Hope is on the Horizon!

I’ve always loved images of a winter wonderland! In the fields, snowmen are grinning. ??????????????????????????????????On the hills, kids are sledding. In the lane, snow is glistening. Wait… Say that again.  “In the lane, snow is glistening. A beautiful sight. We’re happy tonight. Walking in a winter wonderland!”

But this year, the beautiful winter wonderland images have been few and far between. This winter has been weak… Cold? Yes. Filled with wonderland visions? Not too many. If you, too, are tiring of the inclimate weather, hope is on the horizon. Here is some encouragement, a reason for merry-making.

Saturday we will celebrate winter’s ‘HALFWAY point.’

On February 2, winter will be half over! This Saturday is Ground Hog Day, but it’s also known as Candlemas Day. Sometimes called the ‘feast of lights’, it marks the time directly between the shortest day of the year (winter solstice) and the March equinox.  So hang in there. You can expect spring… eventually. Hope is on the horizon!

In the U.S., we usually look for the appearance of Punxsutawney Phil to predict how the rest of winter will go. CandlemasBut according to an old English saying…

If Candlemas be fair and bright,

Winter has another flight.

If Candlemas brings clouds and rain,

Winter will not come again.

Have you ever heard of Candlemas? The ‘feast of lights?’ CANDLEMAS is a time for candle-making, and it marks the official end of the Christmas season, celebrating Jesus’ presentation at the temple 40 days after His birth.

In the past, Candlemas candle-making was necessary for surviving the rest of winter. The candles that had been burning those long dark mornings and evenings through the first half of the season were mostly melted away. More candles had to be made to make it till Spring.

Today, the need for candles is practically obsolete. But the need for HOPE is not. And I think of CANDLES as a symbol of hope

When all is dark and gloomy, a glowing candle will refresh your spirit. Flaming candles give LIGHT. And light reminds me of Jesus, “the light of the world.” Jesus is my hope, my hope on the horizon.

 “His word is lamp to my feet and a light for my path.” When I read His Word, “my God turns my darkness into light.” candlemas2Like a candle, His truth refreshes my spirit.

This Saturday, when you hear the newsmen talking about whether or not the ground hog has seen his shadow, remember the other holiday to be celebrated – Candlemas Day! Rather than drawing the curtains and turning on the screen, unplug, light a candle and open His Word.

Think about Jesus, whose birth we celebrated just 40 days ago. Think about His desire that “no one who believes in (Him) should stay in darkness.”  Remember that Jesus came into this world to be LIGHT, to give us HOPE.

Light a candle! Hope is on the horizon… and you’ll find it in His Word.

{All quotes taken from God’s Holy Word – John 8:12, Psalm 119:105, Psalm 18:28, John 12:46}

Want to make some candles of your own to celebrate? Go here: How to Make Homemade Tarts & Candles | eHow.com http://www.ehow.com/how_4556888_make-homemade-tarts-candles.html#ixzz1iRj78oMQ

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Lyrics for Reflection:  (Brian Doerksen –“ Hope of the Nations”)

Jesus- hope of the nations.

Jesus- comfort for all who mourn.

You are the source of Heaven’s hope on earth.

Jesus- light in the darkness.

Jesus- truth in each circumstance.

You are the source of Heaven’s light on earth.

In history you lived and died.

You broke the chains, You rose to life.

You are the hope living in us.

You are the rock in Whom we trust.

You are the light

Shining for all the world to see.

You rose from the dead conquering fear.

Our Prince of Peace drawing us near.

Jesus- our hope living for all who will receive.

Lord, we believe!

I Didn’t Know…

Before I Was a Mom

Before I was a Mom
I made and ate hot meals.
I had unstained clothing.
I had quiet conversations on the phone.

Before I was a Mom,
I slept as late as I wanted
And never worried about how late I got into bed.mother_and_child
I brushed my hair and my teeth every day.

Before I was Mom
I cleaned my house each day.
I never tripped over toys or forgot words of lullabies.

Before I was a Mom
I didn’t worry whether or not my plants were poisonous.
I never thought about immunizations.

Before I was a Mom
I had never been puked on.
Pooped on.
Spit on.
Chewed on.
Peed on.
Or pinched by tiny fingers.

Before I was a Mom
I had complete control of:
My thoughts,Smiling Mother and Toddler
My body,
And my mind.
I slept all night.

Before I was a Mom
I never held down a screaming child
So that doctors could do tests
Or give shots.
I never looked into teary eyes and cried.
I never got gloriously happy over a simple grin.
I never sat up late hours at night watching a baby sleep.

Before I was a Mom
I never held a sleeping baby just because I didn’t want to put it down.
I never felt my heart break into a million pieces
When I couldn’t stop the hurt.
I never knew that something so small
Could affect my life so much.
I never knew that I could love someone so much.
I never knew I would love being a Mom.

Before I was a Mom
I didn’t know the feeling of having my heart outside my body.This image was produced by an application from HighWater Designs Limited.
I didn’t know how special it could feel to feed a hungry baby.
I didn’t know that bond between a Mother and her child.
I didn’t know that something so small
Could make me feel so important.

