Category Archives: Holidays

Shine!

 

Let There be Light

We live in a time of great darkness.  We may feel driven to fight against the darkness.   If this is your path I would like to give a word of caution that is can be difficult to fight without becoming what we are fighting.

This is the time I believe we are being called to remember.  To remember who we are and where we came from.  To remember our light and our spiritual power.

We are light and what this world so desperately needs right now is for all of us to shine.  We change the world by the way that we live.  We don’t have to try to judge, teach or change anyone.  When others see the light shining through us they will come to us.  They will see that we are different and will want to know more.

The month of December is a difficult time for many people.  The time when we speak of peace on earth goodwill to all can  also be a time of anger, feeling that we are the only ones with the truth, greed, materialism and other displays of human frailty.  This is the time to stay true to your calling and not get caught up in petty squabbles over celebrations, what is being celebrated or appropriate holiday greetings.

This is the time we must focus on the light that we are and walk in it.  So this holiday season go out there and SHINE!

What does shining your light look like in your life?  Please take time to ponder this question.  Think about it, journal, create art, answer the question in the comments below, whatever you feel led to do.

The Secret to Lasting Love

Our Wedding Photo

Okay, so that got your attention.  Everyone wants to find a love that will last, right?  Well the truth is there really is no secret, just the reality that you have to work at it.

Bob and I have been married for 26 years now.  Not really such a big deal when you consider our ages.  We both had other relationships, including marriages that did not turn out the way we would have wished.  But apparently today 26 years is a long time for a relationship to last.

Like any marriage ours has had its ups and downs, good times and bad, joys and sorrows.  It has definitely been a learning experience and at times an endurance test.  The words of the marriage vows are easy to say if you have never experienced the worse, sickness and poorer side.  When those things happen, and they will, you learn what those promises you made really mean.

There are a few things we do that I think contribute to the health of our relationship.

  1.  We say “I love you.”  At least once every day.
  2.  We thank each other.  Bob still thanks me for driving him into town and cooking dinner.
  3.  We are a team and we are at our best when we are working together.
  4.  We hold hands.  Aww that’s so cute — I know.  We get that all the time.  We have always held hands, but now with Bob’s vision problems, it is an even greater reminder to us of our dedication to each other as I help him navigate the world — literally.
  5. We enjoy each others company and we talk to each other — a lot.  What do we talk about?  Everything.  Serious stuff, funny stuff, deep intellectual stuff, mundane daily life stuff, spiritual stuff, current events — you name it we talk about it.
  6.  When hard times come and they do we always end up saying “we’ll get through this” and we always do.
  7.  And finally our faith and conviction that we were brought together for a reason helps keep us together.

Happy Valentine’s Day!

What are some of the ways you work at building a love that will last?

 

Living Christmas

Merry Christmas!   But let’s stop for just a minute and think about what would happen if we actually lived Christmas.

What if instead of having a wild party every December full of over spending and over indulging, we actually lived what we say the season really means to us?  What if family really were the most important thing in our lives, every day?  What if peace, hope, love and light were the reality we walked in?  What if we welcomed the Christ Presence into the world and into our lives every minute of every day, instead of just once a year?  How would the world change if we could recognize the Christ in others?

This year let us dedicate ourselves to letting there be Christmas  everywhere,  every day, every hour and every minute by keeping that Christ light shining in, through and as us.  This is how we change the world folks.  Peace and blessings to you.

Fun and Easy Ways to Shine Your Light on the Shortest Day of the Year

Have you ever wondered about the difference between an equinox and a solstice?

According to the National Weather Service an equinox is one of the “two times of the year when the Earth’s axis is tilted neither toward nor away from the sun, resulting in a “nearly” equal amount of daylight and darkness at all latitudes.”  The Equinoxes occur in the Spring (Vernal) and Autumn (Autumnal).

A solstice occurs “at the moment the earth’s tilt toward from the sun is at a maximum. Therefore, on the day of the summer solstice, the sun appears at its highest elevation with a noontime position that changes very little for several days before and after the summer solstice…  The winter solstice marks the shortest day and longest night of the year. ”

So on this day, December 21, 2017 we are experiencing the shortest day and longest night of the year.  Is it any wonder  so many cultures and religious traditions celebrate light during this season?

Winter Solstice is observed as a Pagan Holiday with ritual and celebration involving light, including bonfires.  We know that our own celebration of Christmas includes traditions and practices “borrowed” from other cultures and religions.  So on this shortest day and longest night of the year it seems fitting to at least take a few moments to stop and reflect on the light that shines in the darkness no matter what your religious or spiritual beliefs.   Light a candle, or a bonfire or set out luminaria along your driveway, hang lights on you house, put a great big smile on your face and let that light shine!

 

Resources:

National Weather Service

Holidays and Traditions Around the Winter Solstice

Celebrating Winter Solstice as a Christian Family

 

 

Have Yourself a Healthy Little Holdiay — Free Book

Today (Dec. 20) only my holiday e-book Have Yourself a Healthy Little Holiday is available free in the Amazon Kindle Store.  Please help yourself to a copy and tell your friends, especially those with food restrictions.

If you have read the book please consider leaving an honest review at Amazon.com.  Remember to mention you received a free copy in your review.

Still Christmas shopping?  While you are there click on my name and take a look at my other books which are regular price today.

Thank you and wishing everyone a happy and healthy little holiday!

