Saturday, December 22, 2007

Stop and smell the... stuffing?

a rose you can't smell
We've all heard it before, it's an old saying:

Stop and smell the roses

Even though we all know what it means, I wonder how often we actually do it? How often do we slow down in our busy days to appreciate the things that are right under our noses?

I know for myself, that's not easy to do, as much as I want to do it. In any given day I often feel so busy and so 'scheduled' that if I get distracted into some other direction my whole routine goes out the window, and I feel more frustrated than anything else with getting off track of my routine. I guess you'd say I'm a systematic person and I operate much better with schedules and lists, than just off the cuff.

During this time of year, for people like me, things can get even more intense. Everyone is so busy with shopping, wrapping, baking, cooking, travelling, visiting, attending functions and the like, that it just adds so much more to the already busyness of a day.

I thought about this the other night as I stood over a pan browning sausage with some celery and onions, for my Christmas stuffing. I thought about how on any given day in this last week before Christmas, my kitchen has so many amazing smells to offer. From biscuits baking, to pumpkin pies, melted chocolate, crepes, quiche, lemon curd... and the list goes on. Each smell says "Christmas is coming!" since most of this stuff I only make once a year. Each of those smells sort of fuels this anxiousness that is so common this time of year. In some ways that's not a bad thing, since we all look so forward to all the family being together from Christmas eve until some time Christmas afternoon. The only way it can be a bad thing, is if I let the details rule over me and begin to get flustered if things don't happen lock-step with my plans. (Not that I've ever been known to do such a thing. Ahem.)
Due in large part to the kind of person I am, I do my best to plan ahead and then schedule things in advance so that everything that I want to get done, actually gets done. Most of the time it works out very well. It was my goal this last week before Christmas, to get all the mountains of laundry done (and I did) and schedule all my baking so that I wouldn't have too many things to bake on any given day. I've managed to achieve that goal too, and I only have 3 things left to prepare. Today it's the candied walnuts and cornbread for the stuffing, tomorrow it's the Christmas morning bacon quiche, and then I'm done. Done until Monday that is, when the potatos need to be peeled, table is set, gravy is made and all that good stuff that goes on before a big family meal. (Caryn, I know you're reading, and YOU miss girl, are in charge of the veggie tray this year, you always make it so pretty looking, where I just sorta flop everything on there pell mell).
While I stood there "stopping and smelling the stuffing" the other night, I thought about this passage of Scripture:

Go to now, ye that say, To day or to morrow we will go into such a city, and continue there a year, and buy and sell, and get gain: Whereas ye know not what shall be on the morrow. For what is your life? It is even a vapour, that appeareth for a little time, and then vanisheth away. For that ye ought to say, If the Lord will, we shall live, and do this, or that. (James 4:13-15)
and this verse as well:
Take therefore no thought for the morrow: for the morrow shall take thought for the things of itself. Sufficient unto the day is the evil thereof. (Matt 6:34)
In the first passage the message is remembering it's the Lord that holds all our days. In the second verse the message is not that we shouldn't plan anything, but that we shouldn't fret and worry about the plans that we do make.
It's that second part that I tend to have some problems with, at times. Fretting and worrying about things getting done the way I want them done, is something that I seem to be pretty good at. So, I'm glad these words of Scripture came to mind when they did, to remind me to quit doing that. I'm glad I was able to stop and smell the stuffing, and just be content with the moment. I'd like to be that way all the time.