Yeast Rolls, The Bread of Life, and Auntie June

 

My family is blessed with bakers bakers and cooks.  Is yours?  Are you one of them?  We have so many on all the branches of my family tree that one year I decided it was time to corral all of the recipes into one large cookbook.  What a fun project!

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Going through the old recipes brought the treasured women and men that made or ate each delicacy to mind.  I journeyed back to childhood, to church dinners, and even some camping trips.  Holidays were relived along with weddings.  It’s funny how food and a certain time or person can be connected.

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Take yeast rolls and my sweet Aunt Eva June.  She has not one recipe in my cookbook for them but four!  Yes, she loves hot from the oven, light, fluffy yeast rolls.  Even the smell of them brings her to mind.  Bread is is absolute favorite treat, even above sweets.

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My Aunt is a strong woman of faith and has been blessed by Abba.   It would take pages to describe how exceptional she is.  She has overcome Breast Cancer in a miraculous way.  Only the touch of Jehovah Rapha, our God that heals could provide some of the news she has received.

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Yeast rolls aren’t the only bread she loves.  She loves Jesus, the Bread of Life and is not shy to enlighten anyone of His power.  When we chat she never fails to tell me that she prays daily for us, misses us, and loves us.  The goodness of God is always in our conversation, too.  Acknowledging His plan for her life she says “He must not be finished with me yet and I want to do what He wants.”

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What faith!  To fight cancer in her eighties and keep such a positive outlook.  She doesn’t need any encouragement from others but gladly gives it to everyone all for the glory of God.

 

                  Auntie June’s Best Rolls Ever


Ingredients: 2 pkg. active dry yeast
3/4 melted butter
2 eggs
3/4 sugar
2 1/2 c. warm water
8 to 9 c. flour
3 tsp. salt

Directions: Soften yeast in water. Add shortening, sugar, salt, eggs, and 4 cups flour. Stir and beat until smooth (about one minute). Stir in remaining flour. This will be a soft dough. Cover tightly and store in refrigerator overnight or until ready to use. When ready to use, work down and make into rolls, dipped into shortening or butter. Let rise until double in size and bake. Bake at 350° for 15 to 20 minutes.

The Baby-Catcher Gate Book Review

My Thoughts:

The Baby-Catcher Gate by Wendy Jo Cerna was an absolute beautifully written Christian novel.  The author has a lovely style of writing.  It is engaging and drew me in immediately not wanting to let me go.  Within the first few pages I was caught up in the story.
Author Cerna’s vivid descriptive writing took me to the time and place of her story.  I felt like I was back in 1980 again.  The conversations were authentic and flowed easily.  Using two points of view she switches between them seamlessly.  Her style is easy and pleasant to read.  There were even recipes at the back of the book as an added treat.
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All of the characters are well defined.  I felt like I knew each one well and had some new friends.  The main character, Pearl, was a typical twelve year old girl growing up in 1980s.  Yet she was anything but typical it seems.  It was easy to become invested in Pearl’s story.  I connected with her mother, Lizzie, also, and enjoyed Fritz.  The characters have unique characteristics and quirks.  There are so many that stood out as likable.
Pearl’s mother and grandmother were both “baby catchers,” but Pearl does not want to be one.  Her spirit is too gentle.  She will assist her mother at times but unlike her sister, Susan, Pearl isn’t cut out for this type of work.  I thought the book was going to be about midwifery but it was about so much more.  Baby catching was just a small portion of the book.
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This is the tale of Pearl, who ends up in the hospital and Heaven.  In Heaven Pearl receives a gift and a task.  Then she returns to earth to help people.  Pearl shares her unique experience with family and friends.  Reading this brought tears to my eyes and a warmth to my heart.
This story is filled with twists and turns to make it a page turning gem.  A few parts drag a bit but overall it moves along at a nice pace.  The surprises keep it interesting.  I enjoyed the author’s idea of Heaven, God, and what eternal life will be.  Gregory, the angel, was spot on for what an angel might be.
There are many life lessons and spiritual messages in this book.  The foremost is life after death in Heaven.  The author has stated in her notes that she prayed for and received God’s guidance when writing this unique book about the baby-catcher’s gate in Heaven.  It is definitely a God glorifying tale.
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Family, forgiveness, bullying, death, relationships, miscarriage, violence, and gossiping are all subjects approached in the captivating offering from author Cerna.  It is an exceptionally well planned and well written book.  I loved it.  There was a phase she used that I had never heard:  “we are in a thin place” meaning someone was between life and death there.  It suited the story well.
I would highly recommend this book to mature readers because of some of the adult situations.  It would have been nice if it had discussion questions.  A book club would still be able to enjoy and examine this thought provoking offering from author Cerna easily.  I rated it a 5 out of 5 stars.  I won a copy of this book from Good Reads but was under no obligation to write a review.  These are my honest words.
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About the Book:

