National Cookie Day!

I just learned that today is national cookie day! That definitely deserves an extra blog post.

Below are links to a few of my cookie posts from the past. Enjoy!

Do you have a favorite cookie recipe?

Lessons from the Winter Holidays

“People of our time are losing the power of celebration. Instead of celebrating we seek to be amused or entertained. Celebration is an active state, an act of expressing reverence or appreciation. To be entertained is a passive state–it is to receive pleasure afforded by an amusing act or a spectacle…. Celebration is a confrontation, giving attention to the transcendent meaning of one’s actions.”
― Abraham Joshua Heschel

We typically go through the month of December celebrating the holiday (or complaining about it) that we grew up with or that goes along with our religious beliefs. After a while these celebrations can become predictable and lose some of the meaning and our reasons for celebrating.

I believe that by limiting ourselves to one or two holidays we celebrate we miss out on the lessons the celebrations of other cultures and traditions have to offer us. So, this year we going to look at the major holidays celebrated in December including Winter Solstice, Hannukah, Christmas, Kwanzaa and New Year’s Eve.

I hope as we go through the month you will ask yourself what each holiday has to say to you. My coverage of the holidays will be brief, so I hope you will use the links given in each article to learn more. How do each of these holidays shine light into the world?

Live Together as Brothers

“We must learn to live together as brothers or perish together as fools.” — Martin Luther King, Jr.

The Friday Affirmation

Creative energy surges through me and leads me to new and brilliant ideas.

I don’t usually talk about my artwork or explain what it means to me or the inspiration behind it. The work in the photo today was made in response to a call for entries in a contest sponsored by the Quilt Alliance. It was sold to raise money for the Alliance but still has special meaning for me.

When I first decided to try to take up quilting as a way of honoring my two quilting Grandmas I had no idea how rulebound traditional quilting and quilters can be. No matter how hard I tried it was never good enough. There was always something I did wrong or some rule I violated.

This piece represents my journey from my attempts at traditional quilting to fabric art. It is called “Out of the Block.” The block is a leftover from an attempt at a traditional quilt. That’s me jumping out of the box going forward with my needle held high.

Creative energy surges through me and leads me to new and brilliant ideas, and I am so grateful. Thank you God.

The Other Side of Thanksgiving

It has been my tradition on Thanksgiving to honor the other side of the story. For members of the first nations of this country this is a day of sadness as stories of the horrors inflicted on the ancestors are retold, remembered and relived. It is important that we honor these feelings and feel the sadness.

Atrocities were committed in the settlement of America when native peoples were slaughtered. Atrocities were also committed when free people of Africa were captured and brought to America as slave labor. Pretending these things didn’t happen won’t make them go away. Healing in this country will never happen until we admit that terrible mistakes have been made and crimes committed and we seek forgiveness.

A Holiday Extra

Today I am doing the prep work for the Thanksgiving meal. The cranberry sauce is in the fridge and eggs are sitting in hot water on the stove waiting to be deviled. Earlier in the week I baked and dried cornbread for the dressing and sometime today will bake either a pumpkin pie or carmel apple upside down cake.

While it may seem that I am cooking for a crowd it will be just the two of us. We always invite people in our neighborhood who don’t have anywhere to go to eat with us, but we rarely have takers.

So why go to all the work of making a “traditional” holiday meal, especially when for the tribes “Thanksgiving” is a day of morning? Good question. Even though I do not celebrate or belive the stories surrounding the holiday season I need to celebrate something to keep going. We are entering a season that can be extremely lonely for those who already feel like “outsiders.” Standing back while the world “celebrates” in ways we do not understand or wish to participate in is difficult.

So the holiday dinner is one way that we celebrate. No food is wasted. I will take plates and spend some time with a few neighbors who are homebound and leftovers are always welcome at our house.

When I was single I liked to volunteer at a community Thanksgiving dinner. I spent Christmas Eve with the Dominican Sisters who celebrated Mass early in the evening then drove home to sing in the choir and play in the bell choir at the Methodist Church.

This is a great time of year to practice what we preach and remember that we create our own reality with our thoughts and actions. If this is the time of year that you like to grumble and complain about the “commercialization of the holidays” what can you do to make things different? Maybe we can’t change the world but we can change our mind and make our life and the lives of those around us better.

Watch for an occasional holiday extra throughout the season. I will add them as I feel inspired.

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