JOHN DAY – These holidays have sure come quickly this year! I hope you are better prepared than I am, but we’ll have good family time, good food and maybe a game or two. Our furnace went out a week ago, but our friends from Baker helped us make it work, over the phone, until they could get here Thursday!

On Monday, Dec. 17, those wonderful guys from Step Forward made all of the home deliveries from Canyon City, to John Day and Mt. Vernon! Delivering 30 regular meals and 36 frozen meals; you have sure been a lifeline to many this year. Thank you!! The folks from First Christian Church provided table service, with Roberta Dowse opening the time by leading our salute to the flag. The drawings went on, but I missed most of it, trying to close out the 3rd successful silent auction. Linda Stoltz has really given so many neat wreaths and Christmas decorations each time we’ve had a meal; she is a gem here and keeps our center beautifully decorated at all times. Dale Stennett gave the devotional blessing on our meal and we had 24 diners who enjoyed chili verde with toppings, flour tortillas, a green salad and cinnamon streusel coffee cake for dessert. Reminder: Tai Chi forms will begin again on Monday the Jan. 7. They will be held before lunch on Thursdays, 10:15 to 10:45 a.m.; bingo is played after lunch on Thursdays.

On Thursday, Dec. 20, our service was provided by The Methodist Church and Ye Olde Thrift Shop; Sherri Feiger, Dolores Belden, Nancy Elliott, Isa Larkin, Louise Nelson and Katy Smith. Nancy led the flag salute and Sherri gave her very thought provoking devotion and prayers. Thanks again to Linda, more drawings and gifts. Vivian Rookstool won the Valley View meal, Jeanette Julsrud won the Chester’s Thriftway gift card and Dusty Harris won the special $15 gift from Chester’s Thriftway.

Our Senior Center Christmas Dinner was sponsored by Tootie Cernazanu in memory of Jim. The menu included cranberry glazed ham, scalloped potatoes, fresh oven roasted Brussel sprouts, with sweet cranberries, onions and bacon topped with honey balsamic sauce, homemade dinner rolls and fresh relish trays; our dessert was a chocolate cheesecake! Along with your choice of drinks with eggnog added for the holidays. Shay, Michelle, Veanne, Linda and Anne worked tirelessly to present a wonderful celebration meal! It was a very busy full house. In addition to the 96-seated guests, 42 regular meals plus 40 frozen meals were delivered by Chet and Jeannie Day and the Step Forward group. (The center was closed Monday, Dec. 24, so the extra frozen meals covered those). One of our regular members, Margie Conlee, took a very bad fall and we ask for your thoughts and prayers for her.

Our many guests included Jason Walker, Vickie Stolle, Pam and Everett King, and Paul and Michele Dieker (Michele is Kay Trafton’s daughter). From Valley View, Kim, Randa, Chuck, Georgine, Helen, Lois, Norma, Betty and daughter Pam, Shirley, Nancy and Ben! If I failed to include you, please forgive me!

1 John 4:9 NIV “This is how God showed his love among us: He sent His one and only Son into the world that we might live through Him.”

MONUMENT – We all had a good ol' time for our meal on Dec. 18. Our cooks, Terry Cade and Teawna Jewell, made us some chicken enchiladas with Spanish rice, fresh green salad, and a fruit cocktail followed by chocolate cake; the meal was very satisfying and filling. We thank our cooks for their preparation and hard work. That was our last meal for the year of 2018.

Our greeters at the table were Jimmy Cole, Kristi Guimont, Jeannie Strange, Bodean Andersen, and Judy Harris. Jimmy was collecting and counting the money, Kristi and Jeannie were checking the guests in and handing out the free raffle tickets, Judy led us in the flag salute and made the announcements, and yours truly prayed the blessing over the meal.

There was a free raffle going on that Jeannie Strange had prepared. All guests who came to the lunch received tickets for a chance to win prizes. The winner of some tools was Bill Nichols, Dorothy Jordan won and chose a Christmas gift basket, yours truly won the beautiful Christmas wreath, my favorite color: red. We thank Jeannie for all her creative ideas and her generosity. That's part of what makes our town special, people giving of themselves and their support.

There was also a turkey raffle. The tickets were $5 for six tickets or $1 each. The lucky winner of the turkey went to Jeannie Strange; she deserved it.

The winner of the Len's Drug gift card was Dorothy Jordan. The free meal tickets were won by Doug Sweek and Bob Yukawa.

There were 45 guests on the books and 16 takeouts. We had Dick Wanous and his friend Sharon from Spray join us for lunch.

Betty Richards is back home and is still recovering; we are glad to have her back. Bruce Strange is also back from the hospital from a bout of pneumonia and is recovering at home. We pray for all our friends having health issues for a full recovery.

There is bingo going on for Saturday, Dec. 29. The games will start at 6 p.m. and break for a potluck dinner after 10 games and then we will play another 10 games; I might try my hand at it again.

There's some snow on the ground in parts of Monument, PTL! We also got some rain; we are supposed to have snow and rain in the forecast this week. I am praying that the Lord continues to bless our little valley with more moisture.

We as a family are having a very low-key Christmas this year. I gotta go and dig out the Christmas movie, "It's A Wonderful Life" and watch it with my family. We are going to try and make some cookies too.

Hope everyone has a wonderful Christmas. May the Lord bless your families with His peace and joy. Our hope comes from the Savior Jesus who came to us as a helpless babe. He came to set us free from our sins. What a glorious gift from our heavenly Father!

Luke 1:76-77 “And thou, child, shall be called the prophet of the Highest: For thou shall go before the face of the Lord to prepare His ways; To give knowledge of salvation unto His people by the remission of their sins.”

PRAIRIE CITY – This was quite a combination of days: last meal of the year, Christmas dinner, and December birthday recognition. There was only one name on the sign-up sheet for a chance to win the $10 gift certificate donated by Huffman’s Select Market for the birthday this month: Fran Bunch. And it couldn’t have gone to a nicer lady!

There were lots of other items to give away, too. The Food Bank brought over lots of apples, plums and potatoes. Then Lloyds Twice Upon a Time brought in some boxes of Hummel-like figurines to give away. Thank you so much for these items.

Then there was the final time to bid on the silent auction items. I got a handmade afghan to put in the car. Even has its own bag; what a deal!

Drew Harmer led the flag salute and Tom Roark asked the blessing. Larry and Carlos made the home deliveries; there were 61 names on the book.

So which table got to go first today? Who else but the Wise Men! And what did our cooks serve? Baked ham, potatoes au gratin, green bean casserole, a veggie tray with carrots, celery, pickles, olives and beets, a roll and all kinds of pies and other desserts (I assume, since we weren’t there). We got to partake of the meal on Thursday and our dessert in the take-out boxes was a jelly topped cookies; very tasty.

Krystin and Lorna had a full load from the Blue Mountain Care Center: Mary Crawford, Virginia Miller, Charlene Dean, Marilyn Randall and Gordon Sindt. Remember, no meal on Dec. 26, but we will be back on Jan. 2.

Had to make a run to Bend on Wednesday, so that’s why we missed the meal. Upshot was that no surgery is indicated soon. Hallelujah! We can have these senior columns.

Luke 2:38-40 “{Anna}…gave thanks to God and spoke about the Child to all who were looking forward to the redemption of Jerusalem. When Joseph and Mary had done everything required by the Law of the Lord, they returned to Galilee to their own town of Nazareth. And the Child grew and became strong; He was filled with wisdom, and the grace of God was upon Him.”

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