A friend suggested that this might be a very significant picture for the coming year, 2012. Another friend suggested asking God for a particular picture for the year and the two suggestions seem to merge as we prayed. More and more people are putting up lights at Christmas here in Latvia, it is very encouraging. This year we put lights on the chapel keeping Christ as the center of our Christmas focus. We want Him to shine through us to our little community and we hoped the lighted chapel would speak toward that end.
What does the lighted chapel portend for our coming year? We wait and listen to learn of its meaning. Will you wait and listen with us and share what you hear?
Last year our Christmas celebrations were very quiet, we had so much snow we could not even get down the field to cut a Christmas tree.
This year snow was not a problem. We have had very little and when it does fall it leaves the same day, usually. We had just enough for a semi-white Christmas and we haven’t seen it since. The prediction is for some to happen New Years Eve, when all things being equal we will be celebrating at midnight in a forest near Stelpe with Roger, Val and some Latvian friends. Hopefully pictures will follow in the first post of 2012.
The original plan was a table top tree but I have too many ornaments for that to be practical. I have reduced my Christmas decorations several times but all during the year they multiply in their boxes, right? The candy canes are entering their 5th year and are stored in their original boxes with very few mishaps.
The lovely Latvian crocheted angel was given to me by a dear friend along with a matching one. Angels are part of my tree theme each year and of course I love adding to their number. In the picture on the left there is another angel addition this year, one that lights up. Many crystal angels are available here and I must exercise restraint when we go shopping each December. I think Ian will laugh when he reads that sentence.
We had a lovely Christmas Day with our friends, Valerie and Roger. We cooked the turkey, a Kalnozoli turkey and it turned out very well. Nice and moist cooked very slow, breast side down, slathered in butter with the cavity filled by apples and onions for taste and moisture. We added 2 salads, Waldorf (red seedless grapes and kiwi included) and a avocado/orange with honey yogurt dressing. Valerie and Roger did scrumptious veggies, from their garden and a lovely homemade fruit and Victoria sponge finger cake. Add to that wonderful homemade rolls. Are you drooling, yet? I am, just remembering. We had such fun and precious times remembering Jesus birthday.
I mentioned last year we were rather snowed in and if you remember our car was out of commission for almost 6 weeks. Ian eventually found the part, ordered it from England and worked very hard to get the girl back on the road.
Here is one happy car owner. The Land Rover has finally had her 100,000 mile service at the hands of the only Land Rover dealership in Latvia. We also re-shod her while there and had her detailed. This may not sound like much but it took us 3 years to get it accomplished. We had sent many emails and even made phone calls to try to get it done without success but finally someone paid attention and we had contact with a man who made sure it all happened, finally. They took very good care of us and our girl and we are very happy. We praise God for His provision and protection. We learned that the tie rods were at the point of disintegration and we were dicing with possible death as we drove with them in that condition. God always comes through at the right time regardless of how we view, what seems like a delay.
The same could be said for Ian’s tractor driving license. We made several trips to the separate licensing office to get it but in the end no test was needed even though we had made a new friend who was with Ian to translate the exam. He can drivee, not only a tractor, but a combine and even road repair equipment. The officials at the licensing office bent over backwards apologizing for the delays and the need for us to keep coming back. We are especially happy to have the new friendship of Gunars, our friend in Rezekne, a real gift from God. He is Latvian but spent many of his 72 years in England, where he is known as ‘George.’
What of the action on the farm. Winter is a ‘quiet’ time usually controlled by the harsh winter but not this year, so far. Today is January 30 and it is 40 degrees F/5C. Ian is out with his chain saw and new lumber mill attachment making timber planks for building an outdoor shelter in our farm yard for the animals. It must be going well as I can see from the window he has made several. I am enjoying the walk to the pump/laundry house to do laundry, especially with my new clothes dryer. The whole drying rack routine had become too much with one load of laundry taking two days to dry. We were using the porch room which is not heated and the little space heater was grabbing too much electricity. Our dryer has a condenser and seems quite efficient. It is helping to restore some of my sanity, so that is a very good advantage. After the new year we will be able to get an accurate reading on our electric when we unplug the chapel outdoor lighting. I have encouraged Ian to leave the lights on the chapel building because at almost 74 I don’t want him up ladders more than absolutely necessary. We may turn them on at Easter as well.
Our newest project is the attempt to get a rescue Border Collie. Ian had two when he was a contract shepherd and knows how lovely they are as companions and great working with sheep. We will talk with a rescue center tomorrow in England about a dog they have but so far only this one center is willing to talk with us because we are out of the country. We have found another center in Germany so we are believing God has just the right one for us. There are no Border Collies in Latvia though some puppies may soon be imported but they are very expensive and a bit like buying a ‘pig in a poke.’ Stay tuned for updates on this project. How does Saulite feel about this, she often plops her self on Ian’s laptop when he is looking at the collie pictures on line. We think she will help train the new member of the family and maintain her role as queen. News of the other animals, we have dispatched one of the turkeys and the male kid with only a male lamb remaining for dispatch. We are looking for a home for our Billy Goat as we really don’t want any more goats though 2 or more may be on the way with our two remaining girls. We will probably have some early lambs born in January. And that is the animal report at the end of 2011.
We send you our best wishes and abiding prayers for the New Year with these words from Philippians 4:
“Don’t fret or worry. Instead of worrying, pray. Let petitions and praises shape your worries into prayers, letting God know your concerns. Before you know it, a sense of God’s wholeness, everything coming together for good, will come and settle you down. It’s wonderful what happens when Christ displaces worry at the center of your life.”
Taken from The Message version of the Bible.
HAPPY NEW YEAR!!!!!!!!!!