Wednesday, December 31, 2008

2008 In Review

A list of thoughts regarding the year that was: - New Year's trip to Ontario; hanging out with cousins. - Josh Ritter concert that rocked our socks off. - Discovery of the heart murmur: three months of worry and lost sleep. - Finished year one of grad school. - E&B's house purchase and move. - England. Sigh. James Herriot country; Wordsworth's muse; a land of history, of wellington boots and border collies, of stone fences and sheep pastures, of majestic old castles. A most beautiful place in the world. - A wonderful summer of running, gardening, geocaching, walking, farmers' marketing and discovering free things to do in went so fast! - Our 24th birthdays. - My parents' 25th wedding anniversary. - R&T's sweet William's birth. - Calgary Folk Music Festival with J&M. Highlight: Martyn Joseph. - Danish family visit and go hiking with us. - My dad's new combine and its inauguration (get it?? that's punny). - Road trip to Montana with J&M. - Our second international trip of the year, Denmark. The architecture, interior design, household design. And most of all, the family relationships we gained there. (Oh yes, and my research too.) - The federal election in Canada and the fall-out afterwards. - Taking up knitting seriously. Involving mittens, scarves. And sock. - A whole jumble of books read; songs listened to and listened to again; poems considered; movies watched. - K&K's engagement. - Friendships built; relationships grown; loving and being loved.
Perry at Coffee and S'Cream instructed us that no matter how good 2008 was, 2009 should be better. So we shall endeavour to fulfill this advice. Who knows what the year will bring? A post on hopes and dreams and goals to come in the new year. Happy New Year's Eve everyone!

Tuesday, December 30, 2008


I chanced upon this movie a while ago, and knew immediately that it was the kind of movie that I would like, and also definitely a movie J&M would also enjoy. Not only was I right, but they had already seen the movie AND bought the soundtrack. Because the music is stunning. This song is called Falling Slowly, and it won an Oscar.

Monday, December 29, 2008


Bird's Custard Pudding + Berries [cranberry sauce here] = love

Sunday, December 28, 2008

And now, for something completely different [in Christmas music]

I've gotten pretty sick of your average Christmas music over the past while--you know, the kind you hear in the stores and what not. But luckily (especially for Christmas-music-loving Brent) we also have a number of unusual Christmas albums. Enya's And Winter Came is definitely a new favourite, and this is Brent's favourite song from the album.

Saturday, December 27, 2008

The Gentle Art of Domesticity

Mom and Dad B gave me this book, written by Jane Brocket for Christmas and I am enamoured. With its beautiful vibrant colours, with the ideals that it advocates, and the neat projects that it describes. So many cool ideas...

Friday, December 26, 2008

Heart Baskets

Every Christmas my mum has brought out the heart baskets she'd had for many years, so that we could put them on the tree and put candy in them. When we were in Denmark, we were given some of the special paper you need in order to make "proper" Danish heart baskets, and Brent drew us a design on Auto-cad so that we could print the design right on the paper and cut them out. Here is where we got some of our design ideas. They require some patience to make, as we discovered when we attempted to fashion some of the fancier designs, and as my brothers discovered when they helped to weave the little fragile paper strips. But the end product is beautiful, and the baskets are a traditional Danish Christmas ornament that I will continue to use through all my tree-decorating life.

Thursday, December 25, 2008

Wednesday, December 24, 2008

Christmas Eve Night

O little town of Bethlehem, How still we see thee lie! Above thy deep and dreamless sleep The silent stars go by; Yet in thy dark streets shineth The everlasting Light; The hopes and fears of all the years Are met in thee tonight. For Christ is born of Mary, And gathered all above, While mortlas sleep, the angels keep Their watch of wondering love. O morning stars, together Proclaim the holy birth! And praises sing to God the King, And peace to men on earth. How silently, how silently, The wondrous gift is giv'n! So God imparts to human hearts The blessings of His heav'n. No ear may hear His coming, But in this world of sin, Where meek souls will receive Him, still The dear Christ enters in. O holy Child of Bethlehem! Descend to us, we pray; Cast out our sin and enter in, Be born in us today. We hear the Christmas angels The great glad tidings tell; O come to us, abide with us, Our Lord Immanuel.

Tips for this Christmas

Just in case any [male] readers need some shopping advice:

Tuesday, December 23, 2008

Christmas Trip Trap

Thanks to our Danish relatives, we could proudly decorate a little bit more "Christmasy" than last year.

