Home for the Holidays, by Thomas Kincaid

Tuesday, December 30, 2008

More Holiday Fun


I know that for many of you Christmas is over...Well, call me sentimental, but I'm still enjoying myself in the Season. Last night, we got together with two other families and went downtown to see the Christmas lights at historic Temple Square.

I wish my pictures were better, but I'm still figuring out nighttime picture-taking.

Here is the famous Salt Lake City LDS Temple.
I wish that I had done a better job of capturing this beautiful nativity. It was out in the middle of a huge fountain pool, with the Temple as a background, but I couldn't get all that in...
Here is my Sarah and her sweet friend, Mary (and Jackie, the dog)...
My Robert is here, clowning around with his friend, Brendan...
More lights and nativity statues...

Here are my dear friend, Sue and her daughter, Mary...
...and sweet Jack...
We had a really fun time together...We will be gathering on New Years day to eat and play fun games and enjoy each other's company.

I hope you are all still enjoying the holidays.

God bless,

Monday, December 29, 2008

A Message of Love from Beyond the Grave


I want to tell you about a small, but deeply important miracle that happened to me last night. Unable to fall asleep, I sat at my computer until the wee hours of the morning, going through unread e-mails (mostly subscriptions to e-zines, spam and chain letters), clearing out my In-box. There were over (brace yourselves) two years of this stuff to go through. As I got into the e-mails from last summer I ran into a name that practically stopped my heart - Melissa L. Spruill. Now, for those of you who have been reading my blog for awhile, you may remember that last July 24, my dear friend from North Carolina, Melissa Spruill, died suddenly of a rare virus that had affected her heart. It was all very unexpected and completely devasting for her family, especially for her two young children - Emili (now 11) and Elijah (6). See the post Here.

So, here I was last night staring at an unopened e-mail from her. Judging from the subject line, I could tell she was responding to an inspirational e-mail that I had sent out to her and a few other family members and friends. I held my breath and clicked on the e-mail, hoping against hope that she had written me something...The screen came up and there were typed two words from her.


I looked at the date of this e-mail and it was July 23, 2008...The day before she died.

Oh, only God knows the gratitude I felt in my heart to hear one more time from my dear friend, who once paid me the greatest compliment that I have ever been given.

"I can tell you anything", she once said.

Here is the greatest thing she could ever tell me.


That is everything.


Saturday, December 27, 2008

Christmas Eve and Christmas Day

I took a small break from blogging to give myself totally over to the Season. It was just what I needed. I thought you might like to see how our house looked on Christmas Eve...Above, our sweet tree all lit up festivally.

And a few ornaments that look so pretty glowing upon it..

Every year, we string popcorn, cranberries and some type of candy (these are sour, gummy lifesavers)...
Additionally, I add lots of dried orange slices...

Here is the tree as it looks in the daylight...
And two sweet children waiting impatiently for morning to come...
Christmas Day, we drove up north 45 miles to my sweet sister-in-law's (see them several posts below). We had a lovely ham dinner. Unfortunately, a huge storm rolled in and we drove home that night in near blizzard conditions. That was frightening, but we had all prayed for safety before we left and the dear Lord got us home in one piece (a little grayer, perhaps!).

I hope that everyone had a wonderful beginning to their holiday week and may the Spirit continue on until New Years.


Sunday, December 21, 2008

One Solitary Life

Wise men still seek Him...

Here is a young man who was born in an obscure village, the child of a peasant woman. He grew up in another obscure village. He worked in a carpenter shop until He was thirty, and then for three years He was an itinerant preacher. He never wrote a book. He never held an office.

He never owned a home. He never had a family. He never went to college. He never set foot inside a big city. He never travelled two hundred miles from the place where He was born. He never did any of the things that usually accompany greatness. He had no credentials but Himself.

He had nothing to do with this world except the naked power of His divine manhood. While still a young man, the tide of popular opinion turned against Him. His friends ran away. One of them denied Him. He was turned over to His enemies. He went through the mockery of a trial. He was nailed upon a cross between two thieves.

