What a week this has been! I always enjoy Christmas, and then I always enjoy the feeling of Christmas being over! LOL We had a great week, and I'm thankful to the Lord for the good times we had.
Sam came home for Christmas on Saturday afternoon. He was worn out from working many overtime hours, and he was ready for a rest. On Sunday, we had our normal Sunday morning service, and one of our church families opened their home for the evening service. We enjoyed a couple of hours of singing carols, several testimonies, a short devotional, and steaming bowls of homemade chicken noodle soup and minestrone. The teens played games downstairs after all the food and singing were over while we adults talked upstairs. We had a sweet time with our church family!
I always prepare our Christmas dinner on Christmas Eve, so that I don't have to jump up from opening gifts on Christmas Day to work in the kitchen the rest of the day, and this year was no exception. We had a brown-sugar-glazed ham, sweet potatoes, green beans, baked beans, and rolls, and for dessert, one of my husband's favorite cakes, Praline Pumpkin Torte. Then we played games for the evening. It was a simple, slow day, and I enjoyed it so much!
Christmas morning was time to read the Christmas story from Luke 2, then open our gifts to each other. We were blessed to be able to give our children things we knew they needed and/or wanted this year, and they seem to be pleased with their gifts. Wes and I gave each other practical gifts - shoes for him, new frying pan for me - yes, a new frying pan! LOL The one I had was supposed to be non-stick, but everything was sticking, and I griped about it more than once in the past month. So Wes bought me a new one, and I LOVE it. In case you think he's a Scrooge, giving me a frying pan for Christmas, he also gave me my favorite perfume - Very Irresistible - in a gift set that includes the perfume, shower gel, and shimmering body lotion. And I LOVE THAT too! ;) The kids gave me more perfume (Japanese Cherry Blossom from Bath and Body Works), a space-saver can opener, and a new purse. We spent the rest of Christmas Day reading, watching movies, and playing games, and Wes drove Sam back to WA in order for him to go back to work the next day.
Wednesday was Boxing Day. In the US, we had never had Boxing Day, but here it is an official holiday. It has morphed into something similar to the day after Thanksgiving in the US: a huge shopping day. I hadn't planned to go out at all, but I saw an ad in the paper for The Bay, one of the high-end department stores. Beth and I had been in there a couple of weeks ago and seen their clearance tables in the shoe department. The ad said that all their clearance-priced shoes were buy one pair, get one free on Boxing Day. I've needed shoes for a long time, and knowing that the ones at The Bay are high-quality shoes, I asked Wes if I could go and see if I could find some. He gave me some money and sent Andrew, Beth, and me out the door. The mall was horribly crowded, but we survived, and I came home with two new pairs of shoes, Naturalizer and Aerosoles, for less than the normal price of one pair. We also snagged some jewelry for 70% off at Reitman's, a ladies' clothing store.
On Thursday, we spent the day preparing for our annual Christmas Open House for our church family. We always serve simple appetizers and snacks, and people can drop in and stay for as long as they want. This year I kind of wimped out and bought frozen appetizers from a local meat market. This particular place is known for its high-quality frozen foods, so I knew the food would be good. I normally make everything myself, but I knew going into the holidays that I just didn't have that kind of energy this year. So . . . frozen. I did make a variety of quick breads. Everything turned out well, and we had a good turnout. We invited our landlord too, and he very graciously joined us, even though he has never been to our church. I have a story to go with his visit, but that will have to wait. Suffice it to say there was a failure to communicate properly, and he showed up right in the middle of our cleaning and cooking operation!
Friday was a day for running errands. Wes and Andrew have prepared a special calendar for our church members, and he needed to go and pick them up from the printer. So I rode along and we made it a date, stopping at the coffee shop for a break. Life is almost back to normal! Sam came home again today, but he has to go back tomorrow night after church to work on Monday. He's staying down there for New Year's Day, and then working the rest of the week. It sure has been nice having him home - in short intervals - and I will miss him when he goes back to school.
Beth had wanted a white Christmas, and she and I had been praying for one. About 1:00 on Christmas afternoon it started snowing, and it's been snowing off and on since then. Now, it hasn't stuck around for long. Every time it snows, it starts raining about an hour later and washes it all away! So we've enjoyed seeing the snow fall, but haven't had to deal with much of it on the roads. I guess that's the best of both worlds, but I'd love to see it either rain or snow. Period. But at least we had snow on Christmas for the first time that I can ever remember. Very nice.
I'll close my little epistle now and wish you a Happy New Year. Hopefully life will return to normal sometime in the near future. Our car still has to be repaired (January 2nd), and may be totalled. The repairs are currently within $2,000 of the car's value. We'll see what happens. We're taking another whole week off from school and hopefully attending a preachers' conference the second week of January - mostly depending on the car. So we'll just keep pluggin' away and take each day as it comes. See you next week!