Monday, December 21, 2009

It's the Hap-Happiest Season of ALL!

And it's here!!! Yesterday I ventured out to Red Rock with my friend Julie who stopped by for 2 days. By "stop by", I mean she was in root from Michigan to Idaho and found her way to Vegas :) It's a "Tradition" that was started last year and we are desperately doing our best to find a way to keep it a tradition! Red Rock was always!! And this time a wonderful surprise...SNOW!!!!! I was so excited I even had my picture taken holding a snow ball! There was about 1 inch tucked away in a corner of the mountain and I found it :)

We also headed down to the strip to see the beautiful Christmas decorations that the casinos do an amazing job putting up! This year the Bellagio had 3 polar bears made out of carnations, fountains, the biggest Christmas tree ever, flying reindeer, ...the list goes on and on! It was awesome! And of course we took a walk out to see the dancing fountains that go to Christmas music this time of year! They also did the unveiling of the new "City Center" on the strip! It was WAY cool...there are ice sculptures and a water-tornado-deal thing...and the design of the building is phenomenal! A must see for your next trip down!

Exciting things are going on in the "working world" as Rapport Empowered Education is turning Non-profit as of Jan 1. I am beginning to see exactly what that means and what an amazing resource its going to be for schools/organizations across the US and Canada! In the mean time... I am learning a ton and getting ready to take on a completely new role within the company! Things continue to stay constant as I return from Michigan I will be heading straight off to L.A. to be doing some school assembly programs (and stopping at the beach for some surfing, of course) and then off to Reno to the California Activities Director Association conference. Exciting and fun!

I am also preparing to host an alternative spring break mission trip for 12 amazing students from Spring Arbor University. They will be spending 10 days in Vegas doing several different ministry projects to include working with: African refugees, the homeless and prostitute population, inner city schools, and of course seeing the sights and sounds of Vegas :) I'm excited to be able to give the students insight into A) a world that is desperately in need. B) life in Vegas. C) that you are capable of getting involved and making a difference right out of college.

Reading the article of the food project Melissa did in Charlotte... the Christmas project my mom coordinated in Detroit...the church my Dad is investing in Dundee... I am filled with gratitude this holiday season... and those are just some of the outward expressions of living faith. There are so many other things... things that are done quietly! I'm blessed to have such amazing examples that have created a firm foundation for me to build my own self on. Christmas is such an amazing time of year... not because of the presents, the cheer, or the Christmas Cookies (although wonderful!)... it is a time to remember the most amazing gift we were all given so many years ago... the gift of life...and life eternal! And although still there are many who have not yet received it, some who will make the decision they just don't want it at all, STILL - God gave His gift anyway! Who are we to put our hands in our pockets and say "I have no money to give," or to rush past life saying "I'm too busy to stop", or to walk with our heads down saying "whoa is me" ... when there is a God who not only humbled Himself to come to Earth, but then gave up His only son for a girl like me to live!

Merry Christmas and may you have a year filled with opportunities to give of yourself!
With love and gratitude,

Thursday, December 10, 2009

On the 15th day before Christmas...

It doesn't matter if it's the day before Christmas or 15 days before Christmas... I always seem to be doing the same thing... doing my best to figure out what present will best fit which family member and which day will allow me to get the most shopping done! I did great on the shopping this year while I was in Michigan at Thanksgiving, however I still have quite a bit left to do! This year I had the brilliant idea to do Christmas cards and yet it remained only that... an idea! Perhaps next year I will have things put together enough to send out some cards! My master plan is to buy cards when the holidays after over this year and begin to write them out come August! that outta get them done by Christmas :)

This year Christmas is going to be a bit different, as it seems every year has it's own little tweaks to accommodate an ever changing family in an every changing world! This year I have somehow landed 2 weeks of vacation to spend at home! I will be flying in to Detroit on Dec 23rd and then driving to Charlotte, NC with the Jacksons on the 27/28 to spent some time there! Then I have a plane ticket back to Detroit on the 1st and will return back to Vegas on the 5th! Whew! Let the Christmas Cheer begin!!! I'm so excited to spending some real time with Melissa, LD, and Clare this Christmas. Normally with all of the hustle and bustle we miss each other in Michigan.

