Taste on Tuesday – Waiting, Still, But Not Alone (Link-up)

Tasting Jesus while waiting. Israel waited a very long time. “Come, thou long-expected…”

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We still wait, again. For His second coming. Not a new birth but a kingly reign. Forever.

While waiting, read these familiar words from a well-worn carol:

Come, Thou long-expected Jesus
Born to set Thy people free
From our fears and sins release us
Let us find our rest in Thee

Israel’s strength and consolation
Hope of all the earth Thou art
Dear desire of every nation
Joy of every longing heart

Born Thy people to deliver
Born a child and yet a king
Born to reign in us forever
Now Thy gracious kingdom bring

By Thine own eternal Spirit
Rule in all our hearts alone
By Thine own sufficient merit
Raise us to Thy glorious throne

By Thine own sufficient merit
Raise us to Thy glorious throne

What stands out to you this rainy (snowy? sunny?) day? Are you waiting most for joy of every longing heart?  For release from sin and fear? For His sufficient merit? (Love those old words. I need to start praying: “Lord, I face this day with Your sufficient merit!” Yes, that sounds good. By His Spirit, rule in my heart alone.

Take your pick. We all wait for something. If we know Jesus, we know it’s worth the wait, and someday, we’ll have all that and more.

Take a moment and watch this Vimeo. You’ll taste the breath and love of God. Christ, Immanuel. God with us–we don’t wait alone. Now and forever. Worth the wait. Christ Jesus, born to set His people free. 

 

O, taste and see that the Lord is good–even as we wait; blessed are we when we look ahead while resting in His presence – still we wait- but not alone. Today’s Psalm 34:8

 

 

Coffee with Holley

 

Link up your taste of God’s goodness.

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Jesus’ Birthday Cake — Chocolate, Of Course

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Though Jesus may not have ever bitten into a piece of chocolate cake (baklava, perhaps?)–we’ve made DeDe’s Deep Dark Chocolate Cake a Christmas Eve tradition. Now Megan is the designated baker at our annual Soup and Bread Potluck. Totally worth making it from scratch and so incredibly easy – you’ll never want Duncan Hines again.

Jesus' Birthday Cake -- Chocolate, Of Course
Author: 
Recipe type: Dessert
Cuisine: American as Hershey, PA
Prep time: 
Cook time: 
Total time: 
Serves: 8
 
Best to use homemade frosting but in a pinch, I've used the canned.
Ingredients
  • 2 cups sugar
  • 1¾ cups flour
  • ¾ cocoa
  • 1½ t. baking soda
  • 1½ t. baking powder
  • 1 t. salt
  • Add:
  • 2 eggs
  • ½ cup oil
  • 1 cup milk
  • 2 t. vanilla
  • 1 c. boiling water
Instructions
  1. Combine the first six dry ingredients.
  2. Add the next four ingredients and blend for two minutes.
  3. Very slowly add the cup of boiling water and blend so it doesn't splash out of your mixing bowl.
  4. Pour into a 9x13 baking pan or two 9 inch round cake pans.
  5. Bake 35-45 minutes at 350 degrees. It's done when you touch the top gently with one finger and it pops back. My mom must have taught me that trick. As a chocolate expert, she was again right.
  6. Frost with chocolate frosting after cooling.

Many claim to own the best chocolate cake recipe but this is tried and true and easy (and, a little weird with the cup of boiling water…) I first had it when DeDe brought it to our home for a potluck. I’ve forever called it: “DeDe’s Cake” – but she humbly says it’s from the Hershey’s cocoa can – which it is.

I held onto my empty cocoa can for months– afraid someone might toss it and the recipe lost forever — until Debbi reminded me I could always copy the recipe on a recipe card (some things are just too obvious.) DeDe brought this cake for the Birthday Party for Jesus on Christmas Eve – and now, Megan has borrowed the recipe and has been the designated cake provider the last two years. It’s so easy, you can whip it up while the roast is in the oven and the kids are watching Elf or It’s a Wonderful Life for the zillionth time.

What’s your favorite Christmas Eve tradition?

We started the Soup and Bread potluck years ago for those of us who couldn’t travel to family during the holidays. Mark was on-call for years and we couldn’t travel far for long. Now we could but we don’t often–too much fun to stay home and welcome the same families year after year, as well as any stray lambs invited along the way.

In SLO the 24th? Stop by and get the cake that could make it to Heaven’s menu.