While He was dying, His executioners gambled for the only piece of property He had on earth, and that was His coat. When He was dead. He was taken down and laid in a borrowed grave through the pity of a friend.

Twenty wide centuries have come and gone and today He is the centerpiece of the human race, the leader of the column of progress.

I am far within the mark when I say that all the armies that ever marched, and all the navies that ever were built and all the parliaments that ever sat, and all the kings that ever reigned, put together, have not affected the life of man upon this earth so profoundly as that One Solitary Life.

` Dr. James A. Francis

Dearest friends, I may not be able to blog again until after Christmas. If this is my last post to you before then, may I wish you a wonderful celebration. May it be full of laughter, warm memories shared, love expressed and gratitude for the wonderful good news that our Savior was born.

God bless you now and always,

Friday, December 19, 2008

Show and Tell Friday

Once again, Kelli from There Is No Place Like Home, is hosting Show & Tell Friday. This time I am doing things a little differently. With Christmas only days away, I'd like to share a Christmas story...


Even though it was early September, the air was crisp and the children were already whispering about Christmas plans and Santa Clause. It made the already long months until Christmas seem even loner. With each passing day the children became more anxious, waiting for the final school bell. Upon its ringing, everyone would run for coats, gloves, and the classroom door, racing to see who would be the first one home; everyone except David.

David was a small boy with messy brown hair and tattered clothes. I had often wondered what kind of home life David had and often asked myself what kind of mother could send her son to school dressed so inappropriately for the cold winter months without coat, boots, or gloves. But something made David special. It wasn't his intelligence or manners for they were as lacking as his winter clothes, but I can never recall looking at David and not seeing a smile. He was always willing to help and not a day passed that David didn't stay after school to straighten chairs and clean erasers. We never talked much, he would just simply smile and ask what else he could do, then thank me for letting him stay and slowly head home.

Weeks passed and the excitement over the coming Christmas grew into restlessness until the last day of school before the holiday break. I can't recall a more anxious group of children as the final bell rang and they scattered out the door. I smiled in relief as the last of them hurried out. Turning around I saw David quietly standing by my desk.

"Aren't you anxious to get home David?" I asked.

"No," he quietly replied.

Ready to go home myself, I said, "Well, I think the chairs and erasers will wait, why don't you hurry home."

"I have something for you," he said and pulled from behind his back a small box wrapped in old brown paper and tied with string. Handing it to me he said anxiously, "Open it!"

I took the box from him, thanked him slowly unwrapped it. I lifted the lid and to my surprise saw nothing. I looked at David' smiling face and back into the empty box and said,"The box is nice but David, it's empty."

"Oh no it isn't", said David, "it's full of love. My mom told me before she died that love was something you couldn't see or touch unless you know it's there..can you see it?"

Tears filled my eyes as I looked at the proud dirty face I had rarely given attention to.

"Yes, David, I can see it." I replied, "Thank you."

David and I became good friends after that Christmas and I an say that with the passing years, I never again let the uncombed hair or dirty faces bother me, and I never forgot the meaning behind that little empty box that sat on my desk.

~ Unknown

Let our hearts be turned toward others, this season, with love and kindness.
Love always and Merry Christmas,

Wednesday, December 17, 2008

Hamburger Hash Browns

This holiday season is usually a very busy one for most people. With all the shopping, baking and visiting, evening meal preparation can become a real hassle. That's why I like to fall back on a few really easy, simple recipes to help me out
after a hectic day. Following is one of my favorites which we are having tonight...

4 cups shredded cooked potatoes
3 tablespoons vegetable oil
1/8 teaspoon pepper

1 pound ground beef
1 packet dry brown gravy mix
1 cup water
1 package frozen vegetables of your choice, thawed
1/2 teaspoon garlic powder
1 cup shredded Cheddar cheese, divided
1/2 c stir-fried onions
Although this recipe originally called for frozen hash browns, I find that it is less expensive and not much more work to take 2 very large, russet potatoes, scrub them thoroughly, and then microwave them for 13-15 minutes, or until they are fully cooked (You can actually do this the night before and then refrigerate them). Let them cool completely, either in the fridge or on the counter. When they are cooled down, shred them (you don't have to peel them first, the peel comes off as you are shredding).