Monday, December 22, 2008

Children's Christmas Concert

Last night was our church's children's Christmas program. As usual, it was a hit, with both star moments and cute moments, a solid message alongside lots of laughter.

Sunday, December 21, 2008

Fourth Sunday in Advent

Pastor K called this the Sunday of Invitation. Are we prepared to invite Jesus into our lives this Christmas--and this is a question for Christians just as much as for non-Christians. Are we looking for opportunity to invite Him in and live our lives as He would want us to? If we were the innkeeper who let Mary and Joseph stay in our stable, would we notice that in doing so we had aided the coming of the Messiah, or would we simply have seen the new Holy Family simply as more tired and dirty travelers taking part in the census? May we be open to the voice of God in our lives in these last few busy days before Christmas, and also beyond that, in all of our daily lives.

Saturday, December 20, 2008

Tidings of Comfort and Joy

Today was: really really cold. and sunny. the Christmas program dress rehearsal, to which we went. cookies and Carolling attempt #2, which was cancelled again due to bad weather. our designated present-wrapping day, which we get gold stars for accomplishing. a very good day for a nap on the couch. day #3 of headache; must get to the bottom of what is causing them. one of few recent opportunities to get together with E&B, and we'll take it. very very cold. and dark.

Friday, December 19, 2008

Our prairies

High Prairie Farming William Notter There's never enough of the right kind of rain, and always too much of what we get. e've got no need for casinos-- keeping the farm is enough to gamble on. If the seed doesn't blow out of the ground in December, the wheat gets laid down flat in the fields by hail come summer. Spring blizzards get the calves, and one year my corn was nothing but rows of stalks from softball-size hail a month before harvest. That storm ruined my shingles and beat the siding right off the neighbour's house. A little hail and wind can't run me off, though, and I'll keep dropping the well until the aquifer dries up like they've said it would for years. We may not know what it's going to leave us with, but we can see our weather coming. When those fronts blow across the fields, trailing dust and rain, we've got time to get the cars in the shed, and ourselves into the basement if the clouds are green. Next morning I go out to see where the dice fell. Everything's glazed and bright with the dust knocked off and the sun barely up. The gravel on the roads is clean-washed pink, and water still hangs on the fence wires and the pasture grass. Sometimes I need to call the county about a washed-out road, or the insurance man about a field stripped clean. When I'm lucky I can shut the irrigation pumps down for a day or two and give the well a rest. I l ike to drive right into it sometimes when a storm comes up, lightning arcing all directions over the hills, and the slate-blue edge of the front clean as a section line. There's an instant in that border where it's not quite clear but not the storm when everything seems to stop, like my wheels have left the road. The light turns spooky, dust just hangs, the grass glows like it's ready to spark and catch on fire. Then the motor strains, fat raindrops whack the tin and glass like the racket from a flock of blackbirds, hundreds of them scattering off a stubblefield.

Thursday, December 18, 2008

Winter Song

This morning is going to be a big rush running around the city accomplishing -20. Should I or should I not wear my long johns? This is one of my all-time favourite Christmas albums. Sarah McLachlan looks a little chilly in that skimpy outfit, but I think she must wear heavy wool sweaters when she's actually singing the songs, because they are warm and cozy. So, without further ado, Wintersong by Sarah McLachlan.

Wednesday, December 17, 2008

Please Sir, May I Have Some More?

What, you want more?! ... She wants more snow!!! That girl will surely be hanged. [Adaptation from Oliver Twist.] This morning we shoveled for the fourth time in a week. I think Calgary has gotten more snow in the past week and a half than we had in ALL of last winter. But that's ok by me. We went for a walk the other night and made snow angels in a park down the road. I waved at them when we went for another walk last night. But they're probably buried now...we'll have to make new ones. Last night I wrote some Christmas cards, including one to our postman. I wrote in the card that we appreciated the faithful service--even when our sidewalks were buried in snow. So this morning when I put it in the box, Brent shoveled the walk out so he has no reason to grumble about us. We waved at our southward neighbour who is always quick to get out and shovel--usually before us. She shoveled her walk and two to the right, and we shoveled our walk and two to the left. So that almost takes care of the whole block! For I read in my devotions this morning "And do not forget to do good and to share with others, for with such sacrifices God is pleased." (Hebrews 13:16). Too easy...shoveling snow is actually quite fun. And I get to wear my awesome Tough Duck insulated coveralls. I'm invincible in all cold and snowy weather in those! So happy snowy wintery day number I'm-not-sure-I've-lost-count! (I do know, because Brent's crossing days out on the calendar, that there are EIGHT days til Christmas.)

