Rushing along at breakneck speed, we have  arrived at the last Sunday of Advent.!


               Like everyone else who is preparing for Christmas, I have not found enough hours in each day and yet, miraculously I now look around and see all the gifts wrapped and delivered, all the catering orders filled, the tree trimmed and another High Tea Table laid out before me in anticipation of the arrival ( in 1 hour) of the Henderson family. 



      We held our December Day Camp meeting on Monday, with a reasonable turnout of 6 persons, not bad given yucky weather and the proximity to the Holidays.  I am excited that all 5 slide show stories are now assigned for illustration and that there are 3 possible leads for sound recording.
    


       With the 3 Training Camp locations in place we now need to focus on a list of potential Team leaders for that week.  There is also encouraging news of 8 prospective Travelling Team members, 4 locally and 4 from the U.K.!



 
               
  We are really going to have to concentrate on finding host churches to make sure we fill the itineraries of all 6 Teams, since it appears we will actually have Teams to send out!!


       So, as the Calendar year draws to an end, we have much to be thankful for  the work of Day Camps in 2012 and much to anticipate for the Ministry  in 2013!


      
         Even though the CTM Office is technically closed next week I shall still be picking up emails and answering the  ("Office”) cell phone! So, on Monday (oh my goodness, CHRISTMAS EVE!!!)  I plan to send out one last 2012 message to our Prayer Support Group, and also respond to emails about the upcoming Team Gathering. Now all the Team Members are on Holiday I have been getting a few more responses about that!


           On the home front, I have been blessed with a steady stream of visitors all week. Last Sunday evening was the “sleepover” visit with Mike and Matthew ( the candles turned out just fine!)
       Monday Brenda and Jillian joined me for lunch, then the Committee for dinner. 
      Tuesday the Rev. Linda Faith dropped by, Pippa and baby Tighe came for coffee and Barb came to borrow my icing set. 
    Thursday Klara finished school for Christmas break so her Mum and sister drove into town to pick her up and we had Tea together, which was lovely as I had not seen Emma since August.

     Yesterday I met, at Isaiah 40, with Brett (the founder of Day Camps) and a longtime mentor and friend who was passing through Montreal en route from the UK to spend Christmas in Victoria, B.C.  We spent an hour catching up on all sorts of Day Camp news!!!


                Since I have had several requests for the Baked Tuscan Soup, which I made in vast quantities for my catering job and then decided to make (thankfully just for 8) for the Committee I have decided to include it, be warned, it is labour intensive, but well worth the effort!!

                                           Baked Tuscan Soup


5 cups chicken stock

2 bay leaves

1lb boneless chicken (thighs or breasts)

3Tbsp olive oil

2 carrots, diced

2 stalks celery,chopped

2 onions, chopped

2 cloves garlic, minced

2 cups cabbage, shredded

1 green pepper, diced

1 28oz. can diced tomatoes

1tsp each dried thyme and rosemary

¼ tsp black pepper

¼ chopped fresh parsley

1 small zucchini, thinly sliced

1 can Cannellini beans, rinsed and drained

1 bunch fresh spinach, well rinsed and chopped

1 cup freshly grated Parmesan

8 thick slices Italian or French country bread


In a large dutch oven, bring stock and bay leaves to the boil, add chicken, reduce heat and simmer for 20mins. remove chicken, dice and set aside but keep stock over low heat.

Meanwhile, in a large sauté pan heat 2 Tbsp olive oil and sauté onions, garlic, celery and carrots for 10mins. Add remaining oil along with cabbage, green pepper and herbs, cook over low heat for 10mins.

Add vegetable mixture to stock along with tomatoes and pepper. Bring to the boil, reduce heat and simmer, covered ,for 30mins.

Add spinach,reserved chicken and beans, cook for 5mins.

Remove 1 cup of the soup and reserve. Ladle half the soup into a verge large casserole dish. Top with 4 slices bread and half the cheese. Cover with remaining soup, layer with bread and cheese. Drizzle reserved soup over the top. Cover and bake in preheated 350F oven for 30mins. Remove cover and bake for a further 20mins.

Serves 8,generously!
Sunday Thoughts 
    It is a bit of a challenge trying to get the Post up this afternoon as I've had so many  interruptions, so I think I need to wrap this up fast!
   Our sermon, today, was about the way God does unexpected things in our lives- i.e. choosing a cast of quite unlikely characters to work out His purpose in sending his Son into the world.
  
        The topic makes a perfect segue for this YouTube Video sent to me by a friend in Edmonton, I found it delightful and I hope you do too.
   
     Christmas Blessings from all of us !