We had our last bread class last night. This time we made something that resembled a butter braid. There were a variety of different fillings we could use. Since we had two braids to fill, I chose lemon and almond paste. Both were very yummy. Reagan and I had some for breakfast this morning. She was especially fond of the frosting...aaaaaand so was I.
I learned a great deal in this class. Probably the most educational $5 I have ever spent. I no longer have any fear of mixing up a batch of dough, letting it rise, kneading it, letting it rise, shaping it, letting it rise, baking it and slicing into it promptly. As you can see, bread is something you have to plan to make. It isn't one of those things that you can just whip up real quick - though I have a recipe for some that takes 60 minutes from mixing bowl to tummy. When I make bread, I have to block of a certain amount of time and plan to be around when it needs to be kneaded. I can see why this bread-making business is not for the career woman. It could be done in one evening, but so few things we do anymore lend themselves toward slowing down and taking extra time - especially when there are machines that claim to make "homemade" bread. (Nothing I have ever had out of a bread machine has been as good as the bread I learned to make in class.)
But more important than all the delicious treats and valuable lessons I learned, I met some really special, sweet ladies. Each week many of the same faces would be there - I even managed to learn their names!! Marlyn, Karen, Joyce, Marilou, Lora, Jana, Sharon, Elinor, Leanne. Their stories were always entertaining. Their conversation refreshingly honest. Their warmth genuine. They were lovely women, with beautiful spirits. I was certainly one of the youngest, but I so thouroughly enjoyed their company that I am quite sad to think I won't be seeing them every other Thursday night.
That's where I'm going with all this. See, this bread class was a class offered as an out-reach by a church. They made it cheap so anyone could afford it. They made it relaxed so anyone felt welcome. They made it oh-so-easy to build a relationship with the people of God's family. And I think they got it just exactly right. I am blessed to have a wonderful church family, but if I didn't, I would have found it easy to attend a church service after taking this class. I have to commend them on having such a great idea and understanding that the love of Christ for His children starts right there - with love. Start with the love and embrace the people He brings to you. We can't open the doors of the church unless we open ours first.