Tuesday, December 16, 2008

Third Sunday of Advent

Sunday past was the third Sunday in Advent. At church we talked about it being the Sunday of Love, and K spoke about God's love as our Father, using an illustration of Mary's father. How difficult it must have been for him to watch his daughter go through all she did at 13, an "illegitimate" pregnancy, giving birth in a stable far from home, having to flee to Egypt to protect her son. The Anglican Collect for the Third Sunday in Advent: O Lord Jesus Christ, who at thy first coming didst send thy messenger to prepare thy way before thee: Grant that the ministers and stewards of thy mysteries may likewise so prepare and make ready thy way, by turning the hearts of the disobedient to the wisdom of the just, that at they second coming to judge the world we may be found an acceptable people in thy sight, who livest and reignest with the Father and the Holy Spirit, ever one God, world without end. Amen.

Monday, December 15, 2008

Monday morning poem

Can you believe how fast Christmas is coming? I can't. But I'm excited. Things to do this week, the last full work week before Christmas: - Get some research done so that I can start writing Thesis Chapter One after Christmas holidays. - Write the postman a Christmas card and attach the his chocolates and put them in the mailbox for him to get. - Plan something Christmas-desserty to have with A&C when they come later this week. - Pick up a marzipan pig for the prize for Christmas dessert. - Finish our folded-paper ornaments, inspired by special Danish design. - Send Christmas cards and the last of the parcels. - Finish my knitting projects that are Christmas presents. And I'm sure there's many more pre-Christmas things along with the daily menial tasks that have to be done before now and next Tuesday! And today's poem (definitely fits under the category of "nonstop nonsense." ;) Any prince to any princess Adrian Henri August is coming and the goose, I'm afraid, is getting fat. There have been no golden eggs for some months now. Straw has fallen well below market price despite my frantic spinning and the sedge is, as you rightly point out, withered. I can't imagine how the pea got under your mattress. I apologize humbly. The chambermaid has, of course, been sacked. As has the frog footman. I understand that, during my recent fact-finding tour of the Golden River, despite your nightly unavailing efforts, he remained obstinately froggish. I hope that the Three Wishes granted by the General Assembly will go some way towards redressing this unfortunate recent sequence of events. The fall in output from the shoe-factory, for example: no one could have foreseen the work-to-rule by the National Union of Elves. Not to mention the fact that the court has been fast asleep for the last six and a half years. The matter of the poisoned apple has been taken up by the Board of Trade: I think I can assure you the incident will not be repeated. I can quite understand, in the circumstances, your reluctance to let down your golden tresses. However I feel I must point out that the weather isn't getting any better and I already have a nasty chill from waiting at the base of the White Tower. You must see the absurdity of the situation Some of the courtiers are beginning to talk, not to mention the humble villagers. It's been three weeks now, and not even a word. Princess, a cold, black wind howls through our empty palace. Dead leaves littler the bedchamber; the mirror on the wall hasn't said a thing since you left. I can only ask, bearing all this in mind, that you think again, let down your hair, reconsider.

Sunday, December 14, 2008

Some things of today

Yup, we sure had fun. And no frosty cold and snowy weather would stop us. Banff: Hanging out on the way there; the hotsprings and the frozen hair effect; drinking beer at the Irish Pub [and sleeping on the way home (well, not all of us)]. At home: Making baked brie and drinking wine; teasing sleepy M; watching Indi movies. Church: On the worship team; hanging out with our favourite 5, 3 and 1-year old briefly; seeing some church friends and introducing them to J&M. Lunch: eating vegetarian chili, sitting around BSing; talking about music. Settlers of Catan: playing a three hour game; drinking two pots of chai tea; eating countless chocolates, oranges and ginger cookies. And getting so caught up in the silliness of the game that we (I) didn't even notice that I won. I'm so glad that siblings can be friends as well as family. Happy early birthday, M!

Saturday, December 13, 2008

Hard Times Come Again No More

Today's blog is a song we heard on the radio last week. Yo yo Ma and James Taylor work very well together, as our latest Christmas Music purchase can attest to (Yo-Yo Ma's Songs of Peace and Joy). Hope everyone is having a good weekend in the snow and cold. I can tell you that the Banff Hot Springs are delightful in the cold. And that a certain brother-in-law of mine may or may not be one step closer to being married. ;) Happy weekend!

