I could have given more), he thought I wasn’t trying hard enough or eating enough (was not at the gym 7 days a week and didn’t eat my body weight in protein). I started a new campaign of self and another hash tag of #mybestself (my best self). It was a learning experience, and I appreciate everything that Jeremy inspired me to do, and the push that he allowed me to understand that I can do more than I thought I could. I am strong and can be strong!! I have stayed with the gym life, and having trainers to inspire and keep me accountable, though I am no longer with Jermey. It’s a daily decision for this carb addict chubby girl; but for myself – to be my best self – I decide daily that it is needed for my health (mental, body, and soul).
With the move I not only have had the opportunity to find new places to eat and feed my foodie heart; but I have made friendships and came into contact with individuals that have fed my soul. Sometimes in the hustle and bustle of life we get into a ‘ho-hum’ attitude and we fail to connect or look outside of ourselves. With the move and leaving all my ‘peeps’ in Doniphan, I have had to go outside of myself and reconnect with old friends and to make new ones. I initially was attending a church that brought a slew of new friends/acquaintances into my life that made me move out of my comfort zone in so many ways. I am not a person that shows affection through touching/hugging. I seldom say the words (though I am getting better – LOL); this place of worship EVERYONE HUGS EVERYONE. <EEEKKKK>. For this person who has about a five foot “personal space” box around themselves, this was a major “out of my comfort zone” situation. But I would not trade these people or this time of adjustment, they helped the transition from going to a church where my whole family attends, to living in a new city and finding a new ‘home’ church easier and showed affection to a complete stranger who was passing through on their way to finding what they needed.
Speaking of finding a new ‘home church’ it is not easy. I come from a phenomenal church in southeast Missouri, West Point. We have one of the BEST pastors ever, Rev Chuck Carr, and bishop (Bro Charles Carr Sr) that one could ask for. They are the epitome examples of love, forgiveness, leadership, and mercy (true examples of Christ personified)…and it is hard to leave that and find something that lives up to what you took for granted growing up. Not only do we have leaders that go beyond and above, but the music department ROCKS!! It has been a struggle, and one of the hardest parts of this transition. I have found a place that currently is becoming home, slowly. It’s like I have moved but still have boxes packed and I sometimes still have to go searching for things in all the boxes sitting around the house. The people are friendly (a must and bonus) and the ministering staff are willing to ‘feed the flock’ without worry of offending individuals.
This year has held many changes and blessings (I happened into a great apartment situation that just ‘happened’ at the right time), my new job and friends (inside and outside of work), a time of growth and healing. I am enjoying the opportunities this change has given me and what the new years holds. I pray Holiday Blessings and that the Spirit of Christmas be with you and your families. I cherish each and every one of you that have touched my life and assisted in making me into the person that I am today.
Merry Christmas and Happy New Year!!