Christmas and Career

God’s glorious unfolding

Are you going to decorate? Will you have a tree? What about Santa?


Christmas onboard wasn’t much different from Christmas in a house. No, we didn’t have a six foot tall real tree but we still had a small tree with some sentimental ornaments. I adorned our salon with a construction paper fireplace–complete with a fire–and our stockings hung in one of the hulls so the sun wouldn’t fade their bright colors. Vivienne was just like any other child on Christmas Eve…excited. We made cookies for Santa and left them on a special Santa plate we brought with us from the house but we added something this year, a magic Santa key. It is a key my mom found and saved that has an image of Santa on it and a cute little story about how it only works for Santa and to leave it outside on Christmas Eve. We woke up on Christmas morning and realized we have a very appreciative daughter who doesn’t need a lot of presents to make her happy, all she needed was a few fun new things and some cinnamon rolls. We, as parents, are the ones who complicate things.

Vivienne only asked Santa for one thing all season: a Moana doll and HeiHei the chicken from the Disney movie Moana. Of course there were a few other things she mentioned wanting to us like a new watch, a hippopotamus (every time she sang the song) but we went overboard with gifts again. In the wake of TJ’s job loss one would think we wouldn’t have purchased so many gifts for her but we did and it made me realize that she only needs a few things at Christmas to light up her eyes with love and appreciation. At her stage of childlike innocence she hasn’t been won over by American consumerism and doesn’t realize she “needs” stuff to make her “happy”. She loved her stuffed hippopotamus and play doctor kit more than the Santa toys she originally wanted. Vivienne has played doctor and gone fishing (TJ got her a pole) with TJ more than anything else and both make her happy because she gets to do them with her daddy.

Lessons from children are always the most important and Vivienne’s heart was already happy spending the whole day with us and enjoying celebrating the birth of Jesus. We lit the white advent candle and she called it Jesus’s birthday candle. We read the Christmas story and prayed as a family. Our hearts were full without the need for an abundance of presents. When TJ lost his job my instincts went into overdrive and I wanted Vivienne to have a good Christmas without realizing a “good” Christmas is time spent together as a family with a few fun new things on the side. We went stand up paddle boarding (Vivienne fell in) on Christmas Eve and enjoyed family time at home Christmas morning. Our family was all together without the sinking feeling that it was going to end soon because TJ would have to go back to work. However, we are still missing his income but we know God has a greater plan for us. That being said, we started our own business and our website went live December 26th.

Cruiser Movers was really a Christmas present to ourselves to start a journey down a career path that allows us to work together and gives us more control over our schedule. Utilizing TJ’s US Coast Guard license and my affinity for writing and organization, we created a yacht delivery service. While we are still waiting to become an official LLC we have worked hard to get our website together and do the leg work to start this business. We really felt called to start Cruiser Movers after TJ lost his job and truly believe God has great plans for this next step of our journey. I’ve been working double time; going to work at the marina then coming home and working on our business. One thing is for sure, I’ve never been one to take handouts and have a strong work ethic. As I was chipping away at oysters on the pilings today (check out image below) the song accompanying this post came on and I stopped for a moment to listen because this whole endeavor is God’s plan unfolding. My life looks vastly different from how I pictured it–not always negative–but God’s plan for us is still unfolding. So what feels like a “snag” in our plans is all part of His. This is life. I am with my family every evening. My child is happier now than ever before. I am happier now, chipping oysters and working for $10.50 per hour, than I’ve been in a long time. Although I am really second guessing my choice in earning two degrees…


My 30th birthday is tomorrow (Dec. 29th) and instead of wanting more stuff I just want more time with TJ and Vivienne. I’m ready to work hard to get some of my writing published and work even harder to get Cruiser Movers off the ground so we can head out and share God’s love with the world.

So no, our Christmas my not have looked exactly like it did in our house and our lives may appear vastly different than what we imagined, but we are together and happy. We appreciate simplicity and realize life is so much more than presents and what we can buy. Right now we are using this time of simplicity to reevaluate or priorities and prayerfully wait for God’s glorious unfolding of His plan for us.

Te Whakapono,
The McKelveys


~~All things are possible for those who believe. -Mark 9:23~~

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