Friday, December 12, 2008

More, more and more snow...

We just got in from shovelling the driveway and sidewalk for the SECOND time today. It's just snowing and snowing and snowing. And it's beautiful. As the result of the snow, Cookies and Carolling at the church was cancelled, and J&M decided not to brave the QEII Highway and drive to Calgary, at least not tonight (can't blame them). But, Rachel and Trev DID come and I can't help but grin just thinking about them. I'm SO glad they're in Canada again and we can visit with them. They're just plain old great people and I love them. Plus, I think they wished this weather upon us, because they wanted to experience true Canadianness again, and that's just fine by me. December Moon May Sartin Before going to bed After a fall of snow I look out on the field Shining there in the moonlight So calm, untouched and white Snow silence fills my head After I leave the window. Hours later near dawn When I look down again The whole landscape has changed The perfect surface gone Criss-crossed and written on Where the wild creatures ranged While the moon rose and shone. Why did my dog not bark? Why did I hear no sound There on the snow-locked ground In the tumultuous dark? How much can come, how much can go When the December moon is bright, What worlds of play we'll never know Sleeping away the cold white night After a fall of snow.

Thursday, December 11, 2008

Grumpy Thursday

It's hard to be excited about the day when you wake up with a head-ache that won't go away even after drinking lots of water, doing an hour of yoga and drinking a cup of coffee. But I have to try to feel better. Because - Brent made the coffee this morning and he put cinnamon, ginger and cloves in it. - Radio 2 played Louis Armstrong singing Christmas songs. mmm. - We bought this Yo-yo Ma cd last night and it is lovely. Cello music ranks right up there with banjo music in my books. - I went to an information session on a 2-year BEd last night and the program looks super promising and exciting. - J&M are coming this weekend and we're going to have a BLAST with them. - R&T of Korea fame are in the SAME COUNTRY as us, and we might get to see them tomorrow!

Wednesday, December 10, 2008

Why sure, back up the truck...

More snow

You've been missing my poem posts, haven't you? Well I've been saving this one for the perfect moment. The snow has been so incredibly beautiful the last two days. Calgary doesn't get many soft fluffy dumps of snow that don't immediately melt or are blown into hard crusty drifts. Yet this lovely wondrous goodness has been ours for a moment, although it is three degrees above zero right now, and it's supposed to get up to six today, and all our lovely snow will be gone. So, we must treasure it while we can. Boy At the Window Richard Wilbur Seeing the snowman standing all alone In the dusk and cold is more than he can bear. The small boy weeps to hear the wind prepare A night of gnashings and enormous moan. His tearful sight can hardly reach to where The pale-faced figure with bitumen eyes Returns him such a god-forsaken stare As outcast Adam gave to Paradise. The man of snow is, nonetheless, content, Having no wish to go inside and die. Still, he is moved to see the youngster cry. Though frozen water is his element, He melts enough to drop from one soft eye A trickle of the purest rain, a tear For the child at the bright pane surrounded by Such warmth, such light, such love, and so much fear.

Tuesday, December 09, 2008

These are a few of my favourite things

Raindrops on roses and whiskers on kittens Bright copper kettles and warm woolen mittens Brown paper packages tied up with strings, these are a few of my favourite things.
Girls in white dresses with blue satin sashes Snowflakes that stay on my nose and eye lashes Silver white winters that melt into springs, These are a few of my favourite things.
Cream coloured ponies and crisp apple strudels Doorbells and sleighbells and schnitzel with noodles Wild geese that fly with the moon on their wings, These are a few of my favourite things.
Lots of reasons to be happy today: - I conquered the skill of knitting mittens as the warm woolen mittens above can attest to. - We mailed our overseas Christmas packages yesterday. While they were not quite brown paper packages tied up with string, they conjure up that image. - On Sunday, with the falling of snowflakes on my nose and eyelashes, silver-white winter arrived in full force. And it has created beauty out of brown-ness all around us. Check out the pictures on Brent's photoblog for further proof. Or his facebook pictures, for that matter. God knew what he was doing when he invented the decorative loveliness of snow! (More on this later.)

Monday, December 08, 2008

Second Sunday in Advent

Isaiah 11:1-10

11:1 A shoot shall come out from the stump of Jesse, and a branch shall grow out of his roots.

11:2 The spirit of the LORD shall rest on him, the spirit of wisdom and understanding, the spirit of counsel and might, the spirit of knowledge and the fear of the LORD.

