The Simple Life
What was the most meaningful Christmas gift you ever
received? We may think of that new set of pots and pans we got last
year, or maybe a new tool for the garage. Lovely, yes, meaningful
hmmmm. If we are a child, it may be the puppy we got one year, or a
new baseball glove. It possibly was something very expensive
maybe a diamond, but maybe it didn't cost much at all. Maybe it was
worth more in time than in money, such as a handmade quilt.
To receive a meaningful Christmas gift, don't we have to have a
We've all heard the stories of a child who was glad to receive
an orange for a gift. A new pair of blue jeans seemed like a
miracle. But likely, those of us who have grown up here in America
really have no idea what it means to be truly thankful, because we
have not truly been hungry. We tend to take things for granted.
But maybe what comes to mind was not exactly a Christmas gift.
Maybe it was a child who recovered from a serious illness or a loved
one spared from a tragic accident. Maybe we got to hug a son come
home from war. Maybe no other gift will ever be as meaningful as
the one we almost lost.
This time of year there is a lot of talk about exchanging
names, holiday menus, decorating and shopping trips. Maybe during
family night we could sit and talk about what really makes for a
meaningful holiday. Is it the gift that makes it great, or the
attitude in the heart of the recipient? We all dream of the huge
gift we never expected almost like winning the lottery, but even
moving to a grand new home, or receiving a new car probably won't be
the most meaningful gift.
The greatest gifts we have received are probably not something
that can be bought in a store, maybe not even something we can hold
in our hand, but are gifts given from the heart. Remember the Dolly
Parton song about the `Coat of Many Colors', which was a patchwork
coat that her mother made for her from scraps? We have all received
gifts that were more than something someone bought but it was
something they really put a lot of thought and love and time into.
But what about the gifts we get every day? Mom or Dad puts a
great meal on the table every single night. We have magic drawers
that clean clothes simply appear in. Dad and Mom earn a living
together that gives us a comfortable home. A neighbor shovels our
snow. A volunteer at the hospital spreading cheer. Our boss cleaning
the snow off our car before we leave work. Our teachers who go
beyond the lesson to teach us a life lesson, because they care. The
thought that goes into a meal at church. The bagger at the grocery
store pushes our cart through the snow for us. Our grandparents
come from Florida just to spend Christmas with us. And we may never
realize a special gift that we give to someone we love. And that is
the simple spirit of Christmas taught to us by the "Giver of the
Greatest Gift ever Given" God!
* * *
"Gratitude unlocks the fullness of life. It turns what we have into
enough, and more. It turns denial into acceptance, chaos to order,
confusion to clarity. It can turn a meal into a feast, a house into
a home, a stranger into a friend. Gratitude makes sense of our past,
brings peace for today, and creates a vision for tomorrow." ~~Melody
"As we express our gratitude, we must never forget that the highest
appreciation is not to utter words, but to live by them."--John
"Memory is a child walking along a seashore. You never can tell
what small pebble it will pick up and store away among its treasured
things." --Pierce Harris
"Poetry is a packsack of invisible keepsakes." ~~Carl Sandburg
* * *
Easy Cocoa Mix
2 cups nonfat dry milk powder
1 cup sugar
3/4 cup powdered non-dairy creamer
1/2 cup unsweetened cocoa powder
1/4 teaspoon salt
Combine all ingredients in small bowl until well blended. Spoon
mixture into decorative gift
jar; cover. Makes about 4 cups mix or 16 servings.
For single serving: Place rounded 1/4 cup Easy Cocoa Mix in mug or
cup; add 3/4 cup boiling water. Stir until mix is dissolved. Top
with sweetened whipped cream and marshmallows, if desired. Serve
immediately, or give as a gift in a pretty jar with a ribbon or in a
gift basket for someone you love.
Simple Loaded Baked Potato Soup Good enough for a caroling party!
Approx 2 lbs potatoes, diced, 2 carrots, chopped, 2 celery stalks,
chopped, 2 cups chicken broth, 2 cups water, 1 can evap milk (low on
milk in fridge), 1 can cream of chicken soup,
about 2" wedge of velveeta-type cheese, small cooked pieces of
bacon, various spices (such as onion powder, black pepper, garlic,
ground red pepper) and sour cream, if desired.
Cook potatoes, carrots, celery and spices in pot with chicken broth,
water, evap. milk till tender. Stir in cream of chicken soup, bacon
bits, and cheese. Add a dollop of sour cream when serving it up, if
Let love and faithfulness never leave you; bind them around your
neck, write them on the tablet of your heart. Proverb 3:3
"Leftovers in their less visible form are called memories. Stored
in the refrigerator of the mind and the cupboard of the heart." --
Keeping it Simple,