Tuesday, November 25, 2014

It's Time Again for Christmas Baking!

I had an exquisitely LOVELY birthday despite having a worsening head cold! Was absolutely showered with love and prayers and gifts, and most of all, the Holy Spirit just loved on me so much that day. I turned half a century old last week! My dad turned three-quarters of a century old in August. God is good to let us live so long!!

Have been put out of commission by a series of severe migraines since the weekend due to some really intense weather. One morning, we were below Zero degrees F. and had substantial snow on the ground. The next day, we had London fog like something out of an old, old Sherlock Holmes movie and 50 degrees F. And hurricane levels of low, low, low barometric pressure for a couple of days. And then a cold front which ushered in a good, decent, measurable snowfall and cold temps. I feel sane and happy again. I only mention the weather because a lot of my readers are CFS and fibromyalgia patients with migraine problems. You all know "what I mean is". :)

ANYWHO, tonight I got my test batch of All Butter Spritz Christmas Cookies baked, to test the butter and to test the oven. My dad pronounced them absolutely delectable and delicious, and I have found my adjustments to make on the oven temperature and the timing. I think we are due for a new oven element in the not too distant future. I pray it behaveth itself with proper decorum until I have baked seven more batches of Spritz. *grin*

Here is a night time shot of the test batch of Spritz, circa Tuesday, November 25, 2014:

My mom started taking Lipitor recently, so that means not as many baked cookies for her this year. I am being spared baking the evil, wicked, and nefarious "paper thin" Cut Out Cookies!!!! *Praises to the Lord!!!!* Just a ton of Spritz, and a couple of tons of Rum Balls. The recipes for both are Top Secret. I may have shared the ersatz versions of them on a blog or website some years ago, but I assure you, my prize recipes are  Top Secret. I will keep a couple of copies in the safe deposit box, though, in case menopause makes me lose my memory completely! *tongue planted firmly in cheek*

I am behind on reviewing books, so, I'm going to don a fresh pair of pajamas, pamper my feet with a warm bubble, scented foot bath, put on some home crocheted wool socks (my own creation; I could crochet these forever, as they make my feet deliriously happy), curl up in my bedroom Lazy Boy recliner, and finish reading what I promised I would read and review. When I had enterovirus, I could not read even children's lit, just much too ill.

I won't promise more pictures of cookies. Once I get into cookie baking mode, I find I just don't have time to tidy the kitchen enough to make the cookie photographs presentable. Yeah, I know, do Photoshop Elements, but that gets to be too much like work!

Will see if I can hunt down some pictures of the Rum Ball making process from a few years ago another time. For now, this is more than enough out of me!

Please be assured that EVERY SINGLE ONE of my blog readers - past, present, and to come, are in my daily prayers. Thank you so very much for keeping on coming back to visit with me. We will be neighbors in our Heavenly Homeland. Don't give up hope of things working out! There is someone out there reading this blog post who has a serious, serious family and marriage situation going on and is on the verge of despair.  Please don't give up hope! Our Heavenly Daddy Father is on the side of marriage and families! He WILL rescue! Just surrender to Jesus and ask for the grace to pray, "Thy will, Thy way, in Thy timing!" Pray to St. Joseph and to St. Teresa of Avila. I wish I could sit down with you and pray the Rosary with you, or go to Mass with you. I have the solution! I will send my Guardian Angel to pray with you! I promise! And I will pray, too! God bless you! God's Help IS ON THE WAY!!!

Much love in Jesus, Mary, and Joseph,

- Christine

PS: The First Sunday of Advent is coming up on November 30th - a brand new liturgical year! Consider picking a particular Saint to focus on their example and writings and intercessory prayers in a special way for the coming new Church year. And... what are you going to give Jesus for His birthday? This year, I am asking Him to help me to fall madly, passionately in love with Him forever. He is the One Pure Prince, the Redeemer, the Ransomer, the Beloved of my heart. Here is a little quote from St. Therese of Lisieux:

Monday, November 10, 2014

Thankful Thoughts: Monday, November 12, 2014

'Tis the season to be thankful! The national American holiday of Thanksgiving is on Thursday, November 27th this year. Of course, it's always the season to be thankful! Even when we're suffering, there is always something to thank God for! As numerous Saints have said over the past many, many centuries, we need to thank God when we're suffering or undergoing tribulation. And let's not forget about St. Paul the Apostle's words on "giving thanks in all circumstances". By doing so, we not only exercise our faith muscles, we also disarm the power of the devil in our lives. Thanking God in trials and pain not only confounds the enemy, it also draws down the power of the Lord's love to help us through it all. It takes time to get to the point of even beginning to thank the Lord for trials, but He wants to give us that grace.

Today, I want to thank the Lord Jesus here instead of just in my private journal.

I am thankful for...

