IMG_20131217_073806It’s a beautiful Christmas afternoon in Ohio.  The fireplace is softly glowing, our little tree is sparkling, and I have a fresh cup of coffee at hand.  (The coffee, by the way, is in a holiday cup, thanks to my last minute acquisition of a couple of place settings of Christmas dishes – Holiday Garden from Martha Stewart.)

I arose early and spent some time in quiet as I began to draft this post and pulled stock photos for this and future posts. JB slept in –  all snug in our bed, with visions of pumpkin bread and coffee with eggnog floating in his head.

To be honest, I woke with words bouncing around my brain, itching to write , really write, for the first time in weeks.   It was one of those mornings where the pull of his warmth and the weight of covers could have enticed me to linger, however,  the pull to words was stronger.  I’m experienced enough with my bouts of writer’s block to know that if I don’t  get back in the saddle soon, the weeks of quiet will expand like a crack in hard earth in the Texas heat:  too large to fill and would eventually be avoided until spring storms arrived.  I can’t allow myself to fall into an expansive crevasse of a creative drought.

The sharing of what is held close to my heart today is the place to begin.

We decided to stay home for our first Christmas.   We had discussed driving to Chicago for the holiday, but the potential snowfall and the fact that I had covered over 1000 miles this week when I drove my car from Texas to Ohio left us with the conclusion that it would be nice to not travel, no matter how much we would have enjoyed some time with JB’s family.  The season is harder than I had imagined, this being the first Christmas without my mother.   No one could ever say that the relationship between my mother and I was all roses, but there it is undeniably:  grief.  It certainly doesn’t make sense to my logical brain.  JB has been incredible in his understanding and support.   When we discussed it the other night, he suggested I write:  he too has noticed that I have been avoiding my writing.  Like a good partner, though, he hasn’t chastised me, only provided quiet encouragement to get back, in some way, to my craft.  In a way, I digress as I’m not at the moment feeling the grief or loss, but contentment, love and peace.

Yesterday, we arose to enjoy breakfast at our favorite breakfast place,  The Pancake House, where we worked out way through scrambled eggs, bacon, and pancakes topped with fresh strawberries and decadent whipped cream.  We returned home to handle some chores and then spent the rest of the afternoon and evening simply enjoying each other.  We watched a couple of movies, enjoyed wine, a dinner of homemade chicken soup with cornbread, eggnog with brandy for dessert and the smells of spice and pumpkin as I baked some pumpkin bread to enjoy later.  Though I was beginning to feel the pull of sleep, we instead donned our coats and headed out to Midnight Mass.  The Adult Choir did a half hour of holiday music before mass and Father Ryan had a lovely homily.  I was so glad that we went.  I feel very blessed to have a partner who shares my appreciation for attending Mass.

christmas-snowfallAs we exited the church, a soft snow had begun to fall so I felt we had truly been given a treat to share a fresh snowfall, ensuring our first Christmas together was white.  As I mentioned earlier this month, I’m sure that I will tire of snow towards the end of winter, but in this moment, freshly falling snow is akin to magic to this Texas girl.

How blessed am I?  To have such a perfect moment of peace, love and magic?

When we arrived home, we had a glass of wine and a snack and watched a bit of Meet Me in St. Louis before we found our way to bed.

Today has been wonderfully quiet.  We had a lovely Christmas Brunch of scrambled eggs with peppers, onions, turkey and cheese along with toast, pumpkin bread, coffee, orange juice and eggnog (this time, without the brandy).    JB is off in the office doing whatever it is he does in there while I stretch out on the couch and write.    As soon I’m done with this post, I will pull the beginnings of Christmas dinner together.  On the menu tonight:  spinach stuffed pork loin.  I’m debating the choice of roasted potatoes or a baked sweet potato, but I think that the potatoes are winning for the simple fact that I can roast them in the crock-pot with the pork loin.    I’m also planning on fresh rolls and salad.

We have another movie (or two) waiting to be watched, more eggnog, wine, and pumpkin bread.   And no where we must go today nor anything that truly must be done.

Certainly a first Christmas together filled with warm memories of peace, love, and contentment.  I hope you are feeling the love and blessings of Christmas wherever you may be.

(Photos:  first photo is mine….  second photo is stock, thanks to MorgueFiles)