Friday Five: Recovery Edition

deb writes:

That was the air rushing out of our collective pool of energy. Whether you led one small service or 5 huge ones, let’s talk about recovery mode. In less than 48 hours, there’s another Sunday service, or a weekday ministry starting up again. So, tell us:

1. What’s your “chill out” foot gear? Slippers or socks? Or Birkenstocks? (Poem not intentional)

I totally don’t believe the poem was unintentional. But I love it, so that’s good. I prefer barefootedness regardless of temperature, but I will don the cozy socks if I’m feeling chilly.

2. A holiday treat or beverage that just makes you say “AAAAAAHHHHHHH!!”

Granny’s Egg Nog. I know, egg nog is a polarizing beverage. First, let me say that the sludge they sell in cartons at the grocery store is a hate crime. Nasty. My Grandmother’s recipe is almost like a vanilla shake. It’s made with eggs, sugar, milk and a package of vanilla pudding mix (NOT instant – you can imagine the result). Then you pour it in a glass and top it off with a scoop of vanilla ice cream. Heaven. I also love me a peppermint mocha.

3. What sight or sound moved you during the season? (This can be good or bad.)

Unfortunately, this year it was the report on the CIA torture techniques and the protests against police brutality. It reminded me that the Advent and Christmas stories are not only filled with warm fuzzies, but has a powerful story to tell about the slaughter of the innocents, injustice and abuse of power.

4. With whom did you enjoy sharing time with over the Christmas season?

Biological family as always. I love that I don’t have to travel during this season. Church family, which is new to me but quickly becoming important. Chosen family, which is also new, but really great. It’s been a fun holiday season.

5. Was there someone missing from your festivities? How are you doing with that?

While this year brought the end of some friendships, I feel like I’m in a good place with regard to the friends I do have. Not all friendships or relationships are intended to last for long periods of time and it makes me appreciate the ones that do all the more. I’m fortunate to not have lost anyone close to me through death this year. I know way too many people who have, however, and my heart was heavy for them this season.

Friday Five: Christmas Soon!

Margaret Fitch's nativity set

janintx writes:

This was the first Nativity scene I ever had. My cousin Margaret sent it to me from France when I was in first grade. I still put it out every year, a tradition I love. (Notice how Mary is holding baby Jesus!)

For today’s Friday Five, choose any five things about this upcoming Christmas that comes to mind, such as memories, traditions, plans, worries, whatever you wish. Add a favorite recipe, song, or tradition that you would like to share as the bonus category.

1. Christmas on Christmas Eve

So, we’re German-ish. And a lot of Eastern European. Mennonite, really. (see below). My mom always thought we did Christmas on Christmas Eve because my dad’s family doesn’t do delayed gratification but there is some cultural justification. My dad has a mental block against opening presents in daylight. True story. Our routine has become that we spend the day together, kids playing, making stuff, watching cartoons, etc. Then we all part ways and go to our respective churches and reconvene for dinner around 7. After dinner, it’s all presents all the time.

2. Food

As previously mentioned, we are ethnically Mennonite, which involves specific foods. We also have lived in the desert southwest for over 40 years. So, as you might imagine, there’s some overlap. For a long time, we were in the habit of having chili, tamales & Mexican Coke for Christmas Eve, but then the retail years came and I wasn’t home on Christmas Eve. My brother is not particularly fond of tamales (I know. Tragic.) so those years when I wasn’t home, he wrangled Mom into making vereneke, a Mennonite dumpling concoction that I absolutely loathe. It’s disgusting, but he’s all about it. Now that I’m local and here on the holiday, we’ve had to combine the two traditions into what I like to call a Mexonnite feast. It’s all really good and everyone is happy.

3. Buche de Noel

I know I just talked about food but this cake gets its own entry. The first year I was home (now 3 Christmases ago – eek!) I was reading through the local food blog and came across an entry for the best holiday desserts. I decided to order this Buche de Noel cake from a bakery in Scottsdale. Oh. My. Gosh. This thing is ridiculous. Just the most delicious dark chocolate, and there are dried cranberries inside. So freaking delicious. 133561_10151174980227201_1262346161_o

4. Movie on Xmas Day

Since we do Christmas on Christmas Eve, my brother is free to go to his in-laws for Christmas Day and it’s all good. This means, the rest of us have nothing to do. We’ve never had anything to do on Christmas Day, now there are just fewer of us with nothing to do. I personally like to sleep in, see a movie, and then join our Jewish brethren for Chinese food. Last year I went do a horrible movie with the parents, but since they created me, I acquiesced. This year, I may actually have a FRIEND with whom I can go to a movie. Alert the media. I’m getting a life.

5. The Children on winter break

I love this time of year because I get some extra time with the kids since they’re out of school. I can’t take a ton of time off this year, but the way the holidays naturally fall I get some good time. Hopefully we’ll work out a sleepover or something.

Friday Five: Oh! Christmas Tree!

3dogmom writes:

beagle-wrapped-in-christmas-lights

It’s been a week of wrangling with the Christmas tree at our house. Multiple strands of new lights were strung carefully on the tree for big impact, but here and there malfunctions and blackouts occurred. On the third day we still don’t have fully functional lights, which is problematic mostly because until that is resolved, nothing else goes on the tree.

In light of that (no pun intended) I thought The Christmas Tree might be a good launch pad for today’s FF. So…

1) Real tree, or “fake?”

Real. Fake trees make the Baby Jesus cry.

2) White or colored lights?

I prefer white. I feel like colored lights steal the thunder of the ornaments. However, I prefer colored lights for the exterior.

3) When do you put up and take down your tree?

Mmmm..I’ll probably do it this weekend. In these parts, trees quickly become fire hazards, so we don’t have them up too long.

4) Tell us about your favorite ornament (share a picture, if you can).

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5) What goes on the top of your tree (again, share a photo, if possible)?

I have both an angel and a big red bow. This year, the bow wins.

Be sure to link to your blog page where we can visit your Friday Five and say hello!