Christmas in California

We had a simple Christmas. It was cozy and relaxing. It was a good day spent with my favorite person in the world. 

It was an odd day. As the first Christmas we haven’t spent with one of our families, it was different. It was quieter. It was a beautiful day, even if it was difficult for me to not think about how much I miss home and how much I wish we lived in closer. 

I think Christmas will always be just a little hard because at least for the next several years it doesn’t look like we’ll ever be home for Christmas day. It’s hard to think that we might not ever get to be home for Christmas. Even though Orlando hasn’t felt like home in ages, family is home and it’s still hard to live so far away lots of days.

Even though my weeks of crying every day are over – I still get homesick. I wish we could make a weekend visit. I long for visitors. I’m not even an extrovert and those weekends seriously tire me out, but oh, how I miss them. 

I know I am not owed anything – even good things like family-filled Christmas. I had such a blessed, simple Christmas and it was full of joy even if it is hard to strive through my longing for home. 

Christmas Cheer

My heart is so full of thankfulness this Christmas. This has been an amazing year of blessings, encouragement, support and provision in the most amazing way. I could never accurately express my gratitude and awe in the things that have happened this year.

This week as the Christmas gifts have been wrapped and mailed and arrived under my tree, I have felt so thankful. Thankful to have family that thinks about us and cares for us and misses us from afar. Thankful for a week of vacation in 2014 to be able to to use for an early Christmas in Orlando. Thankful for friends here both new and old. Thankful for my wonderful husband who makes not only ever day fun, but makes holiday traditions extra special. I love our holiday traditions.

I’m also so thankful for my job this Christmas. I know that this is the time of year I would have been stressed to the max if I didn’t have this job. I would have had to work so hard not to panic as our bank account dwindled. It has dwindled before and God has provided, but this year I am thankful for an early provision of a job – a full-time job at that. This is exactly the kind of job I would have looked for back home and probably would not have been nearly as successful. I am grateful for this extra blessing and all it has meant to Taylor and I this year.

I am most thankful for the freedom that comes with Christmas. Christmas is for freedom. A baby born to die, to conquer death that I might not be the subject of its lifelong slavery. Oh, this is great news and I am so ever thankful and so blessed.

Off to drink more eggnog!

Looked down on

“Don’t let them look down on you are because you are young.” I heard this over and over from church youth group leaders and various other people who shared in the idea that you could change the perception of others – that others didn’t have to look at you like you were young. You could act mature, work hard and people would not perceive you as just another stupid, immature kid.

I have always acted with maturity vastly beyond my years.  Adults around me said I was an old soul at 15. I’m not sure that was true but I never took the time to find out. Now, almost 10 years later I know that the world doesn’t work how they said it would. Ageism is real and it is profound. I’ve worked for several companies in the short time I’ve legally be able to be employed and I have experienced this first hand. People like to use youth because it is a socially acceptable scapegoat in many places and because there are silly, immature young adults that have allowed this stereotype to perpetuate. It’s easy to blame the new person and if you’re young you’re used to being the new person a lot even when you aren’t new young is such an easy target for some people who often feel threatened by the skills us new fangled youths possess like our ease with social media, lightening fast typing skills and proficiency with various software.

I know now that I won’t be able to change everyones mind. I will be discriminated against for reasons I cannot control. It’s wrong and it’s illegal but it is not going away. How do you stand up to those that want to put you down because of something you can’t control?

I’ll admit I don’t have the answers yet and somedays it’s bad enough that it makes me want to throw in the towel, but then I remember that I’m a responsible, mature adult and that isn’t the way to handle problems or my bank account so I persevere. I work harder. I don’t give in to their pettiness and I hope and pray for change to come because I believe that prayers can change what I cannot.

The Green Coffee Giant

Friday, my husband put in his notice of resignation from his job at the big, green coffee giant. He’s worked there just shy of 7 years. It was a big day. It was an even bigger day since right after he quit, he got a new job at a local school.

But, the coffee giant has been so good to our family. We might make fun of it for being super corporate or for not having the kind of coffee we prefer these days (although it certainly does have some coffee we’d drink happily) but we have loved this company so much. It is truly a great company.

In the span of time my husband has worked for this company I have worked for 5 other companies. (I know!) Only one of these companies were nearly comparable to the behemoth size of the coffee giant, but none of these companies compared in their treatment of employees. The coffee giant is so good to their  employees. I can’t say that highly enough. That job has been the biggest blessing to our little family over the last 4 years and I don’t know what we would have done without them.

Sure, I’m looking forward to having a husband that doesn’t fall asleep at 8:45, but all I can express is gratitude to a great company who is beholden to stockholders but is still doing the right thing for its employees.

I will miss the perks but I am so excited to have a well rested husband who now gets the weekends mostly off. Here’s to new beginnings in 2014!

A Friend from Home

Recently, one of our friends from home moved near by and let me tell you it has been the best. I constantly realize how much I miss all of our friends from Tallahassee all the time and it has been so great to make California feel like home these last few weeks.

Friendship is an amazing thing. Even though we haven’t seen each other since at least July we picked back up just like nothing ever happened. It’s been fun to show someone around our new home. (Our first visitor!) It’s also fun to reminisce and be able to make fun of how weird California is to us.

Truly one of the biggest blessings of the year. A little taste of home all the way on the West Coast a Thanksgiving/ Christmas miracle. Who could ask for a better gift?

 

 

The Year of College Football

This year my husband became a different person. In our 4 1/2 years of marriage, my husband has cared very little about football. We went to a few college games – most of them early in our college years but after that we were too busy working to be loyal to a college football schedule. We have no real NFL alliance and past a Super Bowl party each year we haven’t paid much attention to that either.

This year all that change. I wouldn’t call it a bandwagon change as we have watched a few games each year, went to Florida State and have since then always supported and followed scores even if we did have to work during most games. This year our schedules have aligned so we could watch more games and the games have been so much better. We’ve always been proud to be Seminoles. We loved our college experience and we are proud alumni.

This year college football has taken ahold of my husband and most of the Seminole Nation. (I’ll admit, even I have been enthralled in the season.) It’s a great year to be a Seminole. It’s a great year to watch some great football from some other schools too. This is probably the first year I’ve watched games from any college team I wasn’t actually affiliated with. (Many of the games I’ve watched in addition to FSU games were Auburn games so I could follow along with my new church friends. This might have been a terrible idea now that I have to hate such a good team, but go Noles!)

The moral of the story is things change. Try something new. Watch lots of football with your husband (and like it). Be a proud member of the (Unconquered) Seminole Nation.

Also, loving Seminole football has made me miss all of my college friends so much. I’m thinking of you when we watch each game. Wishing we could cheer on the Seminoles in Tallahassee together again.