“I Welcome You, Holiday Season”

Thanksgiving break is a tease. Just when I started to get comfortable at home, it was time to turn around and go back to the reality of papers, professors, and pity-parties…Ok I had to keep with the 3 p’s. The last one should be tests. Anyways, for the most part, Thanksgiving was filled with family, friends, and food… : ).

We sat here.

We starting eating.

This is what we started eating.

This is who I sat beside at the Thanksgiving table!

On Sunday, I was depressed driving back to NC, knowing what workload awaited. On Tuesday, December 1st, I needed a bit of a pick-me-up so I decided to usher in the Holiday season with open arms. December 1st, officially the month of Christmas!

My brother & Lori gave me their old Christmas tree, a 6ft beauty. I decided to welcome in the Christmas month by setting up & decorating my Christmas tree, burning my “Fresh Balsam” candle, lighting the fireplace, hanging my stocking, and watching “Elf.” The evening was a breath of fresh air, slow and enjoyable. A highlight was hanging up my ornaments that I’ve collected from the countries I’ve been. Ornaments from the 12 countries I journeyed this summer, to my experiences in Russia, Africa, and Israel.

Ireland's ornament!

Oh what sweet, sweet memories each ornament brought! I think that is what I love about the holidays. They encourage slowing down, remembering, and reflecting upon self-growth.

When I look back a year ago, closely to-date, I remember where I was… physically, mentally, spiritually, emotionally. Conversations I’ve had over last Christmas break that has lead to new spiritual and academic interests, revelations given during my time traveling the Holy Land, making year commitments, to graduating from college, backpacking Europe, and starting a masters program and setting up life in a new town with new people. One hell of a year. I suppose this mini-reflection may be better suited around the New Year, but keeping in harmony with my Tuesday night Christmas celebration, I challenge you to welcome this Christmas and New Year holiday season with a different pace. Truthfully, I shouldn’t have had my Tuesday night decorating/watching of Elf, I have an insanely amount of papers to write and a huge final to prepare for. However, I’ll probably remember this night for many years to come, definitely over a night that I spent stressing over a paper. The paper will get done. I feel refreshed to write, but especially now by my beautifully decorated tree! You too may not have the “time” to take a night off, but slow down time and enjoy life. We always are complaining about how “time flies.” Let’s enter into this holiday season slowing it down.

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