WELCOME! May I be the first to wish you Happy New Year! Susie Larson is spending time with her family today, but will return tomorrow! I know you will miss her inspiring words, but I'm honored and delighted to be with you today! if this is your first visit make sure you come back tomorrow for Susie Larson, 'BLOGGER EXTRAORDINNAIRE!!! Be sure to scroll down for end of the year inspiration, suggestions for keeping New Year's Resolutions and yummy recipes for a traditioal New Year's Day Dinner!
What I love most about the New Year is that we have a fresh new start . . . . a clean slate. A chance to change our ways, overcome bad habits, and start anew at page one!
"Behold! Old things are passed away." Revelation 21:5
"Therefore, if any man in Christ, he is a new creature." II Corinthians 5: 17
HAPPY NEW YEAR!
Author of THE CHASE, THE REPLACEMENT and THE CANDIDATE (BAKER/FLEMING REVELL PUBLISHERS, A MATCH MADE IN HEAVEN I & II with Ann Platz (Multnomah)
A CHRISTMAS KEEPSAKE AND KEEPSAKE FOR A MOTHER'S HEART with Alice Gray, Thomas Nelson, Publisher
COMING SOON IN 2008 - GRANDMOTHER . . . ANOTHER NAME FOR LOVE! Howard/Simon Schuster Publishers
And other books available at amazon.com
My Favorite Diet to start the New Year
This is a specially formulated diet designed to help WOMEN cope with the stress that builds during the day. I have found that this really works!!
* 1 Grapefruit
* 1 slice whole-wheat toast
* 1 cup skim milk
* 1 small portion lean, steamed chicken with a cup of spinach
* 1 cup herbal tea
* 1/2 box Twinkies
* The rest of the Twinkies in the box
* 1/2 gallon of ice cream with chocolate topping
* 4 bottles of wine (red or white)
* 2 loaves garlic bread
* 1 extra large Dominos pizza
* 3 Snickers bars
LATE NIGHT SNACK
* 1 whole cheesecake and a pint of Ben and Jerry's New York Superfudge crunch (eaten directly from the freezer)
- "Stressed" spelled backwards is desserts"
The words of Charles Dickens best describe my year . . . 'it was the best of times and the worst of times!' I'm guessing these words probably describe your year too! Jesus says, "the rain will come into our lives."
The Best of Times - My granddaughter Hailey lost her first tooth and learned to read. In good health, my parents celebrated their 60th wedding anniversary and their 80th and 90th birthdays, as well! After seven years in development, my husband Ken's film, AMAZING GRACE, came to the big screen. If you haven't seen it, you must! It will inspire you to change the world. We often say, "but I'm just one person. I can't make a difference in the world, but Amazing Grace, the true story of William Wilberforce, will show you that God will bring all the people you need to do the task he has called you to do . . . his wonders to perform! While at the London premier of Ken's movie, I enjoyed a reunion with my maternal grandfather's family. It was the first time in 200 years the American branch was reunited with the family members who stayed behind in England. My great-great grandfather left England to pursue religious freedom. Not until I visited the cousins did I realize the magnitude of the sacrifices my great-great grandfather made to worship in the way he had chosen. Was I ever surprised to learn he left a castle behind? I was profoundly touched by his sacrifice.
The Worst of Times - I lost two friends to unexpected deaths this year. I lost another friend over a misunderstanding. After several attempts at reconciliation and lots of prayer, I had to walk away from the friendship. It hurt. It was painful. It's still difficult to talk about. Another close friend is fighting a heroic battle with cancer. I can't bear to lose her. I long to nail down the pages on the 2007 calendar for I know her days are numbered in 2008 - - - without a miracle. But the pages of the calendar keep on turning and the clock keeps ticking.Life goes on with all its twists and turns carrying us on the journey even when we are unwilling to go. As Christians there is a place of quiet rest for us . . . just as the hymn says . . . near to the heart of God.