Now, mix the homemade hashbrowns with the oil and pepper. Press onto the bottom and 1 in up the sides of an ungreased 9-in. square baking dish. Bake, uncovered, at 350 degrees for 15 minutes. While they are cooking, skillet-fry the ground beef. Drain (to reduce fat, rinse the beef in a colander under HOT water, then drain and put back in a clean pan). Stir in gravy mix and water. Add vegetables (I use corn and green beans) and garlic powder. Bring to a boil. Reduce heat; cover and simmer for 5 minutes. Stir in 1/2 cup cheese and half of the onions. Spoon into the potato shell. Bake, uncovered, at 350 degrees for 15 minutes. Sprinkle with the remaining cheese and onions. Bake 5 minutes longer.


Monday, December 15, 2008

Christmas Punch & More!

Hello, Ladies!

Today, I'm sharing a recipe, a story, and showing an item I won from a blog giveaway. Look at the beautiful homemade ornament that Sandy sent me from Quill Cottage...
Doesn't it have the sweetest little face? I think it is absolutely lovely! Thanks, Sandy!!


Fabulous Christmas Punch
4 cups cranberry juice, chilled
4 cups pineapple juice, chilled
2 cups sugar, divided
1 teaspoon almond extract
1/2 gallon strawberry ice cream, softened
2 cups whipping cream
1 liter ginger ale, chilled
  1. In a large punch bowl, combine juices, 1-1/2 cups sugar, almond extract and ice cream. Refrigerate until serving. Just before serving, beat cream in a mixing bowl. Gradually add the remaining sugar, beat until soft peaks form. Whisk gently into chilled juice mixture. Add ginger ale. Refrigerate any leftovers.
Keeping Christmas
By Henry Van Dyke

It is a good thing to observe Christmas Day. The mere marking of times and seasons, when men agree to stop work and make merry together, is a wise and wholesome custom. It helps one to feel the supremacy of the common life over the individual life. It reminds a man to set his own little watch, now and then, by the great clock of humanity which runs on sun time.

But there is a better thing than the observance of Christmas Day, and that is, keeping Christmas.

Are you willing to forget what you have done for other people, and to remember what other people have done for you; to ignore what the world owes you, and to think what you owe the world; to put your rights in the background, and your duty in the foreground; to see that your fellowmen are just as real as you are, and try to look behind their faces to their hearts, hungry for joy; to own that probably the only good reason for your existence is not what you are going to get out of life, but what you are going to give to life; to close our book of complaints against the management of the universe, and look around you for a place where you can sow a few seeds of happiness - are you willing to do these things even for a day?

Then you can keep Christmas.

Are you willing to stoop down and consider the needs and the desires of little children; to remember the weakness and loneliness of people who are growing old; to stop asking how much your friends love you, and ask yourself whether you love them enough; to bear in mind the things that other people have to bear in their hearts; to try to understand what those who live in the same house with you really want, without waiting for them to tell you; to trim your lamp so that it will give more light and less smoke, and carry it in front so that your shadow will fall behind you; to make a grave for your ugly thoughts and garden for a day?

Then you can keep Christmas.


Friday, December 12, 2008

My Christmas Miracle - A Christmas Story

For many of us one Christmas stands out from all the others. Although I did not guess it, my own "truest" Christmas began on a rainy spring day in the bleakest year of my life. I had no job and was on my way downtown to visit the employment offices. I had no umbrella and as I sat down on the streetcar I saw a beautiful silk umbrella with a silver handle inlaid with gold and flecks of enamel. I had never seen anything so lovely.

I examined the handle and saw a name engraved so I decided to take it with me and find the owner. I exited the car in a downpour and thankfully opened the umbrella to protect myself. I then searched for a phonebook and found the number! I called and a woman answered.

Yes, she said, that was her umbrella, which her parents now dead, had given her for a birthday present. But, she added, it had been stolen more than a year before. She was so excited that I forgot I was looking for a job and went directly to her small house. She took the umbrella and her eyes filled with tears.

