Saturday, December 27, 2008

2008 Highlights (Christmas Letter Addendum)

Less philosophical, and more "what's happened this year," I took a trip down memory lane to remember some of my favorite happenings of this year...

My sister-in-law and I taking my mom to the San Francisco bay area for a girls' weekend. We had a great time, even though it rained.

Losing my job thanks to a layoff... again. Only really not minding it so much.

Finding out I was going to become an aunt, and meeting little Charlie in early December.

Receiving my acceptance letter to grad school at SDSU in May, starting classes in September and finishing my first semester last week.

Visiting great friends and hanging out with family on a vacation to the Midwest in May, and a personal retreat to Northern California in August.

Training for and completing my first 5K race in October.

Enjoying reading a lot, sometimes purely for fun, and sometimes because it really made me think.

Spending some quality time at the beach with my "second" church family.

The blessing of learning many times over how great God's love and grace are and how much my faith has grown this year.

God is good!!

Originally posted at:

Friday, December 26, 2008

Book: The Bedford Boys

This is not a typical book I would pick up, but I've been partially affected by the interest in all things World War II in my family. This book tells the story of a company of men, all from the small town of Bedford, Virginia, who fought - and died - together on the beaches of Normandy on D-Day.

Reading a book like this makes me appreciate in a new way the freedoms I enjoy as an American that have come through the selfless sacrifice of others. An interesting read if you are into history or this particular era.

The Bedford Boys
by Alex Kershaw
Originally posted at:

Thursday, December 25, 2008

Christmas Letter 2008

Dear friends,

It’s Christmas afternoon and my family has just finished unwrapping gifts accompanied by warm coffee and holiday cookies. Turkey dinner is to follow in about an hour. It’s raining outside, and I’ve heard more than one person comment that they like the rain because it makes Christmas feel cozy. Normally, I’m in favor of sunny and 70 for Christmas, but my current state of reflection on the blessings in my life doesn’t allow any room for discontent with the weather.

This has been a year of changes for me, and I feel so blessed by the opportunities I’ve been given. At the beginning of the year, I was working at a job I really didn’t like much, but I was laid off in March, more of a relief than anything else. I was immediately freed up to focus on what I had already decided to do next: go back to school.

In May, I was accepted to San Diego State’s MSBA program in Finance and Tax Planning, and was also blessed with a part-time job opportunity that would be flexible with my school schedule. Through that opportunity, I made some connections that together have provided me with enough work to meet expenses while I’m in school, mostly working from home, which is great.

In September, life got busy as I nervously began classes, not really sure what to expect. This is the part where can’t help but be grateful for a very good undergraduate education, because after years out of school, I found my skills were up to the demands of grad school. As the semester continued, I found my studies rewarding and interesting, which was further confirmation for me that I am in the right place at the right time.

The end goal of this degree is to become a financial planner. If all goes well, I will finish the degree next December, and then take a certification test and look for work in the financial planning field. I’m very, very excited about working in this field, and I can’t help but feel that I finally have figured out what it is that I want to do when I grow up… and having wondered that for most of my life up until now, this feels nothing short of amazing.

Another gift this year has been the opportunity to renew old friendships and the blessing of new ones. I was able to visit friends in Iowa and Minnesota and also attend my cousin’s graduation from Dordt College in May. I also was able to spend a few days on the remote Northern California coast thanks to the generosity of friends, and also visit several friends and family on the way north. A few days of retreat on the coast, soaking up the beauty of God’s creation and relaxing was a wonderful gift.

I have learned the most this year in the process of making new friends. If left up to me, I may not have been smart enough to choose wisely, but God placed some wonderful people in my life this year that have challenged me and become good friends. I am thankful so much for friends who not only make life’s journey more fun, but teach me new things and always cheer me on when I struggle along the way.

I went to church this morning to worship the newborn king, to rejoice in the gift of God’s son. His gift is for everyone, and I hope this Christmas finds you blessed with the joy of this amazing gift.


P.S. For more on what I did this year, check out my post on the Highlights of 2008.

Originally posted at:

Saturday, December 20, 2008


I've been thinking a lot about this. Not just recently but over the last several months. I think it started when I talked with a friend about how blogging has helped me be more aware of how I present myself to the world. While it is tempting to present a person that has an organized life, is always on top of things, and never has any human shortcomings, that's just not really me.

My life is occasionally a little crazy. I've become more aware than ever of my shortcomings, and at the same time, more determined than ever to overcome them. My life is definitely not organized, and if you could see the room I'm sitting in right now, I wouldn't even have to put that into words.

