Isn’t it amazing how God works. Yesterday while sitting and having some hot tea before beginning the day, I was thinking back on when I last posted anything. Commenting to Randy that it had been over a week, I sat there and began to wonder if I should post a recipe or if the Lord had anything He wanted to me write. In just a matter of minutes, this song came to mind. A song that, if truth be told is probably one of my least favorite Christmas carols. But as I sat there, the words of this carol would not leave me and I began to sing to myself the words, “star of wonder, star of night, star with royal beauty bright, westward leading, still proceeding, guide us to thy perfect light.” In all my 70 years, I don’t think this song ever just came to mind. Usually it is O Holy Night, or Silent Night, Mary Did You Know, or one of my old favorites, Ring The Bells, which I use to love hearing Sam Satterfield sing at First Bapt Corpus Christi.
But this morning, the words of that song, would just not leave me. It was then that I knew God had given me the next post that I was suppose to share.
We have all read so much this past year of keeping our eyes on the Lord, during this very hard season of Covid and seeing people we love experience the cruel hurts of this virus, some also loosing loved ones to it. And yet, we carry on, knowing that this hard and sorrowful time is one of the times that ask of us sometimes more than we want to give. How will God lead us to His Perfect Light? What will be my role in living a life that shows His love and faithfulness to others? Some of the questions that have crossed our minds are questions which need answers. But yet, we are not always given answers in the time we feel that they should be answered. It is during these hard days that our trust is grown and our faith sometimes either grows or falters.
This past week, I was ask to participate in a podcast next week in which they will ask me about traditions which our family took part in and also some Christmas recipes. (It is at this point that you are wondering what does this have to do with being guided to His perfect light, but hang on, I will eventually get there).
I texted my kids to ask them what they remembered about our Christmases when they were growing up. Having to admit that I wasn’t one of those moms who was big on lots of traditions, I dreaded seeing them answer like this, “Mom, I can’t remember a single tradition” Or “did we have any traditions? If so, they must have not been to much fun or memorable because I don’t have a clue.” But in fact, all 3 answered. Jamin wrote back to tell of several things he remembered. Jodi wrote back and told me the things she remembered and finally Jason called and told me that some of the things that he had read of Jamin’s response, Jason thinks he made up in his mind because he didn’t remember any of the things Jamin had written. But Jason did say that Christmas was always a great time and he remembered the fun and some of the big presents that he and the others were given. None of them remembered the smaller gifts. But it was always important to their dad and I that they walk in Christmas morning to see a Christmas tree that had a pile of presents under it. Because we didn’t have a lot of money, I would go to the Dollar Store and buy anything that would wrap and make it look like they were getting a lot of presents. When in fact, there were only 1 or 2 presents of any real value for each one. It was then that I began to think about how this relates to what I get out of Christmas. Do I surround myself with lots of worthless things that might give the appearance of Christmas or do I keep my eyes on the most valuable of all Christmas gifts…Jesus?
Of all the things that give me the most joy of human made Christmas decor, it is all the lights. Of course the Christmas music is wonderful, but the lights….that is what gives me, year after year, the most wonder. There is never enough time to drive around and see the beautiful displays of lights. For years, the lights on our Christmas trees stay on 24 hours a day. They simply give me such profound joy and excitement. And then comes January when the lights are taken down and this almost feeling of sadness overwhelms me as we see people out taking down all the beautiful lights. It is then that I am reminded that the One who is the Perfect Light will always be there, 365 days a year, 24 hours of each and every day. His Light will shine forth and never never go down. His Perfect Light is His Love shining down on us. Even during days or months of difficulty. His Love came to us so that we could be guided to His Truth. This Christmas may all of us allow Him to lead us to His perfect Light, Jesus, and only Jesus can make the valleys straight. Jesus and only Jesus will calm the storms.
John 8:12 “When Jesus spoke again to the people, he said, “I am the Light of the world. Whosoever follows me will never walk in darkness, but will have the light of life.”
Psalm 27:1 “The Lord is my light and my salvation, whom shall I fear? The Lord is the stronghold of my life, of whom shall I be afraid.”
Lord, help us to look past all the artificial lights of Christmas to behold the real Light of Christmas. Jesus, the Son of God who came to earth for our salvation.
