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I was away for a couple of weeks, doing the annual tour into the frigid north. We got to visit my family, Anne's family, and some perfect strangers in Lewisburg, West Virginia. All three were very enjoyable experiences.

My brother has a very cool coffee shop, Ladybug Coffee and Galleries, to which I would love to show you a link. But it's very word of mouth, so there isn't a link as far as I know. Still, we spent several hours there on Christmas eve and Christmas day. Drinking awesome coffee, prepared by my master barista nephew Mark. Got to hang out with Abbi, who is 6 months old and the center of the universe. She is now laughing, making eye contact, and generally doing all the cool cute things 6-month-olds do. Funny how a kid can brighten up a room.

As I stood at the Scheetz in Cambridge, Ohio, pumping gas in my shirtsleeves, and thinking about how 28 degrees is not so cold, it occurred to me that 28 degrees is only "not-so-cold" if your talkin' metric...and that it was time to head south.

We spent some quality time in and around Asheville, NC. Got some cool gifts, including a scone pan. Used the scone pan to make scones when we had tea with Uncle Bert. Got all caught up on family stories I had not heard. And we sang hymns from the Little Flock. Thing is, the tunes all have names, so they don't give you notes. You just have to "know it." Sort of a secret handshake. But Uncle Bert had it down.

New Years Eve, we spent with the Chapel folks. The kids served the old folks dinner. The menu included six kinds of soup...including our specialty, salmon corn chowder, and our new specialty, chicken noodle with peas. We had about the loudest Bible pictionary marathon I have ever been a party to. My ears are still ringing. Everybody won.

When I finally got back to the office, I found about 1400 spam comments for this blog. If you happen to be a spider, please note that your spam comments will NEVER get published, so there's no point even submitting them (unless you just want to torture me). I'm getting pretty good at mass edit mode.

So, it was a lovely time. 2009 is looking interesting. Happy New Year.

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