"But those who hope in the Lord will renew their strength. They will soar on wings like eagles; they will run and not grow weary, they will walk and not be faint."

--- Isaiah 40:31

Are the Holidays Making You Feel Overwhelmed? Here’s How To Fix That

Posted by on Dec 10, 2013 in Christmas, Encouragement | 6 comments

158451693While sipping coffee in front of our blazing fireplace this morning, I ran through a mental to-do list for Christmas.  Except that my list was more of a can’t-possibly-get-it-all-done-in-time list—which caused me to feel overwhelmed.  And it was only 7:30 a.m.—not exactly a great start to my day.

This kind of thinking wears us down.  It can snowball into dreading the entire Christmas season.  And, if you’re honest, it’s happened to you.  Maybe as recently as this morning.

So how do we find the positive note in a chorus of heavy, oppressing stanzas?  For me, it starts with my Thankful List.

During our unemployment, my family and I faced one difficulty after another, and it was easy to feel overwhelmed and defeated.  It occurred to me that the way to counter a negative thought is by deliberately thinking a positive thought.  Positive thoughts energize us and can propel us into action while negative thoughts weigh us down and can stop us from accomplishing things.

 

Deliberately counter a negative thought with a positive thought

 

That was the beginning of my Thankful List.  I identified ten things that were going right in my life.  Admittedly, there were many days when “I am still breathing” was the first item on my list.  I decided that I would not get out of bed until I came up with ten things for which I was sincerely thankful—and in doing so, I recognized that each one was provided not by me but by God.  By being aware of the good things in my life, the things that overwhelmed me lost their power.

 

Sometimes our thankfulness has to begin with “I am still breathing”

 

So, this morning, when I began to feel overwhelmed and discouraged that Christmas is just days away and my to-do list is too-big, I did my mental Thankful List:

I am thankful for:

  1. The cozy and cheerful fire in our fireplace and my hot cup of fresh coffee.  (Yes, technically these are two things, but I’m counting it as one).
  2. My husband.
  3. My children.
  4. The good health that my husband, children, and I enjoy.
  5. My husband’s job.  (I know what it’s like to have no job or income).
  6. Our house.  (Remember, I’ve been through homelessness).
  7. The wonderful gift of being able to speak to God about everything!
  8. The fact that it’s still early in the morning and I can get a lot of things accomplished today.
  9. I can stay inside today and not have to drive on the icy roads.
  10. My devotional book—Jesus Calling by Sarah Young—and its passage that helped me focus on the One who makes all things possible.

 

Take a minute and come up with your own list of ten things that are going right in your life.  Then give praise to the Lord for each of these blessings.

There, don’t you feel much better?

Now, let’s both start accomplishing things so our to-do list gets shorter.

 

Every good and perfect gift is from above, coming down from the Father of the heavenly lights, who does not change like shifting shadows.  James 1:17 (NIV)

To God be the Glory

 

 

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My Favorite Gingerbread Cut-Out Cookie Recipe

Posted by on Dec 5, 2013 in Christmas | 4 comments

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I recently attended a Christmas tea party at Christiana Campbell’s Tavern in Colonial Williamsburg.  One of the dining room decorations used gingerbread men, and these sweet little men reminded me of the gingerbread men that I’ve made with my son and daughter ever since they were toddlers.  I’d love to share my recipe with you!

 

 

Gingerbread Cut-out Cookies by Cynthia Howerter

2 1/2 cups all-purpose flour

1 teaspoon ground ginger

1/2 teaspoon ground nutmeg

1/2 teaspoon salt

2 teaspoons baking powder

1/2 cup solid shortening

1/2 cup granulated sugar

1 large egg

1/2 cup molasses (I use either Grandma’s or Brer Rabbit mild flavor molasses)

Combine flour, ginger, nutmeg, salt, and baking powder in a bowl; set aside.  In a large bowl, using a mixer, cream shortening, sugar, and egg until fluffy.  Add molasses; beat well.  Stir in half of flour mixture, mixing until smooth.  Add remainder of flour mixture, mixing with wooden spoon or hands until dough is all one color.  Shape into two balls, wrap each in waxed paper, and refrigerate for 2 hours, or overnight.

