Friday, December 4, 2015

Have Yourself a Very Tasty Christmas


Yesterday's blog post with the mention of the Irish leaving out a mince pie and a bottle of Guinness for Santa's snack got me thinking about yummy Christmas food. I thought that I would post a few yummy recipes that you can try out for your holiday celebration. All with alcohol since I love to cook with alcohol. First off the rum cake that I love to make. Not necessarily at the holidays, but it is nice and festive for the holidays.

Bacardi Rum Cake

1 cup chopped pecans
1 pkg yellow cake mix
1 pkg vanilla instant pudding mix
4 eggs
1/2 cup water
1/2 cup cooking oil
1/2 cup rum

Glaze:
1/2 cup butter
1//4 cup water
1 cup sugar
1/2 cup rum

 Preheat oven to 325 degrees. Grease the bottom of a bundt pan. Sprinkle chopped pecans on the bottom. Stir together cake mix, pudding mix, eggs, water, oil, and rum. Pour batter over nuts. Bake for one hour. Cool 10 minutes in pan. Turn cake over onto plate and prick the top.

For the glaze, melt butter in saucepan. Stir in water and sugar. Boil for 5 minutes, stirring constantly. Remove from heat. Stir in rum. Brush glaze evenly over top and sides of cake. Allow cake to absorb glaze. Repeat until glaze is used up.

Here is a recipe I am going to try.

Tequila Balls

1 pkg. 12 oz vanilla wafers
1/2 lb ground almonds
4 oz white chocolate
1/4 cup tequila
1/4 cup orange marmalade
2 tbsp light corn syrup
sugar for rolling and coating the balls

Crush the vanilla wafers into crumbs along with the ground almonds.Melt the white chocolate according to the directions on the package.In a blender, process tequila, orange marmalade and light corn syrup until smooth.Stir in the melted white chocolate and into crumb mixture.Shape into 1-inch balls and coat with sugar.Store in the refrigerator. The tequila balls taste better after a day or so.

Do you have any special recipes? Anything you like to cook with?

Thursday, December 3, 2015

Traditions of Christmas

Today is a monumental day in my life. It is the 25th anniversary of me becoming an official sister of the Eta Omega chapter of Tau Beta Sigma. I cannot believe that was 25 years ago. It does not seem possible. So many things have happened between now and then (just like back then, I am in school and ironically I am taking classes at a school that has a chapter of Tau Beta Sigma). Joining Tau Beta Sigma was one of the best things that I ever did in my life and it has had a part of shaping who I am today. 

I am also thinking about traditions. In the chapter of my sorority (as well as with the chapter of our brother fraternity), we have chapter traditions that we do. Many of them started with the founding members of the chapters while some started with the Beta class or different brother and sister lines. They make the chapters special more special to us, provide a sense of family, and make us unique in the big picture of things. They also create a deeper bond of brotherhood and sisterhood.

As, I think about the Christmas season, I think about the many traditions of Christmas. Some are unique to specific countries while some are unique to specific families. No matter the tradition,. it is meant to bring a sense of closeness, uniqueness, and serves to make it more special and meaningful. In my family, we go to Christmas Eve service together. On Christmas morning, my dad reads the Christmas story from Luke 2 and then we pass out presents - one for each person. Then everyone gets to open their present before passing out another round. My mom makes a special Christmas breakfast and then we eat Christmas lunch together around noon. We also have stockings that are hung up over the fireplace - one for each person in the family. The stocking tradition got started when I brought home a stocking  I had made in the preschool class at church. My mom decided to make personalized stockings for the rest of the family. We used them for many years before she updated them foe everyone. I believe that I still have my updated stocking.

Even though I do not live with my parents anymore (or have a family of my own) and do not get to spend Christmas with my family every year, I continue with the traditions for myself. I hang up stockings for me and the kitty cats and put stuff in them. For the kitties it is usually a toy for each of them and a cat treat. I also make sure I read the Christmas story before I open any presents that I might have received. I also like to get my tree up on December 1st (this year it is still in the process of getting up as are my decorations). I like to eat a special Christmas breakfast and then do something special for lunch - however, I noticed that I like to mix it up. Last year I had a variety of ethnic food for my Christmas lunch. I also have started helping out with the media at the Christmas Eve service and if I am able to, I like to do Asian food and a movie on Christmas Eve.