One morning, a couple of years ago our preacher spoke from 1John of God’s love for us and what that truly means. During the Christmas season, we are continually reminded of that love, in that we see the nativity scenes everywhere and hear the stories of God sending his Son to earth for us. But in our everyday life, do we really stop to think of what this great love really means? That day in his sermon, he gave the analogy of when one of our children fall, do we just look down at them and tell them to “get up and get over it, the fall wasn’t that bad.” Or do we instantly bend down and scoop them up and tell them that it will be alright; That we are there and will take care of them. That is what God does for us. We are His own and He cares for each one of us. He ask us to think about the last time we truly felt God “love on us”. It was at that moment that I remembered a Christmas miracle, which happened the week I had just heard the sermon . It was one of those incidents which, at the time, reminded me that nothing is impossible with God, but I hadn’t thought about the fact that indeed, He was truly “reaching down and showing me that He loved me and cared about even the small things in my life. Here is the story:
A few weeks ago, I mailed a package to a friend for her combo birthday/Christmas present. It was a book she had been wanting and an apron that I had made for her. She is a strawberry fanatic and so the apron was made from material which had cute little snowmen and chocolate covered strawberries piled up around the snowmen. I was so excited to send these to her, knowing that it would make her so excited when she opened the package. In my haste to get it in the mail, I reused an envelop that I had received a Amazon order. Because it was a bubble envelop, when I tried to write my return address on it, it began to poke holes, so I didn’t put anything except my name. No address whatsoever. When I looked up her address in my contact list, I used the correct street address, but ended up using her old town and zip code, not the new town she had moved to over two years ago. Into the PO I ran and dropped it in the slot. I texted her and told her to be expecting a present in a couple of days. After a week, she still had not received it. At 5 am one morning, I awoke with a awful thought. It dawned on me what I had done. As soon as I could, I drove to the PO and told the guy at the window my story. I ask him if there was any way to track it. He assured me that because I had not put a return address on it, I would never see it again. That the package would go to their unclaimed mail station in North Carolina. I was so distraught. Realizing that not only was the present lost, but when was I going to learn to not do everything in a hurry. I texted my sweet friend and told her what I had done. It bothered me so much and I began to pray, telling the Lord that I knew that nothing is impossible with Him.
That week, on Tuesday, to be exact, I came home and Randy is outside. He tells me to go in the house and look on the dining room table. Asking why, he quickly tells me that the package was on the dining table. What? But how? there was no return address, how could it be here? I ran in (yes, I did run,because this was truly a miracle) and there it was. Apparently, someone had seen my name and had taken the trouble and time to peel off the top label to see where it originated. So they had returned it and here it was! Thanking the Lord for Him giving me a Christmas miracle, I began to think about what this really was. After that days sermon, it made me realize that God does give us those special little blessings to show His love for us, even during the routine days.
Also that week , Randy and I went to eat lunch. As we finished our meal, the waiter came to tell us that the couple sitting at a table over had already paid for our lunch. We were taken care of. Randy, of course, remarked, “well, shoot, if we had known that, I would have ordered the bigger breakfast”. He is such a dear. We walked over to thank them and they just said, “Merry Christmas”
This Christmas, my prayer is that I will be more conscious of God’s goodness to me. To look for the unexpected gifts that He sends to me and to also open my heart to someone who might just need to feel God’s love reaching down to them.
Last week I went to a friends house for lunch. A few friends had decided to get together at our friends house who had had knee surgery. So since she could not get out, we wanted to take lunch to her and just visit for a bit. When we discussed what to have, I had just finished the video of the cheesy potato soup so they ask if I would bring that. Of course I did and so Dena said she would bring these delectable little corn muffins, which are so great with soups. She sent me the recipe and said I could share with you. So here it is and I hope you enjoy them as much as we did. They are so moist and so full of flavor. If you don’t like green olives, switch to black. But with the weather turning cooler, you will love having these with a pot of whatever type of soup is on the menu.
2 cups all purpose flour
1 tables sugar
2 teas baking powder
1 teas dry mustard
1/2 teas baking soda
1/2 teas salt
1/4 teas black pepper
1/4 cup butter, softened
1 cup (4 oz) shredded Cheddar Cheese
1/2 cup chopped pimento-stuffed green olives
1 1/2 cups buttermilk
Preheat oven to 375. Grease or paper-one 12 muffin cups (2 1/2″ cups)
Combine flour, sugar, baking soda, mustard, baking powder, salt and red pepper in a large bowl. Cut in the butter with pastry blender until mixture resembles fine crumbs. Stir in cheese and olives.
Combine buttermilk with egg in a small bowl until blended. Stir into flour -cheese mixture just util moistened. Spoon evenly into prepared muffin cups (pan).
Bake 25-30 minutes or until golden brown and wooden toothpick inserted in center comes out clean.
Immediately remove from pan. Cool on wire rack. Serve warm or cool completely.
They are great with a pat of butter melted over the top.
