Sunday, December 4, 2016

Enjoying life and hard work

Flowers plucked from the yard
... ah, December. We walk back from church today with short sleeves - and no rain falling, happily. We thought it would be weird to have good weather year round. But now we can imagine Christmas without cold weather gear. We treasure the beauty of Indonesia, glimpsed between our work and meetings.

Sunday, November 27, 2016
Waldemar is home after teaching in New Zealand. It's nice to go to church together. Many gals, including me, have cooked and baked cookies for the Christmas bazaar (raising funds for charities).

A food truck pulls into the parking lot to serve hamburgers. After our small group, we eat together at the church instead of Bumi.

Cookies for the bake sale.
Monday
"We don't get enough time to talk. We want more time with you." So the study moves up a half-hour and everyone arrives at 9:30am.

I hop into the car at 11:15 as usual: I have language school right after our study. Today the words tumble around in my head. Some days my head is clear and I can remember a lot. This is not one of those days. So we review and I wonder if it was worth going! Ah well, consistency matters in language acquisition - and the tutors get paid by the class.

New apartments
On the way home, I marvel at the buildings being erected on our hill. Not only is there no environmental mitigation, but there's no upgrade in roads either. It was already chaotic and crowded: how will the addition of so many units affect traffic flow?

"It can't be good," sigh our neighbors.

Tuesday
I meet the lecturer of an English class - I have all the things with me that I need for the class. Except that it's a face to face coffee chat in anticipation of the class tomorrow. Oh. I missed that. I get a tour of campus (beautiful, well-kept, with about 10,000 students.)

Then it's back in the car and driving across and around the hills to home. Because of traffic, "little trips" like this take most of the day.

Wednesday
Class is fun. The students are having a year-end party to celebrate the end of the term and prepare for the exam next week. They ask me questions about American culture, families, and education. What do I know about the USA? I'm not native but lived there for 30 years.

Hope they get a good impression of the USA and its systems. They're astonished that American parents don't want to live with their adult children (or the children with their parents.) They can't wrap their heads around the idea of "independence at 18" or abandoning responsibility for their aging parents.

"When we live abroad to go to university, we expect to come back to take care of our families," they say. The family sacrifices to send them but the graduates will pay back their generosity by (hopefully) getting better jobs in Indonesia. Their salaries go to help the extended family.

Camera propped in a tree: still clean when we start
Thursday
Our walk on Gunung Batu (Stone Mountain) is without rain. However, the downpour yesterday saturated the clay trails and slicked the moss on paved paths and the steps of the villages. In the jungle or walking the grasslands, we dig in the walking pole: we're slip-sliding but not falling. By the time we are done (3.5 miles), we are muddy from a short climb up a mud-bank. Without mishap, it's a good hike.

The spectacular views provide an opportunity to pray for the peace of Indonesia - and the city we love, far below.

From one hillside to another: a great trek with the city beneath
We end the morning at a new "Bird and Bromelia" park. (Yes, that's how it's spelled. The owners left the "d" off the park's name, though it's on many of the signs.) Birds fly freely above the netted walkways. Owls and parrots are chained to perches by day and released into large aviaries at night.
Potted bromeliads make a stunning peacock "tail"
Worlds within words: blooms in the middle of plants
Another picture?


Gloved for jungle birds
and birds of prey.
What an amazing selection of owls.
Back home, we shower the dirt off and head right back out the door to a Bible study. It's God's timing again: our needs are addressed by the reflections and met by the godly counsel of the group.

Friday
It's such a relief not to have to scramble to language school this morning. (Class is now scheduled on Wednesdays, not Friday). I still have an early conference call, a seminar, and then chores. I'm getting ready for the Saturday group as well. I make a simple mango chia pudding and tempeh bacon. W is plugging through a theological lectureship. He works steadily in his office.

In the evening, we have dinner with the pastor and a friend from the international church. "All you can eat" Korean buffet costs $8.50 a person. The owner keeps bringing strips of beef and we load up on vegetables for the little iron grills. We dip rolled meat and fish balls into the soup.
Saturday
It's our turn to host the "back to the Garden" small group - the purpose is to be good stewards of our bodies, relationships, and resources. We're encouraging each other to use simple ingredients and promote healthy lifestyles.

We read about "The God of the Feast" from Deuteronomy 14. Usually, this passage of scripture is taught to encourage giving.

But we note that God encouraged Israelites to travel and celebrate with extended family. He told them to purchase the foods and wine they loved at times whenever couldn't make it all the way to the celebration cities. What a wonderful social God!

