Ooookaaaay. Let's see if I can get myself back into this groove...
Where have I been for, say, the last month or so, you might ask? Well, kind of you to inquire. Here's the bullet list:
**December 1: An auspicious start of the month...with a really vicious stomach flu. I lost 7 lbs. in 48 hours. Unfortunately, those were not permanently-gone pounds. The best part? I got sick the morning: 1.) I was supposed to take my BF to the airport; and 2.) the morning a guest (a missionary from Asia, whom I had not met previously) came to stay for a week. Yum.
**That was a rough 48+ hours, BUT...something else hit me immediately--headache, malaise, aches and chills--and dogged me for the next week and a half. It was a lovely time.
**All of this fell at the second busiest season at my workplace--CHRISTMAS! The church where I work hosts a number of community-wide events during this time, and my finger is in every pot. It was nutso, but eventually, every person was contacted, every ad placed, every check cut, and every program designed and printed. And THEN...
**It was my birthday! Yea for me. I turned thirty-*muffle-sniffle-cough*. Okay, okay. I don't really care that much. I turned 36. An age I plan to enjoy immensely...'cause apparently the 35 I was so attached to isn't going to let me claim it anymore. It hurts when your friends turn their back on you... ANYway, my BF threw a kinda-surprise party for me the night before, and we had a blast! So many wonderful people, gifts, and sentiments! I really enjoyed myself. And the next day--my actual birthday--my BF provided me with a very special dinner from (Kraft) Macaroni Grill. It did not involve boxed noodles; it DID involve salmon, a favorite of mine. YUM!
**Then, I had to teach an extra Sunday...usually our church takes two Sundays off of Sunday School during the holiday season, but this year they didn't, and I wasn't totally prepared for that. But you know, God redeemed it, and it was wonderful. I was able to give a very clear explanation of the gospel and how to know your relationship to it (how is your life reflecting/not reflecting this faith?). It was just one of those Sundays where you know God has spoken through you. I love those days.
**That very day, my family began to arrive. They've never let me host Christmas before, and, as I mentioned previously, I was pretty doggone excited about it. And, apparently, a little uptight about it too. It took a few days and some choice conversations before I found the balance, but in the end, I think we all had a good time. Right guys? Guys? Uh, hellloooo? Uh, um...I had a good time, anyway. ;-)
**After God filled my 'family-time' cup to overflowing (in all the best ways!), they tried to leave. This worked for some of them, but not so well for others. My nephew, who had been sick the whole time, turned up with RSV. If you don't work with kiddos, you may not be aware of this respiratory virus, but it can be very serious in younger children. My nephew was 2-1/2 months. It got very serious. After a few days, everyone (doctor included) thought he was stable enough to travel...but we were all wrong. They made it to the Tennessee border before he took a significant downturn. They ended up in a hospital in Knoxville for a couple of days+, where they were treated wonderfully, and even got to stay in the Ronald McDonald house while they awaited his recovery from what was now pneumonia. My other nephew LOVED the McD house (cried when it was time to leave! LOL!). All kinds of special blessings were bestowed by God during this trying time. God's cool like that, huh?
**I got my family on the road just in time to celebrate New Year's Eve with some friends of mine who are musical missionaries based in Europe. They are amazingly cool people, and I've missed them bunches since we sent them off. It was really wonderful to get to see them. I didn't get to fellowship as much as I wanted to, however, as apparently RSV: 1.) Is HIGHLY contagious, and 2.) Presents as a severe cold in adults. I just love the gifts my nephews give me. Three years ago, one gave me the stomach virus. I guess I should be grateful it was only RSV this year, huh? LOL! I--in a HIGHLY atypical fashion--fell asleep in front of the TV just after the ball dropped. BIG night out. ;-)
**I didn't sleep in too late however, as I had a trip to get ready for! My BF since MIDDLE school had invited me up to Iowa to visit snow...I mean to visit her and her family. I rose at 3 a.m. on January 2 to fly out to spend four action-packed days with them, and to share my lovely RSV a little more broadly. (I just know all those people on the planes were THRILLED to have my hacking, snotty self on board with them. "No really, I'm not contagious *hack, hack, sniffle, blow*." Oh, yeah.) We got little sleep, shopped, played games, cooked, kidded, and harrassed her crazy children--and it was wonderful! I had a great time...but did NOT get to visit snow. See, snow is something I want to visit. I don't want to live in it anymore, but I do want to see it from time to time...and old piles of now-ice-formerly-snow do not count...though sliding down the icy street sideways was kinda fun. You should try it.
**I got home late, midweek, and started back to work the next day. And so it is only now, Friday night, when I can say to you all...
I'm sorry I was AWOL and I missed your kind selves very much!
And I'm ready to start this new year, fresh in all kinds of ways and the same in the really important ones. I hope you are too.
Until my fingers find the keys again,
A Blessing for the New Year: "May God give you of heaven's dew and of earth's richness—an abundance of grain and new wine." --Genesis 27:28, NIV