A Better Gift
Christmas cookies were big in my house growing up. As a young sweets lover I loved to bake, or do anything in the kitchen with Mom. I’m not sure which was better – the act of baking itself or the pleasure of eating the treats!
Cupcakes, birthday cakes, cookies—they were all so much fun to make! In our family each child got to choose what flavor or style his birthday cake would be each year. Biiiiig stuff! We enjoyed a variety of Christmas cookies, but decorated sugar cookies were Mom’s favorite. She joyfully told the story that when she was a little girl, they inadvertently misplaced a box of sugar cookies and found them at Easter time-- It was like finding GOLD! Knowing she loved these also made gift giving easy, because they were such a treat for her. As she grew older and couldn’t bake anymore, ANY holiday was a good time for her favorites!
Toymakers made children’s dreams come true when they introduced the Easy Bake Oven in the 1960s. One Christmas, my seven or eight year-old self circled and highlighted it in our Sears Christmas Catalog for my wish list. This was my kind of toy! MUST HAVE Easy Bake Oven! Think of all the treats I could make, and eat!
Mom said, “No, it’s too dangerous.” TOO DANGEROUS?!! What was she talking about?? I still remember my deep disappointment.
Instead, my thoughtful and caring mother gave me a shoebox filled with little Washington cake mixes, frosting mixes, a pair of hot mitts, a few mixing tools, and the promise that she would help me with my baking endeavors. Wow, thanks, Mom. (Womp, womp)
But it was a great decision on her part. Not only did I not just bake treats for myself and possibly get injured with a “too dangerous” oven, but I got to spend time with Mom, baking like a big girl. She instilled in me a confidence that “I can do this” with baking. This continues to be a blessing as I still enjoy experimenting and trying new baking projects, not just for myself, but to share with others.
Mom loved my poem, “Cookies In Heaven”. I wonder now, this Christmas, if she’s enjoying decorated sugar cookies heaven? And if so, what they must taste like??
As an adult I’ve thought of buying myself an Easy Bake Oven, but the luster is gone. But oh, what I would give to bake with Mom again.
I recently heard the opening of this familiar song in a commercial, so I looked it up online. One of the comments is, "This may be the greatest piece of music ever composed." I agree!!! The piano makes me think of fluttering angels wings. Interestingly, the Austrian composer Franz Peter Schubert, one of the greatest composers of Western classical music, only gave ONE concert of his own works during his lifetime! He was 31 and died 8 months later (source: Wikipedia). What a short lifetime for this incredibly gifted and prolific artist!
Shalom peace to you during this holy season of our beloved Savior's birth
"What good is the warmth of summer, without the cold of winter to give it sweetness. "
Can you pick out the 'real' bunny?
The remnants of Winter Storm Ezekiel in our backyard. For those nearby, I hope you were safe during the storm!
We lost power and internet for about 5 hours, but it was restored by 8 pm... Thank God!
Speaking of snow, this photo (below) taken in March from Winter Storm Scott won
First Place in the 24th Annual Skylands Scenic Beauty Photo Contest!
I loved Joan Walsh Anglund's books as a child, and still do. She's one of my favorite poets and illustrators!
For an interesting interview with Joan, click here
A Child's Thanksgiving Prayer
by Joan Walsh Anglund
O Lord, our thanks we give this Day
For family, home and friends,
And lift our thoughts in prayer to You
From Whom all Good descends
I met the lovely artist and author, Joy Theda Bjork in the Created to Thrive Mentoring Program, and purchased this beautiful handmade brooch from her. The card that came with it says, "You are His Beloved. Take care of yourself first, then others. Psalm 139" Joy lives in Sweden now, but used to live in NJ! I met her in person recently at the Gathering of Artisans Conference. Contact Joy on Facebook if you're interested in your own 'Nurturing Heart' brooch-- she creates it with your color preferences. She also has a wonderful book, "After Divorce, You Can Live Again" which can be applied to recovering from any traumatic experience. I highly recommend it!
My friend Antonina recently shared this powerful quote with me from Brennan Manning's book,
The Ragamuffin Gospel.
What if you discovered that the least of the brethren of Jesus,
the one who needs your love the most,
the one you can help the most by loving,
the one to whom your love will be the most meaningful--
what if you discovered that this least of the brethren of Jesus…
Photos • Poems