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The Welcome Home
Good Things and Recipes
May 4, 2005

 

Dear Sweet-heart Sisters,

I can’t believe it’s already May and this is the first Good Things and Recipes letter of the year!  I trust you are well and walking in the light of God’s Word as you serve your families, friends and guests in your homes.  I say this because we often weary of the tasks at hand and need an encouraging word from time to time that we ought to press on and that it will be worth it all and that no matter what it seems like from day to day, your influence bears greatly on your family and your behaviour has a profound effect on the lives around you.  As many of you know I exhort wives and mothers regarding their behaviour---just I continually remind myself---we must determine to be kind, to be sweet in our homes.  So be a sweet heart… your family needs you Celebrate the great gift of life; the great gift of womanhood. 
(Psalm 113, Proverbs 14.1; 15.13,15 and Proverbs 31.26)

Mother’s Day
 

The Quilt of Motherhood
pamela spurling

Those first two little teeth… those same little teeth that made their debut five years earlier mark a milestone in that little one’s life, when they begin to have a bit more space in that growing jaw and then become wiggly in delighted little fingers.  With probably the same thrill and joy we felt upon first seeing them pop through, we pull them out.   A surge of the bittersweet may wash over us as we observed this milestone. Those bittersweet moments only mothers know… the baby’s are growing… they’re learning to toddle across the floor, they fall and skin flawless knees, they ride on shoulders and then on bicycles, they work at their play with plastic money and baby keys that are in a moment replaced with exams and paychecks and car keys, they pay dress up and then get dressed up, they colour in the lines and then write beautiful poetry, you hold them in your hand and then in your prayers---those sweet moments mothers treasure in their hearts for a lifetime. 

 I remember noticing the smile becoming broader and the teeth more spaced than ever before.  I knew in my heart that the little boy face was transforming into the face of a young man---that the temporary little teeth of a toddler would be replaced with the permanent teeth of a man.  Oh, these bittersweet moments… mama’s all over the globe know them all too well.  Now, at the risk of sounding downhearted about these life-passages, I assure you it’s just another of the many melancholy moments a mama experiences. They’re those bittersweet moments… pieces in the quilt of motherhood. 

This quilt---the quilt of motherhood---warms us, stifles us, wraps us and covers us as it defines the days gone by.   Mothers fold blankets and cover their babies with quilts, and then they fold their hands and cover their children in prayer.  They, at once, picture the sweet past memories and picture special futures of their babies.  All the while, time is piecing and shaping their quilt.

Each square of the quilt might represent a child; some squares: neat and tidy, some symmetrical and straight, some have frayed edges, missing stitches and torn material, some with the softest cloth with extra batting, some have raveled seams and the tattered blocks look nothing like the original squares.  The quilts of motherhood are pieced with tear-stained fabrics, the soft hues and bright colours, the dark sashing, blood-stained threads, soft cotton and rough cloth, the fabric of childhood memories, hopes and dreams.

Every mother’s quilt tells a story---lots of stories, really and every mother knows where the stitches are neat and even, and every mother knows right where the tears and frayed edges are.  As the days pass, even the dark squares and worn pieces bring a sort of a melancholy yet sweet memory.  The older the quilt, the dearer the comfort; the older the quilt, the more valuable the stitches that hold the pieces together.  There’s much hope in both the older and newer quilts: the older with memories and the newer with hopes and dreams.  Both are warming to a mother’s heart.  Both cover a mother with a joy unspeakable.  Both sweet--- though one, bittersweet. 

The quilt of motherhood is a precious possession… marvelous and challenging, sunny and stormy, glad and disappointing,  easy and difficult---no matter,  most would do all the days over again just to have this treasured possession.  It’s at once unique and universal, and yet, no two are alike.  No amount of money in the world could create the treasure that mothers possess in this: the quilt of motherhood and only the saving knowledge of Christ and the blessed assurance of His Holy Spirit and life eternal is worth more than this: the quilt of motherhood.

 

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 Fresh strawberries, a bowl of sour cream and a bowl of brown sugar makes a simple and delicious dessert.  You can substitute plain yogurt for the sour cream.  You can place several strawberries on a salad plate, along with a large dollop of sour cream (or yogurt) and a couple of teaspoons of brown sugar.  Dip the strawberry in the sour cream and then the brown sugar… and eat!  Most everyone enjoys this.

 Speaking of fresh fruit… now’s the time to begin looking for sales on canning jars, picking up plastic freezer boxes for freezing berries or freezer jam.  I suggest this now, because so many times in the past, I’ve gone to the market to buy additional supplies and the shelves are empty!  Then over the years, I’ve accumulated too many of some things so I like to share with sisters who are just getting started.  That’s what a sister did for me many, many years ago.  I also start picking up new lids and sometimes new bands for canning jars.  That way, when I receive a short notice call that fruit is in, I am ready to can!  If you’re new to canning and wonder what’s involved, I’d suggest getting some books from the library---there are many that show step by step techniques for canning and freezing.  I still use my Sunset guide to canning and preserving.  On my website, I have a page dedicated to showing how to can fruits and there are a couple of links.  I’ll add to it as I’m able to make it more comprehensive. http://www.achristianhome.org/canning.htm   There is nothing quite like opening a can of sunshine when it’s snowy cold outside.

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 You prepare this recipe the night before and put in the fridge until half an hour or so before baking.