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On a stormy summer night in 1982, twelve-year-old Pearl must accompany her midwife mother on a call to client in labor. Pressed into service as a birthing assistant, Pearl is called upon to swaddle the newborn boy and hold him in her arms. As she gazes into his face, she is drawn into what her mother likes to call a thin place – a place where the distance between heaven and earth becomes so small you can see into one from the other.

In this thin place, Pearl travels to The Baby-Catcher Gate. What she experiences there transforms her and she becomes a catalyst of change for her hometown in the north woods of Minnesota. Folks will never be the same.

The Baby-Catcher Gate is a story about the beautiful consequences of peeking into heaven. Follow Pearl’s adventure and catch a glimpse for yourself.

About the Author

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Born and raised in a family of educators in Minnesota, Wendy Jo traveled to the University of Washington in Seattle to complete her bachelor’s degree in Theater Arts. In 1986, she married her college sweetheart. They settled in Bellevue, WA to run their contracting business and raise their three children. In 2009, she received a master’s degree in Psychology which she has used to educate and counsel hurting people in a variety of settings. In writing her first novel, she has found a way to combine her love of the arts and education with her passion for healing the brokenhearted.

Family, Food, and Aunt Kathleen’s Red Velvet Cake

img_2348Food and family have a way of going together.  When added together they equal fun for my clan.  Holidays, birthdays, new babies we have yet to see, or visits from our beloved out of town members are all valid reasons to have one.  Actually no reason other than we haven’t seen each other in a while is necessary.

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Everyone brings a favorite or specialty dish.  Sometimes even more than one thing is carried in while folks try to guess what it is.  Followed by yums and ooohs, the side or dessert is carried to the kitchen or designated area.  The hosts normally provide the meat, breads, and drinks (coffee, iced tea and lemonade) while the rest of us fill in the other places.  It is so much fun and food!  Our family is blessed.

We always begin by counting off in a circle holding hands.  After grace is said by Dad before he says “amen” we go around the circle again squeezing the person’s hand to our right.  When it gets back to Dad, he says “and all God’s children said…”  That’s when everyone joins in together with a big hearty Amen!  After that the little kids jump and clap like something spectacular has happened.  Actually it has.

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Our family has managed to still lovingly get together long after my grandparents went to Heaven.  They built a strong Christian foundation for their family.  My cousins are as close as siblings.  I know I can count on them for anything and vice versa.  Their children are like nieces and nephews to me and are dearly loved.  I pray for each one of them daily.

 

I am writing this nostalgic post today because I miss my Aunt Kathleen.  She was my Mother’s older sister.  At birthday gatherings and Christmas, Aunt Kathleen she would bring her famous Red Velvet cake to our family gatherings.  It was legendary.  The recipe is below, but as I wrote in my cookbook, “this is often made but never duplicated.”  No one could make it quite like she did.  Today I could use a piece of that cake and a cup of tea with her.  We talked often, and I could use her ear today.  I know she’s waiting in Heaven so we can catch up there later.

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I hope you treasure your family as much as I do mine.  Cherish the days you have with them.  Make memories that will be happy stories to tell your children.  Thank God for the family He has given you.  Each person was especially placed there for you.

Aunt Kathleen’s Red Velvet Cake

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Ingredients: ½ c. shortening
1 ½ c. sugar
2 eggs
2 oz. red food coloring
1 T. cocoa
1 tsp. vanilla
1 c. buttermilk
1 tsp. salt
2 ¼ c. flour
1 T. vinegar
1 tsp. soda

Directions: For Cake: Cream shortening, sugar, and eggs. In a separate bowl, make a paste with food coloring and cocoa. Put into creamed mixture. Add salt, flour, buttermilk and vanilla alternately. Do not beat hard. Just blend. Lastly, add in soda with vinegar mixed in.
Bake in preheated 350 degree oven for 30 minutes in two 8 inch pans. Let cool and then split each layer into 2, making 4 layers in all.
For Icing:
¼ c. flour , ¼ tsp. salt, 1 c. milk, 1 c. Crisco, 1 c. sugar, 1tsp. vanilla
In the top of a double boiler, combine flour and salt. Blend a little milk into it before adding remaining milk. Cook over double boiler until thick, stirring constantly. Cool well.
Cream Crisco and sugar until fluffy. Add cooled flour mixture. Mix well. Add vanilla. Spread evenly between layer, on sides, and top of cake. May add coconut if desired.

