Today Is An End But A New Beginning Is Beginning

As this year closes out tonight, it is the beginning of a new year. As we get ready to watch the ball drop, and for us DAWG fans we hope there is not any ball dropping but a WIN. Many people will celebrate with parties but hopefully they take precautions to avoid the variant virus. What is your mind going to do tonight? This is the focus of my last blog post for 2021.

Let’s do a review of this past year:

  • What is your biggest accomplishment?
  • What was the biggest failure?
  • Did you make your goals or did you not set any goals?
  • Did you save money or go farther in debt?
  • Have you thought about your health’s status?
  • Did you further and develop your career?
  • How many times did you reach out to help others?
  • Are you happier or sadder at the end of this year?

I ask these questions to begin my topic Is This An End or Is It A New Beginning ? In my life, I have found out that yesterday’s failures can lead to tomorrow’s successes if I use the lessons learned to overcome any future obstacles. I am sure that most of the successful people are students of learning from mistakes.

Photo courtesy of Good Housekeeping

Now let’s look at tomorrow’s possibilities:

  • Plan on what you want to accomplish this year by setting a goal for finances, education, health, relationships, careers, and/or retirement.
  • Evaluate any failures and why they happened, take responsibility for any action which could have the cause, and calculate smart decisive moves to avoid failure, and forgive yourself and move forward.
  • If you cannot make goals, research and learn how to set realistic and dream goals. Sometimes it requires dream goals to push us to make realistic goals come to full rendition. If for whatever reason, you surpass the realistic goals, you might see the dream goal become closer and even realistic.
  • Saving money, making sound investments, will reduce stress and make your financial goals more realistic. Eliminate debt by setting goals and sitting down and figure out how to stop unnecessary spending and place that money to paying more than the minimum. Example: I decided No More Credit Card debt several years ago and I started with the card with the lowest balance and doubled up the payments. Once that card was paid off, I took the same amount of money in addition to the regular payment to the next lowest balance card. I used this system and I can say we only use our cards if we can pay the full balance off in three months time; if we cannot budget that; we don’t use the cards. You can do this; we did and we are not wealthy people but we are now credit card balance free. The three month paid in full is a great way to use credit as most purchases have a no interest time frame such as 6 months.
  • New beginnings are technically endings of previous actions. Your health is the biggest asset you have in existence. It provides you with the ability to earn money working. It is essential this is vital to your plans of any kind. Careers, hobbies, relationships, and other endeavors depend on you having the energy and health to achieve success in all of life’s tasks. Over indulging in eating incorrectly, substances, and inactivity will defeat your health status. Learn to take care of your health as once it disappears, so does your productivity level.
  • In whatever career you are in or want to pursue, be specific in your goals but take the time to realize what will be the outcome of your decision. Are there retirement benefits? This is crucial but if the field you choose doesn’t come with long term benefits but offer immediate income revenue, set up your own retirement plan.
  • If whatever you do, or however small amount you can give to others, by all means pay it forward. The reward of giving is far more important than sitting around and feeling sorry for someone and not discounting prayer but do what you can for that person if possible and still pray.
  • Decide your mental state now. Are you happy or sad? If you are happy, that is great and build on that happiness. Never take happiness or loved ones for granted. If you are sad, sit down and think about what is making your sad. Is it finances, relationship, work, lack of faith, health, or addictions of any kind including food or substance? If you don’t know what is making you sad, you can’t fix it. Denial is not a solution and the sooner you know, the sooner you can move to the solution. We all deserve to be happy but we can self sabotage our happiness. Feeling sorry is not a solution for any condition. Everyone has a story, everyone is dealing with something, and everyone can overcome or get help to overcome anything if you are willing. If you are willing, by the end of next year, you can say I am happy.
Dreamstime.com (photo courtesy)

Google search provided this Happy New Year Image

I leave all of you with this message of love. I cannot solve anyone’s problems. I can however work on myself to become the best I can be with all of my flaws and failures along with all of my successes. I choose to be happy, positive, full of hope and dreams. I feel confident you can be, and pray that you are happy already. LIVE LIFE, LOVE LIFE, AND LIVE AND LOVE LIVE TO THE FULLEST by filling your life with strong goals and a positive attitude. Happy New Year to All.

(C) Copyright 2012-2021 Arline Miller of Sipping Cups of Inspiration with all rights and privileges reserved. Third party material is sourced, if known, to original location/author for credit reference.

Time To Pack Up This Year

2021 has been a pistol of a year with all of the COVID tragedies, mandates, masks, and everything that has gone on in the world with the pandemic. This year’s accomplishments, if any, have gone amiss with all of the attention. I am not discounting all of the untimely deaths due to this horrendous virus. I am just worn out from all of it. I am ready to see some normalcy of life as I am sure that all of you feel the same. Let us pick up our heads, look for some sunshine and find our smiles again. Pack this year’s baggage up, throw it in a closet, and find reasons to find happiness and fun in life again.

As a blogger, I would like to extend the opportunity to have guest bloggers on my blog in 2022 and I have one guest already lined up. If you have good ideas, tips, and suggestions for cooking and healthy eating, please send me an email or your contact info in a comment on the blog. I cover a lot of territory of topics and will welcome wholesome articles and even good sponsors for the blog.

2022 Happy New Year Image courtesy of Pinterest

I would like to leave you with a positive message for 2022. There is something good in everything even if it is struggling. In my life, I have looked for the roses to smell, the laughter even if it is directed at me from me on something silly I have done, the compassion for others while encouraging them to stand up and conquer their fears and survive and thrive, and enjoying the simple forms of love without the expectation of it being a fairy tale as I remember those fairy tales had trolls and wicked people in them too. We make choices and those choices should always be ones we can learn from, grow from, and look at them later in life and smile. In 2022, LIVE LIFE, LOVE LIFE, AND LIVE AND LOVE LIFE TO THE FULLEST by taking it to the top!