 French Toast Puff

 1 Dozen eggs
4 Cups 1/2 & 1/2

   Or 2 Cups 1/2  & 1/2 and 2 cups whipping cream
2 tsp. Vanilla
A dash of salt
1 tsp. Cinnamon
2 tsp. Nutmeg
2 loaves French bread
Maple Syrup

1/2 cup soft butter - melted
1 cup firmly packed light brown sugar
1 cup chopped walnuts
2 Tablespoons Corn syrup

11" x 14" x 3” baking pan. [I usually make this with 18 eggs and adjust the ingredients accordingly and bake in a buffet pan]  Spray the pan with pan spray, and cover bottom with bread two or three slices high (depending on the thickness of the slices).  Drizzle some maple syrup over the dry bread. (I put a thin drizzle between each layer).  Sprinkle the dry bread with cinnamon and nutmeg.  Combine eggs, cream, vanilla, and salt.  Then pour egg mixture over the bread; cover and refrigerate over night.  The next morning or noon, remove from fridge, preheat oven to 350*.  Combine butter, sugar and corn syrup---whip until blended; sprinkle bread with walnuts and then pour glaze evenly over the whole surface.  Bake for 40 minutes till all puffed and golden light brown. The cooked dish really retains heat---so be careful serving the little ones---it’ll be hot for them!  Serves 12+ 

 

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  Well, Mother’s Day is coming up and for so many, it’s a very difficult day.  Many sisters have mothers who’ve passed on, or mothers who, though still living, are not a part their lives, but are, nonetheless, part of the fabric of their lives.  Others have strained relationships, perhaps distance or lifestyle separates them.  And then there are others who have good relationships but are in need of encouragement to deepen or strengthen the bond they have.  Another difficult angle of Mother’s Day is the old pesky trap which ensnares us all from time to time: expectations.  Unmet expectation is often the culprit behind the negative feelings associated with holidays or life circumstances.  We often “know” how a situation is going to turn out and we practically: set it up to happen!  We anticipate that *nothing* is going to happen, or that things aren’t going to turn out “right” and when nothing happens or things don’t “turn out,” then we have that old:  “I knew it!” syndrome wash over us and with it: disappointment, again.  I used to have this feeling about Mother’s Day from time to time, and as I look back now, O, how much I missed by *expecting* things to be “just so” and when they weren’t, then I felt low.  You see, I missed the things that *were* happening, I missed some “feeble” attempts at honouring mother.  I see now that *I* didn’t even honour my mother or mother in law as I ought to have and yet, *I* desired some lofty honour myself.   But my words indicated otherwise.  I often have said to my family that they don’t need to do anything, that they love me every day and so to do extraordinary things on *one* day was not necessary.  What I was doing was actually sending them mixed signals.   Sort of like holding out a hand, flat palmed: stop! and the other, waving in, come on: give!  My husband and children were then confused and their attempts at sweetness were thwarted.   

Now… for many years I have “participated” in Mother’s Day and it’s been a delight to me---and for them, also.  You see, I decided to turn things around.  At first, it was because I didn’t want to be disappointed and I didn’t want to say or do anything to make them feel awkward about it all.  So, then, I began what’s now become a tradition of giving a little gift and writing to each one of my children and my husband, too, for Mother’s Day.  I attempt to convey to them, their particular influence or importance to me as their mother.  I seek to affirm the qualities I see the LORD building in their lives and the ways He’s using and blessing them---and what that means to me as their mother.  So, it’s become a day of thanks and delight and not of any dread at all.  I know they look forward to it, too---and you know what?  I look forward to it more and more each year!  They do *so* many dear things to bless me *everyday* that that day is really a day of celebration for us all.  They know I am *for* them and that I so adore them, each one---and my great joy is that it’s mutual!  I believe it became this way when I began to change my thinking---shifting it from myself to them and the blessing they are to me---the children who, in part, made me what I am: a mother.

When I determine to set aside grief’s, past disappointments, selfish ambitions, and seek to embrace the day, so to speak, then the joy is full---because my joy is not dependant on my situation: my joy is dependant on Jesus who is my Wellspring of joy!  My Rock and my Redeemer---and my children know, my husband knows and I live *demonstrating* that *I* know this.  He is my hope of Glory.  (Colossians 1.27)

 

That’s why it’s so very critical to keep your eyes on Jesus: the Author and Finisher of your faith.  HE will never [NO, not ever!] leave you, nor forsake you.  If, when, others forsake you, count on this: He will never.  So, you have a day that is set aside and you have these expectations and all the possibilities in the world that your hopes may be met or dashed---set your hope in God,  set your affections and all your expectations on things above.  Remember, the LORD will joy over you with singing.  You can rest in the knowledge that He will be found by you---you can count on this! (Jeremiah 29.13-14)

 

I pray this Mother’s Day is a delightful day for you.  I pray it will hold significance for you as you seek to honour your mother, if possible, and as you seek to be a mother worthy of honour: a mother who delights in the LORD, showing love and preference to her children and graciousness and honour to her husband, I pray you’ll know you’re cherished.  O, that we’d all be found faithful.

 

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Remember… be a sweet-heart… your family needs you!   God Bless you this Mother’s Day, I pray it be a day of joy for you and that if you’re not a mother, and/or have experienced pain or loss, that the LORD would indeed wrap you in His quilt of love and that you be covered with a garment of praise, that your heart would be blessed by the presence of the LORD and that your grief and sadness would be comforted by His presence.

 ~sincerely, pamela spurling

 

 

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