Crafty as a Serpent

A knit blog with recipes and theological musings interspersed.

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Location: Portland, Maine, United States

Abby d'Ambruoso is a Lutheran pastor and interfaith chaplain, currently serving in a variety of ministries in Portland, Maine.

Wednesday, December 26, 2007


What a beautiful time of year!

Christmas Eve was lovely. Our pastors asked us and another person from the seminary over for Christmas Eve dinner. Salmon, borscht, baked potatoes... It was a lovely meal and a blessing for me after having worked all day.

We went on Christmas Eve to the candlelight service. All was lighted up and decorated with many candles, truly a season of light. The church was beautiful. After communion, we sang Silent Night and lit our candles. It was then that I felt a true Christmas moment. The ushers went up the aisle, lighting the candles of those in the center. They turned to light the candles of those next to them. In the row ahead of us is a dear couple. He has been in severe pain for about a year now, and it has only been worsening. Many Sundays he lies down in the pew or can't come because the pain is so bad. But on Christmas Eve he read one of the scriptures. When it came time for the candle lighting, he was on the end. And I had this moment, as I watched him light his candle from his wife and then turn to pass on the light to someone else, of realizing that he may never do this again, that his issues of ill health could take him at any time. And then I realized that that was true for any of us, and I looked around the room and took in the sight of so many dear faces, each person a treasured child of God. And I thought how the Christ child comes for all of us to set us free and to love us.

After church, Will and I set out for our friends' house. We stayed up late, talking and drinking wine. Actually, I didn't exactly stay awake as long as everyone else. And we each opened one present.

I still had not finished Will's socks for Christmas, so I wrapped the first one and finished the second the next day.  When he opened his present, he said to me, "You know, you didn't have to stay up late knitting for me. I'm knitter's husband, so I understand about gifts that come later." What a sweetie.

We made crab ravioli with tomato sauce for dinner, and got to initiate a friend into the wonders of ravioli making. The food was great, and just before we ate, we opened English crackers.  I got a puzzle, which was fun because it is a tradition in my family to put together a jigsaw puzzle on Christmas Day.

We took Will to the BART yesterday so he could get to the airport and fly to New England. He carried with him the afghan for Sarah and Bruce. I hope they like it.

Friday, December 21, 2007

Beloved, let us love one another

Today, I was on call at the hospital. Right when I came in this morning, I became involved in a very sad situation, where a man in his 30's was critically ill. That is not the story- things like that happen every day- and it's sad, but it happens.  The remarkable part of the story is the amazing crowd of people that gathered around him.  This man was surrounded by a changing cast of about 20 people- always about 20 people, filling the waiting room to overflowing, constantly changing the guard at the bedside, singing to him, shedding tears for him (the nurse said she had never seen so many men cry so openly).  The richness of the love pouring from this group of friends was incredible.  It made me think of my group of friends from college.
Recently I wrote to a friend of mine: 

I know that as we all grow into our new lives and scatter to do the work God has put before us and called us to, we will all change and grow. To me there is something very special about my friends from college- a small tribe that I know I can count on, people that I could call should anything devastating ever happen to me or Will and they would come. I imagine going to each others' funerals after long lives of staying in touch.  There is nothing like an old friend, someone you can catch up with but don't have to tell the backstory, someone you know before you became who you are now. I treasure each and every one of my friends and that God that I get the honor and privilege to share this journey we call life with them and with you, my friends. 

I'm grateful for you, my friends.  

Tuesday, December 18, 2007

(Radio) Silence

I'm not entirely sure where the past two months have disappeared to.  The pace has been tremendous at the hospital.  When I'm not at the hospital, I'm relaxing or going to the gym. 
Will has been preparing his application for grad school, so that has all equalled very little computer time for me.  Hence, no post in a month and a half. 

My knitting has been very simple lately.  I think I'm coming down off the afghan knitting for Sarah.  I've been doing lots of booties, including some for my nephew who was born in late July and barely fit into his size 6 month booties.  He was darn cute in them.  Hopefully my sister will send me pics soon.

I'm also working on some very modest Christmas knitting for my dear spouse.  He will like the results, so I'm trying to work on the project while I'm on the way to work or away from him in general. 

I've also been doing a bunch of baking.  I made 5 different kinds of cookies a few weeks ago and some stollen with my sister.  It was so good I made another batch, this time experimenting with marzipan in the middle.  My, but it was good!

I'll post some pictures someday.  For now, just know that I'm alive and happy.