Inspired by a Scrooge

My husband and I love to support local entertainment so we bought tickets a few weeks ago to see a community play across town this past Saturday night. The weather outside was truly frightful with heavy rain and winds, but we decided we would venture out anyway.

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We arrived at this lovely facility which was very festive.  A company was having a Christmas party in one of the ballrooms so the smell of food combined with the sound of a DJ playing music added to the spirit of the season.

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The holiday classic tale “A Christmas Carol” is one of our favorites.  This production was really enjoyable as the actors put a different spin on the presentation with a witty narrator and delightful humor interwoven.

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At the end of the production everyone was on their feet clapping.  The encore was the audience singing (with the encouragement of the cast members) a rousing chorus of “Joy to the World!”

Dickens included so many lessons in this timeless story and the more I thought about it the more I realized what a master of allegory Dickens was. First, there’s the surface of the story. You know, the characters and plot and all that obvious stuff. Then there’s the symbolic level, or the deeper meaning that all the jazz on the surface represents.

  • Scrooge feels sorrow and remorse when the spirit showed him how poorly he treated others.  For the first time in his life he saw himself for who he really was ~ a humbling moment in anyone’s life.
  • Scrooge’s bitterness had roots in his early life but he allowed it to devour him. I once read an analogy and it went something like ~ Bitterness is like swallowing a poisonous pill and expecting someone else to die when in reality the victim is ourselves.
  • Initially Scrooge wants nothing to do with the three spirits. But eventually he does begin to listen to them and through his listening he begins to learn and move forward.  We also have the potential to grow and change in ways that not only enrich us, but those around us as well ~ just like Scrooge ~ if we take the time to listen and learn.
  • The spirit showed Scrooge that he wasted his life obtaining power and money and this will one day come to an end. It is important for us to bear in mind that our lives will also end one day and we still have time to change. Living with the end in mind might help us as it did Scrooge.
  • There is joy in change.  Scrooge realized he had a second chance at life. For the first time in a long time, through his jubilation, he began to connect to the real world again.   He asked forgiveness from the solicitors he refused to give money to the day before and made restitution. He spread unexpected joy and generosity to others.  It is interesting to note that when Scrooge awoke that Christmas morning literally nothing had changed in his circumstance.  The only thing that DID change was his heart.

We may think it is too late to change, but in reality the best time is now ~ a lesson Ebenezer Scrooge teaches us well every Christmas.

Someone’s Son, Someone’s Brother….

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He was only 25 years old when he was gunned down and left to die in the middle of the street.

This past Tuesday I met some friends for lunch at a favorite restaurant. Located in a charming area, it is almost an hour away from where I live. It is a rare treat to be able to visit, and the ham, brie and spicy apricot mayonnaise sandwich is the reason we go.

The unique restaurant is located in a former service station. The main dining area is where the cars used to get serviced.  The sound of talking voices, sudden bursts of laughter, clanging silverware and plates, as well as the scrape of chairs on the floor all bounce off the ceiling and the walls so it is quite noisy inside.

Although there are windows in the dining area providing a lot of natural lighting, it is impossible to see outside because of the proportion of the seating to the higher windows. The majority of the light comes from the garage door windows which run along the front of the seating area. Weather permitting, the garage doors are raised so patrons can enjoy outside dining. It was too cold on Tuesday.

We had finished our lunch and were in the process of settling our bill when the manager of the restaurant got everyone’s attention and said we would not be able to leave the restaurant for a few hours because of a tragic incident outside. A police officer then stepped inside and asked if anyone saw or heard anything at all that happened just outside the restaurant.  Everyone was stunned as we shook our heads back and forth.

People began to wander toward the separated front entrance section of the restaurant. As each of us gazed through the large floor length windows with eyes widen in disbelief we saw at least 30 police cars, an entire swat team circling a business across the street, a fire truck and a deceased young man laying in the middle of the street, face down, just 5 feet or so from my parked car and about 15 feet from the front door of the restaurant. Two young men had an argument, one shot the other and then he fled away on foot.  The newspaper said they had dined at the same restaurant at which we were eating just moments before the argument.

It took my breath away when I saw the body.  All I could think of was this is someone’s son, someone’s brother, nephew, friend.  I prayed for his soul, for his family, for anyone who loved him.

I also prayed for the young man (now in jail) who killed him, as well as his family and anyone who loves him.  He too is someone’s son, someone’s brother, nephew or friend.

Two lives – both over.

What in the world could have been so disruptive that the young shooter felt the only way to settle the argument was to kill the other person? The whole incident is incredibly sad.

My BFF and I are still processing what happened and we will never forget what we saw, heard and later read about in the newspaper. How did we or someone in the restaurant not hear the gun shot or hear the argument?  This whole situation could have been much worse and it could have involved innocent people. What if anyone had ventured in or out of the restaurant at the moment the shot was fired? What if the garage doors had been raised with people dining outside?

I pray the families, friends and loved ones of these two young men find peace and comfort during this very difficult time in their lives.

“And God shall wipe away all tears from their eyes; and there shall be no more death, neither sorrow, nor crying, neither shall there be any more pain: for the former things are passed away.”  Revelation 21:4

Photo is from Irish times

 

 

 

“A Good and Perfect Gift”

God, faith, family, love, and tradition…..

A while back we gathered as a family to celebrate the baptism of our precious granddaughter.

