Monday, December 21, 2009

Kia Ora, Howdy and a Happy Christmas to you!

Since the holidays and end of 2009 seem to be getting away from me and the prospect of sending out Christmas cards has faded, I have decided to post my annual Christmas letter online for my friends far and wide...

2009 has been a bit of a roller coaster year! I started the year with walking pneumonia, followed by the flu, then exhaustion and finished out the academic year by getting my final wisdom tooth extracted. In late summer the roots of some of my health issues were revealed when I was diagnosed with notable TX-based allergies and Chronic Fatigue. Not surprisingly the result has been some significant lifestyle changes, as my body has forced me to learn to say “no” and slow down. In the fall I was blessed with 3 month research leave from TAMU and had the privilege of being a visiting scholar at Vaughn Park Anglican Retreat Center in New Zealand, just north of Auckland. I enjoyed being well looked after and a slower pace of life with daily walks on the beach, participating in daily prayers, having maid service and all my meals taken care of (it was like living at home again without the curfew!) On top of this for the time in about five years I had space to really pray, reflect on my life and calling and let God heal my soul. I came back to the USA a few weeks ago feeling much stronger, healthier and happier. So this place of much joy and a grateful heart I am wishing you a very blessed Christmas!

Heidi’s 2009:

January- Taught my largest semester class to date, 145 students in Communication in Popular Culture

February- Did my first conference keynote on Virtual Worlds at the University of Nevada-Las Vegas

March- My co-edited book A Science & Religion Primer was published (Baker Academic)

April- Spent lots of time at the doctor and undergoing medical tests

May- End of another academic year, more medical tests, attended a communication conference in Chicago

June- Survived my final wisdom tooth extraction; commissioned as a Spiritual Director by the TX Episcopal Diocese

July- Worked with an Israeli colleague interviewing Orthodox rabbis & webmasters on beliefs about the internet in Jerusalem.

August- Finally after 5 years finished When Religion Meets New Media (Routledge), visited my sister in Florida for our Bday

September- Arrived in New Zealand and discovered a new love for beach walks on windy days, date scones & Pavlova.

October- Visited friends in Australia, welcomed a new beautiful niece (via email)--Hopeful Jean Grace Elmatti

November- Gave my first public lecture on my new book at Univ. of Otago (NZ), enjoyed the beauty of NZ

December- Back in the USA and looking forward to Christmas with my whole family in Florida (first time in almost a decade!)

May you know true joy and peace from above in 2010!
Cheers, Heidi