Christmas Greetings from the MSA Team
The MSA team Christine, Tom, Andy, Katie and Kari want to wish you and your loved ones a joyous Christmas and a new year filled with hope for all our neighbors and God's good earth! We join people all over the planet is celebrating the heroic life and enormous gift of Nelson Mandela and the coming of Pope Francis the foot washing Pontiff.
Christine has been busy cooking her fabled Scottish short bread, some applesauce muffins from the last of our apples, and pecan slice. We shared these delectables with guests at our Christmas open house, Advent II celebration, and Board luncheon. Tom is kept busy with hospitality and is also working on a new book on helping readers re-imagine how to create their best world, the best neighborhoods and their best lives for times like these.
Christine’s blog continues to flourish too. She is enjoying the best response ever to her Advent materials on Coming Home: Uncovering Your Roots in the Advent Story. Her Advent meditation video has had over 5,000 hits and there is an ongoing enthusiastic response to the daily reflections weekly Advent podcasts on coming home, produced by our friend Ryan Marsh, pastor of the Church of the Beloved. Not exactly going viral but very satisfying none the less.
The prayer cards Christine and Andy produced together have also received enthusiastic response and we are thinking about putting together a new series next year. Christine has recently been appointed to the steering committee for the Seattle Tilth Food and Faith Initiative and is excited about new ways to network with and encourage the development of faith based community gardens.
Tom and Christine’s pup Bonnie has been ill but seems to be recovering but Christine and Tom are both grateful for good health. The hardest challenge of the year was the loss of Christine’s Mum in August. We had just celebrated her 90th birthday in June and so have many special memories to temper our grief however.
Michael and Kristen Carroccino and their two kids Caedmon and Mirella moved into the upstairs apartment at the Mustard Seed House in June. Michael is a new priest at Saint Marks cathedral and Kristin works with Christine on developing creative devotional resources for the liturgical calendar. A couple of weeks ago we all got together to make birdseed Advent wreaths to hang in the garden. It was a lot of fun.
Andy continues cultivating the soil, both in his backyard garden sanctuary, and his writing endeavors with MSA. The exciting news this year is his coming on staff full-time this past November. This will allow him more time to write blogs, work on a new book with Christine, and help to 0develop more resources for MSA to share with you. Thanks to all of you who have helped make possible Andy's move to full-time with us! Andy is also excited about coordinating volunteers for the new season at Hood River Warming Shelter, an emergency shelter for the un-housed in the Columbia River Gorge.
We are grateful to God and to the many friends who have participated with time and money to help us put the roof on our first building at the Mustard Seed Village. Watching this structure take shape is an exciting exercise in faith and trust. We hope to offer our first seminar on imagination and creativity there this year.
The work at MSA continues to grow and we are very grateful for our new part time assistants. Katie Metzger has whipped our office into shape and is helping organize us all. Kari Rauh has provided invaluable editorial help with our upcoming Lenten devotional A Journey Into Wholeness: Soul Travel From Lent to Easter. She is also looking forward to getting her hands in the dirt when we start the Mustard Seed garden in January. We are also grateful to our board members old and new for their faithful support.
Next year we are planning something new at Mustard Seed Associates. We will kick of the year with Creating Your Best Life 2014, a seminar facilitated by Tom who will invite us all to discover a clearer sense of purpose for the coming year. This is the first in a series of events in 2014 aimed at helping us refocus and deepen our faith in order to become more whole life disciples engaged in the challenges of our needy world. We hope you can join us for this event or sign up for the entire series.
We do covet your prayers and participation for 2014 as we seek to sharpen the focus of Mustard Seed Associates and the Mustard Seed Village to enable followers of Jesus to imaging and create new ways to be a difference and make a little difference in response to turbulent times in which we live.
Welcoming Jesus into our lives and a world that needs a little hope.
Tom, Christine, Andy, Katie, Kari and Bonnie