It was a hectic Christmas Eve Day - getting up early to tend to the greys and get the bread dough made. Rushed it was that morning. Setting the bread dough in the dining room to rise for a couple hours, while I did dishes, did some last minute preparations for the services that evening. Then it was braiding the bread and putting it in the garage to chill for 45 minutes before sticking it in the oven for an hour.
At that point, it was lunch time, and going over my reflections for the services that evening. The bread done, I pulled it out of the oven and savored the wonderful smell of fresh baked bread.
It was time to change, to put my stuff in a bag, and to put on some make-up, which took a few minutes longer than I thought. I rushed out the door, to the gas station to fill up and there was a line inside, guys buying beer and all manner of stuff that could've waited. I was somewhat peeved at the wait, which stemmed from pulling into the gas station, seeing a pump free and just beginning to turn into it when a young whippersnapper pulled in from the opposite direction and I had to park at the pump further away, on a very bitter cold day, while wearing a skirt with hose, and not long pants. Sign. Let it go.
Pumped and paid for the gas and I was on my way. An hour commute, but traffic was not as heavy as I had anticipated.
Passed the turn-off to the church and drove directly to the hospital and pulled into the garage and found a space not too far from the garage exit and braved the cold walk over the hospital.
Made the visit to a parishioner spending the holiday in the hospital with pneumonia. She was more alert, in good spirits, and very talkative. After a breathing treatment, we had communion - hard to be away from family at Christmas, and her church family, and she needed to receive the gift of new born love that day too. Just as we finished communion, the doctor came in and after listening to her chest said it sound much better, but she'd be in for a couple more days. After the doctor left, I had to leave also, watching the time.
I got back into town and drove to Panera since I had a gift card and warmed up to a cup of broccoli cheddar soup and 1/2 a sandwich. Had to eat around 5 pm since everything closes up at 6 pm Christmas Eve.
Got to the church and the parking lot was icy. I threw some ice around but it was just going to melt and refreeze. Checked the phone for messages, turned on lights, put my stuff where it needed to be for the services. Folks started to arrive and more help with putting down ice melt - which we really went through.
The first service went well and ended well. I had about 15 minutes between services to use the rest room and take 10 to just sit down and chill and regroup.
The second service also went well with the choir and the candlelighting. After greeting folks as they left, it was turn off everything and make sure all was locked up. I had to collect my stuff and use the rest room - after all it is an hour commute.
Left at nearly 10:45 pm and thankfully, though dark, there was little traffic. Just had to keep watch for deer. Got home at nearly midnight, where LH had beaten me home by a couple hours from his service. The brie was at room temperature and the champagne chilled. I was ready for a little something before hitting the sack and falling into deep sleep.
Fortunately, our Christmas Day is always quiet with just us two, and the boys. A few phone calls to family, unwrapping gifts, and by afternoon, I was down for the count with a nap.
Made an easy dinner of asparagus and pastry shells filled with turkey and mushrooms on white cream sauce. I just forgot to thaw the turkey stock needed. Thank goodness for microwaves!!!
Sadly, my bread left much to be desired. In my haste, I left out the salt and that makes all the difference between a great tasting bread and something so bland and lifeless. What a disappointment!
I will make another tomorrow - this time with salt!!!
The day after Christmas I cleaned house. LH helped by vacuuming downstairs, with the result that I finished early and made a quick trip to an Alpaca farm to pick up some Christmas gifts for next year. The farm is only open in December and we have to have our packages in the mail early. So, it was best to pick up what I needed now and sock it (pun intended) away until next year. I did manage to pick up some ribbon and bows at the box store for next year.
All in all, it was a good Christmas. I just seemed to feel more tired this year than in years past. Of course, I'm older now than then as well.
Basking in the glow of a blessed Advent and Christmas, of feeling very graced, of the wonderful people who grace my life and being gifted with a love so wondrous that brings life anew, fresh hope, and a peace that comes softly and settles in right within you.
Now it's on to getting ready for the New Year and making more star gift words to hand out on Epiphany Sunday.
I also have to sew some Sabbath Sachets for a women's retreat. Well, and put the retreat together!
It will be a busy January it seems, as well!!!
God will bring me through it.
In the meanwhile, blessings to you as the old year ends - be thankful, give over the bad things, the disappointments, the hurts, and open your heart and spirit to the adventure of a New Year, and all that God longs to fill you with.