Countdown to Christmas – Day 7

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Welcome to day seven of our Christmas Countdown!

Today’s Random Act of Kindness:

Wear a Santa hat and pick up litter in your neighborhood or shovel someone’s driveway/sidewalk!

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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:

Matthew 1:18-25

18 These are the facts concerning the birth of Jesus Christ: His mother, Mary, was engaged to be married to Joseph. But while she was still a virgin she became pregnant by the Holy Spirit. 19 Then Joseph, her fiancé, being a man of stern principle,* decided to break the engagement but to do it quietly, as he didn’t want to publicly disgrace her.

20 As he lay awake considering this, he fell into a dream, and saw an angel standing beside him. “Joseph, son of David,” the angel said, “don’t hesitate to take Mary as your wife! For the child within her has been conceived by the Holy Spirit. 21 And she will have a Son, and you shall name him Jesus (meaning ‘Savior’), for he will save his people from their sins. 22 This will fulfill God’s message through his prophets—

23 ‘Listen! The virgin shall conceive a child! She shall give birth to a Son, and he shall be called “Emmanuel” (meaning “God is with us”).’”

24 When Joseph awoke, he did as the angel commanded and brought Mary home to be his wife, 25 but she remained a virgin until her Son was born; and Joseph named him “Jesus.”

Today’s Song: Joseph’s Lullaby

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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 6

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Welcome to Day 6 of our Christmas Countdown!

Today’s Random Act of Kindness:

Make a Christmas card for a shut-in and deliver it in person.

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This act of kindness is heart-wrenching for me. The person I was going to do this for passed away yesterday morning. Her funeral is Thursday. Please don’t put off visiting a widow or widower, someone who is sick or recovering. Someone in prison. (You can’t hand-deliver cards in prison but you can visit them.)

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

I wish we weren’t so busy. I wish I would learn to carve out time in my days and weeks to attend to those who are lonely. This life gets out of balance so easily, doesn’t it? Don’t put off something that’s on your heart to do. Write it down. Remember it. Live without regret.

Today’s Scripture:

Isaiah 7:14:

“…the Lord himself will choose the sign—a child shall be born to a virgin! And she shall call him Immanuel (meaning, “God is with us”).

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 5

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Welcome to day five of our Christmas Countdown!

Today’s Random Act of Kindness

Donate canned goods to a charity of family in need.

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

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Today’s Scripture:

Luke 1:38: 

38 Mary said, “I am the Lord’s servant, and I am willing to do whatever he wants. May everything you said come true.” And then the angel disappeared.

Today’s Song:

What a moving video. Puts all life into perspective. And the absolute meaning behind this holiday we celebrate as Christ-followers.

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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!

Day 1 Countdown to Christmas – The Christmas Jar

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I’ve been in a bit of a cranky mood this Christmas for various reasons. And I’ve learned through the years that the best way to get out of a funk is to concentrate on someone else.

That’s how I came up with the idea of encouraging my readers to participate in a random act of kindness each day in December along with an Advent Countdown to Christmas reading. Check back each day in December for a random act of kindness idea, a song to enjoy (via YouTube, maybe by next year I’ll have my own Christmas album ready), and scriptures to read to the family.

So let’s get started, shall we?

Random Act of Kindness Day 1:

Start a coin collection in a box or jar. Put cash in it each day. On day 25 of December, give that cash to someone in need.

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Scripture: Micah 5:2 (Even though I love the KJV best, I’m posting these scriptures from The Living Bible so that children can better understand the language):

 

“O Bethlehem Ephrathah, you are but a small Judean village, yet you will be the birthplace of my King who is alive from everlasting ages past!”

 

Here’s your song for the day!

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

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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!

The most adorable elf

Like many of us moms, grandmas and pastor’s wives, I’m  more than a little swamped this Christmas season.

Thankfully, That Dad Blog has posted some of the most adorable real-life baby elf on the shelf photos you’ll ever see!

Enjoy!

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Click to see Our Real Life Elf on the Shelf

Tweet this: Dad Transforms His Adorable 4-Month-Old Son into a Real-Life Elf on the Shelf

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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Please tweet: Top 10 Christmas Gifts for busy writers! What’s your pick?

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

The perfect holiday breakfast dish: Karla’s French Toast Egg Nog Casserole

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!

Karla’s French Toast Egg Nog Casserole

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When I got the idea for this recipe, I was extremely excited to try it. I’m happy to report that it tasted just as delicious as I imagined. And it’s so easy. You mix it the night before and pop it in the oven when you wake up.

I used a basic french toast casserole recipe and instead of using cream or half and half and milk, I used egg nog. It was beyond amazing. I can’t wait to make it again for New Year’s Eve!

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Ingredients for casserole

1 loaf French bread (13 to 16 ounces) — I used a week-old loaf I got for .60!

8 large eggs

3 cups of your favorite egg nog (no alcohol)

2 tablespoons granulated sugar

1 teaspoon vanilla extract

Dash salt

Ingredients for Praline Topping

2 sticks of real butter — softened (set the sticks out overnight)

1 cup packed light brown sugar

1 cup chopped pecans

2 tablespoons light corn syrup

1/2 teaspoon ground cinnamon

1/2 teaspoon ground nutmeg

Tear up the French Bread into pieces as big as you like — about 1 inches. Some people slice them. I don’t. Place the pieces in a buttered 9 X 13 baking pan or dish.

In another bowl combine the eggs, egg nog, sugar and salt and beat until well mixed. Pour mixture over the bread making sure all are covered evenly. Cover with foil and refrigerate overnight.

The next day, preheat oven to 350 degrees F.

Combine ingredients for the Praline Topping, spread evenly over the bread, and bake for 40 minutes. You may want to add your praline topping about 15 minutes into cooking if you don’t like a crusty top. I happen to like the crusty top–it’s my favorite part.

You can serve it with syrup but there’s so much flavor, no one in my house wanted syrup with it!

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Tweet this: Try this delicious breakfast treat for New Year’s morning!



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!