"And, lo, the angel of the Lord came upon them, and the glory of the Lord shone round about them: and they were sore afraid. and the angel said unto them. Fear not: for, behold, I bring you good tidings of great joy, which shall be to all people. For unto you is born this day in the city of David a Savior, which is Christ the Lord." -- Luke 2:9, 10, 11

And here we are, one and one half weeks away from Christmas Day. Already. So soon. Most of our Christmas gatherings are done, not that we had a lot, but still...we have our Plank family Christmas at sis Barb and Elmer Gingerich's on Sunday. We have a company supper on Friday evening.

Of which all of these will be history when this gets in the paper.

I am really glad we had our family Christmas on Thanksgiving, instead of late after Christmas, which is what happens so often.

Our daughter Cindy, and we too, knew of her lump when we were together on Thanksgiving, but she hadn't been to a doctor yet. We just tried to ignore the elephant in the room. That's not an easy feat. But we still had an enjoyable time.

At this point she has not started chemo treatments. According to the scheduling, she will do her chemo first, then surgery, which will be toward spring.

On this Wednesday as I write, our scheduling is a little off. For starters, I overslept. That always upsets me, kind of tips my equilibrium, but I did get things back on track and yet things kind of go awry.

Hubby will be at work for lunch, due to one of the dealers furnishing lunch. So that means he has to work longer. And that makes him so very tired. We decided he can go with me to do my cleaning job, then I will drop him off on the way back. That way he won't be on his feet so long.

When I got to work and wanted to blanket the horse, first I had the blanket inside out. I got it turned right, then it was backwards. I almost gave up!

When I wanted to type, my typewriter kept making mistakes. Maybe I should have gone back to bed and started over!

I wanted to check messages and kept poking the wrong buttons! I wonder if it was a carry over from yesterday. Maybe sis Barb had a contagious bug!

She took us to Champaign. I had an appointment with Dr. Muscatella. We wanted to go to Savoy Wal-Mart first. We were zipping along and yakking, then Barb realized she was headed to Champaign. So we looped around and came back.

Then we couldn't find Muscatella's office. Usually she can just drive right to it. Her GPS had us going all wrong. It directed us to a bike path! Seriously! She ended up calling the office. We were only a few minutes late.

On the way home we were discussing food. Why?? Don't know. Maybe we were hungry. Anyway, we were talking about salmon patties. Way back in the day, when we were kids at home we ate a lot of them. Or at least some of us did. Actually, back then, I liked them, mostly. Now, not so much. Anyway, Barb said the best way she liked to eat them was with homemade bread, lots of Miracle Whip, a slice of tomato and without the salmon patty! To each his own, whatever. I can eat them probably better than ox tail soup. There again, the ox tail soup is good with out the ox tail!

This week has been appointment week. On Monday it was the dentist. As you know, I like my dentist as a person, I just don't like to have my teeth worked on. And yet, I want to keep them all my life, so...

Tuesday it was the podiatrist and Thursday it is the chiropractor, Doc Fishel in Arcola. It is for hubby this time.

And today we were late getting home because of Erwin staying for lunch. I am also invited to partake whenever HCK has a meal. Today it was Pauly's barbecued ribs. Really good! Also pork and beans, corn bread and slaw. It really was good. But you know what? Secretly, I was hoping for Yoder's broasted chicken, mashed potatoes...

Now here it is, late afternoon and I am still pecking away at the typewriter. Once again, I may not get to the sewing machine. We are not having supper. We had enough lunch to tide us over. I did make coffee.

So maybe after I clear the sink of accumulated debris, I can still get in a few minutes of sewing machine time.

In closing: The bread earned by the sweat of the brow is far sweeter than the tasteless loaf of idleness.

Here is a comforting casserole for a cold winter day or evening.

Corny Chicken Bake

3 cups corn bread stuffing mix

1 can (14-3/4 oz.) cream style corn

1/3 cup finely chopped onion

1 celery rib, diced

4 boneless, skinless chicken breast halves (4 oz. each)

1/4 cup packed brown sugar

1/4 cup butter, melted

3 Tbsp. spicy brown or horseradish mustard

In a large bowl, combine the stuffing mix, corn, onion and celery. Spoon into a greased nine-inch x 13-inch baking pan. Top with the chicken. Combine the brown sugar, butter and mustard; drizzle over chicken. Bake uncovered, at 450 degrees for 25-30 minutes. Or until chicken juices run clear. Yield: 4 servings.

Millie Otto of Arthur is a member of the Old Order Amish. Contact her by writing to 1584 CR 2000N, Arthur, IL 61911.

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