Please take time to look at the ads on the blog and if you see something interesting, please click on the ad to learn more. This is the only way I can generate any small amount of revenue to pay for the publishing of this blog. I am not promoting any company or product but I want to keep the blog free for all readers.

Thanks to my readers and followers for a growth during this year and for the entire span of my blog since 2012. Arline Miller, Blogger and Author

(C) Copyright 2012-2021 Arline Miller of Sipping Cups of Inspiration with all rights and privileges reserved. Third party material is sourced to original location/author if known for credit reference.

Stepping Up with My PowerXL Air Fryer and More

As many of you have read my post with my wonderful Power Air Fryer Oven, you have heard my praises about the ease of it. I have been instrumental in encouraging many of my friends/readers to buy an Air Fryer/Oven in the past couple of years. This Christmas, we bought my daughter one and while looking for her gift, we decided to get a new one. There is nothing wrong with our beautiful red oven but since we love it, we were even more excited over all of the features on this one. No, I am not being sponsored to say this. This is just me, promoting what I have experienced being an avid cook that as my nickname Reinvention Queen hints, I love to save time and reinvent dishes.

This was my first time using my new toy and look at this bagel. Wow what fine toasting it does.
I gladly gave up a little more counter space to have this 8 in 1 appliance Power XL.

Here’s a good link to some recipes for your air fryer which I pinned to my Pinterest Board too. https://www.pinterest.com/alm06/power-air-fryer-oven-recipes/

https://tasteofrecipe.net/?s=air%20fryer&fbclid=IwAR3JLB3zQc9eXQo9jylKzLOjS3QKfu0sOF6GJ5ZuRboP1zF_Fz9kLM7lcuY

I love the visuality while it is one. I can easily see how it is coming along without bending down.

We can’t wait to try every feature beginning with grill feature. Power XL has so much room interior wide.
As you can see I love my red Power Air Fryer Oven but also love the extra room and features in the Power XL Grill Air Fryer Oven 8 n 1

As I try this one out with the features, I will keep you updated. Try an air fryer out for wonderful results and a handy tool in your kitchen.

(C) Copyright 2012-2022 Arline Miller Sipping Cups of Inspiration with rights and privileges reserved. Third party material is sourced to original location/author if known for credit references.

IT’S CHRISTMAS TIME

As Christmas is nearing, little children are cheering, prices are up but buying is soaring, kitchens are buzzing, and hearts are swelling. Soon, Christmas will be in full celebration. Already, people are gathering, hopefully safely, with loved ones but what is everyone celebrating? I hope we are gathering to recognize and worship the celestial birth of Jesus. I realize that not all people celebrate Christmas in the same way we in the Christian faith do, but I hope everyone celebrates that spirit of love and giving gifts as a sign of goodwill. But for us and our house, it is a time to gather the family together and display the love Our Savior made possible for us to feel.

I like to research the history and why we have certain customs and trends related to holidays and events. I found this article on the history and origination of the tree. What I found interesting were the analogy of the structure and decorating of the tree. I knew we decorated trees from all of my memories but this is the first time I see it as it is depicted as a symbol of Christmas. The author’s name and link is at the end of her excerpt:

When you think of Christmas Day, one of the first images that comes to mind is the Christmas tree. But what is the religious significance? While there is no overt reference to an evergreen treen in relation to the actual birth story of Christ, believers have attached religious meaning to the once pagan symbol.

RELATED: The Religious Meaning Behind ‘The Twelve Days Of Christmas’

The Choice of the Evergreen

The evergreen tree is a tree that maintains its color throughout the year. Even in the depths of winter, the evergreen tree shows its life. This characteristic of everlasting life represents the life we have in Christ (John 3:16).

The Shape of the tree

The triangular shape of the Christmas tree has often been used to reference the Holy Trinity (Matthew 28:18-19). The upward pointing branches often symbolize our praise to God.

The Lights on the tree

For many Christians, candles or lights on the tree signify how Jesus came as the light into the world. The star placed atop the tree represents the star the wise men followed to Bethlehem (Matthew 2:9).

Presents Under the tree

For some, presents under the tree represent the gifts the wise men brought to Jesus (Matthew 2:11). For others, the presents represent the gift of salvation we have through Jesus (Romans 3:21-22).

The Cutting of the Tree

When the evergreen tree is cut, it is struck down to its death, only to be raised to glory in splendor as a decorated Christmas tree. This transformation of the tree symbolizes how Jesus died on a tree and was raised to new life on the third day.

Should Christians Have Christmas Trees in Their Homes?

While most people never really think about the history or the practice of putting up a Christmas tree, some Christians do not celebrate the season with an evergreen. Here are a few reasons why.

  1. Jeremiah 10:1-5 – In this passage of Scripture, the Lord speaks through the prophet and tells the people to not adhere to the idolatrous practice of cutting down trees and decorating them with gold and silver.
  2. Pagan Historical Associations – Some families do not place Christmas trees in their home because of the pagan origins. They instead opt for other decorations, such as a nativity to remind them of the birth of Christ.
  3. Distraction from Jesus – Some Christians do not place a tree in their home because the gifts and glamour take away from the celebration of the birth of Jesus.

If we take an honest look at the tradition of the Christmas tree, the roots and religious symbolism is not overwhelmingly representative of the birth of Christ. Yet, the biblical arguments against it are not vast either. The principle derived from Jeremiah 10:1-5 is to not participate in idolatry. The cultural practice of the passage happened to be the cutting and decorating of trees.