She wanted to give me a reward but her happiness was such that to have accepted money would have spoiled something. We talked for a while and I must have given her my address.

The next six months were wretched. I was able to obtain only part-time jobs here and there, but I put aside money when I could for my little girl's Christmas presents. My last job ended the day before Christmas, my rent was due, and what little money I had, Peggy and I would need for food. She was home from school and was looking forward to her gifts the next day, which I had already purchased. I had also bought a small tree and we were going to decorate it that night.

The stormy air was full of the sound of Christmas merriment as I walked from the streetcar to my small apartment. Bells rang and children shouted in the bitter dusk of the evening. But there would be no Christmas for me. No gifts, no remembrance whatsoever. As I struggled through the snow drifts, I just about reached the lowest point in my life. Unless a miracle happened I would be homeless in January, foodless, jobless. I had prayed steadily for weeks and there had been no answer but this coldness and darkness, this harsh air, this abandonment. God and men had completely forgotten me. What was to become of us?

I looked in my mailbox. There were only bills in it and two white envelopes which I was sure contained more bills. I went up three flights of stairs to the apartment and cried, shivering in my thin coat. But I made myself smile so I could greet my daughter with a pretense of happiness. She opened the door for me and threw herself in my arms, screaming joyously and demanding that we decorate the tree immediately.

Peggy was not yet six years old but had proudly set our kitchen table and put pans and the three cans of food which would be our dinner. For some reason, when I looked at those pans and cans I felt brokenhearted and misery overwhelmed me. For the first time in my life, I doubted the existence of God.

The doorbell rang and Peggy ran to answer it, calling that it must be Santa Claus. Then I heard a man speaking to her and went to the door. He was a delivery man, and his arms were full of packages. "This is a mistake," I said, but he read the name on the parcels and they were for me. When he had gone I could only stare at the boxes. Peggy and I sat on the floor and opened them. A huge doll, three times the size of the one I had bought for her. Gloves. Candy. A beautiful leather purse. Incredible! I looked for the name of the sender. It was the umbrella woman, the address simply "California" where she had moved.

Our dinner that night was the most delicious I had ever eaten. I prayed, "Thank you Father". I forgot that I had no money for the rent and no job. My child and I ate and laughed together in happiness. Then we decorated the little tree and marveled at it. I put Peggy to bed and set up her gifts around the tree, and a sweet peace flooded me like a benediction. I had some hope again. I could even examine the bunch of bills without cringing. Then I opened the two white envelopes. One contained a check from a company I had worked for briefly in the summer. It was a note that said, my "Christmas bonus". My rent!

The other envelope was an offer of permanent position with the government - to begin two days after Christmas. I sat with the letter in my hand and the check on the table before me and I think that was the most joyful moment of my life.

"The Lord is born!" sang the church bells to the crystal night and the laughing darkness. Someone began to sing, "Come all ye faithful!" I joined in and sang with the strangers around me.

I am not alone at all, I thought. I was never alone at all.

~ Taylor Caldwell


Thursday, December 11, 2008

Show and Tell Friday

It's Show and Tell Friday again, over at There's No Place Like Home.
My Show and Tell is some of my favorite Christmas ornaments...
This beautiful Cinderella's carriage was given to me by my friend, Jane, when we were at Disneyland together with the children around six years ago. This photo doesn't do it justice because it is very lacy-looking and beautiful.
Above is the official White House Christmas ornament for 2003, given to me by my ever faithful friend, Beth McKinney, of Washington, DC. The rocking horse moves back and forth. This is a very high quality ornament.
Another beautiful White House ornament, this one for the year 2007. It commemorates a White House wedding. Again, given to me by Beth.
Ahhhh...Last but not least, The Delamar Inn, from Beaufort, NC. Mark and I spent our 1st anniversary there and were presented with this beautiful ornament as a present from the owners of that B&B, the Steepys.

Well, I would show you my whole tree, but I haven't put on the dried apple slices, or strung the popcorn-cranberry-sour apple garland. When that is all taken care of I will show it to you!

Continue to check back for more Christmas stories (earlier posts) and holiday recipes.


Holiday Hor D'euvres

Hello, Friends!