Some pics from last year – you may see at the same faces this year–always a good sign of good food and good fellowship (same faces but this year you may see handles on the cupboards…progress is in the air…)

IMG_2254IMG_2256PS I get great art on my walls because I’m related to artists. Check out Anne’s mono print to the left of the fireplace. I’m so blessed! You can be, too – check out her work (for sale) on her site: www.annesprints.com. (here)

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Taste on Tuesday: What’s On His Wish List?

 

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I’ve been doing my share of tasting this holiday season. I hope you have, too.

Open your mouth and taste, open your eyes and see—
how good God is.
Blessed are you who run to him.

Psalm 34:8 The Message

How good God is. 

Do you know that for yourself? Or are you faking it? It’s easy to fake.

You read the words. You bow your head. You sing the songs. You raise your hands.

But do you believe God is good?  Every day God asks me:

Do you trust me, Sue?

When I do, I learn to taste His goodness. I open my eyes and see. And I run to Him. It’s a process. I could spend all day kicking myself for when I don’t trust Him. Waste of time. Too much to taste. Move on.com, Sue D.

What’s on Jesus’ Christmas List? It’s His birthday, after all. I think it’s me. I think it’s you. All in. Running to Him. Tasting. Seeing.

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I see His goodness in Susie’s creativity – see our beautiful book tree at Mission Thrift!

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“O, taste and see the goodness of God; how blessed I am when I say, ‘Yes, Lord, I’m all in and I’m running to You.’ Amen.” Today’s Psalm 34:8

Link up your taste of God’s goodness this week. Recipes included! Please place this pretty button on your site. Thanks! Code on right.

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coffee with holley

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A Little Secret (Relax)

I’m learning a little secret. Less is best when it comes to me, myself and I. It helps me relax. You may need this secret in these busy holiday times.

Sarah Stephen wrote – sometime in the 1800’s -

“She was not accustomed in these days to meet troubles, small or great, with the small stock of strength her mind or body could afford. She had acquired, by long habit, the power of putting them from her until she could take them into the presence of her Lord, and there, in secret, commune with Him of all that that was in her heart.”

I, too, “meet troubles, small or great.” And my mind and body is of small stock. Well, the more Russian Teacakes I’m trying, the body is not so small. But you get the idea.

We’re small – compared to our troubles, our aches, our disappointments, our enemies, our giants. I can think I’m pretty big until I meet up with one or more. 

Note the process: “She had acquired, by long habit…taking them into the presence of her Lord…”

Are you in process of taking troubles to God, posthaste? It’s a habit. We can learn habits. And when we do, we can relax.

When is it best to be less? I think all the time. (Most times, anyway. I do like more company, often.)

But I like this little secret. Less is best when it comes to me, myself and I.

Seeing myself as weak makes me strong. When I feel like I’m less than I need to be, God makes me all I need. Less than adequate? He makes me shine.

Why is that? A puzzle not solved in this world, but Paul took a crack at it in II Corinthians 12–

Each time He said, “My grace is all you need. My power works best in weakness.” So now I am glad to boast about my weaknesses, so that the power of Christ can work through me. That’s why I take pleasure in my weaknesses, and in the insults, hardships, persecutions, and troubles that I suffer for Christ. For when I am weak, then I am strong. (II Corinthians 12:11,12, LBT)

It’s no secret to God how much I need Him. You, too? Some secrets are meant to be shared.

For when I am weak, then I am strong.

 Isabella knows how to relax. I could take a hint. She’s small and she doesn’t mind at all.

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Feast on Friday: Russian Tea Cakes

 

IMG_0895Growing up, Christmas officially began with the arrival of the Sears Christmas Catalog – or Wish Book. We put on our favorite carols, earmarked all appropriate pages and began our toy campaign. Of course, that was late October. By December, our lists honed and distributed, my sisters and I began the Christmas baking. We loved Russian Tea Cakes (or Mexican Wedding Cakes) – the taste, the look, the way they fell apart in our mouths. Yum! I found our old recipe in an old cookbook – looks the same to me and I will make these “snowballs” for our comfort celebrations this month since we don’t get the real thing (snow) in our lovely little town (SLO.)

