Christmas · Hope

Wrapped Up In Christ

Are you all wrapped up on this December day? I’m not referencing your foiled paper and glitter-laden bows, I’m talking about the state of your heart and mind. I’m wondering if you’re wrapped up in hope or fear? Joy or turmoil?

I watch a gal on You Tube that is a very gifted artist, but she often talks about the fear of “something getting ready to happen.” It breaks my heart for her. All that’s going on today keeps the world in a state of panic.

But it doesn’t have to be that way!

I’m happy to say that because I know Christ, I am not afraid My hope is wrapped up in the One who came as a Babe in a manger.

Have you ever wondered what life would be like if Jesus had never come – if He had not humbled Himself to take the form of man?

Without Christ…

  • We would have no hope of heaven, BUT we do!
  • We would be lost in our sin forever, BUT we aren’t!
  • Life would have no purpose BUT it does!
  • There would be no way to know God BUT there is!
  • Sin and suffering would never end BUT it will!

I am sure that list could go on and on. When we consider all we have in Christ, we realize that our very lives each and every day are all that they are because of Christ. Even when we are experiencing the worst day or season in our lives, we know that because of Christ, this is is the worst we will ever experience. This is the only hell a believer will ever know. For one who has not trusted Christ, this is the only heaven they will ever know.

It is our choice to choose what we are wrapped up in –

Hope in Christ

or

Fear and depression

I’m thankful that right now at Christmas we remember that baby Jesus, but more importantly, the Savior who died on the cross and rose from the tomb victoriously! When we feel fear threatening to overwhelm us, we must remember that our hope is not wrapped up in anything in this life, but in the Lord Jesus.

Things are so different for me this year, but my one constancy is Christ. He is my anchor. He is the reason I can press on. He is my hope this Christmas. I pray He is yours, too.

Merry Christmas, my friends.

I posted this last year, in difficult 2020, and I’ll share it again in the midst of all the suffering so many are experiencing today. I pray it will encourage you.

Christmas · Gifts

Unique Gifts from the Kitchen

With the week of Christmas upon us, maybe you’re still wondering about a few last minute gifts to give? My favorite place to conjure up a gift is in my kitchen! Here are a couple of ideas you could consider! I’m also linking several posts from the past that will give you LOTS of ideas to whip up!

If you have no time, but you have homemade jam, find a holiday lid, pop it on the jar, tie on a ribbon and you are good to go! You could include a loaf of bread, either homemade, or baked from a purchased frozen loaf, like the Rhodes bread loaves.You could also purchase a jar of jam and share it with some bread!

This Healthier Granola can be made up and baked within 30 minutes. Let it cool, then pour it into a holiday cellophane bag. Voila! Gift accomplished!

This granola is so good on Greek yogurt!

Here’s a sweet gift made in your kitchen, but it’s food for birds – not food for people! Since my husband had Covid and we have been quarantined and not able to shop much, I had a friend purchase some birdseed for me and I made these as a gift for him because he loves to see the birds at our feeders/trees. (I feel like an old person saying that! I guess it’s true!). Anyway, these turned out so cute, and the birds will have a feast this winter.

Here’s the recipe and instructions:

Birdseed Ornaments

1 Cup Birdseed
1/4 Cup flour
1/4 Cup water
2 Tbl. corn syrup

Mix. Line a baking sheet with parchment paper. Spoon birdseed mixture into metal cookie cutters. Let dry 24 hours. Dangle ornaments from twine looped through a hole made with a skewer.

Tip: I put my tray into the oven that was OFF, but still warm after I had baked something else. This sped up the dry time.

I hope I”ve inspired you a little to head into your kitchen and whip up some gifts that are truly unforgettable! Here are some other suggestions:

Here is a biscotti recipe that makes a terrific gift to bag up and share!

Here is another post of food gifts I shared a few years back.

Here is a post of gift basket ideas for the hardest people on your list!

Tell me, are you still finishing up your gifts? Or are you all done?