Most of us are entertaining at some point this holiday season. I find it fun to offer a lot of finger foods. Below are some of the ones I will be serving either on Christmas Eve, or on a night of fun finger foods with just my family. They are originally from allrecipes.com.

Artichoke Spinach Dip

4 cloves garlic
1 (10 ounce) package frozen chopped spinach, thawed and drained
1 (14 ounce) can artichoke hearts, drained and chopped
1 (10 ounce) container Alfredo-style pasta sauce
1 cup shredded mozzarella cheese
1/3 cup grated Parmesan cheese
1/2 (8 ounce) package cream cheese, softened

  1. Preheat oven to 350 degrees F.
  2. Place garlic in a small baking dish. Bake in the preheated oven 20 to 30 minutes, until soft. Remove from heat. When cool enough to touch, squeeze softened garlic from skins.
  3. In an 8x8 inch baking dish, spread the roasted garlic, spinach, artichoke hearts, Alfredo-style pasta sauce, mozzarella cheese, Parmesan cheese and cream cheese.
  4. Cover and bake in the preheated oven 30 minutes, or until cheeses are melted and bubbly. Serve warm.
Double Tomato Bruschetta

6 roma (plum) tomatoes, chopped
1/2 cup sun-dried tomatoes, packed in oil
3 cloves minced garlic
1/4 cup olive oil
2 tablespoons balsamic vinegar
1/4 cup fresh basil, stems removed
1/4 teaspoon salt
1/4 teaspoon ground black pepper
1 French baguette
2 cups shredded mozzarella cheese

Garden Veggie Pizza

1 (8 ounce) package refrigerated crescent rolls
1 (8 ounce) package cream cheese, softened
1 (1 ounce) package Ranch-style dressing mix
2 carrots, finely chopped
1/2 cup chopped red bell peppers
1/2 cup chopped green bell pepper
1/2 cup fresh broccoli, chopped
1/2 cup chopped green onions
  1. Preheat the oven on broiler setting.
  2. In a large bowl, combine the roma tomatoes, sun-dried tomatoes, garlic, olive oil, vinegar, basil, salt, and pepper. Allow the mixture to sit for 10 minutes.
  3. Cut the baguette into 3/4-inch slices. On a baking sheet, arrange the baguette slices in a single layer. Broil for 1 to 2 minutes, until slightly brown.
  4. Divide the tomato mixture evenly over the baguette slices. Top the slices with mozzarella cheese.
  5. Broil for 5 minutes, or until the cheese is melted.
  6. 1 (8 ounce) package refrigerated crescent rolls
  7. 1 (8 ounce) package cream cheese, softened
  8. 1 (1 ounce) package Ranch-style dressing mix
  9. 2 carrots, finely chopped
  10. 1/2 cup chopped red bell peppers
  11. 1/2 cup chopped green bell pepper
  12. 1/2 cup fresh broccoli, chopped
  13. 1/2 cup chopped green onions
Preheat oven to 375 degrees F (190 degrees C).
  1. Roll out crescent rolls onto a large non-stick baking sheet. Stretch and flatten to form a single rectangular shape on the baking sheet. Bake 11 to 13 minutes in the preheated oven, or until golden brown. Allow to cool.
  2. Place cream cheese in a medium bowl. Mix cream cheese with 1/2 of the ranch dressing mix. Adjust the amount of dressing mix to taste. Spread the mixture over the cooled crust. Arrange carrots, red bell pepper, broccoli and green onions on top. Chill in the refrigerator approximately 1 hour. Cut into bite-size squares to serve.

Tuesday, December 9, 2008

When Christmas Came Again - A Christmas Story

Friends, I'm still under the weather, but I promised another Christmas story, so here goes...

Frank Hinnant had no use for Christmas, and few of his friends knew why. It had nothing to do with expense. Frank was a wealthy businessman. It had nothing to do with frugality. Frank was generous and gave his employees a large bonus at Christmas.

But whenever his wife Adele suggested Christmas decorations, a tree or exchanging gifts, Frank would mutter brusquely, "Christmas is for children." That was why he'd locked Christmas out of his heart - children.