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Feast on Friday: Russian Tea Cakes
Author: 
Recipe type: Dessert or Christmas Tea
Cuisine: Russian or possibly Mexican...
Prep time: 
Cook time: 
Total time: 
Serves: 3-4 dozen
 
Only six ingredients - simple and delicious. Go heavy on the powdered sugar as the cookie isn't particularly sweet. This calls for double-dipping - first, while the cookies are still warm, and again, when cool. I couldn't wait so just double-dipped and took a bit. Hmm...good.
Ingredients
  • 1 cup softened butter
  • ½ cup sifted powdered sugar (opt. sifted)*
  • 1 t. vanilla
  • 2¼ cups sifted flour
  • ¼ t. salt
  • ¾ c. finely chopped nuts (I prefer pecans but almonds or walnuts work well)
Instructions
  1. Mix well butter, sugar and vanilla.
  2. Stir in flour and salt.
  3. Stir in nuts.
  4. Chill dough (I chilled too long and had to set it out for 40 minutes or so before forming the balls.)
  5. Heat oven to 400 degrees.
  6. Form dough into 1 inch balls.
  7. Place about 2 inches apart on ungreased baking sheet.
  8. Bake 10 min until set but not brown
  9. While still warm, roll in powdered sugar.
  10. Let cool, then roll again in sugar

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*I gave up sifting during puberty and haven’t picked it up since. This recipe calls for sifting (and sifting.) I ignored it, but maybe you won’t and your snowballs will be more snow-like – less packed solid. Your choice! A heavenly addition to any holiday party, even if you’re the only guest. I’ll try one now. Opps! I meant, I’ll try four now.

With a little help, we got the house ready. Baby Jesus got the front row seat in the dish-drainer- turned-manger. IMG_0883IMG_0882IMG_0878

Bring on the Advent. Lord Jesus, we love You and we celebrate You – with cookies and lights and worship and love. Thank You for your first Advent and the one to come. Even so, come quickly.

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Tuesday’s Taste: In a Word

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Last Thursday families across the world answered this question:

“What are you thankful for?”

We did the same. All the guests shared a thankful. All 38–well not Lucas, 11 months–nor Hy V, age 3 — and I missed hearing anything from the Man-in-Plaid, strong and silent type that he is. It’s easier to get away with silence in the din. I didn’t notice and I notice these things. No worries. I filled in the blanks. Most listed a thankful (or three) and I read them out sometime between the turkey and the pie. Big brother Hyatt suggested I allow each sharer the option “to elaborate”–a dangerous proposition with former pastors, missionaries, and English majors in the room. But no one disappointed. All were grateful. Much laughter. I was most thankful for that. (Ikea? Really? Ikea? You had to be there.)

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Hyatt, the patriarch, did elaborate–in a word, plus a few more:

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I want to say that a man could have everything, but if he didn’t have God–he would have nothing. And if a man had God, and nothing else, he indeed would have everything. – Hyatt III

Loved that. Many wise men have said the thing through the years. Take Paul, for instance:

“But far be it from me to boast except in the cross of our Lord Jesus Christ, by which the world has been crucified to me, and I to the world.” – Galatians 6:14, ESV

In a word, God. I tasted Him around the table, full of laughter and love and gratefulness. I hope you did the same.

O, taste and see that He is enough; blessed are you when you figure it out and live like it’s true. — Today’s Psalm 34:8

For Hyatt’s further elaboration, see his blog here.

Thankful for these tables. God was there. We had everything.

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coffee with holley

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Taste on Tuesdays: Gratitude Not Expressed

O, taste and see that the Lord is good; blessed is the man who finds refuge in Him.

Psalm 34:8

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I saw a bumper sticker that read: What are you grateful for today? Cafegratitude.com

Wow. A whole cafe that serves gratitude. Or maybe you just feel grateful to be eating there. Tonight Bonnie’s eating at a place called “State Bird Provisions” – supposedly the best restaurant in San Francisco.That’s saying something. (Quail? Twenty ways?)  Mark keeps texting comments she’s pretending he didn’t write – something like: “Sounds like birdseed to me.” I’m grateful Mark gets a kick out of himself. I know Bonnie is grateful she’s at the best restaurant in SF.

I looked up Cafegratitude.com and found a lovely little site about cultivating gratefulness, but — a major problem: no one to actually thank. They left God out of the equation. The Source of all that beautiful pesticide-free food didn’t make one paragraph.

I don’t get it.

People are told to be thankful, but not anyone to be thankful to.

It’s like climbing to the top of Madonna Mt., looking out over lovely San Luis Obispo and the surrounding vineyards and shouting: “Hey! I’m so thankful!! Is anyone listening?!?”

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God is listening when we thank Him. He thrives on our gratitude.  We do, too.

