Friday, 26 December 2008
The Perfect Day . . .
We pray to God in times of stress,
But when in realms of happiness,
Do we find time to stop, and say --
"Thank you, God, for a perfect day?"
Yesterday was the perfect day, and as I lay in my bed last night at the end of this perfect day and thought back on all the wonderful things I had experienced throughout the day, I did, indeed, give thanks to God for all of my blessings.
It started out as most days do, with a word of prayer and thanksgiving, and then I hopped on here to see what you all were up to and to leave a few words myself, while I waited for Todd to wake up. Todd always sleeps a few hours longer than me. I'm not sure though if he is so much sleeping as he is laying there dozing. I wish I was the kind of person who could do that, but I'm afraid that I can't, once I'm awake I want to be up and doing!! Yes, I am an annoying morning person!!
The first thing Todd and I do when he comes downstairs in the morning is share a big hug and good morning, I love you with each other in front of our kitchen window. It's really funny coz Jess always tries to get in between us. She wants her good morning cuddles from Todd as well! Yesterday we each had a Christmas Card to share with each other and usually I go from there to read him the blog I have written, but yesterday I didn't. Hmmm . . . how could I have forgotten, oh well, I'll just have to read him two today!!
We both got dressed (I know . . . I really would have loved to stay in my pj's but I thought that was a bit much even for me on Christmas day!) and then we opened our gifts. We are not gift crazy people. We usually go to a charity shop and get something for the other there and I was the lucky recipient of a beautiful little crystal bowl that will be perfect for holding a tea light, a cut glass water jug that's just lovely and some great plates that will be perfect for showcasing some of my food photos!!! We had a few gifts from friends to open as well and then the phone rang and it was my mom!!
My mom calls me twice a year. On my birthday and on Christmas day. I can count on that as sure as I can count on the sun coming up in the morning and going down at the end of the day! We had a lovely conversation. She always opens my gifts to her while we are talking on the telephone. It is just nice to hear her voice. I know I talk to her every second week when I call, but that Christmas call is so very special to me and I really look forward to it every year. Our missionaries get a special call from their families on Christmas day as well. The only other day during the year they are allowed to talk to their families is on Mother's Day so as you can see a Christmas telephone call is very special to us all!!
Todd had ham and eggs for breakfast and then he took Jess out for her exercise. She was a bit miffed as things had not gone according to her plan! (usually she gets exercised first!) But then, she is not one to hold a grudge for very long and was soon back to her usual self!
We had been going to have company for Christmas Dinner yesterday, but due to ill health it got cancelled and so there was just Todd and I for our meal. I scaled things back a bit, but still ended up cooking enough for an army, but my oh my it was good. We shall be eating turkey for about a year I think, but it will be fun trying to come up with inventive ways to use it all up!! We feasted on Turkey and stuffing, mashed potatoes and swede, carrots and Brussels sprouts, not to mention honey roasted parsnips . . . all with lots of gravy, bread sauce and cranberry sauce. We were a bit full after, that so put off our dessert til later on. How blessed we are that we are able to eat like Kings. Would that I could share this feast with everyone that is hungry . . .
After the dishes, we settled in then to watch the Queen's speech. That is a must do for us on Christmas day. I always listened to it back in Canada when I lived there and I always listen to it here. I thought it was a lovely speech this year. She spoke of the dark times that many are facing today in these uncertain economic times, and then went on to praise those who know that the true secret of a happy life lies in unselfish service to others. I said to Todd . . . "She's been reading my blog!" It did make us chuckle. I really enjoyed seeing the film of Prince Charles as a toddler and thought to myself, how amazing that this little baby has grown up to be this man who will one day be our King, and about how beautiful the Queen was when she was younger.
I then got up enough courage to call my children at their dad's. It was lovely to talk to them, although not all of them were there. I am so glad that I did call. It was a wonderful gift to myself. Todd got to talk to them too.
Then it was time for Christmas pudding and Mary Poppins! We settled in next to each other in front of our telly and just relaxed for several hours. What a marvel that film is. I can remember going to see it at the cinema when I was just a girl. Indeed, Mary Poppins has always had a special place in my heart. When I was in Grade one I received the novel by P L Travers as an award at the end of the school year and I have long treasured it. As the film began and the screen panned over the London skyline, with Big Ben lit up, I thought about back to when I had first seen this movie as a young girl and how exotic that skyline had seemed to me, and how magical and wonderful it was that I had now seen these very things in person. As a child I could never have guessed . . .
