Monday, February 19, 2018

And above all these put on love

“Sit up straight,” said the Voice.

“Really? Is that all you want to tell me?” I responded, a bit nonplussed. “Are you my ballet teacher?” I still remember the comments on my bad posture and a particular piece of “art” on the wall of my dance studio as a child: the slogan, “You are what you eat” illustrated by a drawing of a slob holding a piece of pizza. This never stopped me from wolfing down a huge plate of Mexican food, slathered in cheese, every week after dance class. I guess that’s not the same as pizza, so it doesn’t count, right? Exercise increases one’s appetite. But I digress.

The previous day, I had gone for onsen and a massage, having strained my back clearing snow from in front of our house to make a space for tea-party guests to park their cars. (Lifting while twisting seems not to be the right way to haul snow around.) I didn’t realized how slouchy I had become until the massage therapist stuck her knee into my back and then pulled back on my shoulders… and my shoulders didn’t want to cooperate. Ouch.

With those thoughts in mind, I set aside my irritation and sat up straight, or as straight as I could. I noticed that the strain in my lower back eased a bit. I thought back to the previously mentioned tea party; of course I had been wearing a kimono. While I had it on, I completely forgot about my strained back. An obi, properly tied firmly but not too tight, is a wonderful support. I can’t slouch even if I want to.

A friend once asked me if wearing a kimono changed the way I think or act. At the time, I said no, but as I consider that question again, I think the answer is probably yes. There’s something about being forced to sit up straight, to take small steps, to move slowly, carefully, gracefully, deliberately. People who feel shame, I read recently, are likely to slouch, perhaps as a self-defending sign of submission. By straightening me up, my kimono restores my dignity, or at least the appearance of it.

Obi (帯) is an interesting word, and an interesting garment. It is several meters long, made of stiff brocade fabric. It is the sash that holds the kimono together; a kimono has no buttons or strings or snaps, so without the obi, the kimono cannot be worn. To wear an obi, you wrap it twice around your waist, and then tie it in an elaborate bow, completed with several other decorative strings.

A friend from my kimono circle practices tying an obi in a particularly festive way
When I was preaching from Colossians 3 last spring, I came across the word “obi” in my passage. Here is Colossians 3:14, in English and Japanese:

“And above all these put on love, which binds everything together in perfect harmony” (ESV).

「そして、これらすべての上に、愛を着けなさい。愛は結びの帯として完全なものです。」 (新改訳聖書第三版) (Taking a stab at a literal translation of this, I would suggest “And then, over all of this, put on love. Love is, as a binding obi, a perfect thing.”)

God’s love, wrapped tightly around me, is what keeps me from falling apart. God’s love holds me up straight and restores my dignity when I am bent over with shame and despair. God’s love, supporting me, reminds me that I am not alone; the battle is his to fight, not mine. God’s love wrapped around us holds us together as his people even when separation seems like the better option.

“Sit up straight” turned out to be quite a good suggestion, after I unraveled what it meant.

“Thank you,” I whispered.

Wednesday, December 27, 2017

Snow, and Our Neighborhood Sports

Today’s coffee: New Year’s Blend

There was finally a break in the snow storm, so I ventured out of my cozy nest. I hadn’t been outside in three days, since Christmas morning, when we went out for breakfast at our usual Monday breakfast spot. The blizzard started that afternoon; I don’t think we had wind like that even during typhoons over the summer. Our trash can blew several blocks away (even when filled with pickle-weights) and somehow the lid of one of our compost bins unscrewed itself, blew away, and went missing. On the bright side, the tile on our chimney that looked like it was ready to fall has also disappeared. No more worries about having a tile fall on my head while walking around in the garden.

Although we have plenty of leftovers to eat, we ran out of milk, and our stocks of coffee and mikan (mandarin oranges) were dangerously low, so I headed out to the store. (The important things, you know.) Also, the compost pail was full.

But first, the snow had to be dealt with. It had drifted up in front of the door.

I took these pictures back in November... but it looks about the same now (except more snow)
Walking on unplowed sidewalk...
When it's blowing really hard, snow gets stuck to the windows. Definitely don't want to go outside when it looks like this.
Our neighborhood has two sports in which everyone participates, like it or not. One is snow shovelling. Recently there was a “snow shoveling for exercise” class advertised in the neighborhood news. I am not making this up.

