|Erin, Dad, Me, Mom, Steve with desserts. Photo by Anne Parr|
Weather: Cold and clear. There was a trace of snow yesterday which is still on the ground in the shade.
Cue the music: For your listening enjoyment today Pentatonix: "Mary Did You Know?" This has been a favorite Christmas song for a long time. Made popular by the country artist Kathy Mattea, it was sung by friends Kali and Barb every Christmas season at church for years.
Four Sundays of Advent: in the liturgical calendar the four Sundays before Christmas make up Advent. It is a time of expectant waiting and preparation for the nativity. It is my favorite time of year in the church. Today in church, while the choir sang a song on that theme, a young family with small children lit the advent candles and led us in a devotion. It was so precious. I wanted to weep for the joy of it.
Thanksgiving Dinner: Even as I look forward to the events of this coming month, I mustn't forget to be in a state of constant thankfulness for all that I have, especially all those people in my life. We had sixteen people for the traditional Thanksgiving meal of turkey, mashed potatoes and gravy, cranberry sauce, and stuffing. Everyone contributed food and brought their A-list stuff. Even though the dessert pictured above looked grand, they weren't even the highlights of the meal. The most special part of Thanksgiving events was when half of us gathered at church on Wednesday evening. My Aunt Barbara came with her son Steve, his wife, and granddaughter Erin and her husband, along with my parents. It felt extra special to worship with so many family members.
Let the decorating commence: Don just got the tubs of Christmas decorations down from the hard-to-reach location where they are stored in the garage. now he is on the house putting up Christmas lights even though it is frigid outside. Cold is better than wet which is usually the case around here. As soon as I am done with this I will put some tunes on the CD player and start placing our treasured decorations around the house. It is not as much as it used to be when the kids were around to help.
Hilariously long audiobook: My book group is reading The Goldfinch by Donna Tartt for next month's club meeting. I knew it was a long book, over 800 pages, but when I stopped by the library to pick up the audiobook I had to laugh out loud. It is 26 discs long which means it had over 32 hours of listening time. Ha! The longest audiobook I've ever listened to was one of the longer Harry Potter books. It was 18 discs long and we played it in the car when we went on a long car-trip vacation to California and back. We started it when we left home, listened to it every time we got in the car for over a week of traveling, and we still had a disc left to go when we got home. I'd have to listen to The Goldfinch like a job just to finish it in time to return it to the library. Egads. What I've decided to do it to listen to it when I am traveling back and forth to work and read the print version each night, skipping ahead on the CD the next morning and so forth. Hopefully this speeds things up. 32-hours, ha!
Recipe of the week: I bet you are expecting me to mention something related to Thanksgiving, huh? Well, I did find a lovely recipe for stuffing from Rachel Ray, called Stuffin' Muffins. Check it out. But the recipe I want to highlight is Banana Pancakes. We made a huge, and I mean huge, batch of banana pancakes for breakfast on Friday. We had so many there were leftovers for Saturday and Sunday. Unlike most pancakes they actually are good as leftovers, tasting like banana bread. Here is the recipe. If you have old, ripe bananas I recommend you give this recipe a try.
- Half Bad by Sally Green---yet another Mock Printz selection. This and one more afterwards and I'll be done.
- The Kids are Alright by Diane, Dan, Liz, and Amanda Welch---a memoir about four kids whose parents died within a year of each other when they were still school-aged. It was an Alex Award book in 2010 and has been on my TBR pile ever since.
- Me Before You by Jojo Moyes. I keep seeing this book on everyone's lists so thought I'd give it a try. This is my current audiobook.
- My True Love Gave to Me: Twelve Holiday Stories by Stephanie Perkins, et al. A YA collection of holiday stories, how about that?
Finished reading this week:
- Beyond Magenta by Susan Kuklin. Transgender teens speak about their experiences. includes photos by Kuklin.
- I'll Give You the Sun by Jandy Nelson. The best YA book I've read this year, hands down.
Advent is a time for God's people to reawaken their longings. We long for every hurt to be healed. We long for every tear to be dried. We long for every injustice to be made right. We celebrate God's promises and long for those yet to unfold. We wait in hope for the Lord.