If we contemplate Mary at the foot of her Son's cross, we will learn to offer our pain and suffering to him and to have great sympathy for those who suffer. Let us ask her now to teach us to sanctify pain, uniting it to that of her Son, Jesus. Let us ask the Holy Innocents to help us...to offer up our own pain and to have great compassion for all who suffer."
is a wild thing,
filled with love.
to a Dove.
My feet dance
a mad dance
For my eyes see
and the Spirit
In a Child.
Since the first year Bill and I were married, I have made gingerbread every year! I usually wait until until we are very close to the feast because I dislike doing tons of Christmas baking at the very start of Advent. In fact,, I usually begin most of my baking when we are a week away from Christmas and have begun praying the O Antiphons.
I am up early this morning with only little Joseph to keep me company and will pop a batch into the oven...maybe it will be done before my sleepyheads get up and they can have a special treat for breakfast. :)
Here's the recipe; it is very delicious and very easy...and oh does it rise high above the pan!
1/2 c. sugar
1/2 c. butter, melted
2 1/2 c. all purpose unbleached flour
1 1/2 tsp. baking soda
1/2 tsp. salt
1 1/2 tsp. ginger
1 tsp. cinnamon
1/4 tsp. cloves (freshly grated, if you have it)
1/2 c. molasses
1/2 c. honey
1 c. boiling water
Beat egg, adding sugar and butter. Sift together flour and other dry ingredients. Combine molasses, honey and boiling water until smooth, and blend into egg mixture. combine with dry ingredients and pour into greased 9x9 inch pan. Bake at 350 degrees for 50-55 minutes. Cool completely, cut into squares and top with whipped cream if desired.
*This year I am going to try and use two loaf pans instead of one 9x9...I can then freeze one for another day or give one away to a neighbor....I usually make this recipe a few times so we always end up with some hot, fresh gingerbread through to Epiphany! :)
Last night I took Grace out to get some jewelry-making supplies at Michael's. She is showing an interest in learning how to make lovely hand-made jewelry. I am hoping for some very pretty earrings for Christmas! :)
While Grace was browsing the aisles, I wandered down to the local Barnes and Noble to pick up a new novel to read. I have taken a break from reading through all of D. E. Stevenson's lovely novels for a while. There are so few of her titles in print and they can be quite expensive to purchase used. And I have exhausted all that our local library (including ILL) has to offer....and I think I will cry buckets when I have read all her books, so I want to make them last!! :)
But, I am a member of a wonderful yahoo group of D.E. Stevenson fans and they are all such unique ladies (and gentlemen) and quite the bibliophiles. In fact, I have been able to find new authors to enjoy thanks to these generous souls!
Which leads me back to why I entered Barnes and Noble--I wanted to purchase my first Mrs. Pollifax novel by Dorothy Gilman. They are readily available at the library (though I just had to have a good read right that moment, so I splurged!...What a nice surprise to find a new mystery series of books. Ah, perfect bliss!!
After securing my Mrs. Pollifax, Rose, Marie and I all headed for the kids' area. My sweet little girls bee-lined right for the American Girl books and I browsed the big Christmas picture book display. I own tons of beautiful Christmas and Advent books already...But, I did manage to find a few titles that interested me, if only to put on hold at the library.
I liked the writing style of this author, who wrote a familiar story about St. Francis in an engaging way for young readers. The illustrations were muted, original and whimsical!
I also found another pretty book: Yes, Virginia, there is a Santa Claus.
The review on amazon explains that "in 1897, eight-year-old Virginia O'Hanlon wrote the New York Sun to ask a simple question: Is there a Santa Claus? The editor's response was a stirring defense of hope, generosity, and the spirit of childhood. His essay has been reprinted countless times since, and the phrase "Yes, Virginia, there is a Santa Claus" has become part of American Christmas lore. Based on these actual events, Yes, Virginia is the story of a little girl who taught a city to believe."
And then I spied a few potential goodies that I can tuck away for the feast of St. Nicholas!
Make and Do Christmas Cards and Creche (this one looked so fun and easy to do with my 6 and 8 year olds!)....
Now, the perfect end to this fun little excursion? A mocha with whipped cream! But, it didn't happen last night--it was getting late and we still had the Rosary to pray when we got home, but there is always next time! :)
"Listen! Do you hear the gurgle of a baby? It is God's gurgle! He is in the manger, and He is happy to have become a human being. Consider the incredible nature of what has happened. God entered the womb of a human being! God stayed there as every child stays--for nine months. And then He was born! That, my friends, my dearly beloved ones, is the Incarnation."
"When God becomes a Child, then the wrong image of ourselves vanishes. Because in a cradle, in a crib, we see Love so small that we can pick it up. And we look at that cradle and ask ourselves, 'Why do I think that God does not love me? Here He is.'"
Let this Christmas be for us a turning point...Let us become small enough to kneel at the crib and big enough just to reach the level of the Baby's eyes. Let us look into them--and catch sight of Love Incarnate! Then we shall be made whole again, and our hunger will be filled.
--Catherine Doherty, Donkey Bells