Tuesday, December 30, 2008


In the weeks before Christmas, the air is thick with anticipation. The coming festivities envelop me with a warmth that permeates the cold December days and heats my very heart. Christmas carols in the car and twinkle lights in the windows keep me company at home and out and about and I get wrapped up and carried away. It is utterly delightful!

December 26 brings with it a bit of a vacuum. As is our nature, we tend to fill a vacuum, and in our house, we fill the days following Christmas with special treats like board games and books by the fire, movies with popcorn and long marvelous mornings sleeping in, the unwanted alarm clock sulkily unused across the room.

Somewhere in the week after December 25, a little bug bites me and give me the itch to regroup and repack and return to a life of routine. Don't get me wrong. I have not yet put away my decorations and I have no desire to give the alarm clock his reign over my morning. However, I find myself inexplicably drawn to websites like www.holdeverything.com and www.organize.com and www.containerstore.com and the giddy feeling I previously got from wrapping gifts is now coming from the thought of cleaning out my pantry. This is a sick twist, a strange trade off, but one that I find delightfully practical and, dare I admit it, welcome!

Until it is actually time to put things away (a few more days of festive pleasure) and move into the new year, I content myself to browse the occasional store ad full of totes and bins, linens and cleaning supplies. I pour over storage possibilities and sorting and purging tips like a gardener bides her winter time with seed catalogs. To everything there is a season and a time to every activity under heaven. I choose to take Solomon's wise (and inspired) words to heart and enjoy each season for what it has in store, with predictable turns and surprise endings alike!

Off I go to read my book before I tackle the pantry!

Happy New Year!

Monday, December 15, 2008

Ten Days of Christmas

Can it really be December 15? This month is rushing along like the shivering shoppers in the busy parking lots! How are you doing? I hope you are carefully considering your plates, as we talked about last time! I am trying and relying on my wise husband to keep me in check as well! So, in the interest of time, a quick note for today!

With ten days until Christmas, here's some stuff I still need to do.
10 - Sunday School Teacher Gifts (I think...I should count again!)
9 - Different kinds of cookies I still want to bake
8 - Presents I still need to buy (yikes - I thought I was more "done" than that!)
7 - Church events or meetings to attend
6 - Oranges for the toes of six stockings (actually, this is done - they are in my fridge!)
5 - Things I'm forgetting to do ;0)
4 - Children to take Christmas shopping for each other
3 - School parties on Friday
2 - Meals to make this week for other people
1 - Savior worth celebrating!

Monday, December 8, 2008

Full Plates

I am sure I cannot be the only one who suffers with the struggle to eat reasonably during this Christmas season. We are inundated with tasty treats and savory snacks, with parties at home and dinners out, with late-night cookies and cocoa. I often find myself with a plastic cup full of punch, a cute red and green paper plate in hand, and too many yummy choices on the heavy laden table before me. Have you been there? Do you have favorite holiday food for which you have been longing? I have made some lists on the right of some of my favorite things. I'm sure at least some will strike a chord with you.

Do you find yourself with a figurative full plate as well? As evidenced by the chaos of my kitchen, the mayhem in my mudroom and the craziness of my crammed closets, when I say I have a lot on my plate, I'm not just talking Pita Chips and Crab and Artichoke Dip!

My favorite holiday treats tend to be hors d'oeuvres. I just love all those little bite sized morsels and the opportunity they give me to taste lots of different things in one sitting. Unfortunately, my plate gets just as full from all those little snacks as it would with a few choices of real food. I sure can make a meal out of dips and spreads and little weenies! The problem often comes when I realize that I have so many different little things on my plate that I am still overwhelmed my the shear quantity of bites before me! Each individual yummy seems harmless enough on its own. En mass, however, the last three things to land on my plate inevitably become my downfall.

The same is true about my figurative plate. I have a tendency to look at the individual tasks or commitments and think, "That won't take long," and the little tongs in my brain tell my tongue to say that dangerous little three letter word, "yes!" What inevitably happens is that the list of little bite sized morsels, otherwise known as service, commitment, responsibility, obligation, chores, plans, opportunity, and even fun, fill my plate to overflowing and the real food can find no room at all.

If I were to first fill my plate with raw veggies, a piece of fruit and a half a sandwich, the snacks would not have so much room to overtake and I would be forced to choose my absolute favorites. If I fill my figurative plate with the good stuff first, then there will only be room for a few extras, and I will choose them more carefully. The real meat and potatoes of my life are my daily personal relationship with my Heavenly Father, my daily purposeful relationship with my sweet husband, and my daily precious relationship with my four children. Commitments to friends and family, faithfulness to serving at church, and helping out at the school are a few of the extras that vie for room on the plate, so I need to prayerfully consider them before I reach out and grab with both hands that which may tip the scale.

I don't want to regret holiday eating because I can't get into my jeans in January, and I don't want to see the important contents of my figurative plate in a mess on the floor because I didn't choose carefully the things that would occupy space in my days.

As we look ahead to the weeks of December, I know we all see things like family get-togethers, office parties, choir concerts, school programs, shopping trips, caroling excursions, road trips and much much more. I wonder if you will join me (and I invite you to ask me...to keep me accountable) in my effort to carefully choose what goes on my plate. Maybe together we can stay trim!