The Advent of Sharing

Today was full of notable people, things, and events. At our church today, I was a proud mom watching my son sing with the kids choir and my daughter sing “Ave Maria” all by herself. It was more than notable–to me anyway. I could barely video, I was so overwhelmed.

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Now if that wasn’t enough, I was blessed to share a chili luncheon with friends from our church. I think there were 10 or 12 different crocks of chili and lots of yummy bread and cheese to go with it. Not to mention delicious desserts. I tasted a yummy banana pudding and a slice of my own Chocolate Chess Pie. My stomach and my heart were both full as we visited with friends in the gym. It just felt so–ABUNDANT. I thought fondly of my Dad, who loved to pile different foods on his plate at a church supper. I remember him saying once, “It’s polite to try everybody’s…” I was so polite today that my stomach hurt. 🙂

 

It struck me as I looked around. Our lives may not be perfect. Troubles come and go. Times change quickly. One thing is for sure:

If you’ve got a pot of something to share and someone to share it with, you are rich.

So much richer than so many in this troubled world.

Having enough to eat is a true blessing, but having someone to share with makes the blessing bigger. If today or tomorrow, you share a cup of coffee, a sandwich, your candy bar, some soup, or anything with someone you care about, you are blessed. Each day brings us an opportunity to share something with someone. Make your plan now for how you’ll use your chance to share. My plan involves this pot of yummy chocolate chips and butter.
Tonight, I baked a new recipe, Tarheel Pie. It was not difficult at all, and I still have a few ready-made crusts, so that made it even simpler.  I melted chocolate chips (the mini ones melt faster) with a whole stick of butter. A whole stick. Not a pat or a tablespoon. This pie is not messing around.
chipsNext, I mixed eggs, sugar, brown sugar, vanilla, flour and salt together and then mixed in the awesome chocolate elixir. The icing on the cake (or the pie, as the case may be) was adding MORE chocolate chips and a big scoop of flaked coconut to the batter right at the end. It baked for about 40 minutes and smelled like the best brownies ever.

The sharing part will happen tomorrow morning at work (much to my kids’ chagrin). I am so thankful to work with some wonderful women each day. I just love them. Not a one of them is wealthy or famous. They are all going through the stuff of life like champions, and I’ve never seen such community–they support one another through the ups and downs. I know this is true, because they’ve supported me with hugs, laughs, casseroles, and anything else I’ve needed in the time we’ve worked together. I consider it a privilege to support them right back.

Tomorrow, we’ll share Tarheel Pie. Can’t wait to taste it. So grateful for the chance to share!tarheel pie

The Advent of Pie

December 1st already! 2012 is flying by, and the holiday season is here. It’s a time for celebrating, family, friends and cheer. I really do love Christmas.

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BUT. There’s something you might not know about this pie lady. I can be, wellll….a little high maintenance when it comes to the holiday season. I love what (and Who) the season stands for, but sometimes, I get a little overwhelmed by the details. OK, so maybe a lot overwhelmed. My intentions are the best, but once I get in the middle of boxes, decorations, busy calendars, shopping, church activities, school activities, money concerns, and everything else that comes up, I just wanna sit down. For a long time. For many of us (I know I’m not alone–I’ve seen your faces out there), it doesn’t take much to cloud the joy of the season. We forget about the Advent Season. To help me remember, I looked up the definition of Advent. Here’s what I found:

ad·vent/ˈadˌvent/

Noun:
  1. The arrival of a notable person, thing, or event.
  2. The first season of the church year, leading up to Christmas and including the four preceding Sundays.

 

I already know that the “notable person” we’re celebrating is Jesus. I’m so thankful for His special birth, and for all that it means to me–and to everyone.

If you’re like me, though, it’s easy to forget all the “notable” things in this season–in this life–that are constantly arriving for us.

Indeed, each day of the year–each day of our lives–brings the advent of a “notable person, thing, or event.”

So many gifts to celebrate. There’s no way to name them all.But for this month, during the season of Advent, I’m celebrating the advent of 25 gifts. 25 notable people, things, or events. 25 notable days. I’m starting today and ending on Christmas Day. And you know my favorite way to celebrate:

PIE.

lemonpieWhew! I bet you were wondering if I’d ever get to the pie part. Here it comes.

Let the celebration begin. The First Pie of Advent is Old Fashioned Lemon Pie.

I found the recipe for this pie in this cool book I got for Christmas last year.lostartcookbookIt has some fun facts about pie history as well as some very old pie recipes. This Lemon Pie recipe was from 1848! It was really easy to make, especially since I cheated and used this crust:

fakecrustNow, don’t judge me. That Pillsbury Dough Boy knows what he’s doin’ when it comes to crust, and you know I’ve always been about using what’s already around. Also, using store-bought crust brings up something important. Lots of people suffer during the holidays because they worry hard about what they SHOULD be doing.

I should make Grandma’s crust.

I should make homemade ornaments with my kids.

I should have already finished shopping.

I should get a real tree, but I don’t like watering and vacuuming.

And the list goes on. ENOUGH. Forget about what you (or others) think you SHOULD do, and just do what you can.

Do what matters to you. Do what brings you joy.

orangesAnd speaking of joy…while my pie was baking, I enjoyed some of the most delicious navel oranges ever. We bought them from a kid we know who was selling them for the high school band. Those oranges were so fantastic–the juice ran down my chin! I also got to bask in some terrific memories. When I was little, we used to get oranges down in the toes of our Christmas stockings. The smell and taste of them will always remind me of Christmas morning. Not to mention, I sold my share of band fruit back in the day–along with my brothers and sisters.

So anyway, back to the Lemon Pie. It only had a few ingredients: Water, sugar, cornstarch, an egg, lemon zest, lemon juice. So simple. I whisked it all together at a simmer on the stove top and poured it into the pie crust. It was ready in 20 minutes. It had to cool on the rack and then chill in the fridge for a few hours. Here’s a slice.

lemonsliceIt’s kind of a thin pie, but is SO tasty and tangy and lemony. It was the kind of tangy that makes you suck in your cheeks, press your lips together, and squint your eyes a bit. Yummy. I was also thrilled with the gorgeous yellow color.

Today’s reason to celebrate? Our son walked in the town Christmas parade today with the Running Club from his school. Definitely a notable event! So thankful for the opportunities our kids have. So thankful for a town that gets together to celebrate. Here’s a shot from the parade. Our son is blurry (in the blue pants), because he was busy throwing candy. He had lots of fun, and so did we!parade

If you’re a reader of this blog, I invite you to celebrate advent–the arrival of notable people, things, or events–this Christmas season. What blessing arrived for you today?