Another tradition that I have started with myself is wearing a different pair of Christmas socks each day for the first 25 days of December. Then there is the 24 Days of Christmas blog posts that I decided to start. Last year I managed to find a different song for each day. This year I decided to mix it up. I have done a couple of songs and now this post on Christmas traditions.

I am going to end with a few interesting Christmas traditions from around the world.

Ireland - they leave a mince pie and a bottle of Guinness as a snack for Santa.

Venezuela - people roller skate to mass.

Iceland - children put their shoes on the windowsill to be filled with goodies by Santa.

Japan - KFC has become a traditional Christmas dinner.

What kind of traditions does your family have for Christmas? Have you heard of any unusual ones?

Wednesday, December 2, 2015

Ooops. I might have accidentally skipped day 2 in the 24 days of Christmas blog posts. It is after midnight. I blame my last assignment. Here is a quickie. Maybe it will count.

Mercy Me has a new Christmas album out. Here they are at Sirius XM The Message performing Christmas Time Again.


Tuesday, December 1, 2015

Adore


Oh.My.Gosh. It is December 1st. Again. I am going to try my 24 Days of Christmas blog posts again here at the Great Faith Adventure. A lot has been happening in 2015. Good stuff - I have been taking classes for my school counseling certification. I am currently multitasking at the moment and hoping to be in bed by 10:30 pm - I found out my podcast assignment is due tomorrow and not on Sunday. Plus I am trying to get some of my Christmas decorations put up - I managed to get the wreath on my front door. Making some progress.

So, I was listening to the radio on Sunday and heard Chris Tomlin singing this song called Bethlehem. I found out he had a new Christmas cd out and was all sweet! I will put this video up. Well, I looked and could not find it. However, I did find a great video of another song off his new Christmas album. The song is called Adore. You will enjoy this video because Chris talks about the song and how it ended up on his album.



Friday, April 24, 2015

 Amazing Grace


I love when I blog these days. Usually it is about something that God has reminded me of and I feel like I need to get it out. Yesterday God reminded me of something. I have a sweet friend who struggles with a mental illness. It is not one that require hospitalization. My friend is able to function in society, but he has this issue. It has not been easy for him. Not at all. And you know what? I can relate to him. Not because I have a mental illness, but because I understand. Part of it has to do with what God reminded me of yesterday. Just because someone you know has been diagnosed with a mental illness does not mean that you go running for the hills. You do just the opposite. Stand by, be a friend, and educate yourself on what they are dealing with so that way when there is a crisis (and there will be because I have seen it first hand) you know how to help them get help. The other part is because in my own family, I have seen two different people struggle with the same exact thing that my sweet friend struggles with. It is not easy at all. But thank God for giving grace to each of their spouses to be able to be there for them. And God is giving me grace to be able to step up and be a friend to my friend.

I have started educating myself on the struggles that he has and it is really helping me to understand him a lot better. Now I am getting things and now I am understanding that what may be easily solvable for a problem in the life of a person who does not struggle with what he has, it is 1,000 times harder for him. Especially when he is not on his medication. So, I thank God for grace and understanding, I still pray for my friend's salvation. I believe there is a day coming that he will pray to receive Jesus into his heart. In the mean time, I am going to be a good example of Christ in his life, pray for him, and be a good friend to him.

Another thought that I have before I close, is that there are some (those who are charismatic in their beliefs) that God will take it away and the reason it has not been taken away is because you have not had enough faith or enough trust. That is soooo not true. God has a different plan for each person's life. Not removing an illness - mental or otherwise - is a reminder that God's grace is sufficient for what it is that the person is dealing with. Look at the Apostle Paul. He had a thorn in his flesh that he prayed at least three different times to have removed. Did God remove it? Nope. Why? No idea. God knows why. I am glad that there are other Christians who struggle with what my sweet friend has going on in his life and that they have blogged about it because it helps me to be understanding and encouraging. Something that we all need, but especially him.