Moses told the children of Israel:

 He alone is your God, the only one who is worthy of your praise, the one who has done these mighty miracles that you have seen with your own eyes. When your ancestors went down into Egypt, there were only seventy of them. But now the Lord your God has made you as numerous as the stars in the sky! Deuteronomy 10:21,22 NLT

(And I thought I had a lot of people coming for Thanksgiving. Never enough, of course.)

I feel sorry for those café people or anyone who doesn’t know they can send their thanks to someone — someone who can take seventy and make them too many to count. To just “be thankful” is so empty compared to:

“Wow, God, You are so great – once again. Thank You so much for what you did – I just can’t believe how you do it over and over – I think I’m going to cry and even though I don’t understand what’s happening right now, I do know that You do – and that You will see that I make it and that You get glory.”

Ken Williams said, “Gratitude not expressed is not gratitude.”

There you have it. A season of gratitude is a an all-year season. And we get to express it to the One Who deserves it most. He alone is your God, the only One worthy of your praise…

Tasting God’s goodness? Tell Him you are. He loves a grateful people.

“O, taste and see the goodness of God, blessed are you when you tell Him just how good He is – out loud so another can hear it, too, and find their refuge in Him.” Today’s Psalm 34:8

Link up Tuesday. Please put your story of God’s goodness below and place this button on your site. Code at the right. Thanks and Happy Thanks!

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What’s On Your “NOT-TO-DO” List?

Everybody likes lists. Mostly because they are fun to write and fun to cross-off. I can start a list anywhere in the house. I prefer cute list pads but copy-paper-gone-wrong can work, too.

A darling gal at the Mariner’s MOPS gave us a great idea:

This holiday season, make a NOT-TO-DO List (and check it twice to remind you NOT TO DO what could make a Jolly Molly into a Crabby Abby. I don’t need to post a photo of a Molly vs. an Abby. You get the idea. Don’t want a selfie. Nope.)

Here’s what I came up with last night:

IMG_0697I just made another list–what to start, what, when. That way I won’t forget to light the BBQ for the extra turkey. (The last time I BBQ’d an extra turkey, I forgot to serve it. )

I like to cook. I like to try new recipes and traditional dishes for the holidays. But Dad’s favorite shrimp salad may not make the cut. I got the shrimp, I forgot the Best Foods Mayonnaise. Mom, from the grave, will not appreciate shrimp salad without Best Foods. I will need another page for what NOT-TO-DO. (Don’t tell Mom.)

It’s Thanksgiving. It’s essential to be thankful, dont’cha know? The value of a good list is to read it and do it.

I’m thankful the girls are coming home, the tables are filling up, Uncle Steve is bringing the games, and the Man-in-Plaid is accommodating and helpful. He raked leaves today. Definitely not on my TO-DO list. (Thanks, honey!)

I’d love to hear your lists. Give us your Top Three–what you won’t be doing and what you will, Lord willing, your must-have’s, you’d better-or-else’s. I may have forgotten something. I could use your help.

Jenni just texted me:

Mom and I are hosting Thanksgiving this year. We’d love your recipe for Cranberry Butter – could we possibly get that?

Why, sure. I’d just put it in the NOT-TO-DO pile for this year. I knew exactly where it was.

Here we go, Jen. I’ll enjoy it from afar. It is darn cute in hollowed out mini-pumpkins. I’m tempted to switch my lists. Be strong, my heart…

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Here’s what did make the TO-DO list today: cranberry sauce, homemade pie crusts – four balls in the fridge ready for Wednesday baking, bacon prep for the green beans. Anything I can do four days in advance gets four stars and its own list.

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For Karen’s must-have roll out-smooth-as-glass pie crust, see here. I called it Lori’s Famous Pie Crust because I didn’t know she got it from Karen – but since we are sisters-in-love, we want to give proper credit.

PS

Here’s a great activity to do between the Turkey and the Pies–a Thanksgiving Scavenger Hunt – for all ages. Believe me, the neighbors get into it and are not usually annoyed at the interruptions. So far it’s on my MAYBE-TO-DO list.

FullSizeRenderDon’t ask me about hat/vest rule. I can’t remember. That part will not make this year’s list. My favorite is #14. Come on over.

