Wednesday, December 31, 2014

Fruitful Growth in the Faith

 "But grow in grace and in the knowledge
of our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ.
To him be glory both now and forever. Amen"
(2 Peter 3:18)

As the year comes to an end and a New Year awaits us,
God's Word would have us to examine ourselves
before a Holy and Righteous God.
We are to hold ourselves up to the Word of God.
The end of a year should cause us to reflect
on our lives lived for Christ,
and with the newness of the beginning
of a New Year we should ask ourselves;
Have I done my best for Jesus?
Was there growth in my Spiritual walk with the Lord?
What changes need to be made
that I might grow stronger in the faith.
Those are just a few questions,
you may want to personalize your own.
Peter lists seven qualities by which Christians
can develop their faith,
making them fruitful and effective
in knowing Jesus better.
"And beside this, giving all diligence, add to your faith,
virtue, and to virtue knowledge;
And to knowledge temperance; 
and to temperance patience;
and to patience godliness;
And to godliness brotherly kindness;
and to brotherly kindness charity.
For if these things be in you, and abound,
they make you that ye shall neither be barren
nor unfruitful in the knowledge
of our Lord Jesus Christ."
(2 Peter 1:5-8)
I praise the Lord for His Word
that instructs me on how to live.
We should not struggle with knowing how to live
a life pleasing unto the Lord,
for everything we need is in the Word of God.
Peter tells us we are to "give all diligence."
I looked up in my Greek/Hebrew study Bible,
and diligence describes strenuously
giving yourself to something,
fully committing to an activity without 
concern for the cost.
It is extraordinary commitment.
Diligence is essential to spiritual growth.
It takes effort on our part to make our faith grow.
Embracing the "diligent" life produces a stable
and consistent character ~
it produces greater endurance through difficulties ~
and stronger resistance to temptation.
With this New Year ahead of us,
we should desire for the old and unhelpful
habits to fall away,
and apply new and profitable habits to our lives
through the working of the Spirit of God,
Who has provided ALL that we need
to know Jesus better.
Dear friends ~ Take time to consider the promises of God.
Write them out ~ memorize them ~ 
ponder them in your heart ~ claim them ~
pray them back to the Lord ~ 
Remember what a magnificent God we serve,
and then act on what you know to be true of His Word.

Our Precious Heavenly father.
We come before Your throne with thankful hearts,
for this past year that you have brought us through.
We look to this coming year with You as our guide,
asking that You would teach us great and mighty things
which we know not.
Help us to be fruitful and grow in our faith,
that we might glorify You.

Grace & Peace
~ Debbie ~
Linking up with:
The Art of Home-making Monday's

Monday, December 22, 2014

Christmas Memories ~ From One Generation to Another ~

"One generation shall praise thy works to another,
and shall declare thy mighty acts."
(Psalm 145:4)
Christmas Blessings ~ From our home to yours!

~ Our family ~
Why look at that! Our photo hog (Frosty) has made his appearance here on my blog too!

