Tuesday, January 02, 2007

Where I've Been...
Lost in the last days of Advent/Christmas and the year!!!
After my back went out and I spent the last week of Advent on powerful medications, it really is all a blur! The tree finally got decorated, the presents wrapped, although LH got two of his gifts the day after Christmas; one at breakfast and one at lunch. (I blame the powerful medications)
The services at Small Town Rural PC were wonderful. The 4th Sunday of Advent was pretty well attended. The Christmas Eve looked lighter than the last two years, but still a good sized group.
This year during Advent, I used a manger (small planter box with feet attached - that looks like a manger)for the focus of the children's sermons. Each week we talked about a different animal (donkey, cow, lamb - Lamb of God, I know only three since 1 week was the kid's Christmas program)that might have been there that first Christmas. Each week, a volunteer (child) would place a handful of straw in the manger. Christmas Eve, I wrapped a longish bread - about the size of a small doll - in a white linen tablecloth, folded and wrapped over the bread to look like an infant and placed it in the manger. When it came time for communion, I unwrapped the bread, blessed and broke it and put 4 hunks into each serving plate. A visual of how Jesus Christ came to be the Bread of Life, the Lamb of God, and offered himself for us; a gift of pure and utter love, grace, peace and hope. I found it deeply moving and profound and I pray it was so for everyone who worshipped with us.
On Christmas Day, we drove to Resortland on the Lake, to celebrate Christmas with father-in-law and twin sisters-in-law. FIL's apartment is jam packed with stuff and I've used cleaner public bathrooms than his. This is not an aging issue, it's been that way for the last 19 years!!!!! The Girls seemed pleased with their gift bags and took the Suze Orman books without offense. Perhaps, they will learn to be more fiscally responsible in this New Year. We ate dinner at the only place open in Resortland on Christmas Day - the Large Furry Mammal Lodge (an indoor waterpark) which had to booked solid with parking spaces hard to find. I don't know, is that the way folks really want to spend Christmas- at an indoor waterpark? Guess, I'm just a church geek, can't imagine Christmas without going to church and being with my loved ones at home. (FIL didn't use his major department store gift card yet to replace two pairs of pants. When he came for New Year's Day, we pointed out the two small holes forming by the back pocket of his Khaki's. The Navy blue are more washed out grey than Navy, sigh. Hope he goes this week! And he's a retired Doc!)
Spent our two vacation days running errands and going to Big City up North to sort of new shopping area. Took the sweatervest from my sister with me to pricey but cool H2O store to see if I could exchange it for long sleeved patterned T-shirt I saw in catalog. Sure enough, they had it and a funky, colorful shirt with gold threads in it. So, I returned one and got to two shirts, all were 1/2 off, and the second was less than 1/2 off with the return, the first was free!!!
Then we went to the TJ store and stocked up on some items - I like the Italian Grapefruit Soda, although not as good as Pepita that I can get in Switzerland, but close enough.
For New Year's Day, we started off with the traditional Eggs Benedict. Then I cleaned up the dishes from breakfast and night before (our traditional Island Sweet and Sour meatballs and Panettoni with champagne at midnight!) Prepared the potatoes for the crock pot. FIL arrived and started the TJ artichoke and spinach dip with pita bread pieces. Cloved the ham with gazillions of cloves! Peeled and sliced apples for TS apple cake (which I had just ordered at a party) and heated the glaze for the ham. Steamed the frozen asparagus and there was dinner. Had apple cake ala mode with Vanilla Bean ice cream; FIL had two dessert servings, typical!!
All in all, a nice and good time together, just a lot of time in the kitchen.
And now, it's a New Year and I pray for our church - local and national, all denominations and ours, that somehow, God's Spirit will energize and work mightly within and around us, that new folks will find welcome here and that we won't lose too many of our aged members this year.
My prayers are with you for 2007. May you be open to the possibilities and adventures and opportunities God brings to you, for your well-being and the well-being of others, and for the well-being of our world. Peace be with us all.

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