Each year,this past week is the one during which I usually throw in the towel and
admit a temporary defeat in contacting people about Day Camps. EVERYBODY is just
totally focused on Advent and Christmas, and one just has to face the fact
that, in the first week of December, Summer 2015 is pretty low on the average
Cleric, or Layworkers’s list of priorities.

        It
is still possible to beaver away at internal stuff:- content for the Christmas
Network’s Newsletter, plans for the Epiphany Team Gathering, badgering people with
reminders about a variety of Day Camps projects, but not too much in the way of
host church contacts, or potential Team Member applications!

There have actually been a couple of enquiries from host churches and
even one Application Form, so “business” has not entirely dried up.
 So be it…

   
Advent is whizzing by but there is still an opportunity to enter gently
into the Season, if one works hard at it!

   
Slowing down, sitting and reading, listening to beautiful Advent music,
it is still possible. A real blessing, for myself, is that the only type of
shopping I do, is food shopping and that happens at small local stores and the
CO-OP where people actually know my name and where line-ups and excess shopping
are pretty well non-existent making things a bit more manageable. All gift making happens at home and those times of crafting special presents for special friends are truly precious and should be savoured.
Outside
office hours this has been a week of intensive cooking and sewing.

 Many many
teensy little appetizers have been made-Onion Bhajis, Bread Bowls with Curried
Dahl Filling, Lamb in Filo Pastry Triangles and Tiny Sweet Potato, Potato and
Corn R
östis. Mind bogglingly close to 400 individual
“bites”. All for my friends “Cocktail”.(Francophones do not call it a Cocktail Party, but just a “Cocktail”!!)    
   No time to rest on my laurels since a Clerical friend has just asked
me to cater the annual dinner she gives for her church leaders, so a 3-course
dinner for 24, is now on the horizon.

 
Meanwhile, the snow has come too, not a ton, but enough to involve daily
sweeping and several rounds of shovelling. And, of course, when there is nothing
else to do, one can always be found hand sewing plenty more lace onto the bridal veil!!

 
Tomorrow is my turn on lunch duty at church so yesterday I baked bagels,
as well as the last lot of appetizers and squeezed in a batch of Pennsylvania
Dutch Chocolate Christmas cookies, yum! Fortunately I had made and frozen the
soup ahead of time, so that is now out and thawing in my giant soup pot-
Riboletta, similar to Minestrone but with beans instead of pasta.

  
The week also included a couple of church-related meetings, a crafts
evening with Matthew (polymer clay jewellery) a “knitting evening”
tutorial and an evening concocting homemade hand creams. But today the focus is on Advent 2. Our Gathering, the lighting of
the Candle of Joy, making “Joy” ornaments with the children, serving lunch,
catching people to help with next Sunday’s All Ages Service-The Jesse Tree, then
dashing home to host the SYC Bible Study. It sounds pretty zooy, but if there is
still time to carve out those quiet moments and to savour this lovely Season,
then none of the busyness can overwhelm the deeper undercurrent of the coming
week when we think about the gift of “Joy”.

  The
Midday Office today, included a short passage from Jeremiah, echoing the past
week’s focus on “Hope”.

 

“Yes
I know what plans I have made for you, Yahweh declares, plans for peace, not
for disaster, to give you a future and a hope. When you call to me and come and
pray to me, I shall listen to you. When you search for me, you will find me;
when you search wholeheartedly for me I shall let, you find me.”

                                                                                      
Jeremiah 29:11-14

Maybe all the planning for next Summer does
need to take a bit of a backseat at this time. After all, what are our plans
worth if we are not focussed on searching out God’s plans for us,
confident that it is He who provides our future and our hope!

Time for the afternoon Wil walk now, and
then, perhaps, a cup of tea and one of those Pennsylvania Dutch Chocolate
cookies…

1-cup whole-wheat flour

1 1/2 cups unbleached flour

1 cup Dutch-process Cocoa

1 tsp. baking soda

½ tsp. salt

1 cup butter or margarine, at room temperature

2 cups sugar, plus more for sprinkling

1 tsp. vanilla extract

1 large egg

In a medium bowl, whisk together the dry
ingredients and set aside. In a large bowl, cream the butter until fluffy and
then gradually beat in the sugar. Beat in the egg, vanilla and 1Tbsp. water.
Slowly stir in the dry ingredients until well combined. Turn out onto a lightly
floured surface and knead until smooth.

Divide the dough in half and roll out to a
¼” thickness on a lightly floured surface.

Cut into giant rounds with a 4-5” jar lid
or bowl as a cutter. Try to cut as many as possible without re-rolling the
dough too much.

Transfer cookies to a parchment lined
baking sheet. Sprinkle generously with sugar.

Bake in a preheated 400F. oven for 8 minutes,
rotating the pans once and watching carefully so they do not burn.

Allow to firm up on the baking sheets for a
few minutes and then transfer to racks to finish cooling.

Makes approx. 15 giant cookies.