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Monthly Archives: December 2015

Resolve to Live Joyfully

Mimi, young portraitThe weekend before Christmas, my best friend’s 94-year-old grandmother passed away. Mimi—as I had known her—was beloved by her very large family of children, grandchildren, great-grandchildren, and more who gathered at her bedside for days before she slipped into eternity late Saturday night.

I’d met Mimi many times, and I’d heard a lot of stories about her life, some from my best friend, and a few from Mimi herself. The oldest of five siblings, she was born in 1921 in Oklahoma and was raised during the depression by a single mother. She went on to marry a soldier who fought in World War II, and while he was at war, she gave birth to a baby with special needs. She buried that little boy not many years later. You can imagine some of the hardships Mimi endured during her 94 years. Her stories are legendary. Somewhere along the way, she learned to overcome trials most of us could barely comprehend.

More impressive than her stories, though, was the way she told them. No Mimi with kidsmatter how dark the tales, Mimi had a way of sharing them that made her listeners smile.

I can’t be sure, but I suspect Mimi knew something a lot of us never learn—that not everything was about her. She was able to separate herself from the hardships, the trials, and the people who’d hurt her. The trials made her stronger. And the people who’d been unkind—they had problems, no doubt, but the problems weren’t Mimi’s. They weren’t her fault, and they weren’t her responsibility.

So often, it seems we take the bad behavior of others personally. When the check-out woman at the supermarket is surly, we get defensive. Imagine if we could separate ourselves the way Mimi did. We could offer the surly check-out gal a genuine smile. We could cheerfully respond to the irritated bank clerk. We could wave at the impatient driver. If we could learn that not everything is about us, we might be kinder the people we interact with every day.

Mimi, old portraitAnd the world would be a better place of course, but it wouldn’t just affect others. Mimi was immeasurably kind and generous to the people around her, because she was so full of joy herself. She’d adopted an attitude of grace and carried a joyful and peaceful disposition. Despite her life’s many difficulties, betrayals, and tragedies, Mimi was genuinely happy.

Among other things, I resolve in 2016 to stop letting my trials rule my life. And I resolve to stop taking other people’s attitudes and behavior personally. I want to wear a garment of kindness, grace, and peace, so that I can overflow with joy the way Mimi did.

 

 

DSC_8915-25edRobin Patchen lives in Edmond, Oklahoma, with her husband and three teenagers. Her third book, Finding Amanda, released in April, and its FREE prequel, Chasing Amanda, released in July. When Robin isn’t writing or caring for her family, she works as a freelance editor at Robin’s Red Pen, where she specializes in Christian fiction. Read excerpts and find out more at her website, robinpatchen.com.

 
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Posted by on December 30, 2015 in Uncategorized

 

Happy New Year – But When!?

colonialtimesDid you know that for the first 130 years of Colonial America we celebrated New Year’s Day on March 25th? It’s true.

Britain at that time reckoned March 25th as the beginning of the new year. On this day rents were due, contracts began, and obligations were renewed. They based this on the Julian calendar – authored by Julius Caesar in 46 B.C. That calendar had 12 months and 365 days, but had one flaw. There was no allowance for leap years, so it didn’t quite match up with the solar year.

Many European countries had already adopted the use of the Gregorian calendar – authored by Pope Gregory XIII. Britain, not wanting to follow a Pope’s lead, clung to the Julian calendar until 1752.

Colonial America was part of the British Empire, but it was also already culturally diverse. Immigrants from across Europe made the colonists familiar with both calendars. When the official switch came in 1752, the colonists took it all in stride, avoiding the upheaval that happened across the pond, and showing once again the colonists unique ability to adapt and prosper.

A nice tidbit of history to think about when writing – or reading – books set in Colonial America.

 

~ Pegg Thomas

Trooper and Pegg cropped

 

 

 

 

 

PeggThomas.com

 
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Posted by on December 28, 2015 in Pegg Thomas, Writing

 

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Image

Merry Christmas!

Christmas

 
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Posted by on December 25, 2015 in Holiday Greeting

 

Writer’s Chuckle

writer-caffeine to books

Ain’t that the truth?!

 
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Posted by on December 23, 2015 in Humor, Writing

 

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Fudge

Maybe it’s the chocolate. Or it could be the nuts. But homemade fudge is coveted during the Holidays.

My husband is the milk chocolate junkie at my house. I’m the white chocolate addict. Whatever your penchant, this fudge recipe is easy. White chocolate blueberry fudge? No problem. Milk chocolate cashew? It’s all you!

INGREDIENTS:

Two 12 oz. bags of chocolate chips of your choice: milk, semi-sweet, or white

1 T. organic cold-pressed coconut oil

1 t. extract flavor of your choice: vanilla, almond, orange, or mint, etc.