I seriously don’t know how my neighbors live with their boredom over the summer when there’s no snow to shovel. At first snowfall, everyone is out there with their shovels, moving the dusting of snow into tidy piles. Then, on warm days, they dump the snow back into the street so that it melts faster and break up chunks of ice with pickaxes.

We are not quite as diligent about snow clearing as our neighbors, so they worry about us; we often open the front door and discover that the front walk has already been cleared by a friendly neighbor who got bored after they were done clearing their own snow.

The other neighborhood sport, of course, is complaining about snow shovelling. Even though our neighbors are bright-eyed and smiling as they clear snow, they are just as energetic in their complaints. For example:

Neighbor A: There’s so much snow this year!
Neighbor B: I’ve lived here all my life, but I’ve never gotten used to it.
Neighbor A: I shovelled snow two hours this morning! Living in Ishikari is hard, isn’t it?
Neighbor B: Isn’t it? But there was so much more snow when I was a child…

And on and on it goes, multiplied by the number of people you meet in a given day.

In our neighborhood, we put out different types of trash for collection several days a week, but in the winter, you can also request that a truck come and take away your snow once a week. This is really helpful, since the snow plow dumps all the snow from the road right in front of our house, and then we have to move it somewhere if we want to get the car out. Today was snow-removal day, which means we have to pile up all the snow one shovel’s width out from the garden wall. Then, a snowblower truck blows our snow pile into a truck in the space of about 30 seconds, and then off it goes to the snow dump.

Now I’m done drinking my coffee, so I’ll head home and see if there’s any more snow to clear off the front walk, or any neighbors to commiserate with.

Thursday, December 14, 2017

Celebrating 200 Years

Today’s coffee: Christmas blend

I had been planning this party for at least the last five years. My cello, built in 1817, turned 200 this year; how could I not have a birthday party?

Since it would be my cello’s birthday party, it had to be a concert, so I searched for music to perform. Beethoven wrote two sonatas in 1816--close enough. When to celebrate? Shino and I were occupied with the Rachmaninov sonata until the end of October, so we picked Shino’s birthday on December 3, giving us just enough time to learn Beethoven’s 4th sonata and refresh Beethoven’s 1st sonata, which we played at our first concert together at Christmas in 2009. Where to hold the party? It’s a birthday party, not a formal concert. We decided to try having a concert at home. It would be a good test-run for future arts ministry, anyway.

And yet… a concert at home, especially in Japan, comes with a number of challenges. I invited probably 50 people, and expected about 30 to come; where would they put their shoes or hang their coats or park their cars? I quickly figured out solutions for shoes and coats, but the parking problem actually kept me up at night. We can only fit two or three cars in front of our house (if it doesn’t snow). Thankfully, a friend from church was able to arrange for us to use a local preschool’s parking lot in exchange for the promise of a mini-concert for the kids in the near future. Another friend from church agreed to help welcome guests when they came and direct them to the parking lot.

Then, of course, a birthday party needs cake. I made three: butterscotch cheesecake (since Shino likes cheesecake), a persimmon cake with dried fruit (seemed kind of festive and English, since my cello was built in London), and a classic rainbow chip cake out of a box (as I explained to non-American guests, this was the birthday cake when I was a kid).

As we got closer to the big day, I was starting to wonder if I had made a mistake. This was a lot of work… and I’m still on leave for burnout. There were probably 40 party-related items on my to-do list. But part of being on leave has been a chance to remember and rediscover who I am--that God made me creative, and that he gave me a desire to make my home into a haven for us and for our friends. With that conviction, I kept on with the preparations, promising myself a very quiet December.

When we moved the furniture around and took the double-doors to the tea room and music room out of their frames, we discovered that if we set up for a concert in the living room, about 30 people could comfortably watch from all around. (I had lost count of who had said they were coming, so I gave up trying to remember and prayed for 30.) The kotatsu (low table with a heater underneath) ended up in the tea room; I was somewhat regretful that I would not be one of the people watching the concert from the comfort of the kotatsu. (Next time, perhaps.) Finally we brought lamps and candles from all over the house so we could avoid using the icky fluorescent overhead lights.

Clutter organized, furniture rearranged, atmosphere created, table set. Then we just had to wait for the guests to arrive. I forgot that in Japan, every concert invitation/advertisement will include the “open” time--what time guests can enter the hall. So some people came very early, and others came late. I made the mistake of having coffee during that pre-concert period, when adrenaline alone would have done just fine. The performance ended up being rather more… energetic than it otherwise would have been.

