1 cup butter or margarine 2 1/4 cups flour 1 cup sugar or brown sugar OR 1/2 cup each 1 teaspoon baking soda 1/8 tsp salt 1 egg 1 1/2 tsp. almond extract
Cream butter, sugar and egg together, with almond extract. Sift dry ingredients together. Add to creamed mixture. shape into balls and place on ungreased cookie sheet with ample space to allow for expansion.
Place an almond on each ball, and bake at 375 for 13 to 15 minutes. Makes 3 to 5 dozen cookies. ( I usually get two to three dozen, but then, I never get as much as the recipe says it will make)
I entered the Gazette holiday fiction contest this year. I didn't win, but if you get a chance you should read the winning entry. Written by a high school girl it's a fabulous story of redemption and forgiveness; very tender and insightful.
We were supposed to write a story around a photo of an old truck decked out in Christmas lights. My entry was entitled "Home is Where the Heart Is" and it is offered below. Thanks!
Mel woke up to the sun streaming in through the window. He could feel the cold seeping into his bones. He shifted, stretching as best he could knowing he’d have to get out of the truck to do a proper job of it. Stepping out he left the door open to help clear off the windows and did a few toe touches to get his blood circulating.
After living in his old rattle-trap of a truck for the past year and a half Mel had a pretty good routine down. Except for the cold weather months he was doing pretty well. Climbing back in behind the steering wheel he drove himself to a local coffee shop where he got himself a cup of coffee and a muffin for breakfast before heading over to the YMCA. Paying four dollars allowed him to have a swim and then enjoy the showers and bathrooms to clean up.
By now it was ten o’clock and he hurried to make his way to a nearby construction site where they sometimes had extra work he could pick up. Today was not one of those days. He spent a couple of hours making the rounds trying to find some type of work but just after Thanksgiving it was a rough road.
Climbing back into his pickup Mel sat for a moment before starting it up. Yeah, he decided, it was a rough road, but he’d seen plenty of those in his 59 years, including his time in the army in Viet Nam. He’d survived that and he’d get through this. One of these days he’d get a regular job with a regular paycheck and find himself an apartment to live in instead of his truck. He’d turn things around.
Late in the afternoon he was sitting in a coffee shop having a bite to eat and listening to the Christmas music playing in the dining room. It made him think of all the Christmases he’d spent and what they’d been like. “A lot different than this one was going to be,” he told himself with a shake of his head.
When he was little his mother had made the holidays really special; baking cookies, decorating the house and even taking the time to sew his father, his brother and him special Christmas vests every year. She always started playing her Christmas records the day before Thanksgiving. Her favorite was Perry Como and she must have had three or four of his albums alone. The memory brought a smile to his lips. Those were wonderful Christmases.
In college he’d married a pretty girl he’d met in his world history class. Dark brown hair and bright green eyes, he’d been smitten from the first. Six months after their first date they were married, and a year later Michael was born. That Christmas was the best he’d ever known. They’d gone crazy buying presents for Michael, decorating the tree and starting what they thought would be many years of their own family traditions. He never knew he could be so happy.
But that was also the Christmas he’d gotten his draft notice and by June he found himself in the jungles of Southeast Asia. It wasn’t like anything he’d ever known before. Those relationships, borne out of a dependency and need unlike at home, forged a family there as well. They made those holiday celebrations their own, sharing the care packages that made it with each other and celebrating each in their own way, combining them to make something special and unique. It might sound strange, but there was love there in those jungles too.
After the war things changed for Mel, and not the way he’d hoped for. Returning home to his family was a struggle. He and his wife tried to make things work between them, even having another baby, a daughter they named Emily. That first Christmas after she was born was strained and tense. The joy was there along with love for the kids, but they both knew it was their last shared holiday.
Since then things had been a rollercoaster for Mel. He’d drifted away from his children, following a series of menial, labor-oriented jobs that took him all around the country. When he finally tried to reconnect with his children, they’d drifted away from him. Who could blame them? He was a stranger to them.
So here he sat. The economic downturn had left him unemployed and he’d lost his apartment. All he had was a few personal possessions crammed into his pickup and living from one temporary job to another, the holidays approaching and things looking decidedly un-merry.
Seated near the window he looked out and watched as the colored lights on the storefront across the street lit up. The street, which had looked dark and lonely, was now bright and beckoning. Hmmm, thought Mel. A few lights and everything changed. Suddenly a thought occurred to him, and feeling more positive then he had in a long time, he finished his meal and hurried out to his truck.