* my dear little pet cat with multitudinous, beautiful, long whiskers who wants to play boisterously with all of her cat toys in the middle of the night. She belongs in this house with my dad and myself; we are each Night Purrsons. *big smile*

Seriously, I am so grateful that the allergy season is so thoroughly over so that Maggie the Kitty is back to being VBT - Very Bouncy Tigger (for you Winnie-ther-Pooh fans!). Poor little kitty had a nasty, hard time with the allergies since spring. She's having a blast feeling like a kitten again. 

* our furnace, which makes such a comforting sound when it starts to heat up and gets ready to blow delightful, deliciously warm air throughout the entire house. I love our furnace! Furnaces are like snowflakes; no two are alike, and ours makes simply the most splendidly comforting sounds. Sometimes, when I'm drifting off to sleep, I imagine that our house is some kind of time travel chamber, and when the furnace kicks in, we take off for destinations and times from history. Wouldn't that be wonderful?! At least it would be wonderful to me.

* the satisfaction of having the house and yard ready for winter. It's a good thing we are ready, because we are under a Winter Storm Warning from the National Weather Service now through Tuesday afternoon. Six to twelve inches of snow (at least) and blustery winds. This is my kind of November! Whee!!! *giggles*

* the memories of a glorious, beautiful childhood in a safe, good suburban neighborhood, where we kids had simply the most wonderful, perfect hills to sled, saucer, and toboggan down all winter, every winter except for the nefarious "Brown Winter" back in the early 1970's - yek! But the hills around the school were simply perfect and glorious for winter fun! And the snow forts we built during recesses and after school - what happy fun! And the snowball fights, too. Then coming home to homemade hot cocoa and to play piano and read books like Snowbound with Betsy. My parents gave me a splendid childhood.

* dear little pet cats who are part Domestic Shorthair/Tiger/Siamese, who love to "talk" and to "sing" dramatic, passionate opera arias - especially when they are feeling neglected. Maggie has not forgotten that her ancestors were once worshiped... ha ha ha! Truly, if you can stand all the communication noises a Siamese/part-Siamese kitty makes, then get one. They love to talk and to be talked to intelligently *and* in "baby talk". If you like a kitty that plays practically non-stop, then get a Domestic Shorthair. I'm so grateful for my little Siamese Tiger! I've got the best of both kind with her!

* the thrill of the excitement which comes with a nearing major snowstorm! Did I mention that our nighttime low temperatures will soon be in the single digits Fahrenheit for at least a week, with daytime highs only in the 20's?! What a glorious way to celebrate my birthday month! Thank You, Heavenly Father!! I feel energized even though I'm still struggling with wicked tummy bug.

* for classic children's literature, such as things written by Louisa May Alcott. Am currently rereading her book Jack and Jill and loving/enjoying it immensely. It little lessons on suffering patiently are not lost on me. What a merry little book! 

* for sales on baking goods for Christmas 2014 baking! The fridge is full of butter for Spritz cookies, and I've got a very, very large apple box filled with all of the other things I need - except for pecans for Rum Balls, and various colored sugars to adorn the Spritz cookies.

* for the Amish men who put a new roof on our neighbors' house right before it turned wintry. The spoke English and German, but their German was a different dialect than that to which my dad and I are accustomed. I am almost always edified by the presence of the  Amish and Mennonites around here.

* speaking of German: Some wonderfully talented German speaking volunteer recorded the Charles Dickens classic A Christmas Carol and it's MARVELOUS! It's Version 2 of the German edition on LibriVox, done by a woman whose surname is Schnabel! Danke, Fraulein Schnabel!

* lastly for today (I think!), I am thankful for my decision to take "Cyber Sabbaths" and to spend less time on the Internet. After nearly fifteen years online, I need a break from "cyberness". I am handwriting greeting cards and letters again, and I am listening to music CDs (and even a few cassettes!!!) and to local radio on my new Sony boombox. I'm watching antenna TV and DVDs instead of watching as much on the Roku, and came across some terrific Bob Ross painting courses on Public TV, and a perfectly hilarious episode of the George Burns & Gracie Allen TV program on one of the retro TV stations. Talk about Time Travel Tripping! As Joe Gargerry said to Pip in Dickens' Great Expectations, "What larks!" (So much fun!!)

OKAY! Enough of me already!

Please know that I (and my dad with me) pray every day for each one of you, whether you're a regular reader here, or whether you happened upon my blogs by accident. I am so overwhelmed with joy by how many of you come from all over the world! I had always wanted to travel when I was young before I became disabled, and now I get to visit wonderful sisters and brothers in the Lord via the 'net! God bless each one of you. I promise you my daily prayers - God knows you as a unique individual, and He knows and wants to provide for your particular needs. May Jesus console you and heal your hearts with love this week!

Much love in Jesus, Mary, and Joseph,

- Christine