One brisk December morning last year Frank decided to walk to work. He did that occasionally, and this day as he passed Leeson's department store he noticed a cluster of people outside, looking at the Christmas window displays.

One was a manger scene. Frank looked at the creche: Mary, Joseph and the shepherd in colorful costumes, the donkey, cow and sheep - all were life-size. And there was the Child.

Frank turned away. Then a sign across the street caught his attention. HOLY INNOCENTS HOME - huge golden letters framed the arched doorway of an old brownstone surrounded by a forbidding iron fence. Frank had only half noticed the building before. He stood there staring at the orphanage, remembering something he had learned many years ago. Miss Raymond, his Sunday school teacher, had told them about how King Herod had feared this new Baby Jesus so much that he was determined to destroy Him. So he ordered his men to kill all male children under the age of two in Bethlehem and the surrounding district. Tradition suggests there may have been as many as 20. This Holy Innocent Home had obviously been named after those tiny martyrs.

Frank's mind pictured the grief of their parents. And for the millionth time he remembered the desolation of the day his son David had died. David had been 18 months old. In the 22 years since, Frank had been unable to mention his son's name.

Frank's feet moved across the street toward the sign - slowly at first, then faster.

"You know the bastille of an orphanage across from Leeson's," Frank told Adele that night at dinner. "Really a dungeon, dear, cramped and dismal..." Bit by bit the story emerged.

"It made me realize how little I really know about kids. When I went in, they stood around looking at me as if I were a movie star. I'll never forget this one little boy. He came up and he stood there and stroked the sleeve of my coat."

There was a long pause. Adele looked at him so intently that Frank became embarrassed. But he continued, "You know what I've always said about Christmas, that Christmas is for children?"

"Yes, you've always said that."

"Well, it's about time people started doing something for them. Today I gave that place some money. They're going to build a wing with it. And - and they're going to name the wing for David."

It was the first time in 22 years that Adele had heard Frank mention their only son's name. It made her do something she never did when Frank was around. She wept.

And as Frank held his wife in his arms, he saw again something he had envisioned for the first time that afternoon. He saw a room full of children, 20 of them playing in the a bright new wing at Holy Innocents. Then suddenly as he watched a new boy entered - and now there were 21.

~ Dina Donohue


Monday, December 8, 2008

A Family Christmas Dinner

Sunday evening, we had some family over for a Christmas dinner. It was my sister-in-law, Cathy Gibson, and her children: my nephew, Jared, and my three nieces, Emily, Kelly and Rebecca..and the star of the evening, the new grand-niece, Willow Kate.

Here are Emily, the new mom, Cathy, with the grandbaby, and Kelly. Aren't they all beautiful? Rebecca got cut out of this picture. :(

Below is a horrible picture of me, but I'm including it because it's a great one of Kelly. I was actually feeling very sick on Sunday and have been in bed all of today

Here is the new grand-niece, Willow Kate. We all love her to pieces!!!!

Below are Sarah, Mark and Rebecca!

Here is Jared, Emily and Cathy, after food and presents. We were all really tired.
A sleepy, proud uncle and mama.
One last picture of my precious grand-niece, with the new little hat I made for her (Teri, from Joyful Liberation taught me how to knit!! ~ Thanks, Teri!)
Thanks to my wonderful family for coming over.

I should be feeling better tomorrow and will add more recipes and a Christmas story.

Saturday, December 6, 2008

The Erector Set - A Christmas Story

Like many small brothers we were sworn enemies. I'd ride his bike, he'd touch my train and war was declared.

Christmas was a temporary truce for Herb and me.

Our family celebrated it in Old World fashion - on Christmas Eve. Returning from church services, our parents would usher us through the darkened parlor past the tree, unseen but pungently there, to the kitchen where we'd excitedly wait while dad went out to help Kriss Kringle find our house. The doorbell's ring would signal our burst into the parlor. And there Santa would be in full costume - the tree now aglow and the furniture sagging with uncles, aunts and grandparents.

After Santa heard our lies about being "good boys," we'd plunge into our gifts. For Christmas was for us - its joy measured by what we got.