And, of course I will be celebrating the holidays in Vegas as well! On Saturday I will be delivering Christmas presents with Angel Tree at HOPE to needy families in the community. We are also throwing a party for families who can come in to pick up their gifts at the church! Then, next week on the 19th is our Rapport Ugly Christmas Sweater Party!! I'm really looking forward to that and need to head to the store ASAP to pick out a good/nasty sweater to wear! (Vegas temps today were only 40!!!)

Amy, who I work with, is also moving back from Calgary Canada to Las Vegas next week! That is one of the best Christmas presents I could have gotten this year!!! I'm so excited for her to be back in the office and to work together once again!! And at the same time, one of my great friends here in Vegas will be moving soon with her family to Washington DC. It's always exciting when I get to watch people move in the direction of their dreams and at the same time I'm a little selfish and miss them dearly!!

Life is great and I'm blessed by every minute that passes!
Wishing you a snowy good day :)

Tuesday, December 1, 2009

Thanksgiving in Michigan

Happy Winter!!!

I know it's official here, not by the weather, but because I switched my coffee preference over to Peppermint Lattes instead of Pumpkin Spice ;) And, the radio stations are blasting Christmas music every other song! I was laughing to myself today as I was driving home from work. The lyrics played through my car, "Oh the weather outside is frightful..." Well, frightful if you consider 70 degrees and sunny a bad thing?? Strange... although it is my second year of experiencing desert winters...I'm sure it's just one of those thing I'll never get used to. I'm a girl that loves a "Winter Wonderland" for a little while at least!

Thanksgiving home was a great trip! The word "Family" doesn't even describe what I did at home. I arrived late on Wednesday night, just in time to get to bed. The day after is always a little nutty after flying in, so for the second year in a row I missed the Thanksgiving day Parade because I was still asleep. My friend Julie from SAU had Thanksgiving at the Vann's this year, which was a great treat! The table seated about 18 this Thanksgiving. And I ended the day with a visit with Breayne from MRBC at Ramshorn. Gotta love that place... the only thing opened on Thanksgiving night! My Mom and I hit up the Black Friday Shopping Spree around the town at 5am. I got a great start on most of my Christmas shopping with my brilliant plan of leaving it all there for my return at Christmas.

Friday afternoon Meliss, LD, and Clare arrive at my parents house. Clare has grown about a foot since I've seen her last and we had so much fun playing together! We had the Vann Family Photo shoot which was NUTS! We did it for Mom and she owes us BIG TIME! I also got to enjoy a "date night" with Meliss! A time for her and I just to catch up without the craziness of everyone around! Saturday was my nephew Jayden's 1st Birthday ... so as you can imagine the family was back together AGAIN! Sunday, mom and I headed out to watch Pops "in action" at the pulpit in Dundee! :) We enjoy dinner together and I headed back to Vegas. A fast trip, but I accomplished what I set out to do... enjoy the family I'm blessed to have!

I realized there is a striking pattern to what happens when I arrive home... unpack, wash, repack, repeat. This weekend I am headed to Alamo, NV (3 days) to facilitate a Corporate Leadership training class. The awesome thing about it is two of my college profs are going to be there as well! We are going to have a blast!

Updates for you:
Newest Pass-time: Karyn Kingsburry books
Newest Fad: I just bought new Brown Tall boots. LOVE THEM!
Newest Addiction: Peppermint Lattes
Newest Goal: 5 day a week Spin Classes at LVAC with Alena

Its my intention to start my "new things" now so that when the NEW year comes...I'm already settled in and ready to rock it :)

Enjoy your "Frightful weather" out there :)