Tuesday, November 13, 2007

Thanksgiving Planning and Preperations

I am a procrastinator by nature. I work hard to overcome this flaw in my personality. When I was in school, I always worked much better under pressure. I would crank out a wonderful essay or project if the clock was ticking down to the last minute. I spent many long nights in college preparing assignments at the very last minute. It was almost as if having the thrill of wondering if I would make the dead line spurred me on to better performance. That is all well and fine for a college student, but it doesn't work so well for a mother. There are many factors in my life that I can't control so waiting until the last minute can become personal sabotage and failure. I find that I fall back into my old habits of procrastination when I am struggling to do something that I am not in the mood for at the time. This too is a flaw that I am trying to overcome in my life. I was mentally challenged with thinking about all the work of hosting a large Thanksgiving week of company. I am looking so forward to seeing every one, but for some reason this year I was over loaded with the logistics of it all. To add to that feeling, our second born son celebrates his birthday right after Thanksgiving. I want his birthday to be just as special as all of our other kids', but quite frankly it just isn't the best timing!!

Last night I resolved that I just couldn't put everything off till the last minute or this Thanksgiving would be a complete flop. There are too many people depending on me to let this happen. There are times that we as homemakers just can't control situations that come our way. We have to be very flexible and put our trust in the Lord. I remember one of those Thanksgivings at our house. We lived in Florida without any family, and I was VERY pregnant with our third child. I worked so hard to make it a wonderful holiday even though we didn't have other family members to celebrate with us. As I pulled the turkey from the oven, my feet were swelled and I was exhausted. The turkey was the last thing to get finished so we were very close to being ready to eat. The smell of the turkey made our mouths water. I needed to check the temperature to make sure that the turkey was done so I took out the thermometer that my mom had used over the last 20 years. I gently poked it into the turkey, and the thermometer cracked and red liquid oozed into the turkey. I was horrified. I asked my husband what that red liquid in a glass thermometer was and he informed me it was mercury. I casually asked if it would REALLY hurt us if we ate the other side of the turkey, and he was adamant that the turkey could not be consumed. I was nearly in tears when Michael said the unthinkable, "I'll just run to the store and get you another turkey and you can make another one with more dressing". Never mind the fact that the rest of the dinner was already setting in pretty dishes on the table!!!! We ate a vegetarian Thanksgiving meal that year, and it made me long to be with our family in Kentucky all the more. This was a situation that I couldn't control so we had to improvise, adapt, and overcome as the military saying goes!

Large holiday meals go a lot better with careful planning and preparation. This is something that as a homemaker I can control. I sat down last night to get my thoughts together for the holiday week. I planned out all of the meals. I made a separate page for the Thanksgiving meal menu. I made my grocery list for the entire week, and I mentally made preparations for the meal. I decided that we would move our patio table and chair set to the carport so that if it was warm enough some people could dine out there. I also decided that we could move our camping table from the basement into the dining room and that will become the food buffet area for the week. I wrote everything down that I needed to buy, and I planned all the details that I could think to plan while writing down my ideas. I then found my soon to be birthday boy and told him that I needed his birthday meal and cake choice by today. I would also include this meal in my shopping trip so I wouldn't be caught having to do a last minute grocery trip when I was already tired. The only thing that I did not plan out was his birthday gift...that will be his dad's responsibility! I then wrote down all the things that were bothering me that needed to be completed before the company came. This wasn't a list of impossibilities, but a real list of things that stressed me out. I then delegated each chore to a family member to be completed on Saturday. The backyard will be cleaned and straightened up, and the toys will be stored under the deck. One of our older boys will clean out the trash can cabinet while I bleach the trash cans. I have already cleaned the oven, and today I will be working in the laundry room. I know our company will want to be able to wash their clothes so it needs to be neat and tidy for their use. We will go ahead and move the outside table and chairs so we will be prepared if there is rain.

By taking this time to plan, I felt like the weight of the world had been taken off of my shoulders. I have a plan to work through now with help from everybody, and I do not feel overwhelmed anymore. I know the task at hand, and I will be ready when everybody arrives at our home. I know Thanksgiving is about so much more than food and a clean house. It is about the Lord and family and celebrating what God has done in our life. However, if the logistics aren't taken care of properly, the holidays can become very stressful. There are basics in life that have to be taken care of like 14 people needing to have a clean towel for a shower!! I want my home to be in such an order that other people can pitch in and help. If the laundry room is neat and tidy, others can throw in a load of towels instead of having to wait for me to dig out the detergent.

Now it is time for me to get busy tackling my thing to do list so for now...
grace and peace,

1 comment:

Tracy said...

Well done Julie. I am a procrastinator too. I find that once I have made that first step the rest follows more easily but sometimes it takes so long to make that first step! I hope your thanksgiving celegrations go well.
Best wishes