But, Who is Praying for Me?

Prayer Warriors are constantly praying for someone.  There is so much to lift up to God and it seems so little time.  We intercede for the sick, lost, hurting, and needy.  For the mother whose baby is desperately trying to stay in her womb to grow strong.  For the father trying to work overtime or a second job just to make ends meet.  For the teenager caught in the middle of making some life changing decisions.  For our President and government leaders.  Let’s not forget our family and friends.

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See what I mean?  We have so many people depending and deserving of our prayers.  Years ago my niece, Phoebe, and I were talking about praying.  She was little and not even in school.  A friend had called me and asked if I could pray for her granddaughter.    One thing led to another and I told Phoebe if she listened with her heart instead of her ears she could hear who needed her prayers.  Many times God will tell us.

A couple of weeks later she was excited to tell me she felt her first prayer request.  After dinner the night before she heard her Daddy say that a lady he worked with was going to be out because of surgery.  “I don’t even know her name, Aunt Sissy, but my heart heard for me to pray for her.”  Wonderful!  She did understand what we were discussing.  Right then we stopped everything and prayed for the woman.  Now in her mid-twenties, Phoebe is still a Prayer Warrior.

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On the flip side, I have someone that has been mad at me for over two decades.  I can’t say exactly why, buy I have apologized and shouldered the blame in hopes of reconciling with this friend.  A few times I have tried to have a “peace talk” with her, but it always goes no where.  This last time, I asked how things had been going in her life and told her that I had been praying daily for her and our relationship.  Then I asked if she prayed for me and our relationship, too.  She looked at me as if my hair had just turned turquoise and laughingly said “no, why would I?”

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Out of all the vicious remarks this friend has made, none hurt even a fraction as much as this one did.  I thought everyone prayed for the people they loved.  Maybe that was it, she had stopped loving me.  All I know is that in that moment I felt so lost and alone.  No one was praying for me?  Prayer is the biggest blessing to give someone.

E4F86CFD-BFC0-42DC-9D3B-A222EC73FEB7.pngEver feel like you are lost and alone with no one to lift you up in prayer?  I have great news.  You may pray for yourself.  Yep, it is allowed.  Also, the Holy Spirit will lift you up, too.  You might be surprised to find some little Phoebes that have been listening with their hears and are praying for you.

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There are no special words needed.  No super formula.  Just have a heart to heart with your maker.  The Bible tells us in Romans 8:26“…but the Spirit itself maketh intercession for us with groanings which cannot be uttered. And he that searcheth the hearts knoweth what is the mind of the Spirit, because he maketh intercession for the saints according to the will of God.”

We always have someone praying for us.  No need to fret.  Easy your mind and rest in the Lord.  Oh, and keep praying!

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Mammaw’s Forgotten Easter Cookies

Easter is rapidly approaching. We are at the ending stages of Lent.  It is the time to turn our hearts and minds to Jesus and His journey to the Cross. Being raised in a Christian family Easter was much more than egg hunts and baskets for me. It was Resurrection Sunday.

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I remember my maternal grandmother teaching me the Easter story over a cookie recipe one year. The cookies are good, but the story has stuck with me for decades.  Memories made in the kitchen are priceless and stay with people.

You might want to do an activity like this for yourself, children, grandchildren, or kids’ group. The message might just plant a seed that will grow into a bountiful harvest. Sometimes a visual makes the Easter story a little more memorable, too. Years down the road they might be recalling time spent with you and lessons from your kitchen.

Mammaw’s Forgotten Easter Cookies

2 egg whites

1/2 tsp. cream of tartar

2/3 c. sugar

1 c. nuts

pinch of salt

1 tsp. white vanilla

Preheat oven to 350 degrees.

Place pecans in resealable plastic baggie. Crush pecans into small pieces with a rolling pin. Read John 19:1-3

“Then Pilate therefore took Jesus, and scourged Him. And the soldiers platted a crown of thorns, and put it on His head, and they put on Him a purple robe, And said, ‘Hail, King of the Jews!’ and they smote Him with their hands.”

