Friday, December 25, 2009

Christmas pictures from Maul Hall

Scout Labradoodle (left) was the first to find her stocking, then she ran around at 100 mph until she realized no-one was going to take it away or put her in time-out!

It was good to be in church last night. But this morning (Christmas Morning) was exceptionally special, too. We're so blessed to have Andrew home for Christmas this year. We really, really miss Naomi, but we're glad she's around people she loves and who love her.

So I walked Scout early, set the coffee going, and we gathered around the fireplace around 8:00 to see if the stockings had been filled. They had, and by some very thoughtful Santa's helpers. Stockings in our family are usually stuffed with fun items such as flashlights, chewing gum, ornaments and Christmas socks - small things like the new dog-collar for Scout, my new spatula, fancy hand-lotion for Rebekah, English marmalade for dad...

Then, after a break while I started a fresh pot of coffee and put the brunch casserole in the oven, we tackled the presents around the tree. We didn't spend that much money this year, but creativity was through the roof. Rebekah and I both gave each other (without knowing ahead of time) stuff for the new kitchen, including a couple of very inspirational cookbooks; Naomi and Craig sent festive packages from Connecticut; Andrew came home armed with a suitcase full with Middle Eastern goodies; and my parents generosity is always inspirational.

These pictures say it all. Love plus generosity equals a great morning.

That's me with my new cast-iron grilling skillet - I've made a commitment to cook at least one new recipe from the new cookbooks each week. My parents are evidently very happy about a gift they just opened from Naomi. Rebekah is unpacking a basket-load of kitchen goodies from me. Andrew is pleased with the digital picture frame from his loving parents. Scout is very proud of her new collar.

Finally, at the bottom of this very un-literary but totally newsy post, you can see the middle-eastern nesting dolls from Andrew. A very merry Christ-mas to all, and may the peace of God, the promise of the risen Christ, and the presence of God's spirit fill you all with Joy - DEREK

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