Philippines or Bust pt.15

Sunrise finally came! I was amazed

Shift Focus To Wonder

I spend the last few weeks of every year praying for a future word from God for the next year.

A few years ago the word was “Prepare for change.”. By April our church had lost its Lead Pastor, Children’s Pastor and Youth Pastor. Before the year was out we had welcomed in new people to all three positions.

Last year my word was directly from Scripture, Psalm 144:1 to be exact,

Blessed be the LORD, my rock, who trains my hands for war, and my fingers for battle;

The year turned out to be one of the most difficult our church has faced.

This year the words came about two weeks before Christmas, “Shift your focus to wonder.”.

So much has changed, there has been so much battle these last few years and yet I know there has been purpose in all of it. God has been doing a remarkable work of restoration in my life which I was unaware I needed. God has been doing a wonderful work of restoration in our church which we were likewise unaware we needed. But the temptation to get our eyes focused on the spiritual pruning, which happens through difficulty, is great.

I believe the time has come to shift our eyes away from all the turmoil which has gone on among us. I believe God is about to do something great in my life and in our little church and that means the time has come to shift our focus to wonder.

As the year closed out the ministers of the Vicarage were honored to celebrate the 50th wedding anniversary of our longest tenured staff member, Wendy Brouillet.

Wendy has been the main desk receptionist at Cornerstone for more than half her marriage to Roger! Both of those things are amazing feats!

In a few week’s time Brenda and I will head to the Philippines to attend the wedding of my son Joe and his fiance Kristine.

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My daughters will be staying with my mother during that time and the church will embark on what I am believing is going to be one of its greatest spiritual adventures. Cornerstone will be hosting 21 days of 24/7 prayer and fasting.

Our times are perilous and yet full of the greatest wonder. We all get to choose what we look at. What will you focus on this year?

Christmas At the Vicarage 2019

My dreams for Notes From the Vicarage were so big when I started. I had this vision of giving the blogosphere a glimpse into the life of a ministry family that is unique in its makeup and experience (at least it seems that way to me). One of the drawbacks of ministerial life however has gotten in the way. BUSYNESS!

So much has happened since August and contending with all of it has taken up so much time that there was little time left over to write about it. But now that the holidays are over…or almost over, I am coming back to this template to try again to open a portal into our world.

Christmas at the Vicarage was a small affair. That is Christmas Day was a small affair. The Christmas season was as big as ever. We had several parties to attend. There was Christmas shopping and wrapping. My sister attended an annual cookie bake. We decorated two trees at our house and of course the church had its own decorating day right after Thanksgiving. Our artist’s community had two caroling opportunities one at the town’s annual historic Christmas house tour and the other as we went to several elderly complexes to share the joy of the season. It all culminated in our church’s annual Christmas Eve candlelight service which was absolutely wonderful.

So a quiet Christmas Day was well in order. We had 7 to Christmas brunch. That may not seem small to you but when you compare it to our church receptionist Wendy’s gathering of 35 or our Board secretaries gathering of 64 well…I’ll take 7!

James, Melanie and Daniella arrived at about 9:30 in the morning. That was perfect timing. It gave Mom time to wake up and prepare herself but not enough time to fall into her usual doldrums over the holidays. Daniella has this magical power to lift my mother’s spirits.

I made stuffed French toast, turnovers, sausages, a pasta dish, a fritata and cole slaw. We broke out the egg nog, wassail and apple cider. Then after we had brunch we opened gifts.

Amanda made this stuffed Yoda. It was Melanie’s gift to her husband James. I have such talented daughters.

James had to be to work so the Franklin family left at about 1:30 in the afternoon and then it was naps all around and then the traditional evening at the movies. We saw Jumanji II!

Does it seem odd to you that a ministry family would go to the movies on Christmas Day?