Sometimes I astonish myself. You wouldn’t believe how neat and orderly my pantry is. How clean and well-stocked. All the canned fruit is on one end of a shelf, all the canned beans and olives on the other. Cereal boxes are lined up with spares behind. The canisters holding flour and sugar are full, and free of dust and fingerprints. The floor gleams, with nary a crumb or broken chip in sight.
It’s all the more impressive because 1) I have a lot of editing to do today, and 2) we have around 30 people coming for a BBQ tomorrow night. The sensible, responsible thing to do would have been either 1) to sit down at my computer and start rearranging words and rewording sentences, or 2) to clean the bathroom, then run the vacuum around the living room.
For the past week, daytime highs had hovered around 100. While that may be a normal summer temperature for some parts of the country, here in Colorado, at an elevation of 7,100 feet, it’s anything but. (I’m glad we don’t live lower and hotter!) Even with our cool nights and ample insulation, the house was getting pretty warm by late afternoon. At that point, the absolute last thing I wanted to do was cook dinner.
I managed to avoid turning on the stove or oven for several days in a row. However, by the end of the week, salads were getting a bit redundant. What else could I do? Sure, there are other uncooked dishes, such as sandwiches and cold cereal, but I wanted ideas for more traditional dinner fare.
The phone caller went right to the point: “Hi, can you help me? We’ve got five college students arriving to help in our ministry for a week. They’ll be here in two days, and the family that was going to host them had an emergency and had to leave town. Do you have room? And we were going to have a dinner and games night for them—can you host that too?”
Actually, having the guys stay here would be no trouble at all. We have a guest room plenty of floor space. College students can sleep on the floor, right? The dinner and games night would be a bit more work, but I figured that feeding five extra mouths was doable.
Five students, two of us. No problem.
It’s late afternoon and you still have no idea what you’re making for dinner. Everything that comes to mind requires either time you don’t have or ingredients that would require a trip to the market. Sure, you have food in the fridge, and more food in the freezer, but frozen broccoli, mustard and a jar of green olives doesn’t sound like a meal. Our daughter once described the situation like this: “Mom, there’s no food in the fridge, only ingredients!”
This same daughter is also the one who suggested I explain how I do my meal planning. If this scenario sounds too familiar, maybe today’s post will help.
Christmas is drawing near and there’s still that hard-to-buy-for person on your list. They certainly don’t need more stuff, yet you want to gift them with something special, something that shows how much you appreciate them. Don’t give up. You don’t need to buy that fruit cake or “tower of chocolates.” Invest in a memory instead!
Christmas is coming!
Does that warm your heart? Are you excited to find or make perfect gifts for everyone on your list? Do you anticipate relaxed evenings gathered around the fire, delightful afternoons making cookies, evenings caroling and partying? Will you decorate your home with the most beautiful Christmas tree ever, and brighten the neighborhood with your extravagant light display?
Most of all, will you spend extra time with God, focusing on the incredible significance of His light shining in our darkness and thanking Jesus for coming as one of us?
Do you have muscle pain? Need to lose weight? How about anxiety or stress? We just got a flyer in the mail promising help for all these things, plus better sleep, increased libido, reduction of cellulite, pain management, a decrease in jet lag, a stronger immune system, fewer wrinkles, and—just to cover all the bases—enhanced mental clarity and “invigoration” of your mind and body. I can’t think of anyone I know who doesn’t suffer from at least one of these issues, including me. Is there something that can help? It seems too good to be true.
Of course it does.