Monday, December 22, 2008


Happy Winter Solstice! It was certainly a cold one here, with wind chills below zero. But what a treat it is to see the sun shining! It is the first sunny day in a week or more!

I know that just before Christmas is a nutty time to start slimming, but this is when my personality shell agreed to do that so I have started. Today I cut my Sunday treat in half – one Sausage McMuffin instead of two! And for lunch, one half-sandwich instead of two. I am glad that my personality gave way on this and agreed to cut back, because I have reached the magic weight of 175 pounds. I call it magic because it was at that weight that I decided to slim down in 2001 or so. I did the same thing then, cutting my portions in half. Hopefully it will work and I will have an uneventful time losing again.

I do have an additional challenge this time, and that is that I cannot exercise any longer. Exercise resulted in three stress fractures in a row to my right foot, so I had to stop walking several years ago. My difficulty in exerting myself at all is absolute, currently. If I try to garden or do the stretching exercises I used to do, the symptoms of nerve pain in my back and shortness of breath are acute. My doctor gave me pain medication so I could garden, but as with all pain meds, I am sensitive to it and in this case got a really nasty itch which was worse by far than the pain it was supposed to eliminate!

Ah well! Fat or thin, well or ill, my heart is the Lord’s and I can still work for Him each and every day, both by what I do and by who I am and how I live. I hope only to serve my Beloved, and that prayer is answered daily with a resounding YES! So I live in gratitude and thanksgiving!

The service at St. Luke’s was delightful today. We sang carols and lit the fourth Advent candle on our big chancel wreath. The very last candle will be lit on Christmas Eve! I love this church and its people so much! They are so quick to help and so loving in every way!

We sang at the chancel steps today, which required me to move my stand, music and myself. I could not do that by myself in the time allotted, and at my previous parish, which I attended for 37 years, I would not have been able to sing. At St. Luke’s, one person moved the music stand, another took the music, and I had more arms to hold on to than I had hands for getting down those stairs. Praise the Lord for good people!

When Mick brought me home, we sat down to lunch along with the first of our two films, Traitor, with Don Cheadle and Guy Pearce. It was both written and directed by Jeffrey Nachmanoff, who created a rich, thick, varied texture of derring-do and spy-versus-spy. Cheadle was excellent as the man who is far more than he appears and Pearce and the surrounding ensemble supported his twists and turns beautifully. Who is the terrorist and who is the hero? Watch it and see!

Mick napped for an hour between shows while I read and finished working the Sunday puzzles. And Melissa arrived, intent on working on her Christmas gift stockings. She went down to the basement to do so, while Mick and I watched Wanted, another action film starring James McAvoy and Angelina Jolie as student and teacher in a school for assassins called The Fraternity. Seldom have I seen a film fuller of brutal violence. Still, the plot had legs and we enjoyed seeing the complex film unfold.

It has to have been a great deal of fun to work on this movie, because they filmed all over Europe, one beautiful location after another as the backdrops for the relentless action. And the sound track was excellent, as were all the production values. Was the story far-fetched? So what! It was most entertaining.

In the break, Mick and I went to the grocery, where I bought the food ready-made which I had neglected to make from scratch, not feeling well enough to cook. Melissa came upstairs to help me get the baked beans in the oven and re-pot the slaw and Gary, who was just in from a very brisk walk in Bernheim Forest, got the trays ready and cut the cheese to go on the kielbasa and bratwurst which Romi always brings as our traditional fare for the Winter Solstice ceremony.

With the supper preparations in hand, we poured wine for everyone and had the ceremony. It is short and sweet, but meaningful. We were inside because of the severe cold, so instead of the bonfire, we lit a candle and turned off all the lights. Then we chanted,

“This is the night, the longest night,
The longest night of the year.
What shall we give to the night?”

Then someone would shout out, “Hunger” or “Violence” or “Politicians”. And we would reply, “Hunger – BAH” and push our hands and arms up and out to banish hunger into the night. We repeated the little chant until we were all out of things to give to the night. Then we gave thanks for all the good things that reamin to gladden our day.

I sang “In the Bleak Midwinter” for the ritual. I love the last verse of the hymn,

“What can I give Him, poor as I am?
If I were a shepherd, I would bring a lamb.
If I were a wise man, I would do my part.
But what I can, I give Him – give my heart.”

We were still eating our dinner when Tobey arrived with his wife and two children. They are on their way to Kansas to spend Christmas with relatives. We were delighted to see them.

They had a miserable journey here, first stuck in traffic because a semi had overturned ahead of them and then rear-ended during the traffic jam, so that they had to wait for the police and report the incident. That and the cold made the trip from Virginia to here a long one!

Jim and Gary went out to help Tobey get his maimed trunk open, and miraculously it both opened and would close again! Thank you, Lord. Melissa did some quick moving around, putting herself in the compass room, which has one bed, so that Tobey and Jennifer could sleep in her room, which has a double bed. The children will sleep in the upstairs guest room.

Tobey has long been one of L/L Research’s best friends and volunteers. He has graced many of our Gatherings and he started the Relistening Project some time ago, his aim being to create an on-line record of the exact text of all the 106 Ra sessions, without any of the deletions of personal material which the printed books have. He is almost finished now, with only eleven sessions to go! Tobey has also been working with Jeremy, Gary and Steve E to get our activist site,, ready for its Christmas Day launch. So it was wonderful to be able to offer him and his dear family hospitality.

Romi offered the prayer at the Gaia Meditation tonight.