Merry Christmas! - (With Megan & Leah's favorite things)

December 19, 2012

Several years ago our team started a Christmas tradition. We show our love and appreciation for our wonderful clients, partners and friends at Christmas by making donations to various non-profits and causes in your honor! 

Throughout December our team has been sharing about our "favorite things" at Christmas. Plus, we're including information about our favorite organizations - the ones we're supporting because of YOUR friendship and YOUR trust throughout 2012. 

This week, we highlight Megan and Leah's "favorite things." (In the past two weeks we've heard from Shawn, Ben, Evan and Lindsay. Their entries are also included below.)

Merry Christmas and a blessed New Year to each of you! 

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Fishhook Christmas 2012 - Megan

My favorite ornament (see my photo): 
This was one of the first ornaments my husband and I bought together. I like that it always reminds me to keep calm, be grateful for what we have, be at peace with the year that has passed and what may occur in the year ahead.

Favorite Christmas tradition: 
I'm from Illinois, and my husband is from Ohio. The holidays for us require a lot of traveling. So one of our traditions, to get in the spirit and stay awake behind the wheel, is to play all of the Christmas music we listened to growing up. At the top of our lungs, we sing along to the Carpenters, Frank Sinatra, Bing Crosby and others the whole way home.

Favorite Christmas food: 
Pecan logs, Fannie May Trinidads and eggnog. Growing up, I don't remember a Christmas without these treats. My dad would put pecan logs (cherry nougat wrapped in caramel and pecans) in my stocking because I was the only kid in our family who would eat them with him. Also, when I was little, my grandpa would buy an assorted box of Fannie May chocolates for our extended family Christmas (this was always a huge treat). All of the cousins had to agree who would get the few Trinidad chocolates or share them because there's only a few per assorted box. And eggnog! I feel like a glass of eggnog officially kicks off the Christmas season.

Favorite organization: 
"There's no place like home for the holidays," is one of my favorite Christmas phrases. I'm so thankful to live in a place where this phrase can be true because of the men and women who choose to serve our country, provide freedom for us, and be away from their homes even on holidays. My donation this year supports the Wounded Warriors Project - an organization that gives back to our American heroes.

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Fishhook Christmas 2012 - Leah

My favorite ornament (see my photo): 
My heart and soul are the people listed on this ornament (plus our dog Tucker). This ornament represents so much warmth, joy and love to me. I'm beyond grateful.

Favorite Christmas traditions: 
Growing up, we often went to Ohio to have Christmas with extended family. And every year, we'd return home from Ohio to find presents under our tree from Santa. As a kid, it took me years to realize that my parents quickly pulled out these presents at the last minute as my sister and I were getting into the car.

Today, with our daughters, we have lots of fun with a daily Advent calendar for the month of December. (It's a wooden box that a close friend made for us with 25 small compartments/doors for each day leading up to Christmas.) Every morning our girls run out to the family room to open that day's door filled with a new book, candy or special surprise/activity for the day.  

Most memorable Christmas letdown: 
In early December of eighth grade, I had elective jaw surgery. Christmas for me - which included a family trip to Myrtle Beach, South Carolina, that year - involved having my mouth wired shut. Not only could I not talk, I was forced to order oyster stew (drinking only the broth) at a favorite seafood restaurant. 

Favorite organization: 
I continue to be in awe of the work Brian, my husband, and his colleagues do at Easter Seals Crossroads Rehabilitation Center. In such a humble - and excellent - manner, they bring hope and help to so many people with disabilities all throughout our state. Brian is completing his 15th year at Crossroads, so it's at the top of my list of favorite organizations!

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Fishhook Christmas 2012 - Shawn

 
My favorite ornament (see my photo):
My ornament is part of a set of Winnie the Pooh globes. These were the first ornaments Rebecca and I purchased after we were married. In fact, we got them at Disney World on the second half of our honeymoon. When we see them, it always reminds us of the fun we've had throughout our 15 years of marriage.

Favorite Christmas tradition:
Every year we go to a Christmas tree farm to cut down our own tree. It's always a fun time no matter if it is freezing cold with eight inches of snow or 60 degrees outside. Of course every year we debate on whether we should buy a new tree stand because the one the previous year didn't quite work. We now have four stands and three are exactly the same. 

Favorite Christmas food:
I am not a big cookie eater, but my favorite Christmas treat is peanut butter Hershey's Kisses cookies. Rebecca makes a big batch of Christmas cookies every year and, of course, they are included.

Favorite organization:
I am supporting an organization that helps families with adoptions by offering grants to help offset their costs. The Jeremiah 29:11 Project was started by two families who are very passionate about adoption. I love the Jeremiah 29:11 scripture, "For I know the plans I have for you," declares the Lord, "plans to prosper you and not to harm you, plans to give you hope and a future." 


