Thursday, November 24, 2011

Happy Thanksgiving Day!

"The year that is drawing toward its close has been filled with the blessings of fruitful fields and healthful skies. To these bounties, which are so constantly enjoyed that we are prone to forget the source from which they come, others have been added, which are of so extraordinary a nature that they cannot fail to penetrate and soften the heart which is habitually insensible to the everwatchful providence of almighty God.

In the midst of a civil war of unequaled magnitude and severity, which has sometimes seemed to foreign states to invite and provoke their aggressions, peace has been preserved with all nations, order has been maintained, the laws have been respected and obeyed, and harmony has prevailed everywhere, except in the theater of military conflict; while that theater has been greatly contracted by the advancing armies and navies of the Union.

Needful diversions of wealth and of strength from the fields of peaceful industry to the national defense have not arrested the plow, the shuttle, or the ship; the ax has enlarged the borders of our settlements, and the mines, as well of iron and coal as of the precious metals, have yielded even more abundantly than heretofore. Population has steadily increased, notwithstanding the waste that has been made in the camp, the siege, and the battlefield, and the country, rejoicing in the consciousness of augmented strength and vigor, is permitted to expect continuance of years with large increase of freedom.

No human counsel hath devised, nor hath any mortal hand worked out these great things. They are the gracious gifts of the most high God, who while dealing with us in anger for our sins, hath nevertheless remembered mercy.

It has seemed to me fit and proper that they should be solemnly, reverently, and gratefully acknowledged as with one heart and one voice by the whole American people. I do, therefore, invite my fellow-citizens in every part of the United States, and also those who are at sea and those who are sojourning in foreign lands, to set apart and observe the last Thursday of November next as a day of thanksgiving and praise to our beneficent Father who dwelleth in the heavens. And I recommend to them that, while offering up the ascriptions justly due to him for such singular deliverances and blessings, they do also, with humble penitence for our national perverseness and disobedience, commend to his tender care all those who have become widows, orphans, mourners, or sufferers in the lamentable civil strife in which we are unavoidably engaged, and fervently implore the interposition of the almighty hand to heal the wounds of the nation, and to restore it, as soon as may be consistent with the Divine purposes, to the full enjoyment of peace, harmony, tranquillity, and union.

In testimony whereof, I have hereunto set my hand and caused the seal of the United Stated States to be affixed."


OCTOBER 3, 1863

Sunday, November 20, 2011

Crazy About Cranberries

So, this is the time of year that I go a little crazy...about cranberries, that is!

I'm not sure when it happened, but one Thanksgiving I woke up and decided to try something new to jazz up my turkey, and I fell in love with cranberries. Oh, not the open-up-a-can-and-slide-out-the-cranberry-jelly-goo-or-whatever-that-is, but the fresh-bag-o-berries-and-super-simple-follow-a-recipe kind of cranberry love.

First I discovered the best cranberry-orange sauce ever. Here's a little love coming your way.
5 10 15

Cranberry-Orange Sauce

Zest and juice of 1 orange
1/2 cup
sugar, plus more if desired
One 12-ounce bag fresh cranberries, rinsed
One cinnamon stick

In a medium saucepan, heat 1/2 cup water with the orange zest, orange juice, sugar and salt over medium-high heat, stirring until the sugar dissolves, 2 to 3 minutes. Stir in the cranberries and cinnamon stick and bring to a boil. Reduce the heat and simmer until the cranberries burst and the sauce has thickened slightly, about 7 minutes. Remove cinnamon stick. Sweeten with more sugar, if desired. Let the sauce cool to room temperature before serving.

Top over turkey, and you've just kicked Thanksgiving dinner up a notch!

Then I discovered cranberry cake. It's about 5000 calories of awesomeness.

And paired with a cup of steaming hot tea, it's simply divine. It's so easy and yummy and bad for you. But since it's the holidays, I say, "Go for it!"

Cranberry Cake
3 c. sugar
4 eggs
1 1/2 c. butter, melted
2 T. almond extract (YES!)
3 c. flour
4 c. fresh cranberries (no substitutes)
1/2 c. pecans

Melt butter and cream with sugar and almond extract. Beat in eggs. Mix in flour, cranberries, and nuts. Pour into a greased 10 x 13 baking pan. Bake 1 hour at 350. Cut into 20-24 squares. Don't forget to freeze several bags of cranberries to make this year-round.

And now I'm also looking forward to testing out a Christmas cranberry recipe that was just passed onto me. I'll get back to you on that one when I try it.

For now, I'm just thankful for a Cranberry Thanksgiving!

Wednesday, November 2, 2011

"Christ is not only the way on which we must begin our journey, but He is also the right and the safe way we must walk to the end. We dare not be deflected from this. Here Christ wants to say: 'When you have apprehended Me in faith, you are on the right way, which is reliable. But only see that you remain and continue on it.' Christ wants to tear and turn our hearts from all trust in anything else and pin them to Himself alone." Martin Luther

Martin Luther said it better than few others...except maybe for Tim Keller who sounds quite a bit like Luther as he explains the gospel way:

"The gospel is not just a way to be saved from the penalty of sin, but is the fundamental dynamic for living the whole Christian life--individually and corporately, privately and publicly. In other words, the gospel is not just for non-Christians, but also for Christians. This means the gospel is not just the A-B-C's but the A to Z of the Christian life. It is not accurate to think 'the gospel' is what saves non-Christians, and then, what matures Christians is trying hard to live according to Biblical principles. It is more accurate to say that we are saved by believing the gospel, and then we are transformed in every part of our mind, heart, and life by believing the gospel more and more deeply as our life goes on." Tim Keller

Tuesday, November 1, 2011

Giveaway:: The Barber Who Wanted To Pray

Happy Day-After-Reformation Day!

In celebration, I am offering a great deal! I have an extra copy of The Barber Who Wanted To Pray by R. C. Sproul. I just wrote a review on it--check it out. This is a sweet book that offers a gentle introduction to a great reformer in history--Martin Luther. I love his lesson on prayer, not to mention the great illustrations. {Do you think Luther loved cats as much as the illustrator does?}

So....the blog has been a little quiet lately. I'd love to hear from you and make this more of a two-way conversation. Share an idea of how you are teaching your children about prayer, and that will count as one entry. "Like" this on Facebook and that will count as another entry. {Be sure to come back and let me know you did.} Finally, subscribe to this blog and that counts as a third entry. I promise you I won't overwhelm you with blog posts. {Ahem...} I'll pick a winner on Sunday using and let you know who has won this great book!

And in celebration of All Saints Day, read this great prayer by Scotty Smith for a new perspective on the holiday. Loved it!