1 C. dried fruit of your choice: cranberries, blueberries, cherries, or apricots, etc.

1 C. nuts of your choice: pecans, walnuts, coconut, cashews, pistachios, sunflower, or pumpkin seeds, etc.

Line an 8X8 dish with parchment paper. In a medium pot on low heat, stir chocolate chips with coconut oil until melted and smooth. Turn off heat. Stir in fruit and nuts of your choice. Stir in extract of your choice. Pour/Spread mixture into dish. Allow to harden (you can speed it along by refrigerating the fudge). When the fudge is solid cut it into 1 inch cubes and place in an airtight container.

Which combinations will you try?

~ Jericha Kingston

 
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Posted by on December 18, 2015 in Jericha Kingston, Recipe

 

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Christmas Prime Rib & Baked Potato Casserole

imagesWe started the tradition of cooking a prime rib on Christmas a few years ago, and my family loves it. It’s a great choice for us, because the ends come out well-done and make my no-pink-in-the-meat mother happy, but the center stays rare, just like I like it.

We serve this meat with store-bought horseradish sauce on the side, but the meat is delicious without anything but salt and pepper.

It’s a great choice for Christmas, because though it’s fancy, it’s fairly easy to cook. I prepare green bean casserole in advance, as well as a baked potato casserole (though baked potatoes would go nicely, if you don’t want to go to the trouble to make the casserole.) So your Christmas doesn’t have to be spent in the kitchen. Add a salad and some rolls (I use the frozen ones, which are yummier than anything I can make and take so much less time), and you’ve got yourself a fancy and delicious Christmas meal.

Prime Rib

Purchase a good quality prime rib, and figure about 2 people per bone, which should translate to about 1 pound per person. If you’re making a lot of great side-dishes, you could possibly get by with less. (On the other hand, the meat is yummy leftover on prime rib sandwiches.)

Sprinkle the roast with salt and pepper. Bake at 425 degrees for 30 minutes. Then lower the oven’s temperature to 325 and cook approximately 20 minutes per pound. I cook mine a little less, because I like it rare in the center. If you like it rare, take the roast out when the thermometer reads 125 to 130 degrees—because in those last 20 minutes before you slice it, it’ll continue cooking. If you like it medium, take it out at 150 degrees. It should cook to 160 before you slice it.

Let the roast rest for 20 minutes before you cut it.

Baked Potato Casserole

6 baking potatoes, washed, wrapped in foil, and baked until finished
½ cup butter, melted
1 cup sour cream
2 cups cheddar cheese, grated
1 cup crispy bacon, crumbled
salt and pepper
2-4 green onions, sliced

Cut baked potatoes into bite-sized pieces. You don’t need to peel them first, but you can if you want.

Mix potatoes, butter, sour cream, and cheddar. Season the mixture with salt and pepper to taste, and place it in a casserole dish.

Bake at 375 for 30-40 minutes. (If you make it a day ahead, it may take longer to heat up. Don’t be afraid to stir the mixture during cooking to help it heat evenly.)

Toss with bacon and green onions and serve.

 

DSC_8915-25edRobin Patchen lives in Edmond, Oklahoma, with her husband and three teenagers. Her third book, Finding Amanda, released in April, and its free prequel, Chasing Amanda, released in July. When Robin isn’t writing or caring for her family, she works as a freelance editor at Robin’s Red Pen, where she specializes in Christian fiction. Read excerpts and find out more at her website, robinpatchen.com.

 

 

 
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Posted by on December 16, 2015 in Uncategorized

 

Chocolate/Orange Pinwheel Cookies

Christmas Cookies 2014I only make these cookies once a year. They’re fussy, messy, and delicious beyond belief. It’s worth the fuss for Christmas every year. As you can see over on the far right, mine aren’t always perfect circles.

Chocolate/Orange Pinwheels

1 cup butter – softened
3 oz cream cheese – softened
1 cup sugar
1 egg
1 Tbsp grated orange peel
1 tsp vanilla
3 ½ cups flour
½ tsp salt

Mix in order given.  Chill.  While chilling mix filling in a small sauce pan:

1 cup semisweet chocolate chips
3 oz cream cheese
½ cup powdered sugar
¼ cup orange juice
Heat until melted together, set aside to cool.

Roll dough into two 10”x12” rectangles.  Spread with cooled filling.  Roll up into tight jelly rolls.  Wrap in waxed paper.  Chill overnight.  Slice ¼” thick and bake on parchment lined cookie sheets for 8 – 10 minutes at 375.  Slide parchment off sheets and onto racks to cool. Chocolate filling will firm once cooled.  About 8 dozen.

~ Pegg Thomas

Trooper and Pegg cropped

 

 

 

 

 

PeggThomas.com

 
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Posted by on December 14, 2015 in Uncategorized