Preheat oven to 350 degrees.  Lightly grease cookie sheets.  Remove one package of dough from the refrigerator.  Allow dough to stand until the dough is easy to work with – about 10 minutes.  On a floured surface, roll out dough about 1/4-inch thick.  Use a gingerbread man cookie cutter to cut out the men.  Place on prepared cookie sheets about 2-inches apart.  Bake for 8-10 minutes, or until lightly brown.  Cool on a wire rack.

After gingerbread men have cooled completely, ice and decorate.  You can use either royal icing or a buttercream, and cinnamon candies, raisins, gumdrops, and thin licorice for edible decorations.

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A wall shelf with gingerbread men at Christiana Campbell’s Tavern in Colonial Williamsburg

To God be the Glory

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Colonial Williamsburg’s Legendary Christmas Wreaths

Posted by on Dec 4, 2013 in Colonial Quills | 2 comments

IMG_1035Last week, my husband and I enjoyed Thanksgiving at Colonial Williamsburg.  What a delightful surprise to see the beautiful Christmas wreaths as we strolled through the eighteenth century capital.  Join my tour of the doorways of houses and shops on Duke of Gloucester Street all decked out in Christmas splendor.  And I can’t wait to introduce you to several well-dressed colonial ladies as well.  Please join me at Colonial Quills today and enjoy the tour!

 

Click here to go directly to Colonial Quills –> Colonial Quills Website

Friend Cynthia on Facebookhttp://facebook.com/cynthia.howerter 

and on Twitter@CynthiaHowerter

 

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And The Winner of Elaine Cooper’s Book Giveaway Contest Is…

Posted by on Nov 25, 2013 in Books & CDs | 2 comments

9781938499920What a wonderful response to the Book Giveaway Contest for Author Elaine Cooper’s newest novel Fields of the Fatherless! 

Thank you, everyone, for making Elaine feel so welcome with your comments.

And a special thank you to Elaine for appearing on Soar With Eagles and for generously giving away a copy of her new book!

And now, without further ado, the winner of an autographed paperback copy of Fields of the Fatherless  is Sue Craig!

Congratulations, Sue!  Please click on the “Contact Me” button at the top of the page to send me a private email with your address, and Elaine will mail a book to you.  Your address will be kept private.

Because of the great responses to Soar With Eagles’  Book Giveaway Contests, we’ll continue hosting these periodically.

If you enjoy the articles at Soar With Eagles,  please consider asking your friends to visit us.

Portrait shot

 Author Elaine Cooper

Don’t forget to visit Elaine Cooper’s website at:  http://www.elainemariecooper.com

You can also find her on Twitter at:  @elainemcooper 

On Facebook: http://www.facebook.com/ElaineMarieCooperAuthor 

To God be the Glory

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Book Giveaway Contest for Elaine Cooper’s “Fields of the Fatherless” Ends Monday!

Posted by on Nov 22, 2013 in Books & CDs | 4 comments

9781938499920Don’t forget to enter the Book Giveaway Contest for Elaine Cooper’s newest novel Fields of the Fatherless.   The Book Giveaway Contest ends Monday, November 25, 2013, at 10:00 a.m. with the winner to be announced on Soar With Eagles  that day.

Author Elaine Cooper is generously putting up one autographed copy of her newest novel, Fields of the Fatherless, for Soar With Eagles’  Book Giveaway Contest To enter a chance to win this book, you must:  1) be a Soar With Eagles  subscriber, and 2) you must also leave a brief comment.

To subscribe to Soar With Eagles, please follow the instructions at the top of the right column.  Important:  after providing your information, you will immediately receive an email from “Feedburner Subscriptions.”  You will need to open this email and click on the link in order to finalize your FREE subscription.

Please note:  due to the cost of international mailing, the author regretfully must limit the book giveaway to people living within the United States.

Thank you so much for your interest in Elaine’s wonderful new novel!

To God be the Glory

 

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