A Vintage Christmas

When we lived in Omaha part of our holiday celebration was to visit the large gingerbread house display at the Mormon Trail Center.  Since moving to the lake we have enjoyed the yearly Christmas on Main Street at Har-ber Village Musem Local businesses and civic groups decorate selected buildings in the Main Street section of the Museum and visitors vote for their favorite entries.  After learning this would be the final year for this fun event, I decided to take the camera and see what I could get.  Since many of the photos were taken through glass it was hard to get good ones, but I do have a few to share with your today.

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Now, I saved the best for last — the Jail Birds entry from the local Audubon Society.

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What are some of your holiday traditions?  Please share.

 

The Season of Magic and Miracles

Here we are in the middle of the holiday season, that magic, miraculous time of year.  This is the season of miracles like the virgin birth of the Christ Child (Christmas) and lamps that burned well beyond the supply of oil (Hanukkah).  Even the legends of Santa are full or magic, including flying reindeer and a rather rotund gentleman in a red fur trimmed suit actually making it down chimney after chimney to deliver gifts.

This is a season full of belief and hope.  Even if we are not sure we believe we want to.  We want to hope for better tomorrows.

As the very foundations of our country and our world are being shaken by the forces of darkness it is especially important for us to take time out to celebrate, look for the miracles that still surround us and maybe even make a little magic ourselves.  This is the season where we normally see people being a little nicer than usual, giving to those in need and even speaking to strangers.  Let’s not stop that because we are still angry over an election.

If we “call off Christmas” (or whatever holiday you celebrate) because of the uncertainty of the world we live in then the darkness wins.  Worrying and fretting about what might happen doesn’t accomplish anything right now.  I’m not talking about the Great Greed Festival some call Christmas, I’m talking about recognizing and celebrating the presence of something bigger than all of us still at work in our lives and in our world.

So go ahead and celebrate.  Draw your loved ones close.  And finally, keep your eyes open — you don’t want to miss those miracles and the magic of the season.

And That Ain’t Your Sweet Little Baptist Jesus

The above was a favorite saying of John S. Reist Jr. Ph.D, , my theology professor from my seminary days.

When Jesus was asked to read the scripture in the synagogue he ended the reading from Isaiah with the words, “Today this scripture has been fulfilled in your hearing.” — Luke 4:21 RSV  So what was fulfilled?

‘The spirit of the Lord is upon me, because he has anointed me to preach good news to the poor.

He has sent me to proclaim release to the captives and recovering of sight to the blind,

to set at liberty those who are oppressed,

to proclaim the acceptable year of the Lord.” 

–  Luke 18-19, Isaiah 61:1-2  RSV

Throughout his life and earthly ministry Jesus tried to teach us how to live, to be our example.  But somehow we totally missed the point.  Some churches even downplay these messages by saying that Jesus was God so it is impossible for us to live as he lived.  No, we must simply say we have “accepted Jesus as our Savior” all our sins will be forgiven then we go back to living the way we want.  We totally ignore the message and worship the messenger.

Jesus was rejected as the Messiah because he was not the political, military leader that was expected to save the Jews and vanquish the tyranny of Rome.  Aren’t we still looking for such a leader?  Doesn’t the recent election in the U.S. show this?  We were created to live in communion with God, but humanity wanted more.  Demanded more.  Over the centuries we have demanded, laws, judges, kings, even presidents.  Earthly leaders to tell us what to do and how to live.  We have forgotten that the law of God is written on our hearts.  We also have the life and teachings of Jesus, the Master Teacher to help show us how to live in this earthly realm.

So this December instead of celebrating the birth of a baby, let’s live the life the teacher taught us to live.  Shine your light for all to see.  Don’t get caught up in the drama created every year by people who want to tell everyone else what and how to celebrate.  This year when someone gives you a holiday greeting you don’t like, instead of getting angry, how about responding with Peace be with You?  We all need peace in our lives and in the world don’t we?

Making the Holidays about More than Food

 

Bookcover

It often seems everywhere you look during the holidays there is food.  Unfortunately it is often not food that is friendly to those watching what we eat no matter the reason.  You can go through the holidays feeling depressed and angry because of what you can no longer eat or you can come to the realization that life does not stop because what you eat has changed.  Neither does the ability to celebrate.  There are things you can do this holiday season to focus on other ways of celebrating.

1.  Center your celebration on the lessons or stories of the holidays you celebrate.

2.  Center your holiday party on an activity other than eating.

3.  Go caroling.

4.  Devote your time and yourself to charity and good works.

5.  Go on a holiday light tour.

6.  Attend local festivals and pageants.

7.  Engage in your favorite outdoor activity.

8.  Decorate your house.

9.  Develop your own special holiday tradition.

No matter what holiday you celebrate or in what way, don’t forget the celebrating.  Make the holidays a time of joy — sing, dance, celebrate light and life!  Remember, it isn’t always about food!

