I hope you've not overdone yourself this month? Many of you have a large family gathering at Christmas, which requires a bit more than the usual energy expenditure when family or guests visit for an 'ordinary' meal together. Hopefully you enjoyed this special season though, sharing the love and light of Jesus with those around you at home, and those far away whose voices made merry your heart over the phone or in a card or newsy letter.
Ours was a fairly quiet Christmas, as is normal. We arrived at Blossom's around 7.30am to share breakfast with her, Ross and the children, opened gifts, listened to all that the children wanted to tell Poppy (as he works six days a week and does not see them as often as I do)...and we hugged, ate, played with the grandkids, before heading back home two hours later. After our visit the family had a tidy-up and Charlie had a nap, before they headed off to Ross's fathers house. Last year they came to our home, and will again next year, but in between years the main hours of the day are spent with Ross's family. :-)
Hubby and I relaxed the rest of the day (an unusually wet and moderately cool summer day for this time of year in the tropics), enjoyed a lunch of chicken cous cous salad and fresh baked bread, then we actually went and had a nap - something very rare for me as I normally cannot sleep in the daytime. Later we swam and floated in the pool between rain showers, and finished the day with a movie and some snacks. Oh, and some chocolate. mmm. nice.
On the 28th of December we celebrated our 31st wedding anniversary. After breakfast he read to me a section of our marriage ceremony from the bible, and I read my part to him (both from Song of Songs). Then my dear man had to leave for work so I made sure dinner that night was one of his favourites (Vietnamese Rice Noodle Salad), and I recreated our wedding cake. The brother of hubby's best man was a baker and made a beautiful banana cake with passionfruit icing at my husband's request. I made a much smaller version, but very yummy, and yesterday dear Blossom came by for the day and so the cake was shared amongst the children and the leftover section given to them to take home.
Now here we are, just two days from New Year, and I'm finding it to be a time of deep reflection on the year which has passed, something Blossom and I discussed in detail yesterday. New Year for us is a time to shake off things from the old year which had proved cumbersome, overwhelming, or simply not worth our effort. We spoke about the positives we had learned about ourselves, about God, and about life during 2022 and how we intended growing in a number of areas which we noticed needed our attention. We made some good plans, but we also invited the Holy Spirit to change those plans if need be, and to give us discernment and wisdom to hear God and follow where He leads us in 2023.
Have you had a time of reflection? Any thoughts you'd like to share?
So how have I spent the past three weeks of absence from blogging? Well, I have moved my small sewing room around to accommodate more of an office area, and I'll show photos of that once I finish reorganising shelves etc. During these early days of going through every shelf and storage area of the sewing room/office I have been implementing ways to use less space, and was able to find larger storage containers for my threads which actually take up less room because instead of seven thread boxes I now have three, plus one container of duplicate threads which are still in skeins and can be stored elsewhere.
I love the enticing rows of pretty threads, their colours offering a glorious sheen in the morning light...
My January reading list awaits, though I do admit to having already finished one of the books this week, 'Gracious House Keeping' by Mrs Sharon White, which I really enjoyed.
The British Bake-Off recipe book was a gift from hubby, as was the yarn pack for Attic 24's new Crochet-a-long which begins in just over a week.
Reading, crochet, stitching, writing, baking, the garden...these are all things I look forward to through the coming year, some of which I spoke of last month in THIS blog post about planning ahead.
I've begun to play around with some slightly different bread recipes already...
....and have harvested calendula flowers (which have been dried naturally) and will soon make tins of calendula salve for the family. Loads of elderberries have been processed already, which I processed into bottles of elderberry syrup for health and cool drinks this summer.
I baked my first Panetonne this December, which 4yo Rafaella absolutely loved, and made many jars of jam for gift giving. I also baked fresh scones to go with the jam for my elderly neighbour because she often requests both from me. :-)