I’m starting to get into some kind of groove with “Advent Adventures” – today was about seeking opportunities to fulfill the “tasks” (that makes them sound too much like chores – I’ll work on finding a better word) that my Reverse Advent Calendars set out.
Beginning the day with a short meditation is, I think, key for me. (Oddly enough, today’s was all about establishing “keystone habits” by which she meant small, easy-to-complete tasks that get you set up for success throughout the rest of your day. It’s a good idea and I’m working to figure out what mine are. I’m pretty sure that taking the time to do these little five-minute meditations first thing in the morning is a central part of it for me!)
Today was a “work from home” day so I settled down to map out my day and worked steadily to get my “work to do” list both reasonably constructed (in other words, enough to make a dent in the workload without piling so much on there that it was going to be impossible to accomplish – this is, by the way, a real challenge for me and a continuing issue) and then to get it in the “this can be marked off” category.
In addition to that sort of work, there was some “adulting” to do – a few phone calls and decisions to make that had been put off longer than they should have been, along with some laundry. (There’s always laundry.)
I did my French lesson, thereby completing an entire section (yay!!) and there’s stuffing in the food box. I took some soup I had frozen and slowly warmed that up for dinner, dug out the bread maker to bake a loaf to go with the soup, and made my first batch of “Christmas crack,” which I can tell you comes by the name honestly.*
The big challenges today required me to leave the house, so once the other work was completed, I ventured out, charged with the task of buying someone coffee and giving sincere compliments to as many people as possible. (These really are lovely tasks, aren’t they?) The compliments came easily – funny what you find when you’re really looking, isn’t it? – and I ran into two lovely young women at the coffee shop. While I didn’t buy them coffee, I did buy them macarons, so I figure that fulfills the spirit of the thing. (Aside – I live in a Very Small Town, and I actually knew these two girls [teens] and/or their parents, who should be quite proud of how their girls are turning out.) We enjoyed our snack and then I went off to my “creative movement” for the day – a slow flow yoga class.
Oh. My. I think this could easily become something I do on a regular basis. I chose this class over other activities today because it’s taught by a young woman who was once a student of mine (long ago and far away) and I have always found her to be delightful. Imagine my joy at discovering that she is a sympathetic, funny, and deeply wise teacher herself. It was truly a special experience and I left the class feeling peaceful and grounded – feelings that I often find to be in short supply with the hustle and bustle of holiday preparation (oh yes – I also got the Christmas pictures hung today and the Christmas dishes switched out with the “regular” ones, so a little done on that front, as well.)
This was a really good day. I think the key was in looking at how much “work work” needed to get done and then ruthlessly prioritizing that instead of throwing everything onto the list and insisting that it all needed to get done in order for me to have any self-worth. The prioritizing approach bears a little resemblance to a quote from St. Matthew – “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 – it’s part of the Sermon on the Mount for those of you keeping score at home.) In other words, do what’s right in front of you – that is sufficient for the day. (Just to be clear, I don’t actually think the work I have to do is “evil,” but the sentiment of just doing one day’s work during one day stands.)
*Ok, don’t call it “Christmas crack.” But it’s nearly as addictive. Bring a cup of butter (real butter, please) and a cup of dark brown sugar to a boil, then turn down the heat and let it simmer for 5 minutes. While that’s simmering, line a cookie sheet (use one with sides, so it’s a shallow pan) with foil then grease the foil (a cooking spray like Pam will do fine, but DO NOT SKIP THIS STEP and for heaven’s sake, LINE THE PAN!). Cover the foil with a layer of saltine crackers – just plain ol’ saltines lined up in rows. Depending on the size of your pan, it’ll take about a sleeve of saltines. Pour the sugar/butter mixture over the crackers and spread it evenly so everything is coated. (See why you don’t want to use a flat, no-sided cookie sheet? Right. Pop it into the oven (preheated to 350 degrees Fahrenheit or 175 Celsius) for 6 – 10 minutes. (Just depends on your oven and how crowded the pan is with saltines – I checked at 8 minutes and it was good – you don’t want the sugar to scorch.) Pull out the pan and pour an entire 12-ounce bag of chocolate chips over the surface of the yummy-ness, then slowly spread the melting chocolate out to completely cover the sugar/butter-coated saltines. Let it cool, then put them in the fridge to get hard. Break the resulting deliciousness into small-ish pieces and try to not eat them all at once. Store them in a cookie tin lined with wax paper. They are variations with other kinds of chips – peanut butter, brickle, etc. – and I’m looking forward to trying them all!