Enjoy the Selah version of Amazing Grace. A reminder of something we need to extend to everyone no matter what they may be struggling with.




Tuesday, March 31, 2015

God is Able

We sang this song in church on Sunday. It is by Hillsong United. I had part of the song in my head this morning. I decided to listen to it before I left for work this morning and then on my way. Yep one song for the entire drive. I think I need to listen to it some more. The message needs to sink in right now. Fine by me. I like the song, but most of all the message if the song (I will include lyrics below). I need the reminder in what sometimes is a daily struggle. And with my friend as I continue to pray for his salvation and friendship. 

I had a meltdown over bridal shower invitations yesterday. With my friend. I am coordinating a bridal shower for my friend who coaches JV girls soccer and also teaches ESL. She asked him when I was out on March 18th for a dental appointment if my friend I that I am praying for would do her bridal shower invitations. By hand. He started showing me some stuff that he was going to do. But then it became March 30th and nothing is done. I started thinking after a baby shower evite went out that why are we doing stuff by hand? Why are we not doing this by evite? So I talked to him yesterday after school. Thus my meltdown. Then I was thinking last night about what I would say to him/ If he really wanted to do them I wanted to give him a chance because he was wanting to do them. Plus he is really talented. But I know he has a lot on his plate and I did not think he would get things done. And I had to figure out how I would respond. Would I try to make him feel guilty? I saw him this morning before school and was trying to ignore him, but he talked to me first (I should not ignore him when I have something bothering me - I need to learn this if I hope to be married one day. I cannot ignore my husband. I have to be up front with him no matter how hard it may be). So no invitations by hand. I got the evite done. He volunteered to bring the serving dishes. I hope that occurs. I have learned that the social studies teacher who is getting married has them. I will not get annoyed. I promise. Or I will try not to get annoyed. 

He continues to be on my heart. I continue to pray for his salvation. And for friendship. I really care about him. I honestly and truly do. And I sincerely hope that he and I get to be really good friends. It was funny - I was the stressed out one and he was the calm one. It was weird yet nice at the same time. 

On the bright side of today - I made bunny rabbit cupcakes and brought them to school. I made red velvet because I knew he liked red velvet. He said they were cute and he had the lasst one when I offered it to him. I also made him a calendar to remember to write things down on.  That might have been slipping back into my old ways. I hope not. I am really trying hard. Actually I am doing a lot of praying, And I am feeling a bit better. I just talked to my friend Benji and I asked her why I care so much about my friend. I did not mean to. It just happened. God is teaching me how not to be smothering and overwhelming. I really need to learn that. It is not good in any friendship or relationship. And I learned that if something is bothering me not to just ignore the one I am having the issue with. Just be open and up front. No matter how much it might hurt, And always always choose to take the higher road. I know that, but it is easier said than done.

I did learn today that two of the teachers that are married to each other met on the job here. He floated into her room and she would stay and watch him teach. God works in interesting ways. If he wants two people to be together, he will bring them together wherever they may be even if one may not yet be saved and have the one that is saved be praying for the one that is not. Not that this is the case here. I am just praying for my friend's salvation and also for friendship. And I am praying for God to help me continue to get better and change for the better. To work on these areas that need to be worked on.
art
It is interesting that back in December when I was walking through the book section of Mardel's that God gave me a reminder - not a harsh one, but a nice Fatherly reminder - that I need to be a light to his dark. That does not mean bashing him upside the head with a Bible and preaching to him. It encompasses how I live my life out in front of him and how I respond when we do have challenges that come up. Always always take the higher road. That is what Jesus would do. And so I will the next time there is a challenge that comes up. And I will also start working on not seeing him multiple times a day. Before school and after school is enough. And planning period if we are both off. And only if I need to talk to him about something. I got everything hammered out for the bridal shower so I might be good to go for a bit. Or maybe instead of taking this approach, just pray for God to direct the interactions with him. 

