Sunday, December 25, 2011

Christmas Time is Here

How quickly the year has come to a close! My intentions to send out cards, while well and good, just didn't happen. So this is my attempt to make up for that and hopefully spread some Christmas cheer through this e-note.

The past few years when 
Christmas has come around, I've reflected and thought to myself, "I've learned a lot. This is the most productive and enlightening year to date." And then the next year comes to a close and come to find, nope this one beat out the previous year. So again, I will let you in on the secret that I don't know much of anything, as evidence by the continuous revolving door of lifelong learning that I seem to be in. Seriously, I can truly say that his past year has been the most eventful, most fun, most physically and emotionally demanding but also the most rewarding year so far. And all this gets to happen in beautiful sunny San Diego! Highlights: Journey concert(yup, I saw them:); summer evening picnics on Coronado; Cabrillo National Monument; walking La Jolla cove and La Jolla shores; running through my own neighborhood near the temple; working in the temple; the fair where you can eat fried Kool Aid and snickers to your hearts content and see the Beach Boys live; murder mystery parties; Girls Conference weekend in Palm Springs; there was just a lot going on.

Like Rabbits
This year, I looked forward to 4 new nieces or nephews. Brigitte and Tyler started it off when their daughter Erica Allison Brown was born in February. I was able to go to Utah along with other family for her blessing and to hang out with the family there. I forgot how cold Utah is but have to say, I do miss the seasons. While I appreciate the season of winter, the snow can stay in the mountains for me to go play in when I want to.
Next up was Melissa and Kiel, who added number two to their little clan in August. Rhyan Patrice Christensen was born and offered another chance for all the family to get together this time in Southern California. All of us, all 5 of my siblings and their families were able to be there, spend a day at the beach and spend Sunday celebrating September birthdays and enjoy eachother's company.
November, when the seasons change and fall sometimes visits Southern California, brought about another addition. Jace McKay Jordan was born on early Thanksgiving morning to Shelley and Steve. Good Morning! It was pretty much planned by Shelley that Thanksgiving would be in the hospital, so they stayed out in Yucaipa, while their kids with my parents and I met up at Kiel and Melissa's house for dinner and family fun. This little guy will be blessed in January.
And we are awaiting a Christmas addition. Brittany and Gabe are expecting Sophie Keogan any day now, wrapped in a bow I'm sure. That will add 3 nieces and 1 nephew, for a total of 9!

Running Against the Wind

Around the beginning of the year, some of my girlfriends concocted the brilliant idea of all of us single gals running in the Ragnar Relay* series race. Pretty much, this sounded like the craziest thing I could do, considering I don't love running and never was very good at it. But, 11 other single ladies and I spent 2 days and 1 night running our teams distance of 200 miles, through Southern California, ending back across the San Diego bay on Coronado island. Yup, one of the most physically demanding things I've ever done. From there, we were unstoppable. The Single Ladies signed up for another one, in September, this time in the Bay Area, running from San Francisco through the Napa wine country. 190 miles total. And just in case my body didn't have enough, I did the Camp Pendleton Mud Run in June, 6 miles of military style obstacles on the Marine base and then in October, the Crafton Hills 5k, that my brother in law Steve organized to benefit the local fire and emergency responders. Why not?!

(*Don't worry, the Single Ladies will be back on the track again this April, this time under the pseudonym Girls Just Wanna Have Fun. Check your local SoCal listings for when they may be running in your vicinity.)

If at first you don't succeed, try, try again....
I'm not sure it's that I didn't succeed the first time, but for the 2nd time in as many years, I was called to be the Relief Society President, but this time in my new family ward! I left the world of Young Single Adult wards in October of 2010, having served as RS pres since April of 2009. I left and a more carefree feeling replaced it, as I was able to enjoy being calling-less for a few months. I got a calling as the Relief Society Activities coordinator in January and that was just fine for me: planning uplifting girl time was fabulous. We were hitting the summer months and I was feeling fine. "When all of sudden..there arose such a clatter" my heart. I felt like things were going to change up. So when my Bishop called me in, I wondered what it was going to be for, having a tiny inkling, but no idea what direction. I was pretty shocked when he threw this one out there. I had only been in the ward for 7 months. I went home, took a little time to just sit on my bed, go for a walk, come back, stare at the floor with a dumbstruck expression I'm sure. But here we are, 6 months later, round 2. And it's been a sometimes overwhelming, yet amazing experience so far.

On the Road Again...
I pulled my traveling bags out again and took the girls with me to visit Grandma in Nashville. We got there as the tornados were going through, but fortunately for us they were not as bad through Nashville as they were through other areas in the south. We tried our hands at honkey tonking, southern bbq, Franklin street fair, southern plantation viewing Andrew Jackson style, and civil war battlefield viewing. We had a week long biscuit eating competition (we might have consumed more biscuits than should be humanly possible, no big deal). We tried to temper that with early morning runs down the parkway near grandma's house. Pretty much, Nashville in the springtime is fabulous!

Utah was another destination and while it might seem a pretty common experience to go there, I hit the beehive state 3 out of the 4 seasons. It was fun to see family and to go with all the girls to see our fabulous Rosey get married in October! I also was able to come up to Concord a couple times and enjoy being back on my home turf (running through the bay area was a new experience though, one that I can wait awhile for again:)

It's been an amazing year, experiencing life with family and having new experiences that tested, taught and refined me.  I can honestly say, that while the tests weren't fun, I've learned a lot from them.  I'm very blessed and am grateful for all of it. Life has it's ups and downs, but there can be so much good if we look for it. The most wonderful aspect is that we have a Heavenly Father and Savior who love us through everything.

Merry Christmas and Happy New Year!!!


Melissa Christensen said...

We didn't send out our cards this year either! Saved us $300 bucks in stamps :D

Merry Christmas, it sounded like a great year!

Alex said...

Sounds like an amazing year! One of my co-workers did the Ragnar Relay last year also. So impressive!