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Patience Can Be Cultivated

December 11, 2006

Listened to the show Saturday and it was not bad. We'd just returned from a trip to Crabtree's to pick up our Christmas tree and we were all a bit worn out. It's a fir this time around, about 7 feet tall and rather slender for my liking but we've always let the kids make the call and I can't complain. Mr. Sundberg had to saw an inch or two off the trunk and clip a good 6 inches from the top but once we got it through the door and up it fit just right. Then, of course, there was a whole lot of jumping around and hollering, "Let's decorate it! Where are the ornaments?" First things first, I told the kids, and set about stringing the lights.

With Christmas lights, things tend to get tangled and sometimes they flash on and off and now and then you plug 'em in and nothing happens. Which can, for the average person over a stretch of time, cause a degree of stress. Mr. Sundberg has been known to utter a few choice words while hanging Christmas tree lights. That episode was early on in our marriage. I'd asked him to start on the tree while I fed the babies. "Sure thing," he said, and set about unraveling the bundle of cords. After a good hour of mumbling which devolved into cursing, I heard him say, "How about if we forget the lights this time around and just have a plain tree? Not like we need lights. We can save on the electric bill. And we won't have to sit there in church on Christmas Eve wondering whether or not we've left them on." I won't go into what happened next, but it required a vacuum, an apology, and a trip to the store for more lights and a bottle of aspirin.

Patience can be cultivated. If you don't have it, you can get it, but like anything worthwhile, it's going to cost you something. Mine was fairly inexpensive. I simply traded my "Manager of the Universe" smock for a "Patient As All Getout and Loving It" apron and stood in front of a mirror and said, repeatedly, "Not everything you want to happen today is going to happen. And what does happen may not happen the way you want it to. So deal with it."

I am now in charge of Christmas lights. They get hung, but when I want to hang them, and they're never spaced perfectly, which makes them just right. I'm also in charge of sending Christmas cards, gift buying (we spend an evening wrapping together and call it "Romance Night"), holiday baking (this is a story in itself), holiday garb for church and other festivities, and the general festooning of the house. I'm not complaining, mind you. I'm simply patient with it all. What gets done gets done. What doesn't is no big whoop. Mr. Sundberg is smiling today. He split enough firewood over the weekend to carry us into June. The kids got to decorate the tree not Saturday night but Sunday afternoon, and it's done, and they did a fine job. The gifts are nearly all purchased, I'll write and mail the cards later this week or next week or sometime, and the baking begins today, somewhere between sunrise and sunset.

This cake is perfect for holiday gatherings when you don't have much time to throw something together. It's moist and chocolatey and requires virtually no patience at all.

Chocolate Cherry Cake

1 chocolate cake mix
21 oz can cherry pie filling
2 beaten eggs
1-2 t almond extract

Mix above ingredients in a bowl. Pour into a greased and floured 9 x 13 cake pan. Bake at 350 for 20-25 minutes or until cake is set. Use below recipe or frost with a can of your favorite ready-made chocolate frosting.

Chocolate frosting:
Bring to boil 1 c sugar, 5 T butter, and
1/3 c milk; boil 1 minute. Remove from heat. Add 1 c chocolate chips. Mix well. Pour over cake and let cool.

Serve plain or with whipped topping.


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