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Fishhook Christmas 2012 - Ben

My favorite ornament (see my photo):
As I was writing this post, I realized that I don't have one single favorite ornament. In fact, I don't even really enjoy decorating the tree all that much. This year, as in every single year past, I've wrestled the tree into a corner only to have it topple over minutes after all the ornaments and lights have been added. Grrr! However, there is always a moment, after cleaning up the broken glass and re-hanging the tinsel, when we sit back and realize that the combination of all these very different and imperfect elements has once again come together to form a beautiful display. It's not a hard stretch to see that tree as a parallel of God's work in my family and His Church.

Favorite Christmas food (and traditions!): 
I am SO not picky about food - I love it all! The two traditions I remember best are mom's homemade eggnog (no booze, just lots and lots of raw eggs) and her Christmas morning breakfast casserole. As my wife and I create our own family traditions with our two children, we've skipped the salmonella risk but have kept the fancy morning breakfast before tearing into the presents. What a great way to start a special day together!

Most memorable Christmas letdown:
If you've seen "A Christmas Story," you know the moment when Ralphie's dad gets a twinkle in his eye and finds one last present in the corner for his son. It's an official Red Ryder Carbine-Action Two-Hundred-Shot Range Model Air Rifle! My dad pulled that same stunt with me one year. He found one last package under the couch after all the other gifts had been unwrapped. It was my very own Daisy pump-action BB gun. However, the "letdown" didn't come until weeks later, when with a 10-year-old's horrified glee, I actually hit the target I was aiming at. All that was left of that little bird was a feather floating in the air. I swear I was just trying to shoot the branch out from under it!

Favorite organization: 
Earlier this year my family carried a bright yellow five-gallon bucket of water around downtown Indianapolis to help raise awareness and money for clean water in Africa. Through the combined efforts of many enthusiastic volunteers, hundreds of Indianapolis walkers, 100 African Prayer Warriors, and more than $74,000 raised, the Jubilee Village Project was able to begin work on a Community Safe Water System in Kager, Kenya. The hub-and-spoke water distribution system will pump clean water from 10,000-gallon storage tanks to multiple taps, easily accessible to villagers throughout the area. This organization has many other projects and initiatives as well. We were blessed to be part of the Walk For Water and are looking forward to it again next year!

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Fishhook Christmas 2012 - Lindsay

My favorite ornament (see my photo):
My Uncle Roger made this ornament for me as a sweet reminder of my childhood and a game we'd play together, "Throwing Walnuts for Dollars!" He was the host, and my sisters and I would sit on the roof of my Papaw's shed (it was so high to me as a little girl) and throw walnuts at the fence (so far away). The closer your walnut got to the fence, the more money you won. Uncle Roger, as the enchanting game show host, would interview us, evaluate our throws and award us our prizes. This ornament is made of actual walnuts and chocked full of love from my Uncle Waahjah (I couldn't pronounce Roger).

Favorite Christmas tradition: 
Believe it or not, my favorite tradition is that I don't have traditions. Seriously. There are things I often do as part of the Christmas routine - read the Christmas story in Matthew, have a nice meal or watch a Christmas movie. However, I don't have any tried-and-true or Christmas-wouldn't-be-the-same-if-we-didn't traditions. Call me stubborn or non-traditional.

Favorite Christmas food:
The green corn flakes, marshmallows and red hots Christmas wreath thingy. 

Favorite organization: 
I want to honor some of my heroes in the non-profit/social justice world, Charity Water. This organization brings clean, safe drinking water to people in developing countries. One hundred percent of all public donations directly fund water projects. There are 800 million people on the planet who don't have clean water, and I want to change that! I love this team and their mission too! 
 

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Fishhook Christmas 2012 - Evan

My favorite ornament (see my photo): 
This snowman ornament is a photo frame, and it holds a picture of one of Debbie's and my first trips skiing out West. It's probably taken at Steamboat Springs in 1988. Debbie and I love to be outdoors and we love to travel, and skiing combines these well. We were young and in love. Now we are not as young, but still very much in love. In some ways, this picture could have been taken very recently.

Favorite Christmas tradition: 
This tradition is from Debbie's side of the family. On Christmas morning, the children (and adults) find their stockings filled and waiting just outside their bedroom doors. We each bring our stocking to the master bedroom, pile into our bed and have an orange party. Everyone has at least one orange (or clementine) in their stocking, and as we open stocking gifts, we peel and eat our oranges. It smells - and tastes - great.

Most memorable Christmas letdown: 
I was sure I was getting a car for my 16th Christmas. As the youngest of four, there was no precedence for this, I just surely thought it was going to happen. I remember distinctly rushing to the window Christmas morning, fully expecting to see a car with a big red bow on it in the drive. Nope. No way. Not a chance. I look back now and realize that my own expectations are usually the source of my greatest disappointments.  

Favorite organization: 
Fishhook supports a few Cru ministries all throughout the year: one involved in using short films to foster spiritual discussions, one that's an outreach to Asian students on the campus of Purdue University, and a new one, Keynote, a touring band ministry. These are ministries led by people who have committed their entire lives to sharing the Good News. We love being part of that!

Author
Leah Norton

Managing Partner