Saturday, November 29, 2008

Magi's Journal Entry-10

The Shadow of Death

The trip has become more pleasant since the extremes of heat and cold are no longer so great. We have traveled so far that it has become easy to be complacent.

The path we follow twists like a snake through the mountains. We ease our way in single file, like a colorful parade. We must still trust the bright starlight and our torches to help us find our way.

I met the morning weary from the ride. The sun was about to rise and I looked forward to setting up camp. My mind was numb. Then our parade halted abruptly.

“Zachariah!” I heard the voices calling from behind. “What’s the trouble?”

At first I couldn’t tell what hindered the caravan.

“People are dismounting,” I finally called back to my friends. In the first light of dawn I watched the shadowy figures ahead climb the hills nearby.

“I have someone here,” I heard a voice call in the distance.

“Here is one!”

“There is another poor soul--over there!”

“What are they doing? What is happening?” I cried out in the darkness.

After a few moments a single word, was mumbled back to me. I felt as though I had fallen into icy waters when I heard the word bandits.

The guides were gathering the bodies that bandits had left behind. It could just as easily have been us. Our wealth made us targets for any wild band of robbers. We carry valuable treasures as gifts for the young king.

As the sun rose, we became even more alert, straining to see what was happening. Soon we could make out the images of the destroyed campsite before us. Our sober task was to bury the remains. We did the job quickly and with very little ceremony.

We decided that it might be wise to sleep in shifts. This would mean less sleep, but we had allowed ourselves to become forgetful. We forgot that there could be real danger hiding beyond any turn in the road.

Though I believe that I still can, and should, find some pleasure in this trip, I must remain vigilant. I am on a mission and represent my people. I must not fail.

* * * * *

Scripture Meditation
Psa. 17:8-9
Psa. 46:1-3

Friday, November 28, 2008

Thanksgiving leftovers


I always feel so lazy the day after Thanksgiving. Thanksgiving is filled with cooking, visiting, eating and washing dishes. No wonder I'm tired the next day! The only thing I want to figure out on the Friday afterwards is, what do I do with the leftovers.


It is very important that you do not feed pets certain Thanksgiving leftovers.

1. Do not give bones to your pets. They can splinter and damage internal organs.
2. Onions, garlic, onion powder, and garlic powder is not good for cats.
3. Grapes and raisins can cause acute renal failure. In some breeds it can cause complete kidney shut down.
4. Dark chocolate is toxic to dogs.
5. Most nuts are also bad for dogs.

1. Mix some of that leftover cranberry sauce with cream cheese to spread over an English muffin or bagel at breakfast time.
2. A good soup can be made from leftover turkey--cut in cubes, chicken stock, sauntered onions, and--if you have it--a little cooked onions and peas. Let them simmer together and add some noodles, or dumplings. Spice to taste.
3. There is always the standby, turkey and cheese burritos, turkey omelets, or the usual turkey sandwiches.

Have a restful day.

Thursday, November 27, 2008

Happy Thanksgiving,
From my home to yours!

Tuesday, November 25, 2008

Thankful and Thanksgiving

For a lot of people it is difficult to even think about being thankful during the holidays this year. Many fear losing a job or their home. You may find that your are on such a tight budget that it is difficult to face the extra expense that the holiday brings.

I understand.

This job hunting thing I am going through is very unnerving. I frequently find myself teetering between fear and faith. While I was perusing Ecclesiastes in preparation for a manuscript I am working on, I stumbled across a scripture that really put things in perspective. I now have this verse on my mirror so I am constantly reminded of its truth.

In the day of prosperity be joyful. But in the day of adversity consider: surely God has appointed the one as well as the other.
Ecclesiastes1:14 NKJV

It is so easy to be thankful when times are good. I was very thankful for the job I had last year. I loved the children and the staff. It made the loss much harder when I was let go. It was a bit like losing an extended family. It all came as such a great surprise.

This scripture reminds me that nothing is a surprise to God. He knows the good times, but is also aware when adversity is coming into our lives. That knowledge somehow makes it easier for me to get out of bed and dress to go on job interviews. It is what helped me to rewrite my manuscript after receiving a devastating rejection. The thing about being thankful is that it is a choice that sets forth a positive chain of events.

Just as my latest manuscript is better because of the rejection and rewrites, I must believe that I will be a better person after this season of hardship is over. For this I can be thankful.

I can open my freezer and pantry and see that I have it stocked with food. For that I can be thankful. I do have a part-time job and my son has a full-time job. For that I can be thankful. I made a mortgage payment again this month. For that I can be thankful.