Ultimately, the choice to celebrate with a Christmas tree during the holidays is a personal one. While many people do focus more on the dazzling aspects of the celebration, there can be beauty in the symbolism. First Corinthians 10:31 states, “So, whether you eat, or drink, or whatever you do, do all to the glory of God.” This passage gives us freedom to choose to celebrate the birth of Christ in a way we will connect to God most intimately. Yet, as we choose in freedom how to celebrate, let us remember to offer grace to those who choose to celebrate differently.

About The Author

Cortney Whiting is a wife and mom of two preteens. She received her Master of Theology Degree from Dallas Theological Seminary. After serving in the church for nearly 15 years, Cortney currently teaches at a Christian school and writes for various Christian ministries. You can find her at her blog, https://recapturefaith.com.

A close up of Our Christmas Tree from last year.
Merry Christmas to all of my readers and a Happy New Year….Arline Miller, author and blogger

As a blogger and not a theologian, I am not an expert of the history but I know I decorate as part of the celebration of the birth of Jesus. I want the holiday to be a big to do about Our Savior. I love watching the little ones all aglow with the innocence only children possess. I enjoy spoiling people and showering them with love. I have enjoyed the love from Our Savior as you have and want to share that great feeling. May your Christmas be bright, may the love of God and His Only Begotten Son fill your hearts with kindness and charity. May you find peace and joy in your life and soul on Christmas Day and every day as Christ came in this world for more than just one day; he came for us to feel His Unconditional Love Every Day! Whether you participate, please know Christ loves you and everyone else.

My daughter, Missy used a lot of vintage decorations from her Aunt Janice’s collection and the backdrop from the outside tranquility of the Georgia Pines make a wonderful Christmas photo.

(C) Copyright Arline Miller of Sipping Cups of Inspiration with all rights and privileges reserved. Third party material is sourced to the original location/author if known for credit references.

WHAT DID YOU WISH FOR THIS YEAR?

2021 has been challenging, but if we think back, we have experienced hard years before and lived to tell the tale. I want to express that even with events, tragedies, and so many feeling the pain of illness, loss of loved ones, changes in relationships, and financial woes, we still find ways to see good things, heroes showing up out of the blue, solutions coming from unexpected sources, and healing when everything seemed lost. Life is not always easy and unfortunately, we will experience so many of these hardships. We will also experience love, kindness, and charity and most importantly, we can experience forgiveness and grace from Our Savior, the reason for the season. Merry Christmas to all of you with a prayer for peace and comfort and a lot of joy.

Arline & Snowman

WHAT DID YOU WISH FOR THIS YEAR? As the gift giving and receiving season is here, I had a thought about what we wish for? A new car? A new piece of jewelry? A new wardrobe? Or did you wish for world peace, love, charitable means or having the time to volunteer for the down trodden? Did you wish for our military’s safety and ability to come home and rejoin their families? Or did you wish for nothing for yourself and wish for others’ wishes to come true? Today, let us consider what we truly should be wishing for whether it be for Christmas, birthday, or anniversary.

wishing

  According to Google Dictionary, the definition of WISH is the following: wishverb

  • feel or express a strong desire or hope for something that is not easily attainable; want something that cannot or probably will not happen. “we wished for peace” synonyms: desire, want, hope for, covet, dream of, long for, yearn for, crave, hunger for, lust after;More      
  • noun
  • a desire or hope for something to happen. “the union has reiterated its wish for an agreement” synonyms: desire, longing, yearning, inclination, urge, whim, craving, hunger;   As I looked over the definitions and it gave me pause for thought. I began to think wishing for things doesn’t necessarily mean we wish for good outcomes. I looked at the meaning of the verb and the covet, lust after, meanings hit me in the face. So wishing might be used for selfish and ungodly purposes. Hmm? Did that cause you to think a little more about what we are wishing for?
  • When I took a step back from my wish list, I wanted to re-think my wishes: Yes, I hope and wish for peace not only for our world but inner peace. When I was young and foolish, I welcomed confrontation. Now, I don’t like confrontation at all. I love peaceful moments and sharing positive thoughts instead of concentrating on things over which I have no control. I think I have received my wish of inner peace and maybe I should wish it grow stronger as years go by. Yes, I wish for prosperity and could say I desire a feeling of security as I age. When I was younger I wanted to be wealthy and I find I have accomplished success. But when I refer to wealthy and success, I find my definition of both of those words have dramatically changed. I want to be rich in my faith and soul. I want to be successful in my relationship, my family environment, and above all, I want the mansion in the heavens, but I will settle for a tent in Heaven. (see poem below that I wrote about this very topic. Yes, I wish for good health but again I wish and pray for others more than myself since God will bless us as we wish for a closer walk with Him and once we figure out the more we help others who are struggling, our inner strength and faith heals our being. 
  • ***************** *******************************************  I will finish this blog message on a positive note. I have wished and hoped for many things, but this year I want to wish for something not to be given. I wish for hate to disappear in all forms. I wish for rudeness to become extinct. I wish for selfishness and greed to convert to charitable thoughts and deeds as well as a uniting of spirits for the betterment of ALL mankind and womankind. These are my Wishlist items this year and hopefully God is listening. LIVE LIFE; LOVE LIFE; AND LIVE LIFE TO THE FULLEST by giving the most and asking the least for ourselves.
  • Merry Christmas and a Happy New Year for all of my readers.
  • (C) Copyright 2012-2021 Arline Miller with all rights and privileges reserved. Third party material if known is sourced to original location. Photos are not exclusively properties of Sipping Cups unless stated.

IS SIMPLE BETTER THAN GLITZ II

cabin6

2021 had me wondering if I wanted to decorate as I have done in the past. As time came closer, I could not stop myself as I know there is a childlike personality in me. Thank goodness, our grandsons are getting bigger and we had them over to do the higher jobs and some of the outside decorations too.