This past month I have had the joy
and pleasure of sharing
with you some of the sweet memories I have
that were made through the love of other women.
Titus 2 instructs the "older women
to teach the younger."
 I was blessed to have had women in my life
who showered their love and grace on me
in all areas of being a women.
These women, from my dear great granny
to my grandmothers, to my mother, 
as well as my mother-in-law,
 beautifully taught me how to be a women
who brings honor to her God.
The desire of my heart as a mother was 
to grace my daughters lives with all that
was poured into my own life.
As a very young child my granny
left an impression on my life,
such an impression,
that I grew up never forgetting her beautiful ways
and yet, I was only 10 when she passed away.
Granny's beauty was passed down
to her daughter ~ my mother ~ myself ~ my daughters,
and now my four precious grandsons.
My grandsons will not grow up to be
a "Proverbs 31 women"
but they can be taught how to look for one.
There are areas in the "home"
where even boys can be taught.
One of those areas is in the kitchen,
and both of my daughters are teaching
their young men to enjoy
the joys of cooking
without forgetting the clean up that goes along with it. :)
 God has richly blessed my husband and I
with two very beautiful daughters
to love on ~ to teach ~ and to train ~
into women of godly character. 
God's perfect will is that every girl
would give her heart and life completely
and unreservedly to Him
with the first gentle knocking 
at her hearts door.
As she chooses to walk close by His side
He will prepare her for the great tasks
that will lie ahead in the realm of womanhood.
My prayer has been that God would
mold and shape for Himself
vessels whose beauty would 
grow more lovely with each passing day of their lives
giving God the glory.
Now they are grown  women
with homes and family's of their own.
and so I have the joy of learning from them.
Though I am the "older" women,
I can still glean much from them, and I do.
It doesn't get any sweeter than that!
Speaking of "sweeter" 
Both of our girls are as true a Harris as one gets!
As I mentioned in my post of my mother-in-law
she had sweets tucked away in her kitchen
to die for!
There was never a shortage of delightful treats
in the Harris' home.
Both Dawn & Stephanie, have grown up to enjoy the kitchen
and have put it to good use. 

~ Our daughter Dawn ~

When my girls were young
we made candy cane cookies during the Christmas holidays.
Now my oldest daughter, Dawn, has continued
making these delightful cookies every Christmas
since she married.
They have become her "signature" cookies.
Candy Cane Cookies
These are like a short bread cookie
1 cup powdered sugar
1/2 cup margarine or butter, softened
1/2 cup shortening
1 egg
1 1/2 teaspoons almond extract
1 teaspoon vanilla
2 1/2 cups all purpose flour (sifted 3 times)
1 teaspoon salt
1/2 teaspoon red food color
1/2 cup crushed peppermint candy (candy canes)
1/2 cup granulated sugar

Mix powdered sugar, butter, shortening
egg, almond extract & vanilla.
Stir in sifted flour & salt.
*You may have noticed that when using flour
in these recipes I have mentioned to sift
the flour 3 times, it is because my granny
taught the importance of sifting.*
Divide dough into halves.
Tint 1 half with the red food color.
For each candy cane, shape 1 teaspoon dough
from each part into 4-inch rope.
Roll back & forth on a lightly floured board.
*I use my pastry cloth*
Place the strips side by side, press together tightly & twist.
Place cookie on cookie sheet
*I like to use parchment paper*
curve the top of the cookie down to form handle of candy cane.
Bake at 375 Degrees about 9 min.
Mix crushed candy & sugar & immediately sprinkle over cookies.
Remove from cookie sheet & cool. 
*Dawn says the first batch is always eaten by her alone!*

~ Our Daughter Stephanie ~

Stephanie doesn't necessarily  have a "signature" treat
that she makes over the Christmas holidays.
She loves to make desserts
and has some delightful, 
most delicious recipes that she has shared with us
over at her beautiful blog
The Enchanting Rose 
But over the last few years she has been
taking after her grandmother Deeann
and has enjoyed the sweeter side by
making fudge for her dear hubby.
Fudge was another candy that was
enjoyed by all and made with love by mom.
This fudge with it's creamy texture
 will simply melt in your mouth!
Simple Fudge
1 1/2 cups sugar
1 5-ounce can (2/3 cup) evaporated milk
1/2 cup butter
2 cups tiny marshmallows
1 cup semisweet chocolate pieces or chopped bittersweet chocolate
*Stephanie uses semisweet chocolate chips*
1/2 cup chopped nuts
*Stephanie does not use nuts*
1/2 teaspoon vanilla
*Stephanie believes vanilla from Mexico is the best* 

1. Line an 8x8x2-inch baking pan with foil
extending the foil over the edges of the pan.
Butter the foil: set pan aside.
2. Butter the side of a 2-quart heave saucepan.
In saucepan combine sugar, evaporated milk, & butter.
Cook and stir over medium-high heat until mixture boils
(about 10 Minutes).
Reduce heat to medium; continue cooking, stirring constantly,
for 6 minutes. Remove saucepan from heat.
Add marshmallows, chocolate pieces, nut (if using) & vanilla;
stir until marshmallows and chocolate melt
and the mixture is combined.
Beat by hand for 1 minute.
Spread fudge evenly in the prepared pan.
Score into squares while warm.
Cover & chill for 2 to 3 hours or until firm.
When fudge is firm, use foil to lift out of pan.
Cut fudge into squares. Store tightly in a covered container.
Keep in the refrigerator.

