03 December 2013

Hustle and Bustle and Compound Nouns

The past couple of days have been productive but not overly full, and none of the evenings have held a sense of panic over things left undone, so why do I feel so scattered?

Maybe it's the temperature. Saturday and Sunday were cold, cold, cold. Monday was supposed to be cold as well, but it actually jumped up thirty degrees to 10 above. Today was below 0 again, and tomorrow was supposed to be in the high 20s above but now they are saying -10... good heavens, make up your mind!

Or maybe it's the cooking. Supper got off to a good, early start Monday with meat sauce simmering on the stove by 10 am... but I hadn't realized that I was down to my last can of crushed tomatoes, and I suddenly had to choose between making a skimpy 13x9 lasagna or a really, really good 11x7. The 13x9 guarantees leftovers for all three of our lunches the next day, but Matt likes my lasagnas, and I didn't want it to be disappointingly light on the sauce... I finally went with the 11x7. Fortunately, serving it with large salads last night did leave plenty of leftovers. 

Today, we learned that adding cooked chicken and some broth to leftover broccoli-wild rice casserole from Thanksgiving makes incredibly good soup: Matt would usually prefer to see something heartier than soup on the table at supper time, but this evening he was excitedly trying to figure out how to adapt the recipe to just go straight to this soup without stopping at casserole first. That was a relief! I'm still glad that I made a loaf of bread to go with the soup, to "hearten" up the meal in case it seemed a little light... even if I did get mixed up at one point as to which recipe I was reading and used twice as much sugar as it called for! The hamburger bun recipe was right above the French bread recipe, and most of the ingredients are the same, but the quantities are definitely different. Not a loaf to make garlic toast with!

Maybe it's the language barrier. We are reaching the point where Little Bear knows what words are, and clearly understands that we communicate by talking, but hasn't mastered the words to communicate with us the way he wants to. Sometimes it's just a problem of accentuation, like when he asks to get down but pronounces "down" as a two-syllable word (dah-na). Other times, we honestly have no idea what he is asking for, and we all grow frustrated as he stands there repeatedly saying "bahta" and pointing at... what? The water? The book? Oh, you want the spatula? How were we supposed to know that?

But sometimes, there's a wonderful language breakthrough where he can suddenly tell us exactly what he wants, and it's adorable, and then he has no idea why he's being hugged when he very clearly asked for the banana bread, Mama, not a hug. (And yes, I'm a language nerd: I did make an excited note of the fact that he said his first compound noun today.)

Maybe I'm just tired... but if so, it's definitely not Little Bear's fault. The boy has been falling asleep within 15-20 minutes of me starting to put him down, and staying asleep pretty much all night. He's even happily sleeping in late most mornings!

Or maybe it's just December. As my mental list of everything to be done in the next few weeks keeps growing, the spectre of holiday craziness is already overshadowing my Advent. Cookies, breads, fruitcake to bake... Special meals and activities to plan for the feasts of St Nicholas, the Immaculate Conception, St Juan Diego, OL Guadalupe, etc... Intensive cleaning of spots no one ever even sees before we have holiday guests... So much up-in-the-air-ness with the schedule of the last few days before Christmas and the big day itself... 

It's a Martha and Mary feeling. Yes, all of these things are important. Yes, they all need to be accomplished--and they will. But also, yes, Advent is important in and of itself, and this scattered feeling of everything being balanced somewhat precariously as I focus on too many things at once is a sign that, well, that I'm focusing on too many things at once. 

If I don't make an effort to stop every once in a while and just focus on the coming of Christ, I will only grow more and more scattered and frustrated because I won't be open to the peace and grace He offers me in this season of preparation. And if I muddle through on my own and accomplish all of the things on my list, but haven't spent any time preparing my heart, what kind of Christmas will it be? If I haven't found time to be quiet and pray yet today, scrubbing the bathtub can wait for tomorrow.

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