Members of my family will gather together this Thanksgiving. We will share a traditional meal. New friends from my part-time job gathered last week for a pre-Thanksgiving get-together. During this time of unemployment, my friends from church have shown me great support and generosity. I can't help but be thankful.

--And I can't wait to look up this very post in the archive a year from now and see how my life has changed!

Sunday, November 23, 2008

Simple Holiday Recipes

Many of you in the U. S. are putting the finishing touches to your Thanksgiving menu. Some of you out of the country are all ready gathering recipes for your Christmas dinner or trying to find something for your Christmas parties.

Let's face it. We all live busy lives. We like good food, but most of us don't have a lot of time to give to the preparation of a meal.
Here are two side dishes that you can throw together rather quickly. The first is one I often put together and people always like it. I ate the second at a Thanksgiving get-together yesterday and liked so much I decided to make it for my family get-together.

Fruit Salad Ambrosia

Whipped topping--Cool Whip or another brand
Variety of fruit--canned or fresh or a variety of both
shredded coconut--optional
chopped walnuts or pecan--optional

I like to buy the canned tropical fruit mix and add chopped fresh fruit--bananas, apples, grapes, and so on. I mix these with the whipped topping. If I am with a group that enjoys nuts and coconut, I add these. You can be creative. Pop it into the refrigerator until time to serve. In a matter of minutes you have a tasty side dish.

Cranberry Sauce Salad

1 large package of cherry Jello
1 can of cranberry sauce
2 c. boiling water
1 (20 oz.) can crushed pineapple (drained and chilled)

Mix Jello in boiling water. Add cranberry sauce, blend well. Fold in pineapple and pour into a mold or bowl. refrigerate.

I hope these recipes simplify your Thanksgiving or Christmas.

May you truly remember that our time on this Earth is limited and precious. Take the time to tell someone you love them.

. . . if there be any virtue, and if there be any praise, think on these things.
Philippians 4:8 KJV

Wednesday, November 19, 2008

Pumpkin Ginger soup

I have been neglecting my blog a bit. Between job hunting and trying to get my manuscript ready to send to an agent, I barely have a moment to rest. Keep your fingers crossed and maybe one day one of my books will be on the Wal-Mart shelf.

In the meantime, I promised you a pumpkin soup recipe. When I first took a bite of this soup, I was surprised. I expected it to have the sweet taste of pumpkin pie or pumpkin bread. Once I pushed that thought out of my mind and took a second taste, I realized it was a great, hearty soup.

My mother likes a late Thanksgiving dinner, so I will make this soup the night before and eat a bowl for lunch. This is definitely a soup that taste better the second day.

Enjoy and let me know what you think of this recipe. By the way, I found this from .

Pumpkin Ginger Soup
2 cups--or 1 can pumpkin (not pumpkin pie)
3 cups chicken broth
3 tablespoons butter
1 cup light cream
1 medium onion, diced
1 medium apple, diced (I used a Granny Smith apple)
1 teaspoon ground ginger
1/2 teaspoon salt

Melt butter in a heavy saucepan. Saute onion and apple until tender. Stir in pumpkin, broth, and spices. Remove from heat.

Process or blend until smooth. Return to saucepan and stir in cream.

Heat through and serve.

Sunday, November 16, 2008


I was shopping yesterday when I came across some coffee mugs I had to buy.

I hate those cups and saucers that come with a new set of dishes. They are always so tiny--some say petite--that I can't cozy up under a warm afghan on the couch with a satisfying drink of coffee or tea.--So the dainty cups and saucers are relegated to a back drawer in the kitchen.

The four mugs I purchased were retro, with earth tone colors and an art deco design. Drinking from these mugs reminds me of a different era, when a coffee shop brought to mind characters from a Micky Spillane novel instead of the cast of Friends.

I never used to drink coffee, even after the Starbuck's explosion. Then I went on a mission trip to Brazil. Strong coffee was everywhere, served in disposable plastic cups, about the size and shape of a shot glass. That was a powerful brew!

When I returned home, I felt exhausted for days. Then I got the idea that a cup of coffee might be the pick-me-up I needed. I bought a grinder and coffee pot. I've been a coffee drinker ever since.

I occasionally treat myself to a cup from one of those specialty coffee shops, but mostly make my own. I do splurge and sometimes buy the flavored creamers or grind my own beans. Closer to Christmas I will share some blends and favorite flavors that you can make at home.

