December 22, 2010

25 Days of Merry... Day 21

It's the Hap-hapiest time ... of the year!

Well, for some it is. For others--not so much.

Anytime we can add a lil' holiday cheer to a person's day is a good day in my book. That's why I'm hosting the 2nd Annual 25 Days, 25 Songs! Each day I'll post a new {*FREE*} Christmas song. Now that's hap-hap-happy!

22. Auld Lang Syne {Chris Issak}
21. Angels We Have Heard on High {Chanticleer Christmas}
20. I'll Be Home For Christmas {Barlowe Girl}
19. You're Here {Francesca Battestelli}
18. 99 Most Essential Christmas Masterpieces {Yes folks, that's 99 FREE songs!!}
17. The Bell Medley {Classic Christmas Singers}
16. O Holy Night {David Crowder Band}
15. Family Christmas {Sandra McCracken and a few others}
14. Christmas Anthem {Landon Smith and the Real Matt Jones}
13. Winter Night {Little and Ashley}
12. Joseph's Lullaby {MercyMe}
11: Very Merry Christmas {Dave Barnes}
10: Timeless Christmas {mix of artists}
9: Angels We Have Heard on High {Point of Grace}
8: Christmas Songs {Justin McRoberts}
7: Acorn Music Holiday Sampler {mix of artists}
6. Nettwerk Holiday Sampler {Sixpence None the Richer & others}
5. The Christmas Gig {Full songs from Target commercials!}
4. Dance of the Sugar Plum Fairies {Sugo Music}
3. Toy Packaging {Sara Groves}
2. The Singing Christmas Tree {Veggie Tales}
1. Country Sampler {mix of artists}

p.s. please don't judge me on the selections. Just cause they're up there, doesn't mean I necessarily {, or even like} them :)

p.s.s. if you know if a link with free music that I've missed, give me a shout! Thanks!

December 13, 2010


The good news of the kingdom is not freedom from hardship, suffering, and loss. It is the news of a Redeemer who has come to rescue me. ~Paul Tripp

Won’t you please join me in saying hello to our guest blogger life-long friend Sarah! I asked her to write a post on gratitude after reading her Facebook status...

"I must remember to be thankful today and count all my blessings... after thinking about friends and family I know that are in need of different things... I can count myself lucky and blessed..."

This is my status on facebook this morning...thinking about different friends and everyone I have come in contact with lately. I don't know why, but it occurred to me that as I lay thinking I have the worst problems, I realized each of my friends are struggling somewhere in their lives. Why that was an enlightenment, I don't know, but I do know all of us needs prayer and cheer.

...a bumpy father/daughter relationship
...a resentful husband who discovered his wife was cheating on him
...a friend who attempted to take her own life this past Saturday army wife aching whose husband is in Afghanistan putting his life in danger
...the homeless who have nowhere to go but under the bridge here in town
...the young children my friend served at the soup kitchen
...and then myself, struggling with the ups and downs of depression, confused feelings, happiness, sadness

I sit here trying to figure out who I am and where I stand... but instead of analyzing my situation, I need to BE THANKFUL and count my blessings the Lord has given me.

THANKFUL for another day of life. A life I am blessed to have in all my circumstances. I may be like the lost lamb that has wandered from the flock but I am blessed and comforted to KNOW that God will always take care of me and give me what I need.

I am a child of God and just for that reason alone I am thankful
I am thankful for my all-forgiving husband who stands by me in my mistakes
Thankful for my home... leaky roof and all
Thankful for my reliable car

Thankful for my friends that are true and put up with my moods

TONS of things to be thankful for, the list goes on

There is a reason why God allowed me to see what I saw this morning. I don't know if it is because I have been feeling ungrateful or maybe sorry for myself lately, but regardless... this is not how we are supposed to live... we are supposed to thankful in everything... not comparing to one another. Being content.

One of my favorite verses is, "Don't worry about anything; instead Pray about everything. Tell God what you need, and thank Him for all He has done" Philippians 4:6 (NLT)

So for me, I must remember to not worry about anything, pray about everything, and thank God for EVERYTHING... we are all human and we all struggle... but {even in the midst of hardships} let’s count our blessings and be thankful!

Thanks so much Sarah! Right perspective is elusive, especially when the chips are down; when the chip on our shoulder is large; when troubles are larger than life. Reminders to let go and flow with gratitude are vital...I appreciate you bringing our attention to this truth! Love you girl!

December 7, 2010

A Rolling Stone

I had a pebble in my boot today. How does a pebble get in knee highs, anyhow? Especially mysterious is the fact I didn't feel said pebble until well after lunchtime. Where was it all morning?

Once that pesky rock made itself known, it harassed me all day. Stupid as this may be, I was mad at that rock by the end of the day! {Why didn't you just take your boot off and remove the pebble, genius? you may be thinking} Um, well, knee highs are... well...knee highs. Kind of a pain to take off, especially at work in front of everyone.

