Perhaps you correctly surmised from my unintended blog break that it's been rather busy around here. Among other things, Juliette turned two. (How did that happen?!) The weekend was especially eventful, so I'm recording it here for posterity.
On Saturday morning we had a congregational retreat at a beautiful retreat center up on the peninsula. The day started off with the great news that one of our dear members who had taken seriously ill earlier in the week was doing much better. We also had gorgeous weather - a respite from the torrential rains. Among other things, I lead a Praying in Color workshop that went over amazingly well. Sybil Macbeth is pretty much a genius in my book. During our closing worship, we celebrated Communion with fresh baked bread (oh, how I love my bread machine). After the elements had gone around the circle I tore off a little extra and gave it to Juliette, knowing she was hungry. One of the members had brought his border collie along, and just as I gave it to her the dog sauntered over and nabbed it. I suppose a dog receiving consecrated bread might be a theological emergency in some circles, but for our crew it was a catalyst for belly laughter. It truly was a joyful day.
Only - ha! The day was just beginning for us. After the retreat ended we headed off to the airport to pick up Elizabeth. She's in town for the Craft and Hobby Association, but she was able to spend the first day of her trip with us. I'm afraid we didn't manage to completely roll out the welcome mat - which is to say that she got clean sheets, but I figure one day isn't long enough to notice the dust. (Or the lingering Christmas decorations.) We had a great dinner; upon discovering our shared hankering for fried plantains, Ben took us to a Cuban restaurant.
We went to bed, and then when we woke up we had a two-year-old. Like I said, how did that happen??
Thankfully I had finished preparing my sermon on Friday. I talked about Kim and Patrick Bentrott, the Global Ministries missionaries who have been serving in Port-au-Prince. Their story has absolutely captivated me. I'm simultaneously incredibly proud that they are our missionaries and ashamed that I really hadn't paid any attention to their work - or to the plight of the Haitian people - before the earthquake.
After worship Juliette received a couple birthday gifts and cards from her church friends, including two homemade cards that were inspired by Praying in Color. So sweet.
In the afternoon we threw a party for Juliette in the church lounge. Ben did approximately 95% of the party planning and implementation, and he did such a good job he will definitely be in charge of any future family events. We kept it small and simple. My friend Sara, who is also Juliette's music teacher and one of her favorite people, did a music session. Juliette clearly had a wonderful time.
We didn't do gifts at the party, but back home she opened a few more from friends and family. From us she got a Radio Flyer wagon that I scored at the local Goodwill - brand new in box. Boo-yah.
I was too busy being mesmerized by Juliette's joy to take any pictures at the party, but no worries - Aunt Elizabeth was there, snapping away. Unfortunately all the pictures are still on her camera in Anaheim. I insisted on driving her to her hotel so we would have more time to be together. It's never enough, that's for sure.
This morning a few of us finished sorting and packaging hygiene kits to send to Church World Service. Our modest goal was ten... we had enough donations to make twenty-two! I was just about to head over to the post office to ship them when I discovered my wallet was missing. I scoured the office, the lounge, the bags of extra donations, the trash. I retraced my steps to the drug store where I'd gone to buy more gallon bags for the kits. I went home so that Ben could look (in addition to being the Official Party Planner, he is also the Official Finder of Missing Items). While he was looking in the lounge, one of the ladies who had been helping turned up at the door with my wallet - she'd accidentally picked it up when she left. Whew. My husband had the nerve to call and tell me that it was right in the center of my desk. Hmph.
(I'm tired just recounting it all!)