As the cashier wrapped up my new mugs I joked that coffee just seems to taste better when it's served from a favorite mug. Most of you probably agree.

Tuesday, November 11, 2008

A Veteran's Day Thank You

I come from military roots and my dad spent 20 years in the U.S.M.C. I can speak of the sacrifices that a military family makes. Right now I thank the spouses and children of soldiers. Most people don't understand what the military life is like for the family.

Veterans, I am at a loss of words. My thank you seems very lame. It is so inadequate in the light of the sacrifice you have given for your country. All I can do is say, Thanks and God bless you. To the U. S. Marines, may I add--
Semper Fi!

Monday, November 10, 2008

Thank You, Readers

I want to take a moment to thank all of you who pop into this site. I also want to thank everyone who has taken the time to leave a post. It gives me encouragement to know you are reading and think enough about what I have said to communicate a message. It also helps me to grow as a writer. I need to know what people think of my writing--the good and the not so good. I want to know what sounds real and what comes off as being cheesy. You comments will help.

Thank you all.

Sunday, November 9, 2008

Magi's Journal--Entry 9

Water! Is there a word that sounds more wonderful! Because of this trip, water and life have come to be the same thing for me.

We scrambled to the stream and drank the cool, sweet water. After this, we watered the animals and bathed ourselves. It was the most wonderful thing that has happened to us on the trip, thus far.

To feel dirty, filthy and then to have fresh, cool water washing over our bodies was indescribable joy. Then we slept the most refreshing sleep of the entire journey.

That night we awoke and went about our chores. The men reluctantly began to take down the tents.

“Wait,” I called to our guide. “Stop what you are doing!”

“What is it?” He spat back without masking his irritation. I had infringed on his domain.

“I want to save everyone the trouble of packing,” I replied, coolly. “We aren’t going anywhere tonight.”

“What are you talking about,” the guide sounded defensive. “I know my job and you do not need to be wasting our time.”

“Look,” I persisted, pointing toward the sky. Though still early in the evening, the brightness of the star was clear. “This star has not moved since last night. I don’t think it will move either.”

Our guide stared into the sky for a long time, considering my comments. “I believe you are right,” he finally conceded. “That is very good for us because we have repairs to make and the animals could use a rest.”

“I can’t imagine a better place for us to rest either.” I left our guide to spread the word throughout the camp.

* * * * *

Scripture Meditation: Is. 40:30

Friday, November 7, 2008

A Nation's Healing

I think we have all had some time to catch our breaths after the U. S. Presidential election. Whether we are happy with the results or not, the election is over. We must accept it and move on. We would expect the other side to have done the same if they had lost.

This was an emotional election. There was a lot of passion from the Democrats and Republicans. This got me to thinking about the transition of power in other countries. In my lifetime I have heard news reports of violent take-overs of governments in various parts of the world. Arms, hostility, civil war decided government leaders instead of free elections. Yes, we did have a civil war that caused great suffering, but it didn't overthrow the Republic.

Even when the Presidency is interrupted by death, assassination, or impeachment, the anarchy is held at bay. The baton is passed to the Vice President and the work of the government goes on.

Whether I like the results of the election or not, I am thankful to live in a stable country. Let's commit to praying for this country and its leaders. Let us pray that this stability will remain.

Wednesday, November 5, 2008

Magi Journal--entry 8

The day after the storm was followed by hot sticky air. We quickly moved toward the mountain range in the horizon.

We were all unsure how how we would cross this range. It would be almost impossible to follow the path through the darkness of night.

“How will we do this?” Malchiah finally voiced our thoughts. “How are we going to see this path at night?”

“Faith got us through the desert,” I said, trying to mask my own grimness.

“Will faith give our animals strength to carry our provisions? Will faith allow us to see in the dark?” Malchiah was always the practical one.

“We have done all that we can do to ensure our success. We have good animals and guides to show us their travel secrets. None of that can guarantee our survival.” After a sigh, I added, “All we really have now is our faith. We may have to go against our own instincts when we follow this star into the mountains, but we must obey its creator.”

After the sunset, we resumed our climb. To our good fortune, the moon was moving toward fullness, shining brightly on the world below.

As we traveled up to higher altitudes, the air grew colder and thinner. Sleep was difficult to fight. Our bodies were weak from the strain.

We are not nomads, nor are we men who have worked as soldiers. We are not great athletes, just simple men who have embarked on an incredible journey.

