Saturday, December 31, 2011

New Year - Memorial Stones

The week between Christmas and New Year’s has traditionally been a time of reflection and goal setting for myself.  This year I have found myself thinking about the Biblical practice of erecting “memorial stones.”  The stones were erected to remind those coming after of what happened in the past.  (To read about memorial stones you can look at Genesis 28:20-22.  There are also many other examples to be found in the Bible.) 
In my mind’s eye I like to think that an Israelite family traveling through the area would see these memorial stones piled high.  One of the children would turn to his dad and ask, "Hey dad, look at that pile of rocks. Why do you think someone stacked them up like that?"  The dad would then respond, "That’s an excellent question.  Let me tell you about those stones and what they are here to remind us about.”
Lucky for this child the father knew what the stones represented. You would think every Israelite would know about the miracle God performed at that site and the meaning of those stones...not only that site, but the many other sites and memorials throughout Israel.  You would think that those stories would become part of family history that would be passed on to their descendants, yet even such important events can be quickly lost to the succeeding generations.  The memorial stones were not only to peak the curiosity of the children but to remind the adults as well. .
By simply passing on our family traditions we can create memory stones to be used as memorials - as long as the reason for them is also communicated.  We are all aware of how quickly the reasons for a celebration can be lost.  In our own society the days that have in the past been important days of the worship of God and remembrance of what He has done have been changed by a secular society into excuses for a day off work to play. (Thanksgiving is now Turkey day.  We have a Winter Break instead of time off for Christmas.)  My reason for mentioning these as examples is that if our children are to hold any of them as having any significance, then it is up to us to teach them the significance.  Even God set up a tradition for the Hebrews to carry on every year from the time He brought them up out of Egypt. It is the Passover.
My life is filled with many occasions for me to gather memorial stones. There are quiet remembrances of times spent in fellowship with God.  Sometimes there were battles with myself, with my friends, with loved ones and with enemies. There are times of defeat and moments of great, tearful, confession and prayer. There are occasions of mourning and memories of victories and celebrations.  I have had times of letting loose and setting things free.
This all brings me to my question for this New Year...What memorial stones have I set up to both prick the curiosity of others and to remind myself of what God has done? It may be that I have set something up already without thinking about it, but I also need to go beyond and do something on purpose.  
This last year my husband and I have “on purpose” re-instituted the family dinner.  My girls are grown, married and have started families of their own, but I think it’s important to be intentional about being a family...our family!  Their husbands are introduced to our quirks and foibles.  They learn our recipes, our cooking style, and our “comfort” foods.   They can begin to see how the girls interact with each other as sisters, as daughters, as aunts, as sister-in-laws and as friends.
I am intentional about spending time with my grandchildren.  Time spent re-counting stories of my childhood, of their mother’s childhood, and of important things to be remembered.  Who were those who came before us.  What I know of things past...
BUT, none of those times together can create memorial stones in our life unless they have significance for each of us.  Can we identify with each other?  Are we encouraging and teaching each other?  Are our memorial stones a place of refuge and safety?  A place where we can return to God?  Are we creating interactions with the living God for each of us?  Have we met Him?  Has He spoken to us?  Did something ever happen between us and God that changed us and our lives forever?  These are the most significant things which we are to use to erect our memorial stones.
Memorial stones are those places we can return to when we need spiritual communion with God.  These stones are memories we can return to for encouragement and comfort in times of loneliness and trials.  We can use the stones to teach our children, friends and family.  Memorial stones are places to benchmark where we are in our relationship with God and to measure how far we’ve come on this journey called life.
Do YOU have such memorial stones in your life?


Till tomorrow.

"The crooked roads shall become straight, the rough ways smooth" (Luke 3:5).

Saturday, December 24, 2011

Merry Christmas

“The Savior—yes, the Messiah, the Lord—has been born today in Bethlehem, the city of David! And you will recognize him by this sign: You will find a baby wrapped snugly in strips of cloth, lying in a manger.” Suddenly, the angel was joined by a vast host of others—the armies of heaven—praising God and saying, “Glory to God in highest heaven, and peace on earth to those with whom God is pleased.”” Luke 2:11-14 NLT

Monday, December 12, 2011

Christmas Party Appetizers

Another party...another appetizer!  Since this one was a breakfast "brunch" I thought I'd bring a "breakfast there such a thing?)  Oh well...there is NOW!

I checked my pantry first to see whether I had some dates on hand and found a package of Dole dates that I had purchased earlier.  However, when I went to purchase some more, it took me forever before I found them...different brand, different packaging and different grocery store!  How complicated can purchasing some dried fruit be?
For this recipe you will need about 1.5 packages of be sure and purchase two!

You will also need a package of Maple-flavored bacon (which gives a great flavor.)

