There is delight in singing, though none hear
Beside the singer; and there is delight
In praising, though the praiser sits alone
And see the praised far off him, far above.
Shakespeare is not our poet, but the world’s,
Therefore on him no speech! and brief for thee,
Browning! Since Chaucer was alive and hale
No man hath walked along our roads with step
So active, so inquiring eye, or tongue
So varied in discourse. But warmer climes
Give brighter plumage, stronger wing; the breeze
Of Alpine heights thou playest with, borne on
Beyond Sorrento and Amalfi, where
The Siren waits thee, singing song for song.

I wanted to share one of my favorite poems. It took me many years to understand that “No man hath walked along our roads with step.” We may share the same experiences, but we carry it with us differently. This is where we hold our memories.

Invite dinner guests to write their blessings on paper ornaments. Sign and date each ornament to create an archive. Tie ornaments each year to fallen tree branches anchored with sand in a pitcher.

I found this idea on Midwest Living at just fell in love with it. Last summer I bought a large glass water bottle at a garage sale for $2 and I think it will be perfect. You know that I love to decorate with birch branches, but I’m going to scout around the property line aka weed patch and see if I can find something that has broken off or needs cut down and place it in my jar. I’ll use this as the focal point at my Cookie Exchange Party this year and hopefully, add to it in the coming years. Now to get those invitations in the mail.

They who want milk should not sit in the middle of field and wait for the cow to back up to them. ~ Lillian Katz

by Rumi

From the beginning of my life
I have been looking for your face
but today I have seen it.

Today I have seen
the charm, the beauty,
the unfathomable grace
of the face
that I was looking for.

Today I have found you
and those that laughed
and scorned me yesterday
are sorry that they were not looking
as I did.

I am bewildered by the magnificence
of your beauty
and wish to see you with a hundred eyes.

My heart has burned with passion
and has searched forever
for this wondrous beauty
that I now behold.

I am ashamed
to call this love human
and afraid of God
to call it divine.

Your fragrant breath
like the morning breeze
has come to the stillness of the garden
You have breathed new life into me
I have become your sunshine
and also your shadow.

My soul is screaming in ecstasy
Every fiber of my being
is in love with you

Your effulgence
has lit a fire in my heart
and you have made radiant
for me
the earth and sky.

My arrow of love
has arrived at the target
I am in the house of mercy
and my heart
is a place of prayer.

INGREDIENTS

2 c Packed brown sugar
1 c soft shortening (or butter)
½ c cold coffee

2 large eggs

3 ½ c unbleached All-Purpose flour, sifted
1 tsp baking soda
1 tsp salt
1 tsp Ground cinnamon
1 tsp Ground nutmeg
1 tsp Ground cloves

2 cups (16 oz) (1cn) unsweetened applesauce

1 c Raisins
½ c coarsely chopped nuts

DIRECTIONS
Heat oven to 400 degrees F. Mix together thoroughly brown sugar, shortening, and eggs. Stir in the coffee. In a small bowl sift together flour, soda, salt, nutmeg, cinnamon, and cloves. Stir in. Add well drained applesauce. (dough will be very soft. Drop by rounded teaspoonfuls about 2 inches apart onto lightly greased cookie sheet. Bake until almost no indentation/imprint remains when touched, about 7-9 minutes. Makes about 6 dozen cookies.

~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~

Christmas Adam
Twas’ two days before Christmas
and all through Aunt Ova’s house,
all happiness ran a muck
for such a clatter did arouse.

Uncle Robert reads the paper
and the rest watch TV.
The ladies are in the kitchen.
It’s all tradition you see.

Oh yeah, the men do some work too
as we put up some window blinds.
But there are football games on
and the cooks now seem to pay no mind.

Yet today has special meaning
in this grateful happy family.
One created by a member
just as simple as can be.

Like Adam before Eve
one tradition is now borrowed.
Christmas Adam is today.
Christmas Eve comes soon tomorrow.