Co-presenter DrW has come down with shingles. So awful and painful. She still sends a health juice (plums, mushrooms, barley, palm sugar, and kidney beans) and compost from her neighborhood project. I bake bread, whip the kefir from 2 meetings ago into a smoothie, and decide to add spices to make kefir cheese. It's pretty runny - more like a dip than cheese block. 

W demonstrates the little water filter that provides us with all our drinking water. We haven't had to purchase water in ages (it's $1-$1.50 for a 5-gallon bottle, but still...) We're used to the continual drip-drip of the filter in the back kitchen.

I show them how to stir up the next batch of bread and pass out recipes. The chia pudding is a hit and the warm bread is eaten. And everyone happily takes home a bag of compost! Thanks, DrW - we missed you.

Smouldering leaves and dancing flames - untattended
Sunday
On the way to church, we see one of the strange sights of Indonesia. Someone has started a fire beside the street and left. This is common: burn rubbish, leaves, plastic, etc. and you can get rid of garbage as well as smoke up the neighborhood. No one is watching - and a stack of wood lies nearby.

A baby dedication means the child's family intends to raise the child in the Christian faith and in the Christian community. We celebrate a lovely little girl and her family this morning.

It's the children's Christmas program, too. The chairs are arranged so that the children act out their parts in the middle of the sanctuary. It's creative and everyone feels like part of the action. The kids do a great job. As a bonus, someone has brought 2 birthday cakes, along with ice cream sundaes.

Our Advent Refuge (small group) meets to discuss Luke's account of the birth of Jesus. My mom calls in the middle of the session. We've missed each other for over a week, so I slip out to take the call. I'm relieved that all is well.

The hamburger food truck is back. The group decides to sit on the floor of in a traditional hut and eat rather than going elsewhere.

While I write and read, W makes a quick trip to town.

Read more:
*The Lord lift up his countenance upon you, and give you peace. Numbers 6:26
*I lie down and sleep; I wake again, for the Lord sustains me. Psalm 3:5
Repent, for the kingdom of heaven has come near. Matthew 3:2
May the God of hope fill you with all joy and peace in believing. Romans 15:13
Peace to all of you who are in Christ. 1 Peter 5:14
Moravian Prayer: Prince of peace, whether waking or sleeping, we know that you are with us, sustaining us with your perfect peace.
Loving God, you are the source of our joy and peace. We believe because of your gift of Jesus Christ and your gift of faith through the Holy Spirit. Hallelujah! Amen.

Saturday, November 26, 2016

Thanksgiving and three free Advent gifts

Levi and his little brother Isaac
It's nearing the end of November, so our grandson Levi celebrates his 3rd birthday tomorrow. Waldemar has come back from 2 weeks of teaching in New Zealand.

Thunder is rattling the windows of the house and the Christmas lights are blinking on the little tree in our room. So many random thoughts go through my mind. Mostly, I'm grateful for God's goodness and generosity. We have purpose and friendships, even this far away from our previous life.

Tuesday, November 22, 2016
Five women gather in the morning to study the book of Ruth. We meet in Karen's beautiful home. It's a new study and we decide to meet every two weeks. Lovely how God meets us and teaches us what we need for the coming week.

It's also time to write the monthly newsletter to our faithful partners. What a blessing you are!

Thursday
On Thanksgiving Day, five of us (two Indonesians, a German, an Australian, and I) walk down and up the valleys to an organic farm. The village paths, slippery and mossy from rainy season, take us between fields and through the jungle. How can this be within walking distance of our house? Mind you, it's three miles of trails and steps. As the weather heats up, our faces drip with sweat and our clothing gets wet and dries (evaporation) as we go.
Scientist to organic farmer: our guide on a walk through the valleys
We tour rows of corn, peppers, and other organic vegetables. Each of us comes away with 3 Napa cabbages and a bag of singkong (cassava root). We keep some and pass the rest to our helpers. We knock the mud off our shoes as best we can: it's pure clay and sticks to our footwear like glue. We take the shoes off to catch a ride home. Everyone is happily back to our houses before noon.
A rather rickety bamboo bridge across a stream
W is away so I eat lunch alone: soup, rice, and a salad. How very strange to spend my first USA Thanksgiving as a citizen by myself. I cooked the feast most years until our friends took over a few years before we moved to Indonesia. I think of the dinners we've hosted - family, friends, and strangers have gathered around the table to enjoy turkey dinner with us ... and that brings a smile. Life is rich indeed.