As we reflect on the new year we are reminded of the second chances God gives us day after day, year after year. As you read these words, is your life a tangled mess? Maybe you have a prodigal child or perhaps you've received a frightening medical diagnosis. Or did your husband walk out on you or your boyfriend broke up with you? Is a loved one dying? Maybe your bank account is empty and you're not sure how you'll pay your bills? Well, I am here to tell you there is hope in Jesus Christ! Not only does he have the answers but he has the solution to whatever problem you are facing. Maybe not the one you want, but whatever has befallen you he has promised to never leave us! 'Seek and you will find.' Matthew 7:7
And if you don't know him, what better way to begin the New Year . . . 2008 than asking Jesus into your heart. Confess your sins and ask forgiveness. Start 2008 with a clean slate!
A relationship with Jesus won't magically make all your problems disappear. But for now, "his grace is sufficient for our problems." No matter what valley you walk through, he promises to be there with you. And then there is a day that is coming where they will be no more valley's or pain or suffering.I can think of no Scripture more appropriate for the New Year than to meditate on Revelation 21:21-5
He will wipe away every tear from their eyes, and death shall be no more, neither shall there be mourning nor crying nor pain any more, for the former things have passed away." And he who sat upon the throne said, "Behold I make all things new." ---Revelation 21:5
Now it wouldn't be the New Year without resolutions. Below are the 10 most popular resolutions in no particular order. I have also offered a few suggestions on how to keep those resolutions.
TOP 10 NEW YEAR'S RESOLUTIONS!
1. Spend More Time with Family & Friends
SCHEDULE A DATE
Spouses - Date night once per week.
Friends - Meet for dinner once per month.
Children - Game night, outing or family night once per week.
Parents - Plan a dinner once or twice or month.
Long Distance Family and Friends - Schedule a phone call or get a camera for your computer and visit in Cyperspace. I have a friend who schedules a call with her mother and they both have a cup of tea while chatting with one another across the miles.
2. Get physically fit.
Walk - Form a walking group with other busy moms. Meet and walk for and hour. You can talk while you walk.
Prayer Walk - Combine your prayer time with walking.
If your budget allows, buy a treadmill and exercise any time of day or night when you find the time!
Join a gym
Find an exercise buddy.
Romance & Fitness - You and your lover can exercise together. Take a walk. Do stretches together or go to the gym together.
If your budget allows, hire a personal trainer.
3. Lose Weight!
Choose from an array of diets and just do it.
Get a dieting buddy.
Make a bet with a buddy or spouse. Makes the stakes high.Tickets to sporting events, concerts, a day at the spa, a trip or smaller size clothes are good choices. The winner who loses the most pounds gets the prize!
See a doctor before going on your diet.
If your budget allows, join a weight loss center.
Cut your portions in half.
Cut sugar out of your diet.
4. Quit Smoking
You gotta do it!
Save cigarette money and buy yourself a reward.
Find a support group.
5. GET CLOSER TO GOD
Read the Bible
Join a Bible study
Go to church
Join a support group or Sunday School class
Spend time with Christian friends
6. Quit Drinking
Go to AA if you have a problem!
If you don't have a problem and just want to quit, cut down gradually. Allow yourself one beer or drink per day and then cut down to 2-3 times a week.
Some friends only drink on the weekends.
Get professional help.
if you've really got a problem, go into a treatment center.
7. Get Out of Debt
Formulate a plan to pay off credit cards.
Apply for lower interest credit cards.
Get a loan to consolidate your debts - home equity loans are an option for this.
Negotiate with creditors.
Tithe 10% of your income.
Save 10% of your income.
If all else fails, make an appointment to see a credit counselor!
8. Learn Something New
Take a new job.
Finish up your college degree
Learn a new language
Take art, singing, or cooking lessons
Learn to play tennis, golf or another sport - this will help with fitness and weight too!
9. Help Others
Find Volunteer opportunities in your area.
Find a family in your neighborhood who needs help.
Do something special for a needy or hurting child.
Donate clothes and household items to charities.
Donate a portion of your income to charity.
10. Get Organized
Organize! Everyone would like to be better organized.
Find organizational tips online.
Read books on organization. Check them out of library or purchase books.
Hire a professional organizer.
