Christmas 2009: Preparations!

It actually looked a lot like Christmas until late last night (Jan. 14, for the record), when Paul and I did a marathon "take it all down and put it all away" project, which was the first moment in this new year we'd had to de-Christmas the house. Though we're not totally put back together yet, only a few dozen errant pine needles remind us that the "most wonderful time of the year" is in our rear view mirror for the next eleven months, when the thought of hauling from the attic all those boxes full of memorable stuff will have new life.

Though we're very aware that the Christmas season isn't the most happiest time of the year for so many, we felt especially blessed this year to welcome all of our children home for the holidays for the first time since Gabe and Kari were married (Feb. 2007). The preparations began in earnest after we returned from St. Louis. Lisa arrived the morning after we returned, Dec. 13, and she was our first Christmas gift. What a joy to have our adult children home for the holidays! Later that day, we returned to Logan to pick up our dear, almost sister friend Helen Challener. Helen comes every December, and as one of the most servant hearted, loving, and hysterical people we know, she adds life and laughter wherever she is. She pitched in wherever help was needed, which was a huge gift as we faced a long list of "to do's" to be accomplished in a very short window of time. We had a blast and got a lot done as well.

First project - get tree. The frigid temps motivated a quick decision, and after the fact, we all agreed it was one of the best trees we've ever had.

We played as hard as we worked. I was trying to beat the self-timer on the camera...but obviously wasn't fast enough. :)

Success...finally! It was good for many laughs. :)

In the midst of fun visits and Christmas preparations, we did work. Counseling continued up until Christmas....and we had our monthly board meeting. Our youngest HIM Board member, Julie Macrae, turned 4-0 in Dec. so we celebrated her at our Dec. 15 meeting.

Julie Macrae was surprised by our little party in her honor. Pictured here are Lisa Friesen, Richard and Kit Hendricks, Guy and Barbara Steele, Carl and Kathy Blatchley, and Helen.

We also wrapped up our Patriot's Couples Study with a celebration dinner at Doug and Julie Macrae's home Dec. 17. Richie, head chef for Il Cappricio Restaurant in Waltham, cooked a fabulous dinner, and all who attended had a great time. It was a fitting end to a great season together.

These players and their wives faithfully attended the Couples Bible Study all fall.

We are so grateful for the mentors we have, and one of my longest running mentors is Gail MacDonald. Our personal relationship began almost 25 years ago, when we were all involved with Inter Varsity Christian Fellowship, and I was pregnant with Julie! Gail has had such a significant role in my life ever since and I'm always grateful for time with her. It was a very special treat to have Lisa join us for our annual winter get together.

Lisa, Gail MacDonald, and I enjoyed a leisurely and yummy lunch together, but most of all, we loved hearing Gail's wisdom and insights on life.