9:13 AM It’s beginning to look a lot like Christmas at our house. Marlene picked out a Christmas tree yesterday, a Balsam Fir with an beautiful aroma. She spent several hours stringing lights and decorating it with family ornaments that we have collected over the years. In the middle of the night, I woke up because I heard an odd sound in our living room. Turns out the Christmas tree had fallen over, breaking a few ornaments in the process. This morning Mark and I reseated the tree and tightened the bolts on the stand, Marlene replaced the decorations, and once again our house looks a lot like Christmas. 9:01 AM Kudos to the Fighting Illini for their huge win over Wake Forest last night. They routed the number one team in the country, 91-73. Two men brought papers with them to First Watch this AM to show the headlines from the Sports section. Roger Powell led all scorers with 19 points and pulled down seven rebounds. When asked what made a difference in his game, he replied, “Prayer.” Besides being a terrific athlete, he is also a licensed minister. 9:00 AM Today’s entry in the Crosswalk weblog is called St. Ephraem’s Prayer. 8:59 AM 3173 miles.