The event went over pretty well, I think. The guests seemed to enjoy themselves. There were even some old friends reunited who hadn’t met in years. The performance wasn’t perfect, but it never is (the problem being that mistakes in Beethoven are a lot more noticeable than mistakes in Rachmaninov). The general feeling seemed to be “let’s do this again,” because time spent together to enjoy art is time well spent. I’d say this was a successful experiment.

Now I’m having a very quiet December.

Thursday, November 23, 2017

Thanksgiving Fried Rice

Happy Thanksgiving!

We had thanksgiving dinner yesterday with friends, and among them were people with gluten, egg, and nut allergies. But Thanksgiving dinner just isn’t complete without stuffing, so we came up with this alternative. Rice, like bread, soaks up meat juices and flavors nicely. I was very happy with the way this turned out—it could be a festive side-dish even alongside traditional stuffing.

Thanksgiving Fried Rice
A gluten-and-egg-free stuffing or side-dish

(Notes: These are approximate measurements, but precision really doesn’t matter with this recipe. Please be sure to check the list of ingredients on both the bouillon and the sausages to make sure they are safe for whatever allergies your guests have.)

  • 2 rice cooker cups (320cc) rice, cooked according to package directions (I used Thai jasmine rice, which was a blend of red and white. Very fragrant! Brown rice would work great too.)
  • 2 tablespoons butter
  • 8 breakfast sausage links, cut into bite-sized pieces
  • 1 ½ large onions, chopped (red and/or white; I used both)
  • ½ cup celery, chopped 
  • 8 mushrooms, chopped (I used some white mushrooms and some shiitake, because that’s what I had)
  • 2 teaspoons chicken bouillon (I used “Better than Bouillon”)
  • ½ cup dried apple, chopped
  • ½ cup dried cranberries
  • ¼ cup orange juice
  • ½ cup pumpkin seeds
  • 2 tablespoons minced fresh herbs: I used a mix of rosemary, sage, and thyme, since that was what was accessible in my partially-snow-covered garden.
  • Salt and pepper to taste (the amount will depend on how salty your chicken bouillon is)
  • (Other possibilities that I thought about but didn’t include: chopped pecans or walnuts if there are no nut allergies, tiny cubes of pan-fried squash, tiny cubes of pan-fried tofu, a splash of rum or brandy or apple juice instead of some of the orange juice, fresh apple, other dried fruit)

Melt half of the butter in a large frying pan over medium-high heat. Brown the sausages. Remove to a bowl.

Melt the remaining butter in the frying pan, then add the onions, celery, and mushrooms. Sprinkle with salt and stir-fry for several minutes until they are soft. Add the chicken bouillon, apples, cranberries, and orange juice, and continue to stir-fry until most of the liquid has evaporated.

Clear a space in the center of the pan; add the pumpkin seeds and allow them to brown slightly. Add the sausage back into the pan, then the herbs. Stir to blend, then add the rice. Stir-fry to mix and allow the rice to crisp somewhat, 2-3 minutes. Add salt and pepper to taste.

Serve with the rest of Thanksgiving dinner, or on its own. It’s delicious with cranberry sauce and gravy.

You can probably stuff this in a turkey or chicken… but I really don’t know, since we don’t stuff our turkeys. Let me know in the comments if you try it.

Saturday, September 30, 2017

Pumpkin Soup

Happy Fall! In Ishikari, fall means kabocha and other delicious vegetables. Recently we received lots of kabocha from friends:

We also received a gigantic nappa cabbage, grapes, apples, zucchini, tomatoes... Ishikari is a good place, especially at this time of year. I've been looking for creative ways to eat all this deliciousness!

One such cooking adventure was a simple pumpkin (kabocha) soup. I used a pale green kabocha like the one in the back row center of the picture above. I liked it a lot, so I decided to share the recipe here. "Recipe" might be a bit of an overstatement, actually... the measurements are approximate. Kabocha vary in flavor and sweetness, so amounts of seasoning will change from one soup to the next.

