Archive | December, 2016

Adieu, 2016.

31 Dec

Can you believe we are here again already…New Year’s Eve. Honestly, where has the time gone? I hear people say all the time the older you get the faster the days fly, but this is the first year I am noticing just how quickly they are passing.

2016 was a year that many people won’t forget, but oh so many wish they could. We started off the year with elevated lead levels in Flint, Michigan’s water, the passing of Supreme Court Justice Antonin Scalia, then we witnessed an attack on an airport in Brussels, the Zika outbreak, the Transgender bathroom use debate, mid-year brought the Orlando nightclub shooting, a gator attack at Walt Disney World, an attack on police in Dallas, TX, and Baton Rouge, LA, a devastating earthquake in Italy, Hillary Clinton’s email scandal, while the end of the year ushered in an EpiPen price surge, a California tour bus crash, the election of Donald Trump as the next American President, a countrywide clown scare, Hurricane Matthew, and a Berlin terror attack on a Christmas market.

We said goodbye to numerous, beloved celebrities including Alan Rickman (Professor Snape from the Harry Potter saga), Joe Alaskey (portrayed Bugs Bunny, Daffy Duck  and other Looney Tunes characters), Nancy Reagan (former First Lady), Doris Roberts (mother on TV sitcom Everybody Loves Raymond), Gene Wilder (Willy Wonka and the Chocolate Factory), Ron Glass (from the sci-fi TV show Firefly), John Glenn (first U.S. astronaut to orbit the Earth), Alan Thicke (Growing Pains), Carrie Fisher (Princess Leia in Star Wars) and Debbie Reynolds (Singin’ in the Rain, and Disney Channel’s Halloweentown movies).

However, 2016 did have some high points that we shouldn’t forget about… the Chicago Cubs broke their World Series curse (although I personally was pulling for the Indians!), the Mannequin Challenge provided some laughs, Billy Gilman came out of hiding and competed on The Voice, another Harry Potter book was released, Simon Biles dominated during the Summer Olympics, the Cleveland Browns actually won a football game, and Leonardo DiCaprio Won His First Oscar!

For me, personally, 2016 was a year of change, firsts and learning to grow. Here are some of my favorite highlights from the year!

1. Scott moved to Ohio.

2. After being at my job less than 6 months, I planned and executed the largest event my company held. In addition, I secured $20,000 in sponsorships.

3. Scott and I moved into our own apartment.

4. We traveled to see Scott’s family three times, one of those being to attend his sister, Abbey’s wedding this past summer. I was so honored she asked me to do her hair for the big day!

5. I applied for and was accepted to graduate school.

6. Cleveland Cavs won the NBA championship.

7. Attended concerts for Rascal Flatts and Newsboys.

8. Completed my first semester in grad school with two A’s!

9.  Participated in a 5K run with both of my sisters at church.

10. Grew my faith and became even closer in my relationship to God.

To ring in the New Year, Scott and I have joined my parents and sister, Macayla, for a night of card games, Pie in the Face, sparklers, pizza and homemade guacamole!

Happy New Year, everyone!

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Oh Come Let Us Adore

24 Dec

Breathe in. Breathe out. Relax. Repeat.

How often do we let ourselves do that during the busy holiday season? I would bet most of us are too busy racing around for the perfect gift, creating a Pinterest worthy holiday dinner or just trying to keep it all together on the outside while we slowly fall apart on the inside.

Often, I fall into the latter category. Holidays are proving to be hard for me this year being out on my own, I saw that last month with Thanksving. There will be some who don’t understand this struggle, and that’s okay. It’s just that had I known last Christmas would be the last Christmas morning I woke up in my childhood bedroom, if I’d known last Christmas was the last time I would wait for my family to all go to bed before I snuck my gifts downstairs and sat looking at our tree in the quiet for an hour, I would have appreciated it so much more. I have been so focused on everything I’m going to miss – late night holiday baking, Santa’s footprints, my parent’s house at Christmas, when I really should have been focused on the reason for the season.

Thank goodness earlier this month we had a meeting at The Well, the women’s ministry that meets each month at church. The theme – Oh Come Let Us Adore. Perfect! Before we entered the sanctuary, we were reminded of the symbols of Jesus in the holiday decorations – the red to represent the blood Christ shed on the cross to pay for our sins; green, specifically in evergreens, to signify everlasting life; the pointy leaves of the poinsettia plant to remind us of the thorns that adorn Christ’s head. Hearing this was a wake up call…Christmas is all about the cross. (Oddly enough, I just found a song by that same title a few days ago by The Ball Brothers, trust me, you’ll need tissues!) And then they let us into the sanctuary as the worship band softly sang “Oh Come Let Us Adore.”

Our hostesses gave us two gifts that night – first, a time to relax and worship; and second, prayer. On our seats were little cards that said “Adore” and during the service they asked us to write down what we needed prayers for. We didn’t have to add our names, just what was on our heart, and then drop that card into the basket. At the end of the service, we each drew one card and were asked to pray for that sister in Christ, for whatever she had written on her card.

Lord, I lift this sister up to you. I don’t know her name or the extent of her struggles, but you do. I ask that you enfold her in peace, comfort, and strength. Help her to remove her worries and troubles from the basket she carries daily and place them in your hands. Lord, help her to see others as you see them. Help her to choose her words and actions wisely, and to be conscious of other’s feelings, thoughts and desires. Let her know that she is never alone – she can turn to you at any time, day or night and you will be there to listen to her. Help her to know your unending, unconditional, all-encompassing love, the kind of love a daughter can only receive from her Heavenly Father. Lord, help her to be wise and strong, and to know that surrendering to you is not a weakness but an act of unwavering faith. Lord, be with her tonight. If there is anger, hurt or resentment in her spirit, I ask that it be removed and replaced with openness, kindness, acceptance and understanding. Help her feel peace and joy at home. Be with this sister, reminding her that You are the Light of the World, the reason for the season,  the Greatest Gift of All.

That night was exactly what my troubled heart needed, and I too, have felt the prayers of a sister in Christ as she prayed over my card. I am so blessed to have this church family to help me grow in my faith. And it was even more wonderful that I was able to spend this amazing evening with my extended family and that we could all be blessed and strengthened together.

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