The world we live in can be very challenging. Knowing our grandchildren are being brought up in the faith…..means everything to us.

Every good and perfect gift is from above.” — James 1:17

 

40 Years

That is how long my brother worked at Southern Bell/BellSouth/AT&T before he recently retired.  The company changed names several times in his career, but he was a consistently faithful employee. He worked his way up from climbing telephone poles to district manager.

I wanted to celebrate this milestone, by hosting a very small dinner party.  We were so busy having fun I forgot to take many photos.

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A few weeks ago I reached out on the blog asking for some main course ideas and I did receive a few suggestions.  Mostly I received positive support that I would ultimately find the right recipe.  Well I did and I am happy to share the results!

After searching through my files I found this recipe I had made a few years ago. I served Anniversary Chicken from Allrecipes.com.  I like this recipe because you can prepare it ahead of time and pop it in the oven when you are ready. It is not a pretty dish so I borrowed a photo from the website.  Don’t let the ingredients scare you away, they blend together beautifully!  It may not be pretty but it tastes absolutely delicious!

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I served it with basmati rice and this delicious green bean recipe.  I regret not taking a photo of these beans because they looked as good as they tasted. I used Allen (canned) green beans because they are my personal favorite instead of fresh.  If you follow the directions as they are written, even storing them in a glass jar, you will wind up with a delicious side dish.  I loved that it was also a recipe I could prepare in advance. Side note: My BFF and I catered several Christmas holiday luncheons over a seven day period a few years ago and this dish was an unexpected hit and the recipe was requested daily by the ladies.

For dessert we enjoyed champagne cupcakes.  Mine don’t look near as fancy as the ones on the link I posted, but they are amazing!  Moist and delicious!  I used this recipe for the frosting.

SWEET CHAMPAGNE BUTTERCREAM FROSTING

  • 3 1/4 cups powdered sugar
  • 1 cup butter, at room temperature
  • 1/2 teaspoon vanilla extract
  • 3 tablespoons champagne, at room temperature

I don’t mind sharing the photo I took because it is hard to take a bad photo of cupcakes!

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The dinner was a success and it was great fun catching up with my siblings and their spouses.  We joked and teased as well as planned and dreamed.  None of us are the type to dominate the conversation so we all got a chance to share our thoughts with each other.

As the evening grew dark the room filled with a soft, warm glow we began to reminisce about the days long gone.  We sometimes got teary eyed as we reflected how lucky we are to still have each other and how blessed we are to have had such wonderful parents.  Some of those tears were from laughing so hard at funny memories that our cheeks hurt from all the smiling.

Life lessons have taught us that moments such as these are to be treasured as we never know what tomorrow will bring.  All that really, truly matters is that we are together as a family.  As we hugged and kissed goodbye before heading our separate ways we vowed to get together more often.

For where your treasure is, there will your heart be also.  Luke 12:34

I also shared this post at:  Senior Salon/  Please take a minute to read what some of our other blogger friends have written.

Any ideas?

I am giving a very small dinner party for six to eight people in about 11 days.

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I am absolutely out of ideas and was wondering if anyone out there had any suggestions on what I could serve as the main course?  Ordering something already prepared has occurred to me, and is not ruled out, but I would like to prepare it myself.

There are no allergy restrictions and we all love to eat so almost anything can be on the menu. If you would like to include the recipe I would  be most appreciative and if you offer only a suggestion I would be happy with that as well.

It can be gourmet, quick and easy, baked, grilled, (not fried), healthy or extremely fattening.  I just want it to taste delicious!!

This post may save you some time in regards to what is not going to be served Bone Broth

THANK YOU in advance if you are willing to help me out.

If not, I will find something, just thought I would put it out there.

Gotta Go

I’m done.  Our relationship is getting out of control. Although my husband has not said anything, I think he notices the changes in me. How can he not?

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You have been in and out of my life for years.  I was able to resist my urges for a total relationship with you until recently.  For months, you wooed me with your charm until you got me under your control.  Now, I have grown tired of you forcing me to decide between choosing you or choosing something else that is actually better for me.  I get so frustrated that I often indulge in both.

You demand that my place is in the kitchen searching through cookbooks for the perfect recipe, slaving over a hot stove or mixing up delectable sweets.  You insist on interfering while I roam up and down each aisle at the grocery store. Your badgering is relentless and I give in just to make you stop. Once we get back home your sweetness tempts me to the point that all I want to do is devour every. single. part of you.

I admit, there are so many occasions when you bring me joy and make me smile. There are no boundaries, no limits, no end to the pleasure.  But honestly, sneaking around to enjoy the mid-morning, mid-afternoon and pre-bedtime indulgences have got to stop.  Not to mention the midnight rendezvous!

This may not be the best time to end this since the holiday season is right around the corner. You beg for more time.  You try to convince me we could have so much fun together during this special time of the year.

Yes, it has been fun, lots of fun, but (this is not as hard to say as I thought it would be) it is time for you to go. It won’t be easy, but I figure I have eight good weeks to work you out of my system.  At that time, I know you will try one last trick to tempt me back into a relationship with you ~ one last fling during the holidays.

In all honesty, the way things have been going between us lately, just looking at you makes me feel disgusted and provides plenty of self motivation. Waiting to start over in the new year is just not an option.

You are toxic. There I said it.

The choice is mine – Goodbye …fullsizeoutput_223c

… time for some changes.