[E]epiphany---Tomorrow is the 12th day after Christmas, Epiphany, the day that the Magi visited the Christ child. Today I had an epiphany about how I want to spend my volunteer hours now that I'm retired. I've been casting about trying to find something that suits me and my gifts for the past two years. I've been searching outside my church for a match. Today I realized where I am needed is inside my church, as deacon, church librarian, and as a supporter and volunteer to our prison ministries.
Hagar's Community Church---is a new church inside the Women's Correctional Facility in Purdy, Washington. Our church is supporting their ministry by sending a team of volunteer worshippers to join with the women prisoners who choose to attend the service on Saturday night. Last night Don and I attended as volunteers, really just fellow worshippers. It was a new experience for me and quite emotional. Afterwards, on our drive home in the church van, we debriefed the experience. So many of the women seem to be imprisoned because they are poor and addicted. Others shared how their mothers, grandmothers, and children are also incarcerated. One woman asked for prayers for her 14-year-old daughter, who ran away on New Years' Eve and hasn't been found. Imagine her impotence being in prison, unable to search for her daughter. My heart was breaking for her.
House full---This past week we had both our daughters and my eldest daughter's family staying with us. We had many, many games of Qwixx, dominoes, Farkle, Splendor, and Five Crowns. We ate many excellent meals and lots of Christmas cookies and candy. We stayed up late watching movies. And, because my girls are such big fans, watched the CATS video (1997) on YouTube. I can't get the songs out of my head. Today I woke up with 'Gus the Theater Cat' in my head. Yesterday it was The 'Old Gumbie Cat---Jennyanydots.' Ha! Follow this link if you want to enjoy the music.
"Never get involved in a land war in Asia"---it is one of the most classic blunders of all time to think one can win such a war. Hasn't Trump seen Princess Bride?
Undoing Christmas---yesterday, after getting our youngest daughter safely to the airport for her flight home to San Fransisco, Don and I undecorated the house. It is not as much fun as decorating, but the task is essentially done. Don left up the house lights, which are green and blue, hung up a 12th-Man flag. Our Seattle Seahawks football team colors are green and blue, so now our house lights are showing our support and fandom rather than as Christmas decorations. Ha!
Cybils Finalists announced on January 1st---the finalists for the JH/SH Nonfiction category for which I am a judge are listed here. I have started one, Dreamland, already, and have another checked out from the library. I have until mid February to finish the ten books. Watch for my reviews in the coming days and weeks.
Currently reading (I didn't finish any books last week)---
- Dreamland (YA Edition): The True Tale of America's Opiate Epidemic by Sam Quinones. E-book, 8% complete. I've wanted to read the adult version of this book for the years since it was published so I am glad to be able to read this YA version now.
- On This Earth We're Briefly Gorgeous by Ocean Vuong. Print, 87%. A gay man writes a letter to his mother, a Vietnamese woman who cannot read English, as an explanation of how he has interpreted his life and interactions with her.
- Blowout: Corrupted Democracy, Rogue State Russia, and the Richest, Most Destructive Industry on Earth by Rachel Maddow. Audiobook, 60% complete. The title says it all.
Where will we find the Babe born in Bethlehem?
We will find the Babe in the laughter of children,
in the wisdom of grandparents.
We will find the Child where the needy are gifted with hope,
where the oppressed are set free.
We will find our Hope where fear is overwhelmed by grace,
where hatred is overwhelmed by love,
where all people are overwhelmed by joy.
Happy New Year!