Leap Year Day Poses Golden Opportunity

Next week we all get an extra day.

No, the government hasn’t given us a holiday nor extended the work week.  It’s Leap Year! February 29! A day we didn’t get last year nor will we get one in 2013. But this year we do—an extra twenty-four hours to spend as we wish.

The question is, how should we spend it? An entire day to use is something to think about.  For those earning hourly wages, it’s a bonus in an otherwise short month. For those salaried, it’s an extra day to work before payday. But for those of us who want to make the most of it, February 29 is an opportunity to do something special.

How many times have you heard someone say, “If only I could see my friend one more time.”  Or “If only I had another hour with my mother.” That friend or that mother has either moved away or been promoted to God’s heaven, and the person left behind is feeling the loss. Time with them is gone, never to be regained.

Well, why not make use of the extra day and spend that hour you were wishing for NOW?  Go see someone you cherish and have lunch. Call a friend that’s a long distance away. Bake a batch of cookies and share them.  Spend the moments making memories. That way when the friend moves or a loved one passes on, you can look back and say, “I made extra time for her or him while they were still part of my life.”  You’ll still miss them, but you’ll have the memory to savor.

For each of you, I’m passing on a recipe as a way of making time with you. I cut it off a cake mix box years ago and forgot it. Last Christmas, though, I discovered it hovering in my recipe file and decided to make the cookies for my family. They enjoyed the new taste, so much so my son keeps asking for more.

So here it is. Enjoy your Leap Year Day with these:

1 package Betty Crocker butter pecan cake mix

1 teaspoon soda

2 eggs

2/3 cup shortening or softened butter

1 tablespoon light molasses

Granulated sugar

Mix half the cake mix (dry) and the soda. Stir in eggs, shortening and molasses.  Beat until smooth. Stir in remaining cake mix.  Chill at least an hour.

Heat oven to 375. Shape dough into 1-inch (or smaller) balls. Dip tops in granulated sugar. Place on ungreased baking sheet.  Bake 8 to 10 minutes. Remove from oven and let set on pan until firm (about five minutes) Makes 5 dozen cookies.

A Special Valentine for You

How was your Valentine’s Day spent? If you are single, maybe you spent the day with someone special. If you are a mother of young children, you may have had at least one school party to attend or a group of kids to bake for. If you are a grandmother, you “oohed” and “ahhed” at the homemade valentines your grandchildren bestowed on you.  Or if you are like  me, a “’tweener”, someone whose children are grown, but unmarried and childless, you wished your kids a great day and went out to dinner with your husband.

Valentine’s Day in our culture is associated with manifestations of love. A radio commentary I heard this week said Americans, on the average, spend more than a hundred dollars for valentine remembrances.

 Wow!

About all I ever do is find and fill an appropriate container—a red cup, a heart-shaped dish, a cellophane goody bag—with valentine candy and bake some heart-shaped cookies. My husband and I try a new restaurant. Sometimes we exchange some small token of affection. I have a figurine he gave me years ago that I cherish and an angel that keeps my rings in her platform. The flowers have faded and the candy has been eaten. Our gifts might have cost us ten dollars. Tops. Do we love each other any less? No.

But this manmade kind of love is not love in its truest form. That kind of love happened when the God of the universe sent his son to earth. Jesus became the personification of God’s love for us. His rejection, mockery and death at the hands of those He came to save was borne with resolve and dignity.  

John 3: 14,15,16,17: “Just as Moses lifted up the snake in the desert, so must the Son of Man be lifted up, that everyone who believes in Him may have eternal life. For God so loved the world that He gave his only Son that whoever believes in him shall not perish but have eternal life. For God did not send His Son into the world to condemn the world, but to save the world through him.”

Happy Belated Valentine’s Day. God loves you very much.

Good Intentions End in Soapy Disaster

Saturday, in a rush to get everything done, I carried in my groceries and then took the laundry soap out to the cupboard above the washing machine. When I glanced around for the stepstool I use to store spare boxes of detergent on the upper shelf, I didn’t find it, so I left the soap sitting on the dryer. I’d be back a little later, I reasoned, and I’d put it away then.

Later, as I passed by the dryer on my way to something else, I bumped the machine and the box of detergent fell into the open washer.  Making a mental note to come back and put the detergent away, I hurried on. The rest of the day passed in a blur, the box of detergent forgotten. My good intentions had vaporized.

Monday morning my daughter carried her laundry to the washer and sorted out her first load. When I passed by the appliance a little later, I thought it sounded funny, but the incident of the weekend had slipped from my memory. I wondered if the noise the machine made came from the load my daughter put there or if something mechanical needed attention. I stood there for several minutes trying to decide. Still, I didn’t remember the box of soap.

I needed to do laundry, too, so I went out to transfer my daughter’s load to the dryer. As I did, little chunks of white fell out of the clothes, littering the floor. What is that? I wondered. Picking up a glob, realization hit me. The forgotten box of detergent!

I hope you are laughing. As I pondered my predicament, I couldn’t decide whether to laugh or cry. I could have blamed my daughter for not checking the washer, but it was my mistake and I knew it. I shook out each piece of clothing, wiped out the washer and carried the soggy cardboard remains of the box to the garbage can. Half an hour later, I had picked off the cardboard sticking to each garment, shaken out the soap chunks, and returned the clothing to the washer for another washing. Wasted energy because of my good intentions.

God’s word is filled with references telling us to daily seek the Lord. When I searched the scriptures I was amazed at how many times God instructs us to daily tasks—worship, forgiveness, labors—the list is long. God knows each day is precious and we are only given so many.

In Ephesians 5:16 Paul writes: “See then that you walk circumspectly, not as fools, but as wise. Redeeming the time, because the days are evil.”

 Good intentions affect all of us. When a friend asks for prayer, we often nod, promising to remember them, only to hurry on without taking the time to write ourselves a reminder. That friend is counting on us, and if we forget, we fail them.  My pastor says he stops and prays for each request right there so he won’t forget. That’s an example I need to follow.

My good intentions this time only cost me a box of soap. Next time eternal consequences may be on the line. I don’t want to be the one who doesn’t follow through on a God-given assignment.

Little Signs of Big Change

 

She visits, but I never see her. The only evidence that she’s blessed my yard with her presence is the line of sugar water drops in the feeder I hang out for her. Even if she should come while I’m at the kitchen window, her shimmering green feathers are but a blur as she darts in, then zips away.

Though Oregon experiences fairly mild winters compared to some, most of our hummingbirds leave. The exception is the one I know visits my feeder on a regular basis. I had missed her and her calling card for several weeks and wondered if she were well and where she might be hanging out. The temperature had dropped below freezing several nights, so I hoped that she’d found a warmer spot to wait out the cold. But when the water line on the feeder dropped suddenly, I knew she had returned.

 Knowing she is around gives me hope spring is not far behind. I’ve seen evidence in the daffodil spears poking through the ground.  Other birds have exploded in cheery sound, their twittering a sure sign that nests are being built, families planned. Even my fuchsias have acted in foolhardy eagerness, sending up tender green leaves from their pots that hang in the loft of my garage.

 I love the change of seasons for I know our heavenly Father put them in place. The psalmist, in a plea for relief from his oppressors, writes in Psalm 74:16-17: “The day is Yours, the night also is Yours, You have prepared the light and the sun, You have set all the borders of the earth, You have made summer and winter.”

Solomon felt the pull of the seasons as well.  To his love he writes in the Song of Solomon 2:11-12: “For lo, the winter is past. The rain is over and gone. The flowers appear on the earth; the time of singing has come.”

I am ready!