Tag Archives: Raisin Bread

Christmas Cheer to Far and Near!

This image was from one of the very first blog posts I wrote – and the sentiment still holds true.

My annual attempt to spread Christmas cheer through sugar and carbs has drawn to a close.

I have a huge burn mark on my right arm (tended to lovingly by Mark, with antiseptic and aloe.)

Sometimes you have to be burned to realize how loved you are.

The list of people who receive this gesture of love seems to grow each year as my heart grows bigger and the list of people I love gets longer.  I wish I could leap out of every box opened and encourage the recipient to toast first, then SLATHER with butter, ’cause if you’re going to break your diet, you might as well do it right.

But most people know by now the raisin bread ritual and how to savor it well.

I think about my grandmother, whose kitchen was pretty much covered in flour by the time she finished her annual bread-making.

Edna Hartsell made a deep impact on my life…from the way she knelt by her bed at night (literally!) and prayed out loud for everyone (literally!) she knew to the way every car ride with her was a rousing chorale of gospel songs.  We learned, as Elf affirmed, that “The best way to spread Christmas cheer was singing loud for all to hear.”

Each loaf of bread is a tribute to my Mom-mom, who inspired me to a spiritual life.

We each have our own ways of expressing and embracing our individual faith.  Some like to cheer, clap their hands and shout “Hallelujah!” and other prefer to quietly meditate and center their souls on Source.

Though my own spiritual path has been a bit like a Family Circus cartoon, full of twists, turns, detours, valleys, and mountaintops – I am so very very very very very glad to be a believer, not just during the holiday season, but all year long.

My heart is full of appreciation for the Loving Presence that has sustained me through dark times and carried me to better days.

Perhaps the greatest lesson of my past year has been that this Presence is not like a butterfly that descends and departs (based on how good, bad, or tuned in I am) but that it is EVERPRESENT.

I can call upon the Power that created worlds at any time, for it resides in me (and I in it.)  There’s no penance to pay for a misstep, only a moment’s acknowledgment to get back into alignment once again.

Jesus said, “I and my Father are One.”

I get that now, Jesus.

I believe the One we celebrate this time of year would, if He were here, take us each gently by the shoulders and say, “You’ve got the Power!  It’s all right there – use it!”

In my fantasy conversation with Jesus I think He’d also say, “Sheesh!  Stop wrestling with your own worthiness once and for all.  You are LOVED – unconditionally!”

What a Christmas gift. 

Wouldn’t that be the best gift for all of us? 

I came face to face with this once again over the past two weeks when I realized how CONDITIONAL (still) my own love was for myself…

Oh my!  Isn’t it interesting that POWER ends up being our new WOW?

Wouldn’t that be the best Christmas miracle of all – to realize our POWER and walk in it?

I look forward to delving into this with you over the next two weeks.  And if you’ve never visited my other website, www.MEseminars.com, I’ve love you to download my e-book on the topic of my own journey to self-love.  My gift to you!

In the meantime, even if you didn’t receive a loaf of raisin bread this year, my heart is sending you Christmas cheer and heartfelt wishes for the FULLNESS of love to inhabit your heart, now and forever.

xoxoxoxoxox

With love,

Brenda

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Recipe for Resilience (and the New WOW)

This recipe has been through A LOT…yet the stains and markings comfort me.

In a year that has been tumultuous (to say the least), Mom-Mom’s Raisin Bread recipe, (which I wrote down when I was a teenager) is proof of resilience, endurance,                  bounce-backability and most of all, the prevailing power of LOVE.

This recipe has traveled with me to at least ten different homes and each year when I get to baking I think about how Mom-Mom packed love into every loaf.

I already burned out one Kitchen Aid mixer in 2014, because this dough is NO JOKE.  It’s thick and sticky and clings to EVERYTHING.  (This includes my walls, my bowls and me.)

Each year the list of people I send the bread to grows.  It’s my one claim to fame; a tradition that honors my Mom-Mom and lets the people I love know they RATE when the package arrives.

So this was what my first UPS trip looked like:

I needed elves to bake, wrap, address, package, tape and ship.

All I had was me, myself, and I.

But I had the recipe for resilience!  L-O-V-E.

Every moment that I felt like waving the white dish towel, I conjured up thoughts of the dear people on the receiving end of these packages.  When a friend saw my war zone of a kitchen covered with flour, he kindly observed, “These are loaves of love.”

Yes, they are.

I talk more about how love fuels resilience in this week’s video, but before we go there, let’s make your mouths water:

Yep, they are crunchy sweet golden brown outsides with soft, cake-y, raisin-filled insides.  This treat is best served toasted and SLATHERED with butter.

Sorry to tempt you so.  But you are resilient!  And here’s more on that topic:

Loving and embracing the TRUTH with you this week!

And loving YOU.  It means so much that you are out there.

xoxoxox

Brenda

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‘Tis the Season for Believin’ (and the New WOW)

I’ve got the spirit of the season.

Like an onion, it happened in layers.

First, it was an exasperated,  “How am I going to get everything done!!!!????” which totally saps any Christmas spirit from your to-do list.

Without any HUGE chunks of unassigned time, I had to approach shopping, wrapping, baking, shipping and decorating in teeny increments.  The “baby steps” seemed ineffectual at first, but (just like in the move “What About Bob?”) ended up coming together (synthesis!) in an explosion of silver and gold and peacock colors along with the smell of raisin bread wafting through the house. (Twenty loaves have been shipped out so far, with more to come!  It’s an homage to my beloved grandmother and a tradition I started about ten years ago.)

Here are some highlights:

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And here’s a spot in the dining area, ready for a house full of guests later today!

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Yep, we decided to have a PARTY – our first Christmas Party in Sarasota, which was a great incentive to get my #$%@ in gear and get things done EARLY.

Worrying about everything coming together doesn’t make it happen.

But those little baby steps are magical steps of faith that can move a mountain.

Which is a perfect lead in to the new WOW!:

You know, ya gotta love content that includes a Jesus story and a George Michael musical interlude in the same video.  It’s that crazy juxtaposition of me-ness, and I’m so glad you appreciate it.

Here’s some thoughts about FAITH:

  1. It works by LOVE (not fear)
  2. You don’t need much to get great results (even as small as a mustard seed!)
  3. What you HEAR over and over affects your faith level (do you have faith for the NEGATIVE?  Are those the messages you’ve been giving space to?)

I think that’s why I love that portion of the movie The Help so much.  The main character is the caretaker for the neglected little girl, and she says to her over and over, “You is kind. You is smart.  You is important.” What a powerful deposit into that little girl’s soul!

Let’s all deposit some powerful messages into our hearts this season and watch our faith GROW!

xoxoxoxox

Love,
Brenda

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