The afternoon study moves to our house. Everyone's away but Dr Hanna and me - and she lives in my neighborhood. Meanwhile, Josue has arrived from Singapore. He is a professional business /personal coach with errands to run this weekend: Josue's family is moving our way. We can't wait to have them join us in the New Year.
4 nationalities at supper: Canada, Can-USA, Brazil, Indonesia
Friday
I'm always open to new friendships and experiences. But (yawn). At 7am, DrW and I walk down the hill to an exercise class with about 40 women. It's held at the local branch of a good hospital. Apparently, we can get our blood pressure checked for $1.50 and ask the nurses about other treatments. What a deal.

The ladies urge me to the front of the crowd. No way! I have no idea how the routines go and I'm fairly hapless at the best of times. I find a spot in the very back. Someone starts to take pictures: I duck behind others as best I can.

It's comical as I try to keep up with the body movements. My feet go this way and that in the general direction - but the clinic courtyard is cobbled and the surfaces between pavers are slick with moss. As we step step step to the right, to the left, forward and back, I'm glad for the wide-soled Salomons I'm wearing. My feet always seem to land on the edge of the tiles. Tip and tilt from the ground up.

The music booms against the concrete building and six-foot-high walls. Most of the women wear a kerudong (headscarf), long sleeves, and trousers. Some have on sweatshirts or hoodies. I'm happy to be wearing the lightest cotton blouse I own. It's 77oF (25C) and humid.

Sheesh - shoulders shrug shrug and knees lift lift. Ankles turn turn and hands curve curve. Only I have no idea, except that it's not pretty in my square. I can move hands or feet, not both. I almost laugh aloud with pleasure: the women are so gifted and their movements fluid - they bring me joy, just watching.

By the time the hour is over, my hips and shoulders are resisting. This is not the easy rhythms of EEk (Exercise for the Elderly) that we do in our neighborhood, that's for sure. But it's great fun. We have a drink of water, chatter with the others, and then walk back up the hill toward home. DrW and I agree to give it another try next week. (Listening is great for language acquisition, too.)

In late afternoon, Canadian Rob and Indonesian Mery arrive. They're helping herald the start of Advent by leading the service on Sunday at the international church.

Saturday
Waldemar's plane lands just as Josue's takes off. It's great to see my husband again. Thanks for prayers for safety for us both. He had a great class of leaders in Auckland and I was safe at home.

The church is having a Christmas sale after service tomorrow. Proceeds go toward scholarships for their women's retreat. I finally get the urge to bake about 7pm. I bake dozens of peanut butter, chocolate crinkle, and Palmiers. Mery helps - and it's fun to have someone to talk to in the kitchen as well. Once the baking is packed away and the kitchen is clean, the day is over.
Ready for the bake sale
Last-minute baking flurry
W is fast asleep by the time I get to our room at 10.

Read more: First, three free resources for Advent: 

1. For the contemplative soul- a free Advent devotional

2. Music and prayers for a personal meditative retreat

3. For the artist or writer - enlarge this template. Then sketch, draw, or write words for each day leading up to Christmas, starting with the first Sunday of Advent, November 27. (The sample below in the photo shows what it looks like when it's done. I completed a similar one during Lent.)

All done, with lovely memories of scriptures
*The righteous are like trees planted by streams of water, which yield their fruit in its season, and their leaves do not wither. Psalm 1:3 ESV
The fruit of the Spirit is love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, generosity, faithfulness, gentleness, and self-control. Galatians 5:22-23 ESV
Moravian Prayer: God of love, joy, and peace, abide with us this day in all that we do and say. Take from us the things that worry us most and let us delight in you through all of what this day may bring. In Jesus’ name we pray. Amen.

Monday, November 21, 2016

Home sweet home

At a friend's house
What does "home" mean to you? Is yours a base from which you launch? Is it your sanctuary when you come home? Your joy or a chore? A place to energize or relax? It may be all of these things.

I found a quote in Rue Magazine that resonated with me immediately. Those of you who live abroad or are travelers will understand:

"When you are traveling your whole life you are in situations where you are constantly taking it all in - new customs, new languages, new food, architecture, and style. It's really about being influenced, but your home is the only place where you can really exteriorize your personality, your inner world. For me, home is a place that feels representative of me and where I can be close to the people I care about." (Victoria de la Camara)


Friends at our house
We have people at our house most days of the week. And we enjoy it. Last week, we put up our Christmas decorations in anticipation of the season with friends. This week, I hope to finish the baking and other preparations - while we have guests from Canada and Singapore with us.

