Day Writing by Heather Hamilton-Maude: Focus on Him
I worked hard to schedule everything in December in such a way that when I was finished selling meat on Dec. 11, I was finished with everything on the business side. Allowing myself an entire week to focus on cleaning house, wrapping presents, and prepping to host two Christmases. I was really looking forward to a more laid back Christmas season, and somewhat proud of thinking ahead and getting it all organized.
I took it fine when I realize the kid’s Christmas program overlapped with hosting Christmas.
I did alright when our USDA butcher shop called with a cancellation, and we were able to get a big load of hogs in Christmas week – a job that ate up two days of my time, but was a huge perk as well.
I was pleasantly surprised to sell out of several items on my “last,” day selling meat, which led to the decision to sell again the following weekend. The same weekend as the kids’ Christmas program and hosting Christmas.
I didn’t blow my top when I got a flat tire when delivering the load of hogs, and realized that somewhere along the line a critical piece that fits into the jack and allows you to twist it up or down had been removed from the pickup I was driving.
I kept it together through an hour of searching for a hydrant to water my pigs in Sheridan, Wyoming, and finding every single one padlocked off. I even chuckled a little as I filled a five-gallon bucket out of my hotel bathtub, and snuck it down the back stairs of the hotel to my trailer. Multiple times.
I was polite with the numerous last-minute customers who called or emailed wanting meat in the days leading up to Christmas, in spite of my numerous attempts to let folks know we were taking a couple weeks off.
I took in in stride when my husband canceled getting my pickup to town to the mechanic, then told me I would have to wait several more weeks, until the flatbed was fixed, his dad was done hauling hay with it, etc. I drove the four-door, six speed Dodge through all the Rapid City traffic several times. With my bumper-pull meat trailer more often than not.
I did not let it get to me that the part to fix the smoker, in which I planned to cook the turkey, was scheduled to arrive the day before I was cooking the turkey.
I ran the extra errands, wrapped gifts, meal-planned, cleaned house, mailed the first round of Christmas cards, and was folding the last load of nice clothes when my husband stuck his head in the door the Wednesday before the weekend that included programs, hosting Christmas, and selling meat. He nervously said he didn’t even want to tell me.
My heart sank a little.
My basement washing machine, which I had started a couple hours earlier with bedding for our impending guests, and never kicked off the fill cycle. Our basement was flooded.
We spent the next several hours directing water to the floor drain (talk about an invention that doesn’t get enough good press), packing our entire Christmas out of the back closet where I had carefully hidden it, stacking everything salvageable into dry spots, and anything ruined outside.
To top it all off, a good portion of the clean work clothes had fallen off the counter and into the dirty water.
That was it. The tipping point. The straw that broke the camel’s back. The transition from happily planning and executing to reacting and surviving.
By that weekend, the house looked exactly like it did when my husband stuck his head in the door. Except there was a big pile of laundry, again. However, my family pitched in, and we pulled off a great two days of gathering together.
All the gifts for every Christmas were wrapped, except those from Santa, which were discovered by our daughter in the wreckage of our basement.
Then we all got sick. Again.
Today, the second round of Christmas cards still sit on the table. The tree remains up. The gingerbread houses are still in a box hidden away, waiting to be constructed and decorated. We hastily made a batch of out-of-the-box cupcakes to leave out for Santa. There are 36 messages on my machine, with the alert that there are, “less than three minutes to record.”
Thank goodness for Christmas in its original and true form. For Jesus coming in the flesh to save us from our sins, and providing a way for us to spend eternity with Him in the perfection of heaven. For friends and family who also know that to be true, and pitch in wherever needed. While all the rest is truly wonderful when it falls into place, as this year reminded me, none of it is a necessity.
So, while a week late, Merry Christmas. May God bless you and yours, and may your focus remain on Him in the upcoming year.
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