That's Ryan with Marnie, and Peter with Bobby and Ally.
After we ate, we all went to church. (Well, not all - Peter is an atheist and is unapologetically intolerant of Christianity, Christians, me (go figure!) - so even though we asked him to come along, just to be with us - he didn't have to pay attention or anything -- he said he had somewhere else to go. Well, OK, then... to each his own!
It was a beautiful sermon. Pastor Dan talked about how Jesus is the light of the world, and how when He came, He shined that light not on Himself, but on God, so that we would understand how great God is and know how much He loves us. One analogy Dan made that hit home for me was this: that lightness has an impact on darkness, but darkness doesn't dim lightness. In other words, the darkness can't make my candle dimmer. But if I walk into a dark room with a candle, the light will change that darkness. Relating that to myself, although I am often "unsettled" by Peter, his darkness can't impact me, and if God's light shines through me upon him, well, so be it. I (and my faith) cannot be dimmed if I am around dark people. But it is possible for my light (my faith) to change "darkness" into light.
After church we drove 50 miles to Wisconsin where Bob's brother was having another dinner. It was great to see everybody. All his neices and nephews are growing up - they're adults with "real" lives now - it's all going by so fast. It was fun to see everybody, but we had a long drive back home to get the cookies out for Santa!
I think the gifts were right on. Ally was most excited to get skates and a digital camera. That's her below hugging her camera. We were out and skating on the pond in the woods by about 9:30 this morning. Thankfully, it was covered with about an inch of snow, and the ice underneath was quite rough, so it wasn't too slick for her.... good to gain a little confidence the first time out! She wants to take lessons again, even though she has taken them twice before and dropped out.
Bob (Mr. Romance!), got me an emergency kit for my car. Blanket, flashlight, tire air, ... all the necessities. It's gotten to the point where it's funny... even to me! But where does a guy learn that girls want this stuff as a gift? After 11 1/2 years I know to put stuff I really want under the tree myself and label it, "For Jenny, From Jenny". So I got some cool boots, a couple of Gwyneth Paltrow movies, and I'm going to get myself one of those Garmins at the after-Christmas sale!
Cheers, and enjoy the holidays, everyone!