Friday Five: Preparation, Preparation

The Annunciation by Henry Tanner.
Visit The Art Archive for more info on this painting.

Sally at RevGals writes for this week’s Friday Five:

This has been a difficult week for me, the death of a little six year old has overshadowed our advent preparations, and made many of us here in Downham Market look differently at Christmas. With that in mind I ask whether you are the kind of person that likes everything prepared well in advance, are you a last minute crammer, or a bit of a mixture…..

Here then is this week’s Friday 5:

1. You have a busy week, pushing out all time for preparing worship/ Sunday School lessons/ being ready for an important meeting ( or whatever equivalent your profession demands)- how do you cope?

I have a calendar and I know how to use it. Seriously. I tagged my “due dates” about two months ago. School papers, kid events, work responsibilities, etc. etc. etc. Christmas events are a known entity for the most part, and those went on the calendar last month. I plan my meals, my groceries, and (soon) my Christmas shopping around them. I am someone who suffers from “oooh shiny!” syndrome (as in easily distractable) so lists and staying organized and planning ahead are required. Otherwise, it don’t happen.

It’s not too late to join FlyLady and pick up some new habits… You can whine all you want, but for people like me who are not B.O. (“born organized”) she really knows what we need.

2. You have unexpected visitors, and need to provide them with a meal- what do you do?

  • Go out to eat.
  • Domino’s (they deliver)
  • Something from the freezer
  • Hey, it’s a pasta night! Two jars of sauce and a box of pasta.
  • A holy meal around Chinese take-out (Nothing says “Advent” like szechuan chicken and spring rolls!)
  • Stop at the store for whatever I need to pull off a 30-minute miracle meal (courtesy of Rachel Ray!)

Three discussion topics:

3. Thinking along the lines of this weeks advent theme; repentance is an important but often neglected aspect of advent preparations…..
Yes. True. But I am not going to do my confession here. (Much as I love you!)

4. Some of the best experiences in life occur when you simply go with the flow…..

A story from a Christmas past…

One Christmas my parents came to share Christmas Eve and Day with us. Reedy Girl was about 18 months old, and The Harpist was about 5 and a half. It was a magical age and they knew it would be fun to watch the girls open presents and experience Christmas with us. EXCEPT…

We all got the stomach flu virus of Christmas Hell. One by one. Beloved Bearded Spouse succumbed first. Then The Harpist (who was actually pre-harp at that point, but I digress.) Then Reedy Girl joined the fun, and finally me. My parents, interestingly, even with my dad in the midst of chemo treatments, never got sick.

Christmas Day we were all on the mend, sort of. I crawled from couch to bed to chair. My mom, experienced in the ways of holidays and Christmases past, took over the kitchen, laundry and found things for a kindergartener to do to “help” and keep her out of my hair. Just before Christmas dinner, Reedy Girl erupted (think split peas and the Exorcist) all over me. With tears in my eyes, I looked up at my mom (who had brought a towel) and said, “NOW WHAT??”

In her matter-of-fact, mom-of-seven, laid-back way, she said, “Wait until she stops dripping and then go clean her and you up.”

Yeah. Go with the flow. Always good advice.

5. Details are everything, attention to the small things enables a plan to roll forward smoothly…

Sounds great. Except life doesn’t go as planned. Norman Rockwell don’t live at my house. The cookies are planned but will likely get burned (some of them, anyway). I will guess correctly on some of my family’s wants and wishes, and fail at others. But my goal, even with a calendar and a “plan” is not to do everything on my list, but to experience the season. To rest. To wait. To see and hear and know that God was and IS “with us.”

Bonus if you dare- how well prepared are you for Christmas this year?

Laughing hysterically… I’m not.

Lots won’t get done. But this much will – my heart will be ready. I’ve learned that trimming the house to the nines, having perfectly wrapped presents and trays of cookies does nothing in the long haul. It’s love. Love around the table, not under the tree.

This year I am trying to blog daily on “waiting”… and that is doing more to help me de-program the commercial, Martha Stewart side of Christmas.

That’s my plan and I’m sticking with it!


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