by Jennifer Martin
This is undoubtedly one of the hardest articles I've ever had to write - my last one. I'm moving to the Philippines in June, and am graduating from college in two weeks. My first article I ever wrote was for a December issue, during Christmas. And it's with a heavy heart that I write this one.
Christmas is, without a doubt, my most favorite time of year. I love the cold weather. I love cooking and baking. I love giving presents… and I'd be lying if I said I didn't exactly have a tough time getting presents as well. I love decorating the house, I love how warm everyone is. Even though it's cold outside, people are just friendlier during the holidays. I even like shopping - even though I hate shopping the other eleven months of the year.
The hardest thing, for me, has been giving up some yearly Christmas traditions. My grandparents are getting older. My sister is moving to Michigan soon with her Coast Guard soldier, and we don't ever know what their holiday schedule will be ever again. Oh, and through marriage, I now have an entirely new family!
Last year, Daniel and I tried to keep all the old traditions of both our families. It was a complete mess. Both of our families (and all our living grandparents) all have parties, traditions, and demands for our attention. Christmas Day left me in tears - not only did I try to attend each and every party or family gathering, but I actually attempted to cook one or two dishes per event, including homemade ice cream! I was in tears, stressed out to the maximum, and miserable. My favorite holiday, turned into an emotional turmoil.
After it was all said and done, Daniel and I had to come to some sort of compromise, because I told him point blank that I would never put myself through that kind of stress again. From now on, we would spend Christmas Eve with his family and their traditions, and Christmas Day with mine, and their traditions. We would make every attempt to see grandparents on those respective days, even if it was just to drop by and say hello. It lifted a load of stress off of my shoulders, but it was hard to give up some certain traditions on both sides.
In that same way, I must give up writing this article. Pete Edwards is by far the best editor and one of the best people I've ever met, and his passion for the truth and for this community is nothing short of outstanding and inspiring. I hope, when I return from the Philippines, he will allow me to become involved in The People News once more. But for now, I need to move on. I need to cut some of my favorite things out of my life - including writing this wonderful article - and concentrate on raising money for my missions trip and big move to the Philippines.
I hope the things I've learned about writing and about myself will forever present themselves as great lessons I've learned and can keep in my heart. To you, I wish you all a Merry Christmas, and I pray that you all keep Jesus Christ first and foremost in your heart, and that you'd keep me and my family in your prayers as we continue with the work that God has called us to do. I am grateful for all my readers. If you want to keep in touch with me, feel free to e-mail me at: Jennifer.firstname.lastname@example.org. Thank you so much!
Pete Edwards writes:
A very young and spirited Jennifer Bowman submitted her first article titled "Santa, I want more for Christmas!" to The People News at the tender age of 12 years which was subsequently included in the December 2000 issue. She had pledged to meet the print deadline each month with a fresh article and assured me she was up to this formidable task despite being a 7th grader. She not only kept her promise to me without missing a single issue but blossomed into an incredibly talented and insightful writer. The now married Jennifer Martin is still making challenging commitments to expand her horizons which require her undivided attention. I consider Jennifer as family. I am proud of what she has achieved and as excited about her future as if she was my own granddaughter. Take note readers, although you will not enjoy her work for a while, you have not heard the last from this remarkable young lady.