That Time of Year

I had a cookie, or maybe cookie(s) for breakfast this morning. There was yogurt, but it was a couple days past the expiration date. I know, I know, you can eat it up to 2 weeks after that, but for my purposes, it was expired. There was cereal, even my two favorite kinds, but sometimes that’s what I want to have on Sunday nights for supper, so I needed to save it. There was oatmeal, but not the minutes kind that you cook in the microwave, it’s the old-timey kind that you boil water on the stove plus I wasn’t sure I had any brown sugar or blueberries. I think it’s really not acceptable to try and eat wallpaper paste, er oatmeal, without brown sugar and blueberries. So I ate cookie(s).

They were a gift, because it’s that time of year. Plus my left eye is twitching, also because it’s that time of year. And an appointment I had scheduled early this morning texted and cancelled even earlier because of a cold, probably because it’s that time of year. And when a hoped for appointment is cancelled and your eye is twitching and the cookies are a gift . . .

The cookie(s) breakfast was chased down with 47 ounces of water. It’s that time of year and I’m trying to be healthier. I know 47 oz. seems an “odd” number *snort, but it’s the number of ounces I can get down at one time without completely feeling like I’m being water-boarded. I have it in my head that dehydration is one of the basic reasons for low immunity leading to sickness, yes, I did read that on the inter-webs and no I didn’t fact check it, but it sounds logical. And since I’m already a rather obsessive hand-washer, those two things together will keep this body going through this time of year. Oh, and maybe that flu shot that my doc insisted I get even though I’m certain it negatively affects my ability to think clearly for upwards of 48 hours. I got it last Friday morning, so that’s my out if last Sunday’s sermon was a bit off the mark. You know, something about a shoot coming out of a stump and two old, er “getting on in years” people told by an angel they would have a baby.

I guess because I’m also “getting on in years” I was also supposed to have a shingles shot, or at least it’s “highly recommended for someone my age” said by my doc’s seemingly 14year old nurse. She asked what I had going on over the weekend. I smiled. I do have a wedding rehearsal and a wedding tonight and tomorrow and three services to preach Sunday – weekends are kinda my big deal was what I told her, especially this time of year. I guess the shingles shot can have some pretty intense side affects for about 24 hours so she suggested we wait til Monday. I was HIGHLY agreeable to that option. Then Monday happened and I thought about everything I have happening this week and kindly got on my computer-portal site to communicate with my doc’s nurse, and opened up my scheduled spot to get a shot for someone else to have an opportunity, it is helpful to be on that “nice” side of the list this time of year. Then the nurse called . . . THIS MORNING . . . literally as I was eating my cookie(s) for breakfast, not even kidding! She said she missed me on Monday, and when would I like to reschedule. I shared that unfortunately I did not have my calendar with me (it WAS clear across the room) but that I thought it better to reschedule after the first of the year. “When?” She was no small amount of direct at which point I walked across the room and picked up my calendar and I now have something to anticipate for the New year. And yes, I did invite her to Grace for this week’s Choir Cantata and one of our Christmas Eve services. I think she smiled but was unwilling to commit – something about not having her calendar with her. It’s a good thing I like her.

When I finished my cookies and my water and between trips to the “break room” because 47 ounces does have some side affects, my doorbell rang and a package was left. I don’t know how fast those delivery people move, but they were gone before I got to the door. Sitting outside was an orange bucket of flavored popcorn from some of my favorite Baker U. financial development staff, AND a box of pears from my parents. I frankly don’t completely know if they were delivered at the same time, but my first thought was . . . LUNCH!

Our challenge this week from the scriptures was to watch and be prepared to see/hear/experience new life coming out of what may be the most unexpected places. A couple of you have sent me pictures of stumps, one even had some kind of green growth coming out of it! Another sent me a pic of a delicate purple flower growing through the crack of a sidewalk. I. Love. Those! New life to see and share in so many unexpected places! And the second challenge was to ask God where our purpose is in helping someone else to fulfill theirs. Some days both of those things, at least for me, happen on a moment by moment basis of simply walking forward one step at a time and doing the best I can. Trying to look at things more expansively seems too overwhelming.

Today? Have a cookie(s) on me as a meal if you want! Drink 47 ounces of water (and then another 17 before the day is over), simply remember to be near helpful facilities if you slam it all at once, and wash your hands more than you really think you need to. Get a flu shot, and if you’re of a certain age, maybe a shingles shot as well. Laugh at your own quirkiness and be grateful with me that God probably laughs with joy at us too. And at this time of year, give yourself a break if it feels like you are simply surviving one day at a time – that’s how Mary and Joseph arrived in Bethlehem, and the gift of life came to them just the same!