Tuesday, December 1, 2020

Favorite Christmas Cookie Recipe

Your Favorite Christmas Cookie Recipe

Do you have a favorite Christmas cookie recipe? Here's mine. Easy to make, fun to decorate, and a surprise kiss or star in each!
Chocolate-Filled Christmas Bon-Bons

3/4 cup shortening
1/2 cup sugar
1/4 cup brown sugar
1 egg
2 teaspoons vanilla extract
1 3/4 cups flour
1/2 teaspoon baking powder
1/2 teaspoon salt
3 1/2 dozen chocolate kisses
 or chocolate stars

Preheat oven to 350 degrees.

If using chocolate kisses, cut the tops off before starting. You will have to force yourself to eat the tops, or give them to a spouse or child.

Mix shortening, sugars until fluffy. Add the egg, extracts and beat well. Add flour, baking powder and salt and mix well. Form dough into 1-inch balls. Press each ball around a chocolate star or kiss until it is completely enclosed. (If dough is soft and sticky, add an additional 1/4 cup flour.)

Bake for 10-12 minutes on ungreased cookie sheets. Decorate with icing and/or sprinkles and jimmies in Christmas colors.

Recipe will make 3 1/2 dozen.

What is your favorite Christmas cookie recipe? Have you started baking yet?

Tuesday, November 17, 2020

Overwhelmed? This Will Help

Overwhelmed? This entry from my Prayer Journal may help:

Dear Father: I love you more than life. I worship you, as only you are worthy. I don’t want the essence of my life to be about writing, I don’t want to be swallowed up in this gift- I want my focus to be on You—the giver and Lord of the gift. Must I drown in this calling? Must I be in the belly of a whale called “The Writing Life?” Somehow I don’t think that is Your will. Even Jesus was not all about one thing. He taught, he healed, He did miracles. But He also rested and celebrated.

“Jesus was not driven. He was led. If you’re driven, there is a furious fire that is never quenched, growing larger and hotter and more dangerous. If you’re led, you are always listening for My voice, and your heart is open to changes I may make in your agenda. There is no panic or force. If you are aggressive, it is not because you fear—it’s because I’m leading you to be bold. If you are quiet and restful it’s not from laziness, but My hand of peace upon you.

"You can be like Jesus if you are willing to follow and not insist on “leading your own life.” Leading is my job. I know how."

Teach me how to follow, dear Lord. Give me a heart to obey, in Jesus' Name.

If you feel overwhelmed, try asking God to help you learn to follow. And then rest in His willingness to help you, His dear child. 

Tuesday, November 3, 2020

12 Furry Lessons from Cats about Life

What Can We Learn from Cats? 12 Furry Lessons

Cartoonist Ron Levellie copyright 2014
Cats: most people either hate or love them. The haters contend that felines ruin furniture, kill songbirds, and consider people their slaves. The lovers argue that cats control rodents, relieve stress, and cover up their poops.

I find my “spoiled brats in fur suits” brimming with wisdom. Here are some insights I’ve learned from the roguish angels:
1. If you fight with the other household cats, you won’t have energy left to ward off enemy cats.
2. It’s okay to have whiskers and pointy ears.
3. Look for a patch of sunshine, and stay there.
4. Naps are cool.
5. Don’t fuss about your food, or the one who feeds you may start buying a cheaper brand.
6. Purring will get you everywhere.
7. Master the “Shocked and Innocent Look” if someone laughs at you. Better yet, stick your nose in the air and saunter away, pretending you don’t care.
8. Naps are fun.
9. Act as if you know what you’re doing even if you don’t have a clue.
10. Convince those around you how blessed they are to live in the same universe with you.
11. Refuse to give up. If one bird escapes, climb another tree.
12. Naps are refreshing.

Similar to cats, people are a mix of aggravating and endearing qualities. When I’m tempted to dismiss a brother or sister as too ornery to tolerate, I remember how God bears with my faults and stupid mistakes. Receiving His unconditional love frees me to love myself and others, focusing on positive qualities. Now if I could only convince my husband to see the good in our kitties . . .
    From My Heart to Yours: I believe God gave us pets to help us laugh more. Whether you like dogs in tutus, cats hanging by their claws from tree branches, or pygmy marmosets yodeling to their friends, observing animals is one of the most relaxing, fun activities on earth.

    The above is a chapter from my humor/inspirational book, The Heart of Humor, a compilation of 45 funny stories and 15 articles, lists and links to help you add more laughter to your life. 

    Did any of my cats' suggestions for a happier life resonate with you today? 

    Tuesday, October 20, 2020

    How to Trust in Little Matters

    I had a meltdown when my new kitten wailed over a sore paw, thinking I may have to take him to the vet on the same weekend we're returning our granddaughter home--a ten hour drive each way.

    I panicked when my beloved laptop had a loading glitch and I thought I couldn't check emails, blog, or go on Facebook.

    What embarrassed me was the realization that I wigged out and worried more over a computer and a kitten than I had when I'd needed a sonogram ten years ago to determine if I had breast cancer. So what is up with that?

    My husband shot it home when he said, "It's easier to trust God for the huge life and death matters than the little things we think we can handle on our own." Aha.
    Truth is, we can't handle anything on our own. And if we think we can, it may take a computer bust or a bee-sting on a cat's paw to show us how frail and dependent we are. The good thing is, God never loses patience with us. He's always there to help.

    He gave us the perfect idea to fix our computer problem; my kitten is recovering; I don't have cancer. But the important issue is none of the above. It's learning to trust Him, for little and big things. He's God. I'm not.

    Are little or big issues niggling you today? Please let me pray for you:

    "Lord of all mercy and God of grace, speak to my friend's heart Your words of calm and wisdom. Point them in the direction of your embrace. May they stay there until they see how big You are, and how small their problems are compared to Your love and faithfulness. Help us all to trust you, even in the little things. In Jesus' Name, so be it."

    Tuesday, October 6, 2020

    3 Things I Will Never Say

    Because I believe that “Life and death are in the power of the tongue (Prov. 18:21),” there are 3 things I will never, ever, ever say:

    "I must be getting Alzheimer’s." I cringe every time I hear people jokingly say this. It’s not a funny disease. You may have forgotten where you put your car keys for the tenth time this week, but that does not mean you are going senile. Instead say, “Lord, help me! Bless my brain and help it retain!”

    "I hate you (or them)." Hate is a powerful, deadly emotion. It means you wish that person were dead. No matter what another has done to upset or wrong me, even if I think the world would be better if they left the planet, I refuse to say these spiteful words. They are like poison that will corrode my heart and make me bitter.

    "It’s hopeless." In the past, I spoke these words over a situation I saw no way out of, and God made a way. Shows you how smart I am! He has ways and means up His sleeve that all of us put together could not fathom. He is good, His plans are good, and He knew this was going to happen before we did. He’s already planning our rescue, and it’s probably something we never imagined. We can trust Him and His heart of gold. He is on our side.

    Life. Or Death. We get to choose by what we say. I choose life. 

    I believe you do, too.