Tuesday, December 20, 2011

It's The Most Wonderful Time Of The Year (AKA- I haven't posted in a while!)

So, life has been very busy lately! (I would've said "life has been crazy lately!", but that is not appropriate language to use in my line of work.)

We've been busy getting ready for the holidays, and have spent a fair share of time enjoying the season together. From holiday work parties to starting our own family traditions, we've been staying joyfully busy.

In other news, we got our CSA last Thursday, and it was my favorite bounty so far! Pictured below is our fare, plus a sneaky little cat waiting for an opportunity to steal a bite. From left to right: Brussel sprouts & greens, potatoes, butternut squash, carrots, spinach, kale, lettuce, & fennel. I cannot tell you how much I love spinach, and to have fresh, farm-grown spinach is basically a dream come true. YUM.

Brussell Sprouts & Greens! 

We've been trying to make our cozy little apartment as festive as possible without going overboard. I think it's perfect. Every night I can have a little piece of Christmas when I turn the lights on the tree. Mmmm. And now our stockings are full & the tree is overflowing with presents to & from our families!

Homemade stockings & snowflakes.
Our pretty sparkling tree.
My favorite snowflake.
So full! I wonder what awaits!!!
Corduroy loves Christmas, too!
Scented Glade candle sets the Christmas mood.
Oh, Christmas Tree!
This Christmas has been a very reflective one for me. This is my first Christmas as a married woman-- my first Christmas to share with Nathan fully. Some family traditions have shifted slightly; this is the first Christmas of my entire life when I won't be waking up on Christmas day at home with my family (okay, one year when I was a baby we were all in Naples for Christmas... but, you know what I mean). I'll be waking up with my husband and having Christmas at our home before going to visit my family for the day. Weird, right? It's so very bittersweet. I love my family so incredibly much, and I love the traditions we've built together. I love spending Christmas eve eating white chili & cornbread, exchanging presents with my sister, and going to bed excited for the next day. I'll miss those moments with my parents & sister, but I know that those memories of Christmases past will always be a rich part of what Christmas means to me.

This Christmas is also my first Christmas out of school, meaning my first Christmas without a lengthy break. It's strange- I thought that it might be harder to get in the Christmas mood while having to go to work every day until Christmas, but it's actually much easier to feel Christmasy and festive. For one thing, I have had no final exams or papers to worry about, which has been so incredibly wonderful & magical. Seriously, so good. But perhaps more importantly, I'm in an office with a bunch of awesome people who know how to enjoy the holidays & who are also just really fun. Our office is decorated, and I've been playing Christmas music at my desk. A lot of my clients are pumped about the holidays, and I've gotten to spend a lot of time this week getting them presents! It's been a very festive environment, and has really helped get me in the spirit.

And, most notably, this Christmas is my first Christmas working with low-income, mentally ill adults, and it is completely humbling my perspective. This month has been an incredibly hectic one at our agency. A lot of my clients have struggled to stay well, and I've seen some take pretty hard punches from their illness. This is a really difficult time for some of them: not only is it cold & dark all the time (depression gets worse), but the holidays puts a huge burden on them. I delivered some gifts today, and a few of my clients remarked on how this was their only Christmas present. But perhaps the most humbling thing I have seen and heard from my clients is their deep desire not to receive any presents, but their longing to give, & give abundantly. The population I work with is living with very little; their income is tiny, their illness are overwhelming, and for many of them, there is no family to turn to. Yet their deepest desires for the holidays are to be with loved ones & to be able to give them meaningful, expensive, personal gifts. For most, both of these desires go unfulfilled. My heart has been so deeply touched by my clients. Seriously, they're awesome people. I have the most fun job in the world- I spend all day hanging out with amazing individuals, talking with them & learning from them. And for some reason, they pay me to do it! All joking aside, it actually is an incredibly intense job, but I love it to pieces. My clients live with very little material goods. They don't get to go shopping for new clothes; they don't eat out; they don't take vacations; but they live fully & love well. It's taught me a lot. I have so much more than I could ever possibly imagine. Sure, we don't make "tons" of money, but we certainly have enough. And we have family support, insurance, cars, education... things that we should never stop being thankful and cognizant of.

Life is good. I was worried that being out of college would make me stop learning things.... boy, was I wrong. I'm learning a lot right now. And it's the fun kind of learning- from people rather than from books (Nathan would probably disagree on what the "fun" kind of learning is. haha).

I am so blessed by all the people in my life- my family, my friends, my co-workers, my clients. We seriously have it all. How did we get so lucky?

1 comment:

Tori said...

I loved reading this post, it was very inspirational for me. I sometimes forget how great I have it and this was a simple reminder that there a lot of people going without this holiday season. I love christmas and I love making others feel special at christmas, it's good to know others out there are doing the same.

Ps. your snow flakes are so cute.