Wednesday, November 21, 2007

A Different Planet

I got a call from a friend of mine, Debbie, who moved to San Antonio to help her husband plant a church (Crossbridge Community Church) and asked me if I would speak at their Ladies Christmas Luncheon. This gave me quite a shock (and a rush of nausea) because, see, she has heard me speak before. I am not a speaker. I am one of those who would rather cook the meal for the couple of hundred at the luncheon, set up and clean up, print invites, make name tags, set the schedule, decorate, come up with games (even though, for me, that’s right up there with putt putt) than have to stand up in front of more than 3 people and actually say something—anything but SPEAK. I even reminded her of this. She acted like she didn’t hear me. Yes, I could have said no, but as Jeff and I prayed about it, it was clear that I was to do it.

The other time Debbie heard me speak, it was for the same kind of event in Salado, Texas. The original speaker had to cancel at the last minute (2 days before) and who do they call?? The one who takes 2 months to prepare for pretty much anything and has “Moses Mouth” when it comes to speaking to an, I cringe to type it, audience! However, it was nice to go on the pretenses of-- they called in second string on short notice so don’t expect much. (No one actually said that, but they knew I wasn’t their first choice. I was NOT the lady on the flyer!) I talked about this home made book I printed up about getting ready for the holidays. It includes checklists for November and December, stocking stuffer ideas and pages of Christmas traditions and decorating ideas/tips. The last 2/3 of the book is filled with tried and true easy recipes from my family and friends. When I asked Debbie what she wanted me to do for her, she said, “a little practical, a little spiritual”. Vague is not my friend. She was kindly giving me some creative room which I don't like to have. I need specifics WITH boundaries. The “spiritual” part, as she tagged it, is what I have been spending all my writing time on—getting the picture and coloring it in.

So, what made me want to write today is the little time I have spent on the “practical” part. This little book I put together was PRE-children. I started it in 1994 (first child came 8 years later)) and added to it over the years and now it’s almost 250 pages. I spend most of my time in the last 2/3 of the book where the recipes are so I haven’t looked at the first part of the book in a few years. Now, there’s a laugh. Someone with NO kids writing tips and ideas on how to make your Christmas easier. I can only imagine the laughs some moms got from my little check lists and the eyes rolling at some of my Christmas traditions and hazardous decorations. I am sure they soon figured out what planet I was on—the planet with no kids. Granted, there are women in ALL stages of life, but the majority in our church at the time had kids. No one said a word about my Currier and Ives images of Christmas where all is calm and beautiful (and unbreakable). The ladies were gracious to me, patted me on the back and told me what a great job I did. So, here are a couple of things that made me laugh.

“Taking the down the tree tradition—fill the inner branches with little gifts and candy to make this job more fun for the kids.”
One- by the time I am taking down the tree, I am done with traditions. I am into minimalist mode. Two- MORE little treats for the kids?? I had no idea how “done” kids could be too. Just get the tree down—an accomplishment in itself.

“Rise early enough to enjoy a quiet moment with your husband on Christmas morning before all the festivities begin.”
Is there an “early enough” on Christmas morning?? (Only if you lock your kids in their rooms like we do………..KIDDING.)

Julia and Brighton have certainly added a new dimension to Christmas, the best dimension in my opinion. The excitement and wonder they bring is unparalleled by anything I have ever known. Right now it’s 2 days before Thanksgiving and they are counting down the days until Friday because they know that’s the day all that’s “merry and bright” will emerge from the attic, the Ipod will be playing different music and our Christmas season will officially begin. We love the new “Sanders Planet” we have been on for the last 5 years. Wouldn’t go back for anything. Calm and beautiful may return one day but it won’t be near as fun. So, in the meantime, I will delight in AND cherish all that my precious kids have to offer to our family of four’s Christmas celebration.

Picture above: Year 2 on the new planet


Elaine said...

OK, now I want you to come talk to us!! I had no idea my friend was a celebrity! :-)

And I laughed at that taking down the tree tradition. There is probably some woman out there that feels guilty each year that she hasn't filled the tree with more treats as they take it down. Little does she know you aren't doing it either!

Just about every word I uttered pre-kids has come back to haunt me. "My children will NEVER act like that in a restaurant." "Look at how that mother dressed her child! I'd never let my child out of the house dressed like that." etc., etc.

Happy Thanksgiving!

Raechelle Ivy said...

I just took out that Christmas book tonight to prepare for tomorrow....I will never cook for the holidays without thinking of you!!!

Anonymous said...

if those kids can get up any earlier on Christmas morning than you and i did i am amazed. nothing like a 2:30 am Christmas--i'll be watching parade in morning just like at juju's i know you will 2. luv ya

Joyce said...

Don't put your book down so. After all the copies we've sold in your hometown, we had a lady come in 2 week-ends ago wanting five more copies. Had to sorry.

andrea said...

You are a celebrity!

I will have you know, that I had very limited number of books I could bring to Finland with me and I chose your 'A Christmas Collaboration, Fourth Annual' edition to bring with me.

I made so many cookie recipes from that book and took them to friends and family as my present when I was going through college and didn't have that much money, but wanted to do something special. Everyone loved all the tasty southern recipes and they were sad when I stopped cooking and started buying them actual presents. Also, I had the 4th edition…so that means I loved all your books and kept coming back for more! I think it was a wonderful thing that you did and I think the women with children overlooked that fact. Isn’t that the thing with kids is you learn not to stress the small stuff? Everyone loved that tradition, and it was really nice all the ladies getting together to talk about God, family, and food. In fact, I have the Wisconsin Wassail, marked as your favorite for the 1 time I had you and Jeff over for wassail. I have the best appetizer marked as ‘Chipped Beef Dip’, which I have never tried but wanted to, and Greg loves the scent of “The Smell of Christmas’ which is on my burner now. So THANK YOU. This year, as I am far away from my friends, family and home I want to do more of the cute family Christmas traditions you have mentioned in your book and it will bring me such happiness remembering the good times I had knowing you, Jeff and the church.

God Bless!