I was seven the Christmas I'll never forget.

Amid my spoils I came across a clumsily wrapped little package. Unopened in my hand, it already had a strange quality about it. Instinctively I knew it wasn't from my parents.

I turned to my brother; he was watching me.

"It's from me," he said in awe.

Stunned, I slowly opened it.

It was a 25-cent erector set.

Herb had spent all Saturday afternoon picking it out. It represented a half day's work delivering groceries.

His face was aglow with a strange new light of eagerness and concern.

I've long forgotten the other things I got that Christmas Eve. But I'll never forget that little erector set.

For along with it, I'd been given a first vision of God's great gift - that Divine joy which floods the heart of the giver.

~ Richard H. Schneider

Have a wonderful Sabbath...And check back next week for more recipes, stories and sundry thoughts.

Thursday, December 4, 2008

Look What I Found!

Kelli, at There Is No Place Like Home, is once again hosting Show&Tell Friday. I wonder how many of us will be showcasing Christmas items?...I found this wonderful, huge snowman painting at my favorite thrift store, yesterday. It is hand-painted on an old door!
Aren't they jolly?

This one is carrying a Christmas Tree...
...and here is a snowwoman!

My husband hung my wonderful find over our stairs and it looks very festive and seasonal.

Don't forget to keep checking back. I will be posting more Christmas stories, like this one HERE, as well as seasonal recipes.

Oh! And when you have a free moment, please check my daughter's poetry blog, The World And It's Roses. She has published new poetry!
God bless,

Dear friends,

Throughout this month, I will be sharing recipes that may be considered for your holiday meals or used anytime. My first recipe this month was shared with me by my friend, Teri, over a Joyful Liberation. It is extremely tasty!

2 packages of chopped broccoli
1 can cream of mushroom soup
1/2 c. mayonnaise
1/4 c. milk
2 eggs
1/4 c. onion
1 heaping c. of grated sharp cheese
1 stick of melted butter
2 slices of bread, torn, for the top.

Steam broccoli. Then, mix first 7 ingredients together. Put in greased casserole dish. Layer bread pieces on top. Drizzle with melted butter. Bake at 350 degrees for 45 minutes.

Some suggested changes to this recipe is to steam fresh broccoli, which gives the dish an added crispness. And/or add cooked bacon pieces - Ooooh, this is yummy!


Tuesday, December 2, 2008

Case of the Missing Tree

The manger scene outside St. Aloysius Church in Wilkes-Barre, Pennsylvania, wasn't much different from other displays that Christmas Eve some years ago. Life-size figures depicted the Holy Family, and the farm animals bordered the stable. And one especially beautiful pine tree plus a few small trees framed the scene in living green.

On Christmas morning parishioners coming to early Mass stopped at the tableau for a moment. The children especially crowded close to look at the Baby. Suddenly someone out, "What happened to the big tree?"

Sure enough, during the night their beautiful, evergreen tree had disappeared. At first there was consternation, then there was anger. Who would steal a tree from the church?

A parishioner sought out Father Thomas Monahan, St. Aloysius's compassionate pastor, whose constant care of the poor had become a byword, even though he worked in secret. The anger of the people quickly turned to understanding - Father "Toby" had indeed been the culprit.

Late on Christmas Eve, Father Toby had heard of a poor family - not even of his own faith - who had no Christmas tree. The stores were all closed and so he had given the family the big tree from the manger scene - not the smallest or scrawniest but the most beautiful.

The empty space near the manger suddenly because beautiful - representing another gift of love on Christmas Day.

~ Lillian Gardner

May we all look about us for those whom we could similarly bless this Christmas Season.

Monday, December 1, 2008

A New Meme

Alexandria has tagged me for a meme.
According to the rules, I have to post six things that make me really happy ... and pass it on to give six more people a reason to be thankful!

So six things that make me happy....

1. Living my faith
2. Visiting Loved Ones
3. Time spent with the children
4. Thrifting and yard saling
5. Writing, blogging
6. Taking long walks in lovely weather and so much more....

I need to choose six other blog friends.....

God bless,