I never thought I'd say this, but I think I miss the rain!

That driving blast of water coming at me sideways that taught me when I first came here that using an umbrella was a lesson in futility. The rain isn't really so bad, but I sure don't like the wind.

Still, it all has its purpose, and whatever is needed, God seems to have the answer. Our plants and trees obviously need it to survive. But then look around. If it hasn't rained for a while, the streets are littered with bits and pieces of stuff, and the trees have dead leaves still precariously attached - and the redwoods and such have small dead branches just hanging.

The rain and, yes, that wind, turn our outside into a giant washing machine, cleaning the streets and trees and renewing our green, growing things. I keep looking at my big tubs with small Catalpa trees surrounded with tulips, checking every day for evidence of color telling me blooms are on the way.

My crazy apple trees blossomed again in December, as they have the last several years. One of these days I'm going to have to call that nursery in Canandaigua, N.Y., and ask them if that is a characteristic of single-stem apples. Of course, they do blossom again at the proper time and produce a few nice apples - if I can get them before the masked bandits do, that is.

Things are still slow, and I only have one event coming up. Once before when things were slow, I started telling you about some of the various churches and what they were like, and what services and things they offered.

I have never, I don't think, specifically told you which of the churches I attend. And, I have also visited a number of our other churches for various special events - all are just full of great people.

Most of my life, I attended Baptist churches, and I did so here at first.

Back in 2003, shortly after I came back here, I began attending Oceanview Baptist. It was a quietly traditional style of worship, and it was just what I was used to.

When Pastor Cliff Reed retired, Pastor Scott Ratzloff came - bringing an amazing talent at the piano.

In time, the name of the church was changed to Lighthouse Community, and with more changes, the style of worship became increasingly contemporary. Great for young folks, but just not my style. I suppose I was just too set in my ways, and I went looking for a new church.

My best friend for years was a member at New Life Community Church, and I decided I would try that for a Sunday, and then go to First Baptist if I didn't like it.

But one Sunday was all it took. I felt like I was home.

And while our services are not totally traditional - we use a combination of old hymns and praise songs - it suits me just fine.

Pastor Larry Read has led the church for the past 15 years. Just as Pastor Scott is the pianist at Lighthouse, Pastor Larry is at New Life. We have a six-person Praise team (I am one of the members) and an average attendance of 50 or so every Sunday. We have two Bible studies each week - at 5 p.m. Sunday evenings, and at 6 p.m. on Thursdays.

We have a women's group, and our men meet regularly. We support a number of mission projects. One of my favorites is one in which we make sweaters for children through World Vision. We also do Operation Christmas Child Shoeboxes.

Many months of the year, we'll have a potluck, especially months with holidays in them. Once a month, we have a game night, and that is the one event I have to tellyou about for this next week.

Occasionally we also have a family movie night. As I have said before, if you really want to get to know the folks you go to church with - do a game night. It's fun and you are often surprised to find that even the most serious-minded of folks have a light side you don't always see on Sunday morning.

Game night at New Life will be Friday, Jan. 24, at 6 p.m. You don't have to be a New Life member to come and have fun. We bring snacks/finger foods to share, and our favorite board games. You are welcome to join us!

Why not try it? And if you like it, suggest it to your church!

As time has gone on, I've lost a lot of my contacts in the churches as people have moved away. And if you do not have a full-time secretary, all I can do is leave a message - one that I do not always get a response to.

So I'd like to ask if once again each church might have a volunteer I could keep in touch with. I still have someone at Grace Lutheran, Pelican Bay, and the Methodist churches. But I want to be sure and include all of you as much as I can. That means I need someone I can call at home on a Thursday evening if I have incomplete info and need to ask a question.

To reach Martha Williams, call 460-3000, or e-mail