I have to remember that God is able in this situation. As I continue to pray for my friend and his salvation and for friendship. Just give it to God each and every day. I like it when He puts a song in my head. I want to be used by Him and to grow and be stretched. I want to be obedient and be open to the wonderful guy that God would bring into my life if He so chooses. I do hope He chooses. I really do. I know something that I have admitted to myself deep down that only God and I know about. That is okay. I describe my relationship with him as open. He knows everything anyway. He will help me through. He has never let me down. I like that He is teaching me to be dependent on Him even in this, But most of all I want to be able to live my life intentionally different. Not tell people 20 times a day that I am praying for them. Always choose the higher road. Be the hands and feet of Jesus when presented with opportunities. Choose words that heal instead of hurt. Let my actions point to Christ and know that He will do the rest :)

God Is Able
He Will Never Fail
He Is Almighty God

Greater Than All We Seek
Greater Than All We Ask
He Has Done Great Things

Chorus
Lifted Up
He Defeated The Grave
Raised To Life
Our God Is Able
In His Name We Overcome
For The Lord
Our God Is Able

God Is With Us
God Is On Our Side
He Will Make A Way
Far Above All We Know
Far Above All We Hope
He Has Done Great Things

Repeat Chorus

God Is With Us
He Will Go Before
He Will Never Leave Us
He Will Never Leave Us

God Is For Us
He Has Open Arms
He Will Never Fail Us
He Will Never Fail Us

Repeat Chorus 2x

Repeat 2x
For The Lord
Our God Is Able






Friday, March 27, 2015

Surrender


I am grateful to God for Him continuing to teach me and show me things in my life. He is not done with me yet! Besides being reminded that I need to enjoy the journey, something that is on going is learning how to be a friend. Especially to my friend at school. That is a continual prayer that God will let a really good friendship develop between him and I. I know that he needs friends in his life. He needs some good friends. He needs a good friend that is a born again Christian. I think that I have said this before, but I realized that I may be the only Christian that he personally knows. If that is the case then what an awesome yet humbling responsibility that I do not take lightly. It does not mean that I bash him upside the head with a Bible. It means that I let go and let God work. It is not easy sometimes and it is a struggle, but wow when you continue each day to let go it does get easier. And it brings a sense of calmness and peacefulness which I think that my friend picks up on. At least I hope he does. But, I digress. Anyway, I will not bash him upside the head with a Bible and tell him he is going to hell. I believe strongly in living out my faith. That does not mean that I talk about religion all the time. It means that I live it out through my actions. I forgive him even though he has been mean to me in the past and has been a jerk (and I did forgive him). I do not become co-dependent on him. This gets real easy for me to do since part of me worries about him. But that is part of the surrender that I must do sometimes minute by minute, sometimes hour by hour. Sometimes day by day. It just depends. It means I do not need to tell him on a daily basis that I am praying for him. I do pray for him. Each day. Sometimes more than once a day. Especially for his salvation. That is the primary thing I pray for. As well as friendship. It means I am an active listener and pay attention to when he is stressed and does not want anyone around. It means that I do nor smother him.

Something else I am learning is that surrender is not a four letter word. It's a nine letter word. Ha! Seriously. Surrender is not a bad word at all. I have realized that yes I do indeed want to get married to a wonderfully sweet guy. Preferably one that is hot and younger than me. I think 5 to 6 years younger is ideal. But, that is okay that I am not married or dating anyone right now. I believe that I have some things that need to be worked on in my life. Not just physically (I am still working on my weight loss). But emotionally and mentally (not that I have issues, but I do need some tweaking in these areas). When the time does come, I want to be interdependent and not a flaming co-dependent. I want to be a woman (and a friend to my friend) of quiet strength and also to be someone that is a calming presence. It is not easy. But I am up for this. I want to be all that God will allow me to be which is a lot. Growing can be painful, but the end results are awesome.

I am glad that God has sent my friend into my life. He is using him to teach me some things. I do not think that I can ever tell my friend that. Maybe in the future, but not now. I know that. God's timing is always the best. Something else I am learning.

Today's video is Surrender by Hillsong United. Enjoy!