Christmas Countdown Day 4

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Welcome to day four of the Christmas Countdown 2016!

Today’s Random Act of Kindness:

Pray for two people you haven’t prayed for in a long time or better yet, pray for your enemies.

I find the best cure for unforgiveness is to pray for those who have hurt me. It’s not easy. But it’s not only how we are to live so that God can forgive us, too, but it’s also very therapeutic.

If you’d like all the random acts of kindness in one list, email me and I’ll send you a copy. 

Today’s Scripture

Luke 1:34-35 TLB

34 Mary asked the angel, “But how can I have a baby? I am a virgin.”

35 The angel replied, “The Holy Spirit shall come upon you, and the power of God shall overshadow you; so the baby born to you will be utterly holy—the Son of God.”

Today’s Song:

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Tweet This: Check here for today’s random act of kindness!

Leave your comments below and let me know if you’re participating! Have fun and Merry Christmas!

Christmas Countdown Day 3

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Welcome to day three of the countdown to Christmas!

Today’s Random Act of Kindness:

Make cookies for a neighbor or enemy and deliver them in person.

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If you’re like me, and have little time to actually make cookies, don’t let that stop you. Order up some homemade-style cookies, slap a bow on them and deliver them. Keep it simple. Don’t talk yourself out of being kind to someone who has done you wrong. You will grow by leaps as a person.

If you’d like all the random acts of kindness in one list, email me and I’ll send you a copy. 

Today’s Scripture:

Luke 1:31-33, TLB:

31 Very soon now, you will become pregnant and have a baby boy, and you are to name him ‘Jesus.’32 He shall be very great and shall be called the Son of God. And the Lord God shall give him the throne of his ancestor David. 33 And he shall reign over Israel forever; his Kingdom shall never end!”

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Today’s Song:

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Tweet This: Check here for today’s random act of kindness!

Leave your comments below and let me know if you’re participating! Have fun and Merry Christmas!

Christmas Countdown Day 2

As I said in Day 1’s post, I caught myself being a bit of a grump about Christmas so decided to do something about it. Enter my Random Act of Kindness coundown. Here’s day 2:

Help Clean Someone’s House or Yard

Hope, a four-year-old German Shepherd dog in the winning picture of the Talented Pets category at the National Pet Month Hall of Fame exhibition, which launches on Wet Nose Day (23rd April 2008) at Selfridge, London and runs until 5th May.

Hope, a four-year-old German Shepherd dog in the winning picture of the Talented Pets category at the National Pet Month Hall of Fame exhibition.

If you’d like all the random acts of kindness in one list, email me and I’ll send you a copy. 

I think for next year I’ll change this to “help decorate someone’s house or yard.” So if you’d rather do that, go for it! I did that last year and it was so much more fun than decorating my own house. Here’s a beautiful house. I wonder where she gets her energy and time to do this!

Isn’t that gorgeous?

Here’s today’s scripture:

Luke 1:26-38: 

26 The following month God sent the angel Gabriel to Nazareth, a village in Galilee, 27 to a virgin, Mary, engaged to be married to a man named Joseph, a descendant of King David.

 

28 Gabriel appeared to her and said, “Congratulations, favored lady! The Lord is with you!”[e]

 

29 Confused and disturbed, Mary tried to think what the angel could mean.

 

30 “Don’t be frightened, Mary,” the angel told her, “for God has decided to wonderfully bless you!

 

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Here’s today’s song!

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Tweet This: Check here for today’s random act of kindness!

Leave your comments below and let me know if you’re participating! Have fun and Merry Christmas!

Top 10 Christmas Gifts for Busy Writers (Or at least for this one)

I love writerly gifts. But most of the time, my friends and family haven’t a clue what such things are. I may leave my computer open to this post in case Mr. Himself walks by…

Here are my top 10 picks this Christmas in no particular order.

Number One:

 Jane Austen Action Figures and anything Jane Austen.

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Such as this,

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this,

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and this.

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Just because I love all things Jane Austen. And these are absolutely frivolous and uniquely writerly and readerly.

Number Two:

Stickers for my laptop. Such as this NASA one.

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It’s cool for people to think I’m a rocket scientist when I’m out in public writing. Then again, the astronaut sloth sticker might clue them in to what I really am.

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Or the  NASA “I need my space” one.

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Seriously, though, this one is perfect.

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As is this one. And you can’t beat the price! Okay, forget the gifting. I’m getting these myself.

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Number Three:

I am in total love with this gift idea! It’s a Moleskin notebook in a Moleskin gift box! How perfect. No need to explain why any writer wouldn’t love this one, right?

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Number Four:

Altwork Station.

Source: endgadget.com

Source: endgadget.com

When I make my first million I’m so getting one of these.  You’ve got to see this for yourself! (Watch the video. You’ll be putting this one on your list, too.)

Number Five:

Bookends. I have so many books. I’m never without a need for bookends. And since I’m really into elephants, I love these little guys.

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Every writer can use a nice set of bookends

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or even a cute bookshelf!

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Number Six:

Movie passes!

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Fiction writers love movies. Mainly they like to go and rip apart every scene, dissect each word, analyze the dialogue, conflicts, and more. Sometimes they want to sit in a movie alone and savor every morsel. Writers are weird. You might want to get the passes for them  to go to the movies alone unless they happen to have patient friends who understand. Or you have a unique writer friend who’s an extrovert. Unlike me. It’s not that I’m anti-social. I’m just an in-her-head-all-the-time kind of gal. Okay, fine. My kids think I’m anti-social.

Number Seven:

A vintage typewriter. Just because. Personally, I’d love to have a pink one:

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Or this one from my childhood. I can still remember its smell!

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Source: http://goo.gl/OmyMrA

And if the below picture is really a thing, please, please, please, someone show me where I can get this one!

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Source: http://stillcracking.com/want-one-2/

It does look like you can make your own according to this website, but a circuitry aficionado I’m not. However, I’m a writer, and there’s nothing a writer loves more than dreaming–besides caffeine and chocolate. Which brings us to

Number Eight:

Our own caffeine station. Deborah Raney has one I absolutely love! Mine would lean more toward tea, diet Mt. Dew, milk (with a Splenda — you’ve got to try it! It’s like a legal milkshake) and water. I don’t drink coffee. But I don’t mind those who do because I love the smell of it. Wouldn’t a little station in a cozy home office be wonderful?

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How cute is this???

Number Nine:

Our own private lair.

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I have a huge Pinterest board dedicated to this (with over 600 delectable images!).  I’d love my own little cabin in the backyard. But Mr. Himself is hesitant to create such a thing because he’s afraid I’d never come back in the main house.  He might be right about that. (See Number Six.)

Number Ten:

Contracts. Lots and lots of contracts.

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If I haven’t hit on anything your writer friend or family member might like, you can check out this amazing Etsy list here. There are plenty of things there any writer would love. And I like shopping at Etsy because it supports independent creatives like me.

What are your top ten Christmas wishes (besides peace, health and unicorns)? Is there anything on my list you’d like to have, too? Weigh in!

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Watch for the Light: Readings for Advent and Christmas

It's never too early to plan for

Okay, so I’m early (a proper lady is never late). But it’s never too early to plan for Christmas, right?

I simply must share this little treasure with you. It’s a book called Watch for the Light and it includes readings from Dietrich Bonhoeffer, Dorothy Day, Madeleine L’Engle, Martin Luther, Kathleen Norris, Henri Nouwen, Philip Yancey, Karl Barth,  Síren Kierkegaard. Thomas Aquinas, C. S. Lewis and more.

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Click to buy

Madeleine L’Engle, people!

I love her. Do you know her books? (Go ahead. Click on the link. I’ll wait.)

Impressed, aren’t ya? Oh. Yeah. She’s one of my favorites.

But then again, who doesn’t also love Yancy, Luther and C.S. Lewis?

I have a confession. I dread Christmas every year. It wears me out more and more. As a pastor’s wife and musician, mother and grandmother, director of the Christmas program and all the social events at the church, there is just too much to get done in a short time (pastor’s wives of small rural churches are overworked, but that’s another post).

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I’m going to make the effort this year to enjoy this book beginning four weeks before Christmas and try to capture the real essence of the holiday. There are fifty devotions that will take me from the end of November to after the Day of Ephiphany. Isn’t that marvelous?

I’ll also use it as a devotional at all our Christmas parties — the women’s ministry, the choir, the elder’s and deacons–you get the picture.

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It’s really a great book for ministers to have on their shelves. Actually, every Christian who loves the holiday will enjoy this book and I hope everyone who enjoys reading will check this one out because this is not only a great book to read but also a unique, beautiful book to give as a gift. If you have friends who are into well-written literature, this is perfect. And its charming 5″ x 7″ size just adds to its appeal. In this day of digital books, I can’t wait to gift this book to my friends next year.

This book earned a hefty five out of five stars from me. I can hardly wait until Christmas!

Star Review!

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 Tweet this: It’s never to early to plan for Christmas!

 

 

 

 

I got this book for free-2

Listen


A to Z blog hop at Patterings.

Welcome to A to Z!

We’d love to have you join the fun, either blogging your way through the alphabet with us, or simply visiting. =) We dearly love visitors.

If you’re joining in the meme, be sure to link up with us at the end of this post. Since this is a blog hop, you can grab the code for the linky down there too. Find more info about the A to Z meme here.

Today’s Blog is brought to you by the letter “L.”

Listen.

A still, small voice longs to be heard.

Above the cacophony of clacking machines, credit card swipes, family spats.

Listen.

Can you hear it?

The whisper of Love: wooing, desiring, reaching, stretching through the noise.

Stop, dear friend, at this Christmas-tide and take time to listen for that voice of love.

It longs to hold you and speak your name.

That Voice, the One Whose birthday we celebrate, and yet, go about our duties like countless re-enactments of Martha, frantic about the business of the party.

But if it’s His party, shouldn’t He be the One Whom our attention is focused?

Stop. Put down the paper, the ribbons, the mixing spoon. Take time to Listen.

Love is calling.

Merry Christmas, Child of the Most High God.

You are Loved with mercy so rich you can’t comprehend it.

Bathe in that gift. Rejoice. Celebrate.

Give praise.

And Listen.



Easy-peasy fudge!

The Most Delicious Recipe Blog Hop!

This is a recipe blog hop! Go here to get the button and join us each week: The Most Delicious Recipe Blog Hop.

Then add your recipe post to mine with the linky codes at the end of this post.

Whether you’re a paleo, vegetarian, southern cook, or baker, you’re welcome to join me and post a weekly recipe!

fudge

As you may or may not know, I’d much rather be in my writing cave than working in the kitchen, but there’s something about the holidays that brings out my hidden inner chef. So many people are making goodies that the enthusiasm for culinary delights is contagious.

I love fudge. My grandmother was an excellent candy maker and her fudge was perfect and delicious. I always thought there was a secret formula, and there probably is, to making the best fudge. But when I found this easy recipe, I couldn’t wait to try and it share it! Even I can make fudge now–and without a candy thermometer!

Karla’s Easy Peasy Fudge

 Ingredients:

  • 3 cups semi-sweet chocolate chips (I used milk chocolate in my recipe today)
  • 1 (14 oz.) can of sweetened condensed milk
  • Dash salt
  • 1/2 to 1 cups chopped nuts (I was out of nuts today)
  • 1 1/2 teaspoons vanilla extract

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Instructions:

The recipe I used today said to line a pan with foil, but I think you could probably use parchment paper, as well.

Also, did you know I am 53 years old and I just bought my first electric can opener in 2014? How did I live for so long without this wonderful device!

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Here are the rest of the instructions:

  • Combine chocolate chips, sweetened condensed milk and salt in a 1-quart bowl.

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  • Cook on high (100% power) in microwave for 1 1/2 minutes.

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  • Stir in vanilla and nuts

 

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  • Cook on high (100% power) in microwave for another 1 1/2 minutes (for a total of three minutes) and stir.

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  • Pour into pan and chill in refrigerator

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As you can see in the picture below, it sets up nicely and cuts easily into little squares.

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NOM! I’m so proud of myself for making fudge just like grandma used to make! Okay, maybe not exactly like she made, but I guarantee you that Grandma would have loved having a microwave!

fudge12I think this would be a great recipe to put in jars for fudge to heat up for ice cream, too.

I’m going to add pecans to my next batch.

What’s your favorite Christmas candy?

twitter-bird-in-a-santa-hatTweet this: Fudge recipe so easy even a cave girl can do it!

 

 

 

 


Kris Kringle and Kittens


A to Z blog hop at Patterings.

Welcome to A to Z!

We’d love to have you join the fun, either blogging your way through the alphabet with us, or simply visiting. =) We dearly love visitors.

If you’re joining in the meme, be sure to link up with us at the end of this post. Since this is a blog hop, you can grab the code for the linky down there too. Find more info about the A to Z meme here.

This is our first Christmas with kittens.

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Spook imitating a lounge lizard. His twin sister looks exactly like him — only she’s smaller and naughtier.

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Hogging my lap so I won’t waste time writing on my laptop.

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Making themselves at home on my granddaughter, Maggie’s, sleeping bag.

Mr. Himself is not very happy about it. He’s worried about broken Christmas ornaments and decorations.

We’ve not put our tree up yet and I keep assuring my neurotic husband it will be fine. Don’t worry. Be happy! And then I sent him this video to cheer him up.

What do you think his reaction was?

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Tweet this: Was it right or wrong to send my husband this video?

 

 


Recipe of the week: Melba’s Butternut Balls — a recipe from the 1970s

The Most Delicious Recipe Blog Hop!

This is a recipe blog hop! Go here to get the button and join us each week: The Most Delicious Recipe Blog Hop.

Then add your recipe post to mine with the linky codes at the end of this post.

Whether you’re a paleo, vegetarian, southern cook, or baker, you’re welcome to join me and post a weekly recipe!

This Week’s Recipe: Melba’s Butternut Balls

TeaCakesThese delectable, melt-in-your mouth cookies are also known in different varieties as Snowballs, Mexican Wedding cookies, Russian Tea Cakes, Christmas Butter Cookies, Rum Balls (without the rum), Almond Butter Balls (if you use almonds), Pecan Butter Balls (if you use pecans), Peppermint balls (if you use crushed up candy canes) and more.

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Whatever the name, they are easy to make, delicious and a joy to package up as gifts because they’re so pretty. They’re the perfect cookie to serve with coffee, hot cocoa or a steaming pot of tea.

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I learned how to make these cookies from a recipe in my childhood church’s Christmas recipe book entitled, Christmas Family Favorites. I’m not sure how I ended up still having it, but I think the copy I have was my grandmother’s because I don’t think my Mom would have given me hers. However I acquired it, I’m thrilled to still have it more than 40 years later! (I’m pretty sure it was published sometime in the 70s.) As you can see, it is well-worn and stained. Probably from when I used it as a kid!

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It was a primitive assemblage, held together with two small plastic rings. But it’s chock-full of my favorite childhood recipes. I very well may have learned to bake out of this little booklet.

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Each recipe is neatly typed and signed by the person who submitted it. I enjoy flipping through the names and remembering the lovely women of the church who mentored me when I was young. In future posts I’ll share several more of my top favorite recipes from the book. As a young baker, I made them over and over again.

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And now, the recipe for:

“Melba’s Butternut Balls”

Ingredients:

1 cup soft butter

1/2 cup sifted confectioner’s sugar

2 cups sifted flour

1/2 teaspoon salt

2 teaspoons vanilla

1 cup finely chopped nuts

Directions:

Cream butter and sugar in medium mixing bowl, add salt, vanilla, flour and nuts, mixing well. Shape dough into 1 inch balls. Place on ungreased cookie sheet. Bake at 375 degrees for 12-14 minutes. Roll in 1/4 cup confectioners sugar while warm. Cool, then roll again.

Variations: add different types of nuts for different flavors. You may also add crushed candy canes for a delicious, Christmassy, peppermint flavor.

I usually double the recipe because the cookies are small and I like to give full bags or tins of them as gifts.

You can find a paleo/low-carb version of this recipe from my favorite no-wheat flour source here: Mexican Wedding Cookies

Have you ever made these before? What’s your variation? Have you ever eaten them? What does your family call them?

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Tweet this: What’s your favorite Christmas cookie?