Sprinkle salt into egg whites. Read Luke 23:27, 33

“And there followed Him a great company of people, and of women, which also bewailed and lamented Him.”

“When they came to the place called the Skull, they crucified Him there, along with the criminals—one on His right, the other on His left.”

Put vanilla into a bowl. Read John 19:28-30. “After this, Jesus knowing that all things were now accomplished, that the scripture might be fulfilled, saith, ‘I thirst.’ Now there was set a vessel full of vinegar: and they filled a sponge with vinegar, and put it upon hyssop, and put it to His mouth. When Jesus therefore had received the vinegar, He said, ‘It is finished’ and He bowed His head, and gave up the ghost.”

Right now this mixture doesn’t look yummy. Add sugar slowly. Read Psalm 34:8 and John 3:16.  “O taste and see that the Lord is good: blessed is the man that trusteth in Him.”  “For God so loved the world, that He gave His only begotten Son, that whosoever believeth in Him should not perish, but have everlasting life.”

Beat with mixer until frothy and add cream of tartar. Then beat on high speed for 12 to 15 minutes until stiff peaks are formed. Add in vanilla close to the end. Read Isaiah 1:18 and John 3:1-3.

“Come now, and let us reason together, saith the Lord: though your sins be as scarlet, they shall be as white as snow; though they be red like crimson, they shall be as wool.”

“There was a man of the Pharisees, named Nicodemus, a ruler of the Jews. The same came to Jesus by night, and said unto Him, ‘Rabbi, we know that Thou art a teacher come from God: for no man can do these miracles that thou doest, except God be with Him.’ Jesus answered and said unto him, ‘Verily, verily, I say unto thee, Except a man be born again, he cannot see the kingdom of God.”

Fold in broken nuts. Drop by teaspoons onto parchment paper lined baking sheet. Read Matthew 27:57-60.

“When the night was come, there came a rich man of Arimathaea, named Joseph, who also himself was Jesus’ disciple: He went to Pilate, and begged the body of Jesus. Then Pilate commanded the body to be delivered. And when Joseph had taken the body, he wrapped it in a clean linen cloth, And laid it in his own new tomb, which he had hewn out in the rock: and he rolled a great stone to the door of the tomb and departed.”

Place cookies in the oven, close the door and turn the oven off. Read Matthew 27:65-66.

“Pilate said unto them, ‘Ye have a watch: go your way, make it as sure as ye can.’ So they went, and made the tomb sure, sealing the stone, and setting a watch.”

Go to bed. Read John 16:20 and 22.

“Verily, verily, I say unto you, That ye shall weep and lament, but the world shall rejoice: and ye shall be sorrowful, but your sorrow shall be turned into joy.”

“And ye now therefore have sorrow: but I will see you again, and your heart shall rejoice, and your joy no man taketh from you.”

In the morning open the oven and take out the cookies. 

Read Matthew 28:1-9.

“In the end of the sabbath, as it began to dawn toward the first day of the week, came Mary Magdalene and the other Mary to see the tomb. And, behold, there was a great earthquake: for the angel of the Lord descended from heaven, and came and rolled back the stone from the door, and sat upon it. His countenance was like lightning, and his raiment white as snow: And for fear of him the keepers did shake, and became as dead men. And the angel answered and said unto the women, ‘Fear not ye: for I know that ye seek Jesus, which was crucified. He is not here: for He is risen, as He said. Come, see the place where the Lord lay. And go quickly, and tell His disciples that He is risen from the dead; and, behold, He goeth before you into Galilee; there shall ye see Him: lo, I have told you.’ And they departed quickly from the tomb with fear and great joy; and did run to bring His disciples word. And as they went to tell His disciples, behold, Jesus met them, saying, ‘All hail. And they came and held Him by the feet, and worshipped Him.”

When you bite into the cookies notice they are hollow inside, empty, just like Jesus’ tomb.

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Vivir el Dream Book Tour & Giveaway by Celebrate Lit

Welcome to my stop on the book tour for Vivir el Dream.  Be sure to check out all sections of today’s blog.  There is a giveaway at the end that you will want to enter.

Author Allison Garcia has written a contemporary Christian Latino novel that is packed full of emotion and relevance.  It is the first of her pieces that I have read.  This author writes with emotion and grit.  She doesn’t offer candy-coated fluff.  Garcia gives readers real life scenarios even if they are harsh.

