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Category Archives: Holidays

15 Minute Art Challenge ~ Isaiah 9:6

Ok, so I was getting all creative this week and I felt really excited about drawing with colored pencils this morning.

Um, so that drawing?  It’s in the trash … some things work well in colored pencils – dark colors just don’t work well – yet.

So, a drawing pen and the sketchbook and a few new doodles for embellishments that I’m learning and finding that I like to draw.  Like, over and over.

Did I mention I’m REALLY NEW at this????

Our scripture verse was one of my absolute FAVORITES… In fact I sing it all the time and so did Mom

Isaiah 9:6

For to us a child is born,

to us a son is given,

and the government will

be on his shoulders.

And he will be called

Wonderful Counselor,

Mighty God,

Everlasting Father,

Prince of Peace.

Isaiah 9 6 drawing

 

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Grandma’s House and the Big Flood

The coffee is just short of too hot to drink, but I sip it anyway.  I’m not too crazy about the flavor.  But when Dad dips Grandma’s sugary molasses cookie into his cup – I know it’s for me.  I’m very little and sitting on his knee and enjoying the tiny kitchen and the smells and the family time together after church.

It wasn’t long after this time in Grandma’s kitchen that our town was flooded from a devastating hurricane and their house was ruined and needed to be torn down.  They stayed with us, and eventually we moved what was left of their belongings into their new home.

Dad and Me

Grandma and Me

Somehow my grandparents got very old after that memory.  They seemed more crabby and gloomy after that.  They moved into a nice little ranch house complete with a cozy, little eat-in-kitchen, but I remember, things just felt different.  Everything felt new there.  The carpet, the walls, the bathroom fixtures, even the concrete floor in the basement.  It just didn’t “match” with my grandparents… It just wasn’t “their” house.  It was a radical change.  It seemed too modern for such a turn-of-the-century set of grandparents.

In the next few years we would celebrate their 50th wedding anniversary and soon after that my grandfather would pass away.  I remember sitting on my Dad’s lap and feeling him cry.  It hurts when you lose a parent.  I know.  I really know too well now that both my Mom and my Dad are gone.

At some point in our lives – in our marriages, or in our family relationships – something brings about change.  It can be a major upheaval, like natural a disaster, job loss or a death of a loved-one.  Small things happen too, and if not handled properly, they can bring drastic and unexpected changes also.

For some of us – it’s at this major turning point in our lives – that the changes grow us and make us different.  For the better OR for the worse.  It may begin small and almost not perceivable, but the change occurs nonetheless.  And the biggest surprise of all???  It can happen AT ANY AGE.

We don’t always have a choice in the fact that we will experience these upheavals, but we do have the ability to direct how we will allow them to influence us.  It can make us BETTER or make us BITTER.

I’ve allowed many things to make me bitter, but I am never going to be too old to re-direct that into some thing better.  I understand all this better today as I finish this blog than I did when I started writing it in the beginning of May – this year (2013).

**I had to clearly identify the upheaval in my life – it can be a little deceiving where the roots of the problems lie…

**I had to figure out how it had changed me in a negative way, and of course, how it was affecting others.  That is usually where we throw our bitterness.  It may grow inside of us, but it spreads like the plague onto others.

Bitterness and all the mess that comes out of it can come from our circumstances – but it’s also inside of us.  We each have a little piece of it.  I’d identify this as original sin.  We need just the right formula to get the black bitterness to grow.

We have the ability to nourish and feed bitterness and take our punches and bruises in the midst of it all and then maybe eventually wallow in self-pity.  I call that depression.  I know that area VERY WELL.

But we also have the ability to lean on the Grace and Mercy of an Everlasting God and have Him nourish our problems and show us the way through the mess – and to be BETTER on the other side of it.

No mystery here though – we will endure some sort of battle, and we will have scars.  The Devil, who is our enemy, will revel in those scars and poke them to get us back on his trail of destruction.  We must continue to stand against him… most effectively by kneeling before God as many times as needed.

2 Corinthians 4:8-9

We are hard pressed on every side,

perplexed, but not in despair;

persecuted, but not abandoned;

struck down, but not destroyed.

That scripture didn’t feel real to me a few months ago …

I felt the despair.

I felt destroyed.

I did not, however, feel ABANDONED … In other words, I never COMPLETELY believed ALL of Satan’s lies.

Satan’s lies are like reeds in a basket that are tightly woven.  Those lies and the defeat that they bring upon us are somewhat waterproof and impenetrable.

2 Corinthians 4:7

But we have this treasure in jars of clay

to show that this all-surpassing power is from God and not from us.

After many devotions on broken-ness that I have read lately, I believe that being broken is a powerful thing.  And that God uses that broken-ness to show His power.  His power pours out of that clay easier than that tightly woven basket that Satan would have us live in.

In other words?  Jars of clay have cracks and imperfections and they sort of break easily and are more open.

Tightly woven baskets can be symbolic of a closed-off and controlled life that God can’t use very well.

There are some big lies out there.  So this lesson isn’t just for me.  And I don’t have a grip on all of it some days.

Because it’s easier to lie down and take the punches.

It’s easier to accept defeat.

But God desires more than that.  He CAN and WILL pick you up and help you dust yourself off and show you how to realign with him …

To be used by Him …

For His Glory …

Because Satan is a liar and a thief and he is already defeated.  Enough said.

I’d LOVE to share another recipe with you… This one is for a molasses cookie that literally reminded me of my Grandmother’s cookies.  I hope you will try them and enjoy them.  Maybe they will evoke memories of your childhood as well! 