Sundays after church, we eat lunch with an ever-evolving group at a community center not far from our place. Then we come home to rest before the week begins again.


I confess that I often sigh in anticipation at the thought of being in heaven with God some day. Oh, how wonderful it will be to be in his Presence with the family of faith. Then we'll truly be home sweet home.


Read more:
*Great are the works of the Lord; they are pondered by all who delight in them. Psalm 111:2 (NIV)
*Uphold me according to your promise, that I may live, and let me not be put to shame in my hope. Psalm 119:116
*Be still, and know that I am God! I am exalted among the nations, I am exalted in the earth. Psalm 46:10
*Consider the lilies, how they grow: they neither toil nor spin; yet I tell you, even Solomon in all his glory was not clothed like one of these. Luke 12:27
*May the God of peace himself sanctify you entirely; and may your spirit and soul and body be kept sound and blameless at the coming of our Lord Jesus Christ. 1 Thessalonians 5:23
Moravian Prayer: Heavenly King of kings, help us to be still and know that you are the reigning King of our lives. Bless us this day, O Lord, we pray and forever keep us in your love.
Father, your works are great! You constantly show us that you are with us in all that we do. Help us to stop worrying and to put our hopes and fears in your hands, O God. Amen.

Tuesday, November 15, 2016

Rainy season

Rain washes away concrete borders
It is definitely rainy season. We've had 4 flashfloods in Bandung in the last 2 weeks. Cars have been submerged. The entire first floor of a private school washed downhill: new laptops, desks, chairs disappeared. Their Coke machine was found at the airport, miles downstream (well, miles away still in the city.) The roads become causeways for the water that falls in the hills so we try to run errands in the morning before rain falls.

It's actually harder to write less often: so much is forgotten as I pick through recent memories. Election Day comes and goes. Trump is the President-Elect while Americans are parading the streets. I find myself shedding parts of culture that no longer fit. American Thanksgiving is next week but we celebrated in October with Canadians so that's probably that.

Wednesday, November 9
In the evening, we meet Paul, who asks for help recruiting teachers for an international school. They have great facilities and it would be a super opportunity for a junior high / high school teacher. Interested? (Various subjects, but you have to be 25 to teach here.)

I scribble a list: this is what I'd want to know before sending an invitation to teachers, education departments, or alumni directors. Paul takes it with him and talks to officials in the morning.

Typical "walking paths" between buildings
Thursday
Yay, the group is walking again. An Australian military contingent is completing their year in Bandung so personnel is moving out. Some of the walkers are army or airforce spouses. Today we're saying goodbye with a walk and potluck. W and I walk down the hill with our dog to drop off the avocado salad I made.

Avocados are in season. A tree in the neighboring yard is dripping fruit. Their gardener brings us a bag of not-yet-ripe avocados that will have to sit on the counter for a few more days. I eat one every morning. Ibu Sumi cuts and freezes the rest. Freezing is a lazier version of canning: I pull food out of the freezer nearly every day. (Thanks to our Canadian team for their gift of a freezer!)
What goes down must come up
We cross the swollen river on a footbridge. We pass through tiny lanes and paths between the houses that have sprung up on the hillside. Oh this neighborhood is steep! We walk up and down twice. I can't imagine the families who live here: it's too steep and narrow even for motorcycles. Whoever lives on this hill must hike up and hike down. To think that all the concrete, wood, tin for roofs was carried in by builders? Mind-boggling.
House crammed upon house, with tiny alleys between
We come down again and land in a field. Some construction workers nearby point back up the hill but by now several are too tired to climb again. So we trot through the swamp (wet feet!) and end up beside the river with no exit plan.
Swampy grass. Not a snake in sight today
Someone points out a hole in a concrete fence. We clamber through it, landing in a muddy garden before coming out in a secluded neighborhood. One irate fellow is not pleased to see us near his private property.

Oh well, we trudge up the hill past him and say, "Maaf, maaf, Bapak (sorry, sir!)" and keep going until we hit a thoroughfare.
See those young boys in the river?
We wind our way down again and cross the river again. From this bridge, local boys are jumping into the swift, polluted and rain-surged river. It's like body-surfing or white-water rafting as they let the current lift them to a concrete landing platform.

"I can't look!" says one of the Australians. "What if they get swept away?"
Ready to climb back up to the bridge for another jump ...
The ever-patient Ibu Elis tacks a plastic spider
from our "Spider Catcher" gadget on her bulletin board.
Friday
We drive into Jakarta after language school. My head is buzzing with new words and review. I only do 2 hours a week but the conversation and practice between is helping consolidate things - unlike when I was in class all the time (and words shed like water off a duck's back).

