A Christmas to forget

Christmas day started out early (5:45!) but good. We had electricity and I knew where to find the coffee in our new kitchen, so what more do you need? Stockings were fun to open with the kids, they loved and appreciated their things, we went through the Christmas story, and then opened gifts. Thanks to a fantastic church partner who sent presents, the kids had things to open since we hadn't made it shopping what with moving. The few gifts we had brought with us from the US were wrapped in napkins and curtains because that's all we could find!

The day started to go South when I started cooking for the mission dinner. In a new kitchen and things only partially set-up, everything took longer. I finally got the dough made for orange spirals, got the piecrust baking, and started the pie filling. After stirring it for 45 minutes, I decided it simply was not going to solidify like it was supposed it, and only then did I realize the stovetop was not working. And neither was the oven any longer, and the curst was only half-cooked. Chad was walking the dogs, so when he came back he started to switch out the ovens (to move our old one in). But then he found the wiring problem, got the original one working again, and so I was back on track though sadly behind. The bread wasn’t rising properly, the pie wasn’t cooling fast enough…I finally jumped in the shower at 2:20 for our 2:00 lunch, forgetting to get the oven turned back on to cook the rolls. I didn’t realize everyone was waiting for us to arrive, which we did at almost 3, without the pie or the rolls! After filling our plates, I fed Isaac while Chad ran home to put the rolls in the oven. When he got back, I finished a few bites and ran back home to pull them out of the oven. And the bottoms were scorched. Apparently the new oven doesn’t cook so evenly. Yes, I went into Christmas-dinner-battle with an unproven oven, a mistake I won’t make again! I sat on the kitchen floor, oven mitt in one hand and charcoal rolls in the other, and sobbed. But the pie was cool, so I pulled myself together and headed back over. After a pleasant dinner, which I was almost too tired to fully enjoy, we headed home. But where were the keys??? Chad was sure I had misplaced them in my meltdown over the rolls, and I admit I had no memory of keys at all, except that the door was locked, so I had to have brought them out of the house! We tore the car apart, and in the frenzy, the Rottweiler jumped into the car, discovered the half-a-chocolate pie and ate all the real whipped cream off the top. Still no keys, so we climbed back into the car to see if they were at our friend’s house, and Ethan stepped in the remaining pie (yes, Chad had been planning on salvaging the chocolate part of the pie up until that point!). The keys were nowhere to be found, until Ethan and a friend remember that Ethan was playing in the car earlier, got frustrated with his friend, and threw the keys out the car window at him! Of course it’s pitch-African-dark by this time. Nonetheless, 11 adults and 2 kids donned head-lamps and flashlights and searched the area they swear the keys had to be, which, I’m sure, also happens to be the thickest grass in all of Lilongwe! The only other set of keys we knew of were inside the house since we had them both to move. And after 1-½ hours of fruitless searching…oh, did I mention the rose bushes all around? I have the scratches to remind me…we gave up. Miraculously, someone found another copy of the back door key and we were able to get in. On the drive home, the bowl of carrots slid over so the buttered carrots joined the smashed-in chocolate pie on the car floor.

It was 9pm, Isaac hadn’t had a nap and was screeching like a howler monkey at this point, and we were finished. I’m afraid to say we totally bombed the “real spirit of Christmas” this year. I was trying to find some spiritual lesson, or application I should have learned from this experience, but this is all I’ve come up with: some days just stink. I guess God’s gift is that when you fall into bed and think you can’t take anymore, you always wake up to a new day, and God’s mercies are “new every morning”. Today has been much better, despite the 4 loads of dishes I had to do to clean up from yesterdays’ kitchen-disasters! Our old stove is moved in, and this morning the keys were found in the exact spot we had all been looking. Of course, the other lesson to be learned is that we don’t have to do it all. I agreed to bring that food to dinner before we found out about moving. We had so much food no one would have even thought twice if I’d said I couldn’t bring the desserts after all. It was my own pride and stubbornness that insisted I act as if we hadn’t just done the impossible with moving in 3 days.

If there is a next time, which I hope there is not, I’ll know better about setting limits for myself. In the mean time, I need a nap…


  1. Hi Mirz,

    We're all sitting in our living room getting ready to open our stockings (a few days late) and we read through your e-mail and your blog entries.

    We love you all and wish things had been easier for you this Christmas! We miss you here.

  2. Chad and Miriam! I just got caught up on reading your blog entries. Amazing-I was laughing while I read how amazing your Christmas dinner and orange spirals went. Best story ever! Plus I saw all the pictures of the kids, they are so big now, I can't believe it. Tell them I said Hi. Hope everything is going great now and that your New Year's was a little less eventful than Christmas! Have fun and Chad I played the djembe for the second time in my life yesterday and my skill was still less than amazing and I didn't have a small black girl doing some sort of tribal dance next to me either... lame! haha, oh fpo


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