Along the way, I've found in myself a desire to be authentic. I'm flattered that I have friends who actually read this blog, and occasionally I get a comment from someone I didn't know was reading it. The sum total is a variety of people that I have known for between 1 and 30+ years (Hi Mom!) and all of them get the same "me" on the blog. So it's made me think a lot about who I am.

What I've figured out is that authenticity is important to me. I really try to make sure those words are an accurate reflection of what I'm feeling or thinking. That is not to say I might not change my mind. Or that upon further reflection I won't realize I was wrong. Just that it's important to be genuine and honest, and that it's OK to be honest about being confused or uncertain or doubtful... or any one of the things that could be considered the opposite of "having it all together."

In the last week, this is something that I've thought about even more because I realized that I need to be more authentic with people in the real world as well as in the virtual world. It's cathartic to write a blog post, publish it, then not think about it again. On the other hand, being honest with someone over a cup of coffee takes more guts than that. It means that the real me is vulnerable in that moment to what they might think or have to say about what I've shared. That... completely freaks me out.

It's a choice. I have often not taken that risk because the fear of having the "real me" rejected was greater than my ability to perceive potential reward in being truly known. I think it's time to start taking some risks.


Originally posted at:

Thursday, December 18, 2008

Thankful Thursday: Semester #1 is Over!

I had completely forgotten how crazy college is at the end of the semester. All you do is eat, breathe, sleep and study. And sometimes you don't sleep. I am SO glad this semester is over! I was able to persuade one of my professors to take his final on Monday instead of today, so I wrapped up one day early. Now to wait for the grades. I'm a little nervous about one of them, but the rest of my exams went very well.

I am grateful, not only to be finished and have the chance to enjoy the holidays without studying, but also because this semester has been really great. I've enjoyed learning, and I've become even more convinced that I'm on the right path for my life. I feel like I finally know what I want to do when I grow up, and that is a wonderful feeling.

I've been surprised to find that I'm so into numbers, which is a big part of what I'm going to be doing. I had one major project this semester that involved building some pretty interesting spreadsheets. Oddly enough, when I wasn't completely stressed by thinking that I was doing it all wrong, it was kind of fun.

I know. Weird. I used to do marketing.
Originally posted at:

Sunday, December 14, 2008

Charlie photo op

Charlie's mom and dad brought him over today, and he was wearing a cute "Baby's First Christmas" outfit, he looked like a little elf!
His hat says, "I've Been Good."
No worries, he's definitely on this Santa's "nice" list!

Originally posted at:

Wednesday, December 10, 2008

Odds and Ends

Finals are next week and I am officially overwhelmed. Yikes. Here's some odds and ends that have crossed my mind recently . . .

Never go to W*l-M*rt on a Sunday in December when the economy is bad. Holy Cow. Miraculously I found a parking place, but there were no carts left. Not a one.

Christmas cards are going out late this year. Like maybe ON Christmas. If I wake up from my post-final exam nap by then.

Yet another risk of trying something new turned out well: Mediterranean Chicken Pita. Yummm. (And for the record, I still don't like lamb.)

Highest price paid for a gallon of gas EVER: $4.54 on June 18, 2008
Lowest price in 2008: $1.67, yesterday (Last time gas prices were this low: 3/31/2006 - $1.65)
Average drop in price since June 18: $.115/week. (With a drop one week of $.50/gal.)*
Maybe it's time for a roadtrip?

Number of relatives coming to visit during the holiday season: at least 10.

Number of times I've been to the gym this week: 1 (I promise I'm going back more often when finals are over. I promised to run a 5K on New Years.)

Number of times I will blog during finals: zero. See you soon!

*Yes, actually, I am a math nerd. And I like Jeopardy! too.
Originally posted at:

Tuesday, December 2, 2008

And the winner is.... (Baby Pool)

My grandma Emmy won the baby pool! She didn't get any points for the correct date or time, but was so accurate on the weight (within 3 oz) and the length (right on) that she scored enough points to win!

1st place with 30 points - Emmy
2nd place with 25 points - Nicole H
3rd place with 20 points - Mary L & Sarah S*
Everyone else - "Sorry, you are not a winner."

( * late entry)

Originally posted at:

Charlie is here!

Introducing my new nephew, Charles Andrew


Born today, December 2, 2008 at 9:50 am
9 lbs, 3 oz - 20"
Originally posted at: