Hello friends and happy Monday! I have just a few quick updates from the weekend. First, Saturday’s Gathering was a big success. I had two “sorry I can’t come” texts Friday evening and another at 6am on Saturday. I dreamed Friday night that we’d have just a handful of women show up. Thankfully, that wasn’t the case – we had about 30 (which is awesome).
Rev. Aisha Brooks-Lytle was our featured guest and speaker. She’s a “big deal” in our church because she leads the network of churches in the greater Atlanta area*. Her program was “You Are a Gift” (Psalm 139:14 and Ephesians 2:8) and she challenged us to pause this season and make three lists about our spiritual gifts: 1. gifts we’ve acknowledged; 2. gifts we tend to overlook; 3. ways we can encourage each other to acknowledge and put our gifts to better use. She was a hit. Also, she took one of our members up on a learn-to-crochet lesson.
Also, “church social selfie” in the kitchen (of course).
So we listened, talked, journaled and even sang a few Christmas carols. We also ate cookies and drank punch. I was asked by multiple folks for the punch recipe so I’ve shared it below** (lots of *** today)
Our featured mission was Amani Women Center’s sewing program. The Center is based in Clarkston, Georgia (the most diverse square mile in the country), about an hour’s drive away (in good traffic .. our church is in Alpharetta). I’m excited to put 10 sewing kits and 24 handwritten notes of congratulations into the mail this week for their graduates. Our Women’s Ministry supports several women’s missions closer to home, mostly shelter and education for the homeless or abused. The opportunity to help refugees has really resonated. I think the program resonated, too.
Thankfully, that event was at the midpoint of the weekend and I had quiet time before and after. I finished knitting the purple blob for Sam and started the blue blob for Charlie.
I promise that top photo is from Friday and the bottom from Saturday 🙂 still. bokeh lights.
I have a relatively quiet week ahead, which should allow me to finish up the Christmas gift knits (maybe I’ll have actual knitting to share on Wednesday?) and maybe even sew buttons onto the two cardigans I’ve (almost) finished for myself. I’m also planning to get in all five of Robin’s Balanced Life routines. Even pilates gets better with twinkle lights***!
Here’s to a great week, my friends!
*Our church is PC(USA), so we are part of the Greater Atlanta Presbytery, and that’s what Aisha leads. I feel like our church structure is hard to explain … but I wouldn’t be doing Aisha justice to not emphasize the breadth of her impact in Atlanta. Also, I am incredibly proud of my Presbyterian roots and my current role as a leader of Presbyterian Woman. The church-wide ministry does amazing things locally, nationally and internationally. I subscribe to our national PW magazine – it comes out six times a year – and every single month when I open the issue, I am proud – once again – to be a Presbyterian Woman!
**We started making this punch for family gatherings when our kids were small … and it’s great made to the recipe, but it also works well with a splash of prosecco or spiced rum, depending on your audience and time of day.
Camp Walton Schoolhouse Punch
(serves 20 – generously)
12 oz can frozen orange juice, thawed
6 c water (4 juice cans full)
1 orange, thinly sliced
1/4 c sugar
3 sticks cinnamon, broken in half/thirds
2 t whole allspice
1-1/2 t whole cloves
4 c cranberry juice cocktail
2-1/2 c unsweetened pineapple juice
12 oz. ginger ale (one can)
The night before – mix the thawed juice and the water and pour into a ring mold. add the orange slices on top. cover and freeze.
Put the cinnamon, allspice and cloves into cheesecloth and tie into a bundle. Combine sugar, juices and the spice bundle in a pan. Bring to simmer over medium low heat, cover and simmer for 10 minutes. Remove spice bag and chill the mixture.
To serve, put the ice ring in a punch bowl, add the chilled juice mixture and the ginger ale.
**Our fancy artificial tree does clear and colored lights. We like the colored lights in the morning because they aren’t quite so bright.