2009 Christmas Missive

“It is Jesus in fact that you seek when you dream of happiness, he is waiting for you when nothing else you find satisfies you; he is the beauty to which you are so attracted; it is he who provokes you with that thirst for fullness that will not let you settle for compromise.”

– Venerable John Paul II

2009, oh what a year it has been!  As has become my custom, I am taking my Christmas holiday as an opportunity to both reflect and write on what has annually transpired in an effort to catch up with y’all.  Pardon the electronic format, dear ones, but it holds within it the same love as my paper copies tucked away in Christmas cards that I’d love to send if I weren’t attempting to be so resourceful!  Always looking on the bright side, the benefit is that this way you can also watch my year – courtesy of my 2009 picture slideshow too!

Transitions began early this year, as I rang in the New Year with a promotion at the hotel to Catering Sales Manager.  What a time to learn and grow it was, all the while hoping that the bumps eventually would smooth out just like the learning curve.  Yet as the opening quote so beautifully stated, Jesus would not allow me to settle.  Using situations to move me to where I now need to be, by mid-July I had lost my job.  Recognizing my lack of fulfillment and knowing that many of gifts and talents weren’t being utilized – but not quite poised to break out yet – I have experienced a great freedom through this experience.  I knew that the time had come:  The time for me to stop pursuing other people’s dreams and start chasing down my own.

In the meantime, the spare room in my Condo was getting great mileage in the beginning of the year between friends and family.  Easter brought not only the Resurrection, but also the visit of not only my parents but also much anticipated one of my brother’s family – Jeff, Annette, Alyssa, Jon, and Annalyse.  From visiting the Stockyards, riding the Go-Carts at Speed Zone, painting Easter Eggs on my balcony and teaching them to “pock” eggs after the Easter Egg Hunt, to a 4-month early 40th Surprise Party for Jeff…well, the time together was a great blessing and the memories now are filed under “Things I Cherish”.

I was blessed to be able to make some visits of my own this year as well.  From quick jaunts to the Houston area for a conference or a weekend get-away with my best friend, to full-out excursions, I’m always up for new adventures!  My 1st big trip occurred over the 4th of July holiday, with the ambitious itinerary to visit 4 old friends in 5 days in Washington State and Vancouver, BC areas that looked like this:

  • 1st stop – the splendiferous Saratsis family on the Air Force Base in Tacoma
  • 2nd stop – the magnanimous Manni family in Oak Harbor
  • 3rd stop – dear old friend Sarah of the clan Roberts from my hometown of Dearborn now in Vancouver, BC
  • 4th and final stop – the Italian flower Nausica and her new hubby, Brian, in Seattle

The time went quickly but was ever so well spent reconnecting with old friends, many with new additions to their family’s that I had never had the chance to meet.

I was blessed by another opportunity to reconnect with another set of dear old friends when I attended “Homecoming” at the Franciscan University of Steubenville.  A celebration of friendships and faith, I can’t believe it already was time for our 10-year College reunion!

Some of my travels have taken on a business nature as well.  Two weeks after I got the axe, I was extended an all expense paid road trip to my 2nd home in Louisiana.  What was originally intended as a weekend get-away spent with friends soon became a 10-day business related trip.  While stopping by to visit my dear friends, Myrna & Garrett, who are my former employers – Walnut Street – we discovered once again that we both had needs that we could assist each other with.  Just like old times, I lent some help in the office a couple of days after which Myrna took me to their new 2nd location, a shop in the French Quarter of New Orleans.  Thus began the contract work that paved the way for the other opportunities that have kept me busy since.  With God as my Boss, I’ve been serving in various capacities from Marketing Consulting, Project Management and Copywriting – writing web content and Press Releases.  I’ve completed content for 2 out of 3 of the sites so far, and the other will soon be live as well.

The trip to Louisiana also began a time of discernment with my best friend, Kelli Simon.  Through much prayer, we felt God calling her to live with me in Dallas.  The doors all opened, and at the end of September my home became our home.  I’m so blessed to have my “soul sister” living and praying along side me at this time in our lives.  We are currently in the process of discerning laying the foundation of a new ministry organization as well, so please pray for our efforts with “Illumine the Nations”.  We have felt God calling us to help foster greater unity in Evangelistic outreach efforts in the Catholic Church – by building a network to connect, inform, exchange, and assist efforts internationally.  The Lord has a plan, and we are just trying to be in it!

In November, I was also invited to travel to NCYC (National Catholic Youth Conference) in Kansas City, MO to join over 21,000 others in participating in the largest youth rally in the nation.  Working with the Catholic musician, Curtis Stephan, and the band to complete his website – I captured photos and video clips during their Praise & Worship session.  My first attempt at amateur video editing can be viewed on the website above (link to YouTube on main page).

I currently am enjoying my 2nd big trip, a 2-week holiday in Florida spending time with my parents and Jeff’s family.  My longest chunk of time in the Sunshine state, it seemed appropriate to take advantage of the lack of filing vacation requests!

Time out of a traditional office setting has bore a lot of fruit this year, both personally and professionally.  I’ve been building my repertoire, especially concerning my writing – a skill that I’ve felt a calling to focus on once again.  A friend and I have also done a “Garage Band” recording of a song I wrote that she’s been working on with me, based on my favorite prayer – “Anima Christi”.  I’ve also been applying for freelance writing work, and we shall see what 2010 has in store for me.  There are already prospects on the horizon, and I am excited to prayerfully continue chasing down my dreams.  Affording me the time to foster personal and spiritual growth, I have even pursued inner healing sessions with some Prayer Warriors at my Church.

The Lord has reminded me this year, “Be still, slow down, don’t loose your vision…no excuses now!”  The Lord has certainly shown me once again that he is my Provider and that His plan is much bigger for me if I will trust Him to lead me through it.  I pray for the journey that you are on as well.  I love and miss y’all, especially at this time of the year.  Merry Christmas and let’s all have a New Year abundant in blessings!

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