I'm thinking about Christmas already. When we were in the States, friends in Canada posted Christmas decorations after Remembrance Day, November 11. But I'd wait until the day after American Thanksgiving. Not anymore.

IKEA today (left); Christmas 2012 (right)
W agrees to a trip to the 2-year-old IKEA store in Jakarta. The orderliness is balm to my spirit. But when I see the same 5'X6' poster that hangs in our Seattle apartment, I feel a sudden, unexpected pang of homesickness. I better put my Christmas tree up soon - then maybe the season can begin, even with family so far away.

Supper and the evening with David and Paul S is another treat. We know what to expect, the social conventions, and can relax completely together. We enjoy a comfy bed at their place, too.

Saturday
Jakarta is far more sophisticated and global than Bandung. Juliana and Nikolas come for us about 10am. One of their friends is a professional chef, cooking in a display of food creativity at the Grand Indonesia Mall. She comes over to say hello and make recommendations.

Oh the food! It is splendid (Beef Cheeks in Curry for me) - with experimental organic rices from Japan.

And dessert is a worthy followup.
Beautiful presentation: the chocolate ball with lemon mousse


Pouring hot chocolate sauce over opens it up. YUM
Mine is equally beautiful and tasty
But it's the company that's so much fun. We sit and chat - and I run my fingers over the keys of the grand piano behind us to see if it's in tune. In this air-conditioned mall, anything is possible. (It is tuned!)

In the evening, we soak in the worship and Word at IESJakarta. Afterward, the staff gathers for a meal. We've missed these gatherings, that's for sure.

There's abundant food, laughter, and sharing life on life as always. Then it's time to drive to Bandung. Luckily traffic is good: we're in the door at home before 11pm.

Sunday
After an extra-long sermon, the study group votes to meet for lunch right away. At Bumi, there's a big family celebrating a birthday. We wait 2 hours for our food, which comes in spurts. We suspect some has made its way to the big table and been replaced. Oh well - we love these friends and are glad for time together.
The rain comes down in torrents. The thunder and lightning are spectacular. We make it home damp but sated.

Monday
A few conference calls. Some writing. Bible study, which is always refreshing. We hear stories of God's surprises and His goodness.

Then it's down the hill to language school ... except that my guru is stuck up north. We cancel the lesson among many apologies and drive back up the hill. I'm happy. I really needed to review on my own anyway. W's much more tied to meal routines, which tends to disrupt my flow of learning.

I've given a Christmas tree away this morning - and I admit I sighed a bit as it went. However, when I go up for ornaments for the LR tree, I discover a small fluffy tree (much nicer even) tucked away behind some boxes. I set it up in the bedroom and the lights begin to sparkle. What a nice feeling. And it's all God's stuff, right?

Tuesday
The exercise class is canceled. Apparently, the man who turns on the music for the women is feeling under the weather. So is Ibu A, but she cooks my supper (plus some to take home to her family) and tidies up before heading home. Again, the storm is fierce, the rain and wind strong, and the thunder loud. She bundles up in a raincoat and takes a motorcycle taxi home.

Oh the side dishes at a Korean restaurant!
The lunch appointment with Ibu Ingrid and Ibu Jenny is at a Korean restaurant (Wonjo) on Jl. Setiabudi. I show the driver on the map and he nods. Apparently, he thinks it's elsewhere - so we drive for a half hour. I know we're going in circles so I show him the same map and turn on Waze. We were already there, 15 minutes into our 1-hour trip. It's worth the drive as the food is excellent. The proprietor comes over (Jenny's friend) to make sure we're happy. Yes. Happy!

We look at the first chapter of Ruth - which turns out to be God's timing for us. We talk about letting our children follow God even when it takes them away from us - or us away from them. As always, the scriptures come alive to inform and encourage us. Thanks be to God.

Read more:
*Remember to observe the Sabbath day by keeping it holy. You have six days each week for your ordinary work, but the seventh day is a Sabbath day of rest dedicated to the LORD your God. On that day no one in your household may do any work. This includes you, your sons and daughters, your male and female servants, your livestock, and any foreigners living among you. 

For in six days the LORD made the heavens, the earth, the sea, and everything in them; but on the seventh day he rested. That is why the LORD blessed the Sabbath day and set it apart as holy." Exodus 20:8-11

*Ezra opened the book. All the people could see him because he was standing above them; and as he opened it, the people all stood up. Ezra praised the Lord, the great God; and all the people lifted their hands and responded, "Amen! Yes! Amen!" Then they bowed down and worshiped the Lord with their faces to the ground.