Now, that they are up and glowing, so is my spirit for Christmas and I thought of this post and felt it deserved repeat since I have lots of new followers. I hope your holidays and decorations reflect a loving feeling and since we go all over the world, for any of you who don’t celebrate Christmas, let us wish all of you the love and peace we all deserve.

This post is a reprint of a post I wrote in 2016 and we are still decorating with a spark of glitz but more stately than rustic glitz. We don’t have as much as before, but we love the lights and the touch of glam. I am reposting not to apologize for my taste in decorations but applauding the memory of my Mother’s love for decorations to show her excitement for the birth of Christ. This is not a debate post but an agreement of expression of decor. Have fun with whatever and whichever way you choose to go but the most important part is however you celebrate the upcoming holiday season, do it with love and kindness.

Here is the original post:

IS SIMPLE BETTER THAN GLITZ? When I was young, several people stated I missed my calling and I should have been a lawyer since I could see both sides of any argument. I hoped that meant I was open minded and not tunnel visioned. This morning, you will see this side of me when I review the topic IS SIMPLE BETTER THAN GLITZ? I had a friend to say when I posted my Christmas decorations to say she prefers simple. This started my blogger mind to begin an internal debate about Simple or Glitz. Here is hoping that you will see both sides of this discussion but if not go with your instincts and choose whichever you prefer.

Let’s look at Simple first. The web definition of simple:sim·ple [ sim-p uhl] ADJECTIVE [SIM·PLER, SIM·PLEST.] 1. easy to understand, deal with, use, etc.: a simple matter; simple tools. 2. not elaborate or artificial; plain: a simple style. 3. not ornate or luxurious; unadorned: a simple gown. 4. unaffected; unassuming; modest: a simple manner. 5. not complicated: a simple design.

cabin

This sounds wonderful and uncomplicated and matches my friend’s personality. She seems to be a person who enjoys nature and I know her to be a person comfortable in simple surroundings. I enjoy seeing the pictures of their remodeled country home and all of their animals. It seems peaceful and unassuming. There is nothing wrong with having a simple life as long as it is a choice and not a result from fear from challenging oneself to set goals to improve a life. As long as the person chooses simplicity as a way of life, that life will be a happy one. I like the idea of simplicity but as I said before; I look at both sides so let’s look at glitz.

cabin5
cabin4

The Web gives us this description of GLITZ:glitz ɡlits/informal noun

  1. extravagant but superficial display.”the glitz and sophisticated night life of Ibiza” verb\ NORTH AMERICAN 1. make (something) glamorous or showy.”we need to glitz up the program”  
cabin2

I would like to throw a monkey wrench into this definition. I rode through the country roads in route to my hometown. Every year at Christmas time and Easter, the yard of a mediocre home a “glitzy” display of blow up characters. I would think most of it came from Walmart or similar retailers. They might have been bought at yard sales. The source is not important except to express the monetary investment. You see glitz does not always have to be diamonds, gold, pearls, or gems. It can be a Simple Soul wanting to express their feelings or even an expression of “pay attention to me”. They may be saying “I may live a simple life but I count in this world.” I go back to the yard adventure. Year after year I would slow my vehicle down to see if they had a new piece and I realized they had caused me to pay attention and I felt a connection with a stranger’s home and felt excitement for them if a new piece of “glitz”.

cabin3

GLITZ OR SIMPLICITY? Here are my feelings, mine only, and not to change or sway anyone’s thoughts. I think there is room in this world for both and I am not sure which, if any, is better. It is an individual decision and should be accepted. Because a person is drawn to the simpler things or if another is drawn to glitz, doesn’t negate or promote their worth. Both are expressing their individual preference. I only see a negative if either express a dislike of a person who is the opposite. Sometimes I love simple; other times I like a little glitz so maybe that is why I love both kinds of people.

An Additional Note from me: In the last few years, the glitz of the mediocre home disappeared and no more can I anticipate what will be in the yard. It has become simple and it made me sad. I wondered if the person who had lovingly blown up all those reindeer, Santa, candy canes, etc. as well as the big Easter Bunny with blow up colored eggs passed away and this thought brings me to a distinct conclusion.

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Life, whether lived simply or extravagantly, ends for all of us. What we gathered, treasured, and adored in life will pass and will not be on display for others who have enjoyed our friendship, neighbor relationship, co-worker, church family, or even strangers who paid more attention to your simplicity or glitz. What is important is not things but how we chose to live and our reflection in the mirror. The acts of kindness and generosity and compassion will forever shine in honor of those who choose those above things, simple or glitzy.

LIVE LIFE, LOVE LIFE, AND LIVE LIFE TO THE FULLEST by giving of yourself and sharing the gifts of simplicity or glitz with all those who are affected by you.

(C) Copyright Arline Miller 2012-2021 with rights and privileges reserved. Third party material sourced to original location if known. All photos are not property of Sipping Cups of Inspiration unless captioned.

BROKEN ORNAMENTS ARE LIKE LIFE III

2021 Holiday Message from Arline Miller, blogger for Sipping Cups of Inspiration: As we were hanging our interior wreath which has some of the vintage ornaments we display in a high position to keep safe, I straightened some of the ornaments and noticed the Raggedy Ann and Andy was broken. I guess it happened after we took it down. My heart wouldn’t allow me to take it down so I turned it to a position the broken part was not visible. It happens and makes this post more relevant in life as well. Have a Merry Christmas and let us pray for a Happy New Year keeping all of us safe and sharing peace in this world.

Here is our vintage wreath and you can see Raggedy Ann & Andy in their sled.

