December Recap

A quick recap:
December was a crazy month.  I was going so much, I hardly had time to sleep sometimes, but it was good, though a bit exhausting and I probably should have take a few more opportunities to rest.

A few of the highlights:
My brother Jonathan came to visit me.  We went to the field museum to see Sue the T-Rex (a lifelong dream for him), up to the 93rd floor of the Sears Tower (or Willis Tower if you want to get technical), had Giordano's pizza, and the Christkindle Market.  It was a lot of fun.

Little Brothers was very busy this month:  besides the regular visits, they deliver gifts to all of their elders so the third floor has been transformed into Santa's workshop with gift donations, volunteer gift wrapping parties, and delivering presents.  Preparations for Christmas parties, of course.  Christmas nursing home visits - which includes a special slice of pie and sparkling cider.

I also got to take some elders to the Botanic Garden's Christmas exhibit, which was a lot of fun.
Clarissa and I volunteered with our church for their "Christmas Store" - people donated toys, clothes, and winter coats and then parents (from the two elementary schools that the church was partnered with) who otherwise couldn't afford gifts could come pick out and buy gifts for their children - at greatly reduced prices.  But the idea is to keep the dignity - that they get to pick out and purchase gifts with their own hard earned money.  Over 1000 people came shopping at our "store" that day.  It was no small event.
I've heard it talked about around the city that Soul City Church (that's my church) does things well.  When they do something like this, they go all in.  They love well.  This event was very impressive, in my opinion.  Well organized, prepared for, decorated for, advertised for, and carried out.  For example, they had over 200 volunteers at a training event on Friday night to prepare - both mentally and physically - for this event.  I thought that was really cool.  It was a lot of fun to be a small part of something so cool.
Also, they have a wonderful photography team that made a beautiful video about it.  You really should watch it!  Click HERE to see it.
We, the Chicago YAVs/Dwellers had a little Christmas party at our house.  We cooked dinner, invited some people over, and of course, played some games.

I volunteered with my small group at a homeless shelter in my neighborhood for their big Christmas dinner.  We went all out, serving the guys restaurant style - complete with a hostess, menus, Christmas music & decor, and steak.  It was a really great time.
I also had my first really hard experience with an elder.  I don't want to say too much online (feel free to ask me about it in person or on the phone though), but it was a fairly traumatizing day for me.  Thankfully, LBFE has a wonderful Social Worker on staff who helped me through it.
I spent my 25th birthday doing my favorite things ever - a yummy dinner, meaningful conversation, and games with some new friends from my church.  I really can't think of a better way to spend it.
I spent the week of Christmas at my parent's house in Oklahoma.  It was really wonderful to be back there in the comfort of "home" and I with my family.  I'll blog more about that trip soon though.

I finally got to hug my sister, see her ring in person, see her dress, and do some wedding planning with her since she got engaged a few months ago.  I also got to take engagement photos for her and Josh, which was a lot of fun.