More ideas, recipes, and ways to celebrate that do not include food may be found in my holiday book Have Yourself a Healthy Little Holiday, available at Espirational Books and the Kindle Store.  For those looking for gluten free recipes, all of my recipes are naturally gluten free or include gluten free options.  Remember proceeds from Espirational Books go toward keeping Espirational.com and Espirational.org up and running.

——

Rogene Robbins is an artist, writer, student of positive thinking and spirituality and home cook who has been living and cooking gluten free for eight years. She focuses on the positive aspects of gluten free living and using creativity to improve quality of life. Rogene is the author of Have Yourself a Healthy Little Holiday and The Gluten Free Good Life available at Espirational Books and the Kindle Store.

It’s National Apple Month

Every year since I have been writing online I have struggled over what to do with October, particularly the last day of the month.  Halloween is not something I celebrate or believe in.  It seems that there is enough darkness, death and evil in the world without celebrating it.  Let’s face it, in spite of it’s religious roots, modern day Halloween seems to have become just that — a celebration of darkness, death and evil and trying to make evil friendly.

So every year I struggle with what to do.  One year I wrote about the Trick or Treat for UNICEF initiative to support a worthy cause.  Another year I talked about alternatives to Trick or Treating.  And yet another year I wrote an article about All Saints Day.

This year I decided there has to be something more uplifting we can turn our thoughts to during the month of October.  I finally decided that we will celebrate apples here.  Any why not?  What’s not to love about apples?  And there are so many things we can say about apples.

So put away your scary mask, cancel the séance and let’s have fun with apples.

Take a Day Off

Copyright 2016 by R.A. Robbins
Copyright 2016 by R.A. Robbins

Today is celebrated in the United States as Independence Day.  For many this is a day off of work.  If this is a day off for you I encourage you to actually take the day off.  This means not using the “extra” day to get caught up on housework, your blog, social networking or that business you are trying to get started.  It means a day that you leave the cellphone and other electronic devices at home and spend time with friends, family or enjoying nature.  Have a little fun.  This can be really difficult for those of us who are self employed and work at home, but it is important.  Take the day off.

Now for those of you outside the U.S. this applies to your national or work holidays when they roll around. In fact I hope everyone takes at least one day out of every week off.  We need it, not just to rest, relax and recharge, but also to remember that life is supposed to be fun.  Take time to enjoy it!

 

A Valentine’s Day Treat

Waffle Sundae Copyright 2015 by RA Robbins
Waffle Sundae
Copyright 2015 by RA Robbins

Genie’s Note:  A few of my readers may not know that before I was Espirational I was Gluten-Free and Loving It (on another blogging platform).  That blog is long closed, but I am still loving the gluten-free life.  So for Valentines Day I decided to do something I haven’t done for a while and share one of my gluten-free recipes, Hot Fudge Sundae on a Raft.  Enjoy!

First the Raft….

Chocolate Waffles (GF with DF and EF options)

Ingredients:
2 cups gluten-free flour blend of your choice
1/4 teaspoon baking soda
2 teaspoons baking powder
1/3 cup cocoa powder (I use Hershey’s Special Dark)
1/4 cup agave nectar (or 1/2 cup sugar)
1/3 cup oil
3 Tablespoons flaxseed meal mixed with 9 Tablespoons hot water (or 3 eggs)
3/4 cup to 1 cup almond milk (or other milk or substitute)
fresh or frozen raspberries or strawberries for garnish

Directions:
1. Combine flaxseed meal and water. Allow to sit until thick.
2. In a large bowl mix flour, baking soda, baking powder and cocoa.
3. Add agave nectar, oil, flax seed meal and water mixture and 3/4 cup almond milk. Stir until ingredients are blended. Add the remaining 1/4 cup milk a little at a time if mixture is too thick.
4. Cook according to instructions with waffle iron.

Dark Chocolate Sauce

Ingredients:
1/2 cup cocoa powder (I use Hershey’s Special Dark)
1/2 c. water
1/2 c. agave nectar
1 teaspoon vanilla

Directions:
1. Combine all ingredients in a saucepan and bring to boil over medium heat.
2. Reduce heat and simmer 2-3 minutes until sauce coats a spoon. Be sure to stir the sauce so it doesn’t burn on the bottom of the pan.
3. Allow sauce to cool and pour into a squeeze bottle. (I reuse my agave bottles.)

To Assemble the Sundae:
1. Drizzle chocolate sauce on the plate, extending beyond where the waffle will be.  This is just to make it look pretty.

2. Place waffle on top of sauce.
3. Top with a scoop of your favorite regular or non-dairy ice cream, Greek yogurt, whipped cream, whipped cream cheese, whatever strikes your fancy.
4. Garnish with fresh or frozen raspberries or sliced strawberries and a drizzle of chocolate syrup.

This recipe has  been added to  the Sugar and Spice Link Party.  Please visit there for more Valentine’s Day recipes.