Since we are blessed with nine grandchildren and one of them still in toddler stage, I bypassed putting up our traditional tree and went with an interesting Cardinal Tree with hand painted birdhouses by the grandchildren with a Granddaddy and Nana two hole birdhouse as the topper. No breakable ornaments to worry about. We had one of the grands here with us yesterday (in the photo) who thought the birds looked real and the tree was awesome. It reminded me of this post I wrote in 2016 about the similarity between broken ornaments and broken lives. Maybe it needs repeating. May your holidays be filled with many moment of love and may all of your ornaments and lives stay in one piece.  

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Jonas Miller finding his birdhouse ornament on our Christmas tree 2018

    Here is the original blog message: BROKEN ORNAMENTS ARE LIKE BROKEN LIVES  

TODAY THE WORDS are BROKEN ORNAMENTS.  On this morning, my mind went to a place of remembrance of how it feels to lose something or as you will see “someone”. A lot of times in my writing, in order to put feelings in simpler terms, I use what I can replacement memories. If it is something we can relate to everyday or normal events, it is somehow easier to get a point across to others or at least it can make common sense. Most of us have our Christmas trees, or if not, we have occasions which have ornaments or displays which have a value to them and to us when we show them to the world. As a Christian, we have the decorated Christmas tree to celebrate Christmas season. For most of us, we start early collecting the ornaments, and even though the monetary worth is usually low; the emotional worth can be priceless. We unwrap them very carefully and hang them and a lot of Wow, Ooh, and Aah’s are heard as the ornaments are hung. Some have their “spots” to be hung; some even are hung in order. We add new ones each year but it is the older ones we cherish more and are so protective. My thoughts bring me to a sad thought of opening a box of ornaments, however carefully wrapped and cared for, finding one broken or even more than one and it is devastating. It doesn’t matter how many other wonderful, shiny ornaments we have; it is the loss of this one which takes our heart and crushes it. Even though the tree will still be beautiful, we know one of the best ornaments is no longer going to hang around and allow us to look at it and recall the years it has been around.  This photo occurred a few days ago and it was so ironic that it would be this ornament that I had bought when my daughter’s cat became intrigued by the ornaments on the tree and decided to knock them off and push them down the stairs. After all of these years, about 20 that I have had that funny ornament, it came apart while hanging it and broke.

Yep, it happened. It is ironic that after 20 years, it finally broke without a cat around.

I see the same thing in life and now for the thought given to my heart…..Life is like the Christmas tree. We start life with a tree with some ornaments and we begin to add ornaments such as family and friends. Our tree begins with few and usually ends up with many lovely additions or “ornaments”. We, as loving people, take care of our “ornaments” by taking care of our siblings, starting our own families, and making sure our parents (the oldest ornaments and highly cherished) are cared for by wrapping them with love and care. Once in a while, one of the newer ornaments fall suddenly, without warning and are broken beyond repair and it is a tragedy. Some of the ornaments age and have to be cared for and repaired. They become fragile and we handle them carefully. When they finally break, and we can no longer have them on our tree; we feel their absence; we gaze at the tree and remember the missing ornaments while enjoying the new ornaments such as grandchildren, nieces and nephews, and new friends. It is impossible to tell when an ornament is going to break; all we can do is carefully wrap and enjoy each breathtaking moment we can share with them while we have them to enjoy. Live life; love life; and live life to the fullest by cherishing each wonderful moment and when you have a chance to say I Love You; Say It!

FEATURED BIBLE VERSE:

John 14:1-4 “Let not your hearts be troubled. Believe in God; believe also in me. In my Father’s house are many rooms. If it were not so, would I have told you that I go to prepare a place for you? And if I go and prepare a place for you, I will come again and will take you to myself, that where I am you may be also. And you know the way to where I am going.”

(c) Copyright 2012-2021 Arline Lott Miller. The material here copyrighted, use only by permission. Third party material is sourced to original location if known for reference credit.

I THINK I WILL PASS ON FRUITCAKES IN THE KITCHEN AND LIFE

In 2021, I choose not to make either the fruit cake or the orange slice cake or even the fruit cake cookies I love. I am over it, all of the nonsense in the world so I will make other cakes like a sweet pound cake and cookies without the fruitiness as we have seen all of the fruitcake personalities and it is time for a smooth, and simplistic versions for 2022. Joking aside, I plan on downsizing a lot of things in the new year both food wise and spiritual side. Focusing on quality and not quantity, value and not as much on how it appears.

2020 NOTE FROM ARLINE: Merry Christmas to All and I decided to bake an Orange Slice Cake instead of the fruit cake to hope 2021 will be a better year. I wish you and your family a safe and prosperous New Year as well.

I watched a video from Cooking with Brenda Gantt who showed us how to make this cake. For the recipe go to Cooking with Brenda Gantt on Facebook. Be sure to follow her as she is a talented cook and great spirit.

FRUITCAKE SEEMS TO FIT THIS YEAR with all of the craziness going on in our country and our world. It seems the entire human race has become fruity and early this morning this inspiration came to me. It may seem satirical but I am known to be a little brassy and sassy and even a little fruity so let’s bite right into this subject.

When we were little, the Christmas Fruit Cake was a great treat for us so I have never understood the adversity to the fruit. We would have to wait after Momma baked her fruitcake, packed it with sliced apples, and wrapped it in cloth (later became foil). It seemed like the longest days before that luscious smell in the oven to actually getting a piece. We all stood round when she finally cut into it for her approval of her baking skills. She would say, “This is a good one or “We need to let it mellow longer” which was not the news we wanted to hear. Even if she was going to let it sit as she called the time we were waiting, she would give us a sample. Keep these words in mind as I move through this thought process. I will refer to this time again.