"And this is the record, that God hath given us eternal life,
and this life is in his Son."
(1 John 5:11)
God's greatest gift to us is Himself
in the person of Jesus Christ
who is God the Son.
That's what the Christmas gift is.
The expression of God's love
dwells in the Christ Child
And yet for many
His Gift remains unopened and unaccepted.
During the Christmas season
people love to celebrate Christ's birth.
They get all excited over the trinkets they receive.
There is joy, laughter the singing of carols 
and many expressions of love shown to others 
through the giving of gifts.
And yet ~ one gift remains unopened ~
the most important gift ~
the one that expresses an unspeakable love.
May we not be so caught up in the 
frivolities that the world has to offer.
But ~ may we like the shepherds and wise men
find ourselves on that quiet hillside 
in Bethlehem,
 looking down at the Christ Child
in wonder of it all ~ 
and open our hearts to receive the Gift
lying in the manger.
Thank you Father,
for what took place in Bethlehem,
the birth of Your Son.
Thank you for Christmas
when we can celebrate that Gift.
Make us, Lord, conscious of the purpose of that Gift,
and teach us to treasure Him.

Come & worship Christ, the new born King!
~ Debbie ~



Tuesday, December 16, 2014

Christmas Memories ~ Two Lovely Ladies ~

Merry Christmas!

This month I have been sharing with you
some women in my life who have
inspired me in ways that have graced my 
home and my life, bringing glory to my God.
I have enjoyed sharing with you
a recipe that each women used
during the Christmas Holidays 
and the lasting memories
 that come with those tasty treats.
I am thankful for my very dear and precious
mother & mother-in-law,
two women whom I love dearly. 

~ My Dear Mother ~

My mother made our Christmases almost magical!
She has the gift of decorating
a home to where you are surrounded
with the warmth and love
in every crack and cranny of each room.
I can remember as a young child
enjoying EVERY single Christmas
with excitement , joy and delight!
Her gifts were bought and wrapped with love
then placed under the tree early
causing great anticipation of what could be inside.
For me... those gifts were gorgeous!
She could have just given me a beautifully
wrapped empty box,
and my heart would have been thrilled.
My mother's heritage is Italian,
and I have some amazing recipes
in a number of cook~books that have been 
handed down to me from her side of the family.
My mother didn't do a lot of baking
like her mother and my granny  did,
but mom loved making candy
during the Christmas Holidays,
and boy, could she make candy!
Two of her child hood favorites were
 ~ Divinity & Penuchi ~
Candy is not the easiest to make
and neither is it my favorite,
but divinity was the one candy I enjoyed 
that mother made over the holidays.
This particular candy is fluffy
 and a little bit chewy.
I always thought it was a beautiful candy
 with it being so white and pure.

2 cups white sugar
1/2 cup light corn syrup
1/2 cup water
2 egg whites
1 teaspoon vanilla
1/2 cup nuts (I use pecans, mom's favorite)
Boil sugar, water and syrup until it forms a hand ball in cold water. (about 10 min.)
Beat egg whites until firm
then add syrup slowly beating until stiff and not glossy. (about 15 min.)
Add the nuts (if desired) and 
drop by small spoon fulls onto waxed paper.

Here's a tip:
When beating the syrup into the egg whites
you want to be sure and whip until the mixture
is not glossy. Sounds strange I know.
The consistency  will be like a dry mud
when it is ready to spoon out.