I called my father and spoke to him for a few minutes. He sounded very tired and I expect he was. He and his girlfriend had gone to the Reveillon celebrations at her family's on Christmas Eve and not gotten back until about 3 am on Christmas Day so he had not gotten a lot of sleep!! It was nice to hear his voice though and wish him a Merry Christmas.
I also got to talk to my sister on the computer yesterday for a time, which was lovely. We used to speak every day, but with the time difference, and us both working full time, we rarely get the chance these days to do so. She and her partner are planning on saving up and coming over for the 2012 Olympics, so that is something to look forward to!!! I have not seen my sister in about 6 years so that will be wonderful if they can manage to pull it off. Todd has never met her either so it will be great for them to finally meet and also for me to meet her partner whom I have never met either! Most of all it will be wonderful to be with my sister again. Happy thought!!
We ended the evening by watching the Dancing on Ice Special on the telly. I love to watch the figure skating and this was extra special as it was a one off. I marvel at how good these amateur skaters are . . . and how very brave. I don't think that I could do it . . . mind you they'd have to find a partner for me that was exceedingly strong with massive muscles if he was ever going to lift me up!!! We might have to do things the other way around!
It is a wonderful day when you can lay in bed at the end of it and think back on all the special little pockets of joy that you have experienced. I am so blessed and I thank the Lord for all of them. I am so very lucky, and not just because I have all this joy, but mostly because I am able recognize these special moments for being what they are and because I am more than happy to share them with others. Elvis once sang a song that went like this . . .
Oh why can't every day be like Christmas
Why can't that feeling go on endlessly
For if everyday could be just like Christmas
What a wonderful world this would be
I'm here to tell you that every day can be like Christmas. It starts in the heart and it starts with recognizing the small blessings and gifts that are there each day to take and enjoy and to share . . .
I thought I would share the recipe for my sticky topped ginger bread with you today. It really is lovely and I just know you will enjoy it. I may just have some leftovers for breakfast today . . . you know . . . so it won't go to waste . . .
*Sticky Topped Gingerbread*
Makes one 8 inch square cake
I am a gingerbread connoisseur. I have tried many recipes through the years and this is the ultimate version that I have come up with. Dark, spicy and moist with a lovely and stickily decadent topping, this version wins on all counts!
1 1/2 cups flour
1 tsp baking soda
1/2 tsp salt
1 tsp ground cinnamon
1/4 tsp ground cloves
2 1/2 tsp ground ginger
2 tsp unsweetened Dutch process cocoa powder
2 large eggs, at room temperature
1/2 cup firmly packed soft dark brown sugar
1/2 cup sour milk
1/2 cup dark molasses
1/2 cup slightly salted butter, melted and cooled
For the Topping:
3 TBS butter
1/3 cup firmly packed dark brown sugar
2 TBS double cream (heavy or whipping)
Pre-heat the oven to 180*C/350*F. Lightly grease and flour an 8 inch square baking dish, tipping out any excess flour. Set aside.
Whisk the flour, soda, salt, cinnamon, cloves, cocoa and ground ginger together in a medium sized bowl. Set aside.
Beat the eggs in a large bowl until foamy. Beat in the brown sugar, beating it until the mixture is smooth and lump free. Beat in the sour milk (or buttermilk), molasses and melted butter. Beat until well blended, scraping down the sides of the bowl as necessary. Fold in the flour mixture, mixing it in only until just blended in and no dry mixture remains. Scrape the batter into the prepared pan. Give the pan a gentle smack down on the counter a couple of times to release any air bubbles and then bang it into the oven and bake for 30 to 40 minutes, until the top springs back when lightly touched and the edges have pulled away a bit from the sides. Transfer to a rack to cook for several minutes while you make the topping.
Pre-heat the grill or broiler of your oven.
Place all the topping ingredients in a small saucepan. Heart over medium heat, stirring constantly until the mixture bubbles and thickens. Remove from the heat.
Take a fork and poke a few holes here and there across the top of your gingerbread. Pour the hot topping mixture evenly over top of the warm gingerbread, allowing it to seep down the sides. Place under the grill and broil until the topping is bubbling, about 40 seconds or so. (watch carefully so it doesn't burn!) Remove from the broiler.
Serve warm with sweetened whipped cream if desired.
Happy Boxing Day everyone!!