That little irritant trudged around with me through work and errands. A rolling stone gathers moss. Annoying pebbles gather sock fuzz. And grow. Jab. Poke. Kind of like...
{accusations} {assumptions} {off-handed comments}
{wounds} {sadness} {grudges} {hurt}
I could have removed that pebble. I could remove the above heart irritants as well. But sometimes I don't. Because...
"Everyone will see me back down. I'll look weak."
"If I {forgive}{let go}{never mention it again}...he/she wins."

Truth is, my metaphorical pebble irritates me, not those with whom I'm offended. In the long run, I'm angrier, agitated, and limping through life. That's when I need to hear {obey} the voice of...

"Forgiveness is notable, honorable and exudes great strength."
"Big whoop if he/she 'wins.' You're the real Eye of the Tiger if you forgive."

We received the sad news Elizabeth Edwards passed away today. Much can be said for her zeal for the United States, love for her family, and courageous battle against cancer. Yet this simple, profound, act is what I will remember most: John was by her side. I'm going to state the humanness here, okay? In our eyes, she had every right to refuse John the gift of her presence. The gift of saying what needed to be said (for his sake, not hers). The gift of comforting their children. No one would have blamed her. Yet, amazingly, Elizabeth had the courage, dignity, and humble grace to take her knee highs off and remove the pebble.

In light of all she endured

In light of all Christ endured

In light of what matters eternally...

I'm unzipping my knee highs. My pebble(s) has collected quite enough fuzz. How about yours?

And when you stand praying, if you hold anything against anyone, forgive them... ~Mark 11

And forgive us our debts, as we also have forgiven our debtors. ~Matthew 6

December 6, 2010

Cranberry Duff: A Pictorial

Photos are a must for me when I cook. Perhaps because I'm a visual leaner. Perhaps you are too? Either way, I made my Nanny Maureen's Cranberry Duff that I shared with She Cooks. Since the recipe is obscure, I thought I'd share the steps picture by picture!

First things first...Here's my beautiful Nanny with my adorable sister on her third birthday. I'm pretty sure that's not Cranberry Duff cake!

~2 Cups Bisquick
~4 teaspoons white sugar
~2 Cups fresh cranberries

~Mix Bisquick/sugar with enough milk so it's dough-like consistency (hmmmm....I'd guess that's about a half cup or so? start small...)
~Add the cranberries

~Bake at 375 for 30-40 minutes or until a knife you poke in the middle comes out clean

before the fiery furnace

and after! hello beautiful!


~2 Cups white sugar
~4 tablespoons flour
~Whisk together. Add 1 Cup hot water

~In a saucepan, mix above ingredients with half stick butter
~When melted, add 3 tablespoons cider vinegar (more or less to taste...I add 4, but my mom adds less)
~Add 1 teaspoon vanilla
~Let simmer on low-medium low heat until thick. Be sure to stir constantly or that bad boy will stick something fierce to the bottom of your pot!

~Slice into scrumptious portions. Drizzle (or ladle!) sauce on top.

~Enjoy! Oh, and make sure Watson and Newman approve!

Cranberry What?

I've had the best of both worlds.

Well, both worlds above and below the Mason Dixon Line that is.

The privileges of being a Yankee Belle are numerous. Perhaps the greatest is local culinary delights.

The Carolinas whip up...
Shrimp boils
Pimento cheese
Pulled pork bbq
Red Velvet cake

New Englanders relish...
Lobstah bakes
Boiled dinners
Cranberry Duff

What's that you say? Oh, you haven't heard of Cranberry Duff? Don't worry, not many people have! But the secret is out now! I've shared this family recipe passed down through the generations on LeAnn Rice's She Cooks site!

Be prepared for a special treat when you visit She Cooks! You'll find all the warmth of a friend's kitchen mixed with delicious can-do recipes and dashes of inspiration to love others as well as LeAnn does. Today she's featuring my family's Cranberry Duff recipe. If you try it, please let me know!

Its unique blend of sweet and tart are perfect with a piping cup of tea, coffee or hot chocolate! My parents have served this scrumptious cake throughout the chilly winter season for as many years as I can remember. Whether born and bred Northerners -or- tried and true Southerners, are gracing our table, it's a hit every time! Especially as a treat to help warm up after playing in the snow!

My cousins, Daniel and Ben, sister Rebecca, me, and sister Shannon
on a blustery, fun-filled winter's day!
Cranberry Duff, here we come!

December 3, 2010


Shine by David Crowder Band

Send me a sign
A hint, O whisper
Fill me with life
'Cause I am listening

Come break the quiet
Breathe your awakening
Bring me the light
'Cause I am fading

Surround me with the rush of angels' wings

Shine Your light so I can see You
Pull me up, I need to be near You
Hold me, I need to feel loved
Can You overcome this heart that's overcome?

You sent a sign
The hint, O whisper
Human, divine
Everyone is listening

Death laid low
Quiet in the night is stirring

All around the rush of angels

O the wonder of the greatest love has come

Shine Your light so all can see it
Lifted up, 'cause the whole world needs it
Love has come, what joy to hear it
He has overcome, He has overcome