I'll Be Home for Christmas

I guess this post and the last one are somewhat out of order, but anywho...I did have the chance to go home to St. Louis for Christmas. I left on Saturday, December 19, and came back on Sunday, December 27. And no, I didn't bring Freddy home even though I could have on Southwest (for $150!)...Chris took care of him for me.

I had a wonderful visit. This was my first visit home during which I actually stayed in St. Louis the whole time. I have to admit, it was kind of nice to be home and not be tied down to working at the library. Nonetheless, it amazed me how fast my days filled up! Within a few hours of my plane landing, a whole bunch of my family came over for my sister's birthday party; she turned 12 on December 17.

Sunday I went to church in the morning, and then spent the afternoon helping my godmother, who lives in an assisted living facility, address her Christmas cards. I didn't think it was going to take as long as it did, but I wound up going straight to my sister's Sunday School Christmas program which was that evening. I found out when I walked in the door that, like last year, the offerings are going towards the support-raising I am required by LCMS to do in order to continue serving here as a volunteer--more about that later on.

Monday I finished up some shopping and helped a friend of mine wrap presents (I LOVE wrapping...I know it gets destroyed in like 30 seconds but I feel that it is an art form) in the morning, then went ice-skating and to the zoo for "Wild Lights" with some high school friends of mine. Wild Lights was pretty disappointing, definitely not worth the $5 it cost. Basically, you just walk around the zoo at night and look at Christmas lights; the only animals you could see were the penguins/puffins (it was warm in there...45 degrees!). I did get a couple pretty neat pictures though.

Tuesday I went to the St. Louis Science Center with my friend Erica to see the Omnimax film called, "Van Gogh: Brush with Genius." We went to Ted Drewes afterwards and decided we were true St. Louisans: eating frozen custard in 32 degree weather! Then I came home and baked 2 kinds of cookies!

Wednesday I ran some errands with my mom and sister and watched Elf; I awoke the next morning to a very rainy Christmas Eve. My high school friends and I got together for the 2nd time at Bread Co.--our traditional hangout--and wound up spending 3 hours catching up! The family festivities got underway not too long after I got home. Christmas Eve is always celebrated with my mom's side of the family, but this year with switched it up a little and took the party to the assisted living facility where my godmother lives. They had a very hymn sing and worship service, and then we were able to reserve an activity room for dinner and gifts. As always, we had lasagna, salad, bread, and Christmas cookies for dinner. It took me until a couple of years ago to realize that normal people probably have ham or something, but my grandma always made lasagna.

Christmas Day I opened gifts with my family at our house, and that's where I stayed...all day...in my PJ's! We didn't have any plans so I got to play with my new toys all day--namely an external harddrive and 20th Anniversary Trivial Pursuit--and then make my family one of the meals that Chris and I eat quite a bit down here for dinner: apple pork chops. It was a White Christmas too! Maybe not officially since according to my grandpa you have to have at least an inch wherever the official weather is recorded (the airport), but it counts in my book!

The day after Christmas we celebrated with the Mackenzies...let's just say that we were all crying with laughter over the stories my dad and his brothers were telling from their childhood... and then I made my way to my friend Kelley's house for the annual Christmas party with my high school friends. I couldn't stay out too late though...I made it til 1:30am...because I had to give a brief presentation about the mission to the high school youth at St. Paul's on Sunday morning. Basically my goal was to get them excited about their next mission trip down here in July 2011. Then it was home to pack, which wound up being quite an adventure between a bunch of books I had gotten for various people at CPH, a carryon sized suitcase I got for Christmas, the rest of the Christmas presents I needed to haul back, and a suitcase of donated items my mom had ready for me, but I had a plan and it worked. I have to say it was one of my better packing jobs.

I also had the chance, as I mentioned above, to get a jump-start on my 2nd term support-raising. In order to stay on at the mission for an additional year and a half, LCMS gave me the new support raising goal of $22, 955. I thought my time at home would give me a chance to get the ball rolling on that, and that it did. I kinda went crazy a couple afternoons and got almost 300 letter/prayer card combos ready to be given out or mailed. Some of you may be receiving/have received one in the mail, but if for some reason you didn't and would like to contribute, please visit http://www.lcms.org/pages/internal.asp?NavID=13839 or http://www.lcms.org/ca/mission/prayercards/index-v1.5.asp. I would be happy to answer any questions anyone may have, and I'll keep you all posted on my progress towards being fully funded.

So now I'm back. Freddy was happy to see me; he has actually been super-affectionate, maybe to tell me I am never allowed to leave him again. There has also already been a servant event that came and went so watch for an entry about that later this week.

Until next time, blessings!