Why these little gems are called by that name, I have no idea, because they are so different from what you would think they would be. When I read the name of them, I envisioned a vanilla little “cornbread” looking muffin that would go with a cup of hot tea. But what they are are the most delectable chocolate gooey yummy morsels of bliss. When I made them for a video on YouTube last week, it didn’t dawn on me until today that not everyone out there in WordPressLand would watch my video (shame on you for not, but this is Thanksgiving week, so I will forgive you) and they are so good that I wanted to share them with you. A dear friend Peggy gave me this recipe after a mutual friend of ours told me that Peggy had made them for her and that I HAD to make them. So…here we are a week later and I have made them twice already. A friend from Corpus Christi wrote and she has made them for a ladies event also and loved them. So do yourself a favor and make these wonderful little brownie bites. You will get addicted to them, as I have done. The original recipe calls for 1 cup of butter, but I made them with 1 stick, (1/2 cup) and loved the texture of them using half the amount of butter, so that is how I am posting it.
1 stick butter
8 oz semi sweet chocolate chips (or 1 cup)
Melt the butter and the chocolate chips together. I microwaved them for about 40 seconds and stirred the mixture until all the chocolate chips were melted. But my butter was at room temperature.
Add 1 cup flour, 1 1/2 cups granulated sugar, 4 eggs, 1 teas vanilla, 1 teas almond extract. Stir until mixture is well combined. Spray a miniature muffin pan with cooking spray. Using the middle size cookie scoop, fill each muffin pan with enough mixture to almost the time. This recipe makes 36 miniature muffins. Bake in preheated 325 oven and bake for about 13-15 minutes. You want to be sure and not overtake. You want the middle to be soft and gooey texture. Cool for a few minutes before removing from the pan.
Just wanted to post that I have started a YouTube￼ channel with cooking videos￼. Have made a couple￼ with some great recipes in the last couple days. One being Cheese Potato Soup and Antique Tea Muffins. Am not allowed to post videos on WP so please go To Sassy Southern for these great recipes! They are Butterful!!!
And no, I wasn’t around then to make this recipe up….it appeared in my email this morning as a recipe someone found in Taste of Home. I have not tried it yet, but it does sound really good and so easy to have on hand during the holidays when you have cooked so much that you feel like you are old enough to have been born in the 1800’s. Just get your slow cooker out and add ingredients and sit back and make your Christmas list to give to everyone.
1 large onion, chopped
1 medium sweet red bell pepper
2 teas minced garlic
3 lbs of boneless, skinless chicken thighs
1 tables curry powder
1 teas ground cinnamon
1 teas ground ginger
1 teas dried thyme
1 tables light brown sugar
1/2 cup chicken broth
1/2 cup golden raisins
1 can (14 1/2 ounces) diced tomatoes, undrained
Hot cooked rice or noodles
Place onion, pepper and garlic in 6 qt slow cooker. Arrange chicken pieces over this.
Whisk the next 5 ingredients with the chicken broth. Pour over the chicken. Cover and cook on high for 1 hour. Add the raisins and tomatoes. Reduce heat to low and cook until chicken reaches 165 (about 2 1/2 hours).
Serve hot over rice or noodles. Sprinkle with parsley if desired or tops of green onions.
Yesterday was a day of reflection and gratefulness. As I scroll down on all the post from FaceBook and see everyone give honor and thankfulness to those who served, I can’t help but think of something that continues to fill my mind. Yes, I am most grateful for each and every person who has served in our military and sacrificed so very much, sometimes even their lives. But as I get older, there is something that just fills my heart with wonder. As most of you who read my blog know, I never got to meet my biological dad. He and my mom never married and she had given him instructions to stay out of her life and not to try to even contact her or me, when she learned that he was also the father of another baby that was due to be born around the same time as she would give birth to me. Yes, I am very grateful that she chose to keep me and she loved me and married a man who adopted me and loved me as his own. But being an only child, it becomes such a dream to meet someone that is related to me. My biological dad was named Eugene Gaylord Gipson, known also as Jiggs, from Peru, Indiana. He had four sons and two other daughters. From his obit, I learned that he served as a US Navy veteran in WW2 and was on the USS Wisconsin. My mom always carried around one picture of him and had given it to me years ago so I would know what he looked like. He owned a Tavern, called the Jockey Club in Indiana, after retiring from the military. He died in 1973, I have heard from cancer.
