Sunday, December 24, 2006


After Morning Offering, Jim and I had a cooking session together, making the last of the dishes for the Rueckert Christmas family gathering. We agreed that tomorrow, when the last of these dishes are solidly frozen, we will “stack” the freezer with them, so that we can more easily get our meals together during the visit itself. We felt as though we were caterers, hired to provide for a house party! When the families gather, we also can relax and enjoy the party.

Of course, there are salad dishes we shall need to prepare at the time of those meals. You really cannot freeze a salad!

Jim left to accomplish some errands about halfway through the last job, making two batches of cookies, and I finished those up and packaged them for storage, then cleaned up the kitchen, completing the job just as Jim came home with a fast-food treat for lunch. We both reflected on how good it feels to be ready at last. There is a good bit to do with any Christmastide – cards and presents to wrap and mail to those far away, and gifts to wrap for those who are near. When you add hosting a family gathering, we found this year, you add a whole next level of challenge. Whew! And Hurrah!

By the time we cleared lunch away, it was close to 2:30, as we had a late lunch. Jim had told me that he had no idea what the financial report was, since for the first time, this year, we have abandoned paper ledgers for L/L Research and are relying solely on QuickBooks. So I sat down to try to wrest some information from the QuickBooks software. I got close enough for the meeting! It was not a complete job, however. I also finalized the agenda and printed that, too, out so that Morris H, our vice president, Jim and I all had copies. I sent the information by e-mail to the other board members and also to Steve M, whose good advice has impressed me in other areas.

We had Ian J, Steve M, Steve T, Roman V, Morris H, Jim and I for the discussion. It was the largest number of people we have had involved in these annual meetings, ever. Usually it is a pro forma event with only Morris, Jim and I being present. However I wanted to encourage an initiative among the Board members to look at ways we can be more fiscally responsible. At present, even with donations from very generous people who love our work and donate year after year, we do not raise enough money to fund L/L Research’s activities. Always before, this was of no big concern, because Jim and I would make up the difference, and our expenses were not so great. This year we have added staff, and that is a cost of about $1600.00 per month. This more than doubles our expenses of previous years.

I doubt that there is any way to get smaller! More people are visiting the site each year. Indeed, Ian said the growth rate has been about 10% per year. I was amazed at the level of downloads we have these days. There are thousands of pages being printed out daily from our site. This is wonderful indeed. It does bring an ever higher volume of e-mail in the Inbox and orders coming in which need to be filled. I am so grateful to be able to give that work to Gary, the best admin in the known world, and Pam, the best bookkeeper around.

The Board members agreed to continue the conversation about finances in e-mail. I am looking forward to any and all advice. Meanwhile, our current campaign of Matching Funds is coming to a very good conclusion. We are very close to our goal of $5,000.00, which will pay Gary and Pam’s fees for the next six months. I cannot express my gratitude to the many donors who have made this happen.

The meeting ended t 7 PM and Jim and I lounged in splendid leisure for the remainder of the evening, except for his cleaning the kitchen, at which time I did some e-mail upstairs. I fielded a whole lot more e-mail from the group of UPI columnists who had written me to wish me happy holidays. There seems to be some energy in the group for getting together physically at some point and exploring ways to collaborate. I would welcome that.

We enjoyed a quiet, late supper and the Gaia Meditation, with Jim offering the ending prayer, before coming up to snuggle with the cats before lights out around midnight.