Monthly Archives: October 2015

Treasured

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Rounding the last corner after a long drive with two small children, I spotted her house.  As I pulled in the drive my eyes found hers as she came from between the brightly colored hanging plants, a smile lighting up her face and her arms already spread wide to welcome me. A silent sigh from deep within escaped  through my lips, releasing the stresses of the trip and so much more. We’d made it; despite spilled french fries, backseat territory arguments, unscheduled pit stops, and highway construction, we’d reached our destination….my Grandma’s arms! 

Being at Grandma’s for me, was always a respite from the rest of the world. Affection abounded, caring overflowed, and despite what was going on in her life, I was always welcomed  with her whole heart. She enveloped me into a place of tenderness and acceptance, but more than that, she had a way of making me feel truly  treasured.

Looking back, I can’t tell you the exact words or actions my Grandma used to create such a sense of being cherished, but I can say that those times wrapped in her love and encouragement were a rare and precious gift I cling to today.

I don’t know about you, but I can easily lose sight of myself as a treasure and instead focus on my “rusty junk pile”. I fail, disappoint, abandon, compare, complain…you know the list. Oh, how I question my worth!

“But while he was still a long way off, his father saw him and was filled with compassion for him; he ran to his son threw his arms around him and kissed him.  The son said to him, ‘Father, I have sinned against heaven and against you.  I am no longer worthy to be called your son.’ But the father said to his servants, ‘Quick! Bring the best robe and put it on him. Put a ring on his finger and sandals on his feet.  Bring the fattened calf and kill it.  Let’s have a feast and celebrate.” Luke 15:20-23

Here’s what the open, welcoming arms of my Grandma and those of the Prodigal Son’s Father are teaching me:

Our worth isn’t measured by what we do or don’t do.  It’s measured by love.

 That junk pile we worry about? Love took care of that when Jesus spread His arms, wide on the cross to welcome each of us to our destination in Heaven, where we will be accepted, loved, and treasured. Now that’s reason to celebrate!

Soft Pumpkin Cookies

imageThere’s a new coolness to the breeze, a mosaic of color fills the mountains, and the temperature  is dropping at night.  Fall has arrived!  To celebrate this season of harvest and my love of all things pumpkin, I am sharing a new recipe with you for Soft Pumpkin Cookies.  They are tasty, moist morsels and perfectly pumpkiny! (I don’t think that is a word, but you know what I mean)  Easy to make and fun to share, let me know what you think!

Soft Pumpkin Cookies

Ingredients

  • Cookies:
  • 1 C. butter or margarine, softened
  • 3/4 C. white sugar
  • 3/4 C. brown sugar
  • 1 tsp. baking soda
  • 1 tsp. baking powder
  • 1/2 tsp. ground nutmeg
  • 1/2 tsp. ground cinnamon
  • 12/ tsp. salt
  • 1 egg
  • 1 1/2 tsps. vanilla
  • 1/2 can pure pumpkin puree (not pumpkin pie filling)
  • 2 C. flour
  • Frosting:
  • 1/4 cup butter or margarine, melted
  • 2-3 cups powdered sugar (make it as thick as you like)
  • 2 TBLS. milk
  • 1 tsp. vanilla
  • 1/2 tsp. cinnamon

Instructions

  • Preheat oven to 350 degrees F. In a large bowl, beat butter or margarine with a mixer on medium to high speed for 30 seconds. Add both sugars, baking soda and powder, nutmeg, cinnamon, and salt. Beat until mixed well, scraping bowl occasionally. Add eggs and vanilla; beat until combined. Mix in pumpkin and then add flour. Drop dough by heaping teaspoons (I used my cookie scoop), two inches apart on an ungreased cookie sheet. (I used parchment paper). Bake for 10-12 minutes or until tops are set. Place cookies on wire racks to cool.
  • Mix all frosting ingredients together and frost cooled cookies.
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Temple of Memories

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I’m a collector.  Not just any collector, but an emotional collector.  Old photographs, dried corsages, drawings by my children, love notes from my students, letters from my grandparents all saved.  Some in boxes or on shelves, some in albums, and still others stuck between the pages of my Bible.  Each precious piece tells a story of my life.  I cling to them. I depend on them to take me back in time so I can recall that very moment like it was yesterday.  Fingering the soft material of my babies’ blankets, reading personal messages in greeting cards I’ve received over the years, and using dishes that used to be in my Grandma’s kitchen all kindle a myriad of memories for me. 

Recently, I was looking at my “teacher shrine”.  (Yes, I have filled a shelf with bits and pieces of my teaching career; things I couldn’t bear to throw away or even put away.)  As I stood there reminiscing with each item I began to wonder:

why do I so passionately hold fast to things that take me backward? 

As I’ve spent time with this question I have come to realize that looking backward is safe and safe is what I like.  Preserving fragments of life allows me to pick and choose the experiences I recall.  The people, events, and feelings connected to each memory don’t change and change is what I don’t like so, cradling the past has protected me from the anxiety of taking steps into the unknown. Whoa! This is big!  You see, I’ve been praying, with no result, for God to show me His plan for my life, but how could He?  Just as an Owl can completely turn its head around I now realize that I’ve diverted my focus away from the life adventure that is waiting ahead for me.  

Maybe you’re like me and while spending time in our

 “temple of memories,”

we have missed opportunities for Divine adventures and to worship God, the writer of our futures.

Traveling down memory lane is fun every now and then, but I think it’s time for me to clear off a few shelves, empty some boxes, clean out the temple, and give myself space to make new memories.  It won’t be easy. Anxiety? You bet!  I’ll have to take it one box at a time but, eyes forward,  I’m determined to “press on” toward living life in the direction God is leading me and not looking back.

“Not that I have already obtained all this, or have already arrived at my goal, but I press on to take hold of that for which Christ Jesus took hold of me.  Brothers and sisters, I do not consider myself yet to have taken hold of it.  But one thing I do: Forgetting what is behind and straining toward what is ahead, I press on toward the goal to win the prize for which God has called me heavenward in Christ Jesus.” Philippians 3:12-14 NIV

I have written this post as part of Suzanne Eller’s #livefreeThursday.  Want to read more about anxiety and adventure? Go to her website www.tsuzanneeller.com for inspiration.