My adopted father, Carl Roland Michaels, served in the Navy, in San Diego until being discharged due to scarlet fever. He married my mom when I was 8 months old and raised me, like I said earlier, as if I were his own. My mom and dad were actively involved in church, serving as youth leaders, then teaching Sunday School, sang in the choir and allowed so many different people, who needed a place to live, in their home. Did they have a great marriage? No, not really. But they did, in their own way, love each other and they did love the Lord. They taught me what serving others looked like so very well. At night, I would walk by their bedroom and see them both kneeling by their beds, praying after reading their Bible. We went to church each week, not out of duty, but out of honor and respect for God. They taught me that the best way to love God was to love others. I remember my mom always saying, to have real JOY, put Jesus First, Other’s Second and Yourself last. My mom struggled with depression and with some anger all of her life. But through those struggles, she always depended on God for provision and for strength. My poor dad seemed to catch the blunt of her anger so many times. But through it all, he still loved her. I have often thought about how different my life might have been had I known my bio dad. God always knows what is best for us and because my mom had a priority to marry someone who would be a good dad, I was blessed to grow up in a Christian home.
The purpose in me writing about this is that maybe you are like me and never met your real mom or dad. Maybe you did not have a family that was the perfect Leave It To Beaver family. But God……He who sacrificed His Son that we might live and live abundantly. Will your life be perfect, because you are a Christian? Of course not. But you will have someone who walks through the valleys of life with you. He will give you strength and peace and joy that the world cannot give you. This is not about joining a church. This is not about a religion. This is about giving your heart to Jesus, who loves you as His own. We all can be adopted into the family of God, no matter who your parents are.
I heard on the radio yesterday to ask yourself every day this questions:
“At the end of the day, what is one thing I did today that I did because I am a Christian, that I would not have done otherwise?” Is there anything that I did that would point someone to Jesus? That is what I am going to begin doing. It helps me keep my eyes on what they should be on…..Jesus Christ.
I might not ever meet any of my biological family members this side of heaven. But I do know that my Father in Heaven loves me and cares for me and will one day say, “welcome home dear child, you are mine and I love you.” What better words could we hope to hear?
Well, for years I have been hearing that getting older was very hard and took lots of time during the day just to keep Dr appointments, be sure you are taking prescriptions at just the right time and then trying to keep up with your daily routine without having to lay down between doing dishes and finishing the laundry. But this week, was especially hard. I’m not use to going to the doctor. Truly, I have been so blessed with great health, even though my cholesterol is higher than how much money is in my checking account. Maybe it is all the chocolate I have eaten through the years, but while our friends are in the process of having shoulders, knees and hips replaced, my biggest concern has been being sure that I was well stocked with chocolate chips and cream cheese. As I would waddle around the grocery store picking up whipping cream, more butter and of course, Diet Dr Pepper (can’t have too much sugar you know), I felt pretty spiffy always walking around in cute little sandals, thinking to myself, “oh those poor old ladies who have to wear those awful looking shoes”. As I would walk past them, always trying to walk a little faster then they, to show what great health I was in, I would glance back at them and give them that smile. You know the one. The one that says, “I might be over 65, but I can still walk faster than you, even in my cute blingy flip flops.” Until this week…………
let’s just say that my whole self image has been shattered. All this time, when I saw on the paperwork that would come home with me the letters, BMI, I thought that it stood for Beautiful Magnificent Individual. So all these past years, I thought it was such a kind gesture that doctors would include this to still make us think we were still beautiful people, no matter our health problems. So when a nurse this week told me that I needed to get my BMI down, I ask her why. I told her that I always worked at getting the percentage higher because I thought I was trying to get to 100%….She looked at me with the strangest look. She informed me that my BMI number was showing that I was OBESE!!!!! WHAT?????? I’m OBESE!!! when did that happen? How could eating butter instead of unhealthy margarine make me obese? Randy and I have been trying to eat veggie meals at least 3 days a week, which we then knew would allow us to eat, (without worry) buttermilk pie or apple cobbler on those days. We don’t eat bought bakery items, we make all our own pies, cakes, cookies, biscotti and cobblers. We never order anything but diet drinks and use Stevia in our ice tea which we drink with our chicken fried steak dinners. We never use sugar in our tea. We have even begun a exercise program which includes parking as far away in the parking lots when we go to our favorite restaurants, Babes Chicken, Kenny’s Hamburgers and Maggianos for lasagna.
This was just a shock to my system. No longer will I assume I know what the letters stand for when the Doctors hand me their reports telling me all the things that the blood work shows is wrong with me. So I guess now, I need to order some of those pretty awful looking shoes to hold my obese self up. Obese ladies don’t look very nice in blingy flip flops. From now on, I guess I can just wear my pajama bottoms like the rest of the obese when I go to Walmart. I will fit right in. Am thinking of starting a BMI support group. Maybe just maybe, we will at least order matching T-shirts with our logo,
I am a….
“Beautiful Magnificent Individual”
until we get the next Doctor report!
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