They say Aunt Beth is the installer
of this new holiday.
Because of her we have plenty more
to enjoy until Christmas Day.
~Juan Manuel Perez

1 pkg. D/H Bakery Style Blueberry Muffin Mix (this is a short squat box…the other Blueberry muffin mixes don’t work as well…it has an actual can of blueberries in it)
2 Tablespoons poppy seeds
1 egg
¾ cup water
1 Tablespoon grated lemon peel (You will need a whole lemon)

Drizzle
½ cup confectioners sugar
1 Tablespoon lemon juice

Preheat oven to 350⁰ F. Grease and flour 8 ½ X 4 ½ X 2 ½ loaf pan (regular bread pan).

Rinse blueberries from Mix with cold water and drain.

For bread, combine muffin mix and poppy seeds in medium bowl. Break up any lumps. Add egg and water. Stir until moistened…not too long. Fold in blueberries and lemon peel (don’t stir too much or it will turn purple). Pour into pan. Sprinkle with contents of topping packet from Mix. Bake for 1 hour or until toothpick inserted in center comes out clean. Cool in pan 10 minutes. Loosen loaf from pan with spatula or knife. Invert onto gloved hand and turn upright onto cooling rack. Cool completely.

For drizzle, combine confectioner’s sugar and lemon juice in small bowl. Stir until smooth. Drizzle over loaf. (Again use a baggie for the drizzle and snip off the bottom corner to drizzle it with).

~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~
Merry Christmas and Happy New Year

We’re wishing you a Christmas
Full of laughter, love and light,
With delicious holiday foods
To excite your appetite.
We’re hoping you receive
Delightful gifts to make you smile,
With family and friends
To love you all the while.
We wish you a Merry Christmas;
May your Christmas dreams come true,
And when Christmas is over,
Happy New Year, too!
By Joanna Fuchs

2 c All purpose flour
½ t. salt
1 c confectioner’s sugar
1 c. butter, softened
1 can (5 oz.) diced toasted almonds
1 T vanilla

Oven 325⁰ F About 54 cookies

In large mixer bowl, combine all ingredients. Blend well at low speed. Shape into balls or crescents using a rounded teaspoon for each. Place on ungreased cookie sheets. Bake for 15-18 minutes. Do not brown. Roll warm cookies in additional confectioners’ sugar.

~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~
The Wreath is on the Door

The wreath is on the door
And the snow is on the tree
God has laid His holy hands
On all that we can see.

Be quick to raise your voice
And praise what He has brought.
Keep now His love in every choice
And Christmas in every thought.

3 squares of bakers unsweetened chocolate
1 c butter (2 sticks)
1 c sugar
1 egg
1 teaspoon vanilla
2 c all-purpose flour
1 t. baking soda
¼ t. salt
Additional sugar

Microwave chocolate and butter in large microwavable bowl on HIGH for 2 minutes or until butter is melted. Stir until chocolate is completely melted.

Stir 1 c sugar into melted chocolate mixture until well blended. Stir in egg and vanilla until completely mixed. Mix in flour, soda and salt. Refrigerate 30 minutes.

Heat oven to 375⁰ F. Shape dough into 1 inch balls; roll in additional sugar. Place on ungreased cookie sheets. (If a flatter, crisper cookie is desired, flatten ball with bottom of drinking glass) Bake 8 – 10 minutes or until set. Remove from cookie sheets to cool on wire racks. Makes about 3 1/3 doz. Cookies.

For caramel filled – prepare recipe as above, but roll dough in finely chopped nuts instead of sugar. Make indentation in each ball. Bake as directed. Microwave 1 pkg (14 ounces caramels with 2 T milk in microwavable bowl on HIGH for 3 minutes or until melted, stirring after 2 minutes (watch closely…can burn). Fill centers of cookies with caramel mixture. Place 1 square bakers semi-sweet chocolate in a zipper style baggie. Close bag tightly and microwave on HIGH about 1 minute or until chocolate is melted. Snip a tiny piece off 1 corner. Holding top of bag tightly, drizzle chocolate through opening over cookies.

You can also put your favorite jam in the center of these instead. You put it in before you bake and after you roll in nuts.

~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~
Again That Time of Year is Here

Again that time of year is here
When wreaths elves lights appear
The hue of Santa’s suit and sleigh
Adding color the wintry skies of gray
Until pansies roses tulips grow
Melting all of the Season’s snow
But I like holly gifts Advent more
Than all that springtime holds in store
For it’s this I’ll tell you I so adore:
Again that time of year is here
When wreaths elves lights appear.