Pumpkin (Kabocha) Soup with fruit and nut topping


  • 2 onions, coarsely chopped
  • 2 tablespoons butter (I used unsalted)
  • 1-2 tablespoons white wine
  • 2 cloves (roasted) garlic
  • Roasted pumpkin, kabocha, or other squash (I used half of a fairly large one--I would guess about 700 grams. Boiled or pan-fried would also work, but roasted is so nice!) 
  • Chicken or vegetable stock, approx. 3-4 cups
  • 3 tablespoons fresh herbs, minced (I used parley, sage, rosemary, and thyme); you will use half in the soup and reserve the rest for the topping.
  • 3/4 cup cream
  • Maple syrup to taste (I used about 2 tablespoons)
  • Salt and pepper to taste


  1. Melt the butter in a medium pot over low heat. Add the onions, sprinkle with salt, and stir to coat with butter. Add the white wine, cover, and cook for about 10 minutes. Uncover and continue to cook over low heat for another 10 minutes or so, stirring frequently, until the onions are medium brown (caramelized). Throw in a couple of cloves of garlic when the onions are almost ready.
  2. Add roasted pumpkin (kabocha) and cover with stock. Bring to a boil and simmer for about 10 minutes. Add herbs (reserving half for the topping) and remove from heat.
  3. While waiting for the soup, I assembled the topping (recipe below).
  4. Puree the soup. I recommend a stick blender, but use whatever method works for you. Add cream and more stock to thin the soup to desired consistency. Taste and add maple syrup, salt, and pepper as necessary. 
  5. Return soup to heat and bring it back to a simmer. Serve with topping, recipe below. I also recommend focaccia bread.


  • Pecans, small handful
  • Pumpkin seeds, small handful
  • 1 tablespoon butter, if you live in Japan and your bacon isn't all that fatty
  • 150g bacon, strips cut in 5mm pieces 
  • 1/2 cup dried apple, diced (Fresh apple would be fine, but add it later with the nuts and herbs and omit apple juice)
  • 1 cup bread cubes (on the dry side, 5mm)
  • Parsley, Sage, Rosemary and Thyme, minced (reserved from soup recipe, above)
  • A drizzle of maple syrup
  • 2 tablespoons apple juice
  • Salt and pepper to taste

  1. Toast pecans in a frying pan over low heat. Chop coursely. Then toast the pumpkin seeds.
  2. Melt the butter (if you are using any) in your frying pan over low heat, then add the bacon. Fry it until it's somewhat crispy. (Japanese bacon doesn't get crispy… and those of you using super greasy American bacon may want to remove some of the oil at this point. The ingenious Japanese way of doing that is soaking it up right out of the frying pan with cooking chopsticks and paper towels.) 
  3. Add the dried apple and bread cubes, saute a bit to coat with oil, then add nuts, herbs, maple syrup, apple juice, and salt and pepper. Stir until the bread and apple absorb the liquid, and then saute on low until everything is somewhat crispy. Sprinkle over the soup.
  4. This would also be a nice topping for salads. Our Japanese friend who ate it with us also recommends trying it as a topping for rice.

Monday, September 25, 2017

An Unexpected Visitor

Today I offer a story. It's a true story, although it happened two years ago, so I've filled in some forgotten details. My mom may remember it differently. No picture included, since many of you would find a picture revolting... ;)

Mom’s cry of surprise brought me running. I found her crouched down, staring, eyes wide, at an unwelcome visitor: a large green slug with black spots had found its way into the sunroom. Perhaps it rode in on mom’s garden shoes, or perhaps it had stuck itself to the red bucket she uses to gather vegetables. Regardless of how it got in, it had now left a trail of slime across the doormat and had started to ooze its way up the wall.

Thinking quickly, I pulled a sheet of paper out of the recycle bin and set it against the wall in front of the slug. It seemed hesitant at first, but perhaps it sensed that I meant it no harm, and it slowly oozed forward onto the paper. I waited. Mom waited behind me, poised with a wet rag to clean up the mess. Keith waited, watching and snickering.

Once the slug made it fully onto the paper, I gently removed it from the wall and carried it outside, looking for a good spot for a slug to live. Not too close to the vegetable plot or the flower garden, but somewhere with some cover. I set the paper down amid some tall, late-summer grass. Slowly the slug oozed forward. And I waited.

Time stood still as I watched the small creature, transfixed. In the world, there was only me and the slug and the tall grass. Every tiny undulation of its slimy body, every change of its course, the iridescent pink of the trail left behind reflecting back the afternoon sunlight. The slug came to the edge of the paper, hesitated slightly, and continued into the tall grass. “Goodbye,” I whispered.