In this book, issues of immigration, violence, deportation, and even language are discussed.  With our country discussing a “wall” that made this book even more timely.  Difficult topics were openly and honestly portrayed.  At times I felt my toes being stepped on and other times my feelings were hurt.  This is a real to life book.

The writing was candid and made me emotional.  Characters were vividly described.  I became invested in their stories and got emotional with them.  It was easy to imagine things as they played out in this hard hitting book.  I was so taken with the characters and their trial that by the end of the book my emotions were raw.

The Christian Faith element was woven throughout this book.  There was no doubt this was a Christian book.  I was able to pick up some bits of knowledge by reading this.  Life lessons are packed into this novel.  After reading this I have a better understanding of immigrants.

Definitely I would recommend this book.   Contemporary fiction readers will enjoy and those liking Latino Fiction.  It is very impactful and stayed with me long after I finished it. I was disappointed there are no discussion questions.  This would make a great book group read.

A copy was provided by Celebrate Lit but I was under no obligation to write a favorable review.  These are my own honest thoughts.

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About the Book

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Book: Vivir el Dream

Author: Allison K Garcia

Genre: Christian Latino Fiction

Release Date: May 19, 2017

The fates of an undocumented college student and her mother intertwine with a suicidal businessman’s. As circumstances worsen, will their faith carry them through or will their fears drag them down?

Linda Palacios crossed the border at age three with her mother, Juanita, to escape their traumatic life in Mexico and to pursue the American dream. Years later, Linda nears college graduation. With little hope for the future as an undocumented immigrant, Linda wonders where her life is going.

Tim Draker, a long-unemployed businessman, has wondered the same thing. Overcome with despair, he decides to take his own life. Before he can carry out his plan, he changes course when he finds a job as a mechanic. Embarrassed about working at a garage in the barrio, he lies to his wife in hopes of finding something better.

After Juanita’s coworker gets deported, she takes in her friend’s son, Hector, whom her daughter Linda can’t stand, While Juanita deals with nightmares of her traumatic past, she loses her job and decides to go into business for herself.

Will the three of them allow God to guide them through the challenges to come, or will they let their own desires and goals get in the way of His path?

Click here to purchase your copy.

About the Author

Allison GarciaAllison K. Garcia is a Licensed Professional Counselor, but she has wanted to be a writer ever since she could hold a pencil. She is a member of American Christian Fiction Writers, Shenandoah Valley Writers, Virginia Writers Club, and is Municipal Liaison for Shenandoah Valley NaNoWriMo.

Allison’s short story, “At Heart,” was published in the Winter 2013 edition of From the Depths literary magazine, along with her flash fiction. Her work, “You Shall Receive,” was published in GrayHaven Comics’s 2014 All Women’s anthology. Winning an honorary mention in the ACFW Virginia 2015 short story contest, “Just Another Navidad” was published in A bit of Christmas. Allison’s book, Vivir el Dream, published May 2017, has won several prestigious awards: 2016 ACFW Genesis Contest Finalist, 2018 Eric J. Hoffer Montaigne Medal Finalist, Honorary Mention in the 2018 Eric. J. Hoffer Awards E-book category, and 2018 IAN Book of the Year Awards Finalist in the Christian/Relgious Fiction category. Her highly-anticipated novel, Finding Amor, was released in September 2018.

Latina at heart, Allison has been featured in local newspapers for her connections in the Latino community in Harrisonburg, Virginia. A member of cultural competency committees for work and a participant in several pro-immigrant rallies and other events in her region, she also sings on the worship team and enjoys get-togethers with the hermanos in her church. With the help of her husband, Julio, and their son, Miguel, she has been able to nurture her love for the Latino people.

More from Allison K. Garcia

Authenticity and Love

When I wrote my debut novel Vivir el Dream in 2012, I never imagined that it was going to win five awards, that I would be invited to churches and universities and NPR to speak about it, or that it would be taught on a college campus. That’s not why I wrote it. Sure, I hoped that people would read it and love it, but I never imagined the impact it would have and the book’s relevance seven years later.

There were two main reasons I wrote Vivir el Dream: authenticity and love.

They go hand-in-hand, but I shall tell you a little about how God sparked the story in my heart.

