Wednesday, December 22, 2010

Coconut - Orange No Bake Cookies

1 12oz box vanilla wafers, crushed (I like to run them through the food processor.)
1 6oz can orange juice concentrate, thawed
16 oz powdered sugar (3 3/4 cups)
1/2 cup butter, melted
1 cup chopped walnuts
2 cups coconut

Combine all ingredients except coconut.  Stir until well blended.  Shape into 1 inch balls.  Pour coconut into shallow dish and roll cookies in it. Store cookies in airtight container. Makes 4-5 dozen.

This recipe came from my aunt, Avalon ("Glory") Young.  Aunt Glory never had children of her own so she loved to dote on the nieces and nephews.  I don't remember lots of details about her but everything I do remember involves me sitting on her lap or at her knee near the recliner in her living room. 

Sunday, October 31, 2010

For my daughter on her birthday

When you were born
  You were brought to me
  Sleeping in a soft, warm blanket.
   My heart skipped a beat,
   And I determined to become a better person.
Something Had Changed…

When you were a toddler
 You took your first wobbly, unsure steps
  Making your way across new territory.
  My heart beat quickly
   And I felt nervous as you ventured away from me.
Something Had Changed…

When you were four years old
 You got angry and cross with me
  Saying that Santa would never bring me any presents.
   My heart broke a little
   And I realized that my love extended beyond hurt and tears.
Something Had Changed…

When you were a teenager
  You became more independent
    Driving, dating, and amazing us with your passion for learning.
     My heart almost burst with pride
      And I learned that your success was my greatest triumph.
 Something Had Changed…

When you became an adult
  You held me when I cried over a disappointment
    Telling me that you would always be in my corner.
     My heart was soothed
       And I knew that having you for a friend was a gift.
 Something Had Changed…

Now, looking back, I have become aware of a Great Truth:
 Your existence makes me want to be a better person;
  Your new adventures still make me feel nervous;
   Your anger and tears will never change my love;
    Your accomplishments bring me lasting joy and
     Your presence brings me comfort and peace.
I am so very grateful that….Nothing Has Changed.

Thursday, April 29, 2010

Prayer: Communion with the Holy Spirit

     For years, I have struggled to learn to pray in such a way that I felt a spiritual connection rather than just a fulfillment of duty.  From the time that I was a small child, I've been taught that "God is waiting for us to say 'Goodnight'" and that the door to Godly inspiration is there if only we will open it.  Sadly, for me, it seemed that though I tried with all my might, the door would never open and I found myself spouting words that only seemed to bounce back.  I've also been taught that we need to pray for God's will and not our own - hmmm, another great stumbling block.  How could I know the will of the Lord in advance?  Is this prayer thing just a great guessing game in which I will always be a competitor and never receive the prize?
     Finally, a breakthrough has come.  As I recently read a talk given by a great spiritual teacher, I was reminded that the Holy Spirit most often speaks through feelings and impressions and that through prayer, we can come to know the will of the Lord in our lives.  Eureka!!!  Prayer is not intended to be the dutiful mutterings or haphazard guesswork that I had imagined but rather, it is the opportunity to approach Deity in an attitude of finding out what we need to ask for to live our lives in a way that will bring us closer to our Savior, Jesus Christ.
     Now, when I kneel to pray, I try to think about what I should be grateful for and I listen for those feelings and impressions from the Spirit to enlighten my understanding before I utter my expressions.  Rather than asking for the things that I think I need and want in my life, I have begun to wait for inspiration to know what He would have me ask for so that I might become more like Him.
     What a difference it has made!  The Holy Spirit is truly there, even for me, a lowly, imperfect ,"wannabe" spiritual being.  The door is open for all of us to come unto Christ and finally I have the found the way to open it.  While I don't think that I have found the formula for spiritual communion for every one - (afterall, don't all of us have different needs?) - I can say that my faith has been greatly strengthened as I have come to know that when we seek diligently, we will find Him.  God is real, Jesus Christ lives, and we only need to listen for direction in our lives to know which paths we should travel.

Thursday, March 25, 2010

Lessons from Serving (Pancakes)

Today was an unusual day at our house because most of the family members left for activities before dawn. I found myself snuggled next to my 10 year old son, Joshua, and was languishing in the comfort of a cloudy morning, a warm electric blanket, and the way Josh's little boy hands fit so sweetly in mine.
I'd been craving some of my not-too-famous but truly delicious blueberry-buttermilk pancakes and made my way into the kitchen to prepare breakfast. While standing at the griddle with the batter pitcher poised, I decided to be a little quirky and write Josh's name in pancake batter. I watched as the imperfect letters began to puff up on the griddle and wondered what had possessed me to be so silly. The letters would not all fit on one plate in such a way that one could read them; the "j" would be backward if not positioned properly on the plate; the "h" was fatter than the other letters. Maybe Josh would wonder why I couldn't just be a normal mom and make round pancakes.
Never one to waste anything, I decided to use a serving platter instead of a plate and try my luck anyway. I carefully arranged the letters (ensuring that the "j" was placed in the correct position), poured a little cup of syrup, and took my breakfast offering to my son. At first, he rubbed his sleepy eyes and seemed to be unimpressed with such simple fare as pancakes. But as he noticed the unusual plate and the letters spelling his name, his face erupted into a grin and he exclaimed, "Awesome!".
Why did I doubt myself? Why did I question the teachings that I have known for so long? The lesson was again impressed upon me that it doesn't matter if our gifts are plain or fancy, if they are perfect or "individualized". What matters is that we take time sometimes to give a little of ourselves just so that others can have a better day.