Pumpkin bread is baking in my oven as I type. Several small loaves and one larger Texas-sized ceramic dish I bought years ago near Round Top. My friend Ann bought one just like it.
Would you believe I've never used it for baking until this year? I made a Texas-shaped gingerbread earlier this week, and now pumpkin bread.
Who knew, so many years ago when I bought it, that I was preparing for this Christmas season, when Texas-shaped bread would be such a cute gift for my real estate clients?
The spicy scent drifts to me from the kitchen, making me eager for a taste. Most of the loaves will be gifts, but I know we'll cut into one of them right out of the oven.
I've been in a flurry of preparation, lately, trying to prepare for Christmas and the new year. Kind of like spring fever jitters or pregnancy nesting.
I've been getting systems, a budget, and a 2014 plan in place for my business...sorting my stuff into "sell", "give", or "keep" stacks...taking steps to move my mom closer to us...planning another reunion with my old DuPont gang...and preparing for Christmas in all of the outward ways - the cards, the tree, the decorations, the gingerbread and pumpkin bread.
Advent is a time of spiritual preparation, though, so I've been working on that, too, with prayer and daily readings, but I keep stumbling over patience... with myself, with others, with results.
At a party Saturday night, a friend told me how she illustrated Advent for the children in her Sunday school class by baking gingerbread. She showed them how you take different specific ingredients, how you measure them and blend together just right, how you prepare pans and an oven for the baking, then you wait, while the house fills with that heavenly scent of ginger and warmth and spices, making your mouth water and your tummy growl in anticipation.
The smell isn't the end, just a sign that it is coming, one that makes you eager to see and taste the finished results. But you have to be patient.
And so I'm reminded to open up my spiritual senses, to be aware of the miracles and blessings and signs of God's presence that I encounter every day...signs of something greater to come...although too often I don't notice them in my busy-ness.
I'm reminded to prepare, to be awake and to be patient...because patience is rewarded.
"Patience with others is Love, Patience with self is Hope, Patience with God is Faith."