Tag Archives: christmas

Christmas, Friends and Recipes…

It’s three days til Christmas

And in the Reeve house

I’ve been thinking about friendship,

Hoping I won’t find a mouse! (I detest rodents!)
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     Okay! I agree, the poetry is awful, but thinking about friendship and time I’ve spent recently with friends has been quite lovely!

     Thoughts about friendship began when I retrieved a pumpkin bread recipe I make almost every holiday season. The 3×5 lined index card on which the recipe is typed is quite ratty, spattered with ancient remnants of batter. I’m sure germs linger on the card, and I probably should toss it.

     But, I’m not going to do that because of the history this recipe card holds. I have a few other similar treasures, and I suppose many of you do as well.

     Many years ago, I lived for a little over a year in Rhode Island. During most of that time, I worked in the Pathology Department at Rhode Island Hospital in Providence. In my stint as a medical transcriptionist there, I forged a casual friendship with a co-worker named Christine.

     Chris was adorable with dark hair, big brown eyes and animated characteristics consistent with her full-blooded Italian heritage. We were about the same age. We were both chatty and enjoyed visiting while eating lunch in the hospital cafeteria. We were both recent newlyweds. Homemaking was a value we shared. Our Christian faith was an important component of both our journeys.

     Also, we both enjoyed cooking.

     The Pumpkin Bread recipe was one of several exchanged during our few months of friendship. I’ve given small loaves of the sweet bread to a lot of people over the years. Almost every time, someone asks for the recipe.

     Four or five years ago when I was whipping up a batch of Chris’ Pumpkin Bread, I decided to see if I could locate my ‘old’ friend. I remembered her husband’s name was David, and I couldn’t imagine their Italian last name was that common. I checked the on-line white pages telephone directory for Providence, and sure enough, there was the name—with not only a number but an address to boot!

     I decided calling might be too awkward, so instead, I sent a little note. Shortly, Chris replied. We’ve exchanged Christmas cards and personal notes since that time. She has been a faithful Listening on the Journey… reader and told me some of the posts have helped her deal with a heartbreaking challenge she and her family are navigating.

     I love what C. S. Lewis says about friendship.

Friendship is born at that moment when one person says to another, ‘What! You too? I thought I was the only one.[1]

     I can think of no better time than Christmas to celebrate the significance of friendships. Also, I don’t imagine there’s a better time to share a cherished recipe with friends. So, to you, my friends, I share Christine’s recipe.

Pumpkin Bread

3 1/3 C. sifted flour

2 tsp. baking soda

1 ½ tsp. salt

1 tsp. each cinnamon and nutmeg

Sift dry ingredients together. In a separate bowl, mix together:

1 C. oil

3 C. sugar

(FYI: I made this note on the recipe card: ‘Important to use full amount of oil and sugar.’ I assume I tried to lighten up the recipe one time, and the outcome wasn’t too successful.)

4 eggs, added whole

1/3 C. water

2 C. canned pumpkin

1 C. dates, chopped

1 C. nuts, chopped (walnuts or pecans both work well)

Fold dry ingredients into pumpkin mixture.

Grease and flour 4 one-lb. coffee cans well and pour batter into cans a little over half full. Let batter set about 20 minutes in the cans before putting in the oven. Bake at 350 degrees for one hour or slightly longer (depending on oven). After bread has cooled, take out of cans and finish cooling. Put into baggies and put back in clean coffee cans and store in freezer. Can also use 10” Bundt pan – 350 for 70 minutes.

Note: I haven’t used the coffee cans for years but instead use small loaf pans. I check after about 45 minutes in oven, insert knife in center to make sure loaves are fully baked. Cool and wrap in plastic wrap and foil. Add a pretty bow and gift tag. Co-workers and neighbors love the special treat.

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     Here’s to Christmastime treats, enduring friendships and the Reason for this season…

Sue Reeve

  1. http://www.positivityblog.com/index.php/2016/01/13/friendship-quotes/

Celebrating Winter, Hanukkah & Christmas

Wednesday, December 21, 2016, marks the first official day of winter.

Welcome, Winter!

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Winter scenes from our backyard.

Saturday, December 24, 2016, marks the beginning of Hanukkah

Happy Hanukkah!