~ My Dear Mother-in-law ~

My Dear mother-in-law Betty,
went home to be with the Lord,
in the year of 2013.
I was the blessed one to of had 
a gracious and loving 
mother-in-law who showed
by the example of her own life
what a Proverbs 31 women was to be like.
My husband would tell you
that his mother's favorite room in their home
was the kitchen, and I would agree with him.
My mother-in-law's heritage was English,
and she lived her life in Canada.
Betty loved to bake
and there was ALWAYS sweet desserts available.
It was through Betty that 
I learned how to make pastry.
Pastry is not an easy thing to make,
but she mesmerised me when I would sit
at the kitchen table and watch the work of her hands
as we visited with one another.
She was graceful when using her rolling pin
then lifting the pastry and placing
it in the pie or tart pans.
And then...
the gracefulness of her fingers as she would
gently scallop the edges to perfection.
She was beautiful to watch
as she worked and hummed a sweet tune in her kitchen.
Many times it is our actions that teach others.
Words are not always necessary, are they?
These two women portrayed loveliness
before me as I watched them use the gifts 
God graced them with.
We are the blessed ones
when we glean much from those 
older women God places in our lives.
This year I asked my husband 
what he would like of all the sweets his mother
made over the Christmas holiday's
when he was just a boy growing up,
and this was his choice.

Saucepan Kisses
I just love the names of these gems!
  2 cups brown sugar (packed)
1/2 cup milk
1/2 cup butter
1/2 teaspoon salt
1 teaspoon vanilla
3 cups rolled oats
1/2 cup cocoa
1 cup shredded coconut
Combine brown sugar, milk, butter
and melt in a saucepan.
Bring to a boil ~ stirring constantly.
Boil gently, stirring for 5 minutes.
Remove from heat & add vanilla and stir.
Pour remaining ingredients into the saucepan & stir.
Drop by spoon fulls onto wax paper.

Here's a tip:
Be sure and have all your ingredients ready
before you even start to boil the sugar mixture
because it all happens quickly!


 God's Gift
On that dark night in Bethlehem,
"the angel brought forth
good tidings of great joy,
which shall be to all people." 
In that one small Child,
God sent the answer to man's every need.
He sent us an Advocate (1John 2:1)
He sent the Bread of Life (John 6:35)
He sent the Living Water (John 4:10)
He sent the Prince of Peace (Isaiah 9:6)
He sent the Counselor (Isaiah 9:6)
He sent the Everlasting Father (Isaiah 9:6)
He sent the Good Shepherd (John 10:11)
He sent the Light of the world (John 8:10)
He sent the Deliverer (Romans 11:26)
He sent the great High Priest (Hebrews 4:14)
He sent us Hope (1Timothy 1:1)
He sent Truth (John 14:6)
He sent us a Lamb (Revelation 13:8)
He sent a Lion (Revelation 5:5)
He sent a Savior (2Timothy 1:10)
It's no wonder the angels lifted their voices
and worshiped on that quiet hillside.
The Father had sent the world
an expression of His love.
Light had pierced the world's darkness.
The Child had arrived!
Who will reach out their hands
and receive God's Gift? 
Our Precious Heavenly Father.
Thank you for the love You
have shown to us in the midst of our brokenness.
I ask if there are any
who do not know You,
they would receive the gift of Your Son,
and allow You to dwell in their hearts,
and make You their own
this Christmas.

~ Jesus, Name above all Names ~

Tuesday, December 9, 2014

Christmas Memories ~ Grandma Maxie ~

Hello sweet friends & Merry Christmas to you!
Who can estimate the power and influence
of the home recalled in memory?
The Spirit of God can
"stir up our minds by way of remembering."
They are precious nuggets to be stored away
and guarded within our hearts.
Oh the joys of taking a trip
down memory lane
and looking back over the years
into those childhood memories.
This is my grandmother Maxie.
She was my fathers mother.