In 2011, we had three church members deported, and one of them was a dear friend—a good man who loves his family, greeted the congregation at the door, helped take the collection every Sunday and set up the tables and chairs for special programs. To see our friend, and hermano en Cristo, treated in a way that traumatized his children and nearly tore apart up his family, was something that broke my heart. But what broke it worse was seeing how the media spoke about undocumented people and sadder yet, having conversations with other Christians who spoke anger and hatred towards “illegals.”

God spoke to my heart about this. How could my brothers and sisters in Christ be so unkind and uncaring? Hadn’t they read The Good Samaritan? Didn’t they remember about loving our neighbors? It happened again and again, and I realized, with God’s help, that one of the challenges was that people didn’t understand the real story. They were fed a certain stereotype by the media, an image of a tattooed person in a gang or a drug dealer.

They hadn’t actually met anyone undocumented. Or at least they hadn’t realized they had.

In my life and in my job as a counselor, I had met tons of undocumented immigrants, and I had known them the great majority to be kind, hard-working people who wanted the best for their family and were willing to risk it all for the chance at the American dream. I saw love, I saw bravery, I saw strength, I saw faith. And I believe that God showed me those things so that I could reflect that in my novels.

A wonderful thing happens when we’re reading a book. We jump into the shoes of the main character. We understand their plight. Their hopes are our hopes. We feel their story, their dreams, their love, their anguish, their joy. That is one of the great things about reading. We escape our own lives for a while and experience a new adventure, gain a new understanding. We go places and meet people and do things we would never be able to in our own lives.

So that is what God placed on my heart to share with the world: an authentic experience of a mother and daughter who are undocumented Christians.

It’s controversial, but then so was the Gospel. What is more controversial than Jesus’ teachings? To love those who hate us. To turn the other cheek. To give away all possessions to join Him. I mean, what is more controversial than being asked to believe that a man born over 2,000 years was the Son of God and was risen from the dead after three days and that giving one’s heart over to Him will save one’s soul so as to live for all of eternity with God in Heaven?

And yet, that is the very heart of the Gospel.

To love God and to love others.

So, in the spirit of loving God and listening to Him, I wrote Vivir el Dream and published it even when the world pushed against it and continues to do so, perhaps more now than in 2012. All the more reason to love our neighbor more and to hold tighter onto God and His teachings.

I hope you enjoy my book. I hope it takes you on a new, heartwrenching adventure that carries you from the anguish in crossing a desert with your three-year-old daughter on your hip to the freedom in cooking tamales in the kitchen while swaying to cumbia, from the stabbing fear of living in a country that doesn’t want you to experiencing the joy of first love, and from the desperation of staring down an empty barrel to the understanding of truth for your fellow man.

God bless. And happy reading.

Blog Stops

Multifarious, March 16

100 pages per hour, March 17

Stephanie’s Life of Determination, March 18

Truth and Grace Homeschool Academy, March 19

Debbie’s Dusty Deliberations, March 20

Texas Book-aholic, March 21

janicesbookreviews, March 22

A Reader’s Brain, March 23

Abba’s Prayer Warrior Princess, March 24

Inklings and notions, March 25

The Becca Files, March 26

Real World Bible Study, March 27

Power of Words, March 28

Just the Write Escape, March 29

Giveaway

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To celebrate her tour, Allison is giving away a grand prize of a gift basket that includes 4 Christian novels, secret recipes for some of the Mexican cuisine described in Vivir el Dream, and authentic arts and crafts from Guadalajara, Mexico or by preference, a $40 Amazon gift card!!

Be sure to comment on the blog stops for nine extra entries into the giveaway! Click the link below to enter. https://promosimple.com/ps/dd7f/viver-el-dream-celebration-tour-giveaway

 

 

 

 

Listen to What I Mean and Not What I Say

My Mammaw used to tell us often, “you need to listen to what I mean and not what I say.”  To a kid that sounded ridiculously funny.  As an adult, I get it.  How many times have I lost a word when speaking or switched one for another?  Anyone else ever do that?

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My husband laughed at me as I asked him recently to put something in the dishwasher in the garage.  At the time I was doing dishes and needed something put in the outside refrigerator.  My daughter would have chuckled and complied.  Not my comedian of a hubby.  “Want me to put in dishwasher soap, too, honey?” he asked trying to maintain a straight face.    Then I realized what I had actually said.  (Watch for him in a comedy club near you – hahaha!)

