Monday, December 26, 2011


     A week ago Sunday Beth and I led some children's music for the program that is run downstairs at church. It had been a couple of months since we had done this and I realized afterwards how much I had missed doing it. It's one of those things that comes fairly easily, is fun, and seems to go very well (judging by the enthusiastic singing and big smiles on the kids' faces). Musically, I guess I have just the right ability (that is, not a lot, but enough to pick good songs and keys) and confidence to pull it off. There aren't an abundance of times when I think "God definitely made me for this", but when I do it sure feels great. I need to lead the kid's music more often.
     One other time though when I remember feeling this very strongly, was 21 years ago when Beth and I decided we should take the kids (at that time it was only David (3) and Josh who was about a year and a half) up to St. Mary's hospital on Christmas morning and sing to the patients on her floor. Afterwards I remember choking back tears while thinking "this is what Christmas is really about" and "maybe this is why I learned to play guitar." Mom and Dad joined us, and over the years my Grandma Bieman and Beth's dad Wes have been part of our mini-choir. One of the reasons this works so well is Beth's nurse's heart, along with her familiarity with the hospital and patients. We've done it every year since, and although we're no longer 'young and cute' it's still very well-received and is an important Christmas tradition for our family. This year a couple of the nurses even joined in for most of the rooms we visited.
     The rest of the week seemed pretty uneventful. After school finished on Friday Beth and I went to see the new Sherlock Holmes movie which I thought was well-acted, clever, and more enjoyable than Mission Impossible. On Saturday we went out for breakfast and then got the house ready for hosting Christmas Eve. After the Christmas Eve service at church we usually have friends and family over for a big spread of finger foods. I've made my own potato skins the last couple of years and they turned out well again it seemed. The last few years we've invited our daughter-in-law Rachel's family and our friends the Wisemans. And of course Mom and Dad join us. Rachel's sister Jesse had a baby in November and it was nice to hold Hayden and see that I can still get babies to stop crying (by holding them against my middle but facing out, and bouncing up and down).
     On Christmas Day, after singing at the hospital, we always head over to Mom and Dad's for turkey dinner. Afterwards we watched some family videos from the past which always results in some pretty big laughs. Dad had bought a camera early on so we have footage of most of the kid's birthdays growing up. Several years ago I transferred everything into a digital format and put it on portable hard drives for the kids. This year I set up my projector and screen so we got to view them in a large as life format. We also played dominoes and had a light supper. Alison's boyfriend Pete came over from Newmarket and was quite interested in seeing some video of her as a little girl so we watched a few more family movies.
     I read a few books this week: Pete Peterson's "Fiddler's Gun" & "Fiddler's Green" have been on my 'to read' shelf for a while and Beth highly recommended them after reading them last month. I'm really glad I finally got to them because they're great storytelling and have kinda restored my faith in good fiction writing. I also read Margot Starbuck's "The Girl in the Orange Dress" which is a nice memoir but dealing with the struggle of dealing with rejection by fathers.
     Music listening included some Christmas stuff of course. I also gave a couple of more intensive listens to Ben Shive's "The Cymbal Crashing Clouds", which includes a book (very Brian Wilsonish - and great!) and a first listen to Gungor's "Ghosts Upon the Earth"(I like it!). I've read a few Album of the Year lists online, which gives me more new music to consider but I'll write more about that later.

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