Suddenly time started up again. I stood up, dazed by the bright sun. I heard the clucking of our neighbor’s chickens and the distant barking of a dog. Glancing towards the vegetable garden, I wondered what was for supper. I remembered that I had been in the middle of writing an email when interrupted by the slug’s intrusion.

As I shuffled towards the house and my responsibilities, I turned once, gazing back into the tall grass.

As I write this story down two years later, I wonder why the slug in the sunroom remains so firmly fixed in my memory, when so many other stories and names and details have faded into the past. Perhaps I remember it because it was a serendipitous moment, a divine intervention, a space to breathe. I have learned not to let these moments go to waste. This moment became, oddly enough, one of the highlights of home assignment for me.

Thursday, September 07, 2017

Matsu House update

Hi, everyone. We're still alive over here. And... exciting things happening at Matsu House!

As I write, this is going on:

That's right! Keith and Mr. Inoue are plastering the tea room wall with 珪藻土 (keisoudo). This is so exciting. They finished the floor back in December, just in time for Mom and Dad's visit (because the tea room is also the guest room). However, with everything going on at church, we continued on with bare drywall for eight months.

Meanwhile, a few other improvements have taken place.

All the finishing touches on the bathroom "vanity" cabinet. Dad made and installed the cabinet and cut the other pieces to size. Keith did the wiring and installed the mirror and the light fixture (which Dad made), then did the tiling and put up towel hooks and rings.

Dad made the over-toilet shelf, and after we painted the room, Keith installed it. I picked out the plant.

We also solved a design problem with art. Our house was made for short people. The doorways are short (anyone taller than Keith has to duck), and the original kitchen and bathroom counters were short. What's worse, there were windows in the doors to the toilet room and the bathroom--right at our eye level. Most Japanese houses have tiny windows in bathroom doors, so you can see if the light is on inside... but those are tiny, a lot higher, and have opaque glass. So... we commissioned our friend, Hannah Schmidt, so paint tiny pictures to put in the windows. The light still shines through (and the pictures look really cool backlit) and now we can pee in privacy. Hannah copied photos I took of aka-matsu (red pine) trees on the Tohoku coast.

Keith made me a nice shelf for the laundry room, and hooks to hang stuff. Before it was all out in the front hallway.

We now have a shelf in the kitchen for cookbooks.

Mr. Inoue made us some gorgeous stools for our bar counter back in December. Unfortunately, we never managed to sand and finish them, so they sat around for months... until July! This is my contribution: I sanded and finished them. Now our friends can hang out in the kitchen with us and have a cup of tea or something while we finish cooking the meal!

And last but not least, Keith put this up on our front door. In case anyone had any doubts as to who lives here...

More to come, after the tea room walls are finished!

Wednesday, August 23, 2017

The cup is half empty

Today’s coffee: Indonesian coffee from Tokumitsu

I did everything I could. A day off every week, life-giving hobbies, daily quiet-times, plenty of sleep, four weeks of vacation each year. We had people looking out for us, both colleagues and friends. And yet, it seems that even our careful precautions weren’t enough. Eight months into working in our church in an emergency state, I burned out.

Back in college, only once, I drank enough to have a hangover. Only once. Once was more than enough. On the bright side, I can now say with personal conviction, when talking to young people, that drinking too much is not only inadvisable, but the effects are downright unpleasant.

I bring this up now because the effects of burnout are very much like a hangover-that-doesn’t-go-away. Let’s call it a stress-hangover. Headache, queasy stomach, lethargy, brain in a fog. Back in college, the day I had a hangover, I aced a German test. Now, with stress-hangover at age 36, I’m not good for much of anything that resembles work, except perhaps a snarky blog post. Writing helps me process, after all. Even being able to snark about things is a decided improvement over where I was a week ago.

On the bright side, I can now say with personal conviction that working too much, especially in a stressful environment, is not only inadvisable, but the effects are downright unpleasant. Cheers for coffee, my caring husband, and colleagues who give me space to sleep it off and help us find a more sustainable pattern of work.

Note for the concerned: We are well cared for here. This was no one’s fault. We continue under the strong conviction that we are where God wants us, and we continue to look for the way forward in this situation.

Sunday, July 09, 2017

12 years!

Yesterday was our 12th wedding anniversary.

