Saturday, November 29, 2014

Look What I Made! Christmas Cookies

Christmas cookies are a delightful way to create a memory for loved ones to remember Christmases in the past. I have been making this recipe for years, and I believe it is a recipe either made by Hillary Clinton or a recipe that she likes. I came from a homemaking magazine, but I can't remember which one.

   Every year I try to make a couple of batches of Gingerbread men. Also, a new cookie I like is a chocolate chip cookie made with butter and cream cheese. These cookies turn out very large, even when I try to make them small! They remind me of the ones you can buy at the stands inside the malls. I can see why people would buy them. I made a batch and put them out at a garage sale, and sold all I put out, and one lady wanted one even though they were gone, so I went into the house and got her the cookie and she bought it.

   I have been trying to soak anything that is made with grains, but, I haven't found a recipe yet that will teach me how to make soaked cookies. Unsoaked grains can cause gas, much like the kind you find in baked beans. But for right now, I will pay a little extra money if I am making small batches of cookies, and buy organic ingredients, as much as possible.

   We used to make these and give them to the neighbors at Christmas time, but recently, the neighbors are never home, or perhaps they are, but won't answer the door. I will continue to make cookies at Christmas time to create a good Christmas memory, if not for anything else.

   Cooking is a lot of work, but it is worth it when you can make something worthwhile. Homemade cookies have less (if any) preservatives and other harmful ingredients compared to store bought cookies.

   Maybe when coconut sugar is less expensive and more available, we can use that for the 'sugar' that I hate to use in cooking or baking.

Wednesday, November 19, 2014

Christmas Is A Time - Joy And Warnings

     Christmas is a great time to make family memories and to celebrate the event of the birth of God's Son. This is a time for rejoicing and celebration, but it doesn't happen that way for everyone. For some, it brings back sad memories. And for some of us, dangers could be involved.

    As I get older, I realize a new, dangerous habit I am developing. I will put some water on the stove, to get really hot, but not boiling, with the hopes of making a nice cup of tea. Unfortunately, I have walked into the kitchen hours later only to find a horrible smell and a pot that is almost ready to toss out.

   I can't tell you how many times I have done this, but it is getting to the point where I need to put a timer on to remind me to check the water. I haven't lost much if all my water boils away, but if I forget completely, I *could* end up burning the house down!

   I don't really like candles that much, probably because I know they are dangerous. Not only is the scent not good to breathe in, but I have cats and little grandchildren who could knock the candles over. And of course, the worse case scenario is that I would forget that I have candles lit inside the house and the tendency for me to forget that they are there could be great, as this happened a couple of weeks ago.

   My friend was over, and she is really good at decorating. Her home is very cute and attractive, and I enjoy having her make mine look like that too, when she comes over. I don't know how many candles were lit, and I thought we blew them all out the night before, but as I was sitting there looking out of the bathroom I spied a candle that was still lit. This was the day after the event! Can't believe I did that!

   Do you like to celebrate people's birthdays? When my children were little, it was fun designing parties for them. One time I had a western theme and used things around the house to make it look like we were out west. Since we were into homeschooling, we had lots of materials to help us understand what it would have been like to live out west in the olden days. Of course, we also played out the Prairie days with our Little House on the Prairie attire. So much fun we had in those days. But today it isn't all that different. We can celebrate the event of God sending His Son to live on earth and to eventually die in order to become the atonement we needed to have for our salvation. What a great event. It is the greatest event that ever happened on the earth.

   Imagine how surprised the shepherds felt that night when the angels appeared to them, while they were tending their sheep in Bethlehem! They may have been waiting for the Messiah to come, and having no idea what that was going to look like when it did come to pass, they obeyed the angels and went to see the baby that they were told about. Any of us would have been terrified as well, if we saw a group of angels rejoicing in the sky and telling us to go somewhere. When the shepherds got over their fear, they were able to think clearly again and went to the place where Mary and Joseph were, with the newborn Son who was the Creator of everything.

   What is interesting is that Jesus did not come to earth to become a sacrifice for fallen angels. Jesus only died for human beings, yet, angels longed to look into this for centuries. They were very excited when Jesus was coming to earth. Did you know that angels celebrate whenever a person comes to Christ? We celebrate our physical birthdays, but the angels celebrate when we are born again.

   We don't know if Jesus was actually born on December 25th, but it really does not matter. There are theories about when Jesus was born, and there are some clues that could lead us to believe that His birth could actually be around that very time. But whether it is on that day or not, or even if His birthday is in the summer, it doesn't matter. We know He came to earth and that is what we are celebrating. We don't know if it was snowing outside or raining, or maybe it was a nice, sunny day, but the fact that He came to earth is what we are celebrating.

    Sometimes, we don't get to celebrate our birthdays on our actual birth date because of work or school, or some other event that gets in the way. But many of us celebrate the occasion when we get the opportunity to do so, even if it is a month or two later.

   Celebrating a birthday is a way of honoring someone. We are recognizing their birth and by celebrating their birthday, we are acknowledging that someone who has been created in God's image, has been placed on earth, in order to live his or her life out, for the glory of God. We are respecting their lives and God's creation. This is different than worship. Worship is recognizing Someone for who they are and how they relate to us. God is the only one who is worthy of that kind of affection and trust. We honor God and we worship Him because He is God. We love and honor people because God tells us to and puts it into our hearts to love and serve others with the love of Christ.

   Christmas is a time to give and serve. It is one of the best times to teach our children how to be generous. We take the Samaritan's Purse catalog and pick presents out for those in need, who live in Third World countries. This is a good time to stretch our brains and come up with ways we can serve and evangelize. Did you know that elderly people love stuffed dolls? We could make a bunch and visit those in the nursing home, and bring the dolls with us to give out in the rooms. We can use these opportunities to make God's name known, as we rejoice at the birth of God's Son. The list of ideas is endless, and many need to be served during this season. The best gifts are the ones we give to others to make others happy and to meet the needs of the needy.

  So, have a Merry Christmas this year and be careful how you eat and spend your time and money. Blow all the candles out and don't leave anything on the stove if the stove is turned on. Keep the poinsettias away from the dogs! And don't let little babies play with toys that have small parts they could put into their mouths and choke on. Rejoice in the fact that God sent His only Son to earth, in order to live a perfect life for us, and then to die in our place, to take the punishment for our sins. Keep the focus on God, and don't let the world enslave you into thinking that Christmas is a time to build our material kingdoms, and to eat, drink, and be merry, for tomorrow we die!