Christmas decor · Home decor

My Christmas Touches and Glitches

Welcome to my home! Come inside to take a peek at some glimpses of my Christmas decor.

I added some little stacks of ribbons to embellish our stockings.

Fresh cut greens from my yard mixed in with artificial greens cover the mantle. For some twinkle, I added a simple strand of white lights.

On my kitchen island I have a collection of salt and pepper shakers my husband has given me over the years. Putting them all together in one place makes a greater impact than scattering them all over the kitchen. They just make me smile! Do you see Santa’s boots sticking up on the back side?

A tiny tree accented with blues stands on my desk in the craft/guest room.

My bedroom mantle has all fresh greens from my yard and a pom-pom garland found at Hobby Lobby this year.

There are other touches in the house, like my big Christmas tree in the family room. Most of the lights are still lit, but a couple weeks after we put it up, about 1/3 of the strands decided to go out! Sadly, we’ve been dealing with illness at our house, so replacing the lights was NOT a priority! Sickness also kept us from our scheduled vacation. We have been home where my husband has dealt with Covid for nearly two weeks. We thank the Lord that he is doing better each day!

I’m sharing this to remind each of us that we have to remember when we’re perusing the Internet that those that post pictures choose to highlight the best parts. No one’s life is always steaming cups of hot chocolate and snow flakes gently falling outside their windows. Life is hard for everyone at different times. That’s why we needed the Christ child born in the manger! He came to rescue us from our sin. He came so that we would have a way to the Father. He came to give us life – real life, eternal life with Him forever.

So if your lights burn out, your plans get changed or other hardships come during Christmas, keep in mind, that we live in a broken, fallen world and rejoice that we have something so much better than all of that – we have Jesus.

Merry Christmas! Let’s enjoy this special season, no matter what disappointments come. Christ will never disappoint.

Biblical Womanhood · spiritual growth · Uncategorized

The Blessings of Reading Through the Bible in a Year

In a couple of weeks, I will have completed another read through the Bible. That’s saying nothing about me, but I do want to say something about God’s Word – it changes me!

The reason I started reading through the Bible many years ago is because I had not really gotten the “whole story” in my head. I had broken up segments of the Old Testament happenings I’d heard since my childhood. I knew some of the psalms and loved Paul’s epistles, but reading all the way through the Bible has taught me and profited me so much!

  1. Reading through the Bible has shown me the thread of redemption that is woven throughout all of Scripture. After the fall of man,, we see God providing, not just Adam and Eve’s present needs, but telling He would provide a sacrifice for mankind. Then all through its pages, we see pictures and types of Christ, coming to save us from our sin. From Abraham, Joshua, Moses, Joseph and the psalms, we are pointed to His suffering, death and resurrection!
  2. Reading through the Bible has given me a greater love for God’s Word. I see the way Scripture commentates on itself. I see Christ on each page. I see the way the Word is knit together like the yarns of a scarf through the weaver’s shuttle. It’s a Book like no other book! It is alive! It is powerful! It is life-giving!
  3. Reading through the Bible has caused me to grow spiritually. Oh, how dear it is to open my Bible and hear God speak Truth to my heart! The Spirit of God teaches me His character, gives me hope for the future, and convicts me of sin so I can get it right. All of this causes growth.
  4. Reading through the Bible has given me a greater desire to memorize Scripture. Because I see its value to change me, I know it’s essential to have it hidden in my heart. Psalm 119 is full of reminders why I need to memorize – it gives comfort, it gives me words to answer others, it guides me, it keeps me from sin…and so many other reasons.

I will definitely be reading through the Bible in 2022. Whitney shared on her blog this week that she’s going to be doing The Bible Recap. That is a chronological reading. I’m praying about whether to do that or to repeat the Bible in a year on you version. It takes you through the old and New Testament, Psalms and Proverbs. I love the variety. Through this plan I’ve also seen the redemption thread woven so beautifully.