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Feast on Friday: Thanksgiving Morning Apple Bread Pudding

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If you have out-of-town company joining you this holiday, you may be stewing–I mean, happily planning–what to serve before (and after) the Main Deal: turkey, dressing and cranberry sauce at  4 o’clock. The Main Deal won’t fill up 20 tummies at 10 o’clock. One of my favorite tummy-fillers is this Historic Inns of Burlington Apple Bread Pudding. Since I’m going out of town, I made it early and par-baked it to freeze until the Main Day Breakfast.

Back story: Years ago, Lisa’s mom (now in Glory) lent me a book. Inside was this little bookmark she had picked up on her travels in New England (she couldn’t recall the details.) I’m into details and found a delectable recipe and tried it out for Thanksgiving that year – a hit! You can even have the phone numbers to make your own reservations – if not, just make this and throw some Fall leaves around.

IMG_0649IMG_0650This pudding suggests rhubarb as an apple-option, but that can be a questionable call, depending upon palate sophistication represented at your table.

A good thing: I actually had everything I needed to make this last night. For me that’s a sign of God’s will. It’s baking now and making the house cheery and festive even though it’s going to be 70 again today. Drat this California sunshine! How in the world am I supposed to wear my woolen scarves and sweaters this year? Oops, sorry, Lord. I just read about the snowstorm in Buffalo, NY. .

Warm up your insides, fellow-hosters:

Thanksgiving Morning Apple Bread Pudding
Author: 
Recipe type: Comfort food
Cuisine: American as New England
Prep time: 
Cook time: 
Total time: 
Serves: 6-8
 
Hold onto the leftover ends of French bread and stash in the freezer and you'll be all ready for this easy brunch/dessert dish. I just discovered I forgot the cube of butter! Shame on me! I'll add it before reheating next on Thursday. Don't tell.
Ingredients
  • 1 loaf French or sourdough bread, cut into two-inch pieces
  • 1½ cups milk
  • ½ cup sugar
  • 3 t. cinnamon
  • 2 t. vanilla
  • 1 t. almond extract
  • 8 lg. eggs (I had only medium so I through in an extra)
  • 2 cups apples, diced (not peeled) (Rhubarb is also wonderful!)
  • ½ cup butter (1 cube), broken into pieces
  • Brown sugar for topping
  • I banana, diced - optional
Instructions
  1. Pam a rectangular 2-qt baking dish
  2. Sprinkle broken pieces of bread
  3. Sprinkle with nuts and apples
  4. Mix all remaining ingredients and pour over bread and fruit
  5. Cover and refrigerate overnight
  6. Before baking, add banana, sliced butter, and a sprinkling of brown sugar
  7. Bake at 350 degrees about an hour
  8. Serve with a side of syrup...if in Vermont, make it Vermont syrup.

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Taste on Tuesday: Practice Makes Better, Rarely Perfect, Pt. II

O, taste and see that the Lord is good; blessed is the man who takes refuge in Him.

Psalm 34:8

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I get to speak on “Hosting for Jesus’ Sake” this week at Mariners Church MOPS, Newport Beach–two days in a row. Great timing right before the holidays, right?

Question for your Tuesday:

How many are you having for Thanksgiving? (Just checking.)

It’s not the number that counts. It’s your willing heart; willing to invite just one (or six) who may need your table and your imperfection and the love of Jesus. It’s not the food, it’s the people. It’s not the perfection, it’s the abandonment–abandoning my expectations, my time-schedule, my life – for theirs, for His. That’s tasting Jesus. He gave all. We’re more like Him the more we give. Seems like a fair trade.

Paul said it best here:

And he died for all, that those who live should no longer live for themselves but for him who died for them and was raised again. II Corinthians 5:15

He died for all. We live for Him. Fair trade.

The Mariners MOPS will get this fun little handout designed by my friend Christy:Screen Shot 2014-11-12 at 4.38.26 PM

Take a minute to choose one “P” above. Start this week. Pray and see what happens (and let me know how it goes.)

“O, taste and see that the Lord loves a party purposefully planned with Him as the Centerpiece; blessed are you when you take a chance and invite another to your table, all for Him.”

Today’s Psalm 34:5

PS   Thought of a party-planner-partner yet? See yesterday’s post.

Link up your favorite recipe for Thanksgiving or anytime you’ve tasted the goodness of God lately.

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Thanking God for our firstborn, Bonnie Sue, born on this day in 1988.photo 1

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25324_1388739192632_825137_nALL OUR PICS 016 ALL OUR PICS 2242 prom 2007 008 IMG_1565ALL OUR PICS 1554coffee with holley

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