This is a photo of Momma’s Fruitcake I baked and I think it turned out perfectly.

Momma’s Fruitcake

1 lb. Candied Pineapple                                    1 cup Self-Rising Flour

1 lb. Candied Cherries                                       1 cup Plain Flour

6 cups Pecans                                                       1 t. each vanilla & lemon extract

1 cup sugar                                                            1 cup chopped dates               

1/2 lb. margarine melted (butter for me)    1 cup golden raisins

5 large eggs

1 can Angel Flake Coconut

Chop fruit and nuts in large container. Pour coconut, sugar, flavoring, and beaten eggs over fruit. Add melted butter and mix. Add flours over mixture and mix until wet. Bake in lined pan (Momma used wax paper but modern times have other options) at 275 degrees for 2 1/2 hours. 

Note: No mention of the apple slices placed on top of cake and wrapped. To be kept unopened for several days until it becomes moist.

For those of you who know me, you have seen how fond I am of the sweet lady from Alabama, Brenda Gantt, who has turned on the world to cooking and baking the biscuits. Yesterday she made her Mom’s fruitcake and I had to share my Mom’s recipe and a photo of the fruitcake. She responded with a Gorgeous and of course, this humbled blogger is beyond the moon happy. I hope she doesn’t mind my new treasured screenshot of her comments to me. Oh Merry Christmas to me! Thanks Brenda, I am printing it out and putting it in your cookbook. Check Cooking with Brenda Gantt on Facebook. You will love her videos and spirit.

Merry Christmas from your blogger, Arline Miller

My friend Bill Curington posted this funny one from the Farside and I had to share it on the blog.

History of the Fruitcake

A traditional Easter Simnel cake

The earliest recipe from ancient Rome lists pomegranate seeds, pine nuts, and raisins that were mixed into barley mash. In the Middle Ageshoneyspices, and preserved fruits were added.[citation needed]

Fruitcakes soon proliferated all over Europe. Recipes varied greatly in different countries throughout the ages, depending on the available ingredients as well as (in some instances) church regulations forbidding the use of butter, regarding the observance of fastPope Innocent VIII (1432–1492) finally granted the use of butter, in a written permission known as the ‘Butter Letter’ or Butterbrief in 1490, giving permission to Saxony to use milk and butter in the Stollenfruitcakes.[2]

Starting in the 16th century, sugar from the American Colonies (and the discovery that high concentrations of sugar could preserve fruits) created an excess of candied fruit, thus making fruitcakes more affordable and popular.[3]

Here is what I perceive has been going on in our lives and how fruity we have become.

  • We want things in life to be “sweet” even if it goes against any healthy reasoning or moral values, manners, or traditions and we are asking people to accept anything that has that “sugary” feeling.
  • We see videos over and over on the cat-dog, pig-dog, cats-horses, etc and we want to believe that all animals accept all animals can live in harmony and on the surface, it seems so beautiful but nature is nature and we have to stop and consider the safety of each species. It is not a given that all creatures get along and we have to consider the rule of nature and take precautions to prevent injury to either one.
  • Some people just don’t like fruitcake. I personally love it but have to eat a small piece now for health reasons but I have seen so many people go “Ugh! How do you eat fruitcake? I can’t stand it.”

For all of you who want more of Fruitcake Trivia, I found an interesting article that is too lengthy for me to add in this blog. Here is the link to the article

15 Fun Facts About Fruitcake

Click on the link above to take you to the article for your reading pleasure.

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This brings me to my focus of this message.

No matter how much you blend, chop, mix, and/or bake, some people are never going to like fruitcake and that my friends is society in a fruitcake. You can preach, beg, threaten, or try to convince people and if they don’t like it, they don’t like it. We need to stop saying we believe in inclusion and acceptance and then tell the others they can’t say this or they can’t say that. That is not acceptance……that is bullying! We all have preferences and some like fruitcake and others prefer pound cake or pie or neither. My point is that even though I personally like fruitcake, I can understand others not liking it. I can see their side and accept that side. I don’t however, feel I have a right to push fruitcake on them. I personally don’t like raspberries very much so I would prefer someone understanding my dislike. I wouldn’t have a problem with others eating raspberries and I think this is the true meaning of inclusion and acceptance. In our society, we could benefit from agreeing to disagreeing but never demanding that the other one has to say “I love fruitcake” when they don’t. Get my drift?

As I promised to return to the period of “curing” time for Momma’s fruitcake and it contains a wonderful lesson in life. Thank you Mom! Here is my interpretation: Mom’s cake would have been good when she took it out of the oven. As children, we would have gobbled it up immediately but Momma was wise and knew it needed that quiet time, that curing time, that sweetening time. Waiting while it matured in flavor, we were impatient and wanted what we wanted right then but the lesson we were taught was the following:

“Anything worth having or accomplishing is worth the time that it takes to happen in the right way. Success cannot be impulsively demanded but has to have the mellowing and adding that extra ingredient to complete perfection.”  (these are my words but could have been delivered by Mom during our waiting time).

I leave you with this final thought: Life is not just a pound cake, fruitcake, cookies or even pie. Life is a continual meal and has to be prepared on a daily basis.

LIVE LIFE, LOVE LIFE, AND LIVE LIFE TO THE FULLEST by adding ingredients and mixing it up with some fun ingredients.

(C) Copyright 2012-2021 Arline Miller with all rights and privileges reserved. Third party material is sourced to original location if known for credit reference.

CANDY CANES ARE A STILL A TRADITION.

As the holiday season has begun in 2021, we are looking forward to another year of celebrating Christmas. I am blessed to have the two of the older grandsons helping Granddaddy and Nana put up the decorations. Wow, have they grown and we thank God for them to be tall enough to help. Of course, they get treats, breakfast out with Grandaddy and Nana had cookies waiting on them. I wondered if they were still excited over the candy canes and so I asked. I received a resounding YES! Here is a post about the candy canes at Christmas at Millerville.