Here are some fun facts:

  • I was 24, Keith was 22. We’ve been married for one third of my life. I was born in the year of the bird, and we got married in the year of the bird.
  • We have lived in three countries, in eight different homes.
  • To go along with all those homes, we have attended and served in six churches.
  • When we got married, my side of the (immediate) family became five people. Keith’s side became nine people. Now, my family has seven, and Keith’s has eighteen (wow).
  • We had between us four grandparents, and now we have none.
  • We had between us two college degrees; now we have five degrees, and both of us have passed an important Japanese language exam.
  • I was intending to be a professional musician of some sort. Keith was vocationally challenged, but had some vague notion of wanting to become a teacher. Neither of us had any intention then of becoming a missionary or other full-time ministry worker. We’ll just comment that God has a sense of humor.
  • We started this blog to distribute wedding information. Looking back at my first post, it seems that blogs were called weblogs or web blogs, and you could only have one picture in each post. This post is #382. 

Since I am now part of a team that plans worship services at church, I (selfishly?) chose our wedding songs for yesterday’s service (All Creatures of Our God and King, Shout to the Lord, and Blessed Be Your Name). Of course, we sang them in Japanese translation. They fit well with the text, which was Genesis 22. This became a good reminder of the theme we chose for our wedding: to love one another and serve God, whatever the circumstances.

Yesterday turned out to be quite a bit nicer than our 10th anniversary: although we had planned to climb Mt. Fuji, both of us ended up sick in bed… and wondering if we would even be well enough to fly to Seattle for home assignment two days later. Yesterday was a full day at church, but we managed to go to a cafe we like for a slice of cake and take a walk on the boardwalk at the beach.

I wonder where our path will go next? Can't see around the corner...
Our garden produced an anniversary present... a reminder of what was in my bouquet. :)
But the past two years have been the hardest of our lives (so far…) I’m thankful that our marriage started with a commitment to love God in all seasons and in all circumstances. I’m thankful that God has provided a faithful traveling companion in all this mess--through challenges, we have become even closer.

And now, since I have learned through marriage among other things to have a sense of humor, here are a few of the sillier pictures from our wedding day. It's a pity I don't seem to have the one of Janet ironing my dress while I was wearing it on my computer. (We got married at a time when people were still using film.)

"I don't care how good they smell; DON'T eat my bouquet, Keith..."
This wasn't particularly silly, except that Sarah is sitting on Chris' lap.
Whose bouquet did Colin steal, I wonder?
Trying to look regal, I guess.

Sunday, June 25, 2017

When the Miracle-Wine Runs Dry

It’s a rainy Sunday afternoon, and I’m at the beach. That is to say, I’m at a café at the beach. I thought no one would be here, but apparently I am not the only one who enjoys looking at the ocean when it’s raining.

Today was one of the days when neither Keith nor I had to preach (which meant we were assigned for piano and vocal leader duty). The retired pastor of a nearby church has agreed to preach once a month, and today was the second installment in his series in the Gospel of John. The passage was John 2:1-12, the wedding at Cana.

One Sunday three years ago, Keith and I sat together with Pastor Takahashi at the head of a big long table around which were seated about 25 church members--more than half of the church. That day we read John 2 together, introduced the inductive method of Bible study, and thoroughly enjoyed each other’s company as we worked through the passage. I had watched with delight as the Bible came alive, as each person was able to find how the passage connected with their own life.

So, I listened to the passage being read this morning with complicated emotions. Pastor Takahashi isn’t here any more. The idea of everyone sitting together around one table, laughing and enjoying one another’s company seems like a distant dream. It seems like we’ve run out of wine--but perhaps we had forgotten where the wine was coming from.

I’m eating a slice of a spectacular gateaux chocolate cake right now, accompanied by Darjeeling tea. All around the café, wild roses are blooming, and the ocean is calm. These things are like the miracle-wine in the story, which was so delicious that the master of the feast pulled aside the bridegroom to compliment him for saving the best for last. And yet, neither the master of the feast nor the bridegroom knew where the wine came from. Only a few knew--Mary, the disciples, and the servants.

I have been given a great blessing; I know where the wine came from. I must not forget who made the miracle-wine from which I drink every day, or become distracted by its exquisite taste. And when the miracle-wine seems to run dry, I must not forget that the giver is infinitely greater and more beautiful than anything he gives.