This was my first attempt at making any variety of hard candy--well, besides years ago when I attempted peanut brittle and it flopped. But this, my friends, turned out beautifully. My sister says it melts in your mouth. And it was actually super simple to make, perfect for giving away as a gift! Since I didn't alter any part of the recipe [minus using milk chocolate instead of dark] I'm going to send you to Five In Tow for the recipe.
the look i got for singing We Wish You A Merry Christmas as I walked down the drive way
it seems every November dad asks if i can assist him on the roof, always for different reasons [putting on shingles after last weekends storm]. since we're getting a metal roof soon, this was probably our final roof adventure.
saturday was [shop local day] nation wide and i did my part and crossed some christmas presents off my list.
glittery snow and a burst of sunshine
and one of thee best cookies know to man kind. whippersnappers. recipe here. mom was baking them to stick in the freezer, but jae and I taste tested for quality control.
Lately I've actually had deep [for me anyway, ha] thoughts rolling around in my head and one of them is giving with a thankful heart. Thanksgiving is literally right around the corner...and then Christmas rushes in a storm right after. It's SO easy to get wrapped up in the commercialism and busyness that seems to always shadow holidays.
How easy is it to whine, complain, and pout? It's something that I think comes fairly natural as a result of our sin nature. I'm ashamed to admit, I have more moments of whining and complaining even as an adult, than I should. My mother would probably attest to this. ;) Having a heart that is always filled with gratitude and thankfulness is the challenge, especially in our first world culture. I think one of the best ways to do this is by focusing on others and less on ourselves. By being a servant, investing our time and money into others, and practicing compassion. Only because of the Lord's great compassion and mercy that He has given me is how I can show the same to others.
If you are looking for ways to serve and invest in others look into local opportunities to serve in your community and sow into the lives of others you do daily life with and also international Christian organizations are a great place to plug in and show compassion to those who are considered the least of these.
WORLD VISION Link above
I absolutely LOVE World Visions. I sometimes joke that if adopting a kid was as easy as they make sponsoring kids, I'd have adopted several on my parent's behalf. Two years ago in December I was at a Big Daddy Weave Christmas concert and they had a table filled with little faces of kiddos needing sponsors. Just starting my first full time job, I told myself I couldn't afford it and I was just going to look. Needless to say, the sweetest little face beckoned me and I ended up with a little boy in Tanzania. Then, last November I was browsing through other kiddos on their website, with no intention of sponsoring anymore and a year later I also have two girls, one in India and another in Sri Lanka. I don't tell you this to say, "Look at me!" but to say, if I can do it...so can you. I get photos, pictures they color for me, and letters...sometimes from the momma's. They also have all sorts of other opportunities to help families across the world, including the U.S....which is awesome!
SAMARITAN'S PURSE Link above
I am also a huge fan of Samaritan's Purse and their Operation Christmas Child. I've recently heard a story of a little boy who got his shoe box, got one toy out of it, and handed it back because he thought he got to just pick one thing. He was thrilled with his one toy, but overjoyed to keep the whole box. One little box can change a kid's life [maybe even their family, or village]. Like World Vision there is also lots of other ways to support Samaritan's Purse and the work that they are doing throughout the world. Highly recommended.
METRO MINISTRY Link above
And maybe not as widely known about, but is one of my families favorites, Metro Ministry. Growing up my parents always sponsored a kid from the Bronx. So much poverty and devastation within our own country and the sidewalk ministry run by Bill Wilson, once a kid from the Bronx himself, has made a huge impact. During Christmas they do something similar to shoe boxes, but instead you fill a stocking. I remember one Christmas we made stockings out of felt and were so excited to fill them!
"Rejoice always,pray continually,give thanks in all circumstances; for this is God’s will for you in Christ Jesus." -1 Thessalonians 5:16-18
A few Fridays ago, I was finishing the work day by making the kiddos burn some energy by riding bikes before their mom got home. They have two ponds at their house and the sunrise and sunset are always so beautiful on them.
On that particular night, I marveled at how amazing it is that water can act as a mirror and so perfectly reflects the sky...even the color. It made me think about how Christ is the Living Water and how our lives should always be a reflection of Him.
