Monday, November 23, 2015

Darkness Can't Hold a Candle to the Light ~ Monday Musings

Dear friends, there comes a point in every night when the sky begins to change. Like the slow rising of a black curtain on a stage, a hint of light can be seen around the horizon as darkness begins to lift.

And so it is in life. Trials may leave us stumbling in the dark, blinded by worries and fears, but there comes a point when the curtain starts to rise, when we stand up, square our shoulders, fix our jaw, and fan the flame that is in us. Onward!

There’s an undeniable fact of life: A single light will always dispel the darkness. As long as there is just one candle burning, darkness will never be dark enough to extinguish the light. It’s an impossibility! But light ... light will always overcome the darkness. How comforting that is.

It's true that some nights are longer than others, darker than others, but as I write, morning has dawned. The sun has cleared the horizon, the birds are up and singing. I believe mornings are God’s way of assuring us that the night will end, that hard times won’t last forever, that sorrow will turn into song, that the light of the Lord that burns within us will drive away the deepest fears, the gravest worries, the darkest night.

Until next time, dear ones, shine on!


You, LORD, keep my lamp burning; my GOD turns my darkness into light. 
~ Psalm 18:28 (NIV)

You, LORD, are my lamp; the LORD will lighten my darkness. 
2 Samuel 22:29 (NIV)

Thursday, November 19, 2015

Mother's Chocolate Pudding

One of my favorite desserts from my mother's kitchen is her chocolate pudding. It is simplicity in a bowl, but simply decadent on the tongue. If you need a quick and easy dessert for the holidays, this one is comfort food at its best.

Mother’s Chocolate Pudding

3-1/2 Tbsp cornstarch
3 Tbsp cocoa powder
¾ cup sugar (brown or white)
1 egg
2 cups milk
¼ stick butter
1 tsp vanilla
Vanilla wafer cookies

In heavy saucepan, on medium/low heat, bring milk to a near boil.

In small mixing bowl, add dry ingredients and egg.

Dip out small amount of hot milk and add to the bowl. Mix well, then add into the hot milk.

Do not bring to full boil, but stir almost constantly until mixture begins to thicken.

Cook a few additional minutes as you lower the heat.

Remove from heat, add vanilla and butter and stir.

In serving bowl, alternate layers of wafers and chocolate pudding, ending with wafers on top.

Great served warm or room temperature. Quick and easy to prepare.

Serves 4-6.


This post is part of the series, Share Your Cup and Grace at Home, and Foodie Friday.

Tuesday, November 17, 2015

In Honor of November

In honor of November, and my very favorite season of all.


This post is part of the following communities:

Monday, November 16, 2015

The Weight of a Grudge ~ Monday Musings

There is none more unhappy than the one who carries a grudge. One can smile all the day long, appearing to live a happy life, but when night has fallen, and the lights go out, the grudge is still there, burdensome and tiring, demanding the very last ounce of emotional energy one has to give.

When one holds a grudge, it is apparent in everything one says and one does. Even on occasions that should be festive, it is always obvious who’s carrying a grudge—it is the one whose words bear a trace of bitterness, whose laugh isn’t quite jolly, whose eye contact is brief.

No matter how hard one tries to fool the people, a grudge can always be seen. When Facebook statuses appear to lash out at the world, in general, underneath it all lies a personal grudge. The grudge carriers are the ones who seem to take pride in cutting others down.

In my lifetime, I've experienced people who treated me poorly—rude, disrespectful, abusive, uncaring, and the list goes on. I could choose to carry a grudge against those who've done me wrong. But as my wise mother used to say, put such offenses in a trash bag, tie it up, and take it to the curb. In other words: Let it go. It will only stink more if you don't.

It was the Apostle Paul who wrote: “If it is possible, as far as it depends on you, live at peace with everyone” (Romans 12:17). Paul’s words, “as far as it depends on you,” indicate that each person is required to attempt to live peaceably with others.

The price of a grudge is steep, affecting generations to come. I've often wondered why people make life harder than it has to be. How much easier, happier, and simpler life would be if one chose to let go of grudges, to lay down the sword, to make peace.


Friday, November 13, 2015

The Life of Leaves ~ A Look at Aging

In springtime, when barren trees put on new leaves, we walk around and marvel at the shades of green, the freshness. There are no blemishes, no crinkled edges. Just leaves, as spotless as a newborn baby.

Then summer comes along, the season when leaves shield us from blistering heat, providing a shady gathering place for family photographs and weekend activities. But summertime presents challenges for the leaves, trials of drought and disease, scorching days with no end in sight. 

It isn’t unusual for leaves to shrivel, in need of a cloudy day and rain. And when the showers come, the leaves rally and hang on. Life still remains.


And then one day, autumn arrives, ushering in chilly days and crisp nights, marking the beginning of the end for the leaves; their time on earth is coming to a close.

But instead of seeming miffed about that fact, autumn leaves offer glorious colors as they grow old, majestic colors not seen before, full of light and splendor.

It’s as if they are giving back to the Creator, thanking Him for a lifetime of sunshine and rain, for good times and bad.

