Monday, December 19, 2016

A Full Weekend

My daughter, Lori, came to my house to recuperate after a total knee replacement - 28 hours after her surgery last week.  Hospital stays aren't very long these days! Both a home health care nurse and a physical therapist began seeing her on Saturday. Her daughter [and my granddaughter], Tiffany, is an RN and she came Friday night and stayed through Sunday afternoon to visit and help care for her mom too.  With each day Lori is feeling better, and the physical therapist was pleased with her progress this morning.

While Tiffany was at our house her hubby, John, stayed home to put up their outdoor Christmas lights.  Isn't their house cozy and cute?  Tiffany is barely showing and not wearing maternity clothes yet, but she felt life while she was at our house.  John took her today for an ultrasound to reveal the sex of their baby, but we will have to wait until Christmas Eve to find out.

Since all Lori's medical needs were efficiently tended to, I focused on keeping them well fed with old-fashioned comfort foods:  Shepherd's pie on Friday, Chili with cornbread on Saturday, and Roast Beef with Carrots, Corn and Mashed Potatoes on Sunday.  And... I finally got around to decorating the Christmas tree - better late than never!

It's beginning to look a lot like Christmas around our house!

Saturday afternoon Jerry left to go to our youngest son's in Chelsea, MI so he could go to church with them yesterday morning to see our three grandchildren perform in their Christmas program. I hated to miss it, but they videoed it for Lori and me to watch.

After church Jerry returned to help set-up the stable and manger for our church's first Live Nativity service last night. 

Jerry began building the stable and manger [below] before he left for Israel, and put the finishing touches on it after he returned.  The photo was taken just after they got it set-up on site yesterday afternoon.  After people saw it they inquired about him building one for them, but it was a labor of love for the church and won't become a side business.  ;-)

The service began at 6:00 p.m. with everyone singing carols, and special music by the local Romeo High School Choir. Then everyone moved indoors for a candle light service with a devotional, followed by hot chocolate and cookies. I was supposed to be in charge of the refreshments, but the best I could do this year was shop for supplies before Lori's surgery, and recruit other ladies for preparation and serving while I stayed home with her after surgery.  The event was very well attended.  It's always a blessing when a plan successfully comes together, and makes for a very happy Pastor!  ;-)

Live animals including camels.

There were also sheep, cows, and other animals for the children to feed and pet.

My monthly program at the assisted living facility was scheduled for yesterday afternoon. I asked for a postponement until Jan. 1st, but the activities director said it had been publicized and the residents were looking forward to it, so Tiffany delayed going back home until I returned.

 Shore Pointe Assisted Living Facility was beautifully decorated for Christmas.

The program and tea is always held on the second floor.

This month's theme was Christmas Around the World, so I took a few visual props to enhance my presentation.  I learned a lot about Christmas traditions and customs that I didn't know before [or forgot about].  

Three or four ladies came after this photo was taken.  Several donned Christmas red.

Did you know that because of persecution Christmas wasn't openly celebrated until the third century when Constantine became the first Christian Roman Emperor?  

Christmas came to England at the end of the 6th century, but it had several 'bends in the road' before it became an ongoing tradition.  During the Protestant Reformation the protestants and Puritans condemned the festivities, and the Puritans refused to observe it. During the Commonwealth period, Oliver Cromwell outlawed all religious festivals and Christmas Carols were illegal.  When Charles II returned to power in 1660 Christmas could be freely observed again, but the Industrial Revolution had begun and all thoughts were on work.  Common people didn't have much money to celebrate with, nor did they have time. Charles Dickens' character in A Christmas Carol, depicted this.  Who can forget Ebenezer Scrooge and his line, "Bah! Humbug!"  It wasn't until Queen Victoria's reign in 1837 that the Christmas holiday became a treasured, ongoing tradition in England.  We can thank England for the creation and tradition of sending Christmas Cards, Fruit Cakes [or Christmas Cakes as they're called across the pond], and Egg Nog.  Did you know a fruit cake can have a shelf-life of up to 25 years...Ewwww! ;-)

Christmas came to Germany in 813, and the world owes much to that country for many of the traditions we enjoy today.   Our American love for the holiday that began in the late 19th century, would not have occurred had it not been for the enthusiastic influence of Christmas-loving German immigrants.  They gave us Advent Calendars, Christmas Trees, Hand-blown Glass Ornaments, Christmas Carols, Gingerbread Houses, Candy Canes and Nutcrackers [and probably more that I haven't mentioned].

Italy gave us Nativity Sets.  St. Francis of Assisi is credited with popularizing them in 1223 in central Italy so the emphasis of Christmas would be on the worship of Christ rather than secular materialism.  But the first nativity set goes back to 1205 in Naples, Italy, and Naples is still famous for making them today.

The Poinsettia came from Mexico where it's called "The Flower of the Holy Night."  It was renamed after the first American Ambassador to Mexico - Dr. Joel Poinsett - in the early 1800's, when he brought a plant back to America.  I could go on, but I'll stop.  ;-)

This is a synopsis of life at the Barkey home over the weekend.  Lori made Tiffany a Christmas tree skirt before her surgery and gave it to her while she was here.  After Tiffany returned home she sent the picture below to Lori saying: "Oliver [their Golden Retriever] likes the Christmas tree skirt and hopes you get well soon!"  ;-)

I hope you and your family are enjoying this beautiful Christmas Season.


  1. It sounds like you packed a lot into one weekend! I hope your daughter has a speedy recovery!!

  2. I'm glad Lori is doing well, and that Tiffany could stay with her while you did your program at the assisted living facility. The stable your husband built is really nice, and I know it was indeed a labor of love.

  3. Wow! I thought I had been busy lately until I read what all YOU have been up to. Glad Lori is recuperating well and has such good caretakers. (And I am so relieved that I am not the only one who didn't have a Christmas tree decorated at Thanksgiving!) LOVE the stable and manger Jerry built as a labor of love for your church. And it is still shocking to this Georgia girl to see so much snow on the ground and yet you're all going around like this is normal. (And I guess it is up there—so lovely!)


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