The Levites ... instructed the people in the Law while the people were standing there. They read from the Book of the Law of God, making it clear and giving the meaning so that the people understood what was being read.

Then Nehemiah the governor, Ezra the priest and teacher of the Law, and the Levites who were instructing the people said to them all, "This day is holy to the Lord your God. Do not mourn or weep." For all the people had been weeping as they listened to the words of the Law.

Nehemiah said, "Go and enjoy choice food and sweet wine and send some to those who have nothing prepared. This day is holy to our Lord. Do not grieve, for the joy of the Lord is your strength." Nehemiah 8:5-10


*Brothers and sisters, do not be weary in doing what is right. 2 Thessalonians 3:13

*God’s firm foundation stands, bearing this inscription: “The Lord knows those who are his.” 2 Timothy 2:19

Moravian Prayer: Dearest Chief Elder, all praise, honor, and glory are yours. Lord, you are our master as well as our friend. Thank you for guiding us through all that has been and all that is yet to come. In your name we pray. Amen.

Saturday, November 12, 2016

Before and after: LR edition

I love spaces. That's not a secret: We've lived in strange and wonderful apartments and houses for almost 40 years and our spaces are always in flux.
Before: it's hard to pack up and say goodbye
I love the "before and after"s that others post, so I'm guessing that maybe you do, too.
Before: Move-in day - front room
Our main room is constantly changing, depending on who is in it and what's happening.
Before: side view
We don't have a lot of money for decor. That's a given. But what we need seems to appear at the right time. The trick is to recognize it and not just walk by. (Then we'll have to find it later, usually for more expense.)
Our neighbors help move things around
And the space breathes a little before settling back in
Whenever I walk into a room, it starts to move and reconfigure in my head. When the picture locks in, I have the beginnings of the home I'd want to live in.
Day 1: as we arrive, we add our two chairs and a rug from another house, which begins to define the space
A few weeks later: add an IKEA sofa (a gift, thanks J!) 
Art is inexpensive: a man comes by the porch with huge painted canvases ($7.50) and offers to frame one for us for the same amount. A coffee/art shop goes out of business: original drawings are $2-10; paintings are $10-100.
After a few months: I find a bigger rug at IKEA As-Is (70% off) and
pack an old purple slipcover along in my suitcase from Seattle
We buy less meat for a week or two and put a $5 crayon landscape in a $10 frame. I know! Priorities. The finished 24"X30" art is the price of 3-4 Starbucks coffees - and luckily I don't drink coffee, which disappears in 5 minutes. I'd argue for the ongoing pleasure of local art. haha
A few months ago: a comfortable space
The big round dining table is a must: we move the old rectangle to the office and it becomes my desk.

I find a 72" folding office table and cover it with tablecloths at unbelievable prices ($12 vs. +$80 here). If you set a holiday table, check out Tablecloths For Less.
Worth the wait: narrow dining chairs at half price
Without an American Thanksgiving, Christmas feels just around the corner. W hauls the big box from storage and set up the pre-lit tree.
Yesterday: the Christmas tree goes up
Immediately, the room feels cozy. Bit by bit, we'll decorate up to the big day.
Here's where we're at
Mind you, when we host gatherings, everything shifts. Friends and strangers sit, sprawl, and stand everywhere. What a blessing to have a space in which to enjoy God's presence and people!


Let's face it, every space is about the people in it
Read more:
*For the eyes of the Lord range throughout the earth to strengthen those whose hearts are fully committed to him. 2 Chronicles 16:9A NIV

*In the midst of the congregation I will praise you. Psalm 22:22 ESV

*I delight in the way of your decrees as much as in all riches. Psalm 119:14 ESV

*The kingdom of heaven is like a merchant in search of fine pearls; on finding one pearl of great value, he went and sold all that he had and bought it. Matthew 13:45–46 ESV

*May the God of steadfastness and encouragement grant you to live in harmony with one another, in accordance with Christ Jesus, so that together you may with one voice glorify the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ. Romans 15:5–6 ESV
Moravian Prayer: Father, we will praise you, O Lord among the nations; we will sing unto you among the heavens. Glorious, everlasting are you, our God!
Lord, help us to know that your kingdom is worth more than all the riches of the earth. Let the material world around us not dissuade us from the ultimate treasure of your glory. Amen.