Gathering Graces 12/3/2017

*Today was a good day....a day filled with tiding of great comfort and joy.
*As I have mentioned, our cat Toby has diabetes, and we need to give him insulin shots twice a day. But you give the insulin shots around the time they eat. If they don’t eat, you can’t give them insulin. Toby didn’t eat much on Saturday night. He also threw up a few times, which isn’t that unusual for a cat to throw up, but, Sunday morning, he was not interested in eating his food. And that was very unusual. So I stayed home from church this morning to watch Toby and keep an eye on him. Fortunately, he got his appetite back later in the day. But I did enjoy snuggling with him all morning.
*The afternoon was filled with preparations for the family dinner we would be hosting this evening. Food preparation and house cleaning were on the afternoon agenda. I am slowly bring Christmas to my house. One of my coworkers, Robin, asked me if I would like some Christmas glasses, a Christmas platter and a pitcher and bowl she doesn’t use anymore. She said she knew I did a lot of entertaining around the holdays and may be able to use them. I said, “Yes, of course”, and the glasses added a festive touch to the top of the buffet.
*Bill, Christy and Everett arrived around 6 p.m., and Debbie following soon after. I served Hot Buttered Brandy to help take the chill off the gray, cold night we were having, and some cheese and crackers. It was a white cheese with cranberries in it that was delicious, especially paired with the Fig and Honey Triscuits I had purchased.
*For the main meal, we had a walnut salad, turkey noodle soup, maple oat bread and homemade chocolates. The turkey noodle soup was made from broth I made from the turkey bones from Thanksgiving. I let the bones cook in the crockpot for about five days. And I also made my first noodles for the first time ever, and they weren’t even that hard to make. I think I will shape them a bit differently next time, but they were delicious. I tried a new bread recipe, and made it in the breadmaker. Then I served some of the chocolates I had made the day before. It all turned out great.
*Some of the table conversation was spent planning what would be happening Christmas Eve and Christmas Day. Christmas Eve we will be making Cuban food this year for our chosen country, and I have created the menu, and made assignments on who will be making what. Then we are changing things up on Christmas Day with a brunch around noon, then no big dinner later, just some appetizers to tide us over, and possibly leftover Cuban food.
*I can tell already that the year 2018 is going to be a year of change. Paul and I talked about the next year, and how things are going to change, and what we want to do, and started throwing ideas around. There will be much praying, discussing and planning ahead for us as we see what happens next.
*If you are at all familiar with the Christian calendar, today is the first Sunday of Advent. Paul and I enjoy an author named N.T. Wright, who recently wrote an advent devotional titled Advent for Everyone: A Journey With The Apostles. I love how he describes advent. “As we approach the darkest time of the year (in the northern hemisphere at least), Advent offers a gleam of light. And hope.” The readings focused on the first week are called A Time for Thanksgiving. Today’s reading was called Thankful for God’s Grace. Wright took the passage from I Corinthians 1:3-9 and talked about God’s grace and how God richly bestows His grace on us, even though we don’t deserve it. He ended today’s devotion with these words:
God has called them in the past, God equips them in the present, and God will complete the process in the future. World history, and the story of the Christian life, has a shape, and Jesus is its shaper at every point. There is coming a day--like ‘the day of the Lord’ in the Old Testament, only more so--when the hidden truth about the world will be unveiled; this truth will turn out to be a person, and the person will turn out to be Jesus. That’s why it’s the central Christian badge or sign to ‘call on him’, to pray to the father through him, to know his friendship and love, and to thank him for the wonderful grace he has given us--yesterday, today and for ever.
*I thank him for His Amazing Grace each and every day.

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