A friend and I have recently been discussing how in today's Christian culture our generation is found to misuse and misunderstand the concept of freedom in Christ. And then there's the flip side of that being legalism. She said something that has stuck with me about how it's not as much about WHAT we do as Believers, but it's more about the WHY. Each persons what is going to be different; vocation, friends, hobbies, lifestyle, etc. but in the body of Christ, the why in life should be to glorify and honor God in everything we do. Our lives should radiate Christ, there should be something drastically different in how we live our lives, as opposed to the rest of the world.
"Jesus answered, “Everyone who drinks this water will be thirsty again,but whoever drinks the water I give them will never thirst. Indeed, the water I give them will become in them a spring of water welling up to eternal life.”" -John 4:13-14
"So whether you eat or drink or whatever you do, do it all for the glory of God." -1 Corinthians 10:31
In unrelated news:
My darling sister and I were going to be too early to something we had to be at Saturday, so we took a detour, ended up at Historic Bear's Mill's Christmas open house...which was perfect because I got my bosses' Christmas presents. Score!
& Thursday night she had her first shower thrown by her church ladies. So many ladies came & so many presents! Miss H will not go naked, that's for sure!
Happy Monday--the countdown to Thanksgiving & a four day weekend is on!
This has quickly become my dad & brother's favorite version of pumpkin pie. And these two in particular even had the 'already in the pie pan' pie crust...not my most favorite. The men have declared it to not even need ice cream...which is unheard of for them.
Pumpkin Streusel Pie:
(for 1 pie)
One pie crust
& use your favorite pumpkin pie recipe...be it the one from the pumpkin can or a secret family recipe.
Disregard your normal pie baking directions and place your pumpkin pie into a 350 degree preheated oven and bake for 40 minutes. While that's baking, mix up your streusel topping:
1 Cup flour
1/2 Cup packed brown sugar
1/2 Cup cold butter, cubbed
1/2 chopped pecans
Combine flour and brown sugar, cut in butter until crumble. Stir in the pecans. After 40 minutes are up, pull your pie out of the oven and sprinkle this on top. And you'll notice how 'jiggly' your pie still is, don't worry about that...your streusel won't fall through and it will get baked. Place the streusel coated pie back in the oven for another 15-25 minutes or until a knife is inserted into the middle and comes out clean.
and bam! delish, jazzed up pumpkin pie just in time for Thanksgiving!
A few weeks ago I was reading Nehemiah and this verse has constantly been playing through my mind. At first glance, maybe you're trying to figure out why it has stayed with me. Without giving a super long synopsis of the context of the book & chapter, the basic premise is that after years of exile from Jerusalem, God's people were returning but, with the walls laying in ruins, there was a great need to rebuild. Nehemiah knew he needed to rebuild the walls for both protection and to restore the Glory of God. He was a great leader and a man of continuous prayer.
So here's what has stuck with me about this verse: the enemies were coming and those rebuilding the wall did some serious prayer, but not only did they pray--they acted. "We prayed to our God AND posted a guard day and night to meet this threat." It's not that God couldn't manage on His own. The Jews were fearful that they were going to be slaughtered, but Nehemiah positioned people with swords and bows and told them not to fear for God would fight for them. Their enemies stopped when they found out that they knew about the plot and that God had frustrated it.
A relationship with Jesus isn't going between "Hey Jesus, I need your help on this one, so I'll step back and let you handle it all ..." or "Hey Jesus, I've got this one, so you can lay low..." It's more like
"Lord, show me what we are going to do."
Sometimes we are to act...and sometimes we need to just be still before the Lord. But if we are abiding in Him and seeking to hear His voice, then it will be easier to learn when to act and when to wait. These are just somethings the Lord has been teaching me lately & I pray that something of this will be an encouragement to you. Questions, comments, and further discussion are welcome. :]
First off, thank you all so much for participating! I hope you were encouraged and feel accomplished for the exercising that you did...even if you missed a Friday of lunges or a Wednesday of push-ups. That's okay! Without much pomp and circumstance, I would like to congratulate LYDIA HOLCOMB on being our winner! Again, if you all are looking to find something to put on your Christmas list...or need an idea for the fitness gal in your life, The Cross Couture tanks are super cute!