As we stand on the threshold of a new Liturgical year it is not surprising that the past week has been one of prodigious
preparation!

    In
the world of Day Camps I have been preparing a flyer for our upcoming Epiphany Team
Gathering, an Event Calendar for the next issue of CTM’s e-Newsletter “Networks” and a Prayer
Calendar, also for Networks.

   At
this time of year, it is not possible to get much done in the way of correspondence
with potential host churches since most Pastors and ministry leaders are caught
up in a whirl of pre-Christmas planning with little thought given to next
Summer. However, since this does not come as a surprise to me I have, instead, busied myself
with initial planning of our Team Retreat and with seeking out speakers for upcoming events.

    We were supposed to have a Board of Directors
meeting last Tuesday evening but it was postponed to this coming week, the extra
evening freeing up some time (and space on the dining room table!) to begin
dismantling the Harvest decorations.

    I
had planned to launch into the “Changing of the Decorations” in earnest,
on Wednesday and did end up sticking to that agenda since we had the
opportunity to “attend” a Memorial Service for Steve Campbell which was held Tuesday afternoon in Edmonton and
live-streamed from the Church there. It was very special to “be” there and a
moving experience.

  So
Wednesday I began the change to Advent and Christmas. First stripping
all ornaments, linens, china and soft-covers from every room. Then giving each
bare space a good cleaning.

  After that everything is packed into tubs,a
barrel and the linen cupboard and the house becomes a blank canvas for the new
Season!

 
Thursday involved much hauling of tubs etc. up from the basement, with
the washing machine churning away in the background (it really does churn as it
desperately needs a new clutch!). In-between there was a fair amount of
shoveling to do, as we had some snow over the past three days.

   As
of yesterday morning there we just a few more bits and pieces to complete: –
ironing strips of calico fabric and tying them into bows, hanging small felt hearts in
each window (a nod to my love of Scandinavian design) and finally starting at
the top of the house and praying over each room and hallway, followed by a
sprinkling of holy water; claiming every space, indoors and out and asking for
peace and protection over the coming season.

 
Yesterday morning Pastor Nick picked me up and we went down to St.
Stephen’s House to hang the Advent “swoosh”. A very long strip of purple
netting which swooshes across the ceiling of our worship space. The hanging of
which entails a lot of dragging around of a step ladder and climbing up and down
with a staple gun in one hand and the netting in the other. But all is
complete. There was an air of anticipation both there and here.
      It is New
Year’s Eve and we are ready!

  Despite all the other activity there has been a bit of time for “craftiness”.
 

Monday evening Matthew came for his weekly lesson and did a most credible job of “elf-making”. you can find the instructions here.


  I also finished knitting the hotwater-bottle cover I have been working on as a friend’s Christmas gift, and completed 7 more fabric brooches-more gifts!

     Today I had to procure candles for my Advent Wreath and for one which I
will be making with the children at church tomorrow and this afternoon has
involved lots of baking (no time during the week!) so that right now 4 loaves
of St
öllen, bursting with dried fruits and nuts,
are waiting to go into the oven. I’m also baking my friend’s weekly batch of Gluten-free bread, and a dozen whole wheat hamburger buns,and making a potato and arugula pizza for dinner.

   
For dessert I have made a small bowl of ambrosia, a treat from
my Mum’s handwritten cookbook and one, which she always made at this time of
year, when oranges are in season. For those of you who know about my fanatic adherence
to Organics, I hasten to explain that the marshmallows in the following recipe
are certified organic and come from Germany, they bear absolutely no resemblance
in either appearance or flavour to the ersatz white objects found in plastic
bags at giant supermarkets! The brand is “GoBio” and I heartily recommend them.
I keep a small bag on hand just for this recipe!

                                              Ambrosia

4 Navel oranges, peeled and cut into
bite-size pieces

½ cup unsweetened, shredded coconut

1 cup heavy cream, whipped to stiff peaks

1 pkg. ORGANIC marshmallows (approx. 12)
cut into bite-size pieces

In a glass serving bowl layer the ingredients
as listed. With a wide rubber spatula gently fold everything together. Cover
and chill until ready to serve. Makes 3-4 servings and is easily multiplied.