2020 update on Candy Canes: The candy canes will be displayed this year as well. The children up to ages 12 and down look for them as they come in the door at Christmas. This year I am using a ceramic big Santa Boot to display the large ones and will continue to place small ones in the ceramic snow capped house that we smile as we unpack it every year. We now have 9 grandchildren, 6 boys and 3 girls. There is never a dull moment but a lot of happiness when we get together.

This was a post in 2016 and more grandchildren are here (8 total) and each one precious in their own right. I thought I would repost this one for several reasons. Yes, the candy cane house is out on the counter waiting for the grands to see but not touch and will go home with them as years before. Why I bring this tradition up is to reflect how important the little things and lessons we teach the young ones stays with them as reminded a few days ago when one of our grandsons came to spend his one on one day with Granddaddy and Nana. He saw the Christmas tree and was excited to be the first one to see his birdhouse (that is a blog post for another day) but what I found to be profound was when he spotted the candy canes in the house on the counter. He didn’t want to grab one even though he immediately let Nana know peppermint is one of his favs. He reminded me of the promise of Nana sending those candy canes home at Christmas for their reward candy. Oh, how Nana smiled and promised those were their reward candy canes. How sweet it is. I was reminded we do make a difference and now for the original blog post:

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CHILDREN SLEEP WHILE SUGAR CANDY CANES DANCE IN THEIR HEADS. We live in a world where a lot of children never know what the word no means. I am writing this post in hopes some people will read it and witness positive ways to bring children into reality and hopefully dispel some of the fantasy of giving anything to children anytime they say they want it

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We buy the candy canes that fit in the ceramic house that Berta made us so the children can spot them when they come in the door.

.At first, when our son (my stepson but he is like mine) and his beautiful wife started having a lot of children, we were shocked. Of course we worried like all grandparents do….Will they be able to take care of them?…..Will they be able to take the time with each one?……Will they be able to get good education…..and on and on. Old dogs can learn new tricks and both of us, Granddaddy and Nana have observed one of the best parenting teams we have ever seen.

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As you can see the Candy Cane House and Boot have the Reward Canes Ready.

Here is Myles the youngest grandson with our first granddaughter.

Myles and Mason and since then we have Rubie. Total of 9 wonderful grands.
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My daughter Missy with most of the boys. What a lot of love for Aunt MissyImage may contain: indoor
Poetry comes from the heart. I know mine does.
These two have grown since this beautiful picture but Hank was so proud of his little sister Addilyn, I couldn’t resist posting this one.
Here are 7 of our 9 grands with Rubie in Abram’s lap. I asked Nolan if he still loved the candy canes even with him getting older and it was a definite YES!

Candy Canes with Loving Care

The candy canes are hung with loving care

In hopes the grandchildren will see them there.

It is a tradition for the canes to accompany them.

For a reward, they can earn; not eat on a whim.

Each year as the boys come into the room,

It seems as if their bright eyes begin to zoom.

Nana, are those our candy canes?

Yes, boys, your excitement never wanes.

They are to be earned for your good deeds

Not to be gobbled whenever you please.

Your parents will keep them nice and safe.

So be good boys and don’t hesitate.

To say I love you, thank you, and please.

Be nice to each other; kindly play not tease.

We have lots of candy canes so release

All your goodness and enjoy your sweets.

For our grands who love the candy canes and all our

Love……Nana and Granddaddy 2016

Written by Arline Miller

Now for the deeper thought……Sometimes we forget as we get older the most precious moments and special gifts are those gifts we work toward and feel a great accomplishment when we achieve. It is not the monetary value; it is the love behind the gift. I have witnessed so much love and sharing between our 5 grandsons and now they have their sister who each one of them take the time to hug or touch Mason when they pass by. She is special to them and I know they will teach her the Candy Cane Rewards that Nana will send home with them as she grows older. Maybe it might be fun to try this little game with your grandchildren and watch how they respond. Have a Merry Christmas or Holiday Season with the little ones! CHRISTMAS is the birthday of Jesus Christ who is the reason for the season.

BIBLE FEATURED VERSE:

Luke 2:1-20New International Version (NIV)

The Birth of Jesus

2 In those days Caesar Augustus issued a decree that a census should be taken of the entire Roman world. 2 (This was the first census that took place while[a] Quirinius was governor of Syria.) 3 And everyone went to their own town to register.

4 So Joseph also went up from the town of Nazareth in Galilee to Judea, to Bethlehem the town of David, because he belonged to the house and line of David. 5 He went there to register with Mary, who was pledged to be married to him and was expecting a child. 6 While they were there, the time came for the baby to be born, 7 and she gave birth to her firstborn, a son. She wrapped him in cloths and placed him in a manger, because there was no guest room available for them.

8 And there were shepherds living out in the fields nearby, keeping watch over their flocks at night. 9 An angel of the Lord appeared to them, and the glory of the Lord shone around them, and they were terrified. 10 But the angel said to them, “Do not be afraid. I bring you good news that will cause great joy for all the people. 11 Today in the town of David a Savior has been born to you; he is the Messiah, the Lord. 12 This will be a sign to you: You will find a baby wrapped in cloths and lying in a manger.”

13 Suddenly a great company of the heavenly host appeared with the angel, praising God and saying,

14 “Glory to God in the highest heaven,

    and on earth peace to those on whom his favor rests.”

15 When the angels had left them and gone into heaven, the shepherds said to one another, “Let’s go to Bethlehem and see this thing that has happened, which the Lord has told us about.”

