Wednesday, December 27, 2006

Our Christmas "exploits" so far

Merry Christmas! Here's what we've been doing since we finished finals. (We survived!)

Now that Carla has taught me so many wonderful Brazilian dishes, I taught her one of the best recipes from my heritage: Cardamom bread!! We made a party of it; it's much more fun to make bread in a group.

We decorated a whole bunch of gingerbread cookies with the kids upstairs. We made a special plate of penguins for Heather.

My parents lost power for 8 days, so we decorated the tree in the dark (tree lights powered by the generator). How romantic! (or something)

Colin couldn't be there for the tree decorating, but he was there in spirit (that is, Dad scanned a picture from one of the ornaments and photoshopped him in...) The next morning, off we went to Iowa!

We made a special cookbook for Keith's mommy with our favorite recipes, many of which we got from friends and family.

Favorite gifts? Keith's mommy made all of us blankets! The whole family was here this year: Joseph, Catherine, Keith, Celia, Rebecca, Nate, Sarah (and Baby Sweet), and Chris. Ilene took the picture, and Tim was off doing something else.

Nate prepares to bring his Christmas gifts home. No, you can't have the dog.

Christmas will keep right on going when we're back in Seattle with Celia's family on December 30!

Christmas Letter, 2006

Finally we are putting out our Christmas letters and cards. We should be sending them by mail shortly, but here you will find our letter and picture.

December 22, 2006

Dear friends and family,

We’ve had a really busy semester, so we’re getting our cards out a bit late this year. Now we are enjoying some restful time with Keith’s family in Iowa.

This January we started at Regent College in Vancouver, Canada studying theology. This has been an all-absorbing task; we’ve been learning a lot and enjoying the community. A third of Regent is from outside North America, which creates a very different dynamic. We have new friends from Brazil, Japan, Singapore, Australia, New Zealand, and the UK. We enjoy learning about their cultures, especially how they cook. We seem to learn just as much out of classes as in them.

We went to school through the summer as well, and rediscovered that we both procrastinate very badly. All the assignments for a summer class are due on the same day. Keith did some career exploration through summer school, thinking about youth ministry and pastoral care. He is currently thinking of teaching in a private school setting. Celia worked through some important questions related to music and worship, and while she wasn’t studying, went to two music festivals. Lately each of us has been busy writing and thinking about a theological topic. Keith has been working through the concepts of predestination, free will, and grace, while Celia has been studying the problems of dispensationalism. Both of us are enjoying our biblical language classes. We decided to “divide and conquer”: Keith is studying Greek, and Celia is studying Hebrew. So far our studies have been very fruitful personally and vocationally. We plan to continue our studies here for another two years or so.

We found a great church (Vancouver First Christian Reformed), where we worship with people from many ages and walks of life. The church has been very supportive of the many Regent students there, putting us to work to serve the community. Keith has been playing piano and organ for congregational singing. Celia occasionally plans worship and teaches adult Sunday school. Both of us sing in the choir.

In news totally unrelated to our studies (and to prove that we do occasionally do something different—we’re feeling a little nerdy as we look over our letter), Keith dug a great big hole in the backyard to make a place for our new patio! Unfortunately he completed it just in time for the rainy season. We look forward to some nice barbeques next summer.

We wish all of you a wonderful Christmas and many blessings in the New Year!

Monday, December 11, 2006

Christmas trees!

Over the summer, I took a class on planning worship. For our final projects, we split into groups and planned short worship services which we then presented to the class. (It was one of the best assignments so far here!) One of the other groups had an object lesson which involved baby Noble Fir trees. Somehow I ended up with four of them. I forgot what the object lesson was, but the trees are really cool. We decided to bring them inside and decorate them for Christmas!

Here they are, hanging out with our advent "wreath" and a couple of presents. The biggest one gets to be on top of the piano.