Tuesday, December 29, 2009

29 December 2009
We have been having a fabulous Christmas season. We arrived home from the trip to Las Vegas for Adam’s graduation from college in the wee hours of December 17th. That left just sixty hours till our Night in Bethlehem ward activity and YES every hour counted with very few allotted to sleep. I purchased all the food and materials for all the booths and ended up submitting receipts for almost three hundred dollars for reimbursement. However loads of ward and family members chipped in their inspiration and perspiration in all the preparation and the event ended up being very successful.

Coin spray painting in NV

Finger puppet help in NV

Will & Nathan strung Christmas lights above the hall to simulate starlight. The audience sat on blankets on the floor to watch the nativity enactment as the story was told. We had an excellent turnout and heard many favorable comments afterwards. Our bishop was particularly happy with it all. Nathan arrived Friday afternoon in time to get in on assisting. Early Saturday morning he starting calling folks to turn out and help in setting things up and particularly preparing all the food. There were trays of cheese, butter and cream cheese – for the bagels and pita bread, more trays of cookies, green and black olives, dates, pineapple, bananas, grapes, and deviled eggs. There were three - twenty-four can cases of grape soda for the Bishop’s Winery. The four missionaries and two new couples, the Meyer family, and many of my committee members were there for hours before the event started. There were lots of pictures that turned out well, so posting a Kodak gallery to the Internet and then printing them up for the ward bulletin board forced me to work far into the night. But, Daddy B.J. sent me home shortly after the closing prayer and he stayed with many others to do the take down and clean up.

Adam arrived sometime late Saturday and spent the night with David and Fatima’s family. We had the Primary Children’s Sacrament meeting program that Sunday before Christmas and then wonderful special Christmas lessons in both Sunday School and Relief Society. A baptism followed that evening and they are always wonderful. Of course that Sunday was the 20th and Nathan and Nicholas’s 19th birthday. After an afternoon party for them Debbie left driving with them and T.J. and the girls and arrived about 2:00 PM Monday afternoon. I had been hustling trying to get the huge stash of costumes and props from the activity out of the front bedroom, where they were going to stay and up into the attic. As it worked out Deb’s carload ended up being part of the assembly line passing boxes and bags up to the attic.

We have enjoyed wonderful food, continual “cousin gatherings” – both here and at David and Fatima’s. Debbie didn’t bring any presents, so we had a ball searching for treasures at thrift stores and limited the expenditures at other stores. We called Gramma Toni to wish her a happy birthday on the 24th and went to a small party for Fatima’s birthday on the 26th. Needless to say Christmas included special fruit platters, cookies, candy, a turkey and the trimmings, and unwrapping of presents from under the tree. We had special Christmas greeting from Ruth and Tim’s and Joseph and Kathryn’ families and Daddy B.J. heard the message that Benjamin also tried to call.
Our ward bishopric were the speakers at Sacrament meeting on the 27th and Daddy did a fabulous job encouraging everyone to hope for the future of all and change for the better during the coming year – through reliance on the atonement of Jesus Christ. He included some readings from Charles Dickens’s “Christmas Carol” and the season’s favorite old movie “It’s a Wonderful Life”. He really put some dynamics into his voice and he kept us all awake and listening. At family home evening last night Debbie’s compliment to him was for the enthusiastic talk he gave. He said that was the first feedback he had received and how wonderful it was to know he did OK.
Jay has used points, which they earned from past hotel stays, to reserve two rooms at a nice hotel for the family for the 31st, 1st, and 2nd so Debbie will start the drive home tomorrow. Nathan and Nicholas left us the afternoon of Christmas day to spend time with their birth mom and family in Seattle. They will fly home a couple of days later. Debbie will drop Nathan at SeaTac airport on her way through tomorrow so he can make his flight home. Adam rode back to Bellingham with Michael and Jenna last Saturday evening as his roundtrip was into and out of the airport up there. That means that tomorrow only the special people we love, who live here all the time, will be left in Bremerton. It also means I can get down to the business of finalizing end of year records needed to prepare for tax season after the first of the year. Fortunately, it does get easier with experience and I do enjoy fooling around with my computer and spreadsheets and seeing the big picture it all reveals.