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Hanukkah is a Jewish holiday commemorating the rededication of the Holy Temple in Jerusalem at the time of the Maccabean Revolt. Judah the Maccabee, defeated one of the mightiest armies on earth, driving the Greeks from the land and reclaimed the Holy Temple in Jerusalem. (Above is a model of the Second Temple we saw while in Jerusalem.)

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Chanukah, another spelling for Hanukkah, is the Jewish eight-day wintertime “festival of lights,” celebrated with a nightly menorah lighting, special prayers and fried foods.

At the re dedication when the Jews sought to light the Temple’s Menorah, they found only a single cruse of olive oil had escaped contamination by the Greeks. The menorah was lit, and miraculously, the one-day supply of oil lasted for eight days.[1] (I don’t recall the story behind this magnificent menorah, but it was a beautiful sight.)

Sunday, December 25, 2016 is Christmas Day!

Merry Christmas!

For unto us a Child is born, Unto us a Son is given; And the government will be upon His shoulder. And His name will be called Wonderful, Counselor, Mighty God, Everlasting Father, Prince of Peace. (Isaiah 9:6 NKJV)

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Merry Christmas!

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All is calm; all is bright! (Coeur d’Alene neighborhood scene, 12/2015)

Blessings to you and your family this wonderful season!

Sue Reeve

 

  1. http://www.chabad.org/holidays/chanukah/

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Grandkids at Christmas…

 Grandchildren are the crowning glory of the aged… Proverbs 17:6 (NLT)

     Even though I know it’s true, I’m not so sure I like being called “aged!” But, I sure do like being called ‘grandma!’ My five grandkids are indeed ‘crowning glories’ for me at this stage of my life journey.

     The wonder of Christmas began when a band of angels announced the birth of Jesus on that first Christmas Eve. The Message describes it like this:

There were sheepherders camping in the neighborhood. They had set night watches over their sheep. Suddenly, God’s angel stood among them and God’s glory blazed around them. They were terrified. The angel said, “Don’t be afraid. I’m here to announce a great and joyful event that is meant for everybody, worldwide: A Savior has just been born in David’s town, a Savior who is Messiah and Master. This is what you’re to look for: a baby wrapped in a blanket and lying in a manger.”

At once the angel was joined by a huge angelic choir singing God’s praises:

Glory to God in the heavenly heights,
Peace to all men and women on earth who please him. (Luke 2:12-14)

     Last Sunday, Ron and I went to the church our daughter and her family attends. A team of dedicated and daring adults led a horde of kids of many ages in a Christmas pageant production. It was amazing. And, because children can be quite unpredictable, it was also amusing at times.

     Our five-year-old granddaughter, Emalynn, was an angel. Emmi accepted the responsibility of her first-ever ‘big kid’ role quite seriously. She started practicing her ‘angel dance’ even before she’d been instructed in the routine. She insisted on wearing appropriate ‘angel’ attire to every rehearsal. You can see from this picture that she was indeed a lovely little angel representation.

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     Less than a week later, we drove for close to an hour on icy roads to watch 15-month-old Reeve jingle some little bells during a precious, though comical, rendition of “Jingle Bells.” It was Reeve’s first public performance at his daycare’s Christmas program. To his grandpa and grandma, the drive had been worth the photo op and all five to ten minutes of our younger grandson’s stardom.

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     Honestly, I’m a sucker for the Christmas season. I told a friend this morning even though I love writing bi-weekly blog posts, at this time of year, there are moments when I’d rather watch sappy, plot-predictable Hallmark Christmas movies or read a Christmas-themed novel. (This year’s choice is The Mistletoe Secret by Richard Paul Evans.)

     Sometimes, I feel like my preoccupation with the wonder of the season of Advent is shallow. At other times, I wonder if a life interlude filled with music; brightly-colored decorations; lots of twinkling lights; yummy cookies; friendship gatherings; happy-ending movies and novels; presents; and yes, grandkids in pageants is good for the health of one’s soul.

     Here are a few more Christmas-themed photos of Emalynn and Reeve:

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     I hope you, like me, are enjoying this faith-filled, festive season…

Sue Reeve

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