Words are meant as a means of communications.  Sometimes they work smoothly and others they just don’t.  We share them with others.  Sometimes when life gets tough and trials come, words fail me.  They want to stay bottled up inside.  Friends are always ready to lend a shoulder and ear, but it isn’t always that easy.

Abba hears us and knows exactly what we mean even before He hears the words.  His Word assures us of that.  Isaiah 65:24 says “…before they call, I will answer; and while they are yet speaking, I will hear.”  Our God is so powerful He know our prayers before we pray them.  He always listens to what we mean.

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Sometimes my soul is weary or hurts and words leave it.  I want to pray but I can’t seem to form the words.  Tears fall with no problem.   Things in my life or the world seem insurmountable.  There is a lot going on that should not be.  In Romans 8:26 scripture tells me that “In the same way, the Spirit helps us in our weakness. We do not know what we ought to pray for, but the Spirit himself intercedes for us through wordless groans.”  So God hears me even when I cannot form the words.  The Holy Spirit knows.

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I hope you take comfort as I do in knowing that our prayers are always heard even when we are so down hearted we can only “be silent” with God in prayer and let the Holy Spirit intercede for us.  If you misspeak, like I often do, God hears what you mean. He sees us through the eyes of a Loving Father.

St. Patrick’s Day Musings and Recipe

Well, top of the mornin’ to ya and Happy St. Patty’s Day! ‘‘Tis the day everyone claims to be at least a wee bit Irish,  What about you?  Are you really of Irish decent or just Irish today?

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A sea of green will be flowing everywhere today because most everyone wears green clothes, Irish or not, on this day. It is the day many foods turn green on purpose.  Even the river in Chicago turns green.  This is also the one day of the year that we all put a “Mc” or “O” in front of our surname and become Irish. Yes, it’s St. Patrick’s Day!

St. Patrick was a soul saver. IMG_1716A soldier for the Lord.  That is what we are really celebrating.  He used a three leaf clover to teach people about the trinity.  St. Patrick turned thousands of hearts, minds, and souls to the one true God.  Now, doesn’t that sound like cause to celebrate!  I think so, too.

It isn’t about having things green and being Irish. No fictional little leprechauns with rainbows and pots of gold were there.  This is about celebrating the vast number of Druids, pagans that were saved and became Christians.

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Irish are supposed to be lucky among a lot of other things. You’ve heard of the “luck of the Irish,” right? Hmm, I am not sure about that. Well, I guess you could say the ones that met St. Patrick were lucky, or could you? Was it luck that drew them to St. Patrick or something else?  Perhaps the Holy Spirit.

Do you believe in luck? Do you think there is gold at the end of the rainbow? Personally, I don’t really believe much in luck or leprechauns. Maybe if I keep losing when playing a game I say I have bad luck, but outside of that I don’t put belief in luck. My faith and trust are in Jesus. He is the one that guides and directs me just like He did St. Patrick.

When I accepted Jesus as my Lord and Savior, He was the Way or rainbow to my riches. I followed Him. My gold happens to be where Jesus prepared a place for me at the end of my earthly life – in Heaven. IMG_3600That is where my heart is, too. In Heaven the Bible says there will be beautiful streets of gold.

My saved loved ones will be there. There will be no more sickness, no more death, no more tears. My Savior, Jesus, is there. Our Almighty God, my Maker, is there. Talk about hitting the jackpot or pot of gold! That is everything I could ever want. Wow, no riches can compare to that. None. So what about you? Where is your pot of gold?

“Do not store up for yourselves treasures on earth, where moths and vermin destroy, and where thieves break in and steal. But store up for yourselves treasures in heaven, where moths and vermin do not destroy, and where thieves do not break in and steal. For where your treasure is, there your heart will be also.” Matt. 6:19-21.

Traditional Irish St. Patrick’s Day Dish

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Irish Colcannon, an Irish Treasured Dish

1 lb. potatoes peeled white or unpeeled red potatoes
½ lb. bacon (cut into small 1-inch squares)
1 T. Kosher salt
6 cups thinly sliced cabbage (approximately a head)
6 T. butter (four for the cabbage and two for the potatoes)
½ cup whipping cream (or milk)
Fresh parsley chopped finely-a few sprigs will do
A large onion, chopped
5 or 6 scallions or a clump (handful) of chives
Salt and freshly ground pepper to taste
Wash potatoes and peel if you’re using thick skinned.
Cut the potatoes in quarters and place in a large pot of boiling water.
Add the Kosher salt. Boil for approximately 25 minutes.
Stick one of the potatoes with a fork to see if they’re cooked. They should be tender and easy to penetrate with the prongs.