11:3 His delight shall be in the fear of the LORD. He shall not judge by what his eyes see, or decide by what his ears hear;

11:4 but with righteousness he shall judge the poor, and decide with equity for the meek of the earth; he shall strike the earth with the rod of his mouth, and with the breath of his lips he shall kill the wicked.

11:5 Righteousness shall be the belt around his waist, and faithfulness the belt around his loins.

11:6 The wolf shall live with the lamb, the leopard shall lie down with the kid, the calf and the lion and the fatling together, and a little child shall lead them.

11:7 The cow and the bear shall graze, their young shall lie down together; and the lion shall eat straw like the ox.

11:8 The nursing child shall play over the hole of the asp, and the weaned child shall put its hand on the adder's den.

11:9 They will not hurt or destroy on all my holy mountain; for the earth will be full of the knowledge of the LORD as the waters cover the sea.

11:10 On that day the root of Jesse shall stand as a signal to the peoples; the nations shall inquire of him, and his dwelling shall be glorious.

"Blessed Lord, who hast caused all holy Scriptures to be written for our learning: Grant that we may in such wise hear them, read, mark, learn, and inwardly digest them, that by patience and comfort of thy holy Word, we may embrace and ever hold fast the blessed hope of everlasting life, which thou hast given us in our Saviour Jesus Christ."

Sunday, December 07, 2008

Saturday, December 06, 2008

Saturday night's all right, all right

Today has been a whirlwind of a day, to Lacombe and back, to Lee Valley and Ikea and now at home again with brother Theo staying over night. But, I finished my mittens on the drive back and forth from Central Alberta. They're not perfect, but pretty good for a first try. Pictures to come. Lots on the go again tomorrow, including our third annual trip to sing-along with the Calgary Philharmonic doing Handel's Messiah. It's going to be GREAT. G'night!

Friday, December 05, 2008

Not-so-holy Night

As Ken would say, this is the gift that just keeps giving. Enjoy, especially those of you with musical backgrounds and/or a good sense of pitch...

The best of today

Today can't help but be another great day. We've got a date tonight with friends to play Settlers of Catan; I'm on my second cup of coffee and eggnog...the first was just too good, so Brent made a second pot of coffee; I am in love with poetry and have so much to share; Last night, I started knitting a pair of baby mittens last night, in a colour I would like to call cranberry, and am using my new bamboo #7 needles, which work as smooth as...bananas and peanut butter; I am tracking down a book for my mum and the Ambrose University Library is scanning and emailing me the part of the chapter I need. Hurray for un-earned kindness! I feel lately like Brent and I are pretty much the perfect match for each other; and, finally, Radio 2 is playing all the best Canadian songs this morning (see here for a Radio 2 blogpost about it), and it warms the cockles of my heart (especially Stan Rogers' 45 Years--posted here). Have a great day, readers!

45 Years

Today's song, played on CBC Radio 2 Morning. Probably one of the best love songs out there.
45 Years by Stan Rogers Where the earth shows its bones of wind-broken stone And the sea and the sky are one I'm caught out of time, my blood sings with wine And I'm running naked in the sun There's God in the trees, I'm weak in the knees And the sky is a painful blue I'd like to look around, but Honey, all I see is you. The summer city lights will soften the night Til you'd think that the air is clear And I'm sitting with friends, where forty-five cents Will buy another glass of beer He's got something to say, but I'm so far away That I don't know who I'm talking to Cause you just walked in the door, and Honey, all I see is you (CHORUS) And I just want to hold you closer than I've ever held anyone before You say you've been twice a wife and you're through with life Ah, but Honey, what the hell's it for? After twenty-three years you'd think I could find A way to let you know somehow That I want to see your smiling face forty-five years from now. So alone in the lights on stage every night I've been reaching out to find a friend Who knows all the words, sings so she's heard And knows how all the stories end Maybe after the show she'll ask me to go Home with her for a drink or two Now her smile lights her eyes, but Honey, all I see is you