Oh, that we would do the same in our human existence, saving the best of our colors until the end.

Until next time, dear friends, may our latter years be more glorious than the former ones.


Monday, November 9, 2015

Monday Musings ~ On loving, and friends, and Father Time

Dear friends, I had started to wonder if autumn temperatures would arrive, but the rain has come and the air is cooler and I feel lighter. I trust you are well and enjoying these last few days before the holidays rush in. My plan is to not get caught up in the frenzy, but to live gently and quietly during the coming weeks.

The last few months have been heavy in many ways, living with pieces of my heart bruised, yet, having said that, my days are filled with a deep joy, sharing life with my darling granddaughter, watching her discover the world.

Perhaps it was the way she reached up and touched my face, or the way the autumn sun slanted across the lawn, but as I stood looking out the front door with her on a recent morning, it felt as if everything—for one split-second—stopped moving, as if time stood still, as if in that moment, there were only the two of us in the whole world. I pressed my cheek against hers and felt my heart swell, filled up with so many emotions.

Maybe you can understand when I say I’m trying not to hold her too tight, not to love her too much. But is that even possible? Can the heart choose the depth of its feelings? Life is short. Should we hold anything back, despite the risks?

On a lighter note, last week, after way too many years of not seeing each other, twin sister and I enjoyed the pleasure of the company of a childhood and lifelong friend. From the first group hug, the long years of separation melted away. Dinner and conversation lasted three+ hours, as we had lots of catching up to do. There were tears, but much more laughter. Old letters were read and photos passed around. As we parted ways, we remarked on the fact that we’ve known each other for more than a half-century, and neither time nor space can erase the history our families share, or break the ties that bind us together. It was Longfellow who wrote: "Ah, how good it feels! The hand of an old friend."

Do you have four seconds? That's the totality of this video clip of cupcake enjoying herself in Memaw and Papaw's bed. I'm not sure why it makes me laugh every time I watch it, but it does. She's plumb out of breath, in four seconds flat. If only time could slow down, if these sweet sounds would only last, but you know the drill: "Father Time waits for no one."

Well, sweet friends, it's been a rambling road, this post, but some days are like that. Until next time, as always, thanks for keeping me company here. It means so very much.


Monday, November 2, 2015

Farewell, October ... Cupcake Pics, and Chocolate Cobbler ~ Monday Musings

I can't say for sure, but it seems that 2015 has been one of the fastest moving years in my recent memory. October has come to an end and November waits with open arms. As I occasionally do at the end of a month, here's a glance back at just a few of the gifts that made October a beautiful month. 

Let's start with the most adorable Cabbage Patch doll I've ever seen. On Saturday evening, our darling Arabella joined the trick-or-treaters wearing a little hat I bought online for her, and a precious dress that belonged to her mommy. I don't think I've ever seen anything cuter, but that's Memaw talking, of course.

She turned seven-months old in October. One afternoon, I took her outside and put her in a basket so I could capture a few images. She's wearing her mommy's sandals in these photos.

We haven't mastered the selfie, but we (well, I) still have fun trying.

My precious sugar plum (one of my grand-nieces) is doing great in school. Here she is on a rather chilly morning in October. I do love her so.

Three days of the week find me and The Man (Papaw) being the lucky caretakers of our precious granddaughter, Arabella (aka cupcake). The days are passing so swiftly, sometimes it's almost impossible to bear.

Cupcake has two teeth, and is sitting up, and crawling, and making my heart melt with her adorable personality.

What is it about a baby's feet that is totally irresistible?

Watching Papaw rock her to sleep, listening to him sing to her until she settles into his shoulder, it's just too sweet for words.

One October evening, I looked outside and found this in my backyard, a gift from the master artist.

In celebration of National Chocolate Day on October 28th, I made a chocolate cobbler and invited twin sister over. 

Here's the recipe.
You're welcome.


1/2 stick butter
3/4 C sugar
1 C self-rising flour
2 Tbsp cocoa
A dash of salt
1 tsp vanilla
1/2 C milk (can be substituted with buttermilk)

Melt butter in square 8” baking dish and set aside. In medium bowl, mix flour, sugar, salt, and cocoa. Stir in milk and vanilla. Mix well and pour into baking dish with melted butter. DO NOT stir.

3/4 C sugar
2 Tbsp cocoa
1/2 C chopped pecans (optional)
1 C HOT water

In medium bowl, mix sugar and cocoa, then pour hot water in and mix with a spoon. Pour mixture over the batter in baking dish and top with pecans. DO NOT stir. (If you prefer, you can save the pecans and sprinkle over last.)

Bake at 350° for 30 minutes. Cool for 15 minutes before serving.

The top will be cake-like and the bottom will yield all of the ooey, gooey goodness. Can be served with vanilla ice-cream, whipped topping, or alone. If you love chocolate, this will knock your socks off!

Recipe source: Magdalene Bonds (Recipes Then And Now )


Until next time, sweet friends, thanks so much for your generous birthday wishes and for sharing a part of yourselves with me. I am a better person because of it.

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