Reflection and Anticipation
First of all, my apologies for removing the last 2 posts and their comments. Some one is posting very inappropriate comments and I can't figure out hoe to remove them without deleting the entire post.

Any Suggestions?

Any who... I hope all of you have had a great time "off" your regular routine. Perhaps you're like me, working a few days each week and enjoying family and friends the rest of the time.

Whatever you're up to I'm sure you've given a little thought to the close of another year and the beginning of a new one. This time of year has always been one of reflection and anticipation for me. A time to stroll down memory lane and a time to "dream" of the things to come. Christmas day we spent time watching DVD's of our boys early years and I was reminded of something I always did as a child. I use to lie under the Christmas tree literally for hours gazing up through the branches "placing" a dream, a wish and a hope on the colored Christmas bulbs. Of course at that time my wishes and hopes and dreams were for toys and games and things of that nature.

It's been many many years since I've spent time under the Christmas tree and I think I'm over due.

So tonight after the dishes are done I'm going to make my way under our artificial tree and spend some time "placing" my hopes and dreams and wishes on tiny twinkling bulbs. This time they will won't consist of toys or dolls, they will be for bigger and "more grown up" things like, healing for friends with terrible diseases, jobs for the jobless, suffering relationships and restoration for broken marriages. I'll also have prayers of remembrance for my beloved daddy Nick, Tom's precious mom Catherine, and sweet our cousin Peggy. Christmas just isn't the same without them.

I won't stop there, I will also spend time "placing" a prayer of thanksgiving on each twinkling light for the many blessings we have received this year. The marriage of our son Josh to a godly, believing young women Kelsey and how much we love and adore her. The successful fundraising tournament for the Adam Bishop Foundation. For the jobs both Tom and I have, the opportunities our son Joseph has had to fly in order to gain the necessary flight hours, my team mates at Proverbs 31 and the Ministry itself, our health, our home, our close friends, and the perfect love of our Savior.

If you were to spend time under your tree (provided it's still up) what hopes and dreams and wishes would you have?

What are you shopping for?
Last week my friend Rachel Olsen had an inspiring post in reference to her published devotion that ran Monday December 7
Rachel always seems to speak to my heart at just the right time with just the right words, and it has little to do with the fact that she's an incredible word smith and English Professor. She's a precious servant and vessel of the Lord.
In her devotion she mentioned this interested statistic. "Recent research shows depressed shoppers typically spend 30% more than happy shoppers. I think that's because we have a tendency to try to purchase our way to feeling happy. We call it Retail Therapy"
During this season of giving, I do find it tempting to engage in a little personal retail therapy while purchasing gifts for family and friends. Do you find it tempting to purchase a little "joy" for yourself while shopping for others?
What are your Christmas shopping habits?

Tis the Season for last minute gifts

Hey friends,
If you're like me, you're scrambling to get the last few things done before family and friends arrive next week.
Here are a few last minute and very easy treats that are delicious (if you're into sugar).

Oreo Cookie Balls
1 package Oreo cookies

1 (8 ounces) package cream cheese
1 package Almond Bark white chocolate

Put Oreo cookies in food processor, process until real fine. Place crumbs into a bowl and mix with cream cheese. Roll out mixture into marble size balls and place on cookie sheet. Put Oreo Cookie Balls in refrigerator to get cold. Take cookie balls out of refrigerator when cold and dip in melted white chocolate. Dip or sprinkle with sprinkles. Put cookie balls on wax paper to dry.

White Chocolate Pretzel Sandwiches
Hanover Pretzel Sandwiches- Either the peanut butter or cheese (your choice)
1 package Almond Bark - white chocolate

Melt the Almond Bark and Dip the Pretzel Sandwiches
Put on Wax Paper to dry.

