Wednesday, December 21, 2005

Enjoying the Lights and Attending Programs

Gerald has the outside lights up--something we never did over at the other farm house--and we enjoy the beauty of them as we come up our lane. I've done all the decorating inside that I plan to do. And with the attack of sciatica, I decided to not do anymore Christmas shopping. One minute I am fine, and the next I am in pain, so I don't get too excited thinking about running around stores. I had bought some gifts last summer, and I've wrapped them--even taken some to the houses of the two daughters who can't come to Woodsong this Christmas. Gerald kindly chose the men in the family their gifts--including the one I am giving him. That was a tremendous help.

I meant to bake cookies early in the month for the "Cookie Crumble"--an annual affair where churches take homemade cookies for international students at SIUC. I was disappointed when I was not up to it, but was relieved when our church's representative said there was more than enough without my contribution. I did manage to bake some brownies and one batch of cookies to take some goodies for the trays we take to our church shut-ins when we go carrolling. That was a fun event with a couple of youth going with us to especially please the ones we visited.

Next there was our church's Sunday afternoon youth Christmas program, an evening musical with Katherine and Samuel at their church, and then Samuel's third grade Christmas musical.

Last Sunday morning, I sang in our adult cantata and then again that evening when we presented it at the Carrier Mills Nursing Home. We went to that home this year because one of our dear and long-time members recently went there to live. Her husband is with her every day, and we wanted to give the concert there in her honor and to show support for his bravery. She was wheeled down and looked dignified as always soberly listening to us, but she didn't know us. We hope the hugs from those of us who have loved and admired her for so many years benefited her in some subtle way. It benefited us to know we did this for her. She not only served as a teacher in our church but served as an outstanding teacher at a nearby university as well as traveling all over the nation teaching servicemen. One of our teens laughingly recalled that she always called him prescious in those years she taught him in Sunday School before her illness made it impossible to continue. A large crowd of her fellow residents were there in the attractive hall with her, and it was a pleasure to see their smiles and enjoyment. We were given applause after every song and a multitude of compliments at the program's end. They joined in with great participation when our pastor led us in congregational singing of "Silent Night" and "Joy to the World." When we finished, we were urged to come back again soon. Their graciousness and enthusiasm was a wonderful gift from them to us.

Finally yesterday Gerald and I traveled to Lake Saint Louis for the purpose of seeing Brianna's fifth grade musical and Trent's junior high fall band concert. Trent's concert had been snowed out last Thursday, and we were disconcerted when it was rescheduled the same night at his sister's musical. But Bree figured out that if we got there at ten in the morning to see the fifth grade's presentation to the younger students at Green Tree Elementary School, then we could all attend Trent's concert that night. It was a push to get there that early, but we would have made it.

Except Mary Ellen phoned that she had no sooner delivered both Trent to junior high yesterday morning than the school phoned that he was sick. Although Brianna had been ill over the weekend, Mary Ellen was hoping he wasn't that sick, but of course he would not be allowed to be in the concert that night since he was not at school that day. So she told us that we could slow down and go straight to their house and only have one program to see in Lake Saint Louis. Contrary to her expectations, Trent was even more ill than Bree had been over the weekend, so we felt very sorry for him. Bree's fifth grade musical was called "Lighten Up!" and was a tribute to humor. We heard a lot of jokes and saw some cute song skits, and enjoyed how pretty our blonde granddaugher was. And again we did some group singing that made it seem a lot like Christmas.

Today Gerald and Mary Ellen took me to a nearby mall so I could shop for an outfit for the upcoming wedding of our oldest grandchild on New Year's Eve. Stopping for groceries on the way home, it was late afternoon by the time we got back to farm and turned on the Christmas tree lights.

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