Today I’m defaulting to the “Five Photos” format that helps when there’s just too much going on and no time to cover it all.
CHURCH STAFF: First, one of the many great things about our church is its wonderful staff. Rebekah and I always enjoy hosting staff Christmas parties and this year was no exception.
We are blessed with a deep talent pool both in program and support staff. Rebekah’s most important task these first two-and-a-half years in Wake Forest has been to encourage, to build trust, and to move the church into a discipleship model. The staff are key players in this process and, the beautiful thing is, they don’t just have jobs, they do ministry together.
So after dinner we did the classic gift-exchange – along with stealing, re-stealing, negotiating, and under-the-table deals. Here’s a photograph of pastor John’s wife, Madeline, gloating over her acquisition of the much sought after nutcracker.
THE STRIPPER REINDEER STILL LIVES! Then there’s the ongoing “ugly ornament” saga we have going with Tim and Kelly Black in Pennsylvania.
Ten years ago Tim brought home the storied “Stripper Reindeer” from a gift exchange. Kelly liked it so much that Rebekah and I now search all year for the most perfectly gaudy, grotesque, tasteless ornament in America, so we can add to the collection and keep the tradition going. This year I believe we outdid ourselves.
These are not “gag gifts” so much a creative way to say, “We love you” and miss celebrating Christmas together. Tim and Kelly now own enough specimens that they have their own designated tree! I’m sure it’s been quite the conversation piece at their new church.
FLORIDA! This week Rebekah and I received the gift of Florida! A huge box crammed with oranges, grapefruit, and tangerines. It’s a little ironic considering the unseasonably warm temperatures we’re experiencing here.
We’re often asked if we miss the mild winters. The answer is “no!” This week illustrates why. Granted, highs in the 70’s is still well below what Florida offers during the average December, but we’ve already come to appreciate sweater-weather, jackets to church, and foot-stomping cold.
So bring on the low temperatures! But thanks, too, for the burst of Florida sunshine!
SASSY DOG: The other day Scout went missing. We looked all over the house, calling her name. Couldn’t find her anywhere. All the outside doors were closed so it was a mystery.
Eventually she gave herself away, tail beating with self-satisfaction. She’d been on the couch – where she’s not allowed – motionless, the entire time!
Lots going on this week. Simply nowhere near enough time to write. Stay tuned to this space and see what happens. I can guarantee it will be rich.
Peace and love – DEREK
Derek has published seven books in the past decade (you can find them at https://www.amazon.com/Derek-Maul/e/B001JS9WC4), and there’s always something new in the works.
Before becoming a full-time writer, Derek taught public school in Florida for eighteen years, including cutting-edge work with autistic children. He holds bachelor’s degrees in psychology and education from Stetson University and the University of West Florida.
Derek is active in teaching at his church: adult Sunday school, and a men’s Bible study/spiritual formation group. He enjoys the outdoors, traveling, photography, reading, cooking, playing guitar, and golf.