Wednesday, December 24, 2008

Christmas Traditions

Since I was 'tagged' by Amber and Sarah, here are my Christmas traditions :) (that most likely only you two will read) :

I remember a lot of stuff we did as a family around Christmas time, but very few of those we do still. Its strange how much things change over years and as my brothers and I have gotten older.

-When I was little I remember making cookies with my mom and listening to Steve Green and Amy Grant's Christmas tapes in the kitchen. :)
-During the day at some point on Christmas Eve we would watch National Lampoons Christmas Vacation.
-One tradition is that we would go to the Christmas Eve service at church.
-When we got back from the Christmas Eve service we would each open one gift.
-Christmas day, once everyone was up, we would open half of our presents and then open the other half when my Grandma came over.
-Then we would have a kind of Christmas brunch after we opened presents.
-And for the last two years Eric, Kristi, Collin, & Braeden would come over and open gifts with us Christmas morning.
-Sometimes we would catch the parade in time and watch that.
-Then either the day after or two days after Christmas we go to the Gustafson's (family friends) and have supper and exchange gifts with the Gustafson's and the Whitesides (other family friends from Florida).
-Then the next day we would have brunch with the Gustafsons and Whitesides before the Whitesides left for Florida.

But things are a little different this year. Aaron is in California with our Uncle Scott (my mom's brother) and won't be back until after Christmas. Probably will go to the Christmas Eve service at church by myself since Dad is on ambulance call and Mom is exhausted. Eric & Kristi and the boys might be coming tonight or tomorrow or sometime, not quite sure when we will see them. Most likely he will get an ambulance call at least once tonight and tomorrow on Christmas Day (that's kind of a tradition I guess, ha!). We still haven't put up all of our Christmas decorations, but I'm doing that in a couple of hours just incase Eric, Krist, & the boys come out tonight.

There's my family Christmas traditions I guess!!! hahaha, not really set traditions but oh well. :)

Merry Christmas everyone!!!! :)

Wednesday, December 03, 2008

An answer to "school-questions" . . . possibly

Thanksgiving break was good. It went by really fast which was difficult, but it was good. Got to see family and some friends over break so that was nice. Some people I didn't get a chance to see, so hopefully I can see them over Christmas break (which is in about 2 weeks!).

Over break (and before) I was thinking a lot about my frustrations with college education and the overall format, even just the reason behind going to college and getting a degree. And I have been thinking about it still, especially after talking it over with some people over break and after break.

I was playing with the idea this summer about not coming back to Grace and instead transfering to various other colleges in Chicago and even in Massachusetts. I became 80% convinced about going to a different school until I helped out at the Jr. High Church Camp for a week. It was sponsored by the youth group I volunteer with out here and it was my first time being a camp counselor. Without going into detail, it was an AMAZING experience and was one of the highlights of my summer! During the end of that week at camp, I just started to feel like I needed to be at Grace. Not necessarily for the education, but for the relationships I would be involved in at the youth ministry and even on the campus (although i was doubtful about developing strong relationships on campus based off of the year before). So I decided I was going to come back to Grace, not necessarily for an education but for the relationships God would have instore for me.

A pastor (also a Grace graduate) from Akron, Ohio is speaking in chapel this week. Today he talked about how to look at our struggles/difficult times from a different perspective. That God entrusts us to go through difficult situations in order for us to grow from those experiences. This makes a lot of sense to me (Romans 5:2-4; James 1:2-4, 5:10-11).

So, I have been trying to figure out what to do (stay at Grace, go to a different college, intern, etc.) and a lot of answers have made sense when I have heard them so that makes a "decision" all the more confusing.

For the most part when i explain my frustrations to people, I explain briefly about the summer and how my mindset was to come back to Grace for relationships and not necessarily an education. So with thinking about this, I remember thinking during the summer that I would be frustrated most likely with school but that it would be ok because i was so excited about what God had instore for me. So yesterday, i was starting to think about how maybe this is the frustration that I should have expected in a way. And today in chapel it made me think about how this year (and the next two years) will be an opportunity as a whole to practice perseverance in a way.

I know it doesn't really make much sense, but bare with me please (if you have even read this far). Obviously if I was expecting to be frustrated with school this year, this most likely would be a way for me to be frustrated. The education makes me want to go somewhere else or find a different way to learn. But the relationships here and with my small group girls (which is what I was expecting!) are amazing and a huge blessing!!! So maybe I am not here for an education like most college students. Maybe I am not going to learn or be too engaged in book knowledge stuff. Maybe I will be frustrated with the learning still because it doesn't reach my style of learning. BUT MAYBE these are opportunities for me to grow, mature, practice perseverance, develop my faith. Maybe I will learn more than what they could ever teach me in class BEACAUSE I have to sit in class.

I admit that I do want to leave Grace when I think about the educational frustrations, but when I think about the relationships I have with people here I don't want to leave at all!!! But if I didn't come back to Grace necessarily for a "book knowledge" education, then why should I leave because of the "book knowledge" education? So maybe I am supposed to stay at Grace. I don't know.

I guess I'm just trying to sort things out. I don't know if I have an answer yet, but I feel like my thinking process makes sense [to me atleast! :)]. If you have thoughts, ideas, answers, or whatever, I am honestly interested In hearing them. Really!!! :)