Random Acts of Christmas

One thing I like to do at the holidays is give a small (very small) token gift to people at random.   One year I hung handmade angel ornaments anonymously on neighbor’s door knobs.  Other years I have given candy canes or tea bags from a display on our door (we spent a lot of years in apartments).  One year I grabbed a handful of holiday stick pins from our Christmas box (when Bob worked for a toy, novelty and gift company) as we were leaving for church and pinned them on people who were very special to me.   And of course I have given away too many plates of holiday goodies to count.

What I remember most about all the things I have given at the holidays is the reaction of the people receiving them.  Most have reacted like instead of a mere token I gave them gold.  People like to be remembered and appreciated, especially in a way that does not make them feel obligated in any way.

So what is my Random Act of Christmas this year?

Copyright 2017 by R.O. Robbins

Reindeer antlers of course!  The ladies at my holiday party all received antlers at the door and I’ve been handing out the leftovers on my daily walk.   Remember I live in a senior community.  I’ve never seem so many people over fifty smile and giggle in my life.

So I hope you will think about Random Acts of Christmas.  This isn’t about spending a lot of money.  Remember the thought really does count.

Fun and Easy Ways to Shine Your Light: Be an Angel

Our word angel comes from the Greek ἄγγελος.  It means messenger.  I will always think of this with a smile remembering a fellow seminary student in Greek class who happened to be named Angel beaming and exchanging laughter with the professor about the appropriateness of his name.

I do believe in God’s holy angels who are sent to be messengers of God’s love, care and sometimes judgement.  I have had personal encounters with angels.

But I do also believe that we are also called to be messengers of Gods light, love and care to each other.  This is not reserved for pastors or those studying to become pastors.   We all do this by the way we live and care for others.

Especially during this season be sure you reflect God’s love and light and spread it around.  I love angel crafts and have included a few links below if you want to share God’s love and light by giving handmade angels.  If you are interested in Greek I have a reference for that too.

Resource:

Blue Letter Bible — referring to Strong’s Concordance

49 Awesome Angel Crafts

All Free Christmas Crafts — Angels

 

Fun and Easy Ways to Shine Your Light: Celebrate the Hanukkah Story

Hanukkah begins at sundown tonight.  Do you know the story behind this light holiday?  If you don’t, you need to read it.  The story of Hanukkah is full of adventure and drama surrounding events leading up to a great miracle.  It is a story of liberation, freedom, reclaiming what was lost and hope.

Even if you are not Jewish we can all learn from the traditions of those who may believe differently than we do.  So go ahead and read the story.  If you want to try your hand and making latkes or sufganyot  go ahead and do that too.  If you have a copy of the Apocrypha check our Macabees I and II.  For a brief synopsis of the story go to https://reformjudaism.org/hanukkah-history.  If you want a more detailed scholarly look at Hanukkah visit  https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Hanukkah.  For information on food and ways the holiday is celebrated today take a look at http://www.bhg.com/holidays/hanukkah/traditions/hanukkah-history-traditions/   And what would Hanukkah be without recipes?  http://www.chabad.org/library/article_cdo/aid/454611/jewish/Chanukah-Recipes.htm

Healthier Holiday Sweet Potatoes

Orange Spice Sweet Potatoes
Photo Copyright 2013 by R.A. Robbins

Who needs candied yams when there are so many other wonderful ways to prepare sweet potatoes?  Sweet potatoes are loaded with so many wonderful nutrients it seems a shame to load them up with refined sugar.

So here are a few of my favorite ways to serve sweet taters:

Simple Sweet Potato Soup is a great way to start the holiday meal.  Beginning a meal with a light soup makes you less likely to over eat and this just tastes good too.  The recipe is available in my e-book Have Yourself a Healthy Little Holiday.

Sweet Potato Oven Fries are good any time, not just at the holidays.   Cut a sweet potato into wedges.  Coat with a little extra virgin olive oil and spices.  I like to use what I call “sweet and heat” with sweet potatoes which is cinnamon and cayenne pepper.  Go easy on the cayenne if you’re not used to it.  Bake at 400 degrees until they are browned on the outside and fork tender.  You will need to turn them over as they bake.

Baked Sweet Potatoes  are great plain, with a little butter, sprinkled with a little cinnamon, or I like salsa on mine.  Or you can get fancy and make them “twice baked” by scooping out the shell and mashing the pulp with a little milk or juice and putting it back in the shell.  Of course you can fancy it up with cheese, nuts, dried fruit — whatever, just try to keep it reasonably healthy.

Orange Spice Sweet Potatoes are my fancy version of mashed sweet potatoes.  The recipe is available in my e-book Have Yourself a Healthy Little Holiday.

 Sweet Potato Apple Bake begins with layering cooked, sliced sweet potatoes and cored, sliced apples in a baking dish.  Pour a mixture of 1/4 cup orange juice and 1 Tablespoon molasses over the top, Sprinkle with cinnamon and bake covered at 375 degrees for 20 minutes, until apples are tender. With the sweet taste of sweet potatoes, apples, orange juice and a hint of cinnamon, you won’t miss the marshmallows.

So go out there and enjoy your sweet potatoes, just be careful what other ingredients they associate with.  Don’t worry, they can still taste wonderful.

Please feel free to leave your ideas for healthier sweet potatoes in the comments below.

This post is linked to:

Sugar and Spice Link Party