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The finer points of fellowship

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Fireflys Winter View of Lake OntarioYesterday my husband and I went out on a drive in the afternoon to visit with some friends, Andy and Mabel, an older couple from our church. They just adopted a thirteen year old dog named Jenny from a local non-profit group dedicated to finding homes for pets in need. The non-profit was founded by a woman who won one million dollars in the New York lottery. She was a waitress at the time, driving a beat up old Chevy or something. To this day she is still a waitress driving that same old beat up car. She uses income derived from her lottery money to fund her non-profit organization. They take in pets in crises, in need, or abandoned and nurture them back to health physically as well as emotionally. Once the pet is ready for adoption, they match the pet with a family who will provide just the right home for that particular pet. On Saturday we held the annual Chicken and Biscuit fundraising dinner at our church. It is one of four dinner related fundraisers the church holds each year. My husband has been one of the key players in developing and running these fund raisers for over twenty years. Now that I am here with him, I do what I can to help with purchasing supplies ahead of time, setting up the kitchen and dinning room the night before, and preparing the food the day of the event. I enjoy sharing in the activity with him, and lightening the load on his shoulders. For him I think it is the sharing of the activity and not being alone that is the biggest change for him. Last year, the weekend of the Chicken and Biscuit dinner was the weekend when he and I truly became a couple, even though we had not met face-t0-face. It was a significant weekend then, and even more significant this year because I am actually here, by his side, and we worked together and enjoyed a fine day and a worthwhile event together. Fireflys Winter View of Lake OntarioAnother man from the church spent the entire week baking large sheet cakes, brownies, and cookies in preparation for a dessert bar for the dinner. The day of the event he also made three large cobblers: two peach, and one blueberry. Now that I am a part of the crew, I have taken on the responsibility of icing and cutting the cakes, as well as setting up the dessert bar. As I worked in the dinning room on the cakes and other desserts, the men (my husband, the baker man, and one other good friend who always shows up to help) worked together in the kitchen. The radio was playing a variety of 80's songs, not because that music was anyone's taste, but because that was the first station found when the radio was turned on. I enjoyed listening to the sound of their voices as they told stories and jokes with one another, accompanied by the soft sounds of the songs playing on the radio. Days and moments like that are precious. Later in the afternoon more members of the church showed up to be on hand to help serve, bus tables, and handle cleanup in the kitchen. The fundraiser dinners do raise funds for the church, but real benefit is the opportunity for fellowship with one another and with members of the community. Fireflys Winter View of Lake OntarioI love the experience of working side by side with other members of the church who I normally would only see on Sunday mornings. Standing in the food service line we get to know each other in new ways, and learn to appreciate each other as we interact not only with one another but also with the guests whose plates we fill with good old homecooked meals. Andy and Mabel are two of the dependable volunteers who you know will be there, no matter what else is going on in their lives. Andy enjoys washing dishes, and though he is one of the oldest members of our church, he is always there washing the dishes after fundraisers and potlucks, staying as late as anyone, washing huge numbers of dishes and pots and pans with a smile on his dear, sweet face. Saturday morning they brought Jenny home from the pet adoption service, so Mabel left early from the dinner to go be with the new family member at home. I noticed Andy got an early start on washing the dishes and seemed to working extra fast and hard, with quite a determined look on his face. I joined him in the kitchen to lend a hand, and told me about Jenny the dog and that he hoped to be able to leave a little early because he was excited to go home and spend some time with her. It was beautiful to me that his excitement was just as sweet as a child going home to a new puppy. I asked if we could stop by on Sunday afternoon to meet her, and he was delighted at the prospect. Another Barn Near Fireflys FarmHe finished what dishes were available for washing, and we all encouraged him to leave the rest to us so he could go home to be with Mabel and Jenny. What a dear man. He and Mabel are both extraordinarily loving, beautiful people. One day at church Mabel gave me a hug and she pulled back, looked at me and said, "I just think I love you!" Then we hugged again and I told her I loved her as well. She smells of roses every time we hug. They live about ten minutes north of us, up closer to Lake Ontario. After stopping by their house we drove closer to the lake to have a look at it in deep winter mode. I found it so interesting to see the band of chunky ice toward the shore, a band of churned up slate gray further out, and then the deep blue of the lake in the distance. We also spotted a small, old barn along the way. It will be one I feature in a painting; something about it caught my eye in a very special way. Fireflys Mystery ProjectFor some reason, being out on a drive in the cold winter environment makes me want to find someplace to have an ice cream cone with my husband. Oh well, I'll have to wait until summer for that treat. Progress continues on the mystery project ... this photo gives you a glimpse. As for fellowship, the fellowship experience at church on Saturday brought to mind the fellowship experience we are all having with my blog. You come here regularly and read, comment, have a cup of whatever. We participate in creating blankets for Habitat for Humanity together. This is a community. It has surprised me, because I couldn't have known when I started my blog last August that such a wonderful group of friends would assemble here within my words, patterns, recipes, and photographs. But here we are. And I appreciate your friendship, this opportunity for fellowship with you all, very much. Have a wonderful day. ~firefly

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