Thursday, December 04, 2008


It's can't help but be a good day when I have a cup of steaming hot coffee with a healthy glug of eggnog in it. And when K&K are coming over for supper. This morning I started reading the second book of poetry compiled by Garrison Keillor. This book much more has a theme...after all, they are "Good Poems for Hard Times." Keillor writes "This is a book of poems that if I knew you better and if you were in a hard passage I might send you one or two of along with a note, the way people used to do, believing in the bracing effect of bold writing....These poems describe a common life. It is good to know about this. I hope you take courage from it." So far I've read the first section, entitled "Kindness to Snails," and almost every poem made me tear up. Maybe I'm just in a teary mood at present. Actually, that's quite possible. On the other hand, perhaps one's soul should always be open to experiencing strong emotions of one sort or the other; to being empathetic to sorrow and joy, to be compassionate, to throw caution to the wind and make oneself vulnerable to love and hurt.
For a Five-Year-Old by Fleur Adcock A snail is climbing up the window-sill into your room, after a night of rain. You call me in to see, and I explain that it would be unkind to leave it there: it might crawl to the floor; we must take care that no one squashes it. You understand, and carry it outside, with careful hand, to eat a daffodil. I see, then, that a kind of faith prevails: your gentleness is moulded still by words from me, who have trapped mice and shot wild birds from me, who drowned your kittens, who betrayed your closest relatives, and who purveyed the harshest kind of truth to many another. But that is how things are: I am your mother, and we are kind to snails.

Wednesday, December 03, 2008

Advent Calendars

Growing up, we always had chocolate advent calendars, which I loved. Not so much for the chocolate behind the door (I usually fed mine to my dad) but for the excitement of opening the doors and counting off the days. Today, while reading Little Red Caboose, whose blog I read regularly and become more and more inspired by the Waldorf style of teaching, I came across a link to this blog, who Brent and I were both inspired by and who is now going on my regular-read list. I am particularly in love with this advent calendar, which apparently used to sell as a kit, but doesn't any longer. Once I buy my sewing machine and get better, I am definitely making these. I AM going to get better at indulging my crafty side. Knitting, crocheting, sewing...I want to do it all!

No cheese for us mouses

Today's post is for my sister-in-law, who reminded me of the Muppets, and for Tom Allen, the CBC Radio 2 morning announcer, who was talking about Dickens' Christmas Carol this morning. Muppets' Christmas Carol is simply a classic.

Tuesday, December 02, 2008


I've been thinking about doing this for a quite a while...and apparently my hair (blonde, never dyed or permed) is a hot commodity in the Wigs-for-Kids world. So, on Thursday, I did it. I went to The Fringe hair salon on 14th SW, and the hairdresser who cut my hair was awesome. I was pretty nervous about the whole thing, but she was really relaxed and kind and gave me exactly the cut I wanted! She cut 14 inches off for the Cancer Society and a little bit more as she trimmed it up. I'm still getting used to this short(er) hair business, now, five days later. I am missing my easy twisted-up bun; I'm using too much shampoo and conditioner; and I keep brushing hair that's no longer there. But I'm learning, and am appreciating the quicker drying time! So there you have it. Major-change-for-Kirstin, in words and pictures. Now, to learn to use a blow-dryer and a curling iron...

Monday, December 01, 2008

Can't help but be happy when the first day of the week and the first day of the month are the same, and when the month in question is December! So much to many blogs in my head just waiting to be written. We had a wonderful weekend, book-ended with the driving-accompanied-by-coffee with brother Kevin. In a quick summary, some highlights of the weekend included - A research trip to Dickson and learning how the museum and archives operate; - Babysitting little cousins and watching Cinderella, discussing the pros and cons of being a princess; - Helping out with the craft sale, selling the pretty ornaments you see in the picture above, and seeing so many people from my growing-up years in our hometown; - Coffee with my parents half-way through the craftsale, and hanging out with my youngest brother (who, it should be clarified, may be the youngest, but is NOT "the baby"); - More cousin time on Sunday, playing Clue and laughing harder and being sillier than I have in a long time. In other words, it was a long-needed and much-anticipated family reunion, in addition to being a busy craft sale. And it was wonderful. Finally, on the topic of Advent: At church on Sunday, mentioned in passing but not really dwelt upon to the degree that I would have liked, was the fact that we were celebrating the first Sunday in Advent. We lit the candle of Hope, because the birth of Jesus represents the greatest Hope that we could ever hope for! Because of Jesus, we have steadfast knowledge that no matter what happens in life, we have the Eternal Hope of our Saviour. Halleluia! From the Anglican Book of Common Prayer, on the Occasion of the First Sunday in Advent: "Almighty God, give us grace that we may cast away the works of darkness, and put upon us the armour of light, now in the time of this mortal life, in which thy Son Jesus Christ came to visit us in great humility; that in the last day, when he shall come again in his glorious Majesty, to judge both the quick and the dead, we may rise to the life immortal; through him who liveth and reigneth with thee and the Holy Ghost, now and forever. Amen."