Saturday, November 30, 2013

Cherry Dream Slice

Christmas is coming and with it comes the pressure that it HAS to be perfect. 

Before your head explodes from the realization you're never going to get everything done in time consider this...

Just because it's tradition doesn't mean you HAVE to do it! 

Remember the Grinch?

In his attempt to put an end to Christmas, he takes away everything that, in his mind, "makes" Christmas for the Who's.  We all know what happens.

"...It came without ribbons!  It came without tags!  It came without packages, boxes or bags!" (From "How The Grinch Stole Christmas" by Dr. Seuss)

And then we glean great wisdom from our beloved Dr. Seuss...

"Maybe Christmas...doesn't come from a store.  Maybe Christmas...perhaps...means a little bit more!". (From "How The Grinch Stole Christmas" by Dr. Seuss)

Wise words to keep in mind as we move into the Advent season.

So, in an effort to simply your life, and NOT have your head explode, but still satisfy everyone's desire for home made treats I give to you...a sweet, cherry Christmas-y treat that takes very little time or effort...Cherry Dream Slice.


Shortbread Base
1/2 cup butter
1 1/4 cups flour
3 tbsp. sugar
Mix together and pat into an 8 x 8 inch pan.  Bake at 325 degrees for 25 minutes.  Let cool.

24 marshmallows
1 small mashed banana
15 drained maraschino cherries, chopped

Butter the inside of a double boiler.  Put in marshmallows and melt, stirring regularly.  (If you don't have a double boiler use a standard pot on very low heat.  Stir regularly so marshmallows don't burn.). When marshmallows are melted stir in banana and cherries.  Spread on shortbread base.  Let cool.

1/4 cup butter
1/4 tsp. vanilla
1 cup icing sugar
A drizzle of milk

Beat butter until smooth, add icing sugar, vanilla, and a small drizzle of milk.  Beat until smooth.  Add small amounts of milk as necessary until you have a soft icing of spreading consistency.  Spread over top of slice.  Refrigerate.

Sunday, November 10, 2013


This is Remembrance Day weekend. 

It’s true we all look forward to a long weekend, but let’s not forget to pause to remember the reason behind Remembrance Day.

On Monday, November 11, pause to think about the men and women who have lost their lives, and those still fighting to protect freedom and justice.

I live in Canada, a country where the people and landscape is diverse as the temperature. 

We are free.  Free to choose our government.  Free to choose our religion.  Free to work.  Free to pursue education.  Free to enjoy leisure time.  Free to participate in sports.  Free to drive a vehicle.  Free to choose our lifestyle. 

Our list of freedoms is extensive.
Other countries don’t have this luxury.

Recently Pastor Charles Mathole, a Pastor in the Redeemed Gospel Church in Mombasa, Kenya, was murdered while he prayed in the sanctuary of his church.

Southwood United Church, a church in Calgary, partners with the Mombasa church and Pastor Charles to sponsor the Bridge Africa Trade School.  This is a school for at risk girls to  learn to sew and operate a business so they don't become victims of the sex trade.

A number of people from Southwood traveled to Mombasa a year ago to meet with Pastor Charles and celebrate the graduation of the first group of girls from the school.

I know many people’s hearts ache for the loss of this Godly man.  Prior to the murder, Pastor Charles received death threats, but continued to do God's work.  One of Pastor Charles' close friends writes on her Facebook page, “THEY WILL SILENCE MY VOICE BUT NOT MY SOUL”.

This is what our Canadian forces fight against every day.  They fight fear mongers and those who have no respect for life.  They fight against injustice and oppression.  They fight those who would silence voices of equality and compassion.

Our troops do a job few of us have the courage or stomach to face.  This weekend we honour them.  Let us never forget or cease to appreciation the freedoms we enjoy in Canada.

Thursday, November 7, 2013

Too Busy To Rest

When was the last time you set aside a day to do nothing?  No, being home sick in bed doesn’t count.  I mean an honest to goodness day to do whatever your heart desires, NOT what’s on your To Do List.

If you’re like me it was probably a long time ago.  Sure, there are good intentions, but somehow obligations or things that HAVE to get done get in the way.  Sound familiar?

I’m a disciplined person.  I make schedules and set goals for things I want to accomplish on the weekend.  My plan is always to work hard and get everything on the list done right away and then relax and enjoy the weekend.

But either the list is too long…or the weekend is too short.  Either way Sunday evening finds me frustrated, dashing around trying to finish the last few things on the list, instead of relaxing in a hot tub doing my nails.

You’d think I’d learn, but…I don’t!  Lately I’ve been getting a lot of messages about the busyness of life.

Recently a friend and I toured a Japanese garden.  At the entrance to the
garden lies a “tripping stone”.  It’s a roughly finished stone purposefully set into the walkway.  All who enter the garden are forced to walk over this stone.  We asked why.

The rough, pitted finish on the stone forces the visitor to walk slowly over it, in order to avoid tripping as they enter the garden.  When you slow down you become more aware of your surroundings, allowing you to appreciate the serenity of the garden.

Wouldn’t it be good if tripping stones were laid across our paths throughout the day, forcing us to slow down and notice life?

Our women’s study group is reading Mark Buchanan’s book, “The Rest of God – Restoring Your Soul by Restoring Sabbath”. 

Here’s an interesting story…

I leave the office half an hour late, rush home, cook and inhale dinner, rush out the door crunching a Gaviscon and clutching a tea to arrive at a study on the REST of God…half an hour late.  How ironic is that!
I’m afraid I identify with one of Buchanan’s comments just a little too much,
“When we get too busy, everything becomes either a trudge or a scramble, the doldrums or sheer mayhem…We just want to be left alone…When we lose concern for friendship, for truth and beauty and goodness…when we hear news of trouble among our neighbours and our first thought is that we hope it isn’t going to involve us…when we must meet the situation with genuine, heartfelt compassion, wisdom, courage – and nothing’s there, only grim resignation and a dull resentment that we got dragged into this…we’re too busy.”  Page 48

Here’s the sad part, I know what he’s talking about.  And I know I’ve come to this point by my own doing, through self-imposed expectations and obligations.  What about you?

Why don’t we allow ourselves a Sabbath rest?  Instead of pushing to the point of exhaustion let’s slow down and take a day to rest, to relax, to pamper, to renew, to do whatever brings joy. 

My goal over the next few months is to give myself a day off from busyness.  What about you?  Do you need a day of rest?  Set aside that time now and don’t compromise.  Make it happen.