Our very own, Lise Pace guest blogs in this Office of Faith Based & Community Initiatives blog. Check it out!

This month was full of high and lows.  There was the high of recognition at work and celebrating my first Thanksgiving with my new husband. Also this month, I participated in holiday celebrations without my father who passed away this summer.  Of course the high of appreciation at work is not really comparative to how it feels to lose someone you love.  I am sure that many people struggle this time of year.  You are surrounded by family, but there is someone missing.

At the beginning of the month, I was recognized at my place of employment, Bosma Enterprises, as Employee of the Month.  As someone who was receiving disability income less than three years ago, it was an honor to be selected by my peers as someone who was an asset to the organization.  I hoped that my work was benefitting others, but I would be lying if I said that I never woke up at night worrying about something work related and didn’t wonder if anyone noticed my accomplishments, and did anyone care?  It does seem that my work was noticed and people do care which feels really good.

I was telling someone the other day that I am grateful to work for a mission driven organization.  At this time in my life, I am able to pursue my passion, something that was not afforded to me when I first entered the workforce.  When I graduated from high school, I attended college and worked at a bank.  I was relatively good at it and was promoted to a customer service representative, then to loan officer, then to assistant manager, etc., etc.  It never occurred to me that I had choices.  Oddly, it is the repercussions of losing my vision that has brought me to this place of opportunity.  Life really is an amazing journey.

As I mentioned, my dad is gone this year and it is a tremendous loss.  My family will honor him this year by carrying on a tradition he started so he will be with us in spirit.  Five years ago, my family began forgoing a traditional gift exchange.  Instead, everyone brings a $20-25 gift with all the adults picking from the pile of wrapped gifts.  With the money we save on buying gifts for one another, we make a collective family donation to a charity.  For us, it has removed the stress from the holidays and we are able to pay our good fortune forward since none of us really need anything anyway.  Now Christmas Eve is filled with faith, fellowship, family and fun.

This year has been filled with highs and lows.  I got married this year, my son is healthy and happy, and I work a job I find tremendously satisfying.  But loss has been felt this year too.  I am looking forward to next year and I wish everyone health, happiness, and joy in the coming year.

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