Cook the bacon in a large skillet over medium heat.
When they’re finished cooking, add 4 T. butter.
Add the cabbage and onions.
Sauté the cabbage mixture until almost done, with the onions translucent and cabbage a bit crispy. Some people prefer to cook the mixture until everything is soft. It just depends on whether you like a bit of crunch or not. It takes about 10 to 15 minutes.

Drain the potatoes and add the butter and cream or milk, mashing it to silky smoothness—unless you left the skins on, then almost silky smoothness.

Add the onion, cabbage mixture and salt and pepper to taste.
Serve hot. Enjoy this Irish classic dish.

 

 

 

Been There, Done That, Let Me Help

The other day we were going somewhere new.  The address did not sound familiar and the GPS often is unreliable.  “Turn left” it tells me when there is no stree! My parents had been to our destination and offered for us to ride with them or follow behind.  It was so much easier going with someone who had already been there.

Having made the trip before us, my parents knew what to look for and what might go wrong.  They also knew where to turn to make the journey easier.  Traveling together allowed quality time to chat and catch up.  The drive which I was dreading turned out to be lovely and extremely enjoyable.

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The journey of life is exactly like that.  People who have travelled the same path can help us.  By giving us direction, tips from their journey or just going with us, others can chase anxiety away.  They can take our hand and walk beside us to let us know we have a traveling companion, a seasoned on.  Not only are they assisting us, but they are serving God.  Scripture says in Hebrews 6:10 “God is not unjust; He will not forget your work and the love you have shown Him as you have helped His people and continue to help them.”

 

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Do you ever look to someone for counsel?  Someone who has gone through a tough situation and made it through with flying colors?  We need people to encourage us.  My sweet grandson Isaac is special needs and my daughter Vanessa is always offering support to other parents of special needs children.  Isaac is now seven so it is routine now, but she will never forget the trying first months.

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Sometimes I forget that I am serving God by helping others.  Do you?  We need to make it such second nature that we just do helpful things.  Chatting with someone on the phone recently we were able to offer encouragement to each other.  Taking a meal to a new set of parents brought tears to their eyes.  Offering to pray with someone immediately stunned them speechless, but they were very appreciative.

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We have all “been there, done that” so let’s take those experiences to serve Abba and someone here in need. It makes a great Lenten project for however often you decide.  Even if it isn’t for Lent, don’t ever give up doing good for others.

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Mothers and Daughters

There is a special bond linking mothers and daughters.  At this stage in my life I am a mother and daughter so I know first hand how amazing the relationship is.  Both my mother and daughter are true blessings from Abba.  The three of us share many things, our love of God being the most important.

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Yesterday Vanessa, my daughter, came by to help me with some things.  She just sensed things were unusually stressful for me.  When her pretty face popped in it was followed by some beautiful purple flowers and red roses.  A pick me up in my favorite colors and flowers given out of love brought warmth to my heart and tears to my eyes.

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Often during conversations she can finish my sentences or nod before I even start talking.  Does she read my mind?  Maybe because she knows seems to know what I’m thinking.  Same thing happens between me and Mom, too.  Perhaps it is because we have spent so much quality time together.

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Vanessa is a jewel and I am proud of the Christian woman she is.  Of all the things I wished for her to be, a woman of faith was first on the list.  Mission accomplished.  Mom taught me about Jesus, and I taught my daughter.

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Mothers and daughters start out as just that and will always be, but as they age they become close confidants and best friends.  I delight in chatting with each of mine daily.  Mom is a fountain of knowledge.  Her voice is something I yearn to hear.  I crave her wisdom.  Vanessa is level headed and loving.  I miss having her under my roof but delight in her family.  She is a good wife and mother.

I love these women of faith, my women.  They are my support system.  It thrills me that we will spend eternity together.  Oh the things we will do!  It is mind boggling yet comforting at the same time.  I cannot imagine it.

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Thank you Vanessa and Mom for your love and support.  Life would be so much harder without you two.  You both are loved, appreciated, and treasured.  My life is happy because of you.

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Readers, who do you need to thank today?  Reach out and tell someone how important they are.  Are you certain you are spending eternity together.  If not, have a chat with them.  Make it a Thankful Thursday.