Grandma went home to be with the Lord
just this fall at the young age of 97.
My Irish grandma was full of life, laughter and spirit!
She graced our lives and homes
 with a heritage of memories.
In memory I am a child all over again
with my grandmother Maxie and other loved ones.
The best way to describe my precious grandma...
She was young at heart ~ always.
She would unselfishly stop what she was doing
should I ask her to play dolls~
climb a mountain ~ play dress up ~ go swimming ~
ride her bike with me ~ do cart wheels ~
design & sew for me a pretty dress on her sewing machine ~
Lay on the grass and look for four leaf clovers,
(one of her favorite things to do by the way)
dance with me as grandpa played
polka music on his accordion ~
or just stop everything
and bake up some cookies together.
I was the first grand-daughter on both sides of the family
and was blessed to inherit
 grandma Maxie's name as my middle name.
God has graced me with many of her beautiful qualities
for which I am thankful for.
Along with inheriting her name,
I was given her hope chest
that was her grandmothers made of ceder wood.
With love and care grandma loaded my chest with
many of her used kitchen items.
These fiesta dishes that she had and used
in the beginning years of her marriage
were placed in that chest
and saved until I would marry.
My husband and I used those dishes
for years into our marriage,
and after nearly 36 years together
those dishes are now show-cased on our hutch
in loving memory of my dear grandma Maxie.
Grandma Maxie was a good cook
though she was not always in the kitchen
as I remember my Granny to be.
Grandma Maxie was a sincere lady
who set before us her values of working hard
along side of my grandfather
in his self owned business.
As grandpa aged with health problems,
grandma was a beautiful example
of showing love with a servants heart.
During the Christmas season
I find great joy in spending hours in my kitchen.
Oh... the smells and aromas,
the warmth of having the oven on,
the sounds of Christmas music playing in the background,
and the love that is poured into all that is baked,
then tied with a bow
in the form of a "goodie" package
and graciously given to loved ones whom
God has placed on my heart,
brings delight to my soul.

One of my favorite cookies 
that grandma made over the Christmas holidays
was her soft sugar cookies.
These sugar cookies are not like most
very sweet sugar cookies,
they are soft and cake like
with just a little crisp to them.
And just so you know,
one batch of these delicious tasting cookies
goes a long way, so spread the love with them!
Let us grace our homes with the delightful sounds
of Christmas music, and bake a batch of cookies.
Once baked ~ pour yourself a cup of coffee (grandma's favorite)
or a drink of your choice,
and enjoy relaxing beside the Christmas tree.

Soft Sugar Cookies
4 eggs & 1 egg yolk
4 Tablespoons milk
1 1/2 cup white sugar
1 Teaspoon vanilla
Cream these 4 ingredients together until light & creamy.
4 1/2 cups sifted flour (sift at least 3 times)
3/4 Teaspoon salt
1 Teaspoon baking soda
2 Teaspoons baking powder
Cut 1 cup of shortening in the flour mixture.
I use my hand held pastry blender and mix
until I have pea size pieces of the shortening.
Add the flour mixture to the creamed mixture slowly.
Grandma always said to HAND stir
the flour mixture into the creamed part as
whipping makes for a hard cookie.
This dough can be chilled if necessary.  

I use my pastry cloth to roll these delicate cookies on 
and gently roll with my rolling pin.
Before baking I like to sprinkle with sugar
or colored sprinkles,
 but you may also add your favorite icing on top after cooling.
Bake at 375 degrees for 7 minutes.
Makes 68 or more cookies.
"For unto us a child is born,
unto us a son is given:
and the government shall be upon his shoulder:
and his name shall be called
Wonderful Counselor,
The Mighty God,
The everlasting Father,
The Prince of Peace."
( Isaiah 9:6 )
  Look at the names that reveal the character of our Lord & Savior, Jesus Christ!
Our Precious Heavenly Father.
We love You, because You first loved us.
We praise Your Name
for the gift of Your Son, Jesus Christ,
whom we can have everlasting,
eternal life through.