RECIPES FOR A TRADITIONAL NEW YEAR'S DAY DINNER
In the South if you want to be healthy, wealthy, and wise you must eat the following on New Year's Day:
Scroll down for recipes:
GREENS - Symbolizes green bills and health. If you don't eat your greens you won't make much money in 2008 so you'd better believe I'm going to eat greens! You will also have good health. My family's favorite greens are collards. The hardest part of cooking them is cleaning them. Was I ever happy to find a bag of collards, washed, cleaned and packaged like the bags of lettuce in the supermarket a few years ago! It saves at least an hour of preparation!
BLACK-EYED PEAS - Symbolizes wisdom. Eat plenty of peas if you want plenty of brain power!
PORK - A symbol of prosperity. Those who could afford hogs to slaughter for food, were considered prosperous. Eat pork if you want to be prosperous in 2008!
CORNBREAD - Prosperity!
SUSAN'S PORK TENDERLOIN
2 pork tenderloins, about 1 pound each
2 large cloves garlic
1/2 teaspoon thyme
1/2 teaspoon rosemary
1/2 teaspoon ground cinnamon
1 teaspoon ground allspice
dash ground cloves
salt and pepper
2 teaspoons olive oil
2 - 16 ounce cans whole cranberries
12 ounce can mandarin oranges with syrup
1/2 cup sugar
juice and zest from 1 orange
Preheat oven to 425°. Lightly oil a roasting pan.
Mince garlic and blend with spices, herbs, salt and pepper; mix with 2 teaspoons of olive oil.
Rub spice mixture over the pork tenderloins. Roast until pork registers about 155° on a meat thermometer.
While pork is roasting, combine the cranberries, mandarin orange slices and syrup, sugar, orange juice and zest in a saucepan. Bring to a boil. Reduce heat and simmer for about 8 to 10 minutes, or until cranberry mixture has thickened.
Cover pork tenderloins with 1/2 of the cranberry mixture and roast meat 10 additional minutes. Remove pork from oven and let cool for five minutes before slicing. While pork cools, heat remaining cranberry mixture to accompany sliced pork. Place sliced pork on a platter and garnish with sprigs of rosemary.
FAMILY RECIPE FORCOLLARD GREENS
4 Bags Collard greens
2 ham hocks
Salt and pepper to taste
CONDIMENTS TO SERVE WITH COLLARDS
Tomato Chow Chow
Wash greens thoroughly.
Place ham hocks in an extra-large pot with enough water to completely cover them. Add salt and cook ham hocks at least 30 minutes before adding collards greens. Add collards greens. Cook for 45 minutes, stirring occasionally and test for tenderness by piercing with a fork. Continue to cook until greens are tender.
Remove from heat and drain in a colander, reserving the juice (potlikker). Chop collards a knife. Add some of the potlikker if the greens are too dry. Salt and pepper to taste. Serve hot or at room temperature with choice of condiment.
The secret to Southern Cornbread is in the cast iron skillet. If you don't have one, a baking pan or dish will suffice, but the crust won't be as crispy!
- 2 cups yellow self-rising cornmeal
- 2 eggs
- 2 Tablespoons cooking oil or bacon grease
- 1 ½ cup milk or buttermilk
- 3 Tablespoons butter or margarine
Preheat the oven to 425 degrees. Place 3 Tablespoons butter or margarine in the pan and place in the oven to melt.
In a mixing bowl, beat the eggs until frothy. Add the cooking oil and milk, mixing well.
Measure cornmeal and add to the mixing bowl and stir until cornmeal
lumps are mixed into batter. Don't stir too much, or the bread will be
Once the butter is melted, take the pan out of the oven and swirl the pan until it covers surface evenly.
Spoon the Southern Cornbread batter into the pan or baking dish. Some of the butter will come up over the edges and make a ring.
Slide the pan back in the oven and bake for 15-20 minutes.
I use the 10-inch cast iron skillet for this recipe, but if you're using a bigger skillet, you'll want to cook for a shorter time as the bread is not as thick.
This recipe is also good for muffins or for bread-sticks.
OPTIONAL: Add diced onions to the batter for tastier cornbread.
FOR MEXICAN cornbread, add an 6-8 oz. can of corn and a cup of grated cheese.
May God bless you abundantly in 2008!