A lady stopped me as I carried my armful of blooms over to where Bob was dozing in a Bargain Corner Armchair. "They are lovely!" she exclaimed. "Yes, they are for a Christmas display at Church" I told her.
"Oh, do you do the Church Flowers? What a wonderful gift - I do admire you" she gushed. I muttered that we had a rota, and whilst I usually enjoyed taking my turn, most of our arrangers had done courses and got certificates and were semi-professional experts in floristry. I said I was very conscious that my offerings didn't match up to their skillful artwork. To my surprise, her tone immediately changed...She began to almost lecture me...
"You must never say that. It is all about grace. You are doing this for the Lord, because you love Him - and nobody should judge another's work. Your flowers will be beautiful because you did this task for Him."
I was quite overwhelmed by her vehemence on the matter. "Yes, I guess you are absolutely right" I replied. This encouragement by a complete stranger [thank you, lady who belongs to a small church in a little village somewhere outside Southampton] has kept me cheerful since. I spent all of yesterday [in excess of 6 hours] with my friend Jenny, tidying the cupboard which houses the Church decorations, and then putting up two trees and the illuminated wreaths which hang along the walls inside the chapel. [thanks Jenny for all the help, hoovering, and hot cuppas]
The main tree in the entrance has been decorated this year with those lovely 'Names of Jesus' embroideries done by the ladies for Christmas 2015, plus gold baubles.
The children's tree in the Hall [no idea why it is always called that] has five little robins hidden in its branches, plus red baubles and tinsel. And the Wreaths, Bells and Stars of David are decorating the chapel - all ready for this weekend [Barn Dance Saturday, Advent #1 on Sunday]
Here's a collage of all that we did yesterday. The Star of Bethlehem has yet to go up [waiting for the Very Tall Pastor to do that job] And in the centre, a shot of our lovely new curtains, which have just been hung in the newly decorated church hall. We are particularly pleased with these- they not only look good, but have added a significant benefit to the acoustics.
I have yet to prepare my silk arrangement, but that's not for a couple of weeks. I will take pictures of that - and of the full size stable scene outside the chapel.
For our publicity at UCF this year, we are using the gorgeous red Peace On Earth materials from CPO. Christmas is fast approaching!
[and thank you Bob for the inspired title for this post]