When it seemed as though our bodies could go no further, we were at the highest point. Sunrise revealed the valley below. There was grassy land and a river --with fresh, cool water! Even though this landscape was far from us, the mere sight of it refreshed our spirits. We now had the strength to continue.

* * * * *
Scripture Meditation
Psalms 104:1,5,10,11,34

Sunday, November 2, 2008

Palin, Media, and Political Correctness--Part 2

As you know, I wrote yesterday from the heart. I am a woman who fought hard as a single mother to provide a home for my child. I know what living with a double standard is like.I know what it is like to be denied a job because of my sex. Maybe that is why I was so encouraging to have someone like Palin as a role model for women. I was hopeful that things were improving. Palin wasn’t a woman born into Kennedy style wealth, but she was able to run for political office anyway.

Then people who preach equal rights—but obviously don’t practice what they preach—use sexism and misogyny to drag her down. I found the Obama/wink commercial highly offensive and wondered if I was the only person in America who felt this way. A search on the Internet proves that I’m not. Democrats as well as Republicans are speaking out about this affront to women.

I would like to present you with some comments about the Obama/Palin Wink Commercial. These comments are taken from people who know far more about political issues than I. Some see the Obama Campaign’s sexism as a trend that first showed itself in the primary against Clinton.

Perhaps this is more of a character flaw than a trend.

Prameela Bartholomeusz, a member of the Democratic Party's platform committee: "I am once again stunned at the personal and sexist attacks by the Obama campaign against Gov. Palin. This latest ad is sexist and offensive. ... Sen. Obama never spoke up against sexism during the primary season, and is not speaking out against misogyny during this phase of the election season -- he is contributing to it."

Stephanie Bressler, a Hillary Clinton supporter, University of Scranton women and politics professor: "It's a sexist example of reducing a woman to an object - a wink - and denying her a voice. Her lips are actually moving, but she's not allowed to be heard."

Shelly Mandell, president of Los Angeles chapter of the National Organization for Women, called the ad "sexist and demeaning to women. These tactics started with Hillary Clinton and continue, growing even more disgusting with Gov. Palin. I was a Hillstar for Hillary and an avid supporter. Trashing two women clearly in a sexist manner in one election is an outrage and must be identified and stopped."

Judy Singleton, co-chair of Indiana Women for McCain, called the ad "an affront to talented women everywhere. To imply that Gov. Palin doesn't understand economics because she's pretty and winks is ridiculous."

My source for these quotes is The Dallas Morning News.

Saturday, November 1, 2008

Palin, Media, and Political Correctness--Part 1

My goal has been to write a Blog that is about positive things. I never wanted to be controversial or political. Today and tomorrow I will make exceptions because something has happened that is so bothersome, I can’t, in good conscious, ignore it. Please forgive me, knowing that I am speaking from my heart.

I hope that you will agree that misogyny is wrong—just as racism is wrong—always. Misogyny is the showing of hatred toward women. The end does not justify the means.

In 1984 Geraldine Ferraro was the first woman to run as a Vice President of the United States. The Republicans, for the most part, took the high road. She was not openly criticized for her sex. She had not run a state, but she was considered competent all the same. There was one event, however, that I did find discouraging. I believe it was in Houston when a microphone was left on that George Bush, senior (then V. P.) mentioned that after a debate that he had kicked Ferraro’s behind—though that was not the word the Texan would use. I found the comment so filled with misogyny that I lost a great deal of respect for him.

Now we have a new woman running for Vice President for the United States. I was sure that we were more enlightened than we were in the 1980s. How could her sex be an issue? In a country that was so filled with political correctness, I was sure she wouldn’t be asked about things like, “who would care for the children.” No one asked a male candidate that. Naturally she would use caregivers, just like every other working mother in the U. S. They wouldn’t treat her like some bimbo. She has run an entire state—which is far more experience than some other candidates. This isn’t the 1960s. The media would treat her respectfully. We are a politically correct society.

Boy was I wrong.

Could hate language be fueling a propaganda machine against a woman who had the courage to live the American dream? Could it be that the powers that flood our TV are filled with misogyny? That would explain the fixation with stiletto shoes.

As these thoughts filled my mind I viewed the Obama/wink commercial. This was far worse than anything Bush Sr. said about Geraldine Ferraro. This single commercial set women back to the days of Women’s Suffrage and made me physically ill. How could an attractive woman know anything about politics? The commercial might as well have had the caption read: Don’t worry your pretty little head honey. Let the men take care of the country.

Tomorrow I will have thoughts about this topic from individuals with more political savvy that me. These comments will be references. Thank you for indulging me.