Enjoying the Holidays

One of the advantages of having recently moved to a new area, is the opportunity to get out and explore what there is for shopping, dining, recreation and more. Practically everywhere we go, every restaurant or shop, is new for us. In some ways it’s like being on vacation, only you get to return if you find a place you really want to try again.

The holidays are an especially good time to try a new place. In the historic old town area of Leesburg, shop owners and dining establishments have gone full out decorating for the season. Whether urns filled to overflowing with evergreens, pine cones and such, or bountiful swag draping a fireplace, the town and her businesses are decked out and ready for their close up.

A break in our #shoplocal expedition gave us time for lunch at Lightfoot Restaurant. A hot drink from the bar and the soup and sandwich combination (pumpkin-apple soup with raisin pecan grilled cheese sandwich) were perfect on a cold winter day before Christmas.

A quick stop at Brick and Mortar Mercantile on S. King Street was a blast. This vintage-meets-modern shop had a lot going for it, including their name. And it fit our #shoplocal purpose. I love this descriptive phrase of their’s: we strive to provide you entertainment and an excellent customer experience by offering a non-click and human interactive way to shop. Yes please! We walked out with a number of gifts for family and expectations of returning soon.

King Street in Leesburg, Virginia

Before TV, There Was Radio

Adventures of the Christ Child, hat, CD cover

Before there was TV, there was radio, or so I have been told. I’m old enough to remember watching all of our television on a black and white set, but not old enough to remember the dawn of TV.

Girl listening to radio, between 1938-1945. Franklin D. Roosevelt Library Public Domain Photographs

My grandparents however, did live thru the golden age of radio. And I remember visiting their home in Southern California over the holidays and seeing the full-size radio in the living room. I doubt that we kids ever turned it on, but it served as an inspiration when we decided to present the Christmas story as a radio drama several years ago at church.

“The Adventures of the Christ Child,” written for us by Kelly Wick, was conceived as a four-week staged Advent narrative performed live on-air by a small group of actors. Meanwhile, on the other side of the stage, our 1940’s family would tune in each week to hear the broadcast, often with their own reflections on the story.

In support of the weekly drama, the team also recorded a CD (this was several years ago) which was distributed to parents by the Children’s Ministry. It was designed to be used as a devotional tool, play it at home or in the car with discussion questions at the end of each episode. This summer my wife and I moved and in the process we sold, gave away, donated, or otherwise disposed of a lot of things. But I was pleasantly surprised to find a copy of the CD and I’ve posted the four episodes on YouTube. I will say, I find some of the sound effects our engineer came up with still entertaining. On a whole, the piece has aged pretty well.

You can listen to the four episodes below, hopefully you will enjoy them; we certainly enjoyed recording them.

Immanuel Bible Church, Springfield VA, 2007
With Debbie Noetzel, Jon Noetzel, Marsha Isbell, Chuck Dickmann, Heidi Burke, Ron Hilbig, Rich Geel, Jackson Burke, Ashley Clingenpeel
Written by Kelly Wick
Audio Engineering by Chuck Dickmann and Ben Krech

Missing the Holidays

Last year at this time, my father-in-law was in the hospital. For quite some time actually, he went in the day after Thanksgiving and wasn’t released until early January. So he missed a good deal of the holidays, all the preparations, putting up the Christmas tree, shopping for gifts, attending parties and the myriad of activities that occupy us over the holiday season.

Looking back thru the photos from that time, I see the little Christmas tree and small decorations in the hospital room. Looking up from his hospital bed, he is always smiling in the photos surrounded by family dressed in winter clothes. There is a poinsettia, a few gifts, other visitors. It’s not a picture of how we like to remember the holidays but I’m sure it is one shared by other families as well.

He passed away in March after a long illness, surrounded by family at his bedside. This past year has been a year of firsts for our family: first Easter without Dad; first Memorial Day, Fourth of July, Labor Day, Thanksgiving. As we come to the close of the year, the list grows shorter as well. We still miss him, but the passage of time helps alleviate some of the sorrow. Not all of it, but some.

But we do not want you to be uninformed, brethren, about those who are asleep, so that you will not grieve as do the rest who have no hope. 14 For if we believe that Jesus died and rose again, even so God will bring with Him those who have fallen asleep in Jesus. 1 Thessalonians 4:13-14