The folks from the lab presented me and my partner each with a big tray of home made Chilean empanadas and some home made fresh salsa.
We had about half of them for supper tonight. MMmmn they were good.
Mind you I did have to go and brush my teeth before leaving for practice – the onion breath may just have been a bit much to breath on my friends at practice.
A wonderful change from the usual chocolates and cookies we get as treats.
This preaching gig (if one can call it a gig) has its rewards. It seems that if I speak my family lets me off from noon meal responsibilities. And lets me nap in the afternoon. Not bad. They don’t let me take a long nap or cook my meals after doing a good wisdom tooth extraction at the office.
Today we had a most delicious stew prepared by Rachelle. Venison, vegies and potatoes in a tomato based sauce. Very very good.
And a good nap is – well, always good. And after partying with my staff last night doubly good.
Yesterday we went on a sleigh ride with real horses in the absolutely freezing cold. We were all bundled up to an almost unrecognizable state. I am sorry I have no pictures of that!
I loved the smell of horse and the out of doors. It brought back memories of my dad. It was just the sort of thing he would have done and enjoyed. Funny how memories are triggered by smells and places.
In the seasons of Advent and Lent I find myself feeling a bit at odds with the frivolity of the season. (Not that Lent is exactly filled with mirth but it is hardly about getting stocked up on chocolate for the Easter bunny to deliver either.) As a culture we seem to jump from one event to the next without savoring any part of it – like draining a bottle of wine without holding it long enough in the mouth to appreciate its flavor, becoming drunk on the quantity we consume with no enjoyment of its richness. So, immediately one holiday is done the stores quickly remove all signs that it happened and gear up for the next selling opportunity.
Maybe if these seasons were only about Santa Claus and the Easter bunny it wouldn’t matter what big business did to stimulate us to buy candy and trinkets. But because these seasons hold such significant religious meaning for me I find myself wanting to withdraw from the glittery trappings of our consumerist world into an inward space sparsely adorned with things that have become symbols of where my heart is in these waiting days of Advent. A candle glows in the light of early morning as a symbol of God’s presence with me as I invite his Spirit to fill my day. The Advent ring of candles remind me weekly of expressions of hope, peace, joy and love that we ponder during the four weeks leading up to Christmas day. Some of the mournful tunes of Advent remind me of the longing of a heart for the arrival of a loved one long waited for, of my hopes waiting to be fulfilled and of the melancholy of a waiting heart.
Don’t get me wrong, I am not sad or depressed. The period of waiting gives me time for the preparation I need to do on the inside. I need the reminders of why we wait, why Christians devote this time to preparation and waiting and why it is good for my soul to stop and reflect before I jump into the celebration and joy of Christmas.
The celebration will come. My house will be full of children and grandchildren and their voices, of smells of baking and roasting turkey, the scent of the real tree, the delight of wrapping and unwrapping gifts, and the sounds of joyful Christmas music. But if my heart is not prepared for the coming of the King, a turkey and some mistletoe will not be able to fill my days with real joy.
We had a party tonight. It was our annual Family Advent Program with the usual astonishing talent and this year it was followed by a catered finger food (ie:wings and ribs and wraps and lots of sweet stuff) meal and games night. I think Pictionary was the biggest hit. We had a good evening together simply enjoying each other’s company.
And Roger had a great time – even caught up on reading the paper. I swear this is his favorite activity!
Among the musical greats doing their stuff was Massa with an animated version of one of the latest Lingala Christmas tunes,
the Vandersluys Family Singers,
And Meself trying my best to bow some tunes out of my new bass. (You can tell I am concentrating by the serious look I have.)
There are more pictures which I will post over on Flikr.
Before the Friesen’s moved out to the field, I asked Lauralea if she would create for me a finger labyrinth that I could use in prayer. I love walking a labyrinth, praying as I go in to the centre, sitting in the centre with my needs in God’s presence, waiting on him there and then going out with some sense of resolution.
Our winters don’t make walking an outdoor labyrinth too practical for such a big part of the year and the space required to set up an outdoor one means there are only a very few around – none in our city. The space needed for an indoor walking version is also huge and I don’t know of any facility in town that has had one set up, even temporarily. So, I think the finger version that she made me, although it means that only my finger actually walks, is practical and will be used often. And it also reminds me of her as I use it. Good memories.
This morning I “walked” it again.
It struck me that with a labyrinth, the way to walk is so clear. There are no wrong turns to take. In this labyrinth I will not get lost. I walk towards the centre and my finger follows a well planned path; one I can feel, one that hems me in so that I stay on the right way. This morning as I was walking, I needed to be reminded that God knows my path as clearly as my finger knows the right way to move along the labyrinth’s path. I have questions about my future plans to which I do not see the answer. As I sat with God in the centre, I realized that he can hem me in and guide me along the right way just as the ridges of this labyrinth guide my fingers. So that was my prayer as I traveled out and as I begin my day.
God, hem me in. Guide me on the right path. Warn me when I begin to wander. Give me wisdom in my choices. May all my movements be consistent with who I am in you, with who you are to me. Amen.
One of the reasons I wanted to make changes to my blog format was that I wanted to be able to show off share my photos. Well, some are good although most are just so so – like any amateur would take.
But they are more fun to take when there is a way to share them.
So if you scroll down till you see on my sidebar the title Click under photography, you will see one of my photos and can see others as you scroll through that photoblog of mine. I will try and upload a photo a day.
and anyone else who wants to see what Prince Albert looks like in the dark of winter when we have had a bit of snow.
I did stop to take pictures as I walked last night but my camera has its limitations. By 8pm it is very dark here now. It is still very dark at 7:30 am when I go to work. So welcome to the dark long nights of winter in Prince Albert.
There is a set on Flikr that you can check every now and then. I will add to it as the winter progresses. Even some daylight pictures.