Early December

I have the feeling this month will fly past too quickly. The first four days were already filled with activities. Lots of people came to the town’s Christmas tree lighting ceremony at the city park Thursday evening. This year the band decided to use one group mic rather than dealing with several as we have in the past. We had more people compliment us than before telling us that they could hear everyone. The best part was having all the kids from the Bible club jam onto the small covered bridge “stage”, to lustily sing with us. During Jingle Bells they got to stomping their feet in rhythm on the wooden floor. So much enthusiasm and fun! Lots of parents recording the kids on their phones.

The mayor of the town (a professional chef) made a huge pot of delicious chili as well as pans of cornbread, plus there were homemade chocolate chip cookies, hot chocolate and coffee. Perfect food for a cold evening. First year in several that it didn’t rain, or even threaten to rain, nor was it as cold as some years have been. Santa and Mrs arrived in their shiny black wagon decorated in lights pulled by two huge draft horses decked out with big jingle bells. This year they sat next to the bridge to greet the children (and parents) while we played music and people sang.
dsc04620This is a small town with, as is typical of most places, a few people doing most of the work but there is plenty of wonderful enthusiasm and support for this annual event.
The picnic structure were the food was served.
dsc04622The covered bridge and the picnic structure face each other. The tree has been lit, Santa and wife have driven off on the horse-drawn wagon and most people have returned to their homes.
dsc04624Friday was our Violet Day. She’d had extremely busy days since the day before Thanksgiving and was quite tuckered. Often she loves to go shopping with Papa but not Friday, not even to the wood store up near Portland where she likes to help Papa pick out pretty woods.

Instead we measured Papa’s feet to make Christmas slippers for him and made his duct tape foot forms (lasts). Then she and Papa painted while I worked in the office packing up twenty spindles to send to a store in Pittsburg, PA: Dyed in the Wool. (DITW) I’m not sure if they plan to sell online for just through their brick and mortar store.
dsc04632Yesterday morning Ed drove up to the wood store while I worked some more on today’s sermon, finalized the Advent Candle passage for the responsive reading and selected  hymns. (The song leader prefers for me to choose them.) I also managed to practice a few of the tricky songs that have violin breaks.  We decorated the church in the afternoon then went back up there at six for a three-hour practice for next Saturday’s Christmas sing-along.
dsc04633The picture was taken before most of the instrumentalists arrived. After this I was too focused on playing to think about more pictures.

The piano has a brand new quilt cover sewn together by one of our women who has more energy and drive than most of us put together. The blue flannel is the inside, I need to get a picture of the outside of the quilt. See the advent candle and wreath with the pink flower next to the white Christ Child candle? While decorating the outside railing one of the twins discovered the camellia bush has some blooms so she picked on for the candle. In December! Tonight’s first freeze of this winter will be hard on them.

I hope you all had a good weekend and aren’t stressing about this oft too busy month!



This is too fun of a date to let slip past without blogging. I’ve yet an hour to midnight here in the Pacific Northwest.

This evening was the annual Christmas Sing-along at the Friends church in town. What a time we had rocking the building with noise and joy. Two of our regular guitarists couldn’t make it but there were still plenty of musicians and the pews (rounded into sort of a circle for the occasion) were packed.

Ed took a few pictures early in the evening, before the large group of cowboys arrived. Once they came there was hardly even any standing room left. It’s a good thing a number of people took turns chatting and eating in the basement. I wish he’d thought to take a picture of them. They were decked out with their hats, and fancy neck rags. But, alas, no pictures of them.

Heehee, no we weren’t intentionally practicing the old Quaker traditions of men on one side and women on the other. It just happened this way.


Some of the smaller kids danced to some of the songs, a sight to cheer one’s heart.

One of the older couples who always attend said they’ve come to every Sing-Along since we started doing this 16 years ago. Has we really been doing it that long!

Now that this evening is behind us I’m looking ahead to the last days leading up to Christmas. We work at not getting caught up in the consumerism or the hurry-scurry of the season but to try to choose deliberately what is worth our time and effort. As a result we’ve been pretty successful at maintaining a reasonable pace. Though tempted, I’m trying not to cast a bunch of wool on the needles or other unrealistic expectations. Today I made half a dozen small apple cakes with homemade caramel sauce to give to friends. Some gifting cookies were baked on Wednesday and I’d like to make a batch or two of some type of candy, perhaps divinity this year. I’m looking forward to spending a quiet afternoon tomorrow writing Christmas cards to dear loved ones far away.

Keeping the season simple is good.

A page from our music.