Giant Ginger Cookies

(make them small, or they take forever to cook inside)

 

Ingredients
4-1/2    cups all-purpose flour
4     teaspoons ground ginger
2    teaspoons baking soda
1-1/2    teaspoons ground cinnamon
1    teaspoon ground cloves
1/4    teaspoon salt
1-1/2    cups shortening
2    cups granulated sugar
2   eggs
1/2    cup molasses
3/4    cup coarse sugar or granulated sugar

***********************************************************************

DirectionsCombine dry ingredientsBeat shortening on low for 30 seconds to   softenGradually add the 2 Cups of granulated   sugar

Beat in eggs and molasses

Gradually add as much of the dry   ingredients with mixer

Add the rest of dry and mix with wooden   spoon

Shape dough into balls

Roll balls into the 3/4 Cup granulated   sugar

Place 2+ inches apart on ungreased cookie sheet

 

Bake at 350 for 12 – 14 minutes

Cool for 2 minutes, remove and cool on rack

 
 

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The Holiday Season ~OR~ Hold On To Your Hats!

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Take a deep breath ~ Relax

You are about to have an imperfect holiday season.  Trust me.

Are you ready?  Are you all geared up?

Before the extra Halloween candy is bought and dispersed and consumed..

{the panic and the rush begin}

I know this because I’m really adept at observing the junk mail and the internet.  My mailbox has been filling with innocuous flyers and the news has begin to whisper the dreaded words of “Early Holiday Shopping”

{Run, Run NOW!}

~I’m going to apologize here and now – this might become a rant of sorts~

Have we all become stark-raving mad?  (Rhetorical question, of course)

In a season of thankfulness, how can we possibly be thankful and enjoy ourselves when we feel the pressure coming on as we start filling our calendars with?? …

office parties

ornate meals

gift purchasing and giving

church decorating

home decorating

mailing cards

school plays

church plays

extra choir music, rehearsals and performances

We really have to “pick our battles” here… or where we can best spend our time or things can get out of hand…and everyone ends up tired or aggravated or both.

**I’ll take a pause right here**

  **A quick sanity check if I might**

I would have gotten this written and finished last week except I had to add an emergency to all those things that HAVE to be done because the refrigerator broke.  (and of course, it involved WATER leaking)

I quickly shopped and found a new one.  It was delivered today while I was trying to do laundry.  (I’m purposely ignoring that last, wet, heap in the washer right now that beckons me to hang it up)

Now I’m tired.  Mostly for having to remove and replace all my magnets.  The food too, although I had “HELP” from the kids.  Thank goodness they are off this week and underfoot – how else would I know it was almost Thanksgiving???

**Another sanity check**

Did I mention that a change in plans means I’ll be shopping for {last minute} and cooking Thanksgiving dinner?  I am, and I just found out last night.  It’ll be ok, the kids said I could drink the sparkling grape juice while we cook together.

I think I need a blood pressure check, or perhaps I could just have an anxiety attack now, before the stress induces it?  I mean, if we are scheduling things for every day… why not an anxiety attack?

Please don’t get me wrong here … I love the holiday season -Thanksgiving AND Christmas.  I enjoy feasts and gifts and spending the day in the pajamas if necessary.  I really love letting loose and playing games all day or building with Legos.

I enjoy decorating a tree and adding extra lights around the house to take the edge off of the dark evenings.  And lighted garland?  Oh, I wish I could hang it everywhere – or even better…get some of the real stuff that emits that lovely {real} pine aroma.

But I’m tired.  Already.

Just thinking about some of the holiday stress of the past gives me a case of the “vapors.”

Thankfully, I gave up that list a few years ago.  I learned that if we were going to squeeze in family time, it had to come first.  And I mean – only relatives living under this roof – usually.  Because those days of having them sleep, shower, and eat here  – those days are seriously running short.

And when I began to focus on salt dough ornaments, or sugar cookie baking here at home… the importance of family drew very precious.  Next thing you know, we were making cookie dough from scratch instead of the refrigerated kind.  It tastes so much better and it’s worth the extra time.

My advice?  Pick your events wisely.  Go about your activities with a good attitude and less rush and those memories will last longer in everyone’s mind.  Seriously…Take a DEEP BREATH before you grab the keys and the casserole.  There will be way more smiles, laughs and silliness to look back upon for years to come.  And occasionally some really goofy gifts and weird food.

I’d like to share an excellent recipe for sugar cookies … be sure to make this ahead of time and that way you can wrap the dough in plastic wrap and take it out when you are ready to make the cookies – even a week later!

Sugar Cookies – shaped or dropped

1 ½ Cup confectioners’ sugar

1 Cup butter

1 Egg

1 tsp vanilla extract

½ tsp almond extract

2 ½ Cup flour

1 tsp baking soda

1 tsp cream of tartar

*************************************************************

Cream Sugar and Butter with mixer

Add Egg and Mix until blended

Add Extracts and Mix until blended

Combine dry ingredients – flour, baking soda, and cream of tartar

Add dry ingredients gradually into Wet mixture

Roll into large ball and wrap in plastic wrap

**Chill minimum 3 hours****Can prepare Days Ahead**

Set dough out for about 30 minutes

Flour surface and work chunks of dough until soft

 Roll out and Cut (not too thin)

Lightly grease cookie sheets

 *Bake in Oven at 375°  10-12 minutes

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Posted by on November 25, 2013 in Holidays, Life, in general

 

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