After stopping at the drugstore, he drove to a well lit area of the parking lot and took out his purchases. Three boxes of big, round, multi-colored Christmas lights, and some duct tape. With a smile he went to work. In short order his truck was outlined with the lights and, after connecting them to his battery he shut the hood and climbed in behind the wheel.
Crossing his fingers he turned the key. Immediately his truck was ablaze with the colors of Christmas! Blue, green, red, yellow—around the windows, outlining the hood and bumpers; his truck was a vision.
His mother always said home was where the heart is. Well, he thought, he may not have a home of his own, but he still had a heart that loved Christmas. Who said he couldn’t have Christmas wherever he was? After all, he told himself, couldn’t your heart be where your home was?
Pulling out onto the street he turned his radio on to the station that was playing the carols of the season. A car pulled up next to him and honked drawing his attention to them.
“Right on, man!” they shouted and waved. “Merry Christmas!”
“Merry Christmas!” Mel yelled back with an answering wave.
Thirdly - I must post the rules: The rules of this award are: 1. You have to pass it on to 5 other fabulous blogs in a post.
2. You have to list 5 of your fabulous addictions in the post
3. You must copy and paste the rules and the instructions below in the post.
Instructions: On your post of receiving this award, make sure you include the person that gave you the award and link it back to them. When you post your five winners, make sure you link them as well. To add the award to your post, simply right-click, save image, then "add image" it in your post as a picture so your winners can save it as well. To add it to your sidebar, add the "picture" gadget. Also, don't forget to let your winners know they won an award from you by emailing them or leaving a comment on their blog.
I know I'm early with this, but with this sciatica and the pain I've been having, getting down to the basement to blog has been a major achievement. I've been singing this song in my head because I have so many blessings to count! Not only am I blessed with a loving and supportive family with my husband and sons, but my ward family has been there for me in countless ways...most notibly by understanding and sharing their own experiences. I may have another month to deal with this and want to remember that things could be worse.
So, here are the lyrics to Irving Berlin's song 'COUNT YOUR BLESSINGS'......
When I'm worried and I can't sleep I count my blessings instead of sheep And I fall asleep counting my blessings
When my bankroll is getting small I think of when I had none at all And I fall asleep counting my blessings
I think about a nursery and I picture curly heads And one by one I count them as they slumber in their beds If you're worried and you can't sleep Just count your blessings instead of sheep And you'll fall asleep counting your blessings
My friend Tara and her family came over the other night. I love her and her family and her children are so precious to me. My boys fixed them each a cup of hot chocolate, and gave them some of the peanut butter balls they'd made to sample. (Recipe is on an earlier post.)
Little Tyler, who is only two, reminds me a lot of my boys when they were babies, and he tugs at my heart. After he was done with his treat I asked him for a kiss, which he smilingly gave me -- right on my tummy! I was wearing a white shirt, and I had chocolate kiss marks on it after he was done. It was so sweet, and reminded me of when I used to have lots of those kinds of things on my clothing when AJ and Kevin were small.
Tara was a little concerned, but the next day the stains came out with no problem. But ... I wasn't sure, as I looked at my clean white shirt, whether I was glad the stains were gone or not. I know that one day that sweet little boy who gave me that kiss unreservedly, will probably view me as his mother's weird old friend, and the idea of giving me a kiss will be horrific. So part of me kind of wanted to keep it. *sigh*
Plus I could have embarassed him with it when he becomes a teenager!
Last night was crazy. Our little old beagle, Daisy -- who turns 13 in March -- decided she wanted to sleep in our room. Usually she stays in the living room where it's warm and quiet. So after much struggle with her old legs, she climbed the stairs and came into our room. I gave her some lovings and rubbed her ears then turned out the lights. She settled down on my side of the bed and stayed quiet during prayers.
But, as soon as I climbed in under the covers she fell asleep and started the most horrible snoring! When my husband came to bed he quickly fell asleep and started snoring too! And there I was, in the middle of these two noisy sleepers.
That wasn't too bad, but then I started paying way more atention to the two of them then going to sleep myself. Sometimes they snored in unison, sometimes they got a counterpoint going. It was crazy.
But then, who's the crazy lady paying attention???
When life itself seems lunatic, who knows where madness lies? To surrender dreams--this may be madness; to seek treasure where there is only trash. Too much sanity may be madness! But maddest of all--to see life as it is and not as it should be.
I have been married for over 27 years to my husband Stan. We have two sons, AJ (26) and Kevin (24). We have two crazy dogs named Jasper and Riley. I love my life, my family and have a strong faith that directs me.
Feel free to comment on my postings and let me know how you feel. I always like making new friends!