Before I was a Mom
I had never gotten up in the middle of the night every 10 minutes to make sure all was okay.
I had never known the warmth,
The joy,
The love,
The heartache,
The wonder,
Or the satisfaction of being a Mom.

I didn’t know I was capable of feeling so much…before I was a Mom.

Author Unknown

Soup’s On

January is National Soup Month! When the weather (or the tummies) say “hearty soup please,” you’ll want to be prepared with a delicious and nutritious recipe. Here’s one that tastes like it’s been simmering all day long in the kettle…. even though it’ll only take minutes to prepare.

This is my Turkey Wild Rice Soup recipe. Using leftover turkey and wild rice, it’s very easy to make. And it is so creamy and flavorful. Served with a slice of fresh bread on a cold winter’s night, it’s sure to warm you right to the tips of your toes!

TURKEY WILD RICE SOUP

½ c. butter

½ c. flour – GF if necessary   Turkey-and-Wild-Rice-Soup

1 qt. broth (** – see below)

2 c. cooked wild rice

2 c. cooked, cubed turkey

½ T. minced onion

1 t. dried parsley flakes

½ t. salt

¼ t. pepper

Melt the butter in a large saucepan. Whisk in the flour. Slowly add the broth until it makes a creamy soup base, whisking as you pour. Add the remaining ingredients. Cover and simmer for 25 minutes or until you’re ready to eat.

Enjoy January and the month of SOUPS! Try some new recipes. Pull out some old ones that Grandma used to make and give them a whirl. Whatever you do, learn how to make use of the leftovers in the fridge. You can do it! And your budget will thank you! Soup’s on!

P.S.   When I plan my menu for the week, I often arrange for a ‘soup night’ a day or two after a large meaty meal. Then, before serving the roast, chicken, turkey or ham meat, I cut some up and put it in the refrigerator with the broth to use in the upcoming soup!

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**If you canned some chicken stock back in the fall (see my post, Stock Up (on Stock) for Flu Season!), you’re ready with great nutrient-packed broth. If not, you can use the leftover juices from the turkey you roasted or simply make/buy your own broth.

13 Problem-Solving Uses for Club Soda in 2013

Happy 2013! If you purchased more club soda than you needed for party beverages over the holidays, I’ve got some alternative uses for you to consider. These ideas can be found all over the internet… I thought these 13 were particularly practical.  Let me know which ones you like best!

P.S. Use just the club soda, now… not the left-over punch that ‘contains’ club soda! club soda

13 Problem-Solving Uses for Club Soda in 2013

Make pancakes and waffles fluffier. If you like your pancakes and waffles on the fluffy side, substitute club soda for the liquid called for in the recipes. You’ll be amazed at how light and fluffy your breakfast treats turn out.

Give your plants a mineral bath. Don’t throw out that leftover club soda. Use it to water your indoor and outdoor plants. The minerals in the soda water help green plants grow. For maximum benefit, try to water your plants with club soda about once a week.

Remove fabric stains. Clean grease stains from double-knit fabrics. Pour club soda on the stain and scrub gently. Scrub more vigorously to remove stains on carpets or less delicate articles of clothing.

Clean precious gems. Soak your diamonds, rubies, sapphires, and emeralds in club soda to give them a bright sheen. Simply place them in a glass full of club soda and let them soak overnight.

Clean your car windshield. Keep a spray bottle filled with club soda in the trunk of your car. Use it to help remove bird droppings and greasy stains from the windshield. The fizzy water speeds the cleaning process.

Restore hair color. If your blond hair turns green when you swim in a pool with too much chlorine, don’t panic. Rinse your hair with club soda and it will change back to its original color.

Tame your tummy. Cold club soda with a dash of bitters will work wonders on an upset stomach caused by indigestion or a hangover.

Clean countertops and fixtures. Pour club soda directly on stainless steel countertops, ranges, and sinks. Wipe with a soft cloth, rinse with warm water, and wipe dry. To clean porcelain fixtures, simply pour club soda over them and wipe with a soft cloth. There’s no need for soap or rinsing, and the soda will not mar the finish. Give the inside of your refrigerator a good cleaning with a weak solution of club soda and a little bit of salt.

Remove rust. To loosen rusty nuts and bolts, pour some club soda over them. The carbonation helps to bubble the rust away.

Eliminate urine stains. Did someone have an accident? After blotting up as much urine as possible, pour club soda over the stained area and immediately blot again. The club soda will get rid of the stain and help reduce the foul smell.

Ease cast-iron cleanup. Food tastes delicious when it’s cooked in cast iron, but cleaning those heavy pots and pans with the sticky mess inside is no fun at all. You can make the cleanup a lot easier by pouring some club soda in the pan while it’s still warm. The bubbly soda will keep the mess from sticking.

Clean Carpet.  If you spill wine or any other stain on your carpet, spray Canada Dry Club Soda on the stain, rub the club soda into the stain and let it sit for about 10 minutes, then wipe it up.

And, of course, Soft Drinks.  Use club soda the way it first started out, by mixing in your own fruit juices or syrups.club soda1