1. To take, clasp or enclose in the arms; to press to the
bosom, in token of affection.
2. To seize eagerly; to lay hold on; to receive or take with
willingness that which is offered
3. To comprehend; to include or take in
4. To comprise; to enclose; to encompass; to contain; to
5. To receive; to admit.
6. To find; to take; to accept.
(from Webster’s 1828 dictionary)
As I've pondered and prayed for a word for the coming year,
this one embraced me.
Kind of snuck up and grabbed me, you know,
like one of those hugs that you aren't expecting,
but are thankful for once the initial shock is over?
And as I sat with this word- embrace ... it fits.
It is time to embrace this life; this simple,
mama life that I live.
The life that is messy and often loud,
crowded with people and projects that all vie for my attention,
sometimes all at the same time.
And also the life that calls me to slip away for solitude and silence,
time alone with my Lord and my pen and the page.
It is the year to EMBRACE who I am,
even if I have heard "You are something else"
too often for comfort lately ...
something else, well maybe I am, and I'm OK with that ...
especially since I'm not even sure what the comparison is ;) .
So, here's to 2014- the year to EMBRACE
the something else that I am,
the journey I am on, the life I've been given,
my work in this world,
and the beautiful souls I am blessed to share it with.
What are you embracing this year?
Do you have a word for 2014? If so, I'd love to know what it is!
During the busyness of this season, simple meals are a must.
And because my family members morning routines are all different,
it helps to have something that can be eaten when hunger strikes or there is a free moment to sit down and have a cup of coffee or tea and a bite to eat.
One of our favorite simple breakfasts is muffins.
I can quickly stir together a batch of muffins and have them ready to eat in less than half an hour.
They are infinitely adaptable it seems, making it easy to make them from whatever I find in the pantry- white flour, whole wheat pastry flour, cornmeal, chocolate chips, raisins, dried cranberries, nuts, fresh, frozen, or canned fruit. You get the idea.
Below is my basic muffin recipe, which gets tweaked in various ways.
These muffins are just barely sweet, this is breakfast after all; but you can add more sweetener if you prefer a sweeter pastry.
2 cups flour – 1 cup whole wheat pastry
1 cup unbleached all-purpose
2 tsp. baking powder (Rumford)
Pinch of salt
1 egg, beaten
¼ cup agave nectar (or honey)
1 cup non-dairy milk (I prefer unsweetened soy) *see note below
1/3 cup oil (safflower)
1 tsp. vanilla
½ cup nuts, dried or diced fresh fruit, chocolate chips, etc.- your choice of add-ins
Note: You will need about 2 cups total liquid ingredients, so add more 'milk', apple sauce, etc. if need be.
Preheat oven to 425
Grease, spray, or
line muffin tin with paper liners
Mix dry ingredients in medium bowl
In separate bowl, mix egg, sweetener, oil, non-dairy milk,
Add liquid mixture to dry ingredients and mix just until
Gently fold in nuts, fruit, etc.
Fill muffin cups to about 2/3 full. I use an oiled ¼ cup measure and it works
Bake for 15-20 minutes or until lightly browned and a tester
comes out clean.
Cool on wire rack.
Makes 12 muffins
For a savory muffin, mix in shredded cheese, sauteed veggies, and/or ham or cooked bacon. I leave out the sweetener in these, though some might want to leave it in.
I like this version made with part cornmeal.
More simple breakfast ideas:
yogurt topped with fruit and/or granola
fruit with cheese- cottage, cheddar, whatever you prefer
peanut butter and honey rolled in a tortilla and slightly warmed in the microwave
leftovers from the night before (cold pizza is one teen daughter's favorite!)
What is your favorite simple breakfast?
A cup of coffee or tea and a Christmas cookie (or 3) is mine these days!
It's a cold and frozen day, with ice on the roses and wind playing the frozen leaves of the pecan tree like chimes.
As we wait to see if there will be snow or only cold, my daughter practices a song for Sunday- Winter Snow .
And I think of how He comes when we seek Him-
His Spirit comes, soft and slow, and fills our hearts with HOPE.
And in this first week of Advent, I search for hope and find it- in the hard and hurting moments, in the joy and the pain. My HOPE is found in the Word, in Jesus, Immanuel- God with Us.
This God, who comes to earth as a babe, walks with us in our mess and our madness.
This God with Us who takes our sin and our shame upon his sinless Self, and dies for us.
He now LIVES, now LOVES, now ABIDES with us, and brings us HOPE.
HOPE even in the pain of losing a beloved friend this week.
HOPE even when lungs harden and breath doesn't come, and the doctors say there is nothing they can do.
HOPE when I stand in a hospital room holding my grieving friend, praying silently for mercy.
HOPE as we wait, and her husband breathes his last, and he is gone.
HOPE in the dark days following death, when the calendar marked with cruise, is replaced with a casket.
HOPE when even though we know this is real, it still isn't yet on so many levels.
Yes, even in death there is HOPE.
Because heartbroken as we are right now,
we know, without a shadow of a doubt,
we have all confidence in our HOPE in HIM-
that one day, some day, we will see our loved one again;
and we shall see JESUS, He who is our only HOPE,
face to face.
And so, as we gather to sing and pray, laugh and cry,
and say goodbye for now-
And on this wintry day, when my heart hurts,
I search for gifts of HOPE from World Vision, Harvest of Hope, IJM-
gifts of animals, seeds, medicine, Bibles.
Help and hope for those who can't help themselves.
And I smile, knowing that along with these small gifts
will come a greater gift-
hearing the story of JESUS, our HOPE and HELP.
And I smile as I remember last Sunday,
when I gave the teens a sheet with I HOPE I HOPE I HOPE I HOPE I HOPE
scribbled on it and asked them to share their hopes with us.
And there, amidst the hopes for passing grades, college, and family were these:
"I HOPE to go to Africa"
"I HOPE to go on many mission trips"
3 friends, all desiring to take HOPE in JESUS into this world.
And that my friends, brings me great HOPE and tremendous Joy this season.
May the God of hope fill you with all joy and peace as you trust in him, so that you may overflow with hope by the power of the Holy Spirit. Romans 15:13 What are you hoping for this season? What gives you hope these days? Who are you hoping in?
Spending some time this day after Thanksgiving in solitude,
reflecting on the blessings of the holiday-
a houseful of friends sharing stories
daughters in aprons each making 'their special dish'
table filled with delicious food
family and friends gathered around the table
a surprise visit from grandpa
laughter over a game of Apples to Apples
texts and calls from sweet friends
And now, a quiet house, a book, a cup of tea, a slice of pumpkin pie ...
Giving thanks today for a peaceful, blessed Thanksgiving.
Giving thanks today, even when the wind blows cold,
my heart aches, and all is not well.
Even in the midst of a storm, I choose to give thanks-
because God is good, His love endures forever,
and His mercies are new every morning.
I can trust that what He allows, He will see me through.
And when I look around with eyes searching for blessings,
I find them scattered like leaves dropped from a tree.
Simple gifts I'm grateful for this day:
Crimson leaves scattered beneath the crape myrtle
Roses which don't seem to care that wintry weather is looming large
Teapot filled with Orange Spice tea
For these simple gifts, I give thanks.
For this day and the blessings yet undiscovered, I give thanks.
For His promises, which I can always count on, I give thanks.
For You, my friends, I give thanks.
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