I truly love this time of year. People are forced to cuddle indoors by the weather and families and friends are brought together by holiday time off from work or saved up sick days and REALLY good food! My family is also brought together to celebrate the birth of Jesus. But as we live all over the place, that means a lot of driving. Lots and lots of driving. As a kid we tried to go see family in Nebraska and Texas every year! As we’ve grown up and especially now that my sister and I are adults, we made the decision to travel every other year.
However, this time last year, our year to travel, I was pretty much bedridden for most of the time. We weren’t able to take our scheduled trip to the heartland to see our family because my body was in such bad shape and no one could tell us why! There were some very scary potential diagnoses being thrown around, but through divine intervention and the kindness of my friend Dana, I made it to a doctor who put me on the right track. I was finally diagnosed with SLE, otherwise simply known as Lupus. I am not quite out of the woods yet as there are still weeks and months I am quite ill, but comparatively speaking – I am SO much better than I was!! Some of the medicine has side effects that leave me feeling a bit self-conscious, but I suppose that is better than feeling terrible, right?!
Because I am doing so much better, this year we were able to make the trek from the north central part of the country down to Nebraska to see my dad’s side of the family. The Christmas celebration included about 46 people and we were missing 16 who had other celebrations to attend!! It is a large wonderful collection of beautiful souls. It did my heart good to see all of my family. It reminded me just how little distance actually matters concerning people you love. The matriarch of our family is in her early eighties and the most Godly and patient woman on the planet. You’d have to be when the family surrounding you has grown to more than 60!
I have cousins turning old family churches into their home, cousins moving to LA to pursue their dreams, cousins getting their RN, cousins continuing their teaching careers while raising beautiful kids… and that doesn’t even begin to cover everyone. It is all so amazing to see!
The holidays really give you a chance to stop and slow down and look around. To really see who is in your life and seriously look at what they are accomplishing. This year, getting to hug my family members and tell them, in person, just how proud I am of them was exactly how I wanted to be spending my time. After a year of such uncertainty I did not want a single person in my life to question how I felt about them. I’m so grateful for the opportunity we get to drive across our country to see our loved ones.
I encourage you to take every moment you can in this next year to practice mindful moments in which you let those in your life know that you are proud of them, that you appreciate them, and most importantly, that you love them.
Merry Christmas and Happy New Year!
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