Friday, December 27, 2013

Candy For The New Year

It was a beautiful holiday season for me. Friends, family, and candle light Christmas Eve service at my church. I haven't made my peanut butter candy in several years, so decided to do that this year. I made 3 1/2 batches and distributed as gifts. Didn't get to my writing group, because I didn't have all the ingredients when we met, but will plan better next year. The candy is delicious, and easy to make. Only 4 ingredients. If anyone is interested in trying it, here's the recipe. One batch makes about 55 candies, and will freeze well for future use.

1 Cup light Karo syrup
1 Cup sugar
2 Cups crunchy peanut butter
4 Cups Special K cereal.  (Or any kind of gluten free cereal flakes)
Hershey's milk chocolate kisses

Peel Hershey's kisses and set aside.
Have all ingredients measured out and ready to use. You need to work fast.
Lay out wax paper or parchment paper to drop candy on.

Mix syrup and sugar in large pan, and bring to a boil. Don't cook it. Just to a boil.
Cut the fire out, and quickly add peanut butter. Mix until smooth.
Add cereal and blend well.
Drop by tablespoons onto wax or parchment paper. Work quickly so mixture stays warm.
When you drop 5 candies, press a Hershey's kiss on each one. Then do 5 more, and so on.

Enjoy the candy, and keep the holiday spirit all year.

I wish you a wonderful new year filled with many blessings.


Thursday, December 19, 2013

Blessings Can Come Anytime, Anywhere

Blessed are those whose hearts are filled with the warmth of love from another.
Truth Devour,  Unrequited 

Yesterday I attended my writing group's Christmas brunch. Several of our members were out of town and couldn't attend, but six of us were there, plus the group leader's daughter and two grandchildren as guests. The group meets like this every year, but today was special for me, and I received a blessing I will always carry with me. Sometimes blessings come in unexpected ways.

As I looked around the table at each person, I became aware of our similarities, our differences, and what we give to each other, those attributes that make each of us special. I heard the unique voices that come through in our writing. I remembered the wisdom and encouragement we offer when critiquing each other's written work. I thought about all the times we offer to  help each other in difficult situations. I felt the caring and compassion we express when one of us is dealing with a life problem. I felt the love we have for each other. And I felt blessed.

I  also watched these beautiful children, a new baby and his older sister, a toddler. And I saw the special love the mother and grandmother have for them. The baby yawned, wiggled, and enjoyed being cuddled. His sister is one of the happiest, most expressive children I have ever seen. She laughed, clapped her hands, and responded to everything and everyone with wonder and excitement. An absolute joy filled with innocence and gratitude for every moment of life. I felt their presence in my heart. And I felt blessed.

After our meal, we each expressed in one word what we want in our life in the coming year. No one mentioned any material possessions. We asked for things like peace, joy, serenity, tranquility, and wonderment. Then we realized that when we have these within us, we have the strength we need to cope when painful situations arise. With these we have everything. And I felt blessed.

Yes, blessings can come anytime, anywhere. You can be a blessing to others, and when you open your heart to receive, you will find yours.

I wish you a blessed life.


Thursday, December 12, 2013

A Lesson In Survival

There's an old tree in my back yard, and sometimes I look at that old tree and think about all it's been through. And still it survives. It lives in Florida, so it has escaped the snow. But it's held its own in droughts, wild rain storms, hurricanes, heat, cold, and whatever else was thrown at it. And isn't that the way we live our lives? One thing after another to bring us down. But most of us do survive, one way or another.

When something in life knocks us to the ground, it takes some thoughtful awareness to get us back up. And that old tree has become my inspiration. Nature has a knowing that we may have had many years ago, but in our 'human progress' we have forgotten. I don't know what that tree knows that I don't, but I'm happy to give it the power to inspire me to survival. That old tree is full of survival stories, and maybe in it's winters, it knows enough to believe that spring will come. And it always does.

When I need to survive, I look at that tree and read the following poem. Maybe you can see the spring coming too.

I Love A Tree
Author Unknown

I love a tree!
A brave upstanding tree!
When I am wearied in the strife,
Beaten by storms and bruised by life,
I look up at a tree, and it refreshes me.

If it can keep its head held high,
And look the storms straight in the eye,
Ready to stand, ready to die,
Then by the Grace of God can I.
At least with Heaven's help I'll try.
I love a tree, for it refreshes me.

I love a tree!
When it seems dead,
It's leaves all shorn, and bared its head,
When winter flings its cold and snow,
It stands there undismayed by woe.
It stands waiting for the spring.
A tree is such a believing thing.
I love a tree, for it refreshes me.

I wish you many spring days in your life.


Thursday, December 5, 2013

Remember When

My old computer died, and I got a new one--one of those new and better things. But it's a nightmare. It fits well in today's world, complex and complicated, but I've wrestled with it for a week, and I've decided we will never have a working relationship. I've heard we're supposed to let go of the past and live in the present, and I do try to do that. But a high stress experience like this forces my mind to remember when Grandma learned to thread her new sewing machine, and Grandpa learned to work his new lawn mower. And there was time to smile at a stranger and hug the people you loved. Nothing complicated about that. 

I remember when life was more simple, and sometimes I long for the time when I could sit on my porch, clip my toe nails in the sunshine, whistle with the birds, and write stories on my old typewriter. It didn't take seven steps to open a box of cracker jacks, and there was always a prize in the bottom of the box. When my kids were growing up, I worked full time, and still fixed dinner from scratch when I got home, while my kids were running around outside being healthy. I didn't need to run to my computer and go through umpteen steps to check my email and then open Handy Dandy Dinners for supper.

I moved around a lot when I was a child, so I lived in small towns and big cities. And I don't remember everyone you knew having some kind of medical problem requiring daily medication. We all got a dose of castor oil in the spring, and we were ready to go for the summer. If you got a cough, you got Vicks Vaporub on your chest, and you were good as new in a few days. When someone did get sick, it was usually something pretty serious, but rare. And you didn't suffer alone. People were not too busy to stop by and help or let you know they cared. Busy world we live in now.

Oh, I'm not against computers. The one that just died was 10 years old, and I had many happy hours with it. But I didn't have to jump through hoops and sing Yankee Doodle Dandy to know how to use it. I just think that as time passes, there are more and more sadistic people inventing ways to torture us while they sit around gleefully grinning over their handy work. No, I like computers. And I'm not too dumb to navigate around one. I just don't see why everyone, everyone, has to conform to the whims of mad people without a choice for our own personal use. There are those who say that people like me should just keep up with the times and learn those complex, complicated machines. Well, why? There must be a way for those of us who want a simple life to have our computers simple.

If anyone has a solution, please let me know. And I wish you choices in your life.