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"For unto us a child is born, unto us a son is given; and the government shall be upon his shoulder, and his name shall be called Wonderful, Councelor, The mighty God, The everlasting Father, The Prince of Peace." Isaiah 9:6

What a beautiful day to celebrate the birth of our Lord and Savior, Jesus Christ. It is a day of Joy, but for many, tinged with sadness. To have this day to be a celebration with family, but quite a few have lost loved ones, so there will be an empty chair at the table. We sympathize with them and pray for them that they can have the peace which passes all understanding.

Merry Christmas to one and all! This is Christmas Day. And a very beautiful day it is! Cold, yes, but very nice, bright and sunny.

We have snow. Not a lot. What snow we got on Sunday has blown into drifts, so the ground is barely covered. It drifted enough that I had to clear the walks.

And yes, once again, winter and no shovel or ice melt. Will I ever remember? I think I just have a habit of forgetting.

I don't normally write my column on Christmas Day or even on Monday. But this is so totally an unnormal situation.

Because we don't normally go to Florida, but yes, we are preparing to go! Our trip is paid, round trip, so I guess they want us back!

Our apartment rent is also paid. We are deeply grateful. And I guess we'll go and enjoy our vacation in the sun.

The trouble is, I don't know how to pack for an extended stay! I'm about to blow a gasket! What if I forget something vital! What if we have too much luggage? Not enough? What if! What if!

Anyway, as usual, I'm procrastinating. We had so much going on this past wee. I didn't even take time to make lists.

Our daughter, Rachel, Mrs. Lloyd, is doing okay since her meeting with the concrete floor. She still tires easily and certain activities, sweeping and mopping, make her dizzy.

As least she has a good reason. As for me, I can do that without a concussion. Take the other evening, for instance. Boy was I lame!

We had gone to grandchildren's Christmas program at Plainview School. It started at 6 p.m.. We were on our way home, around 8:30-ish. We noticed a fire at the neighbors, Andrew Gingerichs. It looked too huge to be a trash fire. Of course I hit the panic button! We pulled in at Lloyds. Grandson Jeff was at home, so I sent him to check it out with instructions to call the fire department.

We knew Andrews were at home as they were at the program.

Jeff did go and was soon back. It was a trash fire (huge!). Someone was home. I felt so dumb! But that's me!

You know, I've been wondering about something. I guess I'll expose my ignorance and write about it.

The Arthur Fire Department has this deal out close to the end of their drive. The first time I saw it, it is a camper and I thought a lady was maybe cleaning it out. She stood by the door. And she is still there. It is not a real person. I still haven't figured it out. Personally, i think it looks kind of freaky. but I guess they know what they are doing. Whatever...

Our children and grandchildren were at our house on Christmas Eve. They brought supper in. We had yummy pizza. Granson Robert's wife, Marlin, brought chocolate pie, knowing that it is Grandpa Erwin's favorite. It was also very good. I guess they wanted to welcome us off to Florida. So when we get back, will they welcome us back?

Finally! I get a return message from daughter Cindy in Dale, IL. She had her first round of Chemo treatments this past week. I was wondering how she is doing. Does she take anti-nausea meds? Does she drink water, water, water? Actually, her hubby Freeman returned the message. She is really, really tired. And yes, yes, yes she has meds, enough to fight a war. They had a two hour chemo education before they ever started treatments. So i guess they are ready to fight the war.

In closing: The spirit of Christmas giving should be see in all our living, all year long.

Maybe you would like this salad to go with one of your holiday meals.

Creamy Fruit Salad

Dressing:

1 container lemon or French Vanilla yogurt (6 oz.)

1 Tbsp. mayonnaise

1/4 Tsp. grated orange peel

2 Tbsps. orange juice.

Salad:

2 Large Unpeeled red apples, cubed, about three cups

1 medium orange, peeled, cut into bite-sized pieces

2 Tbsps. golden raisins

4 leaves Bibb lettuce

2 Tbsps. coarsely chopped walnuts

In a small bowl, mix dressing ingredients until well-blended. In a medium bowl, mix apples, orange and raisins. Pour dressing over fruit; toss gently to coat.

Divide lettuce leaves among four serving plates. Spoon fruit into lettuce leaves; sprinkle with walnuts.

Variation: fresh pineapple chunks, bananas.

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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