For the toffee layer:
1 cup butter or margarine
2 tablespoons light corn syrup
2 tablespoons water1 cup sugar
1 cup chopped almonds

For the topping:½ cup semi-sweet chocolate chips
½ cup vanilla chips (or 3 ounces vanilla-flavored candy coating)
Line 15 x 10 x 1-inch baking pan with foil; butter foil. I
n heavy 2-quart saucepan, combine butter, corn syrup, water and sugar.
Cook over medium heat until sugar dissolves and mixture boils, stirring constantly.
Using candy thermometer, continue cooking to 290 degrees F (soft-crack stage), stirring occasionally. Remove from heat.
Quickly stir in almonds.
Pour mixture into buttered, foil-lined pan. Let stand 2 to 3 minutes to harden.
In a small bowl, combine chocolate and vanilla chips.
Sprinkle chips over hot toffee; let stand 1 to 1 ½ minutes to soften.
With knife, swirl softened chips over toffee.
Refrigerate until chocolate is set.
Break into pieces. (Yield: approx. 25 ounces)

EXTREMELY EASY ROCKY ROAD (Exact measurements not needed with this recipe)Ingredients needed:
At least 2 large Hershey chocolate bars, with or without almonds, as you prefer.
You can also use 2 or 3 of the Symphony Toffee bars if you wish.
1 bag of miniature marshmallows
Approx. 1 cup crushed walnuts (optional)I

n a microwave oven-proof dish, melt the chocolate bars completely.
Stir in marshmallows and walnuts, then quickly drop in little “blobs” on waxed paper.
Let cool until they harden.
Pack into a decorative tin or on a fancy plate (using waxed paper to separate layers of candies). You can make these a couple of days ahead and keep them in the refrigerator if you want to, but refrigeration isn’t necessary.
Variations: Toss in some M & M’s, or a different kind of crushed nuts if you want, whatever you think might taste good. The only way you can really ruin this is by over-melting the chocolate in the microwave.

Divine Delays
Hey there and welcome if you're joining us from the Proverbs 31 on-line Devotion.

As I mentioned in today's devotion, punctuality is very important to me. I think it shows respect toward the ones you are meeting as well as their time. That being said, this situation was a clear wake-up call to my need for punctuality. It should never take precedence over listening to and obeying that small quiet voice that prompts us to put our agenda aside for something better.

Look at the Application and Reflection Steps listed below and share your stories with us.
I look forward to learning from you today.

Application Steps:
Examine your relationship with the Lord; are you allowing the business of this season to crowd out His small quiet voice?

Are you listening to and obeying the Lord's promptings in your life?
Are you refusing to listen and obey because it might inconvenience you?

Smiles, Giggles and a Blessing
Hey friends,

If you haven't seen this cute kitten video on You tube, check it out. It will be the best 17 seconds of your day.

For those of you joining us in prayer for our youngest son Joseph, I wanted to give you a bit of encouragement. The Lord has sent a great big blessing to our son and Joseph will be co-piloting 4 different flights this week before the planes go in for weeks of maintenance. In fact he is in the air at this very moment.
Tom and I are ever grateful for your partnership in prayer for our son, and we look forward to watching the "rest of the story" unfold in due time.

In the meantime, enjoy the Surprised Kitten.
Happy Monday!!!

Organizing your Christmas
Stop by my friend Marybeth Whalen's blog for some holiday organization inspiration.
She is writing a weekly post for the Hearts at Home Blog. Marybeth is an Organizing Queen in my book.

Decorating for Christmas
Decorate With Bows:
Tie ribbons to chair backs, candlesticks, picks in plants, wreaths, garlands, basket handles, drapery tie-backs, stair railings, and doorknobs.
Choose ribbons in colors and patterns that coordinate with your decorating scheme.

Choose a ribbon that you can untie and re-tie each year. This will save money in the long run, and you'll end up with a good collection.

Use your Christmas dishes for every meal in December.
I begin using my Christmas dishes on the day after Thanksgiving. There are MANY different inexpensive Christmas dishes available. I found mine 15 years ago at an after Christmas sale for pennies a plate.

Turn off the lights as you watch Christmas movies.
Enjoy candle light (I love the new battery operated candles).

Hang holiday wreaths
I hang them inside and out. I hang them on mirrors and in the middle of windows. Adding lights is a great idea as well. You can hide the cords behind the mirror or across the tops of the windows. Better yet, I found wreaths with battery operated lights.

Add some Christmas Aroma
I'm a scented candle freak, but I admit it!
Lighting scented candles is the first thing I do when I get home each day. I've been known to burn through a 100 hour candle in just a few weeks. I know these can be pricey, but after Christmas sales are the best time to stock up. These also make fabulous Christmas gifts for friends and neighbors.

Display a collection of nativity scenes
I have a great collection of these. I even place a nativity scene in the middle of my Christmas Tree to remind us all that Jesus was born to die on a tree.

Pull out your old toy trains

Okay friends, now it's your turn to add to the list.

I can't wait to see what you will suggest.

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