Have you ever read through the Bible? If it seems daunting to you, realize you just take it one day at a time. I believe having a plan doesn’t overwhelm you, but it keeps you on track. Pray and ask God to give you a hunger for His word, and then make a plan to dive in come January 1, 2022.

You can go here to see a tool that has helped me as I’ve read the Bible.

baking · breakfast · Gifts

Peach Cream Cheese Danish

Breakfast perfection!

For quite a few years I have been baking these Cream Cheese Danishes because after making them the first time, I was hooked! I usually make them for gifts at Christmas time, but save one for our family’s holiday breakfast!

It’s hard to believe these are light, but they are, but they taste every bit as good as any danish you could purchase at a lovely bakery! I made this recipe up last week and have been enjoying a little sliver with my coffee, fruit, yogurt and granola each morning. It’s made this a much anticipated meal! It’s soooo good!

These do take a little time, but I usually make the dough in the evening, stick it in the fridge, and then finish making them the next day. They are so worth the effort! You get four large danishes out of this recipe. Whoever you choose to share this with, will be your humble servant for life! (!) Okay, maybe not life, but they’ll love you for your kindness!

I like to set them on a piece of thin cardboard, covered with foil, then slide them into one of my large bread bags and tie with a ribbon. The cardboard will keep the delicate danish from breaking. You could top these with almonds, if you wish!

Here’s the lightened up recipe from Cooking Light ~

Peach Cream Cheese Danishes

  • ½ cup granulated sugar
  • ⅓ cup butter
  • ½ teaspoon salt
  • 1 (8-ounce) carton light sour cream
  • 2 packages dry yeast (about 4 1/2 teaspoons)
  • ½ cup warm water (100° to 110°)
  • 2 large eggs, lightly beaten 
  • 4 cups all-purpose flour 
  • Filling:
  • ⅔ cup Peach preserves – Or your favorite flavor!
  • ¼ cup granulated sugar
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
  • 2 (8-ounce) blocks 1/3-less-fat cream cheese, softened
  • 1 large egg, lightly beaten
  • Cooking spray 
  • Glaze:
  • 1 ½ cups sifted powdered sugar
  • 2 tablespoons fat-free milk
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla extract

Directions

  • Step 1 To prepare dough, combine first 4 ingredients in a saucepan over medium heat, stirring until sugar dissolves. Remove from heat; cool. Dissolve yeast in warm water in a large bowl; let stand 5 minutes. Stir in sour cream mixture and 2 eggs. Lightly spoon flour into dry measuring cups; level with a knife. Gradually stir flour into sour cream mixture (dough will be soft and sticky). Cover dough; chill 8 hours or overnight (my preference).
  • Step 2 To prepare filling, combine preserves and next 4 ingredients (preserves through 1 egg) in a medium bowl; beat with a mixer at medium speed until well blended.
  • Step 3 Divide dough into 4 equal portions. Turn each portion out onto a lightly floured surface; knead lightly 4 or 5 times. Roll each portion into a 12 x 8-inch rectangle. Spread one-fourth of filling over each portion, leaving a 1/2-inch border. Starting at a long side, carefully roll up each portion jelly roll fashion; pinch seam and ends to seal.
  • Step 4 Place 2 loaves on each of 2 baking sheets coated with cooking spray. Cut 4 (1/4-inch-deep) “X”s in top of each loaf with scissors. Cover and let rise in a warm place (85°), free from drafts, 25 minutes or until doubled in size.
  • Step 5 Preheat oven to 375°.
  • Step 6 Place 1 baking sheet in oven (cover remaining loaves to keep from drying). Bake at 375° for 15 minutes or until lightly browned. Repeat procedure with remaining loaves. Cool loaves slightly.
  • Step 7 To prepare glaze, combine powdered sugar, milk, and 1 teaspoon vanilla, stirring with a whisk. Drizzle warm loaves with glaze.

These are amazingly easy…really! I hope you’ll try them! You’ll keep making them, like I do. I’m sure!

Could you enjoy a little danish with coffee in the morning? It makes morning even sweeter in my book!