That's it!  Two ingredients!
I begin by cutingt the bacon into thirds.  There are usually about 15 slicess of bacon in a package, so this will give you about 45 individual appetizers.

Wrap a piece of bacon around the date and secure with a toothpick. (If you don't have toothpicks, not to worry.  When the bacon cooks it adheres to itself, the toothpick is only helpful when someone wants to pick up one and place it on their plate.  No toothpicks also means no trash or need of plates!) 
I place the wrapped dates in a jelly-roll pan so that the grease is contained. (We all know...bacon makes grease! YUM!)

For SOME reason...I don't have a picture of the finished product.  I took them out of the oven and we ran to the party...and they were "ate up" instantly!!!

Now...a small word about this appetizer.  Most people will eat bacon wrapped "anything!"  Bacon makes everything taste good.  BUT...there is a mental block with "some" that says "I HATE DATES!"   Once they've made that statement out loud...they won't even take a bite!
SOOOOO...until they've tasted them, don't tell them what's in the middle of the bacon!!!  They'll be happy you kept it a secret.

  • Maple Flavored Bacon
  • 2 packages of dates
  • Toothpicks - if so desired
  1. Preheat oven to 375 degrees F.
  2. Wrap each date with 1 bacon piece; secure with toothpick.
  3. Arrange on a jelly-roll pans.  Bake 25 to 30 minutes or until bacon is crisp, turning once.  

 When the dates are properly crisp enough, I place them on  a paper-towel-lined plate to drain off any excess grease.  Transfer them to your pretty serving platter; serve immediately. (Now if you are transporting them to another can re-heat them for about 30+ seconds in the microwave. However, I can eat them cold and they are still delicious!)

Till tomorrow...and another appetizer (tis the season)!

Saturday, December 3, 2011

Lace Vest

I recently bought a really pretty lace vest.  Of course, as soon as my sister spotted it she wanted one too. 
Alas...that was not to be.  When we found one, it was either not in her size or it was not to her liking.  We searched long and hard, vest. 
I finally set aside some time this week to pull out my vintage lace pieces and see if I couldn't "fashion" something for her that she would be to her liking!
The large piece in the back of this picture is actually a dust ruffle I picked up in Canton for only a couple of dollars.

I started the project with the dust ruffle.  I cut a piece from the dust ruffle along the edge to become the bottom edge.  I added some more vintage trim around the middle of the dust ruffle to hold the pleats in place.

This crocheted piece is the perfect size for the back of the vest.

A dresser scarf is the perfect size for the middle section...

and some pretty lace doilies fit nicely for the front panels

Here is the back top and middle sewn together.  I also added some pearl buttons along the back edge.

Here is the top and middle sewn to the dust ruffle piece.

From the front shoulder pieces I used the two lace doilies.  I didn't have any "bling" for the buttons, so I used two vintage clip on earrings.  I'll have her find some "bling" she likes and keep my earrings...but for the photo it just needed a little something!

The finished piece turned out better than I imagined.

I'm sure my sister has the "perfect" shirt and pants to wear with her new vest!

Hopefully she's not reading this before Christmas!!!! (She's so nosey!)

till tomorrow...

Thursday, December 1, 2011

Holiday Appetizer - Stuffed Jalapenos

Lots of parties are already happening...and sometimes I'm asked to bring finger foods or appetizers.

One of my families all time favorite appetizer is stuffed jalapenos.
I can remember "popping" them into my mouth while waiting for my grandmother to finish cooking Christmas dinner.
Sweet memories!

You will need to purchase the picked jalapeno peppers for this recipe.  You can usually find them in a can in the Mexican Food isle (of course I remember living in Canada and having NO Mexican Food isle in the grocery store...such a sad time!)  You'll also need a big ole' can of tuna. 

The peppers need to have the tops and stems removed.  They need to be cut in half  (lengthwise) and all the seeds removed.  I usually wear gloves when I do this job.  The juice is HOT and not easily washed off.  Even hours later, when I go to take my contacts out I will feel the burn of the pepper juice and curse the day I ever touched them!

So...remember the "guts" are HOT stuff, just dump it right into the trash!

For the tuna...mayonnaise, salt and pepper to taste and grated jack cheese.
I usually just throw in a handful of cheese.  (My grandmother NEVER measured a thing!)

Once you get them all stuffed (keep your gloves on for the stuffing) and arranged on a pretty tray, sprinkle a little more cheese on top.

I brought this tray home empty the other night and everyone wanted to know how to make them.
Of course, that's after I would hear comments on the "odd combination" of ingredients.  They soon got over it and before I knew it they were popping them in their mouth and chowing down.
But remember, here in Texas we'll stuff a jalapeno with just about anything!

Till tomorrow...