16 So they hurried off and found Mary and Joseph, and the baby, who was lying in the manger. 17 When they had seen him, they spread the word concerning what had been told them about this child, 18 and all who heard it were amazed at what the shepherds said to them. 19 But Mary treasured up all these things and pondered them in her heart. 20 The shepherds returned, glorifying and praising God for all the things they had heard and seen, which were just as they had been told.

(c) Copyright 2012-2021 Arline Miller with all rights and privileges reserved. Third party material is sourced to original location for reference credit.

WHAT WAS SPECIAL ABOUT HOSS?

As we get older, it becomes more evident how the stories and adventures shared while we were young are not getting passed on to the younger ones. Or at least, not in many circles is what I observe. I have shared some stories with our grandchildren and they seem to be excited about those childhood escapades. Nana is looked at at a baker, a spoiler, a source of love, but when I told them that Nana grew up mostly outdoors with my Dad and actually went hunting for raccoons, and fished with the best of them baiting my own hook, grubbing for worms, and always taking off the fish I caught from the hook. I could shoot a gun safely and even killed a moccasin in our yard from a distance keeping my daughter safe. Do you share your childhood adventures with your children and/or grandchildren?

This is my Dad who was in his police uniform but he was happiest in his country clothes.

I had a conversation with an uncle who I have always been very close to me and he shared a story about a little hen that had so much spirit. I hadn’t heard that story and I felt I was there with him while it happened. I could see that little hen giving life all she had to survive. It was interesting and it was a warm loving moment for me and him to share it. It made me feel that it was a blog message in the making for us to consider writing or recording these priceless stories.

Let me ask you this question, Have your parents/grandparents/aunts and uncles/good family friends shared those old stories and the tingle rose from hearing those adventures?

Now, for the story my Dad shared with me about Hoss? Hoss was the name Daddy chose and once I saw Hoss, I knew that was a perfect name for this dog who was as big as a pony. Back then, we weren’t as concerned about a dog’s pedigree as we had a lot of mixtures or as we called them Heinz 57’s. I think Hoss was a mix of Great Dane. He had eyes that looked into your soul and he summed a person up in a second as to the character in your body. Even still, he was territorial and until my Dad said it was okay, you didn’t come into “Duke’s” yard. Once Daddy said, Okay Duke, you could come in and he was like a puppy to play with and a total lover boy. He obeyed Daddy’s commands and he seemed to understand every word out of his owner’s mouth. He was a one person owner and as I said, until Daddy said it was okay, Duke never moved from his position until it was time for his yard perimeter patrol. Daddy took pride in Hoss and would give me a heads up on Duke’s precise timing. Daddy said, “Watch this baby, Hoss will patrol the yard in a couple of minutes; he does it every hour with in a minute or two of exactly an hour.” Sure enough, in a minute or two, Hoss stood up and began the trek of the yard fence and in a precise directive walk, walked the fence line, sniffing and looking out beyond the yard and slowed down at intervals at the pigeon house. He lifted and lowered his big head and listened for any sounds. He returned to his spot and laid down satisfied that all was secure. He would sleep, get some water, but he waited at that spot. Of course, I couldn’t wait to see how close he would come to the next hour when Hoss stood up at amazingly close timing and repeated this action. Daddy would chuckle showing off Hoss.

Photo courtesy of Camelot Kennels and this is not a true comparison since Hoss was a lot larger than this true Great Dane.

I used this photo to give you a glimpse in how large Hoss was but we never got a picture of Hoss but he was larger than this big boy.

Here is the true story of Hoss told by my Daddy on one of my visits and why it is important to pass down these “good as any book” story. I called Daddy to check on him and he said, “Baby, you are not going to believe what Hoss did.” I expected that he had caught some trespassing animal and took care of it, but he apparently caught a real trespasser. Daddy’s land ran close to Georgia Power lines and if the linemen were going to go to work on the lines, it was necessary to park on Daddy’s land as the land sloped and was lower where the actual lines were. The lineman had come out the day before and asked Daddy for permission to park at the front of his yard and he would be working on the lines most of the morning. Of course, Dad had no problem with him parking his truck. The next morning, Daddy was working at the car repair garage and it hit him. Oh no, he hadn’t told Hoss or introduced the lineman to Hoss. Daddy jumped into his truck and drove home immediately, and this was the sight he saw. The man was on the top of his truck with Hoss standing on his hind legs barking every time the man moved an inch. Daddy called out to Hoss, it was okay, good job, and to go to the yard. Hoss obeyed him and dropped to all fours and walked away as it he had completed his mission. The man was ready to leave and he told the rendition of how Hoss immediately put him on the top of his truck and even when he tried to slip into the cabin, Hoss sent him back to the top. He couldn’t even leave. He tried to talk to him but Hoss was not having it. The funniest part of the story was Daddy told him he was sorry that he had not told Hoss the man was coming and it was okay and now that Hoss knew he could come and go as he pleased. Hoss wouldn’t bother him. That theory wasn’t tested as I am sure that lineman found a new place to park just in case Hoss didn’t hear my Dad. I knew that he could have come and Hoss would have been fine. He was that smart but a part of my heart fully understood why he chose not to come back.

Doesn’t your family have great stories and do you share them, record them, and treasure those memories. I have many stories from my childhood and I love to share them. That may be the writer in me, but it doesn’t take a writer to record one of our parents/grandparents/siblings/others recount of times gone by. I suggest it strongly for our heritage to remain in our families. I have listened to my family’s antics and adventures and I hope you have a storehouse of your own.

(C) Copyright 2012-2021 Arline Miller of Sipping Cups of Inspiration with all rights and privileges reserved. Third party material will be sourced if known to the original location/author for credit reference.

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