O come let us adore Him,
Christ the Lord!
~ Debbie ~

Tuesday, December 2, 2014

Christmas Memories

The Good Old Days

Christmas in the kitchen
was mothers favorite room
where she would do her cooking
from morning, way till noon!

She was so very happy
with all the things she'd cook,
cookies, pies and puddings
all from grandma's book.

Some of it for stockings,
and some for Christmas day,
most of it for neighbors
that she would give away.
~Gertrude Rudberg~
Memories of looking back
at days gone by...
each of us has them tucked away
 in our hearts, don't we?
I was blessed with the love of a
 grandmother and a great-grandmother.
On my fathers side of the family
I had many precious years with my grandmother Maxie,
who was 97 when she passed away
just this fall.
Grandma Maxie was full of spirit and life!
 On my mothers side of the family
I have sweet and precious memories
of my great-grandmother Helen McKenzie.
 Granny is how I know and remember her.
She was beautiful and such a lady.

I pray that the Lord would mold me
with character traits of both of these women
as well as the beauty of my own dear mother.
Granny was my mother's mother.
My mother's mother passed away
when I was very young with breast cancer.
My mothers side of the family was Italian,
and I am thankful for the women in my life
who taught me how to be a lady.
Who were ladies themselves
and graced their homes
with love, laughter, joy and tender mercies.


For the next couple of weeks,
I would love to share with you some
of my days gone by
with the memories of those women in my life
who made an impact on my heart,
and share with you
some of their recipes
that were baked around the holidays.
I was blessed to have inherited
cookbooks from both sides of the family
that were delicately put together
with their loving hands.
What a treasure I now have in my possession.
This year I plan on making Pizzelles.
These delicate snowflake like cookies
were a favorite of mine growing up.
My Granny would spend hours
sitting on her stool in what we would now call,
her "retro" kitchen
making these delicious cookies.
These cookies take time to make,
and I know there was love poured
into the batter of these delightful Italian cookies.
The name pizzelle comes from the
Italian word pizze for round and flat.
In some parts of Italy,
the irons would be made with family crests on them
 which would be passed down to each generation.
Recipe for Pizzelles
12 eggs
2 cups of sugar
1 dash of salt
2 Tablespoons vanilla
2 Tablespoons lemon
3 1/2 cups flour (sifted 3 times )
2 cups butter (4 sticks) melted
1 teaspoon anise seed (I do not add this)
Cream your eggs & sugar together.
 Add the butter, vanilla and lemon until creamy.
Fold in the sifted flour and pinch of salt.
You will need a pizzelle iron to cook
these delicious waffle cookies on.
Trim the lace off the edges of the cookies,
this is best done while the cookie is warm to the touch.
Keep on a cooling rack until cooled and crisp.
The time and love you pour
into these cookies will be enjoyed
by all who are blessed enough
to receive them.
When gift giving, these cookies look beautiful
 stacked and wrapped
with clear wrap, then tied with a 
beautiful Christmas bow.
Enjoy! And share the goodness with others.

May we as ladies grace our homes with the
Christ of Christmas,  showing our love,
as God manifested His love 
in giving His great Gift to the world.
Let us willingly give of ourselves
to our family's, loved ones, neighbors and those in need.
With Christ in our hearts,
Christmas will have a softening,
sweetening influence that will tug
at our heartstrings of love
and cause us to share with others Jesus Christ,
our Christmas gift.
" Thanks be unto God for His unspeakable gift."
( 2 Corinthians 9:15 )

Precious Heavenly Father.
Only by accepting Jesus Christ as our personal Savior,
will You be the center of our lives.
One must come to Bethlehem's manger
and walk with Christ to the cross
in confession of sin
and acceptance of Your grace
to have exceeding joy.
Woo us to Thyself,
I pray in Christ Name.

~ Joy in Jesus ~

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