Wednesday, November 19, 2008

A Time of Thanks. And Stress.

In Australia, they use the term "whinging." Like many Aussie words, it takes a bit of translation. First of all, it is pronounced "win-jing." It is similar to murmuring, complaining, and grouching. Most Aussie-isms are abbreviations or combinations of other words. This one is a like like "binge whining," which is highly descriptive. I've griped to just about everyone in the last few days, so while I'm on a binge I thought I'd whine to you a little bit here too.

Nearly a year ago, our the Enrichment counselor and I booked all of our dates for 2008. Twice now, the activities committee, scheduling just a few weeks late has either booked over our activities or within close proximity. Our summer activity had to have a last-minute move because of the ward camp out. Now the ward's Christmas party is just two days after our RS Christmas Social. (Don't even get me started on how bad I hate that we are doing a social instead of a service project at Christmas time.)

This doesn't sound too bad, except that the ward activity is easily the biggest of the year. It is probably better attended than most of our Sacrament meetings. The activities committee commandeers anyone who will say yes to help. Which, in our ward, unfortunately, is not a very large number of people.

Three days before Souper Saturday (NOT a misspelling) and the day before Jedi Master's birthday party, the Activities Committee Head Person calls and says, "I just need to ask you something; now I know you are busy."

"Yes. What is it?"

"Just think about it before you tell me no."

"Yes. What is it?" The panic rising in my voice now.

"I have tried to think of someone else but your name just keeps coming back to me."

"Debbie. What is it?!"

"Would you be in charge of the program for our Christmas dinner?"

The overdone, too-long, noisy production from last year flashed through my head. As well as the word "Herdmans." I am sure that she picked up on the silence at my end. She repeated, "I know you are busy, I just felt so strongly that I had to ask you."

Later I said to Jeff, "What do you say to that?" He shrugged and mouthed the word "no." When I told the story to my snarky and sometime irreligious little sis she said, "Good grief! Does she think she's the bishop? She didn't need to act like an angel had come to her and named you as the chosen vessel!"

I am not the chosen vessel, but I did not say no.

I was given a small committee who is mostly out of town for the next two or three weeks, a program I greatly disliked, and no real direction to go.

I'll spare the rest of the gory details, but between the social and the program, I think I have easily put in 20 hours for church in the last week and a half. Maybe 30. On the upside, after December 6th, I get to cruise for about six weeks. And the Youngling will enter nursery, so at least I might get to sit through a couple of church meetings for a change!

Whinging done, now on to the things I did today to find a bright spot in my too-much-Mormon-culture-universe.

I made amazing cookies this afternoon. A-flippin'-mazing. Use Ghiradelli's sweet chocolate chips and their recipe with the following modifications: Use half butter, half shortening; Increase the flour by 1/3 of cup and add 3/4 cup of oatmeal; add a cup of peanut butter chips with the chocolate. The secret to any fantastic chocolate chip cookie, however, is to cook it just until the shine is off, let them sit for about a minute on the pan and then cool. They will stay soft all week. If they last that long.

Padawan made pilgrim and Indian hats at pre-school this week. Youngling wanted to try one out, just like he saw his older brothers do.

The second this hat went on, the hand went to the mouth and "Ay, yi, yi" started. He can't talk, but he sure loves to copy.

Jedi Master then said it was time to do a little pilgrim-Indian show. He rowed the couch to the new land of America. When he arrived, Padawan greeted him and showed him how to plant a fish with his corn and helped him build a house.

Then, his headdress regained, the Youngling began chasing his brothers all over the house. As with most of our games, this one ended in a wrestling match.

It only took 500 years, but it looks like the Indians finally came out on top.
The third great thing that happened today is that my mom surprised me with the news of a spontaneous visit in mid-December. They found uber-cheap tickets and will be here for Padawan's birthday. I cannot even express how happy this makes me. This year will be the first that we have not been with family or had family with us for either Thanksgiving or Christmas. I'm a big girl now with a family of my own, but I didn't realize just how much I wanted to see family for the holidays until my mother gave me her news. Though they won't be here exactly for either of them, their visit will certainly lift my spirits after all the above rigmarole.
Like you, my posting may be fairly irregular over the next several weeks. Happy holidays everyone. May you find the peace that you crave.


Z. Marie said...

I feel your pain in so many ways. I was teaching Sunday school every week (teenagers) and Relief Society once a month, then got called to teach institute. I had to put my foot down and tell them to get someone else to do the other callings. But still there are a lot of phone calls to ask for "just this one little thing."

Amy said...

Not to lean on you even more, but I am going to come to you for advice on how to deal with three boys!! Aaron and I are already TRYING to figure out how to keep the fighting at a minimum, especially when the next one arrives!! How do you teach your boys how to get along? That's my struggle right now.

Christie said...

I have a friend who is in charge of the food for an upcoming Stake Women's conference luncheon. She wanted my advice for what to serve. I said, "Something simple." All church programs and activities are to strengthen families and draw those attending to Christ. Those purposes can only be fulfilled when we don't embellish. We're told to magnify our callings, not embelish them. Sometimes we're the ones who need reminding, and sometimes we get to be the ones to issue the reminder.

What's hard is that magnifying our callings, strengthening families, bringing souls to Christ often involes a lot of work and sacrifice. I'm guilty of focusing on the busyness instead of the blessings. Gratitude seems to be the antidote.

And about those boys . . . What lovely curls Youngling has peeking out from under his headband. Their reproduction looks like it was full of energy and fun -- hallmarks of raising boys. You're doing a great job capturing the joy!

denedu said...

What a cute post. I love the pictures, too! They are all getting so big!
How excited you must be to have family come for a visit! Since our move out here in 2005 we have not had any family come for any holidays. They have this fear of snow...whimps! hahaha But, alas! My folks are braving our cold weather (which at the moment is pretty nice for this time of year) to come up for Thanksgiving! Hooray!!! Family at last will be here to celebrate with lots of yummy food! The kids are excited and....I'm sure you can am I. :)
Have a great time with your family, and I wish you lots of stress-free, happiness filled days over this holiday season. :)

simple easy and quick said...

Quick story. Henry Ford once had a very important assignment that needed to be completed at one of his factories. He asked arround to find out who the busiest manager was at the plant. Once he found out who it was, he gave that person the job to do.

Sorry Nomad, that's just the way of life. Ask Simple Wife, who was just called to be RS pres in a Ward with 50% Philipinos.

Back from Saudi, check out my new post.

Suburban Hippie said...

Holy annoyingness! If I ever have to ask someone for something and there is a long pause, that's a no to me no matter what they say afterwards.

My sister tried to book a church building for her wedding and the building coordinator told her that before she could put my sister's name down she would have to call all the bishops and relief society presidents of the wards that meet in that building to see if it was okay with them. Honestly - what is the point of having a building coordinator?